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  1. Miami Will Grand Slam

    Let me be the first to say it now: the Miami Heat will win their third straight NBA world championship this season and complete that rare grand slam.

    There are of course certain conditions attached:

    First and foremost, their Big 3 has to stay relatively healthy throughout the entire season from opening day to the last game of the NBA Finals. If any of them - reigning MVP LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh - get so much as sidelined for a prolonged period (minimum of four weeks out to missing the entire season) then all bets are off.

    Secondly, assuming relative good health on the part of the Heat, there is simply no team out there good enough and together enough to beat them this season.

    I can hear what the lot of you are saying out there. What the hell am I talking about? Don't I have Internet access? Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have joined Deron Williams and Brook Lopez in Brooklyn. Danny Granger is coming back for Indiana and now has Paul George as a proven All Star partner. Forget winning it all; try getting out of the East first.

    Pierce and Garnett may be battle tested veterans but they are still newcomers to a team that has yet to find itself. Williams and maybe even Lopez will not be easily bossed about even by the two NBA title holders. George emerged last season as a legitimate All Star, emerging from Granger's shadow, while Granger will try to return as the Pacers leader, the role George effectively arrogated unto himself in Granger's absence. Figuring things out will take a while for both teams.

    Out West, the San Antonio Spurs will again most likely start slow only to sneak up on everybody come the playoffs. They pushed Miami hard in last season's NBA Finals. They continue to age, but nobody still wants to face them in the NBA Playoffs. Houston welcomed one-year Laker Dwight Howard and instantly made themselves contenders once again. Oklahoma will be getting Russell Westbrook back from an ACL injury that scuttled their season last year. And of course, count out the Los Angeles Lakers at your own peril.

    Still, there isn't a team out there that can say with 100% assurance that they will dethrone the Heat. Contenders, sure, there are plenty, as there are every year. But absent a clear cut powerhouse team guaranteed able to beat the Heat across the board, smart money stays with the reigning champs.

    Third, Miami already knows how to get this done, and it is their third go-around. Los Angeles was the last team to win three straight, and they got it done with the overwhelming force that was Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Miami has such a force in James, now without question the best player in the world and easily worth at least a half-dozen other All Stars. Plus he still has Wade and Bosh, arguably the two best support players in the NBA.

    Picture that: Wade and Bosh are really actually just support players for James in Miami's grand scheme. Those two could go to any NBA team right now and take over as stars. In Miami they are caddying for James. How good does that make James?

    Fourth, this NBA is so watered down it just plain makes it easier to pile up wins and the good seeding for the playoffs that go with it. Last year Miami put together a 27-game win streak, and it could have easily gone on. Throughout that streak different players stepped up. Granted, it was the regular season and its not like all the teams they beat were playoff teams, but still, 27 games is an awfully long time to go unbeaten.

    While duplicating that feat might not necessarily happen this season, stringing regular season wins together is easy enough for the Heat.

    Fifth, this could conceivably be the last and best time for any of these guys to get a grand slam. By July 1 next year, the Big 3 can all either opt out or have contracts expiring. Signing all of them to stay together in South Beach after that, if Pat Riley and Eric Spoelstra pull it off, would be a feat worthy of High Mass by Pope Francis at the Vatican.

    “That’s not our concern as players, where he’s going to be. We know where he is right now and we know where we all are. Everybody in here has a contract situation and the biggest thing is we’re dedicated to the Miami Heat. We’re dedicated to now," said Wade in one interview. "It does none of us any good to worry about the business side during the season because we won’t accomplish what we are together to accomplish — and that’s to try to win another championship,” he added with emphasis.

    By the way, the Heat just beat another contender, Chicago, on opening night 107-95. Looks like the grand slam express is well underway. James had 17 points in a balanced Heat game.
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  2. 2013-14 NBA: 13 Teams Make Head Coaching Changes

    Thirteen teams (out of 30) in the U.S. National Basketball Association have made head coaching changes for the 2013-14 season.

    These are:

    Atlanta Hawks – Mike Budenholzer (replacing Larry Drew)

    Boston Celtics – Brad Stevens (Glenn “Doc” Rivers)

    Brooklyn Nets – Jason Kidd (P. J. Carlesimo – interim)

    Charlotte Bobcats – Steve Clifford (Mike Dunlap)

    Cleveland Cavaliers – Mike Brown (Byron Scott)

    Denver Nuggets – Brian Shaw (George Karl)

    Detroit Pistons – Maurice Cheeks (Lawrence Frank)

    LA Clippers – Glenn “Doc” Rivers (Vinny Del Negro)

    Memphis Grizzlies – David Joerger (Lionel Hollins)

    Milwaukee Bucks – Larry Drew (Jim Boylan – interim)

    Philadelphia 76ers – Brett Brown (Doug Collins)

    Phoenix Suns – Jeff Hornacek (Lindsey Hunter – interim)

    Sacramento Kings – Mike Malone (Keith Smart)

    Significantly, six clubs – Denver (57-25), LA Clippers (56-26), Memphis (56-26), Brooklyn (49-33), Atlanta (44-3 and Boston (41-40) – decided to make a coaching change even though they registered winning records last season, including three with 56 victories or more.

    Drew moved to Milwaukee from Atlanta and Rivers defected to the West with the Clippers after nine previous seasons in Boston.

    Mike Brown spent his first five seasons as an NBA head coach with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2005-10. Subsequently, he lost his job and LeBron departed for South Florida with Miami. Brown rejoined the NBA head coaching cast during the lockout-marred 2011-12 campaign, hooking up with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, but just five games into the 2012-13 wars, the Lakers gave him the pink slip. In a controversial move, the Lakers replaced Brown with Mike D’Antoni, who had previous stints in Phoenix and New York, in lieu of the legendary Phil Jackson. Now, Brown’s back in his second tour of duty in Wine City (Cleveland).

    Of the 13 first-year head coaches, nine have had no previous NBA head coaching experience and six are former league players.

    Making their NBA debuts are Budenholzer, Stevens, Kidd, Clifford, Shaw, Joerger, Brett Brown, Hornacek and Malone. Former NBA athletes are Kidd, Shaw, Cheeks, Rivers, Drew and Hornacek.

    Only Rivers owns an NBA title as a head coach, having accomplished the feat with the Boston Celtics in a 4-2 win against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2008 Finals.

    Cheeks (1983 Philadelphia 76ers) and Shaw (2000-2001-2002 LA Lakers) won NBA rings as a player.

    Hornacek reached the Finals in 1997 and 1998 with the Utah Jazz, but was beaten both times by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls via 4-2 decisions. Another two-time loser was Kidd, who helped lead the New Jersey Nets to the Finals in 2002 and 2003 but came up short against the LA Lakers (4-0) and San Antonio Spurs (4-2), respectively.

    Kidd, a cerebral playmaker during his heyday, had his old No. 5 jersey retired by the Brooklyn Nets prior to a preseason contest against Miami at the Barclays Center last October 17. He is the sixth player in the club’s storied American Basketball Association (ABA)-NBA history to have his number retired, following Julius Erving, Drazen Petrovic, John Williamson, Bill Melchionni and Buck Williams.

    A minor stockholder of the Brooklyn franchise (following his purchase of 50 percent of rap mogul-turned-player agent Jay Z’s Nets shares for $500,000), the 40-year-old Kidd is ineligible to coach in the Nets’ first two games this season after he was slapped with a two-game suspension by the NBA for pleading guilty to a driving-while-intoxicated (DWI) case that dated back to July 2012.

    Lead assistant coach Lawrence Frank (the bench maestro at Detroit the previous two seasons) is mentoring the Nets for those two games (Oct. 31 at Cleveland and Nov. 2 vs. Miami). Kidd will make his NBA coaching debut in Orlando on November 4 (Manila time).

    A majority – 16 – of the 30-member NBA head coaching fraternity once played in the NBA. In addition to Kidd, Shaw, Cheeks, Rivers, Drew and Hornacek, Rick Adelman (Minnesota), Scott Brooks (Oklahoma City), Rick Carlisle (Dallas), Tyrone Corbin (Utah), Mark Jackson (Golden State), Kevin McHale (Houston), Jacque Vaughn (Orlando), Monty Williams (New Orleans), Randy Wittman (Washington) and Mike Woodson (New York) also are former NBA players.
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  3. 2013-14 NBA SEASON: SET TO OPEN OCTOBER 30

    The 68th renewal of the U.S. National Basketball Association will unwrap on October 29 (Oct. 30, Manila time).

    Three games are slated for opening day of the 2013-14 regular campaign.

    The reigning Central Division titlist Indiana Pacers will officially start hostilities by hosting the rebuilding Orlando Magic (bannered by the NBA’s No. 2 draft choice and Indiana University product Victor Oladipo, said to be the favorite to romp away with Rookie of the Year award) at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

    Bannered by the Big Three of LeBron James (the league’s Most Valuable Player in four of the last five seasons), Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and buoyed by the return to NBA action of injury-prone center Greg Oden from nearly four years of forced vacation due to various knee ailments, the two-time defending NBA titlist Miami Heat will clash with the Chicago Bulls (who will welcome back 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose after the playmaker de luxe sat out the entire 2012-13 wars due to knee surgery) before a friendly crowd at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

    Before the game, the Miami players along with their Filipino-American mentor Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff will receive their 2013 NBA title rings.

    The Heat are bidding to become only the third franchise in league history to make at least four consecutive trips to the Finals. The first two are the Boston Celtics, during the Bill Russell era from 1957-66 and again during the Larry Bird-Kevin McHale-Robert Parish era from 1984-87; and the Los Angeles Lakers, during the Earvin “Magic” Johnson-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar era from 1982-85.

    To cap opening day, the defending Pacific Division champion Los Angeles Clippers, under first-year head coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers, will take on their in-house rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, at the Staples Center. In this encounter, the Lakers are the "home" team with the light uniforms. The Lakers and Clippers have been co-tenants at the Staples Center since 1999-2000 and are the only NBA clubs to share an arena.

    The Lakers are likely to show up without their injured meal ticket Kobe Bryant. The fourth all-time leading scorer in NBA regular-season history behind Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan, the 6-7, 35-year-old Bryant has not fully recovered from the first major injury of his illustrious 17-year NBA tenure, having undergone surgery last April for a torn left Achilles tendon that forced him to miss the 2013 playoffs.

    Steve Nash, the Lakers' two-time league MVP (2005 and 2006 with the Phoenix Suns), is the oldest active year in the NBA. He will turn 40 next February.

    There are familiar faces in new places as scores of veteran players have switched addresses this season.

    Foremost among the transferees are enigmatic All-Star center Dwight Howard, who left $30 million on the table to bolt the Lakers for the Western Conference rival Houston Rockets on an $88-million free-agent contract over four seasons; legendary 36-year-old Paul Pierce, a 15-year Boston veteran forward whom the Celtics sent to the Brooklyn Nets along with 37-year-old Hall of Fame-bound Kevin Garnett (who waived a no-trade clause in his contract) and 36-year-old guard Jason Terry in exchange principally for Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries, reality television show starlet Kim Kardashian’s former quickie hubby whom she later ditched for hip-hop artist Kanye West; and All-Star swingman and 2012 London Olympian Andre Iguodala, who left the Denver Nuggets in a sign-and-trade, three-team deal that netted him a four-year, $48-million agreement with the up-and-coming Golden State Warriors.

    The rebuilding Celtics shipped Pierce, Garnett, Terry and throw-in D.J. White to the revitalized Nets after their former head coach, Rivers, left Hub City last June to hook up with All-Star point guard Chris Paul and the LA Clippers. The NBA approved a trade for Rivers in which Boston received an unprotected 2015 first-round draft selection from the Clippers. The agreement includes an anti-trade clause that disallowed the Clippers and Celtics from engaging in future transactions among each other, including the exchange of players, for the duration of the 2013-14 campaign.

    Boston is one of 13 NBA teams that have made coaching changes this season. The others are Atlanta, Brooklyn (under recently-retired Jason Kidd), Charlotte, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, LA Clippers, Memphis, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Sacramento.

    Aside from Kidd, other notable NBA players that hung up their jersey last summer are Grant Hill (Kidd’s co-1995 NBA Rookie of the Year awardee) and Tracy McGrady.
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    Philippine Basketball
  4. Big Barrel of Draft

    With the 2013 PBA rookie draft just two weeks away let us take a look at the players and drafting orders. I will have a more comprehensive scouting report of the applicants by next week. Please note that the PBA still has to screen all of these applicants, and by October 30 the league will publish a final list of those who qualified for drafting.

    Here are the players who beat the deadline for submission of applications to the 2013 PBA rookie draft...

    1. ALMAZAN, Raymond C. Letran Aug 2, 1989 Bataan 6’7” 195 C
    2. APINAN, Jeckster A. JRU Jan. 9, 1987 Roxas City, Capiz 6’5” 190 F
    3. BARONDA, Janno Perpetual Help Apr 23, 1988 Paranaque 6’2” 170 G
    4. BERRY, Mark NU Nov 3, 1986 Tacloban City 6-4 190 F
    5. BONGAT, Jeffrey M. UPH-Cavite Mar 29, 1987 Cavite 6’0” G
    6. BRINGAS, Mark P. FEU Apr 27, 1988 Orani, Bataan 6’4” 210 C/F
    7. BUENAFE, Ryan Clarence Ateneo De Manila Feb 1, 1990 Manila 6’2” 225 G
    8. BULANGIS, Ildefonso Jr. JRU Mar 15, 1986 Cebu City 5’-10” 170 G
    9. CALOMOT, Michael PCU Apr 27, 1987 San Juan 5’-10” 160 G
    10. CAMSON, Eric Adamson Jun 12, 1990 Lemery, Batangas 6’4” 180 F
    11. CARAM, Antonio Jose H. San Beda Jan 14, 1991 Iloilo City 5’8” 150 G
    12. CAWALING, Ricardo Jr. FEU Aug 15, 1987 Cagayan de Oro 6’4” 188 G
    13. CELIZ, Robby Cruz NU Sep 7, 1988 Cadiz City, Negros Occidental 6’4” 208 F
    14. CHIEN, Jumel Louie Mapua Aug 13, 1988 Negros Occ. 5’-11” 185 G
    15. CHUA, Justin Shawn Rodriguez Ateneo De Manila Jul 13, 1989 Manila 6’5” 210 C
    16. CHUA, Randolph St. Benilde May 28, 1986 Manila 5’9” 180 G
    17. COLLADO, Jessie Lyceum Subic Dec 3, 1985 Pampanga 6’4” 230 G/F
    18. CORDERO, Darwin Southern City Coll. Jun 8, 1986 Puerto Princesa 5’10” 164 G
    19. CUAN, Japs UST Apr 27, 1985 Pasig 5’8” G
    20. CUSTODIO, Jopher A. MLQU Apr 2, 1987 Pangasinan 6’2” 207 G
    21. DELA SERNA, Francis P. Univ of San Carlos (Cebu) Jul 27, 1990 Makati City 6’4” 190 F
    22. DELGADO, Franz San Sebastian Dec 13, 1984 Socorro, Oriental Mindoro 5’10” G
    23. DE LOS TRINOS, Ryeon UM Oct 19, 1985 San Mateo, Isabela 6’0” 180 G
    24. ECHANE, Ezekiel Eric JRU Jun 7, 1985 Legaspi, Albay 6’3” 180 F
    25. EGUILOS, Jaymo FEU Aug 27, 1986 Manaoag, Pangasinan 6’6” 190 D-League C/F
    26. ERRAM, JP Ateneo De Manila Jul 7, 1989 Makati City 6’7” 230 C
    27. EXCIMINIANO, Christopher FEU Nov 17, 1988 Olongapo 6’1” G
    28. FERRER, John Michael San Beda – Alabang Mar 6, 1987 Makati 6’1” 190 G
    29. FORRESTER, James P. Arellano Sep 3, 1989 Toronto, Canada 6’2” 200 G/F
    30. FORTUNA, Jeric UST Nov 25, 1991 Paranaque 5’8” 160 G
    31. GARCIA, Ryan Roose B. FEU Jan 12, 1990 Zamboanga City 5’11" 165 G
    32. GLORIOSO, Jerryvi Santos RTU / CEU Aug. 20, 1985 Bulacan 5’11” 170 G
    33. GONZALES, John FEU May 11, 1985 Manila 6’3” 195 G
    34. GUEVARRA, Ronoel Jr. St. Francis of Assisi Jul 17, 1987 Manila 5’10” 170 G
    35. HOLSTEIN, Isaac J. West Virginia State Univ. Sep 7, 1987 West Virginia 6’9” 210 C
    36. IGNACIO, Janhell Justin Trinity Apr 27, 1991 Manila 5’10” 165 G
    37. ILAGAN, Raymund St. Francis of Assisi Mar 20, 1986 Bacolod City 6’3” 190 F
    38. INGCO, Angelo Lance M. San Beda Jan 1, 1987 Lipa, Batangas 5’8” 150 G
    39. KNUTTEL, Jens FEU Sep 17, 1989 Heidelberg, Germany 5’11” 162 G
    40. LANSANG, Ralph John PCU Nov. 2, 1986 Pampanga 6’4” F
    41. LASTIMOSA, Carlo Dan St. Benilde Sep 3, 1990 CDO 6’0” 180 G
    42. LOPEZ, Mark UP Jul 7, 1990 San Juan City 6’0” 185 G
    43. LOPEZ, John JRU Aug 19, 1988 Pateros 6’4” 180 F
    44. MACASAET, Reigner F. UM Sep 25, 1987 Manila G
    45. MACONOCIDO, Raymond San Sebastian Apr 10, 1986 Caltrava, Negros Occidental 5’11” 170 G
    46. MALINAO, Regilito UM Sep 26, 1986 Pandi, Bulacan 6’3” 180 F
    47. MARATA, Joseph UP Jun 28, 1991 Quezon City 6’2” 187 G
    48. MATUTE, Nathaniel JRU Feb 19, 1988 Las Vegas 6’0” 183 G
    49. MELTON, Justin Mt. Olive College Apr 7, 1987 Angeles, Pampanga 5’11” 165 G
    50. MONTECASTRO, Anjelo A. UP Mar 20, 1989 Mandaluyong City 6’1” 180 G
    51. MONTE, Marlon PUP Aug 24, 1986 Guiguinto, Bulacan 5’11” 170 G
    52. MONTILLA, Mark Universal College Oct. 8, 1986 Las Pinas 6’1” 175 G
    53. NAJORDA, Dave S. San Sebastian Mar 16, 1986 San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte 6’5” 190 F
    54. NUYLES, Alex Adamson Univ. Jul 25, 1989 Camalig Albay 6’2” 180 F
    55. PADILLA, Alvin C. UP Jan 10, 1988 Quezon City 6’2” 189 D-League G
    56. PANGILINAN, Mark St. Clare Nov 3, 1986 Caloocan 6’1” 176 G/F
    57. PARALA, Michael Mapua Mar 4, 1988 Calamba, Laguna 6’5" 195 C/F
    58. ...
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  5. 2013 UAAP BASKETBALL RECAP 2: DLSU IS A DOUBLE WINNER, TENG LOSES HS SCORING RECORD

    De La Salle University downed University of Santo Tomas to romp away with the men’s seniors crown in the 2013 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) basketball competitions.

    With a little bit of luck, the Taft Avenue-based school also grabbed the women’s collegiate championship after Far Eastern University, which appeared headed to a third consecutive title (including a 16-0 sweep in 2012), was forced to give up five victories during the double-round elimination phase due to player ineligibility violations and failed to advance to the Final Four playoffs. Vangie Soriano was rule ineligible for playing in a commercial league during the UAAP season..

    With the configuration of the women’s team standings, National University and De La Salle University finished the elims with identical 12-2 records, and the University of Santo Tomas and Adamson University each wound up with an 8-6 ledger. FEU was relegated to fifth place at 7-7. NU beat La Salle for the top seed in a tie-breaker (the two teams split their head-to-head matchups with NU winning by nine points in the first round and La Salle taking the second with an eight-point margin) and UST edged Adamson for the third seed also via a tie-breaker.

    In the Final Four, the DLSU Lady Archers made short work of the UST Lady Tigreses with a come-from-behind overtime win while the NU Lady Bulldogs were extended to a rubber match by Adamson before ousting the feisty Lady Falcons to reach the finals for the first time in school history against last year’s losing finalist, La Salle.

    In the finals, La Salle took the series opener, 72-48, but NU bounced back to capture the second game, 67-52. In the deciding Game Three, the Lady Archers grabbed their first UAAP title since their “four-peat” feat from 1999 to 2002 with a 69-61 triumph. La Salle’s three-point artist Trisha Piatos was named the Finals MVP.

    In men’s basketball, the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers beat the DLSU Green Archers to become the fifth team in the Final Four era (beginning 1994) to snare the men’s diadem in three games after overcoming an 0-1 deficit in the beat-of-three finals.

    Significantly four of the previous 0-1 comebacks were registered either by UST – in 1994 and 1995 – or La Salle – in 1999 – all against each other.

    Before this season, it was UST that last turned in the trick. In 2006, the Growling Tigers defeated Ateneo de Manila University, 2-1, in the finals while their top bench tactician Pido Jarencio joined an elite group of head coaches that won the title in their UAAP debut.

    Poker-faced Juno Sauler, DLSU’s rookie mentor, followed Jarencio on the list this year.

    It was an uphill climb to the top by the Green Archers in Season 76.

    At the end of the first round of the eight-school competitions, the team was mired at the bottom of the win-loss standings with a fifth-to-seventh-places deadlock along with Adamson University and Ateneo at 3-4. The Green, however, completed the second round with an unblemished 7-0 mark, knocked off league Most Valuable Player Terrence Romeo and Far Eastern University to secure the No. 2 seed behind top seed National University, and then knocked off the Tamaraws for a second time in their Final Four duel to stretch its winning streak to nine games and reach the UAAP finals for the first time since 2008.

    During the three-game finals between La Salle and UST, an overall 67, 258 spectators trooped to the Araneta Coliseum for Games One (20,525) and Two (23,037) and to the Mall of Asia Arena in the decisive third game where a two-year arena attendance record of 23,696 was established.

    Much-heralded Jeron Teng, the Green Archers’ 6-2 sophomore swingman, stepped up during the titular series, averaging 19.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.67 steals and 0.67 blocked shots an outing to earn Finals MVP honors.

    Teng previously held the all-time high school scoring record in Philippine basketball history when he chalked up 104 points in Xavier School’s 164-74 shellacking of Grace Christian College in a Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association game on January 5, 2011. A 16-year-old junior at the time, Teng became the first HS player ever to reach the 100-point plateau.

    Last week, AMA University’s high school standout Clark Quijano torched Lord’s Grace Christian School for an eye-popping 120 points in a 166-85 victory in the 7th Mariano Bondoc Cup tournament at the Hope Christian Academy gym in Fairview, Quezon City.

    The 6-foot Quijano already had 100 points for the Junior Titans by HALFTIME – 59 in the first quarter and 41 in the second. He added another 20 markers in the third quarter.

    It was the highest-scoring game by a high school player in local basketball ...

    Updated 10-22-2013 at 09:41 PM by gameface_one

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