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Current Gilas model 'not sustainable' says Coach Yeng

Creating the most ideal format for the Philippine national team remains a fiercely-discussed topic. The latest to offer his two cents is NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao, the one who had Gilas Pilipinas play in the FIBA World Cup last year. According to Coach Yeng, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas should have a working partnership with the PBA in order to keep the Gilas machine running. The SBP and the PBA have been working hand-in-hand, with a new cadet program in place even, but Guiao is not convinced that the current system can be sustainable in the long term. "To me, it's imperative that the federation should be able to work with the pro league, in our case it's the PBA. Because like the model we have right now, let's say you're taking players and you're looking forward to these players just playing for the national team and they're a separate group from the players playing in the pro league," Guiao said on Coaches Unfiltered. "I don't think that's sustainable. At a certain point, you have to break up that team and these players are going to play for the pro teams and you wait. You can do it one year or two years but after that you’re still going to break up and those guys will still wanna play a regular pro league team," coach Yeng added. As it stands, the current Gilas Pilipinas core is made up of five players led by Isaac Go. Go, together with the Nieto twins, Allyn Bulanadi, and Rey Suerte were the five picks in the special Gilas Draft last year. They all have their separate PBA mother teams but the agreement is that they're loaned to the national team through the 2023 FIBA World Cup. However, they do not have guaranteed slots in the final lineup as the current head coach still has the freedom to create his own best team, with the option to add PBA players or other amateur stars. The last Gilas team to play, against Indonesia in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers earlier this year, only Go and Matt Nieto made the team from the Gilas special draftees. "There is no national team in the world that is just a national team. There is no model like that anywhere in the world. Maski ano pang sport, all of these [players] are playing pros and then they’re being called for the national team," Guiao argues. "There is no team na oh kayo lang ang national team ha, exclusive kayong national team. There is no model like that," he added. While drafting players to focus on the national team seems like a great idea to form the foundation of the program, professional players are still going to be needed at some point. It only makes sense as one country's best players naturally play in the premier professional league. For Gilas Pilipinas to truly be competitive abroad, it will need the Philippines' best players. And those players are most likely found in the PBA, already under a grueling professional schedule. Where the national team fits in is the question. "I think it’s imperative for the SBP or the federation to work hand in hand with the PBA or the professional league. If we’re not able to do that, we’re not going to be able to send the best players for the toughest tournaments," Guiao said.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnAug 24th, 2020

For Mike Nieto, all roads lead to leading

Mike Nieto's leadership is not just for the basketball court. Apparently, his voice carries just as much weight inside the Nieto household in Cainta. "Hanggang bahay, umaabot yung pagli-lead ko," he shared with a laugh. "Rinig na rinig palagi boses ko sa bahay. Since I've proven to them na I can be a leader sa court, siyempre, I can also be a leader dito sa bahay." What does that mean exactly? Well, let's just say that whenever the Nieto family decides they want and need some quality time together, it's the 23-year-old who sets the time and the place where it would happen. "I think nasanay na rin kasi sila na ako ang palaging nagsasalita kahit sa ganyang bagay so most of the time, ako na talaga nagsasabi saan at anong oras kami pupunta," he said. This is not at all that surprising as when you talk about Mike Nieto, you talk about leadership. That has long been the calling card of the 6-foot-2 swingman - from his days as a Blue Eaglet to his time as a Blue Eagle and from his stint in Batang Gilas to his current run in the Gilas Pilipinas pool. But… Why do people say that in the first place? What is it with Mike Nieto that just speaks, leader? FTW: For The tWin To get the answer, we need to go back to the start. As in, the very, very start. Technically, Mike is the leader of the four Nieto siblings as he is the firstborn of Ateneo de Manila legend Jett and super mom and dentist Girlie. Matt is his brother, but is younger by two minutes. Make no mistake, though, the twins have always gotten along. "Kami ni Matt, ever since, close na talaga kami. We started playing basketball at the age of six and from then on, naging magkasama na kami sa lahat ng bagay," Mike said. He then continued, "Even course namin sa college, pareho kaya almost lahat ng classes namin, classmates kami. Ever since talaga, unusual na hindi kami magkasama." Indeed, the Nieto twins have always been some sort of a package deal. Hence, the reports of their commitment to Ateneo for college had headlines such as "Ateneo scores 'twin kill' as Nieto brothers commit to play for Blue Eagles." Through and through, however, Mike was thought to be the leader - even though Matt is the point guard. The reason for that? Because "Big Mike" is more vocal. And why is he more vocal" Well, because he had a two minute headstart on "Matty Ice" at letting his voice be heard. Seriously, though, Mike said it was just because he doesn't waste any time at all in being vocal - and that's why he's being heard first and more often. "Siguro, mas maingay lang kasi ako kay Matt. Ako kasi, kapag may nakita akong mali sa ginagawa ng teammates ko, siguradong makakarinig agad sila sa akin," he shared. He then continued, "Hindi ako papayag na lilipas ang isang bagay na alam kong makakasama sa team. Talagang maglalabas at maglalabas ako ng mga salita hanggang ma-solve ang problema." That doesn't mean that Matt doesn't lead, though. As his twin put it, "Matt is the leader on the court. That's the assignment Coach Tab [Baldwin] gave him and I think he has done well with that." Well, yeah, Matt has three rings as court general of the Blue Eagles' dynasty to show for that. LOL: Lead out Loud It was another court general altogether, however, who had made the biggest mark on Mike Nieto. While he never was a point guard due to his wide frame, he was always trying to emulate one of the best ball-handlers in the history of Philippine basketball. "Jimmy Alapag is my role model when it comes to leadership," he said. "I'm just very lucky that for a long time now, he would talk to me on how I can affect the team positively on and off the court." When Alapag was in his prime as captain of Gilas Pilipinas, Nieto was put on the pedestal as skipper of Batang Gilas. While he knew full well that was a tall task, he was also eager to prove himself worthy. "Sa Batang Gilas under coach Jamike [Jarin], he made me team captain kahit second year high school pa lang ako. But that made me realize na I have the capabilities of being a leader," he said. With that, Mike had the responsibility of making sure the likes of Paul Desiderio, Richard Escoto, Jollo Go, Jolo Mendoza, and Renzo Navarro were kept in line. And from then on, he just did not stop keeping at it. Whether it be as the Jrs. MVP as a Blue Eaglet or a rotation regular as a Blue Eagle, Nieto's biggest contribution has always been his leadership. "Being a leader is never easy. At the end of the day, you have to gain the trust of your teammates and your coaches - that's the hardest part," he said. Ask his teammates from high school, many of whom were still his teammates come college, and they would say they always have his back. "Buti na lang nakuha ko ang tiwala ng lahat ng tao na nakapaligid sa akin. Kaya rin ako nag-succeed being the team captain ng every team na nagiging part ako," he said. While he has always had the full faith of longtime teammates and good friends Thirdy Ravena, Gian Mamuyac, Mendoza, and of course, twin Matt, Mike could only acknowledge that it was another challenge altogether being the voice of the team that swept the season. "Ang malaking naging difference ngayong college from high school, kinailangan kong magsalita ng English mas madalas," he said, through chuckles. With foreigners such as Ange Kouame and Filipino-foreigners like Raffy Verano, Nieto, indeed, did have to make sure his communication lines were crystal clear. The thing about leaders, though, is that they give their all in anything and everything - whether that be giving a pep talk or passing the message to somebody like Kouame who only started learning English in 2017. IMO: In My Opinion And the thing about leaders? They do not necessarily care about themselves. Imagine Mike Nieto, a Jrs. MVP, a team captain for Batang Gilas, a literal blue-blood in Katipunan. Do you know his averages through their three-peat? In 47 games total, he saw 14.2 minutes of action and had 5.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Still, that did not matter at all. All that mattered for Mike are all those Ws. "To be a leader, you have to prove palagi that you can lead on and off the court," he said. "I think yun ang napatunayan ko kay coach Tab - na handa akong i-sacrifice ang personal goals ko para sa ikabubuti ng team. Wala akong pakialam sa sarili ko since ang nasa utak ko lang is kung ano ang makabubuti para sa team namin." But did he? Did Nieto prove himself to Coach Tab - a coach who has gone around the world and seen it all? The talented tactician's statement right after Ateneo completed its perfect run through UAAP 82 speaks volumes. “Look at all of us and think about where we’re gonna be in 10 or 15 years, you’ll forget most of us,” he said in the post-game conference where he sat alongside the Nieto twins, Ravena, Isaac Go, and Adrian Wong. “But you won’t forget Mike Nieto.” Coach Tab then went on to explain why he said so. As he put it, "Mike is a natural leader. Mike is a communicator. Mike is a thinker. In terms of touching people, making lives better, and making sure that everybody around him has a better chance than what he has, that’s our captain." High praise coming from the very mentor who has been getting nothing but high praise. Safe to say, though, Mike has proven himself to coach Tab. TBC: To Be Continued In doing so, Mike Nieto has also made it possible for the two of them to continue working together. Mike, twin Matt, fellow Blue Eagle Go, University of the East's Rey Suerte, and San Sebastian College-Recoletos' Allyn Bulanadi were the first five names listed for the Gilas pool. The likes of Ravena, Dwight Ramos of Ateneo, Justine Baltazar of De La Salle University, Dave Ildefonso then of National University, and the University of the Philippines foursome of Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano, Kobe Paras, and Jaydee Tungcab also made the list not long after. But the fact remains that "Big Mike" - he of zero starts, but three titles in a row in his last three years in blue and white - was one of the first names there. With that, he is now one of the few Batang Gilas players who have successfully gotten promoted to the Men's team. "Of course, sino bang ayaw i-represent ang bansa natin, 'di ba? That's why I'm very grateful for this opportunity to be part of the Gilas pool," he said. He then continued, "That's why I've been working on my game even harder so that I can provide whatever Gilas needs from me." Of course, what Gilas would need from Nieto is, first and foremost, his leadership. After all, that is still and would always be his greatest strength. To do so, though, the youngster would have to prove himself yet again - not only to Filipinos who are forever invested in their national team, but more importantly, his teammates, many of whom are already superstars in the PBA. For Mike, however, this is nothing new - nothing new at all. "Ever since I was in grade school, people have been doubting that I can progress my game to the next level. What we can't forget is that at the end of the day, it's in your hands if you want to prove them wrong or prove them right," he said. He then continued, "I actually enjoy these kinds of moments since dito talaga lalabas ang totoong pagkatao mo. Ang sigurado ko lang, I will fight for my spot in Gilas." And so, from a successful high school career and then an even more successful college career, Nieto is now seeking success as part of the Gilas pool. Does he deserve to be there? That's for the haters to hate, the doubters to doubt, and the bashers to bash. And that's for Mike Nieto to lead them out of the darkness. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2020

Gilas taking ‘right step’

NLEX coach Yeng Guiao welcomed the planned participation of Gilas Pilipinas in the coming PBA Philippine Cup as a guest team......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2021

NLEX, TNT early birds

NLEX started practice last Thursday with Road Warriors coach Yeng Guiao regrouping the troops early even as mainstays Kiefer Ravena and Raul Soyud were seconded to the Gilas training pool in Calamba. But TNT beat NLEX out of the gate as the first PBA team to report to the gym two days before, according to team manager Gabby Cui......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 1st, 2021

Coke PH expands Balik Pinas program for repatriated OFWs

Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI)—the bottling arm of Coca-Cola in the country—has expanded its Balik Pinas program to national scale to reach more repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and help them start their own business at home. Gareth McGeown, CCBPI President and CEO. “Coca-Cola’s commitment to Filipinos has only grown stronger, in weathering this crisis together,” said Gareth McGeown, CCBPI President and CEO. “We will help and support where we can. Through Balik Pinas, our goal is to help repatriated OFWs who have lost their livelihood abroad to start anew, via owning and operating their own business and be successful here, at home, with their families.” With the help of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), CCBPI aims to reach more OFWs who are interested to start their own business through Balik Pinas. Data from the Department of Foreign Affairs show that as of September 2020, over 190,000 overseas Filipino workers have been repatriated. Balik Pinas gives opportunities to OFWs to be part of the Coca-Cola family as a distributor, wholesaler, or a community reseller. Balik Pinas is a journey that the company and new entrepreneurs take together at every step—from setting up the business, to sustaining it, to ensuring growth. Coca-Cola assists former OFWs in choosing a suitable business model for their area, helps in managing their cash flow and inventory, and sees to it that they are given proper guidance and training until they are fully ready and equipped to operate on their own—all in all, a sustainable and profitable business founded on practical support from a global beverage brand. According to Carlos Rivera, CCBPI Territory Sales Team in Naga City, the Balik Pinas Program started as a small-scale initiative in Naga City to help former OFWs. Just a couple of months after returning home, Carlos Manzano and his family was able to set up their business as Coca-Cola distributor through the Balik Pinas Program, which Carlos said has reshaped his life and outlook forever. IN PHOTO: Carlos and their family’s multi-cab routing unit with the Coca-Cola Naga Sales team. When the program’s pilot rollout started, the Manzanos—brothers Carlos and Jazz, and their father Lito—were among the pioneer members. Carlos and Jazz had both been working for several years in Qatar until the COVID-19 pandemic shook the trajectory of their career and, consequently, the well-being of their families. Together with their father, Lito, who also used to be an overseas worker, they set up a beverage distribution business in their hometown Naga City. Their optimism, as with any new business venture, was tempered with anxiety over how it would all turn out—especially with the considerable challenge of launching during such tenuous times until Rivera offered them membership to the Balik Pinas Program of Coca-Cola. Now, the Manzanos are running a profitable business as Coca-Cola distributors. “Even when I had to leave Qatar suddenly because of the lay-offs, I always envisioned that I would head back to work there when things settle. But with Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas, I have a livelihood that doesn’t take me away from my family as being an OFW had,” said Carlos.  Lito can still remember his first order of 60 cases of Coke products. Now, the Manzano  family business has grown to an average of 4,000 cases a month, just five months after they started—a feat magnified for it being in the middle of a pandemic and strict quarantine measures. The Manzanos have also since invested in routing units to augment their business’s capabilities—a multicab and a tricycle. Since starting his business in 2019, Billy Belleza (left), is now one of the prominent Coca-Cola distributors in his area and has added another mini truck to serve more routes and deliveries. Billy is one of the pioneers of Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas program. Another Balik Pinas program pioneer member is Billy Belleza who decided to return to the country after working for 20 years in Brunei. “I am really thankful that Coca-Cola reached out to me to be a part of this. They have never failed to present opportunities for me and my business to grow since I decided to take part in the Balik Pinas Program. My sales actually soared this year,” said Belleza, who is also based in Naga City. According to Rivera, Balik Pinas Program was really designed for returning OFWs like Billy, Carlos, and Jazz and their families to set up and run a viable business at home. “With their success and in light of current events, this program was expanded to operate on a national scale, so the company can lend assistance to repatriated OFWs and their families as they weather through new challenges brought on by the pandemic,” Rivera said. Coca-Cola has consistently sought to create programs to support MSMEs, more so now with the COVID-19 pandemic having disrupted countless lives and livelihoods. With programs like Balik Pinas, Coca-Cola remains firm in their commitment to help local communities, contributing to the restart of the national economy—by way of reaching out to Filipinos.  To know more about the program, you may reach Coca-Cola’s contact center at (02)-8813-COKE (2653). For SMART/PLDT users: toll-free number: 1800-1888-COKE (2653); and for GLOBE users: toll-free number: 1800-8888-COKE (2653). You may also contact 0919-160-COKE (2653) via SMS......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 24th, 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

GILAS: 'Stretch 4' an ideal replacement for Blatche says coach Chot

Andray Blatche is not getting any younger, and looking at the current Gilas Pilipinas calendar, it seems like the national team is more than ready to move on from him as the no. 1 naturalized player. Which begs the million-dollar question though: Who should replace Andray Blatche on Gilas Pilipinas? There are some names, the more popular ones now are Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee and former PBA champion with San Miguel Chris McCullough. Getting a naturalized player is not as simple as it sounds. Brownlee has been a favorite for the longest time and yet it appears his naturalization process hasn't moved forward in the slightest. It might be a difficult venture to replace Blatche but when Gilas is ready to go, the national team should prioritize one type of player according to former coach Chot Reyes. "We need a tall guy who can also play outside," Reyes said on Coaches Unfiltered. "That's the way we give other teams problems, if our big man can also be a stretch 4-5 then that's the perfect type of player," he added. While a dual-threat big man is the ideal option, the development of our young prospects gives Gilas room to get creative. If the future national team is bannered by skilled seven-footers like Kai Sotto and AJ Edu, another big man might prove to be redundant. Adding a versatile wing piece could be better in that future scenario.  "If Kai and AJ Edu develop as we think they should, then maybe we can look at somebody that is more skillful," Reyes said. "More all-around wingman type that can play also play guard, forward, and shoot the three," he added. Thinking about the ideal naturalized player for Gilas Pilipinas sure is exciting, but the process of getting one on board entails a lot of realities the program must face. For one, Gilas must find a good and young enough player that is not already-affliated with a different national team. Said player must be willing to play for the Philippines too. "There just one very important thing. If that player is really good, chances are he's going to play for his [own] country or he's already play in the national team. Andray Blatche was really a one-in-a-million situation for us," Reyes said. "If we have a 7-footer out there that's pretty young, and he has to be willing to give up his citizenship. Well, not really his citizenship, but if he plays for the Philippine national team, he cannot play anywhere else. It's a difficult proposition. It entails a lot of planning and forward looking," coach Chot added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2020

Sermon led to Arwind making Coach Yeng his 'ninong'

It's no secret that coach Yeng Guiao is a straight shooter. The current NLEX mentor is one of the fiercest coaches in the PBA ever and he's not afraid to let you know how he feels whether you're an opponent or a league official. Even his own players are not safe from his tongue lashings. Arwind Santos got his signature coach Yeng moment over a decade ago when he played for Guiao's Powerade-Pilipinas national team that saw action in the 2009 FIBA-Asia Championships.  "Natalo kami, sa dugout nagalit si coach Yeng. Sabi niya sakin,  'Ikaw Arwind [expletives],'" Santos recalled during a PBA Kamustahan episode. "Gusto ko na umuwi sa Pilipinas nun dahil pinagalitan ako ni Coach Yeng," he added. Shocked by the sermon he received, Arwind was naturally shocked. However, he came to understand Coach Yeng's style through his veteran teammates with previous experience playing for Guiao. "Pero sabi sakin nila Willier Miller, Ranidel [De Ocampo], ganun lang talaga si Coach Yeng. Yun nga, si Coach Yeng pag kilala mo, masasabihan ka talaga ng masakit pero hindi naman personal, dahil lang sa game," Arwind said. "Dun ko siya nakilala ng husto kaya ginawa ko siyang ninong sa kasal, para di na ako masabihan ng [expletives]. Yun ang di ko makalimutan," Santos added.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 13th, 2020

PBA: Brownlee-Chambers are coach Tim Cone s top-2 imports

In over three decades as a head coach, Tim Cone has built quite the career in the PBA. Coach Tim is widely considered as the greatest, with a record 22 PBA titles and two Grand Slam wins. 18 of Cone's championships came in tournaments with reinforcements, so naturally, he's coached a lot imports during his career. Coach Tim estimates about at least 100, he's not quite sure. However, Cone is pretty sure about his top-2 imports ever. "The top-2 are pretty obvious, and I think they rank in the top list of all-time PBA imports and that's Sean Chambers and Justin Brownlee. They are the top-2," Cone said. Coach Tim made the reveal on the most recent episode of Coaches Unfiltered. "It's interesting because their approach in the game is very similar but their personalities are polar opposites. As you know, Justin is extremely quiet, he's a giggler. He likes to laugh and he likes to hangout with his teammates but he likes to laugh with them but he doesn't lead conversations at all. Justin is like so comfortable to be around," Cone said of Brownlee, his Ginebra star. "On the other hand, Sean is like me, he's a gabber. He talks, talks, talks and he's always creating the jokes and then laughing at his own jokes and people laugh with them. Sean is like the life-of-party type," coach Tim said of Chambers, the foundation of his Alaska Grand Slam. Sean Chambers was Cone's resident import for the Aces in the 1990s, with the crowning achievement being the sweep of the 1996 season. Justin Brownlee is coach Tim's current resident import for Barangay Ginebra. The Gin Kings are a perfect 4-for-4 in the PBA Finals with JB. Both Chambers and Brownlee are successful in the PBA, but their similarities in the league don't stop there. As everyone knows, Brownlee was a replacement for Ginebra in the 2016 Governors' Cup, taking the spot of the injured Paul Harris. [Related: Temp to Champ: Justin Brownlee's Magical PBA journey with Ginebra] Brownlee got cramps in his very first game, a Ginebra loss. Still, he ended the tournament with "The Shot" and a PBA title. Chambers was actually a replacement import for Alaska decades ago. "I didn't recruit Sean, he came in as a replacement just like Justin. He came in as a replacement I think the fourth or fifth game," coach Tim said. "I never recruited him but he grew from 1989 to that Grand Slam team. We were going through 12 Finals appearances in 13 conferences or whatever. He was, he's still the winningest import of all time," he added. Being big on continuity, Cone has been practicing what he preaches since a decade ago with having imports come back multiple times. [Related: No continuity holding Gilas Pilipinas back says coach Tim Cone] Coach Tim first realized his lesson with Chambers and then re-applied in to Brownlee. In between, Cone actually did it with Marqus Blakely too and they won a Grand Slam with San Mig Coffee. "I think one of the things I learned early in my career through having Sean Chambers was that once you get a good import, you stick to him," Cone said. "Don't lose in a semifinals and say, 'oh okay we didn't win the championship, let's get another one.' It's like changing your team game-to-game, you can't do that. You can't have any continuity. The continuity we had with Sean taught me a lot," coach Tim added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 5th, 2020

Future-proofing Gilas is the best way to go says Toroman

Rajko Toroman sure had a thing going with his original Gilas Pilipinas team about a decade ago. Made up of mostly the top collegiate players, the original Gilas Pilipinas, reinforced by a naturalized player in Marcus Douthit and a few PBA players, came two wins away from a breakthrough Olympics stint. In the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships, Toroman's Gilas lost in the semifinals to Tab Baldwin's Jordan team. Coach Rajko says that that set up could totally work for Gilas Pilipinas and it seems like the current brains of the national team program have realized it as well, forming a core group of young players headlined by Thirdy Ravena and Isaac Go. "I think that the program was great that time. I think in this moment, there is a mix. They have to make some young players play tournaments, take some international exposure," Toroman said on the Coaches Unfiltered podcast. "But also when it comes time for the results, you need to have the best 5-6 players from the collegiate and the best 5-6 players from the PBA. I think this mix will be the best thing," he added. Sending an all-amateur team to top international tournaments may be impossible for a country like the Philippines, especially if the national team will be looking to win medals in Asia and be competitive against the world. However, a national team featuring battle-tested young guys reinforced by the current best looks to be the best set up. That way, the next versions of the Gilas team will still have its best players all while being future-proof. A better relationship now between the PBA and SBP can certainly make that happen. "I think in this period, it's easier to make it like this because of the connection of the PBA and SBP is much better than in my time," coach Rajko said. "I think this is the best way to make some younger players get exsposure and then make the best team possible," Toroman added.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2020

Toroman: Gilas doing well

For former Gilas coach Rajko Toroman, the Philippines’ current thrust of mixing young guns with the best PBA players is the way to go......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 20th, 2020

Tab s unfiltered comments shook up Philippine coaching fraternity

Reactions to Tab Baldwin's now-controversial unfiltered comments about the PBA come from all sorts of places, but it seems like the general consensus is that he disrupted the Philippine coaching fraternity that's supposedly built on brotherhood. Hoops Coaches International, established by Blackwater's Ariel Vanguardia for webinars featuring local and foreign coaches, issued a statement about Baldwin's comments about the PBA last week. The Ateneo coach called the PBA's one-import tournaments as a "big mistake" and said local coaches as having "tactical immaturity." [Related: Unfiltered Baldwin comments on the PBA's "big mistake"] Hoops Coaches International is focusing on the tactical immaturity part on condemning Baldwin's comments. The very existence of webinars by Hoops Coaches International is to help advance the level of coaches here. Current and former PBA coaches like Tim Cone, Norman Black, Yeng Guiao, Mark Dickel, Jeffrey Cariaso, and Bill Bayno have all appeared in the webinars. A number of foreign coaches have shared their expertise as well. "We have hosted a number of webinars because we are aware that we do not have all the answers. That in order to compete with the best, we have to expose our coaches to a plethora of ideas, theories, and practices from successful coaches that work with all age groups and levels, from all leagues," the statement read. "Only by raising the level of coaching at the grassroots and provincial level can we move the needle," the statement added. [Related: Northport owner on Tab's PBA comments: "Sounds like racism"] Hoops Coaches International acknowledged some of Coach Tab's points but his comments on local coaches seem to have done more harm than good especially with the reaction that followed. "We have long believed that a coaching fraternity is built on a foundation of camaraderie and a free exchange of ideas," Hoops Coaches International said in its statement directed to Baldwin. "So, it is disheartening to hear that instead of helping the Filipino coaching community grow towards a higher standard, you saw it fit to put us down," the statement added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 15th, 2020

Unfiltered Baldwin goes in on the PBA s 'big mistake' regarding format

Ateneo head coach and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin didn't hold back when he assessed the current landscape of basketball in the Philippines. Baldwin, the one-time Gilas coach who had the national team one win away from the Olympics, says that there is one glaring flaw with the way we do things here, particularly in the PBA. Coach Tab says that the PBA having only single-import conferences is a "big mistake." "We have one major flaw in the basketball landscape of the Philippines. It's a regulatory flaw and that is that in the PBA, we have three conferences with two of those are single-import conferences," Baldwin said. Coach Tab made the sizzling hot take on Coaches Unfiltered podcast. "This is a big mistake. We should never have a single import playing on a team," Baldwin added. The Ateneo mentor, who also serves as an assistant coach for the TNT KaTropa, says that imports here are given advantages by the league by way of officiating, which isn't the case for the very same imports should they play in other leagues. That inherently puts local players at a disadvantage. "So in other words, put it in layman's terms, a foul for a PBA player for a local player isn't a foul on an import, and the foul of an import, that same foul on a local player isn't a foul," Baldwin said. "So our local players are competitively disadvantaged in their ability to compete against the import players, and this is not the case in other countries," he added. Baldwin also went in on the PBA coaches, saying they're smart and doing the right thing by running their systems through the imports. However, Baldwin also said that PBA coaches can be way better if the import advantages are taken away and they're all forced to do more than just rely on one guy. "If you're a PBA coach, and you don't tactically run your systems through the import, you're pretty stupid because they are given all of the advantages. So the PBA coaches are smart lot. They're good basketball coaches," Baldwin said. "But they could be much better if they were forced to coach much more, I believe, I think then they would show their real talents. But I think that because of the way our imports are treated here, it's not sound thinking for a coach to not exploit what is obvious to every PBA coach, and that is to run your offensive systems through your import," he added. In the East Asian region, the PBA is the only major league that plays single-import tournaments. The CBA in China and the KBL in South Korea allows up to two imports per team. In the case of the CBA, teams can also employ Asian imports. The Japanese B.League allows up to three foreign players, not counting naturalized players that are considered as locals. For its 10th season, the ABL increased its import limit from two to three. The PBA likewise allowed up to two imports before, but has employed a single-import policy for a good two decades now. The 2016 Governors' Cup was the last conference when the PBA allowed teams to have two imports, with one having to be an Asian import. Not all 12 teams took the chance to employ one. Before that, the 2008 Fiesta Conference allowed the two lowest-ranked teams, then Welcoat and Coca-Cola, to have two imports but the second one had a height limit of 6'1". "I think that system it creates a false landscape for our basketball coaches and our basketball players," Baldwin said. "And I think it needs to be changed sooner rather than later," he added. Baldwin's comments on the podcast quickly drew the attention of the PBA, with Spin.ph chief Dodo Catacutan first reporting that PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial will issue a fine for Coach Tab for "statements detrimental to the league." A suspension for coach Tab is also being considered for his comments.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 12th, 2020

How Hackett and Harris went beyond 100 points

(This story was originally published on June 30, 2016) One-hundred-point explosions are a rarity in professional basketball. Even in the NBA, no one has ever eclipsed Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points in his game with the Philadelphia Warriors in trouncing the New York Knicks, 169-147, on March 2, 1962. So when you learn that two men, Americans playing as imports in the Philippine Basketball Association, had scored more than Wilt, you’d certainly be awed and astonished that such incredible feats in the history of the sport had actually occurred in our shores. Legends These legends, Michael Hackett, the man-mountain who leisurely takes care of business in the paint while reinforcing Ginebra San Miguel, and Tony Harris, the “Hurricane” who brings down opponents with his devastating scoring sprees through quick, shifty on court moves while playing for Swift Mighty Meaty Hotdogs, definitely left an indelible mark in PBA annals with those historic barrages that surely left everyone, foe or fan, stupefied and dazzled. Hackett, the hulking yet amiable giant, achieved the first-ever milestone on November 21, 1985 as Ginebra faced Great Taste in a battle for third place in the PBA Reinforced Conference.  His burly 6’5” frame would always have its way in the shaded lane, barreling his way through thick defensive walls and converting—all in bewildering succession. He pumped in 48 points at halftime, before scoring another 33 in the third quarter, and swishing 22 in the final period—for an eye-popping record-setting total of 103 points in one game. Breaching the Chamberlain record, Hackett had been praised as pro ball’s greatest scorer ever, even if he had not made the cut in the Los Angeles Lakers’ lineup during the Showtime era after being the 22nd pick in the 3rd round of the 1982 NBA Draft. During that conference, Hackett averaged 50 points, 20 rebounds and 6 assists in 24 games that made him a hands-down choice for Best Import. With this lofty achievement, who would even think, much less imagine that this record would be broken seven years later. Best scorer Perhaps the all-time best performing scorer in the PBA’s history walked into a packed town gym in Iloilo City on October 10, 1992 in the elimination round of the PBA Third Conference to show Robert Jaworski and his Ginebra squad what he’s got. And, it was simply merciless. Scoring relentlessly from the field through lane incursions, midrange jumpers, slam dunks off the fastbreak and baskets from beyond the arc, the Hurricane already reached the highest score anyone could produce at halftime, 59 points. Harris continued his romp in the last two quarters, just leaving the never-say-die squad in the dust with another 46 points, leading Swift to a 151-147 victory and achieving a record-breaking single-game individual score of 105, surpassing Hackett’s record by two points. This scoring record remains to this day. Indeed, a double heartbreak for the country’s most popular team and a historic achievement by the flamboyant and perplexing import. Tough fouls But what was really exceptional was that he accomplished this feat despite Ginebra players fouling him a record 52 times, which he claimed in an NBA Philippines interview two years ago as “tough fouls” with “knees purposely extended to hit my groin, or the spitting on my face.” He was unfazed and this motivated the Monroe, Louisiana native even more by converting most of his points in his amazing 105-point game from the free throw area, where he made 45 out of 53 attempts. But what’s even more mind-blowing about Harris is that this was no single-game fluke or a stroke of luck. He scored 98 points only seven days after his 105-point game to lead Swift to a 157-147 victory over Presto Ice Cream.  Harris also scored 82 points in Swift’s conquest of Purefoods in Davao City a day before that record-breaking feat.  Before all of these scoring exploits, he actually “introduced” himself to the league with an 87-point performance in his debut in routing the San Miguel Beermen, 134-106. He also had 69, 57, and 54-point games throughout the season, ending up with a record 60.4 scoring average. Best achievement The best achievement of them all was that he steered the Mighty Meaties to the RFM franchise’s first-ever PBA championship by sweeping the 7-Up Uncolas in the Finals, 4-0. It was the current Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao’s first title. After his high-flying PBA stint, Harris tried his luck in the NBA via short 10-day deals with the Boston Celtics, but fell short with a mere 5-point clip in 14 games—a far cry from the fearsome offensive form he displayed in the PBA. He has since distanced himself from professional play, and now heads a sports apparel, supplies and equipment company in Los Angeles. Hackett, on the other hand, also did not engage in competitive basketball after his spectacular PBA run from 1985 to 1988, although he had once served as an assistant coach for a school in his native Jacksonville, Florida, and is now a sales consultant for a wine and beverage firm. But even if Harris or Hackett’s storied scoring feats and iconic stints did not replicate on their real home courts and since hung their jerseys for other careers, their astounding on-court achievements in the PBA remain an inspiration for greatness in this basketball-crazy nation......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2020

Gilas back home after Serbia OQT campaign

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas is back in the Philippines following its campaign in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia. Gilas assistant coach Jong Uichico posted a photo on his Facebook account of the team’s arrival at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Saturday. While Gilas still has to prepare for the 2021 Fiba Asia […] The post Gilas back home after Serbia OQT campaign appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 4th, 2021

Gilas faces ‘busy, tough’ road

SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan said yesterday the road ahead for Gilas will be “busy and tough” as the countdown leading to the FIBA 2023 World Cup builds pressure on coach Tab Baldwin’s Young Guns to get ready for the “Big Dance.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2021

Dominican Republic wins

Coach Melvyn Lopez said the ‘Pearl of the Antilles’ Dominican Republic team gave him a happy result with its 94-67 stopping of Gilas Pilipinas on Friday in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Aleksandar Nikolic Hall in Begrade......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2021

Despite loss, Gilas gets high praise from Serbia coach

The Serbian Eagles were caught by surprise by the ferocity that the young Gilas Pilipinas showed during their Olympic Qualifying Tournament encounter in Belgrade early Thursday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2021

Coach’s dilemma

Former Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said the other day tinkering with the national team lineup to add some pieces to bolster the nucleus is a risk because it could “destroy the fabric” that has been woven to consolidate and make the squad competitive on the world stage......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2021

Gilas coach offers no excuses after 27-point loss to Dominican Republic

By JONAS TERRADO Gilas Pilipinas couldn’t translate its courageous stand against host Serbia the other day into a spot in the semifinals of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament after suffering a 94-67 loss to the Dominican Republic early Friday (Manila time) in Belgrade. An error-prone second half resulted in Gilas losing a slim halftime lead […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsJul 1st, 2021

Ramos out of FIBA Olympic qualifier due to groin injury

By JONAS TERRADO Gilas Pilipinas could be without Dwight Ramos, its most consistent performer during the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, for the duration of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia due to a groin injury. Coach Tab Baldwin painted a gloomy picture about Ramos’ condition during the pre-OQT press conference Monday, June 28, but […].....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2021