B-Meg grabs 2-0 series lead

Josh Urbiztondo and Jay-jay Helterbrand dive for the loose ball. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

Hindsight, they say, is 20/20. Unfortunately for Jackson Vroman, Barangay Ginebra fans will be speculating for a long time whether he should have taken a shot instead of passing off on two different occasions late in the Kings' 83-77 loss to B-Meg last night that gave the Llamados a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-five series.

The scenario: PJ Simon had scored four in a row to give the Llamados a 79-75 lead with less than a minute left. On the next play, Vroman had a wide open lane to the basket with only the five-eleven Simon offering any form of resistance. Yet instead of laying it in, the naturalized Lebanese chose pass it off to Nino Canaleta, whose three-point attempt from the corner was off.

The Kings forced a Simon miss on the other end, and Jay-Jay Helterbrand rushed downcourt and spotted an open Vroman under the basket. The Ginebra import didn't go back down on defense because of cramps, and as a result B-Meg failed to cover him. Vroman caught the pass and could have simply turned around and laid it in, but he opted to touch-pass the ball to Dylan Ababou, who was promptly blocked by Pingris.

Perhaps Vroman was afraid of getting fouled and taking free throws, since he is a such a notoriously poor free throw shooter that opposing teams routinely employ a Hack-a-Jack strategy whenever possible.

Whatever it was, the game was essentially over after that Pingris block with Simon sinking two free throws on the other end.

Of course, even if Vroman had made at least one of those shots, that still wouldn't have guaranteed a Ginebra victory. But it would have at least changed the complexion of the last few possessions, and given the Kings a better chance of tying up the series.

Instead, the Llamados are now just one win away from their first finals appearance since bagging the 2009-10 Philippine Cup title. Coach Tim Cone, though, refused to say that the series was virtually over.

"Are you kidding me? Do I think it's over?" was his answer when asked about it. "I told the players that it takes a special effort to get up 2-0 and there's a reason for that. It's gonna take a lot of calmness living through mistakes, living through bad calls and keep moving forward. This team has toughened up and they come up strong when they get behind."

For a while, B-Meg was having a case of déjà vu, as Canaleta, whose scoring outburst in the B-Meg-Ginebra playoff won it for the Kings, got hot again with 19 points, including three free throws that tied it up at 75 with 2:49 remaining. But he missed a forced triple attempt with 1:15 left and fouled Simon afterwards which resulted in those two free throws that made it 79-75.

"KG came out and provided the spark," Cone said. "He got some nice 3's and the crowd got into it. We recognized it and not let him get going."

After averaging 90.6 points a game in the eliminations and the one-game playoff, the Kings have been held to just 72 points in the semifinals. They have struggled without the 16-point average of the injured Mark Caguioa, while Vroman has been averaging just 10 after norming over 21 a game in the elimination round.

B-Meg goes for the series sweep on Sunday, but Cone knows it won't be easy. "To get up 3-0 takes a special effort times two. We'll go for it, obviously."

But the Kings can look back to the 2009-10 Philippine Cup semifinals for inspiration, when they rallied from a similar 0-2 hole to beat Talk 'N Text.

E-mail" Twitter: @Sid_Ventura


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Indonesia rebuffs last-ditch bids to delay drug-convict executions
    Indonesia rebuffs last-ditch bids to delay drug-convict executions

    By Kanupriya Kapoor and Jane Wardell CILACAP, Indonesia/SYDNEY (Reuters) - Indonesia said the execution of nine drug traffickers would go ahead this week, rebuffing last-minute appeals from Australia and the Philippines to spare their nationals and ignoring a decision by the Constitutional Court to hear a final challenge. Australia began the day with a plea for a stay in the execution of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, saying reports that their trial had been tainted by corruption needed to …

  • Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia
    Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia

    Australia urged Indonesia Monday to delay the execution of two men for drug offences until a corruption probe into their case is complete, after a report that judges sought tens of thousands of dollars in bribes. "Bali Nine" drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan could face the firing squad within days, along with others from Brazil, Nigeria, the Philippines and an Indonesian prisoner. The Indonesian attorney-general's office said the executions would take place this week but did …

  • ISIS has not penetrated Phl – AFP
    ISIS has not penetrated Phl – AFP

    Security officials yesterday maintained that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has not penetrated the Philippines following an expert’s warning that the group poses a threat to the country. Abu Sayyaf, BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters), private armed groups to our knowledge are the people making problems down south,” Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. said. The BIFF and the Abu Sayyaf have pledged allegiance to the ISIS but it remains uncertain whether they are …

  • Cerbo named national police intel chief
    Cerbo named national police intel chief

    Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina yesterday ordered the appointment of PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. as chief of the Directorate for Intelligence. …

  • Pump prices up anew
    Pump prices up anew

    Oil companies announced yesterday another round of price hikes with independent oil firms among the first to issue their respective announcements. PTT Philippines, the local subsidiary of Thailand’s biggest oil firm, and Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, another independent oil company, were among the first to issue their respective advisories. Seaoil Philippines also issued its announcement. “PTT Philippines will increase pump prices of gasoline by P0.70 per liter and of diesel by P0.30 per …

  • PNP to ease rules on gun permit processing
    PNP to ease rules on gun permit processing

    The Philippine National Police will simplify requirements for getting a firearm’s permit under the new gun control law, PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said yesterday. Espina said they are working to simplify the process to secure a license to own and possess firearms (LTOPF) amid complaints of excessive requirements from gun holders. Espina directed the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) to make it easier for legitimate gun owners to comply with the …

  • Mercy for Mary Jane: Pacman joins appeals
    Mercy for Mary Jane: Pacman joins appeals

    World boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao took time out yesterday from final preparations for his $400-million megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. to plead for the life of a Filipina on death row in Indonesia. Pacquiao, a national hero in the Philippines, added his voice to a chorus of global opposition led by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the executions of a group of foreign drug convicts, including compatriot Mary Jane Veloso. The eight-division world champion, who will face …

  • Phl condoles as Nepal death toll hits 3,700
    Phl condoles as Nepal death toll hits 3,700

    Foreign rescue teams equipped with heavy cutting gear and relief supplies were landing round the clock at Nepal’s only international airport on the outskirts of Kathmandu, which has been devastated by Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake. “We need more helicopters for our rescue operations in rural areas,” said Nepal Home Affairs spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal. In a statement issued yesterday, Aquino said a team from the Philippine embassy in New Delhi, India would travel to Nepal to meet the needs …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options