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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: abscbn abscbnJan 24th, 2020

Jamike Jarin s 2014 Batang Gilas, where are they now?

Slowly but surely, the Philippines has returned to legitimate contention in international basketball. That also goes for the national youth team - what with Kai Sotto lifting Filipinos to greater and greater heights. It wasn't that long ago, however, that the blue, red, and white had just played its first game in the FIBA Under-17 World Championships. After missing the first two editions of the world meet in 2010 and 2012, Batang Gilas barged onto the scene in 2014 - and they did so all while boasting an average height of 6-feet. First, the Filipinos re-asserted their mastery over Southeast Asia and swept the 2013 SEA Basketball Association (SEABA) Under-16 Championship before just falling short in the gold medal game against China in the 2013 FIBA Asia Under-17 Championship. Still, that second-place finish booked them a ticket to the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship. Once in Dubai, head coach Jamike Jarin and his boys gave their all only to fall victim to the likes of Angola, 72-82; Greece, 65-85; and eventual champion USA, 64-124, in the group stages. The Philippines was officially booted out of contention by France, 57-86, in the Round of 16 and then lost classification matches opposite Argentina and Egypt. By then, they had faced off with future NBA All-Star Jayson Tatum and NBA players Harry Giles, Josh Jackson, and Giorgios Papagiannis. Up against United Arab Emirates in the last classification match, Batang Gilas finally scored a win and finished 15th out of 16 teams. Even so, getting back to the world stage remains a momentous milestone for Philippine youth basketball - and it was all thanks to coach Jamike and his 2014 Batang Gilas. The question is, all of them, where are they now? JOLLO GO, 5-10 G Finished high school in Hope Christian. Committed to and played for La Salle. Now playing for Manila Stars in MPBL. MATT NIETO, 6-1 G Finished high school in Ateneo. Won championship as Blue Eaglet. Committed to and played for Ateneo. Won three championships as Blue Eagle. Named to Gilas Pilipinas pool. Drafted by NLEX. Now playing for Gilas Pilipinas. DIEGO DARIO, 5-7 G Finished high school in UPIS. Committed to and played for UP. Drafted by and now playing for Blackwater. MIKE NIETO, 6-2 F Finished high school in Ateneo. Won championship as Blue Eaglet. Committed to and played for Ateneo. Won three championships as Blue Eagle. Named to Gilas Pilipinas pool. Drafted by Rain or Shine. Now playing for Gilas Pilipinas pool. RENZO NAVARRO, 5-8 G Finished high school in San Sebastian. Committed to and played for La Salle. Transferred to and played for San Sebastian. Transferred to and now playing for LPU. ARNIE PADILLA, 6-1 F Finished high school in FEU-Diliman. Committed to and played for Enderun. JOLO MENDOZA. 5-9 G Finished high school in Ateneo. Won championship as Blue Eaglet. Committed to and played for Ateneo. Won two championships as Blue Eagle. Now playing for Ateneo. MIKE PANLILIO, 5-11 G Finished high school in International School Manila. Migrated to USA. Committed to and played for Fordham. MIKE DELA CRUZ, 6-0 F Finished high school in LSGH. Migrated to USA. CARLO ABADEZA, 6-3 C Transferred to and finished high school in Arellano. Committed to San Beda. Transferred to La Salle. Transferred to and now playing for LPU. RICHARD ESCOTO, 6-3 C Finished high school in FEU-Diliman. Committed to and played for FEU. Played for Iloilo United Royals in MPBL. Drafted by and now playing for Blackwater. PAUL DESIDERIO, 6-1 F Finished high school in UV. Committed to and played for UP. Became "Mr. Atin 'To." Drafted by and now playing for Blackwater. JAMIKE JARIN, HEAD COACH Assistant in Ateneo and Meralco. Head coach in San Beda. Head coach in National U. Now coaching as assistant in UE. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 30th, 2020

MPBL: Sta. Lucia hoops tradition lives on in Pasig

"I am a true basketball man. We were 34 years in basketball. We will represent the city we all love." Those are the words of Salvador "Buddy" Encarnado, the boss of the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League. For him, this team is more than just a job, it seems to be a calling. The old Sta. Lucia Realtors played for 17 years in the PBA, winning two titles with Encarnado a fixture in the team's leadership. Some of their players are etched into Pinoy hoops lore, like Marlou Aquino, Kelly Williams, Dennis Espino, and MPBL commish Kenneth Duremdes. When SLR departed from the league in 2010, the real estate conglomerate continued to dabble in hoops, fielding teams in amateur leagues. But their takeover of the Pasig franchise in the MPBL represents their biggest hoops project since fleeing the pro league. Sta. Lucia Basketball thus entered a new era. This team is also very close to Encarnado's heart. The GM grew up in Barangay Sumilang, a 13-minute walk away from the Realtors' home court, the Pasig Sports Center. Exequiel "Exy" Robles, the president of Sta. Lucia Realty, is also a native of Pasig. Both were dismayed when the Pasig Pirates finished the Datu Cup in dead last in the table, at 4-21. "As a Pasigueno I could not help but feel bad for the negative image of Pasig with a team that went 4 out of 21," said Encarnado, who has retired as a day-to-day executive of SLR but helps out in their sporting ventures. Sta. Lucia took the reins of the troubled club, rechristened them the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors, and quickly moved to upgrade the roster. There wasn't a great deal of time, just two and-a-half weeks before the June start to the season. "We were pressured to make a fighting team in such a short window. It was like being the last in a buffet lunch. We had so few choices," laments Encarnado. Despite the slim pickings Pasig brought in a trio of studs in guard Robbie Manalang, swing man Jeric Teng, and former Mapua standout Josan Nimes. Manalang, a Filipino-American guard from Orange County in California, starred for Adamson but didn't sign with a team in the PBA after being drafted by Rain or Shine in the second round. The Realtors nabbed him on the last day of the preseason transfer period. "The management and team welcomed me with open arms since day one. Playing here has revived my career," says the guard. Manalang is norming just under 14 points per game and is a real weapon from beyond the arc. Encarnado locked down coach Bong De La Paz, who he had worked with in the past. "He knows my standard and my system," says the GM. Richard Velchez and Argel Mendoza were also roped in. In the recent midseason trading period the team strengthened their frontcourt with veteran Leo Najorda and 6'5" former NLEX Road Warrior Fonso Gotladera. "They bring experience and height," says the team chief. Pasig also has a powerful secret weapon: the rabid fans in the Pasig Sports Center. It's a cozy, intimate bandbox of an arena, and Realtors fans regularly fill it to the brim. "Hands down some the best fans in the league, if not the best," says Nimes. "The atmosphere is loud, crazy, and energetic. Almost all our games are jampacked and the fans are always engaged." "I have never seen a whole venue stand up and put three fingers in the air before I shoot a three like the Pasig fans do. I don't think I will ever forget that," says Manalang. "I'm usually the last to leave the dugout after games. And fans will still be there waiting for pictures. It's an amazing feeling," continues the former Soaring Falcon. "The fans relate to people who represent them," explains Encarnado. "Without the fans we are nothing. Basketball is not just basketball. They want to be entertained. The crowds are knowledgeable. They know what they are watching." Pasig is not invincible at home, having dropped games to Batangas and Bacoor. But both were close contests settled in the final seconds. Pasig's home is still one of the league's fortresses. Encarnado is cautiously optimistic about their chances this season. But for the next competition, the expectations will be high. "Next year some of my old players will be free and hopefully they will come back. I expect good things to happen." One thing that will never change is the Sta. Lucia culture, which Encarnado hopes will live on in this team's new iteration. "Ever since it has been about the work ethic of the group. We select people with good values who believe in hard work and have passion." The passion was in full view last Monday when the Realtors tangled with the Iloilo United Royals inn Makati. The Pasigueños battled hard, and Najorda had a superb day including a neat left-handed hook shot in the first quarter. But Pasig once again missed the services of the injured Jeric Teng, and could not neutralize Iloilo's white-hot Al Francis Tamsi, who scattered 26 points. Pasig shot just 34 percent from the field and lost 79-65. Encarnado sat at the end of Pasig bench, dressed in a team-supplied green-and white Sta. Lucia polo jack. He mostly observed the loss with little emotion. But near the end, during a dead ball situation, the boss strolled onto the court, and with glasses in hand, upbraided an official for not calling an elbow on one of his charges. His team falls short but they are still very much in the playoff race. The fire in Encarnado's belly still burns for the game. And it will not be extinguished anytime soon, if his words are to be believed. "I will never retire from basketball.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2019

Belga stars in OT as Rain or Shine continues good run inside bubble

Beau Belga delivered when it mattered most in the overtime period. (PBA Images) Beau Belga had the last laugh with a stirring performance Tuesday night as Rain or Shine grinded out an 85-82 overtime win over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center. Belga scored five of his 20 points in the five-minute extension, a follow-up after missing a layup and a three-pointer that gave the Elasto Painters an 83-78 lead, and added 10 rebounds and four assists as the Elasto Painters pulled out a win while handing the Kings a second straight loss following a 4-0 start. But Rain or Shine needed one lucky break to secure its fourth win in five games inside the bubble known as Smart Clark Giga City after Ginebra cut the deficit to 83-80. Jewel Ponferada retrieved the ball after Rey Nambatac slipped before hitting a running one-hander for his only points with five seconds to go to make it an 85-80 lead for the Elasto Painters. Rain or Shine bounced back after falling short against Alaska, 89-88, last week while needing an extra day of rest when Sunday’s game with Blackwater was cancelled due after one of the Elite’s players initially tested positive for COVID-19. No one motivated coming into the game more than Belga, who was out to prove something after seeing a social media comment earlier in the day. “May isang hater na binatikos ako sa social media na puro pananakit lang daw ginagawa ko sa PBA and I just to prove him wrong,” Belga said during a postgame interview on One Sports. Coach Caloy Garcia was also glad that Belga was not the only player to step up for the Elasto Painters. Mark Borboran scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds while James Yap earned a starting role and produced a season-high 13 points. Nambatac only had eight points, but produced one of the game’s biggest shot with a three-pointer that tied the knot at 76-all with 2.1 seconds to go in regulation. Kris Rosales also scored all of his eight points in the first quarter that saw Rain or Shine take a 24-15 lead and forced Ginebra to play catch up throughout. Ginebra had to slowly inch its way back from being down 39-24 in the second behind Stanley Pringle and Scottie Thompson. Pringle’s jumper put the Kings ahead, 74-73, with over two minutes remaining in the fourth before Borboran missed two free throws and Gabe Norwood muffing a medium-range jumper. LA Tenorio got fouled and made a pair of charities for a three-point Ginebra lead before Nambatac continued his knack to have the ball in the clutch with the game-tying triple on the next play. Thompson finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks and Pringle had 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists but Ginebra couldn’t recover from Sunday’s loss to sibling rival Magnolia. The scores: RAIN OR SHINE 85 — Belga 20, Borboran 13, Yap 12, Nambatac 8, Rosales 8, Onwubere 3, Norwood 3, Ponferada 2, Wong 0, Torres 0. GINEBRA 82 — Thompson 21, Pringle 20, Aguilar J. 13, Tenorio 10, Devance 6, Caperal 5, Mariano 3, Chan 2, Dillinger 2, Tolentino 0. Quarters: 24-15, 45-36, 61-57, 76-76 (Reg), 85-82 (OT)......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 27th, 2020

Kershaw, LA stars shine, Dodgers top Rays 8-3 in WS opener

ARLINGTON, Texas: Clayton Kershaw, Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers left the Tampa Bay Rays stuck in neutral to start a most strange World Series played amid the pandemic. Kershaw dominated for six innings, Bellinger and Betts homered and the Dodgers chased a wild Tyler Glasnow in the fifth inning for an […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2020

Nambatac stars anew as Rain or Shine streaks to third win

      By JONAS TERRADO   Rain or Shine forced NorthPort to tie a record for futility then leaned on another late heroics from Rey Nambatac to escape with a 70-68 win Sunday night and stay unbeaten in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center. The Elasto Painters […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsOct 18th, 2020

PBA-bound MPBL stars face uncertainty once Lakan Cup resumes

The future for PBA-bound stars Mike Ayonayon and Allyn Bulanadi in the MPBL remains uncertain amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 16th, 2020

UAAP 81: When the sleeping giant named UP finally awakened

No cheering - that's the cardinal rule for sportswriters during coverages. In collegiate sports, not even your very own alma mater song is spared. Still, on November 28, 2018, I thought this one time could be an exception to the rule. After all, more than half of the Araneta Coliseum had their hands raised in singing "UP Naming Mahal." Certainly, not one more fist in the air could be considered conspicuous. After all, the University of the Philippines Men's Basketball Team was letting it all out right there on the court. Certainly, not one more show of emotion could be out of place. And after all, the Fighting Maroons had just done it. It, being seeing a new dawn after the so-called dark days. FROM FIGHTING TO WINNING UAAP 81 started very much like how many, many UP seasons did in recent memory. There was a lot of hope, no doubt, what with Paul Desiderio in his last year, Bright Akhuetie in his first year, Gomez de Liano brothers Juan and Javi being back for more, and Bo Perasol still at the helm. Only, being a fan of the Fighting Maroons also meant you know full well all of it couldn't be true. History is a lesson to be learned - and from the promise of Migs De Asis, Mike Gamboa, Martin Reyes, and great Filipino-American hope Mike Silungan and the potential of Mikee Reyes, Woody Co, and Kyles Lao, Diliman has learned many, many lessons, indeed. And then, the season started. A season-opening win became a 1-3 standing. A 3-3 record worsened to 3-5. Standing at an even 5-5 in the stretch run then led to winning three of the last four games in the elimination round. And before you knew it, UP, yes, UP was knocking on the door of the Final Four. Could this be it? Or could this be just the biggest disappointment the Fighting Maroons had ever served? FROM WINNING TO LOSING A winning tradition could be taken for granted. Coming from a school down south that was, is, and forever linked to a particular powerhouse, I, personally, was very much used to winning. Even more, I was right there when Joshua (or Dave, as we called him) Webb, Jeric Fortuna, and Jed Manguera led the team formerly known as the Bengals to a breakthrough championship. So, yeah, personally, my tradition was to root for a winning team - be it in the Jrs. or in the Srs. Come college, though, I traded in the shield of green and white for the luntian at pulang sagisag magpakailanman. And hey, UP Diliman is and always will be the best school in the history of man, in my eyes. In terms of basketball, though, it left much to be desired. As I was about to go to college, the Fighting Maroons went winless in back-to-back years. And then, they had three-win seasons when I was a freshie and a sophomore. In all my four years in college, I only experienced eight wins out of 56. So yeah, in State U, there was the exact opposite of a winning tradition. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Don't get me wrong here. UP is a power in many, many sports and is a contender for the general championship year in and year out. Back then, though, forgive me if I only had eyes for men's basketball.) FROM JETT TO PAUL And then, a ray of light shone bright, and brighter, and brighter. I have now grown to love Mikee Reyes - he is a great guy and a good analyst. Back then, though, he was a prime proof of what wasn't working in UP. Here was a talent who had a shot at making a name for himself and taking his team along with him for the ride, but unfortunately, just could not put it all together. Reyes was just one of many, many promising players in maroon and green who didn't have the sort of support that a winning tradition entailed. True to their name, though, the Fighting Maroons kept, well, fighting. And in his last year, Jett Manuel proved that the tides could turn in their favor. Manuel would never be the best player on De La Salle University or Ateneo de Manila University or even University of Sto. Tomas and Far Eastern University. Still, he gave his all game in and game out and grew to be a beloved player and leader in Diliman. He set the standard for the kind of fight a Maroon should have and in his last year, steered his squad to a fifth-place finish at 5-9. Not a finish to be proud of by any means, but for the first time in a long time, there were signs of life coming from State U. And that's when I knew Jett Manuel would be my forever King Maroon. However, just two years later, Paul Desiderio made me question that. FROM THEN TO NOW Definitely, Paul Desiderio is not Jett Manuel. Jett is eloquent and looks like he came from an exclusive private school, which he did. Paul speaks in short but sweet terms and is very much proud of his roots in Cebu. What they both have, though, is an undeniable love for UP and an unwavering determination to lead the Fighting Maroons to where they belong. When Manuel left, of course, the reins went to Desiderio and in his very first game as main man, he proved his worth. I know you know what I'm going to talk about - because this was the time he uttered the words that would define State U from that point onto the foreseeable future. "Atin to, papasok to!" -- Paul Desiderio during the timeout. Moments later...#UAAPSeason80 pic.twitter.com/7yafSpldJM — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 10, 2017 The maroon and green yet again fell short of the Final Four that year, but come next season, a playoff berth was, indeed, theirs for the taking. Downing La Salle in the very last game of the elims, they booked a trip to the next round for the first time since 1997. That would have been more than enough for their long-suffering faithful, but they did themselves one better - actually, two better - and upset second-seed and twice-to-beat Adamson University. Just like that, UP would be playing in its first Finals since the days of Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, Eric Altamirano, and Joe Lipa. That day, November 28, 2018, would always live on with me. FROM ME TO YOU As bad as I wanted to break the cardinal rule for sportswriters, I didn't. As bad as I wanted to stay on the floor to listen and live in the chorus singing in harmony, "Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan," I couldn't. When UP made history, I had to go back to the press room and finish my full take on the game. Just minutes before, I honestly couldn't believe the breaking report I was working on in my phone and uploading in our website. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Even with the final stat sheet in my hands, I still couldn't believe it. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Even through writing "those back-to-back wins have set up for them a date with defending champion Ateneo de Manila University in the best-of-three Finals slated for Saturday at the MOA Arena," I still couldn't believe it. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Of course, in the very end, Ateneo was Ateneo and State U had to settle for second-place. Still, there may not be another silver medal that was worth celebrating more. You have to understand that again, this is a team not that far off from its dark days - so, yeah, this silver season was a special season. And so, at the very end of Season 81, when I saw Paul standing on the game officials' table, basking in the UP community's cries of "De-si-de-rio" and "A-tin-to," another chant was playing in my head - "You deserve it." This image, would always live on with me. At the same time, though, I was a firsthand witness to another image that told me this was just the beginning. First Finals appearance, first Finals loss. Fo sho, GDL brothers @javigdl22 and @juan_swish9 will only be better from this. #UAAPSeason81 pic.twitter.com/CMV0JH30rh — No Work Normie Riego (@riegogogo) December 5, 2018 Juan and Javi GDL sat on the makeshift awarding stage while the Blue Eagles were enjoying their back-to-back championships and Desiderio was being serenaded by the Fighting Maroons' faithful. Their eyes were welling up with tears, but deep down there, you could also see their determination to be back, to be better, and to say themselves "Atin 'to" to a championship. FROM HERE ON OUT UAAP 81 was Ateneo's, no doubt about that. UAAP 82, when UP was supposedly stronger, was still Ateneo's, yet again no doubt about that. Actually, the Fighting Maroons were even owned by runner-up UST that year - and those Growling Tigers had a Cinderella tale to tell of their own. And yet, for my money, no team in recent memory has won over everybody quite like Paul Desiderio's UP Fighting Maroons. Maybe, just maybe, that's all because I'm an Isko with student no. 2008-6*1*5. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to see a sleeping giant awakened - now knowledgeable of how to build a team and now knowledgeable how to put up support for that team. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to see homegrown stars like Diego Dario and the GDLs stay home and play home and to see a foreign student-athlete like Akhuetie shine bright both as a student and as an athlete. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to put your full faith in somebody like Desiderio who truly, madly, and deeply believed "Atin 'to" - even though recent history said otherwise. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. Norman Lee Benjamin Riego has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

PBA: Belga avoiding 'bad habits' as he tries to be a better leader for ROS

Big Beau Belga coming in with the big character development. As he hopes to make Rain or Shine's transition to a new era in the PBA relatively smooth, Belga says his leadership style is undergoing some changes. While the Elasto Painters still have a veteran core that includes him, Gabe Norwood, and James Yap, the team also has a pair of future stars in Javee Mocon and Rey Nambatac. ROS likewise has five rookies in its roster. "Hindi ka puwedeng mag set-ng example na masama. Marami kaming bagito eh," Belga said. "Kapag nagsimula ka ng bad habits, baka sabihin ng mga yun okay lang gawin yung ganito kasi ginagawa naman ni Kuya Beau," he added. As he tries to be a better leader for his team, Belga still assures that his status as ROS' resident enforcer is intact. However, he might have to tweak a thing or two in order to avoid paying PBA fines, especially under current circumstances. "Natuto na si Belga, ayaw nang mag-fine. May pandemic, bawal mag-fine," Belga said. "Yung physicality ng laro, hindi magbabago."   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 24th, 2020

PBA: Coach Caloy on Norwood: 'He s the perfect player for me'

One of the more overlooked PBA lifer has to be Gabe Norwood. In 2008, Norwood was drafted first by the Elasto Painters. It's 2020 now and Gabe remains with the team, still a pivotal part of the Rain or Shine franchise. "The thing with Gabe is that every team in the PBA would like to have a Gabe Norwood," current ROS coach Caloy Garcia said of Norwood on 2OT. "He would complement every player. Every team with a Gabe Norwood will probably be a contender," he added. In his 12-year career in the PBA, Gabe barely gets considered for top individual awards. He hasn't even made the All-PBA 1st team. He's a fixture for defensive and sportsmanship awards though, and his presence on winning teams are simply undeniable. Since Norwood became an Elasto Painter, Rain or Shine only missed the playoffs outright thrice. "You can feel him when you lose games and you can feel him when you win games," Garcia said of Norwood. "People would say like the problem with Gabe is hindi siya pang-last shot or whatever. He doesn't look for that, he just wants to win. He'd do all the dirty work for you," he added. Coach Caloy has been with Norwood for pretty much all their PBA careers with ROS. For Garcia, one can say nothing bad to Gabe, the ultimate professional. "He's the perfect player for me," Garcia said of Norwood. "He's one of the greatest guys I've met."   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 5th, 2020

K-Racs the glue that will hold together Coach Aldin s NCAA First 5

Aldin Ayo has been calling the shots for University of Sto. Tomas from 2018 to present. Before this, the always amiable mentor was at the helm of De La Salle University from 2016 to 2017. And before this, Coach Aldin was the head coach for alma mater Colegio de San Juan de Letran in 2015. Through all of that, he has had a hand in the discovery and the development of young talent for his teams as well as the game planning for the opposing rising stars. Among all of those, who are the best of the best for him? Here is Aldin Ayo's NCAA First 5, as he told ABS-CBN Sports: JIOVANI JALALON The Jalalon of 2015 was not yet the Jalalon of 2016 - you know, the one who drove Arellano University all the way to the Finals. Still, that younger Jalalon posed problems even for Coach Aldin and his "mayhem" in Letran. "A two-way player. He knows his role as a point guard," the latter said of the former. Jalalon's shine as a full-fledged superstar came in the season after Ayo left Intramuros, but the latter has always been a good judge of potential and saw just that in the former. SCOTTIE THOMPSON Unlike Jalalon, Thompson was already at the peak of his powers in Coach Aldin's one and only season in Letran. And so, the fiery tactician had a frontrow seat to the type of all-around impact University of Perpetual Help's proud product can have. "Very, versatile player plus good character," he said. Thompson fell short of winning a game against Coach Aldin's Knights, but without a doubt, the former won the admiration of the latter. KEVIN RACAL Racal does not necessarily get the shine that Mark Cruz - or Rey Nambatac, for that matter - does. However, it cannot be denied that the 6-foot-4 forward is the perfect personification of the versatility Coach Aldin seeks from his players. Whether it be defending Ola Adeogun, dogging Baser Amer, delivering an assist, or drilling a timely three, Racal can do it all - and he did it all to help Letran in its Cinderella run to the title. "He is a winner in all aspects," Ayo said. ART DELA CRUZ Adeogun was far from full strength, Amer got injured in the elimination round, and so, San Beda University's one and only constant was Art Dela Cruz. The do-it-all forward made his presence felt all over for the Red Lions and was the first and foremost reason why they stayed afloat despite the health of their other two big guns. In Dela Cruz, the red and white had, pretty much, what Coach Aldin had in Racal. "One of the most versatile players in college basketball. His basketball IQ is off the charts. He can be a point forward," the former Letran coach said. ALLWELL ORAEME Like all of the above, Oraeme can do damage both on offense and defense. "Rim protector on defense then on offense, he will be the recipient of the playmaking of Jalalon, Thompson, Racal, and Dela Cruz," Coach Aldin said, talking about the back-to-back MVP from Mapua University. Indeed, the Nigerian tower will not be forced to do much too much on offense with his four teammates all capable and confident of making plays - and will just expend his energy standing as a nightmare for opponents at the defensive end. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 31st, 2020

Fil-Am UFC veteran Mark Muñoz shares his thoughts on the state of Filipino MMA

Apart from basketball and, as of recent years, volleyball, combat sports like boxing and mixed martial arts have been quite popular among Filipino sports fans.  A lot of credit for that goes to the likes of eight-division boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao, four-division boxing champion Nonito Donaire Jr., Donnie Nietes, and those who came before them like Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, Pancho Villa, and Gerry Peñalosa, all of whom made it big on the world stage.  In recent years, a number of Filipinos are have also made a name for themselves in the global mixed martial arts arena, and one of the early big stars was none other than former UFC veteran Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Muñoz.  From 2009 to 2015, Muñoz was one of the UFC’s top middleweight contenders and proudly carried the Filipino flag with him each time he stepped inside the Octagon.  In May of 2015, on the UFC’s inaugural fight card in Manila, Muñoz retired in front of his kababayans after a unanimous decision win over Luke Barnatt.  (READ ALSO: Filipino-American MMA star Mark Muñoz recalls retirement bout in Manila) Muñoz’s run in the UFC came at a time when the North American promotion was easily accessible to fans in the Philippines, and he became a household name in terms of Filipino MMA.  Now, five years after Muñoz’s retirement, MMA in the Philippines has never been more popular, thanks in large part to promotions like the Asia-based ONE Championship, which holds around four events in Manila every year, and of course, the URCC, the Philippines’ first-ever MMA promotion.  Today, homegrown Filipino talents like Eduard Folayang, Joshua Pacio, Kevin Belingon, Denice Zamboanga, Chris Hoffman, an many others have also gotten their time to shine on the world stage, and Muñoz believes that it’s because Filipinos are natural fighters.  “I just feel Filipinos in general have that combat mentality. That’s already inside of them,” Muñoz said on The Hitlist vodcast. “I feel that Filipinos, from the days that we have to get our independence from the Spanish, Jose Rizal, he’s a hero in the nation, it’s just embedded in our culture, in our blood, so I just feel like Filipinos in general would be amazing fighters.” Munoz made special mention of guys like former ONE world champions Folayang and Belingon, as well as URCC champions Hoffman, and Ernesto Montilla Jr.  “I mean you just look at the…Filipinos now, it’s growing and getting better. I’ve been following Eduard Folayang. He’s an amazing representative of the Philippines, Kevin Belingon, he’s the man. I think there’s another one that was on the card when I fought, Mark Eddiva is good. I know I’m leaving out a lot of fighters, there’s Ernesto Montilla Jr., when I was there in training, a guy caught my eyes, Chris Hoffman trained with me and helped me out. I know he’s doing big things in the Philippines. I think he’s URCC champion.”  “There’s a lot of good fighters in the Philippines. I know I’m leaving out a lot and I don’t want to do that but there’s a lot of good talents in the Philippines and I wanna come, I wanna be there and help them in wrestling, in MMA wresting, in ground and pound, in everything that was my specialty in MMA,” he added.  While Filipinos have indeed excelled in mixed martial arts, one aspect continues to be perceived as the Filipino fighter’s weakness is the ground game, whether it be wrestling or grappling.  (READ ALSO: Mark Muñoz not ruling out MMA return) Today’s young stars, guys like Team Lakay’s Pacio and Danny Kingad have displayed some exceptional grappling in their past performances, but Muñoz, a former collegiate wrestler and current wrestling coach, made a living off taking guys down and keeping them grounded.  “I think the common thing that everyone says with MMA is wrestling. Wrestling is the ultimate neutralizer. If you don’t have a good understanding of wrestling, you’re gonna have a really hard time becoming one of the, being ranked in the world or even be a champion,” Muñoz explained. “If you look at all the champions now, or the ones that are ranked in the world. A lot of them have background in wrestling. I feel that that’s something that the Philippines needs.” Muñoz has always said that one of the things he would most like to do is to help develop wrestling in the Philippines and hopes to one day be able to finally fulfill that mission.  “I’m the guy to do that for them. I need to make sure I spend time in the Philippines to be able to help that,” he continued......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2020

How Pinoy athletes kept winning during the lockdown

Sporting events may be suspended or canceled, but that won't stop your favorite Filipino athletes from inspiring or entertaining people as they spend their extra time off doing worthwhile activities during the lockdown period. From reaching out to affected communities to learning a new skill, here are what your idols are up to during the community quarantine. 1)  Proudly serving the nation as frontliners Some athletes have taken their in-game dedication off the court, as they proudly serve the country as frontliners during the COVID-19 pandemic. MPBL players such as Bacoor City's Eric Acuña and Bacolod-Master Sardines' Jopher Custodio are currently heeding the call as frontliners for the Philippine Army, as well as their fellow soldiers UST women’s volleyball coach Kung Fu Reyes and volleyball star Jovelyn Gonzaga. Pasay Voyager's Dhon Reverente also suited up for the Philippine Navy while his teammate Jesse Bustos is serving in the frontlines in another way, using his camera as a photojournalist for a daily newspaper.  2)  Raising funds and holding donation drives Your beloved players continue to exemplify teamwork in these challenging times as they help the dedicated frontliners and affected households in different parts of the country. UST student-athletes joined former Golden Tigresses star Sisi Rondina in auctioning their jerseys for a cause to donate supplies to the frontliners of Barangay Luz in Cebu City. Meanwhile, volleyball legends Alyssa Valdez and Charo Soriano led a fundraiser called "Volleyball Community Gives Back PH," which aims to supply frontliners in the country with PPEs and other essentials—with celebrities like Kathryn Bernardo and Pia Wurtzbach joining their cause. Former DLSU Lady Spikers standout and Creamline utility spiker Michele Gumabao also provided relief packs and gave them personally to the affected communities in Pampanga with the help of the group Your 200 Pesos. 3)  No days off for training and getting the gains Leagues and competitions may have been put on hold, but athletes won't be stopped from keeping themselves in tiptop shape. Observing quarantine, ONE Championship's heavyweight champion Brandon Vera took his workout to the forest, preparing for his upcoming bout against Arjan Bhullar, while Team Lakay fighters, such as Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, and Joshua Pacio improvised household materials as gym equipment. National athletes, such as karateka Junna Tsukii, wushu artist Agatha Wong, and Olympic medalist Hidilyn Diaz, did rigorous training sessions at home to keep themselves in form for upcoming tournaments. High-flyer Ricci Rivero also taught his fans some basic dribbling drills to improve basketball handles—as seen in an episode of "Upfront" on LIGA cable sports channel. 4) Unlocking new skills and focusing on fave hobbies Your fave sports idols also overcame boredom by learning new skills and focusing on their favorite hobbies. For instance, DLSU Green Archers guard Aljun Melecio learned to cook scrumptious lechon while taking a time-out from the hardwood. UAAP volleyball champion and national team player Rex Intal also reminded us that he is a dedicated painter with his mixed portrait of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, channeling his passion for sports and art into one. And did you know that top local setter Jia Morado is a talented photographer? Check out her Instagram and be amazed by her works. 5)  Taking their talents to TikTok Athletes joined the trending TikTok craze as a source of entertainment during the lockdown. Former UAAP stars Kim Kianna Dy and Jema Galanza posted their dance covers of Young Thug's "Relationship," and Deanna Wong took on "The Weekend" dance challenge. UST Golden Tigresses' rookie Imee Fernandez also wowed the TikTok crowd with a pre-workout dance video, which garnered over 600,000 views online. For Ateneo Blue Eagles guard SJ Belangel, TikTok has also been his avenue to overcome his shyness, doing hilarious skits online.   6)  Becoming stars online No live sports to entertain the audiences? It's not a problem for these athletes who continue to provide fun content to every sports fan, with the help of ABS-CBN Sports. Catch Shaun Ildefonso as he does an entertaining commentary about everything sports on "SRSLY." Also watch Cherry Nunag’s wacky chikahan with famous athletes in "Kalye Confessions: Stay-at-Home Edition." Lastly, the lockdown won't stop the basketball conversation as Beau Belga chats with your favorite hoop idols online, while still chowing down on their fave treats on "Extra Rice with Beau Belga." Watch all of these on ABS-CBN Sports' Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and YouTube channel. Also stay tuned for more new offerings from the sports arm of ABS-CBN.  These athletes have proven they are truly winners in and out of the court. While waiting for live sports to return, you can rewatch the best games of these athletes on LIGA (SD channel 86 and HD channel 183 on SKYCable) and game highlights and special features on ABS-CBN Sports' social media pages and official YouTube account. ABS-CBN Sports will continue its commitment to providing a variety of world-class, exciting, and inspiring content to every Pinoy sports fan. Visit sports.abs-cbn.com and follow @ABSCBNSports on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For updates, you may also visit www.abs-cbn.com/newsroom or follow @ABSCBNPR on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2020

Jo Koy Stars in New Netflix Special Jo Koy: In His Elements

For the first time ever, comedian Jo Koy takes Netflix to the Philippines in his new comedy special, Jo Koy: In His Elements. Koy celebrates his heritage by telling jokes about life as a Filipino-American while highlighting the culture of Manila. Koy uses this opportunity to shine a light on other Filipino-American performers by welcoming […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsMay 19th, 2020

Lockdown stars shine in Matteo Guidicelli& rsquo;s new talent show

Singer-actor Matteo Guidicelli, together with Popeyes Philippines, launched The Pop Stage, an online talent reality competition that aims to discover the next idol in the entertainment industry. The show is presented by Popeyes in partnership with Viva Artists Agency......»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMay 18th, 2020

Shaun Ildefonso stars in ABS-CBN Sports’ “SRSLY” digital series

UAAP star Shaun Ildefonso brings his A game from the basketball court to the digital world in the new series “SRSLY” of ABS-CBN Sports. In “SRSLY,” the NU Bulldogs team captain gets to speak his mind and let his personality shine as he talks about sports culture and trending topics in the sports world with a no-holds-barred approach. The show, shot entirely in Shaun’s home due to the enhanced community quarantine, can be viewed on ABS-CBN Sports accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube, where its first four episodes have already garnered 5.5 million views across all platforms. As the star of the show, the 22 year-old forward brings the same intensity that he is known for inside the court, where he is used to banging bodies and roaring at the crowd, while also showing his fun and charming side as he reacts to viral social media posts. In the first three episodes, Shaun called out haters while praising UAAP volleyball athletes, gave his two cents on how athletes are coping without sports, and provided a critique on the tribute performance of PBA players. In the latest episode, he gives his take on famous athlete-couples such as Kiefer Ravena and Alyssa Valdez and Deanna Wong and Jema Galanza. “I think the authenticity of my reactions and genuineness of my opinion sets this series apart,” said Shaun, who’s used to sharing the spotlight with his father, basketball legend Danny Ildefonso, and brother Dave, another UAAP superstar and a Gilas Pilipinas pool member.   But while the show allows him to freely express his thoughts, Shaun said that “SRSLY” looks to remind viewers to not take everything too seriously. He hopes that his good vibes rub off to his viewers as he believes that having a good laugh from time to time is needed. “Stay lighthearted in these times of anxiety and uncertainty, take moments to relax and get a good laugh in because everyone needs it,” he said.  “SRSLY” is one of the exclusive social media content being offered by ABS-CBN Sports as its parent network ABS-CBN transitions into a digital company, with the biggest online presence among all media companies in the Philippines and a growing list of digital properties.  Watch the first four episodes on the YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts of ABS-CBN Sports, the sports arm of the country’s leading media and entertainment organization. Celebrate sports culture in the Philippines with Kapamilya sports fans. Follow @ABSCBNSports on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and subscribe to the ABS-CBN Sports YouTube channel. To watch more sports videos, visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit www.abscbnpr.com.      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 2020

PBA Best Imports: Marqus Blakely, Grand Slam Champ

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 that have truly made a home in the PBA. Let’s kick things off with Best Import, Marqus Blakely.   Mr. Everything Marqus Blakely most recent stops in the PBA were with the TNT KaTropa and Blackwater Elite. And while he’s proven to still be one of the better imports in the league during those stints, both ended with no playoff appearances. Even Blakely’s final stint with Star, his original PBA franchise, didn’t exactly end on good terms. With the Hotshots struggling with a 1-3, Marqus was let go for Joel Wright. Still, Star didn’t really fare better and they finished the conference with a 2-9 mark.  Despite Blakely’s rather unceremonious exit with Star, he was given an emotional send-off by his teammates. That’s because even while his later performances have been underwhelming, the work he put before more than makes up for it. Plus, it’s not like he’s been bad with his more recent outings. He was still the same Mr. Everything. A terror for opponents on both ends, Blakely first burst into the scene in the 2012 Governors’ Cup, joining a B-Meg team that just won the Commissioner’s Cup championship. Averaging 22.4 points, 13.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.6 blocks per game, Blakely and the Llamados would make it all the way to the Finals, but would lose to Rain or Shine in seven games.   Grand Slam With some unfinished business, Blakely would return to the PBA in the 2013 Governors’ Cup for B-Meg, then renamed as the San Mig Coffee Mixers. Blakely improved his shooting and averaged just a shade under 24 points on top of almost five assists per game. He also still consistently provided 15 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks for San Mig Coffee. Blakely would win his first and only Best Import award at the end of the conference. Faced with another Game 7 in the Finals, the Mixers would beat Petron for the title and San Mig Coffee will bring back Blakely for next year. By the time Marqus suited up for San Mig Coffee for a third time in the 2014 Governors’ Cup, the Mixers have won another two titles and were on the verge of a Grand Slam. Blakely’s numbers dropped in 2014, most notably his scoring. But his rebounding was up to 15.7 boards per game and his veteran presence and established chemistry with his local teammates were unmatched as he led the Mixers to a do-or-die win in the Finals against Rain or Shine to complete the Grand Slam. It’s pretty crazy to think about that Blakely only has one Best Import award to his name. In the grand scheme of things, he does only have two championships in eight total conferences in the PBA, his later stints as a late replacement import hurting his overall numbers. However, very few can match Blakely’s impact to a team, especially during his first three tours of duty with the Purefoods franchise. Fewer imports can also claim to winning a Grand Slam in the PBA like him. That alone makes Marqus Blakely truly one of the Best Imports in the PBA. Best Import, Marqus Blakely: - Eight PBA conferences for B-Meg/San Mig Coffee/Star, TNT, and Blackwater - One-time Best Import - 2-time Champion - Grand Slam winner   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 17th, 2020

TNT, Bolts, Gilas, and 'block' on LeBron: Ranidel De Ocampo s PBA career in retrospect

Ranidel De Ocampo is retiring from basketball. Maraming salamat Panginoon! ???????? pic.twitter.com/LUeVDMAWVG — Ranidel De Ocampo (@jutaca33) April 13, 2020 Appearing on the 2OT podcast of PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan Monday, RDO made the surprise announcement about his career. "Marupok na eh, wala na. Dun na rin ako papunta eh, retire na," De Ocampo said. "Nagpapa-salamat ako kay Lord na binigyan Niya ako ng magandang career. Siguro time na para matapos na yung pagiging player," he added. Struggling with injuries, RDO only appeared in 19 games last season for the Meralco Bolts. He averaged 7.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. De Ocampo will retire as a six-time PBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, one-time BPC, and winner of two silver medals with Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA-Asia Championships. To celebrate of one of the very best power forwards in PBA history, here are some key moments in RDO's almost two-decade career. 2004 PBA Draft RDO was drafted 4th in the 2004 Draft, joining his older brother Yancy in the old FedEx Express. 2008 Fiesta Conference RDO joined a loaded Express team that was the no. 1 seed and saw action in the 2008 Fiesta Conference Finals. Unfortunately, RDO would lose his first Finals as Air21 failed to get the job done against Ginebra in Game 7. 2009 Philippine Cup Midway through the 2009 All-Filipino, TNT landed RDO in a trade. Talk 'N Text would be Ranidel's home for the bulk of his PBA career, and on his first conference as a Tropang Texter, he also won his first of six PBA titles after a 4-3 win over Alaska in the Finals. Gilas Pilipinas RDO made the lineup of the first three iterations of Gilas Pilipinas and played in the FIBA-Asia Championships. De Ocampo won two silver medals with the national team in 2013 and 2015. RDO also went to the FIBA World Cup in between in 2014. 2015 Commissioner's Cup RDO would win his final championship with TNT in the 2015 Commissioner's Cup. Facing Rain or Shine, De Ocampo took over in the second overtime of Game 7, leading the Tropang Texters to victory. Averaging over 24 points in the series, RDO won Finals MVP for the second and final time of his career.   Trade to Meralco In 2017, RDO was dealt to Meralco in a three-team trade. While he provided immediate help for the Bolts, even helping the team make a second straight trip to the Governors' Cup Finals, a strained calf sustained against Ginebra in the title series would prove to be the start of his battle with injuries that would ultimately force him to retire three years later.   "Blocking" LeBron James Also in 2017, RDO tried to block LeBron James from dunking when the King visited Manila and played an exhibition game at the MOA Arena. "Sa tingin ko, naging popular si LeBron dahil sa’kin," he said. Have a Ranidelightful retirement, RDO. [Related: RDO on failed block on LBJ: Naging popular si LeBron dahil sakin]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2020

TNT, Bolts, Gilas, and 'block' on LeBron: RDO s PBA career in retrospect

Ranidel De Ocampo is retiring from basketball. Appearing on the 2OT podcast of PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan Monday, RDO made the surprise announcement about his career. "Marupok na eh, wala na. Dun na rin ako papunta eh, retire na," De Ocampo said. "Nagpapa-salamat ako kay Lord na binigyan Niya ako ng magandang career. Siguro time na para matapos na yung pagiging player," he added. Struggling with injuries, RDO only appeared in 19 games last season for the Meralco Bolts. He averaged 7.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. De Ocampo will retire as a six-time PBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, one-time BPC, and winner of two silver medals with Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA-Asia Championships. To celebrate of one of the very best power forwards in PBA history, here are some key moments in RDO's almost two-decade career. 2004 PBA Draft RDO was drafted 4th in the 2004 Draft, joining his older brother Yancy in the old FedEx Express. 2008 Fiesta Conference RDO joined a loaded Express team that was the no. 1 seed and saw action in the 2008 Fiesta Conference Finals. Unfortunately, RDO would lose his first Finals as Air21 failed to get the job done against Ginebra in Game 7. 2009 Philippine Cup Midway through the 2009 All-Filipino, TNT landed RDO in a trade. Talk 'N Text would be Ranidel's home for the bulk of his PBA career, and on his first conference as a Tropang Texter, he also won his first of six PBA titles after a 4-3 win over Alaska in the Finals. Gilas Pilipinas RDO made the lineup of the first three iterations of Gilas Pilipinas and played in the FIBA-Asia Championships. De Ocampo won two silver medals with the national team in 2013 and 2015. RDO also went to the FIBA World Cup in between in 2014. 2015 Commissioner's Cup RDO would win his final championship with TNT in the 2015 Commissioner's Cup. Facing Rain or Shine, De Ocampo took over in the second overtime of Game 7, leading the Tropang Texters to victory. Averaging over 24 points in the series, RDO won Finals MVP for the second and final time of his career.   Trade to Meralco In 2017, RDO was dealt to Meralco in a three-team trade. While he provided immediate help for the Bolts, even helping the team make a second straight trip to the Governors' Cup Finals, a strained calf sustained against Ginebra in the title series would prove to be the start of his battle with injuries that would ultimately force him to retire three years later.   "Blocking" LeBron James Also in 2017, RDO tried to block LeBron James from dunking when the King visited Manila and played an exhibition game at the MOA Arena. "Sa tingin ko, naging popular si LeBron dahil sa’kin," he said. Have a Ranidelightful retirement, RDO. [Related: RDO on failed block on LBJ: Naging popular si LeBron dahil sakin]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 13th, 2020

As of late, winning NCAA Jrs. MVP has not necessarily led to success

The last five NCAA Jrs. MVPs have been trudging through rocky roads. All of Joel Cagulangan, Will Gozum, Troy Mallillin, Mike Enriquez, and Darius Estrella have not necessarily translated their successful stints in high school to college. We're not counting most recent winner John Barba, of course, who is nothing but hopeful to build on his historic season for Lyceum of the Philippines University on the school's Srs. squad. The five NCAA Jrs. MVPs before him, however, have, put simply, struggled in the collegiate ranks. The most unfortunate of which is Enriquez who, at present, is no longer playing competitive basketball. This, after he was gifted the best individual player plum in 2015 as La Salle Green Hills' Ricci Rivero, that year's undisputed top talent, was disqualified for any individual awards. After that MVP year, however, Enriquez injured his knee, played his last season in high school, and recovered just in time to commit to University of Sto. Tomas. He would not play any single game for the Growling Tigers, however, as academic issues delayed his move up to college and now, not much has been seen or heard from him. Enriquez's former teammate hasn't had the best of collegiate careers, either. Gozum, another Red Robin, was the best individual player in 2017 and looked like the ideal modern big man. After committing to the University of the Philippines, however, he could not break into the rotation and rode the bench before deciding to transfer to College of St. Benilde. After his residency year, he may very well be the big man the Blazers desperately need. Another NCAA Jrs. MVP who has decided to transfer is ex-Greenie Cagulangan (2018) who is moving from De La Salle University to UP. Cagulangan had long been primed and prepared to be the Green Archers' next great point guard, but after high school, struggled with a knee injury and then struggled to earn minutes under rookie head coach Jermaine Byrd. Now, he is hoping to prove himself by steadying the Fighting Maroons' backcourt after his residency year. The league's best individual player in 2016, Mallillin also of LSGH, has actually won two championships with Ateneo de Manila University, but has also had a tough time seeing the floor in head coach Tab Baldwin's deep lineup. He was also forced to sit out one year due to academic issues. For his part, 2014 MVP Estrella has been solid after getting promoted from Light Bomber to Heavy Bomber in Jose Rizal University - but that is only when he is on the court as half of his collegiate career has been spent recovering from two ACL injuries on the same knee. It could even be argued that former Greenie Prince Rivero hasn't exactly reached the heights he did back in 2013 as he had an up-and-down four years in La Salle before getting drafted by Rain or Shine. The good news for the NCAA Jrs.'s best individual players, however, is they still have time to turn things around. They only need to look to the decade's first three MVPs to know they could make something happen of themselves. In Baser Amer in 2010, Rey Nambatac and 2011, and Bong Quinto and 2012, the NCAA Jrs. produced three current contributors in the PBA. Nambatac has emerged as a lead guard for Rain or Shine while Quinto has proven himself to head coach Norman Black and Meralco. Amer is still the most successful among the last decade's NCAA Jrs. MVPs as he has carved quite the career for himself as a Bolt while also getting to wear the flag more than a few times. He also remains the most successful former Red Cub as he is the one and only representative of the red and white in the list of best individual players in the last 10 years. That list is led by LSGH which counts three in Rivero, Mallillin, and Cagulangan followed by Letran and Mapua which have two apiece in Nambatac and Quinto and then Enriquez and Gozum, respectively. Each with one MVP are JRU and LPU. Here is the full list of NCAA Jrs. MVP in the last decade: 2010 - Baser Amer, G, San Beda 2011 - Rey Nambatac, G, Letran 2012 - Bong Quinto, F, Letran 2013 - Prince Rivero, F, LSGH 2014 - Darius Estrella, G/F, JRU 2015 - Mike Enriquez, G, Mapua 2016 - Troy Mallillin, F, LSGH 2017 - Will Gozum, C/F, Mapua 2018 - Joel Cagulangan, G, LSGH 2019 - John Barba, F/G, LPU --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 13th, 2020

Whatever happened to Gilas Pilipinas 2.0?

Since program’s inception, Gilas Pilipinas has been the name associated with the Philippine men’s basketball team. It gave the national team the identity it has used for a decade already. Gilas has gone through many iterations, but the current lineup, regardless of who the players are, only go by the general “Gilas” term. But early in the program’s history, each team went by a specific number, unofficially used by pretty much everyone to distinguish the teams that competed in different tournaments. It made sense too, since each team had a completely different identity. In later years, Gilas has improved in using the program as a way to ensure national basketball continuity. Nevertheless, each of the earlier Gilas versions had their success and failures. Here’s what happened to each of them.   Whatever happened to Gilas 2.0? Main tournament: 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships @ Manila, Philippines Prize: 3 tickets to the 2014 FIBA World Cup Result: Silver medal + World Cup berth (beat South Korea in semis, lost to Iran in gold medal game) Head coach: Chot Reyes Gilas 2.0 was the second time Chot Reyes handled the Philippine national team. The first time he did it, Coach Chot’s squad only managed 9th in the 2007 FIBA-Asia Championships in Japan. Six years later in Manila, Reyes is back at it again, and with some players from his 2007 team joining him too. Gilas’ silver-medal finish in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships and ensuing FIBA World Cup appearance in 2014 is Coach Chot’s best run as national team coach. Reyes would return to coach the national team in late 2016 before resigning for good in 2018. The Players: #4 Jimmy Alapag Alapag is back for a second straight stint with Gilas Pilipinas and this is the team where Jimmy carves out his legacy as one of the best national team players ever. In the semifinals against long-time nemesis South Korea, Alapag would hit the biggest shot in program history, pushing the Philippines to its first World Cup appearance in years. [Related: FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World] Once in the World Cup, Jimmy would once again hit the big shot to give Gilas its first World Cup win in four decades with an overtime decision against Senegal. Jimmy has since retired twice from basketball. He won the ABL title as head coach for San Miguel-Alab Pilipinas in the 2018 season. #5 LA Tenorio Tenorio already gave a glimpse of what he can do in the national team one-year prior, leading Gilas Pilipinas to the Jones Cup championship while winning MVP honors. In his first Gilas experience, LA started most games at point guard and was the Philippines’ best two-way option at the position. Together with Alapag and Jayson Castro, Tenorio formed perhaps the best point guard rotation in program history. After Gilas 2.0, it would be years for LA to make it back to Gilas, but once he did, he got a 2019 SEA Games gold medal to show for it. Tenorio just won another title with Barangay Ginebra, their fourth since 2016. #6 Jeff Chan Gilas 2.0 was flanked by shooters all over and the best one in Manila was Jeff Chan without a doubt. It’s not like Chan was a complete unknown when he was selected to Gilas, he did win Finals MVP for Rain or Shine in 2012. However, Chan wasn’t exactly tested when it comes to national team play. He got tested, and he passed with flying colors. Chan was the best shooter for Gilas both in total 3-point field goals made and percentage, shooting an insane 47.6 percent from deep. Chan won another title with ROS in 2016, before he was moved to Phoenix and eventually, Ginebra.  #7 Jayson Castro Gilas 2.0 was Jayson Castro’s coming out party for the Philippine national team. Sharing minutes with Jimmy Alapag and LA Tenorio, Castro was the weapon unleashed by Gilas when the going got tough. And as the tournament got deeper, it got more and more evident that The Blur was the national team’s best local. After the tournament, Castro was named in the All-Star team, and his reign as the best point guard in Asia also started his journey as a Gilas legend. While he’s already retired twice from Gilas, we’ll believe Castro is done when he doesn’t actually play. #8 Gary David Even as the PBA’s best scorer at the time, Gary David readily accepted his diminished role with Gilas 2.0. Out of all players, David finished second to last in scoring, beating out only June Mar Fajardo, who played seven games and only saw 31 minutes of total court action. Nevertheless, David was a key piece that made the Gilas 2.0 machine work, his explosive performance in the quarterfinals against Kazakhstan set up the South Korea game quite nicely too. Post-PBA, Gary David is seeing action in the MPBL, even being crowned as the league’s 3-point king in 2019. #9 Ranidel De Ocampo RDO was even better in Gilas 2.0 than he was in the original Gilas. Much like Castro, De Ocampo was a reliable weapon for coach Chot’s national team, his outside shooting ultimately proving crucial for Gilas. Ranidel was behind only Chan in 3-point field goals made and percentage for Gilas, he also hit the forgotten triple that help bury South Korea in the semifinals. RDO is technically still not retired, but injuries have forced him to slow way down in his later years in the PBA as a Meralco Bolt. #10 Gabe Norwood Norwood was one of the players from Coach Chot’s 2007 Philippine team that was present for Gilas 2.0 in Manila. Gabe didn’t do much scoring, but he played the most minutes out of everyone and was easily Gilas Pilipinas’ best defender all tournament long. Norwood’s clutch block on Kim Min-goo helped secure Gilas’ win over South Korea in the semifinals. Gabe is one of the longest-tenured players not just in the Gilas program but in Philippine national team history. In 2019, he made the World Cup for the second straight time. #11 Marcus Douthit Douthit was back for Gilas 2.0 and while his production was lowered compared to the original Gilas, he was still the rock and foundation of the national team. [Related: Whatever happened to Gilas Pilipinas 1.0?] Kuya Marcus’ stint ended early, as his tournament essentially ended before halftime of the semifinals of the game against South Korea due to injury, forcing Gilas to go true All-Filipino the rest of the way. Much like in Gilas 1.0, Douthit led Gilas in scoring and rebounding with 11.9 points and 9.4 rebounds. #12 Larry Fonacier The second designated shooter for the national team in 2013, Larry Fonacier was the classic 3-and-D player for Gilas 2.0. Gilas 2.0 was Fonacier’s only Gilas stint, and winning a silver medal is not a bad result for being one-and-done.  After Gilas 2.0, Larry would continue to play for TNT for a couple more seasons, before moving on to join the NLEX Road Warriors as one of the team’s veterans. #13 June Mar Fajardo June Mar Fajardo was a very raw prospect when Gilas 2.0 won silver in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. The future six-time PBA MVP only played in seven games and scored a grand total of three points. Nevertheless, Fajardo was a completely different player following his stint with Gilas 2.0. After he came out of his initial stint with the national team, Fajardo proceeded to dominate the PBA for half a decade and counting, and his consistent Gilas stints in the future also slowly helped him be a consistent contributor in international play. For all intents and purposes, Fajardo could still be a key piece with the country co-hosts the 2023 World Cup, 10 years after Gilas 2.0. #14 Japeth Aguilar While still limited, Japeth was an improved version of himself by the time he played for Gilas 2.0.  He was the explosive reliever for the frontline, and was a crucial part of the rotation when Douthit suffered an injury during the South Korea game. Just like Norwood, Japeth has reached the 10-year mark in service of Gilas Pilipinas program and the national team as a whole, and Gilas 2.0 was just one of his many stops. #15 Marc Pingris The heart and soul of Gilas 2.0, Marc Pingris personified the national team’s famous battle cry. Gilas 2.0’s emotional leader, Ping had his teammates dig deep when they faced the greatest adversity of their World Cup bid in the semifinals against South Korea that eventually led to an iconic breakthrough. While his numbers won’t wow anyone, Ping’s leadership and influence in the national team resonates to this day, and it all started in Gilas 2.0.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 9th, 2020