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Mar 5, 2014
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Pinoy hoop nuts, this might come as a shock to you but today is the official start of the 2014 PBA Commissioner's Cup. Yes, halos isang linggo lang ang pahinga!

It's been only six days since the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers bagged a record sixth Philippine Cup championship. This time however we'll be seeing a twist in the proceedings in the form of towering imports.

And with the Commissioner's Cup at hand, one name comes to mind: Renaldo Balkman. Still remember him choking Arwind Santos with one hand? The video below should jog your memory:

                                    

As a preview of things to come, we asked one important, all-encompassing question for each team that would pretty much discuss their chances this conference. And since imports are around once again, we also rate their, uhm, volatility through The Balkman Meter! The more "choking," the higher the possibility the import will go bananas (and doom his team)!


GLOBALPORT BATANG PIER: WILL COACH PIDO BE A GOOD FIT?

pba commissioners cupImage credit: Spin.ph

The team is undoubtedly full of potential, with marquee rookies like RR Garcia, Nico Salva, and Terrence Romeo. The problem is their inconsistency, not to mention inexperience when it comes to the playoffs (see last conference's quarterfinals exit). Will the addition of new head coach Pido Jarencio (who replaced Ritchie Ticzon), a former PBA player and a champion coach with the UST Growling Tigers, bring much-needed stability and experience? We'll see by the end of the conference, but we're thinking it's a step in the right direction.

IMPORT: Evan Brock, 6'9
2013 Commissioner's Cup stats:
21.2 points, 16 rebounds, 1.4 blocks per game

                                   

Balik-import Evan Brock is the epitome of a true workhouse. He won't wow you with crossovers or mala-Tim Duncan post moves, but he'll do the dirty work in terms of getting boards and providing tough interior D.

Will he do a Balkman? He plays rugged, but based on his past PBA stint, he also plays it cool, not minding the constant hacking he gets in the paint.

The Balkman Meter:pba commissioners cup


AIR 21 EXPRESS: WILL THE DLSU CONNECTION FINALLY PAY DIVIDENDS?

pba commissioners cupImage credit: Spin.ph

You might as well call Air 21 the PBA's DLSU Green Archers. Not only does the team have five former Green Archers (Ren-Ren Ritualo, Mac Cardona, Simon Atkins, Joseph Yeo, and Carlos Sharma), the head coach, Franz Pumaren, is also the architect of La Salle's four-peat (from 1998 to 2001). However, Coach Franz's success in the collegiate ranks hasn't translated to the pro league. Let's see if this will change this conference.

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IMPORT: Hervé Lamizana, 6'10
2013 Chinese Basketball Association stats:
13.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks per game

                                   

A tall and lean former Ivory Coast national team player, Lamizana has impressive hops and shot-blocking skills that makes him an intimidating low-post presence.

Will he do a Balkman? As the clip above suggests, Hervé is a bit fond of showboating. May maasar sa kanya, for sure. However, we think the 33-year-old won't go beyond showing his cockiness. After all, he wouldn't be a well-travelled baller (with stints in countries like China, South Korea, and Israel) if he had a penchant for blowing his top.

The Balkman Meter:pba commissioners cup


BARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA: WILL THE MANONG BRIGADE BE GOOD FOR ONE MORE RUN?

pba commissioners cupImage credit: Spin.ph

Barako Bull is a team known for its ageless veterans. You've got the likes of Willie Miller, Dorian Peña, Mick Pennisi, and Willy Wilson—all of whom are 34 and above—forming the so-called "Manong Brigade." Aching knees, diminishing quickness and all, their success will depend on how much is left in their tank. Can they still play topnotch ball? And another equally-important question: Will Mick Pennisi do another YouTube-worthy flop? Cross your fingers!

                                   

IMPORT: Joshua Dollard, 6'7
Finland Korisliga 2013 stats:
20.7 points, 8 rebounds, 1.2 steals per game

                                   

The 27-year-old Dollard is a big man that can light it up from the rainbow territory. He's also has decent rebounding skills, which should be magnified here in our league of 6'6" centers

Will he do a Balkman? We didn't find any news or clips showing Dollard involved in a brawl or on-court melee. We found this however: a report that says he was dismissed from the University of Auburn basketball team where he played college ball. The reason? He violated the university's athletic policy. Exact details aren't provided but this doesn't look good for his résumé.

The Balkman Meter:pba commissioners cup

NEXT: Let's take a look at the defending champs!


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