Enrico Villanueva: Somebody Set Him Free

Against Meralco, Enrico Villanueva was only inserted at the start of the fourth quarter where he failed to score any points but managed to carom two boards and two swats in seven minutes of action.

Dennis Daa, a second-string forward, started for the Meralco Bolts and played fourteen minutes for the squad.

Daa outplaying Villanueva in a game?

What the hell!

No offense for Dennis Daa, an undersized power forward in his third year from Las Pinas College, but I’m just pulling a random player from Meralco to emphasize how pissed off I am on how Ginebra is using one of my favorite players.

Bar none, he was the dominant player in Ateneo during his tenure. If not for his rough housing, Rich Alvarez wouldn’t get those MVP trophies. Enrico will make people pay inside in terms of board bashing and his low post plays. He almost won a MVP award during his days in Red Bull where he went head-to-head with Kerby Raymundo but the award fell on the hands of James Yap.

The gesture he does when he dunks is almost as famous as Danny Ildefonso’s Raise the Roof taunt in my book!

Chemistry is certainly one of the biggest issues in the Ginebra lineup. But certainly, their overflowing of talent is another obstacle for the squad. This squad looks like a Philippine Team with Jayjay Helterbrand and Mike Cortez in the point guard spot, Mark Caguioa and Willie Miller at the shooting guard spot, JC Intal and Ronald Tubid in the small forward spot, and Rudy Hatfield, Eric Menk, Villanueva, Yancy de Ocampo, and Billy Mamaril handling the frontcourt. If I was Jong Uichico, I will rotate eight to nine players solidly just like how Tim Cone, Ryan Gregorio and Chot Reyes does things. Sure, these guys play at least eleven players but during winning time (or the last twelve minutes), you can see that they have star players going full throttle.

This is the same problem San Miguel has as of the moment but for some reason, San Miguel handles it better than their “sister” squad. Olsen Racela’s action will be lesser now and most of their 2001 squad has accepted limited minutes just for them stay as Beermen until the end of their careers. Mick Pennisi and Lordy Tugade, members of the last Red Bull championship squad, joins Denok Miranda and Paul Artadi as players that would likely work in restricted playing time.

The Kings took three rookies, all backcourt personnel, to shore up their already-flooded backcourt. Jimbo Aquino never saw action for the Kings during their opener and John Wilson and Rob Lagabala are in their reserve list. Sunday Salvacion was lucky to escape Ginebra. Celino Cruz could have followed Salvacion to Barako Bull but he didn’t. That wasn’t smart. If he didn’t want to return to the Energy Boosters, Powerade is one team that needs to add depth to their backcourt.

Miller and Intal failed to do what they needed to do. Of the 72 points the Kings scored, only 18 of them came from their towers with Hatfield scoring 10 points. The Kings’ towers only had 23 attempts and just managed 39 percent of their shots. Villanueva only had two attempts while Yancy had one.

Yancy de Ocampo is another player that is wasted with the Kings but he has been used to get this treatment with Talk N Text. Villanueva will probably star Powerade, Barako Bull, Alaska, and BMEG with the way their frontline looks at this moment.

Fans are pissed at how crappy his game is right now. Don’t blame him. Ginebra’s play-set merely relies on their backcourt and whatever play they have for their big man doesn’t reach their big men! Last season, Villanueva suffered his first season since his rookie year where he failed to average in double figures. If he can’t score in double figures in the Philippine Cup, then how can he score big during the Commissioner’s Cup and the Governor’s Cup? These are the moments where I think the San Miguel Corporation is insanely selfish regarding the superstars in the league. Not only are they destroying the other PBA rosters, they are destroying hall of fame careers as well.

Ever since the start of the decade, Ginebra has lived and died with Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand, and Eric Menk. Sure, these three are getting old but just like Asi Taulava, Dondon Hontiveros, and Jimmy Alapag, they are not bad in any way. Sure, give the trio great backups but let them lead Ginebra alongside Rudy Hatfield, Ronald Tubid, or JC Intal. Willie Miller played in only 19 minutes but he managed to uncork 10 shots. Just like Cyrus Baguio, Miller will find a way to score in double figures. This means Miller will to hound whatever he can just to covet his double-digit outputs. When he was in Alaska last Philippine Cup, whenever he scores big, the Aces lose. This is because the scoring load is not balanced. Caguioa is Ginebra’s top player and he will not let Willie Miller slip by. Uichico can’t operate a team well when his two top players need to score at least ten shots a night.

This is bad news for Enrico Villanueva again. Maybe he can go to Talk N Text for either Ali Peek or Harvey Carey although the Tropang Texters will never give Carey. Or maybe they can trade him to Barako Bull when Sunday Salvacion becomes an explosive player during his stint with Barako Bull. Anyway, Enrico should try his best to find a team outside of the SMC conglomerate when his contract expires.

But then again, if Ginebra thinks he is valuable, maybe they need to treat him like one.

He deserves to be a star.

Game over.


  1. This the very same scenario that I had stated about C.Baguio before.

    More than the very limited minutes that some guys in BGK get .... what hurts a player even more (especially for known entities like EVill, Baguio, etc) is that these few minutes are of the erratic kind - you just dont know when those few minutes will come, if at all. This makes contributing with those few minutes extremely hard.

    EVill's situation is indicative of Uichico's poor sub patterns since he got to BGK. I could write a few more hundred words about what's wrong with Uichico's coaching skills ..... but that's for another day instead.

    Right now, I agree that it would be best if Villanueva himself demand for a trade elsewhere .... for his career's sake.

  2. i'd have to agree w/ you on this. ever since he was shipped-out of the redbull franchise and joined subsequently joined the smc consortium, his game steadily spiraled to nowhere. it's just his luck that the coaches he has had recently - save for guiao, of course - have no inclination to properly utilize his toughness and determination. that's plain unfortunate because he has got several years worth of dunking, rebounding, and jersey popping in him still

  3. gggarth: looking at the current ginebra roster, i'd rather have CyBag for miller. since at least baguio, when given many minutes, can be a team player. looking at him in alaska right now, it makes you cringe because baguio could have done that in ginebra when given the chance.

  4. ^ big blue: if you look at it, from the red bull championship squad, only baguio and miller are doing good.

    larry fonacier? once his tnt stint works, he's there.

  5. ^ Yup, you're absolutely right. Id rather have Baguio than Miller anytime of the week.

    Baguio does a lot of things other than his scoring ability. When he was the lone 'star' remaining in RBULL, he averaged a shade below 19pts and lead RBULL to semis stints.

    He passes nicely and one of the best at "hand defense" (along with R.Reyes). Those pokes, deflections, steals are a killer.

    What's funny is, Baguio has always shown to do these nice things just as long as he has the PT ..... goes to show what "eye for talent" guys like Uichico, Caidic have.

    Back to EVill .... he just needs to play. Basketball fans deserve to see him strut his stuff.

  6. ^ hehe. i want to put evill back to barako bull to insert some legitimacy on their squad but he'll also fit nice as an ace, tiger, painter, or even a bolt.