The PBA Read: Purefoods emerge victorious!

Purefoods wins the PBA Philippine Cup!


I am obviously eating my words. Who would ever think that Ryan Gregorio could outplay Tim Cone?

James Yap had a field day against his defenders… scoring-wise. Yes, King James was still struggling at times because of the defense thrown to him but compare his game against Willie Miller, it was miles apart.

For some reason I can’t understand why every time Miller scores big Alaska loses. Sure, one can say that Joe Devance was nonexistent in Game 4 but Miller has been in these moments. If you look at it closer, you’ll find that either the triangle is slowing the “run and gun” guard or Miller is wasting the effectiveness of the vaulted offense. I thought Jeff Cariaso would be an asset in this series. Even if he is old, Cariaso is dependable and could bring stability for the Aces. Tim Cone overused his starters. Sure, even if Gregorio used Rafi Reavis, James Yap, Roger Yap, Marc Pingris, and Kerby Raymundo for 30 minutes and more, at least Purefoods have a ton of players to relieve their starters.

Alaska dominated until the finals because their players are familiar with one another. Unfortunately, they fell to over-reliance. Guys like Mark Borboran, Larry Fonacier, and Cariaso were left seated to watch Purefoods climb double-digit leads to eventually snatch a win. John Ferriols, who was relegated to limited action in the conference, played an extended role with Sonny Thoss succumbing to foul trouble. Reynel Hugnatan and Joe Devance had a hard time posting up Purefoods defenders… without the Boss to scare the Giants. Actually, with the way he dominated the Ginebra series, Thoss had it bad against the Giants. The poor guy was roadkill for Purefoods’ towering bigs that wanted Thoss to sit in the bench every single time! Sam Eman could have been a good player for the Aces during these moments but I can’t believe Alaska didn’t use Ervin Sotto and Mike Burtscher. Yes, I know they aren’t in the same level as Thoss or Ferriols for that matter but if they need a wide body, why can’t Tim Cone just activate them?

Roger Yap first got the taste of success in 2004 and at 32, it seems like this scoring-rebounding-passing genius could blossom this season. Rafi Reavis, a transferee from Ginebra, was energized and it seems like he was playing like he was as a San Juan Knight during his MBA days. Yap had almost a triple double while Reavis almost had a 20-point, 20-rebound game. Rico Maierhofer was instrumental especially in Game 3. KG Canaleta and PJ Simon delivered when the starters needed to check their angst. Paul Artadi, Jondan Salvador, Romel Adducul, and Don Allado were good subs for Roger Yap, Kerby Raymundo and Rafi Reavis. Hell, even Chris Timberlake and Jonathan Fernandez proved their worth cheering for the team in their moment of triumph.

Ryan Gregorio, despite all the haters needs to be commended for bringing the Giants to the big dance. He got back his old core and combined it with a new core. Perhaps the biggest shock Gregorio gave was placing LA Tenorio and Willie Miller his rebounding demon, Marc Pingris. This would have puzzled critics but Gregorio trusted the abilities of his players and it conceived great things. The biggest booboo this move heralded for the Aces is even if Pingris was playing outside the shaded area, he was still getting rebound after rebound. This goes to show how important Pingris is to Gregorio’s starting core.

I hate to be proven wrong but the right team won the series.

Congrats Purefoods TJ Giants!

Game over!


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