Almost two years ago today, the Burger King Whoppers and the Coca-Cola Tigers completed a trade involving Gary David and Alex Cabagnot (alongside throw-ins Chico Lanete and Wesley Gonzales). Now, these two players have been the biggest stars of the 2011-12 Philippine Cup playoffs. Funny how that works out.
1. Gary David (↔)
Gary David may or may not be the best player in the PBA right now, but after scoring at least 30 points in each of his last five games, one thing’s for certain: It’s a very valid argument.
2. Alex Cabagnot (↔)
Cabagnot had his worst game of the Petron-Talk ‘N Text series on Monday, but he also nailed the biggest shot. How big was the impact of his game-winner? The whole world was talking about it after the game.
3. Arwind Santos (↑ from #5)
Santos finally had his offensive explosion with 25 points in Game Three against the Tropang Texters, and it came at the right time for the Boosters, who were in danger of getting blown out in the first half. After the game, Ato Agustin said that anything they got out of Santos on offense was a bonus, because they depend on him to be the defensive anchor for the team. That’s a helluva bonus now, isn’t it?
4. Marcio Lassiter (↔)
Lassiter was miserable in the first game and sensational in the second; in the third game, he was just solid, and it was enough for Powerade to pull off the win. It’s the kind of effort he needs to sustain for the Tigers to pull off another upset in the semis.
5. Paul Lee (↓ from #3)
Sure, he committed a couple of crucial turnovers and bad fouls late in Game Three against Powerade, but it’s easy to forget that he’s a 22-year-old rookie. Besides, Rain or Shine wouldn’t even be in the game if Paul Lee hadn’t scored nine points in the fourth quarter, going mano y mano with Gary David. Here’s a more glaring stat: Lee shot 2-of-4 from the three-point line in the third game. The rest of his teammates? 1-of-24.
6. Danny Ildefonso (↑ from #8)
Don’t look now, but Ildefonso has quietly put together two stellar games for Petron. Danny I’s presence on the floor opens things up on offense for the Boosters, because he draws out Talk ‘N Text’s big guys, allowing their guards to run amok in the paint.
7. Doug Kramer (new entry)
His numbers are down in the semifinals, but Doug Kramer has been extra-valuable for the Powerade Tigers on defense. In a quiet adjustment in Game Three, the former Ateneo big man, who usually plays center for the team, switched to the power forward position to take advantage of Rain or Shine’s switching defense. The result: five valuable offensive rebounds for Kramer, which is good as gold for a game so tight that it went into overtime.
8. Denok Miranda (new entry)
Petron’s short backcourt rotation of Cabagnot, Miranda, and Joseph Yeo deserve medals for their performance in the semifinals. Despite having to play heavy minutes, they’ve managed to outplay their counterparts from Talk ‘N Text, who had a perceived disadvantage on paper prior to the series. And Miranda came up big for Petron in Game Three went Cabagnot was out of sync, scoring 20 points and getting name-checked by Chot Reyes after the game.
9. Jimmy Alapag (new entry)
That Jimmy Alapag has been Talk ‘N Text’s best guard in the past two games says just as much about the greatness of Mighty Mouse as it does about the poor play of his backcourt mates Jason Castro, Ryan Reyes, and Larry Fonacier.
10. Kelly Williams (↓ from #6)
The 2008 PBA Most Valuable Player had modest numbers in Game Three, because Ranidel de Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar both had good offensive games. But Williams was still the best defensive big man on the team, even though he has to produce much more for Talk ‘N Text to even its series versus Petron.
Dropping out: Larry Fonacier, Larry Rodriguez, Sean Anthony
- PBA Semis Player Power Rankings: Gary David back on top of the heap
- PBA Semis Player Power Rankings: Rain or Shine gunners take top spots
- Player Power Rankings: The PBA Philippine Cup Semifinals
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