The Philippines' Best

Ladies and gentlemen, your best players for the PBA season:

Most Valuable Player — James Yap, Purefoods Chunkee Giants
Rookie of the Year — Larry Fonacier, Red Bull Barako
Most Improved Player — Marc Pingris, Purefoods Chunkee Giants
Sportsmanship Award — Tony de la Cruz, Alaska Aces
Mr. Energy — Topex Robinson, Red Bull Barako

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It's Purefoods vs. Red Bull, Part Deux

“Knockout Sunday” is finally over. Pacquiao has dispatched Larios, and the Chunkee Giants and Barako have followed suit, defeating their rivals in riveting matches to advance to the PBA Finals.

The Purefoods cagers escaped with the skin of their teeth as they held off the Alaska Aces, 90-89, to complete an astounding comeback from a 3-1 series deficit. The Giants won the last three games of the series in close fashion. A PBA article describes the situation quite nicely:

It was a painful loss for Tim Cone, who had the Finals within his reach after the Aces took 2-0 and 3-1 leads in the series.

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PBA News: Two Sudden Death Matches in One Day!

What more can you ask for? A double whammy Sunday!

Actually, it’s a triple whammy. In just a few hours, the whole archipelago will be conquered by the Pacquiao vs. Larios boxing match. A few hours after that, basketball will again make sports fans’ hearts palpitate wildly as four teams battle it out one last time for the chance to barge into the PBA Finals. It’s Purefoods vs. Alaska and San Miguel vs. Red Bull — all Game Sevens.

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PBA: The Quarterfinals

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).

PBA News: Purefoods Gets 500th Franchise Win

By defeating the suddenly Ritualo-less Air 21 Express, 93-86, in this night’s double-header, the Purefoods Chunkee Giants joined an elite group of PBA teams with at least 500 wins tucked under their belts. Ginebra, Alaska, and San Miguel are the other three franchises in the said group.

Read more here.

Giants Prevail in Possible Finals Preview

Now for some local basketball news…

The Purefoods Chunkee Giants downed the erstwhile league-leading San Miguel Beermen, 82-75, in a match-up of the possible Finals contenders. The Giants stopped the Beermen’s scorching seven-game winning streak, and extended their own streak to four.

The season series between the two teams is now tied 1-1, as the Beermen beat the Giants 93-77 in their first outing. The two teams are now locked at the number one spot in the standings with identical 9-3 slates. The two teams are running away from the rest of the pack, but the PBA season is far from over, and we all know that weird things always happen in the playoffs.