Blog Posts by Charlie Cuna

  • An upset win and an upset player

    Czeasar Dancel/NPPA

    On 22 April 2014, day 2 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Quarterfinals, the match-ups between the first and second seeds, Talk ‘N Text and San Miguel Beer, and the seventh and eighth seeds, Air 21 and Ginebra, were scheduled at the Araneta Coliseum. 

    The higher seeds enjoy the twice-to-beat advantage in both match-ups.  SMB and Air 21 went at it first, and most thought it would be one and done, with the Beermen prevailing and entering the Semis.  The Express, though, entered the showdown believing they matched up well with San Miguel and could beat them at least once, then if they did, maybe twice.

    I had the privilege of commentating for the television coverage of the SMB-Air 21 contest, with PBA great Ali Peek by my side, and Rizza Diaz by the court.  Prior to the game, Ali and I recalled that the teams had just played last week, and that Air 21 led most of the way, before faltering late in the third quarter into the fourth, losing an 18-point lead, and bowing down in defeat by 8

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  • Basketball goings-on

    In the World of Hoops that many of us love, so much has happened in the past couple of weeks.  For hoop junkies (as BTV’s Jinno Rufino calls them, and they include me), there is really never enough basketball to enjoy, so, come on, keep it coming!  Let’s take a look at some of the significant happenings in basketball as April 2014 rolled in.

    Czeasar Dancel/NPPA

    PBA All-Star Weekend

    The PBA Commissioner’s Cup, in its elimination round homestretch, took a short break for the annual All-Star activities from April 3 to 6 2014.  The PBA held several activities off the court, as players and league officials had a press conference, made a hospital visit, conducted a basketball clinic for kids, held a referees’ clinic (hopefully there were fit, competent young men with whistles discovered here), and made several public appearances to invite fans to come and see the activities that would happen on the court throughout the three days.

    All-Star Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena had a bunch of fun competitions.  In the

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  • The PBA’s Top 40: Who should be included?

    Former MVPs James Yap and Mark Caguioa will likely make the list of the PBA's 40 Greatest. (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)

    In 2000, the PBA’s 25th year of existence, the league announced the names of players whom it determined, through a tedious selection process, were the top twenty-five Filipino players that ever played in it.

    The committee conceded slots to all players that had been named MVP of the league at least once up to that point, fifteen in all, leaving ten spots up for grabs amongst all the other players that strutted their stuff on a PBA hardcourt. The MVPs were Bogs Adornado (‘75, ‘76, ‘81), Freddie Hubalde (‘77), Sonny Jaworski (‘78), Atoy Co (‘79), Philip Cezar (‘80), Ramon Fernandez (‘82, ‘84, ‘86, ‘88), Abet Guidaben (‘83, ‘87), Ricardo Brown (‘85), Benjie Paras (‘89, ‘99), Allan Caidic (‘90), Alvin Patrimonio (‘91, ‘93, ‘94, ‘97), Ato Agustin (‘92), Vergel Meneses (‘95), Johnny Abarrientos (‘96), and Kenneth Duremdes (‘98).

    The reasoning behind the inclusion of all former MVPs in the list seemed to be that, if one was the best player of the league for an entire season and won the MVP

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  • Constant change: checking in on the picks of the 2012 PBA Draft

    The top three picks in the 2012 PBA Draft. (Nuki Sabio/PBA Images)

    The 2012 PBA Draft was above average for sure. There was a lot of talent expected to go early, and then there were many players who potentially would fit certain needs of PBA teams that were expected to be drafted as well.

    Petron (now San Miguel Beer again) chose June Mar Fajardo, “The Kraken”, at first, and “The Beast” Calvin Abueva went to Alaska at second. They have both become mainstays of their teams after four conferences in the PBA, putting up impressive stats practically every night. Abueva was the 2013 Rookie of the Year, and Fajardo just won the Player of the Conference award in the recently-concluded Philippine Cup. They have been the cream of their draft crop, no doubt, but, what of the others?

    Well, to perhaps understate the matter, there has been more than a little movement among the 2012 draftees. Among the rest of the top ten players picked, only Cliff Hodge (Meralco, 4th), “Air Force” Chris Ellis (Barangay Ginebra, 6th) and Chris Tiu (Rain or Shine, 7th) have stayed

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  • On continuity and chemistry in the PBA

    Petron/San Miguel Beer underwent a major overhaul, replacing Gee Abanilla and trading Alex Cabagnot. (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)

    Only two teams out of ten are left battling it out in the current PBA Philippine Cup, Rain or Shine and San Mig Coffee, who are locked in a championship best-of-seven battle. The eight other teams are out of contention and preparing for the league’s Second Conference, the Commissioner’s Cup, which starts in early March 2014. Some of their imports are already in town, and practice has begun. Some of the eliminated teams have made certain changes already, involving players and coaches. A couple of coaches were replaced and certain trades went down the other day, which included ace guards Sol Mercado (to San Miguel) and Alex Cabagnot (to Global Port) trading places.

    Immediately after the changes and trades were announced, many of my colleagues in sports media, and sports fans in general, expressed their disenchantment, with the most-mentioned reason being that coaches get fired too quickly, and certain players keep getting traded without having had the chance to contribute at all to

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  • Questionable calls and questionable behavior in the PBA

    Flagrant fouls are becoming more common in the PBA Philippine Cup. (Voltaire Domingo/NPPA Images)

    It has been said that in the Philippines, hardly anyone ever loses. It’s either someone wins, or was cheated out of a victory. That’s the way it is in the political scene, and so has it become, although to a much lesser extent, in the realm of sports. Thankfully, sportsmanship is still prevalent, and many of those who do accept defeat congratulate the victors, which is the right thing to do. There are of course the sore losers who will never accept the final score and will blame anyone and everyone else in the aftermath. What bothers me the most, though, is when even winners are complaining, and they refuse to let it go even after raising their arms in triumph.

    In the spotlight nowadays is a series of recent events in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), particularly hard fouls and light touches, hefty fines and slaps on the wrist, missed whistles, and some bad behavior. We’re talking about flagrant fouls that should have or not have been called, hits above the shoulders,

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  • Following the bouncing balls

    Calvin Abueva of Alaska and Mark Caguioa of Barangay Ginebra. (NPPA Images)

    When one is faced with so much to do in so little time, it’s so easy to miss out on the simple pleasures, one of which is watching sporting events. Fortunately for me, I was able to flex my schedule a little in the past two weeks amidst all the deadlines and witness some astounding tennis action courtesy of the Australian Open held in Melbourne, and playoff basketball action of the PBA. There was also some American Football and UAAP Volleyball that took place, the scores of which I took note, but I was not able to catch much of the actual games, relying on updates online instead.

    The best thing about being a sports fan is that there is so much going on everywhere, everyday. How convenient it has become to be a basketball fan in the Philippines, where there is a TV station that is actually dedicated to showing nothing but basketball, current NBA and European games, as well as Hardwood Classics, and another that shows some of the Greatest Games in PBA history. Being a Laker fan, though,

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  • The PBA served up festive basketball over the holidays

    Talk 'N Text and Barako Bull clashed last December 20. (PBA Images)

    A festive atmosphere dominates the long Christmas Season in the Philippines and, for several years, PBA basketball has been a big part of the holiday plans for many fans, especially the younger ones who take advantage of the Christmas vacation to watch the PBA double-headers without having to worry about homework or getting up for school the next day. With all PBA games after December 17, 2013 held at the Mall of Asia Arena (Araneta Coliseum was preparing, then staging, another edition of Disney on Ice), fans were focused on getting to one venue to catch the action.

    I was heavily involved in the PBA holiday calendar as I was scheduled to cover games on December 20, 21, 22, 27 and 28 2013, and little did I know that I would be gifted along the way with such great treats appropriate to the season.

    On the 20th, my partner was The Dean, Quinito Henson. Talk ‘N Text, one of the top teams, played Barako Bull, one of the teams at the bottom. A lopsided matchup? It sure looked like it, but I

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  • The Year in Sports: Parity highlights PBA’s banner season

    The Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters swept Rain or Shine in the 2012-13 Philippine Cup finals. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    (Editor's note: The Yahoo! Philippines Sports team looks back at 2013's memorable moments in sports with a series of year-end articles on the topics and events that had the biggest impact on our readers.)

    Three different conferences, three different champions, six different teams making the championship round – could the PBA’s 38th season have ushered in an era of true parity in a league where some teams are always perennial favorites to win it all? Perhaps. The variety of matchups, the numbers, and the award-winners from almost every team, show that there were numerous standouts in an outstanding season for the PBA.

    In what could be considered the “longest season” in PBA history (the First Conference started on 30 September 2012, and the Third Conference ended on 25 October 2013), we saw a little of everything, from outstanding rookies, proven veterans, up-and-coming superstars, excellent plays, outside gunners, inside operators, heart-stopping game-endings and heartbreakers,

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  • Bouncing back from multiple injuries

    Rob Reyes has suffered various injuries in his PBA career. (Nuki Sabio/PBA Images)

    Just a couple of weeks ago, bad news broke that Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose would likely miss the rest of the current NBA season, after missing the whole of last season, due to another knee injury. Although the injury is different, and considered to be less serious than the one he suffered two seasons ago, he, nevertheless, will miss extended time and probably doom any serious championship considerations the Bulls had for this year.

    Immediately, I thought of how devastated Rose probably feels, after he went through more than a year of rehabilitation after surgery and, finally, declared himself ready to lead his team this year. He got a lot of flak for not returning late last season and perhaps helping the Bulls in the playoffs, but he made sure to come back on his own terms and when he felt everything was right. He was playing well, showing flashes of his 2011 MVP form. I was able to chat with the two-time Manila visitor during his last visit in September 2013, and he was

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