Fastbreak: PBA 2014 opening day
The Best: Ginebra's second half explosion basically won this game for them. That was anchored on the comebacking Dylan Ababou. Freshly recovered from a torn ACL, Ababou rattled in all 16 of his points in the second half. The former Growling Tiger hit 6/9 field goals, including 3 triples, to help the Kings turn an 8-point halftime deficit into a 3-point lead heading into the payoff period.
The Worst: The Mixers started with a lot of energy, but their bad shooting eventually caught up with them. Only two guys -- Mark Barroca and Val Acuña -- scored in double-digits, while old reliables like James Yap, Marc Pingris, and Yancy De Ocampo all scored 8 points or less. As a team, SMC shot just 12% from beyond the arc and 44% from the line. Not really the best way to start a new season.
That is HUGE: Coach Ato Agustin must be the envy of all other PBA coaches. He has the luxury to start both Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar and then have someone like Jay-R Reyes come off the bench to spell either big man. No one among those three guys is shorter than 6'8”. In this game, all three frontliners did pretty well. Greg had 10 points and 13 rebounds, Aguilar led all scorers with 18 markers on top of 8 boards, while Reyes added 10 points and 9 rebounds. Japeth and Greg also combined for 7 blocks.
The Best: Eloy Poligrates, the Cebuano local who turned heads in the PBA Draft, shone brightly in front of a raucous home crowd. He scored nine straight points in a pivotal fourth quarter run that broke the game open and helped hand Talk N Text its first win of the season. Poligrates ended up with 15 points in his pro debut, and it sure looks like he will play a significant role for the reigning Philippine Cup champs.
The Worst: The Meralco frontcourt was visibly outplayed in this one. Cliff Hodge, Reynel Hugnatan, and Rabeh Al-Hussaini all scored 9 points or fewer, and they allowed a TNT frontline playing without Ranidel De Ocampo to outwork them on both ends of the floor. The Bolts allowed the returning Kelly Williams and new recruit Noy Baclao to score a total of 22 points, which underscored the depth and potential of the Tropang Texters.
Welcome back, Kelly!: Former national team standout, slam dunk champ, and PBA MVP Kelly Williams returned to action for Talk N Text after a much-publicized battle with a blood condition, and it sure seems like he didn't really miss a beat. He was active in this game, both offensively and defensively, and he keyed that huge 17-4 blast in the final quarter that helped push TNT to the W.
The Best: Jeff Chan waxed hot in this one, draining 4 of his 8 three-point attempts on his way to 17 points as the Painters blasted the Aces in Davao. This is significant because Chan didn't shoot too well in the previous conference. Looks like the Gilas sniper is keen on sharpening his sights in preparation for the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
The Worst: The Aces fell behind early and never fully recovered against an energetic ROS quintet. Evidence of this was Alaska's frontline getting soundly whipped. Sonny Thoss, Gabby Espinas, and Samigue Eman all combined for just 13 points, while the Painters' own big men -- Jervy Cruz, JR Quiñahan, Larry Rodriguez, and Beau Belga -- despite being severely undersized, put up a total of 39 markers. What's more intriguing is that coach Yeng Guiao's frontcourt should get even better when Letran stalwart Raymond Almazan finally suits up.
Small size, big heart: Jervy Cruz isn't the biggest big man in the PBA, but he definitely is one of the most skilled. He also has a mighty big heart. Against a much taller Alaska frontline, the former UST star slotman produced a dozen markers and a dozen boards. Cruz is projected to be one of the veterans who'll whip rookie Almazan into top shape, and, if this performance is any indication, the third overall pick will really learn from one of the best. - Rappler.com