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Weathering The Storm: PBA Philippine Cup Part 2

Kia Picanto

Controversy after controversy has hit the Kia Picanto’s after a series of what seems to be lopsided trades; something that left sports fans and aficionados guessing. Well, Coach Chris Gavina is still keeping faith on Kia’s “unconventional system” which made some heads turn on a well-contested against San Miguel Beer during the off-season. Never take the Picanto’s out of the equation though. Eric Camson, Jackson Corpuz and Philip Paniamogan head the steady cast, as new recruits Rashawn McCarthy, Jay-R Reyes and Ronald Tubid show it’s their time to shine. Cohesiveness would be the key, and Kia is indeed working hard to prove all doubters wrong.

Magnolia Hotshots

A proud organization that has a winning tradition especially during All-Filipino Conferences, formerly Purefoods Star Hotshots, promotes a new product in Magnolia – Ang Pambansang Manok.  Known for having a deep and defensive-minded backcourt, the Hotshots returned to the upper echelon of the PBA under the strict guidance of Coach Chito Victolero. Parading an intact lineup is Magnolia’s greatest asset; chemistry and resiliency their most potent weapon. Adding an all-around player in Robbie Herndon, the stellar cast of Marc Pingris, Paul Lee, Barroca, Melton Sangallang and company will give other team fits in both ends of the court. The only thing missing though --- a dominant center, or two. A Standhardinger perhaps? Why not, right?

Meralco Bolts

Enter a constant fixture in the playoffs --- Coach Norman Black and the Meralco Bolts. Though not having the highly touted names in the roster like other teams, Cliff Hodge, Hugnatan, Dillinger, Newsome, Amer. De Ocampo and Caram held their own and almost made it several times over. With the former slamdunk champion KG Cañaleta under their fold, expect the Bolts to come out shooting and fighting, and probably make it all the way this time around.

NLEX Road Warriors

There was never a doubt what fiery Coach Yeng Guiao will bring to the table upon handling the reins of the NLEX Road Warriors. Guiao has lit the fire, and it has translated to Ws’. The long wait for college basketball’s Phenom Kiefer Ravena has finally come, and is ripe to lead NLEX to higher ground. With a tall frontline in Quinahan, Al Hussaini and Taulava, combined with outside snipers in Fonacier, Mallari, Alas and Tiongson, it is just a matter of time for the Road Warriors to show what they can do on the hardcourt.

Phoenix Fuel Masters

The Fuel Masters has become more potent as they welcomed a new coach and added more shooters in their ranks. Coach Louie Alas has molded the once purely shooting team to a hard-nosed defensive scoring unit. Led by league veterans Jeff Chan and JC Intal, Phoenix can shoot the lights out with Matthew Wrightm Karl Dehesa, RJ Jazul and LA Revilla in tow at any given night. Maybe this will be their breakout conference? Let’s wait and see.

Rain or Shine Elastopainters

ROS, as a team, has been always in the thick of the fight; whether it is an import-laden conference or All-Filipino. Parading a fairly intact lineup, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters just needs one thing to make things successful for the squad --- consistency. Norwood, Belga, Almazan, Ponferada, Maiquez, Borboran  and Matias provide the heft and ceiling for ROS, while a slew of shooters in Yap, Tiu, Ahanmisi, Daquiaog, Trollano and Cruz man the guard positions. Whenever they click, they do great basketball.

San Miguel Beermen

For the past several years, the San Miguel Beermen stood mighty and tall. Loaded in every position, MVP June Mar Fajardo remains a force to reckon with, and what’s scary is that he is working hard to improve on other aspects of his game. Landing a gem of a rookie to form a twin-tower combination in Christian Standhardinger seems like icing on the cake. So will Cabagnot, Ross, Lassiter, Santos and company do another hat-trick to get their fourth consecutive All-Filipino Crown?

Talk N Text Ka-Tropa

Probably what it lacks in size, TNT clearly makes up for it in youth and firepower. Asia’s Best Pointguard Jason Castro holds the fort steady for a young Talk N Text team who is, incidentally, still remains to be the yardstick on the point position. Fellow National Team members and Rookie of the Year Roger Pogoy and vastly improved Troy Rosario leads the cast of young guns in their quest for that elusive championship. And to sum up what the Ka-Tropa has in store for this conference in the words of Coach Nash Racela, they are “putting value in every possession.”

Quite frankly, all of the teams have what it takes to beat any of the opposing teams. It’s just a matter of who will step-up when the chips are down and motive their team to take those important wins. 

The best of luck to everyone! And here’s to a long and bright future for Philippine Basketball. Game on!

Just Part of the Game is a commentary article that is centered on persons, facts and figures in the world wide of sports. Each blog published herein are thoroughly researched to give our readers the latest news and sports buzz that are locally and internationally trending in various sports programs.
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