Weep the Sweep


I sense a lot of sad basketball fanatics.

It’s probably because Ginebra got swept in their semis series against Alaska.

Sad but true… after a physical and emotional series with TNT, it seems as if the Kings found themselves huffing and puffing against the Aces. This is the fourth time (and a second time for non-finals matches) a team handed an opposing team the broom to sweep their asses. A few years back, Ginebra swept Red Bull. Junthy Valenzuela, Cyrus Baguio, Rich Alvarez, and Celino Cruz were amongst the players in that Barako squad then.

Willie Miller struggled in this series no thanks to Ronald Tubid. Guys like Tubid, Baguio, JC Intal, and Valenzuela are great players to have because they have offense and defense. However, Jong Uichico couldn’t solve Alaska’s size.

What? Alaska’s size???

TNT was bigger than Alaska in terms of heft and everything and yet Ginebra clawed consecutive three wins to clinch the series. Sonny Thoss, who barely averaged 9 points in the regular season, erupted for almost 16 points and 9 rebounds in the series. Sure, Eric Menk got hurt but they still have Enrico Villanueva, Billy Mamaril and the overachieving Willy Wilson! Jong Uichico should have used Rich Alvarez more in that series with Wilson and Intal failing to dish out their intensity from the TNT series but Alvarez barely played. Alvarez is a decent enough defender to thwart Joe Devance who is more of a big SF more than anything. If they need size then why can’t they just activate Doug Kramer, Paolo Bugia, Homer Se, and Junjun Cabatu???

And for these players, why the fuck would they still want to play for a team that won’t use them wisely? I know Bugia and Kramer have binding contracts but Cabatu and Se could just leave the team to go for a team that would use them!

Why do you think Norman Gonzales, Gilbert Lao, Ricky Calimag and Jason Misolas are getting the minutes even they aren’t “star potential” players?

I’m sold that Jong Uichico can’t use Villanueva properly. Fans loved his entry to the team at the start of the season because with a healthy Menk or Mamaril, they can have a twin tower setup. Villanueva shouldn’t be used as a center. Villanueva should also get enough touches to make his self effective. E-Vil averaged a mere 6.9 shots per game, which is almost half of what Ronald Tubid makes. Ginebra has a lot of scorers from the point and slasher positions that’s why I know think that sending Reavis to Purefoods was a bad idea. Same goes for Cyrus Baguio. I am beginning to think that Baguio will become Ginebra’s version of Renren Ritualo. I like Renren and I like Baguio so managements shouldn’t be greedy about their services and send them to teams that would use their talents wisely! People are saying all Baguio thinks is to score but what can Cyrus do??? He is a scorer for the longest time and people should spunk themselves if they think that Baguio would play 14 minutes and just pass and defend?

That is why I applaud Sam Eman. If you are a second pick overall playing less than 15 minutes to a squad that won’t likely use you, then you have to decide if you want job security or superstardom.

Now for you SMC haters, this is how San Miguel gets their top players. Remember when Ron Jacobs “molested” the 30-second injury timeout back in the 90’s? Well this is the salary cap version.

San Miguel would sign their players to inexpensive and short-term contracts. Even if they are left unsigned, they will still practice and be associated with them so that when a player comes back from injury; their salary cap would be able to accommodate these players. The only reason why players to continue to stick with SMC is that they overload the players with great benefits and bonuses!

Don’t you know that SMC janitors earn over 20,000 pesos? Who doesn’t want to work for SMC? Ten years of working for them and you’ll live awesomely, be the envy of the people in your high school reunion and make your bullies cry about their pathetic existence.

Okay, I’ll shut up on the money part. Returning to Eman, SMC reportedly offered Eman a transfer to the Ginebra camp to bolster their size. But Eman had other things in mind. Unlike reserved list-mate Chris Calaguio, he still has a future (Calaguio has too but he’d rather go with a “secure” job than getting a storied career). Going to Alaska solves the Aces’ need for size. If he blossoms in Tim Cone’s system, imagine a troika of Thoss, Eman, and Devance, who will now have an easy time unloading his three point shots with Eman striving in the middle.

More Ginebra loss to Alaska’s gain…

JC Intal, the MVP of the TNT series, was grounded in this match up. Chot Reyes didn’t cared much on Intal but Cone gave The Rocket Tony Dela Cruz and TDC made the up and coming star revert back to his rookie days. What he learned from Reyes' folly made Cone's coaching awesome.

And finally, the aged-old question…

Did Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand disrupted Ginebra’s gameplay?

Remember when the early 2000’s version of the Sacramento Kings were eliminated after a strong showing and the fault was ruled that Chris Webber disrupted the team’s system? While I think Tubid, Baguio, Cruz, and Intal propelled the team to where they are today, Ginebra is not Ginebra with Helterbrand and Caguioa. Come playoff time, the big guns blossomed. Check out Eric Menk – until his injury, he was regaining form to battle the bigs of TNT. Except for Baguio, these guys have playing time. Ronald Tubid bungled the chance to tie the game towards the end of Game 3 while the constant shackling of Dela Cruz on Intal made the Rocket force his shots. It didn't help that LA Tenorio, Mark Borboran, Reynel Hugnatan, and Larry Fonacier played big in that series. Without The Bandanna Brothers, I don’t even think the Kings stand a chance against the Aces. Even Sunday Salvacion played well in this series. I strongly believe that the old guns give the team the added oomph.

It’s just a shame that the Kings got bamboozled by the Aces.

Hopefully the Kings can fill their need on height with a great post up import. Mind you though, the only constant in the small positions are Jayjay Helterbrand headlining and Celino Cruz backing him up. Caguioa will claim the SG spot as he’ll also fight with Tubid, Baguio, Intal, Junthy Valenzuela, Salvacion and INJURIES to secure that spot.

Is Chris Alexander available?

Game over.

Xxx0xxX

Meanwhile… Alex Crisano and Adonis Sta. Maria just became free agents! After a stellar season in a ragtag squad, the erstwhile Barako Bull team captain is team-less. Unlike Adonis though, Crisano will get offers. Burger King, Sta. Lucia, Rain or Shine, and Coke are amongst the teams that could use his services. I won’t be surprised if a top team considers hiring him. This colorful character that debuted in the pro circuit with the MBA’s Nueva Ejica Patriots logged 8.9ppg, 6.2rpg and 0.8apg in 22.6 minutes.

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