IT’S still difficult for me to write but I feel I need to do this. I won’t bore all of you with details of my near-death experience. Sufficient to say, I was hospitalized for a sepsis-induced collapse last July 25 and while still hobbled to this day, I feel well enough to write.
One of the benefits of being bedridden for many days was being able to watch lots of hoops and hoops news. And now I get to share my reflections. Sorry if it may be in scattershot fashion, but I’ll try to be chronological about it.
I’m happy Mikee Romero is finally in the PBA via his team Global Port. Still unhappy with Powerade’s volume of lies before selling the team. JB Baylon’s stand not to be part of the tomfoolery makes me proud to be a fellow Maroon.
Now to the 2013 season draft. I’m glad to see most teams got it right though Global Port should’ve taken Dave Marcelo, a sure-fire big man contributor at least at par if not better than Air21’s James Sena at No. 10 overall and let someone else gamble on Jason Deutchman. Even the second- and most of the third-round picks made sense though there were some “political” picks. Draft was really deep, deeper than most expected that even Ginebra’s last pick, Thomas Tan, might have made a normal PBA lineup in years past.
Now we move on to the NCAA, where after San Beda lost to San Sebastian, the Stags have ripped off three impressive wins, average winning margin of over 24 ppg. I think coach Ronnie finally has a grasp of his personnel, and should finish first, possibly going undefeated in round two.
The Stags followed the big win over the Red Lions by losing to Arellano with Calvin Abueva possibly being suspended again. San Sebastian looked very fluid under interim coach Allan Trinidad in beating Lyceum which leads me to think two things – one, the Stags might be better off letting Abueva go to Alaska now, though it won’t happen.
And two, with Ato Agustin now out of Petron, doesn’t it make sense for him to return to SSC-R? Unless he wants to give long-time buddy nicknamed Allan Jacobs a shot at being a legit college coach while he concentrates on his political dreams. Whatever happens, Stags will be a Final Four team, if not top two.
JRU and UPHSD are ensconced in the top four and barring a collapse or loss of key player, should sail through. But on Monday, they play No.6 Mapua and No.5 Letran, respectively, and wins by both should make the F4 race even tighter.
And then there’s the EAC Generals who behind the play of Noube Happi and their corps of gunners. They’ve won three straight and if they keep playing this way, we can’t count them out of contention. As for Arellano, St. Benilde and Lyceum, they should not make postseason plans and concentrate on building for next season.
I also got to watch some UAAP action. Ateneo, FEU and UST should make it in that order to the Final Four and I see a DLSU-NU playoff for the last spot although the Archers have been very impressive lately and if they beat UST on Wednesday, there will be no playoff and they could use this as a springboard to gain momentum down the stretch.
I’ve also been impressed with the play of Terrence Romeo, who has shot himself into the middle of the MVP race while teammate RR Garcia has struggled for some reason. Also impressed with Ateneo’s Greg Slaughter and Kiefer Ravena, UST’s Karim Abdul and current MVP holder Ray-ray Parks of NU.
And finally, congrats to SMART Gilas 2 for bagging the 34th Jones Cup with tough wins over the weekend against Iran, Taipei-A and finally the USA, coming back from twin-digit deficits in two of the matches. Let me admit I shed a tear when Team USA missed its final desperation shot at the buzzer.
LA Tenorio played like crap but shone when it mattered, like in the fourth periods against Chinese-Taipei and he almost singlehandedly beat the Americans down the stretch. I think he just locked up a slot for the 2013 Fiba-Asia team.
Aside from Tenorio and Marcus Douthit, also locking up a slot is Gabe Norwood. Almost there are Jeff Chan and Sonny Thoss with Gary David probably needing to do more. The rest of the team? Nope.