Good day, Palawan!  In our very own Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), it’s the San Miguel Beermen vs the Magnolia Hotshots for this season’s All Filipino Conference (AFC) crown. Will the Beermen continue the championship streak of 5 straight all Filipino diadems or will the Hotshots earn its first AFC title in coach Chito Victolero’s era?  Let’s try to break down the team comparison to give us a good detail on who is the favorite to win them all:

The Starters:

The Beermen have a steady and championship-proven core starting line up of veterans Alex Cabagnot, Terrence Romeo, Chris Ross, Arwind Santos and Most Valuable Player Junemar Fajardo, the center of the Beermen offense.  Junemar is the first option to pound the opposition down low, which he does with so much success in this type of conference where he battles opponents that are 4-5 inches shorter.  Should the opponent double him up, the Beermen have surrounded him with shooters from all corners of the court so really… the Beermen are an opposing coach’s nightmare to defend.

How does one counter a team that is dominant down low?  Typically you try to match that with speed and the Magnolia Hotshots have that in abundance.  Their first five consists of speedsters Mark Barroca, Gio Jalalon,  Paul Lee and decent post up players in Ian Sangalang and veteran Rafi Reavis.  There’s no question that Reavis has to hold up the fort down low and has to work double time to keep Fajardo in check.  Barroca and Jalalon will have to double the hustle play to try to neutralize the playmaking of Ross and Cabagnot.

Personally, the Beermen starters get the nod simply because of how long this core has been together. Championship savvy is their key strength.

The Bench:

With Marco Lassiter, Christian Standhardinger, Ronald Tubid, and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser… the Beermen are easily a nine-man deep rotation at the very least.  The four players can be starters on a regular PBA team.  That’s how deep the Beermen are.  Even head coach Leo Austria would have a hard time shuffling and giving minutes to this kind of a roster but with his coaching expertise, coach Austria continues to get the best out of players even if it’s just for “spot minutes”.

On the other side, the Hotshots boast of an equally steady bench core in Justin Melton, Rome Dela Rosa, Rodney Brondial and Robbie Herndon.  This bench, however, may not be as seasoned as that of the Beermen… and veteran PJ Simon, despite still being a very good player, has been slowed down by injury.  Even power forward Marc Pingris is still on the injured list and recuperating.

The Beermen looks like they will dominate the Hotshots and secure the series this year but then again, the Hotshots are dangerous and can very well light up the boards from three and win a game or two.  Should the Hotshots stretch the series to a game 7, they have a chance to pull the rug under the Beermen… but with the way Junemar is having yet another MVP season, the biggest ticket is that the Beermen will win their 5th straight AFC.

Palawan Water Situation

Let’s take a small step back from sports and check a very hot topic here in Palawan.  It’s El Nino season and we notice the warmer summer this year.  Obviously the bi-product of the draught is that water has been scarce as of late.  Several barangays in Puerto Princesa are under the “water rationing” system where one gets water service in periods of 10 hours daily.

See simple pointers how to be ready:

            * Stack water up – make sure you have barrels to store some water and fill them up to the brim to prepare you for when water ration is cut in your area

            * Do not leave faucets on “flow” mode – sometimes we get frustrated and keep the water faucet on without knowing.  The result is that when water comes in and you are away from home, we are talking about spilled water for hours on end.  Let’s be smarter how we manage and preserve resource

            * Laundry water can be used for the flushers – this is pretty straight forward

            * Do everything when rationing is happening in your area – make the most of the time.  Do all laundry and washing during this time

            * Keep emergency numbers handy – always good to be safe and protected

Let us be smart on how to manage the rest of summer, Palawan.

(The writer is a senior leader of the only Business Process Outsourcing Contact Center Company in Puerto Princesa)