Thoughts During TNT vs. B-Meg Championship Last Night

Yeah I haven’t been following much of any basketball NBA or otherwise but I did manage to watch a few Commissioner’s Cup action in the past few days plus last night’s Game 7 Finale between TNT and B-Meg, with B-Meg winning out. My bullet points start somewhere in the 3rd quarter when I tuned in.

• James Yap should probably be a far more respected basketball superstar if it weren’t for the worn out Kris Aquino angle. As it is people cannot distinguish between Yap the PBA player and Yap the whatever – the – hell – it – is he did with Kris Aquino. There was a portion in the fourth when he made mincemeat of Fonacier’s single coverage and just barreled his way through to the hoop to score. Granted Fonacier isn’t a big body, but Yap seriously just had his way with the guy, belying a strong upper body and enough control to finish a jumper while harassed.

That’s the mark of a good player I don’t care what you say, including of course his 27 points last night and his eventual MVP, but do people pay enough attention to this? Nah, they’d rather pay attention to Kris Goddam Aquino. You gotta give the guy his due, really. He’s smart, hard – nosed, tough, built to take the punishment, and has an amazing technique spinning the ball with his huge hands for a sure three even under pressure. He’s a joy to watch if you care enough not to be distracted with the showbiz bullshit. Just try it.

• I’m wondering why not enough attention is being paid towards Donnel Harvey’s awesome ‘siete’ haircut. He’s pretty amazing btw, 11pt turnout last night and eventual fouling out notwithstanding. He’s big, strong, and plays with just as much energy after playing 40 minutes. I bet that guy can run a triathlon.

• After Harvey got his sixth I was amazed Denzel Bowles’ first shot was a fadeaway over the haplessly overwhelmed Ali Peek, when he should really just barrel his way in using his height and heft advantage, and the fact TnT wasn’t double teaming him was astounding (more on that later). Later on though he proved that he actually had a sweet stroke from 10 feet onwards and so I understood.

There’s few things as gratifying to watch as a big man with a good stroke, making him at least a double offensive threat. At only 23 years he should seriously line up a few NBA opportunities after his stint here. There’s always, ALWAYS a place for any team for a big guy that can shoot. The dynamics of an offensive pattern change dramatically once this happens, allowing offense options not just for themselves but stretching the defense for other guys too. I hope he keeps it up. And I love how they show pics of his mom (which they didn’t do last night though) whenever he does something of note. That lady doesn’t look like the type who’d take crap from her boy.

• Did I mention I couldn’t believe TnT wasn’t double teaming Bowles? Well, I couldn’t believe TnT wasn’t double teaming Bowles. Especially when he was getting hot and B-Meg was going exclusively for him. At that point, the thing to do in my mind is to keep the ball away from him and harass him to death if he had it. Just don’t let him score, no matter what, even if it means increased chances for the others to score. Then again there might have been miscommunication or whatever, with TnT’s depleted lineup the way it was.

• I was sure the headline was going to involve the ‘controversial’ foul called against Williams on Bowles, causing him to miss the game tying easy shot, but it was clear in my eyes that Williams pushed him. Any referee would have called that one quickly, dying seconds or not, and that’s exactly what happened.

I haven’t watched a freethrow to decide the game in a long long time, maybe as far back as two decades, because refs have long been trained to swallow their whistles during the final seconds. But Williams foul was really too hard to ignore. He had Bowles flying on the replay.

I therefore think that was a good call, which also happened to be the most pressure packed exciting free throws I’ve seen in a long long time. Zero seconds with Game 7 on the line of a long series and it all boiled down to two shots? You can’t write shit that good! That sorta thing would’ve stuck you your whole life if you had missed and I’m glad Bowles made them. The refs should also be happy he had two whole shots to make to tie, because if he shot two to win then all hell would’ve broken loose if they allowed a game to be decided by a freethrow.

• What amazes me above and beyond anything is how the PBA manages to consistently come up with a 7 game Finals.  I really wouldn’t know how to go about investigating whether something’s afoot, and I’d venture even less to tell anyone I think the games are rigged to go to 7 each and every time. So in absence of anything to contradict that I’ll just go ahead and say I’m happy for the PBA to be enjoying the success they’re enjoying.

May it result in more talented players forming and joining more teams, and especially more fans following the games, and more happiness like last night’s all around. A happy PBA means a happy fan base spending a lot of money, improving our economy. So transparency issues be damned, I was a happy camper last night. Considering I haven’t been having much of a basketball fix lately, I’ll take what I can get, and last night’s was good.