08 March 2017

What To Expect in the PBA 2017 Commissioner's Cup

Alex Stepheson
With the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup already settled and the San Miguel Beermen hoisting the penultimate prize for third straight year, it is now time to look ahead to 17 March.

The next conference of the 2016-2017 PBA season will the PBA Commissioner's Cup. The tournament allows teams to hire foreign players or imports with a height limit of 6-foot-10. All 12 teams are trying to secure the services of the most appropriate imports and wrest the crown from the defending champions, Rain or Shine Elastopainters.

The format that will be observed for the duration of the conference are as follows:
  1. Single-round robin eliminations; 11 games per team; Teams are then seeded by basis on win-loss records.
  2. Top eight teams will advance to the quarterfinals. In case of tie, playoff games will be held only for the #2 and #8 seeds.
  3. Quarterfinals:
    • QF1: #1 vs #8 (#1 twice-to-beat)
    • QF2: #2 vs #7 (#2 twice-to-beat)
    • QF3: #3 vs #6 (best-of-3 series)
    • QF4: #4 vs #5 (best-of-3 series)
  4. Semifinals (best-of-5 series):
    • SF1: QF1 Winner vs. QF4 Winner
    • SF2: QF2 Winner vs. QF3 Winner
  5. Finals (best-of-7 series)
    • F1: SF1 Winner vs SF2 Winner
However, notwithstanding the short conference, it will be the imports who will get most of the attention. They will be the barometers that make-or-break the chances of a team. The Beermen knows full well that their advantage when they won the Philippine Cup can easily be negated by a dominant import.

So far, here are the teams and their prospective imports:
  1. Star Hotshots - Tony Mitchell
  2. Alaska -
  3. San Miguel - Charles Rhodes
  4. Phoenix - Eugene Phelps
  5. Rain Or Shine - Shawn Taggart
  6. Global Port - Jarrid Famous
  7. TNT - Denzel Bowles
  8. Meralco - Alex Stephenson
  9. Brgy. Ginebra - Justin Brownlee
  10. Mahindra Floodbuster - James White
  11. NLEX - Wayne Chism
  12. Blackwater - Greg Smith
Mitchell and Bowles change places with the latter vowing not to play with the Star Hotshots as long as former coach Jason Webb is still there. San Miguel is hoping that Rhodes will not duplicate the role of Junemar Fajardo and does not have any attitude problems like their previous imports.

Stephenson is hoping to duplicate the feat of Arinze Onuaku last year and carry the Bolts to their second PBA Finals appearance in their seven-year history. Brgy. Ginebra is probably looking forward to see if small ball style of play can exorcised their runner-up finish in the last conference by bring the shortest import in the league.

Meanwhile, NLEX is praying that Chism can bring his old magic back to his new team and White can improve on his last year's showing.

Hopefully, the league has finally decided to do something about the inconsistent calls by the referees and the seemingly obvious bias in favor of popular teams.

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