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10 NCAA players to watch in Season 95

It’s important to note that half of the players who were picked in the first round of the 2018 PBA Draft were products of the country’s first collegiate sports league. CJay Perez and Robert Bolick have immediately become the cornerstones of Columbian Dyip and NorthPort Batang Pier, respectively. Javee Mocon, Jesper Ayaay, Michael Calisaan and JP Calvo have all received high praise from the coaches of their new teams. While last season’s heroes are now living their lifelong dreams in the PBA, new stars are looking to shine as NCAA Season 95 opens on July 7 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. James Kwekuteye (SBU)   If there is one player worthy enough to succeed Bolick as the King Lion of Mendiola, it’s the 6’3” Fil-Canadian shooting guard, James Kwekuteye. As a rookie, Kwekuteye came off the bench for majority of the season and had limited time to really put his talent on display. But, when he did start, particularly in San Beda’s second round game against LPU, Kwekuteye proved that he could be a major threat as he scored a career-high 18 points for the Red Lions, matching the scoring output of Bolick. In that game, Bolick motivated Kwekuteye by saying, “they can’t stop you.” James Kwekuteye introduces himself to Lyceum with 18 big points! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/OQS5eZBTJL — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 18, 2018 As the new starting shooting guard of Coach Boyet Fernandez, Kwekuteye led San Beda in scoring in the 2019 Fil-Oil Flying V Pre-season Cup averaging 14.1 points per game.    Evan Nelle (SBU)   Another talented player who didn’t see the floor much last year due to the loaded roster of guards on the San Beda lineup was former NCAA Jrs. Finals MVP Evan Nelle. Evan Nelle repays coach Boyet Fernandez' trust by drilling the early three! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/kpfdsnro2i — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 11, 2018 Nelle was the fourth string point guard behind Bolick, Jo Presbitero and Radge Tongco in Season 94. But, with the graduation of all three aforementioned players, the keys to the Red Lions’ offense has fallen straight into Nelle’s hands. While sharing the backcourt with Kwekuteye, Nelle led San Beda to the 2019 FilOil Championship and averaged a league-best 4.7 assists per contest.    Donald Tankoua (SBU)   Aside from capturing the title in the country’s most prestigious pre-season tournament, Kwekuteye and Nelle were also named to the Mythical Five along with their starting center, Donald Tankoua.  Donald Tankoua drops 23 points to help San Beda end the eliminations on a high note. #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/EUFpXnAt8T — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 23, 2018 The 6’6” Cameroonian big man has always been one of the most consistent players, year in and year out in the NCAA and will continue to be as he plays out his final year of eligibility in Season 95. Because he’s a walking double-double, expect Tankoua to be the early favorite to win MVP.   Mike Harry Nzeusseu (LPU)   Now, if there is anybody who possesses the physical attributes and the numbers to challenge Tankoua’s MVP campaign, it’s LPU’s Mike Harry Nzeusseu. Mike Harry Nzeusseu gets NASTY ???? #NCAASeason94 #NCAAFinals pic.twitter.com/yEAr0ywBPd — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 12, 2018 Nzeusseu ended last season without confirming that he would return to play one more year with the Pirates but his participation in the Fil-Oil tournament tells us that he will be back to anchor the defense of Coach Topex Robinson. And without Perez, the 6’6” center from the Republic of Cameroon will also have to do major damage on the offensive end as well.  Jayson David (LPU)   Jayson David picks Robert Bolick's pocket for the transition finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/Inl17UZbKq — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 7, 2017 Back in Season 91, the NCAA added a Most Improved Player trophy to their list of awardees for every basketball tournament. Based on the pre-season, former San Sebastian guard Jayson David has emerged as the frontrunner for that award as he has assumed the starting spot of Perez with LPU. David is no “Baby Beast”, but it seems that Robinson trusts him enough to be a critical piece in the Pirates’ quest to capture that elusive NCAA championship. He averaged 7.3 PPG, 6 RPG and 2.1 APG in the Fil-Oil tourney.   Jeo Ambohot (CSJL)   Another player who seems to have earned the trust of his coach is Jeo Ambohot. Under Coach Jeff Napa, the ‘23 for 23’ Gilas World Cup pool member came off the bench and underachieved, only averaging 7.2 PPG and 7.2 RPG for the Knights in Season 94. Jeo Ambohot can hit this all game long! ???? #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/5NCj7tV7Gt — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 9, 2018 However, under new Letran Head Coach Bonnie Tan, Ambohot was being utilized as the starting center with last year’s Rookie of the Year, Larry Muyang coming off the bench in their pre-season games. Nevertheless, a player like Ambohot should not be happy with his dismal outing last year and should come out stronger in Season 95.    Renato Ular (CSJL)   Here’s a guy you probably haven’t heard about before. His name is Renato Ular. Ring a bell? Probably not. The last time he saw action was during his rookie year in Season 92. Actually, he didn’t even do much back then. He only played in four games in did not score a single point in any of those games. After two years as a spectator, Ular has finally rejoined the Letran lineup and was their best player in the Fil-Oil tournament averaging 9.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG. The last left-handed legend from Letran was Rey Nambatac. This lefty’s got a long way to go to get on the Sting Rey’s level, but expect him to be one of the Knights' primary attackers this year.   RK Ilagan (SSC-R)   RK Ilagan was FEELING IT from downtown, dropping a new career-high 2??6?? PTS vs Mapua! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/SDIaVmtzCF — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 12, 2018 Speaking of attacking, one player who will be more relentless than he’s ever been this Season 95 is RK Ilagan. The pride of Barrio Fugoso, Tondo, Manila ranked seventh in scoring last year, averaging 15.2 PPG and was the Golden Stags’ leading scorer despite the presence of Calisaan. Coach Egay Macaraya loves a shooter and will continue to give the green light to Ilagan who made more triples (40) than any player in the NCAA in Season 94.    Kent Salado (AU)   Prior to injuring his right knee on October 10, 2017 in an 85-79 Arellano win over SSC-R in Season 93, Kent Salado was one of the most exciting players in the NCAA. The spitfire point guard from Cagayan de Oro was averaging 19.1 PPG (2nd behind Perez) and 5.0 APG (2nd behind Bolick) for the Chiefs, taking over the driver’s seat that Jiovani Jalalon occupied during their run to the Finals in Season 92. Lervin Flores with a nice block, Kent Salado with an even better finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/ohK28fFFhS — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 15, 2017 Now that he’s finally had surgery to repair what was eventually revealed to be a torn ACL, Salado is looking to excite fans anew especially since Arellano University will serve as the host of the NCAA for the first time in league history. Justin Gutang (CSB)   Recently, I asked former Arellano Head Coach Jerry Codi?era who he thought had the makings of a star in the NCAA now that the likes of Perez and Bolick are in the pros. The “Defense Minister” immediately mentioned one name: Justin Gutang. The 6’3” Fil-American forward from San Francisco, California had an impressive rookie season, averaging 13.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 4.3 APG for the Blazers and winning the Slam Dunk contest along the way. Although we haven’t heard much from Gutang in the off-season, the fact that a PBA Legend still has him on his radar means that the kid’s potential cannot be ignored. ?Editor's Note: The list is based on pre-season performances of teams. There are some NCAA teams who have not partcipated in pre-season tournaments nor released line-ups.  ?Catch NCAA Season 95 starting July 7, Sunday, 11:30 am LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, Liga, Liga HD, iWant and via livestream.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 27th, 2019

EYES ON YOU, KID: NCAA 95 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the NCAA 95 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And with the second round already underway, we’re getting even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: MAC GUADANA – Lyceum of the Philippines University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 18.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.1 steals LPU is on the brink of its first playoff appearance in school history – and throughout its quest to do just that, Mac Guadana has been its constant. For a long time, the 6-foot playmaker has stood as the pillar for the Jr. Pirates, but now, he has taken the leap all the way up there as one of the best players in all of high school. The former Batang Gilas guard has been stuffing the stat sheet and is tops in steals, fourth in scoring, and fifth in assists in the league. Without a doubt, he can and he is doing it all in his fifth and final year in maroon and grey. Most importantly, LPU has only followed his lead all the way to a place well inside the playoff picture. Of course, it remains to be seen if the Jr. Pirates can continue their sail to treasure island. What’s certain, though, is that their 18-year-old homegrown star will keep giving his all for them. RHAYYAN AMSALI – San Beda High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.7 steals For four years running now, Rhayyan Amsali has been one of the most promising prospects in the Jrs. Now in his last year in high school, he has only brought over all the confidence and capabilities he had honed in National U all the way to San Beda. Now donning red and white, the 6-foot-3 forward has unleashed a more well-rounded game as he is actually the league’s best playmaker while at the same time, its third-best pilferer and fifth-best scorer. And if not for a controversial suspension, he would have also been the frontrunner for MVP as he has been a key cog for the league-leading Red Cubs. Still, what matters most for the now 18-year-old is another championship – and at the end of it all, he may very well be in select company of players who have won two titles in two different high schools in two different leagues. JONNEL POLICARPIO – Mapua High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.1 points, 10.6 rebound, 2.6 assists, 1.3 blocks The biggest reason Mapua has found itself in the bottom third of the standings is the inconsistency of main man Jonnel Policarpio. From missing the first three games due to personal problems to getting irregular playing time due to mental lapses, the 6-foot-4 energizer has only proven he has got much room for improvement when it comes to intangibles. Still, whenever he’s on the floor, Policarpio has always made his presence felt and that is very much evident with him being the MVP leader even after only playing seven games. However, the league’s top rebounder needs to prove he can stay on the court and lead his team to victory if he wants to have a hold of that top individual trophy and, more importantly, extend his team’s title reign. JUSTINE SANCHEZ – San Beda High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.5 points, 62.8 percent shooting, 7.5 rebounds Justine Sanchez is turning in a career year in his last year for San Beda. From coming off the bench a year ago to claiming a starting spot for himself, the long-limbed forward is on pace to be hailed as the league’s Most Improved Player. All the proof he needs for that is already there as he is an automatic finisher of set-ups by his teammates, with an astounding 62.8 shooting clip from the field. At the same time, though, he has also shown flashes of shooting and playmaking – showing that even the favorite for Most Improved Player looks like he can still keep growing. JOHN BARBA – Lyceum of the Philippines University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 20.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists Mac Guadana does it all, but if and when LPU needs a basket badly, it turns to John Barba. A fearless slasher that boasts of one of the best – if not the best – upper body strengths, the 6-foot-2 swingman can score however he wants once he gets to the paint. That is exactly why he is the league’s second-best scorer. Of course, Barba has to work on his shooting, but as of right now, that hole in his game is only offset by his energy and activity that allow him to haul in offensive rebounds and make good on second chance points. TONY YNOT – San Beda High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 10.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals Tony Ynot missed San Beda’s first five games due to a knee injury, but once he was good to go, he did nothing but make an immediate impact. A defensive specialist who made noise in the preseason with a poster block on Jalen Green, the Filipino-American blue-chip recruit in the US NCAA, he is only proving to be more of a two-way force now in his second season in red and white. The 5-foot-11 wing now has the confidence to let it fly from deep or venture inside the paint for a closer look, but when it all boils down to it, defense is and will always be his calling card. RC CALIMAG – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 20.7 points, 23-of-60 from three, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals RC Calimag has always been in love with the midrange shot in his time in DLSZ and now in his second season in LSGH. The 6-foot-2 forward knocks those down at a respectable rate, but his transition into taking more threes this year has unlocked his entire offensive arsenal. Calimag is the league’s top scorer, with a bulk of his output coming from deep where he has hit 23 in total. Without a doubt, he has always been a deadly scorer, but with his outside shot now a legitimate threat, he has become an elite offensive player. JOSHUA RAMIREZ – Colegio de San Juan de Letran ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 15.1 points, 29-of-90 from three, 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists Joshua Ramirez’s game will not blow anybody away at all as he is yet to have a skill that will put him above everybody else. What the 6-foot-3 forward is, however, is an all-around player who will do whatever it takes to help out his team – if Letran needs points, he will be there; if Letran needs playmaking, he will be there; if Letran needs defense, he will be there. No doubt about it, he is the quintessential glue guy that any other team will want to have on their side. EMMAN GALMAN – University of Perpetual Help ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.5 steals One word perfectly encapsulates Emman Galman – gunner. The 6-foot-2 swingman is a volume shooter who has the greenest of green lights to take shots for Perpetual. That’s not a bad thing at all, though, because he actually makes good on many of those and finds himself as the third-best scorer in all of the league. SHAWN UMALI – Colegio de San Juan de Letran ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 9.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.1 steals What Joshua Ramirez is from the perimeter, Shawn Umali is inside the paint for Letran. The undersized big man will not wow everybody, but his do-it-all game has been the engine that has kept the Squires running for two years now. And don’t let his 6-foot-4 height and wide frame fool you, he actually has great timing and is the league’s fifth-best shot blocker. HONORABLE MENTIONS Yukien Andrada – San Beda High School Gholam Garcia – Jose Rizal University High School CJ Saure – Colegio de San Juan de Letran Ezdel Galoy – University of Perpetual Help --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2019

EAC turning over a new leaf for NCAA 95

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 4-14, 9th YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: JP Maguliano, Jethro Mendoza WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Dom Dayrit, Marwin Taywan, Oliver Bunyi (coach) GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Juju Bautista, Maui Cruz, Jerome Garcia, Hamadou Laminou, Ariel Sison (coach) WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM EAC? The last remnants of the last EAC team to contend are no longer here – meaning Juju Bautista, Jerome Garcia, and Hamadou Laminou have all played their last games in red and white. The same goes for Ariel Sison, the Generals’ mentor for the last three seasons who has now handed over the reins to Oliver Bunyi, a coaching veteran who has valuable experience from his time as an assistant for the very first Gilas Pilipinas, the San Miguel Beermen in the ABL, and GlobalPort (now NorthPort) in the PBA. Without a doubt, EAC will be brand new for NCAA Season 95 – and that may very well be a good thing for a team that is yet to break through to the Final Four since joining the league in 2009. In this new era, coach Oliver will call on a couple of second-year contributors to take the next step and become the faces of San Marcelino. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but both JP Maguliano and Jethro Mendoza have long flashed glimpses they can be just that. WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM EAC? Maguliano memorably introduced himself with a 30-point, 17-rebound in EAC’s upset win against San Sebastian College-Recoletos last season. Since then, the 6-foot-3 forward has continued being a workhorse and opened even more eyes in the 2019 PBA D-League and then the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament. For his part, Mendoza was a seldom-used guard who nonetheless showed potential to be a scoring machine and in the developmental league and preseason, he top-scored for the Generals more than a few times. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR EAC? EAC has been seeing action in the NCAA for the last decade and has only sniffed the playoffs a couple of times. If there is a long-suffering team in the first and oldest collegiate league in the country, that is none other than the Generals. “I’m very positive, but we’re not satisfied. I know that if we work together, there’s a possibility for us to win big games. I just expect my players to always give perfect effort.” – head coach Oliver Bunyi As they set off into a new era, they remain hopeful for that elusive breakthrough – and we will all be right there celebrating with them if and when they break through, at long last. WHERE WOULD EAC BE AT THE END OF NCAA SEASON 95? That breakthrough, however, will not be in NCAA Season 95 as EAC is still in the first phase of its rebuild. “Our best might not be enough against the others’ best this season, but I believe we’ll eventually catch up with them.” – head coach Oliver Bunyi The hope for the Generals, as of this moment, is to have more players join Maguliano and Mendoza as their building blocks for future contention. WHEN IS EAC’S FIRST GAME IN NCAA SEASON 95? EAC plans to gift coach Oliver with his first win in just his first game calling the shots when they go up against College of St. Benilde on July 9 at Filoil Flying V Centre. As always, the latest season of the first and oldest collegiate league in the country will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and livestream. HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE NINE OTHER TEAMS IN NCAA SEASON 95: Young guns to be wind beneath JRU’s wings for NCAA 95 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2019

10 NCAA players to watch in Season 95

It’s important to note that half of the players who were picked in the first round of the 2018 PBA Draft were products of the country’s first collegiate sports league. CJay Perez and Robert Bolick have immediately become the cornerstones of Columbian Dyip and NorthPort Batang Pier, respectively. Javee Mocon, Jesper Ayaay, Michael Calisaan and JP Calvo have all received high praise from the coaches of their new teams. While last season’s heroes are now living their lifelong dreams in the PBA, new stars are looking to shine as NCAA Season 95 opens on July 7 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. James Kwekuteye (SBU)   If there is one player worthy enough to succeed Bolick as the King Lion of Mendiola, it’s the 6’3” Fil-Canadian shooting guard, James Kwekuteye. As a rookie, Kwekuteye came off the bench for majority of the season and had limited time to really put his talent on display. But, when he did start, particularly in San Beda’s second round game against LPU, Kwekuteye proved that he could be a major threat as he scored a career-high 18 points for the Red Lions, matching the scoring output of Bolick. In that game, Bolick motivated Kwekuteye by saying, “they can’t stop you.” James Kwekuteye introduces himself to Lyceum with 18 big points! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/OQS5eZBTJL — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 18, 2018 As the new starting shooting guard of Coach Boyet Fernandez, Kwekuteye led San Beda in scoring in the 2019 Fil-Oil Flying V Pre-season Cup averaging 14.1 points per game.    Evan Nelle (SBU)   Another talented player who didn’t see the floor much last year due to the loaded roster of guards on the San Beda lineup was former NCAA Jrs. Finals MVP Evan Nelle. Evan Nelle repays coach Boyet Fernandez' trust by drilling the early three! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/kpfdsnro2i — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 11, 2018 Nelle was the fourth string point guard behind Bolick, Jo Presbitero and Radge Tongco in Season 94. But, with the graduation of all three aforementioned players, the keys to the Red Lions’ offense has fallen straight into Nelle’s hands. While sharing the backcourt with Kwekuteye, Nelle led San Beda to the 2019 FilOil Championship and averaged a league-best 4.7 assists per contest.    Donald Tankoua (SBU)   Aside from capturing the title in the country’s most prestigious pre-season tournament, Kwekuteye and Nelle were also named to the Mythical Five along with their starting center, Donald Tankoua.  Donald Tankoua drops 23 points to help San Beda end the eliminations on a high note. #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/EUFpXnAt8T — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 23, 2018 The 6’6” Cameroonian big man has always been one of the most consistent players, year in and year out in the NCAA and will continue to be as he plays out his final year of eligibility in Season 95. Because he’s a walking double-double, expect Tankoua to be the early favorite to win MVP.   Mike Harry Nzeusseu (LPU)   Now, if there is anybody who possesses the physical attributes and the numbers to challenge Tankoua’s MVP campaign, it’s LPU’s Mike Harry Nzeusseu. Mike Harry Nzeusseu gets NASTY ???? #NCAASeason94 #NCAAFinals pic.twitter.com/yEAr0ywBPd — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 12, 2018 Nzeusseu ended last season without confirming that he would return to play one more year with the Pirates but his participation in the Fil-Oil tournament tells us that he will be back to anchor the defense of Coach Topex Robinson. And without Perez, the 6’6” center from the Republic of Cameroon will also have to do major damage on the offensive end as well.  Jayson David (LPU)   Jayson David picks Robert Bolick's pocket for the transition finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/Inl17UZbKq — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 7, 2017 Back in Season 91, the NCAA added a Most Improved Player trophy to their list of awardees for every basketball tournament. Based on the pre-season, former San Sebastian guard Jayson David has emerged as the frontrunner for that award as he has assumed the starting spot of Perez with LPU. David is no “Baby Beast”, but it seems that Robinson trusts him enough to be a critical piece in the Pirates’ quest to capture that elusive NCAA championship. He averaged 7.3 PPG, 6 RPG and 2.1 APG in the Fil-Oil tourney.   Jeo Ambohot (CSJL)   Another player who seems to have earned the trust of his coach is Jeo Ambohot. Under Coach Jeff Napa, the ‘23 for 23’ Gilas World Cup pool member came off the bench and underachieved, only averaging 7.2 PPG and 7.2 RPG for the Knights in Season 94. Jeo Ambohot can hit this all game long! ???? #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/5NCj7tV7Gt — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 9, 2018 However, under new Letran Head Coach Bonnie Tan, Ambohot was being utilized as the starting center with last year’s Rookie of the Year, Larry Muyang coming off the bench in their pre-season games. Nevertheless, a player like Ambohot should not be happy with his dismal outing last year and should come out stronger in Season 95.    Renato Ular (CSJL)   Here’s a guy you probably haven’t heard about before. His name is Renato Ular. Ring a bell? Probably not. The last time he saw action was during his rookie year in Season 92. Actually, he didn’t even do much back then. He only played in four games in did not score a single point in any of those games. After two years as a spectator, Ular has finally rejoined the Letran lineup and was their best player in the Fil-Oil tournament averaging 9.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG. The last left-handed legend from Letran was Rey Nambatac. This lefty’s got a long way to go to get on the Sting Rey’s level, but expect him to be one of the Knights' primary attackers this year.   RK Ilagan (SSC-R)   RK Ilagan was FEELING IT from downtown, dropping a new career-high 2??6?? PTS vs Mapua! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/SDIaVmtzCF — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 12, 2018 Speaking of attacking, one player who will be more relentless than he’s ever been this Season 95 is RK Ilagan. The pride of Barrio Fugoso, Tondo, Manila ranked seventh in scoring last year, averaging 15.2 PPG and was the Golden Stags’ leading scorer despite the presence of Calisaan. Coach Egay Macaraya loves a shooter and will continue to give the green light to Ilagan who made more triples (40) than any player in the NCAA in Season 94.    Kent Salado (AU)   Prior to injuring his right knee on October 10, 2017 in an 85-79 Arellano win over SSC-R in Season 93, Kent Salado was one of the most exciting players in the NCAA. The spitfire point guard from Cagayan de Oro was averaging 19.1 PPG (2nd behind Perez) and 5.0 APG (2nd behind Bolick) for the Chiefs, taking over the driver’s seat that Jiovani Jalalon occupied during their run to the Finals in Season 92. Lervin Flores with a nice block, Kent Salado with an even better finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/ohK28fFFhS — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 15, 2017 Now that he’s finally had surgery to repair what was eventually revealed to be a torn ACL, Salado is looking to excite fans anew especially since Arellano University will serve as the host of the NCAA for the first time in league history. Justin Gutang (CSB)   Recently, I asked former Arellano Head Coach Jerry Codi?era who he thought had the makings of a star in the NCAA now that the likes of Perez and Bolick are in the pros. The “Defense Minister” immediately mentioned one name: Justin Gutang. The 6’3” Fil-American forward from San Francisco, California had an impressive rookie season, averaging 13.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 4.3 APG for the Blazers and winning the Slam Dunk contest along the way. Although we haven’t heard much from Gutang in the off-season, the fact that a PBA Legend still has him on his radar means that the kid’s potential cannot be ignored. ?Editor's Note: The list is based on pre-season performances of teams. There are some NCAA teams who have not partcipated in pre-season tournaments nor released line-ups.  ?Catch NCAA Season 95 starting July 7, Sunday, 11:30 am LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, Liga, Liga HD, iWant and via livestream.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2019

Young guns to be wind beneath JRU s wings for NCAA 95

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 3-15, 10th YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Ry Dela Rosa, MJ Dela Virgen, Agem Miranda WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: John Amores, John Delos Santos, Marwin Dionisio, Thomas Vasquez, Louie Gonzalez (coach) GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Jed Mendoza, Junmark Silvarez, Darius Estrella (injured), Vergel Meneses (coach) WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM JRU? With Jed Mendoza transferring to University of the East, JRU was supposed to be Darius Estrella’s show to run in NCAA Season 95. Unfortunately, Estrella, a former MVP in the NCAA Jrs., suffered another ACL injury and will be out for the year. That makes the Heavy Bombers even more of a young team as the mantle of leadership will now fall on second-year players Ry Dela Rosa and Agem Miranda. “Every day, I talk to Agem and Ry, I give them more responsibility. With their attitude, they're really up to it. Agem is really special. Ry is a team player, he does the small things.” – head coach Louie Gonzalez While those two are solid pieces, the future of Kalentong will fall upon the shoulders of a quartet of recruits from the school’s Juniors program. First and foremost among them is fearless slasher John Amores, the 17th-ranked player in last season’s NBTC 24, but playmaker John Delos Santos, steady forward Marwin Dionisio, and sparkplug Thomas Vasquez are no slouches themselves. “Yung rookies ko from high school, sobrang promising talaga. Sakin, napagandang opportunity ito to show na may connection yung program from Light Bombers to Heavy Bombers.” – head coach Louie Gonzalez WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM JRU? Without a doubt, several players will take turns in doing the heavy lifting for JRU. And so, there is no definitive player to watch from them. “The way things are running, come NCAA, wala naman akong ma-ask sa players ko. They are a young team, pero sobrang promising naman. What's good with the players right now, nag-buy in agad dun sa sistema. Yung commitment at effort na binigay sakin, sobra-sobra.” – head coach Louie Gonzalez What would be must-watch, however, is how new head coach Louie Gonzalez tries to rejigger a program that fell to the back of the pack last season with a 3-15 record. This, after an eight-year run that saw them posting an overall 81-61 record under school legend Vergel Meneses. Fortunately for Coach Louie, he will have championship experience to draw from as he was an assistant for both Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s NCAA Season 91 championship and De La Salle University’s UAAP Season 79 championship. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR JRU? Again, JRU is a young team. Aside from point guard MJ Dela Virgen, nobody from their lineup saw heavy minutes in the last two seasons. That gives all their young talent – such as second-year players Miranda and Dela Rosa and rookies Amores, Delos Santos, Dionisio, and Vasquez – the golden opportunity to break out. Coach Louie also turned La Salle into a team of scrappy upstarts that leaned on third-year studs Justine Baltazar and Aljun Melecio for a run that just fell a win shy of the Final Four in the UAAP a year ago – meaning, he is more than capable of doing the same for the Heavy Bombers. “One thing's for sure, lalaban 'to.” – head coach Louie Gonzalez WHERE WOULD JRU BE AT THE END OF NCAA SEASON 95? No question, JRU will not be in the Final Four next season. “Wala naman kaming pupuntahan kundi pataas. For this one, sana 7th or 8th, medyo okay na ako kasi it’s a rebuilding team. Ang goal namin is mag-improve nang mag-improve.” – head coach Louie Gonzalez Instead, what NCAA Season 95 will mean for the Heavy Bombers is the first step in a grand plan to take flight once more. As such, at the moment, getting experience for their young talent is their primary purpose. WHEN IS JRU’S FIRST GAME IN NCAA SEASON 95? JRU’s new era commences opposite San Sebastian College-Recoletos on July 9 at Filoil Flying V Centre. As always, the latest season of the first and oldest collegiate league in the country will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2019

Fernandez, Baldwin hailed as Collegiate Coaches of the Year yet again

For extending their respective squads' dynasties, two of the best and brightest coaches in the collegiate basketball scene are set to be feted. San Beda Red Lions head mentor Boyet Fernandez and Ateneo Blue Eagles chief tactician Tab Baldwin will be hailed as the Coaches of the Year in the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Awards presented by SportsVision on Monday at Amelie Hotel Manila in Malate. Fernandez guided the Red Lions to their 11th title in the last 13 years, their 22nd overall in the NCAA Seniors Basketball Tournament. During the tournament, San Beda only lost once, capping the season with a 14-game winning streak, including a two-game sweep of the Lyceum Pirates in the Finals. This will be Fernandez's fifth Coach of the Year plum, tying him for most in the category with former Ateneo Blue Eagles head coach Norman Black. For his part, Baldwin is set to receive his second straight Coach of the Year trophy in this annual event organized by the Collegiate Press Corps, composed of scribes from print and online outfits covering the NCAA and UAAP. Under Baldwin's watch, the Blue Eagles cruised through the UAAP Season 81 Men's Basketball Tournament to win their second straight championship, the school's 10th overall. The awards night backed by  Amelie Hotel, Rain or Shine, NorthPort, World Balance, Arellano, and AXA Team EDS will also distinguish the UP Fighting Maroons. The Fighting Maroons were the feel-good story of the collegiate season, overcoming a shaky start to get things together late in the UAAP tournament. The team led by Paul Desiderio ended up breaking a 32-year Finals drought to end up with silver - the school's first podium finish in the sport in 32 years as well. Also set to be honored in the event are Sisi Rondina (UAAP Volleyball Player of the Year); Regine Arocha (NCAA Volleyball Player of the Year); the National University Lady Bulldogs (Award of Excellence); Ateneo's Angelo Kouame and San Beda's Javee Mocon (Pivotal Players); Lyceum's CJ Perez and Adamson's Sean Manganti (Impact Players). The 2019 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps Awards presented by SportsVision will be aired live over Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas and Tiebreaker Times on Facebook......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

Proud Parent Problems: For Currys, a fraught conference final

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. — They are lock-step and lock-arm and also lock-jersey as they enter Oracle Arena in what is their crowning achievement as a basketball mom and dad. Dell and Sonya Curry are in the running for First Couple of the NBA, and in the Western Conference finals, this honor comes with an equal amount of pride and anxiety. “There’s so much emotion involved because you want both to do well, and here they are, on opposite benches,” says the mom. The father agreed, adding: “It’s hard for both of us.” [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Their sons are, of course, Stephen and Seth Curry, and their dilemma is being played out in front of millions on TV, who see Dell and Sonya sitting in the stands wearing custom-made split jerseys honoring both players. For Game 1, Dell had Steph’s No. 30 Warriors jersey on the front and Seth’s No. 31 Blazers on the back, and vice versa for Sonya. They’ll switch up as the series goes along because the parents never want to show favoritism for any of their children. “Somebody’s going to lose and we’re going to the Finals with one of them and it will be bittersweet,” Dell Curry said. “But whomever doesn’t go to the Finals for his team will be there for his brother.” Aside from this being a sweet story involving a close-knit and stable family, what’s amazing about this is that it's happening at all. Yes, the NBA has had a fair share of siblings before -- do you know how many Plumlees are cashing basketball checks? -- but never in the same conference finals. And what’s more, neither of the Curry boys dropped strong hints, even as far as high school, that they’d be on anybody’s NBA bench. But religion and faith run through all the Currys and the parents, who’ve been married 31 years, must’ve struck the proper chord because they’ve been blessed with a playoff series neither will soon forget, no matter how it turns out. By now, their made-for-reality TV story is a familiar one. Dell was a smooth-shooting guard at Virginia Tech where he met Sonya, who played for the women’s volleyball team. They soon became a couple and delivered Steph while Dell played for the Cavaliers, who drafted him. Seth came a few years later in Charlotte, where Dell by then was one of the game’s best sixth men, dropping shots from distance for the Hornets. Their basketball education started at home and specifically the driveway basketball court where the boys wore Hornets jerseys and pretended to be in the NBA. “They battled each other,” Dell Curry said. “You know, trying to get the game-winning point and arguing whether you got fouled or not. You’re standing there watching them settle it and it never got settled. My wife and I took turns being the referee deciding who won the game.” Understandably, it never got heated, as anger or jealousy doesn’t seem to be in the Curry family DNA. “Steph did a good job with that,” said Dell. “Being the oldest boy, he could’ve beaten up on [Seth] a lot.” The boys became familiar faces around the Hornets’ practice facility and games. They attended small private high schools instead of basketball academies because of academics; their parents didn’t specifically groom them for the NBA. Even if the father’s shooting genetics and mother’s competitive instincts were soon apparent with both boys, they were size challenged. They played like solid basketball players but looked like future accountants. That all changed for Steph not long after he went to Davidson College and for Seth after he transferred from Liberty University to Duke. Steph was an NCAA tournament sensation, and later, Seth became a solid starter who replaced an injured Kyrie Irving at one of the country’s most prestigious programs. And thus began the crazy travel schedule for their parents, each splitting the duties between their sons as best they could; it hasn’t calmed down since. Steph has had the gold-plated path, winning a pair of Kia MVPs and three championships, changing the game from a shooting standpoint and punching an automatic ticket to the Hall of Fame someday. Seth’s career has been nomadic. He wasn’t drafted because teams wondered about his ball-handling skills. The Warriors initially tossed him a lifeline, but Seth didn’t survive training camp and was sent to their G-League team. He’s with his sixth team in five years and seemingly turned the corner last season with the Mavericks, where he started 42 games before injuries intervened. Steph is vested in his younger brother’s career and quietly simmers about how Seth, who’s now 28, lacks a long-term deal and security with one team. Although the younger Curry finished third in three-point shooting percentage this season -- one spot ahead of Stephen -- Seth becomes a free agent this summer. Yet the good news is he should have interest after a breakout season for the Blazers. “They want each other to do well,” said Dell. “They cheer for each other. They watch each other’s games all the time. Steph’s a quiet guy but he roots for his brother and vice-versa.” For the last several years, Seth has been in the stands watching his brother during the postseason, sitting with his parents, marveling at Steph’s talent and fortunes like anyone else. Until now. And here they are, trying to deny each other a championship. There are times when the Curry boys will guard each other and that always puts their parents in a tough spot. When it happened in Game 1, Dell and Sonya just watched, frozen in place. No clapping, no cheering, no nothing. “Coming in here, we didn’t know what to expect or how to react,” Dell said. “This hasn’t happened before. Usually we can go all-in on one team. We don’t know how to cheer or how to respond when one team goes on a run. We can’t totally go on one side.” Sonya said: “It’s hard on my nerves.” These are proud parent problems. There is a solution to the relentless travel, the back-and-forth between two teams and this emotional wringer and the constant wondering about games and victories and losses: Maybe one day, even next season, the boys will be … teammates? Dell Curry’s face suddenly brightens and the stress disappears. “Now that would be great,” he said “Being brothers and teammates, and in this situation where they both win? Let’s see what happens. Both have a lot of years left in the league. Seth’s a free agent. You never know.” Until then, if that ever happens, the parents will keep their travel agent on speed-dial and keep a tailor on stand-by in case they need another set of jerseys stitched together. “It’s been hectic,” Dell Curry said. “But don’t get me wrong, we’re not taking this for granted. We’re just taking it all in. We’re not complaining at all. We know how special this is.” Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 16th, 2019

Pelicans going at own pace after hitting NBA lottery jackpot

By Brett Martel, Associated Press NEW ORLEANS (AP) — In the NBA city most familiar with “gris-gris,” folks see no small measure of poetic justice in the fact that their team will dictate the fate of a coveted prospect named Zion. Mystical explanations aside, the Pelicans are in the driver’s seat now — but say they’re in no hurry to disclose their plans for likely pick Zion Williamson or disgruntled All-Star Anthony Davis. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] A franchise that looked downtrodden for months since Davis requested a mid-season trade has been suddenly buoyed by the leverage that comes with winning the NBA’s draft lottery— and the option to pick the Duke star, widely seen as the best pro prospect since Davis entered the league in 2012. “What it’s doing to the franchise and to the city of New Orleans is probably not even measurable at this point,” said David Griffin, hired just weeks ago as New Orleans’ top basketball executive. “There’s a groundswell of excitement that frankly is palpable. “What has to come next is that we have to make it mean something. This is a lot of fun, but we’ve got to build a winner now.” It was welcome news for beleaguered sports fans in Louisiana, who had endured a rough start to 2019. It started with the “NOLA no-call,” a pair of missed penalties in the waning minutes of the NFC championship that likely cost the NFL’s Saints a Super Bowl berth. Fans were so angry that many joined lawsuits against the league or attended parties on Super Bowl Sunday which featured re-runs of the Saints’ 2010 title triumph instead of the most recent championship game between New England and the Los Angeles Rams. Less than two weeks later, Davis, the city’s six-time NBA All-Star and face of the Pelicans, publicly requested a trade, and the firing of ninth-year general manager Dell Demps followed not long after. Even at the major college level there was disappointment when one of LSU’s best campaigns in program history was tainted by the suspension of coach Will Wade amid questions surrounding his recruiting tactics. Wade wasn’t reinstated until after LSU was eliminated in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, and his future remains far from certain. Political commentator James Carville — a Louisiana native, New Orleans resident and avid sports fan — said Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) that the recent series of setbacks had led him to adopt a pessimistic theory that, “We are a cursed people, and so all we’re going to get is curses.” Then came Tuesday night’s (Wednesdahy, PHL time) NBA draft lottery, which the Pelicans had a 6% chance of winning. In New Orleans, interest had focused more on seeing which other team would get the top overall pick and become more of a player in a potential Davis trade. Instead, the Pelicans got that pick, placing them in a stronger position to try to change Davis mind — or dictate more favorable trade terms. “This is big,” said Carville, a Pelicans season ticket holder along with his wife, and fellow political commentator, Mary Matalin. “It’s good for the psyche of everybody.” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry stood up and joyously shouted an expletive when New Orleans was announced as the lottery winner, after which he apologized with a grin, sat back down and put both hands on his head. Pelicans ticket office staff celebrated wildly with shouts, leaps and hugs. Owner Gayle Benson’s decision to hire Griffin, who announced at his introduction last month that he would not make a coaching change, combined with the New Orleans’ top draft position, represent a sharp turn in fortune for Gentry after a trying year that began with last summer’s defections during free agency of DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo. But it could take a while to see how the Pelicans’ lottery luck plays out. Griffin, the club’s executive vice president of basketball operations, foreshadowed a deliberate approach to dealing with Davis, who is under contract through next season. “I want Anthony Davis to be part of this,” Griffin said. “If Anthony wants to buy into that, then that’s fantastic. And if he doesn’t, then we’ll deal with it when it becomes appropriate. But this isn’t something for me where that answer happens because of a conversation. That answer is going to reveal itself over a period of time.” Griffin also stopped short of confirming that the Pelicans would draft Williamson — albeit for reasons relating more to his insistence on adhering to his own managerial process than because of any doubts about the 6'7", 285-pound Duke star. “We just have to know what the fit is like among those people in the pool for us in terms of who we thought were the most elite players,” Griffin said, emphasizing that “there was more than one” such player. “Everybody wants to look at this as this is a fait accompli. If that were true, we would have gotten up there with somebody’s jersey in our hands,” Griffin said. “I’m not saying there’s anything at all derogatory about Zion in any way. What I’m saying is ... you can hope that people are like-minded, but until you talk about what matters to you and you sit in a room together, it’s hard to know.” One thing is for sure, it’s nice to have options......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 15th, 2019

UP, UE share 2019 s king of recruiting crown

Who was our King of Recruiting in 2018? Find out here. --- Last season, the University of the Philippines, at long last, broke through in the UAAP. Behind the leadership of Paul Desiderio and key contributions from Season MVP Bright Akhuetie and Mythical selection Juan Gomez de Liano, the Fighting Maroons made their first Final Four since 1997 and first Finals in 32 years. Now, even without the iconic Desiderio, State U is nothing but confident it could build on its breakthrough. The reason? Well, because two of the brightest young stars in Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero are now orbiting Diliman. Paras has all the physical tools to take any league by storm and now in maroon and green, he is out to continue the legacy of his father Benjie who delivered the school’s first and only championship. Meanwhile, the Euro-stepping Rivero already knows a thing or two about taking the UAAP by storm, having been chosen for the Mythical Team when he was still playing for De La Salle University in 2017. Add big man J-Boy Gob, another transferee, to that and, indeed, UP is only equipped to keep contending. On the strength of the transfers of Paras and Rivero alone, the Fighting Maroons would have been worthy of the title of 2019 King of Recruiting. Right up there with them, though, in terms of getting a big boost in the offseason is University of the East. Absent from the Final Four in the last decade, the Red Warriors will be heading into the upcoming season with a fully stocked arsenal. Now up front for them – alongside stalwart Philip Manalang, of course – will be 6-foot-9 Senegalese Adama Diakhite, three-time champion and two-time MVP in the CESAFI Rey Suerte, and college-ready Harvey Pagsanjan, the no. 7 high school player in the 2019 NBTC 24. Diakhite is a hulking presence who will prove to be a tough matchup even for the likes of reigning MVP Akhuetie and last year’s Rookie of the year Ange Kouame. Suerte, a gifted scorer from anywhere on the court, fills right into the hole left behind by scoring dynamo Alvin Pasaol while Pagsanjan can continue making all the right plays he had been doing as the longtime beacon of hope for Hope Christian High School. Also flanking them are former Ateneo de Manila University forward John Apacible, defensive stopper Neil Tolentino, Filipino-Kiwi swingman Richie Rodger, and Filipino-Australian point guard Jasper Rentoy. And with that, UP and UE will have joint custody of the crown of the 2019 King of Recruiting. They dethrone National University which claimed the crown a year ago behind a big-time recruiting class that included Ildefonso brothers Dave and Shaun, John Lloyd Clemente, and John Galinato. Just like last year, there remains no doubt that the new Fighting Maroons and Red Warriors will make their respective sides forces to reckon with come UAAP 82. Still, several squads also made it a point to be better in the offseason. In fact, the graduating players in the 2019 NBTC 24 have been spread out among eight different teams. From the 2019 NBTC 24, the annual ranking of the best high school players in the country, 14 are moving on up to the Seniors. Adamson University is the biggest winner in terms of recruits from that ranking, with three of the top 15 players now in San Marcelino. Ninth-ranked Aaron Fermin is a double-double machine in the NCAA Jrs. and is nothing but determined to realize his potential as a two-way force under multi-titled mentor Franz Pumaren. In CESAFI standout Joshua Yerro and UAAP Jrs. Mythical selection Joem Sabandal, coach Franz also has young blood to bolster the backcourt that will no longer have Koko Pingoy. The Soaring Falcons also scored four other former Baby Falcons in big man Lorenz Capulong and wings Adam and Andrey Doria and AP Manlapaz. When it comes to reaping the rewards of its high school program, though, nobody could still touch Mapua University which again got two keep its Jrs. studs in Clint Escamis and Dan Arches, both of whom made it into the top two-thirds of the 2019 NBTC 24. Escamis and Arches are offensive guards who will give much-needed firepower to a promising core comprised of fellow Mapua HS products Warren Bonifacio, Eric Jabel, Noah Lugo, and Laurenz Victoria. Also, the Cardinals are the favorites to land NCAA 94 Jrs. Finals MVP Paolo Hernandez, another Red Robin. Also bagging two prized prospects from the 2019 NBTC 24 is La Salle which is now the place where the talented tandem of Joel Cagulangan and Joshua David get to work. Cagulangan has long been a star in the making and the NCAA 94 Jrs. MVP is, without question, Taft Avenue’s point guard of the future. The even better news is that he will still have wingman David, a tried and tested glue guy, to grow with. Also set to debut for the Green Archers are Filipino-Americans Jordan Bartlett, a speedster guard; Tyrus Hill, a high-flying forward; and Kurt Lojera, a big-bodied swingman. In all, there are six graduates from the top 10 of the 2019 NBTC 24. All of them would be on different teams in the Srs. Two players from 2019 NBTC 24 are yet to commit to any school, but there is no doubt that Red Robin Hernandez and Greenie Inand Fornilos will be able additions to any collegiate team. For the second straight year, Aldin Ayo will be adding a top three recruit out of high school as incoming sophomore CJ Cansino will now join forces with another triple-doubling talent in Mark Nonoy, a rookie who plays way beyond his years. But wait, there’s more as UST also welcomes with open arms its newest foreign student-athlete in Beninese Soulemane Chabi Yo whose speed and skill will make him a problem for the other foreign student-athletes more used to being powerhouses. Sprinkle in stretch four Sherwin Concepcion as well as versatile forwards Rhenz Abando and Brent Paraiso and there’s a reason why the Growling Tigers are now very much a darkhorse contender. L-Jay Gonzales and RJ Abarrientos remain FEU’s backcourt for tomorrow, but in the meantime, the former is poised for a breakout just as the latter is poised to wrap up his K-12 schooling. Yes, Abarrientos is not yet good to go come UAAP 82, but his steady hand is still the perfect pairing for the burst of energy that is Gonzales. Make no mistake, however, the Tamaraws have gotten help in the form of 6-foot-10 Cameroonian Patrick Tchuente as well as former Baby Tams Daniel Celzo and Jack Gloria. Letran is already the biggest it has ever been up front with NCAA 94 Rookie of the Year Larry Muyang alongside Jeo Ambohot, Christian Balagasay, and Christian Fajarito. Now, the Knights have also beefed up at the wings with Allen Mina and Mark Sangalang as well as former Red Warrior and Growling Tiger Jordan Sta. Ana. LPU will have to prove it could continue contending even without NCAA 93 MVP CJ Perez, but the good news is that now backtopping Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee are former San Sebastian College-Recoletos key cogs Alvin Baetiong, Jayson David, and Renzo Navarro. That’s still a pretty solid lineup in our books. Just like last year, the now two-time UAAP champions are mostly intact, only losing team captain Anton Asistio as well as reserve guard Aaron Black. That doesn’t mean, however, that there are no new faces in Ateneo. Geo Chiu, Kai Sotto’s twin tower, decided to stay in Katipunan just as fellow ex-Blue Eaglets RV Berjay and Jason Credo are now seeing minutes in head coach Tab Baldwin’s rotation. And oh, there is a possibility that double-double machine Fornilos, who placed no. 13 in the 2019 NBTC 24, is bound to be a Blue Eaglet. Perps is nothing but determined to build on the triumphant return to the NCAA of head coach Frankie Lim and to do that, they will be leaning on former San Beda University pillar Ben Adamos as well as ex-Adamson HS workhorse Jefner Egan. Count out the Altas at your own risk. JRU is just on the first phase of a grand rebuild, but there is no doubt that things are looking up for Kalentong. In John Amores, they now have an end-to-end force who is all set to make an immediate impact as a rookie. These are the new names to watch for the teams: Baste CSB National U San Beda --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2019

Davis, James begin Lakers partnership with sky-high hopes

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anthony Davis doesn’t raise a brow at the high expectations he’s accepting with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 26-year-old superstar engineered his move from New Orleans to Hollywood knowing that championships are the only acceptable result to the Lakers’ legions of demanding fans. After spending his entire NBA career struggling to lift the underdog Pelicans, he welcomed the chance to play for a team and in a city where every game means something big. And Davis doesn’t have to carry his new team, either. LeBron James is here to share the work. “We’re going to feed off each other tremendously,” Davis said. “I think we’re two guys who are very selfless and just want to win. When we have two guys like that, it makes both of our jobs easier.” James has spent his entire adult life facing championship pressure, and his chances of meeting those expectations for a fourth time got exponentially better when the Lakers put these two superstars together. James looks forward to finding chemistry with Davis to create an immediate winner — and to persuade Davis to stick around when he hits free agency next summer. “We’ve got a brand-new coaching staff and brand-new players coming to our system, but we do all know how good Anthony Davis is,” James said. “If we’re not playing through Anthony Davis while he’s on the floor, then it makes no sense to have him on the floor, because he’s that great.” This 16-time championship franchise is currently mired in a record six-year postseason drought, but everything is different and everything is possible this winter. The buzz around the Lakers never truly dissipates in LA, but it hasn’t been this loud since 2012. “When your starting point of your roster is two of the best players in the universe, that’s a really strong starting point,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said. Frank Vogel is spending his first few months as the Lakers’ coach figuring out how to mold a cohesive team around his two superstars. He’ll experiment with lineups, rotations and rest while the Lakers figure out how to play together in a season they expect to last well into the spring. “The belief is strong in what we can be as a team,” Vogel said. “Everybody is looking at their teammates, and there’s a healthy respect going into the season. When the belief is strong at the outset, it’s just about focusing in on the work.” Here are more things to watch in a tantalizing season in Lakerland: KUZMA STAYS Kyle Kuzma is the only component remaining from the Lakers’ talented young core after Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart were shipped to New Orleans for Davis. Kuzma didn’t participate in training camp while dealing with a stress injury in his leg, but he should be ready soon. The high-scoring forward’s skill set could fit well alongside the Lakers’ two superstars, and Kuzma realizes he has a golden opportunity. “I’m looking forward to reaching the next level with my own game,” he said. “This is a great chance for me to reach my potential.” DWIGHT’S RETURN The Lakers’ decision to re-sign Dwight Howard might have been the most shocking development of the entire offseason. The mercurial center spent one season with the Lakers in 2012-13 before clashing with Kobe Bryant and then fleeing town as a free agent. Howard has been booed mercilessly at Staples Center ever since, but he became the Lakers’ backup plan in the middle after DeMarcus Cousins tore a knee ligament shortly after signing with LA. Howard campaigned for a spot with the Lakers, and they gave him a non-guaranteed contract. If the newly humbled Howard recaptures his game, the Lakers will have an enormous asset at a minor cost. SUPPORTING ACTORS The Lakers supplemented their roster with an intriguing mix of veterans, including newcomers Danny Green, Jared Dudley, Avery Bradley, Troy Daniels and Quinn Cook. Vogel will look for perimeter scoring to complement James’ drives and Davis’ inside play, with Green and Daniels particularly expected to provide 3-point shooting proficiency. Every signee probably will get ample opportunity to play their way into a regular rotation spot while competing with holdovers Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo. VOGEL’S FLOCK When they replaced Luke Walton after three straight losing seasons, the Lakers chose the 46-year-old Vogel over Tyronn Lue, who landed down the hallway with the Clippers instead of reteaming with James. Vogel got impressive results with limited resources in Indiana, but he has never coached stars of the Lakers’ dual magnitude. He also has a coaching staff including Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins, two former NBA head coaches. The early results from this arranged marriage are promising, with James praising Vogel’s attention to detail. LA TAKEDOWN James wasn’t joking when he labeled Staples Center as the true winner of the NBA’s offseason moves. The Lakers and the Clippers both created probable title contenders, and their shared arena will be the center of basketball for much of the winter, with 82 sold-out games a distinct possibility. Out-of-towners shouldn’t get it twisted about which team is preferred in their shared hometown, however: The Lakers’ fan base wildly outnumbers the Clippers’ faithful, to the point where Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have already been booed while attending other sports events around Los Angeles. The teams meet Tuesday in their season openers, and again on Christmas......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2019

Harden-Westbrook duo ready to do something really special

By Michael C. Wright, NBA.com HOUSTON -- Well-dressed men in the Texas heat scurried, snatching keys and pointing directions to the visitors arriving, car after car. On the third floor, down the hall from a mezzanine overlooking a lobby, sparkling with custom Calcutta marble flooring, they all gathered in a quiet, dim room, just steps away from two Rolls-Royces bathing in the sun gushing through floor-to-ceiling glass. Here in Uptown, at Tilman Fertitta’s Post Oak Hotel -- a 38-floor, $350 million property housing a Rolls-Royce showroom and Bentley and Bugatti dealership, below a heliport -- the Houston Rockets' owner has turned the team’s annual media day into a posh, star-studded event. With good reason, too. Houston’s blockbuster July trade that sent Chris Paul off to the Oklahoma City Thunder for picks and pick swaps for Russell Westbrook reunites MVPs and former Thunder stars with James Harden already in the fold for a squad now at the forefront as favorites in a now suddenly wide-open Western Conference. “I think we are a better team,” Fertitta said. “It’s gonna be extremely exciting to have one of the greatest scorers of all time, and one of the most athletic people that has played the game. I know I’m really excited. I hope they don’t let me down.” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey thinks this all-star pairing “could be really special.” “It’s so exciting because James Harden is like the best half-court player I’ve ever seen, honestly,” Morey said. “Then, Russell is maybe the best transition player, one of the best of all time as well. If you put those things together, I think we have a chance. Now, you’ve got something really special.” Searching for same goal The reality is it’s been seven years since Westbrook and Harden last teamed with Oklahoma City in the 2012 NBA Finals, and while both have developed into MVP winners and perennial All-Stars, neither has made it back to The Finals. So, burning hotter than the pomp and glitz at the Post Oak Hotel this hot summer day is the question of whether this will all work for a pair of ball-dominant stars, accustomed to running their own respective shows. They’ve certainly got a believer in former Thunder teammate Kendrick Perkins. “They’ve played together in OKC. These two former MVPs still are in their primes. There’s no way that it’s not going to work,” Perkins told NBA.com. “Am I guaranteeing they’re going to win a championship? No, I’m not doing that. But I still believe this might be the most dynamic backcourt we’ve ever seen in NBA history. We probably haven’t seen a point guard and a shooting guard like this on the same team in forever. You can’t really name one going into the season that’s better than these two guys. I just think it’s going to work.” Now retired from the NBA, Perkins joined a 21-year-old Harden and a 22-year-old Westbrook in 2010-11, when he was traded there in the middle of the season from the Boston Celtics to OKC. Perkins describes the childhood friends and former Thunder teammates as “two guys that were still trying to find their identity” back then. Still, both were destined to reach the levels they currently occupy, he says. “When I first got there, those guys were working, man. They turned out to be some beasts, dog,” Perkins told NBA.com. “Gym rats, I’m telling you. It was unreal the amount of work those guys were putting in. Russ was always the heart and soul of the team. There was no debate about it to me. He gave the team swagger. With James, we just knew it was only in due time. People always say they should’ve kept that team together in OKC. But James wouldn’t have been able to be the player he is today if he hadn’t left. Plus, James was deserving of having his own team.” Now that he’s had it since joining the Rockets in 2012-13, Harden welcomes Westbrook, who like himself, began playing the game as a child at the Challengers Boys & Girls Club in South Central Los Angeles. Interestingly, Westbrook and Harden are the only players over the last five seasons to score more than 10,000 points. Westbrook nodded in agreement with the notion his new uniform provides somewhat of a new lease on life, after spending the first 11 years of his career in Oklahoma City. Harden, meanwhile, pointed out how his new teammate “doesn’t have to stress or worry about the pressure of carrying an entire organization,” because that responsibility now falls on them both. “I think it’s good for both of us because we understand the amount of energy and effort, time and commitment it takes to be able to do that for an entire season,” Westbrook said. “Now, being together on the same team, I think it’s important that we can lean on [one another], sacrifice, and not do as much to still have an impact on the game. I think [what] a lot of people don’t know is we have a friendship first outside of basketball. I think me and him communicate and understand each other. In the games, it’s going to be easy.” 'Sit back and watch the show' Perkins saw signs of maturity from Westbrook last season, when the guard at the detriment of his own stats, deferred to Paul George in crucial situations. But both Westbrook and Harden in 2018-19 ranked in the top 15 in usage rate. So, the phrase uttered most often at media day above the guests clutching cold drinks at the hotel pool was “figure it out.” Everyone, whether Fertitta, Morey, coach Mike D’Antoni or the players, seems confident in the duo’s ability to do so. Harden already said he’s willing to take a backseat to Westbrook. “If Russ has got it going, and Russ is having one of those games that we’ve all seen before, guess what I’m going to do?” Harden asked. “Sit back and watch the show, and vice versa. You can’t sit up here and say, ‘Oh, Russ is going to have the basketball for the first half, and I’m going to have the ball the second half.' No, things happen through the course of the game that you just flow with and go with.” Perkins believes that Harden welcomes the opportunity to defer to someone else, given the physical demands of his playing style. Harden ranked No. 3 last season in minutes per game (36.8), while Westbrook was fourth (36.0). “If you’ve watched James throughout the course of a game, the things he did, he had to do because nobody else was stepping up at the time. James wants somebody else to step up so that he can take a backseat sometimes,” Perkins told NBA.com. “If you watched Russ on the court last year, what a lot of people don’t realize is that he deferred to Paul George a lot. Russ took a backseat. You’ve got to understand, too, that he’s matured, man. He’s starting to show that he can be a better leader. Think about it. When you have kids, man, and you start having a family, sh--, your whole thought process changes. You know what I mean? I just see the maturity in Russ. To me, they have to just get it done. There’s no debate about it. Like, to me, the most pressure is on Mike D’Antoni.” Entering the final year of his contract after extension talks broke down over the summer, D’Antoni will proceed cautiously throughout the preseason implementing Westbrook (who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery). D’Antoni and Morey believe Westbrook, one of the game’s most lethal penetrators, will excel in D'Antoni's wide-open offense (which focuses on keeping shooters posted on the perimeter as guards drive in). Morey mentioned that under D’Antoni, guards have historically produced career years. “You look historically at players that have worked with Mike, guards especially, they always play better,” Morey said. “I think it’s just the way he sets up the team, sets up the offense. He finds ways to get people to do the things they do well more, and again, like he said, we’re not here to change anybody or do anything. Historically like pretty much every guard that’s worked with, Mike has had their career year. That’s gonna be a little tough with Russell, given that he’s had so many.” Wearing a salmon-hued polo shirt, D’Antoni discussed plans to stagger the minutes of Harden and Westbrook throughout the season. The expectation is Harden rests in the neighborhood of 13 minutes per game, while Westbrook sits 16 minutes. In his first preseason game -- a 134-129 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Tokyo -- Westbrook logged 20 minutes, finishing with 13 points, two rebounds and six assists. D’Antoni said the final five minutes of games are “the most important thing” for Westbrook to figure out as the team approaches the regular season. “They both want to do this. So, we’ll just sit down and work it out,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t have to tell someone they have to do this, or they have to do that. We’ll figure it out together. But just the vibe of being able to discuss things, the respect they have [for one another] will translate. We’re in a good spot. Right now, it’s great. All we’re trying right now is to win a title. That’s the only agenda that anybody has, and we’ve just got to figure it out.” When word first spread about Houston’s acquisition of Westbrook, opinions naturally flowed about how he’d fit alongside Harden. Westbrook is a career 30.8% 3-point shooter on a squad that has led the league in 3-point attempts four of the last five seasons. He’s also a ball-dominant, high-usage player just like Harden. Still, everyone, insists they won’t ask Westbrook to change his style of play. That puts the pressure squarely on D’Antoni to tweak what Houston does on the floor. “The system they’ve run, just shooting layups and shooting threes with no in-between game, you have to change that with Russell Westbrook, because one of his main things is his mid-range pull-up,” Perkins explained. “The pressure is on Mike D’Antoni. Does he have to change up his style of play? Yes, he will, in order for Russell Westbrook to be who he is. We all know that Russ is not a three-point shooter. Bottom line is they’ve got two of the top 10 players in the league now, if not top 15. "These guys get it done. Back in the day when they were in OKC, they were trying to find out who they were as players. Now, it’s a whole lot different. Now, they know who they are. They’ve done everything to accomplish all the individual accolades. They only thing they haven’t done is win a championship. It’s not the players. Houston has all the players.” In addition to the glitz, glamour and star power for a franchise starving to add more Larry O'Briens to its trophy case. Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2019

WATCH: After major losses, Kerr says Warriors need to work much harder

MANILA, Philippines – What difference a rollercoaster offseason could make for the Golden State Warriors.  Steve Kerr said the Warriors need to "work much harder" in the upcoming NBA season after losing Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston – all key players in their 5 straight trips to the ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsOct 8th, 2019

San Sebastian last hurdle between LPU and NCAA 95 second-seed

These are the NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Tournament games from October 8 to 11 all of us just CAN NOT miss! TUESDAY, 10:00 a.m., Jr. Pirates vs Staglets LPU’s sail towards its first appearance in playoff history continues and the Jr. Pirates can already see land. To get closer, however, they will need to take care of business against a San Sebastian side which is out to boost its own bid for the Final Four. The Jr. Pirates and the Staglets do battle and y'all can watch VIA LIVESTREAM. TUESDAY, 2:00 p.m., LPU vs San Sebastian LPU needs just one more win to wrap up the second-seed and the twice-to-beat advantage it brings for the next round. That’s easier said than done, however, and San Sebastian is sure to go all-out to prevent that from happening while, at the same time, strengthening its stranglehold on the fourth and final playoff berth. The Pirates and the Golden Stags do battle and y'all can watch on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, and iWant as well as livestream. THURSDAY, 10:00 a.m., Jr. Blazers vs Red Cubs At present, San Beda is the only certainty for the next round of the NCAA Jrs. CSB-LSGH wants nothing more than to join them there and the good news for the Jr. Blazers is that they will give themselves a shot in the arm if and when their repeat the feat from the first round when they tamed the Red Cubs. The Jr. Blazers and the Red Cubs do battle and y'all can watch VIA LIVESTREAM. THURSDAY, 2:00 p.m., CSB vs San Beda After a school-best 5-0 start to the season, CSB is, in essence, fighting for dear life now in the stretch run of the eliminations. Still, the Blazers have a fighting chance and if they can do the unthinkable, putting the first blemish on San Beda’s spotless slate, then the other playoff hopefuls better watch their backs. The Blazers and the Red Lions do battle and y'all can watch on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, and iWant as well as livestream. THURSDAY, 4:00 p.m., San Sebastian vs Mapua San Sebastian and Mapua have trended in different directions as of late with the former experiencing an untimely slump and the latter enjoying an ideal resurgence. Still, the Golden Stags own the fourth-seed and will do their darndest to keep it away from the fifth-running and oncoming Cardinals. The Golden Stags and the Cardinals do battle and y'all can watch on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, and iWant as well as livestream......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 7th, 2019

SUPER SHOWDOWN: La Salle s Aljun Melecio vs. San Sebastian s RK Ilagan

There are point guards - and there are points guards. And both the NCAA and the UAAP have clear-cut examples of just what is a points guard. RK Ilagan has been the fieriest floor leader in all of the NCAA while in the UAAP, Aljun Melecio has been the epitome of a scoring guard. Unfortunately, those two will not be facing off against one another anytime soon - on the court, that is. Because in the return of our Super Showdown, we will be pitting Philippine collegiate basketball's top points guards against one another - judging them in five categories (perimeter scoring, paint scoring, playmaking, defense, and clutch gene) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. PERIMETER SCORING Both players are threats from long-range - and not only that, even Steph Curry-range. Where they differ is their effectiveness as through seven games, Melecio already has 16 total threes on 41 attempts for a 39 percent mark. For comparison, Ilagan has 28 triples out of 102 in total for a 27.5 percent clip through 14 games. Of course, Ilagan has also had to deal with a larger share of double teams and defenses keyed in on him as he and Allyn Bulanadi are a two-man show for San Sebastian while Melecio is part of a mean green machine. That is not to say, however, that La Salle's fourth-year guard has not cashed in on more chances from outside than his NCAA counterpart. Advantage, Melecio, 10-9. PAINT SCORING Because they are such a threat from behind the arc, both players always find themselves with a defender right up on them. That gives them a golden opportunity to blitz their way into the lane, though, and at that, both players are also more than capable. Once inside the paint, both players know exactly where to go to create separation for their own shot or create a play for a teammate - and just as important, both players have the upper body strength to go at it with the big boys. Melecio, though, just nudges ahead of Ilagan as, for our taste, the former's patented spin-to-score layups are just a tad prettier than the latter's trademark muscling through for a short stab. Advantage, Melecio, 10-9. PLAYMAKING Any and every opponent's game plan will have both players as one of the top, if not the top, focal points. And so, with defenses always having to keep an eye on them, there are many, many chances for both of them to set up their teammates. Ilagan has been one of the best at this in all of the NCAA, with his 4.4 assists per game the eighth-best in the league. Melecio is no slouch in setting up his fellow Green Archers and averages 3.4 assists a game, but the consistency with which San Sebastian's court general has shown he can do much more than score gives him the edge here. Advantage, Ilagan, 10-9. DEFENSE Ilagan is one of the protagonists for a San Sebastian side that prides itself on physical play. Don't let his 5-foot-10 frame fool you as he will not give an inch and will go all-out all the time for the Golden Stags. The same can be said for Melecio who makes up for his 5-foot-8 stature with a whole lot of energy and effort whatever defensive scheme La Salle is in. Even better, he spent two years enforcing Aldin Ayo's "Mayhem" back in the day so there never was any question he can play D - even full-court D at that. Let's call this even as both these players have proven time and again they aren't taking breaks on defense just because they are key cogs for their offenses. Push, 10-10 CLUTCH GENE It's a toss-up between Ilagan and Bulanadi for San Sebastian on who will have the last shot with the game on the line. Still, between those two, Bulanadi has had more game-winners compared to Ilagan in the NCAA. For his part, Melecio is also yet to have a game-winner for La Salle in the UAAP, but in this season alone, he will have had two already to his name as it was the pint-sized playmaker who gave the Green Archers the lead late in their games against UE and UP before Rey Suerte and Juan Gomez de Liano took it all back. Melecio, though, was also a big part of a game-winning sequence - as he set-up Kurt Lojera's baseline jumper that proved to be the difference for them against National U. Advantage, Melecio, 10-9. FINAL SCORE: 49-47 for La Salle's Aljun Melecio.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2019

New-look Clippers ready to level up beyond Best Team in L.A.

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com LOS ANGELES -- It was almost exactly a year ago when the Clippers welcomed the media on the same day the Lakers debuted LeBron James, and Patrick Beverley told the half-dozen or so reporters who must’ve made a wrong turn: “We’re the best team in L.A.” That bit of bravado went unnoticed and unheard, partly because of the Laker noise, partly because few -- if anyone -- bought it. Of course, Beverley was ultimately proven wise when the Clippers scrapped their way to 48 wins and a pair of first-round wins against the Warriors while LeBron and the Lakers almost literally collapsed from a kick to the groin. With a swell of attention now being paid to presumptive title favorites, who added Paul George and Kawhi Leonard while retaining much of the supporting cast, Beverley was given the chance Sunday (Monday, PHL time) to double down on his prophecy. He toned it down. “We’ll see,” he said. Yet his sinister grin was plain to see, and it reflected the swagger and internal expectations of a franchise not known for through-the-roof projections. Such is the new world order in Los Angeles, and perhaps the NBA, in 2019-20. These are unprecedented times for the Clippers, who’ve had winning teams before but none with this much title twinkle headed into the season. “We know what we’re capable of doing,” said Beverley, and so does everyone else. You don’t add the reigning NBA Finals MVP and another who finished third in the regular-season Kia MVP balloting without shaking up the establishment, even if you’ve never won a championship in franchise history. But there’s a long wait between now and next spring's playoffs, and a shorter one to see George on the floor. The 29-year-old swingman is still in the mending stage after off-season surgery on both shoulders. He said “I’m not sure” when he’ll be ready to play, even with opening night against the Lakers a little over three weeks away. George said he hasn’t had any complications or setbacks, but won’t engage in any contact work in camp and coach Doc Rivers said George will not appear in any games until he does. “There’s no problems,” George said. “I’m just going to do light work and drills for now.” The other issue as it relates to health is Leonard’s usage. Last year in Toronto, still smarting from a persistent quad injury that led to his stormy exit from the Spurs, Leonard didn’t play on consecutive nights during back-to-back games. Rivers said there are no such restrictions this season, or demands from the player, although the coach wants to reserve the right to monitor and change the approach if necessary. "Last year, I was going in with an injury that I was dealing with the year before, still was lingering, and we knew that I had to be healthy going throughout the season and making it to the playoffs,” Leonard said. "This time, I'm feeling good. I’m feeling way better than I was at the start of last season. There really was no plan laid out to discuss with everyone." Rivers also noted that the Clippers’ depth will allow for rest periods for George and Leonard; both players are joining a team that prospered without an All-Star last season, a team that will probably once again bring reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell off the bench. In due time, the Clippers will be complete, and that’s the most important takeaway from their first official gathering. The level of enthusiasm is “sky-high,” said Williams. Rivers has flexibility with Leonard and George, widely considered among the most elite two-way players in basketball. On offense, George and Leonard are top-10 league scorers (26.6 points last year for Leonard; 28.0 for George). Playing those two alongside Williams, who averaged 20 points last season in just 26 minutes off the bench, should cause matchup headaches. “We’ll force a lot of defenses to make a lot of hard decisions,” said Williams. And the options afforded to Rivers might even be richer on the other end. Rivers thinks pairing two newcomers plus Beverley -- who guarded Kevin Durant in the playoffs, while giving away seven inches -- can be “special.” Utilizing three players who can legitimately guard multiple positions, the Clippers’ defense could be epic, if not historic. George said: “It’s going to be scary … we’ve really got a chance to do something special on the defensive end. Watching Pat get out there and picking somebody up 94 feet, that's going to get me going. It's going to get Kawhi going. It's just going to become contagious on a nightly basis. I honestly think, for the first time, people are going to be excited to watch the defensive end as opposed to watching the offensive end.” The makings of a unique season, then, is on deck for the Clippers. It became realistic when Leonard, fresh off a title in Toronto, chose George and the Clippers over LeBron James and Anthony Davis and the Lakers — which, in itself, seems un-Clipper-like given the club’s former reputation and history, when superstars were once allergic to L.A.’s "other" basketball team. But these are new times. “We actually wanted to be teammates for a long time,” said George. “This was always in the works to happen at some point.” From the top of the organization to the bottom, everyone knows the potential and just the same, would rather allow a scenario to play itself out than speak it into existence. That’s why Beverley provided the most unexpected news of camp by playing it coy. But you knew where he stood. “Can’t wait to get started,” he said, echoing the thoughts of a locker room thinking big. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 30th, 2019

NCAA 95: Cardinals lock down JRU to boost Final Four bid

Mapua University shackled Jose Rizal University to only eight points in the third quarter before weathering the Heavy Bombers' late game rally to escape with a 72-67 victory Thursday in the NCAA Season 95 seniors basketball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Cardinals improved to a 7-6 win-loss record to strengthen their Final Four bid as they moved within half a game behind no. 4 San Sebastian College. "Natutuwa and masaya kasi one day preparation lang, di namin alam kung paano ipapahinga ang mga players pero still nag-response naman sila," said Mapua coach Randy Alcantara, whose squad won its fourth straight match and second in three days. "Nakakapagod pero kailangan naming gawin. Buti na lang bago sila nakahabol malaki na ang lamang namin."  Laurenz Victoria scored 13 points to lead four other Cardinals in double figures despite Mapua playing without Noah Lugo, who was feeling under the weather. Justin Serrano had 12 markers, JP Nieles and Christian Bunag scored 11 each while Cyril Gonzales finished with 10.    Mapua trailed, 30-31, at the half before clamping down on defense to silence the Heavy Bombers as the Cardinals built a comfortable cushion heading into the payoff period. But JRU refused to go down without a fight, mounting a 15-2 fightback to close in at 63-68 after Agem Miranda completed a three-point play with just 1:25 left. After a Victoria trip to the line for the Cardinals, Marq Dionisio sank his own two foul shots to keep the Heavy Bombers in the game, 70-65, with 21.7 ticks left before Nieles sealed the win for Mapua with a jumper from the wing.       The match got a bit testy midway in the final period with Nieles and John Amores of JRU figuring out in a shoving match that warranted the Cardinal an unsportsmanlike foul and the Heavy Bomber a technical foul. JRU dropped to a 4-9 slate. Dionisio fired 15 points while Miranda and Amores scored 13 and 12 markers, respectively, in a lost cause for the Heavy Bombers.   Box scores:  Mapua (72) -- Victoria 13, Serrano 12, Nieles 11, Bunag 11, Gonzales 10, Bonifacio 8, Aguirre 2, Salenga 2, Nocum 2, Garcia 0, Jabel 0, Gamboa 0. JRU (67) -- Dionisio 15, Miranda 13, Amores 12, Dela Rosa 8, Aguilar 8, Delos Santos 5, Arenal 2, Aboag 2, Jungco 2, Vasquez 0, Macatangay 0. Quarter Scores: 12-15; 30-31; 48-39; 72-67   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 26th, 2019

LSGH top gun RC Calimag ascends to NBTC NCAA 24 pole position anew

There's no question this season who the top dog is for La Salle Greenhills. After bidding his time behind his seniors last year, RC Calimag has unleashed his full potential for the Greenies this NCAA Season 95 juniors basketball tournament, as seen through his high-scoring explosions. But the former Gilas Youth member took it to another level in the past two games, averaging 31 points, six rebounds, and two assists for LSGH. Thus, he once again rose to the top spot of the Phenom/NBTC NCAA 24. Though Calimag's 33-point explosion fell short in a shock loss to San Sebastian, he responded with an all-around performance in the Greenies' big win over fellow contender Lyceum to stay at second place with a 7-4 win-loss card. Closely behind is San Beda's do-it-all forward Rhayyan Amsali as he leads three Red Cubs in this week's top five. Also earning their places were Tony Ynot at fourth and Yukien Andrada at fifth. Lyceum's main man Mac Guadana, meanwhile, held firm at no. 3. Rounding out the top 10 are John Barba of Lyceum, Jonnel Policarpio of Mapua, Joshua Ramirez of Letran, Kobe Palencia of LSGH, and last week's no. 1 Justine Sanchez of San Beda. Here is the complete list of the fifth Phenom NBTC/ NCAA 24 rankings: 1. RC Calimag (LSGH) (10) 2. Rhayyan Amsali (SBU) (4) 3. Mac Guadana (LPU) (2) 4. Tony Ynot (SBU) (3) 5. Yukien Andrada (SBU) (6) 6. John Barba (LPU) (7) 7. Jonnel Policarpio (MU) (8) 8. Joshua Ramirez (CSJL) (9) 9. Kobe Palencia (LSGH) (5) 10. Justine Sanchez (SBU) (1) 11. Lennox Valenzuela (LSGH) (N/A) 12. Shawn Umali (CSJL) (19) 13. Emman Galman (UPHSD) (12) 14. Nikko Aguilar (SSCR) (N/A) 15. Edzel Galoy (UPHSD) (N/A) 16. Milo Janao (SSCR) (17) 17. Gyle Montano (LPU) (16) 18. Lenard Santiago (CSJL) (18) 19. Jonathan Medina (JRU) (N/A) 20. CJ Saure (CSJL) (N/A) 21. Angelo Gelsano (UPHSD) (N/A) 22. Condrad Famaranco (JRU) (N/A) 23. Marc Cuenco (AU) (N/A) 24. Megan Galang (MU) (14) This year, there will be four separate editions of the NBTC 24 - one for the NCAA, one for the UAAP, one for the CESAFI, and one for all the other venues where the most promising prospects in the country also get to showcase their skills. After all four editions have been completed, a final list composing the top 24 players nationwide will then be chosen to participate in the annual NBTC All-Star Game in March......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2019

UAAP 82: Coach Aldin takes responsibility for UST s collapse vs Adamson

University of Sto. Tomas had a nine-point lead against Adamson University with three minutes remaining in their matchup last Wednesday. Only, the Growling Tigers let their foot off the pedal and allowed the Soaring Falcons to go on a win-stealing 16-0 run. In that run, Val Chauca, Jerrick Ahanmisi, and Jerom Lastimosa all had more than one make - be it from the field or from the line. UST as a team? Zero. Afterwards, head coach Aldin Ayo could only acknowledge that Adamson took that win from them. "Natalo kami kasi mas maganda nilaro sa amin ng Adamson especially sa dulo. Sa parte namin, hindi kami nakapagtapos nang matigas," he said. Of course, the fiery mentor also posted on social media a photo that showed Lastimosa with his arms wrapped around Growling Tiger Renzo Subido who was waiting from an inbound pass from Brent Paraiso in the middle of that Soaring Falcon run. He made it a point to clear, however, that he meant no ill will towards game officials with that post. "Ang purpose lang nun is mapaganda yung tawagan moving forward. Siyempre, gusto nating mas gumanda pa yun sa season," he said. Coach Aldin then furthered that UST's collapse was not because of the referees. "There were bad calls, pero hindi yun dahilan kaya kami natalo. Hindi namain kontrolado yun e, pero yung bagay na kontrolado namin, hindi kasi namin nagawa," he shared. He then continued, "Adamson really outplayed up. No excuses. Adamson really deserved to win." In the end, the one-time NCAA and one-time UAAP champion coach said the blame, whatever it may be, should fall on him. As he put it, "Kung may sisisihin dyan, ako. Ako yung coach e and I take full responsibility for that loss." He then continued, "Dapat mas maganda yung decision-making ko nung dulo. Siyempre, sumusunod sa akin mga players e kaya kung may dapat sisihin dun, yung coach." Even so, coach Aldin also has no doubt that the sorry loss will only make the Growling Tigers hungrier. "Yung mga ganitong klaseng talo will only make us better. Eto yung talong babalikan namin sa practice and we will make sure na hindi na mauulit," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2019

Rising star: Hachimura proving himself on World Cup stage

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press SHANGHAI (AP) — Rui Hachimura believes his game his grown this summer. He knows his confidence has. It has been a hectic and nonexistent offseason for the soon-to-be Washington Wizards rookie — drafted No. 9 overall in June, played NBA summer league in July and has been with the Japanese national team since. Japan’s 89-76 loss to the Czech Republic on Tuesday meant Hachimura and his team will likely finish no better than 17th at this 32-team World Cup, but he’s still seeing plenty of upside to his summer. “It’s been crazy,” Hachimura said. “I got drafted, went to D.C. and we had like a minicamp, then Summer League and now the World Cup. It’s been a crazy summer but I’ve been having fun with this experience, this process. I’ve played a lot of games this summer, everywhere. I don’t know how much I grew, but I have more confidence.” Japan might be winless in its two World Cup games — and has a matchup against the U.S. looming Thursday — but the stage has not seemed too big for Hachimura. The 6-foot-9 forward has averaged 18 points so far on 50 percent shooting, while adding 6.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard even made the trip to Asia to watch Hachimura in person, going to Japan first for the pre-tourney games and then following the team to China. “He’s going to be a really nice player in the NBA,” Sheppard said. “He’s got a lot — a lot — of upside. He’s got a lot of learning to do, but he’s got excellent skill and excellent will. ... It just takes time, and we have to develop that.” Hachimura’s talent was on obvious display in Las Vegas at Summer League, where he averaged 19.3 points on 50 percent shooting in three games. He scored 31 points in Japan’s pre-World Cup win over Germany — a game attended by nearly 20,000 at the Saitama Super Arena last month — and already has captured his homeland’s attention, as evidenced by the many Japanese fans who made the trip to China. “Rui’s got a lot of talent,” said Nick Fazekas, Japan’s U.S.-born center. “He works hard, but he has a lot of fun.” Basketball is growing in Japan for many reasons. The Tokyo Olympics are less than a year away, and the NBA — in a move that should build Olympic buzz — is sending Toronto and Houston to Japan for a pair of preseason games in October. Those will be the first NBA games in Japan since 2003. And it won’t take much for Hachimura, the West Coast Conference’s player of the year last season at Gonzaga, to become the best Japan-born player in NBA history. He’s the first Japanese player to be a first-round pick and the only two players from the country to appear in an NBA game are Yuta Tabuse in 2004-05 and Hachimura’s World Cup teammate Yuta Watanabe last season. Combined, Tabuse and Watanabe have 46 points in 19 NBA games, all off the bench. “I’m just excited for the season,” Hachimura said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 3rd, 2019

30 Teams in 30 Days: Cavaliers to lean heavily on young roster

Like most summers in the NBA, the 2019 edition was chock full of trades, free agent news and player movement. From the defending-champion Toronto Raptors to just about every other team in the league, change was the most applicable word when it came to describing team rosters for the 2019-20 season. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- in order of regular-season finish from 2018-19 -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's team: Cleveland Cavaliers 2018-19 Record: 19-63, did not qualify for the playoffs Key additions: Darius Garland (Draft), Kevin Porter Jr. (Draft), Dylan Windler (Draft), John Beilein (coach) Key departures: JR Smith, Cameron Payne, David Nwaba The lowdown: The first season in the post-LeBron James era, Part II, was almost a carbon copy of the first one: He leaves and the team crumbles. This was pretty much expected from a team that was built around LeBron and then suddenly grew old overnight once he left. It didn’t help matters when Kevin Love, given a rich contract the previous summer, played only 22 games because of injury. That ensured the Cavs would be locked into a rebuilding season and rookie point guard Collin Sexton would receive ample playing time as a result, which was not necessarily a bad thing at all. After shaky initially, Sexton finished strong and averaged 20 points the last 2 1/2 months to make the All-Rookie Second Team. Also, swingman Cedi Osman benefited from increased playing time and had moments in his second season. In a mild disappointment, Larry Nance Jr. failed to take a generous step in his development and there’s fear he will be nothing more than a scrappy, hard-working role player who’ll make the occasional highlight dunk. Otherwise, the Cavs’ season served no major purpose. The remaining pieces from the LeBron era either crumbled in various ways or simply disappeared: JR Smith was suspended, essentially for insubordination; Love was hurt; Tristan Thompson plateaued; George Hill and Kyle Korver were traded. The Cavs sunk toward the bottom of the East, fell off radar for the first time in six years, and once again found themselves back in the lottery looking for help. Summer summary: In a summer of surprises around the NBA, one of the more under-rated events happened when the Cavs’ coaching search ended with a 66-year-old grandfatherly type who never spent a day on an NBA bench. John Beilein might well be a revelation, one way or another. He spent much of his college career at Michigan, where he was highly respected for his strategy, composure and character -- three elements he’ll need in Cleveland. Beilein had flirted with the NBA in years past; when nothing materialized, some NBA people thought his time had passed, especially once he reached retirement age. But the Cavs went with an out-of-the-box choice anyway, plucking Beilein even as the college-to-NBA transition comes with inconsistent results and yellow flags. Brad Stevens is the exception, and besides, he was in his mid-30s when he left Butler and took the Celtics job. The one current college coach whose name surfaces the most in NBA conversation is Jay Wright of Villanova, who has served on Team USA and appears NBA-ready (temperament, two-time champ, even wardrobe). Word is Wright will be on the Sixers’ short list if and when that job opens. Because of Beilein's age and the state of the Cavs, he seems a bridge-gap coach; if so, that’s a smart choice. He’s experienced at managing young players, and the Cavs will build their next era through the Draft. Top free agents don’t make Cleveland a destination choice, even when presented with the chance to play alongside LeBron. Given how quiet the Cavs were this summer, the odds are great that they’ll return to the draft lottery in 2020 and give Beilein additional players in their early 20s to nurture. He’ll have five this season, with Sexton and Osman returning, plus Darius Garland, Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr. coming on via first-round picks. The prize is Garland, the No. 5 pick who was limited by a meniscus injury to five games in his one and only season at Vanderbilt. This seems eerily similar to years earlier when the Cavs took another guard with a limited (11-game) college career: Kyrie Irving. Garland was a three-time Mr. Basketball in Tennessee and was considered the best recruit ever at Vandy, and that’s about all NBA scouts had to work with this spring. Not only was his college career brief, but he also left the combine early. Apparently, that was enough for the Cavs, smitten by Garland’s instincts. The only question is how he fits with Sexton; both can play off the ball, although each is more comfortable as the lead playmaker. Porter represents a wild card of sorts. Talent-wise, he can be considered a steal with the 30th pick ... after being red-flagged by teams following a suspension at USC for poor conduct that cost him much of that single season. Porter was a workout beast prior to the draft, a swingman who brings great size (6-foot-6) and can create off the dribble. The Cavs had nothing to lose by choosing him at that point. Windler benefited from four years in college, steering underdog Belmont to the NCAA tourney and developing into a prospect by his senior year. The Cavs and Beilein can figure out how it all fits later. Right now, Cleveland is all about stockpiling as many assets as possible and giving that young core plenty of time to make their mistakes now, rather than later. And speaking of assets, they didn’t trade Love this summer. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be on the roster when next season ends, either. If the right price comes along — and that’ll be tricky because of his age, injury history and salary — Love can and will exit. LeBron James will eventually get a statue outside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse (formerly Quicken Loans Arena), but he isn’t walking through that door again. The Cavs must take another road to respectability, and it could be a long one. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 3rd, 2019

For the first time in a long time, UP is all-in for UAAP 82

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 8-6, runner-up YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Bright Akhuetie, Javi Gomez de Liano, Juan Gomez de Liano, Will Gozum, Janjan Jaboneta, Jun Manzo, Jerson Prado, Jaydee Tungcab WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: J-Boy Gob, Jaybie Mantilla, Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero, Noah Webb (returning from injury) GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Diego Dario, Paul Desiderio, Jarrell Lim, Gelo Vito WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM UP? For sure, UP is no longer an also-ran, no longer a pushover, no longer an afterthought. What the Fighting Maroons have become is a brand new heavyweight that is a legitimate threat to the championship belt Ateneo has held in the last two years. Why is that? Returning for State U is UAAP 81 Season MVP Bright Akhuetie and Mythical Team member Juan Gomez de Liano as well as now-team captain Jun Manzo, Javi Gomez de Liano, Janjan Jaboneta, Jerson Prado, and Jaydee Tungcab. Then, arriving in Diliman are Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero – a couple of generational talents who have all the confidence and capability to turn the tide in favor of their new team. Add all of that together and what you have is the strongest squad to wear the maroon and green in a long, long time. WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM UP? There is no doubt that Paras and Rivero are big gets for UP. What has to be seen if the Fighting Maroons are to live up to the hype, however, is for the likes of Akhuetie, Manzo, and the GDL brothers to do their best to see to it that those two talented transferees buy into the program. Most, if not all, eyes will be trained on how Paras and Rivero resume their careers, but at the same time, Juan GDL also has to take another step forward – this time, most importantly, in terms of leadership. The cupboard of talent is most certainly fully loaded, but the void left behind by school legend Paul Desiderio is yet to be filled – and among all players, its Juan GDL, the homegrown star, who is actually the ready-made replacement. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR UP? UP's climb back to the mountaintop in recent history has been slow and steady, but now, State U has its best shot at ending a more than three decade-long title drought. UP may not be underdogs anymore, but that doesn’t change the fact that what has happened to them in the past years is proof that, indeed, there is nowhere to go but up. WHERE WOULD UP BE AT THE END OF UAAP SEASON 82? Just like Ateneo, UP is returning a mostly intact core that actually improved with additions of prized prospects. And just like the Blue Eagles, the Fighting Maroons may very well be back in the Finals. The questions about chemistry cannot be denied. At the same time, however, there is also too much talent here for State U to be denied entry into level of the elite. WHEN IS UP’S FIRST GAME IN UAAP SEASON 82? UP’s first tough test in a season overflowing with expectations is FEU in a heavyweight battle on September 4 at Araneta Coliseum. Of course, everybody goes All for More and, as always, all of the action will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and livestream. HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE SEVEN OTHER TEAMS IN UAAP SEASON 82: With its arsenal fully loaded, UE’s ambush good to go in UAAP 82 UAAP 82 one more chance for NU to piece the puzzle together Espana’s hope in UAAP 82? Cansino’s return to form, UST’s return to playoffs All-Filipino La Salle all set to cut UAAP 82 rivals down to size Brave FEU not backing down from more heralded UAAP 82 rivals Behind Ahanmisi, Adamson’s youth will be on the march in UAAP 82 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2019