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Casimero makes easy work of Ghanian foe, retains bantamweight belt

The heavily favored Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) only needed three rounds to subdue Micah (24-1, 19 KOs), and gave the Ghana native his first defeat in his pro career......»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarSep 27th, 2020

Easy for Casimero to land big fights, says Gibbons

This is due to his consistent success in the ring — including a successful title defense of his WBO bantamweight belt against Ghanian foe Duke Micah last week......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 30th, 2020

Casimero crushes Micah in three, retains WBO belt

Call him the Blond Bomber. Filipino puncher John Riel Casimero proved too much for outgunned Ghanaian challenger Duke Micah as the WBO bantamweight titlist scored a devastating third-round KO Sunday (Manila time) at the Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Making the first defense of the title, Casimero forced referee Steve Willis to […] The post Casimero crushes Micah in three, retains WBO belt appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 27th, 2020

Manny Pacquiao’s return to glory highlights Boxing in 2019

Apart from basketball and football, arguably no other sport dominates the global headlines quite like ‘The Sweet Science’. Such was the case once again in 2019, as the sport provided some pretty big stories, including a couple of returns to glory, some continued dominance, and even a pretty epic upset. Here are some of boxing’s biggest hits in 2019:   Manny’s Back! Well, okay, maybe it wouldn’t be right to say that he’s in his prime, but Manny Pacquiao definitely showed that in 2019, he can still hang with the best. The 41-year old eight-division world champion showed just that at the start of the year when he dominated Adrien Broner in Las Vegas to defend his WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Championship. Then, just six months later, Pacquiao did even better by dethroning the previously-undefeated Keith Thurman for the WBA (Super) Welterweight World Championship. With Pacquiao’s recent resurgence, so to speak, more and more possible big money bouts are being discussed, but the whispers that continue to be prevalent are those of a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. While ‘Money’ remains retired, he’s done more than enough to continuously fan the flames of a potential rematch, and 2020 could finally be the year that it becomes a reality. As always, we’ll just have to wait and see.   Donnie Nietes vacates WBO title From one Filipino boxing great, we jump to another, as Donnie Nietes made headlines early in the year, and then was pretty much never heard from for the rest of 2019. After defeating Kazuto Ioka to become the WBO Super Flyweight World Champion in the very final day of 2018, Nietes was once again a world champion and seemed to be in for another dominant year as one of the division’s top dogs. In a surprise move however, Nietes decided to vacate the title in March, without even defending it, citing his desire for bouts against big-name opponents in the division. With Nietes vacating the title, it set up a title bout against then-mandatory challenger Aston Palicte and Kazuto Ioka, with Ioka ultimately winning and taking the WBO title. As for Nietes, the longest-reining Filipino boxing, who last fought on December 31, 2018, he will go more than a year without competing for the first time in his storied career. Hopefully, 2020 features the long-awaited return of “Ahas”.   The dominance continues for Lomachenko, Crawford, Canelo, and Ancajas Some won titles, others vacated, and others just remained on top. This was the case for the likes of Vasily Lomachenko, Terrence Crawford, Canelo Alvarez, and our very own Jerwin Ancajas. 2019 was a relatively quiet year for Loma, who only had two bouts to his name. The Ukrainian boxing machine KOd Anthony Crolla in April to retain the WBA super and WBO World Lightweight World Championships. In August, Lomachencko defeated Luke Campbell via Unanimous Decision to retain his titles and win the vacant WBC World Lightweight Championship. “Bud” Crawford also had himself a two-fight year in 2019. In April, Crawford faced Amir Khan in a highly-anticipated bout, and ended up scoring a sixth-round TKO to retain his WBO World Welterweight crown. In mid-December, Crawford scored another TKO win to defend his title, this time against Egidijus Kavaliauskas Canelo Alvarez meanwhile, became a four-division world champion in 2019 after going up to light heavyweight and dispatching Sergey Kovalev in 11 rounds to capture the WBO title. This was after he opened the year with an impressive 12-round win over Daniel Jacobs to retain the WBC, WBA super and IBF Middleweight World Championships. Our very own IBF Super Flyweight World Champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas also had a good year, defeating Ryuichi Funai and Miguel Gonzales en route to eight successful world title defenses.   Andy Ruiz Jr. shocks the world In recent years, boxing’s heavyweight division belonged to the likes of Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Anthony Joshua. That all changed when Joshua saw himself fall victim to the biggest boxing upset of the year. Following a failed drug test from his initial challenger Jared Miller, Joshua was matched up with Mexican heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr, who many didn’t take seriously due to his less than impressive physique. Ruiz quickly silenced the naysayers by using his speed and power to drop Joshua four times, twice in what would be the final seventh round, to shock the world and capture the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight World Championships. Ruiz also became the first Mexican heavyweight world champion in boxing history. In the rematch however, Joshua bounced right back and dominated Ruiz across 12 rounds to reclaim the titles. Part 3 could be something to watch out for this 2020.   Nonito Doniare Jr. and Naoya Inoue put on a war Many expected it to be a quick affair, but the World Boxing Super Series Bantamweight Finale between Nonito Donaire Jr. and Naoya Inoue ended up becoming a 12-round classic, worth of Fight of the Year honors. Donaire Jr. and Inoue both earned their spots in the tournament finale, but judging from their prior performances, it looked like ‘The Monster’ Inoue was set to make quick work of an aging, presumed-to-be-past-his-prime Donaire Jr. “The Filipino Flash” instead gave Inoue the fight of his life, putting the pressure on the Japanese star like no one else before has been able to do. Unfortunately for Donaire, the younger Inoue simply had more in the tank left, as he was able to grind out a Unanimous Decision win, but it was clearly the hardest win he had ever had. For Donaire’s part, his impressive performance in the loss earned him a mandatory challenger spot against WBC Bantamweight World Champion Nordine Oubaali in 2020.   Amatuer stars Eumir Marcial and Nesthy Petecio shine on the world stage and in the SEA Games It wasn’t just the Pinoy pros that had their time in the spotlight, as a pair of amateur pugs also made headlines in 2019. Filipino middleweight Eumir Felix Marcial finished with silver in the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Russia and then finished the year with a dominant run in the 2019 SEA Games, stopping both his opponents en route to a gold medal. Nesthy Petecio meanwhile, became a world champion after capturing gold in the 2019 AIBA Women’s Boxing World Championships, also in Russia. Petecio’s win earned her a spot as the torchbearer in the 2019 SEA Games, lighting the cauldron alongside Pinoy boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. Petecio also captured gold in the SEA Games tournaments.   Quadro Alas becomes a three-division champion For a while, it looked like Johnriel “Quadro Alas” Casimero was done. After an uninspired loss to Jonas Sultan in a super flyweight title eliminator, Casimero steadily got back on track and picked up win after win until he was suddenly a titleholder again, winning the WBO Interim Bantamweight World Championship in April. After a successful defense of the interim belt, Casimero became the mandatory challenger to reigning WBO World Champion Zolani Tete. Tete was coming into that fight as the heavy favorite, riding a 12-fight winning streak which included three successful title defenses. Casimero halted the Tete hype train with a third-round TKO win to once again become a world champion, his third in as many weight divisions. With the win, Casimero now sets his sights on a possible super-fight against Naoya Inoue in 2020......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2019

Casimero KOs Mexican, retains WBO belt

MANILA — John Riel Casimero successfully defended his World Boxing Organization interim bantamweight title after defeating Mexico’s Cesar Ramirez at the San Andres Sports Complex here Saturday night. Casimero knocked Ramirez out cold in Round 10 after connecting on an upper cut. Prior to the finish, Casimero scored knockdowns in the third, fifth, and seventh […] The post Casimero KOs Mexican, retains WBO belt appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 25th, 2019

Casimero retains crown

WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero put his act on full display in his first US pay-per-view appearance and called out the big names in the 118-pound division to come forward after demolishing previously unbeaten Ghanaian challenger Duke Micah......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 28th, 2020

Triumphant Casimero calls out Inoue

The 31-year-old didn't waste time after successfully defending his WBO Bantamweight belt on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time), and was quick to call out Naoya "Monster" Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) for his next conquest......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 27th, 2020

Casimero retains WBO title, blasts Micah in 3 rounds

John Riel Casimero of the Philippines made a successful first defense of his WBO bantamweight crown on Sunday (Manila time), knocking out Ghana’s Duke Micah in the third round of their title fight in Connecticut. The 30-year-old from Leyte dominated Micah throughout with a series of punishing body blows, setting a frenetic pace from the […] The post Casimero retains WBO title, blasts Micah in 3 rounds appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 27th, 2020

Casimero locked and loaded

WBO bantamweight champion JohnRiel Casimero is in Connecticut where he’ll take on unbeaten New York-based Ghanaian challenger Duke Micah in a scheduled 12-round bout on Sunday morning (Manila time) and according to MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons, there’s no way the Ormoc slugger is coming back home to the Philippines next month without the belt strapped on his waist......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 24th, 2020

Bones to work Casimero’s corner

Former WBA superbantamweight champion Clarence Adams will be the chief second in WBO bantamweight titleholder JohnRiel Casimero’s corner when the Ormoc slugger stakes his crown against unbeaten No. 11 contender Duke Micah of Ghana in Connecticut on Sept. 26 and MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said yesterday they’re perfect for each other......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 12th, 2020

Miocic retains heavyweight crown with decision over Cormier

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Stipe Miocic defeated Daniel Cormier by unanimous decision in a five-round bout Saturday night to win the rubber match in a fantastic trilogy between the fighters and retain his heavyweight championship at UFC 252. Miocic (20-3) swept the scorecards 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47 to stake his claim as perhaps the greatest heavyweight in UFC history. “I'm happy to cement my legacy,” Miocic said. Miocic tagged Cormier with a vicious poke to his left eye late in the third round that sent the challenger staggering to his corner. Cormier's eye was about swollen shut, but he gamely fought on the final two rounds in the main event of UFC 252 at the UFC APEX complex in Las Vegas “I can't see anything out of my left eye,” Cormier said. “It's black.” Miocic said he apologized to Cormier for the poke. “I totally poked him in the eye, my bad," Miocic said. Cormier was taken to the hospital after the bout. There was no immediate word about his condition. The 41-year-old Cormier (22-3, 1 NC) is a former two-division champion and has already cemented his status as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in UFC history. The amiable Cormier, who has found his niche as a successful broadcaster, had vowed to retire after Saturday and end a career in which 10 of his last 11 fights were fought with a championship on the line. Cormier said he stood by his decision to retire. He won the first fight between the two but dropped two straight to Miocic. “I’m not interested in fighting for anything but titles and I don’t imagine there’s going to be a title in the future,” Cormier said. “That will be it for me. I’ve had a long run, it’s been great, I just fought my last fight for a heavyweight championship and it was a pretty good fight.” UFC President Dana White had said Francis Ngannou was next in line for a heavyweight title shot. “Great performance to both guys. ... Congrats to Stipe on the performance. See you soon,” Ngannou tweeted. Jon Jones, the reigning UFC light heavyweight champion, tried to stir the pot on social media by teasing a challenge to Miocic. “Heavyweight world championships I will be seeing you real soon. Victorious,” Jones tweeted. Miocic nearly got the finish at the end of the second round and had Cormier in trouble until time ran out. “One hundred percent I would have finished him,” Miocic said. Cormier knocked out Miocic at UFC 226 in the first round in their 2018 bout to win the heavyweight belt. Miocic defeated Cormier last August in the rematch at UFC 241. The winner of this bout could make an argument as the greatest heavyweight champion in UFC history. Miocic has plenty left in the tank to keep cementing his legacy as the best big man UFC has seen inside the cage. “Great heavyweight fight!! #UFC252 #TeamStipe,” Lakers star LeBron James tweeted. Cormier finished with a 1-2 mark against Miocic and a losing mark against Jones. Cormier lost both fights to Jones, though the second one was overturned when Jones failed a doping test. The result was changed to a no contest. Miocic, who continues to work shifts for the Valley View (Ohio) Fire Department, has won eight of his last night fights. “I don't get any special treatment,” Miocic said. “I'm just one of the dudes.” The only thing missing was the crowd. UFC hasn't missed a beat during the pandemic and continued to run some of its most successful shows over the last few years. But no doubt a packed and crazed crowd would have added another dimension to the epic trilogy. White said UFC will return to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. “I don't see fans happening any time soon,” White said. “I'm not even thinking about it.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 16th, 2020

FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World

This story was originally published on Feb. 24, 2019 It’s Saturday night at Mall of Asia and the arena is absolutely rocking. Eternal basketball rivals in the Philippines and South Korea are delivering another classic. Gilas Pilipinas is down to the final minute of regulation against its longtime tormentor in the second of two semifinal games. The national team is up by two, 81-79. The Philippines is hosting the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships where three tickets to the 2014 World Cup are at stake and the winner of this particular game gets one of those tickets. Given the rich history of both teams and what it would mean to the winner, this pivotal game has gone down the wire as everyone pretty much expected. Also knowing the history of both teams in international play, Gilas’ precarious two-point lead was not safe at all. A ghost was lurking in the background and a dreaded curse felt almost inevitable. Down to the final minute of the crucial grudge match between the Philippines and South Korea, guard Jimmy Alapag has the ball and a two-point lead. What he will do will help define not only his career but the legacy of the Gilas name as a national team.   WAKE-UP CALL Even before the Philippines-Korea game, Gilas Pilipinas already had to go through one emotional game early in its homestand for the Asian Championships. In a preliminary round showdown against Chinese Taipei, the Filipinos collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Taiwanese to steal a morale-boosting 84-79 win. In 2013, the relationship between the two countries hit a rough patch over the death of one Taiwanese fisherman. In an updated May 17 report by CNN’s Jethro Mullen, “Taiwan has reacted angrily after one of its fishermen was killed by a Philippine coast guard vessel.” Taiwan had frozen applications from OFWs seeking jobs in its territory and the government of then President Ma Ying-jeou demanded an apology, among other things, from the Philippines. While the national basketball teams of both countries never really had any prior animosity with each other, tension was naturally present as both teams squared off in Group A action. Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese-Taipei both entered the showdown with identical 2-0 records and the winner would take control of solo Group A lead heading into round 2. Taking a good lead into the fourth quarter, the Philippines was outscored by 18 in the last 10 minutes and the national team took its worst home loss in quite some time. “At the time, it was a huge game for us. We understood what was happening in Taipei during that particular time. We really wanted to win for what our kababayans were going through at that time,” guard Jimmy Alapag said on that first home loss in the 2013 Asian Championships. “We didn’t get the job done, and it was tough especially to lose a game like that, it was a very emotional and it was a game that we knew we needed,” he added. The crushing loss meant that the Philippines had little room for error in round 2. While Gilas didn’t have any world beaters lined up in the second round, anything less than a perfect run would have meant an early clash with Asia’s established powerhouse teams in the knockout stages. On the other side of the bracket, defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea were battling for position and were expected to finish in the top-3. That means if Gilas Pilipinas failed to finish no. 1 in its group, the national team would have faced one of those teams in the quarterfinals. Gilas picked up a crucial win over Qatar in the 6th of August and the day after, the Philippines got some help from those same Qataris as they beat Taipei in a close decision. At the end of round 2, all teams finished with identical win-loss records but Gilas Pilipinas would take over first place after all tiebreaks were considered, barely edging out Taipei. The Philippines ended up avoiding defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea and instead got Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Taipei drew China and the third-running Qataris were matched up with the South Koreans. “I think that was the moment we grew up and grew closer. I think that was the lowest of the lows, just because of the atmosphere and what was going on between both countries. It kind of felt that we let our end of the bargain down, you know what I mean? We’re on our home soil and we didn’t take care of business. I think that was one of those moments where we had to really check ourselves and find a way to make it right,” forward Gabe Norwood said of the Taipei loss. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In tournaments like FIBA-Asia it’s important that you have short-term memory whether it was a win or a loss. We needed to let go of that game and continue to stay the course, keep our focus in the tournament,” Alapag added. On August 7, four days after Gilas lost to Taipei, the rift between the Philippines and Taiwan would reach a resolution and the latter country lifted its freeze hiring and other sanctions on the former. The Philippines also did issue on official apology over the death of the Taiwanese fisherman a couple of months prior and the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila recommended the pressing of homicide charges to erring members of the Philippine Coast Guard.   DARK HISTORY If the word “rival” is to be defined as a, “person or group that tries to defeat or be more successful than another person or group” then sure, the Philippines and South Korea are rivals. Both countries are rivals in the Asian basketball scene and they have been going at it for a very long time. But if the word rival can also mean “equal” or “peer,” is the Philippines really a worthy basketball rival to South Korea? The Philippines’ history with South Korea in terms of basketball is dark. Very dark. Consider the most high-profile matches between the two countries and you’ll see that the Philippine national team is just not at the level of South Korea. Or at the very least, Koreans always seem to reach 120 percent of their potential when they play Filipinos and we barely bring out 80 percent of our abilities when matched up against our East Asian neighbors. The 1998 PBA Centennial team, arguably the greatest Philippine team ever assembled, was demolished by South Korea in the Asian Games. A national team set up for gold only settled for bronze. Speaking of a bronze medal game, the original Gilas Pilipinas team lost a podium finish to South Korea in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships. That team squandered a double-digit lead and collapsed late. Of course, who can forget the semifinals of the 2002 Asian Games in Busan when Olsen Racela had the chance to put the Philippines up four but missed two free throws. South Korea would win with a booming triple at the buzzer off a broken play and would later take down China to capture the gold medal. South Korea is the Philippines’ basketball nemesis for all intents and purposes. A worthy adversary that always seem to emerge victorious at our expense. Still, all that previous disappointment didn’t seem to bother Gilas Pilipinas six years ago. The team was not scared and instead, they were excited even. One factor to greatly consider was that fact that the game was in Manila. It makes all the difference to play at home. “We understood the bad history that we had with Korea. We haven’t been very successful with them in quite some time but we knew from Day 1 that if ever we got an opportunity to play them at home, then we have a great chance,” Alapag said. “Man, pre-game, it was just the focus. Everybody was up for the challenge, I don’t think anybody was really nervous, I think it was just the anxiety... we wanted to get out there and do it already,” Norwood added. Playing at home had its perks for sure, but it also had its drawbacks. For all the painful losses the Philippines suffered at the hands of South Korea, it would have been devastating if Gilas actually took a beating in Manila. Stakes were extra high in this particular chapter of this long, ongoing saga. “There was always pressure, it was something that we acknowledged early. Playing at home, it’s great having that support but at the same time, there is some added pressure because you wanna make sure that you make our home crowd proud of the team that they watch and ultimately, win games,” Alapag said, making sure to note that the national team knew of the disadvantages of playing at home even before the Korea game. “It was there but it was something that we acknowledged and we wanted to make sure that we took advantage of the opportunity playing at home,” he added.   ALL FILIPINO, ALL HEART Once it was go time, the Philippines-South Korea game went about pretty normal, as you would expect any game from these two national teams. But even before halftime, an injury to Gilas center Marcus Douthit changed the complexion of the semifinals showdown. All of a sudden, the Philippines was without its anchor, without its best player. Sure, there were players on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace Douthit’s size but there was simply no one on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace his talent, production, and just overall presence. June Mar Fajardo was in that Gilas bench but it 2013, the would-be five-time PBA Most Valuable Player was just not at that level yet. It would have been easy for Gilas Pilipinas to fold like cheap furniture and succumb to the overwhelming pressure of trying to overcome South Korea to reach a stage very few Filipinos have reached before. Gilas didn’t fold and instead, the Douthit injury rallied the team even further. “Alam mo sa totoo lang, puso na lang yun eh. Nung nawala si Marcus talaga, sabi ni coach kailangan doble kayod tayo. Dahil sobrang dehado tayo kumbaga, wala na tayong import, wala tayong malaki,” forward Marc Pingris said. With Douthit gone, Ping ate up all of his minutes and worked by committee with guys like Ranidel De Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar to fill in the gaps. “As a player naman, kami nagusap-usap kami na kahit anong mangyari, lalaban kami. Yung time na yun, talagang patay kung patay,” Ping added. Despite losing its best player to an untimely injury, Gilas Pilipinas’ confidence in winning never wavered. With their collective backs against the wall, the Philippine national team played even better. Unlike the later iterations of Gilas Pilipinas, the 2013 team, aptly called Gilas 2.0, had the luxury of having actual preparation before the FIBA-Asia Championships. The amount of work that came before the tournament and the Korea game, the bond built over countless hours of training, all of that helped the national team avoid a monumental meltdown in front of a rabid Manila crowd. “We were such a close-knit team in terms of our chemistry, in terms of the talent that we had, so we felt confident even when Marcus went down early in the game. If you looked at our huddle, you had 11 more very confident guys, not just in themselves but more importantly, in each other,” Alapag said. “That just boiled down to the chemistry that we had. I don’t think any of us panicked, we were all confident in each other. We’ve all been into that situation with our PBA teams, having the ball in our hands and making a play. Knowing that we had five weapons on the floor that could make the winning play, I think it made us very confident and we were able to sustain our composure,” the former Gilas captain added.   THE GHOST AND ITS CURSE Shin Dong Pa, Hur Jae, Lee Sang-min, Oh Se-Keun, TJ Moon, and Cho Sung-min are just some players from the South Korean national team that inflicted incredible damage to the Philippines over the course of decades. The dreaded Ghost of South Korea takes form in these players and its curse is to give Filipinos the most heart-crushing loss possible. In 2013, the Ghost was Kim Min-goo and his curse was to beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Despite losing Marcus Douthit and trailing by three points at the break, the Philippines started to turn the tables in the second half. Gilas Pilipinas unleashed Jayson Castro and the Blur led a blazing offense in the third quarter, finding a way to take a 10-point lead over South Korea, the Philippines’ largest of the night. But as the dust settled and Gilas holding a 65-56 lead entering the final period, an ominous figure would make his presence felt. The Korean Ghost has arrived and his name was Kim Min-goo. His curse? Beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Kim was 22 and a senior in college when he made the South Korean national basketball team as a backup shooter in 2013. In nine games in Manila, Kim would play well enough to make the tournament’s All-Star team, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He led Asian Championships with 25 three-point field goals, 10 came in the last two games and five came against Gilas Pilipinas. Kim drilled back-to-back triples to open the fourth quarter against the Philippines. Later, his fifth triple — a four-point play at that — pushed the Koreans to within a point, 72-73. South Korea would take over soon after as Lee Seung-jun dunked the basketball on a fastbreak. The Ghost has arrived and his curse is in effect. “Ako pumasok sa isip ko yun nung lumamang Korea, na putek ito na naman,” Pingris said. “Pero ang sabi ko, sayang yung opportunity, kaya naman eh. So sabi ni Jimmy samin, no matter what happens wag kami gi-give up. Pinaghirapan natin to at may goal tayo, this year aalis tayo,” he added, noting the team’s goal to get into Spain and compete with the world’s best national teams. Faced with the possibility of dealing with a devastating defeat, Gilas had enough mental fortitude to keep things going. Trust your system, trust your preparation, trust your crowd, trust your teammates, and more importantly, trust yourselves. “You’re never out of the game if you’re playing at home,” Norwood said as they stared a deficit late against their destined rivals. “I think that was our mindset, keep it close and just find a way,” he added. Jimmy Alapag found a way.   BORN READY Down 73-75, Jimmy Alapag was under heavy duress when he let go of a three-pointer from the left wing just in front of his bench. It was good to go. The Philippines was back on top by one as Alapag somehow managed to get his team to snap out of an initial shock following Korea’s strong fourth-quarter rally. The stage is now set for a wild finish and Jimmy will star in the final act of what has been an incredible show by Gilas and South Korea. “In situations like that, as an athlete and as a pro, that’s the situations that you dream about,” Alapag said.  “Those are shots that you practice when you were a kid. When the shot clock is winding down, to have an opportunity to knock down a shot. It’s a shot that I practiced thousands of times,” he added. After the Philippines and South Korea traded baskets for the lead, Alapag made perhaps the most underrated play in this crazy and emotional encounter between two basketball rivals. Tasked with inbounding the ball just near underneath his own basket, Alapag found his Talk ‘N Text teammate Ranidel De Ocampo for an open look at three. Swish. Gilas leads, 81-77, with 91 seconds to go. “Ranidel was my favorite target for a very, very long time in my career,” Alapag said on the play that most people probably don’t even remember. “Once I saw that he got open, I wanted to make sure that I gave him as great a pass as possible and Ranidel has been known for a long time to take care of the rest,” he added.   THE EXORCIST “Yeah, I was right under the basket,” Gabe Norwood says with a laugh when asked if he remembers the shot that changed the course of Gilas Pilipinas as a national team. Late in the fourth quarter of what was essentially a heavyweight bout, the Philippines just landed two strong haymakers but South Korea would refuse to go down without a fight, beating the count of 10 each time. Down to the final minute of a crucial grudge match with a World Cup berth on the line, Jimmy Alapag had his hands on the basketball as Gilas would go to its halfcourt set. Jimmy will never let go of said basketball. Up two, Jimmy did what Olsen wished he could 11 years prior. Up two against South Korea in a pivotal semifinal game, Alapag received a screen from Marc Pingris, which was enough to momentarily shake off Kim Tae-sul. With some room, Alapag drifted to his left and let a three-point shot fly. Boom. Gilas leads, 84-79, with 54 seconds to go. The shot would later be remembered as the one that ended the Korean Curse, the one that finally exorcised the Ghost. “The first thought that came to my mind was don’t miss,” Jimmy said of the clutch jumper. “That last one, Ping sets a good screen and I got a clean look. It’s a shot that myself, and Jayson [Castro], and Larry [Fonacier], and Gary [David], and Jeff [Chan], all of us, we practice that shot time and time again after practice. So you know, it was a shot that I was confident in but in that moment, all you’re thinking about was don’t miss,” he added. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself and to be confidednt in your preparation. It’s a different thing to actually perform under such pressure. As soon as Alapag managed to shoot his shot, Gabe Norwood did what any other good teammate would do and got in position to get the offensive rebound. You know, just in case. Gabe got the ball alright, but he got it after it swished through the rim. “When he put the shot up, I tried to crash for the rebound but I basically knew that it was going in,” he said. “I had probably the best view, I was right under the basket. I think caught it after it went through too,” Norwood added. Alapag checked out moments later as the Philippines went to its defensive lineup in order to stop another Korean comeback. South Korea turned to its most effective shooter in Kim and as he rose up to try and answer Alapag’s triple, Norwood met him at the apex for the game’s most dramatic stop. Gabe blocked Kim and Gilas would finish things off with a final Marc Pingris basket on the other end. A historic 86-79 win was complete. “I still get chills thinking about it, to look up and see grown men just breaking down. My wife was trying to hold my kids and she was holding back tears. It was just an awesome moment, the bond that we had on that team, the stuff that we did to get prepare, I think we poured it all out in that game,” Norwood said on the monumental victory. “I think it probably didn’t hit me until the final buzzer sounded. Not just for me but for the entire team, when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a special group of guys and the fact that we could share that moment with not just with each other but the entire country, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Alapag added, savoring the moment of a Philippine win over Korea 28 years in the making.   THE INTRODUCTION Gilas Pilipinas would lose to Iran the next day in the Finals of the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. The Philippines put up a fight but Hamed Haddadi would prove to be too powerful to stop. It would take another two years for Gilas to beat Iran but that didn’t really matter in the moment. The Philippines is headed to the World Championships for the first time in three decades. The Philippines has beaten South Korea and one singular shot has allowed the Gilas name to be known around the world. Jimmy wouldn’t say that though. At least not directly in that way. “For me, that shot was the biggest for my career. But really, it was our entire team. We’ve gone through so much and that was just one particular play that really culminated the entire game and all the contributions from other guys from Gabe’s defense, to Ping’s rebounding, to Japeth’s rim protecting, to Jayson and LA doing a lot of the legwork,” Alapag said. “Everybody had their part in contribution to the game. After the shot, after the buzzer sounded, it was just a very special moment for us as a team and for Philippine basketball to show that all of the sacrifices, all of the hard work, now it’s given an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world,” he added. Jimmy wouldn’t say it, but his teammates would. That shot of his that beat South Korea in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships introduced the Gilas name to the world. It announced that the Philippines has finally arrived. Gilas’ breakthrough overtime win a year later in Spain against Senegal — a game Jimmy pretty much decided late as well — made it known that Filipinos are here to stay on the World stage. “I would say so, it got us to where we wanted to be in the World Cup. I think we shocked some people there as well. But just the work that went in, I think it showed the country that we can get back to where we want to be as long as you work together,” Norwood said. “Yung puso ni Jimmy, grabe naman. Makikita mo maliit pero gusto lang niya talaga manalo. Ang liit pero parang lion pag nagalit eh, nandoon yung tiwala namin sa kanya. Ano pa ba masasabi mo, Jimmy is Jimmy Alapag,” Pingris would add.   [NOTES: At the time of original publishing, Gilas Pilipinas was fighting to make a return trip to the FIBA World Cup, this time in China in 2019. To secure its slot, the the Philippine national team needed to beat Kazakhstan in Astana plus a loss from Japan, Jordan, and/or Lebanon. One of the teams that can help Gilas is South Korea... ironically. Jimmy Alapag retired from national team play in 2014 and retired playing for good in 2016. He has since made himself a champion basketball coach in the ABL. Marc Pingris suffered an ACL injury in 2018 and is in the process of returning for his PBA team in the current 2019 season. Gabe Norwood is still in Gilas. He’s still an effective two-way weapon. He can still dunk and will stop your best player too.]   [Updated Notes: The Philippines beat Kazakhstan to make the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Gilas got help from... South Korea. The Koreans beat Lebanon on the road, allowing Gilas to advance to the World Championships outright with a victory over Kazakhstan.]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020

From ball games to video games, GDLs push each other to be better

Juan Gomez de Liano is the best GDL - in terms of NBA 2K, that is. "I am the 2K god no doubt. Nobody can beat me," he said in The Prospects Pod where he was the guest alongside brothers Joe, Javi, and Jordi. "Si Javi, plays off (ang) fatigue e tapos si Joe, laging nagpe-press and it's really easy to break the press." And Jordi? "I'd say kami ni Jordi top two." When it comes to one-on-one on the basketball court itself, though, the playing field is pretty much level. Asked who wins the most in head-to-head ball games, Juan answered, "Sometimes me, sometimes Javi, sometimes Joe, pero si Jordi has a lot of work to do." Of course, bragging rights matter to brothers - especially if there are four of them. For the GDLs, though, their fire and desire to be better than one another is nothing but a good thing. "Our competitiveness makes us better. Our competitiveness raises up our game," Javi said. He then continued, "Example, when we lift weights, kami ni Joe and Juan, laging nagpapabigatan ng bench press, shoulder press. Hindi kami magpapatalo kung sino pinakamabigat magbuhat e." Yes, for the brothers-slash-proud products of the University of the Philippines, working out is a competition in itself. Again, that is nothing but a good thing. As Javi put it, "Iron sharpens iron e." That is also exactly why when it comes to pick up games, the GDLs apparently do not like being teammates. "Siyempre, whenever we play with each other, gusto naming magkalaban. Bwakaw kasi sila e," Joe said, with a laugh. He then continued, "Saka gusto namin (makita) who's the best sa amin. Ganun. Pero of course, we don't take it personally. We just wanna prove na 'O, I'm the best.'" In the end, having their constant challengers living with them under the same roof has, indeed, only gotten the best out of the brothers. "For me, it's just a blessing na every day, we motivate each other. Yung competitive nature namin sa bahay, ibang level talaga ever since we were kids e so we like to compete," Juan shared. He then continued, "We are never afraid of anything. All we wanna do is win." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2020

Pinoy boxing stars John Riel Casimero, Mark Magsayo link up in the US

A pair of rising Pinoy boxing stars in WBO Bantamweight World Champion John Riel "Quadro Alas" Casimero and undefeated prospect Mark "Magnifico" Magsayo got to link up and spend some time together in the United States over the weekend.  Casimero and Magsayo, both members of Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions stable, spent their rest day fishing, as shared by Magsayo on his Instagram account.        View this post on Instagram                   Went fishing with my bro WBO Champ Quadro Alas @johnrielreponte last night for our weekend rest. @mannypacquiao @knuckleheadsean #fishingtime #resttime #MPpromotions #viva #MMM #teamSeva A post shared by Magnifico (@markmagnificomagsayo) on Jul 26, 2020 at 7:14pm PDT  The 30-year old Casimero has been in the United States since March and was scheduled to face undefeated Japanese boxing star Naoya Inoue, the reigning WBA and IBF Bantamweight king in a unification bout back in April, until the COVID-19 pandemic nixed those plans.  Magsayo, who inked his deal with MP Promotions earlier this year, flew to the US at the start of July to work and train with the likes of long-time Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach and Pacquiao strengh and conditioning coach Justin Fortune. Magsayo's trip to the US was also initially supposed to happen at an earlier date, but the pandemic also prevented that from pushing through.  Both Casimero and Magsayo are hoping to return to the ring later this year. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 27th, 2020

FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World

This story was originally published on Feb. 24, 2019 It’s Saturday night at Mall of Asia and the arena is absolutely rocking. Eternal basketball rivals in the Philippines and South Korea are delivering another classic. Gilas Pilipinas is down to the final minute of regulation against its longtime tormentor in the second of two semifinal games. The national team is up by two, 81-79. The Philippines is hosting the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships where three tickets to the 2014 World Cup are at stake and the winner of this particular game gets one of those tickets. Given the rich history of both teams and what it would mean to the winner, this pivotal game has gone down the wire as everyone pretty much expected. Also knowing the history of both teams in international play, Gilas’ precarious two-point lead was not safe at all. A ghost was lurking in the background and a dreaded curse felt almost inevitable. Down to the final minute of the crucial grudge match between the Philippines and South Korea, guard Jimmy Alapag has the ball and a two-point lead. What he will do will help define not only his career but the legacy of the Gilas name as a national team.   WAKE-UP CALL Even before the Philippines-Korea game, Gilas Pilipinas already had to go through one emotional game early in its homestand for the Asian Championships. In a preliminary round showdown against Chinese Taipei, the Filipinos collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Taiwanese to steal a morale-boosting 84-79 win. In 2013, the relationship between the two countries hit a rough patch over the death of one Taiwanese fisherman. In an updated May 17 report by CNN’s Jethro Mullen, “Taiwan has reacted angrily after one of its fishermen was killed by a Philippine coast guard vessel.” Taiwan had frozen applications from OFWs seeking jobs in its territory and the government of then President Ma Ying-jeou demanded an apology, among other things, from the Philippines. While the national basketball teams of both countries never really had any prior animosity with each other, tension was naturally present as both teams squared off in Group A action. Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese-Taipei both entered the showdown with identical 2-0 records and the winner would take control of solo Group A lead heading into round 2. Taking a good lead into the fourth quarter, the Philippines was outscored by 18 in the last 10 minutes and the national team took its worst home loss in quite some time. “At the time, it was a huge game for us. We understood what was happening in Taipei during that particular time. We really wanted to win for what our kababayans were going through at that time,” guard Jimmy Alapag said on that first home loss in the 2013 Asian Championships. “We didn’t get the job done, and it was tough especially to lose a game like that, it was a very emotional and it was a game that we knew we needed,” he added. The crushing loss meant that the Philippines had little room for error in round 2. While Gilas didn’t have any world beaters lined up in the second round, anything less than a perfect run would have meant an early clash with Asia’s established powerhouse teams in the knockout stages. On the other side of the bracket, defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea were battling for position and were expected to finish in the top-3. That means if Gilas Pilipinas failed to finish no. 1 in its group, the national team would have faced one of those teams in the quarterfinals. Gilas picked up a crucial win over Qatar in the 6th of August and the day after, the Philippines got some help from those same Qataris as they beat Taipei in a close decision. At the end of round 2, all teams finished with identical win-loss records but Gilas Pilipinas would take over first place after all tiebreaks were considered, barely edging out Taipei. The Philippines ended up avoiding defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea and instead got Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Taipei drew China and the third-running Qataris were matched up with the South Koreans. “I think that was the moment we grew up and grew closer. I think that was the lowest of the lows, just because of the atmosphere and what was going on between both countries. It kind of felt that we let our end of the bargain down, you know what I mean? We’re on our home soil and we didn’t take care of business. I think that was one of those moments where we had to really check ourselves and find a way to make it right,” forward Gabe Norwood said of the Taipei loss. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In tournaments like FIBA-Asia it’s important that you have short-term memory whether it was a win or a loss. We needed to let go of that game and continue to stay the course, keep our focus in the tournament,” Alapag added. On August 7, four days after Gilas lost to Taipei, the rift between the Philippines and Taiwan would reach a resolution and the latter country lifted its freeze hiring and other sanctions on the former. The Philippines also did issue on official apology over the death of the Taiwanese fisherman a couple of months prior and the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila recommended the pressing of homicide charges to erring members of the Philippine Coast Guard.   DARK HISTORY If the word “rival” is to be defined as a, “person or group that tries to defeat or be more successful than another person or group” then sure, the Philippines and South Korea are rivals. Both countries are rivals in the Asian basketball scene and they have been going at it for a very long time. But if the word rival can also mean “equal” or “peer,” is the Philippines really a worthy basketball rival to South Korea? The Philippines’ history with South Korea in terms of basketball is dark. Very dark. Consider the most high-profile matches between the two countries and you’ll see that the Philippine national team is just not at the level of South Korea. Or at the very least, Koreans always seem to reach 120 percent when the play Filipinos and we barely bring out 80 percent of our abilities when matched up against our East Asian neighbors. The 1998 PBA Centennial team, arguably the greatest Philippine team ever assembled, was demolished by South Korea in the Asian Games. A national team set up for gold only settled for bronze. Speaking of a bronze medal game, the original Gilas Pilipinas team lost to South Korea in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships. That team squandered a double-digit lead and collapsed late. Of course, who can forget the semifinals of the 2002 Asian Games in Busan when Olsen Racela had the chance to put the Philippines up four but missed two free throws. South Korea would win with a booming triple at the buzzer off a broken play and would later take down China to capture the gold medal. South Korea is the Philippines’ basketball nemesis for all intents and purposes. A worthy adversary that always seem to emerge victorious at our expense. Still, all that previous disappointment didn’t seem to bother Gilas Pilipinas six years ago. The team was not scared and instead, they were excited even. One factor to greatly consider was that fact that the game was in Manila. It makes all the difference to play at home. “We understood the bad history that we had with Korea. We haven’t been very successful with them in quite some time but we knew from Day 1 that if ever we got an opportunity to play them at home, then we have a great chance,” Alapag said. “Man, pre-game, it was just the focus. Everybody was up for the challenge, I don’t think anybody was really nervous, I think it was just the anxiety... we wanted to get out there and do it already,” Norwood added. Playing at home had its perks for sure but it also had its drawbacks. For all the painful losses the Philippines suffered at the hands of South Korea, it would have been devastating if Gilas actually took a beating in Manila. Stakes were extra high in this particular chapter of this long, ongoing saga. “There was always pressure, it was something that we acknowledged early. Playing at home, it’s great having that support but at the same time, there is some added pressure because you wanna make sure that you make our home crowd proud of the team that they watch and ultimately, win games,” Alapag said, making sure to note that the national team knew of the disadvantages of playing at home even before the Korea game. “It was there but it was something that we acknowledged and we wanted to make sure that we took advantage of the opportunity playing at home,” he added.   ALL FILIPINO, ALL HEART Once it was go time, the Philippines-South Korea game went about pretty normal, as you would expect any game from these two national teams. But even before halftime, an injury to Gilas center Marcus Douthit changed the complexion of the semifinals showdown. All of a sudden, the Philippines was without its anchor, without its best player. Sure, there were players on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace Douthit’s size but there was simply no one on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace his talent, production, and just overall presence. June Mar Fajardo was in that Gilas bench but it 2013, the would-be five-time PBA Most Valuable Player was just not at that level yet. It would have been easy for Gilas Pilipinas to fold like cheap furniture and succumb to the overwhelming pressure of trying to overcome South Korea to reach a stage very few Filipinos have reached before. Gilas didn’t fold and instead, the Douthit injury rallied the team even further. “Alam mo sa totoo lang, puso na lang yun eh. Nung nawala si Marcus talaga, sabi ni coach kailangan doble kayod tayo. Dahil sobrang dehado tayo kumbaga, wala na tayong import, wala tayong malaki,” forward Marc Pingris said. With Douthit gone, Ping ate up all of his minutes and worked by committee with guys like Ranidel De Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar to fill in the gaps. “As a player naman, kami nagusap-usap kami na kahit anong mangyari, lalaban kami. Yung time na yun, talagang patay kung patay,” Ping added. Despite losing its best player to an untimely injury, Gilas Pilipinas’ confidence in winning never wavered. With their collective backs against the wall, the Philippine national team played even better. Unlike the later iterations of Gilas Pilipinas, the 2013 team, aptly called Gilas 2.0, had the luxury of having actual preparation before the FIBA-Asia Championships. The amount of work that came before the tournament and the Korea game, the bond built over countless hours of training, all of that helped the national team avoid a monumental meltdown in front of a rabid Manila crowd. “We were such a close-knit team in terms of our chemistry, in terms of the talent that we had, so we felt confident even when Marcus went down early in the game. If you looked at our huddle, you had 11 more very confident guys, not just in themselves but more importantly, in each other,” Alapag said. “That just boiled down to the chemistry that we had. I don’t think any of us panicked, we were all confident in each other. We’ve all been into that situation with our PBA teams, having the ball in our hands and making a play. Knowing that we had five weapons on the floor that could make the winning play, I think it made us very confident and we were able to sustain our composure,” the former Gilas captain added.   THE GHOST AND ITS CURSE Shin Dong Pa, Hur Jae, Lee Sang-min, Oh Se-Keun, TJ Moon, and Cho Sung-min are just some players from the South Korean national team that inflicted incredible damage to the Philippines over the course of decades. The dreaded Ghost of South Korea takes form in these players and its curse is to give Filipinos the most heart-crushing loss possible. In 2013, the Ghost was Kim Min-goo and his curse was to beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Despite losing Marcus Douthit and trailing by three points at the break, the Philippines started to turn the tables in the second half. Gilas Pilipinas unleashed Jayson Castro and the Blur led a blazing offense in the third quarter, finding a way to take a 10-point lead over South Korea, the Philippines’ largest of the night. But as the dust settled and Gilas holding a 65-56 lead entering the final period, an ominous figure would make his presence felt. The Korean Ghost has arrived and his name was Kim Min-goo. His curse? Beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Kim was 22 and a senior in college when he made the South Korean national basketball team as a backup shooter in 2013. In nine games in Manila, Kim would play well enough to make the tournament’s All-Star team, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He led Asian Championships with 25 three-point field goals, 10 came in the last two games and five came against Gilas Pilipinas. Kim drilled back-to-back triples to open the fourth quarter against the Philippines. Later, his fifth triple — a four-point play at that — pushed the Koreans to within a point, 72-73. South Korea would take over soon after as Lee Seung-jun dunked the basketball on a fastbreak. The Ghost has arrived and his curse is in effect. “Ako pumasok sa isip ko yun nung lumamang Korea, na putek ito na naman,” Pingris said. “Pero ang sabi ko, sayang yung opportunity, kaya naman eh. So sabi ni Jimmy samin, no matter what happens wag kami gi-give up. Pinaghirapan natin to at may goal tayo, this year aalis tayo,” he added, noting the team’s goal to get into Spain and compete with the world’s best national teams. Faced with the possibility of dealing with a devastating defeat, Gilas had enough mental fortitude to keep things going. Trust your system, trust your preparation, trust your crowd, trust your teammates, and more importantly, trust yourselves. “You’re never out of the game if you’re playing at home,” Norwood said as they stared a deficit late against their destined rivals. “I think that was our mindset, keep it close and just find a way,” he added. Jimmy Alapag found a way.   BORN READY Down 73-75, Jimmy Alapag was under heavy duress when he let go of a three-pointer from the left wing just in front of his bench. It was good to go. The Philippines was back on top by one as Alapag somehow managed to get his team to snap out of an initial shock following Korea’s strong fourth-quarter rally. The stage is now set for a wild finish and Jimmy will star in the final act of what has been an incredible show by Gilas and South Korea. “In situations like that, as an athlete and as a pro, that’s the situations that you dream about,” Alapag said.  “Those are shots that you practice when you were a kid. When the shot clock is winding down, to have an opportunity to knock down a shot. It’s a shot that I practiced thousands of times,” he added. After the Philippines and South Korea traded baskets for the lead, Alapag made perhaps the most underrated play in this crazy and emotional encounter between two basketball rivals. Tasked with inbounding the ball just near underneath his own basket, Alapag found his Talk ‘N Text teammate Ranidel De Ocampo for an open look at three. Swish. Gilas leads, 81-77, with 91 seconds to go. “Ranidel was my favorite target for a very, very long time in my career,” Alapag said on the play that most people probably don’t even remember. “Once I saw that he got open, I wanted to make sure that I gave him as great a pass as possible and Ranidel has been known for a long time to take care of the rest,” he added.   THE EXORCIST “Yeah, I was right under the basket,” Gabe Norwood says with a laugh when asked if he remembers the shot that changed the course of Gilas Pilipinas as a national team. Late in the fourth quarter of what was essentially a heavyweight bout, the Philippines just landed two strong haymakers but South Korea would refuse to go down without a fight, beating the count of 10 each time. Down to the final minute of a crucial grudge match with a World Cup berth on the line, Jimmy Alapag had his hands on the basketball as Gilas would go to its halfcourt set. Jimmy will never let go of said basketball. Up two, Jimmy did what Olsen wished he could 11 years prior. Up two against South Korea in a pivotal semifinal game, Alapag received a screen from Marc Pingris, which was enough to momentarily shake off Kim Tae-sul. With some room, Alapag drifted to his left and let a three-point shot fly. Boom. Gilas leads, 84-79, with 54 seconds to go. The shot would later be remembered as the one that ended the Korean Curse, the one that finally exorcised the Ghost. “The first thought that came to my mind was don’t miss,” Jimmy said of the clutch jumper. “That last one, Ping sets a good screen and I got a clean look. It’s a shot that myself, and Jayson [Castro], and Larry [Fonacier], and Gary [David], and Jeff [Chan], all of us, we practice that shot time and time again after practice. So you know, it was a shot that I was confident in but in that moment, all you’re thinking about was don’t miss,” he added. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself and to be confidednt in your preparation. It’s a different thing to actually perform under such pressure. As soon as Alapag managed to shoot his shot, Gabe Norwood did what any other good teammate would do and got in position to get the offensive rebound. You know, just in case. Gabe got the ball alright, but he got it after it swished through the rim. “When he put the shot up, I tried to crash for the rebound but I basically knew that it was going in,” he said. “I had probably the best view, I was right under the basket. I think caught it after it went through too,” Norwood added. Alapag checked out moments later as the Philippines went to its defensive lineup in order to stop another Korean comeback. South Korea turned to its most effective shooter in Kim and as he rose up to try and answer Alapag’s triple, Norwood met him at the apex for the game’s most dramatic stop. Gabe blocked Kim and Gilas would finish things off with a final Marc Pingris basket on the other end. A historic 86-79 win was complete. “I still get chills thinking about it, to look up and see grown men just breaking down. My wife was trying to hold my kids and she was holding back tears. It was just an awesome moment, the bond that we had on that team, the stuff that we did to get prepare, I think we poured it all out in that game,” Norwood said on the monumental victory. “I think it probably didn’t hit me until the final buzzer sounded. Not just for me but for the entire team, when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a special group of guys and the fact that we could share that moment with not just with each other but the entire country, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Alapag added, savoring the moment of a Philippine win over Korea 28 years in the making.   THE INTRODUCTION Gilas Pilipinas would lose to Iran the next day in the Finals of the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. The Philippines put up a fight but Hamed Haddadi would prove to be too powerful to stop. It would take another two years for Gilas to beat Iran but that didn’t really matter in the moment. The Philippines is headed to the World Championships for the first time in three decades. The Philippines has beaten South Korea and one singular shot has allowed the Gilas name to be known around the world. Jimmy wouldn’t say that though. At least not directly in that way. “For me, that shot was the biggest for my career. But really, it was our entire team. We’ve gone through so much and that was just one particular play that really culminated the entire game and all the contributions from other guys from Gabe’s defense, to Ping’s rebounding, to Japeth’s rim protecting, to Jayson and LA doing a lot of the legwork,” Alapag said. “Everybody had their part in contribution to the game. After the shot, after the buzzer sounded, it was just a very special moment for us as a team and for Philippine basketball to show that all of the sacrifices, all of the hard work, now it’s given an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world,” he added. Jimmy wouldn’t say it, but his teammates would. That shot of his that beat South Korea in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships introduced the Gilas name to the world. It announced that the Philippines has finally arrived. Gilas’ breakthrough overtime win a year later in Spain against Senegal — a game Jimmy pretty much decided late as well — made it known that Filipinos are here to stay on the World stage. “I would say so, it got us to where we wanted to be in the World Cup. I think we shocked some people there as well. But just the work that went in, I think it showed the country that we can get back to where we want to be as long as you work together,” Norwood said. “Yung puso ni Jimmy, grabe naman. Makikita mo maliit pero gusto lang niya talaga manalo. Ang liit pero parang lion pag nagalit eh, nandoon yung tiwala namin sa kanya. Ano pa ba masasabi mo, Jimmy is Jimmy Alapag,” Pingris would add.   [NOTES: At the time of original publishing, Gilas Pilipinas was fighting to make a return trip to the FIBA World Cup, this time in China in 2019. To secure its slot, the the Philippine national team needed to beat Kazakhstan in Astana plus a loss from Japan, Jordan, and/or Lebanon. One of the teams that can help Gilas is South Korea... ironically. Jimmy Alapag retired from national team play in 2014 and retired playing for good in 2016. He has since made himself a champion basketball coach in the ABL. Marc Pingris suffered an ACL injury in 2018 and is in the process of returning for his PBA team in the current 2019 season. Gabe Norwood is still in Gilas. He’s still an effective two-way weapon. He can still dunk and will stop your best player too.]   [Updated Notes: The Philippines beat Kazakhstan to make the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Gilas got help from... South Korea. The Koreans beat Lebanon on the road, allowing Gilas to advance to the World Championships outright with a victory over Kazakhstan.]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2020

FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World

This story was originally published on Feb. 24, 2019 It’s Saturday night at Mall of Asia and the arena is absolutely rocking. Eternal basketball rivals in the Philippines and South Korea are delivering another classic. Gilas Pilipinas is down to the final minute of regulation against its longtime tormentor in the second of two semifinal games. The national team is up by two, 81-79. The Philippines is hosting the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships where three tickets to the 2014 World Cup are at stake and the winner of this particular game gets one of those tickets. Given the rich history of both teams and what it would mean to the winner, this pivotal game has gone down the wire as everyone pretty much expected. Also knowing the history of both teams in international play, Gilas’ precarious two-point lead was not safe at all. A ghost was lurking in the background and a dreaded curse felt almost inevitable. Down to the final minute of the crucial grudge match between the Philippines and South Korea, guard Jimmy Alapag has the ball and a two-point lead. What he will do will help define not only his career but the legacy of the Gilas name as a national team.   WAKE-UP CALL Even before the Philippines-Korea game, Gilas Pilipinas already had to go through one emotional game early in its homestand for the Asian Championships. In a preliminary round showdown against Chinese Taipei, the Filipinos collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Taiwanese to steal a morale-boosting 84-79 win. In 2013, the relationship between the two countries hit a rough patch over the death of one Taiwanese fisherman. In an updated May 17 report by CNN’s Jethro Mullen, “Taiwan has reacted angrily after one of its fishermen was killed by a Philippine coast guard vessel.” Taiwan had frozen applications from OFWs seeking jobs in its territory and the government of then President Ma Ying-jeou demanded an apology, among other things, from the Philippines. While the national basketball teams of both countries never really had any prior animosity with each other, tension was naturally present as both teams squared off in Group A action. Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese-Taipei both entered the showdown with identical 2-0 records and the winner would take control of solo Group A lead heading into round 2. Taking a good lead into the fourth quarter, the Philippines was outscored by 18 in the last 10 minutes and the national team took its worst home loss in quite some time. “At the time, it was a huge game for us. We understood what was happening in Taipei during that particular time. We really wanted to win for what our kababayans were going through at that time,” guard Jimmy Alapag said on that first home loss in the 2013 Asian Championships. “We didn’t get the job done, and it was tough especially to lose a game like that, it was a very emotional and it was a game that we knew we needed,” he added. The crushing loss meant that the Philippines had little room for error in round 2. While Gilas didn’t have any world beaters lined up in the second round, anything less than a perfect run would have meant an early clash with Asia’s established powerhouse teams in the knockout stages. On the other side of the bracket, defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea were battling for position and were expected to finish in the top-3. That means if Gilas Pilipinas failed to finish no. 1 in its group, the national team would have faced one of those teams in the quarterfinals. Gilas picked up a crucial win over Qatar in the 6th of August and the day after, the Philippines got some help from those same Qataris as they beat Taipei in a close decision. At the end of round 2, all teams finished with identical win-loss records but Gilas Pilipinas would take over first place after all tiebreaks were considered, barely edging out Taipei. The Philippines ended up avoiding defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea and instead got Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Taipei drew China and the third-running Qataris were matched up with the South Koreans. “I think that was the moment we grew up and grew closer. I think that was the lowest of the lows, just because of the atmosphere and what was going on between both countries. It kind of felt that we let our end of the bargain down, you know what I mean? We’re on our home soil and we didn’t take care of business. I think that was one of those moments where we had to really check ourselves and find a way to make it right,” forward Gabe Norwood said of the Taipei loss. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In tournaments like FIBA-Asia it’s important that you have short-term memory whether it was a win or a loss. We needed to let go of that game and continue to stay the course, keep our focus in the tournament,” Alapag added. On August 7, four days after Gilas lost to Taipei, the rift between the Philippines and Taiwan would reach a resolution and the latter country lifted its freeze hiring and other sanctions on the former. The Philippines also did issue on official apology over the death of the Taiwanese fisherman a couple of months prior and the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila recommended the pressing of homicide charges to erring members of the Philippine Coast Guard.   DARK HISTORY If the word “rival” is to be defined as a, “person or group that tries to defeat or be more successful than another person or group” then sure, the Philippines and South Korea are rivals. Both countries are rivals in the Asian basketball scene and they have been going at it for a very long time. But if the word rival can also mean “equal” or “peer,” is the Philippines really a worthy basketball rival to South Korea? The Philippines’ history with South Korea in terms of basketball is dark. Very dark. Consider the most high-profile matches between the two countries and you’ll see that the Philippine national team is just not at the level of South Korea. Or at the very least, Koreans always seem to reach 120 percent when the play Filipinos and we barely bring out 80 percent of our abilities when matched up against our East Asian neighbors. The 1998 PBA Centennial team, arguably the greatest Philippine team ever assembled, was demolished by South Korea in the Asian Games. A national team set up for gold only settled for bronze. Speaking of a bronze medal game, the original Gilas Pilipinas team lost to South Korea in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships. That team squandered a double-digit lead and collapsed late. Of course, who can forget the semifinals of the 2002 Asian Games in Busan when Olsen Racela had the chance to put the Philippines up four but missed two free throws. South Korea would win with a booming triple at the buzzer off a broken play and would later take down China to capture the gold medal. South Korea is the Philippines’ basketball nemesis for all intents and purposes. A worthy adversary that always seem to emerge victorious at our expense. Still, all that previous disappointment didn’t seem to bother Gilas Pilipinas six years ago. The team was not scared and instead, they were excited even. One factor to greatly consider was that fact that the game was in Manila. It makes all the difference to play at home. “We understood the bad history that we had with Korea. We haven’t been very successful with them in quite some time but we knew from Day 1 that if ever we got an opportunity to play them at home, then we have a great chance,” Alapag said. “Man, pre-game, it was just the focus. Everybody was up for the challenge, I don’t think anybody was really nervous, I think it was just the anxiety... we wanted to get out there and do it already,” Norwood added. Playing at home had its perks for sure but it also had its drawbacks. For all the painful losses the Philippines suffered at the hands of South Korea, it would have been devastating if Gilas actually took a beating in Manila. Stakes were extra high in this particular chapter of this long, ongoing saga. “There was always pressure, it was something that we acknowledged early. Playing at home, it’s great having that support but at the same time, there is some added pressure because you wanna make sure that you make our home crowd proud of the team that they watch and ultimately, win games,” Alapag said, making sure to note that the national team knew of the disadvantages of playing at home even before the Korea game. “It was there but it was something that we acknowledged and we wanted to make sure that we took advantage of the opportunity playing at home,” he added.   ALL FILIPINO, ALL HEART Once it was go time, the Philippines-South Korea game went about pretty normal, as you would expect any game from these two national teams. But even before halftime, an injury to Gilas center Marcus Douthit changed the complexion of the semifinals showdown. All of a sudden, the Philippines was without its anchor, without its best player. Sure, there were players on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace Douthit’s size but there was simply no one on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace his talent, production, and just overall presence. June Mar Fajardo was in that Gilas bench but it 2013, the would-be five-time PBA Most Valuable Player was just not at that level yet. It would have been easy for Gilas Pilipinas to fold like cheap furniture and succumb to the overwhelming pressure of trying to overcome South Korea to reach a stage very few Filipinos have reached before. Gilas didn’t fold and instead, the Douthit injury rallied the team even further. “Alam mo sa totoo lang, puso na lang yun eh. Nung nawala si Marcus talaga, sabi ni coach kailangan doble kayod tayo. Dahil sobrang dehado tayo kumbaga, wala na tayong import, wala tayong malaki,” forward Marc Pingris said. With Douthit gone, Ping ate up all of his minutes and worked by committee with guys like Ranidel De Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar to fill in the gaps. “As a player naman, kami nagusap-usap kami na kahit anong mangyari, lalaban kami. Yung time na yun, talagang patay kung patay,” Ping added. Despite losing its best player to an untimely injury, Gilas Pilipinas’ confidence in winning never wavered. With their collective backs against the wall, the Philippine national team played even better. Unlike the later iterations of Gilas Pilipinas, the 2013 team, aptly called Gilas 2.0, had the luxury of having actual preparation before the FIBA-Asia Championships. The amount of work that came before the tournament and the Korea game, the bond built over countless hours of training, all of that helped the national team avoid a monumental meltdown in front of a rabid Manila crowd. “We were such a close-knit team in terms of our chemistry, in terms of the talent that we had, so we felt confident even when Marcus went down early in the game. If you looked at our huddle, you had 11 more very confident guys, not just in themselves but more importantly, in each other,” Alapag said. “That just boiled down to the chemistry that we had. I don’t think any of us panicked, we were all confident in each other. We’ve all been into that situation with our PBA teams, having the ball in our hands and making a play. Knowing that we had five weapons on the floor that could make the winning play, I think it made us very confident and we were able to sustain our composure,” the former Gilas captain added.   THE GHOST AND ITS CURSE Shin Dong Pa, Hur Jae, Lee Sang-min, Oh Se-Keun, TJ Moon, and Cho Sung-min are just some players from the South Korean national team that inflicted incredible damage to the Philippines over the course of decades. The dreaded Ghost of South Korea takes form in these players and its curse is to give Filipinos the most heart-crushing loss possible. In 2013, the Ghost was Kim Min-goo and his curse was to beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Despite losing Marcus Douthit and trailing by three points at the break, the Philippines started to turn the tables in the second half. Gilas Pilipinas unleashed Jayson Castro and the Blur led a blazing offense in the third quarter, finding a way to take a 10-point lead over South Korea, the Philippines’ largest of the night. But as the dust settled and Gilas holding a 65-56 lead entering the final period, an ominous figure would make his presence felt. The Korean Ghost has arrived and his name was Kim Min-goo. His curse? Beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Kim was 22 and a senior in college when he made the South Korean national basketball team as a backup shooter in 2013. In nine games in Manila, Kim would play well enough to make the tournament’s All-Star team, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He led Asian Championships with 25 three-point field goals, 10 came in the last two games and five came against Gilas Pilipinas. Kim drilled back-to-back triples to open the fourth quarter against the Philippines. Later, his fifth triple — a four-point play at that — pushed the Koreans to within a point, 72-73. South Korea would take over soon after as Lee Seung-jun dunked the basketball on a fastbreak. The Ghost has arrived and his curse is in effect. “Ako pumasok sa isip ko yun nung lumamang Korea, na putek ito na naman,” Pingris said. “Pero ang sabi ko, sayang yung opportunity, kaya naman eh. So sabi ni Jimmy samin, no matter what happens wag kami gi-give up. Pinaghirapan natin to at may goal tayo, this year aalis tayo,” he added, noting the team’s goal to get into Spain and compete with the world’s best national teams. Faced with the possibility of dealing with a devastating defeat, Gilas had enough mental fortitude to keep things going. Trust your system, trust your preparation, trust your crowd, trust your teammates, and more importantly, trust yourselves. “You’re never out of the game if you’re playing at home,” Norwood said as they stared a deficit late against their destined rivals. “I think that was our mindset, keep it close and just find a way,” he added. Jimmy Alapag found a way.   BORN READY Down 73-75, Jimmy Alapag was under heavy duress when he let go of a three-pointer from the left wing just in front of his bench. It was good to go. The Philippines was back on top by one as Alapag somehow managed to get his team to snap out of an initial shock following Korea’s strong fourth-quarter rally. The stage is now set for a wild finish and Jimmy will star in the final act of what has been an incredible show by Gilas and South Korea. “In situations like that, as an athlete and as a pro, that’s the situations that you dream about,” Alapag said.  “Those are shots that you practice when you were a kid. When the shot clock is winding down, to have an opportunity to knock down a shot. It’s a shot that I practiced thousands of times,” he added. After the Philippines and South Korea traded baskets for the lead, Alapag made perhaps the most underrated play in this crazy and emotional encounter between two basketball rivals. Tasked with inbounding the ball just near underneath his own basket, Alapag found his Talk ‘N Text teammate Ranidel De Ocampo for an open look at three. Swish. Gilas leads, 81-77, with 91 seconds to go. “Ranidel was my favorite target for a very, very long time in my career,” Alapag said on the play that most people probably don’t even remember. “Once I saw that he got open, I wanted to make sure that I gave him as great a pass as possible and Ranidel has been known for a long time to take care of the rest,” he added.   THE EXORCIST “Yeah, I was right under the basket,” Gabe Norwood says with a laugh when asked if he remembers the shot that changed the course of Gilas Pilipinas as a national team. Late in the fourth quarter of what was essentially a heavyweight bout, the Philippines just landed two strong haymakers but South Korea would refuse to go down without a fight, beating the count of 10 each time. Down to the final minute of a crucial grudge match with a World Cup berth on the line, Jimmy Alapag had his hands on the basketball as Gilas would go to its halfcourt set. Jimmy will never let go of said basketball. Up two, Jimmy did what Olsen wished he could 11 years prior. Up two against South Korea in a pivotal semifinal game, Alapag received a screen from Marc Pingris, which was enough to momentarily shake off Kim Tae-sul. With some room, Alapag drifted to his left and let a three-point shot fly. Boom. Gilas leads, 84-79, with 54 seconds to go. The shot would later be remembered as the one that ended the Korean Curse, the one that finally exorcised the Ghost. “The first thought that came to my mind was don’t miss,” Jimmy said of the clutch jumper. “That last one, Ping sets a good screen and I got a clean look. It’s a shot that myself, and Jayson [Castro], and Larry [Fonacier], and Gary [David], and Jeff [Chan], all of us, we practice that shot time and time again after practice. So you know, it was a shot that I was confident in but in that moment, all you’re thinking about was don’t miss,” he added. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself and to be confidednt in your preparation. It’s a different thing to actually perform under such pressure. As soon as Alapag managed to shoot his shot, Gabe Norwood did what any other good teammate would do and got in position to get the offensive rebound. You know, just in case. Gabe got the ball alright, but he got it after it swished through the rim. “When he put the shot up, I tried to crash for the rebound but I basically knew that it was going in,” he said. “I had probably the best view, I was right under the basket. I think caught it after it went through too,” Norwood added. Alapag checked out moments later as the Philippines went to its defensive lineup in order to stop another Korean comeback. South Korea turned to its most effective shooter in Kim and as he rose up to try and answer Alapag’s triple, Norwood met him at the apex for the game’s most dramatic stop. Gabe blocked Kim and Gilas would finish things off with a final Marc Pingris basket on the other end. A historic 86-79 win was complete. “I still get chills thinking about it, to look up and see grown men just breaking down. My wife was trying to hold my kids and she was holding back tears. It was just an awesome moment, the bond that we had on that team, the stuff that we did to get prepare, I think we poured it all out in that game,” Norwood said on the monumental victory. “I think it probably didn’t hit me until the final buzzer sounded. Not just for me but for the entire team, when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a special group of guys and the fact that we could share that moment with not just with each other but the entire country, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Alapag added, savoring the moment of a Philippine win over Korea 28 years in the making.   THE INTRODUCTION Gilas Pilipinas would lose to Iran the next day in the Finals of the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. The Philippines put up a fight but Hamed Haddadi would prove to be too powerful to stop. It would take another two years for Gilas to beat Iran but that didn’t really matter in the moment. The Philippines is headed to the World Championships for the first time in three decades. The Philippines has beaten South Korea and one singular shot has allowed the Gilas name to be known around the world. Jimmy wouldn’t say that though. At least not directly in that way. “For me, that shot was the biggest for my career. But really, it was our entire team. We’ve gone through so much and that was just one particular play that really culminated the entire game and all the contributions from other guys from Gabe’s defense, to Ping’s rebounding, to Japeth’s rim protecting, to Jayson and LA doing a lot of the legwork,” Alapag said. “Everybody had their part in contribution to the game. After the shot, after the buzzer sounded, it was just a very special moment for us as a team and for Philippine basketball to show that all of the sacrifices, all of the hard work, now it’s given an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world,” he added. Jimmy wouldn’t say it, but his teammates would. That shot of his that beat South Korea in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships introduced the Gilas name to the world. It announced that the Philippines has finally arrived. Gilas’ breakthrough overtime win a year later in Spain against Senegal — a game Jimmy pretty much decided late as well — made it known that Filipinos are here to stay on the World stage. “I would say so, it got us to where we wanted to be in the World Cup. I think we shocked some people there as well. But just the work that went in, I think it showed the country that we can get back to where we want to be as long as you work together,” Norwood said. “Yung puso ni Jimmy, grabe naman. Makikita mo maliit pero gusto lang niya talaga manalo. Ang liit pero parang lion pag nagalit eh, nandoon yung tiwala namin sa kanya. Ano pa ba masasabi mo, Jimmy is Jimmy Alapag,” Pingris would add.   [NOTES: At the time of original publishing, Gilas Pilipinas was fighting to make a return trip to the FIBA World Cup, this time in China in 2019. To secure its slot, the the Philippine national team needed to beat Kazakhstan in Astana plus a loss from Japan, Jordan, and/or Lebanon. One of the teams that can help Gilas is South Korea... ironically. Jimmy Alapag retired from national team play in 2014 and retired playing for good in 2016. He has since made himself a champion basketball coach in the ABL. Marc Pingris suffered an ACL injury in 2018 and is in the process of returning for his PBA team in the current 2019 season. Gabe Norwood is still in Gilas. He’s still an effective two-way weapon. He can still dunk and will stop your best player too.] The Philippines beat Kazakhstan to make the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Gilas got help from... South Korea. The Koreans beat Lebanon on the road, allowing Gilas to advance to the World Championships outright with a victory over Kazakhstan.]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2020

Rich Franklin, Miesha Tate share how it s like to work for ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong

With The Apprentice: ONE Championship edition getting set to premiere later this year, many people are probably wondering what it’s like to work for ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. Chatri’s story is one that has been well-documented. A self-made business mogul who eventually was able to turn his passion for martial arts into one of the biggest companies in the world. When the competition finally begins, the viewers and the contestants will get a taste, but while we wait for that, why don’t we ask those who already have experience in working for the man known as “Asia’s King of Martial Arts”? “One word that describes working for Chatri? Intensity,” said ONE Championship Vice President, ONE Warrior Series CEO and former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich “Ace” Franklin. The MMA legend was one of ONE’s earliest big name executives, along with his long-time coach and trainer Matt Hume. “He gives you the freedom to do what you need to do. He doesn’t say this, but he lives by this. You have 100% freedom with this company, but you also have 100% responsibility for what you do,” Franklin added. While he does give you freedom, Franklin says that it isn’t always easy to work for one of the most powerful men in Asia. “You need to have thick skin in order to work with Chatri, and if you have that kind of thick skin then you can not only be a productive person in this company, but you can really flourish and grow,” he continued. Frankin isn’t the only former UFC champion to transition into the ONE front office, as former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha “Cupcake” Tate joined the company in 2018, also as a Vice President. “He translates his passion and inspires you, to pull the most out of you,” Tate shared. ONE Championship Head of Athleisure Debbie Soon somewhat echoed Tate’s sentiments, saying that Chatri does bring the best out of people. “‘Life-Changing. He pushes me to do things I never thought would be possible,” Soon shared. “He has a massive temper and he’s not afraid to show it. I’ve come to appreciate all of that, after the storm has blown over.” ONE Championship Vice President and Head of Product Niharika Singh will play a major part in the upcoming reality series, as she will be serving as Chatri’s advisor. She says that the contestants will be in for quite the experience on The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition. “I often tell people that ONE Championship is the company with the most amount of passion and intensity per square foot of office area I have ever seen,” Singh said. The last man or woman standing at the end of The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition will have the opportunity of a lifetime to become the business protege of Chatri at the ONE global headquarters in Singapore......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2020

Niharika Singh will be ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong’s Advisor on The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition

VP and Head of Product at ONE Championship, Niharika Singh, has spent countless hours inside the boardroom with Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, observing the billionaire entrepreneur make tough business decisions daily, while also making decisions alongside him.  The 31-year-old IIT Delhi and IIM Bangalore Engineering and MBA graduate has a unique vantage point to observe Sityodtong run ONE Championship, the world’s largest martial arts organization.  She thus makes the perfect candidate to play an advisory role to Sityodtong on the upcoming ‘The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition’ where she will assist Sityodtong judge the 16 contestants cast for the show. “As Chatri's advisor, I will be his eyes and ears, even behind the scenes,” says Singh. “So you can expect me to be constantly observing and assessing the candidates. I will be present when Chatri delivers the tasks, will acutely observe candidates during the tasks and will play a part in the final decisions made in the boardroom.” “I have worked extensively with Chatri so I know how he works, how his mind works and what he looks for when he is hiring,” says Singh.  Singh started her professional career as consultant at McKinsey & Company then moved to Treebo Hotels, an early stage startup in India, before eventually relocating to Singapore. Since joining ONE Championship as Vice President and Head of Product in mid-2019, Singh has been in constant close proximity with Sityodtong, and has been able to get a good read on how the mind of a seasoned entrepreneur operates. It’s a skill Singh believes will help her advise Sityodtong in selecting ‘The Apprentice.’ “I will be following and observing the candidates throughout the tasks and will be relaying my feedback to Chatri. As an advisor to him, I will be candid in my feedback and will strongly and publicly air my opinions. In short, if any candidate wants to get to Chatri, he or she will need to get through me first.” The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition is slated for release and distribution in Q4 of 2020. Produced by ONE Championship’s production arm, ONE Studios, and under license from MGM Television, the popular reality television show will run on both streaming and linear platforms across the Pan Asian region. It will also air on major television networks and digital channels in over 150 countries worldwide. Since the original American version was launched over 16 years ago, The Apprentice has become one of the world’s most successful reality television franchises in history. Thousands of auditions from all across the globe have already poured in since the announcement of the show in late February. Although ONE has yet to reveal the initial contestants who made the cut, Singh believes Sityodtong is looking for candidates who exhibit certain qualities as both executives, and as human beings. “‘The Apprentice’ needs to have all the traits that we already look for when we hire - the right values, the PHD factor (poor, hungry and determined - in spirit) and the will to win,” says Singh. “We look for dreamers who also have fire in their bellies to make their dreams come true.” Singh believes that to be successful on the show, contestants have to possess three important characteristics. “The first is resilience. It's not easy to work for Chatri, I assure you. So you better have had a lot of endurance training in the past,” says Singh. “The second is fearlessness. Chatri doesn't like yes men or women around him. You need to be able to speak up for what is right. The third is the near impossible trait of possessing a high functioning left brain and right brain, and a good proportion of IQ and EQ. “When it comes to choosing the winner, Chatri and I will definitely look for someone who lives and breathes the ONE Championship values. And those values do include the values of teamwork, integrity, and loyalty.” Contestants on The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition will participate in what ONE describes as a “high-stakes game of business competitions and physical challenges.” At the end of the season, the winner will receive a US$250,000 job offer to work for a year directly under Sityodtong as his protege at the ONE Championship Global Headquarters in Singapore. The original American version of The Apprentice was intense, and often portrayed the unforgiving and cutthroat nature of business. Singh believes that ONE Championship’s version should be able to toe the line of the original, while still have a fresh new concept that caters to the heartbeat of its Asian audience. “I think the Asian fans will absolutely love the show,” says Singh. “Our fans love ONE Championship not only because of the events we put together for them or for how we entertain them. They also love us for what we stand for. Above all, they love Chatri. A reality show anchored on the hunt for the person who can be Chatri's protege will find immediate connection with our fans.” "Also, bear in mind that 12 of Asia's top CEOs will be guest judges on the show alongside Chatri. And 12 of our World Champions are going to compete in the physical challenges alongside the contestants - so this is bound to further intensify the competition,” Singh adds. According to both Singh and Sityodtong, The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition is shaping up to be one of the most intense and toughest reality shows ever, and only the truly worthy will emerge the winner and the right to be called ‘The Apprentice.’ “We are looking for the person with the strongest mind, the toughest body, and the most unbreakable spirit - which is essentially the rite of passage to ONE Championship. So prepare to see nail-biting excitement, high stakes drama, and explosive emotions as these 16 contestants compete for the opportunity of a lifetime," Singh concluded......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 14th, 2020

Team Lakay champs Pacio, Folayang, Belingon share more gym-free workouts to do at home

Looking for more home workouts to keep yourself in shape and healthy during this Enhanced Community Quarantine period? Well your favorite Team Lakay champs are back with more stuff for you to do at home especially with the gyms being closed for the time being.  ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua "the Passion" Pacio shares an intense squats routine that only require a healthy gym buddy at home.          View this post on Instagram                   Quarantined! No problem???? Doing some old school wushu squats but still effective???????????? #TeamLakay #OneChampionship #ThePassion #HomeWorkout #KeepSafe #StayHealthy A post shared by Joshua “The Passion” Pacio (@joshuapacio) on Mar 17, 2020 at 9:19pm PDT   Here's another kind of squats and box step-ups with the use of a 5-gallon water bottle, as demonstrated by former ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin "the Silencer" Belingon!          View this post on Instagram                   Closed gym & no gym equipments?? NO PROBLEMO, just improvise???? ????????Taking it easy at the backyard???????????? #CommunityQuarantine #dsilencer #teamlakay #onechampionship A post shared by Kevin Belingon (@kevinbelingon) on Mar 17, 2020 at 9:53pm PDT   Got a spare truck tire lying around? Use that to practice your footwork, just like how former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayang does!          View this post on Instagram                   Footwork drill on old tire. “Let’s do more with less.” Training in isolation is no problem as long as we progress.?????? #training #footwork #martialarts A post shared by Eduard Landslide Folayang (@the.landslide) on Mar 17, 2020 at 9:03pm PDT   How about some accuracy drills using a makeshift (or legit) accuracy ball if you have one at home? Here's ONE featherweight contender Edward "The Ferocious" Kelly making use of his wisely!    Remember, the community quarantine is no reason not to work out! Stay hydrated, maintain social distancing, and WASH YOUR HANDS! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 18th, 2020

ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE RESULTS - Janet Todd decisions Stamp Fairtex to capture ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Championship

SINGAPORE - The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), held a special closed-door event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. With no crowd in attendance, ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE still showcased the very best of global martial arts talent. In the main event of ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE, the United States’ Janet “JT” Todd put together an extraordinary performance, stunning now former two-sport ONE World Champion Stamp Fairtex to capture the ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Title. The two women had met previously under Muay Thai rules, but tonight, it was the punching accuracy of Todd that led her to victory. Todd opened the bout with a massive first round, connecting on the quicker, more impactful blows. Stamp turned the tide in the second and third rounds, closing the gap on the scorecards. Heading into the championship rounds, it was anybody’s game as the two women gave their all. Behind beautiful boxing combinations, Todd scored on a myriad of straight punches and hooks that found their mark. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Todd to win by split decision. In the co-main event of the evening, reigning ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Champion Sam-A Gaiyanghadao of Thailand added another belt to his collection after defeating Australia’s Rocky Ogden to capture the inaugural ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Championship. The legendary Thai veteran was the quicker and more powerful man as the contest wore on. Although the first few rounds were closely competitive and tactical, Sam-A turned up the aggression in rounds four and five, punishing his young opponent with fast and powerful kicks and boxing combinations. After five high-octane rounds, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Sam-A, who makes history as the first ever male two-sport ONE World Champion. ONE Warrior Series Contract Winner Kimihiro Eto of Japan easily scored the biggest victory of his career when he put former ONE World Title challenger Amir Khan of Singapore to sleep within the first few minutes of the opening round. The Japanese stalwart impressed with his grappling skill, as he effortlessly cancelled out Khan’s dangerous striking. As soon as the bell rang, the two men met immediately at the center of the ONE CIrcle, engaging in the clinch position. Eto then drove Khan against the Circle wall, and within moments he was able to bring the Singaporean Muay Thai Champion to the mat. From there, Eto took Khan’s back and sunk in a deep rear naked choke to end the bout early. Japanese-Korean mixed martial arts legend Yoshihiro “Sexy Yama” Akiyama powered through an early flurry from Egypt’s Sherif “The Shark” Mohamed to win by first round knockout. Mohamed railed off wild haymakers from the opening bell, forcing Akiyama to backpedal and box from distance. The veteran Akiyama showed great head movement, evading most of Mohamed’s power shots. Towards the end of the round, Akiyama punctuated his performance by landing a well-placed right hook as Mohamed was coming in, instantly turning the lights out on the Egyptian. In a clash of top female strawweights, former ONE World Title challenger and Singaporean boxing champion Tiffany “No Chill” Teo overcame a spirited effort from highly-regarded Ayaka Miura of Japan, winning by technical knockout in the third round. Miura flashed moments of brilliance in the first round, attacking with her 3rd Degree Judo Black Belt skills while hunting for her trademark scarf hold submissions. But Teo quickly figured out her game plan and adjusted her strategy to nullify Miura’s ground game. In the second round, Teo took control of the action, stopping Miura’s takedown attempts and then lighting her up on the feet. In the final round, it was all Tiffany Teo as the Singaporean pounded Miura with thunderous strikes to force the stoppage. The Philippines’ Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga battered top contender Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi of Japan for the majority of the three-round atomweight contest to win by unanimous decision. Zamboanga was accurate and powerful, connecting on a volley of explosive boxing combinations. By the end of the first round, Yamaguchi’s face already showed the wear of a warrior who has been through war. Although the Japanese former ONE World Title challenger tried to nullify Zamboanga’s striking by taking matters to the ground, the Filipina exhibited impeccable takedown defense, stopping most of Yamaguchi’s takedown attempts. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Zamboanga. Shortly after, Mitch Chilson announced that Zamboanga had earned herself a shot at the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship currently held by Angela Lee. The United States’ Troy “Pretty Boy” Worthen kept his professional record perfect with a tremendous performance against ONE Warrior Series Contract Winner Mark “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo of New Zealand and the Philippines. Worthen negated Abelardo’s early onslaught with good footwork and savvy defense. He then tagged Abelardo with a plethora of high kicks that left the Fairtex Gym representative dazed. With his opponent in disarray, Worthen proceeded to turn to his world-class wrestling, overwhelming Abelardo on the mat. Across three whole rounds, Worthen controlled a game but outclassed Abelardo en route to a hard-earned unanimous decision victory. Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario of the Philippines returned to the featherweight division to take on Thailand’s Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai, figuring in a close split decision victory. The two former lightweights went to war over three full rounds, meeting each other at the center of the ONE Circle with their best offense. Wiratchai, creator of the OneShin Striking System, dazzled behind a consistent left round kick which found a home on Banario’s chin. The Filipino veteran, however, showcased beautiful boxing, and a relentless takedown game that saw him in top position for the majority of the contest. In the end, two of the three judges saw the bout in favor of Banario. In a women’s atomweight contest, Indian wrestling sensation Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat authored a dominant performance, outgrappling opponent “Miss Red” Wu Chiao Chen of Chinese Taipei over the course of three rounds. Phogat, a Commonwealth Wrestling World Championships gold medalist, took Wu to the canvas at will with smooth takedowns. With Wu on her back, Phogat punished her opponent with fists and elbows from the top. Wu tried her best to defend, but struggled to gain any traction. After three whole rounds, Phogat emerged victorious with an impressive showing, earning the nod on all three judges’ scorecards. ONE Championship newcomer Murad Ramazanov of Russia kept his unblemished record intact after turning in a dominant performance in a victory over South Korea’s “Wolverine” Bae Myung Ho. Action started out fierce, with Bae pushing the pace, pressing Ramazanov up against the Circle wall with powerful strikes. Ramazanov, however, defended quite well and was able to weather the early storm. The former WMMAA World Champion from Dagestan then scored on a quick takedown, bringing the action to the mat. From there, it was all Ramazanov as the Russian star operated a heavy top game that saw him take mount and punish Bae until the referee called a halt to the contest. Kicking off the action at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE were bantamweights Jeff “MMAShredded” Chan of Canada and Radeem Rahman of Singapore. Chan immediately went on the offensive from the opening bell, peppering Rahman with fast and powerful combinations in the first round. It didn’t take long however for action to hit the ground, and the two men proceeded to jockey for position. Chan was able to put in some good ground-and-pound for his efforts. In the second round, Chan dominated once again, taking Rahman down off a failed shot from the latter, and then worked his way to take back position. From there, he sunk in a deep rear naked choke to force the tap.   Official results for ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Championship: Janet Todd defeats Stamp Fairtex by Split Decision (SD) after 5 rounds ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Championship: Sam-A Gaiyanghadao defeats Rocky Ogden by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Lightweight: Kimihiro Eto defeats Amir Khan by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:39 minutes of round 1 Mixed Martial Arts Welterweight: Yoshihiro Akiyama defeats Sherif Mohamed by Knockout (KO) at 3:04 minutes of round 1 Mixed Martial Arts Strawweight: Tiffany Teo defeats Ayaka Miura by TKO (Strikes) at 4:45 minutes of round 3 Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Denice Zamboanga defeats Mei Yamaguchi by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight: Troy Worthen defeats Mark Fairtex Abelardo by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight: Honorio Banario defeats Shannon Wiratchai by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Ritu Phogat defeats Wu Chiao Chen by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Welterweight: Murad Ramazanov defeats Bae Myung Ho by TKO (Strikes) at 4:53  minutes of round 1 Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight: Jeff Chan defeats Radeem Rahman by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:00 minutes of round 2  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 1st, 2020

Harden s 37 points leads Rockets over Knicks 123-112

By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer HOUSTON (AP) — For James Harden, it wasn't a choice. He had to be at Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial service in Los Angeles on Monday even though his Houston Rockets had a game that night. “It was everything just to pay my respects," Harden said. “To show my condolences to the family. Obviously it's a tough time for them, for the entire world, so it was a must that I be there and show my respects." Harden, Russell Westbrook and P.J. Tucker arrived at the arena about 70 minutes before tip-off after attending the memorial service. Harden scored 37 points, and the Rockets beat the New York Knicks 123-112 for their fourth straight victory. “It's unbelievable what he can do tired or distracted and not in his routine but he just keeps plugging away," coach Mike D'Antoni said. “That's why we value him. He doesn't miss games or minutes and he just plays." Harden had 31 by halftime, helping Houston to a 72-57 lead at the break. He cooled down eventually, but his first-half work put the Rockets in control against the struggling Knicks, who lost their fourth in a row. He looked worn out after the game as he prepared to spend his first night at home since before the NBA All-Star Game. “Long very, very emotional day," he said. Harden was asked what he'd remember most about Bryant, who was killed along with his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash last month. “Just his competitive spirit," Harden said. “He always talked about your ... path that you're on and how there's always going to be tough times. There's going to be times when you don't want to work hard or you just don't feel like it, but those are the times you have to push through." Harden, who had a career-high 61 points against the Knicks in January 2019, didn't score in the fourth quarter before sitting down for good with about three minutes left and the game well in hand. He also finished with nine assists and six rebounds. Westbrook was expected to play against the Knicks, but was scratched with a sore thumb. The Rockets were up still up by 15 to start the fourth quarter and pushed the lead to 111-91 with about 9½ minutes left after an 8-2 run, highlighted by five points from Austin Rivers. The Knicks got 21 points from RJ Barrett, and Julius Randle added 17 points with 12 rebounds. “You have a team that can attack you in so many different ways," Knicks coach Mike Miller said. “You have to make them earn everything and I think they got too many easy ones early." BIG-TIME BENCH The Rockets got 47 points from their reserves, led by Ben McLemore's 17. Starter Danuel House raved about the value of such contributions from the backups. “It makes your team very dangerous," he said. “If your starting five is capable of putting up points and your bench is capable (too), the team can stay consistent." TIP-INS Knicks: G Elfrid Payton missed his second straight game with a sore right ankle. ... Dennis Smith Jr. had 15 points. ... New York made 11 of 29 3-pointers. Rockets: G Eric Gordon started in place of Westbrook and had 16 points in his second game back after missing three games with a bruised left leg. But he left early in the fourth quarter with a sore knee. UP NEXT Knicks: Visit Charlotte on Wednesday night. Rockets: Host the Grizzlies on Wednesday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 25th, 2020