Name: Rommel Niño KG Canaleta
Nick Name: KG
Monicker: the sultan of slam, the Da Vinci of dunk
Birthday: February 12, 1982
Position: Small Forward
Second position: Shooting Guard
Jersey No: 9
Year drafted: picked sixth in first round by Air21 in 2005
Years Pro: 3
College: University of the East
Hobbies: Playing basketball and watching DVDs
When the Air21 Express picked three rookies in 2005, Canaleta was the last player selected after top pick Jay Washington and Marc Cardona, who were both traded immediately to Talk ‘N Text after the draft trade.
But it seems to be Air21’s good decision as Canaleta came up to the challenges not only the team’s show time maker but an effective guy for the Express’ potent running game.
Canaleta took Air21’s go-to-guy role in the last two seasons after franchise player and main gunner Renren Ritualo was shipped to Talk ‘N Text last year.
He scored 30 points above thrice last season, showing that he was the face of the new Air21 Express running game.
Aside from his rim-rattling dunks, Canaleta, known as a three-time PBA slam-dunk king, can also shoot beyond the arc, penetrates the lane and plays good defense especially in crunch time.
Achievements: three-time slam dunk champion in UAAP-NCAA Bantay Bata, undefeated slam dunk king in PBA All-Star since 2005, one-time PBL slam dunk champion in 2003-2004.
Career-high: Canaleta matched his career-high 32 points in a 112-121 loss against Magnolia during the 33rd PBA season opener at the Araneta Coliseum.
He first established his career-high 32 points last June 2, 2006 to beat Talk ‘N Text, 111-106, and face forge a do-or-die game against Ginebra for the last quarterfinals seat.
More about the player:
He made a serious run for the Rookie of the Year honors in 2005-06 with an impressive Philippine Cup campaign, where he averaged 16.2 points per game which was No. 1 among rookies and seventh in the tournament among locals.
But a so-so performance in the Fiesta Conference and two finals stints of Red Bull made Larry Fonacier a no-brainer for the award.
Canaleta had 15 points last February 9, 2006 to lead the Express to third place finish after beating Ginebra, 108-98.
Statistics: Last 32nd Fiesta Cup averages in 18 games played:
Points per game: 12.1, Rebounds per game: 5.9, Assists per game: 0.9. Steals per game: 0.4, Blocks per game: 0.8