|Roider Cabrera and Vince Fran battle for a rebound while Joshua Webb looks on. Pic by Nuki Sabio.|
I have to admit that I don’t follow the D-League that much simply because there isn’t enough time in the day to do all of that.
Today I went to check out the match between Boracay Rum and Arellano-Air21 Express. The former had a 1-5 record while the latter chalked up one win to four losses.
Arellano-Air21 had some players that were reinforcements for this mostly Chiefs team – former Ateneo Team B forward-center Vince Fran, De La Salle Green Archer small forward Joshua Webb and power forward center Jovet Mendoza, and former Let ran Knight Jam Cortes. I wondered how they fit into this squad.
The Chiefs led by five points by midway of the second period but The Waves’ Stephen Siruma scored eight points to cut the lead to one, 37-36.
Both squads don’t seem to have any quality centers maybe except for Jam Cortes but he didn’t looked like the Cortes I knew in his fourth year with Letran (during his final year, he struggled big time). The athleticism, the strength and his power inside the lane weren’t there. I know I am looking at it on the basis of one game but I have never seen him not have an impact on a game. In 17 minutes, he missed all six of his field goals. He did pull down five boards though.
In contrast, Fran, who wasn’t able to make it to the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ UAAP Team and instead languished on Team B, played better in spite of looking like he was lacking in fitness and game shape.
Fran scored seven points and pulled down seven rebounds including four off the offensive boards. He was tied with John Bangga for the team lead in rebounds. He also had one assist (a key one in a last ditch rally) and two blocks.
Webb, I had to do a double take because he was wearing blue (not to mention Arellano University plastered in front). He still wore his green kicks though.
When I look at Joshua, he isn’t the same player who had a phenomenal rookie year under Franz Pumaren. After that, especially with all the coaching changes, he was benched and his confidence went down.
He tried his best in this game but was whistled for two silly fouls that aren’t fouls in any book. In 14 minutes of play, he tallied six points on 3-5 shooting and hauled down four boards and issued one assist.
Mendoza played three minutes after which he went out with an injury (I am not sure what kind of injury as it happened right before I arrived at the game).
Arellano drew big points from Levi Hernandez and Jack Arquero in the fourth period, but their defensive lapses and inability to stop Roider Cabrera from hitting two big triples and a jumper that put a huge damper their rally. But what ultimately killed Arellano’s chances was that game saving block on an undergoal stab by Fran off a nifty drop by Jiovani Jalalon with under 45 seconds to play. The Waves led 69-63 at that point. They added two more points in a 71-63 come-from-behind win (they took control midway in the third period).
Boracay Rum got a huge win to move up to 2-5 while Arellano-Air21 fell to 1-5. Their season of futility slightly better (if you can call it that) their PBA brethren that is at 0-5.
I think it hurts Arellano-Air21 that they lack a quality point guard. They have Rocky Acidre but he isn’t playing well and Jalalon is just too error prone to provide stability at the position. No questioning their guts but when the going gets tough they need to provide leadership. I got the feeling that their roles aren’t even defined. They could sure use a guy like Nard Pinto who is the Chiefs’ floor general in NCAA play but he is suiting up for the Cagayan Valley rising Suns.
I guess it is like this when you’re at the bottom.