View Full Version : The PBL-Backed National Team

07-03-2007, 08:01 AM
SEAG cage tryouts tomorrow

THE COUNTRY’S finest amateur cagers, led by PBL back-to-back MVP winner Jason Castro, will try to outsmart and outshine one another as coach Junel Baculi holds the national team’s tryouts for the SEA Games starting tomorrow at the Reyes gym in Mandaluyong.

Also invited to join the tryouts are the marquee players from various commercial and collegiate leagues and some budding stars from Visayas and Mindanao regions.

The country is hoping to restore its pride and regain its honor in the region following the lifting of the country’s suspension from the FIBA last February.

And that’s the reason why amateur basketball godfather Mikee Romero of Harbour Centre is moving heaven and earth in order to form a formidable team – one that is not only highly competitive but is also ready to make sacrifices for the country’s glory.

"We want total commitment from the players because we’re talking here about the country’s honor and pride," said Romero. "This is our comeback stint in the SEA Games, so I hope everybody will cooperate."

Romero is alloting R10 million for the training and participation of the team in the SEA Games. He also intends to send the team in at least two tough tournaments abroad to further polish their skills.

Aside from Castro, Baculi hopes that other PBL stars, among them Harbour Centre’s Chico Lanete, Beau Belga and Jojo Duncil, will join the tryouts that will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

While there are so many talented players in the PBL right now, Baculi can’t just pick freely from its ranks because most of the league’s top players are planning to turn pro this August.

Baculi also said he will send an invitation to some players from Cebu to join the tryout.

"I saw at least three players from Cebu who have bright chances to make it to the future national team," said Baculi. "If we can train them early, we can use them in future national teams."

Although Castro is also being courted by some PBA teams, he’s likely to forego his dream of playing in the pro league this year for the opportunity to play for the national team.

Others expected to join the tryouts are Toyota Balintawak’s Erick Rodriguez and Patrick Cabahug, Burger King’s Ronjay Buenafe, Mike Bravo and Nestor David, Henkel-Sista’s Lawrence Bonus.

Also being eyed from collegiate ranks are Marcy Arellano, Mark Borboran and Elmer Espirtu of University of the East and Jervy Cruz of University of Santo Tomas.

PBL stars like Ken Bono, JC Intal, Doug Kramer, Macky Escalona, Marvin Cruz, Joe Devance, Ryan Arana, Ryan Reyes and JR Quinahan are expected to turn pro this year.

Sam Miguel
07-03-2007, 09:56 AM
The PBA should do the right thing: Let these pro hopefuls join the draft then let them play for the SEA games team anyway. Playing for the country is a much higher calling than playing for the near-empty arenas of the PBA.

07-05-2007, 12:57 PM
Castro, Lanete to boost RP bid in SEA Games

The Philippine Star

Jason Castro and Chico Lanete showed up in Wednesday’s tryouts for the members of the national team to this year’s Southeast Asian Games, virtually assuring the RP squad of two prolific scorers when it makes its return to the SEAG in Thailand in December.

Castro and Lanete are two of the top prospects in next month’s PBA amateur draft and their presence on the first day of the RP team tryouts could be an indication that they would be staying for another year to play for the national team in the coming SEA Games.

“I’m happy that they came over to join the tryout. It’s a good indication but I hope they are really decided to play for the country,” said coach Junel Baculi, who conducted the tryouts at the Reyes gym in Mandaluyong along with Louie Alas, Albert Tirona and Ryan Dy.

“Playing for flag and country is one big opportunity so I hope others (big name players) will also be reminded with what Mr. Caloy Loyzaga said during our recent finals,” said Baculi.

During PBL Unity Cup finals, Loyzaga, considered as the greatest Filipino cager, called on all top amateur players to take the opportunity and honor to be part of the national team.

Erick Arejola, assistant of amateur basketball project director Mikee Romero of Harbour Centre, is confident that Castro and Lanete will eventually suit up for the national team again.

Castro and Lanete both played key roles in the Harbour Centre-Philippine team’s title conquest in the SEABA Club Championship last April in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“I have a scheduled meeting with the two today and tomorrow but there’s already an indication that they will be staying for another year,” said Arejola.

Other notable players who joined the tryouts were Toyota Balintawak’s Joe Calvin Devance, Harbour Centre’s Beau Belga and Ryan Araña, Burger King’s Mike Bravo, Mike Dizon and Nestor David.

Some players invited to attend failed to arrive due to prior commitments.

“They have previous commitment so they just called me up and promised to attend the next practice day,” said Arejola.

BAP-Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas executive director Patrick Gregorio and Board of Trustees member Christian Tan also dropped by to watch the conduct of the elims.

07-06-2007, 11:44 AM
Ex-PBA cagers may don RP colors, says Baculi

By Jasmine W. Payo
Last updated 04:36am (Mla time) 07/06/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Even retired Philippine Basketball Association cagers have a chance to play for the amateur national team.

National coach Junel Baculi Thursday encouraged former pro cagers to join the all-amateur Philippine team that will see action in the Southeast Asian Games this December in Thailand.

“We need their experience,” said Baculi. “There are plenty of talents in the PBL (Philippine Basketball League) and other leagues, even in the collegiate ranks, but we need one or two ex-pros who are big and mobile.”

Baculi extended the invitation to the veterans as the tryouts for the national pool resumes at 10 a.m. Friday at the Reyes Gym in Mandaluyong City.

Two-time PBL Most Valuable Player Jason Castro and Harbour Centre teammate Chico Lanete led the list of aspirants who joined the first day of tryouts last Wednesday.

Other amateur cagers expected to show up Friday include Chad Alonzo, Beau Belga and Jerwin Gaco of PBL champion Harbour Centre, Fil-Am Joe Devance of Toyota Balintawak, Burger King’s Mike Bravo, Nestor David, Josh Urbiztondo and Mike Dizon, Dazz’s Robert Sanz and Magnolia’s Bonbon Custodio.

PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad issued a memorandum to all league members urging their top players to participate in the tryouts.

“We all have to cooperate because this is for the country,” he said.

Baculi said all aspirants, including Castro and the other members of the Philippine-Harbour Centre team that captured the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Champions Cup title, need to go through the tryouts.

Harbour Centre owner Mikee Romero, project director of the SEAG basketball team, has already allotted P10 million for the squad’s local and overseas training.

07-06-2007, 11:55 AM
SEAG cage tryout to accept ex-pros

IN ORDER to form a gold medal-caliber squad for the SEA Games, Philippine team coach Junel Baculi is opening the on-going tryouts to former pro players.

"There are plenty of talents in the PBL and other leagues, even in the collegiate ranks, but we need one or two ex-pro who are big and mobile," said Baculi. "We need their experience."

Baculi also stressed that there’s no seeded players in the team, even Harbour Centre’s top gunners Jason Castro and Chico Lanete will have to go through normal process.

"We have to put premium on the players’ attitude and their willingness to sacrifice," said Baculi. "Total commitment to play for flag and country is their ultimate test."

Erick Arejola, tasked by amateur basketball project director and Harbour Centre owner Mikee Romero to monitor the tryouts, said some ex-pros have already signified their intention to join the tryout which resumes today at 10 a.m. at the Reyes Gym in Mandaluyong.

Only a handful of stars attended the first day of tryouts last Wednesday but Baculi and Arejona are confident that more established names in the amateur ranks will show up today.

"I received calls from former PBA players that they’re going to attend the tryout next time, so the more participants, the better," said Arejola. "But some have prior commitments this week, the rest are still either abroad or still in the province."

The PBL, under Commissioner Chico Trinidad, has already issued a memorandum to all league members to inform and allow their players to take part in the tryouts, saying: "We all have to cooperate because this is for the country."

Romero is allotting R10 million for the training and participation of the team in the SEA Games. He also intends to send the team in a couple of tough tournaments abroad, including one in Hong Kong, as part of its preparation for the Thailand SEA Games.

Also expected to attend today’s tryout are Burger King’s Mike Bravo, Nestor David, Josh Urbiztondo and Mike Dizon, Dazz’s Robert Sanz, Toyota Balintawak’s Joe Devance, Harbour’s Chad Alonzo, Beau Belga and Jerwin Gaco, Magnolia’s Bonbon Custodio.

Former UAAP MVP Jojo Duncil of University of Santo Tomas is also being lured to join the tryout. Several standouts from UAAP, NCAA and other leagues have also been invited to attend the tryout. However, they are only allowed to join the scrimmages every Monday.

07-07-2007, 09:19 AM
Duncil, two ex-pros join tryouts for SEAG team

By Jasmine W. Payo
Last updated 04:46am (Mla time) 07/07/2007

MANILA, Philippines—Former UAAP standout Jojo Duncil of the University of Santo Tomas and two ex-pros showed up in yesterday’s tryout for the national team at the Reyes Gym in Mandaluyong.

Duncil, who recently opted to forego his final year of collegiate eligibility to turn pro, and former PBA players Ato Morano and Estong Ballesteros joined the scrimmages of the squad set to compete in the Southeast Asian Games this December in Thailand.

But Duncil, the Finals Most Valuable Player in the UST Tigers’ title-run last year, said he’s still weighing his options.

“I’m not yet sure (if I’ll join the PBA draft this August), I just want to be fit for now,” he said.

Despite missing the first day of tryouts last Wednesday, Duncil was welcomed by national team coach Junel Baculi and Harbour Centre team manager Erick Arejola, who’s tasked to oversee the SEAG team selection.

“We’re glad (Duncil) joined our scrimmages today, at least we have more star players,” said Arejola. “We need more players who have patience, determination and strong commitment.”

Morano, who donned the national colors in the 1990s, was among who responded to Baculi’s earlier invitation to retired PBA players who can provide experience to the young squad.

Other new faces in the tryouts were Burger King’s Ronjay Buenafe, Toyota’s JP Alcaraz and Christian Coronel and Henkel-Sista’s Khiel Misa.

Harbour Centre, which recently captured its third straight PBL title, also sent its core players including back-to-back PBL MVP Jason Castro, two-time Finals MVP Chico Lanete, Beau Belga, Jerwin Gaco, Chad Alonzo and Ryan Araña.

07-11-2007, 08:57 AM
SEAG cagers eye 2 int’l tilts

The national men’s basketball team to the Southeast Asian Games in December plans to play two international tournaments to toughen it up for the biennial meet, team godfather Mikee Romero said yesterday.

"If plans push through, we might be sending the team in two tough tournaments before the Thailand SEA Games," Romero said. "That way, we can gauge if we have the chance to win the gold medal in the SEA Games.

Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas executive director Patrick Gregorio had earlier asked Romero, through his assistant, Erick Arejola, to allow the team to take part in the Brunei Cup where a team in the pro league will also be competing.

"I’m encouraging Mikee to send the team to Brunei next month for two reasons, one they will gain valuable experience there by playing with tough teams invited by the organizers, and two, they will be providing joy to thousand of Filipino migrants," said Gregorio.

There’s just one problem: There’s no national team yet.

"If we can form a competitive team for next month’s tournament then there’s no problem," said Arejola. "We’ll be glad to provide entertainment to Filipino workers there."

But because many of the players will come from the collegiate leagues, forming a team right away is not feasible.

"We can’t just force them to join the tryout because of their obligation to their respective schools," said Arejola. "I hope they can sort up their schedule so that they can have time for the national team."

Among the collegiate stars they are considering are La Salle’s Rico Maierhoffer and Ty Tang, San Beda’s Pong Escobal and Yousil Aljamal, University of the East’s Marcy Arellano, Mark Borboran and Elmer Espiritu, and University of Santo Tomas’ Jervy Cruz.

Aside from the Brunei Cup, the team is looking at the possibility of taking part in a tournament in Hong Kong.

07-13-2007, 07:04 AM
Wanted: Big men to defend RP’s cage title in SEAG
First posted 2 hours and 9 mins ago
MANILA, Philippines -- Amateur basketball godfather Mikee Romero has sounded the alarm.

The Philippine men’s team tasked to defend its Southeast Asian Games cage crown in Thailand in December is in dire need of big men.

The problem came up because many of the Philippine Basketball League’s crack centers are joining the Philippine Basketball Association Rookie Draft next month.

Last year’s MVP Joe Devance, JR Quiñahan, Samigue Eman, Doug Kramer and Lawrence Bonus, all standing at least 6-foot-5, are reportedly set to turn pro.

“We need to have a tall and mobile team,” said Romero, team owner of PBL powerhouse Harbour Centre. “We ought to have at least six big men to be highly competitive in the SEA Games.”

To remedy the situation, Romero is meeting with friends in the basketball community to ensure that the soon-to-be-formed RP team won’t have a gaping hole in the middle. Roy Luarca

Howard the Duck
07-13-2007, 12:22 PM
dapat itong mga PBL players +5 PBA players ang pinapadala sa asiad

07-27-2007, 08:46 AM
Mikee wants Chot’s discards for Thailand

By Beth Celis
Last updated 03:12am (Mla time) 07/26/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- BAP-SBP executive director Patrick “Pato” Gregorio was brimming with optimism on the day the RP team left for Tokushima, Japan for the nation’s biggest assignment in years: the 2007 Fiba Asia Men’s Championship, which is the qualifier for next year’s Beijing Olympics

“We are ready. We’ve worked hard. From the players, to the coaches, the support group, the PBA, Mr. Ramon Ang and San Miguel Corporation, Mr. Manny V. Pangilinan, the BAP-SBP executives, we all have them to thank for among many others,” Pato texted Wednesday just before he left for Tokushima with the team.

If my reading between Pato’s lines is accurate, I guess what he’s trying to say is that we’re as prepared as we can be, we have the strongest team we could possibly form, and everyone concerned has cooperated, sacrificed and contributed his share.

Now whatever happens, we rest in the thought that we have done our best. Soon we will find out if our best is or is not enough.


According to sources, none of the 16 participating teams in Tokushima has submitted its final lineup so far.

Everyone is waiting for the absolute deadline which is the day before the actual tournament. Even Chot Reyes is keeping his choice 12 close to his chest.

All 15 players in the pool flew to Tokushima, although three of them will be there as tourists. Since Tony de la Cruz is injured, for sure he’ll be one of them. The other two are reportedly RenRen Ritualo and Ranidel de Ocampo.

Speaking of the trio, Harbour Centre owner Mikee Romero took the chance during Pato’s joint birthday celebration with wife Michele at the Celebrity Sports Plaza last Saturday to ask him if he could “borrow” the players, who would be discarded by Chot, for the SEA Games team.

Despite an advise to the contrary coming from a veteran media man, Mikee is determined to form a winning team beefed up by professional players.


“I want to be assured of the victory,” Mikee said. “That is what’s important.”

So far, it looks like only Gabe Norwood can join Mikee’s team. Pato said Gabe will not be joining the PBA draft this August.


University of the East coach Dindo Pumaren surprised everyone when his Warriors massacred the favored De La Salle Green Archers -- coached by his older brother Franz -- by 20 points recently.

Dindo, however, would not care to comment about that game. I could not get a single word out of him.

While father Pilo tries to remain neutral, I feel that he may be more partial to Dindo this season, for two reasons: One, Dindo has still to prove himself as a UAAP coach (while Franz has five titles to his name) and two, he is an alumnus of the University of the East.


“Wholesome, very wholesome!”

I thought Geny Fabian and Orville Roque of Extreme Magic Sing were referring to Manny Pacquiao when they described their product’s number one endorser.

Somehow it didn’t sound appropriate.

Last Tuesday at Annabel’s in Quezon City, I found out that Pacquiao was no longer Extreme’s Numero Uno endorser but Sarah Geronimo, whose favorite sport is volleyball.

I couldn’t agree more with Orville and Geny -- 19-year-old Sarah is one of the sweetest, most wholesome showbiz personalities I’ve come across.

08-01-2007, 08:19 AM
Gabe to reinforce SEAG squad

The Philippine Star

TOKUSHIMA, Japan — SMC basketball operation chief Robert Non said they’re likely to sign up Gabe Norwood to play for Magnolia in the PBL and let him reinforce the RP-Harbour Centre team for the Southeast Asian Games in Thailand in December.

Norwood has invitations to try out for several clubs in the United States but said he’s willing to stay in Manila if there’s an offer to play.

A product of George Mason University, Norwood wasn’t able to apply for the coming PBA draft as his eligibility papers came out two days before the RP team departure for the FIBA-Asia championship here.

“He’s only 22. He can play for the RP team for a lot more years,” said RP team coach Chot Reyes of his prized Fil-Am find.

Non said Norwood can be tapped by Magnolia as its direct Fil-Am hire in the PBL while the player toughens up for the next PBA draft.

And while the PBL is in break, Non said Norwood could be allowed to beef up RP-Harbour Centre team for its SEAG campaign in December.

The Harbour Centre team, under coach Junel Baculi, is still conducting tryouts at the moment.

Non said SMC won’t stop supporting the national cause despite the RP team’s debacle here.

“For SMC, it’s not all about winning. It’s also important that we’ve regained respect in Asian basketball,” said Non.

SMC has spent about P50 million for the RP team since its formation in 2005.

08-02-2007, 09:45 AM
SEA Games five welcomes Norwood

Last updated 05:16am (Mla time) 08/02/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Gabe Norwood spelled good news for the Philippine team searching for stars to boost its Southeast Asian Games campaign this December.

“With his athleticism and desire to help the cause of Philippine team to the Thailand SEA Games, he will be a welcome addition to the team,” said Mikee Romero, Harbour Centre owner and project manager of the SEAG national basketball team.

San Miguel-RP team manager Robert Non announced Monday that Magnolia is set to acquire Norwood in the coming Philippine Basketball League season, a move that may pave the way to his possible SEAG stint.

The 6-foot-5 Norwood started for US NCAA Final Four squad George Mason University, before he was tapped to join the San Miguel-RP squad competing in the ongoing FIBA Asia championship in Tokushima, Japan.

“If they (San Miguel management) will allow Norwood to play for the RP team then it’s a welcome development,” said PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad. “Norwood has the talent to lead the team.”

Romero said Norwood and Jason Castro can be the lethal guard combo the amateur squad needs in its title-retention bid.

Castro, a versatile 5-foot-10 guard, deferred his decision to turn pro to join the all-amateur crew in the biennial meet.

“I just hope others will also give their support to the RP team,” said Romero. “This cause is for flag and country. We have to work as one in order to reach our goal and the SEAG Games is the starting point.”

Erick Arejola, Romero’s special assistant and Harbour Centre team manager, said the young RP team will join several international tune-up tournaments including the Brunei Cup.

“We’ve been looking for a tall and agile player and the possibility of having a Norwood in the team is the answer to our prayers,” noted Arejola.

Romero, who has allotted P10 million for the SEAG campaign, added that the squad must have at least four tall players who can dominate the shaded lane after noting that countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have improved in recent years. Jasmine W. Payo

08-07-2007, 09:16 AM
Express offer to beef up SEAG 5

The Philippine Star

Air21, a PBA team boasting of tall, talented players in Arwind Santos, Ranidel de Ocampo, Mark Telan and Homer Se, on Monday offered the core of its squad to the national team seeing action in the 24th Southeast Asian Games in Thailand in December.

With the top guns of amateur basketball set to join the annual PBA rookie draft next week, the Philippine squad, according to amateur cage godfather Mikee Romero of Harbour Centre, would need veteran players who can provide firepower and stability to the team.

Romero, who is allotting P10 million for the training and participation of the team to the Thailand tournament, said the team’s major concern right now is how to attract tall but agile players into the RP team.

"That is our main concern right now, we need to get those kind of players to insure our success in the SEA Games," said Romero, noting that other countries, especially Indonesia and Malaysia, have improved tremendously as proven by their showing in the SEABA Club Championship in Jakarta, Indonesia last April.

"We can’t take them lightly that’s why we need to form a highly-competitive one," said Romero.

Lito Alvarez, president of Airfreight 2100, said that they are willing to make a supreme sacrifice for the interest of the country, saying: "Helping the national team has been our concern ever since, especially for Mr. Bert Lina. Playing for the country is one thing every player must experience."

Aside from the four, the Express, who made it to the Final Four of the recent PBA tournament, also have tough defenders in Garry David and Wynnie Arboleda.

The manpower-deficiency of the soon-to-be-formed RP squad was brought up during the board of directors meeting of the BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas last month.

Since the SEA Games schedule runs conflict with the PBA games, Alvarez said they are willing to adjust their games so that their own campaign would not be affected. The PBA starts next month while competition in the SEA Games begins on Dec. 7.

Alvarez, however, said they will only allow their players to don the national colors if the PBA gives its blessing.

"The officials of the Philippine team must first confer with commissioner Noli Eala before we will allow our players to play for the RP team," added Alvarez. "We are even willing to loan at least six our best players to the team."

08-29-2007, 07:30 AM
RP-SEAG team bows to S. Korea

BRUNEI — Jason Castro produced a performance worthy of his MVP status but the Philippine training team still lost to import-powered LG Sakers of Korea, 87-102, in the Brunei Cup Monday at the National Indoor Stadium here.

After scoring only six points in their 89-79 win over Jordan All-Stars last Sunday, the PBL back-to-back MVP winner made his presence felt by coming through with a brilliant all-around show to lead the team with 19 points on an impressive 7-of-13 shooting.

But Castro’s effort went down the drain as LG’s imports Odartey Blackson and Calvin Warner imposed their will in the second quarter to take the fight out of the RP training squad.

Castro, who also had three rebounds and an assist, gave the RP training team a 40-37 advantage when he completed a three-point following a gutsy drive in front Warner, a play the drew thunderous applause from the pre-dominantly Filipino crowd.

But it proved to be their last taste of the lead as the Sakers came through with an avalanche of baskets through the efforts of Blackson and Warner.

The two imports combined for 53 points with Warner, exploiting his size advantage to the hilt, topscoring for the Sakers with 32 points.

The win was the second straight for the Sakers while the Harbour Centre-backed RP training team fell to 1-1, the same record of PBA’s Sta. Lucia which absorbed a 67-82 loss to Darwin All-Stars last Sunday.

RP coach Junel Baculi offered no excuses for the defeat, saying: "We lost to a better team. Their imports outplayed and outscored us."

Still, Baculi was pleased with how his boys persevered in carrying out their mission, especially the way they mixed up their defensive coverages on two imports.

"The players defended well and hustled at every opportunity but their imports were simply too hot to handle," said RP team manager Erick Arejola. "But it’s not yet over for us, we hope we can do better next time."

The training team’s defeat exposed the need for tall and athletic big men when the country defends its title in the SEA Games this December in Thailand.

Former pro Allan Salangsang, who topscored for RP the last time with 24 points, was held to just 10 points after being shadowed by Blackson most of the time.

08-29-2007, 11:54 AM
Norwood, Slaughter inimbitahan para maglaro sa RP-5

Sa inaasahang komplikasyon sa iskedyul sa Disyembre, dalawang Fil-American basketball player ang inimbitahan ng Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) para maglaro sa Harbour Centre-RP Team na magdedepensa ng korona sa 24th Southeast Asian Games sa Thailand.

Ito, ayon kay SBP executive director Patrick Gregorio, ay sina Gabe Norwood at 6-foot-11 Greg Slaughter.

“Nagbigay na kami ng imbitasyon para kay Gabe Norwood at Greg Slaughter para maging miyembro ng Harbour Centre-RP Team,” ani Gregorio sa dalawang Fil-Am cager. “Confident naman kami na papayag silang magrepresent ng country natin in the 2007 Southeast Asian Games in Thailand.”

Ang 6’4 na si Norwood, produkto ng George Mason University, ay nakita na sa aksyon para sa San Miguel-Pilipinas sa nakaraang Jones Cup sa Chinese-Taipei at sa FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship sa Tukoshima, Japan.

Ngayon pa lamang ay inaabangan na ng Welcoat Paints si Norwood para sa 2008 PBA Rookie Draft.

Kasalukuyan namang naglalaro si Slaughter sa Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) para sa University of Visayas Green Lancers.

Nauna nang inamin ni PBA officer-in-charge (OIC) Sonny Barrios na mahihirapan ang mga PBA teams na magpahiram ng ilang players sa Harbour Centre-RP Team para sa 2007 Thailand SEA Games.

Hahataw ang 2007 PBA Philippine Cup sa Oktubre 14 at tatakbo hanggang sa Enero ng 2008, samantalang didribol naman ang mga laro sa 2007 SEA Games sa Disyembre.

09-11-2007, 07:36 AM
4 Fil-fors vie for SEAG team berths

The Philippine Star

Not two but four Fil-foreigners showed up during the resumption of the national team’s training as Richard Cole and Kevyn White joined fellow Fil-Am Kevin Dalafu and Fil-Iranian Amir Mazarei in the two-hour tryout at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum Monday.

But while they showed solid fundamentals and excellent shooting form against PBL standouts and former PBA players to impress the coaching staff, the four are lacking in height.

“They’re all shooters and they’re quick but they lack height,” said Arejola. “But let’s see what happens in the next few days.”

Mazarei and Dalafu wowed the crowd with their outside shooting, while Cole, despite his lean frame, proved to be a tough defender.

White is as quick and deadly as his uncle, Talk n Text Jimmy Alapag, who stayed for about 30 minutes to watch the scrimmage.

Mazarei is listed at 5-foot-11 but looks like he’s only 5-foot-9. Dalafu stands at 6-foot, White at 5-foot-10 and Cole at 6-foot-2.

Baculi said the four Fil-foreigners must have to compete against the locals and prove that they are better than them to earn slots to the national team that will see action in the 24th SEA Games in Thailand in December.

“If they can prove that they can outplay our local talents, then we might consider them to the national team,” said Baculi. “We’re already loaded at 1-2 positions, so they must prove that they are better.”

Former pro Boyet Bautista, Toyota Balintawak’s Erick Rodriguez and Eugene Tan also joined the practice.

Arejola and Baculi expect to finalize the composition of the team by the end of October or early November. They’re also going to invite San Beda’s Pong Escobal, National University’s Jonathan Fernandez and Adamson’s Patrick Cabahug.

09-11-2007, 03:18 PM
mga sir.. kulang ba tau ng mga 4 and 5 players? Si Jervy Cruz po ba iimbitahan maglaro afer UAAP?

Howard the Duck
09-11-2007, 04:35 PM
Ano ba ang tawag sa team na ito? "Team B" or "under-23"?

10-10-2007, 07:20 AM
Harbour RP team departs for Seoul

The Philippine Star

The Harbour Centre-backed Philippine basketball team enters the second phase of its preparation for the 24th SEA Games as it departs for Seoul, South Korea Wednesday to play a series of exhibition games.

"We can’t belittle our opponents in the SEA Games so the team needs this kind of exposure. The Koreans are known for their shooting prowess so I believe this trip will help the members of the training team a lot," said Harbour Centre owner and basketball godfather Mikee Romero during the team’s send-off party in a Quezon City restaurant Monday.

Aside from the chance to see the training of the fancied Korean national team, the RP squad, according to Romero, will be pitted against four top collegiate teams during week-long trip to enable the coaching staff, headed by Junel Baculi, to evaluate the progress of the players.

Spitfire Jason Castro, back-to-back PBL MVP, and three-point artists Patrick Cabahug of Toyota Balintawak and Jonathan Fernandez of National University will spearhead the 12-man RP training pool.

Also joining the trip are UAAP MVP Jervy Cruz of University of Santo Tomas, Chad Alonzo, Beau Belga, Erick dela Cuesta, Eugene Tan, Boyet Bautista, Alex Crisano, Jeff Chan and Allan Salangsang.

San Beda’s Pong Escobal and Ogie Menor were initially included in the team but withdrew due to academic reason.

Erick Arejola, special assistant to Romero, said the lineup might still be altered prior to the opening game of SEA Games since they are hoping to include several top UAAP players in the team.

10-10-2007, 11:02 AM

sino mga players ni Coach franz sa Under19?

10-11-2007, 10:24 AM
Norwood due to reinforce SEAG squad

The Philippine Star

Amateur basketball godfather Mikee Romero and SBP executive director Patrick Gregorio said Gabe Norwood is arriving in the next few days to join the Harbour Centre-RP team in its SEA Games campaign in Thailand this December.

"I’ve been in touch with his family in the US. I’ve just talked to his father Brian. To me, the only issues to be settled are his date of arrival and his clearance from his PBL mother team Hapee Toothpaste," said Gregorio.

La Salle’s Rico Maierhofer and TY Tang are the other players being eyed to reinforce the team after San Beda decided to pull out Pong Escobal and Ogie Menor for academic reasons.

The services of Talk 'N Text guard Egay Billones is being offered by no less than PLDT chairman and SBP president Manny Pangilinan. The coaching staff, meanwhile, wants to have another look at Ateneo’s Chris Tiu, who’s now on vacation in the US.

Romero said they have included Alex Crisano in the RP pool, which has left for training in Korea with the Fil-Am ace guaranteeing he can work on his documents in time for the SEAG.

"We badly need him. We lack height and heft. Just his tattoos could probably intimidate the opposition," said Romero of Crisano, barred from playing in the PBA due to lack of papers to support his citizenship claim.

Joining Crisano in Korea are point guards Boyet Bautista and Eugene Tan, off-guards Jason Castro, Patrick Cabahug and Jonathan Fernandez,wingmen Allan Salangsang, Eric dela Cuesta and Jeff Chan, power forwards Jervy Cruz and Chad Alonzo and center Beau Belga.

"You see, we have only four frontliners. But that’s all we have. We just have to double our efforts," said Romero. Nelson Beltran

10-14-2007, 03:46 PM
RP-Harbour rips Yonsei U cagers

Last updated 10:58pm (Mla time) 10/13/2007

SEOUL -- AFTER ADJUSTING TO THE cool weather here, the Harbour Centre-Philippine team unraveled its true form Friday, crushing Yonsei University, 91-76, in a friendly game at the Yonsei University gym.

With veteran Eugene Tan and Boyet Bautista setting up gunners Patrick Cabahug, Eric dela Cuesta and Jeff Chan, the Nationals shattered the Korean defense with a barrage of three-pointers in the final half that set the tone for the breezy win.

The Nationals, whose training is bankrolled by Harbour Centre owner and amateur basketball godfather Mikee Romero, arrived here Wednesday night.

After making several gutsy drives, Bautista, the smallest in the RP squad at 5-foot-7, was tightly marked by the Koreans in the fourth but their effort went in vain as the former Letran star still finished with 15 points.

10-15-2007, 12:33 AM
bakit kasama si crisano? di ba ito yung jowa ni ehtl booba?

10-15-2007, 08:10 AM
Harbour-RP 5 bombs US Army

Monday, October 15, 2007

SEOUL, South Korea – For the second straight game, Harbour Centre-Philippine team leaned on its torrid outside shooting to bomb US Army, 102-88, during a friendly game Saturday at the US Army Base gym in Hanyang here.

Former Far Eastern University hotshot Jeff Chan presided over the team’s juggernaut, scoring the first 10 points of the game as the Nationals, training here for the 24th SEA Games in Thailand this December, led from start to finish for their second straight win in three games.

In a brilliant show of offensive might, the Nationals scored 15 triples with former Hapee Toothpaste standout Allan Salangsang knocking in four, most of them in the final half that kept the Armymen –some of them playing in the USNCAA – at bay.

“So far we’re improving a lot, the flow of our offense and even our defensive rotation are improving,” said team manager Erick Arejola. “Our shooters need to gain more confidence in time for the SEA Games.”

The win was a fitting follow-up to their 91-76 drubbing of Yonsei University Friday where little dynamo Boyet Bautista made a starring role.

This time, the 5-foot-7 Bautista was limited to just a triple and a drive but his hustle and quickness earned him raves from the Fil-Am servicemen who rooted for the Nationals right from the start.

Salangsang topscored for the RP side with 16 points while Chan chipped in 14, including three triples. Jonathan Fernandez had also three triples to end up with 13 points.

Erick Dela Cuesta, the most veteran in the team, and Adamson star Patrick Cabahug had two triples to highlight the Nationals‚ dominating performance.

Big men Alex Crisano (6-foot-7), Beau Belga (6-foot-6) and Jervy Cruz (6-foot-5) gallantly held their ground against well-conditioned Armymen to the delight of coaches Junel Baculi and Louie Alas.

"They were given a hard time down low but I have to credit them for not backing off,"said Baculi. They showed they can now play against taller rivals in the SEA Games.

The Americans were still in the thick of the game until the Nationals, led by Eugene Tan, Chan, Salangsang, Belga and Chad Alonzo employed a trapping defense which caught their rivals by surprise. And this led to their several turnovers, thus allowing the Nationals to pull away for good.

The Nationals are scheduled to clash with Filipino migrants Sunday, hoping to provide entertainment to the Filipino community.

10-16-2007, 09:00 AM
Harbour too much for OFWs

SEOUL, South Korea — Harbour Centre-Philippine team easily beat a team of Filipino migrants here, 125-92, in an exhibition match before hundreds of cheering OFWs.

The Nationals came through with a hail of three-point shots as they settled the game right in the first half after building several 20-point leads.

"The Filipino community invited us to play with them, so as ambassador of goodwill we obliged to play and gave their families an entertainment they missed while away in the Philippines," team manager Erick Arejola said.

The win was the third straight for Harbour-RP since dropping its initial game against Myungji University Thursday.

In all, the Nationals had 17 triples as they virtually toyed with the overmatched Filipino migrants.

The trip here is part of the team’s preparation for the 24th SEA Games in Thailand this December. Last Friday, the Nationals mauled Yongsei University, 91-76, and then surprised the US Army the following day, 102-88,

"Right now, I’m happy with what the team is doing right now. They’re improving and I hope, they can sustain it till SEA Games," said Harbour Centre owner and amateur basketball godfather Mikee Romero.

"They’re not only training but they’re also providing entertainment to hundreds of OFWs."

While Jeff Chan, Boyet Bautista, Erick dela Cuesta, Jonathan Fernandez and Patrick Cabahug continued to sharpen their shooting arms, Fil-Am Alex Crisano provided fun in the game as he dazzled the crowd with an array of dunk shots.

The 6-foot-7 Crisano finished the game with 20 points but the 5-foot-7 Bautista he finished with a team high 22 points while Chan added 17 which he highlighted with three triples and Fernandez had 12.

10-19-2007, 09:54 AM
Nothing final on SEAG five roster


The Philippine Star

There’s nothing final yet as far as the composition of the Philippine men’s basketball team to the 24th Southeast Asian Games in Thailand this December is concerned.

"The only thing that is final is that we will win the gold in the SEA Games," said PBL chairman Cecilio Pedro Thursday during the successful launch of the new PBL season.

"I believe nothing is final. Whatever is good for the national team or the league, we’re willing to undertake," said Pedro, team owner of Hapee Toothpaste.

Pedro issued this statement when asked whether Gabe Norwood, the talented Fil-American who arrived in the country the other night, would play for Hapee or the RP team.

Norwood made a lot of heads turn when the PBA-backed RP team tried, but failed, to make it past the qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Norwood has expressed his willingness to don the RP colors. But his presence in the team remains uncertain, depending on the needs of the coaching staff for the SEA Games.

League insiders said if the coaching staff already feels no need for Norwood or any other player in the SEA Games lineup, then the one that has been formed will be made final and official.

Leading the Harbour Centre-Philippine Team now seeing action in Seoul are Jeff Chan, Allan Salangsang, Boyet Bautista, Jonathan Fernandez, Erick dela Cuesta, Patrick Cabahug, Beau Belga and Jervy Cruz.

"If they need any player or players, then the PBL will make them available. We will not stand in the way of the success of the RP team in the SEA Games," said commissioner Chino Trinidad.

"We will not come home from Thailand without the gold medals. That’s the only title our country has right now," added Trinidad, now on his eighth year as PBL commissioner.

Pedro said the coming season, which unfolds tomorrow at The Arena in San Juan, will be very exciting as in the past, and not even the arrival of Norwood makes Hapee the team to beat.

"The PBL is always interesting. Nobody is assured of the championship.Norwood is a great player. Still, it’s the team that will blend well that will make it," Pedro, owner of Hapee Toothpaste, said. "Basketball is a team sport. No single player can deliver a championship. But of course, with Norwood around, we are optimistic."

10-29-2007, 08:13 AM
Norwood just waiting for Baculi’s move

By Jasmine W. Payo
Last updated 04:12am (Mla time) 10/29/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- The all-amateur Philippine team will turn down any late inclusion in its roster even if it means rejecting Fil-Am sensation Gabe Norwood.

“If he joins us on the last week of November -- and this is for any player, not just Norwood -- he will have a hard time,” said national coach Junel Baculi.

But Norwood claimed the RP team has yet to officially show interest in getting him to join the Nationals although his own team in the Philippine Basketball League, Hapee Toothpaste, had already expressed willingness to lend him to the squad preparing for the coming Southeast Asian Games.

“Since I got back, no one has contacted me from the RP Team,” said the Fil-Am ace Norwood, who played with the national five in the FIBA Asia in Japan last July.

The 6-foot-5 guard, though, has yet to showcase his real talent after averaging only 6.5 points in two games with Hapee.

“I’m working with what I have,” said Baculi.

11-04-2007, 08:27 AM
Express lend its stars to Harbour-RP

By Beth Celis
Last updated 00:36am (Mla time) 11/04/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- After the woeful disaster in Tokushima last August, there’s no way the basketball-crazy Filipino will take another disappointment in the Southeast Asian Games this December.

RP team godfather Mikee Romero only knows this too well, because he himself cannot bear even the thought of failure in Thailand.

To his credit, Mikee has been doing everything within his capacity to form the most competitive national team and give it the maximum international exposure possible. The Nationals had participated in the Brunei Cup last August, trained in Korea last September and will fly to Singapore this month for a series of tune-up games arranged personally by Mikee.

Which is why he was so disheartened when the RP team lost to his own Harbour Centre squad on its very first assignment in the PBL where it is participating as a guest team.

* * *

“The team needs a center and a point guard to be competitive,” Mikee told me the last time we had a serious talk. Feeling that he had exhausted every source, he was at a loss on where to get these players.

I reminded him of a standing offer from Air21 president Lito Alvarez. I can’t remember exactly when he made it, but Lito had offered his Air21 players to the national team, in case their services were ever needed.

Ever since I can remember, the Bert Lina franchise has been generous in lending their players to the Basketball Association of the Philippines, for the national cause.

“Why don’t you take up Lito on his offer,” I urged Mikee.

* * *

A day later, Mikee was relaying the good news. The offer was still good, according to Lito, whom he had bumped into in the last PBL board meeting. Lito was representing Mail and More.

RP Harbour Centre is going to be beefed up by Ranidel de Ocampo, who had suited up for RP San Miguel, Arwind Santos and Wynne Arboleda, the two had agreed.

All that was needed to make this happen is the approval of the PBA board.

Immediately, I looked at the PBA’s schedule of games for the Philippine Cup.

From Dec. 5 to 15, which is the duration of the Southeast Asian Games, the Air21 players will miss seven game days and three Air21 games, against Ginebra at the Cuneta Astrodome on Dec. 7, against Alaska at the Araneta Coliseum on Dec. 12 and against Purefoods in Bacolod on Dec. 15.

* * *

Yesterday, I had to double check if Lito was actually willing to lend his players, before I let my hopes soar too high.

“Sure. We only need PBA approval,” Lito replied.

“Ranidel, Arwind and Wynne?” I verified.

“Si KG pwede rin,” Lito texted back.

Now I really got excited. With the slam-dunking KG Canaleta there, the Philippine team will not only be formidable but electrifying as well.

“It’s Mikee who’s personally requesting for our support. How can we say no,” said Lito, who mentioned that Bert Lina has the highest regard for the Harbour Centre owner.

No wonder Mikee has taken off for a long vacation somewhere this long All Saints Day weekend. Now his mind can rest. I just hope the PBA board gives its nod.

11-05-2007, 06:15 AM
Harbour Centre RP Basketball Team comes to Singapore
Newswire . October 27, 2007. Singapore

During the recent Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) press tribute dinner in Manila, the press corps noticed a discussion between business tycoons Dr. Mike Romero and PLDT’s Manny Pangilinan with Singapore based investment banker and sportsman Paul Monozca. Word got out that there were plans to host Philippine amateur and pro teams in Singapore.

The Harbour Centre RP Basketball Team, bankrolled by Romero and his Harbour Centre Port Terminal and of which, will represent the Philippines in the upcoming SEA games in Thailand in Dec 2007, is set to arrive in Singapore for a series of goodwill games. Amateur and professional teams may soon follow.

With Singapore creating a niche as an international games destination and sports hub in the region, it is to no surprise that filipino basketball will be involved. “The Singapore Sports Council and Basketball Association of Singapore are supportive and our pinoy community is excited at the idea to see our basketballers play in the lion city more often" mentioned Paul Monozca, who was given a Sports Award by the Singapore government last year for his charitable contributions thru sports.

This year’s team is an All-Star cast from MVP’s of La Salle, the University of the Philippines, FEU, San Sebastian, Adamson, PCU, UST etc. It is led by 6 foot 7 Alex Crisano, gunner Patrick Cabahug, UAAP MVP Jervy Cruz and play makers Eugene Tan and Boyet Bautista.

“I am very pleased to work with a good friend and dedicated sportsman, Mike Romero to bring pinoy sports entertainment to Singapore. He is the godfather of pinoy amateur basketball and am happy to co-sponsor it and help out” said Monozca. Both Romero and Monozca were basketball players during their high school days at La Salle.

“We have set a variety of matches for our national team in Singapore. Nov 11 is against the Singapore National team, Nov 12 is with the american selection, Nov 13 with the australian pro team Slingers, Nov 14 with the europeans and the last day is for our pinoy kids and pinoy ballers who want to meet them up close. Only the Nov 11 event has tickets which are available at SISTIC. All other events are free of charge. Both the SSC and BAS are involved and we have all the right parties to ensure the success” stressed Monozca. As this is the last stop before the SEA games in December, Philippine Ambassador to Singapore H.E. Belen F. Anota is hosting a dinner
for the team after the goodwill games.

As of today, the 2007 Harbour Centre RP Squad lists players Jason Castro, Beau Belga, Jonathan Fernandez, Erick de la Cuesta, Boyet Fernandez, Chad Alonzo, Alan Salansang, Alex Crisano, Eugene Tan, Jef Chan, Patrick Cabahug, Jervy Cruz, Ty Tang and Rico Mairehofer. Head coach Junel Baculi, asst. coach & South East Asian games gold medalist Louie Alas, asst. coach Ryan Dy of Harbour Centre & former Philippine team point guard Erick Arejola head the coaching & management staff. Veteran pro baller and 2 time national player Ato Morano of Coca Cola is also coming as he has been asked to try-out for a point guard slot with the aussie pro league team slingers, which is based in Singapore.

PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad together with a media team comprising of Solar Sports, Channel 7, Rey Lachica of Manila Bulletin, Abac Cordero of Philippine Star , the Inquirer’s Francis Ochoa & Roy Luarca and sportswriter dean Beth Celis will also be present.

Lucio “Bong” Tan Jr., a keen sportsman, baller and Singapore pinoy basketball supporter who is also a good friend of Romero and Monozca may join in the corporate box together with his pro players from Tanduay which he owns.

“When the tandem of sportsmen such as Romero and Monozca plan something they are passionate about, something exciting is coming, mga ganitong liga ang hinihintay nang lahat” says Roderick Eduarte, who handles Monozca’s corporate basketball team which comprise of filipino players based in Singapore.

“Meron po tumawag na kabayan, 20 tickets po ang binili para sa tropa niya sa Nov 11 first game. More than 4000 filipino spectators ang expected po namin for the first game”, stressed Jeffrey Amorado who is an officer of the Gatorade Basketball Clinics and the Dr. AB Monozca Foundation, which handles medical missions to the Philippines.

The city state has over 120,000 pinoys and over 5 pinoy leagues per year comprising an average of 12 teams each. A regional league is being planned by the organisers with Singapore as the anchor venue.

Main sponsor Harbour Centre (www.harbourcentre.com), popularly known as the “Batang Pier” team, counts championship rings during the 2006 & 2007 PBL unity cup and the 2007 PBL silver cup in the Philippines. Its current sponsorship of the RP team recently won the 2007 SEABA club championships at the Britama arena in Indonesia and is now gunning for the gold medal at the SEA gamesin Thailand in Dec.

Co-sponsor Parmon Group (www.parmon.com) and the Dr. AB Monozca Foundation is headed by Paul Monozca. It owns major fund raisers such as the annual Asian Celebrity Golf Classic (www.celebritygolfasia.com), the Gatorade Basketball Academy and Formula One simulators in Singapore. Parmon is a consistent sponsor of filipino basketball teams in Singapore since 1996.

11-05-2007, 06:20 AM
RP National Basketball Team to participate in Gatorade Goodwill Games 2007, Singapore

Our very own Philippine National Basketball Team, backed by amateur basketball godfather and Harbour Centre Port Terminals Chairman Mikee Romero will head to Singapore after their training stint in Korea in preparation for their SEA games competition in Thailand in December 2007. The team is the gold medalist contender after a 2 year absence from the FIBA circuit.

The Singapore leg is hosted and co-sponsored by tycoon Lance Gokongwei for Cebu Pacific Airlines and Parmon Group Chairman, Paul Monozca. Other co-sponsors are sports drink Gatorade, Mr. Arnold Bengco of Citigroup, Mr. Noel Perdigon of 7107 Flavours Restaurant and the Rasa Sentosa Shangri-la Hotel.

The following events have been confirmed :

Nov 11 , 3pm - Singapore National Team vs. Philippine National Team
(Singapore Indoor Stadium, Kallang)

Nov 12 , 6pm - American - Navy Selection / LJE Sports vs. Philippine National Team
(BAS court, 601 Aljunied Crescent, #01-04, Singapore Basketball Centre)

Nov 13 , 7pm - Australian Pro team Singapore Slingers vs . Philippine National Team
(Jurong East Sports & Recreation Centre, 21 Jurong East, Street 31)

Nov 14 , 8pm - European Selection / BBAXN vs . Philippine National Team
(BAS court, 601 Aljunied Crescent, #01-04, Singapore Basketball Centre)

Nov 15 , 6pm - Gatorade Basketball Clinic & Mix Games for Philippine Community
(Anglo Chinese School (ACS), 80 Barker Road . Along Bukit Timah)

The 2 key games which are on Nov 11 (Sunday) and Nov 13 (Tuesday) are in venues with ample seating capacity for spectators in both the east and west side of Singapore. Only the first game on Nov 11 is a ticket selling event. Tickets can be purchased at any SISTIC outlets. Events from Nov 12 onwards are free of charge.

Those interested to let their kids join the basketball clinic on Nov 15 should send the names of their children to : (ages 7 to 12 – bracket A ; ages 13 to 17 – bracket B)

Jeffrey Amorado
Dr. AB Monozca Foundation
eMail : foundation@parmon.com

For more information on the games, please contact Spud Eduarte at 90546690 or Paul Monozca at 93534869.

11-05-2007, 09:10 AM
RP five revamp looms in Wednesday’s meeting

By Jasmine W. Payo
Last updated 03:28am (Mla time) 11/05/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- A revamp may be in the offing for the national basketball team set to see action in the Southeast Asian Games in Thailand this December.

The Harbour-Philippine team absorbed its second loss playing as a guest squad in the Philippine Basketball League recently, prompting team officials to set an emergency meeting Wednesday with BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan.

“The defeat is alarming since other countries, especially Malaysia, Indonesia and host Thailand, are preparing hard for the coming SEA Games,” said Mikee Romero, Harbour Centre owner and project director of the SEAG squad.

Aside from tapping more amateur stars, the Nationals are hoping to acquire players from the pro ranks.

“We have to address the problem of the team this early and we plan to submit our proposals to the board on Tuesday,” said Romero.

The Air21 Express have already offered the services of Ranidel de Ocampo -- who suited up for the all-pro national team in the FIBA Asia championship in Tokushima, Japan -- and key players Arwind Santos, Wynne Arboleda and slam dunk champion KG Canaleta.

The move, though, is subject to the PBA board’s approval.

Several amateur standouts were also listed for possible inclusion during Romero’s meeting Sunday with PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad, national team coach Junel Baculi and team coordinator Erick Arejola.

Expected to give Baculi “more options” are Hapee’s Fil-Am sensation Gabe Norwood, De La Salle University’s Rico Maierhofer and JV Casio, University of the East’s Mark Borboran and Elmer Espiritu, Ateneo de Manila University’s Chris Tiu, Hapee’s Reed Juntilla and Harbour Centre’s Al Vergara.

Norwood said in a recent interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net, that he has yet to receive an invite from the national team.

“We’re willing to accept all the help we can get, in whatever capacity,” said Baculi, who only has a month left to train the national team.

Only Jason Castro, Beau Belga, ex-pro Alex Crisano and Chad Alonzo have delivered notable performances for the national squad, which Baculi said “lacks killer instinct” and “needs to work on defense.”

Other personalities invited to join Romero and Pangilinan in the emergency meeting are BAP-SBP officials led by vice chair Ricky Vargas, executive director Patrick Gregorio, treasurer Christian Tan and La Salle coach and national youth mentor Franz Pumaren.

The Harbour-RP Team’s PBL record fell to 3-2 after a loss to Hapee, 78-73, last Saturday. The Nationals also dropped their opening-day match versus Harbour Centre, 83-74.

“We can’t relax because it’s our honor which is at stake in the SEA Games,” said Romero. “We have to protect our legacy and keep our winning tradition in the SEA Games.”

11-05-2007, 09:34 PM
Cage bosses to meet over SEAG stint*
People's Journal*
November 05, 2007 Monday* *
A HIGH-LEVEL meeting among the country’s top basketball leaders will be held tomorrow to discuss the plight of the Philippine team which is tasked to retain the country’s No.1 status in the Southeast Asian region.
* *
Harbour Centre owner and amateur basketball godfather Mikee Romero yesterday requested PLDT and BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas big boss Manny V. Pangilinan to hold an emergency meeting after Philippine training team suffered its second defeat in the ongoing PBL V-Go Energy Dink Cup.
* *
With former NCAA star Gabe Norwood leading Hapee Toothpaste, the Nationals absorbed a stinging 78-73 beating Saturday, thus ending a three-game winning record. They dropped their opening game assignment to Harbour Centre, 83-74.
* *
Romero, PBL Commissioner Chino Trinidad, RP team coach Junel Baculi and team coordinator Erick Arejola already met yesterday and discussed several options to make the RP team more competitive.
* *
“We have to address the problem of the team this early and we plan to submit our proposals to the board on Tuesday,” said Romero. “We can’t relax because it’s our honor which is at stake in the SEA Games. We have to protect our legacy and keep our winning tradition in the SEA Games.”
* *
Also invited to join the meeting are former PBA Chairman and BAP-SBP Vice President Ricky Vargas, BAP-SBP Executive Director Pato Gregorio, Christian Tan, La Salle coach Franz Pumaren and other major stakeholders of the group.
* *
Informed of the problems besetting the RP training team, Pangilinan was quoted as saying: “We will get this done.”
* *
The pressure to retain the SEA Games title has increased ten-fold following the country’s failed bid to qualify for next year’s Beijing Olympics.
* *
PBL back-to-back MVP Jason Castro heads the 12-man team playing in the country’s premier amateur basketball league. Also in the team are Beau Belga, Jonathan Fernandez, Erick dela Cuesta, Chad Alonzo, Boyet Bautista, Allan Salangsang, Alex Crisano, Patrick Cabahug, Jeff Chan, Eugene Tan and Jervy Cruz.
* *
“The defeat is alarming since other countries, especially Malaysia, Indonesia and host Thailand are preparing hard for the coming SEA Games,” said Romero.
* *
This early, the consensus of the group is to invite several top players to join the RP training team so that coach Junel Baculi will have more options.
* *
Trinidad has been batting for the inclusion of Pharex’s Elmer Espiritu due to his defensive prowess.
* *
In the team’s 76-82 defeat to Harbour Centre, the 6-foot-3 Espiritu grabbed eight boards and had five blocks, including two on 6-foot-6 Rico Maierhofer.
* *
Also being considered are Norwood, Maierhofer, Ateneo’s Chris Tiu, Toyota Balintawak’s JV Casio, Hapee’s Mark Borboran and Reed Juntilla and Harbour’s Al Vergara.
* *
Baculi had indicated earlier that the team lacks consistency on the defensive end, saying: “Some don’t have the killer’s instinct.”

11-06-2007, 08:56 AM
RP team under close scrutiny

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

National team aspirants go all out to step up their games and boost their respective bids for spots in the SEA Games-bound RP squad as they take on winless Pharex today in the 2008 PBL V-Go Extreme Energy Drink Cup at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

The Nationals came under fire after dropping a 73-78 decision to Hapee Toothpaste last Saturday, their second defeat in five games, prompting Harbour Centre owner and chief benefactor Mikee Romero to call for a shakeup in the composition of the squad.

“With less than a month left before the SEA Games, we have to make drastic adjustment on the composition of the team since our SEA Games rivals are determined to beat us,” said Romero. “We have to have a strong and fighting team.”

PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad also said they intend to tap role players with a good approach to the game and those who are ready to give his best for the country.

Among those considered are Hapee’s Fil-Am sensation Gabe Norwood, Ateneo Chris Tiu, Pharex’s Elmer Espiritu, Harbour’s Rico Maierhofer and Al Vergara, Toyota Balintawak’s JV Casio and San Beda’s Ogie Menor.

“We need players who have good approach to the game. I’m not saying that the current members of the training team are not good but there are some who are better role players,” said Trinidad.

Whether or not some members of the training team will be replaced will be known today when they clash with the Pharex Medics at 2 p.m.

The Medics are still looking for their breakthrough win after dropping their first three games.

“As I had told them before, they can’t take any team in the league for granted. So they have to play their hearts out to remain in the team,” said RP team manager Erick Arejola.

Clashing in the main game at 4 p.m. are the San Mig Coffee Kings and the Mail And More Comets.

Expected to lead the Coffee Kings are Al Magpayo, Bonbon Custodio and Kelvin dela Pena, while University of the East’s Marcy Arellano and Kelvin Gregorio will be the spearhead of the Comets.

The Comets have lost their first two games while the Coffee Kings have a 1-1 win-loss record.

11-06-2007, 09:01 AM
Norwood needed in RP team — Chino


Philippine Basketball League (PBL) Commissioner Chino Trinidad yesterday said the services of Fil-American Gabe Norwood of Hapee Toothpaste is needed for the Philippine campaign in the Southeast Asian Games.

Trinidad discussed the situation of the RP team with Harbour Centre owner Mikee Romero and his special assistant Erick Arejola and the three agreed that there is a need to strengthen the team after itsuffered a second loss in five games in the ongoing PBL tournament.

Besides Norwood the three also discussed the possibility of having Pharex’s Elmer Espiritu, San Beda’s Ogie Menor, Harbour’s Al Vergara and Toyota Balintawak’s Eric Rodriguez in the team.

Negotiations to have Norwood are currently under way and a final decision on his availability will probably be made upon the arrival of Hapee team owner Cecilio Pedro from a business trip abroad on Saturday.

The inclusion of Norwood appeared imminent after Hapee Toothpaste basketball operations chief Jack Huang denied reports that they will not allow the 6-foot-5 Fil-Am from playing for the national team.

"Contrary to some reports, our position is that we’re always on the side of the national team," said Huang. "We’re not holding him (Norwood) back."

The RP team will play its final tuneup matches beginning Sunday in Singapore against its national team and a few pro teams from the island state.

With only 30 days left before the SEA Games, team officials pushed for a minor revamp after the national team absorbed a 78-73 loss to Hapee.

"Hindi naman total revamp. What we need are players who have a sense of urgency, players who have fire in their eyes and players who know the essence of what it is like being in the national team," Trinidad told scribes in an informal chat at the PSC-POC Media Group headquarters.

"Gabe Norwood is a big factor and he’s a stopper in the wing," Trinidad said.

Trinidad is upbeat about the chances of seeing the former George Mason University star on the SEA Games-bound team.

Trinidad, however, said the possible inclusion of Norwood and the other key players will not automatically mean that some players who have been with the team will have to pack their bags and give way to the new invitees.

11-07-2007, 02:42 PM
RP scores, but can't hold off revamp plans

By Jasmine W. Payo
Last updated 10:51pm (Mla time) 11/06/2007

RP scores, but can't hold off revamp plans

Close this FACED with growing concerns, including a clamor for its revamp, the Harbour-Philippine Team threw a little argument in its favor by hurdling newcomer Pharex, 85-75, and clinched its fourth win in six games in the PBL V-Go Extreme Energy Drink Cup Tuesday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

But judging by the words of its coach, it wasn't strong enough a case to fend off a retooling of its roster.

"First and foremost, I'm looking for players who have the heart to represent the country," said national coach Junel Baculi.

Officials recently batted for a roster shakeup with players like Hapee's Gabe Norwood possibly boosting the squad set to compete in the Thailand SEA Games next month.

PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad has conferred with team owners, including Hapee team owner and PBL chair Cecilio Pedro, for the likely inclusion of the identified players.

"We might tinker with the schedule so as not to compromise the teams, but it's still subject to the approval of the PBL board," said Trinidad.

The Nationals will play their final PBL game Thursday before leaving for a Singapore stint on Nov. 10.

"After that we will really finalize our lineup," said Baculi, who tackled his team's plight in an emergency meeting last night with SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan, Harbour Centre owner and SEAG project director Mikee Romero and other key officials.

In the second game, San Mig Coffee hammered out a 79-69 triumph against Mail and More.

The scores:

First Game
RP TEAM 85--Castro 21, Cabahug 14, Belga 11, Cruz 10, Fernandez 6, Dela Cuesta 6, Crisano 5, Alonzo 4, Tan 3, Chan 3, Bautista 2, Salangsang 0.

PHAREX 75--Oreta 16, Co 11, Gerilla 10, Matias 9, Soriano 7, Espiritu 6, Alfad 6, Allera 5, Bulawan 3, Aquino 2, De Guzman 0, Burtscher 0.
Quarters: 24-17, 45-42, 58-53, 85-75

Second Game
SAN MIG COFFEE 79--Magpayo 20, Saldua 15, Custodio 14, Rañeses 10, Del Rosario 8, Dela Peña 5, Bolocon 3, Dalafu 2, Pascual 2, Luanzon 0, Arao 0, Sorongon 0, Angeles 0.

MAIL AND MORE 69--Bravo 13, Baracael 12, Arellano 11, Gregorio 9, Misa 8, Ballesteros 7, Canlas 6, Bauzon 3, Masbang 0, White 0, Bonus 0.
Quarters: 21-21, 46-44, 63-59, 79-69

11-08-2007, 10:54 AM
Pros, Gabe eyed to form core of RP 5


The Philippines Star

The RP men’s basketball team for the coming 24th Southeast Asian Games in Thailand has pushed the panic button.

A month before the games, Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas president Manny Pangilinan, executive director Patrick Gregorio and RP team godfather Mikee Romero have called for a revamp of the current team which would include a number of pro players.

"If we send the current team to the SEA Games, I don’t think we can win the gold medal," Romero, the youthful owner of Harbour Centre, said Wednesday.

In a lengthy meeting the other night at the PLDT main office in Makati, the SBP brass, including Ricky Vargas, Chino Trinidad, Christian Tan, and coaches Junel Baculi, Louie Alas, Fritz Gaston and Frankie Lim, came up with a list of candidates for inclusion to the team while keeping the nucleaus of the squad.

They are Arwind Santos, KG Canaleta, Ranidel de Ocampo, Wynne Arboleda, Homer Se and Egay Billones of Air21 in the PBA, Gabe Norwood, Elmer Espiritu, Al Vergara and TY Tang of the PBL, Chris Tiu of the UAAP and Ogie Menor of the NCAA.

But PBA chair Tony Chua of Red Bull said the plan of tapping players from Air21 to reinforce the RP squad is not possible.

"We have an understanding with the SBP that the PBA will only provide players for the Asian Games and FIBA-Asia and not the Southeast Asian Games. So it’s very doubtful that it will be approved by the board," Chua told The STAR last night.

PBA acting commissioner Sonny Barrios, for his part, said the SBP has yet to inform the league about its plan and even if they do, it would clash with the agreement forged by the SBP and the league.

"There is an existing policy regarding the PBA’s role in SBP and unless the board make amendments or reverses its own, the policy stays," said Barrios.

From the current roster, only Beau Belga, Jason Castro, Chad Alonzo and Alex Crisano look sure of keeping their posts. The others will have to undergo serious consideration to make it to Thailand.

"New names were generated to reinforce the team and help us keep the gold which is quite important for the country. We’re doing what’s needed to be done. Just give us a few days," said Pangilinan.

"We realize that. We’re aware of that (time constraint). We’re appealing to the PBA to help out. There’s an issue. There’s a problem but we have to deal with it. We have to confront the issue. And in dealing with it everybody will have to cooperate. We’re not asking PBA to give up their marquee players," said Pangilinan.

"This is going to be the first gold medal for the SBP," said Gregorio.

11-08-2007, 10:59 AM
‘Take no chances, bring in the best’

Thursday, November 8, 2007

There’s only one solution to the problem, according to Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco.

And that is to bring the best team to represent the country in every international basketball competition – from the SEABA to the SEA Games and the Asian Games.

“What I can’t understand is why don’t we bring in our best team even to the SEA Games,” the POC chief told scribes Tuesday evening.

“We all know that Filipinos love basketball and we cannot afford to lose in this sport. Not in the SEA Games,” he said. “We can lose in any other sport but not basketball. Even if we win the overall crown, if we lose in basketball the people will not like it.”

Cojuangco also spoke of the positive impact a Philippine basketball team beating its rivals by 20, 30 or 40 points each game could create for the rest of the RP athletes.

“That’s true,” said RP team godfather Mikee Romero. “But we’re only working on a schedule and the availability of the players.”

Cojuangco was reacting to a move by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to revamp the SEA Games-bound men’s team barely one month before the start of the games in Thailand.

The SBP met the other night to plan the revamp.

“You see. That’s why we should always bring the best instead of making these last-minute changes,” said Cojuangco, adding that basketball officials should realize that only the best can get the job done.

“In the past, like in the SEA Games, we can manage by sending players who are not the best. But you cannot afford to do that now. The other countries have caught up with us.

“We are no longer the best. We are no longer that far ahead of our SEA Games rivals. In billiards, bowling or basketball, sports that we used to dominate, we have a hard time winning now,” he said.

“So let’s bring in the best,” the seasoned politician-sportsman said. –Abac Cordero

11-09-2007, 11:29 AM
Not much help for nat’l squad

By Beth Celis
Last updated 07:16am (Mla time) 11/08/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine Basketball League commissioner Chino Trinidad appeared at the PLDT offices the other night with his arms riddled with an assortment of cuts, scrapes and wounds.

Chino told SBP officials, with whom he was meeting that night, that he had not been manhandled by his wife Babette.

He admitted though, that his injuries were the result of a misadventure with his latest passion.

“It’s not a girl, silly. It’s a sport. Cycling.”

Chino said he got thrown off his mountain bike when he stepped hard on the brakes to slow down a downhill skid.

It happened in a dirt road in Montalban last Sunday.

“I took on the new hobby to commune with nature and overcome my fear of bikes.”

Chino said that the phobia developed 10 years ago when he almost lost his life while covering the Tour of Luzon bikathon for Vintage.

He wasn’t riding a bike though then, but a Mitsubishi L-300 van.

Last year, Chino also figured in another accident while biking in San Mateo.

With all these mishaps, how will he ever be able to overcome his phobia of bicycles?

* * *

Chino was at the PLDT offices Tuesday night to help find a way to strengthen the Harbour Centre-RP team which will compete in the Southeast Asian Games this December.

Basketball godfather Mikee Romero had appealed for assistance after the nationals lost twice in the ongoing PBL series.

RP head coach Junel Baculi admitted it would be difficult to win the gold with his present lineup.

Junel, just like everybody else, knows only too well that we cannot afford anything less than a gold medal in the SEAG.

* * *

I don’t know exactly what transpired for almost three hours inside the PLDT boardroom on the 6th floor, but when the doors were opened to the press, it appeared that nothing much was resolved.

Although Lito Alvarez was not in the meeting, he made it known that the offer to lend four Air21 players still stood.

But Lito said it will have to be a package deal which will include KG Canaleta, Ranidel de Ocampo, Wynne Arboleda and Arwind Santos.

To be able to lend these players without jeopardizing the performance of the Express, Lito had appealed to the PBA board to adjust the schedule of the games during the SEAG.

Scribes assigned to the PBA beat said this was next to impossible because the PBA will never change schedule in midstream.

More importantly, they said the league prohibits a cager to play in any tournament while the conference is ongoing. This rule is in the PBA’s constitution and by-laws, according to veteran scribes.

I don’t know the rule on reserved players.

* * *

According to Chino, Hapee’s Cecilio Pedro has agreed to lend Fil-Am Gabe Norwood, who would certainly be a big help to the RP cause.

But Cecilio, I understand, has certain terms and conditions which might be difficult to meet.

It would be interesting to know what these are.

Gabe is in Mikee Romero’s wish list, along with Elmer Espiritu of University of the East, and PBA players Homer Se, Egay Billones, Wynne Arboleda and Ranidel de Ocampo.

I hope Mikee finds a genie who can grant his wish.

11-10-2007, 07:22 AM
Tiu, 2 others join RP five; Hapee eyes No. 4

By Jasmine W. Payo
Last updated 00:09am (Mla time) 11/10/2007

Tiu, 2 others join RP five; Hapee eyes No. 4

MANILA, Philippines--THREE AMATEUR reinforcements will suit up for the beleaguered Harbour-Philippine Team when it leaves for a series of tune-up games in Singapore Saturday.

But coach Junel Baculi said Ateneo's sweet-shooting guard Chris Tiu, Harbour Centre's veteran point guard Al Vergara and Toyota Balintawak bruiser Eric Rodriguez must prove their worth to make the final cut of the revamped national squad.

"They have to fight for their slots," said Baculi. "The team will be competitive within itself."

Other reinforcements, including Hapee's Fil-Am star Gabe Norwood, are expected to join in the coming weeks to bolster the country's basketball campaign in the Southeast Asian Games in Thailand next month.

"The (players') mental approach towards the game is suspect," said Baculi. "When we go to Singapore, it will be like a boot camp and a team building."

PBA and PBL officials will convene separately early next week to discuss possible options to beef up the national crew.

Last Thursday, the Nationals wrapped up their guest stint in the PBL with two straight wins for a 5-2 record.

"A little more mental toughness and we can do it," said Baculi.

The Nationals, who also trained in Seoul, Korea last month, will go up against the Singapore national team, a Singapore-based Australian crew, an Army squad and a European group.

While Norwood remained on top of their wish list, the lanky 6-foot-5 guard will try to focus on leading Hapee to its fourth straight victory in the V-Go Extreme Energy Drink Cup Saturday.

The Complete Protectors--who stunned the Nationals, 78-73, in their last outing--will try to keep their perfect record versus Bacchus at 2 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

Harbour Centre will also try to extend its winning run to four against Toyota Balintawak at 4 p.m.

Batang Pier, meanwhile, have anchored their campaign on La Salle standouts TY Tang and Rico Maierhofer and Fil-Am Solomon Mercado.

"Playing against Toyota will determine how far we would go in this tournament; Toyota is a very tough team," said Harbour coach Jorge Gallent.

11-10-2007, 07:26 AM
We'll fight to death, says Castro

Last updated 11:41pm (Mla time) 11/09/2007

MANILA, Philippines--JASON CASTRO minced no words about what he and his teammates are willing to put on the line once ther 24th SEA Games in Thailand reel off next month.

"Patay kung patay na ito pag SEA Games na [We'll fight to the death in the SEA Games]," said the quicksilver Castro on Friday. "Iba na kapag bansa na natin ang nakataya [It's a different thing once the country is at stake]."

The impassioned vow came amid criticisms hurled the way of the national team, made up of players from the Philippine Basketball League, that has gotten to the point that a revamp of its roster has been ordered.

"We're still peaking so you can't expect us to play perfect," the 5-foot-10 guard said in response to critics who took to task the team's 5-2 record in the PBL, where the Nationals played as a guest team.

The RP squad, bankrolled by Mikee Romero of Harbour Centre, leaves for Singapore on Saturday for a series of tuneup games and Castro said that "we're still trying to perfect our offense and the coaching staff is doing their best to plug our defensive flaws."

And on the looming revamp, Castro said: "In some aspects of the game we're doing okay. There's no problem with me if new players will be inserted in the team."

11-10-2007, 07:35 AM
We’re hurting — Castro

AMID THE harsh criticism they’re getting, Jason Castro, top gunner of the Philippine team, believes they’re up to the challenge when they embark on a top mission comes the 24th SEA Games in Thailand next month.

"We’re still peaking so you can’t expect us to play perfect," the 5-foot-10 guard said on the eve of the team’s departure for Singapore. "We’re still trying to perfect our offense and the coaching staff is doing their best to plug our defensive flaws."

Castro, however, is convinced that the team needs only little changes, saying: "In some aspects of the game we’re doing OK naman. There’s no problem with me if new players will be inserted in the team."

Actually, only four players left from the original training team that was formed last July as the rest were taken in by several pro league teams.

Though he acknowledged the help of some stakeholders, Castro, the first player to win back-to-back MVP in the PBL, bewailed the criticism hurdled against his teammates.

"Nakakasakit yong mga sinasabi nila sa amin. Sana huwag na silang magsalita dahil tao lang kami at nasasaktan din," said Castro. "They can’t expect us to win by 20 points in the PBL tournament because they (coaches and players) know us. Alam nila ang galaw namin."

Speaking for his teammates, Castro vowed to give their all in the coming SEA Games, adding that: "Patay kung patay na ito pag SEA Games na. Iba na kapag bansa na natin ang nakataya.

The team’s chief backer, Dr. Mikee Romero of Harbour Centre, also hopes to remedy the situation when they compete against several teams in Singapore.

Romero said the team will pitted against Singapore national team, US Navy, Singapore-based Australians and a squad composed of Europeans.

"They need some toughening, so they’re leaving in the hope of learning more lessons," said Romero.

Aside from Castro, other members of the team are Beau Belga, Chad Alonzo, Jonathan Fernandez, Boyet Bautista, Jeff Chan, Erick dela Cuesta, Eugene Tan, Alex Crisano, Jervy Cruz, Patrick Cabahug and Allan Salangsang.

The team will be reinforced by Ateneo’s Chris Tiu, Harbour Centre’s Al Vergara and Toyota Balintawak’s Erick Rodriguez.

Romero’s special assistant Erick Arejola, is the head of the delegation. Others in the delegation are head coach Junel Baculi and his assistant Louie Alas, Ryan Dy and Rhuel Acot.

11-12-2007, 08:19 AM
RP five badly needs reinforcements


The Philippine Star

SINGAPORE – A couple of reinforcements would be enough to help the Harbour Centre-backed RP basketball team nail the gold medal in the 24th Southeast Asian Games slated Dec. 6-16 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

What we need right now is at least one or maybe two players to reinforce the team. But if they can give me three, then that’s fine," said RP coach Junel Baculi, who along with the Nationals arrived here Saturday night for a series of tune-up games.

"We’re now 70 percent ready to defend the country’s title, we’re now peaking at the right time," said Baculi.

The RP team is eyeing Gabe Norwood of Hapee Toothpaste to reinforce the squad.

PBL chair Cecilio Pedro, also the owner of Hapee Toothpaste, is expected to give his blessing on the stint of the George Mason standout in the national team for the second time.

Mikee Romero, the Harbour Centre owner and amateur basketball godfather, said they hope to tap the players who could fit the team well in their weeklong training here.

"We’re trying to find the right guys for the team, that’s why we’re here," said Romero. "Coach Junel and his staff are working very hard to plug the remaining holes."

Erick Arejola, Romero’s special assistant, said he will send assistant coaches Louie Alas, Beaujing Acot and Ryan Dy to nearby Johor Bahru in Malaysia tomorrow where majority of the national players of both Malaysia and Indonesia are seeing action in a club tournament.

"We need to scout our rivals this early," said Arejola.

Arejola said he’s worried of the Thais, who are reportedly planning to tap Thai-American players.

"I’m more worried about the Thais though," he said.

The RP cagers are set to play four teams, including the Singapore national team. The Nationals are also scheduled to tackle Singapore Slingers – composed mainly of Australians and Americans seeing action in the Australia-based National Basketball League – the US Navy and a selection composed of tall Europeans.

PBL back-to-back MVP Jason Castro, former pro Alex Crisano, Beau Belga, Patrick Cabahug, Jeff Chan, Chad Alonzo, UAAP MVP Jervy Cruz, Jonathan Fernandez, Boyet Bautista, Allan Salangsang, Erick dela Cuesta, Chris Tiu and Eugene Tan comprise the squad.

11-13-2007, 07:56 AM
Norwood’s in; RP five whips Singapore

By Roy Luarca
Last updated 03:32am (Mla time) 11/13/2007

SINGAPORE -- He failed to join the Harbour Centre-Philippine Team’s stint here, but it’s certain Gabe Norwood will be around to boost the county’s campaign in the Southeast Asian Games in December.

The release of the 6-foot-5 Norwood to the national team by the Hapee Toothpaste management, led by owner and Philippine Basketball League chair Dr. Cecilio Pedro, Monday afternoon provided more joy to the Nationals who routed the Singaporeans, 90-42, on Sunday.

The coaching staff, headed by Junel Baculi, welcomed the news relayed by RP assistant team manager Eric Arejola, and said that the former George Mason U standout in the US NCAA will play a vital role in the country’s title-retention bid in the Thailand SEAG next month.

Though Norwood plays the point and off-guard positions in the PBL, Baculi said he may also use the slim, high-flying Fil-Am as a small forward.

The Nationals, led by two-time PBL MVP Jason Castro, are playing against the US Navy Selection at presstime at the Singapore Basketball Centre.

Amateur basketball godfather Mikee Romero, who is here to oversee the Nationals’ training, was also elated by Norwood’s release.

“It’s a big, big development as far as the team is concerned and I’d like to thank the (PBL) board for coming out to help the team,” said Romero. “This endeavor is not for Harbour Centre but for the country.”

With Jonathan Fernandez knocking in four triples and Patrick Cabahug adding three, the Nationals toyed with the Singaporeans, giving joy to some 500 Filipinos in the gallery.

The Nationals, showing that they have toughened a bit on defense, held the Singaporeans to just nine points in each of the first two quarters en route to a 42-18 halftime spread.

“We’re on track and I’m happy to say that we’re improving since our last game in the PBL tournament,” said Baculi. “May communication na sa loob. May fluidity na talaga.”

Back home, PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad also expressed his gratitude to all owners and team representatives for supporting the national team.

“As I’ve said before, PBL teams will always help and deliver if it is for the national cause,” said Trinidad. “So everybody agreed to help the RP team.”

“He’s quick and a very intelligent player so I have high respect for him,” said Baculi of Norwood, who carried Hapee to a 4-0 start in the current PBL tournament and saw action for the RP team that played in the FIBA-Asia championship in Japan last July.

Trinidad said that at least two more players will be added to further bolster the Nationals’ SEAG chances.

NOTES: The Philippine delegation was treated to a sumptuous dinner at the No Signboard Restaurant Sunday night by Citibank executive Arnold Bengco... The Singapore Slingers are planning to tap former Filipino stars like Vergel Meneses and Bong Alvarez to attract a bigger Filipino crowd... Alex Crisano and Ateneo’s Chris Tiu are turning out to be the most popular Filipino players here.

The scores:
HARBOUR-RP 90 -- Fernandez 14, Belga 12, Alonzo 9, Cabahug 9, Cruz 8, Dela Cuesta 7, Chan 7, Bautista 6, Castro 6, Crisano 6, Vergara 2, Tiu 2, Salangsang 2, Tan 0.
SINGAPORE 42 -- Jian 14, Matialakan 9, Khoo 5, Folkoff 5, Aw 4, Long 2, Yuh 2, Ju 1, Jie 0, Leong 0.
Quarters: 22-9; 42-18; 63-13; 90-42

11-13-2007, 07:59 AM
Pinoys face Cambodians in first game

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
SINGAPORE – The Philippines drew a favorable schedule in the Southeast Asian Games basketball competitions, taking on lowly Cambodia in the opener on Dec. 7 at the Keelapirom Stadium inside the Suraneree University in Nakron Ratchasima province in Thailand.

This should give the Harbour Centre-backed RP squad enough time to scout Malaysia and Thailand – two teams tipped to foil the Philippines’ title-retention bid in the event, which drew only five teams, including Indonesia.

“The schedule will give us time to adjust to the venue and time to scout our opponents because scouting is very important in any tournament,” said RP team coach Junel Baculi, whose wards are currently playing some tune-up games here as part of their SEAG build-up.

Though the schedule is still tentative, Mikee Romero, Harbour Centre team owner and amateur basketball godfather, hopes the host will stick to the program.

“It will give us enough time to plan our strategy, we just hope to do the right thing and pray that the schedule will not change,” said Romero, who flew in Sunday here to personally oversee the team’s training along with assistant team manager Erick Arejola.

The Nationals are set to play the Cambodians in the 1 p.m. opener with the Malaysians clashing with the Indonesians at 3 p.m., thus giving the RP team coaching staff the opportunity to scout the two countries.

The Thais, considered the biggest stumbling block to the Filipinos’ title drive, start their campaign on Dec. 8 against the Malaysians, another chance for Team RP to get a glimpse on the hosts’ real strength.

After Cambodia, the Philippines tangles with Indonesia on Dec. 9, collides with Malaysia on Dec. 11 before taking on the hosts on Dec. 13.

Since the competition is a single round format, the Malaysian and Indonesians aren’t expected to keep their aces because one defeat could certainly hurt their title chances.

Louie Alas, for his part, said the country has a strong chance of defeating the Malaysians and Indonesians with the Thais being the toughest since there were reports that they wound be reinforced by three Thai-Americans.

“Knowing them, we have to prepare hard and be tough because they will do everything to stop us,” said Alas.

Meantime, the RP women’s team will have Indonesia as its opening game rival on Dec. 8. Also in the fold are Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. – Joey Villar

11-14-2007, 07:47 AM
RP quintet reaching top form


The Philippine Star

SINGAPORE – The Harbour Centre-Philippine team finally showed its true potential even without its star player, blasting the US Navy Selection, 105-58, Monday in a victory that augured well for the Filipino cagers’ keenly awaited campaign in next month’s SEA Games in Thailand.

Unrelenting in offense, the Nationals also proved to be unforgiving in defense, dominating their rivals from start to finish and never letting up even when the outcome was already beyond doubt.

"I saw their killer instinct in this game, that’s what we’ve been waiting for," said RP team coach Junel Baculi. "Unlike before when they tend to relax after posting a big lead, this time they worked hard till the end."

The Nationals’ performance also impressed RP team manager Mikee Romero.

"This is our best performance to date, finally the team shows good form," said Romero, the Harbour Centre team owner and amateur basketball godfather who was here along with assistant manager Erick Arejola to supervise the squad on its buildup for the SEAG wars.

What made it doubly impressive was that the Nationals fashioned out the win without Fil-Am Gabe Norwood.

Norwood, the 6-foot-5 former George Mason standout who saw action with the pro-backed RP team in the Olympic Qualifier in Tokushima, Japan, was recently given the green light to join the Nationals by the PBL board chaired by Hapee Toothpaste owner Cecilio Pedro.

With Norwood around, the RP team is expected to become more formidable, both in offense and defense.

Connecting on their perimeter shooting and shackling the US Navy five with their pesky full-court press, the Nationals led by 15 points after the first quarter, 29-15, then raced to 30-point leads in the third.

"They (Nationals) are now more competitive," said Baculi. "If they play the same way they did, we stand a good chance of attaining our goal, that is to win the SEA Games gold medal," said Baculi.

Ex-pro Boyet Bautista sizzled with 20 points, including six of the Nationals’ whopping 18 triples. The former Letran Knight had three straight in the early minutes of the contest.

The win came a day after RP whipped the Singapore National team, 90-42.

Meanwhile, the Nationals are currently playing the Singapore Slingers, a professional team competing in the Australian National Basketball League, at the Jurong Indoor Stadium Tuesday night.

The Slingers boast of an average ceiling of 6-foot-6, with 6-foot-10 Aussies Chris Cameron and David Donaldson manning the slot.

Amercian Rod Grizzard, the last one cut from the Washington Wizards before the regular season, is one of the four players standing at 6-foot-8.

Baculi said he is planning employ the zone defense against the taller Slingers, who bested the Nationals in close, hotly contested game and split their assignments against the Sta. Lucia Realtors in the Brunei Cup last August.

Jonathan Fernandez fired four triples to finish with 14 points while Jeff Chan scattered 13 points, including three from behind the arc.

11-14-2007, 12:57 PM
Lipa, Norwood boost RP quintet’s SEAG chances
By Jasmine W. Payo
Last updated 07:49am (Mla time) 11/14/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Key figures returning to national duty aim to provide a boost for the Harbour-Philippine Team vying for the men’s basketball gold in the Thailand Southeast Asian Games in December.

Former national coach Joe Lipa was tapped as special adviser, a day after Hapee Toothpaste gave the green light for Fil-Am Gabe Norwood’s inclusion in the squad.

“We all know what coach Joe has done, how much he loves the game and this country, and how passionate he is about sharing his knowledge,” said Chino Trinidad, Philippine Basketball League commissioner and SEAG delegation head.

Trinidad said the multi-titled mentor will provide “another set of discerning eyes who can contribute valuable inputs” to head coach Junel Baculi.

Lipa said in a statement: “I will always be available to help our country in its quest for international basketball glory.”

The 22-year-old Norwood, who suited up for the all-pro national team in the FIBA-Asia Championship in Tokushima, said the SEAG-bound Nationals are “definitely talented.”

“I’m up for the challenge,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll all get together in the same page pretty quick. I’ll do whatever is asked of me. I’ll play defense, I’ll pass the ball, I’ll rebound.”

Norwood’s inclusion came at the heels of the PBL board’s approval of a proposal to adjust the league calendar to give way to the Harbour-RP team’s SEAG stint and training.

11-18-2007, 07:51 AM
RP squad’s Singapore stint allays fears

By Beth Celis
Last updated 11:20pm (Mla time) 11/17/2007

MANILA, Philippines--BUSINESSMAN Arben Santos, reacting to an item in this column, called the Friday to say that he would have to decline his nomination as PBA commissioner.

Arben, who also manages the Ateneo PBA players, explained that his health and age are not up to the stress involved in running a league like the PBA.

Arben added that he had just had a heart bypass some months ago, in addition to turning 60.

Just before he called, I received a text message from Arben, saying that he was declining the nomination because he could not serve nine masters at a time. He was, of course referring to the nine PBA ballclubs.

“I have only one master and that is my wife Celda,” Arben added.

He said the message, which was supposed to be for an old chum, was wrongly sent.

* * *

The five-day stint in Singapore where the Harbour-RP team swept all its four games against the Singapore national team, a US navy and European squad, and the Australian Slingers, have allayed the apprehensions of RP coach Junel Baculi and team manager Mikee Romero.

Mikee said the all-pro Slingers gave them the most difficult time.

“We were in the land of the giants. It was like playing against an NBA team. The Australians’ average height was 6-7, as against our 6-2. Their center was 6-11. The Filipinos were initially stunned because of their height, natambakan agad tayo by 20 points,” Mikee related.

But the nationals didn’t lose heart and patience. Slowly, they whittled off the huge lead until they leveled the score about a minute before the final buzzer.

“Imagine, our point guard Al Vergara was only up to the chest of the guy he was guarding. We were dwarfed by the Australians. This game proved that we could win against giants with mere heart and perseverance.”

* * *

According to Mikee, most of the Filipinos watching that day were so touched by the victory that they cried, “even if it was only a tune-up game.”

“The addition of PBL Harbour Centre point guard Al Vergara and Ateneo’s Chris Tiu made the big difference. We’ll even be stronger with the inclusion of Fil-Am Gabe Norwood,” Mikee said.

Harbour’s Jason Castro so impressed the Australians that they immediately offered him a two-year contract to join the team.

If ever, Mikee said he will not stand in the way of progress.

* * *

Melissa Sison Jacob, the third Fil-Am to beef up the RP women’s cage team, arrived in Manila the other day .

The 5-9 Melissa can play the 1 and 2 positions but is at her best at the point.

She can shoot too. She can create her own shots and can score from long range.

The initial report is, she is as good as advertised.

Melissa and the two other Fil-Ams, Amira Issa and Vicky Brick, will display their wares against the All-Star team of the Filipino Indian Basketball League in an exhibition game at 5 p.m. today at the Adidas Sports Kamp at The Fort.

According to FIBL commissioner Dilip Budhrani, the Indian ambassador will be there to watch the game.

11-19-2007, 05:49 AM
Norwood, 3 others join RP team


The Philippine Star

Four new players headed by Fil-Am Gabe Norwood have joined the RP men’s basketball team following its recent return from a successful sortie in Singapore where they beat the all-professional Singapore Slingers.

Norwood, part of the RP squad that finished ninth in the Olympic qualifiers early this year in Tokushima, Japan, and Elmer Espiritu of Pharex have started training with the team Saturday night at the Arena in San Juan.

Mac Baracael of Mail and More and Erick Rodriguez of Toyota Balintawak Sunday joined the Harbour Centre-backed squad in its two-day team building session in scenic Tagaytay as part of its build up for the 24th Southeast Asian Games set Dec. 7-13 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

"We’ll spend two days here trying to get to know each other more," RP coach Junel Baculi on Sunday told The STAR.

Baculi, however, stressed they have yet to finalize the composition of the 12-man team that will be fielded in Thailand where the Filipinos hope to regain the gold medal it last won in the 2003 Hanoi Games.

"We’re still evaluating, maybe we’ll announce it before we leave on Dec. 3 or during the managers meeting there," said Baculi.

Even without the new players, the Nationals have shown they could win the SEAG gold on their own after they swept all their four tune-up games against the Singapore national team, a US Navy selection, a European selection and the taller Singapore Slingers.

Except for the Slingers game, all were won in lopsided fashion.

The win over the Slingers, a team backed by Australians, Americans and a 6’11" Macedonian competing in the Australia-based National Basketball League, redeemed the Nationals after getting a flak back home for failing to live up to expectations.

"The team showed great chemistry in Singapore, they showed heart, they want to prove something," said Baculi.

Fil-Am Alex Crisano finally managed to keep his cool and stayed in the games long enough to help the team hold their own inside.

UAAP MVP Jervy Cruz was a revelation particularly in the Slingers match where he had 22 points and 12 rebouns while Beau Belga, Allan Salangsang and Chad Alonzo were as solid as Crisano inside.

Jason Castro was his usual prolific self in Singapore while Al Vergara, Boyet Bautista and Eugene Tan were rock solid in handling the backcourt chores for the Nationals.

Shooters Jonathan Fernandez, Chris Tiu, Jeff Chan, Eric dela Cuesta and Patrick Cabahug delivered when the team needed them to that should make the selection process for the coaching staff a difficult task.

"It’s a pleasant problem," said assistant coach Louie Alas, who steered the team the gold in the 1999 Brunei Games. "Everyone deserves to be in the team because they’ve worked hard and sacrificed a lot from the start."

11-21-2007, 06:29 AM
RP ready to defend Seag basketball crown in Thailand
Sunstar Cebu
Wednesday, November 21, 2007

AFTER four years, the RP national team is ready to defend the men’s basketball crown in the 24th Southeast Asian Games in Nakhonratchasima, Thailand on Dec. 5 to 13.

Head coach Junel Baculi said that with the addition of Filipino-American Gabe Norwood, Al Vergara and Eric Rodriguez the team is at least ready for battle against expected strong rivals host Thailand and Indonesia.

“We have a very strong team and we are ready to defend the title,” said Baculi during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum yesterday.

This will be the first time the country will play in the biennial Sea Games since the lifting of the suspension by the Federation International Des Basketball (Fiba) in March this year.

“This is our only international crown and so we will do everything to bring home the bacon,” added Baculi referring to the country’s domination of the men’s basketball event in the South East Asia regional meet except 1989, when the RP squad lost to Malaysia.

He said that all in the current 16-man roster will join in the trip to Thailand and the squad will be trimmed to 12, which is the maximum number of players allowed to play.

“With this team is almost the same system with that which played in the Fiba-Asia championship in Japan. Everybody is playing hard and is very serious of winning the Sea Games title,” said the 22-year-old Norwood.

Other members of the dream team are skipper Jason Castro, Chris Tiu, Allan Salansang, Beau Belga, Chad Alonzo, Jonathan Fernandez, Eugene Tan, Boyet Bautista, Patrick Cabahug, Erik de la Cuesta, Alex Crisano, Jeff Chan and Jervi Cruz.

“We are all rearing to play and win the championship. We can not lose in the Sea Games,” said Castro of the PCU Dolphins.


Dr. Mikee Romero of Harbor Center, who bankrolled the team since its formation in April shared Baculi’s trust on the team, which started their stint in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba ) championship in Jakarta, Indonesia in June and later in the different international tournaments in Brunei then in Korea and Singapore.

“Since the formation of the team, we gave 200 percent effort and time. That’s how long we prepared this team. Now, they are your team, our national team,” said Romero.

Baculi also said that the bonding they have in Tagaytay City at least improved the camaraderie of the members including the newcomers Rodriguez, Vergara and Norwood, a 6-foot-6 forward, who played with the George Mason University in the US NCAA Division I.

“I’m very excited. This is my first international stint and I’m thrilled playing for the country,” said Chris Tiu of the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

Baculi also said that among the feared teams in the coming Sea Games, which was won by the James Yap, Marc Pingres and Ronald Tubid-led RP quintet in 2003 in Hanoi, Veitnam, are host Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“The Indonesian went to Chinese-Taipei, they are trying to catch-up, while host Thailand is using a Chinese coach. But most Fiba officials that we have met in Korea and Singapore pointed Indonesia as the strongest among the three,” said Baculi. (FCC)

11-21-2007, 10:20 AM
Gold or nothing for RP five, says Mikee

It's the gold medal or nothing for the Philippine men’s basketball team to the 24th Southeast Asian Games in Thailand from Dec. 6 to 15.

"If this is the gold that really matters, then we assure you that we will bring home the gold," said Mikee Romero, the Harbour Center owner who will head the team that will shoot for the gold.

Romero was reacting to a recent statement made by Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose "Peping" Cojuangco that in the SEA Games, the Filipinos can lose in any other sport except basketball.

"We will not lose in the SEA Games. We will make sure of this," Romero vowed in yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s UN Ave. where the 16-man RP lineup was presented to the media.

Those who will try to keep the basketball gold that has evaded the Philippines only once in SEA Games history (1989 in Kuala Lumpur) are PBL and collegiate standouts led by back-to-back MVP Jason Castro.

Others in the team are Chris Tiu, Allan Salansang, Beau Belga, Chad Alonzo, Jonathan Fernandez, Eugene Tan, Jeff Chan, Boyet Bautista, Patrick Cabahug, Al Vergara, Eric dela Cuesta, Erik Rodriguez, Alex Crisano, Gabe Norwood and Jervy Cruz. Norwood, Rodriguez, Tiu and Vergara are the latest additions to the team.

PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad stressed the importance of winning the basketball gold again, but said at the same time, that how the nationals will achieve this goal is equally important.

"Medals get tarnished while trophies are usually left with cobwebs kapag hindi mo nilinis. All I want for these players are to put their mind, spirit and their hearts into what they will be doing. Ibuhos nila lahat sa dapat gawin nila. For me, I think, that’s the lasting trophy na magagawa nila," said the PBL chief.

"I’m excited about the opportunity. Everybody here has been training hard. They’ve been working very hard," said Norwood, a Fil-American who will play a key role in Thailand.

The final 12 men who will see action against teams from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia will be announced during the managers’ meeting on Dec. 4. Action starts on Dec. 7.

The coaching staff is led by Junel Baculi and Louie Alas with Ryan Dee and Beujing Acot as assistants.

Trinidad is team manager with Harbour Center’s Erik Areola as assistant.

"Everybody here deserves to be in the team. This is our Philippine team to the Southeast Asian Games," added Romero in the forum also sponsored by Shakey’s and PAGCOR.

Also gracing the session were PBL deputy commissioner Tommy Ong and executive director Butch Maniego.

"We’ve been preparing hard. The players are ready to regain the gold medal that we’ve always won except for one instance. Our resolve is hard," said Baculi.

The head coach said there’s pressure coming from different quarters, but he feels that whoever makes it to the final roster has what it takes to help the country win the gold.

"We’ve been trying to analyze this team everyday. And we don’t want duplication of roles. We will not allow that to happen," said Baculi who expects Thailand and Indonesia are the toughest rivals.

Basketball was not played during the 2005 Manila SEA Games because the Philippines was then under suspension from the International Basketball Federation or FIBA.

"We’ve seen the opposition. And it’s not only the Thais, but the Indonesians we should be wary of.

That’s why we’re recorded games of these two teams," said Baculi.

11-22-2007, 03:10 AM
Without passport, Crisano still questionable for SEAG
By Joel Orellana

Head coach Junel Baculi of the men’s basketball team is hoping and praying that the passport of Fil-American center Alex Crisano will come out in time so that he can join the team to the Southeast Asian Games in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

Baculi is a little bit edgy about the status of Crisano’s passport as the team has yet to secure the needed documents that will make him eligible to join the Nationals in the December cagefest.

“It’s really beyond our control but hopefully lumabas in time para makasama siya sa team,” said Baculi, who moved the every day training of the team in the afternoon to accommodate his players competing in the current Philippine Basketball League (PBL) tournament.

“Whatever happens, we are prepared, that’s why we got Eric Rodriguez into the pool so we’ll have an additional big man,” Baculi added.

The six-foot-seven Crisano also encountered a minor hitch when the team went to Korea for a pair of goodwill games. The Bureau of Immigration found out that Crisano was overstaying for four years. He was asked to pay P88,000 as penalty.

Besides Rodriguez, the late additions in the 16-man pool are point guard Al Vergara, shooter Chris Tiu and do-it-all Fil-Am guard-forward Gabe Norwood.

Baculi admitted that the team will have a hard time choosing the final 12 for the competition proper, particularly on the small forward position with the addition of Norwood.

“The wingman position will be very hard to decide but we’re glad that we have the talent to choose from unlike before when the talent pool was inadequate,” said Baculi, who will be shooting for his first SEA Games gold medal as a coach.

“What’s good about this situation is the coaching staff just needs to plug a few leaks to make us a very competitive team unlike before when the solutions were scarce,” he added.

Baculi furthered that the team is in 75 percent as far as competitiveness is concerned and he’ll be using the remaining two weeks to work out the team’s chemistry as four new players joined the team just this week.

Last Tuesday, godfather Mikee Romero named the final 16 in the pool.

Howard the Duck
11-29-2007, 03:16 AM
wag na kasi isali si crisano :P

12-03-2007, 08:26 PM
Alex Crisano out of RP caging squad competing in SEA Games
12/03/2007 | 08:10 PM

Ex-pro Alex Crisano will not be suiting up for the Philippine basketball squad competing in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games because his papers had been delayed.

This was revealed Monday by coach Junel Baculi at a sendoff party for the RP men's and women's team in a restaurant in Quezon City.

Baculi explained that crucial documents which Crisano was waiting for failed to arrive. Both teams will leave for Thailand on Tuesday.

"Hindi lumabas ang mga papeles na kailangan ni Alex," Baculi said. "But life goes on for the team. I still believe that every one in the team is up to the challenge to win the gold in the SEA Games.

The 12 official members of the team will be named by the RP team management during the manager's meeting on December 6.

"Physically at mentally fit lahat ng members ng team. Prepared sa lahat ng scenario maging sa masamang officiating," Baculi said.

Also attending the sendoff were Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose "Peping" Cojuangco, Philippine Basketball League chair Cecilio Pedro, PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad, and Harbour Centre owner Mikee Romero. - AP

12-04-2007, 08:10 AM
Crisano ineligible, dropped from list

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Citizenship woes knocked Fil-Am Alex Crisano off the national team roster, leaving the team with one less inside threat when it competes in the SEA Games starting Friday in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

“I’m sad to report this but Alex will not be joining us in Thailand because his papers did not come in time,” said RP team coach Junel Baculi in the Nationals’ final sendoff yesterday.

Eric Arejola, assistant RP team manager, informed Crisano of this exclusion from the team.

Crisano’s departure leaves Baculi and assistant coaches Louie Alas, Ryan Dy and Beaujing Acot with 15 players to select the 12 who will make up the team for the event set Dec. 7-13 at the Keelapirom Stadium of Suranaree University of Technology in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

The Nationals leave today for Thailand with the coaching staff to decide in the managers’ meeting on Thursday the 12-man team composition.

RP takes on lowly Cambodia on Saturday, battles Indonesia on Dec. 9, clashes with Malaysia on Dec. 11 before squaring off with host Thailand on Dec. 13. – Joey Villar

12-04-2007, 08:17 AM
For Baculi, birthday celebration can wait


TOMORROW, PHILIPPINE men’s basketball coach Junel Baculi turns another year. But there will be no celebration. Not on this day, anyway.

Instead of having his favorite drink, the multi-titled mentor is expected to lock himself in his room to decide who will officially make up the 12-man team that will try to win back the basketball gold medal in the 24th SEA Games in Thailand.

Right now, the team is composed of 15 players – most of them from the PBL. There used to be 16, but former pro Alex Crisano was dropped from the team earlier.

Baculi said Crisano’s papers could not be completed in time for the SEA Games, so team officials, led by Harbour Center owner Mikee Romero, decided to pull him out of the team to avoid complications at entry point.

Baculi has until Thursday to name his team during the general managers’ meeting.

"I don’t have a celebration since it’s going to be my judgment day. I have to decide who will make up the team," Baculi said. "Of course, it’s going to be a tough decision but I have to be firm in selecting who can help the team most."

Baculi said he will meet first with Romero and other officials, including PBL Commissioner Chino Trinidad, before announcing the official lineup.

Though only12 players are allowed to play, team officials are bringing all 15 players to Thailand.

Except for one or two players, Baculi’s team is already complete. The borderline players are giving him a quandary.

He said he is looking for that one quality that could help the team when the going gets a bit choppy, a player who can be pulled from the bench and deliver.

This is why all 15 players are going to Thailand. He might find the missing ingredient during the short trip to Bangkok.

Making the trip are Jason Castro, Gabe Norwood, Chris Tiu, Beau Belga, Tantan Fernandez, Al Vergara, Chad Alonzo, Jeff Chan, Erick Rodriguez, Boyet Bautista, Patrick Cabahug, Erick dela Cuesta, Eugene Tan and Allan Salangsang.

Meantime, all major stakeholders in basketball showed up during the send-off luncheon hosted by the PBL to members and coaching staff of both men’s and women’s squads yesterday.

Words of support poured in for both national teams.

Romero, who was seated beside POC President Peping Cojuangco Jr., guaranteed a gold medal.

"On behalf of the men and women’s teams, hindi tayo mapapahiya. The 90 million Filipinos can expect that we will bring home the gold medal," Romero said.

POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad, chairman Cecilio Pedro, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Officer In-Charge Sonny Barrios, Toyota Balintawak Board member Gil Angeles, San Mig Coffee counterpart Chito Loyzaga, Christian Tan and Ateneo’s Junjun Capistano, who represented Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Manny Pangilinan, also wished the teams well.

12-05-2007, 11:21 AM
RP quintet unable to workout
By Nelson Beltran
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

NAKHON RATCHASIMA – The celebrated RP quintet hit town with the Philippine delegation yesterday but, with a delay at the Bangkok airport, wasn’t able to hold practice, three days before the start of the SEA Games basketball tournament at the Keelapirom Stadium here.

Coach Junel Baculi, in a phone conversation with The STAR, said he’s instead calling two practice sessions today then is likely to announce the makeup of his Final 12.

Baculi said guards Gabe Norwood and Jayson Castro, forwards Chad Alonzo and Jervy Cruz, and center Beau Belga are the shoo-ins for the team.

Boyet Bautista, Jeff Chan, Jonathan Fernandez, Allan Salangsang, Eugene Tan, Al Vergara, Eric Rodriguez, Chris Tiu and Patrick Cabahug are slugging it out for the seven remaining slots in the team defending the crown in the sport scrapped the last time in Manila due to the Philippines’ suspension by the FIBA then.

After the two practice sessions today, the Nationals work out the last time Thursday before plunging into action versus Cambodia at 3 p.m. Friday.

The Nationals take on the Indons on Sunday, the Malaysians on the 12th and the Thais on the 13th in a short round-robin format where the team with the best record automatically wins the crown.

It means the Philippines can’t afford an off-night as an upset loss could spell outright elimination.

“One loss, you die. So we have to be ready for any eventuality each time we enter the court,” said Baculi.

The team has lost much on ceiling on the exit of Fil-foreign slotman Alex Crisano but Baculi is hopeful they could make up on quickness, hustle and toughness on defense.

Being the second placers in the recent SEABA championship in Ratchaburi, the Indons are tipped to give the Filipinos the toughest challenge.

Indon coach Fictor Roring, however, has long conceded the crown to the Filipinos, saying his team, Thailand and Malaysia are only to fight it out for the silver medal.

“Even the Philippines’ amateur stars are too good for us,” said Roring to the Filipino sportswriters in a break during one practice during the Fiba Asia Championship in Tokushima, Japan.

Roring had been a long-time mainstay of the Indon team, becoming the Indon national coach after working as deputy to Filipino coach Nat Canson in their club league back home.

12-05-2007, 09:26 PM
Coach mulling on last 2 men in RP caging lineup at SEA Games
12/05/2007 | 07:51 PM

Coach Junel Baculi is having a hard time choosing the players who would fill up the final two spots of the Philippine caging lineup, with just two days before competitions start at the Keelapirum Stadium, venue of the basketball matches in the 24th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Thailand.

His choices: Chris Tiu, Patrick Cabahug, Jonathan Fernandez, Erick dela Cuesta, and Jeff Chan.

"They're all deadly," Baculi said in a statement issued on Wednesday. "Walang kang tulak-kabigin sa limang yan. It's really hard to decide who among them will make the 12-man team."

The managers' meeting is scheduled for Thursday where the final line up of all five teams will be submitted.

Baculi's dilemma was certainly not the kind of gift he expected on his birthday, which happened to be on Wednesday, December 5.

The 15-man RP squad, which is backed by Harbour Centre, arrived in Thailand on Monday and held two practice sessions Wednesday.

The nationals will train once more today before they see action against lowly Cambodia on December 7.

Unfortunately, only 12 of them will be officially listed and can play with the team.

"Every day we'll have an evaluation, but lahat yan dadaan sa proseso. I treated them fairly, so I guess di sila mag-rereklamo kung di sila makakasama as 12-man team ko," Baculi said.

Already assured of slots in the team are guards Jason Castro, Gabe Norwood, Boyet Bautista, Eugene Tan, Al Vergara, Beau Belga, Erick Rodriguez, team captain Allan Salangsang, and reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player (MVP) Jervy Cruz.

"These 10 players have their certain roles in the team," Baculi said. "They will surely make things happen for us. And add two of the five players in the team, and we'll definitely have a very strong unit."

After Cambodia, the Filipino cagers next take on Indonesia on December 9, followed by Malaysia on December 11, and host Thailand on Demceber 13, the final day of the single-round robin format.

Team officials, led by team manager and Philippine Basketball League (PBL) commissioner Chino Trinidad and assistant Eric Arejola said they were confident the Nationals will bring home the basketball gold again based on the way they saw three of the four teams in scrimmages Wednesday. - GMANews.TV

12-06-2007, 06:00 AM
Tough Task
By Jun Lomibao
Business Mirror
NAKHON RATCHASIMA—If coach Junel Baculi was in his Project 8 home in Quezon City Wednesday afternoon, he would have been in a supermarket nearby preparing for a feast in the evening.

That feast happened to be his 45th birthday. And for the first time in his life, he celebrated away from home and with one bitter pill he is about to swallow—prune his 15-member men’s basketball pool to 12 fighting men.

“I should be in a grocery right now, namamalengke at mamyang gabi may salu salo sa bahay at konting inuman ng barkada,” Baculi told BusinessMirror.

Although he refused to admit it, he looked doubly troubled. At 10 a.m. Thursday, he will announce during the managers’ meeting for basketball in the 24th Southeast Asian Games who his official lineup will be.

“Pinakamahirap gawin ito bilang coach. We have been together since July, we have been through a lot, we have been to places competing as a team—to Jakarta, Brunei, Korea and Singapore. And then this,” he said.

“But it’s a decision I have to make,” he added. “The coaching staff has a say on the team, the coaching staff recommends … but at the end of the day, as head coach, I have to decide.”

He refused to name names Wednesday but hinted the team would be “not that tall and not that small.”

He furthered: “It would be a sort of a shooting team, a running team,” he added.

Although Baculi is reportedly set to choose among deadly shooters Chris Tiu, Patrick Cabahug, Jonathan Fernandez, Erick dela Cuesta and Jeff Chan who will fill up the final two spots of the RP roster, two days before competitions in the sport dearest to the Filipinos’ heart officially kick off at the Keelapirum Stadium.

The coaching staff met after dinner last night and Baculi said they will meet again at breakfast Thursday before heading for a final practice before the 1 p.m. managers’ meeting.

On Wednesday morning, 12 hours after the team arrived at the Athletes’ Village, Baculi ordered for a light one and a half hour workout at the competition venue, the Keelapirum Stadium inside the Suranaree University of Technology.

They had another scrimmage in the afternoon to hone further for their schedule in these Games where they meet Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand (in that order) beginning Friday.

Joe Lipa, the many-time national coach with gold medals tucked in his waist, said the team is now prepared for battle. “The coaching staff of Junel has prepared the team very well,” he said.

Lipa, known for being temperamental from the bench, acknowledged how the SEA Games opposition has prospered though: “The SEA Games teams have become of equal size to us, unlike before when we were taller and heftier. Only the techniques and individual talent of Filipino players separate us from the rest,” he said, adding “and it will be team effort that will make the difference.”

Chino Trinidad, the commissioner of the Philippine Basketball League, said play in the SEA Games is all about Filipinos.

“The Filipinos are setting the standards. It’s about how high we set the bar [and the rest follows],” said Trinidad, referring to the effort particularly of the Thais and the Indonesians—and even the Malaysians who have beaten the Philippines twice in the SEA Games (1979 and 1989)—have put into their basketball programs.

Louie Alas, also a gold medal winner from the bench in the SEA Games and the team’s top scout, continued to be wary of the officiating that could possibly favor the hosts. The Indonesians, too, could be there fighting primarily because their victory over the country in a club championships last summer has boosted their confidence.

The confidence over the basketball gold medal—the mint that has always mattered most for the country in the SEA games—came amid a 10-0 blowout the Filipinas got from their Vietnamese opponents in women’s football Thursday at the Tumbon Mueangpug Stadium.

Extremely overwhelmed were the Filipinas that they allowed the Vietnamese 22 goal opportunities. The Philippines made two shots in the contest that only yielded how far the Vietnamese have gone in the sport and how low football is regarded in the Philippines.

The Philippines has earlier drawn Laos, 2-2, to be at the bottom of the group A standings. Thailand has blanked Malaysia (6-0) and Myanmar (5-0) to lead Group A.

A day before the Games formally start, the hosts started to break away with 18 gold, 19 silver and seven bronze medals, followed by Singapore with 10-6-6 (gold-silver-bronze) and Vietnam (8-5-14).

Malaysia and Myanmar already had two gold medals each to stand before the Philippines (0-3-1) in the standings. Indonesia had five bronze medals so far.

Computer glitch

Confusion marred the arrival of Team Philippines in Thailand on Wednesday as Filipino athletes and officials had to suffer the inconvenience of being held at the Bangkok airport for three hours on what organizers claimed was a “computer glitch.”

More than 200 athletes and officials, comprising the biggest RP delegation to this biennial meet led by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, waited for hours to secure their accreditation forms.

Ramirez was not available to comment as he is still busy in helping secure most of the athletes’ accreditation cards at press time.

National women’s basketball coach Fritz Gaston, who was among those held at the Bangkok airport, however, commented in jest: “It seems they’re trying to soften us.”

Athletes from basketball, athletics, boxing and gymnastics, among others have yet to leave for a four-hour land travel to Nakhon Ratchasima as reports from Bangkok were coming in.

Organizers claimed the Games computer system was down for hours since the Filipinos’ arrival and was only fixed at 6 pm. The volume of athletes coming in, however, made it difficult for organizers to process their cards quickly.

12-06-2007, 06:11 AM
Junel having a hard time*
By: Gerry Ramos*
People's Journal
December 06, 2007 Thursday

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, THAILAND – The cool, chilly weather here doesn’t bother Philippine men’s basketball team coach Junel Baculi a bit.
* * *
A more pressing matter is what occupies his frame of mind right now.
* *
“Yung lamig di naman problema. Ang problema ko kung sino ang ila-line up ko,” said the fiery mentor.
* *
With the deadline for the submission of the final team roster fast approaching, Baculi has yet to decide on who among five players – Chris Tiu, Patrick Cabahug, Erick dela Cuesta, Jonathan Fernandez and Jeff Chan – will fill in the two remaining slots of the RP squad.
* *
The managers’ meeting is scheduled for today where teams will be submitting the final and complete names of their respective rosters.
* *
And Baculi admitted having a hard time choosing who deserves the most.
* *
“They’re all deadly. Walang kang tulak kabigin sa limang yan,” said Baculi, whose present dilemma is certainly not the kind of gift he expected on his birthday (Dec. 5).
* *
The 15-man RP squad backed by Harbour Centre arrived in this Thai province the other day and held two practice sessions yesterday. The nationals will train once more today before they see action against lowly Cambodia tomorrow (Dec. 7) at the start of the basketball competitions at the Keelapirum Stadium here.
* *
Unfortunately, only 12 of them will be officially listed and can play with the team.
* *
“Everyday we’ll have an evaluation, but lahat yan dadaan sa proseso. I treated them fairly, so I guess di sila magrereklamo kung di sila makakasama as 12-man team ko,” Baculi said.
* *
The RP coach however, said already assured of slots in the team are guards Jason Castro, Fil-Am Gabe Norwood, Boyet Bautista, Eugene Tan, Al Vergara, Beau Belga, Erick Rodriguez, team captain Allan Salangsang and reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player (MVP) Jervy Cruz.

12-06-2007, 06:25 AM
Baculi having difficulty filling up last two slots
By Emil C. Noguera, Correspondent
The Manila Times
Thursday, December 06, 2007


NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand: Head coach Junel Baculi has yet to choose from among five players who will fill up the last two slots in the RP men’s basketball team in the 24th Southeast Asian Games.

Candidates for the two slots are Chris Tiu, Patrick Cabahug, Jo*nathan Fernandez, Erick de la Cu*esta and Jeff Chan.

“They’re all deadly. Walang tulak kabigin sa limang ‘yan,” said Baculi, who will submit his final roster in the manager’s meeting Thursday.

The Filipinos, who held two practice sessions since arriving Tuesday, see action against Cambodia Friday at the Keelapirm Stadium.

“It’s really hard to decide who among them will make the 12-man team,” added Baculi, whose present dilemma is certainly not the kind of gift he expected on his birthday (December 5).

”Everyday we’ll have an evaluation, but lahat yan dadaan sa proseso. I treated them fairly, so I guess di sila mag-rereklamo kung di sila maka*kasama as 12-man team ko,” Baculi said.

Already assured of slots in the Harbour Centre-sponsored RP team are Jason Castro, Fil-Am Gabe Norwood, Boyet Bautista, Eugene Tan, Al Vergara, Beau Belga, Erick Rodriguez, team captain Allan Salangsang and reigning UAAP MVP Jervy Cruz.

After Cambodia, the Philippines will face Indonesia (December 9), Malaysia (December 11) and host Thailand (December 13) in the final day of the single-round robin format.

12-07-2007, 11:32 AM
Fernandez, Chan complete RP 5
By Nelson Beltran
Friday, December 7, 2007

NAKHON RATCHASIMA – Jonathan Fernandez and Jeff Chan beat out Chris Tiu, Eric dela Cuesta and Patrick Cabahug for the last two slots in the men’s basketball team while Fil-Am players Melisa Jacob and Amira Issa bumped off homegrown talents Tintin Chua and Pipay Villanueva in the women’s squad.

Coaches Junel Baculi and Fritz Gaston announced their final 12 on the eve of the opening of the 24th SEA Games basketball competition which the Philippines is looking to dominate to cushion the impact of an expected defeat by the country in the fight for the overall championship.

In the sports discipline closest to Filipino fans, the men’s team is the first to see action, taking on Cambodia at 3 p.m. today at the Keelapirom Stadium inside Suranaree University of Technology.

“It’s a golf game. Our worst enemy is ourselves,” said team manager Chino Trinidad, confident Baculi and his boys will successfully defend the crown the country won for the seventh straight time in Ho Chi Minh in 2003.

The Nationals, led by FIBA Asia championship veteran Gabe Norwood and UAAP MVP Jervy Cruz, next play Indonesia Sunday, Malaysia Wednesday and Thailand Thursday.

The RP belles, with their frontcourt firmed up by the addition of 6-foot-3 center Issa and their backcourt strengthened by the entry of all-around talent Jacob, play Singapore tomorrow, Thailand Sunday and Malaysia Wednesday.

The organizing Thai basketball federation revised the original schedule for both the men’s and women’s games, obviously to favor the home teams.

“We expected the worst. We knew they would do everything possible to give their team a chance to beat us. But we’ll be ready, “ said Trinidad.

“They’re exercising to the max their rights as host. But we’re prepared for this,” said Gaston, whose team is plunging to action here coming off a weeklong training trip in Shanghai, China.

The men’s team, for one, has been scheduled to play two games inside 24 hours from 5 p.m. on the 12th with the Thais their last assignment on the 13th at 3 p.m.

“Originally, we’re playing every other game. But they changed it, hoping we’ll be worn out when they play us on the 13th,” Trinidad noted.

The ladies schedule was also altered with the RP-Thai game moved from Dec. 8 to Dec. 9.

“Supposedly, we’re playing right in the first game. They moved it to the next day when they saw that we have two new players. Surely, they want to scout our new players first,” said Gaston.

The Thais beat the Filipinas in their championship fight in the recent SEABA championship in Phuket although RP stunned the host in their elims tiff.

Joining Issa and Jacob in the team are fellow Fil-Am Vicky Brick, team captain Emelia Vega, Aurora Adriano, Joan Grajales, Minerva Narcisa, Cassandra Tioseco, Fatima Tolentino, Diana Jose, Machico Matsuno and Sylvia Marie Valencia.

The men’s team also includes team captain Allan Salangsang, Richard Alonzo, Boyet Bautista, Beau Belga, Eric Rodriguez, Eugene Tan, Al Vergara and Jason Castro

12-07-2007, 11:50 AM
Cage heartthrob Tiu cut: ‘Coach knows best’

By Musong R. Castillo
Last updated 05:18am (Mla time) 12/07/2007

NAKHON RATCHASIMA -- The country’s newest basketball heartthrob will not be in the Philippine team heavily favored to win the Southeast Asian Games gold medal.

“I’m OK,” Chris Tiu told the Philippine Daily Inquirer inside the Athletes Village on Thursday, a few hours before the opening ceremonies took the lid off of these Games here. “It’s the coach’s decision and he knows that it’s the best for the country.”

Tiu was one of the final cuts in the men’s team together with Eric dela Cuesta and Patrick Cabahug. But he still joined the team’s hard workout in the morning.

“I am here to continue supporting the team whichever way I can,” said the 22-year-old Tiu, who earned a Management Engineering degree recently at Ateneo de Manila University.

Tiu still has a year left in his UAAP eligibility and he might opt to play for the Blue Eagles again next year as he tries to earn a second degree, in Math and Finance.

Arguably the most glamorous star in the last UAAP tournament, Tiu was one of the RP team’s last-minute additions. But an injury that took away the best weapon of his game -- the jumpshot -- obviously made the decision easier for the coaching staff.

12-11-2007, 09:08 AM
SEAG five wants stronger tournament

By Musong R. Castillo
Last updated 00:16am (Mla time) 12/11/2007

1 p.m.—Philippines vs Malaysia (W)
5 p.m.—Philippines vs Malaysia (M)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA -- WITH the imminent reaffirmation of the Philippines as king of Southeast Asian basketball, PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad said that his league has done its job and would turn over the responsibility to another group.

“We’ve validated the point that the Philippines is unbeatable in men’s basketball in the region,” Trinidad said on Monday, during a break in 24th Southeast Asian Games play for the Filipinos. “We know that our (PBL) standard is far from that of the region.

“It’s time we give this (Southeast Asian Games) responsibility to some other group and for us to be given a new responsibility for a higher challenge.”

Trinidad, also the acting team manager of the RP five, said the PBL is ready to “show that we can play beyond the standards that we showed here in Thailand.”

He declined to say what tournament the national team culled from PBL players could focus its resources on, saying that job belongs to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.

“It could be anything as long as the task is higher because the essence of competition is to challenge yourself,” Trinidad said.

“People may laugh at me for what I am saying, but ambition has always been the start of something.”

Meanwhile, the RP five, bankrolled by Harbour Centre owner Mikee Romero, will leave much of their equipment to the Cambodian national team, whose appearance here has been sponsored by the organizing Thailand Sports Authority.

Shoes, practice jersey, gym bags and even the balls the Philippine team used for practice will be given to the Cambodians, some of whom played in the basketball tournament using badminton and tennis shoes.

The Filipinos tore the Cambodians to shreds, 136-82, in their debut, before plastering Indonesia, 75-49 at the Keelapirom Stadium here. They need to win two more games to put away the championship.

03-06-2008, 06:51 AM
In Huddle
Harbour gets Seaba invite

By Beth Celis
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:31:00 03/06/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- Time flies. I realized this when I got a copy of an e-mail sent by executive director Pato Gregorio to Harbour Centre owner Mikee Romero reminding him of the 7th Seaba Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia this April.

The Philippines, represented by Harbour Centre, is the defending champion of this tourney which was held in the same place at around this time last year. Harbour Centre, beefed up by imports Julius Nwosu and Vidal Massiah, competed against Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Because the Philippines was banned by FIBA for two years and consequently was unable to participate in any FIBA-sanctioned tournament within that time, we had to play in the Seaba to qualify for the Asian Champions Cup which was held in Tehran, Iran last year.

But this time around, we don’t really need to participate since we finished fourth in Tehran.

* * *

The big problem now confronting the SBP official is the possibility that the PBA will no longer support the elite men’s team, the way the league and San Miguel Corp. did last year.

“I presented the elite program and calendar to the board last month, and sent a letter to commissioner Sonny Barrios. So far there has been no reply. Now that the conference is over, perhaps the board will have time to sit down and discuss the matter. I strongly recommended that we participate in the Jones Cup in Taiwan this July para tuloy-tuloy na yung programa,” Pato said.

“The SBP is looking for a patron for the elite team that will represent the country in Dubai this May and the Jones Cup in Taiwan this July. I strongly recommend that we participate in both events for the continuity of our program.”

While it is not yet clear if Mikee is sending a team to the Jakarta Seaba this April, Pato said the Harbour Centre owner has expressed his willingness to help form the elite team for the 2010 Asiad in Guangzhou, China.

“In fact Mikee is willing to form the team as early as now,” Pato said.

* * *

The RP ladies cage team may have finished just third in the last Southeast Asian Games, but the country’s participation in the biennial event surely has revived interest in women’s basketball.

In fact, never has the interest been so high as it is now.

Proof of this is the formation of two new basketball leagues for women.

One belongs to the Metropolitan Basketball Tournament or MBT, organized by its commissioner Nilo Fernandez. The MBT used to hold tournaments only for men, but as early as last year, the members realized that there is room for women’s basketball in the league.

It’s hard to imagine how Fernandez did it, but the MBT managed to form 24 ladies teams with three divisions, “classified according to competitive level and player composition,” according to Fernandez.

* * *

The other ladies cage league which is being formed by former national coach Fritz Gaston, will be under the SBP.

“It is semi-commercial and school-based,” according to Pato, who has been very supportive of women’s basketball.

“We will hold two conferences annually -- one before and one after the UAAP and the WNCAA season. The elite and youth national teams will play as guest squads. We hope to launch this soon, but we need sponsorship. Interested parties, please contact the SBP immediately.”

* * *

People had been calling to ask where the wake for former PBA cager Tino Reynoso is being held. By the time I found out, it was too late.

Tino, 62-year-old brother of Big Boy, was laid to rest Wednesday, according to Buddy Encarnado of recent PBA champion Sta. Lucia Realty, who paid his last respects to the cager the day before the internment.

Tino’s death was hardly publicized. Friends who had wanted to visit or send flowers and Mass cards didn’t know where to send them.

The wake was held at the Arlington Memorial chapels in Pasig City.

According to reports, Tino’s massive stroke had been caused by an aneurysm.

So too, was Big Boy’s, they said, but the nosebleed saved his life, because it served as a safety valve. Big Boy is now recuperating without major damage.

03-09-2008, 07:36 AM
Harbour idedepensa ang SEABA crown (http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php?issue=2008-03-09&sec=7&aid=51996)
March 09, 2008 05:36 PM Sunday* *
By: Theodore P. Jurado*

TULOY ang pagdepensa ng korona ng Harbour Centre-Philippines sa SEABA Champions Cup na gaganapin sa April 2-6 sa Jakarta, Indonesia.

“Our mission for this stint is to defend our dominance in the Southeast Asian region,” wika ni amateur basketball godfather Mikee Romero sa press conference kahapon sa The Arena, San Juan.

Gigiya para sa Nationals si coach Jorge Gallent, na instrumento ng ‘four-peat’ ng Batang Pier sa Philippine Basketball League, habang kukuning import ng koponan si San Beda College slotman Sam Ekwe.

Pangungunahan ng Harbour Centre-Philippines ang karamihan sa mga manlalaro ng national squad na nag-uwi ng gintong medalya sa Thailand Southeast Asian Games, sa katauhan nina two-time PBL MVP Jason Castro, Jeff Chan, Jonathan Fernandez, Beau Belga, Boyet Bautista, Al Vergara at Chad Alonzo.

Ang iba pang Harbour Centre players na isasama sa SEABA bash ay sina TY Tang, Dylan Ababou, Jerwin Gaco at Sol Mercado.

“Due to lack of time in preparation, the team is composed of mostly members of the Harbour Centre team in the PBL and we need Ekwe to defend against imports from Indonesia and Thailand,” wika ni Romero.

Isang malaking kara-ngalan para kay Gallent ang mapili bilang national coach para sa SEABA tournament na nilalahukan ng mga champion clubs sa rehiyon.

“I look forward to coa-ching the Philippine team. I would like to thank Sir Mikee (Romero) for this opportunity,” wika ni Gallent.

Dahil nagtapos ang Pi-lipinas sa ikaapat na puwesto sa FIBA-Asia Champions Cup sa Tehran, Iran noong nakaraang taon, ‘seeded’ na ang bansa sa naturang torneo.

Ngunit para kay Romero, ang commitment sa bayan ang pangunahing dahilan upang ituloy ang pagdepensa ng kampeonato ng Harbour Centre.*

“We have a statement to make for Philippine basketball, we have to defend the title even with the presence of reinforcements.* We are so excited to represent the country for the SEABA Champions Cup,” wika ni Romero.

Sinabi pa ni Romero na nais nilang isama sa koponan sina Hapee Toothpaste guard Gabe Norwood at Toyota Otis enforcer Eric Rodriguez ngunit kailangan pa ng Harbour Centre na humi-ngi ng permiso sa kanilang mother squads.

Nagkampeon ang Harbour Centre-Philippines, na gumamit ng dalawang imports, sa katauhan nina Vidal Messiah at Julius Nwosu, noong nakaraang taon sa SEABA Champions Cup, na siyang unang titulo ng bansa magmula nang alisin ng FIBA ang mahigit isang taong suspensiyon.* *

03-09-2008, 07:47 AM
Harbour Centre to defend first of four international titles (http://www.tribune.net.ph/sports/20080309spo2.html)

No comes the harder part.

Harbour Centre begins its quest of retaining four championships it won last year when it defends its SEABA (Southeast Asian Basketball Association) Club Championship against an almost familiar field in Jakarta, Indonesia on April 3.

Harbour Centre captured two regular PBL titles and two international tournaments — the SEABA and the SEA Games, to mark the biggest performance yet by an amateur team last year.

Harbour Centre, however, was reinforced by several PBL stars in the two international events, including the SEABA event, which was the first title by the country since the lifting of the Fiba suspension early last year.

That win also paved the way for the country’s participation in the Fiba-sanctioned tournaments, including the Fiba-Asia Championship, which was the qualifying event for the Beijing Games.

“We’re going to wage war again and we hope to achieve the same result just like what we did last year,” said Harbour Centre owner Mikee Romero. “As long as the country’s honor is stake, we at Harbour is more than willing to help.”

“Though we succeeded in gaining back the respect of our Asean brothers, we will be going there with the same fire and passion,” said Romero. “We have to preserve our legacy in the region, we have to remain No. 1”

Unlike last year, the team, according to team manager Erick Arejola, would not be hiring pro imports. It will also have a new coach in Jorge Gallent.

03-09-2008, 07:59 AM
Harbour upbeat in Seaba title-defense (http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/mar/09/yehey/sports/20080309spo2.html)
Sunday, March 09, 2008
By Frank C. Calapre, Correspondent

HARBOUR CENTRE team owner Mikee Romero on Saturday expressed confidence in defending the Seaba Champion’s Cup on April 2 to 6 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The team will be reinforced by 6’9” Nigerian Sam Ekwe, 6’6” Fil-Am Gabe Norwood of Hapee Toothpaste and Eric Rodriguez of Toyota-Otis.

The top two teams in the Seaba tournament will compete in the FIBA-Asia Champion’s Cup in Dubai in May.

“The Seaba tournament allows two imports. But due to time constraint, we have to manage with Ekwe,” explained Romero.

Completing the team are 24th SEA Games veterans Jayson Castro, Jeff Chan, Jonathan Fernandez, Beau Belga, Boyet Bautista, TY Tang, Chad Alonzo and Solomon Mercado.

“We are looking forward towards another successful campaign to prove that our victory last year is no fluke,” said BAP-SBP Executive Director Patrick Gregorio, who also graced the press conference at the PBL office in Makati.

Gregorio said Ekwe’s inclusion in the team is part of a plan to encourage the Nigerian exchange scholar to become a naturalized Filipino.

“There is a plan, but we still have to be careful about it even as the FIBA allows two naturalized players per country,” stressed Gregorio.

Gregorio also suggested that the current All-Filipino champion represent the country in the FIBA-Asia Champion’s Cup.

“But if the PBA declines my proposal, then the same Harbour Centre team will play in Iran,” said Gregorio.

03-09-2008, 08:09 AM
Harbour wants Ekwe for Seaba bid (http://sports.inquirer.net/inquirersports/inquirersports/view/20080309-123640/Harbour-wants-Ekwe-for-Seaba-bid)
By Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:39:00 03/09/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- A Harbour Centre team reinforced by Nigerian behemoth Sam Ekwe of San Beda will represent the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Champions Cup in Jakarta from April 2 to 6.

“We’re inviting him as an import,” BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Patrick Gregorio said of the 6-foot-8 Ekwe, the San Beda center who bagged the 2006 NCAA Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year plums.

“San Beda approved in principle and the NCAA is reviewing its guidelines.”

An all-amateur national team beefed up by former PBA imports Julius Nwosu and Vidal Massiah captured the Seaba crown last year, paving the way for the all-pro national team to join the Fiba-Asia Champions Cup.

National team mainstays Jason Castro, Jeff Chan, Jonathan Fernandez, Boyet Bautista, Al Vergara, Chad Alonzo and Beau Belga and last conference’s Final Most Valuable Player TY Tang will banner the squad.

03-10-2008, 06:10 AM
Ekwe, Gallent in for Seaba kings (http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/03102008/sports04.html)
By Joel Orellana
THE Harbour Centre-backed Philippine men’s basketball team is ready to defend its crown in the coming Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Club Championship starting April 3 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

But the squad will be fielding only one import in Sam Ekwe of San Beda and assigning a new mentor in Jorge Gallent.

Gone are former imports Julius Nwosu and Vidal Messiah, who steered the RP Five to a Seaba crown last year in Indonesia, and head coach Junel Baculi who opted to be at the sideline this time.

“I was the one who suggested na si Jorge muna because of time constraint,” Baculi told the BusinessMirror when asked why he won’t be back on the bench to help the Nationals in the Jakarta tournament.

“Since we’re already preparing the PBL [Philippine Basketball League] team, mas maganda kung si Jorge na muna. But after that, I’ll be the coach again,” added Baculi, who remains as consultant of Batang Pier.

Harbour decided to bring only Ekwe as the team’s reinforcement for the tournament, though Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is still talking to officials from Red Lions if they could release the six-foot-eight Nigerian to play for the national team.

SBP executive director Patrick Gregorio said they are also considering another San Beda Nigerian recruit Kevin Emeka Udo to join Ekwe, but negotiations fell apart.

Gregorio added that Ekwe’s imminent stint with the Nationals could be a test run for SBP’s goal of naturalizing a foreign player to beef up the men’s team.

Ekwe is expected to face a tough challenge against more offensive-minded imports in the Seaba joust.

The team said it is unfazed by such a mismatch.

“We’re hoping that [Ekwe] can provide for what we lack in height. ’Yung scoring niya, bonus na lang,” Baculi added.

Harbour team manager Eric Arejola agreed, saying Ekwe is a tough rebounder and a force inside the paint.

Gallent, architect of Batang Pier’s historic four straight title run in the PBL, will be in his second international stint as a coach, having mentored the RP Five 18-under youth squad, backstopped by James Yap and Paul Artadi, a few years ago in Taipei.

He is expected to bring in the core of Harbour squad led by Jason Castro, Jonathan Fernandez, Richard Alonzo, Beau Belga, TY Tang, Jerwin Gaco and Fil-Am Solomon Mercado. New recruits Jeff Chan, Boyet Bautista and Al Vergara are also expected to make the team.

Batang Pier owner Dr. Mikee Romero is hoping that Hapee would release Gabe Norwood to play anew for the national team.

03-23-2008, 08:57 AM
Harbour-RP five faces uphill climb in Jakarta

The addition of San Beda star Sam Ekwe in its line-up does not guarantee victory for defending SEABA Club champion Harbour Centre-Philippine team.

For one, host Indonesia is reportedly getting two tough imports in its burning desire to get back at Harbour-RP team when the importladen annual tournament begins on April 3 in Jakarta.

Reinforced by imports Julius Nwosu and Vidal Massiah, and several other PBL stars, Harbour-RP squad still had to work hard to scrape past Indons in the one-game title showdown watched by hundreds of Filipino migrants.

Without Nwosu and Massiah to call and defend against Indonesia’s imports this time, the task ahead looks difficult for Harbour-RP team.

With little time to prepare and contact top caliber players in the United States and Europe, Harbour Centre owner Mikee Romero and his trusted lieutenant Erick Arejola decided to stick with their PBL line-up plus Ekwe for tournament that will also be participated by Malaysia and Thailand.

The team is on roll, winning the last four tournaments in the country’s premier amateur league. But the coming tournament will be a different story.

"Right now, we’re facing a blank wall," said Romero. "Just like last year, we have to play passionately to overcome the odds and keep our dominance in the region."

"It’s not easy to play against a team with two imports. Last year, we also have two imports but we still struggled to win the title," added Romero who turned 37 on Holy Friday.

Arejola said Ekwe, the tallest in the team at 6-foot-7, has been practicing with the Harbour-RP team since Monday but coach Jorge Gallent is still looking for a big man.

"If we can get another big man, then I can say that we are ready to defend our title," said Gallent, who took over the coaching rein from Junel Baculi. "What will happen to us if Sam gets into foul trouble early."

Jason Castro, TY Tang, Beau Belga, Chad Alonzo, Jonathan Fernandez and Solomon Mercado are cinch to make it into the team. The final composition of the team will be announced this week.

Unlike last year, Harbour-RP team can’t afford to drop a game since it’s going to be a short tournament with the No. 1 team after the elims winning the title.

Harbour Centre lost to Indonesia in the elims but got back at the host in the finals where Fernandez and now pro Ryan Arana struck heavily from beyond the 3-point arc.

03-25-2008, 08:59 PM
Aren't we back to our mendicant ways where the NT is formed from loaned PBL or PBA players? We can't seem to form a pool of players who can serve the NT any time they are needed.

Nagtatanong lang po.

03-26-2008, 06:01 AM
Gallent wary of Zamar’s hiring by Malaysia (http://www.tribune.net.ph/sports/20080326spo5.html)
By Julius Manicad

Harbour Centre-RP Team coach Jorge Gallent yesterday pressed the alarm button as his team prepares for its defense of the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Club Championship.

After learning about Malaysia’s hiring of former national team mentor David “Boysie” Zamar in an attempt to dethrone the Filipinos in this four-team tourney, Gallent quickly sought an emergency meeting with Harbour Centre management to map out their war strategy.

Gallent, who assumed the coaching chores from Junel Baculi, said they need to treat Zamar’s appointment with a sense of urgency as the former University of the East mentor is very familiar with the Filipino brand of basketball and could pounce on their weaknesses at any given time.

Gallent also said he, together with Harbour team owner Mikee Romero and his trusted deputy Erick Arejola will exhaust all possible means to retain the crown.

“It’s very obvious that all countries are preparing hard to defeat us,” Gallent said. The meet starts April 3 in Jakarta.

03-26-2008, 11:39 AM
Aren't we back to our mendicant ways where the NT is formed from loaned PBL or PBA players? We can't seem to form a pool of players who can serve the NT any time they are needed.

Nagtatanong lang po.

I don' think so,* this tournament is the Champion's Cup so it is really supposed to be a tournament for commercial league teams, so I think it is fitting that the PBA or PBL champions get to represent us. This is way better than how we do it before where a sponsor would come in like Andok's in the 90s and conduct try-outs and form a team just for the tournament.

03-26-2008, 01:36 PM
Gallent wary of Zamar’s hiring by Malaysia (http://www.tribune.net.ph/sports/20080326spo5.html)
By Julius Manicad

Magaling talagang coach si Boycie "Alamat" Zamar!

03-26-2008, 02:03 PM
I think he is ok, but not really that good. He really has an advantage already playing us, he knows all the players- their tendencies, their favorite moves, strenghts and weaknesses so he knows how to counter them. Sana si Graham Lim kunin din ng Malaysia as their basketball head ;D

03-26-2008, 02:40 PM
I like the idea of a Pinoy coach coaching for a foreign country (especially kung rival natin.) It works both ways naman, we know the coach and his tendencies and visa versa. I wouldn't be as dramatic as pressing the alarm button yet, but we'd be good in reviewing some tapes of the teams he handled and send some scouts over to view the competition/talent.

Seriously though, if we want to be better, then we should find a way to improve the competition in our immediate area as well (SEA.) So if sending in some players and coaches as imports abroad, then that's okay with me. If it means taking in some of their players for training in colleges and commercials, that's okay as well. European teams are good because they continously battle it out with good teams, within and outside their country.

03-27-2008, 06:54 AM
More offers up for Harbour (http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/03272008/sports07.html)
By Joel Orellana

IT looks like it will be a very busy year for Harbour Centre as far as international competitions are concerned.

In a letter to Harbour Centre team owner Dr. Mikee Romero yesterday, Basketball Association of the Philippines-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (BAP-SBP) executive director Patrick Gregorio has asked the four-time Philippine Basketball League (PBL) champion team to represent the country anew in two more major international competitions this year.

This after the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has turned the request of the BAP-SBP to field Philippine Cup champion Sta. Lucia Realty in the coming Fiba-Asia Championship Cup set from May 18 to 26 in Kuwait.

But the BAP-SBP is expected to get a reply from Romero only this weekend because the Harbour Centre team owner is out of the country, according to team manager Erick Arejola.

Harbour Centre will be flying to Jakarta, Indonesia, on April 2 to defend the crown in the Southeast Asia Basketball Association Champions Cup.

Former PBA chairman Ricky Vargas has informed BAP-SBP that the Realtors would not be able to compete in the Fiba Champions Cup because of a conflict of schedule because the coming Fiesta Conference will run through that tournament.

“As discussed with BAP-SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan, we are inviting PBL champion team Harbour Centre to once again represent the Philippines in the Fiba-Asia Champions Cup,” Gregorio stated in the letter.

“We hope that PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad and executive director Butch Maniego will support this request just like in the past,” he added.

The country finished fourth in the last Fiba Champions Cup under coach Chot Reyes, but the team did not field in imports.

Besides the Fiba Champions Cup, the BAP-SBP is also inquiring if Harbour Centre is interested in forming a team for the annual William R. Jones Cup set from July 10 to 18 in Taiwan.

According to Gregorio, the PBA, through executive director Rickie Santos, is willing to lend players but only from teams which are eliminated during the course of the PBA’s conference that coincides with the Jones Cup.

03-27-2008, 07:28 AM
Zamar to coach Malaysian pro team (http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=sports2_mar26_2008)

THE Malaysians have acquired the services of former Philippine national team mentor David “Boysie” Zamar as their coach in the coming Southeast Asia Basketball Association Club championships.

And Harbour Centre-RP Team mentor Jorge Gallent feels that this will give the national squad something to worry about.

Gallent, who assumed the coaching chores from Junel Baculi, said they can’t take the Malaysians for granted in the four-team tourney, what with Zamar’s presence.

“It’s very obvious that all countries are preparing hard to defeat us,” Gallent yesterday said with less than a week to go before action begins on April 3 in Jakarta.

He said Filipinos could become the underdogs in the tournament because of this.

Gallent said the former University of the East mentor is familiar with the Filipinos’ brand of basketball and “could pounce on their weaknesses at any given time.”

Zamar started coaching basketball teams around Southeast Asia after steering the Philippines to a gold-medal finish in the 2003 Vietnam SEA Games.

He first went to Indonesia, where he steered Aspac Putra to championship finish in the Indonesian Basketball League.

Zamar has been handling the Malaysian national team for the last three weeks, and is getting squad ready to play the Philippine Team.

A loss by the Malaysians under Zamar will have them setting for the second place in the tournament, where a slot in the Asian Club Championship is at stake.

Zamar reportedly got the services of a burly, mobile former Philippine Basketball Association reinforcement together with an import from Cameroon to match the Filipinos’ inside intensity. Peter Atencio

03-27-2008, 09:54 AM
In Huddle
2 major cage events offered to Mikee Romero

By Beth Celis
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:47:00 03/27/2008

MANILA, Philippines—The responsibility of sending a team to the 2008 FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Kuwait and the 30th William Jones Cup in Taipei has fallen on the shoulders of Harbour Centre owner Mikee Romero.

That is after SBP executive director Pato Gregorio revealed that Mikee has already accepted his proposal.

With the PBA unable to represent the country in both events due to conflict in schedule, Pato offered them to Mikee. The Champions Cup is set May 8 to 16 while the Jones Cup will be staged July 10 to 18.

The invitation to represent the Philippines in Kuwait was initially offered to PBA All-Filipino Cup champion Sta. Lucia Realty. And while we are already seeded to the event, Harbour Centre will nevertheless participate in the Seaba qualifier scheduled this April in Jakarta.

Both events allow two imports with unlimited height per team.

According to Pato, there is a possibility that the SBP may be able to tap PBA players coming from teams that fail to qualify for the quarterfinals of the import-laden conference which starts this coming Saturday in Davao.

“This info was relayed to me by PBA executive director Rickie Santos,” Pato said.

* * *

Just got an email from swim coach Susan Papa in Australia where her Fighting Orcas (who represented the Philippines) participated in the recently concluded 2008 Indian Ocean All-Star Challenge.

Susan happily reported that her eight-man age-group contingent is bringing home two gold medals, a silver and a bronze medal from the two-day competition which involved three continents: Australia, Asia and Africa.

Eight-year-old Jamie Tiongson won the two golds plus a silver while 11-year-old Patrick Tiene won the bronze.

“It is an honor for us to win in this highly prestigious swim meet which has actually been running for five years now,” said Susan. She added that the event used to involve only Australia and Asia but expanded this year to include Africa.

The other Fighting Orcas who qualified for the competition were Josef Dos Remedios, Lana Bosch, Jan Karlo Fausto, Serge Davide, Ernestine Tiongson and Rafael Santiago.

* * *

Abe King, chairman of the PBA Legends Foundation USA, also e-mailed from Seattle, Washington where he and his family are based.

Abe said he arrived in Seattle from the two-week grand reunion tour, feeling extremely low. “Para bang kandilang nauupos, nanghihina. Ang feeling ko naulila, nawalan ng kapamilya, ng mahal sa buhay.”

Abe recognized all these as classic symptoms of depression. The low that comes after a two-week high or adrenalin rush brought about by the excitement of the Grand Reunion.

“I know because I’ve felt them before.”

As of the moment, Abe said he is still “in the world of sadness,” sometimes finding himself in tears.

“But don’t worry, I’ll snap out of it before you know it.”

It’s a purely psychological process, according to Abe. Something akin to “post-party blues,” he joked.

* * *

Recently, I received an e-mail from California-based Nat Sagun on a subject that read “Yoyoy Got TSA’d”.

I presumed it was Yoyoy Villamin he was referring to, considering that the cager was in the Legends Tour, but what could TSA mean?

Well I found out in Nat’s e-mail that TSA stands for Transportation Security Administration and that being TSA’d meant going through a haranguing security check—in Yoyoy’s case at the airport where he was taking a flight back to New Jersey.

Nat said Yoyoy was frisked thoroughly. “They found nothing, Yoyoy still managed to smile through it all,” Nat said.

03-27-2008, 09:54 AM
Harbour Centre to play in Jones Cup

By Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:38:00 03/27/2008

MANILA, Philippines—The BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Wednesday tapped four-time PBL champion Harbour Centre to represent the Philippines in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup and the Jones Cup.

BAP-SBP reached the decision after the PBA turned down on Tuesday the proposal to spearhead the campaign since both competitions will run in conflict with the pro league’s tournament schedule.

“What’s important now is that (Harbour Centre owner) Mikee Romero accepted our offer for him to spearhead the formation of the team,” said BAP-SBP executive director Patrick Gregorio.

“We know that Harbour is very strong. More or less they have five weeks to prepare. We’re not really worried and we believe they can do it.”

Romero, who’s still in Singapore, had recently offered his all-amateur squad as an alternate if the PBA declines to send All-Filipino Cup champion Sta. Lucia Realty to the FIBA Asia Champions Cup on May 8 to 16 in Kuwait.

Harbour Centre, bannered by Jason Castro, will also defend its title in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association Champions Cup in Jakarta next week.

But Gregorio said the PBA remained willing to loan its players in the 30th Jones Cup on July 10 to 18 in Taiwan.

03-27-2008, 06:28 PM
Congrats kay Boysie Zamar. Iba talaga ang Pinoy!

;) ;) ;)


03-28-2008, 06:13 AM
Trinidad twits Pato for bypass of am league (http://www.tribune.net.ph/sports/20080328spo3.html)
By Julius Manicad

Ooops, he’s done it again.

The Philippine Basketball League (PBL) may not allow Harbour Centre to represent the country in two major international competitions due to lack of official communication from the Basketball Association of the Philippines-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (BAP-SBP).

It turned out BAP-SBP executive director Patrick Gregorio failed to inform the PBL of his plan to tap Harbour Centre in lieu of professional team Sta. Lucia Realty, which begged off from seeing action as Team Philippines in two international tournaments due to conflicts in schedule between the tournaments and the Philippine Basketball Association, when the realtors play.

Chino Trinidad, PBL commissioner, yesterday said Gregorio should consult the leagues involved first before making his decisions known.

Gregorio only relayed his intention with team owner Mikee Romero to draft Harbour Centre to the Fiba Asia and Jones Cup middle of this year. No official communication was ever sent to the Trinidad.

“How could we accept something which is not being offered (to us)?” Trinidad said. “But if it will be formally offered, we still have to consider so many factors like the schedule, lack of time and the condition of the players that we will send. Preparing for a major international tournament is not a joke and it requires a lot of effort to become competitive.”

03-31-2008, 06:33 AM
Ekwe Harbour Centre-RP’s sole import (http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/03312008/sports01.html)
By Joel Orellana

THE country’s bid to retain the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Champions Cup now lies heavily on the broad shoulders of Nigerian Sam Ekwe.

This, after the coaching staff and management of the Harbour Centre-backed Philippine team opted not to get any foreign reinforcement besides Ekwe for the four-nation tournament slated this week in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Team manager Erick Arejola said they decided to stick with Ekwe in order not to disrupt the team’s chemistry.

“It maybe too late for us to get a second import because he might need time to adjust with the other players,” said Arejola. “But we are hoping that Sam can get the job done for us.”

Team consultant Junel Baculi also believes that Ekwe can help the country defend the Seaba title even if he lacks certain offensive skills.

Alex Crisano was reportedly being considered by the team as its second import, but that didn’t materialize. They also considered Gabe Norwood but his Hapee Toothpaste squad has games during the Seaba tournament.

Crisano, a six-foot-seven center, played for the Harbour Centre-backed training team for the Southeast Asian Games last year but failed to secure documents that would support his Filipino lineage and was dropped from the roster.

Ekwe, responsible for San Beda College’s back-to-back titles in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, has been practising with the team that would be coached by Jorge Gallent for almost a month now. He has been watching the games of Harbour Centre in the Philippine Basketball League to familiarize himself with his would-be teammates.

“I’ll give my best to help the team win,” said the six-foot-eight Ekwe, who in the Basketball Association of the Philippines-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (BAP-SBP) wants naturalized so he could play for the country.

The national team will leave on Wednesday. The Filipino dribblers face Thailand on April 4, host Indonesia on the next day and Malaysia on April 6.

Curiously, the Malaysian basketball team is being handled by former national coach Boyzie Zamar.

With Ekwe as the team’s only import, Gallent hopes that his other big men like Beau Belga and Jerwin Gaco could hold against the other teams’ imports. Jason Castro, Al Vergara, Jonathan Fernandez, Boyet Bautista, Filipino-American Solomon Mercado, TY Tang and Jeff Chan are expected to make the final lineup of the team.

The top two teams in the Seaba tournament will qualify to the FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Kuwait from May 18 to 26. This tournament is also being offered by BAP-SBP to Harbour Centre.

04-04-2008, 08:48 AM
RP-Harbour ready for title repeat
By Nelson Beltran
Friday, April 4, 2008

JAKARTA – After losing precious hours on airport hassles Wednesday, the Harbour Centre-RP team buckled down to work yesterday then coach Jorge Gallent confidently declared they’re ready for the job in the 2008 SEABA Champions Cup here.

The Batang Pier of sports patron Mikee Romero did an aqua training at the Grand Cempaka Hotel pool in the morning then practiced at the Brittama Arena in the afternoon in final workout for their grind here starting with a game versus Thailand at 4 p.m. (5 p.m. in Manila) today.

Romero and PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad called from Manila wishing the team good luck on the eve of the tournament also featuring teams from Indonesia and Malaysia.

To boost their bid for a title-repeat, the coaching staff chose 6-foot-7 former UConn and Vanderbilt player Michael James LeBlanc over Fil-Am guard Solomon Mercado as their second import. Hired earlier also as reinforcement is Nigerian San Beda mainstay Sam Ekwe.

Thailand should be the weakest team as it’s playing without an import. The Thai team is practically the same squad that finished fourth in the 2007 Southeast Asian Games in Nakhon Ratchasima.

The host Satria Muda Brittama team has tapped American Alexander Hartman and Canadian Jemino Kamal Sobers as imports. The Malaysian team under Filipino coach Boyzie Zamar will be reinforced by imports from Australia and Cameroon.

The Batang Pier, riding the momentum of a remarkable eight-game winning streak back home, play the Indons tomorrow then the Malaysians Sunday. It’s a three-day one-round-robin tourney with the best team after the series automatically declared champion.

“We like our schedule. We start our campaign against the weakest team. By the time we take on Indonesia and Malaysia, we’ve already scouted them,” said Gallent.

Gallent expects a smashing start by his team here today, saying “we’ll treat the Thai game as if they’re playing with imports.” Harbour Centre-RP walloped Thailand, 94-53, in the 2007 SEA Games.

Gallent intends to do the same thing they’re doing in the PBL, putting the pressure on the ball handlers of the opposing team throughout the contest.

“Thailand is basically a seven-man team. In a man-to-man, their plays emanate from their guard who plays the post,” said team consultant Junel Baculi, who steered the Nationals to championships here and in the SEAG last year.

Harbour Centre, composed of a PBL selection reinforced by Julius Nwosu and Vidal Messiah, won the championship last year against the hosts who are fielding practically the same team this year except their new imports.

04-04-2008, 08:49 AM
Ekwe shrugs off five-hour airport woes

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sam Ekwe, a gentle giant on and off the court, harbors no ill feelings towards the Indonesians despite his experience of being held on the Soekarno Hatta International Airport for about five hours before eventually being cleared to enter the country.

“I don’t feel bad at all. I understand that I have no Asian visa and there’s a procedure to be followed,” said Ekwe.

Michael James LeBlanc, Harbour Centre’s other import from the United States, likewise showed patience over his travel ordeal.

LeBlanc had his problem on the departure of the team at the NAIA-2, taking some time to get a boarding pass since his passport is expiring in two months. He was allowed to board after getting assurance from the Indon immigration that he’ll be issued a visa in Jakarta.

LeBlanc, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-7 forward who played college ball for UConn and Vanderbilt, was a mere walk-in tryout, joining the team in no more than 10 practice sessions.

A soft-spoken guy with a vast experience of playing overseas, LeBlanc came in the Philippines hoping to land a job in the PBA. He tried it out with Air21 and Welcoat.

“He’s more of a scorer. He has a good touch from the outside. Our concern is whether he’s in shape,” said Harbour Centre consultant Baculi of LeBlanc, who also had a stint with the Harlem Globetrotters aside from his tour of duties in Slovenia, Columbia, Mexico, Argentina, Puerto Rico, China and Saudi Arabia. – Nelson Beltran

06-04-2008, 09:55 AM
Harbour eyes Jones Cup stint

Harbour Centre team owner Mikee Romero plans to tap the services of the 6-foot-9 Japeth Aguilar for the Philippine team in the event Jones Cup organizers would invite the five-time PBL champion in its annual tournament slated next month.

"Definitely, we’re going to invite him to play for the RP team. He’s tall and I’m sure he has already matured. We also need his experience," Romero, who remains confident his team will be tapped to represent the country in the 30th Jones Cup.

Aguilar, son of former amateur star Peter Aguilar, was about to play for Ateneo when his family moved to the United States. He enrolled at Western Kentucky where he became a member of the team which qualified to play in the US NCAA championship this season.

He, however, was not able to see action as he was reportedly injured prior to the NCAA tournament.

Now that he is well, Harbour officials plan to get him to play for the RP team.

"With NCAA over, we can request his school to allow him to play for the RP team," said Arejola.

Romero said Harbour Centre, winner of five straight PBL titles, is more than willing to represent the country.

The team had previously carried the RP colors in the 2007 SEABA in Jakarta and the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand.

In yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s along UN Avenue, Romero reacted to reports that Jones Cup organizers want a PBA team, and nothing less, to represent the Philippines in the Taiwan meet.

"Maybe they want a PBA team because it can bring in the crowd and the Filipinos in Taiwan. But I think our national team is equally entertaining and popular and equally great as PBA teams," he said.

Romero said he has talked to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Pato Gregorio about their willingness to field a team that can be reinforced by a few players from the PBA.

"We’re still awaiting confirmation from the SBP which deals with the Jones Cup organizers. Maybe we can get the confirmation within the week," said Romero.

Also gracing the forum were Harbour Center key players Jason Castro, the reigning MVP in the PBL, and Solomon Mercado, and team official Erick Arejola and Albert Tirona.

Castro and Mercado said they are also willing to don the country’s colors once again before playing in the pro leagues.

"Siyempre gusto ko pa uling maglaro basta sa bayan natin. Sa national team ako nakilala, kaya gusto ko ulit maglaro pa," said Castro, who will be playing for the Singapore Slingers as an import.

"Technically he’s already with the Slingers but before I let him go I told them that Jason still needs to play one more tournament with the national team," said Romero.

To be more competitive, Romero said the RP team would be reinforced by at least four PBA players.

"I am going to request the PBA Board and Commissioner Sonny Barrios to allow us to borrow at least four of their players," said Romero.

Also being eyed to reinforce the team is Fil-Am Gabe Norwood. The 6-foot-5 Norwood, who played for Hapee Toothpaste for one year, was the crowd favorite during the recent PBL finals.

"Gabe can provide the entertainment with his wondrous moves," said Arejola.

06-04-2008, 10:43 AM
I guess nabasa ni Romero post ko. ;D

Give Gian Chiu also an invitation. He's in the country right now.

06-14-2008, 11:00 AM
In Huddle
Japeth’s RP stint stirs up excitement

By Beth Celis
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:03:00 06/12/2008

MANILA, Philippines— The overseas call from Abe King in Seattle, Washington came first hour in the morning of Tuesday.

It was good news. After checking with the US NCAA on rules and regulations, Western Kentucky University head coach Ken McDonald allowed 6-foot-10 cager Japeth Aguilar to play for the Harbour Centre team that is being tapped by the BAP-SBP to represent the Philippines in the William Jones Cup this July.

“But Japeth had been cautioned by his coach to strictly adhere to certain league rules, otherwise he may lose his eligibility to play in the NCAA,” explained Abe, who was scheduled for a back operation the following day.

“We have to make sure somebody from there is briefed on these important details.”

* * *

More than a week ago, before Jones Cup organizers communicated that they preferred a PBA team in the tournament, Harbour Centre owner Mikee Romero extended an invitation through Abe King for Japeth to join the Philippine squad.

Excited, Abe lost no time in contacting the Aguilar family in Kentucky.

The timing of the Jones Cup was perfect. School was out, Japeth was on his summer vacation. Father Peter, himself a former national cager when the basketball project director was Danding Cojuangco, and mother Josie gave their 21-year-old son their blessing to serve flag and country.

* * *

Ateneo Blue Eagles coach Norman Black, who mentored Japeth for two seasons, had seen the boy’s transformation from a scrawny beanpole to a muscled hunk.

Norman said he was lucky to catch one of Japeth’s three games in the US NCAA on television.

“I was impressed. Japeth was great on defense. He was not part of the team’s offense though.”

The next time he watched, Norman said Japeth was already in crutches, watching the game from the sidelines.

For Mikee, just having a 6-10 defensive player in his team is good enough.

“He’s 6-10. I’ve never ever seen a 6-10 Filipino in all my life,” said Mikee, who is keeping his fingers crossed that the BAP-SBP will confirm Harbour’s participation in the Jones Cup soon.

* * *

As soon as I got word from golfer-friend Lambert Ramos that he was one of the three who witnessed Bert Lina, chairman and CEO of the Lina Group of Companies, score a hole-in-one, I immediately called him to ask for details.

Lambert, if you still remember, was the frontrunner for the PBA commissionership before the election was suspended. He is now president of Dun and Bradstreet Philippines.

This was the e-mail he sent: “Still experiencing jetlag having just arrived from a 14-hour non-stop flight from the United States, Bert made a fantastic hole-in-one at Hole No. 3 of Greenfields Golf and Leisure Club in Calamba, Laguna, last June 1.

“This once-in-lifetime feat, the lifetime dream of every crazy golfer, was executed with finesse and a lovely swing by Bert that Sunday morning and witnessed by yours truly and Gary Cayton of the Padyak Pinoy fame, who is also president of Dynamic Outsource Solutions Inc.

“The three of us were in a foursome with Fernando de la Cruz of San Miguel Properties.”

* * *

You probably don’t know that there are two big movie stars playing in the Baseball Philippines League. These are Richard Gomez and Gary Estrada.

Richard plays for the Cebu team, currently running third in the team standings.

Gary played in the last series but skipped this one, according to Chito Loyzaga, marketing director of the league. He expects the star to be back in the near future.

According to Chito, the most surprising thing about the ongoing series, held weekends at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, is the influx of players aged 18 years old and under.

It’s a revelation he said, that today’s youth are interested in the sport.

07-18-2008, 11:29 PM
Harbour not giving up hope on Brunei Cup
By Julius Manicad

RP Team-Harbour Centre is still keeping its fingers crossed its players will make a last-minute decision of playing in the 7th Brunei Cup come August 25.

Team manager Erick Arejola yesterday admitted nothing significant has come out since most of their players are still playing in their respective commitments outside of the Philippine Basketball League.

Organizers of the prestigious commercial tourney have extended a formal invitation to the Nationals, but most of the them are not available that even Arejola and team owner Mikee Romero are not sure whether to answer the invitation.

“We’re not yet sure,” Arejola said. “We’re still waiting for further development, we’ll keep you posted.”

Team consultant Junel Baculi admitted on Tuesday the chance of putting the country’s finest amateur standouts in one team is quite difficult at this point, prompting them to mull the possibility of backing out of the tourney.

He said role players like Jerwin Gaco, Boyet Bautista and Al Vergara are campaigning in the fledgling Liga Pilipinas while starting center Beau Belga and head coach Jorge Gallent are in their respective teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The key stalwarts are also not around as Jason Castro is currently with the Singapore Slingers while Filipino-American Gabe Norwood is in Europe, hoping to land a job if a professional career in the country doesn’t work out soon.

TY T ang, Jonathan Fernandez, Jeff Chan and Chad Alonzo are also doubtful as they are bracing for the forthcoming Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) draft next month.

“It’s really hard to speak at this point. We’re still waiting for words from them,” the amiable Arejola further said.

07-19-2008, 10:13 AM
i hope they try to get Mike Silungan play. para naman nakakapaglaro sya at narerepresent yun bansa natin ng sabay. kung may mga nagreresidency dyan na magaling, sama na rin.

10-13-2008, 10:53 AM
Harbour Centre, PBL forming SEAG five

By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:50:00 10/11/2008

MANILA, Philippines—A partnership with a winning legacy has again expressed its desire to spearhead the Philippines’ march back to Southeast Asia’s basketball throne.

Despite the uncertainty of basketball’s entry to the calendar of events for the 2009 SEA Games, the Philippine Basketball League and Harbour Centre on Friday signified its intention to form and bankroll the men’s and women’s teams for the next biennial meet in Laos.

“We’re ready to spearhead the country’s double gold bid in next year’s SEA Games,” said Harbour owner and PBL chair Mikee Romero, who appeared at the Scoop Forum together with Harbour manager Erick Arejola at Kamayan Restaurant on Padre Faura.

League commissioner Chino Trinidad believes that backing both teams is a “big challenge” that has started with the revival of the Women’s PBL, a league that will start together with the regular season on Nov. 8.

The RP women’s team, reinforced by Fil-Am standout Vicky Brick, nearly missed the last SEA Games due to the lack of sponsors.

The RP cagerettes eventually won the bronze, behind host Thailand and Malaysia.

“We want to help our women’s team in our own little way,” said Trinidad. “We saw in Thailand that with a little more support, the team could be at par, if not beat the likes of Malaysia and Thailand.”

The All-PBL squad bankrolled by Harbour Centre came prepared for the SEA Games last year and walloped the opposition by an average of 43 points en route to the gold medal.

Romero said a total of P25 million was spent to finance the campaign last year.

By taking the women’s team under its wing, Romero estimated that they would infuse P10 to P15 million more to fund the entire basketball campaign.

The PBL-Harbour proposal would have to be approved by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, although Trinidad said they are willing to follow the direction set by the SBP, which has tapped Serbian coach Rajko Toroman as project director.

But Romero said he favors the same coaching staff of Junel Baculi and assistant Louie Alas to handle the team.

10-13-2008, 10:55 AM
hmm., we, the filipino basketball fans should really thank harbour center and of course mikee romero for his all out support for philippine basketball. more power to him and i hope that he won't get tired of doing such.,

10-13-2008, 01:26 PM
Pagkakaalam ko ang isasalang na RP Team next year sa SEA Games ay yung bubuuin ng SBP na team para sa long term program nila na ang player ay mula sa ibat-ibang college talent sa buong Pilipinas hindi ba si Toroman ang coach?

10-13-2008, 07:59 PM
oo nga pala., next year's sea games falls under the tasks of toroman., that is if he gets past the BCAP and Coach Yeng., lately kc knequestion nila ung paghire ky toroman.,

anyway, it is still good news that mikee romero is more than willing to help the women's team., with harbour center's help, we may finally see gold around our girl cagers.,