Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Today as I’m writing this article, it is Wednesday the 6th of June (in Malaysia), with just two days left before the tip-off of Game 1 in this season NBA Finals. Oh boy!!! I can’t really wait for that to happen as we are in for a REAL threat in the month of June.

I still remember what was the feeling like when I was writing a preview on the play-offs back in April and everything will be settled within the next two weeks. Throughout my short time being an avid NBA follower, this post season has been the best for me, in terms of all the excitement and drama that took place.

Who would have thought last year finalist the MAVERICKS and HEATS would’ve bowed out the first round. The RAPTORS and WARRIORS were making a return to the play-off after a lengthy time and made a good impression indeed. Once again Houston ROCKET’s YAO and McGRADY failed to deliver when it really matters. And of course that intense series between the SUNS and SPURS.

So now from 16 franchises only two is left to battle it out for the ultimate crown in basketball and to re-write their respective history on the walls of NBA.

On one hand there is the Cleveland CAVALIERS, whom are gunning for the first NBA title in their franchise history. Many of that success come from the inspiration of KING Le Bron JAMES. While the entire world believe that the time has come for him to join the ranks of Greatest before him such as RUSSELL, MAGIC, BIRD or JORDAN and being an admire of him I do know that time will come but not now, after all he is still 22 years only.

It is the other side that matter the most for me as San Antonio SPURS are on the verge of creating a dynasty by winning their fourth NBA crown in 9 years and joining previous great teams such as the CELTICS of the 60s, LAKERS of the 80s and the BULLS of the 90s. However unlike previous dynasties, there are other factors to why SPURS success will play a significant factor in the NBA. With a roster that is well represented INTERNATIONALY, with the presents of two Argentines, a Frenchmen, a Dutchman, a Slovenian and an All-Star and future Hall of Fame Captain, SPURS are arguably playing the indefinite role in pushing the NBA of being more of Global rather than an American brand.

Now lets rest our laurels on that the fact that Tim DUNCAN is a inspiration captain and towering figure in the team and Tony PARKER is a great point guard in every inch as Steve NASH can be, as for any reasonable basketball fans would not argue that much of the credit should also go to the two ever present Tall Albicelestes in the SPURS team.

For Emmanuel GINOBILI, he success story is not something new as for every team that he has played for, he touched of brilliance has turn them into gold. In his fifth season with the San Antonio Spurs, MANU has already won two championships and is targeting a third. And it is no accident that the guard is at the center of the franchise's success.

MANU has been a winner his entire career. He was a two-time MVP in the Italian League and led Argentina to the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, where he was MVP of the tournament. In the 2005 NBA Finals, the 6ft 6in guard nearly outpolled Tim Duncan for the MVP honours.

His performance in the play-off for this season didn’t start the way he would have hoped to be. Despite having played amazingly during the regular season, MANU was erratic at times especially during the first round series against the Denver NUGGETS. But all that changed during that heated encounter against the Phoenix SUNS as he raised his stake to help the SPURS win that series and subsequently against the Utah JAZZ as well. He is the X factor for San Antonio, who are 9-0 this post-season when he scores at least 15 points. And it doesn't bother him that he gets under the skin of opposing players. He just continues to win.

According to Spurs coach Gregg POPOVICH, MANU's aggressiveness is the catalyst for San Antonio's offense, especially when it is sputtering.

The question will always remain in why he is not starter despite of all this? Well I’m sure BIG POPO has something else in his mind and will know what to do.

If everything falls into the correct place, he is definitely going to be ranked among Albicelestes greatest. He is to basketball the same way Diego MARADONA and Juan Manuel FANGIO is for their respective field.

As for Fabricio OBERTO, his road to stardom in the NBA may be something accidental. Two years ago when the SPURS scouting team where paying visit to the Spanish city of Vitoria, all eyes was on their draft pick Luis SCOLA. Having realized that SCOLA may cost them huge amount on his buyout clause, they quickly shifted their attention to the other Argie on TAU Ceramica’s roster.

OBERTO knew what were the risk he was taking when agreed to join the SPURS for the 2005/06 season. In a star-studded team, he is likely to loose that liberty he had enjoyed as a starter throughout his time in Europe. Despite of all this at the tender age of 32, don’t tell that to OBERTO, for he is a hungry veteran.

He is just for four games away from completing a magnificent double. Just as his compatriot has already done, OBERTO can win, for his own, both an Olympic gold and an NBA crown. "We are so close to reaching the summit, to winning the title, but we have to keep cool and have patience. Every day the adrenalin grows, but we know we have to remain calm."

The former Atenas Cordoba player, who has also played for Olympiacos in Greece and Pamesa Valencia in Spain, added: "I have a lot of experience, but playing an NBA final is new for me and I have to keep learning. I always dreamed of playing in the NBA finals and now I could fulfill that - I'm enjoying every moment”.

Over the last 8 matches in the play-off, OBERTO hard work and patience has paid off, as BIG POPO decides to start him instead of Francisco ELSON for the center role. And he is delighted to be playing alongside NBA superstar Tim DUNCAN. "Playing with Tim is incredible and the chemistry between us is increasing," he said to La Manana de Cordoba newspaper.

So for all you Albicelestes and San Antonio SPURS supporters out there, stand up and be counted!!!

Game 1 will be played at San Antonio, 7th of June (Malaysian time 9.00 am, 8th June)

Oh!!! By the way, my prediction for this final is SPURS to win in Game 6. So what’s your?

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