The import-flavored conference has its fair share of highlight reel-worthy dunks and scoring displays, but there are other reasons hoops fans are still eager to tune in to the local tournament. We're talking about the rare basketball occurences during the Saturday and Sunday PBA doubleheaders.
From staggering performances to weird circumstances, these things might not happen again in the 42-year-old professional league so a quick feature is only fitting.
A local scored 42, but his team still lost
Matthew Wright looked like his team's import on Saturday night, pouring a career-high 42 points in a failed comeback attempt, 116-114, against the lowly NLEX Road Warriors. The prized rookie was the lone bright spot for the Phoenix Fuel Masters, whose reinforcement, Jameel Mckay, registered a dismal 16 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out.
Adding insult to injury is Phoenix falling to the ninth spot—with a 4-7 win-loss record—that put their playoff hopes in jeopardy.
A Beerman (not named June Mar Fajardo) put up 25 points and 10 rebounds
With their superstar big man yet to play at a hundred percent, the San Miguel Beermen leaned on guard Alex Cabagnot to send the Alaska Aces reeling, 109-97. The clutch performer posted a Fajardo-esque stat line to go along with six assists and three steals.
Cabagnot didn't do it all by himself, though; he got enough help from import Charles Rhodes (24-10-2-1), Marcio Lassiter, (19-5-4-2), Chris Ross (18-3-10-2), and Arwind Santos (10-8), to climb up the standings at 7-2.
Beau Belga wasn't the heaviest player on the court
Even stranger than James Yap missing the game-clinching free throws was the fact that someone else beat his hefty teammate in the scales. Belga was reduced to a guard beside TNT KaTropa's reinforcement, 6'9", 350-pound Joshua Smith.
"Sobrang bigat," Belga told SPIN.ph. "Kala ko nung una typical big man na mala-June Mar (Fajardo), mabigat pero nung binangga ko, sabi ko, 'Putek grabe yung bigat.' Nung una, sabi ko baka sakali kaya ko pa, eh nung natapat sabi ko, 'Di kaya, kailangan ng katulong.'"
Smith wasn't only tremendous in a literal sense; he came up big against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, finishing with 23 points, 12 points, and 3 assists in just 23 minutes, to steer his team to a 105-102 victory.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel forward was the ultimate scene stealer in their matchup with the Meralco Bolts. First, Joe DeVance, who just came back from a throat infection, debuted a hair style that would make anyone blurt out, "Sinong gumupit sa'yo? Buhay pa ba?"
His funky 'do might have also been enough to distract opponents, as he was able to convert an offensive rebound to give his squad the advantage late in the game. Ginebra won, 90-89, which tied them with the Star Hotshots for the league's best record at 8-2, thanks in large part to Joe's hair-oics.