I watched the Jones Cup from the very start and only missed probably 1 or 2 games at the most, and those weren’t really crucial anyway, so I can talk about this at length. Starting with:
We Owe This Man – There is no doubt in my mind that right now, the Pinoy Sports Fan owes MVP every little bit of gratitude they can muster in their little jologs minds, so thank you sir, thank you very much.
I do not know him very well, unfortunately. I do not even know his roots which is why I reserve commenting re his person to a time when I am better informed. Fact is I’ve heard nothing but negative things about him, which is unfortunate considering how well he’s done in almost all the ventures he’s been, and how if his public persona was better managed he could serve to be someone we could aspire to. On the other hand maybe he prefers it that way. I don’t know. I will endeavour to learn more about him in future readings.
Ok now, onto the tournament per se, starting with:
The horrible officiating – I couldn’t understand what the refs wanted to do, really. Most refs come into games with game plans of their own, depending on the situation and the teams. If it involves hostile teams or a crowd, then refs call it tight, making sure everyone gets the message. Otherwise however, they just mostly let teams go. As a result, teams play with confidence that not everything they do is going to result in a violation, and concentrate on good offence and D like they’re supposed to.
But the refs in this tournament called it tight every single time, almost as if they were trying to find fault in every move. The result? Teams play tentative, thinking not only about their game but about how the refs would interpret their movement. I remember clearly how in a game every time refs would blow their whistle, everyone on the court would be staring wondering what the hell is he calling now. For the most part veteran players already know what they’re being called for. Often they don’t even look at the ref when they hear a whistle, instead looking at the scoreboard or gathering instructions from their coaches. But the fact that everyone, from opposing players, coaches and bench were all hanging on every whistle meant that the refs were being difficult to anticipate. To say that games weren’t influenced by the officiating is a joke. To me, this whole tournament was ruined by bad officiating. At least it appears even-handed, not favoring any team, but horrid just the same.
The Phil. Team’s Lack Of Toughness – I know accusing a team of being ‘soft’ is harsh, but 5 games into the 8 game tourney we were falling apart in injuries, and was just generally looking tired out there. I can take our team losing out to another because the other executed better, but I can’t take it if we run out of steam. I know that playing daily tough games is hard, but so do all the other teams, including S. Korea and Iran. You therefore prepare for it by conditioning yourself to the level equivalent to an Iron Man, where bullets bounce off of you because you’re built thoroughly of muscle.
The challenges in doing that do not necessarily mean better gym equipment or better workout techniques. More often than not it means finding ways out of your other commitments in order to use the already adequate equipment and workout techniques available to you. It means giving up other work, other stuff that keep you from focusing on your goal, which is not easy to do because those other commitments put food on the table.
This therefore means that this remains to be the single most difficult problem our Philippine team continues to work against – finding time for all the players to focus on just one goal. The mere fact Alapag and Williams were unavailable is in itself telling.
Haddadi Is Asia’s Best Player? – Hamed Haddadi is just a monster, and proved it to one and all last night as he basically destroyed the S. Korean team ending up with 35 points, 18 boards and 7 blocks. The man is just incredible and watching him is a pleasure. He let it all out on the last game and whilst he moved about just like any lumbering big man would in the previous games this proved to be a ploy to reserve his strength for the final push, after which there was just no stopping him.
I heard the phrase ‘best player of Asia’ being bandied about by the announcers last night though, and I agree that there are probably a few Chinese players out there who have something to say about that, so we’ll see. It makes the upcoming Asian Basketball tournament so much more interesting now.
The Supportive (For Once) Philippine Fans – For the most part Smart Gilas has now gained the respect it needs from fans, which wasn’t around earlier. The NBA Selection games 3 weeks ago were a big help, especially when they lost by only 11 points. A lot of fans really aren’t as well – educated about the game as they should be, so to them that means that our Philippine team can hang with the best. That may be true to a certain degree, but only inasmuch as the ‘hang’ part, in the sense they were in the same court. To think that we could be beat by only 11 by a conditioned, prepared US NBA selection would be foolish.
No matter though. A Kobe, CP3, KD, and Rose powered team is still awesome, and losing by 11 means we’ve got a good team. We could’ve even won if we didn’t go showtime in the 2nd quarter. That was big. And the important thing is, to the eyes of general admission Mr. Jologs de la Cruz, we got ourselves a good team and he has nothing to worry about. A 3rd place at the Jones Cup hopefully also means ok to him.
Tiu – Chris Tiu is alright. He has all the makings of a leader, and plays correct all the time. What he needs imho though, is to just bulk up to the level of say, Willie Miller, and start playing like a crazy man, and see how far his talents can take him. Right now I see him as a super – composed, super – together pro who never gets it wrong, always plays with his head above his shoulders, always doing things right. What I’d like him to try though, is to just let loose, go crazy in the weight room and just go nuts on the court. To explore all that there is to be a explored as a player out there, and just let loose and go all out.
Score 30, score 50 points. Dunk in a game. Stare someone down. Get elbowed and get into a fight instead of wishing everyone well. Just stamp your class on everyone and let them know it. He’s already achieved the hard bit which most equally talented players could not do, which is play with his head and not his dick. So I’m not worried he will keep himself fit, not go crazy in the clubs, and let himself go. No, we’ve got all that covered. Now I want him to play like a bad man, like you had a chip on your shoulder and want the world to pay. I doubt this will happen but I’m gonna wish it anyway, because that’s the only thing I think he needs to take it to the next level.
Well that’s it, I got more stuff but there’s work to be done being a Monday after all. So, later.