Before the start of the PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs, I wondered: what if Blackwater and Rain or Shine meet in the Finals? It was possible. They belonged to opposite brackets in the quarterfinals. Both the Elite and Elasto Painters were even able to force do-or-die games against the higher seeds.
A whole bunch of three-pointers
By the end of the quarterfinals, Blackwater (34.2%) and Rain or Shine (33.4%) only ranked fourth and five in terms of three-point percentage. But if we start talking about threes made per game, then these two slide to the top. At that point, the Elasto Painters were the league’s best, drilling in 12.2 trey bombs per game. The Elite were in third with 10.8 a night – almost tied with TNT who just had one more three-pointer than them.
Imagine a shootout involving Henry Walker, J’Nathan Bullock, Chris Tiu, Mike DiGregorio, Mark Borboran, Allein Maliksi and the rest of the dudes on those squads who drop long bombs for a living. Yeah, that would’ve been fun to watch.
Roi Sumang & Mike Di Gregorio vs. Jericho Cruz & Maverick Ahanmisi
This wouldn’t have been the premier match-up of the series. Nonetheless, it would have been fun to watch. Four guards who have seen their stocks rising over the past few conferences. Although in this current one, I think it was the Blackwater backcourt that made more noise than Rain or Shine’s – mostly because it was their first time to barge into the top eight.
Think about it. How fun would this have been? How fast would those games have been with these guys running the show? They would have gone back and forth, back and forth in snaps.
Poy Erram vs. Raymond Almazan
Out of everything on this list, I think this is what I would have wanted to see the most. I also call this: ‘The Poy Erram Gilas tryout.’
I’ve seen many people on social media say that Erram deserves to be in the Gilas pool. I share that sentiment. And honestly, I believe that if he didn’t go down with an injury last year, he would have been there already.
But none of us are decision-makers for the national team. That’s not our call. But, imagine Poy proving his worth against Raymond, a guy who played pretty well in the FIBA Asia Cup. That would have turned heads. That would have been a battle to watch.
Henry Walker versus Beau Belga: The Sequel
One of my favorite PBA moments in recent years happened in a game between Alaska and Rain or Shine. Battling for rebounding position, Walker and Belga got mixed up. Of course, there were unnecessary movements involved.
Next thing I know, Henry gave Beau a major shove from behind. So the big guy goes flying, right? Here comes the best/worst part. Beau – no idea if he aimed or nah – dominoed straight into Calvin Abueva, sending the Beast crashing.
If Blackwater and Rain or Shine met in a best-of-seven Finals, I don’t think it would be possible for Belga and Walker to not bump into each other again. Pun intended.
Finals MVP: Beau Belga or Allein Maliksi
Don’t even try and ask for a prediction on who would win the series. It’s too damn hard. What I have a prediction on, though, is who would take the Finals MVP.
Beau balled out for Rain or Shine this conference. He was the guy responsible for the team having a chance to sneak in to semifinals. However, as we know, that did not end well.
For Blackwater, the addition of Allein would have been big if they advanced. He has experience on the big stage – something that only few of Blackwater’s guys have. That, plus his scoring ability, would have shone the brightest if the Elite made it.
I say the Finals MVP would have gone to either Belga or Maliksi. But I guess we’ll never know.