Player trade, ace rookies to level pro league's field
MANILA, Philippines - Talk n Text and Rain or Shine remain awesome with their intact champion rosters but top-rate trade deals and draft jackpots by other clubs could well effect a major shakeup in the order of finish of the 10 PBA teams last season.
Alaska Milk, Air21, Barako Bull and Meralco present new looks and challenges while Petron Blaze, San Mig Coffee and Barangay Ginebra have beefed up their respective rosters as the 38th PBA season comes off the wraps Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jayvee Casio forms a triumvirate with Cyrus Baguio and Sonny Thoss at Alaska; Rico Villanueva, Sean Anthony, Jason Ballesteros, Roger Yap, Josh Urbiztondo, Dave Marcelo and Lester Alvarez inject Barako Bull new blood as replacements to Willie Miller, Sunday Salvacion, Carlo Sharma, Don Allado and Jimbo Aquino while Cliff Hodge, Ronjay Buenafe, Kelly Nabong, Sharma and Salvacion are the new faces at Meralco in its post-Asi Taulava days.
Junmar Fajardo and Alex Mallari provide Petron added inside presence and backcourt smarts, LA Tenorio brings his backcourt leadership and experience over to Ginebra while Aldrech Ramos and Jewel Ponferada make San Mig Coffee a complete team.
All these off-season wheeling and dealing could well spark a shift in the balance of power in the league dominated by Talk n Text in the last two years.
Talk n Text continued to be the most dominant team last year, logging 40 wins against 22 defeats through three conferences.
B-Meg was second at 38-24, followed by Rain or Shine (31-22), Ginebra (26-19), Petron (23-23), Meralco (21-23), Powerade (22-27), Barako Bull (18-24), Alaska Milk (11-24) and Air21 (5-27).
Talk n Text, under new coach Norman Black, opted not to make any change in its lineup while Rain or Shine gave up just one player in Ronjay Buenafe and took in as replacement former Smart Gilas skipper Chris Tiu.
Here’s the complete team rosters:
Air21: John Wilson, Nelbert Omolon, Eric Salamat, Nonoy Baclao, KG Canaleta, Ogie Menor, Mark Isip, Renren Ritualo, Wynne Arboleda, Rob Reyes, James Sena, Yousif Taha, Simon Atkins.
Alaska: Nic Belasco, Sam Eman, Cyrus Baguio, Joachim Thoss, Mac Baracael, Paolo Bugia, Brandon Cablay, Dondon Hontiveros, Gabby Espinas, RJ Jazul, Tony dela Cruz, Jayvee Casio, Eddie Laure, Raphael Reyes.
Barako Bull: Celino Cruz, Josh Urbiztondo, Lester Alvarez, Reil Cervantes, Roger Yap, Leo Najorda, Jason Ballesteros, Doug Kramer, Sean Anthony, Enrico Villanueva, Danny Seigle, Ronald Tubid, Mick Pennisi, David Marcelo.
Barangay Ginebra: Billy Mamaril, LA Tenorio, Rico Maierhofer, Mike Cortez, Jayjay Helterbrand, Allein Maliksi, Kerby Raymundo, Elmer Espiritu, Willy Wilson, Dylan Ababou, Mark Caguioa, Rudy Hatfield, Chris Ellis, Keith Jensen.
Global Port: Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Rudy Lingganay, Jondan Salvador, Rey Francis Guevara, Marvin Cruz, Romel Adducul, Willie Miller, Mark Yee, Gary David, Joshua Vanlandingham, Angelus Raymundo, Vic Manuel, Alfred Mandani, Jason Deutchman.
Meralco: Sunday Salvacion, Carlo Sharma, Reynel Hugnatan, Mark Borboran, Gilbert Bulawan, Mark Cardona, Paul Artadi, Ronjay Buenafe, Chris Ross, Sol Mercado, Kelly Nabong, Clifford Hodge
Petron Blaze: Dennis Miranda, Chris Lutz, Dorian Pena, Alex Cabagnot, Danny Ildefonso, Jojo Duncil, Marcio Lassiter, Magi Sison, Joseph Yeo, Jay Washington, Chico Lanete, Arwind Santos, June Mar Fajardo, Alex Mallari.
Rain or Shine: Jonathan Uyloan, Paul Lee, Larry Rodriguez, Jireh Ibanes, Gabe Norwood, Tyrone Tang, Jeff Chan, Ryan Arana, Jervy Cruz, Chito Jaime, Beau Belga, Ronnie Matias, JR Quinahan, Chris Tiu.
San Mig Coffee: Wesley Gonzales, Jonas Villanueva, Rafi Reavis, Peter June Simon, JC Intal, Andy Mark Barroca, James Yap, Jerwin Gaco, Chris Pacana, Marc Pingris, Joe DeVance, Yancy de Ocampo, Jewel Ponferada, Aldrech Ramos.
Talk ‘N Text: Jimmy Alapag, Riego Gamalinda, Ryan Reyes, Larry Fonacier, Pamboy Raymundo, Jayson Castro, Gilbert Lao, Harvey Carey, Kelly Williams, Ranidel de Ocampo, Ali Peek, Jared Dillinger, Richard Alvarez, Aaron Aban.