Bekshoot’s Top 15 PBA Players (#15-#11)

The Bekshoot’s Top 15 list is designed to spotlight the best PBA players (“period!”). The rankings are based on where players stand at this very moment and their current situations.

No set formula was used for this list; it just represents my opinion and feelings about the players after watching and analyzing a good sample of games, reading every relevant article, digging statistics from the internet, watching highlights in YouTube and yes, intently digesting their basketball-related tweets. While ranking the players, I asked myself questions like “Which player would I rather have on my team?”, “Which one would I rather build around?”, “Is he better at his position than this player?”, “How good is he on defense?” or quite simply “Sino ang mas magaling?’. Even with all the information that I have gathered and the questions that I have asked, separating some of these players calls for a brain-crunching subjective decision.

I truly understand if you expected the rankings to be a lot different. Like myself, I bet some of you have 20 years of basketball knowledge to form your subjective judgment, so your opinions are very welcome.

No. 15 – No. 11

15. Gary David




Current Philippine Cup Averages: 20.9ppg    3.8rpg    1.9apg    47.1FG%    35.7 3PT%

Career Highlights:

2006-2007 Most Improved Player

2006-2007 Sportsmanship Award

2006-2007 Mythical First Team

2006-2007 All-Defensive Team

If you hate James Yap, you might consider Mr. Pure Energy as the best scorer in the League. Rightfully so.  He has been the scoring champ for quite some time now, averaging more than 20ppg since his breakout year in 2007. Gary David can practically score in any way except from the post. And he efficiently puts the ball in the basket converting 47% of his shots; an exceptional number as far as PBA standards are concerned.

But I’m afraid that’s all he does. When was the last time you saw him set up a teammate for an easy score? Yes. He averages almost 2apg but if you look closely, passing is his last resort. David only passes the ball to an open teammate when he is in trouble.

Since he was traded to Powerade, El Granada (another moniker) has been less of a defensive player. With Powerade failing to surround him with enough players to consistently score in the paint, David has put extra effort in attacking the shaded area to compensate for the lack of penetration. Leaving little energy to play D.  The quality of defense that he plays has dipped significantly since being a member of the 2006-2007 All-Defensive Team and sometimes I feel like he is a Carmelo Anthony (scores a lot but plays no D).

Gary David should be a very good player but the fact that Powerade rarely puts marks on the winning column gravely pulls his stock down. The management has done a great job in surrounding him with capable guards but what about their bigs? Doug Kramer and Alex Crisano are definitely upgrades from what they had last year but they’re still not enough. Until Powerade attains the .500 level, Gary David won’t crack the top ten.

14. Ranidel De Ocampo






2010-2011 Averages: 11.81ppg    4.94rpg    1.96apg    43.6FG%    38.5 3PT%

Career Highlights:

2009-2010 Eliminations Top Player Fiesta Conference

Sorry Kuya Yancy, little bro is way way way better than you!

Ranidel De Ocampo is the most complete offensive big man in the League. You name it; post moves, the ever reliable 3-point shot, the silky-smooth J and the strong dribble drive all make the underrated Ranidel De Ocampo the most potent big man in the PBA (trust me, if he gets more minutes and touches he’d score more!).

On the downside, Ranidel rebounds the ball at a very low rate for his size. If Kelly Williams gobbles around 9rpg, Ranidel should average around 6.5-7.5rpg. This is one of two reasons why Williams has been starting over him even though he is better offensively. The other is because Williams is a better defender than him. This does not say that RDC is a bad defender. It just says how good Williams is.

If he was on another team, RDC would be 2nd-Team or even 1st Team All-PBA.

13. Alex Cabagnot





Current Philippine Cup Averages: 14.7ppg    4.2rpg    7.2apg    1.4spg    38.2FG%    44 3PT%

Career Highlights:

2006-2007 Most Assists

Steady. That’s how I describe Alex Cabagnot. There’s nothing flashy or fancy about his game. He just gives you what you expect from him every night. Although he’s not on the Jimmy Alapag or L.A. Tenorio level just yet, he already makes so many plays for his team evidenced by his league-leading 7.2apg. Despite averaging as many assists his command over his teammates on offense is not quite like Alapag and Tenorio’s. Those two guys are just different; they don’t need to score to be effective. Whereas Cabagnot needs the numbers to have an impact.

Alex Cabagnot is not only averaging career-best in assists but also in ppg at 14.7. The guard from Hawaii Hi-Lo has a vastly improved outside shot, connecting on a 44% clip on 3’s. His midrange game and his floater have been always there. What he’s improved the most is his ability to get to the line. Last year, he was averaging more than 2 free throw attempts per game. He has almost doubled that number after 10 games this year. It just shows that he’s being more aggressive.

Cabagnot also does considerable damage on defense averaging 1.4spg. He also defends his man well as not too many guards have had good games against Petron (well, he gets help from Santos and Miranda).

12. Ryan Reyes




Current Philippine Cup Averages: 14.57ppg    3.57rpg    2.86apg    41.3FG%    38.7 3PT%

Career Highlights:

2007-2008 Rookie of the Year

2007-2008, 2009-2011 All Defensive Team

I don’t know if there’s a guy who plays harder than Ryan Reyes. Just try to focus your eyes solely on him and you might think he’s playing for a championship every night. There are players who play hard but are out of control; Ryan Reyes plays hard and smart.

The California State graduate puts most of that effort on D and that’s what he’s known for. Every championship team needs a guy who will shut down the Yaps and Caguioas of the opposing team; TNT has that in Ryan Reyes.

Like everyone in TNT, Reyes can definitely score a lot more if he wasn’t with the team. Despite being on a talent-laden team Reyes has been averaging double figures every year; scoring from beyond the arc and on penetrations. He’s also considered one of the best fastbreak finishers in the League.

If you ask me, I would surely take him over Gary David. Ryan Reyes just has more impact and is miles ahead on D.

11. Sonny Thoss






Current Philippine Cup Averages: 16.0ppg    8.73rpg    2.27apg    1.18bpg    46.4FG%

Career Highlights:

2009-2010, 2010-2011 Mythical First Team

There should be no debate that Sonny Thoss is the best center in the PBA.  The League is undergoing a crucial change where “big men” take more outside shots than ever. And that’s when you appreciate Sonny Thoss’s value. Like the endangered Philippine Eagle, The Boss is one of the few true big men left (and he’s the best of them).

I consider him as the 2nd-best post defender (amazingly next to Willy Wilson). Opposing centers bleed for post points when they’re played by Thoss. He also anchors and clogs the paint with his size and length making opposing guards and small forwards think twice of going hard to the basket.

Sadly, he’s the only big man left who consistently plays in the post (and who has a post game for that matter) and gets points out of it. Thoss also has a very reliable mid-range jumper but there’s always a balance between his inside-outside game.

Completing his big man game is his passing. It’s a necessity for the triangle offense to work; and luckily for Alaska Sonny Thos passes the ball extremely well.

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