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Feb 8, 2013
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I’ve found that few things light up a man’s face more than the prospect of basketball and liquor. Thus I’ve decided to combine the two in the guise of a preview of the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup, hoping to subliminally sneak beverage alternatives into my male readers’ minds.

Don’t get me wrong. Jack-Coke, Scotch and beer are great (they even make appearances in this article, and whiskey kicks off my list) but having an occasional sophisticated cocktail and a “Whoo!” girl-type shooter won’t make you less of a man. I bet there’s even plus points in it if you can make a mean martini for your lady after reading this.

So sit back, put your feet up, and let’s toast to the conference to come. (Disclaimer: the teams are not listed according to any arrangement.)

No frills
Drink:
Whiskey

How to serve: Neat.
Team Equivalent: Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters



Saying the Tropang Texters work as a team is like declaring that water can get you wet.  Even a coaching change at the start of this season did nothing to faze them, as proven by their perfunctory slaughter of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters during the recent Philippine Cup Finals.

They are the only team to which the addition of Rabeh Al-Husseini is an advantage because—let’s face it—if Norman Black can’t keep the former King Eagle consistently interested in putting his skills to good use, no one can.

That’s why the team is like straight-up whiskey: it’s not everyone’s favorite drink and, to the uninitiated, it can take some getting used to. But no one can deny that both the drink and the Texters get the job done with no frills, no spills, and no gimmicks. And although they did get 6’11” import Keith Benson to boost them in the youth department, age and experience remain some of Talk N’ Text’s greatest weapons—just as the quality of whiskey improves the longer it stays in the barrel.

So yes, we can expect the Tropang Texters will be their usual monster selves come the Commissioner’s Cup.

Flavor of the month
Drink:
Strawberry Margarita

How to serve: 
1 oz. tequila
½ oz. Triple Sec
5-6 strawberries (depending on the size of the glass)
1 oz. lime or lemon juice
Sugar

Rim a margarita glass with sugar. Combine all other ingredients in a blender with ice until smooth. Pour into glass and garnish with strawberries or lime wedges, if desired.

Team Equivalent: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters



I did some research and found that flavored cocktails experienced a popularity surge in 2012. The report didn’t say why, but I’d guess it’s because everyone likes some extra zest in his usual drink once in a while. That zing is what, for a few conferences, Rain or Shine brought to the table and had fans crowding the venues to watch them play: an endless supply of three-pointers, rough and tumble plays, energy all over the place.

Then came the Finals and their painful performance against Talk N’ Text. The question for the Elasto Painters this conference is whether or not they’ll let that series dictate the rest of their season. Have they settled for being flavor of the month? Or is the strawberry margarita on its way to becoming a cocktail classic?

I’m hoping for the latter, and not just because I like the idea of strawberries and tequila together. Most of these guys will be the future of the PBA and their success as players reflects on the league. As for this conference, throw in a little (though “little” hardly applies to the 7’3” Croatian) Bruno Sundov—a guy that Coach Yeng Guiao has compared to Dirk Nowitzki—and the mix might just work as a happy hour regular. Finals contender? I still say yes, as long as they don’t let their heads get in the way.

Steady as she goes
Drink:
White Russian


How to serve:
1 part Kahlua
2 parts vodka
Cream

Add ice, Kahlua, and vodka into an Old-Fashioned glass. Fill to the top with cream. Transfer to a shaker then back into the glass for a good mix.

Team: San Mig Coffee Mixers



When they’re on point, San Mig Coffee’s basketball can be effortless. Not for nothing is Tim Cone, one of the league’s premier coaches, after all. A White Russian is much the same. If you don’t mess with the recipe, you know exactly what you’ll get: a smooth, easy-to-drink, just-the-right-hit cocktail.

But when a trade goes down like that—a three-player swap which sent JC Intal, Jonas Villanueva, and Aldrech Ramos packing, in return for Leo Najorda, Lester Alvarez and Alex Mallari—well, you’ve just messed with a decent recipe. Question is, did you shake things up for the better?

Najorda’s proven that he can score and play tough. Alvarez has the makings of a conventional Coach Tim point guard. But all eyes are on Alex Mallari. He spent more time warming up Petron’s bench than heating up the court this past conference. Will the same thing happen with the Mixers (they do still have a lot of high-caliber options on that roster) or will he finally play to his potential? It’s like making a White Russian without knowing how much vodka to put in, and I’m sure SMC fans are hoping that Mallari is just the right amount.

As for the cream on top, that’s 6’11” Matt Rogers who, like Denzel Bowles before he knocked down a pair of historical free throws last year, is largely untested. But the team’s got their usuals to rely on to defend their championship, so I’m pretty confident they’ll keep their powerhouse status.

NEXT: Ginebra, Barako Bull, Petron


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WORDS: JESSICA C. MENDOZA
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