In this week’s edition of Hits & Misses, two teams continued their surge in the team standings. A veteran player made his mark on a perfect day while the Philippine Cup’s best player remained a steady presence on both ends of the court.
Alaska, Petron – Alaska has remained perfect after four games. The Aces kept their grip on the solo lead following an 84-69 triumph over the hardluck Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings in their out-of-town game on Saturday.
Alaska is enjoying its best start in the post Tim Cone era.
Petron, on the other hand, stretched its winning streak to three after pulling off a scary 88-86 win over the Meralco Bolts last Wednesday.
Sunday Salvacion – On any given Sunday, this veteran player can explode. Salvacion did just that.
After sitting out their last three games, the former St. Benilde forward scored 20 points, including the game-winning triple to lift the Bolts to a come-from-behind 90-89 squeaker over the GlobalPort Batang Pier.
Salvacion was on fire, making 6-of-7 shots from beyond the arc, and proving that he’s still one of the most dangerous players at crunch time.
Jayson Castro – His team, Talk N Text, split its two games the past week, but Castro remained the Tropang Texters’ most consistent local player.
In fact, Castro even led his team’s production in the Tropang Texters’ losing game against the San Mig Coffee Mixers. In the past two games, he averaged 18.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.
Chris Ross – Meet the new acknowledged leader of the Meralco Bolts in the post Sol Mercado era.
The new team captain had his best game this conference when he finished with 12 points, six rebounds and six assists in the Bolts’ losing match against the Petron Blaze Boosters.
In the Bolts’ thrilling victory over the GlobalPort Batang Pier, Ross only had two points, but had a tournament-high 17 assists as he masterfully orchestrated Meralco’s offense.
Josh Urbiztondo – This guy is making headway in the Commissioner’s Cup.
After emerging as the first ever recipient of the Player of the Week in the tournament, Urbiztondo served notice in Friday’s game against Air21 where he led Barako Bull to a come-from-behind 91-86 win.
Urbiztondo finished with 15 points, including three triples in the pivotal fourth as the Energy Colas climbed their way to a share of second spot with Petron Blaze.
Renaldo Balkman – This man is intensity personified. Although the impact of his game cannot be seen on the stats sheet, Balkman has become the barometer among imports in the Commissioner’s Cup.
In his team’s latest win against Meralco, Balkman, the shortest among the imports at 6-6, had 26 points, 11 rebounds and five shot blocks.
More importantly, it was Balkman who came up with a crucial stop down the stretch, avoiding a penetration from Chris Ross.
Denzel Bowles – It didn’t take long for the reigning Best Import to rediscover his form.
Bowles shook off a forgettable showing against Rain or Shine by coming up with monster numbers of 29 points and 23 rebounds in steering the San Mig Coffee Mixers to their first victory in the tournament.
It was like déjà vu for Bowles as he flashed his old brilliance against the team they defeated in last season’s Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
With Monster Bowles back, expect the defending champions to play true to form in the coming games.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel – For the fourth straight game, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel has come up empty.
The Kings may have found a more energetic import in Vernon Macklin, but the NBA veteran failed to get enough support from the local crew as the league’s most popular team stumbled to 0-4 and remained in the cellar.
GlobalPort – The league’s newest member has a tendency to blow hot or cold.
In the week that was, the Batang Pier were fighting their foes toe-to-toe only to lose steam in the end. They lost their last two games, dropping them to sixth spot with a 2-3 card.
Justin Williams – Everybody knows scoring is not Williams’ cup of tea, but finishing five points in 37 minutes of play in GlobalPort’s losing effort is hard to justify.
Good thing he had eight rebounds to cover up his listless offensive show, but the NBA veteran will need to get his scoring up to give the Batang Pier better chances of winning in the future.
Kelly Williams, Ranidel de Ocampo – Machine Gun Kelly is one of the two Most Valuable Players in Talk N Text line up.
But his numbers the last two games are not the usual MVP stats. He averaged two points and five rebounds in 24.5 minutes of playing time.
Whether Williams is so engrossed stopping the opponents’ big men or his scoring was overshadowed by his teammates is hard to determine, but the athletic forward needs to jack up his production in offense to give Talk N Text more firepower up front.
Ranidel de Ocampo, the Tropang Texters’ sweet-shooting big man, is also off target. In the last two games, he went 0-for-6 from beyond the arc and averaged only four points.
Curiously, it was the small men – Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro – who were struggling in the early goings for the Tropang Texters. Now, it’s the frontliners’ turn to be in a little bit of a slump. (RJ)