By Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Last updated 01:26am (Mla time) 09/09/2007
CAVITE CITY -- James Yap scored 22 points and Kerby Raymundo added 19 as Purefoods polished off Barangay Ginebra with one great run in the stretch for a 97-87 decision at the start of the PBA preseason tournament at the SSC gym here last night.
Yap, the Most Valuable Player two years ago, touched off and capped a telling 11-1 run in the stretch that made it 85-71 for the Tender Juicy Giants.
That spelled the end for the Gin Kings, who were led by Sunday Salvacion’s 18 and Billy Mamaril’s 15.
Fil-Americans Eric Menk and Raffy Reavis and National Team guards Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand did not suit up for the Kings.
Meanwhile, Alaska has reportedly told handlers of burly center-forward Ken Bono “not to worry” even if negotiations for the former Adamson star have yet to formally start.
Picked sixth overall in the recent draft despite possessing solid credentials both in the collegiate and commercial leagues, the
6-foot-5 Bono has started practicing with the Aces even without a pact since last Thursday.
Coach Tim Cone had labeled Bono as “the steal of the draft” and told the Inquirer earlier that he does not see any problems when contract negotiations get under way.
GINEBRA has landed a dervish-like spitfire while Air21 has moved closer to forging a concrete deal with the "Living Legend."
With Ginebra’s dreaded backcourt duo of Mark Caguioa and Jay-Jay Helterbrand still in the injury list, the Kings yesterday acquired speedy Paul Artadi from Purefoods in a three-way trade that involved Air21 as the third party.
Artadi will be the fourth playmaker on the squad after Helterbrand, former Most Valuable Player Johnny Abarrientos and rookie Macky Escalona.
A very reliable source said that in return Purefoods got Ginebra’s future second round pick. Another source said Air21 will get Paolo Hubalde, son of former Crispa Redmanizer legend Freddie Hubalde.
A highly-placed source told Malaya the deal has yet to be formalized, but is "good as done." Top officials of the teams involved could not be reached for comment as of press time.
With Artadi gone, Purefoods’ playmaking chores will be split among Roger Yap, rookie Chito Llanete and Noy Castillo, who can also play the 2-guard slot.
In getting Hubalde, indications now point to the Express getting very close to forging a deal with Robert Jaworski to become their coach. Hubalde played with and for Jaworski while they were with Ginebra during the early 90s.
Air21 chairman Bert Lina and president Lito Alvarez, also the Express team manager, were reportedly in a closed-door meeting for the most part of yesterday to discuss the details of Jaworski’s contract.
It was not immediately known how Hubalde can be inserted into the Air21 lineup since the team’s focus is centered on the search for another inside presence to complement rookie Doug Kramer and Ranidel de Ocampo.
"We direly need another big man," Air21 coach Bo Perasol said, pointing to the likes of Purefoods’ Richard Yee and Coca-Cola’s Ervin Sotto.
At the moment, the Express remain rookie-heavy with Kramer, JC Intal, Marvin Cruz, RJ Masbang, Frank Barcellano and Cris Baluyot in the roster. Jeck Chia has also been taken in.
Artadi and Ginebra, meanwhile, got their respective wishes.
It was reportedly Artadi himself who asked Purefoods management to release him. His transfer severs his ties with James Yap, but reunites him with another former University of the East teammate, Ronald Tubid.
In an earlier interview, Ginebra coach Jong Uichico had expressed his interest in Artadi.
"We’re hoping to get him" said Uichico. "He has speed and he can possibly bring in additional excitement."
Artadi’s inclusion gives the defending Philippine Cup champion additional boost since Fil-Am Rafi Reavis is already in the country and is set to practice with the country’s most popular ballclub. Reavis was sidelined by a shoulder injury since last March and was forced to go to the United States for surgery and rehabilitation.
"He’s about 90 percent ready now, but he has yet to join our practice. Only our doctor can tell when he can join the team’s practice," said Uichico.
Barangay Ginebra, minus five key players, pulled the rug from under Talk N Text, 102-100, in the 2007 PBA Pre-Season Tournament at The Arena in San Juan Wednesday night.
Ginebra got off to a swashbuckling start and watched TNT self-destruct in its fiery chase at endgame as the Kings bounced back from an 87-97 defeat at the hands of the Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants in the pre-season event opener four nights ago in Cavite City.
Ronald Tubid, Sunday Salvacion and Mark Macapagal carried much of the load for the Kings with Johnny Abarrientos, Eric Menk and Rafi Reavis sidelined by injuries and Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand still on vacation in the US.
Macapagal made 16 points, including clutch free throws that kept the team afloat down the stretch.
The Pals, who repulsed the Air21 Express, 137-126, Monday, actually had a chance to steal the game while only down by one at 100-101, but Harvey Carey missed a layup with three seconds to go.
After Macapagal made it 102-100 on a split from the foul line, the Pals went to Asi Taulava in their attempt to force overtime but the Fil-Tongan behemoth likewise missed his shot.
Thus, the Kings, the reigning All-Filipino champions, salvaged the game and stayed in the running for the one-game final in this pre-season event won by the Alaska Aces last year.
Ginebra pounced on Talk N Text’s lackluster start and sat on a 29-17 cushion going into the second period.
The Kings sustained their searing drive in the next quarter but the Pals enjoyed some breaks towards the end of the first half, including a shot made by Renren Ritualo from midcourt with three-tenths of a second left in the clock.
Buckling down to work after the halftime huddle, the Pals closed in at 69-76 in the third and put the pressure on in the final canto.
Talk N Text finally caught up at 89-all on a dunk by Taulava, then the team pulled ahead at 92-89 on a trey by Ritualo.
It was a battle to the finish.
Tubid and Salvacion had their clutch plays and led the Kings with 24 and 22 points, respectively. Jimmy Alapag paced the Pals with 19. (NC)
Game shape and competitive form were among things the Alaska Aces would naturally lose for their US bonanza after winning the 2007 PBA Fiesta Conference.
They seemed to still have vacation in mind as they set out for their first game in the pre-season event Tuesday night at The Arena in San Juan. The result was an 84-102 blowout by the KT&G squad of Korea.
Having just returned to training, the Aces just couldn’t find ways to stop KT&G import Marquin Chandler who sizzled with 34 points.
With practically everybody looking overweight, the Aces played a decent game only in the opening quarter, being clobbered in the next three.
Reigning league MVP Willie Miller was good for only 13 points. Reynel Hugnatan paced the team with 16 with sixth overall pick Ken Bono adding 11.
Bono and another new acquisition Junjun Cabatu suited up although they’ve yet to get their contracts with the team.
No. 7 pick JR Quinahan signed a two-year contract hours before the game. Team manager Joaqui Trillo said he would next work on Bono’s pact.
KT&G, meanwhile, was all business, riding high on the exploits of Chandler and another American import Robert Cummings on the way to the team’s second win in as many games against home teams in the PBA pre-season event.
Down by one at 17-18, the Koreans unraveled a 19-6 run and went on to dominate the contest.
The Aces actually closed in at 41-44 but couldn’t sustain the rally, falling behind by 13, 46-59, at the half.
The Koreans kept the Aces at bay in the second half with Jin Won Hwang, Hee Jong Joo and Hyun Ho Lee giving their imports the needed help. (NC)
KT&G 102 -- Chandler 34, Hwang 17, Cummings 13, Joo 10, Kim 9, Yang 7, Lee 7, Park 3, Jeon 2, Shin 0, Eun 0.
Ginebre Team line-up
BILLY MAMARIL AQUINO
i think you are pertaining to ex-green archer JR Aquino.
Here are the teams or franchise that i am expecting to join the PBA in the next few years.
Teams that might return in the PBA
Sunkists Orange Juicers
Shell Turbo Chargers
For me i want the PBA to add more teams in the league so that it would become super competitive. The PBA needed expansion in the next few years, the influx of great players was at a peek, and so the PBA must expanded to other local teams from the South. Anyway, it would be my dream that the PBA would then be a one season league just like the NBA and we can let foreigners play in the league as a locals.
So that they can elevate the game here in the Philippines because we can actually have some great talent that can compete againts the locals.
Rod Nealy, Ginebra's import last conference is one of the main reason the Gin Kings are a consistent rebounding team. Now they should rely on their locals to produce the same quantity of rebound that Nealy produced last PBA Season..
BY NOLI CORTEZ
CROWD-FAVORITE Ginebra will continue trying to shore up its frontline despite drawing blanks on two prospects.
Coach Jong Uichico, however, yesterday admitted there is a distinct possibility the Kings will defend their PBA Philippine Cup crown with no real go-to guy in the post.
"We will try to be competitive, try to make trades to fill up the vacuum," Uichico told Malaya over the phone yesterday. "Pero mukhang puro imposible (through trades) because the player other teams want are those we don’t want to give up. Kaya ang kalalabasan, status quo kami."
Uichico said he has no personal knowledge of any trades being brokered by the Kings, but the likes of Nic Belasco and Don Carlos Allado would have been welcome addition to his team.
"Mula sa point hanggang small forward, kumpleto kami. Pero du’n sa kuwatro (power forward) at singko (center) kami kami malaki ang kulang," he pointed out.
Ginebra tried to trade Mike Holper and Macky Escalona for Belasco, who initially spurned Welcoat’s offer. The Dragons earned the right to the 33-year-old forward in a trade with Alaska for Junjun Cabatu.
Belasco, however, had a change of heart late last week and is likely to come to terms with the Dragons within this week.
Before that, the Kings also tried to pry Allado away from Talk N Text but the Phone Pals reportedly wanted Rafi Reavis in return, leaving the deal dead in the water.
Ginebra management is reportedly bent on pursuing other trade possibilities. There are also talks Kings center Andy Seigle’s contract will not be renewed.
Uichico said it is understandable why Ginebra management is exploring every possibility.
"Lahat halos ng ibang teams nakakuha ng at least isang impact player o role player who can complement their established stars (in the draft). Kami lang ang wala," he pointed out. "So while others can only get better, kami stagnant."
In a way, Uichico knew the trade talks for either Belasco or Allado would fall through.
"All along, alam kong 50-50 lang ang chances na matutuloy. Mahirap kasi na ituloy na one relatively old player at ang kapalit two young guys," he said.
The teams being allowed to carry 14 players in their lineup this season also did not help Ginebra any.
"Kung dose lang sana isang team, siguradong me sosobra sa ibang teams and an easier trade could be brokered. Pero katorse nga ang puwedeng dalhin. The teams can really stack up."
For now, Uichico is concentrating on making the most of what’s on the table. Still, the lack of an agile big man gnaws at him.
"We can still gang rebound, do those outlet passes, run and defend. But we still lack a go-to guy in the post," he said.
Defending PBA preseason champion Alaska notched its first win in two games after holding off Coca Cola, 95-89, Wednesday night.
Tony dela Cruz, who returned to active duty after serving the Philippine team, scored 18 points with reigning Most Valuable Player Willie Miller adding 12 for the Aces. Three others tossed in 10 each to lead the Aces.
Alaska was in control throughout, ending the half with a 48-35 lead.
Rookie Ronjay Buenafe and veteran Mark Telan led the Tigers with 16 each.
Air21 also broke through with a 112-100 demolition of luckless Welcoat after getting 27 points from Arwind Santos and a combined 31 from rookies Doug Kramer and JC Intal.
The Dragons, who won only seven games in their maiden season last year, were led by Joe Devance’s 31 and JR Reyes’ 29.
It was the third straight loss for Welcoat, which is still awaiting the arrival of Nic Belasco from the US.
Position Small forward/Shooting guard Height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Weight 190 lb (86 kg) Team Air21 Express Nationality Philippines Born February 12, 1982(1982-02-12)
Tarlac, Philippines College University of the East Pro career 2005–present Awards PBA Slam Dunk Champion (2006, 2007)
Rommel Niño Canaleta (born February 12, 1982 in Tarlac, Philippines) is a Filipino professional basketball player of Filipino-American descent. He currently plays for the Air21 Express in the Philippine Basketball Association. A 6'5", 190-pound swingman, he is fondly called by nicknames like KG, The Big Ticket, and The Da Vinci of Dunk. He won the 2006 and 2007 PBA Slam Dunk Contests and led the Air21 Express to a third-place finish in the 2006 PBA Philippine Cup.
About The Player
He made a serious run for the Rookie of the Year honors with an impressive Philippine Cup campaign where he averaged 16.2 points per game, No. 1 among rookies and seventh in the tournament among locals. But a so-so performance in the Fiesta Conference and two finals stints of Red Bull made Larry Fonacier a no-brainer for the award.
Canaleta is undoubtedly one of the biggest attractions in the league with his jaw-dropping, never-seen slams by a local player. The 6-5 forward was a back-to-back winner of the Slam-Dunk competition, both by convincing fashion. He was ranked number 2 in scoring among rookies during his rookie year with 9.4 points per outing. Canaleta was the First Philippine Basketball Association player to become a 3-time PBA Slamdunk Champion.
Three-time PBA Slam Dunk Champion (2006, 2007)
PBA All Rookie First Team (2005-2006)
Score a record 38 Points in the PBA Rookie Game