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PBA: Black lauds Almazan’s ‘best game’ since joining Meralco

Meralco head coach Norman Black had nothing but praise for big man Raymond Almazan’s game on Saturday. The mentor felt that Almazan delivered his breakout game since joining the Bolts back in May of this year with clutch plays in Meralco’s 98-92 opening day victory over defending champion Magnolia in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome.    ”This is probably the best game of Raymond Almazan since he joined our team,” said Black of his ward, whose fourth quarter explosion spelled the difference in the duel. Almazan broke a 92-92 deadlock with a trey in the last 2:27 of the match and added a split from the foul line to fuel Meralco’s late game barrage. He capped his night with a crucial defensive stop, swatting away Mark Barroca’s layup attempt with 17 ticks left that crushed the comeback hopes of the Hotshots.    “Kasi pinaghandaan ko din eh. 100% na (dapat) ready physically and mentally, so kailangan eh. Di na rin tayo pa-bata eh,” said Almazan, who is fresh from a tour of duty with Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. "May mga bagong batang pumapasok—mas malakas, mas bata, mas athletic. So kailangang i-rise up natin yung game natin." Almazan finished with 19 points -- 12 coming in the payoff period -- in 7-of-11 field goal shooting.   “I'm happy for Raymond, I'm happy that he came out and really came up with some big plays for us tonight,” said Black. Almazan also grabbed 13 boards, had two assists and a block for Meralco. Black just hopes that Almazan would stay healthy throughout the conference. “Last conference he joined us after he was out with an injury for 10 weeks. Everybody expected him to come back and play well immediately, but a lot of people didn't know that about a week after, he re-injured his calf in practice, which set him back,” said Black. “Then when he finally recovered from that, he got sick and was out for another four days. He really could not get his bearings in the last conference, but I wasn't really concerned about that 'cause I knew he was new to the team and he really didn't know the system that well,” added Black. “But we've had a chance now to get him comfortable with the team.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnSep 21st, 2019

Letran greats share game-worn jerseys to raise funds for COVID-19 aid

Colegio de San Juan de Letran's past and present are coming together to form a wall to help frontliners stand strong in the face of the continuing COVID-19 crisis. Kevin Alas has fronted an effort to round up game-worn jerseys of former Knights and put them up for auction. The proceeds from there will then be used to purchase personal protective equipment for health workers doing their best against COVID-19. Alas donated a jersey from his time with Gilas Pilipinas as well as his very own Kobe 8s. Not long after, Raymond Almazan also extended a helping hand, sending out his Meralco jersey. Joining in on the fun as well was Jerrick Balanza, captain of the most recent NCAA champions, who gave his Letran jersey from last season. Other ex-Knights who are working with the Dominican Province of the Philippines, Inc. in this effort are Kevin Racal of Alaska,  RJ Jazul of Phoenix, Bonbon Batiller and JP Calvo of Columbian, and Bryan Faundo and Bong Quinto of Meralco. Larry Muyang and Fran Yu, Balanza's teammates on the 2019 titlists of the Grand Old League and still with one more year to play in blue and red, also have jerseys up for auction. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 6th, 2020

Almazan injury was turning point of PBA Finals, says coach Norman

Meralco just had no answer for Ginebra in the last three games of the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup Finals. After a convincing victory in Game 2 that evened the race-to-four series at 1-all, the Bolts lost three in a row to the Gin Kings. The crowd favorites, led by resident import Justin Brownlee and Finals MVP Japeth Aguilar, just ran roughshod over Meralco. And unfortunately, it didn't help matters that the Bolts were far from full power. "We lost our big men in the third game, first quarter and we never seemed to be the same team again," head coach Norman Black said. "I think, before Raymond got hurt, (the series) was tied at 1-1 and the first quarter (of Game 3) was a close quarter. We were competitive, but once he got hurt, everything changed." Indeed, the two teams split the first two games of the series before Raymond Almazan injured his left knee halfway through the opening period of Game 3. Almazan played through the pain in Game 4, but was, without a doubt, not 100 percent. "I'm not blaming it on Raymond not being there, but that was a big factor," coach Norman said. He then continued, "Certainly, we faced a team that's quite big and quite talented and without Raymond in the middle, we suffered. A lot of credit should go to Ginebra - they took advantage of the situation." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2020

Still some positives for Meralco even though third time wasn t the charm

Meralco has now been at the losing end in all three of its matchups in its PBA Governors' Cup Finals trilogy opposite Ginebra. The Bolts' hearts were broken by Justin Brownlee in 2016 before falling short once more a year later. Now, head coach Norman Black and his wards lost the last three games to surrender yet another title to the Gin Kings. Nonetheless, the fact that Meralco is even here is actually something to celebrate. "We came in 11th- and eighth-place before the third conference so the addition of Raymond [Almazan], the addition of Allein [Maliksi], and of course, the return of AD (Allen Durham) have us a more competitive team and gave us a chance to win a championship," Coach Norman said. Indeed, the Bolts finished 11th at 3-8 in the Philippine Cup and then ended ninth at 4-7 in the Commissioner's Cup. With Almazan and Maliksi, as well as rookie Bong Quinto, reinforcing a core comprised of Durham, Baser Amer, Cliff Hodge, and Chris Newsome, though, they seemed to have the best shot at the franchise's first title. Unfortunately for them, it wasn't meant to be - especially after Almazan's knee injury in Game 3. Nonetheless, Meralco still scored a trophy - its third in the last four seasons. As Coach Norman put it, "The positive side is we made it to the championship which means we started the league with 12 teams and there were only two left and we were one of them." He then continued, "While that's not something that's gonna make you happy, at the same time, it's better than coming in third or fourth or fifth or sixth." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2020

PBA Finals: Meralco hopes for the best as Almazan injures knee during Game 3

After their Game 3 loss, the Meralco Bolts are now down 1-2 to Ginebra in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. To make matters worse, the Bolts could be without top center Raymond Almazan for Game 4 and perhaps the rest of the series. Almazan made his exit halfway through the opening period Sunday after hurting his knee. He was out of the Big Dome by halftime. The initial word is that he has a strained knee and is set to undergo further tests to determine the severity of his injury. “When I talked to him at halftime of the game, he couldn't move his leg. And being a former player myself, that's never a good sign,” Meralco head coach Norman Black said of Almazan. “I'll try to be as positive as possible, and hopefully he'll be okay, but from being a player myself, having a swollen knee in the middle of a championship series is not something you can just bounce back from that easily,” he added. As they hold their breath regarding Almazan’s condition, the Bolts will also try to figure out how to make do if Raymond can’t go. Almazan was seen as Meralco’s biggest missing piece and if he’s not healthy enough to play, that’s a big hole in the middle for the Bolts. “Our biggest concern, obviously, is the fact that when Raymond's not around, you saw what happened with Japeth, right? He pretty much ran wild out there on the court. So what he has done this conference is giving us an opportunity to match up with the big men of the other teams,” Black said. “And without him, we almost got a little bit of a hole in the middle. So we just have to try to find a way to camouflage or at least try to fix it,” coach Norman added. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2020

PBA Finals: “Stronger” Meralco ready to challenge Ginebra anew

With another Ginebra-Meralco Finals in the PBA Governors’ Cup set, everyone has pretty much reminded the Bolts that they already lost two titles to the Gin Kings. In the team’s first-ever Finals in 2016, the Bolts lost in six games after “The Shot” from Justin Brownlee. One year later, Meralco lost again but this time, in front of a record Game 7 crowd and the Philippine Arena. The Bolts are well aware of their history with the Gin Kings and they’ve had enough. Meralco wants a title bad as both teams engage in a Finals trilogy starting next week. “While we do recognize that we lost to Ginebra twice — and we've been reminded of that over and over again — we're hoping it would be a different result this time around,” head coach Norman Black said. “We have a different team,” he added. Meralco still has key pieces from the previous Finals like two-time Best Import Allen Durham, Chris Newsome, and Baser Amer. However, the Bolts have now also added players like Raymond Almazan, Allein Maliksi, and rookie Bong Quinto. Whether those additions lead to a title remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Meralco is a much better team now compared to 2016 and 2017. “We're probably more balanced this team, a little bit stronger,” Coach Norman said. “We know we're up against tough competition. The Ginebra team is not only talented, they're big and they're well-coached. But at the same time, I think we're up for the challenge and we'll be ready to go in the first game,” he added. Game 1 of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals tips off Tuesday live from the Big Dome.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2020

PBA: Bolts equalize in blowout win

Meralco never lifted its foot from the gas pedal as the Bolts tied the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-five semifinals to 1-1  after an emphatic, 114-94, win over TNT in Game 2 on Tuesday at the Big Dome. Allen Durham dropped a triple-double of 44 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Bolts. He shot 15-of-26 from the field and missed only one of his 11 foul shots for an explosive outing as Meralco spoiled KJ McDaniels' 51-point outing.    A big 16-0 run was all that Meralco needed to turn 2-3 deficit into a huge cushion to cruise to an easy victory. “We displayed much better effort tonight, right from the start of the game. We had more focus, more energy. We played a lot more physical than we did in Game One, and we executed well on offense, particularly in the first half,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “Those are the things that we have to do to beat TNT because they're a tough team and they're very difficult to beat,” he added. “It's not over, it's only the second game, but we needed to win this game to tie the series up because we knew if we went down 2-0, it would be very tough to come back from that.” The Bolts, who bowed down, 94-103, in the series opener Sunday, built a 60-25 separation with 1:27 left in in the second period off a pair of charities by Raymond Almazan.   The pivotal Game 3 is on Thursday. McDaniels was the lone bright spot for KaTropa, who had a quiet night from veteran Jason Castro and Troy Rosario. Castro had seven points while Rosario got nine points before fouling out midway in the payoff period. Ray Parks got 12 points and eight rebounds.   Box scores: Meralco (114) -- Durham 44, Amer 20, Quinto 12, Newsome 11, Almazan 9, Maliksi 8, Caram 4, Faundo 3, Hugnatan 3, Jackson 0, Hodge 0, Salva 0, Pinto 0. TNT (94) -- McDaniels 51, Parks 12, Rosario 9, Castro 7, Digregorio 6, Vosotros 5, Semerad 2, Williams 2, Pogoy 0, De Leon 0, Reyes 0, Taha 0. Quarters: 35-16, 63-29, 89-66, 114-94.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 17th, 2019

PBA: Bolts snatch first semis seat

Meralco survived Alaska’s second half fightback as the Bolts held on for a 94-84 victory Sunday to advance to the semifinals of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome.     No. 2 seed Meralco didn’t need its twice-to-beat quarterfinals advantage to dispose of the Aces. Meralco will face the survivor between twice-to-beat TNT and Magnolia in the other quarters pairing. Allen Durham flirted with a triple-double, scoring 28 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and dishing out eight assists for his fourth straight semis stint for Meralco. “It was a really tough game. A lot of credit has to go to Alaska tonight,” said Bolts head coach Norman Black. "There were times where I thought we had control of the game, but that didn't seem to be the case because Alaska fought back and they gave us a scare in the end." Allein Maliksi iced the game with back-to-back baskets to push the Bolts’ lead, 92-81, with just 62 ticks left in the ballgame to break the backs of the Aces, who cut its deficit to five with just five minutes left in the payoff period.    JVee Casio put the Aces within five, 77-82, off banked shot floater with 5:25 left in the game.   Maliksi had 23 markers off 7-of-11 field goal shooting including four triples while Chris Newsome had 17 points for Meralco.    Trailing by 22 in the first half, the Aces poured a 25-12 blast to breathe down the necks of the Bolts, 58-61, capped by a Simon Enciso trey with 3:21 left in the third canto.   Meralco bolted to a 13-0 start as the Bolts capitalized on Alaska’s four-minute dry spell to create a comfortable cushion. Durham pushed Meralco’s lead to 22 points, 49-27, with 2:57 left before heading to halftime ahead, 49-33. Casio led Alaska with 20 points,  Enciso had 11 while Frank House  was quiet with only 11 points in 5-of-11 field goal shooting and nine rebounds.     Box scores:  Meralco (94) --- Durham 28, Maliksi 23, Newsome 17, Almazan 8, Amer 6, Faundo 4, Caram 4, Quinto 2, Hodge 2, Pinto 0.  Alaska (84) --- Casio 20, Enciso 16, House 11, Manuel 9, Tratter 7, Herndon 5, Ayaay 5, Thoss 4, Ahanmisi 4, Racal 3, Galliguez 0, Brondial 0. Quarterfinals: 29-12, 49-34, 73-63, 94-84.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 24th, 2019

PBA: Hopefully nothing serious naman – Almazan on injury

Raymond Almazan hopes that there's nothing serious after hurting his left leg in the fourth quarter of the Meralco’s semifinals-clinching win over Alaska on Sunday in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals at the Big Dome. The big man went down in pain following a dunk in the Bolts’ 94-84 victory. “I'm always worried when it's affecting the calf. That's a very delicate part of your leg, a lot of tissue involved, so it's easy to pull muscles there,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “We just have to check and find out what his problem is, and hopefully, it's not that serious.” Almazan is scheduled for a medical check on Monday. “Hopefully nothing serious naman. Papa-checkup ako tomorrow,” he said. Almazan scored on a jam to put Meralco up, 84-77, with 4:59 left. He felt his calf muscle tighten as he landed.    “Kasi may previous injury ako na calf eh, so alam ko na 'yung pakiramdam,” he said. “Parang papunta siya dun kanina, kaya hind ko siya nilakad. Dun na tayo sa safety tayo. Sa Monday sana maganda 'yung result.” Almazan was helped out of the court but seemed fine after the game, walking without help. He had eight points. “Di naman ganun kasakit. Talagang takot lang ako talaga ma-injury ng calf kasi tagal iyan eh, tapos semis kami,” said Almazan. “Tagal ko nang 'di nakapag-semis eh. Alam kong kailangan ako ng team kaya nila ako kinuha. We have three days off so sana maka-recover.” Meralco will take on the winner between TNT and Magnolia in the best-of-five semis next month as the league takes on a break in deference to the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 24th, 2019

PBA: Caram’s career game earns him Player of the Week

Anjo Caram’s career game in the PBA couldn’t have come at a better time for Meralco. The wily guard came through with a career-high 30 points in the Bolts’ 103-89 win over NorthPort Batang Pier that solidified their bid to finish as the no. 1 seeded team heading to the playoffs of the Governors Cup. Coach Norman Black described Caram’s performance as ‘awesome’ after going 11-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range. He scored 16 points in the fourth quarter alone to match his previous career-best of 16. “He really gave us a big lift and pretty much guided us to the victory,” said Black of his prized-guard out of San Beda. “So I gave him a lot of credit for leading the team. He knew going to the game that Baser (Amer) was not 100 percent and Anjo came and really stepped up and made big shots for us.” Not to be denied, Caram emerged as the PBA Press Corps-Cignal Player of the Week for the period (Nov. 4-10). The 28-year-old pride of Iloilo City did the feat by becoming the shortest PBA player at 5-foot-6 to score 30 points in a game as per league chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III. Caram’s offensive explosion helped the Bolts keep their winning streak at five and improved at 8-2 overall for a tie with NLEX on top of the standings with a week to go before the end of the eliminations. The Meralco guard won the weekly citation over NLEX’s Jericho Cruz, who also received a vote for scoring the game-winning basket as the Road Warriors rallied from 26-points down to nip defending champion Magnolia, 86-85. Other players considered for the honor were Caram’s Meralco teammates Raymond Almazan and Chris Newsome, Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra, Rain or Shine’s Javee Mocon, JR Quinahan of NLEX, the San Miguel Beer duo of June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos, along with Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang and Paul Lee......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 14th, 2019

PBA: Healthy Almazan a big blessing for Meralco

Raymond Almazan solves a lot of Meralco’s problems and with him finally healthy in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup, the Bolts are getting major return of investment from their big mid-season acquisition. In the win against Columbian Friday, Almazan was a beast with 18 points anda career-high 24 rebounds. Meralco is 7-2 for the conference with an inside track for a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals. “He’s been a blessing, there’s no doubt about that,” head coach Norman Black said of Almazan. “We got him in the second conference and we received him with an injury already. Took him a little while to recover from that injury. Now he's healthy and he knows the system already, and he's quite comfortable with his teammates. He's been doing a great job for us manning the paint,” he added. Almazan’s impact has been highlighted alongside import Allen Durham. Meralco has been a contender in the PBA everytime Durham is in town. And with Almazan, the Bolts have opened things up more for their two-time Best Import to dominate. “He [Almazan] makes a big difference as far as Allen Durham’s game in concerned,” Coach Norman said. “He [Raymond] takes a lot of pressure inside the paint,” Black added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 9th, 2019

PBA: Almazan plays clutch as Meralco downs Magnolia

Raymond Almazan delivered at crunch time to tow Meralco to a 98-92 win over reigning champion Magnolia on Saturday in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome. The Bolts forward played the hero’s role in the last two and a half minutes of the ballgame, sinking the go-ahead triple and pouring 12 of his 19 points in the fourth period. Almazan broke a 92-92 deadlock with a trey with 2:27 remaining and added a split from the foul line to spark Meralco’s closing 6-0 run.  “It's a good start to the conference for us. It's a very, very satisfying win because we know we're going up against the defending champions,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “We also knew they're a very good defensive team and we had to play good defense to be able to beat them.” Chris Newsome finished with a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds while import Allen Durham flirted with a triple-double with 21 markers, 14 boards and eight assists for Meralco. Almazan had 19 points, 13 rebounds and a crucial block on Mark Barroca’s layup in the last 17 seconds to crush the Hotshots’ desperate attempt to salvage the game. Meralco stated off slow and trailed, 33-49, in the second quarter before coming back in the second half. Ian Sangalang gave Magnolia its last taste of the lead 92-86, off a jumper with 4:40 left before Meralco answered with a 12-point swing. “I thought our defense really kicked in in the fourth quarter,” said Black. “We were able to slow them down and stop them on a lot of plays that made a lot of difference in the game.” Romeo Travis had 22 markers and nine rebounds while Paul Lee had 20 for the Hotshots. Barroca finished with 18 and Peter June Simon got 12 for Magnolia.   The scores:  Meralco (98) -- Newsome 22, Durham 11; Almazan 19, Pinto 9, Faundo 8, Amer 7, Salva 4, Quinto 3, Hugnatan 3, Caram 2. Magnolia (92) -- Travis 22, Lee 20, Barroca 18, Simon 12, Sangalang 11, Pingris 4, Melton 3, Jalalon 2, Reavis 0, Dela Rosa 0. Quarters: 27-30, 48-57, 73-75, 98-92.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2019

PBA: “Nakakainip” says Almazan as he waits for Meralco debut

Raymond Almazan’s on-court debut for Meralco is coming very soon. The Bolts acquired the star big man during the conference break in a trade with Rain or Shine, giving up two first round picks in the process. However, with Almazan bothered by ankle injuries that limited him in the All-Filipino, Meralco is letting him fully recover before making him suit up in an actual game. That and the Bolts just want to incorporate Almazan better in their system. “There’s no set time for him to come back yet. He had a realy strenuous workout two days ago, and I think he proved to the doctor that he could play already,” Meralco head coach Norman Black said. “So now it’s just a matter of getting him in shape and getting him used to our system. So it maybe another two games at least before he comes back. But he’ll be back soon,” he added. For Almazan, he’s just doing his due diligence and getting into game shape. He’s also working on being the anchor of the defense for Meralco once he actually plays. “Nakakainip. Nagpapa-kundisyon na ako for almost two weeks so sana next week, makasabay na ako sa kanila ng five-on-five,” Almazan said. “Defense-first ako bago shoot. I started with defense bago pa ako makarating sa liga, so sana madala ko yung intensity sa defense and then makatulong ako sa team, rebounding, blocking, at helping sa weak side,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

PBA Best Imports: Allen Durham, Hulking Thoroughbred

Local players are not the only ones that have become stars over the years in the Philippine Basketball Association. Foreign players reinforcing teams, or those they call imports, can be just as beloved. An import playing in the PBA is expected to deliver big numbers; however, production is not the only criteria that makes one successful in basketball on this side of the world. Winning, charisma, and actual love for the PBA and its fans also heavily go into it. The Best Imports will be recognized in name, but the truly great ones that have made their mark here are more than just one-hit wonders. In this series, we take a look at some of the reinforcements who have truly made a home in the PBA. Let’s continue with the electrifying Best Import, Allen Durham.   Thoroughbred Allen Durham’s PBA career actually started in 2014 with Barako Bull, but he found his true home with the Meralco Bolts. Upon returning to the league for the 2016 Governors’ Cup, Meralco head coach Norman Black described the hulking Durham as a thoroughbred. He was right. Norman Black is not just one of the best coaches in the PBA, he’s also one of the best imports in league history. He knows a great import when he sees one so of course he was right about AD. In Durham’s first full conference in the PBA, he led the Bolts to their first-ever Finals appearance. Meralco took down an upstart Mahindra team and the 10-1 TNT KaTropa on its way to the championship round. If not for a certain shot by another Best Import to be featured in this series, the Bolts would most likely have a championship already. In Durham’s first full conference in the PBA, he averaged a strong 29.4 points, 15.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.1 blocks when he won his first Best Import trophy.   Best Import x3 It’s quite unfortunate for an import like Durham to not have a championship after multiple stints in the PBA. He just keeps running into Justin Brownlee’s Barangay Ginebra. In four seasons with Meralco, Durham had the Bolts to three Governors’ Cup Finals, each time losing to Brownlee and the Gin Kings. The only time Meralco didn’t reach the Finals with Durham, the Bolts survived six straight knockout games to set up a semifinals series against Best Import Mike Harris and the Alaska Aces.  Save for the Finals defeats at the hands of Ginebra, Meralco’s winning culture is mostly thanks to Durham. The Bolts repeatedly falter in the All-Filipino, but they’re a top-4 team whenever Durham suits up. AD also consistently puts up monster numbers, that and the impact to Meralco’s wins make him an obvious choice for Best Import each and every season. Durham has won the award three times in the Governors’ Cup for the years 2016, 2017, and 2019. Durham is second in the all-time list and only Bobby Parks Sr. has more Best Import wins than him at seven. After his first Best Import win in the Governors’ Cup in 2016, Durham came back stronger in 2017, leading Meralco to the no. 1 seed and to Game 7 of the Finals in front of a record crowd at the Philippine Arena. In between, AD averaged an incredible 25.4 points, 20.06 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.3 blocks to win a second Best Import plum. Durham is also the most recent winner of the Best Import award in the PBA, averaging 29.8 points, 15.4 rebounds, and 6.7 assists in the 2019 Governors’ Cup. Just like in previous years, AD beat Brownlee for Best Import but it was the Gin Kings that took the title. Durham is still pretty dead set on winning a PBA title, whether he returns to Meralco or any other team in the future remains to be seen. Regardless, Allen Durham is a true PBA Best Import, his name already sealed in history. Best Import, Allen Durham: - Five PBA conferences for Barako Bull and Meralco - 3-time Best Import - Second all-time for most Best Import wins behind Bobby Parks Sr.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2020

TNT, Bolts, Gilas, and 'block' on LeBron: Ranidel De Ocampo s PBA career in retrospect

Ranidel De Ocampo is retiring from basketball. Maraming salamat Panginoon! ???????? pic.twitter.com/LUeVDMAWVG — Ranidel De Ocampo (@jutaca33) April 13, 2020 Appearing on the 2OT podcast of PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan Monday, RDO made the surprise announcement about his career. "Marupok na eh, wala na. Dun na rin ako papunta eh, retire na," De Ocampo said. "Nagpapa-salamat ako kay Lord na binigyan Niya ako ng magandang career. Siguro time na para matapos na yung pagiging player," he added. Struggling with injuries, RDO only appeared in 19 games last season for the Meralco Bolts. He averaged 7.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. De Ocampo will retire as a six-time PBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, one-time BPC, and winner of two silver medals with Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA-Asia Championships. To celebrate of one of the very best power forwards in PBA history, here are some key moments in RDO's almost two-decade career. 2004 PBA Draft RDO was drafted 4th in the 2004 Draft, joining his older brother Yancy in the old FedEx Express. 2008 Fiesta Conference RDO joined a loaded Express team that was the no. 1 seed and saw action in the 2008 Fiesta Conference Finals. Unfortunately, RDO would lose his first Finals as Air21 failed to get the job done against Ginebra in Game 7. 2009 Philippine Cup Midway through the 2009 All-Filipino, TNT landed RDO in a trade. Talk 'N Text would be Ranidel's home for the bulk of his PBA career, and on his first conference as a Tropang Texter, he also won his first of six PBA titles after a 4-3 win over Alaska in the Finals. Gilas Pilipinas RDO made the lineup of the first three iterations of Gilas Pilipinas and played in the FIBA-Asia Championships. De Ocampo won two silver medals with the national team in 2013 and 2015. RDO also went to the FIBA World Cup in between in 2014. 2015 Commissioner's Cup RDO would win his final championship with TNT in the 2015 Commissioner's Cup. Facing Rain or Shine, De Ocampo took over in the second overtime of Game 7, leading the Tropang Texters to victory. Averaging over 24 points in the series, RDO won Finals MVP for the second and final time of his career.   Trade to Meralco In 2017, RDO was dealt to Meralco in a three-team trade. While he provided immediate help for the Bolts, even helping the team make a second straight trip to the Governors' Cup Finals, a strained calf sustained against Ginebra in the title series would prove to be the start of his battle with injuries that would ultimately force him to retire three years later.   "Blocking" LeBron James Also in 2017, RDO tried to block LeBron James from dunking when the King visited Manila and played an exhibition game at the MOA Arena. "Sa tingin ko, naging popular si LeBron dahil sa’kin," he said. Have a Ranidelightful retirement, RDO. [Related: RDO on failed block on LBJ: Naging popular si LeBron dahil sakin]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2020

TNT, Bolts, Gilas, and 'block' on LeBron: RDO s PBA career in retrospect

Ranidel De Ocampo is retiring from basketball. Appearing on the 2OT podcast of PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan Monday, RDO made the surprise announcement about his career. "Marupok na eh, wala na. Dun na rin ako papunta eh, retire na," De Ocampo said. "Nagpapa-salamat ako kay Lord na binigyan Niya ako ng magandang career. Siguro time na para matapos na yung pagiging player," he added. Struggling with injuries, RDO only appeared in 19 games last season for the Meralco Bolts. He averaged 7.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. De Ocampo will retire as a six-time PBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, one-time BPC, and winner of two silver medals with Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA-Asia Championships. To celebrate of one of the very best power forwards in PBA history, here are some key moments in RDO's almost two-decade career. 2004 PBA Draft RDO was drafted 4th in the 2004 Draft, joining his older brother Yancy in the old FedEx Express. 2008 Fiesta Conference RDO joined a loaded Express team that was the no. 1 seed and saw action in the 2008 Fiesta Conference Finals. Unfortunately, RDO would lose his first Finals as Air21 failed to get the job done against Ginebra in Game 7. 2009 Philippine Cup Midway through the 2009 All-Filipino, TNT landed RDO in a trade. Talk 'N Text would be Ranidel's home for the bulk of his PBA career, and on his first conference as a Tropang Texter, he also won his first of six PBA titles after a 4-3 win over Alaska in the Finals. Gilas Pilipinas RDO made the lineup of the first three iterations of Gilas Pilipinas and played in the FIBA-Asia Championships. De Ocampo won two silver medals with the national team in 2013 and 2015. RDO also went to the FIBA World Cup in between in 2014. 2015 Commissioner's Cup RDO would win his final championship with TNT in the 2015 Commissioner's Cup. Facing Rain or Shine, De Ocampo took over in the second overtime of Game 7, leading the Tropang Texters to victory. Averaging over 24 points in the series, RDO won Finals MVP for the second and final time of his career.   Trade to Meralco In 2017, RDO was dealt to Meralco in a three-team trade. While he provided immediate help for the Bolts, even helping the team make a second straight trip to the Governors' Cup Finals, a strained calf sustained against Ginebra in the title series would prove to be the start of his battle with injuries that would ultimately force him to retire three years later.   "Blocking" LeBron James Also in 2017, RDO tried to block LeBron James from dunking when the King visited Manila and played an exhibition game at the MOA Arena. "Sa tingin ko, naging popular si LeBron dahil sa’kin," he said. Have a Ranidelightful retirement, RDO. [Related: RDO on failed block on LBJ: Naging popular si LeBron dahil sakin]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 13th, 2020

As of late, winning NCAA Jrs. MVP has not necessarily led to success

The last five NCAA Jrs. MVPs have been trudging through rocky roads. All of Joel Cagulangan, Will Gozum, Troy Mallillin, Mike Enriquez, and Darius Estrella have not necessarily translated their successful stints in high school to college. We're not counting most recent winner John Barba, of course, who is nothing but hopeful to build on his historic season for Lyceum of the Philippines University on the school's Srs. squad. The five NCAA Jrs. MVPs before him, however, have, put simply, struggled in the collegiate ranks. The most unfortunate of which is Enriquez who, at present, is no longer playing competitive basketball. This, after he was gifted the best individual player plum in 2015 as La Salle Green Hills' Ricci Rivero, that year's undisputed top talent, was disqualified for any individual awards. After that MVP year, however, Enriquez injured his knee, played his last season in high school, and recovered just in time to commit to University of Sto. Tomas. He would not play any single game for the Growling Tigers, however, as academic issues delayed his move up to college and now, not much has been seen or heard from him. Enriquez's former teammate hasn't had the best of collegiate careers, either. Gozum, another Red Robin, was the best individual player in 2017 and looked like the ideal modern big man. After committing to the University of the Philippines, however, he could not break into the rotation and rode the bench before deciding to transfer to College of St. Benilde. After his residency year, he may very well be the big man the Blazers desperately need. Another NCAA Jrs. MVP who has decided to transfer is ex-Greenie Cagulangan (2018) who is moving from De La Salle University to UP. Cagulangan had long been primed and prepared to be the Green Archers' next great point guard, but after high school, struggled with a knee injury and then struggled to earn minutes under rookie head coach Jermaine Byrd. Now, he is hoping to prove himself by steadying the Fighting Maroons' backcourt after his residency year. The league's best individual player in 2016, Mallillin also of LSGH, has actually won two championships with Ateneo de Manila University, but has also had a tough time seeing the floor in head coach Tab Baldwin's deep lineup. He was also forced to sit out one year due to academic issues. For his part, 2014 MVP Estrella has been solid after getting promoted from Light Bomber to Heavy Bomber in Jose Rizal University - but that is only when he is on the court as half of his collegiate career has been spent recovering from two ACL injuries on the same knee. It could even be argued that former Greenie Prince Rivero hasn't exactly reached the heights he did back in 2013 as he had an up-and-down four years in La Salle before getting drafted by Rain or Shine. The good news for the NCAA Jrs.'s best individual players, however, is they still have time to turn things around. They only need to look to the decade's first three MVPs to know they could make something happen of themselves. In Baser Amer in 2010, Rey Nambatac and 2011, and Bong Quinto and 2012, the NCAA Jrs. produced three current contributors in the PBA. Nambatac has emerged as a lead guard for Rain or Shine while Quinto has proven himself to head coach Norman Black and Meralco. Amer is still the most successful among the last decade's NCAA Jrs. MVPs as he has carved quite the career for himself as a Bolt while also getting to wear the flag more than a few times. He also remains the most successful former Red Cub as he is the one and only representative of the red and white in the list of best individual players in the last 10 years. That list is led by LSGH which counts three in Rivero, Mallillin, and Cagulangan followed by Letran and Mapua which have two apiece in Nambatac and Quinto and then Enriquez and Gozum, respectively. Each with one MVP are JRU and LPU. Here is the full list of NCAA Jrs. MVP in the last decade: 2010 - Baser Amer, G, San Beda 2011 - Rey Nambatac, G, Letran 2012 - Bong Quinto, F, Letran 2013 - Prince Rivero, F, LSGH 2014 - Darius Estrella, G/F, JRU 2015 - Mike Enriquez, G, Mapua 2016 - Troy Mallillin, F, LSGH 2017 - Will Gozum, C/F, Mapua 2018 - Joel Cagulangan, G, LSGH 2019 - John Barba, F/G, LPU --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 13th, 2020

Forgotten Finals: Captain Hook s Talk N Text title

Out of the 12 active teams in the PBA today, only half of them have won a championship. While all title wins are special, they’re definitely not created equal. Some just stand out more than others. In this short series, we’ll take a look back at the Forgotten Finals won by the six active PBA teams with rings. The TNT KaTropa go online today.   2009 Philippine Cup (4-3 win vs. Alaska) [Related: Forgotten Finals: That one time Ping won a title with San Miguel Beer] Talk ‘N Text and Alaska sure had a great rivalry during the mid-200s. Just two conferences after figuring in a great seven-game Finals in the 2007 Fiesta Conference, the Tropang Texters and the Aces were back at it again, this time contesting the 2009 Philippine Cup title. The Aces still had their core from two years ago led by two-time MVP Willie Miller, while Talk ‘N Text was still Mark Cardona’s team. However, the Tropang Texters had more than enough backup this time, with Jimmy Alapag, Ranidel De Ocampo, Ali Peek, and rookie Jared Dillinger and Jayson Castro joining Captain Hook. Talk ‘N Text also had a new coach in Chot Reyes, who put his first touches of an eventual juggernaut with this 2009 team. [Related: Forgotten Finals: Alaska's storybook championship] Despite Talk ‘N Text reloading, the Tropang Texters were down 0-2 to start the Finals against the top-ranked Aces. LA Tenorio torched TNT for 27 points in Game 1 while Joe Devance, last season’s no. 1 pick acquired by Alaska for rookie Sol Mercado punished the Tropang Texters with 24 points and nine rebounds in a Game 2 victory. Mark Cardona would pick up the scoring pace starting with Game 3, his 23 points leading the Tropang Texters in the most-lopsided game of the series to cut their deficit in half. Talk ‘N Text would score a close win in Game 4 to tie things up. Much like their Finals series two seasons ago, Game 5 would be pivotal for both Talk ‘N Text and Alaska. Much like Game 5 two seasons ago, Willie Miller would play hero. Miller, the BPC winner of the 2009 Philippine Cup, drilled a booming triple to put Alaska up, 95-93. The Aces would hold on for the win as Ren-Ren Ritualo and Harvey Carey both missed their respective game-winning and game-tying shots in the end. Cardona responded with another 23-point performance in Game 6 for the Tropang Texters to save the series. In Game 7, Captain Hook put up another 23 big ones as Talk ‘N Text survived an Alaska rally in a well-played finale at the Big Dome. The Tropang Texters winning the 2009 Philippine Cup is the team’s first championship since the 2003 All-Filipino, which was the franchise’s first-ever PBA title. The team lost three Finals in between. Mark Cardona was the Finals MVP here, and it would be the peak of his career as a Tropang Texter. Cardona was shipped off to Meralco after a 15-3 TNT team failed to advance in the Finals in the next season’s Fiesta Conference. After moving on from Cardona, Chot Reyes handed the reigns to Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro full-time, and the once-again reloaded Tropang Texters would win three straight Philippine Cups from 2011-2013 to become the PBA’s first Perpetual Champions. Mark Cardona has had an unfortunate downward spiral since, especially in the last couple of years. But Talk ‘N Text’s Forgotten Finals can be remembered as the good ol’ days for the mighty Captain Hook.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 9th, 2020

Whatever happened to Gilas Pilipinas 2.0?

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 9th, 2020

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

Almazan to return stronger after injury derailed PBA title bid

MANILA, Philippines – Raymond Almazan vowed to come back stronger after being reduced to a spectator when Meralco fell short of the PBA Governors' Cup crown anew to Barangay Ginebra.  The Bolts' lanky big man was forced to sit out Game 5 of the best-of-seven finals affair due to ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 19th, 2020