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Ex-Alaska import Chambers helps Pinoy educators in the US

Sean Chambers saw the bulk of his basketball career as an import for Alaska from 1989 to 2001, distinguishing himself as one of the most successful reinforcements in the PBA. Filipinos love him and he even called the Philippines his second home. Even with his jersey long been retired, Chambers is still giving something back to the Filipinos.   Now a middle school administrator back in the States in the Sacramento City Unified School District in California, the 52-year-old former cager is instrumental in helping Filipino educators land teaching jobs. “It’s pretty neat because right now within my district we have brought over 24 Filipino teachers to come work in our schools because we were short of teachers,” Chambers told ABS-CBN Sports on Sunday when he watched the 80th UAAP men’s basketball Final Four match between Far Eastern University and Ateneo de Manila University at the Big Dome. With 81 schools under SCUSD, Chambers said that Filipino teachers are very in demand and in his little way helped pave the way for Pinoys to land jobs as educators. “I was very instrumental to come out and recruit Filipino teachers to come over,” added Chambers, who works as dean of students in Fern Bacon Middle School. The six-time PBA champion, including four straight Governors’ Cup titles from 1994 to 1997, is on a 10-day trip in the country. He is currently working with the Aces as Alaska prepares for the 43rd PBA Philippine Cup on December 17. “I’m gonna be working with some of their bigs, some of the guards, some offensive schematics for a week and a half,” he said. Early Sunday, Chambers paid a surprise visit to the Gilas Pilipinas’ practice at the Meralco gym. “I was able, today, to go workout in the Gilas practice so that was an honor itself to be able to work out with the Gilas and an absolute honor to me,” said Chambers. “I believe the coaching staff led by coach Chot Reyes are doing an amazing thing,” he added. “They pay attention to the details, high level of concentration. The players are playing on a high level of expectations for playing for their country.” Chambers, obviously, rooted for FEU in the UAAP match and was even seated behind the Tamaraws’ bench where his former teammates Jojo Lastimosa and Johnny Abarrientos serve as assistant coaches. His visit was a good one as the Tams forced a do-or-die match in the semis with an 80-67 rout of the Blue Eagles.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnNov 19th, 2017

PBA: Mike Harris 'Couldn t care less' about his 44 point, 27 rebound effort

Alaska Aces import Mike Harris shrugged off his 44-point, 27-rebound performance that helped his team get the win over the still winless Columbian Dyip at the Cuneta Astrodome.  The scoring forward did it all, unleashing the full repertoire of slashing lay-ups, controrted shots and a couple of three-pointers. He definitely looked like one of the best reinforcements in the PBA Governors' Cup. For him, the gaudy numbers were never really the story, instead focused on the win that helped them inch closer to a twice-to-beat advantage in the first round of the playoffs. "[I] couldn't care less," Harris said jokingly. "The only thing for me is the win. We played really bad the last game against Magnolia which is I mean credit to them they're a really good team." Just like what his coach Alex Compton said that the team was not playing at the level they were expected to, the swingman echoed the sentiments and was kind of disappointed at some instances of the game. "It happens in the NBA sometimes. Top teams play bottom teams and you play down and instead playing to that level.  Being one of the candidates for Best Import of the Conference, norming 28.50 points, 21.13 rebounds, and 2.13 assists per game in eight outings, the 35-year old said that chasing individual awards is already past him and he is just focused on the ultimate team goal. As an international journeyman, having stops in the NBA and multiple teams abroad, Harris has tallied quite the resume, including the NBA G-League MVP back in 2010, another MVP in Puerto Rico's top league, and a title in China.  "Because ultimately winning a championship, one person can't win a championship. And so, that's not been my focal point. Mine's been to see the guys on the team, see what's their strength and weaknesses are and continue to help them develop their weaknesses and turn them into strengths." When asked if he is already among the long list of great Alaska imports that include Sean Chambers, Diamon Simpson, Devin Davis, and the like, the 6'5 Harris mentioned that he has not proven himself at this part of the world, but would happily want to.  "And like I said, it's one game at a time. That list, I'm pretty sure it's great. Those guys won a championship so we go to the regular season and we lose in the finals, I wouldn't put myself in there." __ Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 17th, 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

Sean Chambers to UST?

With the UST coaching job vacant, several names have been mentioned with regards to taking over from Boy Sablan. La Salle head coach Aldin Ayo has been rumored to transfer for a while now but it seems like he's staying at Taft. Current Globalport mentor Pido Jarencio really, really, wants to come back but it appears UST would rather not go through that road again. A left field choice is Sean Chambers. The legendary PBA import, for some reason, has been linked to the job after he resurfaced a couple of weeks ago. It seems highly unlikely but you never really know. Stranger things have happened in the UAAP and in Philippine basketball in general. The rumor has had some traction though, enough for Ginebra head coach Tim Cone, Chambers' former mentor at Alaska, to talk about it among other things last week. "I don’t know. I had a lunch with Sean the day before he left," Cone said last week during Ginebra's grand fans day after defending the PBA Governors' Cup. "I don’t really know anything about it. But he’s got a family, he’s got kids, he’s got a wife, he has a good job. And it’s hard to bring him over here and make him settle here and get his kids in school. He got young kids I think 9 and 11 years old," he added. Chambers is currently a middle school administrator back in the States in the Sacramento City Unified School District in California. The PBA legend was in town a couple of weeks back and was seen watching the UAAP and several practices of Gilas Pilipinas. Still, if and when Chambers decides on coaching basketball, here or elsewhere, Cone believes his former import will do well. "I don’t know but Sean is a great guy, a great coach and a great motivator. He teaches the game the right way," the 20-time PBA champion said. "And if anybody picks him up, it would be great. It is actually my dream to bring him over and be part of my coaching staff. If anybody picks him up, they would love Sean," Cone added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 11th, 2017

Erik Spoelstra on Kai Sotto: 'It s all about development'

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is just as excited as any other Pinoy basketball fan about the continued growth of Gilas Cadet Kai Sotto. Speaking to ABS-CBN North America correspondent TJ Manotoc, Spoelstra described Sotto's emergence on the international scene as "exciting," and added, "I hope it's a sign of great things to come. "You know, basketball is so big in the Philippines, and I just want everyone to be able to see that and to experience the passion," the Heat mentor added. "The thing that would help that quickest would be getting an NBA player." While Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson continues to be productive as a reserve for the Cleveland Cavaliers, most Pinoys are still looking for a homegrown talent to reach the Association, and many feel the 7'1" Sotto represents the country's best bet thus far. "Hopefully he's getting the right guidance, people that have purity about it and [are] not trying to get something out of it" said Spoelstra. "It's about development, wherever that may be. Over there [in the Philippines] is great, but eventually, if he's going to make a dream of coming over here, it probably helps that at some point, whenever that is, to come over here [the US] and get a little more exposure." The Ateneo Blue Eaglet is set to be named the UAAP Juniors Division's MVP, behind per-game averages of 25.1 points, 13.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.6 blocks. The defending champs have an 11-3 record, good for the second seed and a twice-to-beat advantage, as the tournament's Final Four kicks off on Saturday. The 16-year-old 7'1" center is also a fixture near the top of the NBTC UAAP 24, and has taken part in scrimmages against international teams with the Gilas Pilipinas national squad......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 12th, 2019

Fanboy Coach O reunites with former ward Marck Espejo in Japan

Just like old times. Coach Oliver Almadro took some time off from the Ateneo Lady Eagles' Japan training camp to watch his former ace and five-time UAAP MVP Marck Espejo, who is currently playing for Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler in the Japan V. Premier League. Almadro, now the mentor of the Lady Eagles, took a break from preparations for the upcoming women's volleyball wars in the UAAP to witness Espejo fly among international foes firsthand. The mentor, who steered the Ateneo men's volleyball team to a three-peat in the UAAP alongside Espejo, was like a proud 'fanboy' as he excitedly posed for this photo with the Pinoy import in Japan:          View this post on Instagram                 @marckespejooo with the #fanboys hahaha!!!😊💙🙏🏼 #obf #amdg #amvt #oitamiyoshiweisseadler A post shared by Oliver Almadro (@kowcho) on Jan 12, 2019 at 4:05am PST Espejo himself had nothing but gratitude for his former mentor:  Espejo has been a steady presence for the ninth-place Oita Miyoshi and is soaking up as much as he can, playing in the top tier league in one of Asia’s volleyball giants. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2019

PBA 43 Review: What’s Blackwater’s ceiling?

The PBA's 43rd season was a loooooong one. Seriously, it started December of 2017 and it ended December of 2018. That's 12 months of almost non-stop basketball. But with the current PBA season finally drawing to a close, it's time we look back at how each team fared in 2018. Today, we take on the Blackwater Elite.   SUPER ELITE Blackwater’s first two conferences were frustrating and forgettable. The Elite’s Philippine Cup as frustrating as Blackwater just couldn’t catch a break. Towards the end, the team had to rely on others in order to advance to the playoffs. Usually, those kind of scenarios don’t end well. It didn’t end well for Blackwater. The Elite missed the playoffs due to inferior quotient. The team didn’t even have the chance to play for a knockout, that’s how bad their quotient was. The Commisisoner’s Cup was worse. Blackwater finished with a 1-10 record and the only win came during a last-second dunk by import Herny Walker. The Elite needed a change of scenery, they needed a spark. Enter Asia League. Blackwater competed in the Super 8 tournament in Macau along with NLEX. And while the Elite were plagued witn inferior quotient once again and missed the semifinals, the team played well and forged some strong chemistry. It was evident when the Elite returned for the Governors’ Cup and Blackwater had its best conference to date. There was still some growing pains for the team, they missed a twice-to-beat edge by one game, but the Elite have made themselves into a true playoff contender. Blackwater has since made changes to its team, but for the upcoming season, it appears that the Elite have a higher ceiling to reach. That’s super.   Blackwater ELITE in the 2017-2018 PBA Season Philippine Cup: 5-6 (10th place) Commissioner’s Cup: 1-10 (12th place) Governors’ Cup: 7-4 (5th place) Overall: 13 wins and 30 losses. One playoff appearance.   POST DRAFT NOTE: Blackwater had quite a haul in the 2018 PBA Draft. Following an approved trade, the Elite got their hands on Paul Desiderio and Abu Tratter for JP Erram. The loss of Erram hurts for sure but Abu joins a versatile frontline that also has Raymar Jose and Mac Belo. That’s a young core but it helps build Blackwater’s future. Desiderio is a strange case as the Elite have more proven players ahead of the rotation. Still, the former UP captain should take over the spot of Paul Zamar in the team. Blackwater technically still has the rights to no. 2 pick Bobby Ray Parks Jr. Pending any deals, the Alab Pilipinas MVP is still headed to the Elite once he jumps to the PBA for real.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2018

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

Basketball in 2018: The San Miguel takeover

It was another good year for basketball in 2018. In the case of the Philippine Basketball Association, they literally took one full year to complete. One year and two days actually. That's a lot of basketball. And that's just one league. Basketball die-hards were truly blessed in 2018. To be honest, some of the things that happened literally only about five months ago, seem like a long time ago. That's how crazy this year has been. In order to try and fit everything together in this year-end review, let's do things by category. Let's play ball.   SAN MIGUEL TAKEOVER Just to be clear here, by San Miguel, we mean San Miguel Corp. SMC teams continued to lord it over in basketball in 2018, at least on this part of the world. The flagship Beermen extended their dynasty in the Philippine Cup, beating Magnolia for a record four straight All-Filipino titles. [Related: June Mar scores 42 as Beermen complete Philippine Cup four-peat] Considering how easy they won this year and with significant upgrades present, it looks like there's still no stopping the San Miguel Beermen in the most prestigious tournament the Philippines has to offer. One team that did stop the Beermen this year were the Gin Kings of Brgy. Ginebra. With super import Justin Brownlee saving the day once again, Ginebra stopped San Miguel's Grand Slam drive for the second straight season, capturing the Commissioner's Cup in six games at the expense of the Beermen. [Related: Gin Kings dethrone San Miguel after sensational Game 6 win] The Gin Kings stay winning with Brownlee, if the guys makes the Finals, he's pretty much right on the money. Ginebra is a perfect three-fo-three in the Finals with Brownlee as import and in five conferences with the super scorer, the Gin Kings have made at least the semifinals each time. In the Governors' Cup, we got Manila Clasico in the semifinals and for a change, it was Magnolia that came out on top in an absolute classic of a series. [Related: Hotshots dominate Alaska to win Governors' Cup] The Hotshots used that momentum to win their first title since their Grand Slam season, completing an SMC Grand Slam in 2018. It's the first time in history all three San Miguel teams won a title in the same year. That alone makes 2018 special.   SAN MIGUEL TAKEOVER PART 2 After Gilas Pilipinas pretty much imploded on its own (more on that later), the San Miguel takeover has finally extended to the national team. [Related: Pressure mounts for Guiao with "best Philippine team ever"] The SMC stars were finally full force with Gilas and while the wins have not come just yet, it's pretty cool to see guys like Marcio Lassiter, Scottie Thompson, Greg Slaughter, and the rest of them play with the Gilas regulars of the yesteryears.   SAN MIGUEL TAKE OVER PART 3 Going away from the PBA a little bit, San Miguel stays winning as Alab Pilipinas brought the Asean Basketball League title back to the Philippine. Alab, with Jimmy Alapag coaching and Renaldo Balkman and Justim Brownlee as lead import, beat Thailand's Mono Vampire in five games for the title. [Related: Alab Pilipinas lights it up for country’s first title since 2013] It's the first ABL title for the Philippines since you guess it, San Miguel Beer's 2013 title with head coach Leo Austria and Asi Taulava.   BASKETBRAWLS Now we're getting to the good stuff. In a year where commotions were a little more common than usual, one very specific commotion managed to stand out. Actually, it was no mere commotion. It was a full-on fight. Back in July, Gilas Pilipinas engaged the Boomers of Australia in a massive brawl that resulted in ejections, suspensions, and fines that cost millions of pesos. [Related: 10 Gilas players suspended for brawl with Boomers] It also led to a national team coaching change and the San Miguel takeover in Gilas that we talked about before. In between, we actually finally saw Jordan Clarkson in Gilas Pilipinas so that counts as a win even though we only placed 5th in the Asian Games. [Related: ASIAN GAMES: Is Clarkson actually worth all that trouble for Gilas?] Ultimately, the sad and unfortunate event that was the Gilas-Boomers brawl casted a bad reputation on the Philippine national team, one that Gilas might take a while to recover from.   DUST-ED Another rather unfortunate event this year was Kiefer Ravena's FIBA suspension. [Related: Kiefer banned 18 months for using PEDs] We all know the story so let's not dwell to much about such a tragic event. Let's just patiently wait for the Phenom's comeback. August 2019 can't come soon enough.   LOOKING AHEAD If you thought 2018 was hectic, wait until we get to 2019. The ABL is already in full swing and Alab's title defense should get into high gear as the new year starts. The PBA opens a new season in January. Also, Gilas still has some stuff on the way with the national team's FIBA World Cup chase. We also host the Southeast Asian Games so that's another two weeks of basketball. Other opportunities include the Asia League, NLEX and Blackwater did well in their Super 8 stints in Macau and it's interesting to find out who's going to represent the country in the emerging power in Asia. [Related: Asia League boss wants more PBA teams in his tournaments] If you thought 2018 was filled with great basketball, you're right. 2019 should be no different.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2018

PBA: Party time for Magnolia as Hotshots celebrate 14th title

It's officially party time for Magnolia. The Hotshots celebrated with their fans Friday at the San Miguel headquarters in Ortigas, two days after scoring their 14th title in franchise history. Magnolia beat Alaska in six games to win the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup. It was the team's first championship in four years or since the 2014 Grand Slam season. Present in the victory party are all members of the team led by Finals MVP Mark Barroca, Best Player of the Conference, and import Romeo Travis. "Thank you sa mga fans namin na pumunta dito, sana ngayon mag-enjoy lang tayo. Merry Christmas sa inyo and God bless," Barroca said. "Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga boss namin and sa lahat ng fans sa walang sawang suporta, sana hindi ito yung last natin, sana madagdagan pa," Paul Lee added. Lee won his first championship with Magnolia after arriving to the team two years ago via a blockbuster trade for James Yap. Romeo Travis, who also won his first PBA title, had a very short and sweet message. "Maligayang Pasko!" the import said. Magnolia's win allowed the Purefoods franchise to tie Alaska for second-most titles in PBA history with 14 each. San Miguel remains number one with 25 championships.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2018

Magnolia bags PBA Governor’s Cup title

AFTER a dismal performance in Game 5, Magnolia import Romeo Travis redeemed himself to give his team the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 43 Governors’ Cup title with a102-86 drubbing of Alaska…READ The post Magnolia bags PBA Governor’s Cup title appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsDec 20th, 2018

PBA Finals: Alex Compton sick to the stomach as he sinks to 0-5 in Finals

ANTIPOLO CITY, RIZAL -- After another loss in the PBA Finals, his fifth out of five appearances, coach Alex Compton admitted that the feeling of frustration gets to him every time the Alaska Aces bow out of the championship series. Compton, who is 0-5 in the Finals, set a new record for most Finals appearances without a victory, extending his torment against San Miguel Corporation-backed teams. The Aces lost to the San Miguel Beermen in three heartbreaking series, with them bowing their heads down every time. Alaska lost to San Miguel for the first time under Compton's watch in the 2015 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, an epic seven-game showdown which was not decided up until the final buzzer.  San Miguel and Alaska then faced each other once more in the Governors' Cup Finals that same season, where the Aces and import Romeo Travis were swept 4-0 by the same squad. His squad then faced the Paul Lee-led Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the Commissioner's Cup Finals the very next season, where they lost in six games. It also featured a Paul Lee dagger, with the guard drilling the game-winner from the baseline, a similar shot Lee drilled in Game 5 of this series over two years later.  Despite all this, they held their head up high and faced dreaded San Miguel the very next conference, and they looked like they had the series in the bag, up 3-0. However, the Beermen established history and won the next four games to become the first PBA team ever to climb back in a run now immortalized as the 'Beeracle'. Fast forward to Wednesday evening. Magnolia used its choking defense to get easy baskets and it became the difference in the 102-86 clincher at the Ynares Center here.  "Right now I feel sick to my stomach, but you know, the bottom line is, if you don't win the championship in the PBA, you lost. So it's all of us, we lost in the Finals. 11 teams lost to Magnolia, we lost in the Finals. That's how it works," the mentor said after the season-ending loss. "I think what's particularly painful about the Finals loss is that you're there. It's that you're there. It's always frustrating." Even though he has not won a Finals series just yet, Compton knows that it is a better feeling to have fought hard but fell short than a disastrous season like the previous one. The former pro also lamented if the ball did not sail to Paul Lee's hands in Game 5, which led to the Best Player of the Conference drilling the game-winner with 1.3 seconds left to take the 79-78 win at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.  "But when you're there, when you're a blocked shot, loose ball away from winning Game 5, when you're there, everything just feels... it's more painful in a sense." With the PBA season set to start January 2019 and end January 2020, there will be no real offseason, since the three-conference tournaments will have long breaks due to the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, and the South East Asian Games set to be held in the country November.  In a team with no real superstars, they rely on Compton's system and Alaska's culture to get wins, but of course, it would be difficult to be good if the players are nicked and banged up due to injuries.  How will Alaska deal with the long and winding road that is the PBA season? "So, the question is how do you handle a pre-season going into another 14-month season, that's due to end late January of 2020. There might be a little bit of triage early on."   __     Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 20th, 2018

PBA: Hotshots dominate Alaska to win Governors Cup

ANTIPOLO CITY, Rizal --- The crown jewel has returned. Magnolia ended a four-year title drought in the PBA Wednesday, beating Alaska in Game 6, 102-86, for the 2018 Governors' Cup at the Ynares Center here. The Hotshots took the series, 4-2, and won their first championship since their magical Grand Slam season in 2014. Magnolia wasted little time establishing its dominance in Game 6, opening with a 12-0 blast behind import Romeo Travis. Alaska would recover in the middle of the second quarter but the Hotshots would pullaway again, taking an 18-point lead at the break. The Aces never truly threatened after that......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2018

PBA: Travis stays the course and finally ends up with title

ANTIPOLO CITY, Rizal --- Romeo Travis finally finished the job he couldn't three years ago. Following Magnolia's decisive Game 6 victory over Alaska Wednesday at the Ynares Center here, Travis is finally a PBA champion, beating his former team in the process. Travis captured his first Governors' Cup title, three years after he got swept in the same tournament finals, and he capped his season with a strong 32 points, 17 rebounds, and five assists for the win. "I'm very happy. My face might not show it, but I'm very happy. It's just a great feeling to win it with this group of guys," Travis said. "We have a great group of guys. Like I said before, they accepted me as one of their own, and I'm just thankful. I can't say anything else but I'm thankful. I'm thankful for the guys, I'm thankful for Coach Chito, for the coaching staff, everybody who just kept talking to me, kept coaching me up, and kept keeping me calm and all the other things. So I can't say anything but I'm just thankful," he added. While Magnolia ends the PBA season on a high, the journey to the top was filled with a lot of downs. Travis himself had to deal with a handful of obstacles including a hamstring injury after Manila Clasico and a bum ankle in the middle of these Finals. Still, the former Best Import just stayed the course like he always says and he eventually ended up in his preferred destination. "It was up and down. A lot of good things happen but some bad things happened, too," he said. "In my life, I've noticed that if you stay positive, and you stay upbeat through the bad times, then good things are gonna happen, and that's what I tried to do. Just stay positive, stay upbeat through the bad times, and I knew good times where on their way," Travis added. In Game 6, Travis says they just wanted to finish things off. No more Game 7 out of town. Travis certainly did his part, scoring 15 points in the opening period as Magnolia established dominance early and never let go. "I mean, we just didn't wanna play a Game 7. I know I didn't wanna play a Game 7. I wanna go home," he said. "I wanna be home for Christmas. I didn't wanna drive two hours, I just wanted to finish it now, and we all had the mindset. We just came out, we played aggressive, we played together, and we got a win," Travis added.   --- Follow this writer, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2018

PBA Finals: It s Mike Harris turn to chase Alaska for next season

ANTIPOLO CITY, RIZAL -- Whether or not Mike Harris plays for Alaska again in the future is still undecided. The newly-minted Best Import of the Governors' Cup however says he is ready to come back for the runners-up next season and contend once more for a title in the first pro league in Asia. "If they’ll have me back, I’d love to be," the 35-year-old said after the game, revealing that the team had courted for his services for the past eight years before finally saying yes. For his part, Harris posted 26 points, 24 rebounds, and five assists, but it was not enough to keep the Aces afloat in the series as they lost Game 6 and the series to the Magnolia Hotshots, 102-86. Magnolia immediately raced out of the starting gates to take an early double-digit lead in the first quarter, and in every comeback attempt by the Aces, they were stifled every time. "We rushed it and we played their game. We rushed our possessions early. We didn’t really move the ball the way we usually do. We kinda calmed down but the lead was up there and like I said, they did a great job. They didn’t want it to get to a Game 7 and we wanted it," Harris said after the game. The former NBA player also bared that someone from the opposing side made a "gesture that [he'll] never forget," but decided to let it pass since it was probably in the heat of the moment and emotions let the best out of the opponent. "They mocked us. It was just a lack of respect. Total disrespect of character for a person to be like that especially someone of their age and respect in the league, but it’s okay." A man who has seen action in different parts of the globe, Harris brought up another instance wherein he lost a championship series, 4-2, in Puerto Rico but was able to get revenge and won two straight titles after. However, the question that remains, is Harris still in the team's plan moving forward? "[Alaska's] the most professional club that I’ve been with in my career overseas and they treat players like they’re NBA teams. From the staff, the management they have, it’s been nothing but respect and that’s something I’ll never forget if I’m not the guy to come back next year," said Harris. "I love those guys, those guys in the locker room, all 17 of those guys. I’ve made some new brothers and I’ll definitely stay in contact. Like I said, it’s my turn to chase them." As for the gesture, Harris made sure to remember it and will serve as motivation, if he will be able to come back here in the PBA. "But it’s something I’ll never forget and it’s great fuel for next year if they’ll have me back. Shoutout to Magnolia, they did a great job."   __     Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2018

Magnolia 2018 PBA Governor’s Cup champ

Magnolia beat Alaska, 102-86, in Game 6 of their PBA Governor’s Cup finals series to win the title, 4-2, on Wednesday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City. The Hotshots dominated the Aces throughout the game en route to their first title in four years and coach Chito Victolero’s first. Import Romeo Travis led the […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsDec 19th, 2018

THROWBACK: Top PBA rookie draft picks through the years

After 33 years, the tradition of PBA teams selecting promising players from the amateur ranks, patterned after the NBA draft process, heralded a balanced influx of talent to even out the league’s competitiveness. But what makes the draft process interesting is the choice of the number 1 pick, who is considered the most in-demand player seen to bolster the chances of the worst performing or a newly established team in the PBA. With Columbian Dyip’s selection of Lyceum stalwart CJ Perez as the number one pick in the 2018 PBA Draft,  let’s look back at the top draft picks through the years, from its beginnings in 1985 to the controversial selection last year, and how they made their mark in the league. 1985 – Sonny Cabatu Sonny Cabatu was the PBA’s first-ever number one draft pick, selected by the expansion club Shell Azodrin Bugbusters, which took over the Crispa Redmanizers franchise. An intense bruiser inside the paint, Cabatu was Shell’s starting center known as “Mr. Quality Minutes.” He would then play for Great Taste, Purefoods, Sarsi, and Ginebra in a respectable career. 1986 – Rey Cuenco A member of the guest Northern Cement Corp. (NCC) team coached by Ron Jacobs that played in the pro league’s 1984 season, Rey Cuenco was picked in the 1986 draft by another new, expansion ballclub Alaska Milkmen to lead their charge.  His pro playing career blossomed from 1989 to 1992 under the tutelage of Ginebra playing coach Robert Jaworski. In 1990, he was adjudged the Most Improved Player and part of the Mythical Second Team. He also became a member of the Big J-coached, first all-Filipino, all-professional “Dream Team” in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing that won a silver medal for the country with Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim, Benjie Paras and Ramon Fernandez among others. 1987 – Allan Caidic Considered the greatest Filipino basketball marksman ever, Allan Caidic was already a big name before he strutted into the PBA. Having won titles for the UE Red Warriors and among the top players of the Ron Jacobs-mentored national team, the Triggerman was definitely one big prized addition for any team. And Great Taste, having the privilege of selecting first in 1987, made Caidic a hands-down choice. He would later suit up for San Miguel Beer and Ginebra San Miguel in a storied career. He had since become a PBA Hall of Famer and among the Top 25 Greatest Players of All Time. 1988 – Jack Tanuan A vital cog of the FEU Tamaraws and a member of the 1986 Seoul Asian Games squad that took home the bronze, Jack Tanuan was a feared scorer who made a living with his inside game. It was no surprise that new franchise Purefoods selected him as their top pick in 1988, in addition to other direct hires from the amateur ranks that formed their strong core—Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera, Jojo Lastimosa and Glenn Capacio—on top of having the Franchise, Mon Fernandez, as playing coach. He would later play for the Sarsi, Swift and Pop Cola teams under the RFM franchise, and later on for Sta. Lucia, Mobiline, and Alaska. 1989 – Benjie Paras It was the year of Benjie Paras, a valiant, hardworking center called “The Tower of Power,” who led the UP Maroons to its historic 1986 UAAP title. After being selected by Shell as the number one pick in the 1989 draft, Paras would achieve the impossible of being both the league MVP and Rookie of the Year, while being named to the Mythical Five. Paras along with fellow Hall of Famers Ronnie Magsanoc and long-time import Bobby Ray Parks Sr. became the triumvirate that led Shell to the First Conference championships in 1990 and 1992. And, even with the onset of Fil-foreign players in the PBA, Paras remained dominant and won his second MVP plum in 1999. 1990 – Peter Jao Peter Jao was the first Cebuano player to be drafted as a rookie top pick in the league, selected by Presto Tivoli. He would then become a member of Presto’s champion team in the 1990 All-Filipino conference with Allan Caidic and Gerry Esplana. 1991 – Alex Araneta The former Ateneo Blue Eagle suited up for Alaska Air Force/Milkmen until 1995, after which he was hired in the company as a management trainee, eventually becoming one of Alaska Milk Corp.’s sales managers. Of Alaska’s 14 championships in the league, Araneta was a veteran of 2 of them (1991 Third Conference and 1994 Governors’ Cup). 1992 – Vergel Meneses An ex-seminarian who became among the PBA’s Top 40 Greatest Players, the “Aerial Voyager” was known for his show-stopping moves and is considered among the best one-on-one players. The former JRU Heavy Bomber and 1995 PBA MVP was also a member of the all-pro Centennial Team coached by Tim Cone that won the William Jones Cup in Taipei and placed 3rd in the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok. 1993 – Zandro Limpot After his years as a King Archer for De La Salle, Zandro Limpot entered the 1993 draft and was chosen first overall by the expansion ballclub Sta. Lucia Realtors.  Limpot was named Rookie Of The Year that season as well as reaping All-Star, Mythical Second Team and All-Defensive Team honors. Limpot won his first and only PBA championship (2006 Philippine Cup) with the Purefoods Chunkee Giants. 1994 – Noli Locsin Another former Green Archer, Noli Locsin was picked by Tondeña 65 as the league’s top draft pick in 1994. He became a 4-time PBA All-Star (1994, 1995, 1996, 1999) in a high-flying career with Ginebra. Bacolod-born Locsin was famous for his barrelling game before the arrival of Filipino-Americans in the PBA. Spent 6 seasons with the Ginebra San Miguel franchise; won the 1997 Commissioner’s Cup with Jaworski as coach. He later suited up for Pop Cola, Tanduay, Red Bull, Talk ‘N Text and Sta. Lucia. 1995 – Dennis Espino After leading the UST Growling Tigers to their monumental four-peat, Dennis Espino would later bring his winning ways to the PBA. Sta. Lucia got the first crack at the 1995 draft and picked him first overall to form a menacing one-two punch with Zandro Limpot, and later with Marlou Aquino. He had a sterling career with Sta. Lucia for 15 years and yielded the following achievements:  4-time PBA All-Star, 2-time All-Defensive Team, 2-time Mythical First Team, 2004-05 Defensive Player of the Year and 2007-08 Philippine Cup Finals MVP. He won the 2001 Governors’ Cup and the 2007-08 Philippine Cup for Sta. Lucia. 1996 – Marlou Aquino Picked by Gordon’s Gin as first overall in the 1996 draft, Marlou Aquino had an exceptional maiden year gave him Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Best Player of the Conference (1996 Governors’ Cup), Mythical First Team, All-Star and All-Defensive Team honors. He also became the second Ginebra player (after Dondon Ampalayo in 1986) to win the Rookie of the Year award.  Aquino then was part of Gordon Gin’s 1997 Commissioner’s Cup and Sta. Lucia Realty’s 2001 Governors’ Cup championship teams.  1997 – Andy Seigle The first Fil-Am top pick, chosen by Mobiline in 1997, Andy Seigle won Rookie of the Year and was part of the 1999 All-Star Game. The Scranton, Pennsylvania native was twice a member of the National Team in the 1998 and 2002 Asian Games and was one of the most dominant and best defensive players in the 1990’s era. 1998 – Danny Ildefonso  Danny Ildefonso was picked by San Miguel Beer first overall in 1998, the year he also won Rookie of the Year. One of only four pro players to win back-to-back MVP awards (2000 and 2001), Ildefonso had a prolific 15-year career with the San Miguel ballclub with 8 championships (1999 and 2000 Commissioner’s Cups;  1999, 2000 and 2011 Governors’ Cups; 2001 All-Filipino; 2005 and 2009 Fiesta Cups). He is among the PBA’s Top 40 Greatest Players. 1999 – Sonny Alvarado Selected by Tanduay as its top pick in the 1999 Draft, Sonny Alvarado was poised to dominate the league as a gritty Fil-Am all-around player. He was however embroiled in the “Fil-Sham” controversy, that revealed that he had filed two alleged birth certificates of his mother when he applied for the draft. This prompted immigration officials to initiate deportation measures against Alvarado because of such failure to directly prove his Filipino parental links. 2000 – Paolo Mendoza Paolo Mendoza was a hot-shooting guard who led the UP Fighting Maroons to two Final Four appearances from 1996-1997. He then applied for the 2000 draft and was chosen the overall first pick by Sta. Lucia Realty. Together with Dennis Espino and Marlou Aquino, Mendoza was one of the main factors behind the 2001 Governor’s Cup title win of the Realtors. 2001 – Willie Miller The diminutive Willie Miller is considered the first player from the PBA’s rival league, Metropolitan Basketball Association, to become the top overall pick in a PBA Rookie Draft, in which he was selected by the Batang Red Bull Thunder. He was part of three teams that copped PBA titles—Red Bull (2001 and 2002 Commissioner’s Cup), Alaska (2007 Fiesta Cup), and Talk ‘N Text (2015 Commissioner’s Cup). His career highlights in his 15 years in the PBA were 2-time MVP (2002 and 2007), 2-time Finals MVP, 9-time All-Star,  3-time Mythical First Team member, and 2014 Sportsmanship Awardee. 2002 – Yancy de Ocampo The “Post-Man” as he is called, Yancy de Ocampo is a shifty, reliable center who delivers the goods at crunch time. He was the number one draft pick in 2002 by the FedEx Express. He was part of several champion teams, namely Talk ‘N Text, BMeg Llamados, San Mig Coffee and eventually San Miguel Beer. 2003 – Mike Cortez The “Cool Cat” Mike Cortez, a former La Salle standout, brought his court savviness to the PBA after Alaska picked him first overall in the 2003 draft by and immediately went to work. Cortez helped the Aces win the Reinforced Conference that year. He would then move on to San Miguel Beer, and was part of a hefty push to win the 2007 and 2009 Fiesta Conferences. A journeyman in his 15-year PNA career, Cortez currently plays for the Blackwater Elite. 2004 – Rich Alvarez The Japan-born and U.S.-raised Rich Alvarez had a blast on his maiden year with Shell, which selected him first overall in the 2004 draft, collecting Rookie of the Year, All-Star, All-Defensive Team and All-Rookie Team honors. Played for 13 seasons in 8 different teams, Rich was successful in winning 4 championships with the TNT Tropang Texters (2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 Philippine Cups and 2011 Commissioner’s Cup) 2005 – Anthony "Jay" Washington This Zambales-born journeyman was first chosen by Air21 in the 2005 draft then traded to Talk ‘N Text. But his stint with San Miguel Beer made him flourish with two titles in the 2009 Fiesta Conference and the 2011 Governors Cup. He would return to the TNT Tropang Texters and help the, win the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup. He currently plays for the Rain or Shine Elastopainters. 2006 – Kelly Williams Picked first overall by Sta. Lucia Realty in 2006, Kelly Williams immediately made his presence felt that year bagging Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie Team honors. He first won a championship with Sta. Lucia in the 2007-08 Philippine Cup and would then lead his present ballclub, the TNT Tropang Texters to five championships, notably the three-peat Philippine Cups from 2010 to 2012, and the 2011 and 2015 Commissioners’ Cups. 2007 – Joe Devance While it was Welcoat that originally drafted Joe Devance as the first pick overall in the 2007 draft, he would earn the distinction of being the league’s winningest coach Tim Cone’s most trusted trooper. Devance has won nine championships with Cone as his coach, starting with Alaska (2010 Fiesta Cup), B-Meg/San Mig Coffee (2012 and 2014 Commissioner’s Cup, 2013 and 2014 Governors’ Cup and Philippine Cup); and currently, Ginebra San Miguel (2016 and 2017 Governors’ Cup, and 2018 Commissioners’ Cup).  2008 – Gabe Norwood Chosen by the only team has played for up to now, the Rain or Shine Elastopainters, as its number one draft pick in 2008, Gabe Norwood would then etch a rich career with his ballclub, having won 2 championships (2012 Governors’ Cup, 2016 Commissioner’s Cup). He had also notched numerous awards, including Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and was part of the All Star Game nine times, and the All-Defensive Team six times.  2009 – Japeth Aguilar   “Jumpin’ Japeth” starred for the Ateneo Blue Eagles for two years then moved to the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers during his university years.  In 2009, Aguilar was selected by Burger King and only played one game with the Whoppers, after which he was traded to Talk `N Text.  Japeth has become a Team Gilas mainstay since the beginning of his pro career, of which the Philippines’ participation in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain became one of his national team career highlights. 2010 – Nonoy Baclao   “Mr. Swat” was among the vital cogs of the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ back-to-back UAAP men’s basketball championships in 2008 and 2009. After college, Baclao led the Philippine Patriots as the inaugural champion of the 2009-10 Asean Basketball League (ABL) season prior to entering the PBA rookie draft. In 2010, Nonoy was selected by Air21 then he was traded to Petron (San Miguel) where he had one championship in his sophomore year in the league.  2011 – JVee Casio  The former De La Salle Green Archer playmaker who was Rookie of the Year (2003), Finals Co-MVP (2007) and Mythical Five member (2007 & 2008) in the UAAP was a Gilas pioneer before deciding to turn pro in 2011. By far Casio “G-Shock” is the shortest among the active PBA players to have been picked first overall by the Powerade Tigers. JVee was traded to Alaska Aces in 2012 and has since then became a mainstay in the team which he helped win the Commissioner’s Cup title in 2013. 2012 – June Mar Fajardo  The burly Cebuano was star center at the University of Cebu of which he steered to back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011 at the CESAFI league. “The Kraken” has played for only one team throughout his pro career in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) and the PBA – San Miguel. As one big reason to “Fear the Beer,” Fajardo gave San Miguel six championships to date and became the first and only PBA player to win the MVP award in four straight seasons (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).  2013 – Greg Slaughter  “GregZilla” stomped rivals with his huge presence when he helped lead the Ateneo Blue Eagles to two consecutive UAAP championships in 2011 and 2012 -- completing a five-peat for the Loyola Heights squad. Picked by Barangay Ginebra in 2013, Slaughter got his pro career to a fast start with ROY and All-Rookie Team honors. He won 3 championships under coach Tim Cone (2016 and 2017 Governors’ Cups; 2018 Commissioner’s Cup). He also saw action for the first time with Gilas this year in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. 2014 – Stanley Pringle  Drafted by NorthPort Batang Pier, “The Beard” exploded into the local basketball scene with Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie team honors, after stints with Belgium, Poland, Ukraine and Indonesia ballclubs.  A 4-time All-Star (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), Pringle is considered among the best guards and high scorers in the play-for-pay league, gaining raves from other coaches and close followers of the sport.   2015 – Moala Tautuaa  He applied and went undrafted in the 2012 NBA draft, then moved to Asia to resume his basketball career by playing as an import for the Westsports Malaysia Dragons in the ABL.  After which, the Fil-Tongan made the “Big Mo(ve)” to the Philippines and spent a fruitful season with the D-League, ending up as its 2015 Foundation Cup MVP.  Talk N` Text selected Tautuaa as overall pick of the first round but traded him later on to NorthPort Batang Pier in 2018. 2016 – Raphael Banal  Since the first round of the 2016 PBA draft was dedicated to PBA teams choosing Gilas Pilipinas players to join their ranks, the regular draft started in the second round. Here, the Blackwater Elite chose as its first pick Raphael Banal, a contemporary of Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal in the Ateneo Blue Eaglets juniors team who went to the Hope International University-California for college.  His surname rings a bell, being the youngest child of former PBA player and TNT coach (2003 All-Filipino Conference champion) Joel Banal.  Yet “Ael” held his own in the PBA D-League for two conferences with Racal Motors.  2017 – Christian Standhardinger  The American-schooled Fil-German played in the ProA and Basketball Bundesliga tournaments in Germany as well with Hong Kong Eastern in the ABL.  Although he was selected by San Miguel Beer in the overall draft of 2017 in a controversial trade with Kia Picanto, the rightful owner of the number one pick, Standhardinger joined the Beermen in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup after completing his ABL tour of duty.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 18th, 2018

PBA: Lee drills game winner as Hotshots take crucial 3-2 lead

Leethal weapon indeed. Paul Lee drilled the game winner Friday as the Magnolia Hotshots survived the Alaska Aces, 79-78, in Game 5 of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup Finals at the Big Dome. Down one with 11 seconds to go, Romeo Travis was blocked by Best Import Mike Harris on his way to the basket. Fortunately for Magnolia, Lee picked up the loose ball and calmly drilled an open baseline jumper for a 79-78 lead with 1.3 seconds to go. Travis then stopped Harris on a fadeaway in Alaska's final possession and the Hotshots moved on to one win away from the title after taking a crucial 3-2 lead. "Aatakihin ako sa puso," head coach Chito Victolero said with a sigh of relief post-game. "It was a great game, one of the classics in terms of the PBA Finals. I want to commend my players for their mental toughness. We are tired but it was all about heart," he added. Magnolia was up eight, 74-66, with less than five minutes to go. However, the Aces would slowly pick up steam and would score 10 straight to take over, 76-74, in the final 1:17. The Hotshtos were in trouble late too but Lee managed to stop a 3-on-1 Alaska break before finding Ian Sangalang for a crucial and-one play with 18 seconds left for a 77-76 Magnolia lead. Alaska would answer back via two Mike Harris free throws, setting up the final Magnolia play that ended with Lee's clutch jumper. Before the wild fourth quarter, Magnolia dominated the first half, leading by as many as 17 points, 51-34, behind a strong second quarter. Alaska would quickly respond to start the second half, firing a 20-2 run for a 60-55 lead in the third period. Sangalang led the Hotshots with 20 points followed by Mark Barroca with 14. Jio Jalalon added 13 in a big bounce back game. Lee finished with 11 points and his game-winner was being his only basket in the second half. For the Aces, Mike Harris led the way with 26 points. Game 6 is set for Wednesday at Ynares Antipolo.   The Scores: MAGNOLIA 79 -- Sangalang 20, Barroca 14, Jalalon 13, Lee 11, Travis 10, Herndon 6, Dela Rosa 4, Reavis 1, Melton 0, Brondial 0, Simon 0. ALASKA 78 -- Harris 28, Enciso 13, Racal 13, Pascual 6, Exciminiano 5, Cruz 4, Banchero 3, Casio 2, Teng 2, Manuel 2, Baclao 0, Galliguez 0. Quarters: 29-28, 53-40, 65-62, 79-78.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2018

PBA: Clutch Paul Lee shows up on both ends to save Magnolia s title chances

Magnolia was on the brink of an epic Finals collapse. The Hotshots have lost all of their 17-point lead in Game 5 of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup Finals and Romeo Travis' strong drive for a go-ahead layup was emphatically denied by Best Import Mike Harris. Alaska's Kevin Racal has dived for the loose ball but somehow, someway, Paul Lee managed to snag the leather and dribble his way to an open baseline. Lee, the newly-awarded PBA Best Player of the Conference, shot a mid-range jumper in rhythm. He swished it and gave the Hotshots a 79-78 lead with 1.3 seconds to go. It was his only score in the second half as he finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Magnolia would go on and win, taking a crucial 3-2 lead in the Finals. "I took the chance eh, kasi wala na eh down kami. Yung small details na ganun, yung mga 50-50 ball, yun yung mga nagpapanalo ng laro. Nakuha and then na-convert ko, so it gave us a win," Lee said on his series-defining save. "Struggle ako buong series offensively, pero yung coaching staff and the whole team, lagi nila sinasabi na next shot, next shot, papasok din yan. Tinira ko lang, luckily yung timing maganda siya. Sobrang bait talaga ni Lord alam mo yun? Sa kanila na eh, tapos ganun yung naging end nung game. Wala na akong hiling, napaka-gandang panalo nun," he added on his version of The Shot. A couple of plays before, Lee had another brilliant save that helped set up Game 5's wild finish. Down two, Lee managed to stop a 3-on-1 Alaska break before finding Ian Sangalang on the other end for a game-turning three-point play. That play gave Magnolia a 77-76 lead with 18 seconds to go. "I won't give up in any play, hanggang walang pito or di stop yung game. Yun naman tinuro samin from the start, hanggang di pumipito or walang deadball, tuluy-tuloy lang," Lee said. "Ayun nag-end up sa magandang play pa ganun lang yung mentality namin," he added. With Game 6 on the horizon, Lee knows it's going to be doubly hard and he wants the Hotshots to try and stay sharp. A title is on the line after all. "It's gonna be hard next game, yun yung pinaka mahirap na game. We need to prepare and of course wag namin kalimutan na mag-enjoy din sa laro," Lee said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2018

PBA: Sangalang on Game 6: 'Pipilitin na namin makuha'

Ian Sangalang sure knows how to time his big performances. In a game where import Romeo Travis had perhaps his worst showing of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup Finals, Sangalang had his best, leading the Magnolia Hotshots in scoring with 20 points on 61 percent shooting to go on top of six rebounds. More importantly, Sangalang was clutch too as his crucial three-point play inside the last 20 seconds gave Magnolia, 77-76 lead. "Unang-una, nung nandun kami sa court akala mo talo ne eh, pero thankful ako sa mga teammates ko kasi sila yung nagtrabaho dun sa kabilang court eh," Sangalang said, describing the play where Paul Lee had to stop a 3-on-1 Alaska break before he connected on the and-one play on the other end. "Hindi sila nag-give up. Sila yun eh, hindi na ako yun," he added. A win away from clinching the title, Sangalang knows it's going to be harder than ever and so Magnolia has to maintain its level of focus and concentration. The Finals has been marked with intense and physical action on both ends and it's going to take another hearculean effort from the Hotshots to close this one out. "Next game kailangan mag-focus talaga kami, kasi kita niyo naman yung game na yun hindi ganun kadali," Sangalang said. "Tulungan lang kami. Alam kong hindi ganun ka-easy, lalo na kalaban mo Alaska. Hindi ganun kadali pero pipilitin na namin makuha," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2018