The Top Five PBA Small Forwards Right Now (January 13, 2014)

The small forward spot has been, and continues to be, a position full of talent in the PBA. We can talk about guys like Vergel Meneses, Bogs Adornado, Jeff Cariaso, and, to a certain extent, maybe even Nelson Asaytono. Allan Caidic used to pinch-hit as an SF for the national team, too, alongside Samboy Lim at SG.

More recently, we’ve seen someone like Danny Seigle become the most dominant player at that position (early 2000s). Heck, he continues to be one of the best swingmen right now! We have also witnessed guys like Gabe Norwood and Jared Dillinger do well at the swingman spot for the national team.

In this post we will look at the top five small forwards in the 2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup, based principally on their player efficiency ratings, or EFF, as calculated by

Note: Stats as of the morning of January 13, 2014.

5. JC Intal (BAR) – 11.2ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.0spg, 1.4 triples per game, 26.8 EFF
- After stagnating at Ginebra and San Mig Coffee, it seems like The Rocket’s career is on the upswing again (he played really well in the 2009-2010 season). Most of his numbers are at all-time highs, which have resulted in his player efficiency rating also at a career-high. If Barako manages to make the knockout rounds, Intal would be a big reason why.

JC Intal seems to have become mighty relevant again.
(image by Paolo Papa/Sports 5)

4. Jared Dillinger (MER) – 11.4ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.5apg, 28.0 EFF
- The ultra-versatile Dillinger continues to play the swingman position effectively, even if he is no longer with the Texters. He’ll probably have to do more playmaking moving forward, especially since Mike Cortez will be out a few months, but that won’t entail much adjustment from Dillinger anyway. Please take note that his scoring, rebounding, and assisting numbers are all career-highs.

3. Calvin Abueva (ALA) – 10.7ppg, 8.6rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg, 28.6 EFF
- Abueva won’t win any awards for congeniality, but, hey, Alaska fans can count on him to do anything for the all-important W. The Beast’s numbers are a little below what he put up in his rookie campaign, but he remains to be a marked man for the opposition. He’s a constant double-double threat who can get in any opponent’s head. Not a fan favorite, but a coach’s dream.

2. Chris Lutz (PET) – 15.2ppg, 4.6rpg, 5.2apg, 31.4 EFF
- After seeing his production drop big time in his sophomore season (mainly because Marcio Lassiter came into the picture), Lutz looks to bounce back in a big way. He has noticeably become more aggressive, and he isn’t settling for those pull-up threes as often as before. As a result, he’s taking a lot more free throws per game this season, and he has become a lot more efficient.

Chris Lutz has rediscovered his deadly form in the PBA.
(image by Pranz Kaeno Billones/Sports 5)

1. KG Cañaleta (A21) – 16.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, 2.3 triples per game, 31.7 EFF
- I want to make a case for Cañaleta’s being part of the Gilas pool. He’s just too good at the 3 spot to be ignored. He’s a born scorer from the wings who has the length and athleticism to battle in the paint. He has also improved on defense, averaging more than 1 steal per game for the first time in his career. He doesn’t have the prettiest percentages, sure, but he’s streakier than most, which means when he waxes hot, well, the whole town is bound to burst in flames.

Outside looking in:
Danny Seigle (TNT) – 25.3 EFF
Chris Ellis (GIN) – 23.4 EFF
Joe Devance (SMC) – 23.2 EFF

Enzo Flojo has been writing about all things basketball for quite some time now. You can read more of his stuff on his nationally-recognized blog,, on the college hoops site,, on Rappler Sports, on, or you can follow him on Twitter -- @HoopNut.

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11 Comment

Puro turnover yan, napakainconsitent ni KG kanaleta at napaka pangit ng shot selection kaya no way na mapupunta sa gilas yan.


One MIGHT make the same argument for, say, Gary David, but he made Gilas, didn't he? I think KG being part of the pseudo-Gilas crew alongside the cadets early in 2013 is enough of a testament to how he could fit in the system, should the coaches see fit to get him. An athletic 6'6 guy who can hit three triples in a row at the drop of a hat? Can't write him off that easily.


He's nowhere near Gary David's game. Gary has better FG percentage than most PBA players despite being a mark man every game and can still drop 20 or more points. That's why KG is inconsistent because if he will drop 40 points tonight you can expect that he will not score a double digit the next game. Scouts know who's hot and therefore will make sure that he's tightly guarded. That's when KG cannot score anymore.


Hmmm… I think saying KG is nowhere near Gary's game is unfair and, quite frankly, inaccurate. Current stats do show that El Granada's percentages are better than Cañaleta's, but the "inconsistency" argument actually works to David's detriment. There have been three instances this season when he "exploded" in terms of scoring and failed to score in double-digits in the next game. KG, on the other hand, has scored in double-figures in all but one of his 13 games. As far as the current numbers go, David is the boom-bust guy, not KG.

As for the "scouting" argument, all we have to do is look at how David fared in the 2012 FIBA Asia Cup and then in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships. The 2012 FIBA Asia Cup in Tokyo was David's coming out party in the FIBA Asia scene. Nobody really knew what he could do (even if he played in the 2012 Joens Cup already), so he had a few big games. He eventually averaged around 10 points on 39% FG shooting. This is where he got "scouted" by the opposition. Fast-forward to 2013, and David is back in a FIBA Asia tourney, this time the FIBA Asia Men's Championships here in Manila. He was a marked man now. Teams clamped down on him because they knew he could light it up. His numbers went down to around 4 points per game and just 29% FG shooting. The numbers may be interpreted this way: once scouted, David was virtually shut down. The only team he really "exploded" against was Kazakhstan, which didn't play in the 2012 FIBA Asia Cup. Also, the wingmen rotation for Gilas was nearly identical for both tournaments -- David, Norwood, Chan, and Fonacier (Jared Dillinger was present in Tokyo, though).

I think people can go on for days arguing who is better, but that's not really the issue here. In the context of Gilas going to the World Cup, there is a plausible need for players who are a little more fresh, perhaps a little more versatile. I think KG fits that bill, and I also think Gary could be one of the "expendable" pieces. That's not to say Gary doesn't deserve to play in Spain, of course. It just means we have to be open to the possibility of some people moving up and some giving way. Anyway, whether one cager plays or not, we're all on the same side, correct?

Agree to disagree?


Lozano = burned


Totally disagree! Gary David was just struggling during FIBA. Its unfair for Gary David to be judged based on that performance alone. Let me give you an example, James Yap is still getting the hype even though he's been struggling for the past 3 seasons now. Where did you get your numbers and that Gary David failed to score in double figures? Gary David was just a known scorer that's why expectation was so high. FYI there was a tuneup between Kazakhstan and Gilas before the tournament so your argument about being scouted is totally uneducated. Like I said Gary David has a better shooting percentage and if he didn't score a double figure that is because he didn't take to many shots during that game because he doesn't need to. You just don't know anything about basketball. Since you mention Norwood, Chan and Fonacier, did they score double figures in every game?. That's how it works for Gilas who ever has the hot hand that's who Coach Reyes will give extended minutes. Should I mention JunMar Fajardo? I hope you're getting it.

I watch PBA everyday and I see how KG play. He turns the ball very often and very inconsistent because he sometimes force his 3 pt shots. He takes too many shot that's why his percentage is low. He doesn't let the game come to him. Based on the system that the coach Reyes runs you're lucky if you get 5 shots. A single turnover can cause you the game. If you're getting my point its Quality over Quantity. Every Gilas player contributed on the silver finish last FIBA Asia and every one of them should go to Spain unless someone volunteer to give their spot to others. They're the one who made those hardship. Probably you're one of those crab people who keeps insulting Gary during the FIBA tournament.You should just zip your mouth and let the coaches handles it.


Let me see.
1 - Juan Paolo/Lozano (JPL) has no statistical basis. Puro “hype” at impressions lang.
2 - JPL has awful grammar (nakasusukang basahin).
3 - JPL makes a silly attempt at an insult at the end. Halatang pikon at ang pikon laging talo.

Wow. That’s the triple whammy of trolls right there.

Mr. Hoop Nut I suggest you don’t dignify his comment with a reply. Di niya ata alam na kinuha kang scout ng Gilas nung 2013 e. Nagmamarunong pa ito.

Ako rin Gary David fan, pero open ako na makasama si KG sa Gilas pool. Wala naman kasing sinabing papalitan siya agad e. Paulo/Lozano umayos ka.

Of course, I’m assuming isang tao lang iyang Paulo/Lozano na yan. Kung hindi, e di umayos sana iyang dalawang yan!

Go Gary D!

Go KG!

Go Gilas!


Go DLSU! haha


Guys leave Juan Paulo and Juan Lozano (in case they’re not one and the same) be. What they have expressed here, the total flimsiness of its basis and the offensive tone notwithstanding, is their opinion. Misguided? Yes. No stats to back them up? Yes. Totally biased? Yes.

But it’s THEIR opinion. It’s clear Juan Paulo and Lozano appear to be Gary David fanatics, and that clouds their judgment (not to mention their comprehension).

I, for one, would love to see Gary in Spain (he will go, whether as a member of Gilas’s final twelve or not), but I also want to be open to the possibility coach Chot will be prepping some other players who can benefit the team even more. Remember that Gilas will be competing in the World Cup and then almost immediately fly to Incheon, South Korea for the Asian Games. We’ll need as many fresh legs as we can.

In addition, I get the feeling neither Paulo nor Lozano would be open to recognizing any merit in any argument other than their own. Close-minded? Definitely.

But they can be close-minded all they want. It’s their right.

At least David himself expressed his openness to being replaced if this is what is best for the team. Iyan ang tunay na manlalaro para sa Pinas.

As for where I got the numbers, well, the stats get sent to me. Chalk it up as one perk of being a member of the local sports media. Also, a cursory reading of the article will reveal a link to a comprehensive stats website for the PBA. Konting sipag lang ang kailangan.

I’m also happy Juan Paulo gets to watch the PBA everyday. I do, too. Covering hoops is one of my passions, and, thankfully, one of my jobs. I get to see the players in the flesh and am actually often within spitting distance (pardon the term, I wanted to spit after reading Paulo’s grammatically-inept post) of the guys.

I hope to meet Lozano and Paulo one day, so they can regale me with their vast knowledge of hoops.

Their grammar notwithstanding.

This comment has been removed by the author. - Hapus

"JPL makes a silly attempt at an insult at the end" Here's a guy who criticized my grammar about something I created with haste, but look how he cannot fix his own grammar. FYI Even PBA commentators frequently make grammar mistakes when they're broadcasting. Should I examine each of your sentence to find grammar errors? That's not the point here. Its just that I'm owning you that's why you cannot resist to look at the grammatical errors on my comment to fight back.

If you're a scout of Gilas then so far I would say that you're doing an awful job(terrible job). But that's not how I see it because who in their right mind will get you as their scout who just do their scouts on statistical basis. (Ok he's scoring double figures every game, lets put him on Gilas team. ***Haha even my GF who don't know anything about basketball will say that).

I'm not Bias, I stand on my opinion to say that you don't know anything about basketball. You're watching basketball because its your job you say, but you're not doing it because its your passion. You can call me anything you want. I'm making a sound argument here and you end up saying I'm close minded. Haha. Now I understand why you're defending KG so much. KG is with Air21. What are in AIR21? Oh, a bunch of La Salle players who don't really belong in the PBA(except Yeo and Cardona). Wow, what a big suprise! I'm sure you're going to make an argument again that they deserve to be in the PBA. Ok I will just say this, there are other players far more deserving to them but not in the PBA. Show your true color that you are really a hardcore fan of KG and stop pretending that you also like Gary to make your case legit. HAHA what about the previous article where the number 1 is none other than your AIR21 JOSEPH YEO! Again, how was that looked? Of Course through statistics again.
Ok, I will say this you're a genius because you can read and compare statistics.

HAHA if I will meet you I will just see a big bold text AIR21 on your forehead( like a ninja of konoha).

I just exposed you! I can read your behavior like a book.


Juan Paulo: Tanga. Tama kaya yung grammar niya. Wag ka na. Troll ka lang na walang alam. Nakakaawa naman GF mo. Alam ba niyang mas mahal mo pa si Gary David sa kanya?

Tanga amp.