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James Harden happy to see the likes of Kai Sotto aspire to make it to the NBA

Houston Rockets star James Harden is more than delighted to see international talents aspire to one day reach the NBA as well.  The seven-time All-Star is currently in the Philippines for the adidas Free to Harden Manila 2019 tour, and was able field some questions from the media, Wednesday morning.  One of the questions that Harden was asked was what he thought of young basketball players like our very own Kai Sotto working hard to make it into the league, and what they needed to do to actually realize their dream.  The 7-foot-2 Sotto, who is currently with Gilas Youth for the FIBA U-19 World Championship in Greece, trained in the United States with the intention of pursuing an NBA career in the near future. "Amazing, not just Filipino, but international players, there’s so many international players who are making it into the NBA, it’s great," Harden said during the media interviews. "We’re taking the NBA not just for the US, but worldwide, and it gives kids, not just Filipino, not just in China, all over the world the confidence like ‘Look at my Filipino buddy who made it into the NBA. Look at my Chinese buddy who made it into the NBA. I have the confidence, I have the chance and the opportunity to make it. If I work hard, if I focus, if I keep my head right in school and stay in the gym, I can make it to the NBA too!’ so globally, the game of basketball is at another level." With Harden's steady rise to superstardom all over the world, more and more young hoopers have grown to appreciate Harden's unique style of play. All over the globe, more and more kids have started practicing the stepback jumper or the EuroStep in traffic after seeing Harden execute those moves to perfection.  Harden admits to having also learned those moves from ones who came before him, and hopes to see the next generation of hoops stars also take those moves or create their own moves and make them even better.  "Honestly, it feels great. Those moves, I learned them from someone. I watched Dwyane Wade, Manu [Ginobili], as far as the EuroStep, Paul Pierce had a crazy stepback, so I watched those guys and I learned, and I just studied and I tried to figure out ways to do those moves and be better at them, take those moves to another level, that’s what I’ve done, especially for the stepback."  "Hopefully, these kids, they’re studying and watching the game of basketball and they’re finding was to be better and hopefully they’ll take those moves or create different moves and take their basketball game to another level," he added.  Speaking of confidence, "The Beard" touched on seeing kids having confidence in their game as somewhat a motivating factor. He shared a story of a kid that he met in his most recent trip China that showed an impressive level of confidence at such a young age.  "Back when I was in China, I seen this little kid, who was maybe 7 years old, and he could shoot the ball and he had so much confidence. He hit a couple of shots in a row in front of like 5,000 people in an arena, and I was like ‘You know what, let’s see you make another shot, you can have my shoes.’ and he was like ‘Alright!’, and just shot it with so much confidence, and when he made it, it was like he knew he was going to make it already." "That’s what I love to see, that motivates me to continue to go out there and do it at a high level because you got kids that really follow and pay attention to what you’re doing and your every move, so that keeps me going," Harden continued. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports3 hr. 13 min. ago Related News

Blue Eagles flying to Greece, Singapore, Australia for UAAP 82 preps

With the 2019 PBA D-League championship all wrapped up and headed to Katipunan, Ateneo de Manila University can now set its sights on its title defense for the upcoming UAAP 82.  For that, the Blue Eagles will finally get to leave their nest and get themselves some overseas training. "We're leaving next week and we'll have a training camp in Greece. That'll be pretty brutal to be honest," head coach Tab Baldwin told reporters not even half an hour after they hoisted their trophy in the developmental league, Tuesday at Ynares Center in Pasig.  He then continued, "Then we'll go to Singapore and play against the Singaproe national team before heading down to Australia. We have a few games in Perth and also in Melbourne."  This is the second year in a row that Ateneo will be flying to Greece in preparation for its title defense. Obviously, the last time they did so worked wonders as they won back-to-back championships.  More than that, though, it's the bond between his boys that coach Tab wants to see get better. As he put it, "It's a great experience, I think, for the boys to understand the difficulties that long tours represent. They got to be away from home and get to bond together as a team."  He then continued, "That's where we learn to help each other through everything that we face. And you know, that's a lot when you go on tour."  Along with that, the overseas training will also be the ideal time for the Blue Eagles' coaching staff to see who are more than capable to fill out the rest of their roster – as two spots were vacated by graduated Anton Asistio and Aaron Black who is now starring in the MPBL and two more may be left open by Raffy Verano and Jolo Mendoza who are both dealing with academic deficiencies.  With that in mind, the two-time collegiate champion coach mentioned former NCAA Jrs. MVP Troy Mallillin, former UAAP Jrs. Champion Jason Credo, and Filipino-Kiwi forward Patrick Maagdenberg as Team B players who will be going along to Greece, Singapore, and Australia.  Coach Tab also said that new recruits Dwight and Eli Ramos will also be joining them there. Dwight had been a 23 for 23 Gilas Pilipinas cadet, but will still have to undergo one year of residency while Eli, who most recently opened eyes with FilAm Sport USA in the 2019 NBTC, will be good to go right away.  Still, no roster spot is assured as Ateneo gets down and dirty in preparation for another title defense. "We've had to expand the pool a little bit so we'll take those guys overseas. There, we'll let them fight it out," their brilliant tactician said.  ---  Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports15 hr. 39 min. ago Related News

NEXT IN LINE? Yeng Guiao sees Kiefer Ravena as a successor to elite Filipino point guards

The Philippine Men’s National Basketball Program has seen a number of elite playmakers during its time, and in recent memory and in recent memory, the likes of Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro are top of mind. Alapag helped lead the Philippines to their first FIBA World Cup berth in 2014, and starred in a number of big-time moments for the tri-colors Like Alapag, Castro has also excelled in international play and is widely regarded as Asia’s Best Point Guard. But as the Philippines gears up for another FIBA World Cup appearance this year, the program has seemingly lost the services of their chief playmaker, with Castro begging off from National Team duty to focus on his family. With the 2019 FIBA World Cup just around the corner, Gilas is now searching for their next floor general, and while Castro and his presence is undeniably irreplaceable, head coach Yeng Guiao believes that there is enough new blood that can help fill the void. “Wide open yan talaga, they have to earn that spot,” Guiao told ABS-CBN Sports, referring to Gilas' starting point guard spot.  While there is indeed a talented crop of point guards in the Philippines, Guiao has pinpointed Kiefer Ravena as a strong candidate, but maintains that it is still something that he needs to earn. “Although of course, Kiefer is a high likelihood that he’s going to be in the regular team, earning the number one spot is a different case. He has to fight it out with Paul, with Mark Barocca, even with the new guys, hindi natin alam kung ano ipapakita niyan.” Ravena rejoined National Team practice Monday evening after sitting out for nearly a year and a half due to a FIBA-imposed suspension. The suspension will be lifted on August 24th, a week before the start of the FIBA tournament. Guiao is confident that Ravena and the other Gilas hopefuls can step into the role that Castro has given up. “Tapos na ng suspension niya by August 24 eh, so ang calculation ko is yung spot ni Jayson, as much as we will miss him, as much as he has contributed a lot to the cause of the National Team, these are able guys, Kiefer particularly, who will show their true worth in the absence of Jayson. Kahit na malaki yung void na naiwan, I think these young guards coming in, especially Kiefer, are going to be able to fill it out.” The veteran mentor even believes that Ravena has what it takes to follow in the footsteps of other elite Filipino point guards such as Alapag, Castro and the ones that have come before. “For sure. I have no doubt, he is going to be the successor to those guys.” “Number one, he is smart. He has a very high basketball IQ. Number two, he has leadership qualities, yung nakikinig sa kanya yung mga kasama niya, as young as he is, he is relatively young, nakikinig sa kanya pati yung mga beterano. Number three, he has the physical tools,” Guiao explained. “I would have wanted him to be two or three inches taller, pero kahit na hindi, I think he has the tools to play that position as well, and I think he is as big or a littler taller than Jayson, so wala tayong problema sa physical tools niya.“ Apart from missing Ravena’s services in the National Team, Guiao has also missed the former UAAP champion and MVP’s services in the professional ranks with the NLEX Road Warriors. Having Ravena back on the floor, even just for practice for now, Guiao says, is definitely a welcome sight. “I saw him play, this is what we’re missing in NLEX. This is what we’re missing in the National Team. He could have played side-by-side with Jayson actually kung available siya. Nung nakita ko siya now, after not playing for one-and-a-half years, and he’s still this good, can you imagine kung naka-laro lang siya? Gumaling pa sana siya.” Ravena will be back with NLEX for the PBA's third conference, the Governor's Cup later this year. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 25th, 2019Related News

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

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

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 25th, 2019Related News

Kiefer Ravena back at Gilas practice after long layoff

MANILA, PhilippinesKiefer Ravena is back after being out for over a year. Ravena on Monday made his first basketball appearance since May 2018 after being suspended by FIBA for unknowingly taking a pr.....»»

Source: Philippinetimes PhilippinetimesCategory: NewsJun 25th, 2019Related News

Ravena, Perez, Bolick boost Gilas Pilipinas practice

MANILA, PhilippinesYoungbloods CJ Perez and Robert Bolick as well as Stanley Pringle joined Gilas Pilipinas practice on Monday at Meralco Gym in Pasig. Perez and Bolick are the only PBA rookies part o.....»»

Source: Manilanews ManilanewsCategory: NewsJun 25th, 2019Related News

Scottie begs off from Gilas, says Guiao

MANILA, Philippines – Scottie Thompson will not be donning the national colors in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao revealed Thompson has begged off from the national team, with the do-it-all guard citing he wants to hone his craft first before he plays for ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJun 25th, 2019Related News

Guiao taps young guns

Gilas Pilipinas men’s basketball coach Yeng Guiao has called in the youth brigade, led by Kiefer Ravena, the top prospect to replace Jayson Castro, to beef up the FIBA World Cup-bound nationals......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsJun 24th, 2019Related News

Gilas U19 shows might against Qatari club

win towers Kai Sotto and AJ Edu flaunted their might after lifting Gilas Pilipinas youth into an easy 79-54 win over Qatari club Al Rayyan in a tune-up match over the weekend in Doha......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsJun 24th, 2019Related News

Kiefer Ravena’s return highlights Gilas’ ‘best practice so far’

The Philippine Men’s Senior National Basketball team continued their preparations for the upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup in China this August with another training session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas. While the highlight of the scrimmage was the return of playmaker Kiefer Ravena, who has been serving an 18-month suspension handed down by FIBA back in 2018, another positive was the number of players who participated in the practice. A total of 13 players were present in practice, and National Team head coach Yeng Guiao was happy to see enough bodies to be able to hold a proper 5-on-5 run. “We had enough people to go 5-on-5, this is our first complete actually, it’s our best practice so far,” Guiao told the media during a post-practice scrum. National Team vets such as Paul Lee, RR Pogoy, Marcio Lassiter, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Poy Erram, and Mark Barroca were on hand to participate in the drills and the 5-on-5 scrimmage, while Raymond Almazan was also in attendance but did not join the practice proper. Apart from Ravena, other new faces for this training camp included PBA rookies Robert Bolick and CJ Perez, and Guiao was delighted to see them come out. “We’re very very appreciative of the guys who came in, si CJ atsaka si Robert, and of course, Kiefer,” the long-time mentor said. “For the first time, he’s able to practice and witness kayo, for the first time after more than one year and six months. Siguro part of the excitement why we had a really good practice today, we’re just excited to play with each other.” Guiao explained that Bolick and Perez, former NCAA stars, were invited because of their initiative to try their luck with the National Team pool. “Actually, in the case of Robert and CJ, sila yung nag-initiate na makapag-practice sila, that’s why we invited them, so nagparamdam sila na gusto nilang mag-try ng luck nila to be in the to be in the pool.” As for Ravena, Guiao was pleased to see that his NLEX playmaker was in tip-top shape, even after the time off. “Si Kiefer, nakakausap ko naman yun, so he’s really excited to be part of the National Team, at least pool, although sabi ko naman his chances of making it are really good,” Guiao stated. “You saw him in practice today, it’s just like he did not miss the last, or he was not suspended, for the last one and a half years. His sharpness is there, his stamina is there, he does not look like he’s heavy, that’s his natural body, so things are looking good at this point.” Guiao also expressed his appreciation for Stanley Pringle, who joined the practice. Pringle and the Gin Kings took on Guiao’s NLEX Road Warriors in Batangas the night before Gilas practice. “Si Stanley, again, he’s one of the guys that volunteered himself, just in case we need an extra body. Galing yan sa Batangas, kalaban namin kahapon, so he’s just offering his services just so we have people who can play roles in practices so mas maganda yung practice natin.” Being designated as a naturalized citizen by FIBA, The newly-acquired Ginebra Gin King is unlikely to crack the lineup with big man Andray Blatche expected to suit up for the National Team. Guiao is, however, looking to add Pringle to the training pool for their training camp in Spain this August. “I’m also thinking of bringing Stanley to Spain, if Ginebra is not playing in the Finals, kasi may dalawang team na maglalaro ng Finals, siguradong may member ng National Team, so when we go to Spain, we can only take the players of the ten teams that are not involved, so may mawawala talaga, so kailangan pag-isipan kung sino ang isasama.” The 2019 FIBA World Cup kicks off on August 31st in China, with the Philippines joining Angola, Italy, and Serbia in Group D. Guiao hopes to be able to release a final lineup by next month. “Pag-dating ni Blatche, I think July 8, siguro by July 15 mayroon nang final lineup.”.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 24th, 2019Related News

Kiefer Ravena marks basketball return by joining Gilas practice

MANILA, Philippines – Kiefer Ravena returned to basketball for the first time in more than a year as he nears the end of his FIBA-imposed suspension. The 25-year-old guard joined Gilas Pilipinas in its buildup for the 2019 FIBA World Cup at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City on ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJun 24th, 2019Related News

Bolick, Perez new additions to Gilas pool for FIBA World Cup

  BATANGAS CITY, Philippines – Aside from Kiefer Ravena, Robert Bolick and CJ Perez have been tapped by Gilas Pilipinas to join the pool for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.  National team head coach Yeng Guiao bared the development on Sunday, June 23, noting that it's part of their plan to ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJun 24th, 2019Related News

Kiefer most logical choice to take Castro spot for Gilas, says Guiao

BATANGAS CITY, Philippines – Yeng Guiao counts on Kiefer Ravena to take over the point guard reins from Jayson Castro for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.  Castro will not be donning the national colors in the global hoops showdown to focus on his family , and Guiao expects ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJun 24th, 2019Related News

Kiefer starts practice with Gilas today

Ravena will take part in Gilas Pilipinas’ preparation for the FIBA World Cup at the Meralco Gym where he’ll be able to train without any limitations before his lengthy ban ends on Aug. 24......»»

Source: Tempo TempoCategory: NewsJun 23rd, 2019Related News

Robert Bolick joins Gilas pool

NorthPort rookie Robert Bolick’s solid performances for the Batang Pier has earned him an invite to join the Gilas Pilipinas pool gearing up for the FIBA World Cup......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsJun 23rd, 2019Related News

Bullpups claim yet another title in 2019 after clean sweep of Filoil Preseason

Even without its "Big Three," Nazareth School of National University still had more than enough to add yet another championship to its mantle, taming San Beda High School, 76-69, Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre. Harold Alarcon waxed hot with 17 points to go along with three assists, two steals, and two rebounds while Tournament MVP Kevin Quiambao wound up with a 15-point, 15-rebound double-double. Those two were the engine and the fuel that allowed the Bullpups to overcome the absence of Gerry Abadiano, Terrence Fortea, and Carl Tamayo who are now in Qatar for a tour of duty with Gilas Youth. Nat Tulabut, a transferee from Lyceum of the Philippines University, also added 14 points while second-generation ballers Echo Laure and Kenji Duremdes chimed in four points and two steals, respectively. This is just latest championship for NU which had already won titles in the UAAP Juniors, NBTC Nationals, and Palarong Pambansa in the earlier part of the year. For the Red Cubs, Troy Valencia and Justine Sanchez showed the way as the former finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, and three steals while the latter ended with 12 markers, 15 boards, and two pilfers. They were without versatile forward Rhayyan Amsali who also is with Gilas Youth. Meanwhile, LPU sailed to the bronze medal after dispatching University of Perpetual Help, 79-78. This is the Junior Pirates' best finish yet and adds to the honors their top guns received as John Barba and Mac Guadana were named to the Mythical Team alongside NU's Quiambao and Tamayo and San Beda's Sanchez. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 23rd, 2019Related News

Kiefer Ravena tougher, wiser heading to basketball return

MANILA, Philippines – Kiefer Ravena said he has come out from his FIBA-imposed suspension a better person and athlete as he nears his basketball comeback.  Ravena, who has not played in the PBA and for Gilas Pilipinas since May 2018, will return to practice on Monday, June 24 – ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJun 22nd, 2019Related News

Has Gilas seen last of Jayson Castro?

Jayson Castro asked for understanding as he decided to hang up his Gilas Pilipinas jersey......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsJun 22nd, 2019Related News

Gilas U19 Squad Needs Not Only Height but Team Play

While touted as the tallest Philippine Youth squad ever assembled, people behind the Gilas Pilipinas U19 team was quick to temper expectations about its coming campaign in the FIBA U19 World Cup in Heraklion, Greece. Team manager Andrew Teh did stress height will be among the team’s major edge heading to the June 29 to […].....»»

Source: Metrocebu MetrocebuCategory: NewsJun 22nd, 2019Related News

Batang Gilas, dumating na sa Doha para sa exhibition game

Manila, Philippines – Dumating na sa Doha, Qatar ngayong Sabado, Hunyo 22, ang batang Gilas para sa kanilang training bago sumabak sa 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup. Ang Batang Gilas ay nakatakdang maglaro sa exhibition game laban sa dalawang kupunan sa Qatar upang mas mapalakas ang kanilang depensa at makapaghanda sa World Cup. Sa Facebook […] The post Batang Gilas, dumating na sa Doha para sa exhibition game appeared first on REMATE ONLINE......»»

Source: Remate RemateCategory: NewsJun 22nd, 2019Related News