2014 PBA Commish Cup: Imports come up big as Barako Bull and San Miguel Beer reel in separate wins!

Though only one of them will remain in the PBA, both Josh Dollard and Josh Boone came up big for their respective teams in separate Ws last night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

In the curtain-raiser, Barako Bull outshone Rain or Shine, 110-106, with Josh Dollard having another monster performance. Dollard is an early leader for the conference’s Best Import citation. He has been on a friggin’ tear for the unheralded Barako Bull Energy Cola. After scoring 45 points in a loss to the Ginebra Gin Kings this past Friday, Dollard dropped 44 markers on the Elasto-Painters last night. He has shot 31/58 overall from the field and 24/30 from the line. Again, take that in the proper context — he has shot 29 FG attempts and 15 FT attempts on the average! In addition, he has also grabbed 18.5 boards per game and blocked 4 shots in total. He’s potentially the most all-around dominant player out there, and, should he be consistent and remain healthy, he might just be good enough to single-handedly tow this Barako five to the next round of the conference.

Josh Dollard continues to be the most explosive
player in the current Commish Cup.

In contrast, ROS reinforcement Alex McLean shot just 33% from the floor, including 1/5 from beyond the arc. he did grab 16 rebounds, but making just a third of one’s field goals just won’t cut it for an import in this league. Needless to say, the New York product has to shoot much better for the Painters to bounce back from this loss. The same goes for the other guys on Yeng Guiao’s crew —  the locals shot just 8/28 or just 29% from three-point land. The chief culprits were Gabe Norwood and Chris Tiu, who paired up for 2/9 three-point shooting.

Miller Time: Willie Miller is definitely an over-the-hump type, but the two-time MVP can still drop some impressive outings here and there. In this encounter, the former Letran Knight shot 7/13 from the floor to score 19 points on top of 8 rebounds and 5 assists. More than MIller’s numbers, however, the Energy Cola need his leadership to really push this squad from an also-ran into a quarterfinal contender. They have a dominant import and some promising young guys, too, so who knows what can happen, right?

In the main game, San Miguel Beer dominated Ginebra, 112-96. Props to Josh Boone, who is on his way out despite dropping 32 and 21 against the vaunted Ginebra frontcourt. The former UConn Husky and New Jersey Net is set to be replaced by Kevin Jones, but he still played well enough to help SMB blow out the Gin Kings. Boone was ultra-efficient here, hitting 13/19 from the floor, handing out 3 assists, and blocking 2 shots. A part of me feels a little disappointed we’ve seen the last of this import. Maybe if SMB had been a bit more patient, he could have really developed into a game-changer for the Beermen.

So, Japeth Aguilar played just 16 minutes, producing 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 fouls. He didn’t score till the fourth quarter. It didn’t seem as if he was injured, too. So what was that? Has he regressed into the tentative non-threat from two seasons ago? I certainly hope not. C’mon, big fella. You have a shot at becoming one of the best players this season, so seize it!

San Miguel Sol Train: Sol Mercado had a good outing for the Beermen here, shooting 50% from the field to finish with 14 points in a back-up role. Mercado also had 4 assists and 2 steals in an impressive outing. Whereas Chris Ross provided top-notch playmaking as one of the starters, Mercado came off the pine to provide a much-needed scoring spark. If he can be consistent with this kind of production, then don’t be surprised if SMB skyrockets to the top of the standings by the end of the elims.

Game Recaps:


Barako Bull import Joshua Dollard had another big game in his second appearance in the PBA.

Unlike in his first game, though, this one resulted in a victory for his team.

The Barako Bull Energy Colas picked up their first win of the conference after outlasting Philippine Cup finalist Rain or Shine, 110-106, on Sunday in the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Dollard posted 44 points and 19 rebounds for Barako Bull just two days after debuting with a 45-point, 18-rebound effort against Ginebra.

He was biggest, though, in the fourth quarter where he scored 17 big points to lead his team to victory.

Willie Miller added 19 points and eight rebounds while Denok Miranda and Ronjay Buenafe had 13 and 11 markers, respectively.

Rain or Shine import Alexander McLean made an impact early, scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds in a first quarter that ended with the Elasto-Painters leading, 24-22.

Their locals then took over to start the second period with Jeff Chan, Chris Tiu, and Beau Belga all knocking down three-pointers in a 13-1 run that pushed their lead up to 16 points, 42-26.

But Barako Bull import Joshua Dollard scored nine of his team’s next 12 points, and he and Willie Miller finished the half strong, scoring all of the points in an 8-1 blast that cut their deficit down to 53-46 at the break.

Dollard, who had 19 and 10 after the first two periods, and Miller combined to score the last 20 Barako Bull points in the first half.

Ronjay Buenafe, who was scoreless in the first half, came alive in the third period, scoring 11 points. His third three-pointer gave the team the lead at 71-70 and sparked a 10-2 run that put the Energy Colas ahead, 78-72.

But Rain or Shine came back with McLean scoring two and reserve Jonathan Uyloan hitting back-to-back baskets, a fastbreak layup and a trey, to restore the advantage to the Elasto Painters’ side. before Denok Miranda hit a free throw to tie the game, 79-79, after three quarters.

Dollard then took over in the fourth. He scored eight points in the early goings of the quarter before knocking down the first seven points in a 9-0 run for Barako Bull that was capped by a breakaway layup from Carlo Lastimosa.

The Energy Colas led 101-91 with 4:11 remaining in the game.

Rain or Shine continued to battle, though, firing off six unanswered points, five of them from Paul Lee, to trail by just four, 101-97, with 2:56 to play.

JC Intal then finished on a layup, and Dollard came up big with yet another basket to make it, 105-97.

But Chan gave Rain or Shine one last gasp with a three-pointer and a fastbreak layup that put the Elasto-Painters within striking distance, 107-104 with just 14 seconds remaining.

Intal hit a free throw to make it a two-possession game, and Belga got a put-back with three seconds remaining to fall.

But Willy Wilson, in his first appearance in the game, took care of two free throws to put the lead back up to four, 110-106, with 2.6 remaining.

McLean led Rain or Shine in their first game of the conference with 21 points and 16 rebounds while Lee finished with 15.

BAR 110 – Dollard 44, Miller 19, Miranda 13, Buenafe 11, Pennisi 9, Intal 7, Lastimosa 2, Wilson 2, Marcelo 2, Isip 1, Jensen 0, Fortuna 0, Pena 0.
ROS 106 – McLean 21, Lee 15, Chan 14, Belga 11, Norwood 10, Uyloan 9, Almazan 9, Tiu 5, Arana 4, Rodriguez 4, Cruz 2, Nuyles 2, Tang 0, Teng 0, Ibanes 0.
QS: 22-24, 46-53, 79-79, 110-106.

Alex McLean struggled in his first PBA game.

Carlo Lastimosa coasts for an easy twinner.


Despite reports of him being on the chopping block, San Miguel Beer import Josh Boone put together quite a performance.

Boone breached the 30-20 mark for points and rebounds as he helped the Beermen stay unbeaten in the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup after defeating Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 112-96, on Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Boone, whose rumored replacement Kevin Jones has reportedly already arrived in the country, posted 32 points, 21 rebounds, and two blocks as San Miguel improved to 2-0 for the conference.

It was far from a one-note performance from the Beermen, though, as several other players contributed to the cause.

Arwind Santos scored 18 points, 12 of them in the fourth quarter, while Marcio Lassiter added 15 markers, and Sol Mercado had 14.

Paolo Hubalde also chipped in with nine points,  and Chris Ross finished with seven markers and a game-high six assists.

The Beermen opened the game hot, with Lassiter hitting a three-pointer in a 9-2 start for San Miguel. They continued to push the lead up as a dunk from Boone and back-to-back baskets from Mercado – a fastbreak layup and a three-pointer – made it 30-15 in their favor.

They closed the first quarter with a 37-23 lead after Ronald Tubid hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. Lassiter finished the first already with 10 points.

In the second quarter, Boone upped his game, scoring eight points and eight boards while Rico Maierhofer hit back-to-back baskets to help the Beermen maintain a 58-44 lead going into the halftime break.

The San Miguel import continued his stellar play in the third, where he scored 15 points and grabbed six boards to take his total to 25 and 19 with a quarter still to play.

But Ginebra put up a fight in the quarter, led by Mark Caguioa, who scored eight points including two three-pointers, as the Gin Kings inched closer, trailing 78-68 at the end of three.

The Kings got it down to as low as eight points, 78-70 and 80-72, on baskets from import Leon Rodgers and Japeth Aguilar.

The Beermen, though, all but wrapped up with a 17-6 run anchored on their running game that gave them their biggest lead of 21 points, 97-76, with 5:29 remaining.

Paolo Hubalde keyed the run with a thee-pointer with adding Chris Ross with a steal and a layup finish on the other end. Boone then scored inside, Lassiter broke away for another layup in transition and Boone hit two more free throws.

Aguilar snapped the run with two points for Ginebra. Hubalde, though, cleaned up a San Miguel fastbreak miss with a putback before Chris Ellis found the basket for a layup.

Santos then scored the next four points to give his team the whopping 21-point lead.

Ginebra could not mount a credible challenge after that.

Rodgers had 33 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a solid showing. Caguioa, who was held to just two points in the first half, finished with 15 points.

SMB 112 – Boone 32, Santos 18, Lassiter 15, Mercado 14, Hubalde 9, Ross 7, Kramer 5, Maierhofer 4, Lutz 4, Tubid 3, Duncil 1, Marata 0, Taha 0.
GIN 96 – Rodgers 33, Caguioa 15, Slaughter 13, Ellis 10, Tenorio 8, Helterbrand 5, Aguilar 4, Baracael 2, Reyes 2, Urbiztondo 2, Mamaril 2, Ababou 0.
QS: 37-23, 58-44, 78-68, 112-96.

Doug Kramer and Leon Rodgers have some sweet nothings for each other.

Despite his sacking, Josh Boone came out to play.
Sol Mercado was a spark off the bench for the Beermen.

Recaps by Rey Joble/InterAKTV.

Images by Paolo Papa and Pranz Kaeno Billones/Sports 5.

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