A look at SMB’s Watson, UAAP and Jumpin’ Justin


WE go today to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup, UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) basketball tournament and, yes, the Cesafi cagefest in Cebu City.

Worth talking about in the PBA is the debut of Terrence Watson.  As Terik Bridgeman’s replacement as San Miguel Beer import, Watson is not only an improvement but a super, super improvement big time.

Bridgeman wasn’t just a flop in his first two games with his two points and four points, respectively, but a monumental mess as well.

I have yet to see an import perform so badly in the 42-year history of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in two straight games.

But in contrast, Watson resplendently rebounded well with 17 boards and dunked his way to 28 points in only his first game on September 10, powering SMB to a 107-103 victory that snapped Ginebra San Miguel’s seven-game winning streak.

The final score though wasn’t reflective of SMB’s true might Sunday night, dropping the Kings to 7-2.

The Beermen merely coasted along in the fourth quarter after erecting 26-point margins several times and are now tied at fourth with TNT KaTropa at 5-3 apiece.

Unlike Bridgeman, who was given a second chance to prove his mettle that never came, Watson’s superlative performance immediately earned him a prized SMB slot.

“Considering that this was just his first game and after having just two practices with us, he’s OK,” said SMB coach Leo Austria of Watson.

The Beermen play next on Saturday virtually sure of victory against winless Kia Picanto, auguring well for a quarterfinal stint and possibly hastening a finals passage for a rare shot at a historic second Grand Slam.

After Kia, SMB faces next Phoenix and Meralco. A three-game sweep will give the Beermen a final 8-3 mark and a twice-to-beat advantage preparatory for the semifinals.

Over at the UAAP, Paul Desiderio’s fadeaway triple with 1.4 seconds left gave University of the Philippines a 74-73 squeaker over University of Sto. Tomas, completing a Sunday Suspense Theater for the perennially win-starved Maroons.

But the biggest UAAP weekend story was this text from a friend:

“Finally, the UAAP is now under a board of trustees composed of the schools’ 8 presidents solely tasked to change or make policies. Also, the new executive director, Reb Saguisag, is now in charge of all sports. The old board of Montinola & Co. will now act as Mancom, whose decisions are merely recommendatory. To illustrate, the new board of trustees had just declared the Africans of UST and UP ineligible to play due to residency issues, reversing a previous Mancom decision. This is patent proof that the new board will now decide what is right and what is good for the league.  No more biased decisions. We have been fighting for this for the longest time. Nagising na rin sila. Thank you, Al.”

Over in Cebu, a young kid is making heads turn with his much-improved skills, proving it again in last Sunday’s game between Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu and University of Cebu in the Cesafi high school basketball tournament.

Justin “Jumpin’” Javelosa, known mainly as a monster perimeter defender, showed his scoring prowess as well with his game-high 17 points in leading Ateneo de Cebu to a 66-52 victory over University of Cebu.

Javelosa’s last seven points came in the decisive fourth quarter, where the UC Baby Webs threatened at 44-48 after rallying from 13 points.

But Javelosa, a 155-pound, 17-year-old defensive specialist and a high-leaper for his 5-foot-11 frame, banged home a triple and a long two in succession to propel the Magis Eagles to a 53-44 bubble.

Not satisfied, Jumpin’ Justin, whose Dad is Chris the former UAAP star of the La Salle Green Archers from another era, snatched an offensive rebound and stuffed it in to secure a 57-47 Eagles’ lead.

Justin missed a double-double with his 9 rebounds, but still got lavish admiration from his Mom, Mayra, who said of her son, “His hard work is finally paying off.”

Well said, Mayra.

THAT’S IT Happy birthday to my Pareng Ramon Uy, the dashing hubby of the beauteous May Sison originally from Murcia, Negros Occidental. Mareng May, the owner of the famous May’s Organic Garden in Pahanocoy, Bacolod City, had just added another feather to her already well-adorned cap by being chosen as one of the most outstanding Asean Women Entrepreneurs recently in glittering ceremonies at the PICC Manila. Cheers and from writer-journalist Sol F. Juvida, here’s a wish for more of God’s graces to the power-couple of Negros.

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