GLOBALPORT Batang Pier is poised to chase league-leaders San Miguel Beermen, Alaska Aces and Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters into the semifinals of the 2015-2016 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup.
Basketball experts uniformly picked San Miguel Beer and the other San Miguel Corporation teams Barangay Ginebra and Star Hotshots as well as MVP group of companies flagship team Talk N Text Tropang texters to be title contenders this conference.
San Miguel Beer has won two of three PBA titles up for grabs last season, so it’s really not surprising to see them at the top of the standings now.
Somehow Alaska and Rain Or Shine have barged into title contention again bucking the odds and experts’ predictions which is what they’ve been regularly doing these past years.
The fourth team likely to contend for the Philippine Cup title by advancing to the semifinals is GlobalPort.
Star player Terrence Romeo, who gives the PBA the closest approximation of a Steph Curry level player right down to the pre-game routine of dribbling two basketballs at once, is at forefront of GlobalPort’s high octane offense.
Romeo can shoot the lights out from anywhere on the playing court. But more than just his uncanny shooting ability Romeo relies on quickness and creativity to create for himself or for his teammates.
Romeo doesn’t rely on just blazing speed and athleticism. He is more dangerous because of his unpredictability, whether it’s driving to the hole off the dribble, drilling the open outside shot or converting a contested mid-range jumper.
While Romeo is a point-making machine Stanley Pringle’s steady all around playmaking is just as important to GlobalPort’s offense. Pringle not only scores he sets the offense and helps his teammates score.
He is also a stalwart defender who is strong, athletic and tenacious at the defensive end.
Then there’s Joseph Yeo who provides a steady option off the bench at either guard position. Yeo can orchestrate the offense when needed and is as versatile a scorer as Romeo.
Two talented big men in Jay Washington and Billy Mamaril give GlobalPort size, heft and skill upfront. Washington is versatile scoring forward who can put the ball on the floor to drive, post up and overwhelm defenders with his size or even hit from the outside with his accurate outside shooting.
Mamaril is probably the most underrated player in the PBA right now. He is strong, athletic and talented. He doesn’t like to score much but instead focuses on collecting rebounds and shutting down or at least limiting the production of his counterpart, whoever he may be, on the floor. He can also score by hitting open jumpers.
Oh, and he likes to hit people on the sly often for no reason at all.
Then there are the big bruisers off the bench like Dorian Pena, Doug Kramer and Mark Isip who provide the muscle and the bone-jarring fouls when needed.
Finally, there is the blood-and-guts coach Pido Jarencio who is not only bald like Yeng Guiao but who is also as much a throwback coach as the Elasto Painters’ mentor.
Like Guiao, Jarencio is not much of an Xs and Os type coach. He has assistants to do that. Like Guiao, Jarencio focuses on motivating his players whether it’s by cajoling them to give their best or berating them for making mistakes.
Yes, GlobalPort may have lost to a short-handed Tropang Texters squad recently. But that was a no-bearing game because, win or lose, GlobalPort had already made it to the quarterfinals with a twice-to-beat advantage to boot.
The Batang Pier may not have the deepest bench. They may not be the best PBA team in either defense or offense but GlobalPort has some of the most hard-working and motivated players out there on the hardcourt.
They are legitimate title contenders.
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