Article by Carlos Cinco, Videos by Don Ismael, Photos by Regie Babagay
SERANGOON, Singapore – To say the KHR Green Hornets had a heart-breaking season would be the understatement of the year.
They finished 2012 atop the rankings with five wins and only one loss, and they had arguably the two most dominant players at their position – Forward James Siddayao and Center Mark Calilong.
Their game is perhaps the most refined in the entire league, with perimeter slashers Khris Ian Gellidon and Siddayao attacking from the outside-in and a low-post presence in Calilong who pairs unmistakable skill with his towering size.
Gellidon, the Green Hornets’ team captain, runs the floor like a general, carefully dissecting defenses with his refined court vision. He’ll make the nifty pass to the open man, and he can also take it hard to the rack.
Calilong is the big man per se, yet he’s awfully quick and skillful for a player of his size. He can posterize defenses in the paint and even spot up and shoot from the outside.
And not to mention, James Siddayao who is the team’s most prolific scorer which the all-star proved in a game against Lynsanity back in September, when he notched 29 points – a regular season and league high.
Yet despite all these weapons, they weren’t able to clinch a Finals berth like they were favored to, losing to the VHO Red Dragons in a razor-thin Semifinal match.
The top-seeded Green Hornets fell apart when it mattered most, but it doesn’t mean they couldn’t turn in another classic performance against a tough Darkstars team to tally a victory in the FilTA bronze medal game.
The Green Hornets took the fight straight at the Darkstars’ formidable backcourt, maybe the most effective two-guards in Adrian Fan and Gian Isleta, took their best shots – and – without giving up a single inch, turned the game inside out with their relentlessness.
Whether it was Gellidon’s unshakable leadership, or Calilong’s pure athleticism, or Siddayao’s tremendous knack for scoring – one thing is for certain – the Green Hornets weren’t letting this bronze medal game pass them by. They just simply refused to.
Adrian Fan surely tried to derail the Green Hornets’ freight train with his precision playmaking and he certainly hit his fair share of triples to keep the Darkstars within striking distance, but his efforts fell by the wayside as Gian Isleta failed to find his rhythm.
Isleta finished the game with a dismal 4 points – a far cry from his regular season number – and couldn’t match Fan’s hot hand.
Fan finished the game with 20 points including 4 treys from out deep. He found help in big man Julius Manlutac who chipped in 14 points of his own, but it simply was not enough.
To make matters worse, Siddayao was on fire, hitting shots from all angles, ending up with 24 pts to clinch the game, mostly on layups and 3-point conversions.
In the end, the Green Hornets took over the game in the 2nd half to secure the Bronze Medal, finishing 3rd place overall.
Calilong – 7pts. Gellidon – 11 pts. Sunir – 5 pts. San Juan – 3 pts. Conde – 0 pts. Torcuator – 0 pts. Salazar – 7 pts.
Ranny – 2 pts. Manlutac – 14 pts. Rico – 7 pts. Frandel – 2 pts. Dognidon – 3 pts.
Siddayao, Calilong Selected for the Mythical Five, 2-Ball Contest and 3-Point Shootout Winners
Siddayao and Calilong both get selected to the 2012 FilTA Basketball Mythical Five. Calilong beat out fellow big men Alphee Saspa and Julius Manlatac for top honors while Siddayao beat Lyndon Gomez and Sonnie Tindan, who both competed in the Finals.
Vhox Maceda, Lloyd Nogot, and Victor De Vera round out the Mythical Five.
In a two-part side contest, Victor De Vera beat Jerwin Cruz in the Finals to win the 3-point competition. And the duo of Sonnie Tindan and Chris Molas take home 2-Ball top honors.