Tuesday, January 29, 2013

PBA News: Trade Updates for 2012-13 Commissioner's Cup

The opening of the PBA Commissioner's Cup conference is right around the corner. Hence, players must be excited to see how well the preparations are going for their favorite teams. There were quite a lot of trades that happened off-season, involving several players and teams (in fact, some teams got involved in a multi-player trade) so that will hopefully shake up the action this upcoming conference.

Image: pinoyexchange.com
Barako Bull - Younger, Better Lineup?

During last year's PBA Commissioner's Cup, and in an intensely competitive import-laden conference, Barako Bull made it to as far as the semi-finals series after they trounced the Alaska Aces in the quarterfinals series only to be defeated by the Talk N Text Tropang Texters. This year, they are hoping to replicate their success and improve it, if possible. To make that happen, the team got involved in a big trade involving a few other teams to acquire younger players into their lineup.

Hence, the team moniker "Manong Brigade" might no longer suit the team as they have unloaded veterans to acquire younger guys. The addition of head coach Rajko Toroman will also complete the revamping of this team. New players include JC Intal, Jonas Villanueva, Allein Maliksi, Emman Monfort, and Jojo Duncil. In addition, formerly suspended player Don Allado has re-signed with the team. In exchange, they released Leo Najorda and Lester Alvarez, along with Alex Mallari who they acquired from Petron for Ronald Tubid.

Alaska Aces Releases Baracael

Mac Baracael is one of those players that were involved in the multi-player trade in the PBA during the off-season. According to coach Luigi Trillo, it was a difficult decision to let go of the forward off of his lineup, but he had to do so for the betterment of the team as Baracael is no longer happy with his playing time with the Alaska Aces.

By giving up Baracael to the Kings, the Aces acquired Aldrech Ramos that also got little playing minutes with the San Mig Coffee Mixers. The Aces coaching staff believes that acquiring Ramos would benefit their inside play now that Sonny Thoss will have another big man to help him out.

Image: pinoyexchange.com

Air 21 Trade Proposal Turned Down by TNT

With Japeth Aguilar exploring more options for his basketball career abroad, Air21 is expressing their interest to obtain a trade deal with Talk N Text in order to get the rights for Japeth Aguilar should he decide to return in the PBA. However, the trade proposal is not working out well as the Texters feel that the proposal is not appealing enough for them.

The 3-time consecutive All Filipino Cup champion Talk N Text Tropang Texters received an offer from Air 21 for Ogie Menor and Noy Baclao for Japeth Aguilar. The proposal came after this local agent has expressed Aguilar's desire to be traded from the Talk N Text team. One factor that might be causing Talk N Text to hold off on the deal is the ongoing negotations with GlobalPort involving Rabeh Al-Hussaini.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Talk ‘N Text Sweep PBA Philippine Cup Finals Series, Individual Awards

When Talk ‘N Text won Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals series versus Rain or Shine last Sunday, January 13, head coach Norman Black vowed that they will try to close it out on Game 4, Wednesday, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. And so they did. The sweep is finally complete as the Texters won via a 105-82 blowout to realize their dream of winning three straight Philippine Cup championships, after about three decades since Crispa Redmanizers did so.

When asked about the secret to their success at the finals, coach Norman Black coyly said, “Talk N Text just played great basketball tonight. Sometimes, it happens.." As if they weren't already viewed as the powerhouse team in the PBA, Talk 'N Text had sealed their status as the current most dominant team in the league. 

Black's magic, therefore, carried on from the UAAP to the PBA wherein he came out fresh off of helping the Ateneo Blue Eagles achieve their historic five-peat. Jared Dillinger and Ranidel de Ocampo led the team to victory in Game 4, which helped to carry the team to another historic feat - they are only the fourth team in the league's history to sweep their opponent in the finals. 

Before the start of this finals series, expert sports analysts predicted a big match, which eventually turned out to be a huge mismatch as the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters failed to even score one. Norman Black refuses to discredit his opponent, though, saying: "No question Rain or Shine is tough, but the Alaska series helped us a great deal against them. We fought Alaska tooth and nail."

Meanwhile, Rain or Shine head coach took part of the blame for his team's inability to compete in the PBA Philippine Cup finals series. During his post-game interview, Yeng Guiao reveals, "It's my fault. I failed to prepare them the way they should've been prepared [against Talk 'N Text]".

Jason ‘The Blur’ Castro Named Best Player of the Conference

Image: Spin.ph

Jason Castro has just been crowned the Best Player of the Conference for 2012-13 PBA Phillipine Cup on January 16, the same day that his team swept their Finals series versus Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. The speedy point guard was the third overall pick during the PBA 2008 draft. Despite being fourth only in the statistical points but he obtained the highest number of votes from the players, media, and PBA officials.

Jason Castro garnered a total of 1,146 points while his teammate Ranidel de OCampo was a far second with 730 total votes. Third on the race was Alaska Aces rookie Calvin “The Beast” Abueva, as Arwind Santos and Sol Mercado round up the top five, with fourth and fifth place, respectively.

This will be the highest individual award or achievement for Jayson Castro since the start of his career in the PBA. During the 2010-2011 Philippine and Commissioner’s Cup finals, however, he was the co-awardee of the Finals MVP trophy.

Ranidel de Ocampo Named Finals MVP

Image: PBA.ph
Talk ‘N Text forward Ranidel de Ocampo was named Finals MVP after the series concluded last night to a 4-0 championship win for the Texters. During the finals series, de Ocampo registered an average point of 18, along with 8 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

De Ocampo could not hide the fact that he was surprised when his name was called upon the awarding of the Finals MVP award after the 105-82 win for his team. Before PBA Media Bureau President Mulong Castillo called out the name of the awardee, he asked the crowd who they thought won the award. Then, his teammates started chanting De Ocampo’s name led by former Finals MVP Jimmy Alapag.

But numbers don’t lie. Even when De Ocampo wasn’t expecting the award, his contributions to the team’s effort to win the finals was undeniable. Aside from his statistical average, he also chipped in an impressive 41.9 shooting percentage.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Talk 'N Text Gunning for a Sweep at the PBA Philippine Cup Finals

Image: pba.ph
If Talk N' Text Tropang Texters manage to continue on with their winning formula at the ongoing PBA 2012-13 Philippine Cup finals, they could be 48 minutes away from bagging their third consecutive All-Filipino title in the PBA. If that happens, this will be the first time in nearly three decades that such a feat was accomplished by any team in the most prestigious conference in the PBA.But doing that via a sweep? Much sweeter, I suppose. 

The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters put up a tough stand during Game 3 of their Best-of-7 series at the Araneta Coliseum yesterday, January 13. However, it was not enough as the Texters went away with an 89-80 victory over Yeng Guiao's troops that gave them a seemingly impossible to overcome series lead. 

With the killer instinct running high, Talk N Text head coach Norman Black can assure fans that they will attempt to close it out on Wednesday, Game 4 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals series. Should they succeed in beating Rain or Shine four times in a row, it will be another impressive feat as Norman Black would mark his return as head coach in the league with a championship trophy. 

But the fight is not out in Rain or Shine just yet. However, it is also undeniable that they are faced with a difficult challenge of beating Talk N Text four in a row. Things would get even more difficult, though, as even the usually feisty RoS head coach Yeng Guiao has raised the white flag. During his post-game interview with the press, he claimed that their goal right now is "to try to delay their party or celebration". 

What made this an even more impressive win for the Texters was the fact that they came from behind. Clutch three-pointers rained in one after the other courtesy of Jason Castro, Jimmy Alapag, and Ranidel de Ocampo, which rallied them to a 16-4 run. Even though they were down upon the opening of the fourth quarter, they regained the lead as the Game 3 neared its last 3 minutes. 

Rain or Shine responded with key baskets from Ryan Arana and Chris Tiu. However, the Texters never let them get away with up to nine lead changes in the game. 

Make sure to check out the game on Wednesday to see if Talk N Text can close out the series by Game 4. Or, if Rain or Shine still has a fight in them to try and go for a sweep at the tail-end of the series. 

Do you think the Elasto Painters can produce a come-from-behind victory in the series?   

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Talk ‘N Text Takes Game 1 to Lead the PBA Philippine Cup Finals

Image: sports.inquirer.net

Defending champions Talk N Text Tropang Texters managed to calm down a slight storm late in the fourth quarter to snatch a win against Yeng Guiao's Rain or Shine Elasto Painters squad during Wednesday's game in the Smart Araneta Coliseum. This gives Talk 'N Text a 1-0 lead over their opponent in the best-of-seven finals series in the ongoing PBA 2012-2013 Philippine Cup. The two teams are scheduled to play for Game 2 on Friday, January 11. 

Both Jayson Castro and Larry Fonacier made crucial baskets for Talk 'N Text to hold off Rain or Shine's last fourth quarter rally. It was a close call given that the latter managed to drop their formerly double-digit lead to just four with a little less than 3 minutes left in the game.

During his post-game interview, head coach Norman Black revealed that he was "very pleased with the way [Talk N Text] played defense." And it was indeed a defense-fueled game with both teams not even reaching the 90-point mark. Talk N Text won by six points with an 87-81 game at the final buzzer.

The Texters' composure served them well during the end-game as they made crucial stops and baskets following a 14-2 rally staged by Rain or Shine. Either way, coach Norman Black is happy with the win but promised to make a few adjustments especially given their slight collapse that allowed the opposing team to come back after a huge lead.

Game 2 is surely going to be war knowing that the Painters will make adjustments. Even Black admitted that "they can bounce back" so make sure you won't miss the game on Friday. You can view the schedules here to learn about the venue and actual game time. 

Do you think Rain or Shine will even out the series? Or will Talk 'N Text going up to a 2-0 lead? 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

PBA News Roundup for Early 2013

Today, January 9, the battle begins. Rain or Shine and Talk N’ Text might have both came off championships from last year but both claim to be hungry for another one. Rain or Shine has tagged itself as the underdog in the series, but analysts believe that the odds are even for both teams.

The PBA 2012-2013 Philippine Cup finals also signal that the conference is about to be over and the next one is looming. Thus, some of you whose favorite teams had been eliminated from competition in this ongoing conference might already be looking forward to the next one – the Commissioner’s Cup. Check out after the jump for more news about your favorite teams.

Barako Bull

A few days ago, the news about former Philippine head coach Rajko Toroman taking over the head coaching slot vacated by Junel Baculi was confirmed. And with the a rejuvenated lineup and the arrival of their import Evan Brock, Toroman hopes that he can get the job done and improve the standing of Barako Bulls in the next conference.

The 58-year-old Serbian coach was released by SMC from his contract and has replaced Bong Ramos, the interim head coach for the Barako Bull. Although Ramos will reprise his role as assistant coach for the team, Toroman is also bringing in another coach in Charles Tiu to help him out. However, he is optimistic about this new challenge for him saying, “I’ve spoken with the management [of Barako Bull] about the direction of the team and we share identical objectives.”

He didn’t want to rush things, though. All he aims for right now is improvement. “We want to strengthen our lineup.” Toroman further adds, “we finished ninth in the Philippine Cup and if we’re able to go up to fifth or sixth, it will be an achievement.

Aside from their import, three new players are coming into the Barako Bull lineup – Eman Monfort, Don Allado, and Marc Agustin. Toroman’s current head coaching contract with Barako Bull is slated to last for two years.

Petron Blaze Boosters

Meanwhile, Toroman’s former team, Petron Blaze Boosters are also gearing up for the PBA 2013 Commissioner’s Cup. They’ve recently acquired the rights to 6’ 8” forward Renaldo Balkman, who is a first round draft pick by New York Knicks on the 2006 NBA Draft. Although the impressive resume by the forward made the Petron coaching staff consider him as the best man for the job, they believe he still has a lot of conditioning to do especially since he had a long hiatus from basketball.

According to Petron head coach Olsen Racela, the import’s versatility is what is going to help out their cause in the next conference. They already have big guys in their lineup in the form of June Mar Fajardo, Jay Washington, and Arwind Santos, so Racela believes he would be the one to fill in the holes in their lineup.

San Mig Coffee Mixers

As most other teams in the PBA are in search of a new import to boost their lineup in preparation of the upcoming competition, the San Mig Coffee Mixers are looking to return to the old formula that helped them succeed. Hence, head coach Tim Cone wants Denzel Bowles back as their import. But the import must first secure a clearance from Zhejiang Golden Bulls, the Chinese Basketball Association team he last played for. 

The lack of clarity from Bowles' status is causing a bit of urgency on the team management. However, team officials had indicated that a firm decision could be reached by January 15th. In case Bowles is not cleared by then, San Mig Coffee Mixers have a list of other imports to consider when their original option does not fall through.

Barangay Ginebra

Herbert Hill will be suiting up as Barangay Ginebra's import for the upcoming Commissioner's Cup. And from the two practice sessions he has had with the team, he seems to have an understanding of what the coaching staff expects from him and is also fully aware as to what he can offer the team. 

Hill, who immediately attended practice soon after arriving from the US, is feeling good about the confidence that the coaching staff and the entire team is giving him. He says, "they've been helping me adjust."

The 6-10 center who is also a second round draft pick in 2007 by the Utah Jazz understands that the team needs help on the inside. Hence, he is hoping that his size and inside prowess can be an asset to the team. Another thing that he looks forward to with the start of the next conference? Being part of the most popular team in the PBA. He adds, "I'm very excited about the opportunity."

Be sure to check us again for more news and updates on your favorite PBA teams!   

Monday, January 7, 2013

PBA 2012-13 Philippine Cup Finals Schedule

The PBA 2012-2013 Philippine Cup finals is about to tip off. It was a long series of battle between four teams in the semis, all of which are vying for a spot in the finals. However, the Talk N Text Tropang Texters and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters - among the recent champions in the league - emerged victorious over their respective opponents to earn the right to fight for the crown. 

Game 1 of the best-of-seven series will kick off on Wednesday, January 9, wherein the winner will draw the first blood in what many predict is a series that will go the distance. Head Coach Yeng Guiao will once again hope that the same formula that gave his team the trophy last time will be just as effective against a different opponent in Talk N Text. On the other hand, the latter will be having a brand new coach on the helm in Norman Black, so it will be interesting to see how things play out. 

Below is a full list of schedules for the PBA finals series between Talk N Text and Rain or Shine. Make sure to mark these dates and times on your calendar so you won't miss a single game in the finals:

Game 1 - January 9, Wednesday

Venue: Smart Araneta Coliseum
Time: 6:45 PM

Game 2 - January 11, Friday

Venue: Mall of Asia Arena
Time: 6:45 PM

Game 3 - January 13, Sunday

Venue: Smart Araneta Coliseum
Time: 6:00 PM

Game 4 - January 16, Wednesday

Venue: Smart Araneta Coliseum
Time: 6:45 PM 

Game 5 (if necessary) - January 18, Friday

Venue: Mall of Asia Arena
Time: 6:45 PM

Game 6 (if necessary) - January 20, Sunday

Venue: Smart Araneta Coliseum
Time: 6:00 PM

Game 7 (if necessary) - January 23, Wednesday

Venue: Mall of Asia Arena
Time: 6:45 PM

Are you going to watch the games? Which team do you think will be able to come up with a crown?
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