|March 4, 2009|
|5:00 pm||to||7:00 pm|
5:00 p.m. Alaska Aces vs. San Miguel Beermen
7:30 p.m. Coca-Cola Tigers vs. Barangay Ginebra Kings
Prior to assuming office as PBA chairman, Red Bull governor Tony Chua proposed that PBA teams should hire European imports for the Fiesta Cup. His proposal did not reach first base as teams went on to hire colored African-American imports. That is bound to change in the coming weeks.
Seeing the success of Red Bull and Mexican-American Adam Parada‘s continued dominance inside the paint, teams are beginning to notice that it isn’t so bad after all to enlist ‘White’ imports contrary to what has been practised traditionally for so long in the PBA.
Reports have it that the Purefoods TJ Giants and the Alaska Aces will be replacing their imports with a pair of Euro slotmen.
Reda Rhalimi, a standout out of St. Mary’s will be arriving today to reinforce the Giants while the Aces are said to be negotiating with Puerto Rico’s starting center and NBA veteran Daniel Santiago. A couple of teams such as Magnolia and Sta. Lucia (yes, you are hearing it right) may be joining the fray and replace their defensive-minded imports. So why are teams suddenly so hot on ‘Whites’? Well, they can do a lot of things. They can shoot, they can post, they can rebound, and cost a lot cheaper. They’re notoriously poor on defense and on the blocks but with their size and the lack of big men in the PBA, that doesn’t figure to be a problem at all. Look at Parada, he was not known as a shotblocker but he’s putting up quite a show here. They’re not as flashy as their African-American counterparts, but they’re solid, consistent, more effective and plays team ball.
The Alaska Aces were one game away from making it into the championship round and that is enough reason to feel optimistic about this team. Willie Miller who was nearly unstoppable in several stretches of the tournament, suddenly became ice cold (only 10 points) in the seventh and deciding game of their semis match up against the eventual champions Sta. Lucia Realtors but he will be back. Miller is too good and too talented to be destructed by this offensive meltdown.
The offseason brought Ateneo alums LA Tenorio and Larry Fonacier to the Acesâ€™ fold. They are expected to bring fire and intensity to the teamâ€™s otherwise dull backcourt. The trade costs coach Tim Cone and the Aces no less than the teamâ€™s premier point guard Mike Cortez and promising big man Ken Bono but with Tenorio handling the break, the Aces are expected to run more and play a fast-paced ballgame. Fonacier gives the Aces a terrific perimeter shooter, a weapon the team never had since the days of Jojo Lastimosa and Roel Gomez.
This is just in. LA Tenorio and Larry Fonacier have been traded by the Magnolia Beverage Masters to the Alaska Aces for Mike Cortez and Ken Bono. My gut feel is that there’s more to come. Alaska became a much faster team (and probably more feisty) with the entry of ex-Ateneo alums Tenorio and Fonacier. Fonacier will give the Aces something they needed for a long time – a pure outside shooter who can play defense and doesn’t choke in the clutch. He may just be the doctor ordered for the Aces. Fonacier could very well essay the role played by Jojo Lastimosa during his heydays. It has been no secret that Alaska coach Tim Cone had his eyes on Fonacier since draft day 2005 (only Red Bull beat them to the draw) and now that he has him, expect a lot of things in store for the 6’1″ Quezon City native. Tenorio’s addition will give the Aces a younger (and probably) better player at the point. Only 5’8″, Tenorio makes up for his deficiency in size with spunk and court savvy.
With only a few weeks to go prior to the start of the 2008 PBA Fiesta Cup (League opens on March 29 in Panabo City, Davao del Norte), teams are in frantic search to acquire highly-talented imports overseas to beef up their lineup. The height restrictions for foreign reinforcements have been scrapped to give way to mastodons such as ex-Red Bull and now Miami Heat cager 7’0″ Earl Barron to play in the league. Three years ago when the same system was implemented, Talk N Text’s 6’8″ Jerald Honeycutt stood tall against the giants and copped the PBA Best Import trophy, while leading the Phonepals to a second place finish.
In addition, the league also gave a concession to the Welcoat Dragons and the Coca-Cola Tigers (for finishing 9th and 10th at the end of the classification) to bring in another import standing not lower than 6’1″.