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Freeman Cebu Sports

The battle is set

EVERY POUND COUNTS - Alan G. Choachuy - The Freeman

An apology is in order for the NBA Eastern Conference teams. I was totally wrong when I wrote several weeks ago that “the East teams don’t have much excitement.” What happened was the exact opposite as the Eastern playoffs was full of excitement to the point that it kept me glued to my TV set. Rookies, sophomores and not so well known names took over and gave me something to cheer about in the league. In the first round, it took Lebron James seven games to eliminate the Indiana Pacers, incidentally the youngest team in the playoff with an average age of 25.11. The Pacers gave the Cavs a scare and Lebron a wake-up call. LeBron must thank Lance Stephenson for it. Lance antics on James backfired, it motivated James to play harder. Although there were some questionable calls, but James came through when it mattered most, shooting two buzzer-beating shots to eliminate the Pacers. In the second round, the Cavaliers reasserted their dominance by sweeping the Toronto raptors.

The Philadelphia Sixers would have to battle the Cavs in the East finals but it took a while for the Sixers coach to adjust and was a bit late in inserting TJ McConnell as their primary point guard. Down 0-2 in Game 3 at their homecourt, the Sixers were leading by two points, 91-93, before Ilyasova was replaced by Simmons and McConnell replaced by Embiid at 5:29 mark in the 4th quarter. Boston stormed to a 13-6 run in the next 2 minutes to finish off the Sixers. McConnell, although shorter, was more in control of the ball by distributing to his teammates and making the needed baskets. TJ scored 8 pts (4 of 4), 5 assists, 1 rebound and 2 steals but played only 17 minutes while Simmons who played 31 minutes only managed 1 point, 7 assist, 5 rebounds, and had only 4 field goal attempts. I was surprised when TJ was pulled out and subsequently predicted that Sixers will fumble which they did. In Game 5, TJ was inserted in the starting lineup but Boston’s Tatum, Smart, Brown were just too much to handle as Boston set a rematch with the Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference Finals.

Over in the West, my crystal ball was spot on as the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets will meet in the conference finals. This is the first time that Chris Paul will be playing in a conference finals. I may be a Warrior bandwagon fan but my gut feel tells me that Houston will win the series in seven games.

So clear up your schedule as this will be one exciting conference finals starting Monday when the Cavs visit the young Celtics. On May 15, the Rockets and Warriors begin their race-to-four title duel.

SIDELINE: Congratulations to Fritz Co and Romulo Rosel for completing the grueling 3-day, 500km Giro de luca in Bohol. Although it was not a race, the route was brutal. Cheers also to the META-Spartan team for conquering the Gorilla Obstacle race last May 5. Rondel Ornopia surprised everyone by finishing 6th in the elite category. Rodanie Sundo finished 8th, while Father Clemente finished 10th despite coming off a 3km swim in the Olango Challenge in the morning. Finishing the open category were captain/coach Zusette Co, coach Lem Co, Michael Alson, Pamela Perez, John Daryl Gerona, Anthony Barte, Michael Manabat, Christian Cullen, Golda Cutanda, Tagra Cheryl, Tagra Amadeo, Jodette Romaguera and Bernard Palermo. Also finishing strong was the HOT MOMMY boot campers led by Jennifer Tan, Anale Barte, Emelyn Co, Kathleen Cullen, Eljie Capangpangan and Emelie Fernandez. It was one of toughest races I have ever joined as one has to accomplish 14 obstacles and go for a 400-meter run in between each obstacle.

 

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