(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Alex Crisano showed that he’s got more than just tattoos when he carried the RP Team past Mail & More, 94-84, yesterday in the PBL V-Go Extreme Energy Drink Cup at The Arena.

The former PBA enforcer, who wears colorful tattoos on his legs, arms all the way up to his neck, scored 21 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and provided the muscle for the Nationals.

In the other game, Toyota Balintawak assumed the early lead with a 91-85 win over rookie team Pharex. Toyota climbed to 2-0 while Pharex dropped to 0-2, tied with Mail & More.

Crisano, who was tapped to help the RP Team win the gold in December’s SEA Games in Thailand, had 10 points in the third quarter where the Nationals led by 19 points, 65-46.

“Coach Junel (Baculi) just told us not to worry about the referees because that’s their job. So, we just played. No blood, no foul,” said the rugged, 6-foot-7 Fil-American.

The Nationals, scheduled to play only in the elimination round of this tournament, took a cruise in the final quarter to avenge a 74-83 loss to Harbour Centre last Tuesday.

“We played like an all-star team in our last game. That’s why in practice I told them that we are not an all-star team but the national team. I think they absorbed it,” said Baculi.

Baculi noticed that when Crisano became part of the team last month, there was some apprehension among the other players who seemed intimidated by flamboyant center.

“It was like they were afraid to talk to him. I kept telling them ŒWhy can’t you talk to him when he’s already one of us?’ There were some apprehension. I hope that’s gone now,” said Baculi.

Crisano, who saw action for Ginebra and Purefoods in the PBA, played the role of a leader yesterday. At 31, he’s the oldest in the team, and hopefully the wisest, too.

Ex-PBA import in James Gang SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson Friday, October 26, 2007

Former Talk ’N’ Text import Noel Felix is now playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA and swore the other day that teammate LeBron James is as good as advertised.

Felix, who just signed a two-year guaranteed contract, was with the James Gang that lost a 100-84 decision to the Orlando Magic at the Venetian Arena in Macau last Saturday.

In the crowd of over 11,000 were PLDT chairman and Phone Pals team owner Manny Pangilinan, Al Panlilio and wife Angela, Atty. Paul Gueco, Abet Dungo, Dr. Raffy Bejar, Ramon Macatangay and Gary Kwong.

“I’d love to go back and play in the PBA,” Felix told The STAR. “I still keep in touch with my Filipino friends. Talk ’N’ Text is a class organization and I appreciate the chance I got to play in the PBA. I stayed only about a month and I wish I could’ve stayed longer but they wanted to bring back Jerald Honeycutt who knows the PBA game well. I knew it was for the good of the team.”

Felix, 26, played three games for the Phone Pals in the 2004-05 season, averaging 21 points with a high of 32. He came in as Earl Ike’s replacement and in his PBA debut, nearly collapsed from the heat, scoring only 11 points in Talk ’N’ Text’s 97-92 out-of-town win over Alaska. Then the Phone Pals lost two in a row, prompting Honeycutt’s recall.

From the PBA, Felix saw action for the US team at the FIBA-Americas World Championship qualifiers in 2005. He went on to suit up for the Seattle SuperSonics, scoring 18 points in 12 games in 2005-06. Before joining the Cavs, Felix played for Maccabi Tel-Aviv in Israel.

“What I remember about Filipino fans is their passion for the game,” said Felix. “It’s the same passion I saw in the Israeli fans.”

The 6-9, 225-pound former Fresno State star averaged 10.6 points for Milwaukee in the Las Vegas pro league last summer and was inked by Cleveland as an insurance player with Brazil’s Anderson Varejao still an unsigned restricted free agent.

Against Orlando, Felix checked in with 6:11 left in the fourth period and the Magic on top, 84-75. He finished the game on the court with four points and a blocked shot. Felix scored four of Cleveland’s last six points. One of his shots was a driving dunk down the baseline.

Felix was unheralded at Fresno State where he hit at a 5.4 clip in four years. He was never drafted but caught the eye of NBA scouts with his athleticism, defensive skills and coachability.

* * *

Basketball legend Darryl (Chocolate Thunder) Dawkins was a guest during the NBA festivities in Shanghai and Macau last week. He flew in with other legends Rick Barry and George Gervin.

Dawkins, 50, was mobbed by fans everywhere he went and cheerfully posed for photographs and signed autographs.

“I’ll be in Manila this September with Sam Unera,” said Dawkins, referring to the Filipino sports agent who was the Pennsylvania Valley Dawgs general manager when the backboard-breaking center was the USBL team’s coach.

Dawkins said he was told his friend, Robert Jaworski, has been offered to coach in the PBA.

“I heard about that and I wish the Big J all the best,” said the 6-11 Dawkins. “I’m his biggest fan. Please tell the Big J if he’d like me to sit on the bench with him, I’ll be honored. I’ll be his assistant coach if he wants. As head coach, I tend to bark at my players a lot. But as an assistant, I can see the game from a distance and give suggestions to the coach. Hey, I’d love that role with the Big J.”

Dawkins said he’s sure Jaworski would be a successful coach.

“He’s been a coach before and I know he can do it again,” he continued. “The thing about the Big J is he’s a winner. When I come in September, I hope to be able to meet him. I’d love to do clinics for kids when I’m there, too.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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