Almazan& rsquo;s inclusion to Bolts& rsquo; roster excites Black

Almazan& rsquo;s inclusion to Bolts& rsquo; roster excites Black.....»»

Category: sportsSource: thestandard thestandardMay 15th, 2019

PBA Finals: Embarrassed Bolts need self reflection before do-or-die Game 5

Key Meralco figures are not messing around when it comes to describing the team’s Game 4 loss to Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. Trailing by as many as 27 points before losing by 22 and now trailing the best-of-7 series, 1-3, it was an embarrassing performance for the Bolts. Pretty much everything that could go wrong went wrong for Meralco. “For me, it's an embarrassment to the PBA that we came out and didn't give them a better fight. We got beat very, very badly for the second game in a row in the hustle stats, and we just have to do a much better job to represent the company and represent the league,” head coach Norman Black said. “With the effort we displayed tonight, we didn't deserve to win this game,” he added. Now three-time Best Import Allen Durham echoed his coach’s sentiments, saying the team would need some self-reflection before Game 5 to try and salvage this series. The Bolts certainly picked the worst time to play their worst game this conference. “Everybody has to look in the mirror. Everybody. Tonight, everybody on the roster played like sh*t, we gotta get better,” Durham said. “Tonight was terrible, it’s embarrassing,” he added. With a day in between games, the Bolts are officially on the clock. The team’s adjustments will be a lot, but it starts with defense for Meralco. Defense wins championships and defense can and will extend this series. “If you ever analyze basketball, you can't focus on little things if you can't solve big things. In other words, we can't get back on defense. It's hard to focus on pick-and-roll defense and post defense when you just can't get back on defense. It's something we have not struggled with this entire conference, but we're struggling with it right now in the last couple of games,” coach Norman said. “We just have to do a better job on transition defense, half-court defense. If we don't score, I'm not really too concerned about that because if you play good defense, then you'll probably end up scoring. Good defense normally leads to scoring. I just wanna see more effort,” Black added. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2020

PBA Finals: Meralco hopes for the best as Almazan injures knee during Game 3

After their Game 3 loss, the Meralco Bolts are now down 1-2 to Ginebra in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. To make matters worse, the Bolts could be without top center Raymond Almazan for Game 4 and perhaps the rest of the series. Almazan made his exit halfway through the opening period Sunday after hurting his knee. He was out of the Big Dome by halftime. The initial word is that he has a strained knee and is set to undergo further tests to determine the severity of his injury. “When I talked to him at halftime of the game, he couldn't move his leg. And being a former player myself, that's never a good sign,” Meralco head coach Norman Black said of Almazan. “I'll try to be as positive as possible, and hopefully he'll be okay, but from being a player myself, having a swollen knee in the middle of a championship series is not something you can just bounce back from that easily,” he added. As they hold their breath regarding Almazan’s condition, the Bolts will also try to figure out how to make do if Raymond can’t go. Almazan was seen as Meralco’s biggest missing piece and if he’s not healthy enough to play, that’s a big hole in the middle for the Bolts. “Our biggest concern, obviously, is the fact that when Raymond's not around, you saw what happened with Japeth, right? He pretty much ran wild out there on the court. So what he has done this conference is giving us an opportunity to match up with the big men of the other teams,” Black said. “And without him, we almost got a little bit of a hole in the middle. So we just have to try to find a way to camouflage or at least try to fix it,” coach Norman added. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2020

PBA Finals: Almazan would rather win as big Game 1 performance ends in loss

Many are looking at Raymond Almazan as the missing piece to Meralco’s championship puzzle. Following Game 1 of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals against Barangay Ginebra, Almazan showed that he can be just that for the Bolts. Despite Meralco taking a close 87-91 loss, Almazan balled out in his Finals debut for the Bolts. Almazan anchored the middle for Meralco and finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Raymond would rather take the win though. “To be honest, kahit maganda yung laro ko, talo naman kami, parang wala din eh,” he said. “So di ko na iniisip kung magandang laro ko or what eh basta manalo kami. Yun naman ang main goal eh. So sana madala ko ulit next game, yun lang. Sana yung rhythm and then yung confidence ko ganun pa din,” Almazan added. The only player in the Meralco roster with a title, Almazan looks to rally his teammates forward starting with Game 2 Friday. Winning Game 1 would have been nice but losing it is not exactly the end of the world. There’s plenty of these Finals left. “Breaks of the game eh, and then Game 1 pa lang naman eh,” Almazan said. “This is a long series siguro. Titingnan namin yung mga maling ginawa namin sa game, then sa Game 2 na lang,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2020

PBA Finals: “Stronger” Meralco ready to challenge Ginebra anew

With another Ginebra-Meralco Finals in the PBA Governors’ Cup set, everyone has pretty much reminded the Bolts that they already lost two titles to the Gin Kings. In the team’s first-ever Finals in 2016, the Bolts lost in six games after “The Shot” from Justin Brownlee. One year later, Meralco lost again but this time, in front of a record Game 7 crowd and the Philippine Arena. The Bolts are well aware of their history with the Gin Kings and they’ve had enough. Meralco wants a title bad as both teams engage in a Finals trilogy starting next week. “While we do recognize that we lost to Ginebra twice — and we've been reminded of that over and over again — we're hoping it would be a different result this time around,” head coach Norman Black said. “We have a different team,” he added. Meralco still has key pieces from the previous Finals like two-time Best Import Allen Durham, Chris Newsome, and Baser Amer. However, the Bolts have now also added players like Raymond Almazan, Allein Maliksi, and rookie Bong Quinto. Whether those additions lead to a title remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Meralco is a much better team now compared to 2016 and 2017. “We're probably more balanced this team, a little bit stronger,” Coach Norman said. “We know we're up against tough competition. The Ginebra team is not only talented, they're big and they're well-coached. But at the same time, I think we're up for the challenge and we'll be ready to go in the first game,” he added. Game 1 of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals tips off Tuesday live from the Big Dome.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2020

PBA: Bolts equalize in blowout win

Meralco never lifted its foot from the gas pedal as the Bolts tied the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-five semifinals to 1-1  after an emphatic, 114-94, win over TNT in Game 2 on Tuesday at the Big Dome. Allen Durham dropped a triple-double of 44 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Bolts. He shot 15-of-26 from the field and missed only one of his 11 foul shots for an explosive outing as Meralco spoiled KJ McDaniels' 51-point outing.    A big 16-0 run was all that Meralco needed to turn 2-3 deficit into a huge cushion to cruise to an easy victory. “We displayed much better effort tonight, right from the start of the game. We had more focus, more energy. We played a lot more physical than we did in Game One, and we executed well on offense, particularly in the first half,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “Those are the things that we have to do to beat TNT because they're a tough team and they're very difficult to beat,” he added. “It's not over, it's only the second game, but we needed to win this game to tie the series up because we knew if we went down 2-0, it would be very tough to come back from that.” The Bolts, who bowed down, 94-103, in the series opener Sunday, built a 60-25 separation with 1:27 left in in the second period off a pair of charities by Raymond Almazan.   The pivotal Game 3 is on Thursday. McDaniels was the lone bright spot for KaTropa, who had a quiet night from veteran Jason Castro and Troy Rosario. Castro had seven points while Rosario got nine points before fouling out midway in the payoff period. Ray Parks got 12 points and eight rebounds.   Box scores: Meralco (114) -- Durham 44, Amer 20, Quinto 12, Newsome 11, Almazan 9, Maliksi 8, Caram 4, Faundo 3, Hugnatan 3, Jackson 0, Hodge 0, Salva 0, Pinto 0. TNT (94) -- McDaniels 51, Parks 12, Rosario 9, Castro 7, Digregorio 6, Vosotros 5, Semerad 2, Williams 2, Pogoy 0, De Leon 0, Reyes 0, Taha 0. Quarters: 35-16, 63-29, 89-66, 114-94.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 17th, 2019

PBA: Bolts snatch first semis seat

Meralco survived Alaska’s second half fightback as the Bolts held on for a 94-84 victory Sunday to advance to the semifinals of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome.     No. 2 seed Meralco didn’t need its twice-to-beat quarterfinals advantage to dispose of the Aces. Meralco will face the survivor between twice-to-beat TNT and Magnolia in the other quarters pairing. Allen Durham flirted with a triple-double, scoring 28 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and dishing out eight assists for his fourth straight semis stint for Meralco. “It was a really tough game. A lot of credit has to go to Alaska tonight,” said Bolts head coach Norman Black. "There were times where I thought we had control of the game, but that didn't seem to be the case because Alaska fought back and they gave us a scare in the end." Allein Maliksi iced the game with back-to-back baskets to push the Bolts’ lead, 92-81, with just 62 ticks left in the ballgame to break the backs of the Aces, who cut its deficit to five with just five minutes left in the payoff period.    JVee Casio put the Aces within five, 77-82, off banked shot floater with 5:25 left in the game.   Maliksi had 23 markers off 7-of-11 field goal shooting including four triples while Chris Newsome had 17 points for Meralco.    Trailing by 22 in the first half, the Aces poured a 25-12 blast to breathe down the necks of the Bolts, 58-61, capped by a Simon Enciso trey with 3:21 left in the third canto.   Meralco bolted to a 13-0 start as the Bolts capitalized on Alaska’s four-minute dry spell to create a comfortable cushion. Durham pushed Meralco’s lead to 22 points, 49-27, with 2:57 left before heading to halftime ahead, 49-33. Casio led Alaska with 20 points,  Enciso had 11 while Frank House  was quiet with only 11 points in 5-of-11 field goal shooting and nine rebounds.     Box scores:  Meralco (94) --- Durham 28, Maliksi 23, Newsome 17, Almazan 8, Amer 6, Faundo 4, Caram 4, Quinto 2, Hodge 2, Pinto 0.  Alaska (84) --- Casio 20, Enciso 16, House 11, Manuel 9, Tratter 7, Herndon 5, Ayaay 5, Thoss 4, Ahanmisi 4, Racal 3, Galliguez 0, Brondial 0. Quarterfinals: 29-12, 49-34, 73-63, 94-84.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 24th, 2019

PBA: Hopefully nothing serious naman – Almazan on injury

Raymond Almazan hopes that there's nothing serious after hurting his left leg in the fourth quarter of the Meralco’s semifinals-clinching win over Alaska on Sunday in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals at the Big Dome. The big man went down in pain following a dunk in the Bolts’ 94-84 victory. “I'm always worried when it's affecting the calf. That's a very delicate part of your leg, a lot of tissue involved, so it's easy to pull muscles there,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “We just have to check and find out what his problem is, and hopefully, it's not that serious.” Almazan is scheduled for a medical check on Monday. “Hopefully nothing serious naman. Papa-checkup ako tomorrow,” he said. Almazan scored on a jam to put Meralco up, 84-77, with 4:59 left. He felt his calf muscle tighten as he landed.    “Kasi may previous injury ako na calf eh, so alam ko na 'yung pakiramdam,” he said. “Parang papunta siya dun kanina, kaya hind ko siya nilakad. Dun na tayo sa safety tayo. Sa Monday sana maganda 'yung result.” Almazan was helped out of the court but seemed fine after the game, walking without help. He had eight points. “Di naman ganun kasakit. Talagang takot lang ako talaga ma-injury ng calf kasi tagal iyan eh, tapos semis kami,” said Almazan. “Tagal ko nang 'di nakapag-semis eh. Alam kong kailangan ako ng team kaya nila ako kinuha. We have three days off so sana maka-recover.” Meralco will take on the winner between TNT and Magnolia in the best-of-five semis next month as the league takes on a break in deference to the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 24th, 2019

PBA: Caram’s career game earns him Player of the Week

Anjo Caram’s career game in the PBA couldn’t have come at a better time for Meralco. The wily guard came through with a career-high 30 points in the Bolts’ 103-89 win over NorthPort Batang Pier that solidified their bid to finish as the no. 1 seeded team heading to the playoffs of the Governors Cup. Coach Norman Black described Caram’s performance as ‘awesome’ after going 11-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range. He scored 16 points in the fourth quarter alone to match his previous career-best of 16. “He really gave us a big lift and pretty much guided us to the victory,” said Black of his prized-guard out of San Beda. “So I gave him a lot of credit for leading the team. He knew going to the game that Baser (Amer) was not 100 percent and Anjo came and really stepped up and made big shots for us.” Not to be denied, Caram emerged as the PBA Press Corps-Cignal Player of the Week for the period (Nov. 4-10). The 28-year-old pride of Iloilo City did the feat by becoming the shortest PBA player at 5-foot-6 to score 30 points in a game as per league chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III. Caram’s offensive explosion helped the Bolts keep their winning streak at five and improved at 8-2 overall for a tie with NLEX on top of the standings with a week to go before the end of the eliminations. The Meralco guard won the weekly citation over NLEX’s Jericho Cruz, who also received a vote for scoring the game-winning basket as the Road Warriors rallied from 26-points down to nip defending champion Magnolia, 86-85. Other players considered for the honor were Caram’s Meralco teammates Raymond Almazan and Chris Newsome, Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra, Rain or Shine’s Javee Mocon, JR Quinahan of NLEX, the San Miguel Beer duo of June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos, along with Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang and Paul Lee......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 14th, 2019

PBA: Healthy Almazan a big blessing for Meralco

Raymond Almazan solves a lot of Meralco’s problems and with him finally healthy in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup, the Bolts are getting major return of investment from their big mid-season acquisition. In the win against Columbian Friday, Almazan was a beast with 18 points anda career-high 24 rebounds. Meralco is 7-2 for the conference with an inside track for a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals. “He’s been a blessing, there’s no doubt about that,” head coach Norman Black said of Almazan. “We got him in the second conference and we received him with an injury already. Took him a little while to recover from that injury. Now he's healthy and he knows the system already, and he's quite comfortable with his teammates. He's been doing a great job for us manning the paint,” he added. Almazan’s impact has been highlighted alongside import Allen Durham. Meralco has been a contender in the PBA everytime Durham is in town. And with Almazan, the Bolts have opened things up more for their two-time Best Import to dominate. “He [Almazan] makes a big difference as far as Allen Durham’s game in concerned,” Coach Norman said. “He [Raymond] takes a lot of pressure inside the paint,” Black added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 9th, 2019

PBA: Almazan plays clutch as Meralco downs Magnolia

Raymond Almazan delivered at crunch time to tow Meralco to a 98-92 win over reigning champion Magnolia on Saturday in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome. The Bolts forward played the hero’s role in the last two and a half minutes of the ballgame, sinking the go-ahead triple and pouring 12 of his 19 points in the fourth period. Almazan broke a 92-92 deadlock with a trey with 2:27 remaining and added a split from the foul line to spark Meralco’s closing 6-0 run.  “It's a good start to the conference for us. It's a very, very satisfying win because we know we're going up against the defending champions,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “We also knew they're a very good defensive team and we had to play good defense to be able to beat them.” Chris Newsome finished with a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds while import Allen Durham flirted with a triple-double with 21 markers, 14 boards and eight assists for Meralco. Almazan had 19 points, 13 rebounds and a crucial block on Mark Barroca’s layup in the last 17 seconds to crush the Hotshots’ desperate attempt to salvage the game. Meralco stated off slow and trailed, 33-49, in the second quarter before coming back in the second half. Ian Sangalang gave Magnolia its last taste of the lead 92-86, off a jumper with 4:40 left before Meralco answered with a 12-point swing. “I thought our defense really kicked in in the fourth quarter,” said Black. “We were able to slow them down and stop them on a lot of plays that made a lot of difference in the game.” Romeo Travis had 22 markers and nine rebounds while Paul Lee had 20 for the Hotshots. Barroca finished with 18 and Peter June Simon got 12 for Magnolia.   The scores:  Meralco (98) -- Newsome 22, Durham 11; Almazan 19, Pinto 9, Faundo 8, Amer 7, Salva 4, Quinto 3, Hugnatan 3, Caram 2. Magnolia (92) -- Travis 22, Lee 20, Barroca 18, Simon 12, Sangalang 11, Pingris 4, Melton 3, Jalalon 2, Reavis 0, Dela Rosa 0. Quarters: 27-30, 48-57, 73-75, 98-92.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2019

PBA: Black lauds Almazan’s ‘best game’ since joining Meralco

Meralco head coach Norman Black had nothing but praise for big man Raymond Almazan’s game on Saturday. The mentor felt that Almazan delivered his breakout game since joining the Bolts back in May of this year with clutch plays in Meralco’s 98-92 opening day victory over defending champion Magnolia in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome.    ”This is probably the best game of Raymond Almazan since he joined our team,” said Black of his ward, whose fourth quarter explosion spelled the difference in the duel. Almazan broke a 92-92 deadlock with a trey in the last 2:27 of the match and added a split from the foul line to fuel Meralco’s late game barrage. He capped his night with a crucial defensive stop, swatting away Mark Barroca’s layup attempt with 17 ticks left that crushed the comeback hopes of the Hotshots.    “Kasi pinaghandaan ko din eh. 100% na (dapat) ready physically and mentally, so kailangan eh. Di na rin tayo pa-bata eh,” said Almazan, who is fresh from a tour of duty with Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. "May mga bagong batang pumapasok—mas malakas, mas bata, mas athletic. So kailangang i-rise up natin yung game natin." Almazan finished with 19 points -- 12 coming in the payoff period -- in 7-of-11 field goal shooting.   “I'm happy for Raymond, I'm happy that he came out and really came up with some big plays for us tonight,” said Black. Almazan also grabbed 13 boards, had two assists and a block for Meralco. Black just hopes that Almazan would stay healthy throughout the conference. “Last conference he joined us after he was out with an injury for 10 weeks. Everybody expected him to come back and play well immediately, but a lot of people didn't know that about a week after, he re-injured his calf in practice, which set him back,” said Black. “Then when he finally recovered from that, he got sick and was out for another four days. He really could not get his bearings in the last conference, but I wasn't really concerned about that 'cause I knew he was new to the team and he really didn't know the system that well,” added Black. “But we've had a chance now to get him comfortable with the team.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2019

PBA: “Nakakainip” says Almazan as he waits for Meralco debut

Raymond Almazan’s on-court debut for Meralco is coming very soon. The Bolts acquired the star big man during the conference break in a trade with Rain or Shine, giving up two first round picks in the process. However, with Almazan bothered by ankle injuries that limited him in the All-Filipino, Meralco is letting him fully recover before making him suit up in an actual game. That and the Bolts just want to incorporate Almazan better in their system. “There’s no set time for him to come back yet. He had a realy strenuous workout two days ago, and I think he proved to the doctor that he could play already,” Meralco head coach Norman Black said. “So now it’s just a matter of getting him in shape and getting him used to our system. So it maybe another two games at least before he comes back. But he’ll be back soon,” he added. For Almazan, he’s just doing his due diligence and getting into game shape. He’s also working on being the anchor of the defense for Meralco once he actually plays. “Nakakainip. Nagpapa-kundisyon na ako for almost two weeks so sana next week, makasabay na ako sa kanila ng five-on-five,” Almazan said. “Defense-first ako bago shoot. I started with defense bago pa ako makarating sa liga, so sana madala ko yung intensity sa defense and then makatulong ako sa team, rebounding, blocking, at helping sa weak side,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

Column: A quiet, measured response from golf on civil unrest

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer Golf has never been known to move quickly. Harold Varner III illustrated as much with thoughtful observations he posted on social media after civil unrest in America over the weekend reached levels not seen in more than 50 years. “I’ve received more messages than ever before, mostly from people who wanted me to speak up immediately because of who I am. I AM BLACK,” his post began. “But it’s not helpful to anyone when impulsive, passionate reaction takes precedence over clear-minded thought.” What followed from Varner, one of three PGA Tour members of black heritage, was just that. He referred to the “senseless killing” of George Floyd, the handcuffed black man who died last week when a white police officer in Minneapolis put a knee to the back of his neck until he stopped breathing. “To me, it was evil incarnate,” Varner said. “There are objective truths in life. I think that’s one of them,” he wrote in his Monday post. Varner also cautioned against single-minded thoughts, that one can be against police killing a man while saying that burning businesses and police stations is wrong. “We can go beyond the trap of one-dimensional thinking. Once we do, our eyes will see the righteous, our hearts will feel the love, and we’ll have done more to honor all those subjected to evil and its vile nature,” he concluded. The more prominent voice is Tiger Woods, whose profile worldwide is so great that he chose early in his career not to get too opinionated on social issues. One example was two years ago at Riviera, during Black History Month, when he was asked during a news conference what concerned him about the plight of black Americans. Woods was smart in his delivery, short on substance, when he said African Americans have had their share of struggles, it has gotten better and there’s room for improvement. Accurate and safe. His tweet Monday night arrived shortly before 10 p.m. in Florida. It began with his heart going out to Floyd, his loved ones and “all of us who are hurting right now.” And while he said he has “the utmost respect” for law enforcement and the training involved to know how, when and where to use force, “This shocking tragedy clearly crossed that line.” Woods referenced the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992 — he was a teenager growing up in neighboring Orange County — and said “education is the best path forward.” “We can make our points without burning the very neighborhoods we live in,” he said. “I hope that through constructive, honest conversations we can build a safer, unified society.” Whether he said a little or a lot, Woods said something. That was important. Voices need to be heard, especially relevant ones. Golf doesn’t have many of those. It has a shabby history of inclusion, particularly when it comes to blacks, starting with the PGA of America taking until 1961 to drop its “Caucasian-only clause.” The PGA Tour now attracts the best from every corner of the globe. It can be an expensive game, yet not even the privileged are assured of making it. Woods said in a 2009 interview on being the only black on tour, "It’s only going to become more difficult for African Americans now, because golf has opened up around the world.” And so where does golf fit in the discussion of equality and justice? The PGA Tour is the only major sports league that did not issue a public statement or reference the views of its players on the homepage of its website. Would anyone have taken it seriously given the composition and color of the tour's membership? Did it need to carve out a spot on the dais that already was crowded with voices from other sports that are far more germane to the issues? Commissioner Jay Monahan was searching for answers over the weekend and ultimately chose to keep his thoughts within the tour, sending a letter Monday to his staff and then sharing it with the players. “The hardships and injustices that have and continue to impact the African-American community are painful to watch and difficult to comprehend,” Monahan wrote. “And as a citizen of this country and a leader of this organization, I must admit that I’m struggling with what my role should be. But I am determined to help and make a difference.” Monahan said he had several “meaningful and emotional” conversations with colleagues and friends in the black community, “who — once again — showed me that sometimes listening and making a commitment to understand are the only things you can offer, and that’s OK.” “What I was left with was this,” he wrote. “Make no mistake about it — someone you know and care about is hurting right now, even if they haven’t told you that directly. ... And if anyone at the tour is hurting, we should all hurt.” He also included a link from the Refinery29 website on the unseen pain blacks endure. “Too often we just move on when we are not directly influenced by the news of the day," he wrote. “Yes, we have all been impacted by the global pandemic, but we should also be painfully aware and impacted by the dividing lines in our country. “We might not know exactly what to do right now, but we shouldn’t be deterred.” The PGA Tour resumes next week at Colonial, back to its familiar world with little controversy and ample privilege. No other sport does charity as well as golf. This issue requires more than that. If the best it can do is listen and commit to understand, that's OK......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News5 hr. 48 min. ago

PBA Best Imports: Allen Durham, Hulking Thoroughbred

Local players are not the only ones that have become stars over the years in the Philippine Basketball Association. Foreign players reinforcing teams, or those they call imports, can be just as beloved. An import playing in the PBA is expected to deliver big numbers; however, production is not the only criteria that makes one successful in basketball on this side of the world. Winning, charisma, and actual love for the PBA and its fans also heavily go into it. The Best Imports will be recognized in name, but the truly great ones that have made their mark here are more than just one-hit wonders. In this series, we take a look at some of the reinforcements who have truly made a home in the PBA. Let’s continue with the electrifying Best Import, Allen Durham.   Thoroughbred Allen Durham’s PBA career actually started in 2014 with Barako Bull, but he found his true home with the Meralco Bolts. Upon returning to the league for the 2016 Governors’ Cup, Meralco head coach Norman Black described the hulking Durham as a thoroughbred. He was right. Norman Black is not just one of the best coaches in the PBA, he’s also one of the best imports in league history. He knows a great import when he sees one so of course he was right about AD. In Durham’s first full conference in the PBA, he led the Bolts to their first-ever Finals appearance. Meralco took down an upstart Mahindra team and the 10-1 TNT KaTropa on its way to the championship round. If not for a certain shot by another Best Import to be featured in this series, the Bolts would most likely have a championship already. In Durham’s first full conference in the PBA, he averaged a strong 29.4 points, 15.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.1 blocks when he won his first Best Import trophy.   Best Import x3 It’s quite unfortunate for an import like Durham to not have a championship after multiple stints in the PBA. He just keeps running into Justin Brownlee’s Barangay Ginebra. In four seasons with Meralco, Durham had the Bolts to three Governors’ Cup Finals, each time losing to Brownlee and the Gin Kings. The only time Meralco didn’t reach the Finals with Durham, the Bolts survived six straight knockout games to set up a semifinals series against Best Import Mike Harris and the Alaska Aces.  Save for the Finals defeats at the hands of Ginebra, Meralco’s winning culture is mostly thanks to Durham. The Bolts repeatedly falter in the All-Filipino, but they’re a top-4 team whenever Durham suits up. AD also consistently puts up monster numbers, that and the impact to Meralco’s wins make him an obvious choice for Best Import each and every season. Durham has won the award three times in the Governors’ Cup for the years 2016, 2017, and 2019. Durham is second in the all-time list and only Bobby Parks Sr. has more Best Import wins than him at seven. After his first Best Import win in the Governors’ Cup in 2016, Durham came back stronger in 2017, leading Meralco to the no. 1 seed and to Game 7 of the Finals in front of a record crowd at the Philippine Arena. In between, AD averaged an incredible 25.4 points, 20.06 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.3 blocks to win a second Best Import plum. Durham is also the most recent winner of the Best Import award in the PBA, averaging 29.8 points, 15.4 rebounds, and 6.7 assists in the 2019 Governors’ Cup. Just like in previous years, AD beat Brownlee for Best Import but it was the Gin Kings that took the title. Durham is still pretty dead set on winning a PBA title, whether he returns to Meralco or any other team in the future remains to be seen. Regardless, Allen Durham is a true PBA Best Import, his name already sealed in history. Best Import, Allen Durham: - Five PBA conferences for Barako Bull and Meralco - 3-time Best Import - Second all-time for most Best Import wins behind Bobby Parks Sr.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2020

Still at it

It’s a shame that we are beset yet again with a controversy over President Duterte’s “narco-list” with the inclusion in the dreaded roster of P/Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, the brightest star in the government’s drug war since former PNP chief-turned-senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 21st, 2020

An array of MPBL stars have been drafted in the PBA. Who will shine?

A passel of Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League ballers have been drafted into the PBA. These gifted young Pinoys prove that the MPBL is a worthy proving ground for the pro league. We asked a few observers of the league to give their two cents on who they think will fly in the pros, namely commentators Migs Gomez and Martin Antonio as well as league head of ops, Emmer Oreta. Both Gomez and Oreta think that Manila Frontrow Star Aris Dionisio will make the biggest splash in the pros. “Aris Dionisio is the best MPBL player in the (PBA) draft,” says Gomez. “I think his length and athleticism can translate his defensive abilities to the PBA easily. Offensively, he is also capable of running the floor and shooting threes, so converting him from center to small forward will not be a problem.” The 6 foot 5 Dionisio was nabbed by Magnolia with the 9th choice in the first round. “Aris Dionisio is a versatile player who can play a lot of positions, and can also can play off the ball,” notes Oreta. “And the most important thing is he can play defense, for sure.” “Dionisio is next in line to Marc Pingris,” adds Martin Antonio. Oreta and Gomez also agree that Mike Ayonayon will be an impact player immediately in the PBA. The 6-foot San Juan Knight is “a baller, a lengthy swingman who is very athletic and likes the open floor,” says Gomez. The former PCU Dolphin was selected third by NLEX and is etched in league lore because of his Reggie Miller-esque 12-point, two-minute outburst for San Juan that enabled the Knights to a close comeback win versus Bataan earlier in the season. Antonio believes that Ayonayon will thrive and develop under Road Warriors mentor Yeng Guiao. “Ayanayon + Guiao = Killer,” says Coach Hammer. “Yeng Guiao loves players like Mike,” adds Antonio. Gomez even gives the high-flying Antipoleno the ultimate compliment. “I came up with my signature line “Magic in the Air” because of him.” When it comes to sleeper picks and project players, the experts are split. Oreta and believes that Chris Bitoon, Dionisio's teammate in Manila, could be a surprise package. “A late pick, but for sure coach Nash Racela knows this guy well, and he can really play.” The former Manuel L. Quezon University Stallion had his number called in the third round by Blackwater Elite. Also getting drafted by Elite was Richard Escoto, who played for the Iloilo Royals, where Racela was an assistant before getting the Blackwater head coaching job. Gomez believes that Aaron Black is a worthy project for Meralco. The Zamboanga combo guard who also played for QC early in the season was corralled by the Bolts, who are coached by his father, Norman. “The pressure has always been there for Aaron to live up to his last name, but he has embraced it and blossomed in the MPBL,” explains Gomez. “He has a good relationship with his father, and with the skillset and body that he has now, I can only see him improving more and more. Aaron can play point guard and get triple-doubles.” Gomez also throws another name into the ring when it comes to project players: Yankie Haruna. The former CSB Blazer, currently with the Bacolod Master Sardines club, was drafted 9th in the second round by Magnolia. The 6 foot 2 New Jersey-native is an enticing prospect. “He’s tall enough, very athletic, and likes to penetrate with full authority. I think his body can translate into an explosive scorer in the PBA,” explains Gomez. Oreta on the other hand thinks Cris Dumapig can rise up from obscurity to become a PBA player. “He is a workhorse of a big man, for sure this kind of a player Coach Pido Jarencio really wants. I'm hoping he can sign with the team.” Dumapig was taken by NorthPort in the middle of the third round. The rebounding machine is a vital cog for a Basilan Steel Jumbo Plastic side that is third in the South Division as of the writing of this piece. Oreta also thinks another big man can make waves: Cebu Sharks – Casino Ethyl Alcohol's Will McAloney. “Coach Yeng really loves players from the south, playing physical and all-out every time,” said Oreta. The burly homegrown Cebuano was the first of NLEX's two second round selections. There are so many MPBL stalwarts who are testing the waters in the PBA, like Allyn Bulanadi, the stylish scorer taken by Alaska, and Rey Publico, the Iloilo big man also absorbed by the same PBA team. Rey Suerte of Batangas will don the colors of Blackwater after his early selection (Editor's note: Bulanadi and Suerte were selected as part of the special Gilas Draft and will focus on national team duties before suiting up in the PBA). Big names like Prince Rivero and Arvin Tolentino will also attempt to show their wares at the country's highest stage. Most if not all of these players will remain with their MPBL teams until April. Whether it's in the Liga ng Bawat Pilipino or at the PBA, we can expect tons of fireworks from this bumper crop of young Pinoy hoops talent......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2020

Game 4 PBA Finals: Brownlee makes statement in Ginebra’s convincing Game 4 win

Barangay Ginebra is closing in on another PBA title at the expense of Meralco. Justin Brownlee went full beast mode in Game 4 Wednesday at the Big Dome, leading the Gin Kings’ charge in Game 4 of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals and taking a convincing 94-72 win over the Bolts. After seeing rival Allen Durham win a record third Best Import award, it was Brownlee who played like the league’s top reinforcement, dominating for 27 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, five steals, and four blocks. With a 3-1 series lead, Ginebra is one win away from a third Governors’ Cup title against the Bolts in four seasons. The Gin Kings can close it out Friday at the MOA Arena. Game 4 started as a defensive slugfest with the opening period ending with an unsightly score of 14-all. But as Brownlee's offense picked up, he scored 15 points in the second, so did Ginebra's. The Gin Kings poured it on the rest of the way, leading by as many as 27 points, as the Bolts' offense never got it going. After Brownlee, Stanley Pringle continued to make his case as a possible Finals MVP with 21 points and seven rebounds in a starting role. Scottie Thompson likewise had a good game, dropping 16 points in the victory. Meralco's shooting has abandoned the team with the Bolts shooting just 37 percent from the field, including 3/26 from deep. Allen Durham was the high man with 21 points and 27 rebounds while Chris Newsome added 12. Raymond Almazan, suffering from a lateral meniscus tear on his left knee, started for the Bolts and finished with 12 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes.   The Scores: Ginebra 94 - Brownlee 27, Pringle 21, Thompson 16, Tenorio 8, Dillinger 7, Aguilar 5, Caguioa 5, Mariano 3, Slaughter 2, Caperal 0, Chan 0, Dela Cruz 0. Meralco 72 - Durham 21, Newsome 12, Almazan 12, Quinto 7, Salva 6, Maliksi 6, Caram 4, Amer 2, Hodge 2, Faundo 0, Jackson 0, Pinto 0. Quarterscores: 14-14, 42-31, 70-55, 94-72. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2020

PBA Finals: Almazan delays surgery as he vows to finish series against Ginebra

Heading into Game 4 of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals against Barangay Ginebra, the main question was the status of star center Raymond Almazan. Almazan left Game 3 early with an injury and was later diagnosed with a lateral meniscal tear on his left knee. Questions were answered Wednesday when Almazan started for the Bolts. He scored 12 points in 28 minutes. But that hardly mattered as the Gin Kings rolled to a 94-72 win and a 3-1 series lead. “Tinanong ako ni coach kung gusto ko maglaro eh, sabi ko kaya ko. Tapos uminom nalang akong pain killers,” Almazan said. “So yun, three times a day, di ko siya masyadong maramdaman. Pero meron parin siyang kaunting [kirot] alam mo yung parang may needle ka sa daliri na sumasabit. At first time kong maglaro nang may nararamdaman,” he added. Almazan says he’s good to play now but he will have surgery once the season is over. He’s pretty much day-to-day as he tries to feel his knee out. Almazan is hopeful to play again in Game 5. “Pagkatapos ng checkup ko, tinanong ako kung gusto ko ilaro, talagang 100% gusto ko siyang ilaro. And then ooperahan siya after ng series. Six weeks akong pahinga,” Almazan said. “Gusto kong tapusin yung series. Di ko sinasabing bayani ako, pero gusto ko talagang manalo eh. Eh yun yung way para makatulong ako sa team,” he added. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2020

PBA Finals: Cone, Ginebra wary of Meralco comeback

Barangay Ginebra is on the cusp of claiming its third PBA Governors’ Cup in four years. But Gin Kings coach Tim Cone knows too well that Meralco won’t just bow down and give up just like in their past two meetings in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. Closing the best-of-seven Finals in Game 5 on Friday is easier said than done.   “I would love it if it did, but no, I don't think so,” said Cone when asked of the possibility of finishing off the Bolts in their next game after Ginebra took a 3-1 series lead following an emphatic 94-72 rout on Wednesday at the Big Dome. The Gin Kings beat Meralco in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the season-ending conference in six and seven games, respectively, and judging from experience, Cone pointed out that it will take a lot of effort to take down the Bolts. “I mean, we will try our best, obviously, but you know, this team has shown a lot of character in the past when we played them,” said Cone. “We got up 2-0 on them and they came back and beat us two straight in one series. So we know they're capable of coming back.” Game 4 began as a tight match before Ginebra found its rhythm in the second quarter and took advantage of Meralco’s woeful shooting and lack of energy except for its workhorse Best Import winner Allen Durham, who toiled for 21 points, 27 rebounds and seven assists only to see his effort come into waste. The Gin Kings also exploited the fact that Bolts big man Raymond Almazan wasn’t 100% and still recovering from a left knee injury he sustained in Game 3. Almazan showed great heart playing through pain and limping as he scored 12 points and grabbed nine boards. “I think a lot of it is gonna depend on, again on Almazan's injury. But you know, I mean, it'll be silly for us to say that we think it's gonna be over,” said Cone. “But it's also silly for us to say if we don't think we're gonna try our best to make it over, to get it over, I should say.” Still, Cone is aware that they still need to win one more. And that could be a challenging task. “I have lost a 3-1 lead before, in a series. I lost it to Ryan Gregorio and Purefoods, and I'll never forget that,” Cone recalled. “It was in the semifinals, we were up 3-1, and I think that's only happened a few times in PBA history, and it happened to the team I coached.” “So I'm well aware that a team can come back. You just can't give them the momentum and the confidence that they'll be searching for,” he said. So, we're gonna have to go out and try to make a statement early in Game 5.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2020

PBA Finals By the Numbers: Halfway there for Ginebra

Things are heating up in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between Ginebra and Meralco. The back-and-forth continues with the barangay regaining series lead with Sunday’s Game 3 win. While it was a strong performance for the Gin Kings, it wasn’t all smooth sailing in the end. Before Game 4 comes around, a quick By the Numbers look in Game 3 of “The Trilogy.”   17 Total points for Stanley Pringle in the third quarter. Now we see why the Gin Kings added a super weapon in Pringle. To start the second half of Game 3, Stanley outscored the Bolts by himself, 17-16, as Ginebra took control of the game and the series. Ginebra’s 35-16 third quarter pretty much carried the team to a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7.   7 Total blocks for Japeth Aguilar in Game 3, second-most in his PBA career. Japeth’s defense has been crucial for Ginebra in this series. His game-saving block in Game 1 got the Gin Kings a win and his seven blocks in Game 3 also got his team a victory.   9 Total assists for Justin Brownlee. After having just one assist for the first two games of the Finals, Brownlee was dropping dimes all over in Game 3 as he once again flirted with another triple-double. Two of his assists were crucial, with the Bolts in the middle of a comeback, JB found LA Tenorio for a booming three that gave Ginebra a 90-82 lead. In the final 30 seconds, Brownlee also found Japeth Aguilar off a pick-and-roll for the game’s final score.   6 Total points from Meralco’s three key additions in the Finals against Ginebra. Raymond Almazan, Allein Maliksi, and Bong Quinto all scored two points each in Game 3, which is obviously not enough for the Bolts. Quinto and Maliksi are struggling putting the ball through the hoop while Almazan, a big contributor in the first two games, left Game 3 early with a knee injury. Meralco is having surprise spot productions from guys like John Pinto, Nico Salva, Brian Faundo, and Trevis Jackson but getting buckets from guys playing actual heavy minutes would be nice.   23 Largest lead for Ginebra in Game 3, which is largest in this series so far as well. The Gin Kings’ offense was cooking in the third quarter of Game 3, turning a one-point defensive slugfest into a blowout. Ginebra slowed down in the fourth as Meralco’s defense kicked in but the Gin Kings’ explosion is still proof that great offense can and will get buckets on a great defense.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2020