PBA Fastbreak: Comebacking Beermen, rebooted Ginebra secure first wins
The Best: The locals came to play. Clad in throwback-ish San Miguel jerseys (think Danny I & Danny S days), the Beermen blew open what appeared to be a tight game by uncorking big runs in the second and third quarters. Arwind Santos, the reigning MVP, led the way for SMB with 16 points on 6/13 FG shooting while also hauling down 7 rebounds and getting 3 steals. Back-up big man Doug Kramer stepped up as Philippine Cup Best Player June Mar Fajardo was sideline with a sprain. The former Ateneo Blue Eagle pumped in 14 points and 6 rebounds in just 19 minutes of play to anchor the Beermen’s interior. Marcio Lassiter, who gave a controversial announcement last night, also did well, drilling in 2 triples on his way to a dozen markers, 7 boards, and 6 dimes.
The Worst: Brian Butch, former NBA D-League All-Star Game MVP, had some flashes of brilliance in his PBA debut, but we can all just forget he went 0/6 from beyond the arc and 5/10 from the line. His final stat-line, though, was quite impressive — 29 points, 21 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. Too bad the only other guy to score in double-digits was Gilas sniper Gary David, who netted 20 markers on the strength of three treys. Fellow Gilas call-up Jared Dillinger shot 0/5 to finish with a big fat egg, while starters Reynel Hugnatan and Cliff Hodge paired up for just 15 points in a combined 69 minutes of play.
Gone too soon?: Despite all the bad press he has gotten after a less-than-stellar tune-up game, Josh Boone wasn’t all too shabby in his first official PBA outing. The former UConn Husky and New Jersey Net struggled from the floor, hitting just 7/17 field goals, but he did grab 16 rebounds and dished out 3 assists. Sources say he will still play in the Beermen’s next game, but his impending replacement, Kevin Jones, is already on his way.
The Best: Well, well, well. Won’t you look at that? Looks like Juno Sauler’s system from DLSU has found its way to the pro circuit and into the system of the Ginebra Gin Kings. Gone are the days of LA Tenorio-dominated pick-and-rolls where, should the primary play stagnate, there is little to no movement off the strong side. Based on what happened last night, it looks like we’ll be seeing more cuts and screens for players without the basketball. That’s a good sign for guys like Japeth Aguilar and Chris Ellis, of course, since they have their sweet spots and aren’t really known for their creativity with the basketball. Already, this new system enabled Air Force Ellis to come up big. He rattled in three treys, including the game-tying one late in regulation, on his way to 17 points and 7 rebounds. He shot 7/10 overall from the field. Aguilar, meanwhile, did well, too. The Gilas big man shot 6/9 from the floor to finish with 14 points and 6 rebounds in a back-up role.
The Worst: Joshua Dollard turned out to be awesome for the Energy Cola, but even his 45-point outburst wasn’t enough to tow them past the deep Ginebra squad. Dollard added 18 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 3 steals to his tally, but he got little help elsewhere, as only Mick Pennisi and Carlo Lastimosa finished with 10 or more points for Barako Bull. Apart from Dollard, the Energy Cola’s other starters - JC Intal, Denok Miranda, Ronjay Buenafe, and Dorian Peña — all struggled, combining for just 21 points.
Leon King: Fresh from a stint with the Jilin Northern Tigers in the CBA, Leon Rodgers, maybe the smallest import in the conference (he’s listed at just 6’7), impressed a lot. He dumped 31 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, handed out 4 assists, and hit 2 triples in 45 minutes of action for the Ginebra Gin Kings, who joined the early leaders in this conference at 1-0. Despite the size disadvantage, it looks like Rodgers might be one of the imports to watch here, especially since he has a very well-decorated resume — he averaged nearly 29 points a game for Jilin, shooting 41% from beyond the arc. – Rappler.com