PBA Finals 2017 Game 1: San Miguel Beermen vs TNT KaTropa

MANILA, Philippines – Expect a stiff match between the San Miguel Beermen (SMB) and the TNT KaTropa in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven finals series which will start on Wednesday, June 21, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

 PBA Finals 2017 Game 1: San Miguel Beermen vs TNT KaTropa
The Best Point Guard in Asia versus The “Best Center in Asia”
The San Miguel Beermen under the mentorship of Coach Leo Austria are now gunning for their 24th title while Coach Nash Racela and TNT KaTropa will try to stop them like what they did to SMB’s sister team and this conference’s top seed, Barangay Ginebra.


For this year’s Commissioner’s Cup Finals, the fearless prediction will be San Miguel over Katropa in Game 5. Here’s a short but concrete analysis why the Beermen will win this conference.

Both imports are having a good run especially during the playoffs. Joshua Smith obviously dominates the paint and rebounding department. But unfortunately, Smith will not be in his top form in this championship.

It was Game 3 against Ginebra that Joshua Smith felt something bad in his right foot that sidelined him for 40 minutes and cost them their only loss in the semis. TNT manager Virgil Villavicencio bared that a replacement import, Myke Myers is on standby just in case that Smith doesn’t heal-up in time.

Myke Myers who stand at 6’8” can definitely fill the void that Joshua Smith could vacate. But the thing is, Myers’ first PBA game with the TNT would be in this series which will not be a major concern for SMB’s Coach Austria who has Charles Rhodes since day 1 of this conference.

Myke Myers would be TNT’s 4th reinforcement for this conference. Prior to Joshua Smith, KaTropa had NBA veteran Louis Amundson who played for 3 games and Dohntay Greene who replaced the NBA journeyman.

Even if Joshua Smith forces himself to play in the finals, he will be having a hard time under rim versus the 3-time MVP June Mar Fajardo whom Ricardo Ratliffe of Star Hotshots referred as the best Asian center that he has ever played against. Both Smith and Fajardo stand tall at 6’10” but the Kraken will be competing in his top shape and condition that will give an edge to San Miguel.

In the absence of Joshua Smith, it was Jayson Castro who stepped-up and sealed the deal for TNT against Ginebra. On the other hand, Alex Cabagnot is currently having an almost immaculate conference and the front runner for the Best Player of the Conference.

Roger Pogoy, Gilas Pilipinas’ newly found gunner is really giving all the league’s coaches a major headache with his all-around performance. The guy can really shoot from the inside and the outside and can play a terrific defense. But make no mistake, Chris Ross who won 2 consecutive finals MVP is in tight race against Alex Cabagnot in BPC award and averaging a double-double in the playoffs.

Kelly Williams will surely be having a good match-up against Charles Rhodes in the 4-position but definitely Charles Rhodes will have the bigger advantage being the younger, taller and more agile forward. Williams however, can play both 4 and 5 positions.

The only edge that TNT KaTropa will have is at the 3-spot. A classic rivalry between Ranidel De Ocampo and Arwind Santos. De Ocampo is a natural power forward player but he was relegated to the wing spot to accommodate Joshua Smith in the middle and the taller Kelly Williams in 4-spot.

TNT’s back-up guard Kris Rosales is also playing a good playoffs basketball for KaTropa. Rosales’ deadly 3-point shooting made a big difference against Barangay Ginebra. On the other side of the court, there’s Super Marcio Lassiter who just needs 1 basket to keep him going at the rainbow territory. Too much fire power will be the Beermen’s winning factor in this series.

With regards to the bench’s capability, TNT will have a slight edge over SMB especially at the center position where Harvey Carey, Troy Rosario and Moala Tautuaa can really help either Joshua Smith or Kelly Williams. Gabby Espinas and Yancy De Ocampo are both good big men too but not as good as Tautuaa, Rosario and Harvey Carey.

Expect also a heated long-bomb contest between Ronald Tubid and Ryan Reyes who can both perform well while their respective gunners are out of the floor.

TNT – SMB series will be also making a history in the names of Anthony Semerad and David Semerad as the first twin brothers who will compete in the finals. Anthony Semerad of TNT proved his worth in Game 2 of their semis versus Ginebra where he drained 4 triples in the dying minutes and the eventual game hero.

No matter what will the outcome be, the fans will be having great and exciting championship games starting tomorrow at 7 p.m. live at Sports 5.

-- Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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