PBA Fastbreak: Air21 delivers, while Texters click past Beermen

 

The Best: Herve Lamizana is really known more for his defense than his offense, but in this game, he showed how he can actually excel in both departments. The Ivory Coast national player put the clamps on Barako Bull’s prolific scorer, Josh Dollard, and dropped 30 markers of his own as the Express won their second game in three tries. Lamizana shot 50% from the field and 11/15 from the line to finish with his first 30-point output of the conference. He also added 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 steal in an impressive showing. Perhaps the most important thing he did, however, was showing up Dollard, who, prior to this game, averaged more than 44 points per outing for the Energy Cola.

The Worst: Against the Express, Dollard struggled to put the ball in the basket, shooting just 4/16 from the field as Lamizana covered him all night and the other Air 21 cagers helped out when he got a bit of daylight. Dollard also didn’t do much else offensively, as he recorded 0 assists and had 7 turnovers. He did pull down 9 boards, but that did little to stem the tide as Air 21 ran roughshod all over Barako Bull.

Here comes Aldrech Ramos!: The former Gilas pool and FEU standout had a great game for Air 21, making all 4 of his three-point shots on his way to 17 points in just 20 minutes of burn time. In addition, Ramos also grabbed 3 rebounds and even blocked 3 shots, helping the Express solidify their unexpected rout of the Energy Cola. Ramos is expected to be one of the main forwards for coach Franz Pumaren, so if he becomes consistent with this kind of play, then no team can count the Express out. 

The Best: When Richard Howell shoots 57% from the field, grabs 20 rebounds (11 on the offensive glass), dishes out 4 assists, and steals the ball 4 times, I doubt if any team in the PBA can stop the Tropang Texters. The NC State alum was just all over the place here, giving new SMB import and former Cleveland Cavalier Kevin Jones a rude welcome. Howell is wasting no time proving just how great an acquisition he is for TNT, which hopes to bounce back big time after failing to defend its Philippine Cup crown in the previous conference. The Texters are on top of the heap at 3-0. 

The Worst: Two names made a lot of noise heading into this game — the aforementioned Jones and fresh-fron-injury June Mar Fajardo. Jones, despite the loss, got his numbers — 35 points on 16/27 FG shooting, 13 boards, and 2 blocks. He was, at least on an individual level, better than previous import Josh Boone, but the former failed at what the latter did twice — get a W. Of course, part of the blame can be pinned on Fajardo, too. The 6-foot-10 juggernaut of a human being played just 22 minutes, shooting just 2/5 from the field to score a pedestrian 7 points. Oh, but his most noticeable contribution were his flailing elbows and his 6 personal fouls. Yes, folks, the Kracken had 6 fouls in 22 minutes. Tsk tsk.

No Black? No problem!: For a while there, I thought the Texters might actually lose another coach, as assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga also got a T from the officials. It’s a good thing his wards hang tough, though, as TNT pulled out a great win in generally convincing fashion. This despite coach Norman Black being ejected in the third period. Even without their bemedaled head tactician, TNT was able to weather the storm thanks to great shooting and leadership from its veterans, namely Jimmy Alapag and Ranidel De Ocampo. Alapag hit some key triples to finish with 18 markers while fellow Gilas Pilipinas teammate Ranidel De Ocampo also did well, scoring 16 points. - Rappler.com