And nobody does it better

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And nobody does it better

Post by betterhalf on Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:35 pm

And nobody does it better

The PBA's Knicks-era Isaiah Thomas?
Or so he said.

There was a time when one Noli Eala was hailed as the savior of Philippine basketball-- the guy who will carry the torch after the great commissioner Jun Bernardino and those before him into the new millennium. But tragedy struck and the world came crashing down on the former prosecutor. We won't judge him for his actions off the basketball court, this is not what we stand for at KiliKiliShot.Com. We will however, judge his past and current actions as one of the driving forces for the San Miguel Corporation's basketball teams competing in the PBA.

Has time passed Eala? Sure, he can still get the biggest names in the market-- but that's more of having the endless financial support and blessings of mogul Ramon S. Ang more than anything. He built the Liga Pilipinas which helped see an end to the PBL. He was a regular and integral part of the SMART Gilas basketball program-- although he was adamant about trying to create it as a separate entity from the PBA going as far as saying that they don't need the league's help (well, they were going nowhere fast before the PBA reinforcements and Marcus Douthit came along we'll tell you that).

Under the San Miguel fold, Eala's biggest move was to haul in elite national players such as Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter, L.A. Tenorio among other big names in the sport. There was also the shrewd signing of Hall of Fame coach Tim Cone who was probably promised the moon (as well as a real shot in winning several more titles with superstar rosters of his choosing). Really, if there's a big talent out in the market that's not under lock and key by the Manny V. Pangilinan group, expect Eala to come swooping in with a trade or free agent signing if only to bolster Ginebra/ Petron/ San Mig Coffee-- chemistry be damned.

Now, we're seeing the guys that Eala had a hand in signing and dealing away shining with other teams-- most of which are on the Air21 Express roster (Ginebra's Mike Cortez, John Wilson and Nino Canaleta and Petron's Noy Baclao and Rob Reyes). These guys aren't borderline household names or superstars, but they do enough on the court to fill in the gaps that stars don't/ won't do like hustle, make the extra pass or sacrifice their bodies for picks and boxing out.

Petron's loaded with superstar names, but only the aging frontline duo of Dorian Pena and Danny Ildefonso would really be willing to set sturdy screens if it would ensure team victory (and maybe Denok Miranda, if anyone over at Petron would bother to really stop and realize that he's the team's BEST SET-UP PG). Who's to blame? Well, the guy who brought the pieces altogether, Isaiah Thomas-New York Knicks style.

Ditto with Ginebra, too many wings running around the floor with only one legit PG to run the show. They'll probably get into game shape soon, and guys won't be running around like headless chickens come second conference, but you can't expect Tenorio to keep carrying the brunt of the offensive sets for them. Not when he's coming off a busy off-season playing for SMART Gilas. Dude's going to burn himself out by semifinals. And Jayjay Helterbrand is old.

The only team that's really working or clicking for Eala is San Mig Coffee. And that's more of Cone's stabilizing touch rather than anything Eala brings to the table. That team is Cone's the minute they traded guys like Kerby Raymundo and Josh Urbiztondo to other teams. To hell with superstar, Fantastic Fours or Fives-- it's all about chemistry with Coach Cone so there's that.

So really, has Eala's time as a basketball prodigy run its course? Is he looking at the whole thing from a flawed perspective (get the best players, let them work it out on the court, if all else fails, dupe a cash-strapped team into trading its best player)? Only time can tell. All we know is that, right now, 2 of his 3 teams are on a downward spiral because of the guys he chose to put together.

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