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PBA: The Quarterfinals

Phillip Kimpo II June 7th, 2006 (Visited 2926 times)

The next stage in the road to the PBA championship begins later this day as four teams slug it out in the Quarterfinals.

The Barangay Ginebra Kings take on the Red Bull Barako, while the Coca-Cola Tigers battle the Alaska Aces. The winners of these two best-of-five series will advance to the Semis, where the seeded Purefoods Chunkee Giants and the San Miguel Beermen await their next opponents.

Prior to this stage, the Talk N Text Phone Pals, the Air21 Express, and the Sta. Lucia Realtors dropped from contention; the Phone Pals’ elimination concluded a particularly disappointing performance for a star-studded team loaded with firepower. Purefoods and San Miguel finished first (12-4) and second (11-5), respectively, to earn the right to advance to the Semifinals outright (see Elimination Round standings).

Heat vs. Mavs, How Sleek a Match-Up

Phillip Kimpo II June 7th, 2006 (Visited 2121 times)

courtesy of nba.com
Image borrowed from NBA.com

In recent years, I’ve taken a liking to these two teams. Though my fave squads (esp. the Bulls) fell by the wayside, this penultimate duel to cap off the season simply makes my heart race.

I prefer the Heat over the Mavs, but one look at Dirk Nowitzki’s most recent performances and I’m led to think this year’s going to be a Western Conference year. Well, according to NBA.com’s poll, 36% of 189524 responses (as of presstime) pick Miami to win in six, while 24% say it’s Dallas emerging the victor after six games. Our own poll here’s tied for “Miami in six” and “Dallas in six”, so don’t forget to vote!

As always, NBA.com is a treasure trove for info on the Finals. To prime your mind for the Last Dance, read on the history of the Heat-Mavericks rivalry and the Finals by the numbers.

Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing the DLSU Green Archers, UAAP Season 69

Gary Mercado June 3rd, 2006 (Visited 1480 times)

Continue reading ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing the DLSU Green Archers, UAAP Season 69’ » » » »

UAAP: UE, Adamson to Open Season

Phillip Kimpo II June 2nd, 2006 (Visited 2993 times)

Yeeha! I can already feel the excitement in the air. Season 69 of the UAAP is just around the corner, and though I’ve just graduated from university, I’ve still got that college fever!

The hostilities for the basketball tournament will start on July 8 at the Araneta Coliseum, with the UE Red Warriors and Adamson Falcons clashing in the opening game. No doubt, UE will try to begin the season on the right note in the hopes of barging into the Finals, a stage they’ve narrowly missed the past years. Adamson, too, will be looking to improve upon last season’s dismal record. The Ateneo Blue Eagles and the NU Bulldogs rumble in the second match.

My school background aside (eherm), I pick the UP Fighting Maroons as a, not the, team to watch this season. UP has narrowly missed the Final Four in the last two seasons, and it’s quite exciting to see how their souped-up team (with several high-school standouts as new recruits) can fare this year. Oh, and don’t forget their new/old coach, Joe Lipa. Will his comeback equate to a trip to the Final Four for the State U?

Can’t wait for the UAAP wars to begin!

Dirk Blows The Suns Away

Gary Mercado June 2nd, 2006 (Visited 1737 times)

Several posts ago I mentioned that I thought the Suns wouldn’t last against the Mavs, and I gotta say, with the way almost all of my predictions have been going, and the way it got to 2-2, my confidence was on shaky ground.

However today, Dallas stamped its class, and the Suns looked… what’s the word.. beat.

The reason I’m betting on the Mavs was because of the plain fact that lineup wise, I really don’t think a team can go very far without a true center. Centers are just as essential as the rest of the positions, and even a team with guards as talented as Phoenix can only go so far.

Today, Dirk scored 50 points along with 12 rebounds, and scored a Phoenix demoralizing 3 point shot in boiler pressure level fashion in the fourth quarter when it mattered most. Sometime in the third quarter, in a verbal altercation with Tim Thomas (who happened to play great as well making 6 of 8 three point shots), Thomas blew him a kiss. That might have been the mistake of the night, because in the fourth quarter, Dirk blew them away.

Will Phoenix make it 3-3 again? Maybe. But after this post, I hope not, because for the first time in the series, I’m placing my bets on a team, and it’s the Dallas Mavericks.

Out of topic, I found this terrific Youtube video of Dirk Nowitzki getting MTV punk’d, with Michael Finley as an accomplice of all people. Poor Michael Finley. I wonder if he’s even watching this series. Anyway, check it out:

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Dirk Digs Deep, Dallas Dominates

Phillip Kimpo II June 2nd, 2006 (Visited 2196 times)

Right after Dallas’ Game 4 humiliation at the hands of the Phoenix Suns, a lot of people were ready to write off the team that ousted the defending champs Spurs from contention. King Maverick Dirk Nowitzki even got bashed for his 11-point performance, causing Jim Reeves to write, “For all the good Dirk Nowitzki did the Mavs, he might as well have been in the stands Tuesday night.”

But as they’ve shown all throughout the year, the Mavericks — especially the 7-foot German — are no patsies.

Earlier this day, Dallas took a 3-2 lead in their Western Finals showdown with Phoenix with an emphatic 117-101 rout. Guess who led the charge? Dirk “The Blond Bomber” Nowitzki. (Nickname coined by Art Garcia in his article.)

Nowitzki had an impressive 50-point outing, which is a franchise playoff record and ties Kobe Bryant’s performance for the highest-scoring game of the 2006 Playoffs. Dirk’s half-century feat is also his playoff career-high.

The Mavs now have a great chance to close out the series in the next two games, the last of which happens right smack on their home territory. If Dirk doesn’t lose steam, Dallas would be very hard to beat. However, to shrug off the Suns would be an act of stupidity — they’re classy veterans of “brink of elimination” scenarios, so much so that Dan Bickley calls them “desperation addicts”.

Suns vs. Heat? Yes, Really.

Gary Mercado June 1st, 2006 (Visited 1432 times)

A month ago I thought it’d be Pistons-Spurs. Then a week ago I thought it’d be Suns – Pistons. Later on that changed to Pistons-Mavs. And now? All that is out the window.

I just turned off the tube a minute ago, and watched Detroit win one against the Heat (78-91). Sure they were drubbed by 13, but I remain more impressed with the Heat and how they won in the games before that. Detroit looked beat and drained as their players could only look on as the fantastic Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’Neal rained on their parade.

It wasn’t anything specific the Heat did, it was just how the whole team played. They played fresh, and they had energy, while the Pistons, terrific as they are, sputtered and merely reacted to what the Heat did, and most noticably, failed to make shots that they’d normally sink.

Defense was still fantastic, which is normal for Detroit, but the problem is it was with the Heat too. They trapped, they prevented curls to the basket, the kept the guy who’d make screens from getting into position, and anticipated plays before they happened. It was exciting, and if anything, educational, and to basketball purists, awe-inspiring. And yes, more so because both teams played it, and not just the defending champs.

As for the Suns? Boris Diaw are the two key words there. You got Boris rebounding. You got Boris defending. You got Boris slamming with two hands over Dirk Nowitzki. You got Boris looking like he belongs to the NBA’s best, and it’s got Steve Nash jumping in the air and pumping his fists with excitement. And if you’re the Mavs, you don’t want to see the league MVP get excited. It only means bad things for you.

Suns vs. Heat.

Let those words sink in a bit. It’ll be exciting regardless who plays the finals, but the important thing to remember here is: no one expected that. Absolutely not a single soul could’ve guessed it’d turn out that way.

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More Reasons To Love The Basketball Exchange!

Gary Mercado May 26th, 2006 (Visited 2906 times)

We believe that, If you love the game, then you gotta hook up with what’s going on.

So as of today, we’re featuring the latest newsfeeds from around the world of basketball! Check out the column to your right, with the top 5 latest feeds from ESPN.com/nba and FIBA.com. These refresh every few minutes, guaranteeing you’ll see only the freshest stuff available.

We’ll change the feeds source occasionally to reflect whatever’s going on in the game. Stick the the Basketball Exchange and enjoy the game like never before!

May 28, 2006 – Ok, may had spoken a little too soon. Having some problems with the layout especially with IE, so please bare with us as we deal with technical difficulties. We now return you to your scheduled programming.

Steve Nash is sick

Gary Mercado May 25th, 2006 (Visited 2221 times)

with game that is. He’s so good he even makes playing soccer with a basketball look easy.

Immensely talented, humble, approachable. A true MVP. How hard is it to idolize the guy? Not hard. Not hard at all.

Deja Vu: Last year’s semifinal match, now in the West finals series

Rufino III Lopez May 23rd, 2006 (Visited 1480 times)

The stakes are definitely higher this time.

Okay, so it wasn’t a Suns-Spurs affair just like last year (I thought of it when the Pistons advanced to the East finals to face Miami) but this will be another great love-hate relationship (if there is any) between Phoenix and Dallas. Old buddies facing each other, a rejuvenated Mavs lineup and a tired Suns roster. Don’t get me wrong, the fatigue factor has caught up with the speedy Suns for playing 13 games in 27 days (is my calculation correct?). Who wouldn’t be tired playing on every other day with that type of offense.

Okay, so I wasn’t able to watch the Mavs and Spurs slug it out but was quite disappointed with how the Spurs lost (eight points?!) because I was expecting a down-the-wire game and the margin would only be a point or two. Regardless, the Mavs advanced and Mark Cuban has another team to bash with his words.

The real deal? Dallas and Phoenix facing each other with the Suns winning in last year’s semifinal affair against the Mavs, 4-2, with MVP Nash’s memorable three-pointer to send the game to an extra period and put the score tied at 113. After that shot, “Irk with no D” Nowitzki lashed out Jason Terry for making poor decision and not foul Nash on the play. Then in OT, the Suns burned Dallas with their usual run-and-gun game and advanced to the West finals to face San Antonio, which did not happen this year.

Some thoughts before tipoff: Dallas has NEVER been in the NBA finals while Phoenix has been there twice, one facing the John Havlicek-led Boston Celtics in 1977, where the Suns, led by Gar Heard (oh, his shot that sent the game to an extra third period is quite memorable), lost in three overtime periods in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The other finals appearance by Phoenix was in 1993 against Chicago. In Game 6, Phoenix squandered a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter that led to an eventual “The Shot III” courtesy of John Paxson.

Continue reading ‘Deja Vu: Last year’s semifinal match, now in the West finals series’ » » » »

Who would’ve thunked?

Gary Mercado May 23rd, 2006 (Visited 1720 times)

The Mavs and Suns win – and seven people out of sixteen (including myself), who voted for the Spurs are DEAD WRONG! Here’s the tally as of today, May 23, 2006:

Spurs 7.04
Mavs 4.96
Suns 3.04
Clipps 0.96
total = 16

As for the East, most everyone (including me thankfully) got it right:

Pistons 7.05
Heat 4.95
Cavs 1.95
Nets 1.05
total = 15

look to your right to check out the new poll! Obviously it’s Mavs vs. Suns and Pistons vs. Heat. So what are you waiting for? Rise to the challenge! Reach deep inside! Think long and hard!



(Then tell us why below!)

Game Sevens: What a way to end the semis

Rufino III Lopez May 20th, 2006 (Visited 4262 times)

The stats from games one to six doesn’t matter. The performances of the players don’t matter. The fatigue that caught up with the players during the game and the travel, it doesn’t matter. Why? It all boils down to Game Seven.

Come to think of it, for the first time in probably a long time, three semifinal series have gone down to a winner-take-all game that sends all teams to the next level, the Conference Finals. Now this is where the “May Madness” really heats up.

Nevermind the outstanding circus show the Nets and the Heat put up for the fans because Miami is in a brief vacation waiting for the winner in the Detroit-Cleveland semifinal series. A repeat showdown with Detroit will be something, now that the Heat have a rejuvenated and much improved lineup, on paper.

You think that Detroit will fold in six games? They’re not the defending East champs for nothing. Now, I wasn’t able to see much of the game earlier (in fact, I only saw a couple of highlights and the last free throws of Chauncey Billups, but with the way the game ended, it seemed like it was close from start to finish. Probably a seesaw battle. The thing is, Detroit got the rhythm, but not much of it. They lack the offensive firepower they really need in this series that helped them scoring by more than a hundred half of the the regular season games. Their defense is not that rough like last year’s Detroit rough-and-tough Larry Brown trademark D. True enough is they falter whenever they start to love the offensive mindset and forget about the excellence that brought them to the top of the NBA, their defense.

Continue reading ‘Game Sevens: What a way to end the semis’ » » » »

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