SEVEN players will be looking to end Barako Bull gunner Mark Macapagal’s three-year reign as PBA three-point shootout king on Friday in Digos City : Air21’s KG Canaleta, Alaska’s Jvee Casio, Petron Blaze’s Marcio Lassiter, Globalport’s Willie Miller, Rain or Shine rookie Chris Tiu, Barangay Ginebra’s Josh Urbiztondo and San Mig Coffee’s James Yap.
Only one of the challengers is a former three-point shootout champ in two-time league MVP Yap, who won it 2009 at the Big Dome. We all know he is currently having back problems but we also know he’ll be giving his best because he has decided to still compete.
But all three finalists which Macapagal defeated in last year’s event are back. Macapagal’s 15 last year proved enough to beat Canaleta and Urbiztondo who both had 13 in the finals while Lassiter only managed a seven.
Looking to become the first former slam dunk champion to become three-point king of PBA All-Star Week, Canaleta actually had the best score of 19 in last year’s elimination round.
Only two from this year’s participants are in the Top 10 of the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup in three-point shooting percentage (at least 12 made). Lassiter is ranked No. 1 with his 44.8% (30 of 67) while Urbiztondo is 10th overall with his 36.4% (52 of 143).
Four of them however are in the conference’s Top 10 in average three-point FGs made with Canaleta (3.3) and Urbiztondo (3.0) running 1-2, and Lassiter (2.0) and Macapagal (1.6) at sixth & seventh, respectively.
Here's the list:
Player Team 3-pt shooting, 2013 PBA Comm. Cup
KG Canaleta Air21 36.4% (48 of 132)
Jvee Casio Alaska 31.3% (20 of 64)
Marcio Lassiter Petron Blaze 44.8% (30 of 67)-#1
Mark Macapagal Barako Bull 29.7% (22 of 74)
Willie Miller Globalport 30.0% (18 of 60)
Chris Tiu Rain or Shine 27.8% (10 of 36)
Josh Urbiztondo Brgy. Ginebra 36.4% (52 of 143)-#10
James Yap San Mig Coffee 31.8% (21 of 66)
Tiu ranks last among the participants in terms of three-point shooting percentage at 27.8% (10-of-36) and average three-point FGs made (0.625) in the Commissioner’ Cup.
When looking for a player to bet on in this year’s shootout, you may also want to consider the fact that of the eight participants, only three of them – Yap, Urbiztondo and Casio - are with teams that are still playing in the Final Four while all the rest are currently on vacation as their teams have already been long eliminated.
So is Yap, Urbiztondo or Casio going to emerge three-point shootout king this year?
Since most of the participants haven’t touched a basketball in weeks, which Canaleta, Tiu and Lassiter have all admitted, will it still be wise to bet on any of them to win?
Who else should best provide the possible answers to these questions but four previous champions, three of which agreed on the one factor that will win it for a player; one believing Yap, Casio and Urbiztondo are the shooters to beat. Here are what they had to say:
ALLAN CAIDIC, 1991 1992 three-point shooutout champion, runner-up in 1995: “Equal chances lahat yan. Kundisyun pa rin mga yan pag shooter. Ako nga ang tagal na di naglalaro pero may shooting pa din. Depende lang yan sa rhythm ng player sa day of competition.”
JIMMY ALAPAG, 2003 & 2005 three-point shootout champion, third in 2011: “It does help those 3 (Yap, Casio & Urbiztondo) just because they’re still in a normal practice schedule as opposed to the guys who are no longer practicing. But with the three-point shootout, it really comes down to who can find a great rhythm during the competition.”
DONDON HONTIVEROS, 2007 three-point shootout champion, runner-up in 2008 and 2009: “Ang advantage lang naman ng mga may games pa, nakakapag-shooting pa sila kasi may practice. Pero pag dating din sa competition, kung sino mkakakuha ng magandang rhythm, yun ang mananalo.”
ROEL GOMEZ, 1997 Three-Point Shootout champion, runner-up in 1998 and 1999: “Malaking bagay yung mga players na naglalaro pa rin yung mga teams sa conference kasi ensayado at kundisyun pa rin mga yan. Yung mga nakabakasyon na, pwede siguro lumaban sa elimination round ng three-point shootout pero baka pagdating sa finals, baka mapagod na mga yan. Pero depende din kung talagang gusto nilang manalo at talagang nag-eensayo at nagpapakundisyon pa rin sila.”
Ready to place your bets now, folks?