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FIBA: Gilas planning to get one practice game before playing Indonesia

With their home game against Thailand to start the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers cancelled due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Gilas Pilipinas is trying to maximize the extra few days added to its schedule. With a little over a week before Gilas takes on Indonesia on the road, the national team is planning on accommodating at least one tune-up game. The plan is to have it sometime next week with a PBA team. "I think we definitely wanna have a tune-up game," interim head coach Mark Dickel said after practice Saturday. "How we do it and when we'll schedule it, it'll be sometime next week," he added. The national team will leave for Indonesia on the 21st, giving them a good four days to schedule a game. Feb. 20 was the original date of the game against Thailand and that could be a window to make some arrangements happen. "I think we'll probably just have one [tune-up]," Dickel said. "We have such a tight timeline and we only have one game this window, it kinda makes more sense to get ready, have that game and replace that one [cancelled] game we were gonna play with that one [practice] game," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnFeb 15th, 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

November road games vs. Korea, Thailand loom over Gilas Pilipinas

Unless FIBA actually makes an official announcement, the November games of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers should be treated as if they're actually going to take place. As it stands, Gilas Pilipinas is set for a pair of road games against Thailand and South Korea in about four months time. However, the Gilas program has been pretty much stopped since a 100-70 road win against Indonesia back in February. "May FIBA qualifier pa kasi dapat sa November, wala pa sinasabing cancellation. If you look at the schedule, nandoon pa. We're supposed to be playing," SBP director of operations Butch Antonio said during the recent Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum. "We have to keep that in mind. We have to make sure that it's in our awareness na meron dapat tayong paghandaan," he added. Aside from the possibility of playing in November, Gilas still has to address its lack of an actual head coach. TNT's Mark Dickel handled the team on an interim basis during in the Indonesia game back in February but upon arriving from Jakarta, there have been no updates from the national team, let alone practices, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "We will still have to set a meeting with Coach Tab to see how we can progress from here," Antonio said on the Gilas coaching search. "Wala right now. Kailangan pa pag-usapan ng SBP management yun," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 8th, 2020

E-Gilas blasts Indonesia twice to start FIBA Esports Open 2020

Just like their real-life basketball counterparts, E-Gilas Pilipinas is on the board in FIBA competition by taking down Indonesia first. The Philippines won its first pair of games Friday in the FIBA ESports Open 2020. Playing the ProAm mode of NBA 2K, E-Gilas blasted Indonesia in their first game, 56-29. Less than an hour later, the Philippines beat Indonesia again, 64-30, for a 2-0 mark. Making up E-Gilas' lineup are Rial Polog, Custer "Aguilar" Galas, Philippe "Izzo" Alcaraz IV, Aljon "Shintarou" Cruzin, and Clark Banzon. David "Alt" Timajo and Rocky "Rak" Brana are designated as reserves. The Philippines will take on Indonesia for three more games in the FIBA ESports Open 2020.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2020

Whatever happened to Gilas Pilipinas 1.0?

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 1.0? Main tournament: 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships @ Wuhan, China Prize: 1 automatic ticket to the 2012 London Olympics Result: 4th place (lost to Jordan in semis, lost to South Korea in bronze medal game) Head coach: Rajko Toroman Coach Rajko’s previous history before becoming the first coach of the Gilas program was leading Iran to its first-ever Olympics appearance in Beijing just four years prior. Toroman was tasked to lead another national team to the Olympics, but his Philippine team mostly made up of amateur stars fell two wins short of London. Coach Rajko’s Gilas stint ended after the 2011 Asian Championships. He’s still recently connected to the Philippine team, albeit this time as an opponent. He now coaches Indonesia and his national team took on Gilas last December in the SEA Games in in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers last February.   The Players: #4 Mark Barroca After his unceremonious exit from FEU, Mark Barroca was selected into the original Gilas team and was a major revelation especially during the national team’s earlier tune-up games against PBA teams and when they actually went to the semifinals of the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup. After their semifinals stint in Wuhan, Barroca was part of the loaded 2011 Gilas Draft, picked 5th by Shopinas before being shipped to B-Meg. Barroca has stayed with the Purefoods franchise since, a 6-time PBA champion and two-time Finals MVP. He won the Grand Slam with the team in 2014. #5 Asi Taulava Asi was one of the PBA players chosen to reinforce a mostly-amateur Gilas team in 2011. At the time, Taulava was a Meralco Bolt but would become an ABL MVP and champion with San Miguel Beer in the ABL two years later. The 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships was Asi’s third straight appearance in the tournament. He was with the 2007 team in Tokushima and was also part of the 2009 team that competed in Tianjin. While Taulava was already almost 40 here, it won’t be his last stint with Gilas Pilipinas just yet. #6 Jvee Casio The former La Salle star was one of the main pillars of the original Gilas team, putting off the PBA Draft for two years in order to play for the national team. Proof of Casio’s standing in the original Gilas team was him being selected first overall during the 2011 Draft. With the Powerade Tigers, Casio, with Gilas teammate Marcio Lassiter, made the Philippine Cup Finals as a no. 8 seed in 2012. In 2013, Casio won his first and so far, only title in the Commissioner’s Cup with the Alaska Aces. #7 Jimmy Alapag Alapag was one of the three TNT players in the original Gilas team. It was Jimmy’s first stint in the national team since 2007. He was not chosen for the 2009 FIBA-Asia Championships. Jimmy didn’t see heavy minutes with the original Gilas, but he was the national team’s most reliable marksman and shot 40 percent from deep. Seeing action in 2011 means that Alapag is a Gilas original, and his first appearance with the program would not be his last, it’s also not his best. #8 Chris Tiu Arguably the face of Gilas Pilipinas when the program first started, Chris Tiu went from a successful UAAP career in Ateneo to being captain of the national team. Tiu didn’t play the most minutes and didn’t have the best numbers, but he probably put in the most work out of everyone for the original Gilas team. After Gilas, Tiu joined the PBA Draft in 2012 and was selected by Rain or Shine. He won the Commissioner’s Cup title in 2016 and retired from basketball after the 2018 season. #9 Japeth Aguilar Japeth Aguilar was still pretty raw during 2011 for the original Gilas team. In Wuhan, he played the least out of all the players, appearing in only five games. Nevertheless, Aguilar would become a constant for the national team after his first stint in 2009. Aguilar would find his way to Ginebra in the PBA and won four of his five titles with the team. He’s the league’s most recent Finals MVP and is still playing for Gilas Pilipinas. #10 Mac Baracael Mac Baracael making the original Gilas team was a miracle all in itself. After being shot in the back as an FEU Tamaraw, Baracael made a full recovery and was selected into the national team and was a role player in the 2011 Asian Championships. Baracael was taken 6th by Alaska in the 2011 Draft and had a short but mostly solid but forgettable career in the league. #11 Marcus Douthit Marcus Douthit was the solid rock that formed the foundation of the original Gilas Pilipinas team. After a long search, the national team tapped the former Providence center as naturalized player and in his first Asian Championships, Douthit didn’t disappoint. “Kuya Marcus” led the tournament in both points and rebounds, averaging 21.9 points per game and 12.2 rebounds. He was also tied for third in blocks with 1.7 rejections per outing. Douthit was already 31 at the time, but he most definitely proved that the Gilas program can work and the national team can be successful if you put a solid anchor around the country’s most skilled players. #12 Kelly Williams In his first and only stint with Gilas Pilipinas, Kelly Williams started at power forward. At this point in his career, Williams wasn’t exactly the player that took the PBA by storm and won MVP in his second season, but he was still explosive enough to give the national team quality minutes. Kelly’s role with the original Gilas has mostly mirrored his career in his later years, being the scrappy veteran at forward for teams with younger, faster players. #13 Marcio Lassiter Despite not playing in Gilas’ first two games of the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships due to eligibility issues, Lassiter ended up as the national team’s second leading scorer behind Douthit. Marcio actually struggled shooting in his Gilas Pilipinas debut, shooting less than 40 percent from the field and a woeful 21 percent from deep. Regardless, he was seen as the future of the national team, and it’s quite unfortunate that it took him a while to get back after his initial stint in Wuhan. In the PBA, Lassiter was picked 4th in the 2011 Draft by Powerade, joining Gilas teammate and no. 1 pick Jvee Casrio. Marcio was later traded to San Miguel and is now an 8-time champion. #14 Chris Lutz Like Lassiter, Chris Lutz missed two games in Wuhan due to eligibility issues. Like Lassiter, Lutz also struggled shooting the ball once he did play and wound up with the least total points for the original Gilas Pilipinas in 2011. Regardless, Lutz was a highly-touted recruit and was picked 3rd by San Miguel (then known as Petron) in the 2011 Draft and went on to average 15.4 points and 3.5 assists in his rookie year. However, Lutz’ career in the PBA ended up being short, as injuries ended up being his downfall. He was officially traded to Meralco in 2017, but is yet to resurface. #15 Ranidel De Ocampo RDO partnered with TNT teammate Kelly Williams to for a reliable power forward duo for the original Gilas Pilipinas. Never the flashy one, De Ocampo would become a reliable contributor for Gilas for years to come, and the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships was first proof of that. RDO was top-5 in points, rebounds, and assists for Gilas Pilipinas in 2011.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 6th, 2020

FIBA: New Gilas excited to prove worth as Asia Cup qualifiers near

The reality of the situation is setting in for Gilas Pilipinas. On Thursday evening, the national team got one of their last practices in before they leave for Indonesia Friday to start the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. With a final 12-man lineup on deck, Gilas went to work with a pretty simple goal in mind. "I expect it to be a difficult game, but it will be really good for us," interim head coach Mark Dickel said. "I feel like the last couple of weeks in practice, we've made good strides. Sunday's a chance to prove that," he added. The national team will squeeze one more practice in Manila on Friday before leaving for Indonesia. They'll take as many chances as they get to try and get the final 12 going as one cohesive unit. "We're getting an idea, but we don't really have a whole lot of preparation time to go into it." Dickel said. "We're just excited. I think we'll play a good game on Sunday," he added. Dickel still has his concerns over the national team but the confidence with his current group is prevailing over any doubts. "You're always concerned because you don't know how it's gonna look in the game, but I'm feeling more and more confident each day," he said. "The guys seem to understand more what we're trying to get them to do," Dickel added. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 20th, 2020

FIBA: Countdown starts for final Gilas 12 against Indonesia

Gilas Pilipinas should be getting close to figuring out who will make its final 12-man lineup to start the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. After another practice Saturday, interim head coach Mark Dickel says he and his staff are rounding out the first 15 players for the game against Indonesia next week. "I'm sure we'll go back-and-forth with the coaches tonight on who the 15 are and then start talking about combinations who should start," Dickel said. "I'm really trying to have an open mind about all the players here, let the team pick itself based on how they're performing. I didn't wanna come in here with preconceived ideas because then you don't give guys a real chance to force their way in," he added. At the very latest, Gilas Pilipinas has until the eve of a game to form a 12-man lineup. That gives the national team a full week to decide on the roster against Indonesia. However, Dickel and his coaching staff will have to put together a list very soon which will be subject to approval by FIBA and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas. "We haven't really thought too much on who's gonna make the 15 or the 12," Dickel said. "Over the next couple of days we gotta release it to FIBA for clearance reasons," he added. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2020

FIBA: Gilas hard at work on Valentine s Day

Everyone's out for their Valentine's Day and pay day Friday plans but the Philippine national team is hard at work in preparation for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. Gilas Pilipinas home game against Thailand on Feb. 20 has been cancelled due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, nevertheless, the grind continues as the national team has to go to Indonesia for a road game on Feb. 23. For practice Friday, team captain Kiefer Ravena, Javee Mocon, Isaac Go, Dave Ildefonso, Dwight Ramos, Rey Suerte, Mike Nieto, Justin Chua, Troy Rosario, CJ Perez, Poy Erram, Jaydee Tungcab, Matt Nieto, Juan Gomez de Liano, Javi Gomez de Liano, Thirdy Ravena, Abu Tratter, and RR Pogoy were active. Kobe Paras and Marc Pingris were also present in practice but sat out due to nagging injuries. "Happy Valentine's day everybody. [Practice] was good, really good. An improvement from two days ago and an improvement from four days ago," Gilas interim head coach Mark Dickel said. "It's going in the right direction," he added. Even with a cancelled first game, Gilas still has the showdown against Indonesia coming up and the national team is going about everything as business as usual. With no game on Thursday, it just means Gilas has a little more time to prepare for Indonesia now. "We get a couple more days to prepare and go to Indonesia," Dickel said. "We'll figure a way to work it out," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2020

FIBA: Business as usual for Gilas despite cancelled Thailand game

With the postponement of its opening home game against Thailand Thursday, Gilas Pilipinas' initial schedule for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers has been slightly altered. FIBA has opted to move the Philippines-Thailand game set for Feb. 20 to another date due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. It is what it is and Gilas is business as usual, returning to practice Friday. "Obviously disappointing because it would have been awesome to play a game here in front of our fans," Gilas interim head coach Mark Dickel said. "But we can't control that, so just get ready to go over to Indonesia nad find a way to play a good game and win," he added. There's no date for the Gilas-Thailand game but Dickel assures that the national team will be ready to go when a new schedule is announced. For now, Dickel is focused on using the extra days to drill more reps on his players. "If you get more time to really have everybody understand what their roles are, what is expected, and what they gotta do out there, the games are gonna look better," he said. "I'm happy about it, we get two or three more days to prepare. Just gotta take advantage of those days," Dickel added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2020

FIBA: Gilas unlikely for Parks with TNT contract up in the air

After playing less than a full conference with TNT, Ray Parks Jr. turned into basically a restricted free agent thanks to the two-conference deal he previously signed with his original team, Blackwater. While the former no. 2 pick can basically sign with any PBA team, the KaTropa hold rights to first refusal. No deal has been made public between Parks Jr. and TNT but the KaTropa are confident they can reach into an agreement soon. "We’re still negotiating his contract. In the TNT side, we’re still negotiating," Gilas and TNT team manager Gabby Cui said regarding Parks Jr. "I think we’re close so hopefully we can come to terms by the end of the week," he added. With Parks Jr.'s contract situation, he's pretty much out of Gilas Pilipinas to start the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. Parks Jr. is included in the original 24-man pool against Thailand and Indonesia but he hasn't been to any practice as of Wednesday. "No word on him joining Gilas," Cui said.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 13th, 2020

FIBA: Dickel wants 'good show' in Gilas one-and-done

Mark Dickel is handling Gilas Pilipinas for pretty much only two weeks as the national team's interim head coach. It's an extreme task, that's for sure. The Philippines started practice exactly two weeks before group play starts in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. In less than a week since training began, three players have begged off due to injuries and personal reasons. The fact that Dickel is only in charge for Gilas' upcoming two games likewise presents an intriguing challenge. "You just play the cards that you've been dealt," Dickel said. "You don't really about too much, you just lock in and feel lucky and thankful to have the players that you have, we got a lot of good players here," he added. Gilas will start the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers against familiar opponents. The Philippines will open things up at home on Feb. 20 against Thailand, a rematch of the gold medal game from the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Gilas will then take on Indonesia on Feb. 23 on the road. He'll only handle Gilas for two games but Dickel is raring to put up winning performances. "I'm just excited. I know we're gonna be motivated and ready to go," he said. "We should put on a good show," Dickel added. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 10th, 2020

SEA Games: Gilas has 3 practice games lined up as training gets more serious

Gilas Pilipinas practice for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games will be turned up a notch over the next three weeks. The national team will play practice games for the next three Mondays starting Nov. 4 as revealed by head coach Tim Cone. Gilas will take on San Miguel-Alab Pilipinas on back-to-back weeks. Gilas Pilipinas will then play a Taiwanese team backed by imports on Nov. 18. All games will be closed to the public. “We know the people are out there scouting us. And we also want to have total focus cause our time is so short,” head coach Tim Cone said, “We want to have total focus on coming in and playing and working against the Alab team and not having to worry about playing for the crowd, playing for you guys or trying to look good or whatever. We’re trying to do the work. That’s why we’re closing that game out,” he added. The national team only practiced with 13 players Monday as Jayson Castro was out due to injury and Matthew Wright asked to be excused after welcoming his new child to the world. June Mar Fajardo was present but didn’t participate due to a swollen knee. Ginebra super import Justin Brownlee was the 13th player in practice. “We gotta remember, we're only playing a 40-minute game. It's not a 48-minute PBA game, it's a 40-minute FIBA game. Not as many minutes to go around. So 12, 14 players is really too many,” coach Tim said. “But we're gonna try to get everybody out there, give them a feel. That's why we're playing more than one practice game,” he added.   — Follow this writer, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 28th, 2019

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

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: Gilas draws Mighty Sports in practice game

Gilas Pilipinas tied Mighty Sports in a practice game Monday at the Meralco Gym, 85-all. Down six, the Philippines got two clutch triples from Marcio Lassiter and CJ Perez to force the tie and then stopped Mighty on the other end to secure the draw. Gilas ran two great plays to get Lassiter and RR Pogoy open. Marcio drilled his attempt on the first try but Pogoy missed. The national team had to scramble after RR’s miss and the ball wound up at the hands of Perez. The PBA’s no. 1 rookie then calmy sank the game-tying triple with 14.7 seconds to go. “Coming into the game, I didn’t really expect much but the giys really showed good effort,” Gilas coach Yeng Guiao said. “I’m happy with the results. This is a relly good quality team [Mighty]. This is a good practice, good exercise for us in terms or our preparations,” he added. Even though the national team was playing with limited players, Gilas was overall better after the break, weathering an initial storm from Mighty’s Eugene Phelps. Behind sharper movements and plays, the national team took a 60-59 lead heading into final period. Despite a strong second half effort, Gilas got a slow start in the opening period as Mighty started with four imports and point guard Jason Brickman to overwhelm the Philippine national team. Halfway through the first quarter, Gilas still only had four points and both baskets were courtesy of reigning five-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo. The Philippines was already down 10 afrer the first, 13-23. Gilas’ second unit played much better with guard RR Pogoy at the lead. TNT’s top sniper sparked the Philippine offense in the second quarter, allowing Gilas to cut the deficit to one, 37-38, before ending the half down by three.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 8th, 2019

Mighty Sports braces for tougher, more competitive Jones Cup

Mighty Sports could be in for a tough competition this time when it represents the country anew in this year’s Jones Cup. The club team will be facing national teams of different countries in the July 12-21 cagefest annually being held in Taipei. National teams of Iran, Japan, South Korea, Jordan, and Tunisia are confirmed to see action in the meet which they are using as part of their preparation for the coming FIBA World Cup in China this August. Their presence will have Mighty Sports hard-pressed to duplicate the same feat the team had in the 2017 edition of the Jones Cup when it won the championship being an impressive eight-game sweep. “The participating teams right now are all strong, national teams lahat. So it’s much more competitive and stronger,” bared Mighty Sports assistant team manager Jessie Angchonghoo at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Amelie Hotel-Manila on Tuesday. “But we’re ready. We have all the tools to compete with them.” Charles Tiu will call the shots again for Mighty Sports, which will be reinforced by former PBA imports Renaldo Balkman, Zachary Graham, and Eugene Phelps while the local sides are led by Fil-Ams Jason Brickman, Jason Gray, Roosevelt Adams, Mikey Williams, Aaron Black, Gab Banal, and Joseph Yeo. For the 35-year-old Yeo, the stint will be the second time he’ll be playing in the Jones Cup after previously suiting up for the national team under then coach Chot Reyes. “Very excited to be back and represent the country again. At tsaka ang daming nanonood lagi (na mga Pilipino), so parang everybody is cheering for you. Masaya, masarap,” said Yeo, who was also at the session presented by San Miguel Beer, Braska Restaurant, Amelie Hotel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Mighty Sports is also not taking chances as it tapped former Gilas Pilipinas mentor Rajko Toroman as part of the coaching staff. It was Tiu who invited the Serbian coach to come over and help him handle the team. Tiu served as one of Toroman’s deputies during his stint with the original Gilas Pilipinas national squad. “He’s a very experienced coach,” said Angchonghoo of Toroman, who Mighty Sports plans to bring in here around June 25 when the team begins to practice together......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 28th, 2019

Prosper ready for Gilas

Former PBA import Lester Prosper is looking forward to Indonesia’s game against the Philippines in the FIBA Asia Cup third qualifying window, tentatively in late March, and while he has a lot of respect for Filipino players, it’ll be all business nothing personal in his career-changing role as a naturalized import......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 24th, 2021

FIBA cancels Indonesia game

A plan to pit Gilas against Indonesia in the second FIBA Asia Cup qualifying window was recently ditched after the SBP raised a red flag to question the propriety of advancing the game from its original schedule in February next year......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 25th, 2020

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:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 24th, 2020