Sports: Kampihan Na: TNT or B-Meg?
There is a basketball fan page on Facebook, the PBA_War_Zone Rambulan which has 2, 700 members as of Friday and which also includes some of my friends like Ralph Iris Muñoz Salonga, Rona Molacruz and Glenn Santos among others. The group page was especially created to cater to the whims and caprices of basketball-crazy fans all over the country.
Your Sideline Spectator became a member in March of the current year and yours truly even created two other basketball fan pages: the NBA Fanatics 101.5 with 5, 246 members as well as the PBA Kampihan! Na Fan Site which counts 4, 406 Philippine Basketball Association fanatics nationwide as of Friday.
These three groups were created for the purpose of converging all thoughts, ideas as well as biased stands of Facebook users by posting comments among National Basketball Association and PBA fans alike and yours truly plays an active part as member (Rambulan) and admin as well in the other two group pages just for the love of the game.
This Monday, reigning Commissioner’s Cup champion Talk ‘N Text battles B-Meg in Game 1 of their best-of-seven championship series over at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Games 2, 3 and 4 will be held on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, respectively while if necessary, Games 5, 6 and 7 will be played next week at a still to be disclosed venue granting there’ll be no sweep.
B-Meg took the first finals seat with a masterful 3-1 conquest of sister team Barangay Ginebra in their own semifinal battle as early as Tuesday while the Tropang Texters advanced to the conference finals for the fifth time in a row by edging out Barako Bull, 3-2, capped by a 101-90 triumph in Game 5 last Wednesday.
Talk ‘N Text will be aiming for a fourth PBA title in the last five conferences as well as the franchise’ sixth overall (not counting TNT’s 1998 Centennial Cup win) against the Llamados. TNT also won last season’s Second Conference diadem over the Kings in six games behind Jimmy Alapag and import Paul Harris.
As for B-Meg, this marks the first time that the Llamados would advance to the finals under new mentor Tim Cone’s tutelage with the ballclub shooting for the team’s eighth PBA title since joining the league in 1988 as the Purefoods Hotdogs quintet. Cone is also aspiring for his 14th PBA championship trophy after winning 13 titles while still calling the shots for Alaska.
Man for man, TNT and B-Meg are almost of the same depth with the Tropang Texters rated slightly better than the Llamados in terms of height and heft. However, Coach Chot Reyes is still on the process of finding an antidote to B-Meg import Denzel Bowles’ inside presence as the Llamados reinforcement enjoys a few inches when it comes to height advantage over TNT’s Donnell Harvey.
In their lone elimination round meeting last February 29 at the Big Dome, the Tropang Texters bested the Llamados, 102-96, as Jayson Castro scored 22, Ranidel de Ocampo added 19 and Kelly Williams chipped in 17 markers for the TNT win despite the absence of original import Omar Samhan due to an injury and the ejection of Reyes in that particular game.
TNT ended up its classification phase campaign with a 7-2 win-loss record having lost to Air21 and Ginebra before scoring a come-from-behind 3-2 semifinal series triumph against Junel Baculi’s Barako Bull Energy in a bloody encounter of sorts. Taking nasty cuts were De Ocampo, Williams, Harvey Carey and Barako’s Mick Pennisi in TNT’s duel with the Energy.
Harvey will lead TNT’s offensive arsenal with his 19.45 points per outing including almost 17 caroms per game and 1.45 steals while among the locals, the top performers are Castro (14.62 ppg), De Ocampo (13.07 ppg), Larry Fonacier (11.5 ppg), Jared Dillinger (10.93 ppg) and Alapag (10.36 ppg).
For the Llamados, Bowles is tops in scoring (25.12 ppg), rebounding (11.88 rpg) as well as in blocks (1.59 bpg) with guard Josh Urbiztondo leading B-Meg in assists (3.42 apg) and in the steals department (1.12 spg). Only James Yap, Peter June Simon and Joe Devance are averaging in double figures for the team though.
So, ‘kampihan na!’. Are you for TNT or are you for B-Meg? Defense or offense? Take sides....
Belated birthday greetings to Atty Elnora Abaygar last Friday, April 20...*
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