New Year’s resolutions for the Philippine Basketball Association

January 03, 2019

IT'S 2019 and as we flip the calendar of the new sporting season,  it’s time to make New Year’s  resolutions.

As they always say, “There’s never a better time to reflect on what’s working and what isn’t  than the start of a  new year.”

In the PBA, the new year will officially open its 44th season on Jan. 13  at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan

But before  the  opening buzzer, here are  timely  resolutions for all 12 teams in Asia's first play-for-pay league.

San Miguel Beer (Last year's   cumulative  record: 36-21)

Find a new love with Terrence Romeo.

The Beermen are  to the PBA what the Boston Celtics are to the NBA.They are the most successful  team in the league with the  most titles  at 25,  including  a  grandslam in 1989.         

They also have the most all-time victories with more than 1,200 wins from 1975 to 2018.

But after winning the 2018 All-Filipino Cup, the Beermen have  noticeably lacked the passion that made them nearly unbeatable in the past six conferences.

This year, the Beermen will have to reinvent themselves with a new superstar in the line-up:  three-time scoring champion Terrence Romeo.

Coach Leo Austria  should now find a way to maximize the talent of  Romeo  while  playing alongside June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos,  Marcio Lassiter,  Alex Cabagnot and Christian Standhardinger.

It’s  a tough but certainly welcome  challenge  for Austria and the Beermen.

Magnolia Pambansang Manok (Record: 36-21)

Stay consistent, keep focus on what needs to be done.

Under Coach Chito Victolero,  the  Hotshots ended  a four-year title drought by  winning the 2018  PBA Governors’ Cup  with a  smashing  4-2 win over AlaskaMilk.  

Can  they do it again without do-it-all import  Romeo Travis in the coming Philippine Cup?

Victolero  certainly  hopes so. But he is also the first to admit that the Hotshots need to play more  consistently with  a  veteran-laden lineup that counts  on  Paul  Lee,  Ian Sanggalang,  Mark Barroca and  Jio Jalalon.

Barangay Ginebra (Record: 35-22)

Continue  their never-say-die spirit  that  made them  the league’s most popular team.

Obviously, Ginebra's never-say-die spirit that started with PBA legend  Robert Jaworski  and continued  under Coach Tim Cone remains the  team’s trademark  even after 11 championships since 1979.

Under Cone, Ginebra  earned.a lot of respect with the “Twin Towers”  of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar and the  “Deadly  Trio of  LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson and Jeff  Chan.

The  veteran  presence of former MVP Mark Caguioa, who is expected to sign a one-year deal, will also help a lot.

But we sure need to see inspired  basketball from Ginebra all year long to keep their loyal   fans to their feet, with smiles on their faces.

Alaska  Milk  (Record:  31-20)

Keep trying and trying.

With  31-20  cumulative win-loss record in  all  three   conferences last year,  the Uytengsu-franchise is the only team with .500 record not to win a single title.

The three teams which have better records -- San Miguel (All-Filipino),  Ginebra (Commissioners' Cup) and  Magnolia (Governors'Cup) -- have won a title each.

The  Alex Comption-mentoref Aces, however,  can’t be faulted  for lack of trying.

In the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup, they came  two wins shot of winning their first title in a long time.

This year, the  Comption and the  Aces should keep trying.

Maybe, try harder.

Talk N  Text (Record:  18-19)

Get the  groove back this year.

On paper,  Talk N Text boasts of one of the most star-studded line-ups led by Jason Castro,  Kelly Williams and Troy Rosario.

But the Tropang Texters have also clearly under-achieved in the last three years, or since winning the 2015 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

This year, the Texters have to get their groove back with a retooled line-up that now includes David  Semerad and Brian  Heruela but  minus Terrence Romeo.

A  new coach in  long-time deputy  Bong Ravena could also make  a  difference for the   Manny V. Pangilinan franshise.

NorthPort ( RecordL 13-23)

Don't disappoint

Despite a more than decent line-up bannered  by  Stanley Pringle, Sean Anthony and Moala Tautuaa and a veteran coaching staff  manned  by  Pido Jarencio, the  Batang Pier failed  to  advance past the quarterfinals in the first two conferences.

Actually, the  Batang Pier  finished  with a  respectable  5-6  win-loss records  in  each of the  two conferences, losing  only to  Magnolia and Rain or Shine.

In  the season-ending conference, they  went 2-9 and did not qualify.

This year, Jarencio and manager   Bonnie  Tan  hopes to get better  efforts  from his players, live  up to  their potentials  and  finally  get over the hump.

Next:  The  other  six teams

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