Basketball has recently become more and more a numbers game in the recent years. You can read articles where sportswriters would be consistently throwing numbers at your face to back up their point of which player/team is playing well or struggling. There’s the plus/minus system, PER, EFF ratings.
It’s been a real revelation to the game, making it easier to evaluate players. Some players who flew under the radar for doing things that slipped through the “eye-test” were being utilized more.
There are things however, that numbers can’t quite completely explain, and the 3rd Game of the Philippine Cup Finals is an exhibit of such an event in basketball among many other intangibles.
I spent a good part of the last quarter of 2014 stalking the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) and I got to see a lot of talented players making their moves. Once I had gotten wind that I might be relocating from Vietnam to Philippines, I started asking around with people familiar with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and the ABL about how ABL player X would do in the PBA. I got several answers, but there was one resounding comment:
“The PBA is a whole different league when it comes to physicality.”
Every basketball player has their Holy Grail game they want to attend some day. For some people it’s to watch the purple and gold Lakers play in the Staples center. For some, it’s to watch Duke vs. UNC at the Dean Dome or Cameron Indoor stadium for the most heated rivalry in America. For some, it’s to watch the Knicks play in the world’s most famous “Madison Square Garden” arena (I’m kidding, no one wants to watch the Knicks. They suck.)
For me, since I started following college basketball, I’ve always wanted to go Phog Allen Fieldhouse at Lawrence, Kansas and watch a Jayhawks game in person. That “Rock Chalk” chant is just mesmerizing.
Of course, Lawrence is also where Dr. Naismith started this whole “basketball” thing, so the Phog is certainly a must for me.
That was maybe until I recently moved to the Manilla, however. Before I got a taste of the Philippines Basketball Association.