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Kai Sotto-led biggest-ever Batang Gilas, where are they now?

The Philippines paraded its biggest-ever national youth team in the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Championships. In 6-foot-7 Raven Cortez, 6-foot-7 Carl Tamayo, 6-foot-8 Geo Chiu, and 7-foot-1 (back then, because he's 7-foot-2 now) Kai Sotto, Batang Gilas had twin towers times two to go toe-to-toe with the rest of the world. Add to that forwards Yukien Andrada and Josh Lazaro at 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-4, respectively, and without a doubt, that Filipino frontline was formidable. In all, the Philippines stood with an average height of 6-foot-5 in the world meet. Ultimately, however, they still fell short and went winless through the group stages against Croatia (75-97), France (54-95), and Argentina (71-74) before being officially ousted by Canada in the Round of 16 by a score of 102-62. In the end, Batang Gilas still salvaged wins in their last two games, both classification matches, at the expense of Egypt (70-69) and then New Zealand (73-51). And in the end, while they still fell short of making any headway in the tournament itself, they still improved on a one-win and 15th-place finish the last time around. Now, the Filipinos sported an overall slate of 2-5 stood 13th out of 16 teams. Moving forward, they remain upbeat about their chances as they now had the size that holds nothing but promise for the future - and all that's left to do is keeping at the skills themselves. Two years later, have the country's most promising prospects done just that? Let's look at where they've gone after the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Championships and where they are going to even farther: FORTHSKY PADRIGAO, 5-11 G Still playing for Ateneo. Won championship and made Mythical Team as Blue Eaglet. TERRENCE FORTEA, 5-11 G Still playing for National U. Won back-to-back championships as Bullpup. GERRY ABADIANO, 5-11 G Played for National U. Won back-to-back championships as Bullpup. Commitment to college yet to be decided. MAC GUADANA, 5-11 G Played for LPU and led them to first-ever Final Four and Finals. Made Mythical Team as Jr. Pirate. Committed to LPU. MIGS PASCUAL, 5-11 G Played for DLSZ. Transferred to and still playing for San Beda. Won championship as Red Cub. RC CALIMAG, 6-1 G/F Transferred to and played for LSGH. Committed to UP. YUKIEN ANDRADA, 6-5 F Played for San Beda. Won championship and made Mythical Team as Red Cub. Committed to San Beda. CARL TAMAYO, 6-7 F/C Played for National U. Won back-to-back championships and Finals MVPs as Bullpup. Commitment to college yet to be decided. JOSH LAZARO, 6-4 F Played for San Beda. Transferred to and still playing for Ateneo. Made Mythical Team as Blue Eaglet. GEO CHIU, 6-8 C Played for Ateneo. Won championship as Blue Eaglet. Committed to and still playing for Ateneo. Won championship as Blue Eagle. RAVEN CORTEZ, 6-7 F/C Still playing for DLSZ. KAI SOTTO, 7-1 C Played for Ateneo. Won championship and MVP as Blue Eaglet. Took talents to US to train with Atlanta-based The Skills Factory. Played in 2020 Basketball Without Borders Global Camp. Featured by Bleacher Report. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnApr 6th, 2020

UP scores biggest recruitment get in 6-7 modern big man Carl Tamayo

Carl Tamayo will continue to have Pilipinas on his jersey. Only this time, he will be repping the University of the Philippines. In a bombshell, the Fighting Maroons announced Saturday morning that they have secured the services of the 6-foot-7 big man whose new-age skills have keyed Nazareth School of National University's back-to-back championships as well as Batang Gilas' contention in international play. Tamayo has the build to will his way inside, but the shooting touch as well to do damage from outside. At the other end, he stands strong while also having quick feet, capable and confident of defending both Kai Sotto and Forthsky Padrigao. In his last year in the Jrs., the proud Cebuano normed 11.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in the elimination round. Come the Finals, though, he turned it up a notch and had double-double averages of 19 points and 18 rebounds en route to the Finals MVP and, more importantly, a season sweep. Now, Tamayo is the biggest recruitment get for a State U side that, without a doubt, has come a long, long way from its so-called dark days. In just this offseason alone, he joins fellow rookie recruits Gerry Abadiano, Jancork Cabahug, RC Calimag, Sam Dowd, Ethan Kirkness, and Miguel Tan as well as transferees Joel Cagulangan and Malick Diouf. This will be the first time the modern big man will be away from Bullpups and Bulldogs mentor Goldwin Monteverde who discovered and developed him. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 1st, 2020

Kai Sotto-led biggest-ever Batang Gilas, where are they now?

The Philippines paraded its biggest-ever national youth team in the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Championships. In 6-foot-7 Raven Cortez, 6-foot-7 Carl Tamayo, 6-foot-8 Geo Chiu, and 7-foot-1 (back then, because he's 7-foot-2 now) Kai Sotto, Batang Gilas had twin towers times two to go toe-to-toe with the rest of the world. Add to that forwards Yukien Andrada and Josh Lazaro at 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-4, respectively, and without a doubt, that Filipino frontline was formidable. In all, the Philippines stood with an average height of 6-foot-5 in the world meet. Ultimately, however, they still fell short and went winless through the group stages against Croatia (75-97), France (54-95), and Argentina (71-74) before being officially ousted by Canada in the Round of 16 by a score of 102-62. In the end, Batang Gilas still salvaged wins in their last two games, both classification matches, at the expense of Egypt (70-69) and then New Zealand (73-51). And in the end, while they still fell short of making any headway in the tournament itself, they still improved on a one-win and 15th-place finish the last time around. Now, the Filipinos sported an overall slate of 2-5 stood 13th out of 16 teams. Moving forward, they remain upbeat about their chances as they now had the size that holds nothing but promise for the future - and all that's left to do is keeping at the skills themselves. Two years later, have the country's most promising prospects done just that? Let's look at where they've gone after the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Championships and where they are going to even farther: FORTHSKY PADRIGAO, 5-11 G Still playing for Ateneo. Won championship and made Mythical Team as Blue Eaglet. TERRENCE FORTEA, 5-11 G Still playing for National U. Won back-to-back championships as Bullpup. GERRY ABADIANO, 5-11 G Played for National U. Won back-to-back championships as Bullpup. Commitment to college yet to be decided. MAC GUADANA, 5-11 G Played for LPU and led them to first-ever Final Four and Finals. Made Mythical Team as Jr. Pirate. Committed to LPU. MIGS PASCUAL, 5-11 G Played for DLSZ. Transferred to and still playing for San Beda. Won championship as Red Cub. RC CALIMAG, 6-1 G/F Transferred to and played for LSGH. Committed to UP. YUKIEN ANDRADA, 6-5 F Played for San Beda. Won championship and made Mythical Team as Red Cub. Committed to San Beda. CARL TAMAYO, 6-7 F/C Played for National U. Won back-to-back championships and Finals MVPs as Bullpup. Commitment to college yet to be decided. JOSH LAZARO, 6-4 F Played for San Beda. Transferred to and still playing for Ateneo. Made Mythical Team as Blue Eaglet. GEO CHIU, 6-8 C Played for Ateneo. Won championship as Blue Eaglet. Committed to and still playing for Ateneo. Won championship as Blue Eagle. RAVEN CORTEZ, 6-7 F/C Still playing for DLSZ. KAI SOTTO, 7-1 C Played for Ateneo. Won championship and MVP as Blue Eaglet. Took talents to US to train with Atlanta-based The Skills Factory. Played in 2020 Basketball Without Borders Global Camp. Featured by Bleacher Report. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 6th, 2020

20 for 20: Pinoy Sports Personalities to Watch in 2020

As we enter a new decade, ABS-CBN Sports takes a look at 20 Pinoy sports personalities destined to shine in 2020.    Kiefer Ravena After an 18-month wait, Kiefer Ravena is finally back in basketball. Despite only playing in the PBA’s third conference, his impact was immediate, leading NLEX to the number 1 seed in the Governors’ Cup. The Road Warriors didn’t advance sure, but if Kiefer can impact a team that way in limited time, wait until you see what he can do with a full offseason.   Alex Eala At just 14 years old, Filipina tennister Alex Eala is already turning heads, and she’s yet to turn pro. With a runner-up finish at the ITF Mayor’s Cup in Osaka, Japan and her first ITF Juniors title in Cape Town, South Africa, Alex has had quite the fruitful year, leading to a career-best 11th-place ranking in the ITF Juniors table to finish the year.  Heading into 2020, Eala now has her sights set on turning pro as she plans to join more professional tournaments to raise her ranking even more. Expect the young tennis star to make even more headlines in the coming year.     Bryan Bagunas A vital cog in the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Bagunas is considered as one of the best Filipino volleyball players in this generation. Eyes will be on his blossoming international career playing as an import in the Japan V. Premier League.         Margielyn Didal While already a household name in Philippine skateboarding due to her success in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Margielyn Didal made even more waves in 2019. The 20-year old Cebuana reached the semifinals of the 2019 SLS World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and captured gold in the 2019 National Championships and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.  Didal is currently looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and if she can do so, it’s highly likely that the Pinay skater can become an even bigger star in the industry.    Marck Espejo After his spectacular collegiate career with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Marck Espejo's colorful career as part of the men's national volleyball team and in the club league continues to blossom. Just like Bryan Bagunas, Espejo will be showing his skills internationally with a stint in Thailand following a historic silver medal finish at the 30th SEA Games.   Yuka Saso After a decorated amateur career that saw her  participate in major tournaments such as the Ladies’ European Tour, the Summer Youth Olympics and claim top honors in the 2018 Asian Games, 2018 and 2019 Philippine Ladies Open, and the 2019 Girls’ Junior PGA Championship, 18-year old Pinay golfer Yuka Saso finally made the jump to pro in November of 2019.  With even more competitions in store plus a 2020 Tokyo Olympics berth in her crosshairs, it’s quite likely that we hear more about Saso in the coming months.  Carlos Yulo Perhaps no other young athlete in the Philippines shot to stardom faster than gymnastics phenomenon Carlos Edriel Yulo. After a gold medal finish in the floor exercise at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, Yulo hauled in even more hardware in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, taking home two more gold medals and five silvers.  Yulo’s spectacular 2019 earned him a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and if his SEA Games and World Championships performances are any indication, Caloy is bound for another podium finish on the biggest stage there is.   Eya Laure Last UAAP season’s rookie of the year will return as the heir apparent of Season 81 MVP Sisi Rondina. With her national team stint, all eyes will be on the younger Laure as she reunites with older sister EJ as they try to bring University of Sto. Tomas back in the Finals after falling short last year. Hidilyn Diaz 2019 was another big year for Olympic silver medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, highlighted by her first ever gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Diaz also finished with silver medals in the 2019 Asian Championships and a bronze in the 2019 World Championships.  All those podium finishes are crucial in Diaz’s quest for another Olympics berth in 2020. Should the 28-year lock up another spot in the Summer Games in Tokyo, we could see another Olympic medal coming home.    Kat Tolentino  After initially announcing that she would not come back for her final season in the UAAP, Kat Tolentino changed her decision and will suit up for the Ateneo Lady Eagles once last time, providing a great morale-booster in their bid for back-to-back titles. Tolentino’s leadership will be tested as she will be leading a young team.      Joshua Pacio 23-year old Joshua “The Passion” Pacio proved to be the brightest spot for Philippine MMA stable Team Lakay in 2019. After opening the year with a questionnable decision loss to Yosuke Saruta, Pacio silenced any doubts in the rematch and regained the ONE Strawweight World Championship with a highlight-reel headkick knockout. Pacio would follow that up with another masterful performance, this time with a second-round submission win over top contender Rene Catalan before the end of the year.  2020 is shaping up to become another banner year for the rising Pinoy star, as he’s scheduled for another title defense on January 31st in Manila, this time against former champ Alex Silva of Brazil. A win for Pacio will solidify his claim of being the best strawweight ever in ONE Championship history.     Louie Romero The Adamson University freshman displayed great potential during the pre-season when she piloted the Lady Falcons to title win in the PVL Season 3 Collegiate Conference. Romero is expected to be a gem of a setter for the young Adamson squad hoping make a return in the UAAP Final Four. Manny Pacquiao While eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is certainly in the twilight of his professional boxing career, 2019 showed that he is still one of the best around. A successful title defense over Adrien Broner followed by an impressive dismantling of the previously-undefeated Keith Thurman to capture the WBA’s primary world title proved that even at 40, Manny Pacquiao is still a big name in the sport.  With Pacquiao targeting an early return in 2020, more big names are lined up to fight “the People’s Champ”, including names like Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, and even a title-unification bout against Errol Spence. Still, the biggest fight that is out there proves to be a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr, granted that “Money” finally bites.    Faith Nisperos A key addition for the repeat-seeking Ateneo de Manila University. The highly-touted rookie hitter will add height and firepower for the Lady Eagles in UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball. In the previous PVL Collegiate Conference, Nisperos flashed her scoring prowess, exploding for 35 points in one outing.   Robert Bolick The two best rookies of 2019 were CJ Perez and Robert Bolick. We know what we can expect from CJ, but Bolick is an interesting case as 2020 will be his return from knee injury. Bolick could still win Rookie of the Year, but even if he doesn’t, his return to Northport could push the reloaded Batang Pier from a Cinderella team to full-on PBA title contender.   Joshua Retamar His playmaking skills as well as his efficiency on net defense during the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games makes him a setter to watch out for come UAAP. Retamar is an asset for National University’s three-peat bid.       Kai Sotto The Philippines' 7-foot-2, 17-year-old is opening eyes as he suits up for Atlanta-based The Skills Factory - so much so that he has already gotten interest from quite a few US NCAA schools. Before Sotto continues breaking the glass ceiling for Filipinos, though, he will go home for a while to wear the flag with Mighty Sports-Pilipinas in the 2020 Dubai International Basketball Tournament.   Jema Galanza Coming off a great outing to close the PVL Season 3 highlighted by copping the Open Conference MVP award, expectations are high for Jema Galanza as Creamline aims to reclaim the PVL Reinforced Conference crown and complete an Open Conference three-peat.      Kobe Paras Many questioned just what the 6-foot-6 tantalizing talent would bring to the table for UP - but more often than not, he had all the answers as he led the Fighting Maroons to their second straight Final Four. In the end, Paras was actually the steadying force State U needed in what was a hyped up season. They may not have made it back to the Finals, but they still got much more motivation as they run it back for next year.   Pat Aquino What's next for the most decorated mentor in women's basketball? Pat Aquino followed up a six-peat for National U with the Philippines' first-ever gold medal in women's basketball in the SEA Games. Without a doubt, he will only continue steering the sport forward especially as the likes of UST and FEU are already gearing up to put up greater challenges in the new year.   Isaac Go Isaac Go is technically not the no. 1 pick of the 2019 PBA Draft but he is without a doubt, the no. 1 prospect of the year. His top selection from the special Gilas Pilipinas Draft is proof of that. Gilas Pilipinas has the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on deck in 2020 and as a new era dawns on the national team, all eyes will be on the biggest piece for the future that’s already drafted into the new Philippine squad......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

For Mike Nieto, all roads lead to leading

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2020

2020 king of recruiting crown remains on UP’s head

Who was our King of Recruiting in 2018? Find out here. Who was our King of Recruiting in 2019? Find out here. --- From 2007 to 2015, the University of the Philippines only had 13 wins to show in 126 games total. That time is self-deprecatingly called in Diliman as the dark days. Due to that disappointing standing, the Fighting Maroons had the toughest time bringing in recruits. And due to that lack of pieces to the puzzles, they lost even more. Safe to say, State U was stuck in a vicious cycle in the dark days. That’s not to say they didn’t have blue-chip recruits back then as in their time, all of Woody Co, Mark Juruena, Mike Gamboa, Kyles Lao, Jett Manuel, and Mikee Reyes were among the best high school players. Only, a blue-chip recruit or two does not make a team. Fast forward to now and oh, how things have changed. Last year, UP was hailed as ABS-CBN’s King of Recruiting alongside University of the East. “On the strength of the transfers of Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero, the Fighting Maroons… are worthy of the title,” it said then. And the season before that, the maroon and green was also up there with the best of them in terms of recruitment, having brought in the likes of eventual Season MVP Bright Akhuetie, Will Gozum, and Jaydee Tungcab. Indeed, there was nowhere to go but up. That has only continued this year as UP has left no doubt that it is now a force to reckon with in terms of recruitment. Early on, they already had a solid haul in Joel Cagulangan, once the best point guard in high school, and tireless workhorse Malick Diouf. And then, the shock of shocks. As it turned out, Nazareth School of National University stalwarts Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano were going to be Fighting Maroons. Meaning, for the first time in recent history, the most promising prospect coming out of high school is headed to Diliman. Not only that, State U also answered its biggest question heading into next season – the question at point guard, filling in for Jun Manzo. But as it turned out, they weren’t done just yet - no, our friends, they weren’t done just yet. Tamayo and Abadiano’s departure from National U was shocking, without a doubt, but CJ Cansino’s exit from University of Sto. Tomas was even more so. Cansino, against his will, decided to move on from his alma mater since 2015 due to personal reasons. Fortunately for him, he landed on his feet. Now, the Fighting Maroons have ready-made replacement for Rivero as well as a leader in the shades of Paul Desiderio for UAAP 84. And that, our friends, is why we have no choice but to put the 2020 King of Recruiting crown on UP’s head once more. Tamayo and Abadiano are the bluest of blue-chip recruits this year and Cagulangan, Cansino, and Diouf are among the most talented transferees, but also joining them in the maroon and green will be scoring machine RC Calimag from La Salle Green Hills, burly big Miguel Tan from Xavier High School, Filipino-American playmaker Sam Dowd, Filipino-Australian tower Ethan Kirkness, physical forward Jancork Cabahug from University of Visayas, and versatile wing CJ Catapusan from Adamson University. The former Bullpups are guaranteed ato be contributors even as rookies while Calimag, Tan, and Dowd are going to shore up a bench that had just lost Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan. Of course, Diouf, Kirkness, Cansino, Cabahug, and Cagulangan are still serving residency, but when they will be eligible, they will get a shot at a squad that will look brand new. All of Bright Akhuetie, J-Boy Gob, David Murrell, Noah Webb, and Rivero are graduating players while Paras is only guaranteed to play one more year. That means that after Season 83, the Fighting Maroons may very well have to fill six spots. That means that UP is not only beefing up for UAAP 83, it is also securing its future. If not for the shock of shocks, though, the crown would have been claimed by De La Salle University which sent a statement that it is back and better than ever. Justine Baltazar and Aljun Melecio may be playing their fifth and final years in college, but the green and white’s future has only brightened following this prolonged preseason. First and foremost, Kevin Quiambao, the third leg in that National U tripod of talent out of high school, has the capability and confidence to follow in the footsteps of Baltazar. Hopefully, he will be eligible for Season 83, but if not, what’s certain is he will be playing in UAAP 84. Alongside him as pieces for the future are super scorers CJ Austria and Emman Galman, all-around swingman Joshua Ramirez, and Filipino-Americans Jeromy Hughes, Kameron Vales, and Philips bros. Benjamin and Michael. Among all those, Jonnel Policarpio, likened to a young Arwind Santos, has the highest upside, but the Fil-Ams have much potential as well. And don’t forget that Evan Nelle, the primetime playmaker from San Beda University, is just getting primed and prepped to take the reins when Melecio leaves. Of course, the caveat here is that we are all in uncharted territory due to the continuing COVID-19 crisis. And in that light, the next season of the UAAP remains far away and a lot could still happen until then. While majority of the local blue-chip recruits have already committed, talents from abroad and transferees from other schools could still come and change the game. With that being said, there remains no doubt that UP and La Salle have made the biggest noise in the offseason. However, it’s not actually the Fighting Maroons or the Green Archers who got the lion’s share of the best graduating players in the 2020 NBTC 24. Yes, that honor belongs to Lyceum of the Philippines University which is finally reaping the rewards of its rising Jrs. program with NCAA 95 Jrs. MVP John Barba and Batang Gilas playmaker Mac Guadana being promoted as full-fledged Pirates. Guadana could do it all and looks like the next great guard in the Grand Old League while fearless slasher is Barba is a perfect complement to him. Add another fiery guard in John Bravo and sweet-shooting big man Carlo Abadeza and LPU has restocked its coffers after losing Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee and Cameroonian powerhouse Mike Nzeusseu. In all though, the 2020 NBTC 24 was dominated by UP… and San Beda. Of the annual rankings’ 15 graduating players, four would be Fighting Maroons and another four would be Red Lions. Yes, San Beda’s grassroots program is back on track with its Jrs. championship core all remaining in red and white. Rhayyan Amsali, ranked no. 1 in the 2020 NBTC 24, is the most college-ready high school player while Justine Sanchez is a long-limbed forward who could turn out to be the next Calvin Oftana, you know, the NCAA 95 MVP. Yukien Andrada, meanwhile, is only continuing to develop his two-way game and Tony Ynot is a 3-and-D weapon who had even left an impression on Jalen Green. And hey, as somebody said, don’t sleep on the UAAP’s three-time defending champions. Ateneo may already be missing Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, Adrian Wong, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt and they may not be making noise as of late, but they are still welcoming Dave Ildefonso and Dwight Ramos with open arms. Ildefonso will only be good to go come UAAP 84, but Ramos is already being seen by head coach Tab Baldwin as a difference-maker for the Blue Eagles in Season 83. Eli, Dwight’s younger brother, is also in the mix to backstop SJ Belangel and Tyler Tio. Note also that former blue-chip recruit Inand Fornilos may very well finally get his shot while both Jolo Mendoza and Raffy Verano are also back. Ateneo’s foe in the Finals last year also reloaded quite a bit as for the third year in a row, UST will be sending the Tiger Cubs’ best player to the Srs. squad. Following in the footsteps of Cansino and Mark Nonoy, post player Bismarck Lina will be a Growling Tiger next season. Alongside him to fortify the frontcourt are Christian Manaytay, Bryan Samudio, and Bryan Santos while bolstering the backcourt are Joshua Fontanilla and Paul Manalang. Speaking of fortifying the frontcourt, Far Eastern University is the team that got the biggest boost in terms of size. With 6-foot-7 Nigerian Emman Ojoula’s residency over and done with, the go-go guards of the Tamaraws have yet another weapon to burn opponents with. CESAFI MVP Kevin Guibao and transferee Simone Sandagon are no slouches either while Cholo Anonuevo has a roster spot waiting for him if and when he decides to come home after trying his luck in the US. RJ Abarrientos no longer appears here as he was already in FEU’s list last year. These are the new faces to see for the other teams: CSB Blazers LETRAN Knights JRU Heavy Bombers MAPUA Cardinals ADAMSON Soaring Falcons UE Red Warriors --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2020

Edu takes different route to NBA

AJ Edu, who forms a deadly twin tower combo for Batang Gilas with Kai Sotto, is as determined as his G-League-bound frontline partner to reach the NBA......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2020

Gian Mamuyac vows to continue channeling his inner Gabe Norwood

Gian Mamuyac is a determined defender. That's why he had a highlight at the expense of three-time champion and two-time MVP Stephen Curry: OMG! Batang Gilas & former Blue Eaglet Gian Mamuyac @mamuinthesea just blocked @StephenCurry30 game winning three! pic.twitter.com/t9YQQtywfE — TJ Manotoc (@tjmanotoc) Setyembre 6, 2016 As well as back-to-back MVP and one-time champion Ben Mbala: Ben Mbala will not be denied. #UAAPSeason80Finals pic.twitter.com/8zPdZfuwWN — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) Disyembre 3, 2017 Coupling his long limbs with quick feet and sprinkling in a whole of energy and effort, the Ateneo de Manila University swingman looks like he has a lot of Gabe Norwood in him. As it turns out, that was all by design. "I've always been a fan of underrated guys. When I watched Gabe play, nakita ko talaga agad na he's my type of player," Mamuyac himself told Norwood himself in an online learning session a week ago. Of course, Gian Mamuyac DID pattern his play after Gabe Norwood. pic.twitter.com/Rk2F1wK4K8 — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) May 1, 2020 He then continued, "He's not the scorer, he's not the best ball-handler, but he does it all for his team. Kaya I tried to make my game na katulad talaga ng game ni Gabe." Mamuyac, alongside Far Eastern University's Ken Tuffin, San Beda University's Calvin Oftana, and the University of the Philippines' James Spencer got to converse with the Gilas Pilipinas skipper through a Zoom meeting initiated by GOAT Academy. The fledgling program has organized several online learning sessions that aim to connect pros with collegiate stars and let the former enrich the minds of the latter. Now, along with defense, the Blue Eagles' Swiss Army knife would have to take after Norwood's leadership as well. The blue and white would be heading into their title defense in UAAP 83 now without all of Nieto twins Mike and Matt, Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, and Adrian Wong. Even before they left, however, captain Mike already entrusted the reins of leadership to Mamuyac. "Actually, matagal ko na siyang kinausap tungkol dyan. Sabi ko sa kanya na kayang-kaya niya yun kasi parte rin ng 'next man up' namin yun," he said. Fortunately for him, he just got much-welcome advice from somebody who knows a thing or two about stepping up as captain. "You definitely have to take it upon yourself to be more vocal. For me, being the captain after Jimmy Alapag, probably the greatest leader I've come across in any level of basketball, that was tough," Norwood advised. He then continued, "You can't try to be like the leaders ahead of you. You learn from them, but you don't wanna be them because that's not necessarily what the team needs. The biggest thing is trying to be yourself." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2020

BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1

Pingoy Rule: Never give up. --- Jerie Pingoy is not a disappointment. He is disappointed in himself, no doubt about that, but he is not a disappointment. Not just yet - so he says. "'Di ako susuko na makapag-PBA. I still want to prove to everyone na kaya ko pang makipagsabayan," he said, full of confidence, in a phone interview. "Kasi nakikita ko pa sa sarili kong kaya ko pa eh - as in, kaya ko pa. Sana, sana mabigyan ako ng chance to prove na I'm still worthy." Many dream of playing in the PBA, but only a few get to do so. Even fewer get to do so after going missing in action for more than a year. The last time we saw the 5-foot-9 point guard, he and Adamson University were at the wrong end of the University of the Philippines' breakthrough in 2018. No, that's not right. The last time we actually saw Pingoy was in the now-suspended 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup where he played two games with Karate Kid-Centro Escolar University. "Sa ngayon, I'm trying to come back. Since bata ako, gusto ko mag-PBA, pero sa ngayon, sa nakikita ko sa sarili ko, kailangan ko magdoble-kayod para dun," he said. "Ang hirap pa ngayon, nawala ako ng (higit isang) taon kaya mas lalong dapat ipakita kong worthy akong mapunta dun." In between his last game as a Soaring Falcon and his first one with the Scorpions, indeed, it seemed as if the 25-year-old just went off the grid - something that would have been thought to be impossible years ago when he was still the toast of high school basketball and a hoped-for contributor in collegiate hoops. GOOD OLD DAYS "One of the best players I've ever seen. He was the complete package," Mike Oliver, Pingoy's head coach at Far Eastern University-Diliman, answered when asked to look back at his former ward. Oliver would be one of the few people who would have a good grasp of the top talents at the high school level as he was a champion coach there as well as mentor of Batang Gilas. "It was a transition from Coach Norman [Black] to Coach Bo [Perasol] and we were trying to rebuild the program. He was one of the first recruits talaga that Coach Bo wanted," Kiefer Ravena, Pingoy's teammate in Ateneo de Manila University, answered when asked to recall one of the prized prospects he helped recruit. Ravena would be one of the people who would know a thing or two about the Blue Eagles' recruitment plans in the early '10s as, of course, playing with him would have been one of the reasons why a player would want to wear blue and white. "We're just scratching the surface of what he can do right now. If he will just follow what we're trying to teach him, he will be a better all-around player," Franz Pumaren, shot-caller at Adamson University where Pingoy transferred to, said right after one of the better games he had in college. Pumaren would be one of the few people who would have the power to make somebody believe that his system leads to wins and championships - and the power to judge the potential of a player. NEW YEAR, NEW ME After two years in Adamson, though, Pingoy decided against playing his fifth and final playing year in the UAAP and decided to instead nurse his troublesome left foot back to full strength. Along with that, for the good of his mind, he decided to stay away from all the noise. And so, for more than a year, not much was heard from Pingoy nor did he hear anything from anyone. That was until Karate Kid-CEU came calling by getting him in the 2020 PBA D-League Draft. With his up-and-down collegiate career a thing of the past, Pingoy was nothing but grateful for yet another shot. "I'm so thakful sa CEU kasi sobrang inaalagaan nila ako. Sina Coach Jeff [Napa] pati mga boss dun, tinutulungan talaga nila akong mabalik yung career ko," he said. So much was he grateful that he wasted no time in returning their trust in him. In fact, in just a month, he was able to shed off excess fat - something he has been known to be unable to get away from in his last years in college - and shape up. "After practices, may workout pa ako and dahil dun, from 250 lbs., naging 211 lbs. na lang ako nung may D-League pa. Ngayon, tuloy-tuloy pa rin and 197 lbs. na lang ako," he was glad to report. He also added, "Kailangan nasa 170 lbs. Sana makuha." HERE WE GO AGAIN Just when it looked like all was finally coming together for Pingoy, however, COVID-19 turned into a pandemic and forced the D-League, as well as all other sporting events, to be postponed. And with the crisis continuing, it is yet to be determined when the developmental league would resume - or if it would even resume considering that all but one of its 11 participating teams are college-based. This is just the latest challenge in a young career that has already been through several starts and stops. Start with back-to-back UAAP Jrs. MVPs as well as a championship in FEU-Diliman. Stop with brand new residency rules from high school to college. Start with the starting point guard position in your first game in Ateneo. Stop with a logjam of point guards and then academic deficiencies. Start with a long-awaited breakout as a two-way player for Adamson. Stop with a foot injury that failed to fully heal. Start with Karate Kid-CEU taking a chance on you. Stop with COVID-19 shutting down anything and everything. Still, Pingoy chooses to see the silver linings. "I think it's God's plan. Hindi yung virus ha," he shared with a laugh. He then continued, "For me, sinasabing bago ka maglaro ulit, kailangang fit na fit ka. Dapat, 'di na ganun kataba. Dapat, ipakita sa CEU na kahit walang training, ready pa rin." For sure, his future is yet to be written - and only his hand is holding the pen. Still, it could not be argued that after all those starts and stops, the very first one remains to have left the biggest mark. NEXT ON BEST-OF-5 SERIES: THE PINGOY RULES: "Nasasayangan ako sa years na 'di ako nakapaglaro. Kung nakapaglaro ako nung mga yun, mag-iiba yung takbo ng panahon." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 30th, 2020

EYES ON YOU, KID: NCAA 95 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the NCAA 95 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And with the second round already underway, we’re getting even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: MAC GUADANA – Lyceum of the Philippines University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 18.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.1 steals LPU is on the brink of its first playoff appearance in school history – and throughout its quest to do just that, Mac Guadana has been its constant. For a long time, the 6-foot playmaker has stood as the pillar for the Jr. Pirates, but now, he has taken the leap all the way up there as one of the best players in all of high school. The former Batang Gilas guard has been stuffing the stat sheet and is tops in steals, fourth in scoring, and fifth in assists in the league. Without a doubt, he can and he is doing it all in his fifth and final year in maroon and grey. Most importantly, LPU has only followed his lead all the way to a place well inside the playoff picture. Of course, it remains to be seen if the Jr. Pirates can continue their sail to treasure island. What’s certain, though, is that their 18-year-old homegrown star will keep giving his all for them. RHAYYAN AMSALI – San Beda High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.7 steals For four years running now, Rhayyan Amsali has been one of the most promising prospects in the Jrs. Now in his last year in high school, he has only brought over all the confidence and capabilities he had honed in National U all the way to San Beda. Now donning red and white, the 6-foot-3 forward has unleashed a more well-rounded game as he is actually the league’s best playmaker while at the same time, its third-best pilferer and fifth-best scorer. And if not for a controversial suspension, he would have also been the frontrunner for MVP as he has been a key cog for the league-leading Red Cubs. Still, what matters most for the now 18-year-old is another championship – and at the end of it all, he may very well be in select company of players who have won two titles in two different high schools in two different leagues. JONNEL POLICARPIO – Mapua High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.1 points, 10.6 rebound, 2.6 assists, 1.3 blocks The biggest reason Mapua has found itself in the bottom third of the standings is the inconsistency of main man Jonnel Policarpio. From missing the first three games due to personal problems to getting irregular playing time due to mental lapses, the 6-foot-4 energizer has only proven he has got much room for improvement when it comes to intangibles. Still, whenever he’s on the floor, Policarpio has always made his presence felt and that is very much evident with him being the MVP leader even after only playing seven games. However, the league’s top rebounder needs to prove he can stay on the court and lead his team to victory if he wants to have a hold of that top individual trophy and, more importantly, extend his team’s title reign. JUSTINE SANCHEZ – San Beda High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.5 points, 62.8 percent shooting, 7.5 rebounds Justine Sanchez is turning in a career year in his last year for San Beda. From coming off the bench a year ago to claiming a starting spot for himself, the long-limbed forward is on pace to be hailed as the league’s Most Improved Player. All the proof he needs for that is already there as he is an automatic finisher of set-ups by his teammates, with an astounding 62.8 shooting clip from the field. At the same time, though, he has also shown flashes of shooting and playmaking – showing that even the favorite for Most Improved Player looks like he can still keep growing. JOHN BARBA – Lyceum of the Philippines University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 20.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists Mac Guadana does it all, but if and when LPU needs a basket badly, it turns to John Barba. A fearless slasher that boasts of one of the best – if not the best – upper body strengths, the 6-foot-2 swingman can score however he wants once he gets to the paint. That is exactly why he is the league’s second-best scorer. Of course, Barba has to work on his shooting, but as of right now, that hole in his game is only offset by his energy and activity that allow him to haul in offensive rebounds and make good on second chance points. TONY YNOT – San Beda High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 10.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals Tony Ynot missed San Beda’s first five games due to a knee injury, but once he was good to go, he did nothing but make an immediate impact. A defensive specialist who made noise in the preseason with a poster block on Jalen Green, the Filipino-American blue-chip recruit in the US NCAA, he is only proving to be more of a two-way force now in his second season in red and white. The 5-foot-11 wing now has the confidence to let it fly from deep or venture inside the paint for a closer look, but when it all boils down to it, defense is and will always be his calling card. RC CALIMAG – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 20.7 points, 23-of-60 from three, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals RC Calimag has always been in love with the midrange shot in his time in DLSZ and now in his second season in LSGH. The 6-foot-2 forward knocks those down at a respectable rate, but his transition into taking more threes this year has unlocked his entire offensive arsenal. Calimag is the league’s top scorer, with a bulk of his output coming from deep where he has hit 23 in total. Without a doubt, he has always been a deadly scorer, but with his outside shot now a legitimate threat, he has become an elite offensive player. JOSHUA RAMIREZ – Colegio de San Juan de Letran ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 15.1 points, 29-of-90 from three, 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists Joshua Ramirez’s game will not blow anybody away at all as he is yet to have a skill that will put him above everybody else. What the 6-foot-3 forward is, however, is an all-around player who will do whatever it takes to help out his team – if Letran needs points, he will be there; if Letran needs playmaking, he will be there; if Letran needs defense, he will be there. No doubt about it, he is the quintessential glue guy that any other team will want to have on their side. EMMAN GALMAN – University of Perpetual Help ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.5 steals One word perfectly encapsulates Emman Galman – gunner. The 6-foot-2 swingman is a volume shooter who has the greenest of green lights to take shots for Perpetual. That’s not a bad thing at all, though, because he actually makes good on many of those and finds himself as the third-best scorer in all of the league. SHAWN UMALI – Colegio de San Juan de Letran ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 9.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.1 steals What Joshua Ramirez is from the perimeter, Shawn Umali is inside the paint for Letran. The undersized big man will not wow everybody, but his do-it-all game has been the engine that has kept the Squires running for two years now. And don’t let his 6-foot-4 height and wide frame fool you, he actually has great timing and is the league’s fifth-best shot blocker. HONORABLE MENTIONS Yukien Andrada – San Beda High School Gholam Garcia – Jose Rizal University High School CJ Saure – Colegio de San Juan de Letran Ezdel Galoy – University of Perpetual Help --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2019

2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Preview: Philippines vs Argentina

It was a nightmare of a start for Gilas Youth on Day 1 of the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup as prized big man Ariel John Edu injured his knee in a very bad way barely two minutes into the first quarter of the team's tournament opener against host Greece.  And though the Philippines fought gallantly, even leading by seven points after the first canto, they just couldn't keep the Greeks at bay for long and succumbed to a deeper Hellas quintet by game's end, 85-69.  Now the Filipino boys face even stiffer competition against the 3rd best team from last year's 2018 FIBA U18 Americas Championship -- Argentina.  The Argentines landed on the U18 Americas podium just behind perennial powerhouse Team USA and defending U19 World Champion Canada. Led by Virginia big man Francisco Caffaro and head coach Maximiliano Seigorman, Argentina won four of their six games en route to their top three finish.  On Day 1 of the current U19 World Cup in Crete, Argentina had to scramble in the end to survive a big challenge from Russia in overtime, 86-84. Prolific guard Juan Ignacio Marcos paced the victors with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals, while Caffaro led them in scoring with 17 points on 7/12 FG shooting.  It's obvious that coach Sandy Arespacochaga's crew will have to focus on containing those two guys tonight, and that task will be made even more difficult with Edu's apparent ACL injury (compounded by a meniscus tear and hairline femur fracture).  That will effectively double the pressure on wunderkind Kai Sotto to do a yeoman's job around the basket while also throwing a wrench into the projected rotation of the Gilas Youth coaching staff.  Now back-up guys Geo Chiu and Carl Tamayo will have to work extra had and play extra minutes to fill Edu's void and complement Sotto's game as much as they can.  This is where Gilas Youth is feeling the pinch of a couple of key absences in the frontline. One is De La Salle-Zobel's 6'8" beanpole Raven Cortez, who could have given the team even more ceiling, length, and athleticism had it not been for his own needed recovery time in sick bay.  Another is 6'10" Filipino-American Quentin Millora-Brown, who just committed to US NCAA Division 1 program Vanderbilt. Millora-Brown was approached by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas officials to woo him into playing for Batang Gilas as early as 2016, but he just couldn't get his paperwork in order before his 16th birthday, rendering him ineligible to play as a local for the Philippines in the future.  A lot of pressure will also be on the Philippines' guards, namely Gerry Abadiano, Dave Ildefonso, and Miguel Oczon. They were solid against the Greeks last night, but it will take even better play from them if they hope to pull the rug from under Argentina tonight.  Even more crucial will be the play of Fil-Italian Dalph Panopio, who, at times, looked flustered last night and who seemed unsure of his place in the team's system. If Panopio bounces back with a big game tonight and cancels out Marcos's production, Gilas Youth will have a shot at a monumental upset.  After everything, though, needless to say as it may seem, much of the Pinoys' collective fate will rest on Sotto's shoulders. The 7'2" slotman had a respectable outing against Greece's generally smaller frontline, but against a big name like Caffaro, the former Blue Eaglet has to deliver the goods in a big way. It'll be easier said than done, of course, as Argentina is expected to thrown their platoon of bigs, which, apart from 7'0" Caffaro, also includes 6'9" Bautista Lugarini and two guys Sotto faced at last year's U17 World Cup -- Juan Francisco Fernandez and Tomas Chapero, both also standing 6'9"......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2019

Dave Ildefonso hopes long stint in youth team leads to place in Gilas Pilipinas

Dave Ildefonso, National University's incoming second-year stud, is still part of Gilas Youth. Yes, better believe that the Bulldogs' rising star remains a key cog of the Philippine national youth team as he's only 19-years and two-months old. And come the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, Ildefonso will be wearing the flag for the fourth time in international competition - following his go-rounds in the 2015 SEABA Under-16, 2015 FIBA Asia Under-16, and 2018 FIBA Asia Under-18. Through the years, there is one thing and one thing only that has changed in the eyes of the 6-foot-3 swingman. "Ako na nga yung pinakamatanda rito kaya naisip ko lang na grabe, ang lalaki na pala talaga ng mga bata ngayon. Dati, 6-footer ako, sentro na ako e," he joshed. Indeed, that's all changed now as Ildefonso can now slot into his natural position as a swingman with 7-foot-2 Kai Sotto, 6-foot-10 AJ Edu, 6-foot-8 Geo Chiu, and 6-foot-8 Carl Tamayo entrenched. Turning serious, though, the son of Philippine basketball legend Danny Ildefonso knows full well that his wealth of experience will be of much help for Batang Gilas. And so, he is not shying away from being more of a leader. "In terms of leadership, marami akong makakatulong kasi si Kai, born leader naman tapos nandyan din si AJ [Edu], [Migs] Oczon. As individuals, leaders naman kami lahat dito," he shared. He then continued, "Ako naman, maitutulong ko is yung pagiging role model ko on and off the court." While the upcoming world meet will be his fourth and final with the national youth team, Ildefonso is nothing but hopeful this will not be the last time he wears the flag. "Ang tanda ko na nga kasi e no," he kidded with reporters who likened his long stint in Gilas Youth with what Gabe Norwood has been as a mainstay for Gilas Pilipinas. He then continued, "Sana hindi ito yung last ko. Yung dream ko, siyempre, makasali sa 2023 (FIBA World Cup) at sa iba pa, SEA Games, ganun. Paghihirapan ko yun para sana makuha ko sa future." In that light, the Gilas Youth veteran only vows to keep being better. As he put it, "The game is evolving so my game should be evolving too. Dati, shooter, spot-up lang ako na minsan, nagbi-big man pa, but ngayon, I worked it out over the years na pwedeng 1, 2, 3, stretch 4 pa kung kailangan." He then continued, "Gagawin ko kung anong kailangan ng team." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2019

Kai Sotto headed home as Gilas Youth gears up for FIBA U19 World Cup

With the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup just a few weeks away, Gilas Pilipinas Youth need to be complete for its training sessions. Even though he is at the other end of the world, Kai Sotto made sure of that and he and his family are headed home from Atlanta.         View this post on Instagram                   We are now heading back!!! See you in a bit Philippines!???????????????????????????????????????? A post shared by Kai Zachary Sotto (Official) (@kzsotto) on Jun 6, 2019 at 6:45am PDT The Sotto family left the US Thursday evening and will arrive on Friday. With that, the 7-foot-2, 17-year-old will be in Manila just in time to re-unite with Gilas Youth as they gear up for the upcoming world meet in Greece. This was all made possible with an assist from one of Kai’s biggest backers. “Whether nandito si Kai or sa labas ng bansa, our support will continue,” said Chooks-to-Go president Ronald Mascariñas who arranged the homecoming of the Philippines’ newest basketball prodigy. For that, the father and son Sottos are only thankful. "Chooks-to-Go is my one and only corporate sponsor and financial supporter for my U19 campaign," said Kai. "Sobrang thankful ako sa kanila for making this happen." "Maraming salamat talaga sa kanila dahil kahit saglit pa lang kami dito sa States, miss na namin ang Pilipinas. We can't wait to get back home," expressed Ervin......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 7th, 2019

Tab tells Kai: come train with Gilas

Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin wants 7-foot-3 Kai Sotto to train with the Nationals for at least three weeks if he were to see action in the two major competitions in June......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 27th, 2021

Kai begs off from bubble

Kai Sotto isn’t joining the Gilas bubble at Inspire in Calamba to focus on training and development in the US but it’s still not decided if the 7-2 center will play in the FIBA Asia Cup third qualifying window in Clark on June 14-20 and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade on June 29-July 4......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 17th, 2021

Vico nega sa COVID, muling nakiusap sa publiko: Let’s all do our part…

  NEGATIVE ang resulta ng polymerase chain reaction o (PCR) test ni Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto. Mismong ang batang alkalde ang nagbalita nito sa publiko sa pamamagitan ng kanyang social media account matapos ngang ma-expose sa taong namatay sa COVID-19. “Negative ang result ng PCR test ko. Negative din yung nakasama namin sa sasakyan. […] The post Vico nega sa COVID, muling nakiusap sa publiko: Let’s all do our part… appeared first on Bandera......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 16th, 2021

Vico naka-quarantine matapos mamatay ang driver dahil sa COVID-19

WALANG ginanap na flag ceremony sa city hall ng Pasig City kaninang umaga dahil ang alkalde nilang si Vico Sotto ay kasalukuyang naka-quarantine. Sa pamamagitan ng Facebook Live, ikinuwento ng batang alkalde ang ilang detalye hinggil dito. “Magandang umaga po sa ating lahat, sana po ay nasa maayos tayong kalagayan. “Lahat naman po tayo ay […] The post Vico naka-quarantine matapos mamatay ang driver dahil sa COVID-19 appeared first on Bandera......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 15th, 2021

Baldwin, Ravena biggest influencers for Kouame in ‘Calambubble’

By CARLO ANOLIN Soon-to-be naturalized player Angelo Kouame described coach Tab Baldwin and Kiefer Ravena as his biggest influencers during the training camp in the “Calambubble.” Before the fiasco that hounded the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, Kouame, Baldwin, Ravena, and the rest of Gilas Pilipinas pool are holed up at the Inspire Sports Academy […].....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 26th, 2021

SBP: Kai always welcome to join Gilas Pilipinas team

There will always be place for Kai Sotto in the Gilas Pilipinas national men’s basketball team......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 24th, 2021

Ignite five wins; Sotto prepares to join team after quarantine

As Gilas Pilipinas prospect Kai Sotto goes back into quarantine again after returning to the United States from the Philippines, Jalen Green poured in 22 points as the unbeaten NBA G League Ignite stretched its win streak to four......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2021