The Phonepals are in the doldrums and are searching for an identity after a series of bad management moves made them the leagueâ€™s newest cry baby. Gone is coach Derrick Pumaren who was exiled to the land of the unknown and the never before heard. In comes former National team mentor Chot Reyes and the huge expectations that accompanies his leadership ledger.
Theyâ€™ve added Jec Chia and Gilbert Lao â€“ two old Chot Reyes reliables back at the old Coca-Cola days. While their contributions are expected to be minimal, they both make Reyes feel comfortable especially when the going gets tough for him taking control of ultra-talented players in the roster. The trade of Asi Taulava was a thing that would make the team later on regret but Reyes did attempt to bring back the prodigal son but he was nixed. Coca-Cola claimed findersâ€™ keepers, and losers’ weepers.
There were several trades on the table, like the Jimmy Alapag-Mike Cortez which started when Cortez was still with Alaska and still followed him when he was already traded to Magnolia. Either way, Talk Nâ€™ Text canâ€™t be wrong. Both are capable point man but a trade will destroy team chemistry, moreso if a trade principally involves the lead point guard (just ask the Dallas Mavericks).
Aaron McGhee, a 6’8″ 250 banger in the post and a former Oklahoma Sooner didn’t waste any time in making his presence felt in Philippine shores – figuring in a fight with the whole Air21 bench – that shows you how tough this guy is (and how dumb). He was known as a big-time scorer and rebounder back in collegiate days. He will not make the Phonepals forget Asi Taulava but he can more than hold his own against top competition.
Mac-Mac Cardona and Renren Ritualo are excellent offensive players and they will be once again the fulcrum of the team’s offensive set-up together with Fil-Am Jay Washington and Power Forward Don Allado. Harvey Carey and Ali Peek will continue to provide the team with solid rebounding instincts, as well as some threat in the low post. Yancy de Ocampo‘s 6’9″ frame will come in handy against the taller imports but he is not known as a defensive ace. If the team is able to bring out the toughness in him, he will be a lot dangerous.
No doubt, the Phonepals are still a very dangerous team. They’re at least two-deep in every position but they haven’t found yet the right formula to succeed. Maybe this conference, they can find the solution to their problems. Chot Reyes is a motivated coach and knows what he is doing. Maybe he has something in store for us and the rest of the league.