Blog Posts by Sid Ventura

  • Fonacier proves that nice guys don’t always finish last

    Fonacier's impeccable shooting form helped him finals MVP. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    Larry Fonacier has always been the consummate pro: not too flashy, not too demonstrative, not needing the spotlight too much. He's not the quickest player out there, and certainly not the most athletic. He doesn't show up in the list of Talk 'N Text's statistical leaders; there are five TNT players who have higher scoring averages than his 10.74 for the recently-concluded Philippine Cup, he's only the fourth-best rebounder, and fifth-best in assists.

    But the one thing he did have during the Tropang Texters' recent run to the Philippine Cup championship was consistency. He was the only player on TNT's expanded roster who appeared in every single one of their 28 games. Additionally, you knew what you would get out of him each time he stepped on the floor. There were no bad or "off" games for the guy known as the Baby-faced Assassin.

    In the finals against Powerade, Fonacier averaged a little over 16 points a game (six more than his conference average), hitting double digits in all but

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  • TNT’s road to title was anything but smooth

    It was a bumpy title defense for Talk 'N Text. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    The overriding theme of the recently-concluded PBA Philippine Cup finals won by the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters over the underdog Powerade Tigers by a score of 4-1 was how the Tigers might be a team of destiny, an eighth seed that had to battle through long odds and adversity just to get to the finals.

    But while the Tigers' dream run to the finals was indeed a feel-good, Cinderella-type story, the Tropang Texters' eventual triumph also had a fulfillment-of-destiny ring to it. For their road to the championship was also littered with obstacles and challenges, as the Tropa battled injuries, the near-fatal shooting of one of their big men, almost certain elimination at the hands of their rivals, and even history itself.

    For coach Chot Reyes, their campaign was at a crossroads on November 9, when center Ali Peek was brazenly shot in the nape in a parking lot. Peek missed several games and eventually played again, but in the days following the shooting, Reyes wasn't too sure if his team

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  • Stallion a dark horse no more; PAF, PA draw

    Stallion pummeled Loyola Meralco, 4-1. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    Maybe it's the new sponsor (Gilligan's) that's inspired them, or maybe it was getting snubbed in the latest UFL TV ad that's riled them up. Whatever it is, Stallion Gilligan's FC is showing everyone they're a team to reckon with in the United Football League.

    Just four days after demolishing Cup champion and defending League champion Philippine Air Force Phoenix, 4-1, Stallion proved that the win was no fluke by dispatching Cup runner-up and League favorite Loyola Meralco Sparks by the same score.

    In a highly physical and emotionally charged game that saw seven yellow cards whipped out and Phil Younghusband getting sent off with a red card, Stallion took charge after an early goal by Phil in the 10th minute, blasting home two goals in the first half and adding two more for good measure in the second as they totally dominated the pitch on both ends.

    The goal by Phil, which came after an unfortunate defensive miscue, seemed to fire up Stallion as they pushed the tempo of the match with

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  • Tigers stay alive

    Gary David and Sean Anthony led Powerade to a Game 4 win. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    After getting blown out in Game 1, coming close in Game 2 and losing in overtime in Game 3, the Powerade Tigers finally got it right on the fourth try, holding off a furious end-game rally by Talk 'N Text to eke out a 100-97 win last night that kept their slim Philippine Cup title hopes alive.

    "Buhay pa, buhay pa," Bo Perasol said. "Well, I have to give it to them (the Tigers). We were talking about getting one game. We were not even focusing that they were going to sweep us. We just focused on getting just this game, not even one game at a time. Just this game."

    Playing with nothing to lose, the Tigers took the fight to the Tropang Texters from the get-go, building several double-digit leads in the first half before settling for a 53-43 lead at halftime. But wily point guard Jayson Castro, held scoreless in the first half, put on a shooting clinic in the third period, firing 16 points including a running three-point shot that banked in at the buzzer and tied the game at 75 entering

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  • Will TNT end it tonight?

    The deep TNT bench has been the difference in this series. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    First off, some trade news from the PBA Commissioner's Office. Commissioner Chito Salud has approved the three-way trade involving the Barangay Ginebra Kings, the B-Meg Llamados, and the Barako Bull Energy. Since Ginebra and B-Meg are sister teams, a third team was needed to get involved in the transaction.

    To summarize, Barangay Ginebra shored up its thin frontline rotation with the acquisition of Kerby Raymundo and got a legitimate rising star in Dylan Ababou, B-Meg picked up swingman JC Intal plus Barako Bull's 2012 second-round pick (from Shopinas), while Barako Bull ended up with shooter Roanld Tubid and seldom-used rookie big man Reil Cervantes plus a 2014 second-round pick from Ginebra.

    On the surface, it seems to me Ginebra got the best of this trade. A healthy Raymundo can be a big asset down low, while they're also set for the future with the young rookie Ababou. B-Meg also got a quality forward in Intal, plus that second round draft pick should be pretty high, maybe 11th or

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  • An academy for tall point guards

    Bert Lina discussed the mechanics of Higanteng Magilas. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    Last week I attended the press launching of a rather intriguing project: a training academy for tall point guards. Ever heard of the phrase "a point guard in a big man's body"? We just might be producing them by the dozens if all goes well.

    Dubbed "Higanteng Magilas", the project is the brain child of Lina Group of Companies sports director Allan Gregorio, who will also serve as the project director. Essentially, the academy aims to identify tall, young Filipino hoopsters and train them to be point guards, so that the Philippines can field in a more competitive (and taller) backcourt in international competitions.

    It's not the first time the Lina Group has launched a unique basketball thrust. Around 10 years ago, the company formed a basketball league exclusively for six-footers 18 years old and below.

    "We started the Six-foot and over, 18-and-under," group chairman Bert Lina said. "Kaya lang, medyo natigil ng kaunti. After a while, we kept on observing, and we asked each other what

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  • TNT withstands Powerade onslaught and wins in OT

    Kelly Williams slams it home in Game 3 action. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    The Powerade Tigers may have already taken their best shot last night in the Philippine Cup finals. Unfortunately it wasn't enough, as the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters hacked out a 133-126 overtime win to move within a game of sweeping the finals.

    "Before the game, I had one word for the team, and the word was hunger," Chot Reyes said. "And I told them this game was gonna be determined by the team that has the hunger, who wants it more. And I told them, 'I hope you're all starving because I am'."

    Powerade was certainly hungry for a win and even led by 11 in the first period. Actually, by all accounts, the Tigers should have won this game. They hit their three-point shots (16 in all), they made it a high-scoring affair (prior to this game, they were 5-0 in the playoffs when scoring more than 100 points), and they got scoring support from someone other than their Big Three (Sean Anthony, face mask and all, came up big with 25 points).

    They even had luck going for them, at least in the

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  • Casio returns, but TNT still comes out on top

    Jimmy Alapag soars in for a layup as five Tigers watch helplessly. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    The Powerade Tigers welcomed back JV Casio, but the crack point guard's return was not enough as the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters got the breaks in the end game and won, 102-96, to take a big 2-0 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup finals.

    Casio missed Game 1 with a hamstring injury, and without his shooting and playmaking TNT strolled to a 16-point win. He put up 17 points, including five triples, last night, but reigning MVP Jimmy Alapag outperformed him with 23 points in just 27 minutes, including a big triple with 1:19 left that gave TNT a 99-93 lead and all but iced the game.

    Before Alapag's big three, the Tigers were in the midst of another one of their furious comebacks. Down by 12, 92-80, they dropped a 13-2 bomb that made it just a one-point game with 2:54 remaining. They were one defensive stop away from having a shot at taking the lead, and had already pressured TNT to use up most of its shot clock when Rommel Adducul poked the ball from Ali Peek. Under normal circumstances,

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  • Weiss happy with result vs. Koreans

    Chieffy Caligdong takes a free kick in the first half. (Photo by Sid Ventura.)

    Normally a hard man to please, national team coach Hans Michael Weiss expressed his satisfaction over the Azkals United's 1-1 draw against Icheon Citizen FC of Korea, even though the Koreans went on to win it 4-2 on penalties.

    "The result was a very good result for us against an opponent which is at our level," Weiss said. "I think this is the kind of opponent that we have to look for and we have to play with. With this kind of quality opponents we really can make a very good level in the near future. With the grassroots development coming in the next five to ten years, the Philippines can become a very good football power.

    "If you take into consideration that basically we had only three days of training with this group, and that the players don't know each other and that they have never played together, it was even more fantastic."

    Weiss was forced to tap several members of the under-23 Azkals after United Football League Loyola Meralco Sparks and Kaya LBC FC refused to release their

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  • Just too many weapons for TNT

    Talk 'N Text spread the wealth in Game 1.

    Even with a complete lineup, the Powerade Tigers were the acknowledged underdogs against the might defending champion Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters in the PBA Philippine Cup finals. But take rookie JV Casio out of the equation, and the situation becomes even more one-sided.

    Without the injured Casio, who was nursing a hamstring injury, the Tropang Texters just had too many weapons for the Tigers and easily took Game 1 of the finals, 116-100. It seemed every quarter a different TNT player would step up for Chot Reyes to keep the Tigers at bay.

    In the first quarter, it was Ryan Reyes, who hit all his four three-point shots and helped spark a 13-0 TNT run that essentially broke the game wide open and laid the groundwork for the 16-point win. By the end of the first, TNT had dropped 38 points on the Tigers, with Reyes accounting for 12 of them.

    Larry Fonacier took over from Reyes in the second period, with the steady guard pumping in 10 points, including two triples that came just when

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Pagination

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