IT'S 2019 and as we flip the calendar of the new sporting season, it’s time to make New Year’s resolutions.
As they always say, “There’s never a better time to reflect on what’s working and what isn’t than the start of a new year.”
In the PBA, the new year will officially open its 44th season on Jan. 13 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan
But before the opening buzzer, here are timely resolutions for all 12 teams in Asia's first play-for-pay league.
San Miguel Beer (Last year's cumulative record: 36-21)
Find a new love with Terrence Romeo.
The Beermen are to the PBA what the Boston Celtics are to the NBA.They are the most successful team in the league with the most titles at 25, including a grandslam in 1989.
They also have the most all-time victories with more than 1,200 wins from 1975 to 2018.
But after winning the 2018 All-Filipino Cup, the Beermen have noticeably lacked the passion that made them nearly unbeatable in the past six conferences.
This year, the Beermen will have to reinvent themselves with a new superstar in the line-up: three-time scoring champion Terrence Romeo.
Coach Leo Austria should now find a way to maximize the talent of Romeo while playing alongside June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot and Christian Standhardinger.
It’s a tough but certainly welcome challenge for Austria and the Beermen.
Magnolia Pambansang Manok (Record: 36-21)
Stay consistent, keep focus on what needs to be done.
Under Coach Chito Victolero, the Hotshots ended a four-year title drought by winning the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup with a smashing 4-2 win over AlaskaMilk.
Can they do it again without do-it-all import Romeo Travis in the coming Philippine Cup?
Victolero certainly hopes so. But he is also the first to admit that the Hotshots need to play more consistently with a veteran-laden lineup that counts on Paul Lee, Ian Sanggalang, Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon.
Barangay Ginebra (Record: 35-22)
Continue their never-say-die spirit that made them the league’s most popular team.
Obviously, Ginebra's never-say-die spirit that started with PBA legend Robert Jaworski and continued under Coach Tim Cone remains the team’s trademark even after 11 championships since 1979.
Under Cone, Ginebra earned.a lot of respect with the “Twin Towers” of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar and the “Deadly Trio of LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson and Jeff Chan.
The veteran presence of former MVP Mark Caguioa, who is expected to sign a one-year deal, will also help a lot.
But we sure need to see inspired basketball from Ginebra all year long to keep their loyal fans to their feet, with smiles on their faces.
Alaska Milk (Record: 31-20)
Keep trying and trying.
With 31-20 cumulative win-loss record in all three conferences last year, the Uytengsu-franchise is the only team with .500 record not to win a single title.
The three teams which have better records -- San Miguel (All-Filipino), Ginebra (Commissioners' Cup) and Magnolia (Governors'Cup) -- have won a title each.
The Alex Comption-mentoref Aces, however, can’t be faulted for lack of trying.
In the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup, they came two wins shot of winning their first title in a long time.
This year, the Comption and the Aces should keep trying.
Maybe, try harder.
Talk N Text (Record: 18-19)
Get the groove back this year.
On paper, Talk N Text boasts of one of the most star-studded line-ups led by Jason Castro, Kelly Williams and Troy Rosario.
But the Tropang Texters have also clearly under-achieved in the last three years, or since winning the 2015 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
This year, the Texters have to get their groove back with a retooled line-up that now includes David Semerad and Brian Heruela but minus Terrence Romeo.
A new coach in long-time deputy Bong Ravena could also make a difference for the Manny V. Pangilinan franshise.
NorthPort ( RecordL 13-23)
Despite a more than decent line-up bannered by Stanley Pringle, Sean Anthony and Moala Tautuaa and a veteran coaching staff manned by Pido Jarencio, the Batang Pier failed to advance past the quarterfinals in the first two conferences.
Actually, the Batang Pier finished with a respectable 5-6 win-loss records in each of the two conferences, losing only to Magnolia and Rain or Shine.
In the season-ending conference, they went 2-9 and did not qualify.
This year, Jarencio and manager Bonnie Tan hopes to get better efforts from his players, live up to their potentials and finally get over the hump.
Next: The other six teams
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