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Philippine coaches divided on NBA Finals picks

Philippine coaches are split like East and West in casting their picks for the heavy favorites Los Angeles Lakers and the tough underdog Miami Heat in the looming classic NBA Finals starting Thursday......»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarOct 1st, 2020

Rebirth of Nash Racela

Nash Racela has steered Blackwater to an early success inside the bubble. (PBA Images) ANGELES CITY–Blackwater’s new coach Nash Racela seemed like he hasn’t skipped a beat despite missing the PBA sidelines for a long time.  Racela steered the Elite to a 2-1 record in the Philippine Cup at the expense of the winless NLEX, 98-88, on Saturday at the Smart 5G-powered Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center. But the 48-year-old mentor bared that it wasn’t easy for him to return to the league after losing his post in TNT KaTropa two years ago.  “When I got kicked out of Talk N’ Text (TNT), in a way I lost interest in the PBA. I wasn’t watching the game for at least a year,” said Racela. The former Far Eastern University tactician led TNT to a finals and five playoffs appearances in two years. But the KaTropa’s underwhelming performance early in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup prompted the management to put him on leave and eventually replace him with current head coach Bong Ravena. Racela found his way back to the PBA after he signed a two-year deal with Blackwater in November last year. He could only thank his current Elite squad for helping him readjust to the league.  “What really helped me was number one, ‘yung coaches and players that we have. They’ve been helping me a lot by giving inputs,” said Racela, whose familiarity with PBA also encouraged him to take another shot at coaching in the pros.  “Number two is really the familiarity. Most of the players I know, the team tendencies and the coaches are the same,” he said.   “Those are the things that really helped me to slowly be comfortable with coaching again in the PBA.” .....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 17th, 2020

Current Gilas model 'not sustainable' says Coach Yeng

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 24th, 2020

Air21 s first trophy is Coach Bo Perasol s favorite in the PBA

In his years in the PBA, Bo Perasol has coached some pretty memorable teams. Coach Bo was at the helm when Air21 made its PBA Finals appearance in 2008, taking Ginebra all the way to Game 7 before ultimately dropping the Fiesta Conference title. In 2012, Perasol and the Powerade put together a run for the ages as the no. 8 Tigers upset top-ranked B-Meg in the playoffs. Unfortunately, Powerade couldn't get past defending champion Talk 'N Text in the Philippine Cup Finals, losing the series in five. While both Finals series were certainly memorable despite unfavorable results, they're not Coach Bo's favorite PBA moment. "I think for me the most meaningful one was yung third place finish of Air21," Perasol said on Coaches Unfiltered, referring to the Express' perfomance in the 2006 Fiesta Conference. "That was our best finish since FedEx/Air21 joined the league. We beat Ginebra dati noon may battle for third pa eh," he added. The 2006 PBA season marked Perasol's first coaching stint in the PBA. In the Fiesta Conference, the Express were fifth entering the playoffs with a 9-7 record and took down San Miguel Beer and Talk 'N Text in the Wild Card and Quarterfinals respectively, both series going the distance. Air21 lost to Purefoods in the semifinals but edged Ginebra, 108-98, to claim their first trophy ever. "That established my position as a coach, you have to remember na syempre professional na yan eh. You have to establish yourself as a coach who can get wins for the franchise also," Coach Bo said. "Sa PBA wala naman pakiusapan pag matatalo ka eh, matatanggal ka talaga. So that was one of my favorite moments in that stint," Perasol added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 18th, 2020

PBA: Chot says it would have been 'cool' to coach Ginebra

Coach Chot Reyes' greatest PBA success was with Talk 'N Text, the flagship MVP franchise. But over the course of his career in the PBA, which spanned two decades, Coach Chot also did his rounds with the SMC teams. He started his career with Purefoods, winning an All-Filipino title in his first conference in 1993. Reyes also had one random stop with San Miguel Beer, coaching the Beermen all the way to the 2007 Philippine Cup Finals. Now long-retired from professional basketball, Coach Chot wishes he could have had the chance to handle Barangay Ginebra, the only SMC team he missed. "I always thought it would be cool to coach Ginebra," Reyes said on Coaches Unfiltered. "Having that NSD [Never Say Die] behind you every night behind you, we always talk about that with coach Tim [Cone]. Sabi ko swerte mo. And he's [Cone] enjoying, he's really having the time of his life. I've always been intrigued by the chance to coach Ginebra," he added. While being the Gin Kings coach would have been nice, Reyes mentions another team in his list of what ifs. Reyes was the Ateneo coach back in the early 1990s, and he regrets not being able to lead the Blue Eagles to a UAAP championship. "The one thing I rue is not being able to give a championship for the Ateneo in the college level," Coach Chot said. "I coached Ateneo to a juniors championship, and I coached Ateneo for three years in the UAAP seniors, 1990-92, but those were the down years. We had to raise our own money to even buy our stuff and equipment. That's like sayang, if I had that opportunity when I was coaching Ateneo but I don't that's going to happen anymore now and I'm at peace with that," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2020

PBA: Blackwater making 'slow growth' before pandemic, news of sale

Blackwater is all over the news these days for all the wrong reasons. Aside from the fines and potential other penalties the team faces, the bigger issue is the sale of the franchise. Team owner Dioceldo Sy has put the Blackwater Elite for sale with an asking price of P150 million, that's out there already. [Related: PBA: Blackwater franchise for sale at P150 million] However, unless a buyer quickly picks the team up, the Elite will play in the PBA, perhaps as early as in a couple of months as the league attempts to finish the 2020 Philippine Cup amid the COVID-19 pandemic. So what's up with Blackwater's actual team? "We always believe in the saying na 'slow progress is still progress.' Okay lang samin as long as we improve, yun ang mindset before the pandemic," head coach Nash Racela said about the team on Coaches Unfiltered. "We were happy with how we were developing as a team. If you've watched us during our first tuneup game, tambak kami medyo nakakahiya. But towards the end of February mas gumaganda na takbo namin. As long as we focus on those things, on slow growth, okay kami," he added. Coach Nash is taking over the Elite this year, after coach Aris Dimaunahan handled to team for most of 2019 on an interim basis. Blackwater now features a core of former FEU players like Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, and Carl Bryan Cruz. The transition should be easier for the team since all of them played for Racela in the UAAP. "In terms of system naman, I've been consistent ever since," coach Nash said. "I think with Blackwater, I'm fortunate to have a group of young players who could really run and put pressure on the defense. Yun yung gusto namin na maging consistent," he added. Aside from a number of former Tamaraws, the Elite also have the oldest rookie in the league in 6'9" Maurice Shaw, the no. 2 pick of the 2019 regular Draft. Blackwater has a role for its new big man, but all of the Elites hopes don't necessarily fall upon him. "With Maurice Shaw, initially nagse-set kami ng not-so-high goals for him, we want him to be the anchor of the defense," Racela said. "Based din sa games namin nagagawa naman niya. Slowly, he's been adjusting to the style of the PBA. In terms of scoring, as long as nandoon siya sa spot niya. We're very positive with Maurice Shaw," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2020

DID YOU KNOW? Marck Espejo almost played for La Salle

Marck Espejo’s arrival to Ateneo de Manila University brought miracles for the Blue Eagles. Former head coach Oliver Almadro even anointed Espejo as ‘God’s gift’ to the Ateneo men’s volleyball program, which for years struggled to keep up with other powerhouse teams in the UAAP. He brought the Blue Eagles to the Finals in his first year. Although the squad fell short against National University, Espejo’s performance made Ateneo an emerging power. With the prized Marikina recruit at the helm, Ateneo captured its breakthrough title in Season 77, which the Blue Eagles kept for two more years. Espejo’s name is synonymous to that of Ateneo's grand slam. But did you know that Espejo almost chose the color green of the Katipunan-based squad’s archrival De La Salle University? Yes, we all know that Almadro discovered a jewel in the then second-year high school Espejo when the mentor was still a part of the Bulldogs coaching staff. However, fate planned a different course for both Espejo and Almadro. Almadro parted ways with NU and Espejo went through a rough time in his last year in high school. Different universities approached the promising Espejo the following year since meeting Almadro during his third year Palarong Pambansa stint. But in his fourth year he suffered a left arm injury while playing in an inter-barangay basketball tournament, barring Espejo from joining his last Palarong Pambansa. His absence in the national meet pushed him out of the radar of scouts.     “Before Palaro ayun nga nabalian ako so wala pong coaches na nakakakilala po sa akin kundi si Coach O lang po talaga,” said Espejo in an interview on 2OT podcast last Saturday. Espejo was already looking to commit to another school that time.    “Balak ko po sana pumasok sa La Salle,” Espejo shared. But Almadro knew that to turn Ateneo into a contender he needed to get Espejo.   “Pero last minute parang pinahanap ako ni Coach O sa players niya, kay JP Pareja para mag-Ateneo ako,” said Espejo. He immediately grabbed the opportunity when he was offered to play for the Blue Eagles. “Siyempre ‘yung Ateneo po kasi dream school ko po talaga ‘yun so wala po talagang second thought, pumasok na po talaga ako,” said Espejo. “Saka ‘yung volleyball po ginamit ko po talaga para makapasok sa magandang university pero yun nga po, since nakapasok na po ako sa Ateneo parang inisip ko na lang po yung long-term na education po talaga.” Under Almadro’s guidance, Espejo turned into one of the most powerful and efficient hitters in the UAAP. He further evolved into an all-around player and the face of Philippine men's volleyball. Espejo led Ateneo to a three-peat while winning Rookie of the Year in Season 77 and bagging the Most Valuable Player award five times.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2020

When We Were Volleyball Queens (Part 2)

(This story was originally published back in March 24, 2015) Back in 1993 the Philippine national team defied the odds by toppling the region’s women’s volleyball giant Thailand. Rosemarie Prochina, part of the national team sent to the 17th Southeast Asian Games, continues with her story of the things that transpired during the last shining moment of our Filipina athletes in the sport.    Buy gold? No, we’ll win them   Prochina revealed that they had an extra motivation in the championship match against Thailand after an incident involving her teammate Bernadeth Burcelis. A Thai tried to get into their heads. A warning shot of psychological warfare, perhaps an attempt to bully the Filipinas out of their wits.      “Actually yung team manager nila kinantyawan kami nu’ng mag-shopping kami,” Prochina said. “Sinabihan niya si Burcelis, sabi niya “Oh you buy many, many golds now because tomorrow you will only get silver.” The Filipina didn’t talk back, she and the national team simply let their game do the talking.      “Yun ang sabi niya. So kami parang di naman din niya sinabi sa amin (kaagad), pero sa kanya (Burcelis) OK lang yun. Basta maglaro lang kami,” Prochina said. During the game, Prochina said that everybody was doing their part even those sitting on the bench. “Yun ang maganda sa team namin na kahit na kaming nasa bench, di ako first six kasi,” she admitted. “Kaming nasa bench kahit parang di kami makakalaro nandoon kami sa bench nagpi-pray, lahat todo support. Tapos kapag may timeout, magma-massage kami sa mga teammates namin.” Zenaida Ybanez also won the Best Spiker and Most Valuable Player award while Leonora Escolante was named Best Setter.  For Prochina their feat showed the never-say-die spirit of the Filipinas. “So yun very (inspiring) ang pagkapanalo dun kasi underdogs kami,” she said.    Coach Tai, the lover boy?  SEA Games is not just about athletes trying to outplay their opponents for a podium spot. The biennial meet is organized for the purpose of developing friendship and camaraderie among nations. And some tried to take this fellowship into another level. Prochina gave away a secret that involves a name that is very famous in the volleyball circle today. Ateneo de Manila coach Tai Bundit did capture the hearts of local fans with his charm and heart strong mantra proven by the Lady Eagles’ back-to-back UAAP crown but 22 years ago the Thai had an early encounter with the Filipinos – and we are not talking about how he and his team demolished the PHI men’s squad. It was about something romantic. “Yung coach nila (Ateneo) magkasabayan kami sa national team,” said Prochina, who’s an Ateneo fan herself. “Yung coach nila na si Tai nagpang-abot kami.” The Thai women’s team looked at the Filipinas with fire in their eyes, but not Bundit as he glowed with sparks of stars and moonshine while focused on a Pinay whose name gives happiness to his heart.   Yes, before Bundit danced his signature ‘kitiki-Tai’ moves, he tried to tango.            “Kami yang (magkakasabayan) noong nanliligaw-ligaw pa yan sa teammate ko, si Joy Degoroztisa,” Prochina said in a chuckle. “Ewan ko kung nagkasagutan sila, huh!” she continued. “Naku baka (mapagalitan ako ni Joy) kasi nanligaw siya (Bundit) dun. Si Joy nasa Kuwait na siya ngayon.” Asked for more juicy details, Prochina said that her memory is a bit sketchy about the whirlwind romance.   “Actually, di ko masyado (nasubaybayan na yung nangyari) kasi nga yung laro di ba ilang weeks lang yun tapos hindi ko na alam kung anong nangyari,” Prochina added. And she really has no idea if Bundit got one through the block or totally got shut down. Bundit is now happily married while Degoroztisa is based in Kuwait.   “Masakit para sa amin”  After the team brought home the mint, the Pinays failed to win it all in the next SEAG editions paving way for Thailand’s domination in the region.  The Thais got their revenge on their turf in 1995 against the Filipinas in the finals. Again winning another gold after two years at the expense of PHI, who had bronze finishes in 2001, 2003 and in 2005 edition held in Manila.  Sadly, in the next four SEA Games no women’s team were fielded and the Pinays were overtaken by in terms of competitiveness by Vietnam and Indonesia.     “Masakit para sa amin kasi hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin na-break,” a regretful Prochina said. “Nag-20 years na hindi pa rin na-break yung record, nag-post ako sa FB sabi ko “Happy 20th year sa pagka-gold naming”, ganyan, pero napakasakit kasi wala pang pumalit,” she added. “Hindi ka-proud na kayo lang kasi siyempre parang anong nangyari sa programa ng volleyball sa Pilipinas?” A degradation of the sport she painfully watched. “Yung 1995 malakas pa rin yun kahit nawala na yung iba,” she said. “Maraming mga matatangkad gaya nina Cherry Rivera Macatangay, Roxanne Pimentel, si Joy Degoroztisa, Estrella Tan Enriquez na nag-convert na lang sa basketball kasi nawala na nga yung (volleyball program).”   New beginning  The dream of standing taller than Thailand may still be years away, but Prochina is happy that there is a rebirth of volleyball in the country. With the sport having an avenue outside of collegiate leagues with the Shakey’s V-League and Philippine Superliga and the interest of the nation to volleyball taking its roots again, the future looks bright. “Yung volleyball sa atin paangat na talaga saka sobrang happy kaming mga older players na nakikitang ganoon na ang progress ng volleyball sa Pilipinas,” she said. It’s a fact that we are not at par in skills and development wise with the Thais – a solid proof of it is having their players fielded as imports to raise the level of competition in our local leagues – but Prochina is glad that we are now taking small steps.      “Kasi lumayo na ang Thailand e, lumayo ng milya-milya and nawala tayo. Pero kaya yang (mahabol) wala namang imposible,” she said. “Pero mas malalaki nga tayo actually. Ang players natin may 6-foot-5, may mga ganoon. Yung mga players natin malalaki. “Sa atin lang siguro yung continuity ng training, at ng support.” Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. as part of their volleyball program has formed an Under-23 men’s and women’s team that will compete in the Asian age group championships on May. After skipping volleyball events in four SEAG editions, the PHI will field both men’s and women’s teams for the meet in Singapore on June.            Promise of tomorrow          Prochina believes that PHI volleyball has a bright future and a repeat of their feat two decades ago is not far away.  “Of course. Malalaki and mas may advantage ang mga bata ngayon kasi sila yung skills at techniques nila meron na. Yung sa katawan, sa bilis, sa talon, meron,” she said. “Kami noon dinevelop pa. Ako personally dinevelop ako, kung hindi dahil sa coaches ko na sina coach Kid Santos and coach Emil Lontoc, na naniwala sa akin na gagaling ako at aabot ako sa level na ganoon, hindi ako tutuloy,” Prochina added. “Hindi katulad ngayon sobrang andami nating players na malalakas.” She is also overwhelmed by the fan base this generation of players built. “Marami talaga ngayon. Pero noong 2005 na naglaro kami ng V-League (for PSC (Lady Legends) nakakatawa lang noon na mayroong mga nagdadala (ng mga gamit) na mayroong mga signature naming na mga lumang players. Sinasabi nila na “Ay fan kami sa inyo.” Kami naman “Ay talaga, mayroon pala kaming mga fans,”” she said. “Mas malaki na (ang fanbase) kasi sa social media, alam na ng lahat ng tao ang nangyayari sa volleyball.”    Comparison Prochina picked Ateneo when asked if what team in her opinion mirrors the character of the 1993 team. “Kasi sila nag-start sila from scratch e. Tapos yung mga bata alam mong obedient sila sa nakikita mo sa laro. Hindi ko naman sinasabi na hindi obedient yun ibang teams ha,” she justified. “Pero kasi yung Ateneo galing talaga sila sa baba.” She also cited that long before Ateneo practiced meditation before and during games, they were already doing it as part of their routine. “Yes matagal na. Kasi nung nakita ko sila (Ateneo in meditation) sabi ko “Ah Ok. Kasi nag-coach din ako ng mga five years ago (in University of Asia and the Pacific) yun din ang itinuturo ko sa mga players na malaking bagay yung meditation,” she said. “Kasi sa SMAP (Sports Medicine Association of the Philippines) dati sa PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) sila ang nag-handle sa amin na nilagay kami sa isang room (for meditation),” Prochina added. “Tinantanong pa nga namin ang isa’t isa kung nakakatulong. Nakakatulong talaga siya tapos tinuruan nila kami na bago matulog, ayun, dapat may relaxation technique kami. Na dapat relaxed, alisin ang tension sa katawan tapos isipin mo na kinabukasan madali lang yung game. Yun talaga, malaking bagay siya." Just like Ateneo, they enjoyed every game. They are the original happy team. “Oo. Kasi yang si coach Emil Lontoc ang sinasabi niyan kapag maglalaro na kami “tiwala sa sarili at mag-enjoy sa game.” Yun yung sinasabi nila kapag magi-game kami. Kasi kung hindi ka naman magi-enjoy the game wala na, ano yun? E volleyball ito,” she said. And she agrees that Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez is the new face of volleyball in the country – the phenom that was yet to be born a few days after they bagged the SEAG gold.  “Of course, siya talaga. Kahit asawa ko idol siya. Humble yung bata, bilib ako sa bata,” Prochina explained. “Nakikita ko yung eagerness niya. ‘Yung kapag umatras siya na papatay siya ng bola, makikita mo talaga yung killer’s instinct niya. Kapag naglaro na 100% talaga siya.” For Prochina, Valdez is Barina-Rojas of her time -- a sign of hope.    --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles          .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2020

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

When We Were Volleyball Queens (Part 1)

(This story was originally published on March 23, 2015) "Pinays down Thais, bag Southeast Asian Games gold medal." This headline or anything close to it made the sports section of newspapers as one of our contingent’s shining moment in the 1993 biennial regional meet held in Singapore from June 12 to 20. Though given smaller treatment than the meteoric romp of the then Asian sprint queen Lydia De Vega in the century and 200 meter dash events, it gave pride to local volleyball.  Days before the birth of this generation’s most popular volleyball player, our national women’s team stood tall and proud as they wore their gold medals around their necks. Stepping on a platform higher than the region’s powerhouse team. It has been 22 long years since, and three months before the 28th SEA Games starts its fourth staging in the tiny island in the southern tip of the Malayan peninsula on June 5, Rosemarie Prochina recalled the campaign that brought Philippine volleyball to its highest peak. Talking with the Mane ‘N Tail coach during the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference launch, ABS-CBN Sports was taken back in time when the likes of Thelma Barina-Rojas, Zenaida Ybanez, Arlene Apostol and Leonora Escolante were the darlings of volleyball much like what Alyssa Valdez, Ara Galang, and the Santiago sisters, Dindin and Jaja, Denden Lazaro of today.    She said that their road to the SEA Games gold started when she and five other tall players from Cebu were brought to Manila for the national pool of the Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association headed by Victorico Chavez and Secretary-General Ramon “Tats” Suzara. “Ano kasi yun e, 1991 kinuha kami from Cebu. Mga tall players, tall na kami dati, may 6-foot-2, may 5-foot-10,” said the 5-foot-10 Prochina, who was recruited as a middle blocker from Southwestern University. “Pagdating namin sa Maynila parang ano, total makeover kasi galing kaming probinsiya ganyan,” she added. “Anim kaming dumating sa Maynila.” “Pagdating namin ang program nina Sir Tats hindi kami magtsa-champion agad kasi magte-train pa kami tapos may mga (nauna) sa amin sa Maynila na mga seniors na. May kasama kaming taga-FEU, at UST kasi sila yung mga darling dati,” said Prochina.     Sharpening the saw  Once under the program of PAVA, Prochina said they went through rigorous training under the tutelage of Stanislav Lyugaylo, who was part of the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republic national team that won gold in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and was tapped to handle the team in 1993.  “That time training kami ng training. Nagkaroon kami ng Russian coach tapos nu’ng SEA Games ng 1991 nag-bronze medal kami,” she further explained. “Yun lang ang aim nu’n dati ganoon lang muna kasi bago lang kami e. So yun itinulu’y-tuloy lang yung programa.” The national team was given the much needed support and were even sent overseas for international exposure.  “Marami kaming pinuntahan para mag-training. Nag-Japan kami. Noong 1992 yun maraming competitions abroad, yun tulu’y-tuloy kahit maraming nag-tryout-tryouts na ganyan still yung team dinadagdagan lang,” Prochina continued. “Noong 1993 yun na yun may Russian coach kami tapos nag-training kami for one month sa Japan.” Prochina said that their Japan stint was through the initiative of Chavez and Suzara. The Filipinas were pitted against the best squads from the land of the rising suns.  “Sila yung instrumental sa team namin na pinadala kami sa Japan for one month,” she said. “Umikot kami sa mga club teams sa Japan. One month yun, rigid training yun kaya pagdating namin ng Maynila mapuputi kami na payat, as in talagang (fit).”    Adversities at home and in Singapore Prochina recollected that the team had a share of doubters and haters.    “Sa laro namin sa Singapore, dito pa lang sa Manila may mga (nagi-expect) na baka mag-champion or baka ma-disappoint lang,” she said. Some believed that it’s improbable that a group of girls can topple the Thais, who that time were aiming for a three-peat.   “Kasi nga alam mo naman, siyempre may mga detractors din kami talaga,” according to Prochina. The team proceed with their mission armed with optimism that they are ready and more prepared than in 1991. “Pagdating namin dun (sa Singapore) ang (gusto) ko lang sa team namin ay sobra kaming mag-teamwork. Kasi kaming mga baguhan tapos half naman ng team mga seniors, sina Thelma Barina, ganyan,” she said. “Magaling silang magdala ng juniors. So kaming mga bago talagang sumusunod sa kanila.” But they had a rude awakening. “Pagdating sa laro doon, actually sa first na laban namin sa Thailand talo kami e. Under four sets yata or something basta ganoon, parang marami kaming naging (pagkukulang),” she recalled. Though suffering an opening game loss, the coaching staff were solid in their faith with the team. “Pero ang coaches namin very positive sila,” Prochina said. The team got up to their feet running over their next opponents to take a finals berth. “Pero after (ng talo), panalo na kami nu’n against Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam kasi hindi rin sila ganoon kalakas,” she added.   Shopping, seriously? Prochina said that though the team racked up victories, they still felt the sting of their loss against the Thais. They were even demoralized going to the championship with Thailand, who was then lording over the competition. “Bago kami mag-champion hindi kami ganoon kapursigido, yung nag-eensayo kami pero ensayo lang,” she said. Sensing his team’s low morale, Lyugaylo asked his wards something that nobody expected.   “The day before the championship sinabihan kami ng Russian coach namin na “O you go shopping”, Prochina continued. “Kami naman “Ah, shopping lang. Bakit ganito ‘to?” she said. The day of the finals, there were no pre-game preparations, the Russian mentor asked them to go in deep meditation and after that just dance. “So nung umaga ng championship, kasi hapon yung championship against Thailand, ang sabi niya, “You go into one room and then you dance. Be happy,”” Prochina recalled. “Pero before noon pala may mga meditation na rin kami. Malaking bagay yun,” she said. “Yun yung isang nakakatulong sa team naming talaga. Yung relaxation sa mind kasi nga fit na (ang katawan namin).” And dance they did. “That morning pinasayaw niya lang kami. So kami naman walang KJ (kill joy) sa team namin kahit may mga edad na yung iba,” Prochina further related. “Sayaw-sayaw kami.” After that as they say the rest is history. “Tapos nu’ng hapon nangyari na yung nag-champion kami,” the PSL rookie mentor said. “Four sets yun at ang Thailand nun malakas, as in sobrang lakas.”   (to be continued)  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2020

Top Draft: The Triggerman Allan Caidic and the UAAP s top dogs

The no. 1 pick in every sports draft is significant, the one chosen with the first pick is seen as a can’t-miss star. Sure, it never works out that way every time, but being a top draft pick is an honor anyway. When it comes to sports drafts, the origin of the no. 1 pick can be just as significant. What program wouldn’t be proud to be known as a constant producer of top prospects? In the history of the Philippine Basketball Association Draft, there are only three schools to produce more than one no. 1 pick. All of three schools came from the UAAP. For this limited series, we’ll take a look at each one and examine their top draft picks. [Related: Top Draft: UP Diliman's towering no. 1 pick might be the best in PBA history] In the final entry to this series, we take a look at the no. 1 picks from the rest of the UAAP schools. There are some heavy hitters here that’s for sure.   Top Dogs Allan Caidic (UE) – no. 1 pick, 1987 (Great Taste) Pre-PBA work pretty much guaranteed that Allan Caidic would be a surefire star in the pro ranks. The Triggerman was a UAAP champion with the UE Red Warriors and was already a national-team member before he was picked first by Great Taste in 1987, making him the fist no. 1 pick to come out of the collegiate league. While playing for his original team, Caidic set a PBA record by scoring 79 points on 17 triples in 1991. He would later also play for San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra, becoming a PBA Hall of Famer and member of the pioneer 25 Greatest Players in league history. Jack Tanuan (FEU) – no. 1 pick, 1988 (Purefoods) As the winningest team in UAAP history, it’s quite surprising that the FEU Tamaraws only have one no. 1 pick in PBA Draft history. The honor is for Jack Tanuan, who played for the Tams and won a bronze medal in the 1986 Seoul Asian Games before he was picked first in 1988 by Purefoods, then making their entry in the PBA. Tanuan mostly played back up behind Ramon Fernandez and Jerry Codinera in his first year and would later back up Jun Limpot at Sta. Lucia. He played for six PBA teams and was part of Alaska’s champion teams in 1997, his last in the league. Dennis Espino (UST) – no. 1 pick, 1995 (Sta. Lucia) One of the pillars of UST’s four-peat dynasty in the early to mid-1990s, Dennis Espino was an obvious choice to become Sta. Lucia’s no. 1 pick in 1995. Espino stayed with the Realtors for 15 years and was part of the franchise’s only two championships. As for individual awards, Espino won himself one Defensive Player of the Year and was Finals MVP when Sta. Lucia beat Purefoods for the 2008 Philippine Cup title. Espino was also a four-time All-Star and made the All-PBA 1st team and All-Defensive team twice in his career. Marlou Aquino (Adamson) – no. 1 pick, 1996 (Ginebra) At a towering 6’9”, Marlou Aquino won Rookie of the Year, the fourth no. 1 pick to do so. Rookie of the Year would only be one award in a sensational first season for Aquino. Marlou won Defensive Player of the Year and made the All-PBA 1st team and All-Defensive team in his rookie year. He was also the Best Player of the Conference in the 1996 Governors’ Cup as Ginebra made it all the way to the Finals. Aquino would win a title for Ginebra in his second season. A little later, he would team up with Dennis Espino at Sta. Lucia. Danny Ildefonso (NU) – no. 1 pick, 1998 (San Miguel Beer) Winning Rookie of the Year was the first sign that Danny Ildefonso would be a star for San Miguel Beer. True enough, the Beermen made the perfect choice by picking Ildefonso first in 1998. A San Miguel dynasty would be born with Danny I as the main star. Ildefonso won back-to-back MVPs in 2000 and 2001, the same period where he also won five straight BPC awards. Ildefonso left the Beermen as an eight-time champion and was an obvious choice to be recognized as one of the PBA’s 40 Greatest Players.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 27th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: Ayo s Mayhem Letran vs Tan s Big, Bad Letran

In the last decade, only one school has stood between San Beda University and its complete and utter dominance of NCAA Men's Basketball. That school? The Red Lions' archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran. In 2015, the Knights came from out of nowhere to put a stop to San Beda's search for a sixth straight title. Four years later, the Red Lions were going for a fourth consecutive championship and, more impressively, a season sweep only to be resoundingly rejected, yet again, by their archrivals. And so, Mendiola is home to 80 percent of total trophies since 2010. The other 20 percent, though? They are proudly presented in Intramuros. Come to think about it, though, which triumph over its fierce foe was sweeter for Letran? Here in ABS-CBN Sports Super Showdown, that is what we aim to answer. To determine who comes out on top between the blue and red's proud champions, we will be judging them in five categories (frontcourt, backcourt, coaching, level of competition, and shock factor) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. FRONTCOURT The trademark of Aldin Ayo's very first championship team was that of playing much bigger than its expectations, its own size, and its, more often than not, bigger opponents. Ayo's nominal center was 6-foot-5 Jom Sollano while his regular 4-man was 6-foot-4 Kevin Racal. Off the bench, his first quote-unquote big was 6-foot-3 Felix Apreku. Still, those three played their roles to a tee and, along with the rest of the team, assembled a well-oiled machine that made the most of its speed advantage. Fast forward four years and "undersized" could no longer be used to describe Letran. In 6-7 Christian Balagasay, 6-6 Jeo Ambohot, 6-6 Pao Javillonar, 6-5 Larry Muyang, 6-4 Ato Ular, and 6-4 Mark Sangalang, Bonnie Tan finally had big, bad weapons in his arsenal. And for sure, those big, bad weapons flipped what was once a chink in the armor of the Knights into a super strength. And for sure, this department would be dominated by that rotation of ready and raring big men. Advantage 2019 Letran, 10-8 BACKCOURT The two teams' Finals MVP both come from the backcourt. Mark Cruz, like he has always done, came up big for Letran and averaged 17.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 3.0 steals Fran Yu, meanwhile, used the big stage and bright lights to break out to the tune of norms of 13.7 points, 6.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.0 steals. In those two, the Knights had capable and confident counters to San Beda's own primetime playmakers in Baser Amer and Evan Nelle. The edge here, however, would have to go to Cruz whose signature play in the winner-take-all Game 3 was not a shot. Rather, it was a setup - after driving through the lane and drawing defenders with under a minute left, he found Sollano open at the baseline. Sollano only made good on the assist and his shot proved to be the go-ahead basket for the title. Add Rey Nambatac's offense and Mcjour Luib's defense here and Ayo's Letran just had a more well-rounded backcourt compared to Tan's which also included Jerrick Balanza and Bonbon Batiller. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 COACHING Ayo is one of the best collegiate coaches in all of the Philippines. He has seen Tab Baldwin win the last three titles in the UAAP, but it still wasn't that long ago when he won back-to-back championships with different teams and in different leagues. Time and time again, the youthful mentor has proven to get the most out of his players - from the Cruz-Nambatac-Racal triumvirate in Letran to Ben Mbala-Jeron Teng De La Salle University and now, University of Sto. Tomas with Soulemane Chabi Yo, Rhenz Abando, CJ Cansino, and Mark Nonoy. What he doesn't have, however, are the so-called "super friends" of Tan. Through the NCAA 95 Finals, NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio and assistant Jeff Napa were sharing their mind with the Knights themselves during timeouts. They were informal additions to regular assistants Rensy Bajar, Lou Gatumbato, Raymond Tiongco, and Ginebra point guard LA Tenorio. Even more were behind the bench in Letran special assistant to the rector for sports development and San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua, NorthPort team manager Erick Arejola, Columbian governor Bobby Rosales and head coach Johnedel Cardel, and Magnolia governor Rene Pardo. Asked about all those behind his back, Tan answered then, "In business, you need partners to be successful and in sports naman, we need friends lalo na yung mga may alam kung paano manalo. Friends ko yan lahat so welcome sila - brainstorm and synergy kami." Still, it's already a given by this point that competition only fuels the already burning fire inside Ayo. With that, there is just no doubt that he would only push himself harder and farther in the face of Tan and his so-called "super friends." And the one-time NCAA and one-time UAAP champion coach much more motivated than ever is nothing but a scary thought. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 LEVEL OF COMPETITION NCAA 91 was the year of "Kagulo sa NCAA." Then, six squads out of 10 had a legitimate claim to a playoff berth. So competitive was the field that Jiovani Jalalon and Kent Salado's Arellano University as well as a University of Perpetual Help side that had Scottie Thompson, Prince Eze, and Bright Akhuetie fell short of the Final Four. Illustrating the competition even further, the season's Finalists only had one member of the Mythical Team between them - San Beda's Art Dela Cruz. On the other hand, NCAA 95's playoff cast was completed a week before the end of the elimination round. Yes, there was a Red Lion team that automatically advanced to the Finals and had three out of five Mythical selections. Still, that tournament's fourth-seed was San Sebastian College-Recoletos who had an 11-7 standing. Comparing that to NCAA 91's fourth-seed in Mapua University who sported a 12-6 slate and the 2019 Golden Stags wouldn't even make the 2015 playoffs. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 SHOCK FACTOR It was a shock to see Letran upset San Beda in Game 1 of the NCAA 95 Finals after the latter won each and every game in the elimination round, It was even more of a shock to see the Knights actually topple the dynastic and season sweep-seeking Red Lions. Still, there was always an outside shot of that happening. "Letran is one of three shoo-ins for the Final Four – as well as a strong contender to wage war in the Finals and even possibly, hoist the trophy," ABS-CBN Sports stated in its preseason preview for the blue and red then. "This fully loaded lineup has the makings of a dynasty-ender – what’s only up in the air is if it would be motivated enough to do just that." On the other hand, nobody, nobody at all aside from Ayo had Letran contending in NCAA 91 - much more, winning it all. As ABS-CBN Sports stated in its preseason preview then, "It remains to be seen if the Knights' fortified defense and added offensive firepower can overcome their lack of size especially against the Final Four teams, all of whom have only gotten bigger." Even when the Knights finally charged to the championship round, not that many gave them a chance. In fact, all that doubt became tattooed on the mind of Ayo whose first words in the post-game conference when they finally claimed the crown was, "Joey, follow your heart!" The fiery mentor was referring to the Philippine Star's Joey Villar who said in the leadup to the Finals that his heart wants to root for Letran, but his mind knows San Beda would win. He wasn't alone. Even Ayo had to admit that his players themselves didn't believe until the season was already underway. "Sa totoo lang, nung team-building namin nung preseason, nung tinanong ko kung naniniwala ba silang magcha-champion tayo, they laughed. Nung natalo lang namin yung JRU nung (second game of the season), dun lang sila naniwala.," he said then. Advantage 2015 Letran, 10-9 FINAL SCORE: 48-46 for 2015 Letran.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 21st, 2020

Chris Paul and Trae Young Headline First-Ever NBA HORSE Challenge

ESPN, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) today announced that 10-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder, 2020 NBA All-Star Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and newly elected Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings headline the list of eight NBA and WNBA players and legends who will participate in the new NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm, exclusively on ESPN and streamed via the ESPN App.  Beginning Sunday, April 12 at 7 p.m. ET (Monday, April 13, 7 a.m. Philippine time), Paul, Young, Catchings, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, three-time WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky, Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr. and NBA Finals MVPs Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce will match shots against one another in a single-elimination HORSE competition from their respective, isolated home courts. ESPN NBA commentator Mark Jones will serve as the official host. State Farm will donate more than $200,000 on behalf of the participants to charities focused on coronavirus response efforts. This donation builds on the more than $74 million that has been contributed by the NBA Family to date to support coronavirus relief efforts through its NBA Together campaign. NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm participants will be divided into two groups of four, with the winners of the first two games in each group meeting in the semifinals.  The winner from each group will move on to the championship round.  ESPN will present the four quarterfinal games on Sunday. The semifinals and the championship game will air on Thursday, April 16, beginning at 9 p.m. ET. A coin toss at the start of each game will determine who shoots first, with the more senior player calling heads or tails.  Players must describe each shot attempt, specifying the type of score they intend to make before taking a shot, such as a bank shot or swish. Dunking is prohibited. The first player in each game to accumulate the letters “H-O-R-S-E” after failing to match five shots is eliminated. NBA HORSE Challenge presented by State Farm participants:   Group 1: Group 2: Chauncey Billups NBA Legend, ESPN Analyst Zach LaVine Chicago Bulls Tamika Catchings WNBA Legend Chris Paul Oklahoma City Thunder Mike Conley Jr. Utah Jazz Paul Pierce NBA Legend, ESPN Analyst Trae Young Atlanta Hawks Allie Quigley Chicago Sky   ESPN NBA HORSE Challenge presented by State Farm schedule:   Date Time (ET) NBA HORSE Challenge Sun, Apr. 12 (Mon, Apr. 13 in the PHI) 7-9 p.m. (7-9 am) Quarterfinals Group 1: Trae Young vs. Chauncey Billups     Quarterfinals Group 1: Tamika Catchings vs. Mike Conley Jr.     Quarterfinals Group 2: Zach LaVine vs. Paul Pierce     Quarterfinals Group 2: Chris Paul vs. Allie Quigley   9-11 p.m. Quarterfinals Encore Presentations Thu, Apr. 16 7-9 p.m. Quarterfinals Encore Presentations   9-11 p.m. Group 1: Semifinals     Group 2: Semifinals     HORSE Championship Game ESPN will televise the NBA HORSE Challenge as it continues its commitment to bring the sports community together through its #oneteam initiative.  .....»»

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

MPBL: San Juan s Ayonayon proves ready for big stage

Mike Ayonayon proved that he is built for the big stage after carrying San Juan-Go for Gold over Pampanga-ADG Group, 86-84, Friday night at the Filoil Flying V Centre. The victory enabled the Knights to draw first blood in the best-of-three North semifinals series in the 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season. Knotted at 84 with 18.3 seconds left and the shot clock off, the Datu Cup Finals MVP took Travis Thompson on an isolation play, drove to the basket, shot fake, threw up a floater as his shot bounced once at the back iron before bouncing in for the buzzer-beater. "Instruction sa akin ni coach na kahit anong mangyari, kunin ko yung bola at last shot na dapat. Buti pumasok yung tira ko," said the 6-foot guard out of Antipolo, Rizal. "Lucky bounce lang talaga eh." Head coach Randy Alcantara revealed that he designed the play for the Philippine Christian University standout, heaving a sigh of relief when Ayonayon made the basket. "Designed play yun, wala ng oras eh, last shot, so aatakihin ni Mike, pag nag-double kay Mike, kick out kay John. Eh hindi dinouble si Mike, kaya ginawan na ng paraan ni Mike," the young mentor said. But the 27-year-old Ayonayon was just repaying the coaches' trust for him to take the last shot, all despite being held scoreless in their Game Two against Pasay in the quarterfinals. "Give credit lang ako kala coach kasi bad game ako nung Game Two versus Pasay [no points in 20 minutes of action] pero grabe pa rin yung tiwala nila sa akin." said Ayonayon, who had 12 points, six rebounds, and a steal in this game. "Sa akin pa rin ibinigay ni Coach Randy yung last shot, kaya ibinabalik ko lang sa kanila yung trust." And that's how you bounce back. In the other semifinals tussle, Manila-Frontrow survived Makati-Super Crunch, 77-74, to take Game One. The Scores: FIRST GAME Manila-Frontrow 77 -- Lastimosa 25, Dionisio 12, Bitoon 11, Matias 9, Dyke 6, Gabriel 5, Espinas 3, Abrigo 2, Tallo 2, Lopez 2, Go 0, Lee 0. Makati-Super Crunch 74 -- Apinan 17, Baloria 16, Ablaza 10, Sedurifa 10, Villanueva 8, Lingganay 8, Torralba 3, Cruz 2, Atkins 0, Manlangit 0. Quarterscores: 18-10, 43-28, 62-52, 77-74. SECOND GAME San Juan-Go for Gold 86 -- Wilson 21, Clarito 15, Wamar 13, Ayonayon 12, Isit 7, Estrella 7, Rodriguez 6, Aquino 3, Bunag 2, Gabawan 0, Victoria 0. Pampanga-ADG Group 84 -- Juico 18, Hernandez 15, Maiquez 13, Muyang 12, Cruz 10, Thompson 6, Apreku 3, Cervantes 3, Alberto 2, Fabian 2. Quarterscores: 20-20, 50-43, 67-65, 86-84......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 29th, 2020

Coaches expect finals to go the distance

Both head coaches are expecting the best-of-seven championship series between Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco in Season 44 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup to go the full distance. Ginebra coach Tim Cone said the Meralco Bolts they would meet in the championship round would be a different breed from the team they beat in […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJan 5th, 2020

17 NBA things that have been ghosted from memory

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com On a night traditionally known more for tricks and treats than picks and rolls, it seems appropriate to do a little ghost hunting, NBA-style. We’re not talking the Ghost Ballers of BIG3 fame or even the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City, a stop on the circuit that some teams claim is actually haunted. We’re thinking of things that used to be, gone-but-not-forgotten aspects of the league that lurk in the memory, even if they’re never coming back. Here in no particular order are some Halloween hoops hobgoblins that fall somewhere on the scary scale between the chain-rattling Jacob Marley and Casper: 1. Long-gone arenas. Oracle Arena, so recently vacated by the Golden State Warriors, is the latest addition to the NBA’s long list of abandoned homes. Many are gone themselves, though you still can catch a glimpse now and then on Hardwood Classics. There are too many to list, due to NBA teams moving on up to bigger, better digs over time. But a sampling would include the Cow Palace, Cobo Arena, Chicago Stadium, Boston Garden, The Forum, L.A. Sports Arena, Milwaukee’s MECCA, the Salt Palace, McNichols Arena, HemisFair Arena, Market Square, the Summit, the Spectrum, the Omni, the Pyramid, ARCO Arena/Sleep Train Arena and on and on. 2. Belted shorts. Relegated to the throwback bin, along with the more recent sleeved jerseys. 3. The six-foot lane. Heck, the 12-foot lane. The former was widened in 1951 in response to Minneapolis big man George Mikan’s dominance. Then it was widened again in 1964 to its current 16 feet in hopes of tamping down Wilt Chamberlain’s impact. 4. Commercial air travel. Some things on a used-to-be list inspire nostalgia in those who experienced them and curiosity in those who didn’t. But it’s highly unlikely any former or current players and coaches would swap today’s luxury charter flights for the way the NBA used to travel. Wake-up calls at 5 a.m. for the first flight out. Waiting out delays at the gate with the beat writers and civilians. Seven-footers folding themselves into economy class seating. 5. Obstacle-course schedules. The NBA in recent years has tried to be responsive to players’ performance needs and physical limitations, working to minimize the number of back-to-back games and four-in-five-night stretches. Didn’t used to be that way. Consider the Baltimore Bullets, who in January 1966 were put through these paces: Games in St. Louis, Detroit, back to St. Louis, day off, to Philadelphia, to Boston, home vs. Lakers. A week later, they bounced back and forth between L.A. (Lakers) and San Francisco for four games in four nights, then traveled to New York to face the Knicks for their fifth game in five nights. Baltimore’s record in those 11 games: 2-9. 6. Doubleheaders. Some teams in the NBA’s first few decades would book a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition as the night’s opening attraction. But the biggies were when the Knicks would host at Madison Square Garden a neutral-site game for two other NBA clubs. A lingering memory for some who attended: The thick haze that hung over the arena’s upper reaches, courtesy of the smokers puffing away all evening. 7. Tape-delay. It seems inconceivable in 2019 that an NBA playoff game, never mind a Finals contest, might be shown on anything but live TV. Nope. The league didn’t have much leverage in the late 1970s, before Magic Johnson and Larry Bird arrived to help goose interest and ratings. Networks forced fans to stay up late to watch games that were off before the telecasts tipped off. The practice continued into the ‘80s, with four of six Finals games in 1981 held till 11:30 p.m. ET. Michael Jordan was already creating new fans when the last tape-delayed game, Game 3 of the West finals between the Lakers and Rockets, aired on Friday, May 16, 1986. 8. “Illegal!” That used to be a frequent bellow from the league’s benches, with coaches trying to alert the refs when opposing defenses breached (or didn’t) the complicated illegal defense rules. The NBA purged most of that around the turn of the century by legislating in zone play. 9. Shattered backboards. For a while, it seemed as if backboards were exploding every few weeks in the Association. Darryl (“Chocolate Thunder”) Dawkins was the most avid crack-titioner, getting two in 1979. The earliest recorded instance came in 1946, when a Celtics forward named Chuck Connors (later more famous as TV’s “Rifleman”) shattered one during warmups. Baltimore’s Gus Johnson is said to have shattered three. Shaquille O’Neal didn’t get the glass but twice got entire support structures, pulling the backboards down to the court in his rookie season. In March 1993, against Chicago, New Jersey’s Chris Morris dunked and shattered a board without glass falling to the floor. 10. Three to make two. That old free-throw bonus was abolished by 1981-82. It made the game drag, and Jerry Colangelo, then GM of the Suns and the chairman of the NBA’s competition committee, rightly said: “Pro players shouldn’t need that extra foul shot.” 11. Phantom franchises. Oooh, pretty scary, kids, when you think of all the teams that are no more. They are rattling around in the mind long after they were supposedly dead and buried. We’re not talking just about the antiquities such as the Indianapolis Olympians, the Washington Capitols or the Toronto Huskies. The spirits of the Seattle SuperSonics, Buffalo Braves, San Diego Clippers and Vancouver Grizzlies still walk the NBA earth. Then there are most of the ABA franchises -- Virginia Squires, Utah Stars, Kentucky Colonels, Spirits of St. Louis -- that died more than 40 years ago before or in the merger. 12. Hand checking. A lot of capable defenders had their effectiveness vaporized overnight when the laying on of hands vs. a ball handler was outlawed in 2004. The NBA, in case you hadn’t noticed, likes scoring. 13. Injury shenanigans. As silly or frustrating as labels like “DNP-Old” or “load management” seem today, the reporting of injuries real or feigned used to be much less authentic. Before the inactive list, there was “injured reserve,” to which NBA teams would designate up to two players. Anyone put on that list was sidelined for a minimum of five games, and with smaller roster sizes in effect, it was a handy place to stash guys. So there was a whole lot of tendinitis and plantar fasciitis going on. This practice was snuffed in 2005-06. 14. “Play on!” Like the force-out ruling, this is a remnant of the days when the referees had and used more discretion in working their games. If a player lost the ball out of bounds but his elbow was knocked by a foe, the force-out meant the ball handler’s team retained possession. “Play on!” was a frequent order barked by refs when certain contact or violations were deemed minimally intrusive. Heavier scrutiny of the game officials’ performance and, later, video reviews now try to adjudicate everything down to the tip of a fingernail. 15. The 2-3-2 Finals format. This was adopted in 1985 as a reaction to those Lakers-Celtics or Lakers-Sixers championship series, which had the NBA universe crossing the country four or five times in a span of two weeks. Suggestions that the league was being energy-conscious, in terms of jet fuel, were part of it, too. The practice fiddled some with the notion of home-court advantage, although MLB continues to use it for its World Series. With charter flights deployed by all teams, league execs and even some of the media, the NBA changed back to the 2-2-1-1-1 format in 2014 to align with its postseasons’ earlier rounds. 16. Player-coaches. Forty men in NBA history have done it. The first was Ed Sadowski of the Toronto Huskies in the Basketball Association of America precursor to the NBA. Only two men won championships as player-coaches: Baltimore’s Buddy Jeannette in 1948 and Boston’s Bill Russell in 1968 and 1969. The youngest player coach ever was Dave DeBusschere, who took over the Pistons in 1964 at age 24 (not long after ending his second career as an MLB pitcher). The Hawks’ Richie Guerin logged the most games (372) in the role, yet was named Coach of the Year in the one season in the middle when he stopped playing. Legend Lenny Wilkens was a player-coach for two teams, spending three seasons at it in Seattle and one in Portland. And the last player-coach in NBA history was Dave Cowens, who accepted the gig after coach Satch Sanders got fired in 1978-79. None of the players wanted to learn a new system, Cowens said, so “I kind of took one for the team.” The practice died with the arrival of the salary cap in 1984, with NBA brass wary that paying a coaching bonus might enable a team to circumvent the cap. 17. Victory cigars. For obvious reasons. Probably victory vaping, too. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 1st, 2019

The NBA’s West race should be incredibly good this season

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Stephen Curry knew roster change was inevitable. That being said, Curry and the Golden State Warriors aren’t changing their expectations. The five-time defending Western Conference champions aren’t the popular pick to represent their side of the league in this season’s NBA Finals, understandable after losing the likes of Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala. But Curry said the Warriors will strive to remain what they’ve been over the last half-decade — “a team that’s feared across the league.” “Look at every era of basketball,” Curry said. “For a team to sustain this type of level of play and this greatness, it doesn’t happen that often. And when you need to retool, it may look different, but the great teams, great players figure it out as they go.” Thing is, there are so many great players — and potentially great teams — in the West this season. The Los Angeles Clippers are the prohibitive favorite to win the NBA title, at least according to oddsmakers in Las Vegas, after landing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Los Angeles Lakers still have LeBron James, and added Anthony Davis. Houston reunited James Harden with Russell Westbrook. Denver and Utah bring back strong cores. Portland might have the league’s best backcourt. “You just can’t take it for granted,” Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti said. “It’s really, really hard to win games in the NBA, especially the Western Conference, the way it is now.” Maybe harder than ever. “We want to maintain the culture that we’ve built, but we want to make sure our players are put in the best position to succeed, and the last four years we pretty much knew exactly what that meant,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We don’t really know what it means this year. That’s why we have a lot of work ahead, but it’s exciting. I’m looking forward to it.” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said the West will be great for fans and the league — not so much for coaches, players and owners. “Somebody is probably going to come in ninth and get fired when they shouldn’t because they did a great job,” D’Antoni said. “But that’s the way it is.” A look at the West, in predicted order of regular-season finish: PLAYOFF BOUND 1. Denver — The team that few are talking about, for puzzling reasons. They’re young, they already know how to win and the Nuggets’ win total has risen in each of coach Michael Malone’s first four seasons there. No reason to think that won’t continue. 2. Houston — James Harden is entering his 11th season. Russell Westbrook is entering his 12th. Mike D’Antoni is entering the last year of his contract. It sure seems like title-or-bust time in Houston, and the wide-open West could be for their taking. 3. L.A. Clippers — When Paul George gets back from his recovery from shoulder surgeries to join Kawhi Leonard on the new-look Clippers, this is going to be a team with frightening potential on defense. They’ll peak toward the end, and could win it all. 4. L.A. Lakers — This is absolutely not to say they’re the fourth-best team in the West. LeBron James knows it’s all about April, May and June, and he certainly isn’t going to care where the Lakers are seeded as long as they’re in the playoffs. 5. Utah — Donovan Mitchell is just starting to come into his own, Rudy Gobert is still the defensive player of the year and Joe Ingles is better than people realize. The addition of Bojan Bogdanovic was big, as was adding Mike Conley — if healthy. 6. Golden State — The five-time defending West champs lost Durant, Iguodala and Shaun Livingston — plus won’t have Klay Thompson for most of the season. But the Warriors still have Curry. Relax. They’ll be fine. 7. Portland — This is way too low, but that’s life in the West right now. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are elite, Terry Stotts is underrated and don’t be surprised if the Blazers tweak the roster after Jusuf Nurkic returns to take a title shot. 8. San Antonio — LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan lead a team that features a young core of Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White. Oh, and Gregg Popovich is still there. Count the Spurs out at your own risk. IN THE MIX 9. Dallas — Dirk Nowitzki is gone, but the new star-duo pairing of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis has enormous potential. The Mavs haven’t won a playoff series since the 2011 NBA Finals, but this season will see them get closer. 10. Minnesota — Ryan Saunders’ first full season will lead to improvement, but even a five-game leap to .500 won’t get it done as far as a West playoff berth this season. But if Karl-Anthony Towns plays 82 games at his potential, who knows? 11. Sacramento — Rick Adelman took the Kings to their last playoff appearance in 2006. Luke Walton is the team’s 10th different coach since; he has Harrison Barnes, De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley and Buddy Hield, yet still faces a tall task. 12. New Orleans — Zion Williamson’s knee is already a concern, not a good sign for the No. 1 overall pick. Lonzo Ball’s shot is better and J.J. Redick has never missed a postseason. But if Williamson isn’t full-go, it may be tough sledding for New Orleans. FACING LONG ODDS 13. Oklahoma City — There is a lot of talent on this team: Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams. If all goes right, the Thunder will contend for a spot. Or will they make more trades and collect more picks? 14. Phoenix — Devin Booker is entering his prime. But the Suns have averaged 22 wins over the last four seasons, are on their fourth coach — Monty Williams — in a span of 24 months and still seem overmatched in the loaded West. 15. Memphis — The Grizzlies’ first-round pick in 2020 is top-six protected or else it conveys to Boston. The Celtics might not want to plan on getting this one. This year’s goal for the Grizzlies? Simple: Get Ja Morant settled into his new job. WHAT TO KNOW Three-Team Ring Circus Kawhi Leonard has a chance to win a ring with a third different team if the Clippers win the title. LeBron James and Danny Green would do the same if the Lakers win it all. The only players to win a championship with three different franchises: John Salley and Robert Horry. Spurs Streak San Antonio is bidding for a 23rd consecutive playoff appearance, which would give the Spurs outright possession of the NBA record. They’re currently tied with Philadelphia with 22 straight playoff trips (the 76ers’ franchise did it from 1950 through 1971, that span starting when they were the Syracuse Nationals). Wide Open The league’s general managers have wildly different views on which team will win the West. In NBA.com’s annual preseason polling of GMs, six different West teams — the Clippers, the Lakers, Golden State, Houston, Denver and Portland — got at least one vote as the conference’s best. LeBron Milestone LeBron James has 993 games of 20 or more points, third-most in NBA history. When he gets to 1,000 of those, he’ll be the last to hit that milestone for many years. Kevin Durant may be the next; he’s got 720. Good Sign With James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Houston becomes the sixth team to have two players who each won an MVP in the last three seasons. Of the other five, four — the 1959 and 1960 Boston Celtics, the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers and the 2017 Golden State Warriors — won an NBA title. The other was the 1984 76ers......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2019

TERRFIC 12: Blackwater seeks more growth in return to Macau

Asia League has rebranded to the East Asia Super League (EASL) but it’s still set to hold its crowd favorite tournament coming in the next couple of months. The Terrific 12 will return to Macau on September 17-22 and this time, there’s finally a strong Filipino presence for the week-long joust at the Tap Seac Multi-sports Pavilion. The PBA will send two flagship teams in the San Miguel Beermen and TNT KaTropa. The Blackwater Elite will also make an East Asia Super League return after competing in the Super 8 last year. Blackwater used last year’s Super 8 tournament to prepare for the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup and the Elite immediately saw the fruits of their labor in Macau once they returned to Manila. Falling literally one basket short of a semifinals stint at the Super 8 last year, Blackwater returned to the PBA and got their best finish ever, losing in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Magnolia. The 2019 Terrific 12 presents a new chance for growth once again for the Elite. While the team is yet to make the PBA semifinals, Blackwater has topped their 2018 Governors’ Cup performance by making the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs as the no. 3 seed. Blackwater came four points away from making a breakthrough semifinals stint in the PBA. Having a strong Terrific 12 stint could help unlock the Elite’s potential. Having a strong Terrific 12 stint is one thing but having a successful one is another. Put in Group A, the Elite sure have some decorated opponents in Macau. Japan’s Chiba Jets will play Blackwater inthe Terrific 12 and they are the very first Asia League champions from two years ago. The Jets were the top regular season team in Japan with an impressive 52-8 record and they are fresh from a Finals run in the B.League, losing only to eventual back-to-back champions Alvark Tokyo. Also in Group A are the SK Knights from Seoul, South Korea. While they didn’t exactly fare well in the previous KBL season, the Knights won it all in 2018 and the Terrific 12 looks like the perfect place for to start a comeback in preparation for the next season. The Terrific 12 is a FIBA-recognized basketball tournament and features three clubs from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), four from the B.LEAGUE (Japan), two from the Korean Basketball League (KBL) and three from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). A Group Stage, Semi-Finals and Finals will play out 16 epic games in total to crown this year’s champion.  In the Group Stage, clubs will be divided into four groups of three, with each team playing two games. The top team from each group will advance to compete in the Semi-Finals following a rest day ?on September 20.? The champion will be awarded USD 150,000, the runner- up will be awarded USD 100,000 and third place will be awarded USD 50,000. Blackwater and the SK Knights start the 2019 East Asia Super League Terrific 12 with the very first game on Sept. 17 in Macau.  The Elite then take the court once again the next day when the face the Jets.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 7th, 2019

TERRIFIC 12: Castro all set to meet old rival in Macau as TNT grouped with Liaoning

Asia League has rebranded to the East Asia Super League (EASL) but it’s still set to hold its crowd favorite tournament coming in the next couple of months. The Terrific 12 will return to Macau on September 17-22 and this time, there’s finally a strong Filipino presence for the week-long joust at the Tap Seac Multi-sports Pavilion. The PBA will send two flagship teams in the San Miguel Beermen and TNT KaTropa. The Blackwater Elite will also make an East Asia Super League return after competing in the Super 8 last year. [Related: TERRIFIC 12: San Miguel Beer takes on champion Golden Kings in Macau] Despite a down year in 2018, the KaTropa remain one of the top crews in the PBA. This season, TNT has slowly bounced back, winning 17 out of 22 regular season games so far and has finally advanced to the semifinals of the Commissioner’s Cup as of press time. In Macau, TNT looks to stamp its class in international play. The KaTropa are certainly more than capable as they have a number of Gilas regulars in their starting lineup. RR Pogoy can shoot with the best of them in the region and Troy Rosario is one of the most versatile forwards in the national team. Of course, the KaTropa are led by Jayson Castro, twice named as the Best Point Guard in Asia. That title has since been taken over by China’s Guo Ailun and in Macau, the Blur is on a collision course against an old rival as TNT is grouped with the CBA’s Liaoning Flying Leopards. Lioaning, the CBA’s top team two seasons ago, is of course led by Ailun, China’s top guard. The Flying Leopards lost their title last season but they were still good for 38 wins and a top-2 seed before falling to Xinjiang for a semifinal finish. The Terrific 12 should be a good prep before Liaoning tries to regain the CBA championship next year. Also part of Group D in the Terrific 12 is Japan’s Niiigata Albirex, the B.League’s no. 3 seed with a 45-15 record in the previous season’s playoffs. Unfortunately, Niigata was taken out in the first round by Alvark Tokyo, who went on to win back-to-back titles in the B.League. Niigata is led by a pair of veteran guards in Kei Igarashi and Shinsuke Kashiwagi which should fit right in this group’s theme in Macau: superior point guard play. The Terrific 12 is a FIBA-recognized basketball tournament and features three clubs from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), four from the B.LEAGUE (Japan), two from the Korean Basketball League (KBL) and three from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). A Group Stage, Semi-Finals and Finals will play out 16 epic games in total to crown this year’s champion.  In the Group Stage, clubs will be divided into four groups of three, with each team playing two games. The top team from each group will advance to compete in the Semi-Finals following a rest day ?on September 20.? The champion will be awarded USD 150,000, the runner- up will be awarded USD 100,000 and third place will be awarded USD 50,000. TNT will play Lioaning to end Day 1 on September 17. The KaTropa then open Day 3 on Sept. 19 with a showdown against Niigata Albirex.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 25th, 2019

TERRIFIC 12: San Miguel Beer takes on champion Golden Kings in Macau

Asia League has rebranded to the East Asia Super League (EASL) but it’s still set to hold its crowd favorite tournament coming in the next couple of months. The Terrific 12 will return to Macau on September 17-22 and this time, there’s finally a strong Filipino presence for the week-long joust at the Tap Seac Multi-sports Pavilion. The PBA will send two flagship teams in the San Miguel Beermen and TNT KaTropa. The Blackwater Elite will also make an East Asia Super League return after competing in the Super 8 last year. After dominating the PBA for the second half of this decade, capturing a fifth straight Philippine Cup title early this year, the Beermen are trying to conquer new territory. However, San Miguel should be in for a tough challenge as the Beermen are in Group B in Macau. Also in Group B is Japan’s Ryukyu Golden Kings, the team that swept the tournament last year to win the Terrific 12 title. Full lineups are yet to be released but the Golden Kings brought a pretty imposing team to Macau last year. It wouldn’t be too surprising for Ryukyu to return strong and defend its Terrific 12 title. June Mar Fajardo and the rest of that star-studded San Miguel frontline will surely be challenged. In the last B.League season, the Golden Kings won 40 regular season games and made the semifinals, losing to eventual back-to-back champion Alvark Tokyo. Finally, Ryukyu coach Norio Sassa has been salivating at the chance to go up against PBA teams since last year. His Golden Kings draw the Philippines’ top team in group play this year. [Related: TERRIFIC 12: Ryukyu's champion coach eager to face PBA teams] Also in Group B to challenge the Beermen are the Shenzen Aviators from China. Shenzen won 33 regular season games in the CBA and was a top-4 seed entering the playoffs. They likewise lost to eventual champion Guangdong in the semifinals. The Beermen the Terrific 12 against Shenzen on Tuesday, September 17, followed by a mega showdown against Ryukyu two days later. The Terrific 12 is a FIBA-recognized basketball tournament and features three clubs from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), four from the B.LEAGUE (Japan), two from the Korean Basketball League (KBL) and three from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). A Group Stage, Semi-Finals and Finals will play out 16 epic games in total to crown this year’s champion.  In the Group Stage, clubs will be divided into four groups of three, with each team playing two games. The top team from each group will advance to compete in the Semi-Finals following a rest day on September 20. The champion will be awarded USD 150,000, the runner- up will be awarded USD 100,000 and third place will be awarded USD 50,000.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 23rd, 2019