Follow ‘dSource’ on Twitter @itsDSourceBaby and on Facebook.
This Saturday, PBA (Philippine Basketball Association )– the Philippines’ premier basketball league — will kickoff its 2010-11 PBA Philippine Cup Finals between the San Miguel Beermen and Talk-N-Text Tropang Texters at the Victorias City Sports
& Amusement Center in Victorias, Negros Occidental, Philippines.
The two squads have been by far the best all season long, and closed out the elimination round, quarterfinals and semi-finals with identical records of 11-3, 1-0 and 4-2 respectively. If I might borrow an adage from boxing, this match-up is Philippine basketball’s Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.; #1a vs. #1b. Powerhouse vs. powerhouse.
“Defense is the key to any championship series,” Beermen point guard Paul Artadi told me. “We need to limit them to one shot, get rebounds and help each other boxing out and stop them from getting into their fastbreak game.”
Tropang Texters head coach Chot Reyes, who is considered as one of the best strategists in the league, preached a similar tune. “When we retooled the team for this conference, we really made special emphasis to focus on
defense,” Reyes was quoted by PBAnews. And by all means, the Texters are bent on stopping the Beermen’s explosive weapons led by Jay Washington, DonDon Hontiveros and Arwind Santos.
Featured Basketball from dSource:
Exclusive Interview: Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert incorporates MMA training to prepare for NBA season
Artadi, who won last year’s Philippine Cup Finals while playing for the Purefoods TJ Giants, is happy to simply partake in the festivities. “It’s such a great feeling to be in the finals again. I feel so blessed,” and added, “I’ll do my best to play my role as a defensive stopper and try to put pressure on their guards.” Those guards Artadi is talking about is the dynamic duo of point guard Jimmy Alapag and Ryan Reyes, both of whom have been playing solid ball all year long.
But the most vital match-up of this series may very well be between two men who won’t even be wearing shorts and sneakers during the games. “The biggest match-up might be the coaching matchup between Chot Reyes and Ato Agustin,” sports writer Jay Tordecilla of www.FireQuinito.com told me. “Chot Reyes has whipped his team into a machine; Ato Agustin seems to have imbued his players with heart. Chot has the reputation of being the best X’s and O’s guy in the league, while Ato is a great motivator who lets his players play,” and further elaborated, “It’s going to be a battle of tempo. Talk-N-Text wants to force turnovers to get transition points. San Miguel would want to slow it down, especially since they play their best guys heavy minutes. Whoever dictates the tempo would win the series.”
Tordecilla added, “It’s an interesting series because the two teams have, in the past couple of years, been aggressively building up their teams. They have the most brand name talents in the league, although they haven’t quite put it together until now.”
Artadi seems to agree. “Back in Purefoods, we were a defensive-minded team; All hustle players. But here in San Miguel, we’re like an All-Star team.”
It’s definitely going to be an exciting series, and all I got to say is “Get those popcorns ready.”
Dennis “D Source” Guillermo is a freelance sportswriter. You can contact him through e-mail at email@example.com.
Fil-Am Ray Parks Jr. signs Basketball Letter-of-Intent to play for Georgia Tech
Faster than lightning: Catching up with Philippine Basketball Star Paul Artadi
Setting yourself up for success: Exclusive interview with PBA veteran Don Allado