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Ben Mbala almost played for Magnolia vs Ginebra

ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – Ben Mbala almost debuted in the PBA for the Magnolia Hotshots. The former two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player served as a backup for Hotshots import Romeo Travis in case Barangay Ginebra forced a do-or-die Game 5 in their semifinals clash.  Travis has been nursing a left hamstring ........»»

Category: newsSource: rappler rapplerNov 17th, 2018

Odom drills game-winner as Mighty Sports edges Magnolia

Mighty Sports outsteadied Magnolia, 94-93, in a tune-up match at Ronac Gym on Tuesday, but head coach Charles Tiu remained wary three days before the apparel and accessories team plunges into action in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship. Though the team played much better than its 106-99 win over Blackwater last week, Tiu said his players need to work double time on two aspects – execution and defense. “Team is slowly improving but I would not consider us ready yet,” said the younger brother of retired Rain or Shine guard Chris Tiu. “We need to play real smart defensively and also need to improve our execution.” But the good news is that former LA Lakers star Lamar Odom is doing great. “Lamar looks better every day and our locals also look okay,” added Tiu. In fact, it was the 6-foot-10 Odom who rescued the team from the jaws of defeat with his timely basket in the crunch. Mighty Sports owner Alex Wongchuking was delighted with outcome of the team’s two tune-up matches especially with the performances of Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee and Chinese league veteran Randolph Morris. “I’m hoping they can sustain their good form and help team advance to the semis,” said Wongchuking, who co-owns the team with younger brother and former Xavier School basketball team manager Caesar. The team is out to improve its maiden showing in the annual tournament after winning only once in seven games two years ago. Aside from Brownlee and Morris, University of the Philippines star Juan Gomez de Liaño and new recruit Jason Brickman also delivered to the delight of a motley crowd. Gomez de Liaño held his ground against the pros on the way to scoring 15 points while Brickman, a Fil-Am, showed the brilliance that has made one of the stars in the ASEAN Basketball League......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 29th, 2019

Top sports headliners in the year that was

From the FIFA World Cup to the NBA, the PBA to the UAAP and NCAA, the Asian Games to Manny Pacquiao, volleyball to MMA, the past 12 months truly was a great year for Filipino sports fans.   Here are some of the most memorable sports headliners that bannered the year that was.    San Miguel Corporation dominates PBA San Miguel Corporation owned 2018. For the first time in the history of the Asia’s first professional basketball league one company dominated all three conferences of the PBA. The San Miguel Beermen annexed their fourth straight Philippine Cup title against sister team Magnolia last May, while Ginebra rode on undersized do-it-all forward Justin Brownlee to the Commissioner's Cup title at the expense of San Miguel last August. Then it was Magnolia's time to shine in December. The Hotshots dismantled Alaska in six games to complete SMC’s domination of PBA 2018. Outside of basketball, SMC also made its presence felt in volleyball as Petron bagged the Grand Prix, Challenge Cup (beach volleyball) and the All-Filipino Conference in the Philippine Superliga.   Kai Sotto stands tall as Ateneo takes title vs NU Kai Sotto became a household name in 2018 as the 7'1" wunderkind showed off in the UAAP Season 80 juniors' basketball tournament. The eventual Finals MVP was a beast in Game 1 of the Finals against the NU Bullpups, tallying a triple-double of 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 blocks in the 86-70 win, the first of its kind since 2003. Ateneo finished the season almost unscathed at 16-1, with their lone loss in Game 2 of the series, a very chippy one to say the least. In Game 3, Sotto came up clutch, scoring the go-ahead basket, 60-58, with about 30 seconds left as Ateneo came away with the 63-58 win to take the title.  SJ Belangel, Joaqui Manuel, Dave Ildefonso and Jason Credo, and coach Joe Silva all appeared in their last games for the Blue Eaglets.   DLSU completes three-peat; NU dethrones Ateneo  The UAAP Season 80 volleyball tournament was filled with lasting memories that will surely be remembered for a long time. Numerous upsets in the eliminations, great games, and much more were the name of the game for the women's tournament. However, a long-time rivalry was rekindled when two-time defending champs De La Salle Lady Spikers met 29-time title holders FEU Lady Tamaraws for all the marbles last May. Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron, and Dawn Macandili all ended their careers on a high note as they swept graduating Bernadeth Pons and the Lady Tamaraws in two straight games to win their third straight title. Graduating libero Macandili was named Finals MVP for the first and final time in her collegiate career.  Behind their magnificent floor defense and some stellar play from Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas, the NU Bulldogs also swept three-time defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles to reclaim a title they last enjoyed in Season 76. Espejo, a five-time UAAP MVP, had an awesome performance for the world's record books, scoring a record-55 points to force the FEU Tamaraws to a do-or-die Final Four. The Blue Eagle legend had played his last, and has since suited up for a semi-pro team in Japan's topflight volleyball league.   Alab fends off Mono Vampire to claim ABL title San Miguel-backed Alab Pilipinas were such a glorious sight to see in the eighth season of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) last March. Coached by perennial fan favorite Jimmy Alapag in his very first season, the trio of Renaldo Balkman, Justin Brownlee, and Local and Finals MVP Bobby Ray Parks to their first title in home soil. Alab faced Thailand-based Mono Vampire, who were led by Mike Singletary, towering Sam Deguara, Fil-Am Jason Brickman and Pinoy Paul Zamar. In the very same day as the coronation of the UAAP volleyball championships, Alab took home the crown in a rousing 102-92 victory in Sta. Rosa, much to the delight of the home crowd. Balkman, the league's Defensive Player of the Year led Alab in scoring with 32, while Brownlee added 24 of his own. Parks added 13 markers. The two imports played in the PBA for the Commissioner's Cup, where Balkman (San Miguel) and Brownlee (Ginebra) would face each other in the Finals.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Warriors send LeBron packing to Los Angeles The Golden St. Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers locked horns in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season after the two teams were pushed to the brink in the Conference Finals. Both teams were down 3-2 and won Game 7 on the road to win their respective conferences, with both teams banking on experience to forge another bout in the championship series. Game 1 was undoubtedly the most exciting game in the series as LeBron James had an epic performance of 51 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.  However, JR Smith's blunder at the end of regulation became the lasting image of that game, as he dribbled out the clock with the score tied at 107-all. The defending champions rode the surge and took the opening game, 124-114. Stephen Curry's brillant performance throughout the series was overshadowed by Kevin Durant's dagger in Game 3, a few feet away from the spot where he launched the go-ahead three in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals. Durant was named as the Bill Russell Finals MVP after norming 28.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, and 7.5 apg in the four-game sweep, demolishing the Cavs 108-85 in the series finale last June. It would also be the last game LeBron James had in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform, as he bolted for the Los Angeles Lakers almost a month later.   (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) France rules 2018 FIFA World Cup The most-coveted title of the beautiful game returned to France after two decades. The youthful French squad celebrated their conquest soaked in a downpour in Moscow after a 4-2 victory over first-time finalist Croatia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup last July. Teenager Kylian Mbappe stood out in the French team composed of a bunch of 25 and under players. Speed, strength and youth became France’s biggest asset during the quadrennial football spectacle watched by almost 3.5 billion viewers around the world.  The 19-year-old migrant scored one of the four goals in the championship match to become the second teen to score a goal in the Finals after the legendary Pele back in 1958. France defeated Belgium in the semifinal, 1-0, while Croatia outlasted the favored Russians in penalty shootout, 4-3 (2-2). The French team also displayed diversity, with players born of migrant parents including Alphonse Areola, whose parents are both Filipinos working in France.   Pac on top, The Filipino Flash returns The most-celebrated Filipino athlete continued make the headlines this year. Manny Pacquaio stripped Lucas Matthysse of his WBA welterweight world championship belt with a seventh round technical knockout win in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July. Pacquiao split with long-time trainer Freddie Roach during his build up for the Matthysse bout back in April but confirmed their partnership once again for the 40-year old boxer’s title defense against Adrien Broner next year. Nonito Donaire Jr. announced that he would be going back down to super bantamweight after a loss to Carl Frampton in April for the interim WBO Featherweight belt and would be taking part in the World Boxing Super Series' super bantamweight tournament.  Matched up in the quarterfinal round against Ryan Burnett back in November, Donaire scored what many consider an upset, winning via TKO after the Irishman suffered a back injury to snatch the WBA (Super) Bantamweight World Championship.  Up next for Donaire will be WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Zolani Tete of South Africa in the semifinals.           Pinay power in the Asian Games   The Philippines participated in the 18th Asian Games held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia that ran from August 18 to September 2. A total of 272 athletes that participated in 31 sports represented the country in the quadrennial meet with Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers and medalist Margielyn Didal marching as flagbearers in the opening and closing ceremonies, respectively. Rio Olympian Hidilyn Diaz gave the PHI its first gold medal in women’s -53 kg. weightlifting. Five days after Diaz’s victory, the trio of Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go accounted for the women’s golf team mint. Saso also bagged the individual gold. In Palembang, Didal rolled her way into winning the women’s street skateboard gold. The celebrated men’s basketball team started out strong after routing Kazakhstan but lost by two-points to China in the group stage. The Gilas Pilipinas squad advanced in the quarterfinals but bowed down to South Korea by nine points eventually settling for a fifth spot in the classification phase after wins over Japan and Syria. The PHI finished with a 4-2-15 gold-silver-bronze haul and landed at 19th spot, three places higher that its 2014 finish in Incheon, South Korea.      Red Lions roar, Blue Eagles soar San Beda University continued its mastery over the NCAA as it annexed its third straight title and 22nd overall. The Red Lions grabbed its 11th crown in 13 years at the expense of Lyceum of the Philippines University. It was one-sided championship series – just like in their Finals meeting last year – with the San Beda ripping the Pirates apart in Game One with LPU playing sans its best player in CJ Perez, who was banned for one game after failing to notify the league of his intention to join the PBA Draft. Perez returned in Game 2 but even his presence didn’t stop the Red Lions from painting the NCAA red once again. In probably one of the most memorable UAAP season in recent years, Ateneo de Manila University won its second straight crown. Ivorian tower and Rookie of the Year 6-foot-11 Ange Kouame made an immediate impact for the Blue Eagles complementing the already stacked Ateneo squad led by Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena. But the glory of Ateneo was overshadowed by the Cinderalla story of the team it vanquished in the Finals. Climbing up from the cellar in the past years, University of the Philippines made history by making it in the Finals for the first time since winning it all in 1986. But before their championship stint, the Fighting Maroons ended a two-decade Final Four drought. UP then shocked twice-to-beat Adamson University with both games decided by game-winners. Ateneo came in the series as the title favorites but overwhelming support from a very hungry UP community and underdogs fans backed the Fighting Maroons. But in the end, it was the Blue Eagles championship experience that prevailed.       Pinoys make wave in MMA Fighters under Team Lakay flexed their muscles in One Championship. Flyweight star Geje Eustaquio opened the year with an interim championship win over former champion Kairat Akhmetov in Manila back in January. Eustaquio then defeated two-time champion Adriano Moraes in Macau last July to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion.  Joshua Pacio earned the ONE Strawweight World Championship last September after a unanimous decision win over two-time champion Japanese Yoshitaka Naito. Kevin Belingon dropped former world title challenger Andrew Leone with a now-famous spinning back kick in April. He followed it up with a dominating win over then-two division world champion Martin Nguyen to capture the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion. Belingon ended the five-year reign and seven-year winning streak of of long-time bantamweight king Brazilian Bibiano Fernandes in November via split decision.  Eduard Folayang outclassed Singaporean contender Amir Khan at ONE: Conquest of Champions in Manila in early December to bag the ONE Lightweight World Championship for the second time in his storied career.  BRAVE Combat Federation Bantamweight World Champion Stephen Loman successfully defended his title twice in 2018.  Reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera needed only 64 seconds to knockout hard-hitting Italian challenger Mauro Cerilli in Manila early December to remain the king of the ONE Championship heavyweight kingdom.    Petron, Creamline rule respective club leagues Creamline claimed its breakthrough championship in the Premier Volleyball League by sweeping PayMaya in the Reinforced Conference Finals series last July. Alyssa Valdez finally ended a two-year title drought with the Cool Smashers' victory. Creamline opposite hitter Michele Gumabao was named Miss Globe-Philippines during the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 last March. Gumabao represented the country in the 2018 Miss Globe in Albania last October and won the Miss Social Media and Dream Girl awards while landing a spot in the Top 15.     The Cool Smashers completed a sweep of the PVL’s Season 2 after claiming the Open Conference crown at the expense of Ateneo-Motolite via an emphatic series sweep this month. In the Philippine Superliga, Petron reigned supreme in the Grand Prix after taking down archrival F2 Logistics last May. Petron extended its supremacy in the sands after the tandem of Sisi Rondina and Bernadethn Pons defeated Dhannylaine Demontano and Jackielyn Estoquia of Sta. Lucia in the Challenge Cup final last May. The Cargo Movers got its revenge in the Invitational Cup, toppling the Blaze Spikers in a series sweep last July. Petron wrapped the year with the All-Filipino Conference in its pocket. The Blaze Spikers won its first 14 games before dropping Game 2 of the Finals. Petron swept F2 Logistics in Game 3......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2018

PBA: Travis, Lee and the text message that won Manila Clasico

It's late one Wednesday night and Romeo Travis casually avoids the media for an interview after Magnolia's Game 3 loss to Brgy. Ginebra in Manila Clasico. Travis is usually one of the last to leave the Hotshots locker room after each and every game. Usually, he's with his whole family as he exits the arena. He's usually also very approachable and is a joy to talk to, giving great answers to basketball questions and even the occassional life lessons here and there. Yeah none of that happened on this particular Wednesday night. Travis, with an in-ear headset on and a baseball cap, walks with a Magnolia staffer. The two of them casually side-step the media, using another player being interviewed as a sort of a hard screen in order to get free and get away. No one will get to talk to him until two days later.   SO WHAT HAPPENED AGAIN? After back-to-back monster games for Magnolia and a 2-0 lead in Manila Clasico, Travis had his worst PBA performance ever in Game 3. Travis struggled for 12 points, a career-low. While he scored consecutive lay-ups late in the fourth quarter to give the Hotshots the lead, the veteran forward fumbled an offensive rebound following a wild miss from Paul Lee. [Related: PBA: Brownlee scores 46 to save Ginebra's title] If he grabbed that rebound under the basket, it would have been easy two points for Travis. It would have been an easy two points and a tied game with four seconds to go in regulation. Magnolia lost by four instead. And while the Hotshots remained ahead in the series, 2-1, the Gin Kings were charging. Justin Brownlee just tied his career-high of 46 points in the win and it felt that Ginebra, the reigning two-time champions of the Governors' Cup, was actually up in the series and was ready to roll to another Finals appearance. Also, while it was no excuse, Travis turned out to be injured in Game 3, dealing with a bum hamstring. No one would know officially until two days later.   THE REVEAL "It's a grade 2 hamstring injury, since yesterday hirap na siya," Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero said of Travis two days later, right after the Hotshots recovered and beat Ginebra in Game 4 of the semifinals, sealing a Finals appearance. "I trust him, I believe in him. After that Game 3, ibibigay niya lahat. I love this guy and from the beginning, ibang klaseng leadership binigay niya sakin. Grabe ang puso nitong si Romeo," Victolero added of his import. Despite a bum hamstring, Travis soldiered on in Game 4 of the semifinals. Coming off a terrible Game 3 performance, it was actually Travis that carried the Hotshots. He had 11 points in the first quarter alone, one shy of his total the game before. [Related: PBA: Hurting Travis delivers game of his life with 50 points in Manila Clasico win] He had 29 after three quarters and finished things off with the first 50-ball of his whole career, leading a last-minute rally for the Hotshots to finally dethrone the Gin Kings. Fifty points from Romeo Travis was the reason that Magnolia won in Game 4, but it was an early-morning text that won Manila Clasico for the Hotshots.   THE TEXT "Me and Paul [Lee] talked this morning. Paul texted me at 6 a.m. and asked me if I was going to play," Travis said of the conversation he had with his star guard in the morning of Game 4. "I told him if I can play, I was gonna play. He was like if, 'you're playing, I'm playing.' We both decided at about 7:30 a.m. that we were gonna play and give it a go," he added. Over the course of the next 14 hours or so, Travis got clearance and dropped 50 points in a Magnolia win. Lee, bum right knee and all, didn't have the best of games by his standards but his clutch gene came through again, scoring big free throws late to make sure Travis' earlier work will not be wasted. "I texted him asking how he feels. He said he was gonna play so I was like let's go, let's get it," Lee said of the conversation he had with Travis prior to Game 4. "If you have an import like Romeo na he keeps on battling the pain, there's no reason na mag-give up ka kaagad, alam mo yun? (there's no reason you should give up that easily, you know)" he added.   A CHANCE FOR REDEMPTION After his 50-ball and big win over Brgy. Ginebra, Romeo Travis was noticeably emotional after Game 4. How can he not, he could barely walk the day before and he hasn't run since the win. "When you have a lot of pain and it's worth it [you become emotional]," Travis said. "I went through a lot of pain to play and it was worth it. That was emotional, to be able to make it through, get through the pain and make it worth it. It meant a lot to me," he added. Lee, who sent the text that won Manila Clasico, doubled down on his effort to back up his import. If Travis can play through his injuries and come through, he can too. "Kung makikita mo yung import mo na ganun, lumalaban, there's no reason to give up. Lahat lang kami kumuha ng lakas ng loob sa kanya," he said. Now that he's made it back to the Finals, Travis can win a title for Magnolia, something he didn't do three years ago when he was still suiting up for Alaska. [Related: PBA: Romeo Travis should be ready for Game 1 of Finals for Magnolia] Ironically enough, the Hotshots will face the Aces in the best-of-7 Finals set to start in two weeks. "Last time I was here I laid an egg, I played very bad last time I was in the Finals," Travis said. "I want redemption, that's why I came back," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2018

PBA: Romeo Travis wants redemption in return to Finals

The first time Romeo Travis came to the PBA, he won Best Import and took his team to the Governors' Cup Finals. Once he got there though, he got swept.  It wa a terrible way to end his maiden voyage to the Philipppines. It took Travis three years to make it back to the PBA and while he might not win Best Import this time, he still has his team in the Finals of the Governors' Cup. He wants to win it this time. "Last time I was here I laid an eg,, I played very bad in the Finals," Travis said after scoring a career-high 50 points for Magnolia in Game 4 to lead the Hotshots past two-time champion Brgy. Ginebra in the semifinals of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup. "I want redemption, that's why I came back," he added. The last time Romeo Travis was in the PBA Finals, he was with the Alaska Aces. Three years later, he's with the Hotshots. He's pretty good with his new team. "I looked at the roster and I seen they had good veterans and hungry young guys. It was a great mix. With me it was just an opportunity to gel with the team. I didn't want to take over, I just wanted to be part of the team," Travis said. "These guys have allowed me to be part of the team and that's what makes this team special, it's the chemistry. They know I'm not a guy that's going to demand the ball and curse at somebody if I don't get the ball. That's not who am I as a person and as a player. We're one unit right now, we're really clicking," he added. The Aces that Travis used to play with are one win away from the Finals as well and are on the verge of setting up a pretty interesting championship round. While Travis wishes his old teammates good luck, he couldn't care less if it's Alaska that moves on or if it's Meralco. "Whoever wins, we're happy to see them. Good luck to both teams," he said. "I don't have a preference. Good luck to Banchero, Vic Manuel... these are my guys. I hope they do well but I don't care who wins. Either way we're going to have to play them," Travis added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2018

PBA: Ginebra can t win it all says Justin Brownlee

ANTIPOLO CITY, RIZAL -- For the first time in the Justin Brownlee era, Ginebra won't be making the Governors' Cup Finals. However, his team still got a title in Brownlee's third season with the team, a much tougher hill to climb in the Commissioner's Cup, where imports are taller by two inches than this conference. Brownlee was his usual self, tallying 32 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the season-ending 112-108 loss to rivals Magnolia Hotshots at the Ynares Center here. The agreeable import knows they had targets behind their backs this conference, and their opponents had found the key that ended their two-year reign. "You definitely can't win it all. The two championships, the Governors' Cup that we won two in a row was great. A great one. But we understand that trying to win another one, it was going to be very tough," Brownlee shared.   "And like I said, we lost to a really tough team. Magnolia showed why they previously won championships. They showed like they're going to win another one." It was a great season for the 6'5” forward, winning titles in the Asean Basketball League as a member of Alab Pilipinas along with Renaldo Balkman, then defeating his former teammate in the Commissioner's Cup in six games. So what's next? Will he rejoin Balkman and towering 7'2 import PJ Ramos to the fold? "Not sure. Probably just rest and have my body checked out. See if a few nicks and a few pains here and there. Just trying to make sure that my body's healthy and go from there." Brownlee also tipped his hat off to opposing reinforcement Romeo Travis, who scored a career-high 50 points on virtually one leg, carrying himself, and his squad through a Grade 2 hamstring strain. "I had played against him before a couple of years ago in France. He was a great player. He can definitely shoot the ball. His mid-range. Definitely gave us a lot of problems the whole series." "He's an incredible player. He could do many things. He showed why he's an import in this league tonight." __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2018

PBA: Tenorio, Gin Kings quick to move on to Game 4

While it was Justin Brownlee that did most of the heavy liftin to bring back Barangay Ginebra from an 18-point deficit in Game 3 of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup semifinals, it was actually LA Tenorio who hit the final marginal basket to keep the Gin Kings' title defense alive. Tied at 103, Tenorio hit the go-ahead floater with 14 seconds to go. And after Ginebra forced a Magnolia miss, Tenorio also hit the last two free throws to seal the final tally. "Na-shoot siya eh," Tenorio said on his final field goal. "Well opportunity yun na nabigay sakin on that particular possession, might as well take it di ba? Everyone is expecting Justin to get the ball. We got nothing to lose in that possession, I was just thinking of being aggressive and see what was gonna happen," he added. Tenorio was terrible all game long for the Gin Kings, struggling to find his shot. While LA did finish with 14 points for the game, 11 of them came in the final period to help Ginebra pull through. "Actually struggling ak othe whole game, medyo iba yung pakiramdam ko today eh. But that's not an excuse," he said. "I think the whole team was really focused today but I cannot say na we really played well," he added. Despite cutting their Manila Clasico deficit in half, Tenorio and the Gin Kings are not quite happy yet. It's just one game after all. "We only got one game, inside the locker room after the game it was nothing, we moved on right away and are thinking about Friday's game right away," Tenorio said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 14th, 2018

PBA: Gin Kings fell right into Magnolia s trap says Brownlee after Game 1 loss

Brgy. Ginebra is an overwhelming force, the Gin Kings can certainly take over a game in a snap. The reigning two-time champs displayed that kind of explosiveness in Game 1 of the 2018 Governors' Cup semifinals Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. With Justin Brownle scoring 20 points, the Gin Kings fired 39 points in the opening period to start Manila Clasico. It was all Ginebra. The only problem was it was all Magnolia the rest of the game and the Hotshots actually pulled through for an early 1-0 lead in the best-of-5. "Man, kind of fell into a trap tonight. Give credit to Magnolia, they came out and played an incredible game," import Justin Brownlee said after the Gin Kings dropped the opener. "I think we fell into the trap of playing their game. I think we just gotta get back into playing our game," he added. After an explosive first quarter for Ginebra, Magnolia's signature defense kicked in and dominated the Gin Kings. When that happened, Brownlee felt that Ginebra became a little stubborn and tried to force the issue on offense instead of responding to the Hotshots and turn the game into a defensive struggle. "I think we got dependent on our offense. We didn't focus on our defense anymore," said Ginebra's super import. "I think we juts fell in love with our offense because we were scoring so well. But we gotta remember we're a defense-first team and I think that was just the biggest difference after that first quarter," Brownlee added.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 11th, 2018

PBA: Banchero after big game: 'I think it was my turn tonight'

After Alaska beat Columbian in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup, head coach Alex Compton wasn't particularly too happy about his locals. After Alaska beat Blackwater in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup, safe to say Compton can smile about the way his locals performed. No other Alaska local shined brighter than Chris Banchero against the Elite, as the point guard put up the points in the win over Blackwater. Seriously, a lot of points. Banchero only missed four times and drilled 28 points for the Aces, finishing just behind import Mike Harris who had 38. "We needed to play better basketball than we did against Columbian, I thought we did tonight," Banchero said. "I got it going a little big tonight. I was good. I'm glad I played well, I think it was my turn tonight to score the basketball. I was not realy trying to score, it was just that I kinda got it going," he added. With the win, Alaska has forced a three-way tie for first place in the Governors' Cup with Ginebra and Magnolia as all three have identical 7-2 records. Still, Banchero says the Aces have room to take things to a higher level. "We knew we needed to get that win because top-4 is our goal and we'll make the push from there. Being top-4 is a huge advantage," he said. "I think we still have room to grow," Banchero added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 21st, 2018

REINFORCEMENTS HAVE ARRIVED

Miss the PBA yet? Don't worry as there's more action coming your way starting Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City. The 2018 PBA Governors' Cup will tip off this weekend and we have prolific imports in town, 12 of them to be exact. Get to know who they are before we start the third and final conference for this season.   Justin Brownlee --- Ginebra By now, Justin Brownlee needs no introduction but here goes anyway for the benefit of those who don't know him for some reason. Brownlee is a three-time PBA champion for the Gin Kings and a one-time Best Import. His first two titles came in the Governors' Cup. The first one was in 2016 when he hit "The Shot" in Game 6. The second one was last year when he led the barangay to a Game 7 win in front of more than 50,000 fans at the Philippine Arena. He's a Ginebra legend.   Allen Durham --- Meralco The reigning two-time Best Import is back for the Bolts and he's looking to complete some unfinished business. Durham has led Meralco to two Governors' Cup Finals in his previous two stints in the PBA but each time, the Bolts lost to Ginebra for the title. Is third time the charm for Allen Durham and Meralco?   AZ Reid --- San Miguel Arizona Reid won two Best Imports back when he was still with Rain or Shine and he won his first Governors' Cup title when he switched over to San Miguel. Now, the high-scoring import is back for the Beermen after a one-year hiatus. He has some business to finish here and at the top of the list is regaining his lost PBA championship.   Eugene Phelps --- Phoenix El Destructor first made a name for himself in the Governors' Cup. The Commissioner's Cup might not be his best cup of tea but when it comes to the season-ending conference, Eugene Phelps has proven before that he's a force to be reckoned with. With an upgraded local lineup and perhaps better durability this time around, El Destructor might just become extra destructive to the oppposition.   Henry Walker --- Blackwater The Elite made their second playoff appearance last year in the Governors' Cup with Henry Walker. As the no. 8 seed, they were a few minutes away from stunning no. 1 Meralco to go to the semis. Mr. Inspiration has provided nothing but positive stuff for Blackwater and with a longer build up, the Elite might be ready to take the next step in the Governors' Cup in order to salvage what has been a lost season.   Mike Harris --- Alaska The Aces are bringing in Mike Harris as reinforcement in the Governors' Cup. Harris has NBA experience with the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz. He has tremendous international experience and the PBA is only the latest in his long list of stops. He has a career average of 3.4 points in the NBA, playing a total of 54 games spread across five seasons.   Akeem Wright --- Columbian The Dyip will have 33-year-old Akeem Wright for the Governors' Cup. Wright was undrafted in the 2007 NBA Draft and since then, he's built an international career with stops in the Middle East and Europe.   Romeo Travis --- Magnolia A close buddy of LeBron James, Romeo Travis is back in the PBA. The first time, he played for Alaska and won Best Import but lost in the Finals to San Miguel Beer  back in 2015. Now, Travis will suit up for the Magnolia Hotshots. Travis of course is part of the LeBron's high school team at St. Vincent-St. Mary.   Olu Ashaolu --- NLEX We've seen Olu in the Commissioner's Cup as he played NLEX's last game of the conference as part of the team's prep for the Governors' Cup. Ashaolu played for Lousiana Tech and Oregon and college and went undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft.   Rashad Woods --- Northport The Batang Pier will go with Rashad Woods for the Governors' Cup. Woods has had memorable stints in Mexico and in the Middle East, where he's known as the "Arab Ace."   J'Nathan Bullock --- Rain or Shine Bullock is back for a second stint with ROS. Last season, Bullock and the Elasto Painters were eliminated in the quarterfinals but not after erasing TNT's twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs. Bullock will join a ROS team that will be coming off an Asian Games campaign in Indonesia.   Mike Glover --- TNT Glover was Globalport's replacement import for Globalport two years ago but now, he'll start for the KaTropa in the 2018 Governors' Cup. The hulking forward went for 25.6 points and 14.0 rebounds in his first PBA tour.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 16th, 2018

Game-changing imports who raised the bar in the PBA

Imports are considered not only crowd drawers that invite national attention to the PBA. They are also game changers who raised the bar of play in the pioneering Asian pro cage league, with their incredible skills, breathtaking court wizardry, huge scoring might, and of course fantastic flights of fancy. Through the years, we’ve anticipated only the best from them, and definitely there are a few of them who really made their mark with their names etched in the annals of the league. One of them is Ginebra import Justin Brownlee, who bagged the PBA Best Import Award recently. Not flashy or flamboyant, Brownlee just gets the job done, leading Ginebra to the 2016 and 2017 Governors Cup, and just recently the 2018 Commissioners Cup. Aside from Brownlee, who were the other imports in PBA history that made a huge impact in the league and in the consciousness of this basketball-crazy nation? Here are some of the greatest imports ever to play in the country. 1. Cyrus Mann Cyrus Mann is remembered as one of the first prolific imports that played in the PBA, donning the Crispa Redmanizers jersey during its Grand Slam year in 1976 up to 1979. He provided that imposing presence in the paint with his 6’10” frame and was a monster off the boards, including those killer moves in the paint scoring at will against opponents. 2. Byron “Snake” Jones Memorable for his versatility and workhorse attitude, Byron “Snake” Jones was a journeyman, playing for three different teams in the PBA and leading two of them to championships. He played for the Toyota Comets in the PBA’s maiden season and won the First and Second Conference crowns and then went on to play for the U-Tex Wranglers and help them in bagging their first-ever title in the PBA Open Conference in 1978. He would then end his PBA journey with the Crispa Redmanizers in 1981. 3. Andy Fields Considered the first “resident import” in the league, Andy Fields has been called back frequently to play for his lone PBA team Toyota in his entire stint in the PBA. A feared shotblocker, midrange shooter, and rebounder, Fields led Toyota to three PBA championships, including the 1979 Invitationals, 1981 and 1982 Open Conference titles. 4. Norman Black Norman Black is simply called the import that gives his all in each game, one who was frequently labeled as “Mr. 100%.” He started his PBA career with the Teflin Polyesters in 1981, then began his connection with the San Miguel franchise in 1982 as its main workhorse and scorer, who would guide the Beermen to its second franchise title in the Invitationals the same year. He would then serve as import for Great Taste the next year, played again for the SMC franchise in 1985 under Magnolia Quench Plus, then suited briefly for Alaska in 1986. After returning to San Miguel in 1987, Black would then become a playing coach and eventually a coach who engineered its first Grand Slam in 1989. 5. Billy Ray Bates Billy Ray Bates is considered by many as the “best ever” who would fascinate everyone with monster dunks from the charity stripe years before Michael Jordan. Not only would he run rings around defenders, Bates would soar up, up away to score, and score without letup, hence the title “The Black Superman.” His debut stint with Crispa in its second Grand Slam year in 1983 was astounding and remarkable, as his unstoppable incursions, aerial shows, and powerful slams made him unforgettable to this day. Three years later, he would bring his greatness to Ginebra San Miguel and bag the 1986 Open Conference crown, which was the then-Palanca franchise’s first title. 6. Michael Hackett Loyal and dedicated, Michael Hackett is the gentle giant opponents feared. He is considered one of the most dominant forces in PBA history, who would just power his way through defenders at the paint and score at will. Playing for Ginebra San Miguel, Hackett is best remembered for being the first PBA player to score over a hundred points, 103 points to be exact, in a match against Great Taste in the 1985 Open Conference, wherein he won Best Import honors. In the next year, Hackett and fellow import great Billy Ray Bates collaborated to lead Ginebra to the 1986 Open Conference title.   7. Bobby Parks For most coaches, the late Bobby Parks was seen as the greatest not only due to the fact that he is the most decorated with seven Best Import awards, but also being the most hard working and coachable import ever. A gallant scoring machine yet a silent operator, Parks showed a wide variety of moves in his lane incursions in his prime that would leave defenders helpless, ending in mind-boggling baskets. Apart from his individual skills, Parks really completes his mission, giving championships to San Miguel Beer in the 1987 Reinforced Conference, and then Shell as its resident import with two titles, the 1990 and 1992 First Conference plums.      8. Tony Harris He might not be that much of an obedient trooper, but Tony Harris and his brand of play was simply breathtaking. As Coach Yeng Guiao decided during his time as coach of the Swift Mighty Meaties that they must let him be and ordered his court lieutenants to just pass the ball to him and make him simply wield his magic. And he did leave everyone in awe with his speed, agility, and power to score over all defenders thrown at him, hence the monicker “The Hurricane.” Proof of his incredible abilities is scoring 105 points, the single game scoring record that holds to this day, against Ginebra in the 1992 Reinforced Conference, wherein he would single-handedly cop the title for Swift. 9. Sean Chambers You could be charmed by his beaming smile when you meet him off the court, but when you meet him on-court, prepare for the worst beating. Though he’s not the heavy scorer type of an import PBA fans are accustomed to, Alaska’s “resident import” shows his class and might as a team player. He worked for the Milkmen in 13 seasons, giving them titles 6 times, yet only won the Best Import plum once—in the Reinforced Conference of Alaska’s Grand Slam year in 1996. The memory of what these imports brought to the league continues to delight true PBA fans through the years. And we see their legacy in such players as Justin Brownlee, who continue to show the example, the standard for other foreign players setting foot in the country to follow.     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 13th, 2018

PBA: Good guy Tony dela Cruz reflects on storied career after being honored by Alaska

​After a long and storied career in the PBA, Tony dela Cruz was honored by the Alaska Aces in a special ceremony during halftime of the Aces-Magnolia Hotshots tussle at the Big Dome Sunday evening. The UC Irvine product, who was brought in by the Shell Turbo Chargers in 1999 as a direct hire, enjoyed 11 fruitful seasons with Aces before officially announcing his retirement in 2017, along with veteran sharpshooter Dondon Hontiveros. A recipient of the PBA Sportsmanship award in 2006, he could boast of a record that could be comparable to that belonging to Wilt Chamberlain. If the Big Dipper could boast that he did not foul out in his 14-year NBA career, dela Cruz could also be proud of not incurring a single technical foul throughout his PBA journey. "I’m super proud of the way I carried myself each and everyday on the court so no matter how many awards I wished I would’ve won of course, I would’ve won 20 championships and a million MVPs but it’s just the fact I know what I did in my career and the fact that I am proud of how I played each and everyday in practice, super, super like proud," the now Aces assistant coach said after the game. Also included in the halftime tribute was a video montage containing tributes from former Shell teammates Rob Wainwright, Chris Jackson, Rich Alvarez, and former team governor Bobby Kanapi. The 39-year old said that he could not contain his emotions from the messages showered upon him, and was moved by the compilation. Looking back, the 6'5” dela Cruz said that his proudest moment in the PBA was their championship win over Ginebra in 2013, and the 2010 PBA Fiesta Conference Finals series win over the San Miguel Beermen, where he played with sore eyes in Game 6, the series clincher. He also recalled how he was called for his lone flagrant foul, a landing spot foul on Dennis Espino.  "I went into the commissioner’s office and he said we’re not judging you as a person, just the action and I said it was fair and I apologized to Dennis there was no harm but again, maybe I wished I would’ve gotten a couple more technicals to like feel some of my frustration but just super proud that I can look back at my career and really, really happy," he quipped. Now bringing a lot of experience to the table as an assistant coach under Alex Compton, he hopes to get better and get more experience while being on the sidelines. "I just want to continue to learn. But everyone keeps making jokes, letting me know how much weight I’ve gained but like Don Allado said, ‘You know what, I played so many seasons in the PBA, I have the right to eat whatever I want.’" "But again, I think the biggest transition is being in shape. I do wanna get out there and play with the guys sometimes but I think the biggest transition for me is wanting to be knowledgeable but at the same time, curious about how to get better at basketball." With no less than team owner Wilfred Uytengsu in attendance for the honor, longtime Alaska public relations manager CK Kanapi told Spin.ph's Gerry Ramos that the honor bestowed upon dela Cruz was not a formal jersey retirement, unlike the likes of former players Jeff Cariaso, Bong Hawkins, import Sean Chambers, Jojo Lastimosa, and three-time MVP Bogs Adornado. __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2018

Macklin savoring last ‘bittersweet’ days with Magnolia

Vernon Macklin is just days away from leaving Magnolia and he plans to spend his best days with his team before he flies to China for the National Basketball League. And the man once known as "Mack Attack" when he played for Ginebra in the PBA 2013 Commissioner's Cup began his farewell tour when he led Magnolia to a 126-101 shellacking of Columbian. Macklin played his penultimate game with the Hotshots in the 2018 Commissioner's Cup Wednesday at Smart Araneta and he finished with 19 points and eight boards in a match that made him realize his departure is already fast approaching. "I still have the same mindset like if I was playing a normal game even if this is a bitterswee...Keep on reading: Macklin savoring last ‘bittersweet’ days with Magnolia.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 16th, 2018

STAR HOTSHOT: Rafi Reavis will be forever relevant

It was early in 2017 when Rafi Reavis proved that he's still relevant. More than just relevant, in fact. In Game 2 of the Manila Clasico semifinals featuring Ginebra and Star, Reavis was the "star" for the Hotshots in the clutch, grabbing two crucial offensive rebounds in the last 20 seconds to deny the Gin Kings any chance of a "Never Say Die" comeback. With seven seconds to go in the ball game, the then 39-year-old Rafi calmly made two pressure-packed free throws and Star took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7. "I got a lot left in the tank, man. A lot left," Reavis said then. He was right. STAR BOY Literally a week after his heroics against Ginebra in Game 2 of last year's series, Reavis played his best game in a long, long time in Game 5. Rafi dropped 17 points and 13 rebounds, leading the Hotshots to a crucial 3-2 lead. While Star ended up losing in seven games, that was perhaps Reavis' best performance in the last four or five years, including the current year were having right now. And yet even then, the veteran forward was the least surprised. It's as if he knew. He's going to be relevant in the league until he decides he's done. "I'm not surprised at all. That's me," Reavis said in 2017. "That's the way I play. That's what I'm always trying to do, just be a leader, trying to do what's needed. The only thing that matters is the W. However that comes, I'll go with it," he added. ALL I DO IS WIN It's kinda cool for Rafi Reavis to say that he'll go with winning, regardless of how his team gets there. Over the course of his current 16-year PBA career, Reavis has done a lot of winning. Seriously, a lot. Rafi has 10 PBA championships and up until the 2017 Commissioner's Cup, he was the winningest active player in the league. He's won with different teams as well. Reavis picked up his first pair of titles with the old Coca-Cola Tigers before winning another two with Brgy. Ginebra. When he landed at Purefoods, Reavis would win six more championships, including the Grand Slam in 2014. Simply put, Rafi Reavis is an asset to any team. A valuable asset. He's done all that winning in a way only he knows how. "Defense. Defense wins championships," Reavis said. "I don't care about the glamour, the points, the fame. I don't need that,  that's not what gets me paid. Being part of a team that was winning a championship, that's all I care about. I'm team first and I'm all about the big goal, the big picture," he added. PLASTIKMAN Rafi's Twitter handle is @Plastikman. If it sounds familiar, it's almost a play on the local comics superhero "Lastikman" which is a character is most definitely based from Marvel's Mister Fantastic. Fifteen years ago in 2003, "Bossing" Vic Sotto gave the character life in a movie and while this useless rambling doesn't necessarily say and mean that Rafi was inspired by it and put his own twist to the name, it does make some sense. Reavis has some pretty long arms and legs, which come in handy while he's trying to defend the paint. His physical gifts and his brilliant mind make him the basketball player that he is. A player relevant to this day. "He's very smart, ang taas ng basketball IQ niya. Plus the fact na ano siya, hindi siya nagpapabaya. Yung katawan niya, inaalagaan niya talaga," Chito Victolero said of Reavis. Victolero was teammates with Rafi in the old MBA and he was the second overall pick in the 2002 Draft. Now he's Reavis' head coach with Magnolia. "He won a lot of championships and he knows what to do. Siguro mas beterano pa siya sakin in terms of dun sa loob ng court eh. I trust him very much and alam ko kung ano yung ginagawa niya," Victolero added. Sticking with the superhero theme, Reavis wants to add something to his list of achievements that's outside of winning championships. Plastikman wants to outlast the Rock in the PBA. "I'm trying to take care of myself and that guy, he's amazing," 40-year-old Reavis said of 45-year-old Asi Taulava, NLEX's center and the 2003 PBA Most Valuable Player that is still going strong as well. "I think he just had a birthday recently and it's going to make it a little harder for me but I can do it. I'm having fun. And I think as long as I play for a guy like coach Chito, I can meet that goal," he added. BREAKING RECORDS Rafi Reavis was the league's winningest active player up until the 2017 Commissioner's Cup. When San Miguel Beer won last year's mid-season prize, Yancy De Ocampo joined Reavis at the top with 10 titles. Yancy was the no. 1 pick in 2002 and Rafi was second. San Miguel and Magnolia are currently locked in a heated Finals for the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup and either De Ocampo or Reavis will take over as the winnigest active player in less than two weeks time. "None of that really means anything to me," Reavis said, doubling down on his team-first mentality. "I think it will probably mean something when I'm all said and done and my career is over with, but I'm still an active player. I have a duty to perform. It's all great and it's all glory but at the end of the day it doesn't really mean anything," he added. ALL I WANT TO DO IS KEEP WINNING It was in early 2017 when Rafi Reavis made it known that he still has a lot left in his tank. Fast forward to 2018 in Game 1 of the Philippine Cup Finals against San Miguel and Reavis practically won the Purefoods franchise yet another Finals game. With the Hotshots holding on to a two-point lead with 2.2 seconds, Reavis disrupted San Miguel's final offensive possession basically by himself to make sure Magnolia completed a comeback from 20 points down. Rafi first tipped the inbound pass to foil the Beermen's first option for June Mar Fajardo and after Arwind Santos picked the ball up to shoot a game-tying jumper, Reavis was there too to block the shot. Rafi Reavis has won a lot but he wants to keep winning. "We're still  active so we're still out there trying to get one more," he said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

Rest, not Magnolia or NLEX, on the minds of San Miguel

San Miguel Beer is in the championship round of the All-Filipino conference for the fourth time in a row. Already full of confidence from being three-time defending champions and having a four-time MVP in June Mar Fajardo as well as a talented and cohesive core, they will have a week, at the very least, to prepare for their opponents. That’s because in the opposite bracket, Magnolia and NLEX are all even at two wins apiece in the race-to-four series. Asked about their possible foes, San Miguel Beer head coach Leo Austria said, “I’m happy to see both NLEX and Magnolia playing (well), talagang parehas sila halos. You can never know who will be in the Finals.” Austria, though, would rather not name their preferred matchup for the Finals. As he put it, “’Di ko masasabi kasi mahirap mamili dahil deserving sila (pareho) to be in the Finals. Wala kang tulag-kabigin sa kanila.” For the always amiable mentor, the Beermen want nothing more than to just get their wind back. “We don’t want to think about their games. We will think about our preparations and first, we have to take a rest,” he shared. He then continued, “Alam ko ang wear-and-tear nitong mga players ko dahil my starters (have been) playing at least 38 minutes per game. I think they deserve to have a rest.” Indeed, in Game 5 alone, Alex Cabanot and Marcio Lassiter each played 41 minutes, June Mar Fajardo played 40 minutes, and Arwind Santos played 39 minutes. In taking care of Ginebra in just five games, the defending champions have bought for themselves a much-needed and more than welcome breather. “Ang maganda lang talaga sa amin is we have the luxury to prepare because we are the first one into the Finals,” Austria said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 17th, 2018

I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: Death threats and 5-peso coins, the MBA was crazy

There was confidence in the Metropolitan Basketball Association's regional format to succeed. After all, people love it when their home gets the spotlight. At the very least, the MBA was going to be a strong league for the actual cities and provinces that were represented in it. However, even those who believed in the MBA the most probably didn't expect just how big the reception was going to be. It was crazy and someone like this writer, who was too young to experience the bliss that is the MBA, can't do it justice. Fortunately, those who actually lived through the craziness of the MBA can tell those stories now, 20 long years later. Chito Victolero, former guard of the San Juan Knights and current head coach of Magnolia in the PBA: Sometimes merong mga unruly crowd na talagang very supportive sila at merong fanatics so sometimes nakakagawa sila ng mga ‘di tama, but you know kasama ‘yun eh. Kasama ‘yung sa dapat mong paghandaan, kasi you have to include it in your scouting report, ‘yung how to be mentally tough during the game. Kasama ‘yung crowd dun. ‘Yun nga ‘yung MBA. That’s why kakaiba siya kasi kung regular crowd lang siya, parehas lang ng ibang liga ‘yan. That’s why kakaiba ‘yung MBA. The crowd was very different then. ‘Yun ‘yung maganda dun. Kasama siguro sa marketing strategy ng MBA ‘yun, how to deal sa ganung crowd. Kasi iba ‘yung crowd, iba ‘yung atmosphere, iba ‘yung spirit ng game, lahat nandun eh. Nakaka-miss nga eh. When you go to Bacolod, to Cebu, nae-excite ka agad because you know there’s a big crowd. We wonder if coach Chito has a scouting report for Ginebra fans during Manila Clasico?   Dondon Hontiveros, former guard for the Cebu Gems who went on to become a PBA legend. Current guard for Alab Pilipinas: There was a time talaga na masasabi ko na ‘yung outrageous na ginagawa ng mga fans pa… may mga batuhan. Nakita nga natin dito may nagbato ng bottled water sa referee pero it was worse then. It even came to a point na kapag nalaman ng fans kung ano ‘yung hotel ng kalaban parang inaabangan na ba. And ganun din kami if we go travel to Bacolod, ganun din ‘yung nae-experience namin. Fortunately for me, pagkakaalam ng mga taga-Bacolod, taga-doon ako because the year before, in 1997, I played there sa Negros Basketball Association for Central and maganda pinakita ko. So naalala nila na dun ako naglaro, so ‘di naman masama para sa’kin. Cebu vs. Negros was one of the premier rivalries in the MBA and Hontiveros was the star of the Gems. "Fortunately for me," might be an understatement for Dondon.   Rafi Reavis, former center for the San Juan Knights. Still plays for Magnolia in the PBA and is the winningest active player, with 10 championships: It was always one of the teams at the South, because it was always the North versus the South. Negros, we had a tough time down there. Cebu’s also a tough place to play – not only did you have do play in a hostile environment, and when I say hostile I mean coins being thrown at you, hamburgers, apples, anything you can think of, it can be coming your way. You really had to watch out if things get heated in those places. That was just how passionate the fans were. I mean, they’re the nicest people but hey, don’t come in here and try to take what we’re trying to achieve here. It was pretty cool.  I never heard any racist things but I’ve been cursed out by old ladies before. I remembered an old lady, about 80-plus year-old, she just walked by me before the game cursing me out so I was like ‘Wow!’. But I also understood these fans are just passionate, this was their home team, so I understood. I get it. And as a player, you cannot let stuff like that affect you, and that’s just the will power you had to have. You have to put yourself inside of a bubble and focus on the task at hand which is the game, win the game and get out of there, hopefully safely, and leaving everything else to the fans and the things you can’t control, you leave it alone. Rafi must have been quite the charm back in the MBA.   Reynel Hugnatan, former forward for the Negros Slashers and current forward for the Meralco Bolts with at least 5,000 career points in the PBA: Naalala ko nun naglaro kami sa Cebu, may dala na kamig mga payong sa ilalim ng upuan namin. Kasi alam namin, pag konting ano lang, magbabatuhan na naman. Pag nagbatuhan, ready na kami, may payong na kami. Always bring an umbrella folks.   Nash Racela, former head coach for the Batangas Blades and current head coach for TNT KaTropa: If you watch the MBA ang daming hecklers di ba, talagang sinisigawan ka the whole game. I'm thinking one game in Davao, and there was another game in Negros na parang the whole game, may isang tao nasa likod ko na sigaw lang ng sigaw sa akin. Ganun talaga eh, it just shows the passion of the Filipino basketball fans. That's understandable, it really made the game more interesting nung mga panahon na yun. We think coach Nash would prefer this set up than having to bring his own umbrella to the bench.   Alex Compton, former guard for the Manila Metrostars and current head coach for the Alaska Aces: It hurts if a five-peso coin comes flying from the upper deck and hits you in the head. That leaves a bump and that happened a few times in a few different places. In the MBA that was almost expected because everybody was so intense. You should have brought an umbrella coach.   Peter Musngi, the one and only "Voice of ABS-CBN," he was one of the key people for ABS-CBN in the MBA from the league's inception to its untimely demise: One of the things that I remember, and kapag inaalala ko nga lang kinakabahan pa ko eh, I think I was seated beyond Commissioner Ogie Narvasa then sa official’s table and noong nagbatuhan… we were warned already kasi it was Negros vs. Cebu, sabi baka magkagulo. Noong may questionable call daw ng referee, biglang nagliparan ‘yung mga coins. Nakita ko talaga tumatama kay Commissioner Ogie Narvasa, but he looked at the back and stayed. Ako naman, tatakbo na sana ako (laughs) kasi nagkakagulo na pero ‘nung nakita ko si Ogie, ‘Ay nakakahiya, sige na nga bahala na matamaan sa ulo’ (laughs). So that’s one. The others are from the coverage standpoint, dahil we were always moving around, and it came to a point paggising mo ‘di mo alam kung nasaan ka. It takes a few minutes to think ‘Oh, saan kami nanggaling? Saan na kami ngayon?’ Or the fact that we were eating Jollibee for breakfast, lunch and dinner (laughs) because ‘yun ang sponsor eh. That wasn’t bad, but we had to be creative and say, I mean kasi umuulan, umaaraw, ‘di mo alam tapos, sabi naming ‘At least man lang arroz caldo, mainit.’ Jollibee all day, everyday? Now that's crazy.   Ramon Fernandez, the "El President" and four-time PBA Most Valuable Player served as the MBA's very first Commissioner: The biggest problem of the Commissioner's Office at the time were the fans, the rowdy fans. Masyadong fanatic sa mga teams nila. I remember distinctly one game in Negros, it was the Cebu Gems and the Negros Slashers, nagkagulo yung players. The fans just started throwing things and I had to stop the game. Mabuti na lang nandoon yung bishop, sitting beside me. So pinakiusapan ko siya na, 'Bishop baka pwede mo naman kausapinyung crowd na let's just enjoy and have fun' pumayag naman siya. Natuloy yung game, laro ulit. Eh nagkaroon na naman ng gulo, ganun na naman nangyaro so I said, 'Bishop baka one more time,' sabi niya, 'Mon leave it all to God.' Sometimes all you can do is just pray and ask for Divine Intervention.   Ramon Tuason, CEO of MetroBall, Inc., the mother company of the Metropolitan Basketball Association: It was a Cebu-Davao game and Ramon Fernandez was able to gather 14 large garbage cans of debris [from the game]. From rocks, to plastic bottles, to bottles with green liquid inside, anything. Marbles, socks with marbles inside, they were throwing everything inside. As a matter of fact, we had to ban plastic drinking water from entering the stadium after like the fourth or fifth game. We had to go through the Army, the PNP, and everybody to have support in the stadiums because of the fans' passion. We call it the passion of the nation but sometimes, they become too passionate, too emotional. Very difficult to control the crowds. In Bacolod, there was a situation where a bomb exploded inside a garbage can. Players, coaches, and including us got death threats especially during the inauguration game, because as you remember, the PBA, who was I guess threatened, decided to move their opening day to our same opening day and made it a Robert Jaworski birthday bash. I guess Jaworski fans were a bit pissed off that we were in the same day but actually, they moved their opening day to ours, as a matter of fact, ABS-CBN had a countdown. The PBA was threatened? Interesting... (to be continued)   *I Love You, This Game is a series celebrating the Metropolitan Basketball Association's 20th anniversary. Stay tuned for more! READ PART 1: I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: The logo that started a basketball revolution READ PART 2: I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: The Passion of the Nation READ PART 3: I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: Trouble from Lakerland --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 12th, 2018

Superteams and superpowers: Basketball in 2017

The common theme in basketball as of late is rather simple: build yourself a superteam and see where it goes. 2017 saw a bunch of superteams take the court in all levels. Some panned out and some did not. Nevertheless, we live in a world of superteams. Either your favorite basketball team is one or it's not.   Warriors World For the 2016-2017 NBA Season, the 73-win Golden State Warriors, a superteam in their own right, added former Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant. Oh my goodness. The Dubs then proceeded to decimate the NBA, winning 67 games in the regular season. Golden State was even better in the playoffs, making a serious play for a postseason sweep before finishing with a 16-1 record and a second title in three seasons.   Seriously, it's a Warriors World that we live in Golden State's success has prompted other teams to try and create their own superteam. Houston snatched Chris Paul away from the Los Angeles Clippers and now the Rockets have a potent backcourt combo that also feature MVP contender James Harden. Oklahoma City completed two incredible trades that made Paul George and Carmelo Anthony members of the Thunder. Oh, OKC also has MVP winner Russell Westbrook running point. The Timberwolves also have something going on in Minnesota as Jimmy Butler joined Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins for a young and intriguing Big 3. The Eastern Conference landscape changed when Cleveland traded Kyrie Irving to Boston. The Celtics previously signed Gordon Hayward and all of a sudden, the winningest NBA franchise is in position to take over the East now and the forseeable future. Speaking of Cleveland, LeBron James is still with the Cavs and they've added Dwyane Wade of all people to join an aging but still scary superteam. The King started this whole superteam craze. Golden State just happened to perfect. We all live in a Warriors World.   Feer the Beer Over in the PBA, the Philippines' premier superteam is still pretty effective despite its stars each playing almost 40 minutes per game. A year removed from the "Beeracle Run," San Miguel made history by being only the second team to capture the Perpetual Trophy following three straight Philippine Cup titles. Then the Beermen, with the top-3 MVP candidates in June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, and Chris Ross, plus Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter, ended the franchise's 16-year championship drought in the Commissioner's Cup. With the help of import Charles Rhodes of course. San Miguel had legitimate chances to win the Grand Slam of course, but the team ultimately fell short in the Governors' Cup. However, the Beermen did add 6'8" Fil-German Christian Standhardinger to the fold. Superteam.   Return of the Kings It was the perfect set up. Meralco earned the number 1 seed and was rolling all the way to the Finals. Meanwhile, the Gink Kings had to go through yet another emotional and heated series against rival TNT in the semifinals in order to have a chance to properly defend their title. The series before that? The Gin Kings had to end San Miguel's Grand Slam dreams. In the 2017 Governors' Cup Finals, Meralco was in perfect position to take The Rematch and allow the birth of a new PBA rivalry. After seven games, none of that happened and Ginebra won back-to-back titles by virtue of their quote unquote superteam. Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Joe Devance, Justin Brownlee, LA Tenorio, Sol Mercado, and Scottie Thompson. How is that not a superteam? The Kangkong jokes sure died a slow death.   Systematic Mayhem Even in college hoops, superteams are the way to go. However, in the amatuers, you just have to recruit your way into building one. La Salle has perfected this method and the Green Archers are certainly the biggest --- and loudest and most aggressive ---- recruiters. The Taft superteam featuring Ben Mbala and co. got the Green Archers to two UAAP Finals and one championship. Only one championship because another superteam, quietly built in Katipunan with surgical, perhaps even robotic, precision, beat them this year. That's right, Big Bad Blue is once again on top of the UAAP as the Ateneo Blue Eagles scored a sensational, near-sweep of UAAP Season 80. Coach Tab Baldwin has a collection of incredible players that may not look like it on first glance but they do certainly qualify for superteam status. Dom't believe it? Maybe you will after they complete a five-peat. It could happen.   Sweep In the other collegiate league, two superteams dominated the NCAA for two separate periods in one season. First, Lyceum, the surprise superteam, made history by completing an 18-game sweep of the elimination round. However, the Pirates ran into the league's decade-old superteam in San Beda and the Red Lions ended up sweeping the Finals for yet another title. Most of the major characters from both squads will return for a new season and if a San Beda-Lyceum rematch does not happen, well, that's just disappointing isn't it?   OVERTIME 2017 also saw the rise and fall and rise of the Gilas Pilipinas program. Well sort of. The Philippines got off to a great star this year by absolutely dominating the SEABA Championships. Then, disaster struck in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup when Gilas was embarassed by an old foe in South Korea. To end the year, the Philippine national team recovered, albeit in an ugly fashion, to take an early lead in the 2019 World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Gilas is more than capable of forming a Pinoy superteam that could compete, and even beat, the best of Asia. Let's hope we get that in 2018. Finally, 2017 also saw the Civil War PBA edition. It wasn't funny and it wasn't good. Fortunately, it seems that bright and peacuful days are ahead of our beloved league. Let's hope that's the case and let's just leave the bad memories behind this year. Time to move on and forget about that stuff. There are basketball games to be played.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

By the Numbers: Christmas Clasico

With all 12 teams finally playing at least one game, the 43rd PBA season is officially here. Like for real. And with that in mind, a brand-new By The Numbers PBA edition is also here. This should be fun. Okay let's do this. Oh Happy Holidays, Kapamilya!   10 Number of Christmas Day wins for Brgy. Ginebra, most in the league and it's not even close. The Gin Kings have made it an annual tradition to win on Christmas Day, losing only once in 11 tries. Ginebra's only Christmas loss came 11 years ago against Talk 'N Text.   4 Number of Christmas Clasico wins by Ginebra in four games. The Gin Kings simply own this Holiday and this rivalry for a couple of years now. Ginebra has three straight Christmas Clasico wins over the Hotshots and since last season, the Gin Kings are 8-3 in Manila Clasico games. This has to be killing Magnolia fans all over.   122 Number of points scored by Ginebra's Mark Caguioa on Christmas Day games, most in the league. The Spark scored seven points in the Gin Kings win over Magnolia, pushing his total to 122 points.   24.5 Average points of Globalport's Terrence Romeo on Christmas Day games (minimum of two games), best in the PBA. However, the Bro sat out the Batang Pier's loss to NLEX this year as he continues to deal with a knee injury.     39 Sticking to scoring on Christmas, the now retired Jimmy Alapag holds the single-game record for most points on Christmas. The Mighty Mouse scored 39 points, 24 from beyond the arc, in 2004 when the then Phone Pals lost to Ginebra on December 25.   2 Number of undefeated PBA teams at the Philippine Arena. NLEX (1-0) joined Kia (2-0) as the only two teams not to take an L at the massive INC-owned facility. The PBA has played six playdates at the Philippine Arena so far. Blackwater (0-2), TNT (0-1), and Globalport (0-1) have yet to win there. Meanwhile, Meralco is 1-2 at the Philippine Arena and Ginebra is 5-1 including one championship.   19 Kiefer Ravena's scoring average so far in the PBA. The Phenom has been living up to hype i nthe big league two games in so far. In his debut game, Kiefer went for 18 points and 12 assists before dropping another 20 points in s a Christmas-day win for NLEX.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2017

Yap to the rescue

  James Yap hit the big shots during the biggest moments on Wednesday night, lifting Rain or Shine to a nail-biting 75-74 over Magnolia to remain in the lead in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations at Mall of Asia Arena.   The former two-time MVP while playing, interestingly, for the Purefoods franchise, hit 11 points in the fourth, including the game-winning three-point play with 2.5 seconds left that lifted the Elasto Painters to their fifth straight win in a 7-1 record.   That more or less meant a seat in the quarterfinals for the Painters, who have played the most games before the tournament goes on a much-needed break.   The loss was the t...Keep on reading: Yap to the rescue.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2019

PBA: Victolero happy to see defense hold up despite loss

The two teams that played in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals made their respective 2019 PBA Philippine Cup debuts Sunday. Both of them lost. However, one performed better than the other based on the final score alone and that was most definitely Magnolia, who lost to TNT in overtime. Head coach Chito Victolero is hardly worried considering his team’s signature defense remained stout despite suffering from a supposed title hangover. “Natural lang naman yan but maganda naman yung mindset nila ngayon eh. Breaks of the game lang talaga. Maganda yung nilaro namin defensively, but yung offense, makikita mo naman na wala pa kami sa timing,” Victolero said.  “Sumalo lang sa amin yung depensa. Pero habang tumatagal yung laro, makukuha namin yung timing namin offensively,” the reigning PBA Coach of the Year added. One thing that Victolero saw that is definitely lacking for the Hotshots is conditioning, which is also natural considering the team played their first official game since December. That will come in time and with that, Magnolia’s offense should come with it as well. “Makikita mo naman talaga mabilis mapagod eh. Halos mga 3 minutes, 4 minutes lang, mabilis ako magpalit ng tao. Talagang wala pa,” Victolero said. “Yung depensa talaga ang bumuhay sa amin eh pero offensively, makikita mo talaga wala sa timing. Yung halos lahat ng execution namin, medyo nagmamadali e. But of course, next few games makukuha na namin yun,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 4th, 2019

PBA: Japeth on untimely ankle injury: “Part of the game”

ANTIPOLO CITY, Rizal — Ginebra didn’t exactly have a flawless result Saturday against Columbian in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup. The Gin Kings lost top forward Japeth Aguilar midway through what would become a much-needed win against the Dyip. Aguilar had to be helped off the floor due to what now appears to be a sprained ankle. The severity of the injury remains unknown though Japeth was walking fine by himself as he exited the Ynares Center here. “Okay naman siya, next pa naman namin is [next] Saturday so rehab lang this coming week,” Aguilar said. “Part of the game. Pag set ko ng screen naapakan ko yung paa ni [Jackon] Corpuz,” he added. Before his injury, Japeth played a about 18 minutes for Ginebra, scoring 11 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Even without Aguilar in the second half, the Gin Kings beat the Dyip by 12 points. Ginebra, with a 2-2 mark, returns to action on Feb. 9.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 2nd, 2019