More than a month into the 2015-2016 PBA Philippine Cup, things are starting to shape up.
The better teams are starting to build a little bit of distance while the others continue their decline in the standings with all squads having played at least five games so far.
Here are the seven things we have observed so far:
1. Greg Slaughter is slowly realizing his full potential
This may just be the season where we will see some epic battles between the Junemar Fajardo and the Greg Slaughter.
The 6-foot-11 big man has been a dominant force for Ginebra so far, averaging 24.2 points, 17.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.2 blocks through the Kings’ first five games, and he’s not slowing down after finishing with 22 points and 21 rebounds against GlobalPort.
Slaughter may just on his third year, but just like his Cebuano compatriot June Mar Fajardo, he looks like he’s finally reaching his peak.
If things stand, we may see the rivalry not just on the court, but also in a close MVP race.
2. Ginebra is slowly getting it
Ginebra has struggled in the early parts of the conference, but it’s slowing getting its footing midway through the elimination round.
The new-look Gin Kings have won three straight under the tutelage of coach Tim Cone and have reached above .500 mark after an 85-70 whipping of GlobalPort on Wednesday.
Whether they could make a deep run in this conference remains to be seen, but if there is one thing Ginebra fans can feel better about, it is that Cone’s previous squads have always had their fair share of misfortunes in the beginning before they get their championship contender form which has netted the American tactician 18 titles so far.
3. Gary David can still light it up
After a down year last season, Gary David seems to have found his rhythm once again, lighting up the league with his electric shooting of 20.2 points per game.
The Bataan native has been sizzling this conference, and even scored 40 points against Barako Bull last November 11.
His offensive outbursts went down the drain most of the time but his efforts finally paid off when Meralco finally took its first win vs a skidding Star side.
4. The Romeo-Pringle combo will continue to wreak havoc
Speaking of lighting up the league, how about the duo of Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo?
GlobalPort has been a sneaky contender for the Philippine Cup title because of these two young guns.
Pringle and Romeo continue to serve as the leaders for this up-and-coming squad, taking GlobalPort to a four-way tie at second last November 19 before they dropped two straight assignments.
Pringle, last year’s Rookie of the Year, has been averaging 22.25 points and 5.0 assists, while Romeo picked up where he left off with Gilas Pilipinas and is averaging 22.0 points per game through five games.
If things hold, we may just see GlobalPort making it to the semifinals for the first time in its franchise history.
5. Barako Bull’s chip on its shoulder
If there’s something Barako Bull has proved early in the conference, it’s that its players will do everything to show their true worth.
JC Intal, Chico Lanete, Josh Urbiztondo, and RR Garcia to name a few– all of them led the Energy in one way or the other to a respectable 3-3 record.
But it’s not just the guards. Mac Baracael, Willy Wilson, and Prince Caperal all have had good showings so far, as Barako Bull continue to reap the rewards for staying in the game plan laid out by coach Koy Banal.
They may have just lost Jervy Cruz after he was dealt to Ginebra, but it would be no surprise if Banal and his players find the right motivation to sustain their surprising run this Philippine Cup.
6. Bradwyn Guinto could be the steal of the draft
Talk about a golden pickup.
Bradwyn Guinto, who was picked 14th in the 2015 PBA Rookie Draft with at least three centers drafted ahead of him, has been the biggest revelation among the rookies so far this conference as he continues to thrive in Mahindra.
Racking up 9.2 points and 10.0 rebounds in five games for the Enforcers, the former San Sebastian stalwart has outworked fancied big man batchmates like Mo Tautuaa, Troy Rosario, and Norbert Torres.
7. San Miguel leads an evenly-matched field
Parity may be at an all-time high for the league, but at the top of the standings, there still sits defending Philippine Cup champions San Miguel .
At 5-1 as of November 25, the Beermen are actually tied with Alaska, the team they battled against in last season’s Philippine Cup Finals, with Rain or Shine, NLEX and Talk ‘N Text just lurking close behind.
With virtually an intact lineup anchored by a healthy June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, and Marcio Lassiter, it’s no surprise that some are expecting San Miguel is still a favorite to finish at the top.
But one thing it’s for sure, it’s not going to be easy staying there with the kind of competition the league has this conference.
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