Sydman's Side Defect: 2011 PBA Governor's Cup Finals - The Preview
Yes, Talk N Text kind of chickened out with the way they handled that all-important game against the Petron Blaze Boosters. One of the most powerful squads possibly in all of PBA history decided the face an injury-hobbled squad.
Chicken or not... who cares?
They have the right to face whatever they want in order for them to claim the fifth grand slam in PBA history.
In their 98 to 93 loss against Petron, Scottie Reynolds only suited up for 23 minutes. Except for Jason Castro and Larry Fonacier, no other TNT player scored 24 minutes. Jared Dillinger, Rich Alvarez and Mark Yee combined for 52 minutes. These three average a combined 25 minutes per outing.
In a nutshell, Talk N Text decided that it would be better to rest and possibly pray that Petron would face them in the finals than the Barangay Ginebra Kings.
The Kings have a more complete lineup to pit against the Tropang Texters. Mark Caguioa is the team’s scoring leader but they still have other people that could step up. It would have been a better series if Ginebra fought Talk N Text because Petron will be playing the Texters with an incomplete lineup.
Only three sigh... Boosters...
Seriously, didn’t just Barako Bull use Boosters two conferences ago? I mean, I could have gone with Petron Blazers! What kind of sick, uncreative nincompoop thought it was a glorious idea to name their team for the nth time Boosters???
Only three BOOSTERS played in all of the team’s thirteen games – Arwind Santos, Mick Pennisi, and Jojo Duncil. Duncil is a Governor’s Cup acquisition from Barako Bull. I don’t know if he and Paolo Hubalde are already free agents but certainly they are helpful players in Ato Agustin’s dire situation. Jay Washington leads Petron’s injured list with Joseph Yeo, Lordy Tugade, and most recently Rabeh Al-Hussaini. Danny Ildefonso, Denok Miranda, and Nonoy Baclao just returned from the injured list.
PETRON’S TOP 6
1 ANTHONY GRUNDY
26.7PPG – 8.5RPG – 5.5APG – 2.5SPG – 1.0BPG
2 ARWIND SANTOS
16.7PPG – 14.5RPG – 1.1APG – 1.1SPG – 1.6BPG
3 ALEX CABAGNOT
10.2PPG – 4.3RPG – 7.6APG – 1.3SPG
4 DANNY ILDEFONSO
7.0PPG – 5.3RPG – 3.3APG
5 MICK PENNISI
7.0PPG – 4.7RPG – 1.7APG
In fairness to Anthony Grundy, he plays an all-around game. The problem with Grundy is that the Boosters need more players on the inside and I doubt if he can get his inside and outside game against the TNT bumper crop of behemoths. Scottie Reynolds is tasked to merely shoot the lights out and help the backcourt in making the plays fluid. Grundy is more needed but Reynolds will have an easier time thanks to TNT’s very strong lineup.
This is where Rabeh and Washington could have been important. Arwind Santos – undoubtedly the Governor’s Cup Best Player of the Conference, is playing double duty as it is. Because of his efforts, he could claim the MVP award. But Arwind can’t win the finals without decent productions from their bench. Alex Cabagnot is the team’s other double-digit scorer (since Rabeh is injured) and it’s hard for him to produce more baskets because he also takes care of the orchestrating chores. Duncil, Miranda, Hubalde, Rey Guevarra, and Sunday Salvacion must respond in terms of shooting and slasher points while Pennisi, Ildefonso, and Baclao must dominate the paint.
TALK N TEXT’S TOP 6
1 SCOTTIE REYNOLDS
21.4PPG – 6.0RPG – 4.6APG – 1.6SPG
2 JASON CASTRO
12.7PPG – 4.2RPG – 5.2APG – 1.0SPG
3 RYAN REYES
10.9PPG – 5.0RPG – 2.8APG – 1.5SPG
4 KELLY WILLIAMS
9.4PPG – 6.8RPG – 1.4APG – 1.3SPG
5 ALI PEEK
8.5PPG – 7.9RPG – 1.3BPG
One might wonder – where is potential MVP awardee Jimmy Alapag? Fact is, I’m going to Larry Fonacier, Harvey Carey, and Ranidel de Ocampo over Alapag with the way he is playing right now. However, who are we to forget about Jimmy? Remember that alongside Jason Castro, Alapag is a consecutive time Finals MVP and the Commissioner’s Cup Best Player. The injury may have hurt his chances to win the MVP award... but it doesn’t mean that he can’t still rightfully claim it by giving his team a solid performance en route to a grand slam.
Anyway to stop the Boosters from playing the spoiler’s role, all of TNT’s guns must explode. In terms of firepower, size, speed, and support, it’s hard to tag the Tropang Texters the underdogs of the tourney. Chot Reyes will have to make sure all the matchups must be in his favor and must be prepared to whatever Petron would use to win the series.
My guess is that Talk N Text has to win this series as quickly as possible. I can see this ending at five games but if the game reaches seven, Petron could pull a surprise victory. Petron will delve in the series’ early parts looking for a proper five to contend with Talk N Text’s arsenal. If the series takes the full route, the Boosters could have a bunch of new scorers that proved important in strengthening their chances to pull the rug from TNT and the Texters will stop at nothing to prevent that.
But then again, maybe we are putting less importance on the Boosters.
Fact is, the Tropang Texters have yet to win against the Boosters this conference. Petron won against Talk N Text, 101 to 96 in the July 9 game date where Arwind Santos had 25 points and 14 rebounds, Alex Cabagnot had 14 points and 13 assists, Jojo Duncil had 12 points, and Sunday Salvacion had 23 markers. Talk N Text was still playing with Maurice Baker and in that loss Larry Fonacier rained in 21 points, Ranidel de Ocampo had 19, and Jason Castro and Ryan Reyes combined for 25 points.
But the thing is during that match, Petron played WITHOUT an import while Jimmy Alapag was held scoreless.
This instance will never happen during the finals.