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PBA: Terrence Jones new tropa wants to send him back to the NBA

Over the last couple of seasons, the PBA has seen its share of super imports. Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee immediately comes to mind. Meralco’s Allen Durham and Phoenix’s Eugene Phelps fit in that mold too. Alaska’s Mike Harris is in that list as well. The uber-talented Glen Rice Jr. could have made it if he just got it together. But for the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, TNT brought not just any other import. Tired of underperforming for the past few conferences, the KaTropa went ahead and signed former Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones for the mid-season joust. With Jones, TNT went the super — SUPER — import route and it has been worth every penny for the KaTropa, at least so far.   ROCKET MAN Many former NBA players have played in the PBA before, that’s not a new thing. But what makes Jones special is that he’s at his peak of his powers now as he plays his first stint in the PBA. Jones is a former first-round pick and was a legitimate NBA contributor. In his best NBA season, in 2013-2014 for Houston, Jones started 71 games and had career-high numbers of 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. This dude is legit. “Oo iba, iba siya talaga,” guard RR Pogoy said of Jones. (Yes, he’s really different). In just one conference, Pogoy and Jones have clicked as teammates. Terrence has admitted that RR is one of his favorite local targets when he’s trying to spot an open teammate when opposing teams double on him. Pogoy admits that Jones is one of the best, if not the best, import he’s ever played with. “Pwedeng-pwede pa siya talaga sa NBA eh. Iba yung skills niya,” he added. (He could still play in the NBA. His skills are just different).   THE DIFFERENCE TNT has ran pretty much the same system for years. Whether you like this team or now, they know what style they want to play andd they identify players that fit that system well. The KaTropa have dominated the PBA without a traditional big man. Ask other teams, they’ve been blindsided and bamboozled by a TNT offense led by diminutive point guards like Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro. However, the KaTropa have hit another rough patch. The team hasn’t made it to the PBA semifinals since 2017. Their 2018 campaign was a lot like the horror 2016 year with the only difference being three seasons ago, they actually made it to the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup as a no. 1 seed. Last year, they won zero playoff games and missed the playoffs altogether once so in essence, 2018 was a worse nightmare for the KaTropa. It didn’t help that in the previous All-Filipino, they were practically a missed 24-second violation away from ending the San Miguel Beer Philippine Cup dynasty. The winning formula no longer works for TNT. Or at the very least, it’s not as effective. Enter Terrence Jones. “Malaking tulong talaga siya sa team namin. Kung ano yung kulang samin, parang fit na fit talaga siya eh. Napa-dali na lang yung mga buhay namin sa basketball,” Pogoy said of Jones. (He’s a big help to our team. What we lack, he fits right in. Our basketball lives are easier with him). “Yung rebounding tsaka yung pagka-shot blocker niya [malaking tulong]. Naiilang din yun kalaban namin eh, sa rebound naman naco-control namin kasi may malaki na kami, yun naman talaga kulang namin,” Pogoy added. (His rebounding and his presence as a shot blocker is a huge help). In 10 games so far, Jones is averaging 14.9 rebounds per game. That may not seem much for an import but he’s never had fewer than 10 in a game and has hit a high 22 rebounds. His shot blocking has helped TNT shore up its overall defense as well with Jones averaging 2.9 rejections a game with his three best performances coming against Columbian (7 blocks), Ginebra (6 blocks), and San Miguel (5 blocks). The last two teams feature perhaps the two best frontlines in the league today by a wide margin. Aside from his defensive presences, Jones is a force on offense as well, averaging 34.5 points on close to 50 percent shooting. He’s hit over 30 points eight times and over 40 points four times. Scoring will be a given for a player of his caliber but what sets him apart is his ability to locate open teammates and willingly pass the ball to them. Jones is good for at least four assists in every game and he’s topped out at 16 dimes so far. In 10 games, he’s rounding up to 7.7 assists per outing which leads all imports, and the whole league actually. “Talagang willing passer siya, hinahanap din niya talaga yung mga kasama niya. Kumbaga di niya inaako lahat yung scoring load,” forward Troy Rosario said of his new frontcourt tandem in Jones. (He’s a willing passer. He really tries to find his teammates and he’s not trying to shoulder all the scoring load). “Kami ready pa rin kami lagi. Syempre yung experience niya sa NBA talagang pinapakita niya dito, natutulungan din niya kami kung saan kami dapat lumugar sa plays kasi advanced na siya eh, kahit di na sabihin ni coach alam na niya dapat gawin,” he added. (We’re just ready as locals. He’s really showing his NBA experience here, he’s helping us to where we need to be on plays because he’s so advanced he knows what to do even before coach tells us).   THE LEADER Aside from putting up big numbers across the board, there’s one underrated factor about Terrence Jones that has led to him making a positive impact on TNT. Jones made an effort to be a leader for the KaTropa and his teammates have rallied behind him for sure. The result is in the way they play and the way they win in the Commissioner’s Cup. “I think it’s come to them [TNT locals] listening and understanding that I have a little experience on what it takes to try to win and be a good teammate,” Jones said of his leadership role with the KaTropa and how it worked out. “They listened and understood that and we’ve been having fun ever since,” he added. TNT is full of alpha-level players but Jones’ NBA resume has certainly helped in making them line up behin their import and provide support. The the KaTropa have been running like a well-oiled machince with that set up. “Leadership pa lang niya ang laking tulong na samin. As locals, ginagawa lang namin kung ano dapat namin gawin para maka-contribute din and para matulungan din siya,” Rosario said. (His leadership alone is a big help for us. As locals, we just try to do what we need to do to contribute and to help him out). “Magaling siya, isa talaga siya mga leader namin ngayon. Talagang nili-lift up niya kami, di lang sa salita pati sa gawa,” Pogoy added. (He’s great, he’s one of our leaders now. He really lifts us up not just with words but with action as well)   THE LONG ROAD BACK TO THE ASSOCIATION It would be incredible if TNT ends up having Terrence Jones as a resident import the same way Ginebra has Justin Brownlee or Phoenix has Eugene Phelps or Meralco having Allen Durham. However, the KaTropa know that their super import still has a good shot of returning to the NBA and they plan on helping him get back there. “Syempre goal namin makapasok sa playoffs, nagawa na namin yun. Ang susunod na step is next round sa playoffs. Malaking tulong din yun sa kanya kasi yung pangalan niya bumabango ulit,” Rosario said. (Our goal is to make the playoffs and we did that. Now the next step is to get to the next round of the playoffs. That’s a big help for him to get his name out there again). “Preparation na rin kasi alam namin na after dito, meron siyang invites sa mga training camps,” he added. (It’s also good preparation because we know after this, he has some invites to camps). With TNT at 9-1 and a top-2 seed in the playoffs, the team is certainly favored to win in the Commissioner’s Cup. And perhaps one of Jones’ best ways to once again get some traction is to put up great numbers for a championship team in a big league like the PBA. There’s a big check mark on the numbers part and while he can’t win a title by his lonesome, Jones has an entire tropa that has his back. “Lalo na kung mag-champion kami, mabango yung pangalan niya di ba?” Pogoy said. (If we win the championship, that’s good for his name, right?). “Marami naman nags-scout diyan, nakikita siya and maganda pinapakita niya. Feel ko [kaya bumalik sa NBA],” he added. (There’s people that scout him, seeing him and how good he’s been performing. I feel [he can make it back to the NBA]). Of course, winning a PBA championship does not directly award Jones and NBA roster spot. However, he appreciates that his team backs him up in that regard. Right now TNT’s super import is just concerned about playing well with his team and winning more games. “I appreciate it, I wish nothing but the best for all my teammates as well,” Jones said. “I hope you guys see that while we’re playing, we’re smiling and enjoying one another when anybody scores. It’s just like a family atmosphere,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News2 hr. 15 min. ago

PBA: Blackwater pounces on third-seed after piling onto Alaska s woes

Blackwater will continue its best campaign in franchise history as the third-seed in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup by virtue of a well-earned 112-104 win over Alaska, Sunday at Araneta Coliseum. As always, super rookie Ray Parks Jr. and American reinforcement Staphon Blair showed the Elite the way to victory with the former finishing with 25 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and three steals and the latter ending with his own 14-marker, 10-board double-double. With those two at the head of the attack, the upstart squad has now risen to its best-ever finish in the elimination round. However, it was Allein Maliksi, Mac Belo, and Roi Sumang who got together in the 9-3 run that broke open a tied tally of 93-all and built up a 102-96 advantage for Blackwater inside the last four minutes. The Aces wouldn’t quit just yet as Simon Enciso and Jeron Teng pulled them within a solitary point, 101-102. Only, Sumang had the quick counter for Blackwater and scored all but three points in their 9-3 finishing kick that eventually ended as their seventh win in 11 games. Prior to this, the Elite's best record at the end of eliminations was as the fifth-seed back in the 2018 Governors' Cup. Sumang wound up with 18 points in this one while Maliksi and Belo also added 15 and 13 markers, respectively. They now await how the bottom half of the seedings shake out, but their next matchups may be opposite Magnolia, San Miguel, or Rain or Shine. Also awaiting the results of the last three games in the eliminations is Alaska which suffered its fifth setback in a row and now stands at 4-7. Fronting their effort is American reinforcement Diamon Simpson who had 24 points on top of 18 rebounds, eight assists, and two blocks. BOX SCORES BLACKWATER 112 - Parks 25, Sumang 18, Maliksi 15, Blair 14, Belo 13, Al-Hussaini 12, Digregorio 6, Desiderio 4, Cortez 3, Sena 2, Alolino 0. ALASKA 104 - Simpson 24, Banchero 18, Thoss 15, Manuel 15, Teng 11, Enciso 9, Casio 6, Racal 4, Pascual 2, Exciminiano 0, Cruz 0. QUARTER SCORES: 27-32, 56-55, 80-78, 112-104. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Preview: Philippines vs New Zealand

The Philippines finally had a breakthrough in the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Heraklion Greece, beating Asian rivals China, 86-72, to be assured of at least 14th place in the biennial competition.  Their final game today will be against another team from the FIBA Asia zone -- New Zealand, which placed 2nd place overall in last year's 2018 FIBA U18 Asia Cup in Thailand and defeated Senegal last night, 87-71.  It will be a tough final assignment for coach Sandy Arespcochaga's wards, who are coming in riding high with confidence after their convincing triumph over the Chinese. The Filipinos bucked the limited minutes of Kai Sotto in that encounter as the 7'2” prized center was saddled with foul trouble and could only register 5 points, 2 rebounds, a 1 block in 13 minutes of play. Answering the call were Dave Ildefonso, Carl Tamayo, James Spencer, and Rhayyan Amsali, all of whom scored in double-digits for the Philippines.  Needless to say, it'll take another supreme team effort today if the Filipinos are to stave off what should be a very strong challenge from the Kiwis, who likewise put up a convincing win yesterday against the Senegalese.  In that match, versatile guard Flynn Cameron stood out. The DePaul University Blue Demon has been inconsistent in Heraklion, but he had his best game yet against Senegal, scoring 19 points on top of 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 7 steals, and 2 blocks.  Another Junior Tall Black to worry about is Euro-based Max Darling, who plies his trade for Croatia's KK Vrijednosnice Osijek. The 6'6” inside operator is one of the most athletic players in the entire field, and he has been on a tear in New Zealand's last two games, averaging 19.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per outing. Don't be surprised if he tries his hand at slowing Kai down in the paint.  Speaking of Kai, he has stumbled out of the top 10 most efficient players in the tournament after last night's below par showing, and it would be great to see him bounce back in a big way here.  The former Ateneo Blue Eaglet is among the youngest studs in Heraklion and will still be eligible for the next U19 World Cup should the Philippines qualify anew. He is currently averaging 12.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game, but he will likely need even better numbers against New Zealand if Gilas Youth is to end its campaign on a bright note.  He'll expect much help from the aforementioned Ildefonso and Tamayo, who really played with aplomb against China. Ildefonso was nearly unstoppable, shooting 7 out of 12 from the floor, including 4 triples en route to an impressive 21-point, 7-assist, 6-rebound stat-line. Tamayo, for his part, was splendid with 20 points and 6 rebounds while hitting 3 triples. If those two guys can puncture the hoops again and complement Kai's inside game, the Philippines has a fair chance of finishing 13th place overall......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 7th, 2019

It’s part of the process – Valdez on PHI U-23 team

Despite the stinging losses and less than desirable score lines, the PHI Under-23 women’s volleyball team will always have the support and admiration of established local stars in Creamline’s Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado and Michele Gumabao.   The young squad, which played without most of its vaunted hitters and recognizable names because of various reasons ranging from club commitments to injuries, finished the 2019 Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Volleyball Championships empty-handed save for valuable experience and lessons playing in the international scene. Never mind the bashers, the searing and scarring criticisms and all, they’re volleyball ‘ates’ got their backs. “Ako, for the girls lang, they don’t have to be down,” said Valdez, who was a part of the PHI U-23 team that finished seventh in the 12-team inaugural Asian U-23 Championship that the country hosted in 2015. “I’m not saying na dapat maging masaya but you keep on fighting, you keep on going.” Valdez, who has been a part of the national team since her girls squad stint 11 years ago, admired the determination of the PHI U-23 to represent the country even on short notice.   “Kahit anong mangyari we’re just really proud of the girls. Pinatawag sila to represent our country, pumunta sila ipinaglaban nila yung bansa natin,” said Valdez, who is set to make her third Southeast Asian Games tour of duty in November. “Who knows sila ang future generation natin na magre-represent talaga ng bansa natin at makapagdala ng medal.” Playing with an inexperienced core with a few high school standouts, the Filipinas were easy pickings for their seasoned tormentors. “It’s part of the process. Kung mababa ang score and matalo, it’s part of the learning experience you get internationally,” added Valdez. The PHI U-23 team suffered a humiliating 9-25, 12-25, 6-25, whipping at the hands of one of Japan’s best club teams, the Okayama Seagulls – the same team that will host the country’s senior national team during their international training camp. Looking to save face after their embarrassment, the Filipinas did regain some sense of pride with a better showing albeit it still ended with a 20-25, 12-25, 15-25, loss to 3BB Nakornnont, which fielded a couple of players from the Thai national team.    “Pero 'yung girls we’ve seen them, I’ve seen them. I watched their games also. I see how hard they fight. I’ve seen how they trained also,” said Morado, who was also a former PHI U-23 standout and currently part of the senior squad. “’Yun nga lang lahat ng players talaga na pinapadala sa ganoon lumalaban talaga,” she added. “They’re not there just for nothing, they’re there for the country, so kudos sa kanila.” Gumabao, who represented the country in the 2015 Asian Seniors Championship in China, commended the patriotism of the girls despite overwhelming odds. “Nothing to be ashamed of,” said Gumabao, who also carried the nation’s pride outside of volleyball in the 2018 Miss Globe competition. Gumabao like Morado and Valdez called on the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. to come up with a comprehensive and concrete program for the all of the sport’s national teams for future international competitions.   “You reap what you sow. We in Creamline, we reap what we sow. We sow hard work, we reap wins,” Gumabao said. “Same internationally, if you sow years of training and experience, makikita natin ang score.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 7th, 2019

Leonard-George tandem turns Clippers into legit contender

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com At the moment of truth, Kawhi Leonard went against his persona and caused a shakeup that wasn’t so quiet after all. Quite stunning, actually, was the Friday (Saturday, PHL time) series of events that directly affected four teams, caused a major trade of unprecedented details, and influenced the NBA Finals MVP to sign a free agent contract with the Clippers and instantly turning a franchise without a banner into a hardcore contender. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! Leonard is now joined by Paul George, who finished third in the 2018-19 MVP balloting and who requested a trade from Oklahoma City at the 11th hour to essentially swap Russell Westbrook for Leonard. The Clippers are now bringing a pair of swingman who excel on both ends of the floor, giving them the sort of dynamic tandem that’s almost required to win a title these days. The price for George was steep — basically, the Clippers surrendered more for George than the Lakers did for Anthony Davis. They handed over a chunk of their future, with three unprotected first-round picks (2022, 2024 and 2026) belonging to the Clippers, a pair of coveted Heat first rounders (2021 unprotected and 2023 protected 1-14) that were owned by LA, and the option to swap first-rounders with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025. OKC also gets 20-year-old point guard Shai-Gilgeous Alexander and veteran shooter Danilo Gallinari. And so the Clippers drastically changed their personality in the span of a few years, replacing the “Lob City” era of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan with a feisty defensive club led by Kawhi, George, Pat Beverley and Montrezl Harrell. It’s also a team with three reputable scorers as well: Kawhi, George and Lou Williams. Imagine: The Clippers just upstaged the Lakers in an offseason where the Lakers added Davis to join LeBron James. Adding to the intrigue is the presence of Jerry West, the Laker Hall of Famer whose reign as general manager helped raise multiple banners, but whose touch as a consultant with the Clippers in this process is undeniable. Two summers ago when he joined the Clippers after serving the same role with the Warriors, it was West who persuaded the Clippers to trade Griffin, whom they just gave a maximum contract, to the Pistons. West believed Griffin’s best years were behind him and thought the Clippers would be better as a team with more salary cap flexibility going forward. Plus, West and GM Lawrence Frank traded Tobias Harris, the team’s leading scorer, to Philly at the February deadline rather than re-sign Harris this summer in free agency. All of this was done with the idea of signing an impact player in mind, and Leonard was that player and the Clippers’ top target over the last year. Leonard’s appeal to the Clippers was evident and easy to understand. He’s a player who can score 25 points and grab 7-8 rebounds and lock down his man on the other end of the floor. And of course, he just led the Raptors to a championship without being generously helped by a fellow superstar. Interestingly, Leonard had the option of having not just one, but two fellow superstars this summer had he chosen the Lakers. LeBron and Davis and Leonard would make for a championship favorite, especially when you add Kyle Kuzma to the mix. In the end, Leonard wanted to beat the Lakers, not join them. The Lakers still bring those three players, though, and will now garnish the team with minimum-waged players to fill out the roster. Already, Danny Green announced he’ll sign a two-year, $15 million deal with the Lakers, and Rajon Rondo is perhaps not far behind. Both the Lakers and Clippers could compete in the coming days for DeMarcus Cousins as well. The team harmed the most, at least in the immediate sense, is OKC. With the amount of top competitors in the West — Clippers, Lakers, Rockets, Nuggets, Jazz and Blazers among others — the Thunder likely will take a step back and could enter a semi-rebounding phase without George. Also: Could OKC be forced to part ways with Westbrook? The former MVP struggled at times last season and especially in the playoffs, and turns 31 in November, and is on a max contract. It’s not the type of atmosphere that fits Westbrook, who’ll soon enter his twilight. Thunder GM Sam Presti, if nothing else, has shown a willingness to do whatever it takes if it works for OKC. Lastly, there’s the Raptors, who must now go forward without their lone superstar. There are no other players on the level of Leonard that Toronto can chase this offseason. In addition, the core of their rotation is on expiring contracts — Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. The Raptors will surely groom Pascal Siakam to take a lead role with Leonard gone, yet will face major decisions next summer as they attempt to reshape the team. All of this is because Leonard caused a domino effect that ultimately moved mountains. Something of this nature and this magnitude doesn’t happen often in the NBA and is never done virtually overnight, given the amount of pieces involved and teams who put their existence on hold while Leonard stretched his decision nearly a week since free agency began. Evidently there was a reason for that. He wanted the Clippers but only if they could add another major piece. When other options dried up — Jimmy Butler unexpectedly signing with Miami and Kevin Durant with Brooklyn, for instance — the Clippers had to go the trade route. And George had to be convinced by Kawhi to force a trade. And OKC had to agree to that, rather than risk going through a season with an unhappy player. When the Clippers coughed up a bevy for draft picks, that put the entire process in motion. And in the end, basketball in LA became the big winner. It would not be unusual or unexpected if the road to the next conference championship goes through Staples Center and gets decided by one of its two home teams. 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 NewsJul 6th, 2019

PBA: McCullough latest SMB import to fall in love with PH chicken

What is up with San Miguel imports and their love for chicken here in Manila? First it was former Best Import and champion AZ Reid professing his love for Mang Inasal, saying he used to eat two PM2 meals every game. [Related: PBA: AZ Reid's love for Chicken Inasal endures in 2018] Now, it’s 24-year-old Chris McCullough, who has gone crazy for Jollibee’s langhang sarap Chickenjoy. Arriving in the country to help save San Miguel’s campaign in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, McCullough has been in Manila for less than a week and he’s been eating Chickenjoy everyday pretty much. “I just love chicken,” McCullough said. “The chicken is good to me with the gravy. I’m about to go get some right now,” he added after scoring 47 points in his PBA debut Friday, leading the Beermen to a crucial win over NLEX. Fans have naturally embraced McCullough almost overnight for his love of Chicken Joy. The former NBA first-round pick says its just natural. “Everybody love me, so I love everybody else,” he said. “You know what I mean? I’m going to go get some Jollibee and that’s it,” McCullough added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 5th, 2019

PBA: Bolick takes “game winner” over Dyip

An exciting game by Northport and Columbian Wednesday in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup had a rather anti-climatic ending. Tied at 108 with seven seconds to go, the Batang Pier went to Robert Bolick for the game-winning layup. The no. 3 pick of the 2018 Draft missed. Still, Northport took the lead after it was decided that Columbian import Lester Prosper committed a goaltending violation. Upon review, Prosper touched the rim as he was trying to block Bolick’s shot. “Syempre kung sa akin gusto ko shoot talaga,” Bolick said. “Pero yun nga tinamaan yung ring, wala na ako magagawa dun,” he added. The win got Northport to 8-2 for the Commissioner’s Cup. One more win by the Batang Pier or a loss by Magnolia will have Northport in the quarterfinals with a twice-to-beat edge. Bolick and company will go after that playoff bonus that’s for sure. “Talagang gusto namin kunin yun,” Bolick said of the twice-to-beat. “Sabi nga, we have to start winning. Kasi pag nanalo yun, yun na yung winning culture eh. Kasi pag nararamdaman namin na talo, ang sama. We have to keep working,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2019

2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Preview: Philippines vs Russia

With two losses in their slate and a day's rest, our Gilas Youth U19 national team will plunge back into action later tonight against Russia on the final day of the group phase at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Heraklion, Greece.    Despite their two losses, the Filipinos actually still have a shot at finishing among the top two teams in the group, though that entails beating Russia by at least 25 points.   Now given that beating Russia alone is already quite a tall order, doing so by a quarter century may just be asking for too much already.    Still, given how our boys have played, I wouldn't put it past them to spring a surprise or two.    Against Russia, head coach Sandy Arespacochaga's wards will be up against one of the tallest teams in the entire tournament. And though the Russians don't have anyone as tall as Kai Sotto (their tallest is rarely-used Vladislav Goldin at 6'11"), they have really big wingmen who are sure to give our perimeter guys hell for 40 minutes.    Leading the way is hotshot scorer Aleksandr Ershov, who at 6'6" will be a match-up nightmare around the arc against our own guards. Ershov is the 4th-best scorer so far in the tournament, averaging 19.0 points per game while shooting 54% from the field and sinking 2.0 triples per contest.    Another guy to watch is 6'7" guard-forward NIkita Mikhailovskii, who turned a lot of heads on Day 2 by registering a triple-double with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. It was the first triple-double in the U19 World Cup since 2013, when current NBA player Dario Saric recorded 32 points, 12 boards, and 12 dimes against South Korea.    Mikhailovskii was one of the All-Star Five players in last year's 2018 FIBA U18 European Championship, and his match-up with Dave Ildefonso should be one of the most tantalizing for this encounter.    Down around the basket, much of the damage will probably come from 6'8" Dmitrii Kadoshnikov, who had 13 points and14 rebounds against Argentina on Day 1, and 6'7 Anton Kvitkovskikh, who is averaging 13.0 points and 6.5 rebounds after two games.    To have a shot against Russia, Gilas Youth's perimeter defense will have to be airtight. The Russians love to swing the ball side to side to shift the opposing defense, and coach Sandy's scrambling defense has to be on-point to neuter their foes' dangerous sniping. Russia is 4th-best in terms of three-point shooting so far, making 34.0% of their attempts from beyond the arc, including hitting 9.0 treys per outing, so our team needs to key on that to have a chance at winning.    On the other end, the Philippines must limit its turnovers. We average more than 18 turnovers per game, which is just too much at this level. Our most turnover-prone guys have been Carl Tamayo, Gerry Abadiano, and Dave Ildefonso, combining for 11.0 turnovers per game, so if those three can take better care of the ball, then odds are we can keep in step with Russia and perhaps be in a great position to steal this game in the last few minutes. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2019

PBA: Columbian’s “suki” is now SMB, not ROS

The streak ended last week in Batangas but there was a time when Columbian’s “suki” in the PBA was Rain or Shine. For four conferences from the 2018 Philippine Cup to the 2019 All-Filipino, the Dyip couldn’t lose against Rain or Shine. Columbian’s winning streak finally ended in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup, taking an L in overtime to the Elasto Painters. But as one winning streak ends, another one starts. The Dyip’s “suki” now is San Miguel Beer. After Sunday’s overtime win, Columbian is now 2-0 for the season against the Beermen, the reigning five-time Philippine Cup champions. “Nawala sa Rain or Shine eh,” head coach Johnedel Cardel on the Columbian “suki” tag. “Pero we’re just lucky to beat San Miguel. I know San Miguel is a champion team. Sana this gives the boys more motivation na we can beat anybody if we play together,” he added. At 2-6, Columbian still has an outside shot of making the playoffs. However, the road is definitely not easy as the Dyip will have Northport, Phoenix, and defending champion Ginebra to finish off the elimination round. Cardel is hoping the big win over the Beermen can spark a nice late run. “Sana this win will carry us to the last three games, makuha pa rin namin, even though we're in big trouble,” Cardel said. “Sabi ko sa kanila, we'll just play our game, this Wednesday against NorthPort, Saturday against Phoenix, we'll see what happens. Just continue our good attitude inside especially on defense, then our offense, patience pa rin,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2019

2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Preview: Philippines vs Argentina

It was a nightmare of a start for Gilas Youth on Day 1 of the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup as prized big man Ariel John Edu injured his knee in a very bad way barely two minutes into the first quarter of the team's tournament opener against host Greece.  And though the Philippines fought gallantly, even leading by seven points after the first canto, they just couldn't keep the Greeks at bay for long and succumbed to a deeper Hellas quintet by game's end, 85-69.  Now the Filipino boys face even stiffer competition against the 3rd best team from last year's 2018 FIBA U18 Americas Championship -- Argentina.  The Argentines landed on the U18 Americas podium just behind perennial powerhouse Team USA and defending U19 World Champion Canada. Led by Virginia big man Francisco Caffaro and head coach Maximiliano Seigorman, Argentina won four of their six games en route to their top three finish.  On Day 1 of the current U19 World Cup in Crete, Argentina had to scramble in the end to survive a big challenge from Russia in overtime, 86-84. Prolific guard Juan Ignacio Marcos paced the victors with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals, while Caffaro led them in scoring with 17 points on 7/12 FG shooting.  It's obvious that coach Sandy Arespacochaga's crew will have to focus on containing those two guys tonight, and that task will be made even more difficult with Edu's apparent ACL injury (compounded by a meniscus tear and hairline femur fracture).  That will effectively double the pressure on wunderkind Kai Sotto to do a yeoman's job around the basket while also throwing a wrench into the projected rotation of the Gilas Youth coaching staff.  Now back-up guys Geo Chiu and Carl Tamayo will have to work extra had and play extra minutes to fill Edu's void and complement Sotto's game as much as they can.  This is where Gilas Youth is feeling the pinch of a couple of key absences in the frontline. One is De La Salle-Zobel's 6'8" beanpole Raven Cortez, who could have given the team even more ceiling, length, and athleticism had it not been for his own needed recovery time in sick bay.  Another is 6'10" Filipino-American Quentin Millora-Brown, who just committed to US NCAA Division 1 program Vanderbilt. Millora-Brown was approached by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas officials to woo him into playing for Batang Gilas as early as 2016, but he just couldn't get his paperwork in order before his 16th birthday, rendering him ineligible to play as a local for the Philippines in the future.  A lot of pressure will also be on the Philippines' guards, namely Gerry Abadiano, Dave Ildefonso, and Miguel Oczon. They were solid against the Greeks last night, but it will take even better play from them if they hope to pull the rug from under Argentina tonight.  Even more crucial will be the play of Fil-Italian Dalph Panopio, who, at times, looked flustered last night and who seemed unsure of his place in the team's system. If Panopio bounces back with a big game tonight and cancels out Marcos's production, Gilas Youth will have a shot at a monumental upset.  After everything, though, needless to say as it may seem, much of the Pinoys' collective fate will rest on Sotto's shoulders. The 7'2" slotman had a respectable outing against Greece's generally smaller frontline, but against a big name like Caffaro, the former Blue Eaglet has to deliver the goods in a big way. It'll be easier said than done, of course, as Argentina is expected to thrown their platoon of bigs, which, apart from 7'0" Caffaro, also includes 6'9" Bautista Lugarini and two guys Sotto faced at last year's U17 World Cup -- Juan Francisco Fernandez and Tomas Chapero, both also standing 6'9"......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 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

Rockets goal for next season is to get healthy and better, says James Harden

James Harden is coming off yet another MVP-caliber season, leading the Houston Rockets to another post-season berth, after what was a rocky start to the season.  Facing a litany of injuries to key players like Chris Paul and Clint Capela, Harden went on a historic run that saw him score 30-plus points in 32 straight games to pull the Rockets back into the playoff picture from an 11-13 record.  "Just the will, finding the will to win games," Harden said of his stellar streak. The 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player is currently in the Philippines for his two-day adidas Free To Harden Manila 2019 tour, and was able to answer some questions from the media, Wednesday.  "Throughout that 32-games, it was a stretch of scoring, throughout the other course of the games, it was maybe assists, it was maybe defense, a variety of things." "I think every game is it’s own challenge and you have to find ways to impact the games and try to win the games, and so, throughout the course of the season, you might have injuries, you might have guys out of the lineups, you can’t let that sidetrack you, you have to focus on winning that game, and that was kind of my mindset," he continued.  While the Rockets did make it back into the postseason, finishing with another 50-win season and the fourth seed in the tough Western Conference, they again saw their title dreams come to a crashing halt at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, who just a season prior, eliminated them in Game 7 the Western Conference Finals.  With the Warriors' spot at the top of the Western Conference now in question due to the looming free agency as well as injuries to key guys in Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, Harden says that the Rockets just need to get better to put themselves in a position to contend for the title again.  "Just get a little bit better, that’s all we can do, from an individual [standpoint], myself, Chris, Clint, PJ, Eric, all guys get a little bit better, and then for the front office to bring in more skilled, more talented guys that have championship nature and want to win into the locker room. [We need] to continue to put ourselves in that position," he explained. "I think two years ago, we were so successful, we were one game away from the Finals because we had vets, we had guys that’s been through it throughout the course of the league for a long time, they had longevity in the NBA, and then last year we just went through so much adversity as far as injuries and trades, and we fought through it and we still got to a top-4 seed in the west. [We just need to] keep healthy, keep getting better, and just try to put ourselves in a position to be successful," Harden added.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 26th, 2019

Kiefer Ravena looking forward to Governor s Cup as he re-joins NLEX in practice

Just hours after his first practice back with the National Team, Kiefer Ravena also re-joined his mother team, the NLEX Road Warriors, for practice, Tuesday morning at the FCL Center in Katipunan.  The 25-year old Ravena, the number two overall draft pick in the 2017 PBA, had his stellar rookie campaign cut short after being handed a suspension by FIBA for failing a random drug test in 2018.  The suspension encompassed not only Ravena's international play, but also his professional play here at home.  Now, with just two months left before his suspension is up and three months to go before he can return to the court with NLEX, Ravena is treating his first practice back like it was his first ever practice with the team.  "I treated it as a normal practice, just like my first day last year," Ravena shared with the media during a post-practice scrum. "I want to make it routine as possible, to hasten the process, to get back to my rhythm, especially, ibang team ‘to eh, NLEX ‘to eh, so every time na nandito ako, yung priority ko is to really think about what’s happening now first, and then pag nasa Gilas, sa hapon, yun naman ng pino-proseso ko." Apart from being able to return to basketball activities, Ravena said that he can also finally watch games as well, and he will be in the house on Friday when his Road Warriors take on Rain or Shine this Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.  "It was a good practice, we have a game on Friday against Rain or Shine. I’m excited to watch, it’s been a while since I’ve watched a basketball game. I’ll be there to watch and support the team." More than just finally being able to run with his squad, Ravena said he just missed simply being around his NLEX family.  "Yung trabaho mismo, yung pupunta ka dito, yung pupunta ka talaga dito mismo to practice, talk to your teammates, do something that I love doing, which is play basketball, just being around my teammates, yun yung pinaka-namiss ko." With the Road Warriors sitting at the bottom of the standings with a 1-7 slate and just three games left in the ongoing 2019 PBA Governor's Cup, it's highly unlikely that NLEX makes a playoff push. As early as now however, Ravena and the team are already getting ready for the third conference, the Governor's Cup.  "Again, it’s more than three months until I get to play with them kasi sa September pa, we’re preparing early for the third conference, so hopefully, ngayon pa lang, good start na sa amin." By the time the Governor's Cup rolls in, Ravena hopes to have with him a fully healthy NLEX squad. Right now, the team has been ravaged by injuries, with their other key playmaker Kevin Alas being sidelined with another ACL injury and veterans in Larry Fonacier, JR Quinahan and RJ Jazul still working their way back.  Ravena is also excited to finally share the court with new faces in Jericho Cruz and Poy Erram. Import Olu Ashaolu is also back with the Road Warriors and is expected to debut on Friday as part of their preparation for the third conference.  "With Jericho coming it, healthy si Poy, healthy is JR, with Olu, me and Kevin, si Jazul, he’s healthy, si Larry pa nandiyan, I think we’re ready to take steps back," said Ravena. "Our goal is to really win it all in the third conference, but we have to take it a day at a time." With three months to go before he makes his long-awaited NLEX return, Ravena is making sure that the team gets into a groove before the start of the Governor's Cup. Being away from the team and not being able to contribute was a difficult experience, Ravena said. Now, he's happy to be able to help the team out, even if it's just in practice for now.  "Siyempre, medyo mahirap, kasi parang medyo helpless ka, nanonood ka lang sa TV, wala kang magawa para makatulong, kahit gustong-gusto mo maka-tulong." Soon enough, 'The Phenom' will be back on the floor, and that can only mean good things for the Road Warriors.  "Pero at the end of the day, tapos na ‘yon, ilang buwan na lang aantayin ko, at least ngayon, eto, makakatulong na ako sa practice. Ito na yung quote-unquote ambag ko sa kanila to make us better for the next three games." "Again, it’s more than three months until I get to play with them kasi sa September pa, we’re preparing early for the third conference, so hopefully, ngayon pa lang, good start na sa amin," he added. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2019

Kiefer Ravena returns to National Team practice for the first time since FIBA suspension

Kiefer Ravena takes another step towards his on-court comeback after re-joining the Philippine Men's National Team practice, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas.  Ravena has been serving an 18-month suspension imposed by FIBA for failing a random drug test back in 2018. The suspension began on February 25, 2018 and since then, Ravena has been barred from participating in basketball-related activities, including playing for his NLEX squad in the PBA.  The good news for Ravena is that the suspension is set to be lifted on August 24th, 2019, just in time for the upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup in China on August 31st.  Joining Ravena in Monday night's practice were June Mar Fajardo, Paul Lee, RR Pogoy, Poy Erram, and Japeth Aguilar, Mark Barroca, Marcio Lassiter and Troy Rosario. Also present are Robert Bolick, Stanley Pringle, and CJ Perez. Bigman Raymond Almazan is also present but is not participating in the practice proper.  Veteran Marc Pingris also dropped by to watch the National Team put in work. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2019

Manny Pacquiao- Keith Thurman title bout to be aired on SKY Sports PPV

Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao guns for another win in a major boxing bout as he challenges Keith Thurman for the WBA (Super) Welterweight World Championship this July 21 (Sunday) live via SKY Sports Pay-Per-View. The reigning WBA (regular) Welterweight World Champion faces an opponent ten years his junior after successfully defeating Adrien Broner last January and Lucas Matthysse in the latter part of 2018. Pacquiao currently holds a boxing record of 61-7-2 with 39 wins coming via knockout. On the other hand, Keith Thurman also known by the moniker, “One Time,” is coming from a majority decision win over Josesito Lopez. He owns an unblemished record of 30-0-0 with 22 wins via knockouts and one No Contest. Local boxing analyst Ed Tolentino said in an interview by news.abs-cbn.com that the bout between Thurman and Pacquiao will be a good one, stating that Thurman is better than Broner. One thing he is concerned about Thurman, though, is his health since this fight is only the American fighter’s second after being inactive for almost two years. Don’t miss the eight division world champion as he returns to the MGM Grand this July 21. Subscribe now until June 30 to avail an early bird promo for only PHP 649 instead of Php 949.This promo is available to all digital SKYcable, SKY Fiber, and SKYdirect subscribers nationwide. Subscribers to the fight on SKY Sports Pay-Per-View will have access to its live and commercial-free airing in high definition, including its replays on the same day right after the live event, as well as its livestream with a 7-day catch-up via SKY on Demand. Call 418 0000 or your SKY local office or visit www.mysky.com/pacman to subscribe. SKYcable, SKY Fiber + HD Cable TV Plan and SKYdirectsubscribers can also activate their subscription by texting PPV to 23662. For SKYdirect prepaid subscribers, they can text PPV PACMAN  to 23667 (available to Globe Prepaid, or TM ). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2019

PBA: Pingris on basketball return: “Gusto ko magwala”

Marc Pingris was out for 473 days and missed 66 games for the Hotshots as he recovered from an ACL injury. For the first time since Game 1 of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, Ping made his official return to Magnolia Saturday, playing against Phoenix in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup. Pingris was on the court for almost eight minutes and missed his only shot at goal for zero points but he did have three rebounds. More than his stats, it was the fact that he finally played a game again that got the veteran forward excited and emotional. “Kagabi talagang inayos ko na gamit ko eh, excited talaga ako,” Pingris said. “Kanina nung naglaro ako, parang gusto ko magwala eh. Parang gusto ko sumigaw, gusto ko kunin yung bola tsaka ibato. Nakakatuwa lang, nakaka-miss maglaro,” he added. With a long road back to basketball, Pingris admitted there were times that he gave up, with a grueling rehab making him tap out multiple times. But with support from his family, mainly his wife Danica, Ping was able to have enough strength and patience to get through and actually return after almost one and a half years of being out. “Sa workout pa lang, yung five hours a day tapos one year mo ginagawa talagang nakaka-burn yun eh. Sobrang magsasawa ka,” Pingris said. “Minsan give up na ako pero kinakausap ako ng wife ko, sobrang salamat ko sa kanya, sinasabihan niya ako na patient lang. Binibigay niya yung lakas ng loob ko,” he added. Now that he’s actually back, Pingris will take things slow as regains his spot in Magnolia’s rotation. “Kay coach na yun, kasi kailangan ko rin ipakita sa practice na karapat-dapat ako,” he said. “Na-appreciate ko rin yung ibang big man namin sa team, time nila maglaro ngayon dahil ako ang tagal ko rin nawala sa team. Ayaw ko rin naman na pagdating ko aagawin ko lang playing time nila, makaka-sira sa team. Pinaghirapan nila yun eh, sa kanila yun,” Ping added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019

Boxing: Aston Palicte comes up short in WBO world title bid

Filipino boxer Aston "Mighty" Palicte came up short in his second bid at the WBO Super Flyweight World Championship, getting stopped by Japan's Kazuto Ioka at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan.  Palicte was off to a strong start, but the hometown bet rallied back midway through the bout.  From the 6th round onwards, it was all Ioka as the Japanese star took over.  Ioka tee'd off on the Pinoy pug in the 10th round before the official called a stop to the bout.  Ioka, who makes good on his second attempt at the WBO's 115-pound strap, makes history as the first Japanese male boxer to capture a world title in four weight divisions. He improves to 24-2 in his career with 14 wins via KO.  Palicte, who battled Donnie Nietes to a Split Draw for the same WBO title back in 2018, drops to 25-3. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

MPBL: Beefed Up Bacoor City Strikers looking to go further than Divisional Semis

Considering that they were the final expansion team to be formed for the 2018-2019 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, the Bacoor City Strikers did pretty good for themselves, finishing fifth in the Southern Division to clinch a spot in the playoffs, and even going as far as the Divisional Semifinals.  There, the Strikers would fall to eventuall National Finalists Davao Occidental. It may have not been the end to the season that they wanted, but Strikers main man Gab Banal was pretty pleased with what he saw from the team.  "It was an incredible season for me and for Bacoor City, knowing that we were the last team to be formed, and still we were able to reach the semifinals of the Southern Division," Banal told ABS-CBN Sports.  Aside from a playoff berth, Banal also earned MVP honors, finishing with 18.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 6.4 assists during the stellar season.  Now, however, Banal and the Strikers are targeting a deeper run in the post-season, and are expecting to do so, now that they've gotten more time to prepare, and they've gotten more talented.  "I guess this upcoming season, we’ve had more time to prepare. We got some new players and we have a new coach also, and the team management, the players, and the coaching staff are more determined to do better than what we did last year," Banal explained. "We had the coaching changes, the decision was made by the management, and we have some new players so that we could beef up and supplement me in terms of our system, offensively and defensively." "I know that all the other teams beefed up also, and there are additional teams in the Southern Division also. It’s going to be tough, but we will just focus on ourselves and we will just go with the flow and mind our own thing, and see how far we can go this time around," he added.  Joining Banal on the Strikers will be ABL veteran Oping Sumalinog as well as Michael Mabulac, Ian Melecio, Paolo Castro, and Matthew Aquino, among others.  "[We've got] Oping Sumalinog, who played for the ABL, is coming back, and we have Michael Mabulac, Paolo Castro, Ian Melencio, and we have other players that we can rely on off the bench, because last year we were the worst in points off the bench," Banal detailed. "This time, because it’s a long season, I think it’s going to last 10 to 12 months, and it’s gonna be tiring so we need some players who can help us give us that relief off the bench." Obviously, the goal for the Strikers, as with all the other teams in the MPBL, is to be able to bring home the championship at the end of the season. Banal however says that they will take the season a game at a time and the immediate goal is to improve on a daily basis.  "Of course, we’re aiming for the championship, but we’re focusing on one game at a time, and let the season flow and just take care of ourselves, we’re being specific rather than focusing right away on a task far ahead, we’re focusing on one game at a time, one quarter at a time, one possession at a time, and eventually that will build up to a win. We just have to be better every day and focus on our immediate goals and we’ll see how far it takes us."   The Bacoor Strikers open the 2019 MPBL Lakan Cup against reigning Datu Cup Champions San Juan Knights at home in Bacoor on Friday, June 14 at 9:00 PM. Catch it LIVE on S+A channel 23 and on iWant Sports    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2019

MPBL: Big Mac Andaya bringing veteran experience to young Valenzuela

Veteran big man Mark "Big Mac" Andaya is gearing up for his third Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League season, and he'll be suiting back up for a familiar franchise in the Valenzuela Classic.  Andaya began his MPBL career with the Classic in the 2018 Rajah Cup before jumping to Mandaluyong before the start of the 2018-2019 Datu Cup.  Big Mac's stint with the El Tigre didn't last too long, as he found himself headed to the Pasig Pirates midway through the season.  The move to Pasig proved to be beneficial for Andaya, as he saw more playing time, and in turn put up better numbers, averaging 10.5 points, nearly seven rebounds, and three assists in 20 minutes per game.  Andaya's efforts were not able to steer Pasig to a winning record however, as they finished with a league-worst 4-21 record.  Now, Andaya hopes to be able to bring his veteran presence to a young Valenzuela squad.  "Siguro yung postives lang dun is, when I played with another team, nagkaroon ako ng opportunity na mapakita and ma-showcase talaga yung talent ko," Andaya told ABS-CBN Sports. "Siyempre pag-sinabing ex-pro, matanda or mabagal or mahina na, pero dito, nagkaroon ako ng avenue na mapakita sa tao talaga na kaya ko pa maglaro and I’m sure the stats say so. Almost double-double naman ako para sa Pasig, so feel good naman yun para sa sarili ko, na mapatunayan ko sa sarili ko na I can still play, para looking forward to the next season, kung saan man ako maglaro, now sa Valenzuela, ma-carry over ko yung positives na nakuha ko playing for Pasig ngayon sa Valenzuela." Valenzuela finished with a better record than Pasig in the Datu Cup, but still could not crack the top-eight of the Northern Division, therefore falling short of a playoff berth.  With the right mix of preparation and fine tuning, Andaya believes that this Classic squad has what it takes to make a post-season run.  "Ako di umabot ng playoffs with Pasig, yung Valenzuela hindi din umabot, pero I think I know what I can do and bring to the table, na maging stabilizer sa ilalim, rebounds, depensa, and yung leadership, kasi puro bata ang Valenzuela, apat lang ata kami na ex-pro," Andaya explained. "So sana, with kaunting fine-tuning sa play, sa jelling and sa leadership from me and the other veterans, everybody steps up, yung mga kaunting game na kulang pa namin, I’m sure makukuha na namin yung important wins for us to be able to make it to the playoffs." Andaya is one of only three ex-pros on the Valenzuela Classic roster, along with Paolo Hubalde and Hans Thiele.  Expected to step up for Valenzuela this season will be new acquisitions in former Marikina Shoemaster Erwin Sta. Maria as well as Jason Varilla.  Andaya meanwhile noted that Chris and Carlo De Chavez and Kido Cabrera are some of the guys he sees producing quality minutes for the Classic.  "Yung galing America, yung de Chavez brothers, I see a very good potential from them, also si Kido Cabrera, siguro reliever kay Paolo kasi magaling siya sa ball-handling tsaka stabilizer din. So far, yung tatlong yun." The goal for the Classic this season is simply to make the Playoffs, says Andaya. "Napag-usapan namin, maka-pasok lang muna kami sa Playoffs. We have to work hard to make it to the Playoffs, and then from there, let’s see kung saan kami aabot. Yun muna, Playoffs muna.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2019

MPBL: Manila Stars aiming for better finish in Lakan Cup

All things considered, the Manila Stars had a pretty good campaign in the 2018-2019 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup.  The Stars finished the elimination round with a 20-5 slate and went as far as the Divisional Finals, where they fell to eventual National Champions San Juan Knights in three games.  With their maiden season in the books, Manila is now looking to put on an even better showing in the upcoming MPBL Lakan Cup.  "It was good season for the Manila Stars, lalong-lalo na sa akin, kasi siyempre may Divisional Finals appearance," said Stars playmaker Chris Bitoon. "Makikita mo talaga yung players na gumagaling sa Divisional Finals eh, yung mga nag-iisip." "Sana ngayong dadating na MPBL, makakapag-laro ulit kami sa Divisional Finals, para yung bawat isa sa amin, mag-improve pa," he continued.  Bitoon himself had a pretty good maiden season in the league, averaging just under 15 points, nearly four rebounds, and four assists per game, good for a spot in the All-MPBL First Team.  And while an individual achievement is always nice, Bitoon maintains that it's just a bonus. The main goal remains the same, and that's to go far into the postseason.  "Sa akin, yung pagiging kasama ko sa First Team, bonus na lang ‘yun, talagang ginawa ko lang yung trabaho ko, pero sana ngayon yung expectation is makapag-laro muli kami sa Divisional Finals, ma-feel yung crowd na ganun ka-lakas yung sigawan, sana ma-bless kami ni God na makapag-laro ulit doon." With another Divisional Finals, and even a National Finals stint on their crosshairs, Bitoon says that a 'more organized' Manila Stars squad plans on taking things step by step, and among those steps is adding some depth in their roster.  "Siguro yung Manila Stars ngayon, mas naging-organized, naging organized, nag-recruit din kami ng mga bagong players, mga potential players na alam naman namin na makaka-tulong sa team namin," Bitoon shared. Among those new recruits include former PBA All-Star Carlo Lastimosa, former Mandaluyong standout Gian Abrigo, and former De La Salle Green Archers Jollo Go and Mark Dyke, and former UST Growling Tiger Marvin Lee.  The Stars hope that these additions will more than make up for the loss of forward Riel Cervantes.  "Sana, ngayong darating na season, siyempre step-by-step, makapag-laro kami ng Finals, pero ang nasa isip muna namin ngayon ay bawat game eh, elimination, Divisional Finals, then yung National Finals," Bitoon added.  With so much new blood injected into the Stars' system, Bitoon is confident that he and fellow All-MPBL First Teamer Aris Dioniso will have a lot of help in the coming conference.  "Laging sinasabi ng coach namin na kahit sinong pwedeng ipasok, makaka-contribute eh. Siguro sa amin ngayon, kailangan lang namin na mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa eh, hindi pwedeng kami lang ni Aris Dionisio, Chris Bitoon. Kailangan lang namin mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa. Andiyan naman yung mga ex-pro pa namin na maasahan." Right now, Bitoon is relishing the opportunity that the MPBL has given him, and playing for the capital city's home team has given him the perfect avenue to showcase his skills.  "Sobrang saya kasi ultimo mga bata, hanggang sa mga matatanda, mga nanay, talagang naka-support sa amin eh. Pag pumupunta kami sa venue namin sa practice, may mga ‘Idol, idol!’, magpapa-picture sila, kaya sobrang nakaka-proud kasi kahit hindi ka kilala, kahit hindi ka galing sa malaking school, nabibigyan ka ng halaga sa Manila."   The 2019-2020 MPBL Lakan Cup begins on Wednesday, June 12, 4:00 PM at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Catch it LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!   .....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 10th, 2019