If They Could Only Play That Way More Often

Tonight, Talk N’ Text beat Alaska at Game 7 for the KFC Philippine Cup Championship. For Talk N’ Text, this marks coach Chot Reyes’ 3rd Championship for 3 different clubs, the only coach to be able to do so. This marks also the coming – of – age for the lightning quick rookie Jason Castro (19 pts., 8 rebs., 8 ass.) and sweet revenge for MacMac Cardona after losing out to eventual Series MVP Willie Miller. For Alaska, it’s also a coming out party for Larry Fonacier (10 pts., 2/5 3s), as well as an impressive showing for Reynel Hugnatan (17 pts., 6/11 FGs).

I’ve always liked Hugnatan and I like the way Fonacier shut me up today with his tough showing. But before I go on, there are two things I’d like to make clear. One, this is one of the best PBA games I’ve ever seen in my life.. While it’s entirely possible that it’s been so long since I’ve enjoyed a PBA game that this one gem of a game stood out, I’m coming clean regardless, and admit it out: WHAT.A.GAME. It was exciting, it was down the wire, both teams executed, Alaska almost died several times but kept coming back so well and so often that they were never really out of the picture until the dying seconds. That was a great game 7. Congratulations to both teams and the PBA.

Now having said that, here’s the 2nd part: Two, that was a terrible series. I started out thinking Alaska would win by 5. That completely changed in the middle of the series when they literally disappeared, and TNT played far better. The fact that it reached seven games is not a testament to how well these two teams played but as to how awful they were at stretches. Both teams either delivered perfectly, or did not show up at all. It wasn’t a case of an excellent team occasionally under-performing. That I’d understand. It was a team coming out breathing fire one game, then completely playing like they don’t know how to the next. It is, for lack of a better word, ridiculous. I can’t imagine how you can dominate the other in one team, then get blown out the next – and go through that same process later on. It doesn’t make sense considering the fact these two teams players and coaches already know each other pretty well already, and nothing either team does is a surprise to the other anymore.

And then I would like to special – mention, the behaviour of one Tim Cone.

In statements today, the Alaska Coach made clear two things. Dissatisfaction at MacMac Cardona’s ‘taunting and trash talking‘, which is no big deal. Everyone knows the guy shoots with his mouth as often as he actually shoots, and the rest of the league isn’t exactly innocent of these charges either. The big issue though is he says he will order his men that ‘he be put out on the floor.‘ if he continues to do so, and that more specifically, ‘He’s going to hit the floor with his head next time‘.

So there are a few things that come to my mind upon hearing these, as visualized by this picture.

hogan

The PBA has gone the way of the WWE to interest fans. I’m nostalgic about the old World Wrestling Federation of the 1990s because of the soon to show here (I hope) movie The Wrestler, a guaranteed classic to my mind, and a story that will touch many a Pinoy’s heart considering a lot of us grew up in that era. One of the most entertaining scenes was the way wrestlers with their managers would act out the most outrageous scripts on cam as they taunted each other ala Hulk Hogan’s “AMmmaaaaa ganaaaaaaa breaakkk you broottthhhhheeeeerrrr, (tears of his shirt) AWOOOOOOOOOO!!!.” We as kids would practice that next day in school, leading to a lot of moms wondering why we came home with shirts torn from the neck down.

Which is ok except for the fact that as we all know now, the WWF was staged, while the PBA is supposed to be ‘real’.

See, I didn’t believe Tim Cone actually meant anything he said, and no I didn’t think anyone, Cardona or otherwise, is ‘going down on the floor head first’. I’ve always thought Cone was one of the wiser more level headed coaches around, and he’s certainly been around. I think he’s seen his share of hotheads, flash in the pans and wild and crazy personalities on the basketball court, and one more person doesn’t make a difference. Ergo, I think those statements of his are a sham to help the gate receipts and ratings.

So there you go, those are my thoughts on this recent PBA KFC Cup. To recap: An excellent, highly entertaining game 7 for the ages. A badly played, completely unpredictable best of 7 series that stretched all the way because neither team could get it together (as opposed to neither team refusing to give way, which would’ve made it more interesting), then capped by a weird outburst by an esteemed coach that is hard to take seriously and smacks of theatre. Really wish he’d spare us that drama, really. It was out of place and frankly, useless.

Tomorrow, you’ll be reading a lot about how Willie Miller and LA Tenorio could’ve made it more interesting if they had sunk their FTs at the end keeping the score close. I’m overlooking that however. Those things happen and that’s just the way it is. What I would like to see is the PBA delivering these thrillers at a more regular pace. Tonight they showed it can happen. Do it more often then.

Pic credits to Popstarplus.

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