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Magnolia welcomes new year with a 47-point demolition of Kia

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Magnolia Hotshots went on a furious offensive display in the second half to hand the Kia Picanto a 47-point shellacking, 124-77, and their 15th straight loss in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum Wednesday, January 10. Kia looked like it was in for a ........»»

Category: newsSource: rappler rapplerJan 10th, 2018

Sotto welcomes physicality, ready to fight for slot

Kai Sotto may be the youngest among the 20-man Team Pilipinas pool but the Ateneo de Manila University high school center knows that his ‘kuyas’ won’t go easy on him. The towering 16-year old cager boldly said that he welcomes the challenge of going up against experienced pros. Even if it means absorbing the physical nature of their game. “Sana ibigay nila ang lahat nila,” said the lanky 7-foot-1 Sotto. “Dahil siyempre kaya naman ako nandito para maramdaman ‘yung mga bagay na yun. Para ma-experience din kung paano talaga maglaro ‘yung players sa ganitong klaseng level.”      Sotto was one of the 12 players who attended the first practice session of Team Pilipinas, which is preparing for the two home games against Kazakhstan and Iran in the fifth window of the 2019 World Cup Asia Qualifiers. “Sobrang happy and sobrang excited ko na mag-practice rito and makilala yung mga teammates ko rito and looking forward na maraming matutunan sa kanila,” said Sotto, who already donned the national colors under the Batang Gilas banner. Sotto was joined another young player in University of the Philippines Ricci Rivero. Also in attendance were Talk ‘N Text’s Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario, San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos, Rain or Shine’s Beau Belga and Gabe Norwood, Phoenix’s Matthew Wright and Blackwater’s Poy Erram. Included in the pool are Barangay Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson and Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang and Paul Lee. The six though skipped practice with their teams clashing in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals Game 2.    SMB’s Christian Standhardinger and NorthPort’s Stanley Pringle have yet to arrive for practice as of posting time. Head coach Yeng Guiao said that Sotto and Rivero have the same equal chance as the pros to secure a spot in the final 12-man lineup. “Meron, meron (chance). Actually, the reason they’re here is they’re one of the guys with the opportunity to fight for a slot in the 12-man lineup,” said Guiao. “So kahit na sabihin natin na ang basic purpose natin is for their development, who knows?” “Hindi natin alam baka magpakita sila,” he added. “So I’m not discounting that possibility. It might be a little bit remote but it’s still a possibility.” For Sotto, getting a call up for the pool is already an honor. Whatever the decision of Guiao come the final cut, the experience will definitely improve Sotto’s game for the future.   “Dream ko na makasama sa talagang team and itong pagsama sa pool. Pero kahit ano man ang kalabasan positive lang ako dahil kahit papaano 16 pa lang naman ako,” said Sotto. “Kahit anong mangyari dito alam ko naman na magandang bagay yun para sa akin. Mag-pray lang ako na kahit anong mangyari magiging successful itong Team Pilipinas.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 12th, 2018

PBA: Just like old pal LeBron, Travis thankful for second chance after botched clutch free throws

Late in the Lakers' home game against the Atlanta Hawks Monday morning in Manila, LeBron James found himself at the foul line to shoot two clutch free throws. If the King makes two, the Lakers take the lead. If he makes one, game is tied. James missed both. Fortunately, Kyle Kuzma ended up with the offensive rebound and while the second-year forward also ended up missing his go-ahead floater, LeBron slammed the follow up to finally put the Lakers up one. [Related: James' dunk lifts Lakers to 107-106 win over Hawks] Los Angeles ended up winning the game to be above .500 for the first time in the current NBA season. Later that day in Manila, LeBron's old buddy Romeo Travis found himself at the foul line late in Game 2 of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup semifinals against Ginebra. Romeo makes two and the Magnolia Hotshots take a five-point lead to ice the game. If he makes one, his team is still up by two possessions with four seconds to go. Travis missed both. Fortunately, the former Best Import somehow found himself grabbing the offensive rebound and he was fouled again. Travis missed the first free throw anew but made sure to make the second one. Magnolia ended up winning the game and the Hotshots are now up 2-0 in the best-of-5 semis against the reigning two-time champions. "Yeah, I actually watched the game. I may have jinxed myself. He [LeBron] had a second chance, I had a second chance. He made the most of it and I made the second free throw and we ended up winning the game," Travis said of his trips to the foul line. "I just missed them you know? I thank God for second chances. I missed three and luckily they came in pairs and I'm thankful to make the last one to seal the game. I'm just thankful for second chances. Everybody don't get them so I'm thankful for the second opportunity to seal the game," he added. Save for some spotty moments late in Game 2, Magnolia's composure has been incredible so far in this series. The Hotshots have weathered multiple storms from the Gin Kings and now they find themselves on the brink of the Finals. As long as Magnolia keeps playing to win, there should be no reason why they can't advance, especially after putting up back-to-back masterful performances against Ginebra. "They're just a resilient team and they have great players so they'll always make a run. We just have to stay composed," Travis said of the Gin Kings. "Late in the game we got out of our sets, I believe we were trying to not lose instead of winning the game. When you start playing to not lose, you get a little tight. We didn't run our offense the way we should and so that's how they were able to make a run," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 12th, 2018

Eight new stars who have risen in UAAP Season 81

It all begins here. That has been the UAAP theme this year and the names you will see on this list have been embracing their new beginnings and are delivering with promise despite all the pressure. The UAAP’s 81st season has been wild right off the bat with teams pulling wins out of nowhere, impressive individual performances, and lit on-court actions, which everyone has caught live on ABS-CBN S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, and LIGA HD every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. However, eight names have already shown why they are head and shoulders above everybody else in the season. Let’s take a look at the idols of future ballers and coaches here: 1.) Ange Kouame, Ateneo De Manila University The Ivorian big man is having a great debut with the defending champs in Season 81 and has been announcing his arrival to the league big game after big game, punctuated by his 33-point 27-rebound performance against potential Final Four contender, the FEU Tamaraws. While Thirdy Ravena continues to be the Blue Eagles’ leader on the floor, Kouame is slowly turning himself into a problem on a nightly basis. He’s constantly improving and learning about the college game thanks in part to fellow Ateneo big, who saw his play blossom last year, in Isaac Go.   2.) Sean Manganti, Adamson University Jerrick Ahanmisi is the Falcons’ leading scorer and main attraction. But let it not distract you from the fact that Sean Manganti has improved vastly to be the actual barometer of the team as it continues its stellar season. To prove a point, Manganti has also hit big shots for the Falcons including that game-winning dagger against the UP Fighting Maroons. Part of the reason for his impressive season so far is due to his training with former UAAP MVP Kiefer Ravena, who has been teaching him all the tricks in his bag.   3.) Justine Baltazar, La Salle  Justine Baltazar was a diamond in the rough coming to the Green Archers’ side of the fence after a stellar UAAP Juniors showing for National University. This season, without Ben Mbala up front, people are shocked by the massive improvement of Balti’s game as he has been the Green Archers’ consistent pillar of strength next to Aljun Melecio and Leonard Santillan. Balti is yet to have a bad game this season except when he had to contend with Ateneo’s hulking Ange Kouame, who is way heavier than the lanky center.   4.) Hubert Cani, Far Eastern University What a journey it has been for the former UAAP Juniors Finals MVP Hubert Cani, who went to Ateneo for two years before transferring to FEU and debuting last year. The 5’11” point guard has trimmed down immensely in preparation for Season 81 and it has clearly shown that his deadly Juniors form is back in harness. While FEU has been see-sawing lately in the standings, Cani has been the constant as much as teams prepare to stop FEU’s top scorer Arvin Tolentino.   5.) Juan Gomez De Liano, University of the Philippines Juan’s sophomore year has been anything but a disappointment. The UAAP Season 80 Rookie of the Year recently stopped the UAAP triple double drought when he posted a 15-point, 12-rebound, 12-assist line against the UE Red Warriors last Sunday (October 21). With team captain Paul Desiderio struggling in the start of the season, the former UAAP Juniors MVP stepped up to the plate and show improvement across the board and has become a huge headache for opposing teams alongside prized recruit Bright Akhuetie everytime he steps on the court.    6.) CJ Cansino, University of Sto. Tomas The Growling Tigers rookie is living up to lofty expectations heaped on his shoulders as a UAAP Juniors MVP coming out of the UST Tiger Cubs program. Cansino is already displaying a grown man’s game despite being at the collegiate level. His basketball IQ is off the charts while maximizing the most of his physical tools at hand along with the system new Head Coach Aldin Ayo has put in place. With the keys in his hand, Cansino has responded and what a way for a rookie to, already having an 18-point, 18-rebound game and constantly hovering around a triple-double.   7.) Dave Ildefonso, National University The younger Demolition Brother has been a treat to watch. Along with Cansino, they are both starring for their teams as rookies, leading the way, and leaving fans with jaws on the floor because of the level of talent they are displaying. He has shown great scoring instincts and has been at the forefront of the Bulldogs’ rebuild. 8.) Joe Silva, University of the East We’re giving the last and final spot in the list to UE’s neophyte coach, who’s the driving force behind the rebuilding Red Warriors. Coach Joe maybe younger in terms of age and experience compared to his UAAP counterparts, but he is definitely no pushover with two UAAP Juniors championship under his belt with the Ateneo High School Blue Eaglets. So far, he is off to a good start in building a winning culture in the current UE Red Warriors lineup. This is evident in how feisty his team fights game in and game out despite the talent gap they face. These eight guys are not the only impressive names we should all watch out for as you never know who will suddenly come out of the woodwork and starts pumping impressive game after impressive game. Get to see these stars in action every UAAP Season 81 game day during Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays on ABS-CBN S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, and LIGA HD starting at 2 pm. For more sports news, follow ABS-CBN Sports on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 26th, 2018

Hot-shooting Banchero claims PBA Player of the Week award

Chris Banchero’s scintillating performance in Alaska’s last two games earned him the Cignal-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of Oct. 15-21 in the 2018 Governors’ Cup. The stocky Alaska guard stood at the forefront of the Aces’ surge to register back-to-back wins, grabbing a piece of the lead in the team standings with Ginebra and Magnolia, while closing in for twice-to-beat edge in the playoffs. The 29-year-old Banchero averaged 19 points, 7 assists and 5.5 rebounds this past week, leading Alaska to victories over Columbian, 104-94 and Blackwater, 116-109 as the Aces forged a three-way tie at the top spot with similar 7-2 records. Alaska’s fifth overall pick in the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft registered a near triple-double effort of 10 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds to serve as a catalyst in their 10-point win over the Dyip. Then last Sunday, Banchero, the third conference’s assist leader, went beast mode on offense, firing a new PBA career-high 28 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the floor to help Alaska outlast Blackwater. The Fil-Italian guard edged Meralco Fil-American players Cliff Hodge and Chris Newsome, as well as San Miguel stalwart Chris Ross and rookie Christian Standhardinger for the weekky citation. Alaska looks to make a strong finish in the elims and formalize its top 4 finish when it faces NLEX this Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, before taking on NorthPort next Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2018

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

LOOK: Paul Lee welcomes baby girl

There is a new member of Paul Lee's family. The Magnolia Hotshot welcomed to the world a newlyborn daughter, Tokyo, Monday evening at the St. Luke's Medical Center in E. Rodriguez, Quezon City. Lee could not contain his elation over the birth of his daughter, and expressed his thanks on Instagram.         View this post on Instagram                   Maraming salamat Lord God sa pag gabay sa mag ina ko, sa safe delivery at lalong lalo na sa magandang kundisyon ng asawa ko and baby girl ko 😭🙏🏽😍❤️ Can’t express my feeling right now, nakita ko lahat sa simula hanggang lumabas yung baby ko 😱 and I cut the cord amazing experience 🙏🏽 Everyone meet my little princess Tokyo 😍 The sweetest gift ever. I love you Mommy and baby Tokyo 😘😘😘 A post shared by Paul Lee (@lethalweapon03) on Oct 8, 2018 at 4:02am PDT "Maraming salamat Lord God sa pag gabay sa mag ina ko, sa safe delivery at lalong-lalo na sa magandang kondisyon ng asawa at baby ko," the point guard exclaimed on Instagram. Lee also added that he personally cut off the umbilical cord of his daughter, virtually speechless and full of excitement waiting for the moment.  The guard was seen wearing shoes with an uncertain date, in anticipation of Tokyo's arrival to the world......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 8th, 2018

UAAP: Angelo Kouame shines in another blowout win

Ateneo de Manila University earned their third straight blowout win in the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball tournament over University of Santo Tomas and it was first year player Angelo Kouame who led the 32-point demolition job. Going eight from nine from the field, Kouame poured 20 points to go along with 15 rebounds and four blocks. But in true Kouame fashion, he credited no one but his band of brothers. "My teammates are the best. I really like my teammates, the way we move in the court, the way we share the ball, it makes me open so I say thank you to them," said the Ivorian athlete whose average after five UAAP games is at 9.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks. According to assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga, Kouame's revelation game was just a result of the system the Ateneo preaches. "I wish we could tell you that we had a game plan wherein he’s gonna score 20 points, but that’s not how we play. We played based on the system. It can be Raffy Verano, he had a lot of points last game. It’s Angelo today. I don’t know next game who it will be. It’s just the way we play," said Arepacochaga. Fourteen out of the 15 Ateneans who played in the game scored exhibiting that in their team, it's every Blue Eagles' game.  "It was a very good team effort on our part because if you noticed, because it’s not one-on-one moves with Angelo. Of course he had a couple of good moves and we’re happy that he’s improving, but it’s the passes from guards, from Thirdy and from four men that were important for us in getting the scoring opportunities," explained Arespacochaga. Standing at 4-1, Ateneo has seen multiple players shine aside from their usual suspects. With a UAAP rivalry match coming up against La Salle on Saturday, another stage for probably a different Blue Eagle is set......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2018

PBA: Now, we’re seeing ‘Muscleman’ Vic Manuel at full strength

Alaska won for the sixth straight game following a loss to open the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. They also won for the second straight game without Calvin Abueva who is tending to personal matters. With under eight minutes remaining on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum, however, that didn’t look like it was going to be the case as the Aces lost an 11-point lead and were trailing a desperate Magnolia side by four. Good thing for Alaska that Vic Manuel wasn’t going to let them lose. “I don’t think we started out well in this game, but in the end, Vic Manuel,” head coach Alex Compton shared with reporters post-game. He then continued, “I don’t know what to say. He went off.” The 30-year-old forward dropped 17 of his career-high 35 points in the final frame to make sure his team’s streak stretched to six even without Abueva as well as key reserves Jeron Teng and Carl Bryan Cruz. Most of those points in the pivotal period came at the expense of Rafi Reavis. “Rafi Reavis, I don’t know if he’s the premiere post defender, or one of the best, but I have great respect for Rafi so for Vic to score against a smart, long defender like Rafi is amazing,” Compton said. Without a doubt, Manuel showed off all of his moves in the fourth, scoring at Reavis like he wasn’t a well-regarded defender. Now in his sixth season in the PBA, the pride of Nueva Ecija is finally showing off his skills in all their glory. As his mentor shared, “The big thing is just being healthy. It’s hard to play well when you’re playing with an injury so he did the physical work first.” He then continued, “You can see he has legs and that really matters.” Manuel had been battling various leg injuries in the past two years. Now that he is operating at 100 percent, he has had four games in the current conference wherein he matched or set a career-high in scoring. “Swerte lang nakakalusot. Kung si Rafi kasi bumabantay, dinadaan ko na lang siya sa bilis kasi mahaba siya e,” he said. The even better news for the Aces is that their emergent force isn’t about to stop any time soon. “Continue to play lang ako every game lalo na ngayong kulang. Kailangan kong mag-step up palagi,” he remarked --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2018

PBA: Paul Lee bags Player of the Week honors

Paul Lee stood tall in Magnolia's back-to-back wins over Columbian Dyip and Meralco on the way to capturing the PBA Press Corps Player of the Week award for the period of May 14-20. Nicknamed the “Leethal Weapon”, the 29-year-old Magnolia combo guard posted averages of 18.5 points, 7 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.0 steal in the Pambansang Manok’s two-win stretch this past week as they head to the PBA All-Star break in high spirits. Magnolia, which now totes a 3-1 card overall for solo fourth spot, hammered the hapless Columbian side, 126-101 last Wednesday as the “Angas ng Tondo” finished with 17 points, eight assists and two rebounds, while knocking down three triples. Lee then, upped the ante of his game by banging in 20 points, built around four three-point shots, issued six assists and added three boards as Magnolia nosed out Meralco, 81-79.  Import Vernon Macklin, who played his farewell game before heading to China, knocked down the game-winning foul shots in the dying seconds for Magnolia. The sweet-shooting Lee beat Magnolia teammate Mark Barroca, last week’s Player of the Week Vic Manuel of Alaska, TNT guard Ryan Reyes, Rain or Shine’s Chris Tiu and Phoenix gunners Jeff Chan and Matthew Wright for the weekly citation. Magnolia heads to the annual PBA showcase with three straight wins and will be back for action on June 2 when it faces league-leader Rain or Shine (5-1) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: NU sweeps way back into the Finals for the sixth straight year

National University stormed to a 25-13, 25-13, 31-29, demolition of hapless University of Sto. Tomas in the 80th UAAP men’s volleyball Final Four to advance in the championship round for the sixth straight year Sunday at the MOA Arena. Bryan Bagunas and Madzlan Gampong starred in the Bulldogs’ fourth win in a row heading into the best-of-three Finals starting on April 28.    NU will await its championship opponent on Wednesday when the three-time reigning titlists Ateneo de Manila University and Far Eastern University clash in a winner take all duel for the last Finals berth. “Gawa rin naman sa ginagawa namin sa suporta ng school namin at managers. ‘Yung sixth straight appearance namin sa Finals ay bunga sa suporta ng school, ng mga magulang ng players. Masaya kami,” said NU coach Dante Alinsunurin. Bagunas finished with a career-high 29 points coming off 24 attacks, three aces and a couple of blocks including the match-clinching denial over Arnold Bautista to seal the 73-minute victory. Gampong had eight markers while James Natividad           After dominating the first two frames, the Bulldogs found themselves trailing, 16-19, in the third. Gampong and Bagunas led NU’s comeback as the Bulldogs pushed at match point, 24-22. The Tigers saved two match points after an error by Gampong and a kill block by Tyrone Carodan before Joshua Umandal’s kill pushed UST at set point, 25-24. Bagunas’ back-to-back hit brought NU back at match point, 26-25. UST regained the set point advantage before saving two more match points to tie the frame at 29.           The fourth year hitter Bagunas pounded a through the block kill to break the deadlock before scoring a kill block on Bautista. Jayvee Sumagaysay scored 10 points while Umandal had nine for the Espana-based squad.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2018

PBA: Hotshots 100 percent not enough to handle SMB

The Hotshots waited so long and worked so hard to finally reach the PBA Finals. And when they got there, they were smashed by the almighty San Miguel Beermen. Seriously, in five games, Magnolia trailed at least 20 three different times and in the clincher, they blew a 23-point lead and lost in double overtime. If not for an incredible comeback in Game 1, the Beermen would have swept Magnolia. Instead, San Miguel won the Philippine Cup via a gentleman's sweep for a second year in a row. Still, Chito Victolero, playing in his first Finals a head coach. couldn't be more proud of his wards. "Wala na akong mahihiling sa mga players ko. Usapan naman namin, 100 percent effort. Sumobra pa nga eh," he said after the Hotshots lost the All-Filipino, 1-4. "Our goal is a grind out game, we achieved that. We stayed close. Two overtimes. Breaks of the game lang," Victolero added. The final two games of the series were games Magnolia wanted says Victolero. The Hotshots just couldn't pull it off. And after this experience, Victolero hopes his team can comeback healthy and try again next time. Hopefully, with a better result as well. "Hindi nakalusot," he said. "Sana makabalik ulit kami sa ganitong situation with a complete lineup," Victolero added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 7th, 2018

STAR HOTSHOT: Rafi Reavis will be forever relevant

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

Victolero s challenge via text ignites Jalalon s competitive fire

Jio Jalalon wasn't exactly having a great semifinals against NLEX. He was averaging only 4.5 points per game entering Wednesday's Game 3, and he scored exactly zero points in the series opener. Despite his offensive struggles though, head coach Chito Victolero knows that his second-year point guard is one of the better ones in the PBA. And he made sure Jio knew about that. "Kagabi, ka-text ko yang si Jio," Victolero said. "Sabi ko na in order to establish himself sa PBA, he needs this series to get his confidence. Happy ako na nag-respond siya sa challenge ko," he added. Jalalon sure responded to his coach's challenge, scoring a game-high 25 points to hand Magnolia a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Now he hopes to sustain his effort all the way to a Finals appearance for the Hotshots. "Dun tumaas yung tingin ko sa sarili ko," Jalalon said of Victolero's challenge. "Pasalamat ako kay coach Chito na binigyan niya ako ng tiwala. Nagagawa ko na rin yung talent ko dito sa semis, sana magtuluy-tuloy pa to," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 14th, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 12th, 2018

Former Bombers show way to victory for JRU, youngest coach Lasquety

Veterans showed the way for Jose Rizal University as Gio Lasquety nabbed his first win as a head coach with a 96-67 rout of Mila’s Lechon on Thursday in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Ynares Arena in Pasig. Jeckster Apinan, Ervin Grospe, and Paolo Pontejos, all former Heavy Bombers, showed the newbies how it’s done as they carried much of the load for their team and their debuting head coach. JRU went to Pontejos in the early going as the playmaker paid off that trust with 12 first half points and finished the game with 14 on top of six rebounds, and four assists. Behind him, the Heavy Bombers peeled off from an 18-22 first quarter deficit to a 39-29 halftime lead. Apinan followed suit as he helped the Shaw Boulevard-based squad's breakaway in the second half, pouring 16 of his 20 markers in the final two quarters alongside 14 rebounds while Grospe contributed 16 in the 29-point demolition job. The win wasn’t just any other triumph as the recently graduated Lasquety was gifted with his first conquest at the helm for JRU. “Syempre sobrang sarap. Mas masarap pa noong naglalaro ako kasi naga-guide ko sa loob,” said the 24-year-old who became the youngest head coach in D-League history. “Thankful ako na nag-respond ang players at naka-execute kami. Nala-depensa kami and credit to my players dahil sinunod nila yung gameplan namin.” Leo Gabo carried the Mighty Roasters with 14 points, three rebounds, and two assists while Andoy Estrella got 13 markers in the loss. BOX SCORES JRU 96 — Apinan 20, Grospe 16, Pontejos 14, Esguerra 9, Dela Virgen 9, Tayongtong 8, Ramos 4, Mendoza 4, Bordon 4, Yu 3, Mvogo 3, Silvarez 2, Sawat 0, De Guzman 0. MILA’S LECHON 67 — Gabo 14, Estrella 13, Acibar 9, Sarangay 7, Iñigo 5, Parala 5, Derige 4, Delfinado 4, Deles 2, Crisostomo 2, Herradura 2, Luz 0, Bellosillo 0, Montuano 0. QUARTER SCORES: 18-22, 39-29, 68-50, 96-67......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 25th, 2018

Hotshots survive dogfight against Phoenix

The Hotshots still have Phoenix's number. It was far from the blowouts from last season but Magnolia walked away from a dogfight against the Fuel Masters with a hard-earned 97-91 decision in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome. Magnolia erased an eight-point fourth quarter deficit and relied on its veteran anchors in the clutch to frustrate Phoenix and win a third straight game this season. The Hotshots moved to 4-1 in the standings, half a game behind idle San Miguel for the lead. Tied at 89, Ian Sangalang drilled the go-ahead basket for Magnolia with 1:08 to go in the game. Paul Lee was then cold as ice from the free throw line the rest of the way as the Hotshots pulled through. Lee fired 20 points to lead Magnolia while Rome dela Rosa scored 17. Sangalang had 16 points and seven rebounds. Mark Barroca, also effective in the fourth, had 12 points. Marc Pingris, despite scoring only four points, grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds for the Hotshots. "It was all mental toughness in the end," head coach Chito Victolero said. "It's about our perseverance and our desire to win and our chemistry sa dulo. We know in this game, medyo mabigat talaga to kasi I know Phoenix will bounce back coming from a tough loss sa last game nila. Credit sa players, hindi sila naggive up sa pressure," he added. Phoenix, losers of two straight and dropped to 2-3, got 19 points from second-year guard Gelo Alolino. Matthew Wright scored 17 points for the Fuel Masters and Jeff Chan added another 12 in a starting role.   The Scores: Magnolia 97 - Lee 20, dela Rosa 17, Sangalang 16, Barroca 12, Reavis 11, Simon 6, Jalalon 5, Pingris 4, Ramos 3, Pascual 2, Herndon 1. Phoenix 91 - Alolino 19, Wright 17, Chan 12, Jazul 9, Eriobu 8, Chua 7, Mendoza 6, Kramer 6, Intal 3, Revilla 2, Perkins 2 Quarters: 30-23, 47-45, 67-75, 97-91   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2018

Kia s continuous struggles tiring for new head coach Ricky Dandan

MANILA, Philippines – Ricky Dandan just made his PBA debut as head coach for Kia but he could not help but feel exhausted following the Picanto’s lackluster play. Kia was at the receiving end of a 47-point demolition against the Magnolia Hotshots, 124-77, and Dandan, who replaced Chris Gavina two weeks ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 10th, 2018

Popovich s odd alliance with red state fans

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com SAN ANTONIO -- About 400 people gathered at the Oak Hills Country Club in June 2016 and paid $500 to $250,000 to sip iced tea and nibble hors d’oeuvres next to a golf course designed by noted architect AW Tillinghast, who built many. One is owned by the man who was feted at this political fundraiser, Donald J. Trump. The presidential campaign was in full blast and saltier than the crackers on the cheese plate being passed around. Fresh off the plane, Trump thanked the Republicans for the big ‘ole Texas welcome, witnesses say, before launching a blistering attack on the usual targets: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, illegal immigration. Then, near the end of his 30-minute lunchtime appearance, in an effort to connect with the locals, he pivoted and mentioned perhaps the most famous man in town: Gregg Popovich. Witnesses say Trump called Popovich “a great coach” and said “he does a good job” and then there was some fidgeting in the room when the soon-to-be polarizing leader of the free world said this: “I don’t know if the coach is on my side.” Confirmation came emphatically, right after Trump won a divisive election that November. The coach of the Spurs lit into the President over the next several months with a handful of rants that had the stealth of Kawhi Leonard ambushing a timid ball-handler. In no particular order, here were Pop’s Greatest Hits, all issued through the media and without prompting or provocation: “The disgusting tenure and tone and all the comments … have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic. I live in a country where half the people ignored that to elect someone.” And: “He is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting.” And: “The man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks he can only become large by belittling others.” And: “We have a pathological liar in the White House ... You can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth.” Popovich didn’t stop there with a President whose sensitivity and intelligence he questioned and accused of being guilty of “gratuitous fear-mongering.” When he took Trump to task for criticizing NFL players who knelt during the National Anthem and defended their rights to do so, Popovich also suspected a measure of the public outrage was racially motivated. “Our country is an embarrassment to the world,” he said. A 68-year-old wealthy white man, therefore, became a sports voice with weight in the political and social justice arena, where the NBA league office has greenlighted players and coaches to speak up. Popovich has done so with clarity and insight to gain national applause in certain corners. He wasn’t the first or the last in sports to verbally spank the president or tackle right-leaning sensitivities, yet he’s certainly the most unique in one respect. As a graduate of the Air Force Academy who works in a military town, and a five-time NBA champion coach who might symbolize the city more than The Alamo, Popovich has long been elevated to icon status, perhaps permanently so, in San Antonio, where folks are mad about the Spurs. Still, this is mostly conservative Texas, one of the most Republican of states based on the state legislature and the congressional delegation, a state that voted Republican in 10 straight presidential elections and saw 52.6 percent of voters punch for Trump. While voters in San Antonio-proper lean liberal, the surrounding areas swing solidly the opposite. Julianna Holt, the Spurs CEO and Popovich’s boss since March after assuming the position held for 20 years by her husband Peter, supported various Republican presidential candidates before eventually donating $5,400 to Trump’s campaign and $250,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, according to Federal Election Commission records. Popovich is therefore a blue blood in a red state and the contrast makes for strange if not uncomfortable alliance between a beloved coach and a group of conflicted Spurs worshippers. His views have in fact shattered the sacrilege by generating hostility from a segment of the basketball flock, something no coach with his credentials would ever feel. The constant winning and acts of charity do not insulate him from those who would prefer Popovich stuff a sweat sock in his bullhorn. Party lines not Popovich's focus “While we all believe Gregg Popovich has the right to his opinions, where was Popovich when Hillary called half of us a 'basket of deplorables?’Many were Spurs fans who are now tired of being insulted ... many of us will never pay to see a Spurs game again.” -- Donna Howington  “The money I will save this year not attending Spurs games should buy me a nice set of golf clubs. Thanks Pop!” -- Jake Ingorgia  “I will never watch them again until Popovich is gone. He is just like all the other leftist celebrities.” -- Lee Harbach, Bulverde They arrive on cue, most from the dusty towns that orbit around San Antonio, some from the city itself. Popovich has unloaded three times this year on Trump, once after the election, once at the start of training camp and most recently by cold-calling Dave Zirin, a friend and liberal writer from The Nation, a progressive magazine. And each time, the letters land in the office of Ricardo Pimentel, the editor who coordinates the comments section of the Express-News, San Antonio’s newspaper of record. “It’s a cycle,” says Pimental, with a sigh. “He speaks out. People who disagree with him send us letters to the editor, then people who object to their disagreement write us letters to the editor defending Pop. Then they respond to one another.” The initial reaction, he said, is always stacked against Popovich and many identify themselves as Spurs fans ripping up their tickets or promising to never attend or watch games again. Even if those who made threats actually carried them out, the change in the Spurs’ home attendance is a blip, from 99.2 percent capacity last season to 98.6 so far this season. Popovich, of course, has been big for business since his first full season as coach in 1997-98. Besides the titles, the Spurs have reached the playoffs every season and won 50 games every season (except for the lockout-shortened 50-game 1998-99 campaign, when they won 37). In short, Popovich's Spurs have a track record beyond reproach in the NBA. If the 2017-18 Spurs stay on pace, it’ll be 20 straight winning seasons for Popovich, one more than Phil Jackson for the all-time NBA record. He hasn’t been this politically vocal until lately, due to Trump, yet was always politically aware, say those who know him. Well-versed through his readings and observations, Popovich welcomes discussion with acquaintences about classism, leadership, government and preferably over a bottle of wine. His two-decades exposure to young black men from humble beginnings raised his awareness and sensitivities about race and bias. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr once played for the Spurs and lately has echoed many of the same thoughts as Popovich. But Kerr coaches in the Bay Area, where folks nod their heads in agreement. Kerr said he can only imagine the flak Popovich catches in Texas. “Here’s this iconic coach who stands for everything that’s right and for honor and integrity, he served in the military, you see him stand at attention for the American flag — man, Pop loves his country,” Kerr said. “And in the middle of Texas for him to be questioning the Republican President, some of the people down there are probably confused. Like, 'I don’t get it, we love this guy but he’s on the other side from us.' “What I love about Pop is that it’s not about party, not about politics. It’s about integrity and character and that’s what people need to pay attention to. It’s not about some policy, not about how much we pay in taxes. If we can just get back to the point where character matters, then we’ll be in better shape. The problem is, it’s clear character has gone down the tubes in many leadership positions in our country. That’s what Pop is calling out.” True enough, Popovich never publicly attached himself to a political party; to suggest he is against Republicans might be as misleading as believing Colin Kaepernick is against the military. When he played for Popovich, Kerr couldn’t recall a time when the coach was this annoyed by the country’s leadership. “The country was in a better place in terms of a relatively peaceful time back then,” Kerr said. “Yes, 9-11 happened and the whole world changed. But we didn’t have quite the same partisan nature, not only in politics but the national conversation. And so people could just admire Pop for who he was and people might not have been aware of his political leanings because they didn’t ask. When we won and went to the White House, Pop and the team went when Bush was in office. We went in ’99 when President Clinton was there. Republican, Democrat, didn’t matter. The times are so different now.” Kerr laughed quickly when asked about the semi-serious groundswell of social media support for a Kerr-Popovich ticket in 2020. Kerr said he hopes to be on his fifth NBA title as a coach then, but turned semi-serious about Popovich. “Our country needs somebody like Pop who can actually lead and unite from a position of authority and credibility,” Kerr said. “This guy served in the military, grew up in a melting pot, understands leadership. More than anything, he’ll cut through all the [expletive].” Since going nuclear on Trump, Popovich declined invites from the national political shows (and wouldn’t comment for this story). That proves what friends have maintained all along: Popovich doesn’t want to be anyone’s political hero or pundit. He’d rather speak when the moment calls for it, then be left alone. That last part is tricky, though. Empathy often marks Popovich's way “Can you imagine being Republican on the Spurs? Would you feel welcome? He’s like Berkeley -- for free speech unless you disagree with him. Shut up and coach, Gregg.” -- Shannon Deason  “When it comes to coaching basketball or drinking wine, Popovich has experience. When it comes to our country, his opinion is no better than anyone else’s." -- Harold Siemens, Seguin  “Open letter to the NBA referee who ejected Pop from the Warriors-Spurs game: Don’t feel bad about what Gregg Popovich called you. He called the POTUS worse and got away with it.” -- Larry Peabody Once the wheels touched down, the pilot jokingly announced over the loudspeaker: “Welcome to Gregg Popovich International Airport,” and one particular passenger noticed that nobody on the plane thought it was strange. Sean Elliott always knew how deeply rooted Popovich is with San Antonio. Aside from the famous Spanish missions and the River Walk, the city is known for the only professional sports team in town. And while George Gervin, David Robinson and Tim Duncan have come and gone, the one lingering reminder is a sometimes gruff and scruffy coach, maybe the NBA’s best ever. “He’s one of the pillars of the community,” said Elliott, twice an All-Star with the Spurs. “He’s looked at with great admiration. He is as respected as anyone who has ever lived in or been part of the city. It’s not just because he’s a basketball coach. Pop has been a big part of the community, huge contributor to charitable functions, good leader.” Elliott was a Spurs rookie in 1989 when their relationship began and he saw the start of Popovich’s reach in the region. Popovich then was an assistant coach under Larry Brown and just planting his feet in the NBA. That summer, Elliott and Popovich piled into a van with the team's "Coyote" mascot and conducted basketball clinics in San Marcos, Corpus Christi, Laredo and similar places. They were signing autographs in malls and running kids through drills in 100 degree heat, never hearing a complaint from the coach. Elliott said folks in those small conservative towns loved him. “If you sit and hear him talk about something, you tend to agree with him,” Elliott said. “He’ll put it in a logical way and he’s very thoughtful, well read and super intelligent, maybe the most intelligent person I’ve ever known.” The owner of the Spurs then was Red McCombs, a homespun Texan who made his fortune in car dealerships and media companies. McCombs didn’t give Popovich the coaching job after firing Brown, telling Popovich “you’ve got a chance to be a great coach” if he got more experience, which he did, going to the Warriors to work for Don Nelson. Popovich returned to San Antonio two years later as general manager, then became coach and the rest is history. Now 90, McCombs said: “Popovich has become the distinguished part of the franchise. He wears it well. Can’t say enough about what kind of man he is and what he’s meant to San Antonio. God has blessed us with Gregg Popovich.” McCombs loves to tell how Popovich, by chance, learned that a local family needed a car. The coach wrote a check, gave it to the father and walked away. McCombs said it was “typical Popovich” who has empathy for those with less. McCombs, curiously, has traditionally been one of the biggest Republican bankrollers in the state, who gave to the Trump campaign and is fully aware of what Popovich thinks of his choice for President. And so one of the most powerful men in Central Texas, who leans politically to the color of his nickname, had a strong reaction to that. “He’s earned the right to give his comments about citizenship or Trump or anything else,” said McCombs, voice rising. “Yes, he made some statements that others might disagree with. But I’ll tell you this: Popovich would be elected to anything he wants to in San Antonio.” Remaining silent never an option “Our country is not an embarrassment to the world. I will tell you what an embarrassment is. It is an American citizen who got a free education from the great Air Force Academy ... and then has the audacity to say that the greatest nation in the world is an embarrassment because the President rightly demands that Americans stand for the anthem. Popovich should be ashamed of himself.” -- Nick DeLouis, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Nowhere on God’s green Earth do they have the right to disrespect our flag and the men and women who died to keep us free. I’m appalled that you stooped so low to join in that disrespect. Shame on you!” -- Fred Martin, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Coach Pop has squashed my love and enthusiasm for the team. A national treasure, he is not. Coach Pop has a voice, but not my voice." -- Jo Ivan A few years ago Popovich was in New York with his daughter to catch a Broadway play when the coach had a last minute change in strategy. He learned that John Carlos was giving a lecture at New York University that night. So Popovich told his daughter to take one of her friends instead; said he was going to see “Dr. Carlos” speak. “When he came in I was surprised and delighted,” Carlos said recently. “Quite naturally, everyone knew who he was but he just wanted to sit and listen.” A year later, in 2015, Popovich flew Carlos to San Antonio to address the team and Carlos admitted to being star struck around Tim Duncan and others. Yet Carlos was most curious about Popovich and why the coach took a strong interest in an Olympic sprinter who raised a fist on the victory stand in 1968, which is frozen as an iconic civil rights moment. “Being with the Spurs gave me an opportunity to check his character out,” Carlos said. “I knew he was a whiz at putting players together to bring out their best ability. But through my conversations with him it became apparent that he was a social activist himself at one point in his life. He was teaching his players about activism and to be concerned about their fellow man and what was going on around their lives, not just basketball. “I was impressed. He just wanted them to know they had a larger role than just playing basketball in the society in which they live.” Carlos, therefore, was not surprised to see Popovich defend the rights of kneeling black football players who came under attack from Trump. On the first day of training camp in September, Popovich said: “Obviously race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly it is not going to get better.” What followed was another swirl of exchanges between Popovich critics and supporters in San Antonio, and Popovich acknowledged receiving mail from both sides. The anti-Pop mail, though, was jarring to Carlos, given the coach’s work in town. “When people write and lambast him for taking leaders to task for what they’re doing to society, that’s like water rolling off a duck’s back, man,” Carlos said. “When they write negative things about him, it encourages him to keep doing what he’s doing. Those people are the problem. Go ahead and throw stones and it just motivates him to do his job. “Look, I’m a black man who spoke out. Imagine what they think of him as a white man who speaks just as strong, to try and get people to see things in a better light? They throw stones at him even more, like, 'Hey you’re white, you have a great life. Keep your mouth shut.’ Well, God points people in certain directions. We know who we are. We do what we do.” And what Popovich does is enlist the help of giants in the social justice world and bring them into his world. He did that with Cornel West, the Harvard professor and civil rights activist, last fall. Popovich invited West to San Antonio to speak at an East Side community center with a few hundred mostly black and Latino students and their parents. Done without TV cameras or media invitation, the discussion was about the importance of education, the imperfect world, self respect and how to help communities. This was an audience that, presumably and unanimously, connected with a white man who didn’t live among them, but was with them. They were the people Popovich had in mind when he attacked present leadership. This was not the audience that writes to the Spurs and the Express-News asking him to take a vow of silence, though he is aware of them, too. “Some responses make you wonder what country you live in,” Popovich said, “and other responses make you very hopeful … overall, it renews my feeling that something must be done because there is enough people willing to listen.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or 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 NewsJan 5th, 2018

If you don’t get the win it’s nothing -- Teng on 28-point career night

Jeron Teng had another stellar performance for the Alaska Aces. But just like in his explosive debut, victory remained elusive for the former De La Salle University King Archer. Teng had a monster game, punching in his first double-double in the pros but the Aces fell prey to a hot-shooting Talk ‘N Text KaTropa, 98-106, Friday in the 43rd PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome. Alaska ended the year with two straight losses in as many outings in the season-opening conference. “Siyempre no matter how good your game is if you don’t get the win it’s nothing,” said the fifth overall pick in the 2017 PBA rookie draft, who saw his game-high and personal best 28 points in an efficient 10-of-18 shooting percentage, 10 boards, five assist, four steals and a block go down the drain. Teng debuted with 16 points in a 95-108 loss to Magnolia a week ago.  He was a starter in both games.  “But we’re staying positive,” said Teng, who has yet to commit a turnover in his PBA career. “I think we showed some good stuff in this game and from there we’ll work our way for next year,” he added. “We just have to learn from our two games then we’re looking forward for a better year next year.” Teng got his game going early, scoring 11 points in the first half. He tried to keep Alaska on the game but all his efforts including treys late in the game came into naught, as TNT was able to answer each time. But despite the losses, Teng’s performance is a testament of his seemingly seamless transition from the collegiate and amateur stage to the pros.    “Siyempre as a player I really tried to develop as much as I can. Work on my weaknesses and be the best player that I can be,” said Teng. “Goal ko lang naman dito sa PBA is to help Alaska win eh. Kahit wala sa stats, ‘yung mga hustle plays or anything that will help the team win ‘yun ang goal ko talaga,” he added. “Alam naman natin na this was a bad year for Alaska and we’re optimistic that we’ll get better next year.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

Cruz fills in for Devance in Ginebra win over Magnolia

BOCAUE --- With Joe Devance out for the season, much of the limelight was casted on upstart forwards Kevin Ferrer and Aljon Mariano to cover the cracks. But on Monday, with Ginebra making its debut in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup, it was the veteran Jervy Cruz, who filled in for Devance. Cruz stepped up and helped the Gin Kings come away with a 89-78 victory at the expense of the Magnolia Hotshots on Christmas Day at Philippine Arena. READ: Ginebra slips past Magnolia anew in Christmas Clasico "I'm always ready," the 31-year-old Cruz said of his solid 12-point, 8-rebound performance on Monday. "Once I'm given the chance to play, I'll always give my all to help the team. Th...Keep on reading: Cruz fills in for Devance in Ginebra win over Magnolia.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 26th, 2017