I haven’t watched a Philippine Baskeball Association (PBA) game in months now, after that unfortunate incident I had at the Cuneta Astrodome. But I finally got to watch a game live last Friday, May 16, 2008 at the Araneta Coliseum, my first for this conference. Below are the some the highlights of the game:
COCA COLA VS. AIR21
Air21 lead most of the way & eventually won the game due to the hot hands of Ranidel De Ocampo & KG Canaleta. Coca-Cola tried to rally in the 2nd half mainly thru the efforts of Ronjay Buenafe, but to no avail.
Regarding the imports, Coke’s import, JASON DIXON, has not been as highly touted this conference as Adam Parada, but he sure does get the job done. Wide-body, great post player, very steady on offense creating his own shots posting down low. His counterpart at Air21, STEVEN THOMAS, was pretty steady also w/ his perimeter shots. However, I did notice him to be having a bit of butterfingers, losing the ball off the dribble on at least 2 occassions after being bumped.
KG CANALETA had one of his rare great offensive nights, hitting shots from all over the floor, punctuated by a one-handed slam in the 2nd half in traffic. RANIDEL DE OCAMPO also came to play. When he is “In The Zone”, no doubt he is one of the best one-on-one post players in the country. He is a bit inconsistent, though.
I was most impressed w/ RONJAY BUENAFE, though. He’s playing w/ a lot more confidence this conference, taking charge when necessary to try to help his team win. One on one, its pretty hard to stop him. He has pretty decent bulk, enabling him to barrel his way to the basket. He is quick. but not Caguioa-quick. His biggest asset, though, is his coordination. That coordination allows him to have good ballhandling skills, as well as excellent one on one moves, like that killer head & shoulder fake combined w/ a cross over dribble. That same coordination also allows him to hit difficult layups. In a team w/ 2 imports, Ronjay still finds the resources to go over & average in double figures. Give this guy one or two more seasons, & he is going to be big star in the PBA. In the meantime, he needs to cut down on his turnovers, he did seem to have committed a number during the game.
PUREFOODS VS. MAGNOLIA
Magnolia raced to a big 24 point lead in the first half, courtesy of Jamaal Watkins & Danny Seigle. Purefoods made a spirited run in the 2nd half courtesy of Jondan Salvador, Enrico Villanueva & Rheda Ralimi, cutting down the lead to as low as 4 points, but Magnolia was able to pull a victory thru their clutch shooting.
Magnolia import JAMAL WATKINS initially had a great 1st half, scoring at will against Ralimi. However, the 2nd half was the opposite, w/ Ralimi getting his number, even getting Watkins to get his 4th foul early in the 3rd Quarter, forcing the Magnolia coaching staff to sit him down for a long time.
For some reason, RHEDA RALIMI just couldn’t get his game going in the 1st half, missing shot after shot, even having his shots blocked once or twice. The crowd was already starting to make noise every time he tried something on offense, until he spectacularly recovered in the 2nd half, scoring at least 15 points. He is a pretty good rebounder, those long arms of his enabling him to pluck rebounds easily. He has this impressive one on one move wherein he would drive to his right, then put up a hook shot while on the move. Did it successfully a couple of times, & at 7’1″ it is almost impossible to block that shot of his.
Kerby Raymundo did not play in the game for some reason, but both JONDAN SALVADOR & ENRICO VILLANUEVA made up for his absence by filling in on offense. E-VILL (E-nrico VILL-anueva) was particularly impressive on both ends of the floor, scoring repeatedly underneath the basket & making interceptions/steals off passes on defense.
The Purefoods Coaching Staff initially made the mistake of putting James Yap to guard DANNY SEIGLE early in the game, but even after they made adjustments, DS still ended up scoring from all angles, punctuated by a one-handed slam in the 2nd half in traffic. When he is healthy (& that is becoming not so common these days), DS is definitely one of the best players in the country w/ his height, athleticism & coordination.
JAMES YAP was just a non-factor in this game, not only missing a lot of shots, but also committing a lot of turnovers. He was the missing link for Purefoods in this game. Had he played well, Purefoods would’ve had a good chance of winning the game.