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What a Philippine Cup! That was one heck of a ride! From the Ginebra San Miguel's early losses with coach Tim, to the injury of Ranidel de Ocampo and Paul Lee, to the demise of the Meralco Bolts, and then the struggles of the Purefoods franchise, to the rise of Globalport, and then the classic Manila Classico upto the historic game 7 of the Finals!

Hang on to your seats guys, Commissioner's Cup is coming in two weeks! 

So, to prepare you, let me give you my predictions, safe and crazy ones, for each team for the upcoming Conference. By the way, this predictions are not related to each other.

Alaska Aces
Safe Prediction: They will make a trade
Crazy Prediction: They will not reach the semifinals

Can anyone really imagine or know how heartbroken and sad, the Alaska players, coaches and management are, other than themselves? I doubt it. The easiest way to at least bring some positive energy to the Alaska nation is to make a trade. With the emergence of Banchero and Exciminiano, their backcourt is pretty loaded now. How about exchanging some of them for a bigman?

On the crazy part, maybe this should be the safe one, I think they will not reach the semis. Even Coach Alex recognize that their failure to get the Phil. Cup crown will affect the players in the Commissioner's Cup. 

Blackwater Elite
Safe Prediction: They will win a maximum of three games

Crazy Prediction: They will reach the quarterfinals
This will just be the fifth conference for the Elite so expectations remain to be low. At most, Mahindra and Phoenix will be the easiest opponent for them but I can see them upsetting one of the other eight teams. With the great system that Coach Isaac is implementing, I will not be shock if they survive to reach the quarterfinals.

Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel

Safe Prediction: Chris Ellis will be traded
Crazy Prediction: They will win the Championship
Ginebra will try to continue their development to a true contender in the Commissioner's Cup. Chris Ellis have been on the trade rumors for the past several weeks and I think it is already safe to assume that he will not end the Commissioner's Cup with the Kings. They still have the tallest frontcourt in the entire country so is it really crazy to forecast that they will finally end their title drought? 

Globalport Batang Pier

Safe Prediction: Terrence Romeo will not average more than 20 points
Crazy Prediction: They will reach the semifinals
They worked their butt off to reach the semifinals last conference. As long as they pick the right import, they can again shock the PBA universe by surviving until the final four. With a reinforcement coming, I doubt Terrence can again produce 20 points per game. I also expect him to be more of a contributor in the Commissioner's Cup so expect his assists numbers to increase.

Mahindra Enforcers

Safe Prediction: Gilchrist will average 30 or more points
Crazy Prediction: LA Revilla will be traded
They are the best team in choosing imports last season and I expect the same for the Commissioner's Cup. Gilchrist will surely take a bunch of shots so I will really bet on this. I have this feeling that Michael DiGregorio has impressed the management of Mahindra in the Philippine Cup that they are now thinking of trading their starting PG, Revilla. If he continues to shoots the lights out in the upcoming conference, it can happen.

Meralco Bolts

Safe Prediction: They will reach the Quarterfinals
Crazy Prediction: Malcolm Thomas will be the Best Import of the Conference
Do you really believe that Meralco will repeat their bottom-out performance in the Philippine Cup? If you are, you are crazy! Coach Norman is a great coach and he has a good roster so don't bet on them getting eliminated early again. And about their import, I am quite impressed with his resume. His 17.7 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.4 blocks in the NBA D-League should be enough evidence. I imagine, he will do 23 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks in the PBA. 

NLEX Road Warriors

Safe Prediction: One of J. Villanueva, M. Cardona and Simon Enciso will be traded
Crazy Prediction: They will reach the semifinals
NLEX have at least seven capable guards so shipping at least one of them should happen soon, right? According to rumors, Mahindra is interested on Villanueva and Cardona and Enciso are not getting consistent minutes but I am pretty sure a lot of teams will love to have them. Out of all the dark horses to reach the semifinals, I will put my money on the Road Warriors as long as their import and top local players remain healthy.

Rain or Shine Elasto Painters

Safe Prediction: They will be one of the final four
Crazy Prediction: They will win the crown
I think, change is not the only constant thing in the world right now, Rain or Shine being on the semifinals should be in consideration too. On serious note, even injuries will be enough to stop the Painters from reaching the semifinals, trust me. On the other hand, it seems the idea of Rain or Shine winning the crown is more of a crazy one now than a normal prediction. But, Wayne Chism has proven himself to be  a winner so it is a possibility.

San Miguel Beermen

Safe Prediction: They will be on the Finals 
Crazy Prediction: They will fail to reach the Semis
The team, from the coaches until to the last player in the bench, that I saw in the Philippine Cup was one of the greatest squad of all time. They will have the most momentum entering the Commissioner's Cup and even if June Mar rest for a while, they should be a battering ram in the elimination round. Another Finals appearance is a safe forecast. But, I just remember last year's Commissioner's Cup. They were eliminated in the elimination round.

Phoenix Petroleum 
Safe Prediction: They will attempt the most three-point shots

Crazy Prediction: At least half of the current team will be traded 
The squad that Phoenix acquired is a three-point shooting crazy team. Unless, they do the trades right away, they should be the team who will be at the top of the three-point shots attempts. According to my sources, a gentleman's agreement was part of the sale so expect a lot of trades from this team. 

Purefoods Star Hotshots

Safe Prediction: They will replace Coach Jason Webb
Crazy Prediction: They will replace Denzel Bowles
I really want to make this a positive article for each team but I cannot think of any positive prediction for this team. I am pretty sure the management is now expecting a lot more from the team with Denzel back and not meeting that expectation will surely be the end of Coach Webb's tenure. On the other hand, Denzel is a great import in the past but I am not confident that he is still the MonsterBowles. I could be wrong, so don't take it too much. 

Talk 'n Text Tropang Texters

Safe Prediction: They will successfully defend their crown
Crazy Prediction: Moala Tautuaa will be traded 

In reality, after watching the Beermen and the Aces in the Philippine Cup, my safe prediction is only a safe one by a hairline. This will be a harder Commissioner's Cup than last year because every elite teams has improved. On the wild side, I am prophesying  a Tautuaa trade. He was rumored to be a headcase in the start of the Philippine Cup playoffs and if that is true, the return of RDO can make matter worse. Because, seriously, how can you keep Johnson, Rosario, RDO and Moala happy with only 96 minutes to spare?


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