After four games, we’ve got two distinctly-flavored playoff matchups. Want fun and gun action? Then tune in to Powerade versus Rain or Shine. If old school defensive combat is more your thing, then Petron Blaze versus Talk ‘N Text is our prescription. Here are the players to watch in both brackets:
1. Gary David (↑ from #4)
You know the old axiom Defense wins championships? Well, Powerade coach Bo Perasol doesn’t believe in that. “We are not a very good team in making stops but I know we can make the shots. We have to do the best we can on offense,” he told InterAKTV. It may seem like heresy, but the Tigers are only three games away from the finals. And with Gary David leading the way — four straight games with at least 30 points — Perasol may yet be right.
2. Alex Cabagnot (↑ from #5)
Cabagnot has been an absolute killer for Petron Blaze, and we feel that he should even get extra points for degree of difficulty. Not only does he play heavy minutes as part of Petron’s short backcourt rotation — they play just three men, with Axel Doruelo getting spot minutes — he also has to deal with big, tough guards from Talk ‘N Text.
3. Paul Lee (↓ from #1)
We did say he was due for a hot shooting outing, and Lee is shooting 70% from the three-point line in the semis. He probably won’t be able to keep that up, but if he’s proved anything in the series, it’s that he’s a total gamer.
4. Marcio Lassiter (re-entry)
Lassiter would probably be higher up this list if it weren’t for his opening game stinker. He had a career game in Powerade’s Game Two victory, and he’s got to keep playing like that for Powerade to keep in step with Rain or Shine.
5. Arwind Santos (↑ from #7)
He still hasn’t had a great offensive performance, but Santos has been Petron’s rock on defense. He’s shooting just 35% from the field, but he’s averaging 16.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, and 1.5 steals over two games. Talk ‘N Text better hope he doesn’t find his touch in this series, or else the Tropang Texters are in big trouble.
6. Kelly Williams (↔)
Williams is the biggest reason Santos hasn’t had an offensive explosion yet. When you consider that the 2008 Most Valuable Player actually plays fewer minutes than his Petron counterpart, you could actually argue that they’ve battled to a draw so far when it comes to production.
7. Larry Rodriguez (↑ from #8)
Rodriguez has had double-doubles in both games against Powerade, and while his numbers are a bit inflated — his scoring and rebounding are up because of the pace of the teams — he has proven to be the best (read:only) traditional post player in the series.
8. Danny Ildefonso (new entry)
It was Ildefonso’s turn to step up for Petron, after Rob Reyes’ career game in the opener. Beyond his game-saving corner jumper late in Game Two, he also posted a double-double and added five assists. Plus, he’s a threat to score from the perimeter, which is key to Petron’s strategy in posting up Talk ‘N Text’s guards, particularly Jimmy Alapag.
9. Sean Anthony (new entry)
Anthony’s rebounding in Game Two earned him comparisons to Rudy Hatfield, and his crucial block on Rodriguez saved the victory for the Tigers. The Anthony-Rodriguez matchup is secretly the most fun duel in the series.
10. Larry Fonacier (↓ from #3)
Fonacier leads Talk ‘N Text in scoring in the series, but failed to make a three-pointer in Game Two. Still, Chot Reyes kept him in the game until the end, because he needs the former Rookie of the Year to remain a three-point threat to open driving lanes for other guards.
Dropping out: Jeff Chan (#2), Rob Reyes (#9), Jason Castro (#10)
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