The 2010 PBA Philippine Cup Quarterfinal Breakdown

I like the PBA Philippine Cup tournament format, especially if it features the teams with the biggest fanbase. Unlike telenovelas, the final episode would likely not disappoint (endings matter if the show sucked or the actor does drugs, jumps network, or gets impregnated). Perhaps the best series this season came from the best-of-five tilt between the crowd darlings Baranggay Ginebra Kings and the defending champs Talk N Text Tropang Texters.

And yeah, this is only a quarterfinal matchup.

Usually a team checks in to their locker rooms at around 3pm. Even if the game is the second of two double-headers, players and coaching staffs need to come early to check the surroundings, get a bit of shoot-a-round action, and help the team map out a plan to seal the opposing team.

As of 4:30pm, TNT has yet to crowd their designated locker room.

Talk N Text, if they play, will miss the services of Ranidel de Ocampo. Before that controversial Game 4 walkout which prompted the Ginebra-Talk N Text series to get a do-or-die match, Ranidel is averaging under ten points and seven caroms for the Tropang Texters. Sure, he hasn’t been his normal scoring self since getting traded from Air21 midway last year’s Philippine Cup, but if TNT wants to get a crack at the semis berth against Alaska, Chot Reyes will need his services.

Unfortunately, he can’t. His suspension was the subject of controversy for the walkout. TNT thinks the refs are favoring Ginebra while the Kings think their accusations are baseless. Actually as Quinito Henson pointed out in his Philippine Star column, free throws will get a huge chunk of airtime when you pit the league’s most fouled team against the league’s most foul-ridden team.

You can contest all you want if Ranidel de Ocampo deserves the flagrant foul 2 infraction, whether Ronald Tubid needs to get a counter flagrant foul, or whether TNT overacted but it sucks that a series has to end like this. Do you think Sonny Barrios, the guy that denied San Miguel an outright win because TNT had to wait for their right uniforms during an out-of-town game, could persuade the Texters to return to the court? There are a lot of ways to mock a series. Can a quintet of Jonathan de Guzman, Pong Escobal, Mark Isip, Orlando Daroya, and the Yakult mascot be a better way to ridicule the refs? Funny... but no! TNT had to do that but its either they walk out altogether... or win to claim their redemption.

While the Purefoods-Rain Or Shine series proved entertaining as well, its fanfare fails compared to TNT vs GIN. Purefoods sealed a matchup against Fiesta Cup defending champions San Miguel after extinguishing Rain or Shine’s Cinderella playoff run. James Yap churned out monster numbers for the Giants after Kerby Raymundo scored 34 points in a losing effort.

I went to mass at around 5:30pm.

I came back at around 7:30 and Ginebra leads as the first half is about to end.

Aside from the fanfare, and the “Be Fair” shirts worn by the Tropang Texter faithful, there is nothing much to cheer in this match.

As of this writing, you’d probably know that Ginebra won a semis berth against the Aces. The odds were up for grabs until the dying seconds of the first half. The lead ballooned to 17 at some point and except for a five-point interval, the situation was never close.

Here’s why:

Small Ball: You cannot small ball Ginebra. Ginebra is the king of small ball. They have eight players that can act as shooters or slashers for crying out loud! You take out Ronald Tubid and Cyrus Baguio and Jong Uichico unleashes Celino Cruz, Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand. If needed, the Kings can summon Sunday Salvacion, Kevin White, and Johnny Abarrientos. Plus, JC Intal and Willy Wilson can play that spot with ease. The only reason why I’m not bundling Intal in this point is that he’ll have a different point!

Rebounds: Even without Ranidel de Ocampo, the Texters still have Harvey Carey, Ali Peek, Yancy de Ocampo and Nic Belasco. Did Ginebra expose the fact that these guys do not have the legs to go head-to-head with Enrico Villanueva, Willy Wilson, JC Intal, and Eric Menk? Okay, my bad. You can scrape off the point I brought about Ginebra’s small ball. The lack of height caused Chot Reyes to send in a speedy lineup. At this point, Uichico grabbed the chance to “circulate” Villanueva, Menk, and Wilson in that PF/C spot. He still has Billy Mamaril and Rich Alvarez in his disposal.

Ineffectivity (the inability to play effectively): I heard TNT didn’t even practice the day before Game 5. Then I noticed that the big guys are getting muscled and the small guys are merely hurling their shots. Jason Castro is missing easy layups, Mac Cardona is forcing his shots, and Jimmy Alapag is nailing his threes without even bothering to call for ball movement! Where are the plays?

JC Intal: During Game 1, Chot Reyes insisted to let Intal do the damage but go all out in punishing Ronald Tubid and Cyrus Baguio. The Fast and the Furious duo have played sparingly and Skyrus has been grounded in terms of minutes. No thanks to Intal and Wilson, Jong Uichico found it easy for him to revert Baguio’s minutes as sporadic. Intal destroyed his career high twice in this series. Making the Rocket go berserk is one of the biggest mistakes of Chot Reyes.

By the way, if you doubt the awesomeness of the Rocket, here’s proof!


The Mind Games: I think this perhaps the biggest thing they failed to prey in. The last time a successful walkout happened was during Robert Jaworski’s time. Everyone should be scared on how TNT will react. Will they blurt it out on the refs? Will another incident occur? Will the ratings soar because of this...

Fact is, Chot showed his emotions when TNT was getting rocked by the Gins in the closing minutes. All of a sudden, the lack of urgency played an unsettling noise in the TNT huddle. Even Chot’s sarcastic clap for a ref botch call could spark a TNT crowd to try to upstage the Gin crowd.

Looking to the future, maybe this was a better call. Imagine the Gins fans going full force against Tim Cone and the Alaska Aces? I tell you, we can be looking at another less controversial but action-packed series! Purefoods versus San Miguel is also an interesting matchup.

It’s disappointing though that the perfect avenue to make the refs your bitches was wasted on uninspired action.

Did I mention TNT is 500,000 pesos poorer?

Game over.


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