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gameface_one
01-27-2006, 01:48 PM
The GameFace Hardcore 5 of 2005
by Gameface.ph

Note: Same article is posted on the News and Articles Section under Gameface Featured Article in Gameface.ph


Gameface.ph is proud to present the Hardcore 5, players who have proven themselves to be a cut above the rest, whose games are emulated not just by fans but by fellow players, who bring a new wrinkle every time they take the court, in short players who have changed the face of the game. These are the players who are more than their stat line, whose mere presence alters the game and makes opposing teams rethink entire strategies. They were selected not just for their numbers, but for intangibles such as leadership, court presence and an abiding love for the game. These are the players who embody the hardcore way.


Boyet Bautista, pointguard, Letran College. Bautista`s highlight for the 2005-2006 NCAA Season may be his little faux pas leading the oath of sportsmanship during the opening ceremony of the 81st season of the NCAA, but he still had the last laugh leading the Letran Knights to the championship against the erstwhile defending champion PCU Dolphins. At a stocky 5-foot-7, Bautista may look more like a lightweight boxer, but his court skills and leadership shine every time he takes the floor. He doesn?t need to score to make a meaningful contribution to his team. His ability to make even average players look good is what makes him truly valuable. He practically voice activates the Letran offense and is a tough anchor on their zone and full court press.

Changed the face of the game: In an era of offense-minded pointguards, Bautista is living proof that the one essential skill for any sentinel is still the ability to set the table and make his teammates better

Honorable Mentions:LA Tenorio (Ateneo), Jason Castro (PCU), Jonas Villanueva (FEU), Pong Escobal (San Beda), Ram Perry Scott (Lyceum


Joseph Yeo, two-guard, De La Salle University. The 6-foot Yeo has been called many things: misunderstood, enigmatic, fearless, full of attitude, even arrogant. Yeo is as hardcore as it gets on and off the court, as evidenced by the controversial actions that have solidified his hardcore reputation. Yet there is no denying what he truly is, the best shooting guard in amateur basketball. He does everything a 2 is supposed to do: score inside and outside, move well without the ball, act as a decoy from time to time, be the scrambler on the vaunted La Salle trap. Call him what you will, hate him if you must, but Yeo is undeniably the best at his position in hardcore hoops.

Changed the face of the game:Yeo was once dismissed as just another volume shooter who was too selfish to play on a good team. And then he learned how to play decoy. The rest is history.

Honorable Mentions:Aaron Aban (Letran), Marvin Cruz (UP), Kelvin De La Pena (Mapua), Floyd Dedicatoria (JRU)



Arwind Santos, small forward, FEU. If Scottie Pippen were a Filipino basketball player he would be Arwind Santos. Santos has reigned as MVP of the UAAP the last two seasons running, and has shown no signs of peaking just yet. He routinely leads his team in every meaningful statistical record, scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks. By definition the small forward position belongs to the best athlete on the team, since he must be good at everything, the top option on offense while being among the last lines on defense. At a wiry strong 6-foot-4, Santos can score and handle like a 2, rebound and block like a power forward, and has the speed and athleticism to guard any position, making him the ideal 3. His perimeter game is becoming more consistent, and his ball handling is no longer the gamble it was in the past.

Changed the face of the game:Once upon a time labeled as just another runner-jumper with limited skills, Santos has emerged as the benchmark of the UAAP.

Honorable Mentions:Rob Sanz (PCU), Jonathan Aldave (Letran), Joferson Gonzalez (Mapua), Jerome Paterno (San Beda), Edwin Asoro (NU), JC Intal (Ateneo), Red Vicente (San Sebastian)



Gabby Espinas, power forward, PCU. Espinas literally came out of nowhere and took amateur basketball by storm, becoming the first player ever in NCAA history to become a rookie MVP in 2004. From his humble country roots he has become one of the marquee names in Philippine basketball. He has since led once lowly PCU to back-to-back Finals appearances after years as the whipping boy of the NCAA, taking the crown in 2004. At a lean and muscular 6-foot-5, Espinas has consistently led the NCAA with a career double-double output, not the easiest of tasks against the talent of NCAA competition. Espinas continues to improve his game, adding a reliable short jumper to his already formidable arsenal. Making himself better has become his hallmark. At the rate he?s going only Gabby Espinas can stop Gabby Espinas.

Changed the face of the game:Espinas is a power forward by designation only, but his versatility and athleticism allow him to be all over the court, giving his team a truly lethal weapon no other team can match.

Honorable Mentions:Yussif Al Jammal (San Beda), Nestor David (UP), Junjun Cabatu (La Salle), Eric Rodriguez (Letran)



Japeth Aguilar, center, Ateneo De Manila. He came into the UAAP so full of promise, in spite of an unspectacular career as a junior player. After a stillborn rookie year that saw him sidelined by an appendectomy, the skinny 6-foot-9 Aguilar reminded everyone what all the fuss about him was last season. Aguilar led the UAAP in blocks and highlight reels, playing with the athleticism and speed of a 2 while manning the slot for the post-challenged Blue Eagles, holding his own against the bruisers of the UAAP. Aguilar gave a glimpse of what the future holds for him after making PBA veteran Kerby Raymundo eat leather thrice in one play during a tuneup game in the summer of 2005 against the PBA-laden RP National Pool. Coach Chot Reyes` words after, ``Partida na, 17 (Aguilar is now 18) pa lang `yan?``

Changed the face of the game:Aguilar is the center by default because of his height and length. But his athletic gifts suggest he may yet become so much more. If he ever takes track and field the country will win its first Olympic gold medal. In the long jump.

Honorable Mentions:Abi Santos (UP), Mark Isip (FEU), Mark Andaya (Letran), Beau Belga (PCU), Sam Ekwe (San Beda), Mark Fampulme (Lyceum)

gameface_one
01-27-2006, 01:54 PM
Gabby Espinas, GameFace Hardcore Player of the Year 2005
by Gameface.ph

Note: The same article is posted in the News and Articles section under Gameface Featured Player in Gameface.ph


Espinas has the unenviable role of being the superstar on a team of stars, but he has handled this with aplomb uncommon in someone so young. At barely 20 years young, Espinas has managed to blend in well on a team with other great players like Rob Sanz, Jason Castro, Beau Belga, Ian Garrido and Joel Solis. Espinas` play has allowed all of his teammates to flourish because he doesn`t demand the ball to be productive. What is truly mind-boggling is how much better Espinas can become. Already a plus athlete, he adds a new dimension to his game with every tournament. He used to be nothing more than a runner-jumper type who scored only on put-backs and lay-ups or dunks, and his temper often got the better of him. Now he is beginning to understand his real value and how much more he can do, refining his post game, learning to be a fulcrum on the PCU motion offense with improved passing, and is even becoming comfortable taking turnaround jumpers from medium range.

Even his coach, the outspoken and tough Junel Baculi, has nothing but praise for his star. His ball sense and superb athletic ability especially off the glass have anchored the success of PCU. His relentlessness has rubbed off on his team. Once the NCAA doormat, the Dolphins are now the cream of the league and have become a top-flight program, coveted by aspiring ballers all hoping to become the next Gabby Espinas, the ultimate of tributes to the ultimate hardcore hoops god.

Wang-Bu
01-27-2006, 05:05 PM
Bakit naman si Japeth Aguilar ang napili sa center? Hindi kaya dapat si Mark Andaya? Unang-una wala pa naman napapatunayan si Aguilar. Napanood ko 'yung laro nila laban sa Beda, dalawang beses siyang nilusutan ni Ekwe, simpleng slide and catch plays lang. Akala ko ba magaling ang timing niya sa supalpalan at depensa? Magaling siyang mag-dunk pero hindi naman niya nagagawa consistently. Si Andaya naman starting center sa isang champion na Letran team, at kalaban niya sa poste sina Espinas, Belga at Solis. Diyosme, siguro naman ibig sabihin nun mas nararapat na maging center siya sa Hardcore 5 kaysa kay Aguilar.

Agree ako sa ibang choices, tama lang 'yon, although I would have given a closer look to Aban, lamang sa depensa si Aban versus Yeo. Marami na akong nakitang laro na kayang mag-shut down ng tao ni Aban on his own. Si Yeo kailangan ng constant help sa depensa otherwise he will give up as many points as he scores. Pero totoong sinabi sa writeup, ibang klase talaga ang ginaling nung Yeo over the years.

DREDD
01-27-2006, 05:14 PM
agree ako dun n dapat d c japet....pero malay natin baka nga maka olympic gold tayo sa long jump!... ;D

chba_dude
01-27-2006, 05:20 PM
Sorry Sir, Hindi po barely 20 si Espinas. ;D

http://www.ncaa.org.ph/playerfile/profile.php?playerID=213

atenean_blooded
01-27-2006, 05:34 PM
Japeth's athleticism makes him a consistent defensive threat, and his size always changes his opponents' shots. He's managed to hold his own against professional and foreign players. And if you want to refer to the Ateneo-San Beda game, you can just check the statistics. I will not deny Mark Andaya's being a good runner-up, though.

As for Yeo, I agree that a second look should've been Aban. Yeo's games were off for most of the season's first round. He's also been shown to be inconsistent and unreliable as a clutch player.

bchoter
01-27-2006, 06:00 PM
I also disagree with the inclusion of Japeth who plays more "softcore" basketball.

Wang-Bu
01-27-2006, 07:25 PM
Sorry Sir, Hindi po barely 20 si Espinas.* ;D

http://www.ncaa.org.ph/playerfile/profile.php?playerID=213


Bigay na lang natin kay Gabo 'yon Dude, magaling naman siyang maglaro e, bwa-haha!

Wang-Bu
01-27-2006, 07:38 PM
Napunta na din lang sa sentro, may naalala pa akong isang sentro na sikat, actually akmang-akma ang comparison kay Aguilar.

Si Marlou Aquino nung nasa Adamson pa was the best center in amateur basketball. Kahit payat at madaling itulak nakikipagsabayan. Siempre iba ng laro niya ngayong medyo may edad na siya at tila wala ng gana. Pero nung kasagsagan niya he was counted on sa Adamson kahit pa may Kenneth Duremdes silang kumakamada ng 40 per game. At the same stage of their careers - kahit pa lamang sa athleticism si Aguilar - tingin ko lang mas magaling 'yung Marlou, mas buo 'yung loob at mas handang makipag-bangayan.

Bagama't may punto 'yung Blooded about the defense of Aguilar, ang punto pa din dito hindi hardcore ang dating nung Aguilar, masyadong mabait. Duda tuloy ako kung anak nga ba talaga ni Peds Aguilar 'yan. Si Pedro nung naglalaro totoong hardcore, siga na may teammates na kapwa siga gaya nila Django Rivera at Toying Teves. Medyo malayo-layo pa sa pagiging hardcore ang anak niyang si Japeth.

Totoo mabilis tumakbo at mataas tumalon si Aguilar, maliksing gumalaw, parang Tres sa kilos. Pero tancha ko lang iyon na nga mismo ang prublema, masyadong komportableng maglaro sa labas ang Aguilar kaya hindi niya nakikita ang halaga ng pagiging totoong sentro, na makipagbakbakan sa loob. I think he gets most of his rebounds on height and jump, masyado pa ngang mahina ang kapit niya sa bola, nawawala pa kung minsan. Papano naging hardcore ang ganun kalambot?

gameface_one
01-27-2006, 08:51 PM
Bakit naman si Japeth Aguilar ang napili sa center? Hindi kaya dapat si Mark Andaya? Unang-una wala pa naman napapatunayan si Aguilar. Napanood ko 'yung laro nila laban sa Beda, dalawang beses siyang nilusutan ni Ekwe, simpleng slide and catch plays lang. Akala ko ba magaling ang timing niya sa supalpalan at depensa? Magaling siyang mag-dunk pero hindi naman niya nagagawa consistently. Si Andaya naman starting center sa isang champion na Letran team, at kalaban niya sa poste sina Espinas, Belga at Solis. Diyosme, siguro naman ibig sabihin nun mas nararapat na maging center siya sa Hardcore 5 kaysa kay Aguilar.

Agree ako sa ibang choices, tama lang 'yon, although I would have given a closer look to Aban, lamang sa depensa si Aban versus Yeo. Marami na akong nakitang laro na kayang mag-shut down ng tao ni Aban on his own. Si Yeo kailangan ng constant help sa depensa otherwise he will give up as many points as he scores. Pero totoong sinabi sa writeup, ibang klase talaga ang ginaling nung Yeo over the years.



Puede si Mark Andaya - he changed the Game of the FACE! .... joke lang po!

chba_dude
01-28-2006, 06:27 AM
Tanggap naman ang galing ni Espinas, hindi lang ako papayag na 20 lang yun. Hahahaha.. ;D

bigfreeze_bibby
01-28-2006, 11:28 AM
I'd put Aban in the small forward spot because of his athleticism and height, then put Arwind in the power forward spot (yan naman yung regular position niya sa FEU, small forward is just secondary position for him, although if ever he gets drafted in the PBA, he might as well play the small forward position) and Gabby Espinas in the center position.

tambay_sa_recto
01-30-2006, 01:50 PM
Sa opinyon lang namin ng mga kabaranggay ko, dapat si Mark Isip and sentro ng first five n'yo. Malambot pang maglaro si Aguilar. Matigas naman ang mukha, este, ang katawan ni Andaya. Si Isip, tamang-tama lang ang galaw. Suabe maglaro at ang pinkaimportante sa lahat, si Isip ang pinakamahalagang kakampi ni Arwind Santos. Kung wala si Isip, walang mga championsip ang FEU.

Mateen Cleaves
01-31-2006, 11:13 AM
The GameFace Hardcore 5 of 2005
by Gameface.ph

Gameface.ph is proud to present the Hardcore 5, players who have proven themselves to be a cut above the rest, whose games are emulated not just by fans but by fellow players, who bring a new wrinkle every time they take the court, in short players who have changed the face of the game. These are the players who are more than their stat line, whose mere presence alters the game and makes opposing teams rethink entire strategies. They were selected not just for their numbers, but for intangibles such as leadership, court presence and an abiding love for the game. These are the players who embody the hardcore way.

Japeth Aguilar, center, Ateneo De Manila. ...Aguilar is the center by default because of his height and length. But his athletic gifts suggest he may yet become so much more. If he ever takes track and field the country will win its first Olympic gold medal. In the long jump.


Sang-ayon ako sa mga kontra-Aguilar. Maaari at malamang na magbago pa ang laro ni Japeth. Bata pa naman siya. Pero kung 2005 lang ang pagbabasehan, marami pang kakainin si Aguilar para masabing tunay na hardcore na siya. Totoong matangkad, maliksi at malakas tumalon. Pero masyado pang inconsistent ang laro niya, lalo na sa opensa. Sa depensa, masyado pa ring gigil na makasupalpal. Kung kaya't madali pa ring makuha sa ball- or head-fake, o di kaya'y makuhanan ng maagang foul. Sa sarili niyo na lang panukat, hindi ko pa rin masasabi na isa siyang lider sa team ng Ateneo. At di mo rin siya masasabing nagpapakita ng "abiding love for the game".

Kung center by default din lang, kay Mark Isip din ang boto ko. Si Arwind ang MVP ng FEU. Pero kung kailangan ni Flores ng puntos sa ilalim, kay Isip pumupunta ang bola.

Ang tanong ko lang ay kung college players lang ba ang puedeng hard core? Kasi kung puede ang PBL, si JR Quiñahan ang kandidato ko.

bigfreeze_bibby
01-31-2006, 12:45 PM
Mark Isip also is one factor why FEU is a strong team. Arwind plays more outside taking jumpshots and putbacks while Isip is really the main man inside for the Tams. Para siyang si Gerard Jones noon na magaling maglaro sa loob kaya lang mas maganda ang height ni Isip at 6'5" or 6'6".

bchoter
01-31-2006, 12:51 PM
Now we're talking. Mula sa pinagpipiliang Aguilar at Andaya ay lumitaw ang isa pang lehitimong personalidad sa katauhan ni Isip. Sangayon ako sa pananaw na si Isip ay isa sa pinaka under-valued player sa Season 69. Kung hindi lang sa sobrang kinang na laro ni Arwind maari pa nating sabihing si Isip ang MVP ng Season 69.

Ito talaga ang mainam sa forum: ang pakikipagpalitan ng kuru-kuro sa mahinahong paraan.

Out_Of_The_Blue
01-31-2006, 01:24 PM
The GameFace Hardcore 5 of 2005
by Gameface.ph

Gameface.ph is proud to present the Hardcore 5, players who have proven themselves to be a cut above the rest, whose games are emulated not just by fans but by fellow players, who bring a new wrinkle every time they take the court, in short players who have changed the face of the game. These are the players who are more than their stat line, whose mere presence alters the game and makes opposing teams rethink entire strategies. They were selected not just for their numbers, but for intangibles such as leadership, court presence and an abiding love for the game. These are the players who embody the hardcore way.

Japeth Aguilar, center, Ateneo De Manila. ...Aguilar is the center by default because of his height and length. But his athletic gifts suggest he may yet become so much more. If he ever takes track and field the country will win its first Olympic gold medal. In the long jump.


Sang-ayon ako sa mga kontra-Aguilar. Maaari at malamang na magbago pa ang laro ni Japeth. Bata pa naman siya. Pero kung 2005 lang ang pagbabasehan, marami pang kakainin si Aguilar para masabing tunay na hardcore na siya. Totoong matangkad, maliksi at malakas tumalon. Pero masyado pang inconsistent ang laro niya, lalo na sa opensa. Sa depensa, masyado pa ring gigil na makasupalpal. Kung kaya't madali pa ring makuha sa ball- or head-fake, o di kaya'y makuhanan ng maagang foul. Sa sarili niyo na lang panukat, hindi ko pa rin masasabi na isa siyang lider sa team ng Ateneo. At di mo rin siya masasabing nagpapakita ng "abiding love for the game".

Kung center by default din lang, kay Mark Isip din ang boto ko. Si Arwind ang MVP ng FEU. Pero kung kailangan ni Flores ng puntos sa ilalim, kay Isip pumupunta ang bola.

Ang tanong ko lang ay kung college players lang ba ang puedeng hard core? Kasi kung puede ang PBL, si JR Quiñahan ang kandidato ko.



I'm an atenean but it doesn't automatically follow that I go with the decision of picking Aguilar for the center slot.

But I think, there is also wisdom in choosing Aguilar if the major basis is court presence. With his height and tremendous shot blocking skills, he altered the opponents' shots whether they came from the arc or from the paint. Defensively, he made an impact on the game and I remember witnessing an FEU practise session where Coach Flores designed some drills specifically just to avoid the Aguilar swats.

Isip and Andaya are centers you commonly see that come and go in the league. With Aguilar, maybe you could do away with his offense since he has not really been a scorer all his basketball life, but his tenacity to swat those shots can be likened to a prime Dikembe Mutombo.

Dennis Rodman was never a scoring threat but he was a basketball God when it came to defense and getting those rebounds and loose balls. In effect, Rodman and Mutombo changed the face of the game too. We might be seeing the same thing with Aguilar the way he makes a living in swatting those shots.

Sam Miguel
01-31-2006, 07:41 PM
One thing we are overlooking is that Aguilar is all of 18 years young. Someone that age would most likely wither in the face of the baging in the UAAP post game. But Aguilar backed down from no one, and also taught a few veterans a lesson or two in the fine art of big man play. Whatever else he may lack in terms of raw physical strength or power, Aguilar changed the face of the game in the UAAP with his athleticism and length. Anytime you piss off veterans like Abi Santos or Mark Isip or Ken Bono by sending back their shots and dunking on them, at 18, you're about as hardcore as they come. He may be studying in a country-club atmosphere, but he's held his own against some of the best big men in amateur basketball when people expected him to fold.

Isip and Andaya were more or less complete players by the time they made the regular varsity, and their accomplishments are certainly nothing to sneeze at. But taking everything into consideration, Aguilar actually exceeded expectations at what was - for all practical intents and purposes - his rookie year in the UAAP. Short of pushing and shoving him around no one could stop him. He had the turnaround jumpshot, the springs, the wingspan and the mentality of a coach's player to do exactly as was told. If this kid ever gets anything remotely resembling an attitude he could arguably become the greatest player at his position in the UAAP. Playing alongside other good players like LA Tenorio, JC Intal, Doug Kramer and Macky Escalona, and still being trusted to anchor the middle in the warzone of the UAAP post, is a clear indication of how he changed - and continues to change - the face of the game.

gameface_one
10-25-2006, 10:30 AM
THE GAMEFACE.PH LEAGUE HARDCORE PLAYERS (July to Oct, 2006)

* as published in www.gameface.ph - Philippine Internet Media Portal for Hardcore Basketball

Gameface.ph is all about hardcore hoops, those players who are not necessarily showstoppers or superstars but still bring an intensity and desire to the game of basketball over and above mere eye candy hops and dope handles.* More than their stat lines, their mere presence alters the game and makes opposing teams rethink entire strategies. They were selected more for the intangibles they contribute such as leadership, court presence, and an abiding love for the game. These are the players who embody the hardcore way. Gameface.ph presents the league hardcore players covering the months of July to October, 2006. The players who changed the face of the game!



COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE (CCL)


FLOYD DEDICATORIA, 6'4” 185 pounds, Forward, Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers

Floyd Dedicatoria has been carrying the once-proud JRU Bombers on his lean shoulders at least for the past two NCAA seasons.* If it weren't for the do-it-all forward, JRU would most likely have been relegated to punchline status these past couple of seasons.* As it is, opposing defenses have had to key in on the slender, smooth-moving forward.* Dedicatoria can nail three-pointers as easily as he can dunk.* And if he were a more selfish player he might have led the league in scoring this season.* *

But scoring is not the only thing he does well.* Season 82 saw him average close to a double-double with his improved rebounding numbers, and his renewed vigor on the defensive end has been surprising plenty of observers who once thought he was nothing but just another typical ballhog who was difficult to coach and did little else.* He was even allegedly blamed by some as the reason erstwhile coach Cris Calilan rather unceremoniously left JRU's varsity program.* * *

Hardcore Cred : Instead of getting caught up in these things he has become one of the best players in the country regardless of position, making the Season 82 Mythical Team and leading the Bombers to an improbable Final 4 run in the recent Collegiate Champion's Legue.* Dedicatoria has become a true superstar and sort of a cult figure among hardcore hoops fanatics with his leadership by example, floor-burn inducing hustle and quietly intense on court demeanor.

Honorable Mention : James Martinez, UE; Raymond Tiongco, Mapua; Alex Angeles, San Beda









NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION (NCAA)


JASON CASTRO, 5'10” 155 pounds, Guard, Philippine Christian University Dolphins

Castro first came into the consciousness of the more mainstream hoops fans when PCU won the 2004 NCAA Seniors Championship.* Castro was then considered as an able sidekick to PCU superstar Gabriel Espinas.* Since the,n Castro has blossomed into arguably the best two-way guard in the NCAA, becoming a force on his own while making his team better.* Thanks to the ever-improving Castro, the Dolphins have been in the NCAA Finals for the last three years.

Castro brings good size and athleticism to a position that demands ample amounts of both qualities, and has become the benchmark for NCAA guards who want to play both the 1 and 2 positions.* He can stay toe to toe with pure point guards like Boyet Bautista as well as tall combo-guards like Kelvin Dela Pena.* He can shoot, penetrate, pass, defend and rebound, making him a valuable asset on both ends of the court.

Hardcore Cred : Were it not for a bad case of cramps in Game 3 of the Season 82 Finals, Castro might have singlehandedly brought the PCU Dolphins back to the Promised Land.* His heads-up playmaking, hustle on defense, and very vocal encouragement saw the Dolphins come back from almost 20 points down against the mighty San Beda Red Lions until his legs betrayed him.* And the truly wonderful thing is that he was doing this all throughout the regular season and Final 4 as well.* Jason Castro is a sidekick no longer.

Honorable Mention : Floyd Dedicatoria, JRU; Sam Ekwe, San Beda; Sean Co, Mapua





UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES (UAAP)



ALLAN EVANGELISTA, 6'3” 190 pounds, Forward, University of Santo Tomas Tigers

Allan Evangelista will never be mistaken for a superstar.* He has never been high on the list of defensive priorities for opposing teams who have always looked at his more illustrious teammates such as Jojo Duncil and (at least this year) Jervy Cruz.* But Evangelista has proven over the course of his college hoops career that being underrated and overlooked aren't necessarily bad things.* Evangelista has made many an opponent pay for disregarding him and leaving him alone.

He started his career labelled as an inconsistent shooter without enough foot speed.* He was losing a numbers game on a team that featured Christian Luanzon, Warren De Guzman, Jemal Vizcara, Danny Pribhdas and Alwyn Espiritu at various times.* But over the years he developed other facets of his game, such as playing with his back to the basket, rebounding, on the ball defense and moving without the ball.* Soon the “slow and inconsistent shooter” became one of the most complete players in the UAAP.

Hardcore Cred : This season he became one of the focal points for the UST offense and a tough and smart anchor on defense.* Evangelista almost gave UST a sweep of the Season 69 Finals against the much more heralded Ateneo Blue Eagles, nailing a difficult turnaround shot from the low post against tough guy Doug Kramer to give UST a one-point lead with but a second to go in Game 1.* Although UST would lose that game in heartbreaking fashion Evangelista would come back strong in Games 2 and 3, nailing key baskets, grabbing important rebounds, continuing to play tough defense and being one heck of a match-up problem.

Honorable Mention : Edwin Asoro, NU; Macky Escalona, Ateneo; Jervy Cruz, UST; Jojo Duncil, UST*




NATIONAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS, COLLEGED AND UNIVERSITIES (NAASCU)



CHITO JAIME, 6'5” 190 pounds, Forward-Center, AMA Computer University Titans

How good are you that Norman Black, then newly named as head coach of the high-profile Ateneo De Manila varsity program, was all praises for you when you were invited to try out for the Blue Eagles?* Yes, Chito Jaime is indeed that good.* Jaime has it all: size, strength, speed, athleticism, a high basketball IQ and coachability.* The unassuming forward-center is perhaps the best player not on a high-profile varsity program.

Jaime actually spent some time on the B Team of Ateneo, seeing action in the 2005 Fr Martin Cup off season tournament.* But things just did not work out between him and Ateneo and he eventually found his way to AMACU where he became close with head coach Boni Garcia, a former pro coach.* The rest as they say is history.

Hardcore Cred: Jaime was named Most Valuable Player of NAASCU and led the Titans to the championship in a gruelling series versus archrival Systems Technological Institute. Jaime averaged a near 20-10 throughout the tournament and proved to be a match-up nightmare for opponents unused to facing this much athletic ability in a package of Jaime's size. He can operate from the post and the perimeter with equal aplomb and has great instincts after the ball on defense.* His days of being under the radar are now officially over.

Honorable Mention : Jun Mabayo, STI; Carlo Macasaet, CEU; Jeff De Guzman, New Era



UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION (UCAA)


GESTER EBUEN, 6'3” 180 pounds, Swingman, Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals

On a team as deep and as talented as the EAC Generals you would think it would be hard to find a superstar, that one guy who leads his team and makes it better in so many ways, regardless of what his stat line indicates. But when you have that kind of a leader who also gets his numbers, then you know that he is a special player.* Such is Gester Ebuen, the electric swingman of EAC.

Ebuen has steadily emerged as a consistent and reliable player, a guy who typifies the modern swing position: He can score from the perimeter, slash into the heart of even the tightest zones, pass, set up others as a decoy, move without the ball, be an effective trap man on defense and generally make the plays of the Generals work so smoothly.* That he does all of this on a team that also has other gifted swingmen (Ronjay Buenafe, Bong Melocoton, John Valderama) is a testament to his own resilience and determination.

Hardcore Cred : What separates Ebuen from his other illustrious teammates is his ability to play both guard positions.* Whereas the others are classic swings who split time at the 2 and 3, Ebuen has proven that he can also be a credible pointguard / point forward type who can distribute the ball and run an offense.* His ability to spot up and shoot or pull up and shoot makes him a dangerous commodity.* In EAC's run to an unprecedented third straight UCAA Title, Ebuen was the difference maker.

Honorable Mention : Leomer Losentes, St Francis of Asissi; Alain Musni, EAC; Rey Pupos, ACSAT

bchoter
10-25-2006, 01:50 PM
Can the issues of Jaime be remedied by the very pleasant outlook of coach Pido and the accolages of the not too critical Tiger followers?

I couldn't agree more with the selection of Allan Evangelista. But inspite of his bruising game, allan is the first to lend a hand to an opposing player or apologize to anyone he's hurt because of his game. He's also gets the refs' favor at times because of his always ready smile and not too loud complaints.

On the UAAP runnerups, me thinks Asoro turned softcore this season preferring to shoot it from the outside and, sometimes, gun shy. I'd like to nominate Zion Laterre from ADMU, RB Mangahas of FEU, Woody Co and Nestor David of UP, Gonzalgo of AdU (I once saw this kid late night in a convenience store buying Emperador 2 nights before a big game... kids really need a short recovery time), Briones and Labagala of UE, and Joseph Lingaolingao of NU.

Joescoundrel
10-25-2006, 06:40 PM
How the hell a player of Chito Jaime's calibre ever escaped the notice of big programs with fulltime networks of provincial scouts is beyond me. Here is a kid only around 19 or 20 years of age, who at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds can do everything expected of a 4/5 like operate from the post, be a fulcrum in a halfcourt motion set, rebound and block shots, and intimidate would-be slashers. Yet he can also handle the ball with almost the same alacrity as a guard, make step back three-pointers, and also run all game long in every direction. Why the heck weren't Manila coaches beating a path to his door back in Bataan? Were it not for the efforts of their town mayor he would not even have made it into a Glory B stint with Ateneo. Heck, if this kid wasn't allergic to studying he could've provided a matchup presence for Ateneo this year. He wound up with AMACU, not exactly a school known for its varsity basketball program. Where were all the high profile but not too academically challenging programs like FEU and UE and even PCU or JRU?

Joescoundrel
10-25-2006, 06:44 PM
Speaking of Jaime, I recall he had a teammate in Bataan who is now with him in AMA, a kid named Rommel Galvez. I've seen these two play together even before they came to Manila and Galvez is every bit as gifted a baller as Jaime. I just wonder why he goes in and out of Boni Garcia's doghouse. In the AMA games I caught Galvez saw less minutes but also produced proportionately more on the scoring end off offensive rebounds and steals on the help. And Galvez is Jaime's size. Could you imagine if these two were your starters at the post for your team? I doubt if anybody can get past those two on defense, let alone stop them on the offensive end. Jaime can take more chances and be more creative with Galvez backing him up.

joelex
10-30-2006, 12:32 AM
saw the guy too...you are right about his skills, he has what it takes to be Chito Jaime caliber, but his game is more concentrated inside, unlike jaime who can play all frontcourt positions with ease. last time i checked, galvez was catching up on his nursing studies. i guess he has not made any plans for his basketball career..

Wang-Bu
10-30-2006, 03:18 PM
Maganda din na nabanggit si Leomer Losentes kahit runner-up lang sa UCAA. Siya ang superstar nung SFACS ngayon, na tila yata naubusan ng mga malalaking tao. Sa kanila nagmula ang Do Ocampo brothers na sina Yancy (6'8") at Ranidel (6'5"), pati na sina Derrick Canlas (6'9") at Ervin Sotto (6'8"). Si Losentes ay nasa 5'9" pero malupit maglaro, parang si Froilan Baguion. Sayang medyo low profile lang ang SFACS ngayon, kundi sana mas maraming nakapanood ng galing nitong si Losentes.

whiplash
11-04-2006, 04:44 PM
How the hell a player of Chito Jaime's calibre ever escaped the notice of big programs with fulltime networks of provincial scouts is beyond me. Here is a kid only around 19 or 20 years of age, who at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds can do everything expected of a 4/5 like operate from the post, be a fulcrum in a halfcourt motion set, rebound and block shots, and intimidate would-be slashers. Yet he can also handle the ball with almost the same alacrity as a guard, make step back three-pointers, and also run all game long in every direction. Why the heck weren't Manila coaches beating a path to his door back in Bataan? Were it not for the efforts of their town mayor he would not even have made it into a Glory B stint with Ateneo. Heck, if this kid wasn't allergic to studying he could've provided a matchup presence for Ateneo this year. He wound up with AMACU, not exactly a school known for its varsity basketball program. Where were all the high profile but not too academically challenging programs like FEU and UE and even PCU or JRU?


are you familiar with nino songco? i bet you nino could give jaime a run for his money...

Sam Miguel
11-06-2006, 09:09 PM
Nino Songco, now there was one guy who truly deserved to be named MVP.

Speaking of Chito Jaime, I ran into the kid in the new SM Hypermart at North EDSA with a couple of teammates. I patted him on the back and called him, "Mr MVP." and the kid was speechless. Looks like he still isn't used to his newfound fame.

MVBA
01-07-2007, 02:09 AM
* * *THE MVBA just named its 2006 Player of the Year . . . . click HERE (http://www.gameface.ph/forums/index.php?topic=927.0) to find out more!

gameface_one
01-13-2007, 09:49 AM
THE GAMEFACE.PH HARDCORE 5 AND HARDCORE PLAYER OF 2006
By Gameface.ph

Amateur basketball has always been a sport where creativity, versatility and athletic ability converge into a beautiful, rhythmic, even poetic story. It is performance art and raw physical power rolled into one. Gameface.ph proudly presents the men who embody all of these ideals in the greatest sport ever invented. These warriors of the hardwood continue to dazzle us with their unique abilities, entertain us with their mastery of game, and attract more and more fans to the fastest-growing team sport on the planet. They, without a doubt, continue to change the face of the game.

Hardcore hoops junkies, fans, and basketball lovers everywhere, Gameface.ph presents the Hardcore Achievers for 2006-2007.



The Mythical 5

Macky Escalona, 5’8” 145 pounds, guard. Escalona was once dismissed as nothing more than a career backup, having been LA Tenorio’s caddy at Ateneo De Manila. In Season 69 of the UAAP basketball tournament though, he came on like a rumbling of thunder, surprising opponents and fans in general with his improved jumpshot, playmaking and leadership. Escalona finally emerged from the considerably large shadow of Tenorio and arrived as an all-star baller.

In the PBL, the showcase amateur tournament of the country, he is leading the league in assists (6.57 APG) and steals (2.57 SPG) while playing on a star-studded Cebuana-Lhuillier team. Escalona once dreamed of pursuing a law degree. That has been put on hold for now as his star continues to shine and people discover what many people have known: Macky Escalona can play serious ball.

Jason Castro, 5’9” 140 pounds, guard. Castro has been nothing short of a revelation in Season 82 of the NCAA basketball tournament as well as the ongoing PBL Silver Cup. He was also once dismissed as nothing more than an able sidekick to long-time PCU and PBL superstar teammate Gabby Espinas. Now Castro is fast proving that he is every bit a superstar in his own right. After nearly delivering the NCAA cage diadem to PCU singlehandedly he continues to shine as the engine driving the Hapee-PCU team in the PBL.

Castro led Hapee-PCU to a six-game winning streak in the ongoing PBL Silver Cup and continues to make his teammates better. Veteran Larry Rodriguez, Hapee-PCU’s leading scorer in this tournament, is enjoying basketball again with the hustle and playmaking of Castro getting him the ball at just the right time and in his favorite spots. Without a doubt, Castro’s hardcore hoops star will be shining bright for a long time to come.

Honorable Mentions: Bon Bon Custodio, Jojo Duncil, Pong Escobal, Jonas Villanueva



Allan Evangelista, 6’3” 190 pounds, forward. Say what you will about Allan Evangelista – unassuming, boring, unspectacular. The bottomline remains: He has emerged as the ultimate sleeper. In Santo Tomas’ improbable march to the UAAP Season 69 men’s basketball crown, Evangelista nailed tough shots, made clutch plays and hustled his butt off, things not necessarily reflected into superstar stats. Yet these are the things that win championships. From being a player who merely backed up Santo Tomas superstars like Christian Luanzon, Warren De Guzman and even Jemal Vizcara, Allan Evangelista has become a superstar, and has something those guys do not: a UAAP championship.

It is these qualities that have elevated Evangelista to the upper echelons of hardcore hoops. For those who love fantasy league play, anyone who picked this guy for his team must be laughing all the way to the bank by now.



Floyd Dedicatoria, 6’4” 185 pounds, forward. First he made the NCAA Season 82 Mythical 5 while leading JRU to a near-Final 4 berth. Along the way he also averaged career highs in scoring and rebounding, collaring a double-double average. Then in the recent Homegrown Cup he led JRU all the way to the Finals where his Heavy Bombers gave a mighty De La Salle squad all it could handle. This is what hardcore is all about.

The beauty of Dedicatoria’s emergence as a hardcore hoops superstar is the almost imperceptible way he got it done. Before last season, college hoops fans new him only as a streak-shooting player without any defense. Last year he quite literally carried Jose Rizal on his back throughout the entire NCAA tournament and did the same in the Homegrown Cup. His play has made the likes of role players like Jason Sena and Jon Hayes near-All Stars.

Honorable Mentions: Yousif Al Jammal, JC Intal, Doug Kramer, Anthony Espiritu




Sam Ekwe, 6’8” 235 pounds, center. Sam Ekwe is pursuing studies to join the Holy Orders. Of course like any good student he wants to get some extracurricular activities in, hence basketball. No one quite figured he would take to the sport like a cheetah on the Serengeti. In Season 82 of the NCAA, Ekwe led the San Beda Red Lions to their first title in 28 years as he led the league in rebounds and blocks. He was named Most Valuable Player AND Rookie of the Year, duplicating the feat of Gabby Espinas.

In the ongoing PBL Silver Cup he is second overall in the Player Efficiency Ratings, coming in second overall in field goal shooting, rebounds and blocks. Not bad for a guy who could barely catch an entry pass about a year back. And that is the ultimate beauty of Ekwe’s game. All of the other players here have been playing ball most of their lives. Ekwe learned the game seriously and participated in organized ball just a couple of years ago. Now he is an MVP.

Honorable Mentions: Ken Bono, Jervy Cruz, Gabby Espinas

gameface_one
01-13-2007, 09:55 AM
THE GAMEFACE.PH HARDCORE PLAYER OF 2006

Sam Ekwe


To have come so far in such a relatively short time in the modern game of basketball is nothing to sneeze at. You can take one look at Sam Ekwe and mistakenly assume that with his size it is expected he would dominate. But size alone does not a great baller make. There have been many big men who have dabbled in the hoops science yet did not have the impact Ekwe is making now.

Looking at the local basketball landscape there are players nearly Ekwe’s size, and sometimes even bigger, who cannot get a rebound nor reject a shot unless it fell in their laps. It is a testament to the coaching Ekwe has gotten that he has learned so much so soon. But it is an even bigger testament to his personal work ethic and determination that he has gotten this far. It is not just his league-leading numbers that make Ekwe exceptional. It is his personal capacity to change the face of the game. And that is why he is the gameface.ph hardcore player of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Jason Castro, Floyd Dedicatoria

gameface_one
01-13-2007, 10:10 AM
The Gameface.ph League Hardcore Player of the 2006 Homegrown Cup Men’s Senior DivisionBy Gameface.ph


JV Casio, 5’9” 140 pounds, guard, De La Salle Green Archers


It’s funny how things work out. When he was a San Beda Red Cub he was often treated as the baby brother of a team that included the likes of Yuri Escueta, Mike Baldos, Arvie Braganza and Ford Arao. While the four aforementioned gentlemen found their way to Ateneo De Manila (Braganza is now with State U) the “baby brother” matriculated to De La Salle. Talk about seeking greener pastures.

Now during the rare occasions when the former high school varsity mates get together, a good deal of ribbing expectedly happens. While the Blue Eagles and Fighting Maroons are all ganging up on their baby brother, JV Casio has only one simple retort, “Sino ba nag-Rookie of the Year?” It is good-natured hubris and an anecdote that defined the basketball career of one of the best shooting guards in the country.

JV Casio nailed the shot that gave the De La Salle Green Archers the Season 67 championship against a vaunted Far Eastern squad. After he nailed it – a clock beating three-pointer from about 25 feet – Casio’s Number 10 jersey became the hottest item for sale in every athletic shop, quite a feat considering he had the immensely popular Joseph Yeo and Mark Cardona for teammates on that championship squad.

Now Casio has come full circle. After La Salle served out its one-year suspension in the UAAP for Season 69, the Green Archers came back to sweep the recent Homegrown Cup and Casio reprised his role as the team’s hero. Yes, Rico Maeirhofer and TY Tang got their numbers, but it was Casio’s ever-deadly shooting that spelled the difference for the Archers. Casio has also gotten way better at distributing the ball as a point guard and even on defense. He has also taken over Yeo’s old job as the scrambler on the vaunted La Salle press.

JV Casio has arrived as a hardcore superstar.

gameface_one
03-08-2007, 12:59 PM
Gameface.ph Hardcore Player for the 31st Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association: Justin Chua



THE FUTURE
By Gameface.ph




True to our hardcore hoops calling, Gameface.ph takes a look at one of the best-kept secrets in Pinoy hoopdom, a rising young star named Justin Chua, who plays for the Chang Kai Shek College Dragons in the Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association, more popularly known as the Tiong Lian League to hardcore hoops fans. To the uninitiated, Tiong Lian has given us a lot of hoops stars of recent vintage such as Christian Luanzon (St Stephen), and Chris Tiu and Joseph Yeo (Xavier).


If you've never heard of the league or of Justin Chua, read on. Otherwise, your pals will revoke your hardcore license, because, after leading the Dragons over the Xavier Golden Stallions and averaging a triple-double in scoring, rebounding and blocks, Justin Chua is the Gameface.ph Hardcore Player of the 31st Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association which concluded only last week. It was a 12-year wait for Chang Kai Shek and Chua practically carried the Dragons all the way to the championship, the true stuff of hardcore greatness.



A junior high school student at 6-feet-5-inches and a strapping 215 pounds, it is hard to miss Justin Chua, the star center of Chang Kai Shek's basketball varsity team. While in all other respects he may seem to fit the bill of the typical prep school teenager, once he steps onto the basketball court, he assumes a different persona - transforming into the most imposing force in high school hoops. He is truly a man-child among boys. Unlike other boys his age, or even other players his size, Chua is highly mobile and athletic, not the typical lumbering oaf one would expect from someone his size. There is a nimbleness that goes with his raw strength, making him a double handful on match-ups.


Chua led the Dragons of Coach Sonny Co to the Tiong Lian Season 31 High School Basketball championship, dethroning the Xavier Golden Stallions of former UP varsity head coach Lito Vergara via a two-game sweep. Don't let that fool you though. The Finals was anything but a cakewalk for Chua and his team. They came back from a seemingly insurmountable 48-25 deficit in Game 1 to steal the win 86-78 behind Chua's triple-double stat line of 29 points, 19 boards and 10 blocks. In Game 2, Chua once again had another triple-double with 17 points, 13 boards and 10 blocks in a highly physical and emotional game that saw tempers flare even off the court and well into the stands.


This was a sweet sweep for the Dragons who last tasted the Tiong Lian championship in 1995, according to their PE Department's Yolanda Co. It was especially remarkable for Chua, who only took up basketball a little over four years ago. To have come so far in such a relatively short span of time speaks volumes for the natural talent within the imposing frame. It isn't difficult to imagine where he got it though, since both of his parents were stellar athletes themselves when they were students.


But like all true ballers, Chua has a dream. “I want to play the 3 position, play more at the perimeter.” he declared. At his size, he has always played the post positions of 4 and 5, but at the risk of incurring his coach's ire, he has been working on his perimeter skills like speed, mobility, dribbling and shooting. “Good thing the three (point shot) I took during the series went in.” he said with a sheepish smile. We all know 6-foot-5 centers aren't supposed to be shooting from that far out. But then again Chua came from the same Bacolod school that produced reigning PBA MVP James Yap and UAAP MVP Ken Bono, a pair of multi-skilled players that defy mere size or position. Chua is simply the latest iteration of that long and illustrious line.


Chua also idolizes the Dallas Mavericks' German forward Dirk Nowitzki, arguably the most versatile 7-footer in the hoops world. “He can do it all. That's what I want.” he said. Anyone who has ever seen Chua play would not doubt he has the ability to mimic the success of his NBA idol. Chua possesses superior athletic ability in such a big package. His ability to defy even double teams at the post with his footwork and variety of shots make him almost impossible to defend. Combined with his burgeoning perimeter skills and his ability to recognize open teammates and make the pass, he could easily become the greatest player of his generation.


One other thing going for Chua is youth. At only 15 years young, he has a lot of room for growth, both physically and psychologically. If he gets into one of the top colleges and receives good coaching, he will grow even more as a player, develop new skills, add new wrinkles, and maybe even invent new moves that will become his signature. He is slowly making it to the mainstream radar and college recruiters will surely be beating a path to his door any time soon.


He wants to get into a top management degree program in college, and seems to have narrowed his choices to only three schools. Beyond basketball he also wants to help run the family business one day. His father runs a successful grains retail and wholesale business in the Metropolis while his mother is also taking care of business down in Bacolod. “She came to watch Game 2 though. She's on a plane now to go back to Bacolod” he beamed.


But a lot of things can happen between now and the first semester of the 2008-2009 college school year when Justin Chua takes his first real crack at true stardom, whatever color his uniform may be at that time. In the meantime, he has school, friends, family and even his girlfriend to attend to. And that perhaps is what makes him truly special. For all of his wondrous gifts he is still pretty much a kid still enamored of the big wide world ahead of him.

gameface_one
09-28-2007, 11:46 PM
As posted in our homepage:


GAMEFACE.PH NCAA HARDCORE PLAYERS OF SEASON 83
By Gameface.ph (9/28/07)


It was the season of the newly emergent stars in the oldest collegiate athletic league in the country. Philippine Christian University and its usual bevy of star players were out of the picture due to a suspension, and a lot of pundits thought this would merely be a San Beda excursion. Some new stars emerged however, and they brought a new kind of excitement and joy to the NCAA with their all-heart, all out play. Gameface.ph honors some of these great players as we present our hardcore players of the NCAA Season 83 tournament.


RJ Jazul, 5’10” 145 pounds, Letran

Jazul has emerged quite literally form the shadows to become the heart and soul of the Letran Knights this season. Practicing every day against Boyet Bautista the past couple of years certainly turned Jazul into one of the best pure pointguards in the NCAA. He averaged over 15 points and 5 assists this season, career highs that eclipsed his total production over his two previous seasons combined. Arguably these Knights were not as loaded as past teams from Muralla, but Jazul assumed the leadership position with ease and helped his team get all the way to the Finals.

Hardcore Cred: Spent time developing in the B Team along with fellow Knights Dangcal and Melegrito, learned how to run a team the hard way against hardcore competition.



Kelvin De La Pena, 6’1” 180 pounds, Mapua

De La Pena was a highly touted Filipino-American player some three years ago, and he has steadily proven he was worth all the hype. He is one of the few players in the league to improve his performance every season he has played. Season 83 proved to be his coming out party: De La Pena was named the Most Valuable Player in Season 83, averaging nearly 16 points and 6 assists per game, not bad for a player whom many pundits and observers thought was just too nice to make any kind of significant impact in the tough NCAA wars.

Hardcore Cred: Bided his time behind established Mapua stars like Joferson Gonzales, Sean Co, Neal Pascual and Jerby Del Rosario, blended in well, didn’t ruffle feathers, something some scouts said he might find difficult to do given his American street ball background.



Marvin Hayes, 6’3” 180 pounds, Jose Rizal

Playing alongside Floyd Dedicatoria the past couple seasons did wonders for the development of Hayes. Initially he was nothing more than a runner-jumper, more athlete than basketball player. Hayes was named this season’s Most Improved Player, being the only other player who averaged a double-double with over 12 points and 11 rebounds. In his previous seasons Hayes was just another role player, seeing spot minutes and even a lot of action on the B Team to hone his overall game. His double-double production this season just goes to show that all the hard work paid off.

Hardcore Cred: Hayes has come a long way from being just another Amerasian kid trying his luck in the big city, his journey from the street leagues to the NCAA was filled with personal struggles and the little triumphs that define the hardcore baller.



Brian Faundo, 6’5” 200 pounds, Letran

Letran has had some of the best big men in the NCAA with Mark Andaya, Eric Rodriguez and Jonathan Pinera the past few seasons. It was easy to overlook Faundo with this surfeit of riches in the post, mostly floating in and out of the regular lineup and even seeing B Team duty. Practicing regularly against Letran’s talented big men made Faundo better as he averaged almost 12 points and over seven boards this season as a legit starting center. Faundo’s medium range jumpshot is a potent weapon rare in a post player.

Hardcore Cred: Toiling in and out of the regular lineup and the B Team did not wilt Faundo’s resolve to become a regular in the NCAA lineup, working hard and taking his licks until his time to shine came this season.* *


Sam Ekwe, 6’8” 235 pounds, San Beda

When all is said and done, the biggest reason for San Beda’s success the last two seasons running has been their biggest player. Ekwe has led the league in rebounds and blocks the last two seasons. Had it not been for a little altercation early in the first round of eliminations he would have won back-to-back MVP awards to go with his back-to-back championships. San Beda may be deep as a team but no player is more important than Ekwe. His ability to rule the lane makes it easier for his teammates to be productive. As talented as the Red Lions are there is no doubt Ekwe’s presence makes everything that much easier. Ekwe also starred in majority of the season’s top highlight reels.

Hardcore Cred: Coming in as a lumbering and awkward giant some two years ago, Ekwe has progressed at a very impressive pace, developing a turnaround jump shot and some hooks to expand his range and becoming a better passer this season, something he learned as a Team Behold player.

Honorable Mentions: Jason Sena of JRU; Jason Ballesteros and Jim Viray of San Sebastian; Jerby Del Rosario of Mapua; Yousif Aljamal and Ogie Menor of San Beda; Miko Quinday and Rey Guevara of Letran




Hardcore Player of the Tournament

RJ JAZUL

Even among the top players one stands head and shoulders above his illustrious peers. In this case it is the White Knight of Letran. Jazul averaged a combined seven points and three assists in his first two seasons as a Knight, then nearly doubled that production in Season 83 at a time when Letran was looking for a true leader. A team that no longer had superstars all of a sudden found a new star in shining armor. Jazul’s ability to hit the big shot, his fearlessness in taking charge under tough situations, and his overall leadership, getting his teammates involved, held the Knights together in Season 83.

This is why he is the gameface.ph hardcore player of NCAA Season 83.

gameface_one
10-12-2007, 10:09 PM
UAAP SEASON 70 GAMEFACE.PH HARDCORE PLAYERS
By Gameface.ph


Season 70 of the UAAP is over, and what a wild hoops ride it was. A regular season sweep, a protested game, a dethroned champion, protracted stepladder playoff games, five Ateneo-Lasalle encounters, and the coronation of a champion returning to the league after a one year suspension. Through it all, Gameface.ph was there to bring in-depth online analysis and commentary, with our online forum cementing its hold as the premiere sounding board for Philippine hoops. Now, we honor the young men who made the 70th season as special as it is, our Hardcore Players of the Tournament.



JV CASIO, 5’10” 155 pounds, Guard, De La Salle University

In the off-season JV Casio wowed the Green Archers fans and even the opposition with his newfound brand of hardnosed, no-nonsense play. Casio, once labeled as nothing more than a smallish, catch-and-shoot 2-guard, has blossomed into arguably the best player at his position in the league. He worked hard over the years to get stronger and faster so he could match up better even against the bigger backcourt men of the UAAP. Perhaps most surprising: his defense has improved to the point where he has become one of the toughest on-ball defenders in the UAAP. Through it all, he never lost his shooting touch, nailing long tom after long tom, and busting up even the tightest of defenses.

Hardcore Cred: From a scrawny not-quite-pointguard, Casio has steadily elevated his overall game every year he has been in the league. In the summer he was named MVP of the Fil-Oil Cup, and this season he made the UAAP Mythical 5. Sometimes people forget he was a Rookie of the Year.



MARCY ARELLANO, 5’10” 155 pounds, Guard, University of the East

In his first season in the league, he was named Rookie of the Year, and then he seemed to simply disappear, apparently succumbing to the so-called ROY jinx. All of a sudden, the summer of 2007 comes around and he was running the show for the UE Red Warriors with confidence, intelligence and aplomb. Arellano was vital cog in the off-season success of UE and in their historic 14-game regular season sweep in the UAAP. Arellano finally arrived as a legit UAAP star this season, becoming the leader for the Warriors on and off the court. He was the first to arrive in practice and the last to leave. He even developed some moxie, actually getting in the faces of teammates during critical situations.

Hardcore Cred: Arellano is one of the rarest of Red Warriors, having come from their own high school varsity, toiling as a Page in the barely noticed Junior Squad of UE. But persistence, determination and hard work do indeed pay off and he is now one of the best guards in the UAAP.




NONOY BACLAO, 6’5” 180 pounds, Forward, Ateneo De Manila University

Where the heck did this guy come from: West Negros College apparently. Severino “Nonoy” Baclao was a hardcore tournament mainstay for the Blue Eagles all throughout the off-season preceding Season 70, where he strutted his wares against more experienced frontline players. He more than held his own against the lot of them, then quickly proved that was no fluke when he blocked nearly 40 shots during the entire UAAP tournament, leading the league in rejections. His sense of timing and court sense are what set him apart from other first-year players, allowing him to match up even against the bruisers of the league down low. He will be a fixture for the Blue Eagles for at least another two seasons.

Hardcore Cred: In one Fr Martin game at the EAC Gym, Baclao totally embarrassed the taller and more experienced frontline of the famed San Sebastian Stags. In one play he drove in traffic, elevated seemingly forever, then slammed in a tomahawk right in the face of 6-foot-7 Jason Ballesteros, the NCAA Defensive Player of the Year. That play sealed the deal for the pundits checking him out: Baclao is for real.




RICO MAIERHOFER, 6’5” 180 pounds, Forward, De La Salle University

In his previous UAAP seasons he was seen as a complementary player, a hustle guy who got rebounds, blocked shots and generally stayed out of the way of the real superstars on a loaded Lasalle team. But this season was his breakout year, the year the role player finally became the superstar. Arguably, this was a De La Salle team that was not as deep or as talented as previous editions, yet Maierhofer elevated his game and became a true leader for the Green Archers. His athleticism and overall length made it difficult to stop him on both ends, and his maturity as a player shone through in critical stretches, all the way to their seventh UAAP championship.




Hardcore Cred: No one had more highlight reel than Maierhofer this season, both on the jam and with the blocks. But the subtle things like diving for the loose ball, tapping put rebounds for extra possessions, and other hustle plays reminded people that hard work is what the great ones are really all about. His rise to stardom was solidified with his inclusion to the Mythical 5.




JERVY CRUZ, 6’5” 210 pounds Center, University of Santo Tomas

Last season he finally made his UAAP debut after quite some time on their B Team, and what a debut it was: he anchored the middle for a Santo Tomas team that went on to a Cinderella finish, grabbing the Season 69 Crown. This season, with a team decimated by player graduations, he averaged over 16 points and 15 boards including a couple of 20-20 games to keep the Growling Tigers in the hunt to defend their crown. Consistency is a sure mark of greatness, and it transcends even teams and schools, as Cruz was wildly cheered by the throng of Lasalle and UE fans in attendance when he collected his Season 70 Most Valuable Player trophy.

Hardcore Cred: No one knows the value of paying dues more than the man in the middle for the Growling Tigers. Cruz spent a couple of years on the B Team, toiling in the hardcore tournaments of the Fr Martin Cup and other off-season steam rooms. By the time he made it to the UAAP, everybody and his brother knew he would indeed be a force to reckon with, and what a force he has become.






Runners-up: Japs Cuan, Kashim Mirza of UST; Chris Tiu and Ford Arao of Ateneo; TY Tang and Cholo Villanueva of Lasalle; Edwin Asoro of NU; Mac Baracael and JR Cawaling of FEU; Patrick Cabahug of Adamson; Mark Borboran and Kelvin Gregorio of UE




Gameface.ph Hardcore Player of UAAP Season 70: JV Casio, DLSU


Jervy Cruz may have gotten the numbers, but JV Casio, without a doubt, strutted the most hardcore stuff. He was the man most counted upon to deliver key baskets for Lasalle whenever the Archers most needed it. He was the man who found ways to keep his team on top, either with a crucial steal or a nifty drive to the hoop. He was the man, more than any of the other Archers, who spelled the biggest difference in every game won and lost by the Green and White. When Lasalle hoisted its seventh UAAP basketball championship trophy over the weekend, JV Casio was the one man most responsible for delivering it to them.

For this, and for the fact that he will definitely still get better with time, JV Casio is the gameface.ph hardcore player for UAAP Season 70.

mighty_lion
10-12-2007, 11:41 PM
[b]NONOY BACLAO, 6’5” 180 pounds, Forward, Ateneo De Manila University

Hardcore Cred: In one Fr Martin game at the EAC Gym, Baclao totally embarrassed the taller and more experienced frontline of the famed San Sebastian Stags. In one play he drove in traffic, elevated seemingly forever, then slammed in a tomahawk right in the face of 6-foot-7 Jason Ballesteros, the NCAA Defensive Player of the Year. That play sealed the deal for the pundits checking him out: Baclao is for real.*


Meron bang available video regarding this play? Gusto ko sanang makita.

gameface_one
12-27-2007, 10:32 PM
THE GAMEFACE.PH HARDCORE PLAYERS OF 2007

Every year gameface.ph honors the top hardcore players of the country with the selection of the Gameface.ph Hardcore 5 and the Hardcore Player of the Year. Not only are these cage heroes the best players in the land, they also embody the hardcore spirit that is the essence of amateur basketball. These players do not play primarily for multimillion contracts or multi-year commercial endorsements, but more for the sheer love of the game that is nearest and dearest to the Filipino heart. Here are our selections for 2007.

JV CASIO, 5’10” 155 pounds, Guard – JV Casio has quietly emerged as one of the best players at his position in the country. He worked on his game over the last couple of seasons and has developed a nearly-flawless game this year. As his Lasalle Green Archers made a triumphant return to the UAAP after a one-year suspension for player eligibility issues, Casio quickly showed all basketball watchers how productively he spent his time away from the spotlight. He returned with improved athleticism across the board, increasing his vertical leap, sprinting faster, changing directions more easily, while gaining mass and strength.

From merely being just another smallish spot-up shooter some five seasons ago, he has now become a creative slasher, able to break down defenses with his dribble and set up teammates with the drive and draw. He can now more easily initiate the offense and his shot selection has improved a lot. The new JV Casio even plays tough on-ball defense now.

He bagged the Fil-Oil summer tournament MVP award, was named to the UAAP Mythical Five for the first time in his career, and has become the most dependable guard on the PBL Toyota lineup of Coach Louie Alas. Through it all, Casio has remained as subdued and unassuming as ever, never being tempted to be as brash as the rest of his teammates, always respecting the game that he has now come very close to completely mastering.

Hardcore Cred: Nothing makes for a more compelling hardcore hoops story than a former high school tweener turning into a complete UAAP All Star guard and a guy you’d love even though he’s wearing an opposing uniform.

JASON CASTRO, 5’10” 155 pounds, Guard – One would be tempted to think that Jason Castro would be feeling down in the dumps this year. After all, his Philippine Christian University Dolphins were suspended this season from NCAA competition after some player eligibility issues similar to La Salle’s problems came up. Maybe it has something to do with the pollution along Taft Avenue, but whatever the cause, Castro missed his chance to be the one and true superstar for his Dolphins this year after playing sidekick to Gabby Espinas the past couple of seasons.

Instead of sulking though, Castro focused all of his energies in the last two PBL Conferences and in his stint with the national team that brought home the Gold Medal in Men’s Basketball in the recently concluded SEA Games. Castro became the first PBL player since 1998 to win back-to-back MVP awards, duplicating the feat of PBA star Eric Menk when Menk played for Tanduay in the PBL. Castro’s MVP feat however is even more special, since he did it with two different teams: Hapee-PCU the first time around, then Harbor Centre the second time. Castro also led Harbor Centre to its last PBL Title via a 3-game sweep of Cebuana Lhuillier, effectively controlling the tempo for the Batang Pier and keeping the Moneymen at bay with his backcourt savvy.

To top off his great year, Castro was the steadying element for the National Team as they soundly blasted through the rest of the field in men’s basketball in the last Southeast Asian Games. Winning by an average of about 40 points per game, Castro helped run the offense, anchor the pressure defense and practically ran rings around anyone who tried to guard him. The sidekick has truly become the hoops world’s newest superstar.

Hardcore Cred: Is there anything that warms the heart of any true hardcore hoops fan more than the poor street baller who makes good?

NONOY BACLAO, 6’5” 180 pounds, Forward – When he first arrived in Manila to play basketball for the Ateneo Blue Eagles he was a gangly, seemingly ungainly, and rather awkward looking stick figure of a boy. It was hard to take him seriously with his dopey look and 1970’s haircut. But once he took to the court he seemed to magically transform into a hardcore hoops machine.

He’d swat shots from veterans of so-called structured play and keep it in play by retrieving it with those long sinewy arms. He’d split help defenses in the post with incredible footwork and an uncanny ability to spin the ball just right off and under the glass. He’d even be the first out on the wings on transition after collaring a rebound against heftier players. And as San Sebastian’s Omar Ampatuan and Jason Ballesteros found out the hard way during the summer season, he has the springs and the attitude to dunk in traffic.

As a rookie, Baclao led the UAAP in blocks this past season, sending back shots even of veterans. He got it done not merely because of leap (many other players jump higher) or length (there are many players taller) but with an uncanny sense of timing. In the last Collegiate Champions League he was named the tournament MVP for his defense and overall outstanding play.

Hardcore Cred: There is one thing even more scary than how good Nonoy Baclao is now: he is going to get better.

RICO MAIERHOFER, 6’5” 180 pounds, Forward – Maierhofer was just another runner and jumper when he first donned the green and white of La Salle a few seasons ago. He was not taken too seriously with his wispy frame. Opposing players generally loved to bang against his reed-thin body. Over the years though he became bigger and stronger, and learned how to play smarter against bigger and stronger players. He was named MVP of the Nike Summer League and was the best athlete on the UAAP Season 70 champion Lasalle Green Archers.

Maierhofer was at times the only option in the frontline for Lasalle in their unexpected climb back to the UAAP Championship. While the rest of the Lasalle frontline were role players, he was the only legitimate star up front. He anchored the green and white post game and was among the best shotblockers and rebounders in the tournament. His veteran experience came to the fore during critical stages of close games, especially in the playoffs against their bitter rivals the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

Hardcore Cred: Maierhofer has come a long way indeed, and a lot of his best basketball still lies ahead.

SAM EKWE, 6’8” 245 pounds, Center – It is hard to believe Sam Ekwe has been playing organized ball for less than four years. He was the 2006 NCAA Rookie MVP, duplicating Espinas’ feat just two seasons previous. His imposing bulk, length and naturally superior athleticism make him an overwhelming force on the court. The first time hardcore hoops fans saw Ekwe in action his movements were awkward and was often out of position as he tried hard to figure out the game. His guards found it difficult running the post game through him as he barely had a passing game.

Now however he has developed a feathery touch from the post, is able to use the bank more frequently, and has improved tremendously from the free throw line, rounding out his game and making him an even more valuable asset to the San Beda basketball program. Ekwe now moves with a lot of poise and confidence on the floor, and his teammates trust him to be just in the right spot doing just the right things to help his team.

In only his second NCAA season Ekwe was one silly decision away from joining the ranks of back-to-back MVP awardees. He was a constant presence on every NCAA highlight reel, be it on slam dunks or on shot blocks. His vastly improved game made him even more unstoppable this past season.

Hardcore Cred: To have come so far in such a relatively short time, Ekwe is showing how big a difference dedication and hard work can make in the game of basketball.





GAMEFACE.PH HARDCORE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

JASON CASTRO

2007 will go down as the year of Jason Castro.

In the past year he won two Philippine Basketball League Most Valuable Player Awards.
“I’m deeply honored for being named MVP of the (Silver Cup) tournament, this is very special for me,” said the 20-year-old Castro. “My perseverance and hard work finally paid off.” Castro showed major props to his Hapee toothpaste teammates, coaches and team owner Cecilio De Pedro. When asked to describe Castro, Hapee Coach Jun Noel said “No complaints, just works hard.”
He duplicated his MVP feat in the 2007 PBL Unity Cup, this time with the Harbor Centre Batang Pier of Mikee Romero. Coach Jorge Gallent was profuse in his praise for his superstar guard, “He is very good at keeping the tempo to our liking, and he is very versatile as a player. He does everything for our team, whatever you tell him to do.”
He also led the Philippine Men’s Basketball Team to the SEA Games Gold Medal in Thailand, a feat that caught the eye of international scouts. PBL Commissioner Chino Trinidad said Castro has a solid offer to play in Australia’s National Basketball League.
Through it all, with all of his recent great successes, Castro has remained humble and well-grounded. He still attends classes at PCU and constantly uses the very polite “po” and “opo” when addressing people. And that perhaps is Castro’s greatest asset and most endearing hardcore hoops cred: Although he has reached the stars his feet remaining firmly on the ground.
For this he is this year’s GAMEFACE.PH HARDCORE PLAYER OF THE YEAR.