The smallest stood the tallest. Lewis Alfred “LA” Tenorio scored 26 points en route to pocketing the Finals MVP trophy as he led the Ginebra Gin Kings to their 10th overall title last Friday. I watched the YouTube highlights and, like in any winner-take-all and with 54,086 watching inside the Philippine Arena, that Game 7 was electrifying.
Greg Slaughter, our fellow Cebuano, was, literally and figuratively, a tall factor for Ginebra. I chanced upon meeting Greg at the Mactan airport last August when his team played the Alaska Aces at the Hoops Dome. Despite his superstar status, Greg has remained very friendly and polite. We chatted about his PBA stint and recovery from injury.
In the 7-game Finals, Greg averaged 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. And after leading UV and Ateneo to collegiate titles, it was his first PBA championship.
CONTROVERSY. Today at the Robinsons Place Manila, it’s the PBA Draft. It’s that once-a-year gathering when the 12 teams choose new players. The main squabble involves Christian Standhardinger. He’s 28 and was born in Munich to a German father and Filipina mother, Elizabeth Hermoso. Out of the 44 players who have offered their services to join Asia’s first pro basketball league, some popular cagers include Jeron Teng, Kiefer Ravena and Raymar Jose. But the undisputed No. 1 pick, given his height and international exposure, is the Fil-German. Standhardinger, who stands 6-foot-7, is expected to follow in the giant footsteps of Slaughter and June Mar Fajardo.
The PBA has 12 teams and, in the spirit of fair play and “giving chance to others,” the weakest team gets to pick first in the Draft. This is common sense. This team is Kia Picanto and they’re expected to choosae Standhardinger, right? Wrong. In a baffling move, they’ve exchanged places with San Miguel Beermen (the second-to-the-last to pick) so that SMB will pick the Fil-German in exchange for a slew of non-superstar players. This prompted Fred Uytengsu of Alaska to complain, “It clearly doesn’t make basketball sense for the weaker teams, unless there is another consideration.”
In simplest terms, why would a team that has the chance to employ the best give up that opportunity? Can someone please enlighten me?
Bobby Motus, my fellow sportswriter from The Freeman, in his usual funny but on-target manner, said it best in his column the other day: “We are all aware of that abnormal trade proposal dropped at the PBA office where KIA will give up their first pick to San Miguel for three practice players. Hoooowaw! Upon getting the one-sided proposal, the PBA league commissioner should have immediately thrown that into the shredding machine and then to the incinerator instead of letting it sit and say that many factors are being considered before deciding on it. And did he say something like everything is all for the good of the PBA? Yeah right.”
But life, as we know, is never fair. And the PBA is following the path of the NBA. Imagine Standhardinger joining Fajardo? Like the Warriors, OKC, and the Cavs, SMB is becoming the super “super team” of the PBA. Too unfair?