Minneapolis Lakers 84, Runnin' Rebels 53
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|SEPTEMBER 6, 2004 -- Now that the tournament is over, let's turn to our roving reporter S. Audacity Smith for some valuable insights!...
Welcome back to the show, S. Audacity.
Good to be here, especially after spending a pitiful two weeks in Athens watching the imminent demise of Team USA. I'm glad to catch some hoops action where guys can actually hit jump shots, right here in our great country where people unwittingly flock to a place they call "Sin City".
So what was your take on the Vegas tournament?
First of all, congratulations to the Vegas ABL Select team, which defended its home turf by thoroughly dismantling the Bay Area champs, the East Bay Cardinals.
But didn't you think the Cardinals were a bit thrown off by the absence of all-star point guard Johnson Bui?
Listen, they had no excuse in scoring a measly 6 points in the first quarter. I mean, Karl Gusner, the man is a shooter. Get the man open and get him the ball. The Cardinals didn't do that, and that was the end of the story. Then you have Andrew Lee who could not hit anything from inside. Not to mention that TJ Valera and Michael Carboni out-hustled the normally hustling front line of Tony Tran, Andrew Lee, and Bill Truong. The Vegas team wanted it more and, well, they got it. The young Cardinals were dumbstruck, but they'll learn how to be more mean as they get older.
How about the AAA division championship? What a thriller.
Hey, how about all of the AAA finals games? Other than the championship, we had overtime nailbiters in the 5th and 3rd place games. But yes, my friend, the gauntlet was thrown down in the AAA championship. You have two incredible scoring point guards in Chris Pacana and Jeremy DelaCruz. That was the most enjoyable game to watch in the last month, Olympics included.
Didn't it seem like either of those AAA teams could have vied for the NL/AL championship?
No doubt about it. Let's face it, the Bay Area HEADS were WAY out of their league in being in the AAA, but you can't really blame coach Raffy Consing. I mean the guy had 4 guys committed on Thursday. So he calls up a few guys last-minute and, well, they made the drive down to field a team. But it must have been like hitting three 7's on the slots on your last quarter when Jeremy DelaCruz, Al Yee, and Francis Machica all said yes.
How about the Pure Foods team?
You take away Pacana and Pure Foods is a legit AAA team. He's that good. So it's a little tough to say. Anyhow, in this case hindsight should not be 20/20, because we ended up with an amazing AAA championship game, while the NL/AL championships were inexplicably all blow-outs. You can't expect the divisions to go perfectly, what with all the last-minute changes and guys who never called back all of a sudden wanting to play 24 hours before tipoff or what have you. I talked to the commish and he said that as the tournament gets more established, quirks like this are less likely to happen. I have no reason to doubt him.
So if Pure Foods and the HEADS would have played in the NL/AL, who would've won that one?
I have absolutely no idea, but that's why there's always next year and I'll be the first one in the bleachers to catch a game between them and Vegas ABL, the East Bay Cardinals, or the Lakers, for that matter. And let me point out that that PAA team from LA, for a team primarily of 6'0" guys and under, that team can play. Throw out Pacana and the HEADS, and PAA would have won the AAA championship, no doubt.
Who'd you like on PAA?
Well, before we do that we can't possibly neglect that almost-perfect game by the HEADS' Francis Machica against the Alameda Runners. Machica scored 45 points on an absolutely sickening 16-for-20 from the field to go along with 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and zero turnovers. My sources tell me that Machica's 45 just may have been the most points ever scored in a Dream League game, possibly eclipsing that of the Bay Area NL MVP Hubert Liu, who scored 40-something a couple of seasons ago. Now, back to PAA. Point guard Haruka Kitihara must live in Kobe's neighborhood in Southern Cali, because he's got those shifty moves just like Kobe that helps him break down the defense. Then he can hit Alex or Will Yang at the three-point line.
And how about those Minneapolis Lakers?
I mean, who woulda thunk it. Ballers in Minnesota? Yes sir. Hank Huang, that man is strong. He's like the Asian Karl Malone. He can shoot from outside as well as swallow you up down low. The only reason he didn't average double digits in rebounding was because he hit so many of his shots, which of course as we know, do not result in an opportunity to record a rebound. And Huy Nguyen is a pogo stick. Speaking of pogo sticks, we had Norman Wang of the Runnin' Rebels who had the only dunk in the NL/AL division. My only question is, why doesn't he do that more often? And I'm not talkin' about dunking, I'm talking about forcing two points down your enemy's throat, via dunk or layup or whatever. He's certainly got the ability to do this on a consistent basis. We just didn't see much of it during the tournament, except for that particular dunk, which was still special.
So what happened to the Runnin' Rebels anyways?
They just didn't make shots. Scoring and rebounding for them were just about worse than subpar for them. Ben Wang scoring 12.8 ppg is simply abnormal.
Anything else you noticed?
Yeah, how about a hand for the play of the old folks? Alvin Sangco only made one three all tournament, but he did carry the Alameda Runners for a stretch on Sunday. Then you have Raffy Consing leading the whole damn tournament in assist-to-turnover ratio. That's gotta be the first time a 48 year-old has led any league in anything. Major props there. And let's not forget Ed Javier joining his son Joe on the floor for PAA. That alone has to be a father's dream, no matter what the outcome, especially when your son goes out and has a solid showing like Joe did.
You haven't really mentioned the cellar dwellers much.
Well, to the victors go the spoils, but we definitely need to pay some respects to the teams that didn't taste the glory. It was fitting that the Rayguns-Double Down game went into overtime. Both of those teams played their hearts out. Isn't it great when you see the three Baccam brothers all playing on the same team? And let me tell you that the Rayguns' Nino De Leon had a simply terrific tournament for the hapless Rayguns and Leftovers. Just counting his AAA games, he led the entire tourney in points and was second in assists. For Y Tu Mama Tambien, they were in every game and their team, which had never played together, played better each successive game. Anthony Aponte was simply dominant down low. And the Leftovers, what can you say, they were like the Angola team. They were just happy to be there and compete. I mean, they didn't have five guys committed until the final week and unlike Raffy, couldn't come up with enough talent before time was up. They had a lot of fun and like I said, in a perfect world, we would have had them and perhaps YTMT or the Runnin' Rebels swapped in the AAA with Pure Foods and the HEADS, but that's a lot easier said than done.
So it'll have to be next year for them, huh?
Well, don't forget, the Asian American National Championship (AANC) is coming back here to Vegas next February. That's only 5 months away. It's a bold attempt to finally pit the all-stars from the East Coast Filipino leagues against the fabled Canadian and Maryland Indo-Pak teams against the various all-star Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino teams on the West Coast and other parts of the nation. Let's hope we can get Vegas ABL, Pacana, DelaCruz, Minneapolis, the Cardinals, et. al. all back for that one, not to mention Dream League's friends in the Chinese Nationals, the LVI, IndoPak, Korean Olympics, etc. But I think this will be more of a geographical battle as opposed to ethnic, but then again who knows. Now that's for the All-Star division. For the more down-to-earth divisions, where not everybody is a monster like Machica or Hank Huang and your lineup doesn't have to be stacked with highly skilled 6-foot-plus athletes, there'll still be a place for regular guys to get their friends together and compete. They'll still probably call those NL, AL, and AAA, if my sources are correct.
Any closing thoughts?
If our better games at this weekend's tournament are any indication of what's to come, there will be no excuse whatsoever to miss the AANC during President's Day Weekend 2005. We'll see which teams have the AUDACITY to put their name in the top division and think that they could actually be crowned the Asian American National Champion.
We were waiting for that one, Mr. Smith. Thanks for your time.
Always a pleasure.
Score by Quarters
|Minneapolis Lakers - 84|
|Player||FG||3PT||FT||REB||AST||STL||BLK||TO|| F ||PTS|
|Huang, Hank||11 / 21 [0.524]||4 / 5 [0.800]||4 / 6 [0.667]||11||1||2||0||1||3||30
|Jahnke, Ben||1 / 1 [1.000]||1 / 1 [1.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||4||0||2||0||1||0||3
|McRoberts, James||7 / 12 [0.583]||5 / 9 [0.556]||2 / 2 [1.000]||6||3||1||0||4||0||21
|Nguyen, Huy||10 / 13 [0.769]||4 / 5 [0.800]||2 / 3 [0.667]||7||2||1||0||0||2||26
|Sham, Kin-Joe||1 / 2 [0.500]||0 / 0 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||2||1||0||1||1||0||2
|Simmer, Dan||1 / 3 [0.333]||0 / 0 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||1||10||1||0||1||0||2
| ||31 / 52 [0.596]||14 / 20 [0.700]||8 / 11 [0.727]||31||17||7||1||8||5||84|
|Runnin' Rebels - 53|
|Player||FG||3PT||FT||REB||AST||STL||BLK||TO|| F ||PTS|
|Carrao, Jonny||4 / 7 [0.571]||1 / 2 [0.500]||0 / 0 [0.000]||4||0||1||0||1||1||9
|Chu, Jerry||0 / 0 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||1||0||0||0||1||2||0
|Ou, Phil||1 / 2 [0.500]||0 / 0 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||0||0||0||0||0||0||2
|Pothoff, Keith||1 / 1 [1.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||1||2||0||0||0||0||2
|Power, Ben (#21)||3 / 5 [0.600]||1 / 3 [0.333]||0 / 0 [0.000]||0||3||0||0||1||3||7
|Shih, Parkson||3 / 7 [0.429]||0 / 1 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||2||0||1||0||2||0||6
|Wang, Ben||2 / 8 [0.250]||0 / 3 [0.000]||1 / 2 [0.500]||0||3||0||0||3||2||5
|Wang, Norman||5 / 8 [0.625]||1 / 2 [0.500]||0 / 2 [0.000]||1||2||0||0||1||2||11
|Wu, Richard||4 / 12 [0.333]||3 / 6 [0.500]||0 / 0 [0.000]||4||1||2||0||3||1||11
| ||23 / 50 [0.460]||6 / 17 [0.353]||1 / 4 [0.250]||13||11||4||0||12||11||53|