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Cebuano June Mar Fajardo is PBA PH Cup Finals MVP

Cebu City, Philippines–Cebuano big man June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel emerged as the Finals MVP in the recent PBA Philippine Cup Best-of-Seven Finals series against Magnolia, which the Beermen won, 4-3, on Wednesday night, May 15, 2019. The 6-foot-10 Cebuano from Pinamungajan town, southwestern Cebu averaged averaged 22.9 points, 19.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks […] The post Cebuano June Mar Fajardo is PBA PH Cup Finals MVP appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerMay 15th, 2019

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

PB(A)BL: Asi Taulava was 'The Rock' again with San Miguel Beer

Not all players take the same route going to the PBA, each player will have his own story to tell. This series will be about those who chose a different path, those who had to hustle overseas at one point in their careers before eventually landing in the PBA. Here, we take a look at current big-name PBA players who spent some time in the other major basketball league with Philippine teams in the region: the Asean Basketball League. They don’t have to play for a Filipino team, after all, the ABL is a great place where Filipino talents can shine even while playing for other countries. [Related: PB(A)BL: Stanley Pringle's Warrior Ways] Today, we continue with Asi Taulava and his detour to the ABL version of the San Miguel Beermen.   Rock On At the peak of his powers, Asi Taulava was one of the most dominant forces the PBA has ever seen. His crowning achievement came in 2003, when Asi was the PBA’s Most Valuable Player and led Talk ‘N Text to the All-Filipino title. Of course, Taulava was Finals MVP and the Best Player of the Conference as well. With big numbers and an even bigger personality, Asi was poised to keep dominating. Unfortunately, issues regarding his eligibility would haunt the Fil-Tongan and he would eventually overstay his welcome with Talk ‘N Text. In 2007, the Phone Pals engaged the Coca-Cola Tigers in a blockbuster trade, shipping Taulava for Ali Peek and a pick that would later turned out to be Jared Dillinger. Asi was refreshed as a Tiger, in his first conference with the team eliminating Talk ‘N Text from the playoffs. After about three seasons however, a slower Asi would be traded to a new team in Meralco. A stint with the Bolts wouldn’t necessarily energize Asi, and his two seasons with the team saw him post career-low numbers. After declining a max extension with Meralco, Taulava’s true career boost would come away from the PBA. Signing with the San Miguel Beermen in the ABL in 2013, Asi would rock on. Taulava averaged a solid 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in his debut ABL season and in a close vote, he beat teammate Chris Banchero, Thailand’s Froilan Baguion, Saigon’s Jai Reyes, and Indonesia’s Mario Wuysang to win MVP, 10 years after winning the same award in the PBA. Just like a decade prior, Taulava would pick up a title, as San Miguel Beer swept the Indonesia Warriors in the best-of-5 Finals. San Miguel Beer in the ABL and Talk ‘N Text in the PBA remain as Asi’s only two titles in his career as of this writing. “The best thing about my stint in the ABL was that I got my confidence back,” Taulava told the league website about his stint with San Miguel Beer. “Winning that ABL championship meant a lot to me. It’s something I’ll always look back to,” he added.   ABL back to the PBA Following his ABL championship, a 40-year-old Asi would make his comeback in the PBA, signing with Air21 for the 2013 Governors’ Cup. However, he only played three games to end the season. Boosted by his ABL performance, Taulava would regain some of his lost touch in the PBA in his first full season with Air21. Asi and the Express would eliminate second-ranked San Miguel Beer in the quarterfinals of the Commissioner’s Cup before pushing eventual Grand Slam champions San Mig Coffee to a do-or-die in the semifinals. Averaging close to 15 points a game and 12 rebounds, Taulava battled for the MVP award of the 2014 season, eventually losing to June Mar Fajardo. Asi however, would win Comeback Player of the Year instead. As Air21 was eventually acquired by NLEX, Taulava would continue his strong run even as a Road Warrior, even making the All-PBA 2nd team in 2016. Age has slowed Asi tremendously since but in 2020, he continues to make history. When he plays his first game with NLEX in the new PBA season, 47-year-old Taulava officially becomes the first PBA player to play in the league in four separate decades.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2020

PBA: What s in a Name? San Miguel Beermen

Name changes happen a lot in the PBA, especially with the league’s company based-teams. It’s equal parts marketing and prestige when it comes to the naming of PBA teams. There are no cities represented here and no need for sponsorships.  Out of the 12 active teams in the PBA, even the pioneers like San Miguel Beer have gone through some name changes over the years, while teams like Columbian juggle through monikers like crazy. However, there are also teams like Alaska that have stayed solid through its brand all along. This series is not about those teams though. This series is about the franchises that have taken advantage of the PBA’s somewhat unique naming convention as we shuffle through their history of changes. What’s in a name, San Miguel Beermen?   TRU Pioneers: Royal Tru-Orange San Miguel was an original team when the PBA was first established in 1975, but the Beermen name wouldn’t come until years later. The team was first known as Royal Tru-Orange, after the soft drink. It took four years and 13 conferences before Royal won a PBA title, that being the 1979 Open Conference after beating Toyota in the Finals.   San Miguel Beermen 1.0 (Early 1980s) The franchise’s first use of the San Miguel Beermen produced two Finals trips in the 1982 Reinforced Filipino Conference and the 1982 Invitational Conference. Facing Toyota for the Reinforced Filipino title, the Beermen lost in seven games. San Miguel then turned around and won the Invitational tournament against Crispa.   San Miguel Beermen 2.0 (1987 Reinforced Conference – 2007 Fiesta Conference) For a good four years in the mid-1980s, the Beermen would carry the name of Gold Eagle Beer and the Magnolia Ice Cream brand before returning as SMB in the final conference of the 1987 season. San Miguel would keep its Beermen name for two decades, winning 15 league championships to build the foundation for their status as the PBA’s winningest franchise. Several dynasties and great teams were under the Beermen banner, the first major one being the 1989 Grand Slam team coached by Norman Black. With players like Mon Fernandez, Hector Calma, Alvin Teng, Samboy Lim, Franz Pumaren, Ricardo Brown, rookie Ato Agustin, and imports Michael Phelps and Ennis Whatley, the Beermen were the top-ranked team in all three conferences and beat Shell, Purefoods, and Anejo for the Grand Slam. After the Grand Slam year, San Miguel would go three full seasons without a title, but would win a championship at least once in each of the next three seasons that followed. 1992 MVP Ato Agustin, Samboy Lim, and Allan Caidic, made sure the Beermen were well taken cared off in the early 1990s before the team would go on a mini cold period. After back-to-back titles in the 1993 Governors’ Cup and the 1994 All-Filipino, San Miguel wouldn’t win another title until a new era of Beermen, led by coach Jong Uichico, took over towards the new millennium. With the pairing of eventual two-time MVP Danny Ilfefonso and Rookie of the Year Danny Seigle, the Beermen returned on top of the PBA mountain in 1999, winning the Commissioner’s Cup and the Governors’ Cup to bring a close to the millennium. As Danny I finally emerged as the MVP, San Miguel defended its two titles in 2000. The Beermen also won the 2001 All-Filipino to complete a trifecta of championships. They actually had a chance for a Grand Slam in 2001, but SMB would lose the Commissioner’s Cup and Governors’ Cup Finals to Red Bull and Sta. Lucia respectively. Still with the core of Danny I, Danny S, Dondon Hontiveros, and Olsen Racela, San Miguel would end a four-year drought and capture the 2005 Fiesta Conference with a 4-1 win over Talk ‘N Text, the franchise’s 17th title.   Magnolia Beverage Masters (2007-2008 season) The Magnolia name would come back for one season in the late 2000s for mostly uninspiring results. In the 2008 Philippine Cup, the Beverage Masters finished with a 10-8 record and entered the playoffs as the no. 5 seed. They lost in the first round. In the 2008 Fiesta Conference, the Beverage Masters again entered the playoffs as the no. 5 seed with a 10-8 record. They lost in the semis and finished fourth, ending their run with a loss to Red Bull, just like in the All-Filipino.   San Miguel Beermen 3.0 (2009 Philippine Cup – 2011 Commissioner’s Cup) Back as the San Miguel Beermen, the team rebuilt its frontline in an attempt to recreate the Danny Ildefonso-Danny Seigle tandem almost a decade prior. The Beermen dealt the no. 3 pick of the 2008 Draft to Talk ‘N Text to acquire Jay Washington. The pick was used to select Jayson Castro. San Miguel then used a trade package centered around Marc Pingris to bring Arwind Santos to the fold. However, the mega trade happened after the Beermen won the 2009 Fiesta Conference championship for the franchise’s 18th title. Unfortunately, San Miguel’s power moves wouldn’t yield immediate results, losing back-to-back Finals to Alaska and Talk ‘N Text in the 2010 Fiesta Conference and 2011 Philippine Cup respectively. The San Miguel Beermen name would experience an unprecedented result in the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup when a 2-9 record landed the team in last place.   Petron Blaze Boosters (2011 Governors’ Cup – 2014 Philippine Cup) Refreshed as the Petron Blaze Boosters, Arwind Santos would lead the team to the championship of the 2011 Governors’ Cup. The title win is significant as the Blaze Boosters stopped Talk ‘N Text from winning a Grand Slam with a seven-game decision in the Finals. Unfortunately, Petron blew a 3-1 lead in the semifinals of the 2012 Philippine Cup, allowing the Tropang Texters to get their win back on their way to back-to-back All-Filipino championships. The infamous Petronovela would follow as the Blaze Boosters would consistently fail to meet expectations. After the semifinals debacle against Talk ‘N Text, Petron finished 9th and failed to make the playoffs in the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup. After three underwhelming conferences, the Blaze Boosters would make their way to the Finals of the 2013 Governors’ Cup, only to lose Game 7 to San Mig Coffee. Perhaps the peak of the Petron name in the PBA came in 2012, when the Blaze Boosters selected June Mar Fajardo with the first pick of the Draft.   San Miguel Beermen 4.0 (2014 Commissioner’s Cup – present) Despite reverting back the San Miguel Beermen name, the remnants of Petronovela would remain as the team got booted out in the quarterfinals of the Commissioner’s Cup and Governors’ Cup without winning a single game. The true return of the Beermen would come in the 2015 Philippine Cup, beating Alaska in a dramatic Game 7 to win the title. Coached by Leo Austria and with the core five of June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and Alex Cabagnot, a new Beermen dynasty would be born. After the 2015 All-Filipino title, San Miguel would beat Alaska two more times in the Finals. The first one was a sweep in the 2015 Governors’ Cup before the Beermen took the Aces down again to win the 2016 Philippine Cup. The “Beeracle” run to win back-to-back All-Filipino titles will be marked in history as the first time a PBA team came back from a 0-3 deficit in a best-of-7 series. San Miguel’s next history-making event came in the 2017 Philippine Cup after the Beermen matched Talk ‘N Text’s earlier feat by becoming the second-ever Perpetual Champions with three straight All-Filipino titles. However, San Miguel has its rival beat by winning a fourth and fifth straight Philippine Cup title in the next two years. The Beermen have also attempted to win a Grand Slam twice in recent years, doing so in 2017 and 2019. Unfortunately, both bids ended at the hands of Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals of the Governor’s Cup. Still, in adding eight championships so far, the Beermen have increased their all-time lead as they now hold 27 league titles. This era also produced arguable the greatest PBA player ever in six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2020

Whatever happened to Gilas Pilipinas 2.0?

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 9th, 2020

PBA By the Numbers: June Mar s monster 31-rebound game

June Mar Fajardo is arguably the single, greatest force the PBA has ever seen. The San Miguel star already has a strong case as the league's greatest, with records for most MVP awards (six) and most BPC awards (eight). He's not done too, far from it. Fajardo also has another record that will likely never be broken, and that's his current mark of 31 rebounds in a single game. The circumstances of when and how he did it, make June Mar's rebound record all the more amazing too. Here's a By the Numbers take on his underrated feat.   29 The previous rebound record in the PBA for a local was 29. 7-Up's Marcelo Simbulan set the record in 1975.   44 At over four decades, Simbulan's record was the longest-running individual record in PBA history. That was until Fajardo broke it by grabbing 31 rebounds against Magnolia on May 15, 2019.   40 Total rebounds for Magnolia as a team during June Mar's record-breaking night.   17 Largest deficit of the night for San Miguel Beer when Fajardo set a new PBA rebound record. The Beermen's Philippine Cup dynasty was crumbling as the Hotshots took a 17-point lead in the second half of Game 7, a game where both teams struggle to put the ball through the hoop. San Miguel eventually rallied, taking the win and the title via a pulsating 72-71 decision.   19.1 Rebounds average for June Mar in the seven-game Finals against Magnolia. For his 31-rebound effort, Fajardo had 11 offensive rebounds and 20 defensive rebounds, the last came when he cleaned up Jio Jalalon's miss at potential game-winner in the series' final seconds. — Fajardo led the league in rebounding last year by a healthy margin. His 13.0 rebounds per game were more than four than the one that came in second place. During San Miguel's most important game of 2019, June Mar set a new league record by not paying attention. He just wanted to give the Beermen enough opportunities to score to win the title. “Trabaho ko yun eh. Masaya ako na nakakuha ako ng record na ganun,” he said. “Sobrang nakaka-pagod. Dedepensa pa ako tapos opensa pa. Ang dami pa bumabangga sakin. Sobrang pagod talaga ako, pero ang iniisip ko may chine-chase kami na history,” Fajardo added. History achieved.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 7th, 2020

PBA: Japeth Aguilar is Brgy. Ginebra s new 'Batman'

2020 is poised to be the year of Japeth Aguilar, that is, when the PBA resumes play following the COVID-19 outbreak. Aguilar is flying high at the end of his 2019 season, winning a SEA Games gold medal in the SEA Games and taking his first Finals MVP award after another Ginebra championships. Recent developments, mainly the injury to six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and the sabbatical of teammate Greg Slaughter, further open the opportunity for Japeth to fly even higher. Ginebra coach Tim Cone feels like his top big man is ready for primetime. "Not having to split time with Greg, he’s going to be able to spread his wings and really say, ‘This is my team,’" Cone said of Japeth. "It’s usually, between the two of them, one’s the Batman, one’s the Robin. It’s kind of like game to game, we don’t know who’s the Batman and who’s the Robin. But now, Japeth is going to be Batman," the multi-titled mentor added. Over the course of his career, Japeth has had his faults. But following a strong end to his 2019 season, Aguilar appears to be at the peak of his powers and is just ready to dominate, at least that's the hope. "He’s in a really good place mentally and physically at this point in his career. I think he’s really going to take off," Cone said of Japeth. "We’re going to live with him as our star. He’s going to have Stanley there, he’s going to have LA there and others, but I think Japeth will be the key guy for us," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 25th, 2020

Six-time PBA MVP Fajardo: ‘My parents are the reason why I persevere in life’

  CEBU CITY, Philippines–With a sixth straight PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the bag, Cebuano June Mar Fajardo solidified his status of being among the greatest in Philippine basketball. Fajardo, from Pinamungajan town, southwestern Cebu, won his sixth MVP award on Sunday, March 8, 2020, during the opening of the 45th season of the […] The post Six-time PBA MVP Fajardo: ‘My parents are the reason why I persevere in life’ appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 9th, 2020

PBA: Rousing start for SMB without the injured June Mar

Life without June Mar Fajardo for San Miguel Beer has started. The Beermen just passed their first major test. In a rematch of the last two Philippine Cup Finals, San Miguel made sure to frustrate Magnolia again, with the five-time defending champs scoring a huge 94-78 win Sunday at the Big Dome to open the PBA's 45th season. The Beermen started to pull away in the second quarter and led by as many as 23 points, starting the All-Filipino the same way they ended it last year. Taking now 6-time MVP June Mar Fajardo's starting spot, newly-crowned Most Improved Player Mo Tautuaa led the way with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Terrence Romeo added 19 points, also in as starring role, while former MVP Arwind Santos posted 18 points and 15 rebounds for the champs. For good measure, Marcio Lassiter chipped in another 17 points for San Miguel. The Hotshots struggled in their season-opener, shooting only 38 percent as a team. Paul Lee led the way with 19 points while Ian Sangalang and Jackson Corpuz added 16 each.   The Scores San Miguel (94) -- Tautuaa 20, Romeo 19, Santos 18, Lassiter 17, Cabagnot 10, Ross 4, Zamar 3, Escoto 3, Comboy 0, Gamalinda 0, Pessumal 0. Magnolia (78) -- Lee 19, Corpuz 16, Sangalang 16, Jalalon 8, Barroca 8, Simon 4, Melton 3, Dela Rosa 3, Banchero 1. Quarter Scores: 18-18, 45-33, 69-56, 94-78.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 8th, 2020

Cebuano June Mar Fajardo wins 6th straight PBA MVP award

MANILA, Philippines — It was, by far, the most stylish entrance by a PBA Most Valuable Player awardee. Still recovering from a shin injury, San Miguel center June Mar Fajardo entered the court in style, riding a mobility scooter on his way to picking up a record sixth straight MVP award Sunday in the PBA […] The post Cebuano June Mar Fajardo wins 6th straight PBA MVP award appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 8th, 2020

FIBA: Coach Yeng satisfied with Gilas ahead of 36ers showdown

Gilas Pilipinas is ready for action against Australia’s Adelaide 36ers. As part of the national team’s final preparations for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, Gilas will take on the 36ers on two occassions this weekend. The first one is this Friday and Gilas had a meaningful practice Thursday in anticipation of the game. “I’m happy and satisfied with the way we’re moving,” said head coach Yeng Guiao. “We’re going to the homestretch of our preparations. Medyo malalim na yung pina-practice natin,” he added. Coach Yeng is also happy to reveal that June Mar Fajardo, Troy Rosario, and RR Pogoy have transitioned well back to Gilas after playing a grueling PBA Finals series. With the trio back, the national team has been doubling down on the more crucial details in training. “June Mar, Troy, and Pogs are more or less integrated into our system already,” Guiao said. “We’re running our defenses already. We’ve seen the scouting reports so we’re going towards devising our schemes defensively,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2019

FIBA: No time to party as June Mar’s focus shifts to Gilas Pilipinas

On Tuesday, San Miguel Beer had a victory party to celebrate winning the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. Also on Tuesday, Gilas Pilipinas had practice in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, which is happening in less than two weeks. After missing weeks of national team training due to the PBA Finals, star center June Mar Fajardo had to rejoin Gilas Pilipinas already. He can party later but now, Gilas is calling and he has to answer. After a courtesy call to team management, the PBA’s reigning five-time league MVP got his Pilipinas jersey on and went to work. “Duty call. Priority yung Gilas ngayon so naintindihan naman ng mga boss sa San Miguel,” June Mar said. “Nagpaalam naman ako sa San Miguel na may practice, sabi ko di na ako sasali sa party. Naiintindihan naman ng management so okay lang sa kanila,” he added. Fajardo is drained after a grueling PBA playoffs but he has to power through as Gilas Pilipinas needs him. June Mar can rest when he’s done. “Syempre nakaka-pagod rin... hindi rin naman ganoong kadali ang pinagdaanan namin sa last conference eh. Pagdating namin sa playoffs do or die talaga. Buti nakuha namin yung championship,” Fajardo said. “Kailangan na naming mag-move on. Iba na yung priority. Gilas muna,“ he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 21st, 2019

Duty calls: Fajardo skips San Miguel victory party for Gilas practice

MANILA, Philippines – Country first. June Mar Fajardo returned to practice with Gilas Pilipinas for the first time in more than two weeks, at the expense of the victory party staged by San Miguel for winning another PBA title .  The Cebuano giant only dropped by the get-together at the San ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsAug 20th, 2019

FIBA: PBA Finals trio reports back to Gilas Pilipinas

TNT’s duo of Troy Rosario and RR Pogoy finally showed up to Gilas Pilipinas practice. Coming off a Finals loss to San Miguel Beer in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Troy and Pogoy rejoined the national team in practice Tuesday after missing Monday’s session. Finals winner June Mar Fajardo likewise reported back to Gilas duties. Also in Gilas practice were Andray Blatche, Paul Lee, Kiefer Ravena, Japeth Aguilar, CJ Perez, Beau Belga, Gabe Norwood, Raymond Almazan, Poy Erram, Robert Bolick, and Mark Barroca. As of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Matthew Wright is out.  The Phoenix shooter suffered a foot injury Monday and is officially listed as day-to-day.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2019

Still no Fajardo, Pogoy, and Rosario in Gilas practice

After a one-day break, Gilas Pilipinas went right back to work, Monday inside the Meralco Gym in Ortigas. The usual suspects were back in action for the Philippine national basketball team with Andray Blatche leading a 12-man strong training session as a little less than two weeks remain before the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Alongside Blatche were Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Mark Barroca, Beau Belga, Robert Bolick, Poy Erram, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, CJ Perez, Kiefer Ravena, and Matthew Wright. Still missing, however, were San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo and TNT's RR Pogoy and Troy Rosario who had just concluded their Finals showdown in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup three days ago. The three, though, are widely assumed to finally practice with Gilas on Tuesday. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2019

Gilas still waiting on Fajardo, Pogoy, Rosario to come in a day or two

All of June Mar Fajardo, RR Pogoy, and Troy Rosario were expected at Gilas Pilipinas' practice, Monday inside the Meralco Gym in Ortigas. All three, however, were not in action as the Philippine national basketball team went on a three-hour training session with less than two weeks before the 2019 FIBA World Cup. "Actually, I thought they were coming today, pero wala pa rin," head coach Yeng Guiao told reporters. "We were trying to get in touch with them, trying to confirm, but so far, wala pang confirmation." Fajardo is fresh off winning a championship for San Miguel while Pogoy and Rosario were key cogs in TNT's runner-up finish last Friday. "Baka pagod pa sila, pero siguro, bukas, nandito na yung mga yun," the Gilas mentor shared. According to team manager Gabby Cui, Pogoy and Rosario will be in attendance for the next practice on Tuesday. Fajardo, meanwhile, remains a question mark as the Beermen are set for a championship celebration on the same day. Still, coach Yeng said they're giving all of them the benefit of the doubt. "Sayang yung araw, nanghihinayang din ako kaya lang, 'di natin sila mapupwersa o mapipilit. Alam din nating galing sila sa Finals so they know how they feel, what their bodies requires," he said. He then continued, "We're giving them the benefit of the doubt." Nonetheless, the Philippine national basketball team remains hopeful it can be at full strength within the week. As their tactician put it, "We'll wait for them one or two more days, pero pag 'di sila dumating, kailangang magdesisyon na rin tayo." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2019

Longer, harder practices for Gilas beginning next week

With just a little over two weeks to go before the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas is all set to enter its final phase of preparations. Just two days removed from landing in Manila from a training camp in Spain, the Philippine national team was in practice for the second straight time inside the Meralco Gym in Ortigas on Thursday. And still, head coach Yeng Guiao was nothing but satisfied with their preparations. "Okay naman. At least, we have 11 or 12 guys coming in already and we're still waiting for the three guys playing in the Finals," he told reporters. Indeed, 12 of the 15-man pool were present in the latest training session - and only June Mar Fajardo, RR Pogoy, and Troy Rosario were missing as all of them still had business to take care of in the ongoing 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals. Whatever happens in the PBA Finals, whether San Miguel wraps up the championship on Friday or TNT forces a winner-take-all Game 7 on Sunday, coach Yeng said Gilas' daily practices will continue. And starting next week, they will be undergoing longer and harder training sessions. "We're just going to wind up this week with regular practices, but next week, meron na kaming extra hour for the shooting drills and another extra hour for video watching every other day siguro," the fiery mentor shared. He then continued, "We're going to add more hours next week so were hoping by that time, ready na rin yung tatlo na galing sa Finals." Along with the extra work starting next week, Gilas is also looking forward to a two-game series against Australian club Adelaide 36ers. "We're hoping to see some improvement once we play the Australian team. After that, final adjustments na lang," coach Yeng said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 15th, 2019

FIBA: PBA Finals trio shoo-ins to World Cup team says Yeng

Gilas Pilipinas is in the most critical stage of its 2019 FIBA World Cup preparations and yet it is still missing three key players. The national team is still without June Mar Fajardo, Troy Rosario, and RR Pogoy as they’re still playing in the ongoing 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals. The earliest the trio will be without mother team commitments will be Saturday and the latest will be Monday next week. When Fajardo, Rosario, and Pogoy rejoin Gilas, there’s no doubt about their conditioning. However, it’s going to take a couple of days at least to mentally transition from the PBA Finals to the FIBA World Cup. “The mere fact na yung isip nila ay wala pa sa Gilas ngayon and they’re focused on what they’re doing, meron ding adjustment yon. To refocus their minds and their attention to what we do in the Gilas team,” Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao said. “That’s going to take a few days din, so syempre, lalo na kung nag champion ka or hindi, there’s going to be emotional toll on you,” he added. There’s no doubt about the three’s willingness to play for the national team. Coach Yeng just hopes that they can catch up in time with the rest of the Gilas crew. “I hope di sila matagalan sa adjustment nila. But we all know what they’re going through. It’s a difficult time, but at the same time it’s exciting. All of those will have a toll on their focus and concentration,” Guiao said. “We’re just hoping na in a short time, makaadjust sila agad, makapag pahinga sila agad—makarecover sila agad from the Finals,” he added. As for the matter of coach Yeng naming his Final 12 to China, June Mar Fajardo, Troy Rosario, and RR Pogoy are pretty much shoo-ins he said. It’s just a matter of fitting them back to the lineup after the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs. “More or less they have slots. They’re shoo-ins. My problem is not making the decision on whether they’re in or not,” Guiao said. “My problem is trying to jell them with only a week to go after that. That’s really the problem,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 15th, 2019

PBA Finals: June Mar helps carry SMB in huge Game 4 win

We have a series. San Miguel Beer was tough in Game 4 of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’ Cup Sunday, scoring an all-important 106-101 win at the Big Dome. Led by June Mar Fajardo, the Beermen got a strong second-half effort to force a 2-2 tie in the best-of-7 series. After the KaTropa once again unloaded in the second period, San Miguel turned around in the third and pulled away led by June Mar after he scored on five straight baskets. In the fourth, the Beermen hit timely baskets to hold off a comeback attempt by TNT. Three players finished with at least 20 points for the Beermen led by import Chris McCullough with 27 points and 22 rebounds. Alex Cabagnot had 25 while Fajardo finished with 22, 16 in the second half. TNT got 32 points and 16 rebounds from Best Import Terrence Jones and another 24 from Troy Rosario. Best Player of the Conference Jayson Castro scored 17 points to go along with eight rebounds and eight assists. Game 5 is on Wednesday back at the Big Dome.   The Scores: SMB (106) -- McCullough 27, Cabagnot, 25, Fajardo 22, Pessumal 14, Ross 7, Standhardinger 5, Romeo 4, Santos 2 TNT (101) -- Jones 32, Rosario 24, Castro 17, Trollano 16, Pogoy 9, Heruela 3, Carey 0, Casino 0, Magat 0. Quarter Scores: 31-22, 51-52, 82-69, 106-101   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2019

PBA Finals: June Mar finally makes presence felt vs. TNT

June Mar Fajardo finally went to work in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals. The league’s reigning five-time MVP had his most impactful game in these Finals, helping carry the Beermen to a crucial Game 4 win over TNT to force a 2-2 tie. Fajardo did his best work in the third period, scoring five straight baskets as San Miguel Beer landed its most significant run to turn the game in their favor. June Mar finished wit 22 points, 16 in the second half. “Kailangan ko umis-score kasi hinahanap na ako eh,” Fajardo said. “Kahit nagmi-mintis ako, hinahanap pa rin nila ako. Binibigyan nila ako ng kumpiyansa, so kailangan ko suklian yung tiwala nila,” he added. After TNT made it a two-point game with 40 seconds to go, Fajardo also conspired with Chris McCullough for a clutch hit that helped put TNT away. Avoiding the double team, McCullough found June Mar for an layup and a 100-96 lead. The Beermen did all their clutch work as they were withou a timeout for pretty much all of the last two minutes. “Hindi madali para samin yung series na to, Finals eh. Every game talaga, kailangan mo kunin sa kanila yun,” Fajardo said. “Buti nakuha namin yung panalo, ang hirap kasi mabaon sa 3-1,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2019