Yes I’m about to shoot my mouth off on why I think MacMac Cardona should play for the Philippine Team.
But before that, here’s a link to the PBA Press Release about Coach Guiao’s lineup, and here’s the lineup again. I added their possible positions in parenthesis: Gabe Norwood (SG – PG) of Rain or Shine, Jared Dillinger (PG – SG – F) of Talk ‘N Text, Jayjay Helterbrand (SG) of Barangay Ginebra, Cyrus Baguio (SG – F) of Red Bull, Mick Pennisi (SF – PF) of San Miguel Beer, Asi Taulava (C) of Coca-Cola, James Yap (SG) and Kerby Raymndo (PF) of Purefoods, Kelly Williams (F) and Ryan Reyes (SG) of Sta. Lucia Realty, Ranidel de Ocampo (F – C) and Arwind Santos (PF – C) of Air21, and Willie Miller (PG) and Sonny Thoss (C) of Alaska, with the possible inclusion of Japeth Aguilar, easily a 6’10 C-F should he have a good tryout come May, 2009.
Of these, there are 5 SGs, namely Norwood, Helterbrand, Yap, Baguio and Reyes. Only one true PG in Miller (although I think he plays SG in Alaska) and Norwood seems to be the closest backup. Norwood would be exciting to watch as he’d dominate anyone less than 6’2 at his position, while Miller looks like he’s got his work cut out for him.
And now, my arguments:
Ryan Reyes – I am not going to take anything away from Reyes. I thought the world of him when Sta. Lucia won last March, and I still mean every word. But let me be frank. We’re talking MacMac Cardona here. That’s 18.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.9 APG vs. 10.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 3.8 APG, and yes Ryan has 2.8 SPG vs. Cardona’s 0.9, but that has a lot to do with Cardona having Jimmy Alapag to handle things like that, and besides, Cardona’s choking defense back in the UAAP wars are still deeply imprinted in my mind.
James Yap – Yes, I am going to stoke fan fires deeper here and directly propose that MacMac should replace Yap. I mean, he’s injured isn’t he? He may be a fantastic one in a million talent, but something about him makes me think he’ll run when confronted with a challenge. Yes I’m alluding to that infamous incident and no I’m not gonna link the YouTube video anymore because frankly, everyone else has and I’m tired of it. Lets just say seeing him run like that is hard to forget.
MacMac is Da Man – Cardona is the kind of guy people hate because he has an air of (perceived or not) arrogance about him. That keeps him out of the inner circle of elite players in the PBA that are loved by the public because of their fan – friendliness. He is anything from friendly, with his swagger, his trash talking, and complete disregard of things going on around him during a game, which is actually just concentration. The lack of love from which I think, is where he gets that deep fire that burns him up, and burn strong it does. MacMac is the kind of unique player that doesn’t understand the word ‘lose’. I know you hear it all the time from TV commercials and fancy talking game announcers, but when things get tough, he really, actually gets tougher, and it becomes a rumble out there. This is one of the few guys I actually love to watch play. The guy’s mean, he’s tough and he’s rough. He’s no pretty boy and he’ll flat out win games for you. There is not a single doubt in my mind that if I were his teammate, come winning time I will give the rock to MacMac. I honestly can’t think of anyone else in the league I can say the same about.
He.Wants.It.Bad – The first time I saw the Phil. Team lineup 5 days ago, two things struck me: Where is MacMac?, and Where is Gary David? (which I’ll get to at a later post). I am therefore kicking myself for posting so late, because MacMac went ahead and expressed what he felt the best way he knew, by scoring an astonishing 42. I didn’t even watch that game, but I knew that was a statement nonetheless.
So if my assumption that he gets stoked up by being snubbed is correct, then he must be at his highest level of playing ability right now with this current one.
If there is anything that hurts players more, its not making the proverbial ‘Team’, and everyone knows the National Team is THE Team to be on. Being passed over has GOT to hurt. I don’t care how nice players are when they’re interviewed, saying ‘it’s ok’ and ‘I wish them well.’ and all that. With MacMac having one of the biggest egos and most amount of pride that I’ve seen on the court, it’s got to hurt him and hurt him bad.
I recognize however, that Coach Guiao is still the coach, and the ultimate decision maker at the end of the day. Coaches will always get the benefit of the doubt. It’s their team anyway, and they’re answerable for every win or loss so they obviously should know what they’re doing.
But call it fanhood, call it association to a fellow alumni, even call me biased for siding with a fellow Mandaluyong boy. MacMac is da man, and he – deserves – a – spot – on – the – National – Team. All I do is ask myself, in a tied game situation with the score even, who will I give the ball? Who’s got the balls to take it strong against defenders waiting for you with fists, elbows and knees ready to swing? Who’ll leave them dazed and confused with an indescribable and indefensible semi – hook – teardrop – whatever shot that looks like it has no chance, but is actually well practiced and very high percentage? Who will just get in there and fight, and I mean no turning back, fight to the floor with tooth and nail till their last drop of blood, completely slug it out?
Number 17, that’s who.