Denver or Miami? Cebu’s basketball pundits give their forecast for NBA Finals

By: Immae Lachica May 31,2023 - 02:30 PM

NBA Finals

The Miami Heat celebrate with the Bob Cousy Trophy after defeating the Boston Celtics 103-84 in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 29, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. | Photo by Adam Glanzman / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

CEBU CITY, Philippines– As the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat prepare for battle in the NBA Finals, basketball fans are starting to pick their respective teams in this matchup.

Some see the Denver Nuggets as the stronger team in this matchup with two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. But some would also take a chance on the “underdogs” Miami Heat with Jimmy Butler leading the team.

So who has the edge between the two?

We asked Cebu basketball personalities to share their thoughts about the Finals and who they think will emerge victorious.

READ: NBA Finals: Title-hungry Nuggets vs odds-defying Heat

Cebu City Councilor Dondon Hontiveros, who was once a player in the Philippine Basketball Association, said he is no expert in predicting who will win but he believes this will be a good series.

“Denver, plays beautiful basketball led by Jokic. It shows why they are number 1 in the west.  With the Heat, facing an elimination game in the play-in and game 7 East finals shows their grit. It’s not that the Nuggets do not have the grit or the Heat don’t play beautiful basketball because both teams have that in the course of the season especially in the playoffs. The team who will have both will eventually win the [series] but adjustments of the coaches will be crucial in this series and that’s what I look forward to watching,” Hontiveros, who is known as the “Cebuano hotshot,” said.

Hontiveros added that while some say luck sometimes plays a role, he said “luck always goes to the team who is more prepared.”

Coach Jerry Abuyabor of the University of Cebu Webmasters, meanwhile, said he is putting his bet on the Miami Heat.

“[Miami is] the epitome of hard work plus dedication. No superstars, no big names, only (Tyler) Herro and (Bam)  Adebayo are top picks. They deserve this 2023 NBA title,” he said.

‘Denver too big, too good’

But former basketball coach and avid basketball fan Rocky Alcoseba picks Denver to win it all. It was the Nuggets who knocked off his favorite team, the LA Lakers.

“I like how Miami plays. [They are] well coached. But Denver is too big and too good. Also, they are healthy,” he said, adding that he predicts a Nuggets win in 5 games.

Coach Edsel Vallena of the Cebu Institute of Technology-University thinks the same.

“Para nako, ako prediction Denver kay walay maka match up ni [Jokic]. Kana ra usa ang advantage nga ako nakita,” he said.

(For me, I predict Denver to win because no one can match up with Jokic. That’s the only advantage I see.)

He did clarify though that he is rooting for Miami but he feels Denver will win the title.

Former Cebu Schools Athletics Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) players also shared their thoughts about the NBA Finals.

Cesafi 2018 MVP Rey Anthony Suerte, who is now playing for Blackwater in the PBA, is rooting for Miami Heat because he likes underdogs.

“Ganahan kaayo ko’g underdog teams like Miami. Daghan sila’g undrafted players nga mo showcase this Finals. Isa pud, ganahan ko maka champion si Jimmy Butler. Idol kaayo nako si Jimmy Butler kay the way siya mo lead sa iyang team,” the former University of the Visayas star said.

(I like underdog teams like Miami. They have a lot of undrafted players who will showcase their talents this Finals. One more thing is I like is for Jimmy Butler to win a champion. I really idolize Jimmy Butler because of the way he leads the team.)

READ: NBA: Jimmy Butler is Miami Heat’s man for ‘moments of truth’

Jaybie Mantilla, the 2017 Cesafi MVP who played for the University of San Jose-Recoletos, is also betting on Miami Heat, saying he likes to see underdogs against a stronger team.

Paul Galinato, a former University of Cebu player, is going for Miami.

“No doubt the Denver Nuggets is the better team with their two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. But Miami Heat has ‘Playoff Jimmy Butler’ and are playing with [a lot of] confidence going to the Finals,” he said.

Cesafi 2019 MVP Shaquille Imperial, on the other hand, thinks the Denver Nuggets will win this seas0n.

“Mas dagko ang Nuggets sa match ups and lisod i-stop ang PICK ‘N ROLL ni Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray,” said the former Southwestern University Cobra.

(The Nuggets are bugger in terms of matchups and it’s hard to stop their pick ‘n roll of Jokic and Murray.)

What are your thoughts about this series, Siloy? Leave them on the comment section.  With a report from Wenilyn Sabalo


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TAGS: basketball, Denver, Miami, NBA, NBA Finals
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