Saturday, 1 October 2011


This is it! The long wait is over! This is war!

Today will be the opening tip-off of the 37th season of the first “pay-for-play” basketball league in Asia, the PBA.

With their tagline: “Kampihan Na!”, the fans will surely bet on their favorite teams in their quest for All Filipino Championship. (I don’t think the tagline is related to the banner in the PBA website, where 4 SMC teams and 1 MVP team is featured, or maybe PBA is telling that the both SMC and MVP camp will unite for their quest in the 2014 Olympics)


The reigning AFC Champions, Talk N Text Tropang Texters, will try to reclaim their title and aim for another grand slam run this season.

With Jimmy Alapag, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Kelly Williams returning to their line up after their stint in Wuhan, their championship core is still intact. With the latest addition of Japeth Aguilar and the rookie sucker puncher (coined by Yeng Guiao) Pamboy Raymundo, they will add youth, speed and talent to the team.

Who to watch out: Chot Reyes’ drama acts and telenovela dialogues.


Petron Blaze Boosters – one of the main reason why TNT didn’t experienced how sweet to win a rare grand slam. Coach Ato Agustin and his seven disciples (most in the league) will again try to sneak in the Finals and reclaim the All Filipino Championship. With Jay Washington and Rabeh Al-Husseini still in the sideline, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and Danny Ildefonso, will banner the team this season. Re-acquired during the draft, Dondon Hontiveros might be the last missing piece in the PBB line-up after Duncil and Hubalde return to their mother team. With new recruits, defensive stalwarts Chris Lutz and Carlos Sharma, Petron is a more complete team compared last season.

Who to watch out: Rey Guevarra’s explosiveness and Chris Lutz’ tight defense

Alaska Aces – although they are abandoned by Tim Cone for another team, expect them to prove themselves this season. Armed with four rookies, Mac Baracael, Eric Salamat, Julius Pasculado and Ariel Mepana alongside with their old reliables LA Tenorio, Cyrus Baguio, Sonny Thoss and Jay R Reyes, they are still a championship caliber team. They are no push over this season. Joel Banal, their new head coach, will lead the team and promised to bring back the championship glory in the Aces Camp.

Who to watch out: Julius Pasculado and Ariel Mepana
BMEG Llamados – adopting the triangle system which popularized by Tim Cone in the Alaska’s camp for over 22 years, this might be the year of the Llamados. With a new head coach, Tim Cone and new assistants Johnny Abarrientos and Jeffrey Cariaso, BMEG is on a new mission. James Yap will be the cornerstone of their offense with the help of the returning Kerby Raymundo, Marc Pingris, Joe Devance and the rookie guard Marc Barocca.

Who to watch out: James Yap and Kerby Raymundo

Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings – even though Rudy Hatfield left the team (again and again), Jayjay Helterbrand contemplating on retirement, Eric Menk’s injury (as always), and NO PLAYER MOVEMENT/S MADE BY THE SMC COMPARED TO PETRON AND BMEG, no need to worry ka-baranggays because BGK is still capable of whooping some a** every season they played here in the PBA.

With the lone addition of Riel Cervantes in their lineup, Mark Caguioa will still lead the team to the promise land. The never say die attitude of this team is very intact and cannot be questioned by others.

Who to watch out: Mark Caguioa’s MVP performance


Rain or Shine Elasto Painters – last season, ROS proved that they are not the league’s whipping boys. They can win games; they can be also threat to the other teams. With the tandem of Gabe Norwood and rookie sensation Paul Lee, expect something different this season. That difference will make every opponent of ROS in deep trouble. And when you see the game face of Yeng Guiao, you are also in deep trouble, dib a Coach Chot?

Who to watch out: Paul Lee and Yeng Guiao (expect fines)

Powerade Tigers – they are the last season’s big time losers, but no longer now. JV Casio and Marcio Lassiter will prove that this is their time. With a lot of improvement in their rosters by acquiring Doug Kramer, Rommel Adducul, Alex Crisano and Josh Vandalingham and holdovers Gary David and Sean Anthony, they might burst the bubble of the opposing teams. They might say “Goodbye Eliminations, Hello Quarters”.

Who to watch out: JV Casio and Alex Crisano’s court antics.

Meralco Bolts – their line up improved a lot with the addition of Jason Ballesteros, Gilbert Bulawan, Mark Macapagal and Chito Lanete. With Sol Mercado, Mark Cardona and Asi Taulava leading the team, they have a lot of reasons to enter the quarters every conference this season.

Who to watch out: Jason Ballesteros

Barako Bulls –Veterans Willie Miller, Danny Seigle, Don Allado, Dorian Pena, Paul Artadi and Wynne Arboleda must drink from the “fountain of youth” in order to give the first championship of this team (formerly Air 21). Always selected as victim by the SMC and MVP group in terms of hoarding their talents, I hope this season, Allein Maliksi and Dylan Ababou won’t be traded at all. They will serve as the future of the team as their veteran teammates guide them in every game. Nothing to ask for, but they might pull a surprise this conference.

Who to watch out: Willie Miller – Danny Seigle tandem

WHIPPING BOYS Clickers – aside from Franz Pumaren’s moustache, I don’t see this team will enter the quarters this season. Whoever owns the Shopinas first round pick next year will be happy.

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