There’s been an overload of PBA action in the past two days, with Rain or Shine defanging Powerade and Talk ‘N Text surviving Petron Blaze in their respective series openers. Here are the players who’ve been stellar for their teams.
1. Paul Lee (↑ from #6)
We noted in the first installment of our Power Rankings that Lee, who was shooting miserably from the three-point line prior to the series, was due for a breakout. And break out he did, nailing 4-of-6 from beyond the arc on his way to a career-high 25 points. But beyond the hot shooting, it’s been his ability to draw fouls that has made him special this conference. Once he started driving to the basket in the third quarter, Rain or Shine was able to change the flow of the game.
2. Jeff Chan (↑ from #10)
Lee got the No. 1 spot over Chan, but just barely, because Lee scored 22 of his 25 points in the second half. But the former FEU forward was brilliant all game for Rain or Shine en route to 27 points on five three-pointers. If there was an award for “Best Allan Caidic Impersonation,” Chan would win it hands down.
3. Larry Fonacier (new entry)
For most of the conference, Talk ‘N Text was able to rely on Larry Fonacier to be a solid backcourt man, as the former Ateneo sharpshooter was one of the few players on the lineup healthy enough to play all of their games. He was more than just solid on Thursday night, peppering Petron Blaze with 22 points on five three-pointers.
4. Gary David (↓ from #1)
David was still en fuego in Powerade’s opener against Rain or Shine, scoring 30 points or more for the third straight game. He was stellar, but he needs more help from his teammates for the Tigers to compete with the Elasto Painters.
5. Alex Cabagnot (↑ from #8)
If Petron was able to steal Game One from Talk ‘N Text, Cabagnot would probably be No. 1 on this list today. The long-haired backcourt sentinel fueled a furious rally for the Boosters in the fourth quarter after being held scoreless in the first half. Expect him to be more aggressive early on in Petron’s next game.
6. Kelly Williams (↑ from #7)
His numbers — 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go with seven rebounds — may seem modest, but Williams was instrumental on the defensive end for Talk ‘N Text, not just against Arwind Santos but as a help-side defender for the Tropang Texters. Also, with the return of Ali Peek and Ranidel de Ocampo, he actually played fewer minutes than usual, which will probably help him over the course of the series.
7. Arwind Santos (↓ from #3)
Arwind Santos had, by his standards, a miserable game against Talk ‘N Text. But that didn’t stop him from putting up ridiculous numbers — 10 points and 20 (!) rebounds. Imagine when he has a good game.
8. Larry Rodriguez (new entry)
Larry Rodriguez got away with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and for many stretches of Rain or Shine’s match against Powerade, he looked like the best post player on the floor. Can he keep it up for the rest of the series?
9. Rob Reyes (new entry)
In 2009, Talk ‘N Text drafted three straight players in the first round. Two of those players are still with the team: No. 2 pick Jared Dillinger and No. 3 pick Jason Castro. The No. 4 pick? Rob Reyes, who had a career game of 18 points and 15 rebounds against his old team. Think he’s a bit inspired?
10. Jason Castro (↓ from #2)
Castro scored just 10 points for Talk ‘N Text, but he still had a big impact on the game, as he was always a threat throughout. With Jimmy Alapag reportedly injured again, expect The Blur to fill an even bigger role for the team.
Dropping out: Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz, JVee Casio
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