Early Season Moves Backfiring?

On: 04 December 2009

Gabby Espinas

When it was announced before this season started that the Sta. Lucia Realtors' management is facing a daunting financial problem ahead of them, not a few wondered if the players they have retained and acquired can perform above par. Halfway through the first round or after nine (9) games, there's no need to wait any longer to learn who among the off-season acquisitions have panned out and those who did not.

The new players that the SLR traded for and picked both from the free agency and the draft were all part of a grand design to fill holes and gaps and improve the team. However, early return showed that while some decisions will require months and even years to reach a conclusion, others are a bit more clear cut.

Here's a list of the early disappointments and promises:
  1. Chris Pacana

    The Realtors did not try for Willie Miller because of financial consideration, but they flirted with Chris Pacana, who once again will play backup just like Paolo Mendoza. However, unlike Mendoza, Pacana do not have a 30 percent or more average from the three-point area or a shooter's mentality. And in hindsight, given his role so far, he's either a back-up point guard they don't need or a point guard who isn't good enough to start the second unit. If that makes sense.

  2. Ardy Larong

    He had a nice start with the Realtors and averaged 3.2 points in his first five games as a back-up player, then his shots turned inconsistent. In any event, the Realtors did not pay that much for Larong, which means additional savings in the future.

  3. Josh Urbiztondo

    This is turning out to be a Havlicekian steal by the Realtors, getting an undrafted quality point-guard in basketball for a glass of sweet tea. Urbiztonodo only had one break-out game so far, but by averaging 5.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1 steal and 1 turnover, he has fueled, in part, the team's 5-4 start, despite not having big names in their roster. The best news is that he's shooting 59 percent from the two-point area, but the bad news is that he can only manage to sink 15 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, including a 0-7 in their last game against Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdogs.

  4. Jason Misolas

    For the salary they're paying Misolas, the Realtors are getting their money's worth. Misolas is giving the SLR 9.0 points in the last three games in just 23:00 minutes of action. More importantly, he is giving Nelbert Omolon and Kelly Williams enough rest on the bench. Hopefully, the savings they get from Misolas will be used to tap a quality big man next year.

  5. Gabby Espinas

    He's playing the best ball of his professional career, which admittedly isn't saying much because of previous flops in the Barako Bull squad. He's a 6-foot-4 post player who'd rather rebound and defend than shoot like Dennis Espino. Still, a pleasant surprise so far for the Realtors.

    He's been on a rebounding binge lately after getting 9.11 average rebounds in their first nine games. He's still needs a lot of improvement as a scorer in the shaded lane and had to limit his tendency to settle for too many medium-ranged jumpers. He only had 3 rebounds to go with his 0 points in their last game against Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdogs because he was taken out of the ballgame after suffering a minor injury.

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