2014 PBA Commish Cup: Butch torches the nets for the Bolts, while the Mixers win in their debut!

Brian Butch waxed hot from long range to lead Meralco in gaining its first win of the conference last night. Afterwards, the Mixers showcased their balanced attack as they dismantled the Batang Pier.

In the opener, Meralco beat Alaska, 85-76. Before the start of the conference, several PBA observers described Brian Butch as a Dirk Nowitzki-type of big man who could also stroke from deep. We didn’t see that in Meralco’s opening loss to the San Miguel Beermen, but this time Butch was sharp. The former Team USA player nailed 6 triples on his way to 27 points, leading the Bolts to their maiden win in the Commish Cup. He also dominated on the boards, hauling down 17 rebounds, getting 2 steals, and blocking 2 shots. If Butch, who was a candidate for Gilas’s naturalized player along with Marcus Douthit, can remain consistent with his sniping, then the Bolts might just make a lot of noise this conference.  

Brian Butch was on fire last night.

The see-saw play of the Alaska Aces continued last night, what with usual reliables Gabby Espinas, Calvin Abueva, and Dondon Hontiveros putting up barf-worthy numbers. Those three combined for just 5 points in a total of 56 minutes, which, honestly, just won’t cut it. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Aces also had much fewer assists, more turnovers, hit just 64% from the line, and just 26% from beyond the arc. Defending champs? Sadly, more like chumps.

Local Flavor: Unlike Meralco’s first outing, the Bolts’ local talents shone through despite both Jared Dillinger and Mike Cortez being in sick bay. Reynel Hugnatan, Gary David, and Cliff Hodge combined for 38 points total, while also collaring 20 rebounds in all. They more than made up for the the absence of Dillinger and Cortez and the lousy 0/5 shooting of John Wilson. 

In the main match, San Mig Super Coffee dominated GlobalPort, 91-75.

Ian Sangalang probably won’t win Rookie of the Year, not with Greg Slaughter playing well and hogging the headlines, but the former Golden Stag has already won the hearts of San Mig Coffee Planet. In this game, he dropped another impressive stat-line, scoring 7/9 from the floor to finish with 16 points and 5 rebounds. He more than made up for the fact that Joe Devance tossed some bricks, shooting just 1/6 from the field to score a grand total of… 4 points.

GlobalPort turned the ball over 22 times, they missed 12 of 33 free throws, and they attempted 17 three-pointers, missing, well, 17 three-pointers. Silver lining? I don’t see any. Do you?

Balanced Attack: Six guys in double-figures and shooting 43% from rainbow country — that’s what Tim Cone saw from his wards in this game. Aside from Sangalang, five other Mixers — James Yap, PJ Simon, Mark Barroca, Marc Pingris, and import James Mays — all scored at least 10 points as SMC won its debut match of the conference. With that kind of balance, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if the Mixers go deep once again and vie for an unconventional grand slam.

Game Recap:

MERALCO over ALASKA, 85-76

Despite being the tallest reinforcement in the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup, Meralco import Brian Butch is known for his sweet shooting stroke.

On Wednesday night, Butch showcased his prowess from the outside, nailing six three-pointers to lead the Bolts to an 85-76 victory at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The win improved Meralco’s record to 1-1 as the Bolts bounced back from a blowout loss to San Miguel Beer in its opening assignment.

“We did a good job competing today despite our obvious lack of players, we were able to do the job because of defense,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio, as Jared Dillinger joined Mike Cortez in sick bay.

Butch finished with 27 points, and while he roamed the perimeter on offense, the 6-foot-11 center ruled the paint for the Bolts on the defensive end, grabbing 17 rebounds.

He outdueled reigning Best Import Robert Dozier, who finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

And Butch did it despite getting a dose of physicality from the Aces.

“I told him to keep his composure, keep his emotions intact, and just play basketball,” said Gregorio.

And unlike in their first game, Butch got solid support from the rest of the team to fashion out the victory, as Gary David and Reynel Hugnatan finished in double-figures.

The Bolts started the game strong, finishing the first quarter with a 20-12 lead that they nursed for most of the contest.

The Aces were still within striking distance, 78-72, with 3:23 remaining in the game, before Meralco struck back with a quick 6-0 run capped by a three-pointer by Anjo Caram to put the game out of reach.

Alaska continued its roller coaster performance that has plagued them since last conference as the tournament’s defending champion lost for the second time in three games.

MER 85 – Butch 27, Hugnatan 14, David 12, Hodge 12, Caram 7, Mandani 5, Ildefonso 4, Guevarra 2, Wilson 2, Al-Hussaini 0.
ALA 76 – Casio 19, Dozier 17, Baguio 12, Thoss 10, Manuel 6, Jazul 4, Espinas 3, Reyes 2, Abueva 2, Dela Cruz 1, Hontiveros 0.
QS: 20-12, 37-33, 61-54, 85-76

Reynel Hugnatan goes up unmolested.

The embattled Aces need to regroup.


Coming off winning the Philippine Cup, the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers showed some signs of championship hangover — for about one quarter.

After a slow start, the Mixers went down to business to cruise to an easy 91-75 victory over the GlobalPort Batang Pier to make a triumphant debut in the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“I think we’re a little different this time around. The hangover last conference was because of injuries we had,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone, who began the Philippine Cup with a 1-5 record.

San Mig Coffee trailed after the first quarter, 20-16, before scoring the first 10 points of the second period to grab the upper hand.

Behind rookie Ian Sangalang, who scored 11 of his team-high 16 points in the quarter, the Mixers opened up a 47-32 bubble at the half. A big key was the play of San Mig Coffee’s second unit, which helped limit the Batang Pier to just 12 points in the period.

“The key right now is really our second group. We want our first group to be ready, keep them fresh, and get them ready at the right time,” said Cone, who managed the playing time of veteran stars Marc Pingris, James Yap, Joe Devance, and Peter June Simon.

“The second group allows us to limit the minutes of Ping, James, Joe, and PJ.”

San Mig Coffee’s lead ballooned to as much as 18 points in the third period, but GlobalPort kept battling back behind import Evan Brock.

The Batang Pier got to within eight points, 80-72, midway through the fourth quarter on a pair of free throws from Brock.

But the Mixers held steady, scoring the next nine points to put the game out of reach.

GlobalPort suffered its third straight loss, keeping Pido Jarencio winless in his PBA head coaching career. The defeat spoiled the 27-point, 28-rebound performance of Brock. He failed to get much support from the rest of the Batang Pier, who missed all 17 of their three-point attempts in the game.

San Mig Coffee import James Mays had a quiet debut, finishing with just 15 points and six rebounds while battling foul trouble and a case of nerves.

Cone sees the team’s bench continuing to be a big factor for their quest to win a third straight title.

“Hopefully we can get to the playoffs with our second group,” said Cone. “Our second group is out there who are really eager to play.”

SMC 91 – Sangalang 16, Mays 15, Pingris 13, Barroca 11, Simon 10, Yap 10, Melton 7, Mallari 5, Devance 4, Cawaling 0, Reavis 0.
GLO 75 – Brock 27, Washington 14, Garcia 9, Ponferrada 8, Chua 6, Cabagnot 5, Nabong 2, Romeo 2, Macapagal 2, Yee 0, Salvador 0, Custodio 0.
QS: 16-20, 47-32, 70-58, 91-75

Evan Brock goes up against Rafi Reavis.

Ian Sangalang stepped up for SMC.

James Mays debuts for the Mixers.

Recap by Rey Joble/InterAKTV.

Images by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports 5.

Next Post »
0 Comment