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Winners and losers in men's basketball in 2017

Who made the best basketball headlines this year and did they do good or bad? Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ricky Manliguis and Ivan Saldajeno

AS the year ends, we will take a look back at the winners in basketball--as well as the losers in the game--in the second part of our year-end report.

Gilas Pilipinas: Winner
Gilas got off to a good start in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
Gilas Pilipinas won its first two games in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, making them a winner this year.

The wins, however, came at the heels of the team's seventh place finish in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon.

Despite the said finish, the WCQ wins had a larger bearing.

San Miguel: Winner
For the second straight season, the Beermen walked away with two titles. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
San Miguel won the PBA Philippine and Commissioners' Cup titles this year.

The Beermen became three-peat PH Cup kings after repulsing crowd darlings Barangay Ginebra, 4-1, before claiming the second conference title by beating TNT Katropa in six games.

Adding to those, Junemar Fajardo won his fourth straight MVP award and Leo Austria won his third consecutive Coach of the Year award.

[Related Story: Austria becomes 3-time Dalupan Award winner]

Ginebra: Winner
Ginebra set historic marks this year. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
Speaking of Ginebra, the team clinched the Governors' Cup title in front of a massive 54,000 crowd in the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, dispatching Meralco in seven games to successfully defend its championship.

[Related Story: STILL THE KINGS OF GOVS' CUP | Ginebra beats Meralco in historic Game 7]

This is the first time the Barangay scored a two-peat for a certain conference.

Alaska: Loser
Alaska had arguably its worst season in its PBA history. Denver Lachica (file photo)
For Alaska fans, the events of the team this year are something they don't want to see.

After a promising start to their Commissioner's Cup campaign, the Aces lost their last eight games, leading to the boot.

That skid was extended to the Governors' Cup, losing their first six games there.

The 14-game slide is the worst in Alaska's fruitful history.

Although they got a glimmer of hope after building a three-game winning streak, it was still not enough as the Aces once again was eliminated. Not to mention they lost their last two games there.

With Alaska going 0-2 to start its Philippine Cup campaign, the team will bring to 2018 a four-game losing streak--losing 18 of its last 21 games.

Kia: Loser

While Alaska's 14-game losing streak is now history, Kia currently has a 14-game slide as well.

Highlighting the skid is a 0-11 finish in the Governors' Cup, and many believe the Picanto need that number one pick to save their franchise.

However, they decided to give it up in favor of building an "unconventional" brand of basketball with then seldom-used players at the Beermen camp.

[Related Story: On third try, Kia-SMB trade for top pick finally approved]

While Rashawn McCarthy and Jay-R Reyes, two of the players involved in the trade, are providing solid numbers, Kia went 0-2 to start its campaign--and 0-14 dating back to last season.

What's worse: Chris Gavina tendered his resignation as head coach.

[Related Story: Gavina leaves Kia coaching post; Dandan takes over]

Can Ricky Dandan change the Picanto's fortunes? That's for us to find out.

PBA: Winner
The PBA may have let go of Chito Narvasa, but the league may have got the fans back. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
That trade sparked the impasse that cast fears on a possible lockout.

Luckily, the board resolved the impasse just in time, leading to the resignation of Commissioner Andres "Chito" Narvasa Jr. moments before the opening of the 43rd season.

[Related Story: NARVASA OFFICIALLY OUT | Chito Narvasa tenders resignation, out as PBA commissioner ahead of season opener]

A new era is set to begin for the Philippine Basketball Association.

Ateneo: Winner
The Blue Eagles soared again. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
Ateneo De Manila soared back to the UAAP men's basketball summit after five years in a grueling three-game Season 80 finale against arch-nemesis and deposed champs La Salle.

Denied a chance for a 14-0 sweep in the elims, the boys from Katipunan got a stiff challenge in the Final 4 by Far Eastern U and DLSU in the finals but recovered in time to win its first men's title after a historic five-peat from 2008-12.

[Related Story: Ateneo regain UAAP title after five-year-wait, dethrones La Salle in Game 3 classic]

San Beda: Winner

The San Beda Red Lions swept the unbeaten and first-time finalists Lyceum Pirates to snatch the men's basketball title of NCAA Season 93.

This is the Mendiola-based squad's 10th title in 12 seasons, once again sealing their stature as college basketball's hottest team.

Lyceum: Winner and Loser

There is nothing to take away from Lyceum, though.

Sweeping the eliminations is no joke. After all, it was the Pirates' first finals--and playoff--appearance in the NCAA.

However, the fact that they failed to complete the full season sweep gave them the paradoxical honor of being winners and losers this year.

UST: Winner and Loser
Will Aldin Ayo turn the tides for UST next year? Dennis Acosta (file photo)
Another team that got a rare distinction of being a winner and a loser this year is UST.

UST simply went wayward in the UAAP, losing its first 13 games of the season with only a win against UE in the final weekend of the eliminations to show.

But the Growling Tigers may have just ended the year as winners as reports say that they are tapping Aldin Ayo as coach.

La Salle: Loser
Uncertainties in the coaching staff during Christmas further hampered the Green Archers this year. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
Speaking of Ayo, him reportedly leaving La Salle could cap a weird year for the team.

The team lost the FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup to San Beda and the UAAP title to Ateneo.

The reported transfer, once becomes official, will add more woes to the Green Archers.

The fans: Winner
Here's to hoping 50,000 people will flock the Philippine Arena for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Mike Romero (file photo)
The biggest winner, however, would be the fans.

The Philippines, along with Japan and Indonesia, gets the hosting rights for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

[Related Story: PH, Indonesia, Japan to succeed China as FIBA WC co-hosts as #PlayLouderIn2023 bid successful]

After its failed bid for its hosting for 2019, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, behind top honcho Manny V. Pangilinan, made a gallant effort in bringing the WC back to the country since 1978.

Indeed, "Basketball is coming home."

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