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The Final Score: Wondering about Willie Miller

January 20, 2011 8:53am
It's a nagging feeling. Like how you know you could've done something better or said something in a better way. And the predisposition lingers longer than it should. It doesn't help when people ask me to rationalize the funk. I'm glad they ask. "Sir Mico, ano nangyari kay Willie Miller?" I'm just disappointed I don't have the clear-cut answers they deserve.

Miller brings out the optimism in some, the pessimism in others. Those who still believe in him, trust in his abilities to play MVP-caliber basketball when games and reputations are at stake, will let the San Miguel-Ginebra series go. It's over. Move on. The pessimists, on the the hand, won't let go. Open your eyes. See the signs.

Miller's no longer the clutch scorer teams fear (at least not the way opponents worried about him before). But it could be a fluke; an expected glitch in the matrix of Miller's controversial career. He stumbles today. What stops him from shining tomorrow?

Yet as people continue to expect, they also continue to ask, "Is Willie Miller a sham?" A list of endgame blunders says he is. Two MVP trophies say he is not. And the separation between classifying Game 6 of the semis as simply a) malas lang, happens to everyone or b) another example of Miller's unreliability in critical games is subject to debate.

I am, however, convinced about two things. Miller looks as uncomfortable in Ginebra's system as he is, literally, in a Ginebra uniform. Both are works in progress. I'm not sure if most Ginebra fans have embraced Miller wholeheartedly. But I'm certain his jersey, judging by the way it embraces his tank-like torso, is one size too small. I'd like to believe he's out there trying; still trying to fit well with a new team the way he's trying to slip perfectly into a new uniform.

There are forces that keep Miller from fully becoming Ginebra's end-game dynamo. The least tantalizing answer is defense. I can say he faced tough defenders in the semis, but most will just politely nod. But if I say other complex, even dark forces are at play, the Miller conversation goes into a high gear. It's correct to think it's over, move on. But I sincerely hope, for his sake, the next time he plays crucial games, we'll no longer be asked to open our eyes and see the signs.

Championships won, a killer cross-over jumpshot and a smile that lights up the city say he is not a farce. His conference averages suggest he is legit. Yet the longer he looks lost in Ginebra colors, the more he fades during clutch possessions, the less understanding he receives from critical minds. Because most of the time, when his legend braces for extreme tests, when games reach screaming heights, he offers eerie silence in return. I hope it's only temporary. It's a good sign optimists still ask. Because the pessimists stopped asking a long time ago. -- GMANews.TV

For more about Willie Miller's performance (or lack thereof) in the recent All-Filipino S/F, click on the FTW video below with Eric Reyes, Mico Halili and Magoo Marjon.

Click here for the latest FTW videos.
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