BALKMAN PROVING HIS WORTH
The winning streak continued for four teams the past week while one import proved his point as the yardstick among reinforcements playing in the Commissioner’s Cup.
One local player turned out to be outstanding and helped his team stay as the only undefeated squad in the tournament.
The week that was also saw the fall of a mighty squad, which lost its first back-to-back games in 10 months, a once energetic team showing signs of slowing down and a squad which has yet to find its winning groove.
Alaska Aces – This ballclub has just posted a milestone in the post Tim Cone era. The Aces extended their winning streak to five games for a 5-0 card, their best start since the 1998 Commissioner’s Cup.
Although the team handled by Cone won the championship 15 years ago, it’s still too early to tell whether this yewar’s Aces can duplicate the feat, but signs are very encouraging for young Luigi Trillo and his crew who have played splendidly as one cohesive unit, capped by their statement win over three-time Philippine Cup champion Talk N Text, 92-69.
Petron Blaze – Five straight wins and counting for the Boosters.
Behind a solid import in Renaldo Balkman and a local crew willing to step up in the absence of several key players due to injuries, the team has improved its record to 5-1.
The Boosters are coming off a 91-78 beat down of Barako Bull on Sunday night. Petron also outlasted Air21 in a low-scoring game Friday, 60-53.
Rain or Shine – For two consecutive games, Bruno Sundov found himself in foul trouble and not being able to help his team in several stretches.
No problem for the Elasto Painters as their local crew was able to get the job done and provide the import a big lift. In their two games the past week, the team was able to win over Air21, 99-97, and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 96-93, to extend its streak to four games.
San Mig Coffee – The defending champions are starting to get hot and Denzel Bowles, the reigning Best Import, is the biggest reason for it.
Bowles turned out to be an inspiration for the defending champions and the locals started to pick up their game upon his arrival.
In the team’s latest win against GlobalPort, it was Peter June Simon who rose to the occasion, scoring eight of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, allowing the Mixers to notch their first back-to-back victories.
Renaldo Balkman – People looking for energy can point to this hardworking import of Petron Blaze.
Balkman has been a picture of tenacity in all of the games he played for the Boosters and that’s the reason why his team is on a roll.
In their last two games, Balkman, the shortest among the imports competing, averaged 29 points, 13.5 rebounds and three steals aside from displaying boundless energy night after night.
Cyrus Baguio – Skyrus has remained a picture of consistency. In the Aces’ surprisingly easy win over the Talk N Text Tropang Texters, the 6-foot-2 swingman was simply amazing. He finished with 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the two-point region.
With Baguio providing stability in the wing position, the Aces are running a high-octane game.
Talk N Text – For nearly a year, this powerhouse team has always found a way to bounce back strong after a loss.
Last Friday, the Tropang Texters were not only bludgeoned by the Aces, they also tasted their first back-to-back setbacks in 10 months, an unfamiliar sight for a team that has dominated the league the past three seasons.
Barako Bull – For two games, the Energy Colas were not in their bullish form. They fell easy prey to teams who ran roughshod over them.
Sister teams Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Petron were responsible for handing the Energy Colas their worst beatings in the tournament as Rajko Toroman and his troops stumbled to 3-3.
Air21 – Two losses over the week put the Express back at ninth place with a 1-4 record and inconsistency is a big reason for the letdown.
KG Canaleta, the acknowledged best sniper of the squad, was grounded in their game against Petron Blaze, as he was held to eight points on a lethargic 3-of-16 shooting from the field.
It was a stark contrast from his previous showing where he knocked in 18 points in a near perfect shooting from beyond the arc (5-of-6). The rest of the squad was on and off as well.
Larry Fonacier – A player who is used to terrorizing the defense with his clutch shooting, Fonacier was simply off target. He missed all of his seven attempts from the field and could only split one of two charities in a forgettable performance for the Tropang Texters.
With Fonacier off line, the rest of the TNT bombers were not connecting as well, tasting their worst defeat in years.
Jonas Villanueva – The reason why this court general was taken in by Barako Bull is to provide leadership in the backcourt. For several games, the former Far Eastern University stalwart exhibited his fine leadership, keeping a hold of his team while also scoring when needed.
In the last two games of the Energy Colas, Villanueva was not in his usual steady form despite getting the playing time he needed. He averaged only two points, two rebounds and 3.5 assists in 27 minutes of playing time. His field goal percentage in the two games combined was far from decent as well (2-of-12). (RJ)
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