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PBA’s explosive sixth men

In the PBA Philippine Cup, there are 11 players averaging in double figure points without starting a single contest. They could easily be starters but in the concept of today’s game where a deep rotation and instant offense from the bench are a premium, their roles have been tweaked. It’s possible down the road on the way to the playoffs, they’ll be elevated to first five status but for the moment, it’s bombs away as shock troopers.

As expected, Rain or Shine is No. 1 in the league in terms of most players rotated as starters with 13. Coach Yeng Guiao is an equal opportunity provider and never sticks to the same starting cast for two basic reasons – first, to give every player a chance to start and second, to keep the opposing team guessing. So far, Guiao has sent in 14 players in racking up a 1-4 record with rookie Sherwin Concepcion the only Elasto Painter not getting the nod to start. Eventually, Concepcion will.

The team that has stuck to the same starting unit in its first five outings, all losses, is Converge. Coach Aldin Ayo is riding the trail with Alec Stockton, Justin Arana, King Caralipio, Bryan Santos and JL de los Santos. Phoenix has alternated 10 starters, Meralco and TNT nine each, NLEX and Magnolia eight each, NorthPort, Terrafirma, Ginebra San Miguel and San Miguel Beer seven each and Blackwater, six.

The relievers averaging in twin digit points without a single start are Meralco’s Allein Maliksi (18.8), TNT’s Jayson Castro (17.3), Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang (17), San Miguel Beer’s Jericho Cruz (16.3), Terrafirma’s Javi Gomez de Liaño, (14.2)NorthPort’s William Navarro (14), San Miguel Beer’s Terrence Romeo (12.7), San Miguel Beer’s Don Trollano (12.7), NorthPort’s Deschon Winston (12.4), NLEX’ Jhan Nermal (11) and NorthPort’s Cade Flores (10.4).

Coming close to scoring in double figure points a game as relievers are Phoenix’ Ricci Rivero (9.8), NorthPort’s Zavier Lucero (9.5) and Blackwater’s RK Ilagan (9.4). Unbeaten San Miguel Beer (3-0) has the luxury of a deep roster with Cruz, Trollano and Romeo averaging in twin digit points off the bench. Coach Jorge Gallent has rotated June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, CJ Perez, Chris Ross, Mo Tautuaa,