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Focused on Gilas, Ricci Rivero says he hasn’t talked to prospective schools

As of the moment, Ricci Rivero is currently Philippine college basketball’s hottest commodity......»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarApr 16th, 2018

23 for 23 Gilas cadets competing in 2018 Filoil Preseason

The preparations for the 2023 FIBA World Cup is set to begin early. The 23 for 2023 Gilas Pilipinas cadets are set to compete with the top collegiate teams in the country in the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup. "To kickstart our preparations for the 2023 World Cup, we will be competing in the Premier Cup," Gilas head coach Chot Reyes confirmed. As they have either exhausted their eligibility or not committed to any school, Ricci Rivero, J-Jay Alejandro, and Abu Tratter will be the mainstays for the team.  On the other hand, as a compromise to their schools for the tournament, the rest of the cadets will only be allowed to join Gilas if their school does not have a scheduled game for the day. "The lineup is not yet final but we are hoping that all the 23 for 2023 cadets here will be allowed to play," Reyes added. The rest of the pool will include Robert Bolick, Kemark Carino, and Javee Mocon of NCAA champion San Beda College; Isaac Go, Matt Nieto, and Thirdy Ravena of UAAP champion Ateneo de Manila University; Kenneth Tuffin and Arvin Tolentino of Far Eastern University; Paul Desiderio, Juan Gomez de Liano, and Will Gozum of University of the Philippines; CJ Perez of Lyceum of the Philippines University; Jeo Ambohot of Colegio de San Juan de Letran; Kai Sotto of Ateneo High School; and Carl Tamayo of Nazareth School of National University. This would not have been possible without the support of Chooks-to-Go and Smart Communications. "We would like to thank Chooks-to-Go and Smart for their continued support. Also, we are grateful to their schools for lending their student-athletes for the national cause," Reyes expressed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 9th, 2018

Kobe Paras upbeat about the Gilas Pilipinas 2023 squad he ll eventually lead

If you ask Filipino forward Kobe Paras to describe what all the early developments for the Gilas Pilipinas squad for the 2023 FIBA World Cup make him feel, you'll get one word: Happy. Paras, who was one of the more prominent names among 23 young players listed by the Philippine national basketball team head coach Chot Reyes to be part of the early training pool, expressed his approval of the group of guys, even if some are visibly left off of the list because of their commitment to other squads. "I’m happy with the group of guys. I know there are a lot of guys that aren’t on the list," Paras said in an interview with Steve Angeles of ABS-CBN News North America during the Los Angeles Clippers' Filipino Heritage Night. "It makes sense if they’re not on the list because of their teams or whatever rules but I’m happy with it."  One player who fit that bill was De La Salle University's flashy forward Ricci Rivero, who was left off the list after his school urged its players to focus on their rebuild next UAAP season. Even then, the 6'6" Paras, who's more or less baptized by Coach Chot to be destined to be the face of the nationa team sounded both honored and excited about his inclusion to the squad, who'll represent the Filipino tricolor five years from now, as the Philippines co-hosts the international basketball meet with Indonesia and Japan. "I’m happy that coach picked me as well. I love representing my country so I’m just really happy that he chose me for that," said the U.S.-based Paras. "I saw the other day they practiced." Aside from local, homegrown talents included in the "#23for23" pool like Thirdy Ravena, CJ Perez, Robert Bolick, and Isaac Go, a couple of Filipino-Americans also made the list. Remy Martin, a rookie point guard for the Arizona State Sun Devils, and Dwight Ramos from the California State-Fullerton Titans, were names present in the preliminary pool. As a fellow Pinoy cager in a foreign land, Kobe is nothing but eager to meet, and eventually play his contemporaries. "I haven’t talked to Remy [Martin] or what’s his name from Fullerton...Dwight [Ramos]," Kobe said. "I think I’m going to play him too. I gotta talk to Dwight but I’ve seen Remy play. I need to talk to them though. Because we’re representing L.A. and the Philippines so it’s going to be cool."  Here's the full video interview of Kobe Paras:  .@_kokoparas enjoyed being at .@LAClippers Filipino Heritage Night and he also expressed his happiness about being on SBP #23for23 He hopes to also speak to .@3wight and .@1Remy_Martin1 soon 🇵🇭🏀🌊 .@abscbnsports .@ABSCBNNewsSport .@ABSCBNNews pic.twitter.com/e8GcUq1Luf — Steve Angeles (@StevieAngeles) January 9, 2018.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2018

Ricci Rivero, Andrei Caracut not closing any doors on Gilas tour of duty

Of the 23 players on Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes’ wishlist for 2023, four are from UAAP champion Ateneo de Manila University and three are from NCAA champion San Beda College. Five hail from foreign schools while National University has three players, Far Eastern University and University of the Philippines have two apiece, and all of Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Lyceum of the Philippines University, and Mapua University have one each. Aside from now-graduated Abu Tratter, nobody else is representing De La Salle University in Reyes’ wishlist. According to sources, Andrei Caracut, Ricci Rivero, and Santi Santillan were also all considered for the wishlist for 2023, but were ultimately left out for undisclosed reasons. Still, both Mythical selection Rivero and former Rookie of the Year Caracut are hopeful they can make the cut when the Gilas roster is finally made official in five years. “Ipipilit ko yan kahit anong mangyari kasi pangarap yan ng lahat ng player,” Rivero said. “Kaya lang, kung ayaw nila, wala akong magagawa.” Caracut could only agree. “Wala pa namang kumausap sa akin, pero siyempre, gusto ko. Lahat ng players naman, gusto yun,” he expressed. Keep believing, 2023 is still a long ways away, boys. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2018

UAAP Finals Flashback: The last time an Ateneo-La Salle championship series went the distance

The UAAP season 80 men’s basketball tournament will boil down to one final game. The Ateneo Blue Eagles, then armed with a 1-0 Finals lead, looked poised to win the title in Game 2 when they took a commanding 21-point lead over the De La Salle Green Archers early in the first half. But the defending champion Green Archers, sparked by a feisty Kib Montalbo, an inspired Ricci Rivero, a dominant Ben Mbala, and a resurgent Andrei Caracut, rallied past the Blue Eagles to tie the series and force a winner-take-all game slated this Sunday, December 3.  And now, we’re faced with the two sweetest words in UAAP basketball: Game Three. The last two times an Ateneo-La Salle Finals clash was pushed to a deciding game was back in 2001, and 2002, more than 15 years ago, with both schools splitting the spoils.  Let’s look back at the epic clash between the Blue Eagles and the Green Archers in the 64th and 65th season of the UAAP men’s basketball Finals that went the distance, as a preview of the upcoming chapter of this historic rivalry. -- 2001: A DLSU Odyssey Since Ateneo and La Salle’s last Finals clash back in 1988, the two squads went on separate paths before rekindling their storied rivalry. The Blue Eagles took home the title back in ’88, but the Green Archers scored back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990 before UST and FEU burst into the UAAP basketball scene for much of the decade. Behind sweet-shooting guard Ren-Ren Ritualo, and the crafty Don Allado powering the Franz Pumaren-led Green Archers, La Salle was fast becoming a dynasty, scoring a three-peat from 1998-2000. Meanwhile, Ateneo was deep into its so-called “dark ages”, with their title drought stretching into 13 years, but the best was yet to come heading into season 64. UAAP 2001 FINALS, GAME 1: La Salle 74, Ateneo 68 With DLSU focused on extending its dominance by claiming its fourth straight championship, the rebirth of the rivalry was on. Ateneo, with its best collection of players in a long time, had the best possible chance to put an end to the dark ages. The Green Archers proved why they were three-time defending champs, showing their championship poise by going on a huge fourth quarter run to down the Blue Eagles and to move one win away from their four-peat. UAAP 2001 FINALS, GAME 2: Ateneo 76, La Salle 72 With their backs against the wall, Ateneo forced a deciding match behind a masterful 22-point performance. by blossoming big man Enrico Villanueva.  It was also Villanueva who found Magnum Membrere for a three-pointer to put the game away and to keep the Blue Eagles alive. The victory also marked Ateneo’s first win over DLSU that season, after three attempts. UAAP 2001 FINALS, GAME 3: La Salle 93, Ateneo 88 The deciding game was a shootout between DLSU’s Carlo Sharma and Ateneo’s LA Tenorio, who dropped 22 points, and 30 points respectively. Sharma’s production was a career-high for him, and it came at the best possible time. He made 11 of his 22 markers in the fourth quarter, helping the DLSU Green Archers claim their fourth straight UAAP championship. It was a fitting end to Ritualo’s collegiate career, who got his number 4 jersey retired after leading La Salle to a rare four-peat.   -- 2002: Ateneo's Great Revenge Revenge was the main storyline in the UAAP season 65 Finals. For Ateneo, it was redemption for the previous season’s devastating loss at the hands of De La Salle.  Meanwhile, the Green Archers wanted to exact revenge to the Blue Eagles, who stained their undefeated record at the final game of the elimination round, to deny a sweep, and an outright Finals berth for DLSU in a  shocking 83-71 win. UAAP 2002 FINALS, GAME 1: Ateneo 72, La Salle 70 With unfinished business from last year, Enrico Villanueva took over late in the game, scoring Ateneo’s final ten points to seal Game 1 for the blue side. This game served as a huge statement not just for the Blue Eagles, but also for Larry Fonacier whose iconic block on Mark Cardona proved to be the difference maker to help move Ateneo one win away from redemption. UAAP 2002 FINALS, GAME 2: La Salle 85, Ateneo 77 Again, championship poise proved to be La Salle’s edge against an Ateneo squad that was deemed as “tense” in Game 2. After struggling in the first game, Mike Cortez was sat down by Coach Franz to have a talk, reminding his ward that as a veteran, he should lead his teammates by example. Facing elimination, the Green Archers, and Cortez were on fire to start the second game, taking a commanding 18-point lead over Ateneo by the end of the first half, 50-32. Cortez finished with 21 points as De La Salle evened up the series to force a deciding Game 3. UAAP 2002 FINALS, Game 3: Ateneo 77, La Salle 70 With DLSU gaining momentum from a convincing Game 2 win, a five-peat looked imminent heading into the third and final game of the season. Timely baskets from Wesley Gonzales and then-rookie LA Tenorio early on helped the Blue Eagles take the lead, however slim, over La Salle heading into the payoff period, 56-52 for the first time in the Finals series. Enrico Villanueva, the season MVP, put on a career-defining performance in final game as a Blue Eagle, finishing with 14 points, 11 rebounds, capped off by four assists, and two steals as they hold off a fierce rally by DLSU to bring home the title back to Katipunan for the first time since 1988. The win was an apt send-off for Villanueva, who helped Ateneo halt fierce rival La Salle’s consecutive championship run to four titles......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2017

Gilas cadets test mettle vs Archers in Filoil cagefest

The Gilas cadets, led by Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero, face another stern test when they take on the De La Salle Green Archers in the Friday nightcap of the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated News10 hr. 8 min. ago

Gilas cadets no match for UAAP champion Blue Eagles

Matched up against the Gilas cadets in the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, Ateneo de Manila University just played the same sort of basketball that won them the UAAP championship. Thirdy Ravena showed the way anew, but it was a total team effort for the Blue Eagles that overwhelmed the Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero-led Philippine national team, 75-69, on Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Ravena wound up with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals while Adrian Wong chipped in 13 markers in his first big game since his ACL injury. It was also Ravena’s thunderous throwdown that detonated the 13-4 blast that blew up a tight 56-52 tiff and turned into a 69-54 advantage in favor of the UAAP champions in the final frame. “We had a good spurt in the fourth quarter. Most of the game, though, I thought our defense had some passion to it,” head coach Tab Baldwin said. They would not look back from there and marched forward to a big-time win to open the preseason. As always, Baldwin got contributions from anywhere and everywhere as Nieto twins Mike and Matt combined for 19 points and five rebounds while big men Isaac Go and Angelo Kouame merged for 12 markers and 24 boards. Still, the mentor they can do far better. As he put it, “Actually, I’m not too impressed. We’re not trying to be anything more than a shadow of what we hope to become.” For the Gilas cadets, Ricci Rivero topped the scoring column with 17 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Paras had 13 markers, three boards, and three dimes in his first big game back home. BOX SCORES ATENEO 75 – Ravena 16, Wong 13, Nieto Mi 10, Nieto Ma 9, Go 7, Kouame 5, White 5, Belangel 4, Maagdenberg 3, Asistio 2, Navarro 1, Mamuyac 0, Credo 0 GILAS CADETS 69 – Rivero R 17, Paras 13, Gomez de LIano 11, Tratter 8, Ambohot 5, Gozum 4, Tolentino A 3, Tuffin 3, Tolentino V 3, Rivero P 2, Desiderio 0, Mocon 0 QUARTER SCORES: 17-16, 29-27, 53-48, 75-69 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 21st, 2018

Yup, Ateneo is still the Ateneo that won it all in the UAAP

Ateneo de Manila University has remained mostly intact from the time it claimed the championship in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament. And now in the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, that continuity was evident. Even Ricci Rivero had to say so. “Actually, wala namang nagbago sa kanila,” he told reporters after he and the Gilas cadets fell to the Blue Eagles on Saturday. Indeed, Thirdy Ravena was showing the way yet again with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals, but still had backup right there with him. That recipe for success the used to take down the Gilas cadets was the very same recipe for success they used to take down De La Salle University, then Rivero’s team, in last year’s UAAP Finals. Still, true to form, Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin said they can do far better. As he put it, “Actually, I’m not too impressed. We’re not trying to be anything more than a shadow of what we hope to become.” Baldwin then went on to point out that they didn’t take care of the ball all that well with 23 turnovers. “We made many mistakes, 14 turnovers in the first half, and we’re not yet ready to play as a team. We have no chemistry right now,” he shared. He then continued, “We want the skill and the physicality. I think the decision-making and cohesion will come, but it’s not there yet.” Fortunately for the Blue Eagles, they still have the rest of the Filoil Preseason to get there. “We’re only thinking about individual development right now. I think every time you get good competition, it tests what you’ve been working on,” the champion coach said. Baldwin and his boys next face NCAA champion San Beda University on Friday. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 21st, 2018

Ricci s sole focus now is Gilas Pilipinas

After leaving De La Salle University, high-flying Ricci Rivero is practically a free agent. He's not in a rush to find a new school though. Ricci is taking his time. For now, his sole focus is with the Philippine national team, which is one item off his bucket list. Rivero will team up with the returning Kobe Paras to lead Gilas Pilipinas' youth brigade this year, starting with the 2018 Filoil Flying V Premier Preseason Cup. "I'm so excited nga kasi I wasn't able to play last time for the U-18 team," Ricci said. "Now syempre, I left La Salle, and then I don't know yet where I'm going so I told my parents na I want to focus on Gilas first, kasi it's my dream talaga to play for the national team," he added. Gilas Pilipinas will first see action on Saturday against Thirdy Ravena and his UAAP Champion Blue Eagles. Kobe, Ricci, and Thirdy in one game shoule be must see. In fact, Rivero says all Gilas games will be must see. "I'm so excited kasi I'm gona play again with Kobe," Rivero said. "Syempre, who doesn't want Kobe back di ba? Everyone's looking forward to watching our games kasi nga Kobe is going back," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 18th, 2018

Serious cadets wanting Filoil title is 'a good sign'

Just because they joined the Filoil tournament, it doesn't mean that Gilas Pilipinas is necessarily gunning for the title. With most of the #23for23 pool members seeing action, the preseason joust is just part of the master plan that's already in motion. However, several members of the team, mainly Ricci Rivero and Kobe Paras, have expressed their desire to actually go after the championship and that's fine too. It's great, actually. "It's not the goal [winning title] but it's a good barometer for them," coach Jong Uichico said regarding Gilas' Filoil aspirations. "To think of winning the championship, that means they're taking the tournament seriously. That's a good sign," he added. The national team will open the preseason joust Saturday against reigning UAAP Champion Ateneo de Manila University. And so far, practice has been going relatively well for the cadet squad. "Okay naman, sa few practices that we've had, they showed naman the improvement," Uichico said. "Nilalagay namin ng unti-unti pero syempre we don't have that much time naman so pina fast-track lang namin lahat," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 18th, 2018

How exactly will the Gilas cadets in Filoil Preseason work?

The Gilas cadets will be using the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup as preparation for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. “Actually, this is the start of the long process to prepare for the World Cup in 2023. What a better way to start it than on our home ground – sa Filoil,” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas deputy director Butch Antonio said. Already named to the Gilas cadets pool are J-Jay Alejandro, Jeo Ambohot, Robert Bolick, Kemark Carino, Paul Desiderio, Isaac Go, Juan Gomez de Liano, Will Gozum, Javee Mocon, Matt Nieto, Kobe Paras, CJ Perez, Thirdy Ravena, Ricci Rivero, Arvin Tolentino, Abu Tratter, and Ken Tuffin as well as high school stars Kai Sotto and Carl Tamayo. But as per Antonio, nothing is set in stone. “We have been given flexibility by Filoil. Ang gagawin namin, the pool will be part of it, a pool of 14 to 16 then plus-minus na yan,” he said. Indeed, that would be for the best as the Filoil Preseason is also traditionally utilized by school-based squads to gear up for the looming collegiate wards. With at least a dozen members of the Gilas cadets pool also lined up in school-based squads, it’s best to be flexible. And so, what happens when the Gilas cadets have a matchup with a school-based squad which a player as part of the pool? Say, when it’s the Gilas cadets versus Robert Bolick, Javee Mocon, and San Beda College? “It’s gonna be a weird setup when players are gonna play for their school teams and us, but hopefully, we’re gonna manage. When we play against Player A’s team, Player A will play for his team,” Antonio said. In our example then, Bolick and Mocon will suit up for the Red Lions up against the Gilas cadets. And if the Gilas cadets have a game and then a particular player has another game for his school-based squad within the day? “Now, if Player A has a game before or after us, he plays for his team and he will double-up (for the Gilas cadets). Nakausap na naman nina coach Chot [Reyes] and coach Jong [Uichico] most of the college coaches so we’ll manage na lang the minutes,” Antonio said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 17th, 2018

Kobe joins Ricci, rest of '23for23 pool for Gilas practice

Kobe Paras is not wasting any time. Arriving in the country at six in the morning, Kobe joined Gilas Pilipinas in practice at 8:00 p.m. Monday at the Meralco Gym. Paras, part of the #23for23 team, will join the national team as they prepare for the 2018 Filoil Flying V preseason joust. Joining Kobe in practice are Ricci Rivero, CJ Perez, Abu Tratter, Vince Tolentino, Javee Mocon, Jeo Ambohot, Arvin Tolentino, Prince Rivero, Juan Gomez de Liano, Will Gozum, and Kenneth Tuffin. J-jay Alejandro didn't participate as he deals with an injury. Gilas Pilipinas, with Kobe anc co., will debut in the Filoil tournament on Saturday against Ateneo De Manila, the reigning UAAP Champions.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

Ricci Rivero positive Gilas cadets stint will help in transfer to new school

MANILA, Philippines – Less than two weeks from parting ways with the De La Salle University, Ricci Rivero is putting his utmost attention to the Gilas cadet program.  Rivero, who  announced his exit from the Green Archers  last April 5, said he is relishing the chance of being under the national team......»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

Gilas cadets to join Filoil preseason tilt

Gilas Pilipinas' preparation for the future will begin this summer. Players included in coach Chot Reyes' "23-for-2023" list will comprise one team and will compete in the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup. "To kickstart our preparations for the 2023 Fiba World Cup, we will be competing in the Premier Cup," said Reyes. Ricci Rivero, J-Jay Alejandro, and Abu Tratter are expected to spearhead the campaign as they test their mettle against some of the best collegiate teams in the country. Rivero left La Salle last week, while Alejandro and Tratter have already used up all of their playing years for NU and La Salle, respectively. Other members of the pool are expe...Keep on reading: Gilas cadets to join Filoil preseason tilt.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 9th, 2018

Include Adamson among schools targetting the free Ricci Rivero

MANILA, Philippines – Adamson has entered the Ricci Rivero  sweepstakes. Blaming his lack of social media engagement, Adamson University (AdU) Soaring Falcons head coach Franz Pumaren only heard of Rivero’s exit from De La Salle University from reporters after his team clinched the first seed and outright semis berth in the PBA ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 5th, 2018

Towns, Wiggins step up for Timberwolves in win vs Warriors

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MINNEAPOLIS – Certain games count more than others over the course of an NBA team’s 82-game schedule, and the one the Timberwolves played – and won 109-103 – against the Golden State Warriors Sunday afternoon (early Monday, PHL time) at Target Center was one of those. Did it count double what some ordinary contest might have? Triple? Keep going. More like exponential. It’s too early to claim that Minnesota’s resiliency in the comeback from 12 points down, against the defending champ, saved their season. But the dueling scenarios, win vs. lose, were rather stark for a team facing a rigorous and largely uncharted final month. Fail Sunday (Monday, PHL time), and the Wolves would be lugging a four-game skid on the road to face Washington Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) and San Antonio Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). By the time they got home to face Houston Sunday night (next Monday, PHL time), the losing streak could be six, going on seven. The Timberwolves at the All-Star break was a surprising third seed in the West. However, since Jimmy Butler’s absence from the lineup after a right meniscus tear on Feb. 23 (Feb. 24, PHL time), the Wolves have gone 2-4. Now the Wolves, whether they admit it publicly or not, are driven simply to qualify. Period. Ending up seventh or eighth is no prize, given a likely first-round ordeal against either the Rockets or the Warriors. But for a franchise that hasn’t reached the postseason since 2004, either would be far better than landing ninth. By beating the Warriors, though, the Wolves bought themselves time and opened a smidgen of breathing room over the next few days. More than that, they responded to a serious challenge the way a playoff wannabe is supposed to. They didn’t unravel, they stuck to what was working and they had players slide into Butler’s roles as primary defender, go-to scorer and late-game closer. That is essential until the All-Star wing and obvious team leader returns, ideally, for playoffs that his teammates can deliver. Center Karl-Anthony Towns scored 14 of his team-high 31 points in the fourth quarter. Wing Andrew Wiggins scored 22 of his 23 in the first three quarters to help Minnesota claw back to an 84-84 tie. Those two stepping into the void of Butler’s injury suggested the sort of growth that, frankly, coach Tom Thibodeau and the team’s followers might look back on after this season (and postseason?) as a turning point. “This is a great opportunity for everybody, and certainly those two, in that whenever you have someone like Jimmy go out, it’s an opportunity to grow and get experience in different situations,” Thibodeau said. “We’ve talked about it a lot. We have good veterans on the team. But this is an opportunity for them to step up and lead.” Sure, Golden State was playing without team MVP Steph Curry (ankle) and ace reserve Andre Iguodala (wrist). But the visitors still had three All-Stars and the motivation of Friday’s (Saturday, PHL time) loss in Portland to propel them through the matinee. So, the Wolves did well to start with what Towns admitted was both “urgency” and “desperation.” They did even better to close with aplomb. Towns and Wiggins, both still 22-years-old, stayed cool in reacting and thwarting Golden State double-teams. Wiggins, who still needs to attack and earn his way to the foul line more often, wound up with a team-high plus-21. Towns shot 6-of-10 in the final quarter, while Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were combining to go 3-for-13 and 11 points. Butler’s presence this season often has taken the ball out of the two younger stars’ hands late in games. But Towns is so skilled, inside and out, he should get more opportunities when games are on the line – and will in Butler’s absence. He came in averaging just 3.2 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter this season, with 1.8 buckets and 5.1 points. Compare that to his 5.7 makes, 10.6 shots and 15.4 scoring averages through the first three quarters of games so far this season. His usage rate drops from 22.4 to 20.9 when it ought to go up. You’d believe that too if you saw his work in the final three minutes, from bulling through Draymond Green for a layup that made it 101-96 to stepping in for a left baseline jumper two possessions later. At 104-103, Towns posted up Green near the end line again, banged a bit, then spun for a fadeaway jumper. Next time down, he followed up a shot against Durant to all but clinch it. The play of Towns, Wiggins and the other three Minnesota starters took any onus off Derrick Rose. Newly signed by his old Chicago coach, Rose had a rusty, regrettable debut with the Wolves, missing five of his six shots with two turnovers and a minus-17 in just 6:36. But his presence, if nothing else, ought to remind Towns and Wiggins that 22 is plenty old enough to grab a pack of Wolves by the scruff of their necks and take responsibility. Rose was 22 when he became the youngest MVP in NBA history, leading the Bulls all the way to the Eastern Conference finals that season. Minnesota basically is in the playoffs now – every outcome matters, bolstering or damaging its run to the postseason. There’s no running away now, no hiding either. “I think we’re more prepared because we’ve had most of the season to go through experiences,” Towns said. “Now that we’re at this point, we have the chance to do something great. It’s for us as a group to take all the experiences we’ve had – of losing close games, winning big, winning games offensively, winning games defensively – and putting them to [use].” It is vital that the Wolves’ young stars stay focused on the opportunities before them, rather than succumbing to the pressure. Said Towns: “The thing is, you don’t ever want to have pressure turn to stress. We have to make sure we keep our composure. Obviously, the situation we’re in, it’s a lot of pressure on us. But we can’t turn that into stress, because that’s when we start becoming undisciplined and start making errors that are more mental.” The proof now is in the playing, said Thibodeau. “The best leadership you can have is your actions,” the coach said. “What are you doing? It’s not what you say. Oftentimes people say things and never do what they say. It’s what you do.” Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. 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 NewsMar 12th, 2018

Ricci finally practices with Gilas Pilipinas

After taking a leave of absence from De La Salle University, Ricci Rivero was a full participant in Gilas Pilipinas practice Monday at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas. Only an observer during the national team's first training session of the year last Jan. 8 as well as last week, Rivero was finally in a Pilipinas jersey and ready to go, a couple of days after his request to take a leave from La Salle's basketball team was made official. Rivero ran some sets with the national team and his official inclusion to the #23for23 pool seems to be already official at this point. Joining Rivero in practice from the #23for23 pool were Juan Gomez De Liano, Kai Sotto, J-jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, Kenneth Tuffin, Javee Mocon, Paul Desiderio, Will Gozum, and Karl Tamayo. As for the senior squad, Jayson Castro and June Mar Fajardo led the way together with Troy Rosario, Mac Belo, Allein Maliksi, Carl Bryan Cruz, Kevin Alas, Kiefer Ravena, Japeth Aguilar, and team captain Gabe Norwood. RR Pogoy and Matthew Wright were in attendance but didn't paticipate in practice.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2018

Looks like Ricci Rivero is cleared to join Gilas Pilipinas

Looks like Ricci Rivero is finally cleared to join Gilas Pilipinas. The high-flying La Salle star was present in practice again Monday, however, he was in street clothes anew and was merely an observer. Good news though, it appears that it's only a matter of time before he officially joins the Gilas pool. It's just that La Salle has to make the final announcement. "He came to tell us that he’s been allowed. But we haven’t gotten any official word yet from La Salle, we’re just waiting," head coach Chot Reyes said regarding Rivero. "That's why he came here," he added. Rivero was not included in the initial #23for23 pool released by Reyes for the national team. La Salle apparently asked Gilas to exclude its current players during that time as the Green Archers were in transition following head coach Aldin Ayo's move to UST.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 29th, 2018

Ricci reduced to being an observer for first Gilas practice of 2018

Despite not being part of the preliminary Gilas Pilipinas pool for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, La Salle star Ricci Rivero still attended the first practice of 2018 of the national team Monday at the Meralco Gym. Rivero, who was excluded in the original #23for23 because La Salle asked head coach Chot Reyes to hold off for the moment, was a keen observer in practice. And since he wasn't suiting up, the high-flying combo guard instead met with top officials and the rest of the Gilas coaching staff. With the second window of the Asian Qualifiers coming up, Gilas officially opened camp following the holiday break. Aside from the main team that saw action in the opening window back in February, a handful of the #23for23 pool members were also present in practice. [Related: BACK TO WORK: Gilas opens first practice for 2018] For now, Gilas Pilipinas will meet once a week every Monday in preparation for a road game against Australia and a home outing vs. Japan next month.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2018

Chot tries to clear air with Ricci s non-inclusion to '23for23: Wala naman tayong di pinapayagan

Just because Ricci Rivero is out of the initial #23for23 pool doesn't mean he's never going to get the chance to suit up for Gilas Pilipinas. At least we're clear on that. In fact, the La Salle star was in attendance Monday as the national team opened camp for 2018 in preparation for the new window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. "They've really been in touch since the list came out," head coach Chot Reyes said when asked about Rivero. "We had to explain the situation with the school and they asked if they can try out, but it has to be something we talk about with their school," he added. La Salle asked Reyes to not include all current Green Archers in the pool for now, citing transition within the school's basketball program. Head coach Aldin Ayo, who steered the Green Archers to two straight UAAP Finals with one title, has left for UST. His move was made official also Monday. "But still, they came in their own volition and sa akin naman, we're all inclusive," Reyes said, still talking about Rivero. "Wala naman tayong di pinapayagan, di pinapapunta. But that's a different discussion altogether. It remains to be seen what will happen in the next couple of weeks," Reyes added.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2018

EYES ON YOU, KID: UAAP 80 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And we can’t wait for the second round to get started just so we could get even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: CJ CANSINO – University of Sto. Tomas (yellow jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 27.6 points, 43.5 percent shooting, 14.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.7 steals (yellow jersey number 27) CJ Cansino has single-handedly made University of Sto. Tomas matter again – and that’s not an exaggeration. Through his sheer will, the Tiger Cubs find themselves well inside the playoff picture at the end of the first round. The long-limbed forward is an all-around weapon who can get his shots inside the paint, from the perimeter, and even from the charity stripe where he has already scored a mind-boggling 60 points – that’s out of 76 attempts, giving him a 78.9 percent shooting clip from there. It’s not just scoring where he makes an impact, though, as he also can also make plays for teammates like scoring guard Kobe Palencia as well as disrupt plays for opponents. And oh, the six-foot-two graduating player is also tops in the league in rebounding – yes, he has more rebounds than the next kid on our list. The even better news for UST? Cansino wants to stay for college. KAI SOTTO – Ateneo de Manila High School (blue jersey number 11) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.9 points, 52.5 percent shooting, 12.7 rebounds, 4.9 blocks (blue jersey number 11) All eyes have been on Kai Sotto ever since he was discovered in the Jr. NBA. Now in his second season for currently league-leading Ateneo de Manila University, he has given all of us more than enough reason to never take our eyes off of him and all of his now 7-foot 1-inch stature. A legitimate inside presence the likes of which the high school ranks have never seen before, Sotto is unstoppable in getting points near the basket and collaring rebounds from anywhere inside the paint. And yeah, the kid atop our list has more rebounds than him, but nobody in the Juniors can touch the 15-year-old’s rim protecting ability. 34 blocks through seven games? That’s unheard of! The even better news for Ateneo? He’s just in Grade 9, that’s three more seasons of eligibility after this one. SJ BELANGEL – Ateneo de Manila High School (white jersey number 0) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 50.6 percent shooting, 5.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals (blue jersey number 0) Sotto has been getting all the attention, but just like a year ago, Ateneo has been SJ Belangel’s show to run. The kid who famously scored 99 points back in his hometown of Bacolod is now a complete player. The scoring has always been there for Belangel, but it’s his now pinpoint passing that is the more welcome development for the still undefeated Blue Eaglets. It doesn’t hurt either that the 18-year-old is doing nothing but living up to being a floor leader. L-JAY GONZALES – Far Eastern University-Diliman (yellow jersey number 0) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.6 steals (yellow jersey number 0) No doubt, the shots have yet to fall for L-Jay Gonzales as he is only shooting 32.4 percent from the field. Just like what he showed in his starmaking stint in last season’s Finals, however, it has again become clear that he doesn’t have to score to make an impact. In all of the league, Far Eastern University-Diliman’s main man is first in steals, second in assists, and fifth in rebounds. And there’s one thing we all learned last season, it’s never to count out the Baby Tamaraws and their do-it-all guard. DAVE ILDEFONSO – Ateneo de Manila High School (white jersey number 10) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.9 points, 42.7 percent shooting, 8.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 steals (white jersey number 10) Dave Ildefonso is not top five in the league in anything – he is well inside the top 10 in many things, though. With Sotto, Belangel, and the rest of Ateneo’s stacked lineup, it’s easy to forget that they have a versatile player who can score from all over the floor while also defending the opposing team’s forwards and guards. And among all of high school, the son of Philippine basketball legend Danny Ildefonso has one of the most college-ready bodies – he can bump with the best of them and he can move with the best of them. That is exactly why make no mistake about it, Dave Ildefonso has been a key cog in the Blue Eaglets’ ascent to the top of the leaderboard. RHAYYAN AMSALI – Nazareth School of National University (blue jersey number 13) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 13.0 points, 43.2 percent shooting, 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.1 steals As expected, there has been an adjustment period for Nazareth School of National University and new head coach Goldwyn Monteverde. That hasn’t stopped Rhayyan Amsali from producing as expected, though. Already having proven himself as an all-around offensive weapon, the third-year forward is now displaying the development of his defense to the tune of a third-best steals total. RJ ABARRIENTOS – Far Eastern University-Diliman (green jersey number 17) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals FEU-Diliman is already fortunate to have somebody like L-Jay Gonzales and yet, they actually have two of that kind of player on their roster. RJ Abarrientos can do the very same things his Finals MVP teammate can, but when focused, has proven himself to be an impactful 3-and-D swingman. The nephew of “Flying A” Johnny Abarrientos will never have the ball in his hands all that much, but when he does, good things happen more often than not. JOEM SABANDAL – Adamson High School (blue jersey number 21) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 45.9 percent shooting, 6.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 2.2 steals A new day has dawned upon Adamson High School and serving as the brightest ray of light is Joem Sabandal. The heady guard is best in the league in assists, second in steals, and third in points – doing anything and everything in his power to keep his team afloat. The journey back to the heights they once reached is far and long, but the Baby Falcons are nothing but glad that they already have the person to steer them there. AGEM MIRANDA – University of the East (white jersey number 4) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 17.9 points, 41.1 percent shooting, 8.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.1 steals University of the East remains winless Round 1, but unlike a year ago, there is reason to watch and there is reason to hope. Agem Miranda has made the most out of his opportunities on a talent-lacking squad and has opened eyes on how his all-around game will translate if given more help. The one-and-done guard will have to find that out on some other team, but at the very least, he has energized the Junior Warriors back on track. RAVEN CORTEZ – De La Salle Zobel (green jersey number 6) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.6 points, 64.2 percent shooting, 10.9 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 1.1 assists It looks like Boris Aldeguer, the mentor who molded Joshua Webb and Arnold Van Opstal into promising big men, has finally gotten his hands on his next project. There is no doubt that Raven Cortez is raw, even rawer than Ateneo’s Sotto, but his size and skill give him all the potential in the world, much like Ateneo’s Sotto. The Batang Gilas member may not have an outside shot just yet, but he has already put his 6-foot 7-inch frame to good use as the second-best blocker and fourth-best rebounder in the league......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2018