Friend or Foe?

Willie “The Thriller” Miller has had an enviable PBA career. He was the only MBA player to become a PBA top pick. He was thrice named inside the Mythical Five and was also named in the Mythical Team three times. He was a 2-time Best Player of the Conference, 1-time All-Defensive Team member, and a 1-time Finals MVP. He was also part of various National Teams as well as a constant All-Star participant.

Here was something I made at my former job.



Oh shit, I forgot that he has two MVP trophies displayed in house just like Bogs Adornado, Mon Fernandez, Abet Guidaben, Alvin Patrimonio, Benjie Paras, Danny Ildefonso, and James Yap.

However, even with these citations, there are various flaws in Miller’s game.

And these flaws should be checked to make the fans of the fan favorites happy.

One noticeable flaw during the tail end of his Alaska career was his “jolly” nature that imports hate. It was overly jolly that it rubs them the wrong way. Although Rosell Ellis won a title after his issue Miller was resolved, Diamon Simpson won a title minus Miller who by that time is getting weary of being the only credible scoring option and is willing to be traded to a team overloaded with stars.

He got that wish when he was traded to Ginebra – the team known to many as where The Fast and the Furious – Jayjay Helterbrand and Mark Caguioa play. The team is knee-deep in their rotation where Rudy Hatfield, Eric Menk, Enrico Villanueva, Yancy de Ocampo, Billy Mamaril, and Willy Wilson play at the post while Helterbrand, Caguioa, Ronald Tubid, JC Intal, Mike Cortez and a bundle of others mark their territory at the shooting and slashing positions. It is well-known to many that Ginebra’s scoring load is the heart and soul of their offense… which runs smack to Willie Miller’s repertoire.

When Cyrus Baguio was at Ginebra, he played tentatively. He wants nothing but to score because he barely gets 15 minutes per game. As for Miller, he was the chief point-getter in Alaska. Tim Cone basically relies on Miller to score at least 18 points a night to go with his 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Fact is, Miller is Mr. Do-It-All when he was in Alaska… at least when LA Tenorio and Joe Devance were still learning Tim Cone’s system.

When the trade happened, it was certain that Baguio won. Not only will Skyrus have playing time, he’ll also be respected. This is like when he was in Red Bull… but with better talent. True to form, he gave the Aces a taste of greatness during his first months with the team.

Back to Miller, currently Miller is the team’s leading scorer and perhaps the leading assist man with Helterbrand groping to form. But sadly, it seems like he is lacking as a Gin King.

Regardless of how injured or how “washed up” they are, Caguioa and Helterbrand are still the heart and soul of the Ginebra franchise. Against Meralco in the season opener, Miller had a game-defining turnover. Against San Miguel, Miller also had a turnover. Imagine if Mark Caguioa was there? Imagine if Sunday Salvacion was still there? Imagine Elmer Lago or Rodney Santos were still there? Hell, even imagine when Ronald Magtulis was there? While we love the never-say-die attitude of Ginebra, it’s the players that endear us to them. We love Willy Wilson, JC Intal, and post-Alaska Johnny Abarrientos because they are the players that should do less but for some insane reason, overachieved. We hate Jun Limpot because he’ll prefer to stop and pop than muscle his way to the basket. We love Wilmer Ong because all the bad things he does is for the fans! We hate Billy Mamaril for his inability to play his true potential. We love Magtulis because even if he was a bust, he managed to excite people with one off-balanced shot! And as of this moment, the Ginebra fans probably hate Jong Uichico for the chemistry mess his team is falling into.    

Clearly Ginebra doesn’t need trades to make them win. IT’S CHEMISTRY! Villanueva is averaging miniscule minutes and it is not like he deserves it. So is Yancy de Ocampo! Also those new players! At the back of my mind, we know we can’t really blame Miller. The Spark and Helterskelter are both coming from career-threatening injuries. There is also the thought that Miller was given the green light by Jong Uichico. While I think Caguioa and Miller can make scoring un-scarce, you must also think that they can never play alongside each other! Two ballhogs in one team can’t be a good thing.

And this is what Uichico is solving as of the moment.  

Last season, whenever Miller scores 20 and more, Alaska lost. When he scores more, that means offensive balance was bridged. The best way for the Aces to get a win is by sharing the ball to their key men which is what Baguio is doing right now.

I remember when Rodney Santos would spread his wings whenever he hits a game-winning three. I also remember when Mark Caguioa would growl whenever he hits a clutch basket, Andy Seigle trying hard to run even if his knees have been begging him to stop, Mark Macapagal getting shocked with the way he is playing, Alex Crisano getting applauded by the fans, Paul Artadi unleashing a three pointer that had not for his patience and eagerness to learn will never be in his arsenal, Aris Dimaunahan unleashing a vicious elbow he thinks no one saw, the two Marlons – Piodo and Basco doing their best impersonations as star players, Rob Johnson thinking he is a Harlem Globetrotter, and Siot Tanquingcen hitting random objects when he gets pissed.

These players are nothing compared to Miller (except for Caguioa) but Ginebra fans embrace them because they rise up for being nothing into something.

The current Ginebra team has the game but it seems they lack the heart. I am not saying this because they are losing now, but the fact that they have been struggling for two years now. When will the San Miguel Corporation learn that they need guys like Willy Wilson, Junthy Valenzuela, and JC Intal more than Miller, Villanueva, and Mike Cortez?

Miller is a great asset to any team he’ll play on. He is an undersized shooting guard that can play three positions. But for some reason, I can’t see him as being “Ginebra” enough.

A typical Ginebra player was never strong to begin with…

All he needs is the heart to make impossible things possible.

I hope I’m wrong in Miller.

Game over.


  1. wala naman silang lahat binatbat kay miller eh....

  2. you're right but his game right now isn't at par as what he had while playing for the aces.