PBA Commissioner's Cup Power Rankings: New No. 1 as Dragons regain the top spot

Andrew Nicholson has powered the Bay Area's recent surge in the Commissioner's Cup. PBA Media Bureau

Another week of the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner's Cup is done and the final unbeaten team has fallen. A Bay Area Dragons' dominant win coupled with the Magnolia Hotshots' loss in the Manila Clasico means there's a new team at the top.

Meanwhile there's movement all over our rankings as some teams surged and some dropped. Eros Villanueva and Sid Ventura assess the 13 teams in this week's installment.

1. BAY AREA DRAGONS (6-1) Previous ranking: 2nd

A loss by Magnolia and a mammoth 54-point win over the downtrodden Terrafirma Dyip sent Bay Area back to the top of our power rankings. Any conversation about Myles Powell possibly being a better fit appears to have been completely snuffed out. Andrew Nicholson, averaging 34.7 points on 52.8/41.4/94.1 splits, has been absolutely dominant even without playing insane minutes, while Glen Yang has proven to be more than capable of holding it down as the lead guard. A more worrying problem for the rest of the league: The Dragons, owners of the best offensive and defensive ratings at the end of the week, might even come out fresher and deadlier at the end of a two-week break that ends on Nov. 4 - the last game Bay Area will play before having to decide to go with one of Nicholson or Powell the rest of the tournament. -- Villanueva

Up next: Meralco Bolts (Nov. 4)

2. MAGNOLIA HOTSHOTS (5-1) Previous ranking: 1st

There is no more unbeaten team in the 2022 Commissioner's Cup after the Hotshots blew a 14-point lead, in the Manila Clasico no less, to slip to second place with a 5-1 record. This one has got to sting for Magnolia. Not only do they see their five-game winning streak come to an end, they do so in a monumental collapse against archrivals Barangay Ginebra. Hotshots import Nick Rakosevic was stifled by the Ginebra defense and ended up shooting 6-of-21 for only 21 points, eight below his average, and had his potential game-tying shot blocked by counterpart Justin Brownlee. Magnolia is still in a good spot, just half a game behind the Dragons, but a second loss could complicate things with Barangay Ginebra, TNT Tropang Giga and the Converge FiberXers all knocking on the door. -- Ventura

Up next: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (Oct. 29)

3. CONVERGE FIBERXERS (3-2) Previous ranking: Previous ranking: 5th

It's easy to discredit Converge for beating a San Miguel team that did not have June Mar Fajardo and played with replacement import Devon Scott for the first time, but the win -- a 106-102 thriller that nearly saw the FiberXers lose a 17-point lead -- is as legitimate as they come. Head coach Aldin Ayo's run-and-gun offense continues to produce at a ridiculous rate (11.3 offensive rating) and force opposing teams to play catch-up, which is really what matters the most for a team that is still figuring it out on defense. Maverick Ahanmisi's fine play, especially in the clutch, remains incredibly encouraging, while the rise of Aljun Melecio and the reintegration of Mike DiGregorio to the rotation should add even more pep to the hectic offense. Don't be surprised if the FiberXers take more names with a tough stretch coming up next week. -- Villanueva

Up next: TNT Tropang Giga (Oct. 28), Blackwater Bossing (Oct. 30)


Previous ranking: 8th

With the Hotshots' loss to Ginebra, the Fuel Masters are now the proud owners of the tournament's longest active winning streak. Phoenix stretched their run to three after beating the reeling Meralco Bolts on Oct. 19 and are now at the .500 level. Javee Mocon continues to lead the Phoenix locals in scoring (18.3) but it's the stellar shooting of rookie Tyler Tio that's been most noteworthy. Tio has put himself solidly in the conversation for Rookie of the Year by averaging 16.2 points per game on a scorching 41.9% shooting from beyond the arc, tops among rookies. The Fuel Masters are getting it done on defense, holding opponents to just 93.7 points per game, which is tied for first with the Dragons. If they can just limit their turnovers (a league-worst 19.2 per game), then this winning streak could be stretched further. -- Ventura

Up next: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (Oct. 26) and TNT Tropang Giga (Oct. 30)

5. BARANGAY GINEBRA (3-2) Previous ranking: 7th

An up-and-down campaign continues for Ginebra, who beat an undefeated team for the second time this conference after coming back from a 15-point deficit against Magnolia. Pace continues to be the selling point. As the worst halfcourt team (0.84 points per possession per InStat, dead-last) entering Sunday, Ginebra has compensated by getting quick, easy baskets in transition -- an area it capitalized on when it outscored the Hotshots 30-14 to fuel that killer fourth-quarter comeback. The task now is to make sure they don't fall back into bad habits after a big win, like what they did in a stunning loss to Phoenix last week. It may not be a serious worry next week (at least, from those looking in from the outside) against a Terrafirma team bound for infamy. -- Villanueva

Up next: Terrafirma Dyip (Oct. 28)

6. NORTHPORT BATANG PIER (3-3) Previous ranking: 6th

The Batang Pier had the whole of Week 4 off and won't return until Wednesday, more than enough time for them to regroup and put their 18-point loss to Magnolia out of their heads. NorthPort has its share of highlights and lowlights in the various statistical categories. Robert Bolick (23.8ppg) is the only local in the top ten in scoring, and is also fourth in assists (6.0apg), while Prince Ibeh is second in blocks (3.5) and fourth in steals (1.8) but first in turnovers (5.0). As a team, the Batang Pier are second in blocks (6.0) but trail only the Fuel Masters in turnovers (16.5). -- Ventura

Up next: San Miguel Beermen (Oct. 26)


Previous ranking: 3rd

The Tropang Giga get penalized here for losing to NLEX, a team that didn't have last year's top overall pick Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, before bouncing back against Blackwater. Defense appears to be an issue in the short-term, even with TNT posting the third-best defensive rating (101.3) to end the week. The Road Warriors shot 47 percent from the field and buried 12-of-25 triples against the Tropang Giga, while the Bossing stayed in step even after committing 31 turnovers because they shot 54 percent from the field overall. Down the line, though, TNT should be fine; it still boasts good depth and a bevy of great defenders, and Mikey Williams -- perhaps the league's preeminent shot-creating guard -- is finally heating up after a slow start. Two red-hot teams in Converge and Phoenix pose good tests this week. If they pass both, TNT should be in good shape heading into the playoffs. -- Villanueva

Up next: Converge FiberXers (Oct. 28), Phoenix Fuel Masters (Oct. 30)

8. SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN (2-3) Previous ranking: 9th

The Beermen snapped a two-game skid with a much-needed 124-116 win over the NLEX Road Warriors in a game which they hope has allowed new import Devon Scott to settle in. Scott had a rough debut in their loss to the Converge FiberXers, putting up just 16 points on 7-of-18 shooting. But he rebounded against the Road Warriors with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists as San Miguel won for the first time since losing June Mar Fajardo to injury. The Beermen appeared to have found the right offensive mix, with Vic Manuel and Marcio Lassiter both scoring 22 points and CJ Perez, Jericho Cruz and Mo Tautuaa adding 16, 15 and 14, respectively. -- Ventura

Up next: NorthPort Batang Pier (Oct. 26) and Meralco Bolts (Oct. 29)

9. BLACKWATER BOSSING (3-4) Previous ranking: 4th

Troy Rosario (left plantar fasciitis) has not shot well overall this conference (12.6 on 35.8/22.6/38.1 splits), but the Bossing are more competitive simply because he gives them the requisite size to match up against opponents at the 3 (yes, he plays this position under coach Ariel Vanguardia now) and 4 spots. Blackwater stayed competitive for long stretches in a tough loss to TNT, but in order to fulfill some very real playoff ambitions, it will need Rosario to be healthy -- and shooting well -- when it matters the most later in the conference. One encouraging development: Baser Amer looks rejuvenated, averaging 18.4 points (59.1 true shooting percentage) and 3.0 assists while operating with more control over the pace and flow of the Bossing offense. -- Villanueva

Up next: Converge FiberXers (Oct. 30)

10. RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERS (3-3) Previous ranking: 12th

In their lone Week 5 appearance, the Elasto Painters essayed a convincing 17-point win over the Bolts to move up into the middle of the pack with an even 3-3 record. It was rookie Gian Mamuyac's breakout game of the conference as he dropped 21 points, the same output of his former Ateneo teammate Mike Nieto. If these two young bucks can consistently contribute like this, Rain or Shine could move further up the standings as long as import Steve Taylor, Jr. continues putting up workmanlike numbers (20.8ppg, 15.8rpg) and the team continues taking good care of the ball (a league-low 11.8 turnovers per game). --Ventura

Up next: Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters (Oct. 26) and Magnolia Hotshots (Oct. 29)

11. NLEX ROAD WARRIORS (3-3) Previous ranking: 11th

Inconsistency once again plagued NLEX, which could not follow up an impressive victory over TNT with another win after allowing San Miguel to drop 124 points on Sunday. It's been the overarching theme for the Road Warriors, a stout offensive team (107.2 offensive rating, fifth) that cannot consistently put together stops on defense (109.3 defensive rating, 10th) -- an issue that caps their potential as a possible playoff team. The Road Warriors, though, have ample time to collect themselves and find answers with a 13-day respite before their next game on Nov. 5. -- Villanueva

Up next: Converge FiberXers (Nov. 5)

12. MERALCO BOLTS (1-5) Previous ranking: 10th

The Bolts continue to slide down the standings after they lost their two Week 5 games by an average of 12.0 points. Already without Chris Newsome, Meralco suffered another blow after Aaron Black was brought to the hospital after absorbing an elbow to the head from Rain or Shine's Rey Nambatac. The Bolts are shooting a dismal 41.1% from the field, a mark that beats only the hapless, winless Terrafirma Dyip. With just five games remaining and only a win to show, Meralco has to start collecting more wins to have any hope of making it to the playoffs. -- Ventura

Up next: San Miguel Beermen (Oct. 29)

13. TERRAFIRMA DYIP (0-6) Previous ranking: 13th

Terrafirma, owners of the second-longest losing streak in PBA history, has now dropped 22 straight games -- seven away from tying the league record. That's all you need to know about them right now. -- Villanueva

Up next: Barangay Ginebra (Oct. 28)