With much hype and anticipation going on in the opener for the Philippine Basketball Association come this Sunday, teams are making some good draft picks and off season moves which virtually stabilize and made them championship contenders or otherwise.
So basically it’s a free for all, do or die match for every team. I made some short analysis for teams to watch out for this coming All Filipino cup.
Alaska Aces– The reigning Fiesta Conference champions has quite an interesting line up with two bruise brothers Ken Bono and JR Quiñahan manning the center and forward spot position. The trade between Nic Belasco and Junjun Cabatu proved to be a not so fruitful trade since the 4 and 5 positions are already crowded with Sonny thoss, Reynel Hugnatan, John Ferriols, Eddie Laure and Anthony Delacruz fighting for minutes in the bench although Delacruz and Cabatu can play the 3 spot such talents in their 4 and 5 positions would be such a waste to be put in the bench. Some can even be a starter in other teams. But nonetheless it is still has a good line up with MVP Willie Miller leading the pack and all star Mike Cortez and veteran Jeffrey Cariaso.
Welcoat Dragons – The Dragons have a reason to celebrate since having the no.1 draft pick Joe De Vance the team automatically got a ticket in the playoffs. Scored 37 points in the pre season the future all star center who played in the University of Texas can score at will with good post moves and can shoot a pretty decent range from the outside is a price gem for Welcoat. But the question would be can the team keep up his intensity on the hard court? The Dragons have pretty good backcourt players with the likes of Froilan Baguion, Denver Lopez, Niño Gelig, Jireh Ibañez, Rob Wainwright and former Southwestern Cobra Jojo Tangkay. The acquisition of veteran forward Nic Belasco gave some leadership to this young team with Jay-R Reyes, Joey Mente, Jay Sagad, Adonis Sta.Maria, Donal Dulay and Ryan Araña completing the line up.
Sta.Lucia Realtors- with only 8 players remaining in their old line up basically this team can be considered a re-building team with 6 new players completing the line up. A backcourt tandem of former De La Salle star Joseph Yeo and unknown Fil-Am point guard Ryan Reyes from Cerritos College would be such a joy to watch together with rookie sensation Kelly Williams. This team is fast and provides a nightmare match up with the twin towers Marlou Aquino and Dennis Espino but can the team gel fast since acquiring those new players? Omolon and Paolo Mendoza can very well provide some inside and outside offense for this team but chemistry is a factor.
Coca cola Tigers – A very deep and good line up for the Tigers this coming All Filipino cup with Alex Cabagnot and John Arigo in the 1 and 2 spot with Kenneth Duremdes in the forward spot, Mark Telan and Ali Peek in the 4 and 5 position. The acquisitions of Cesar Catli and Mark Isip can very well provide youth and athleticism to this team. Gelling is not an issue for this team since there is not much change being made. With team manager the trigger man Allan Caidic doing a fantastic job there is such a great potential for them to be in the championship.
The Brgy. Ginebra Kings- The most popular team in the PBA has the most lethal back court players in the league right now. With fast and the furious Mark “the Spark” Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand leading the way. The acquisitions of Paul Artadi and Ateneo’s spit fire Macky Escalona could do enough damage with their run and gun type of offense. Rodney Santos is not on the roster right now and also workhorse Rudy Hatfield but mainstay Eric Menk, Ronald Tubid, Billy Mamaril, Johnny Abarrientos and Sunday Salvacion could very well compensate their loss to these players. A championship is already in the making for barangay Ginebra.
Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants – with Kerby Raymundo back from the roster this team has a reason to smile this conference. The loss of shooting guard Noy Castillo was immediately filled by Fil-Am sensation Brandon Cablay as he signed with the Giants in an off season move. This team has a complete line up from top to bottom with MVP contender James Yap, Peter June Simon, Marc Pingris, Jondan Salvador, Roger Yap, Richard Yee, veteran Rey Evangelista, Omanzie Rodriguez and Robert Sanz. The new acquisitions proved to be imperative in the Giants line up with Ardy Larong and point guard Chico Lañete since this two could play some quality minutes for the Giants all star line up. Chico could very well play the point guard position since Roger Yap is not a natural point guard.
Redbull Barako – I think Redbull got a steal in the 2007 draft by drafting Jojo Duncil a very athletic player from Sto.Tomas. He could very well play with Cyrus Baguio in the 2 and 3 position. The loss of Enrico Villanueva could very well be a factor as it leaves a vacuum in the 4 and 5 position. Enrico provides the Low post presence and Sharma, Bugia, Camaso and Pennisi are no where could compensate the intensity and muscle provided by Villanueva. They should find some good trades since they have a crowded 2 and 3 roster. A trade to Alaska for JR Quiñahan would make sense since JR nicknamed “Baby Shaq” could level up to Villanueva’s intensity.
Air 21 Express- A young and talented line up which has 8 new players with good acquisitions like Doug Kramer and the high flying JC Intal. A rebuilding team which has a lot of potential but a case of bigamy was filed to their young talented star Arwind Santos which could caused him his career. And that scenario could distract the level of playing to Arwind. A trade is rumored to be in the making but is there a team willing to take the risk? But situation aside this team could give some teams a run for their money but in playoff time can they keep up considering their raw and unexperience players. Well will just wait and see.
Magnolia Beverage Masters (former San Miguel Beermen) – With Dondon Hontiveros and Dynamite Danny Seigle back in the roster this already strong line up is tailor made for a championship. The drafting of 6’9 center Samigue Eman could very well provide ceiling for Magnolia as Durian Peña’s health is questionable. The acquisition of sweet shooting Larry Fonacier and Enrico Villanueva from Redbull proved to be a very excellent move since it provides more depth in their bench and experienced. Starting five for the Beverage Masters would be Olsen Racela, Dondon Hontiveros, Danny Seigle, Danny Ildefonso and Enrico Villanueva. Imagine their second five would be LA Tenorio, Chris Calaguio, Larry Fonacier, Gabby Espinas and Dorian Peña which can be a starting lineup in other teams. And did I mentioned Lordy Tugade, Samigue Eman and Jonas Villanueva in their bench? Wheew.. I can’t see Magnolia not winning a championship in that matter.
Talk and Text Phonepals – After a stint in the FIBA Asia three Talk n Text players are back in the lineup. Renren Ritualo, spit fire Jimmy Alapag and the Rock Asi Taulava can very well strengthen the Phonepals competitive lineup since grabbing the runner up in the recently concluded Fiesta Conference. The acquisition of Yousif Ajamal is fruitless since the Talk and Text lineup has already have Don Allado, Yancy de Ocampo, Anthony Washington and Harvey Carey who could provide enough muscle and post presence for the Phonepals. The backcourt offense would go smoothly with Alapag’s play making, Renren’s sweet shooting and Macmac Cardona’s slashing moves. This time a runner up maybe not so good for this championship made team.