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  1. Ann Meyers:* The first and only female player to sign an NBA contract

    Thirty-four years ago on August 30, history was made when the Indiana Pacers signed Ann Elizabeth Meyers to a one-year, $50,000 guaranteed contract, helping the four-time All-American from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) break the gender barrier as the first woman player ever to ink a National Basketball Association (NBA) contract.
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    Meyers, a 5-9, 134-pound guard, eventually failed to survive the Pacers’ three-day rookie-free agent camp.* She did not make it to the club’s 11-man playing roster.* (NBA clubs carried a maximum of 11 players on their rosters during the 1979-80 season.)
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    Then 24 years old, Meyers was paid $50,000, however, as her contract guaranteed her a front-office job with the Pacers even if she failed to earn a roster berth.
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    Meyers, who was never drafted by an NBA club, eventually worked as a color commentator during the Pacers’ television coverage in the 1979-80 campaign.* It was a time when there were few women in sportscasting.
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    After six games, Meyers lost her job.* She went on to play in the Women’s Professional Basketball League (WPBL) with the New Jersey Gems from 1979-81.
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    The 58-year-old Meyers, whose elder brother Dave (also a UCLA product) once played for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, is currently the president and general manager of the Phoenix Mercury in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the vice president of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.
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    Last season (2012-13), an NBA club featured a woman in its TV broadcast booth for the first time in 33 years.* Once more, it was Meyers, who did game analysis for the Suns during their cable telecasts on Fox Sports Arizona.
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    Meyers never played in the WNBA simply because the women’s pro league established by the NBA came to life only in 1997.
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    Meyers attended Sonora High School in La Habra, California.* In 1974, she became the first high school athlete to suit for the U.S. national basketball team.* A year later, she joined college cage power UCLA.* In four seasons with the Bruins, Meyers was named to the All-America Team each time – the first female ever to accomplish the feat.
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    Meyers also holds the distinction of being the first player to register a quadruple-double (at least a 10 in four statistical categories such as in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots) in a game in U.S. NCAA Division I history.* On February 18, 1978, in a game against Stephen F. Austin, Meyers chalked up 20 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals.*
    *
    Since then, only one other U.S. NCAA Division I player (male or female) has duplicated Meyers’ feat.
    *
    On November 13, 2007, then-23-year-old University of Tennessee at Martin junior guard Lester Hudson, a Southwest Tennessee Community College transferee in just his third assignment with the Skyhawks, had 25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and steals in a 116-74 rout of visiting Division II Central Baptist College from Arkansas.
    *
    A second-round NBA draftee by Boston in 2009, the 6-3 Hudson has had stops with the Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies (two tours of duty), Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers from 2009-12.
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    In November 1986, Meyers married legendary Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale of U.S. Major League Baseball.* A Hall of Famer, Drysdale died of a heart attack in July 1993.
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    Meyers herself was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in May 1993.* Later, she was enshrined in the FIBA Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class of 2007.* Also honored by the international basketball governing body that year were all-time University of San Francisco Dons and Boston Celtics player great Bill Russell and University of North Carolina Tar Heels and U.S. Olympic gold medal-winning coach Dean Smith.
    Tags: henry liao, nba Add / Edit Tags
    Categories
    Philippine Basketball
  2. Red Suspension II

    As bothered as I am by the thought so powerfully expressed by Tommy Manotoc on the disproportionate power of the UAAP Commissioner's Office, I must however say that there are things fully within a player's control that would have prevented his having to be on the receiving end of a suspension memo.

    In this case, Olivares's shenanigans during their UE game was most instructive. I, like may of the more diehard hardcore hoop nuts here in Gameface, surely must have seen cheap shots, on-court extracurricular activity, second motions and good old fashioned gulang in every shape and form. No one with even a shred of basketball credulity and credibility would ever believe that when Olivares stepped on Javelona's stomach, and nicked Rono with his elbow, that those were all inadvertent contact. Utang na loob naman, huwag na tayong maglokohan dun, sinubukan ni Olivares na sumimple at nahuli pa din siya. He was whistled for the act against Rono, which was only proper. He got away with the act against Javelona during the game but was caught on video review. He drew another sanction for that, which again was only proper.

    Then of course there was that cheap shot against Javillonar. You had already fouled out and your team was still trying to soldier on without you. Instead of just sitting on the bench and cheering on your guys, you decide to try and get your licks in some more as if you hadn't caused enough trouble for your team already. In this day and age, with the coverage we now enjoy, it is nearly impossible to get away with something like that. So basically Olivares gave away four freethrows that became four points and two possessions to NU. Thanks to those three instances PLUS a previous warning already he was docked a two-game suspension.

    Had Olivares done the smart thing and simply played on and played hard, UE actually had a realistic chance of beating NU anew in that game. Neither side was actually pulling away all that much. Although NU had a personnel advantage with Mamie and Casajeros away, the Bulldogs still weren't able to pile on the points and bury the Warriors. UE in fact was within one or two points in that fateful stretch in the third period before Olivares fouled out and was also called for that unsportsmanlike foul against Rono.

    This then is the real difference between the case of Olivares and the cases of Casajeros and Mamie. Olivares was caught and whistled for the regular, unsportsmanlike and technical fouls, all of which he deserved.

    Thank God for video review, so that players will now focus more on just playing the game and playing it well instead of resorting to whatever shenanigans, some of which might result to hurting fellow players and maybe even ending promising careers.

    On the other hand, the Commissioner may have exercised that "disproportionate power" in the cases of Mamie and Casajeros. Casajeros might even have been "innocent of the charges" against him, as the UAAP's own Technical Committee admitted the video did not show the reported illegal contact supposedly committed by Casajeros versus Romeo. In both the Casajeros and Mamie cases, the referees working the game did not even whistle a regular foul on either man, much less unsportsmanlike fouls. Both Warriors got away with it, so to speak. And yet here comes the Commissioner saying that even with iffy to nonexistent evidence, no, they didn't get away with it after all.

    If this was litigation, counsels for Mamie and Casajeros might just look into the full background of the Commissioner to determine if he is beholden in any way to anyone who might benefit should UE be out of the playoff picture. UE after all has beaten every title contender except FEU, and they very nearly did that in that double-overtime classic.That would in litigation establish a motive, or at least help explain the thinking behind the substituted judgements which led to the rulings which led to the UE player suspensions which led to the now-precarious record of the Warriors in the homestretch of the season. I for one would love to see the results of that hypothetical background check.

    Perhaps a rule might be instituted such that if a player was not whistled for any foul at all by the actual game officials working a given game, then that player may not be subjected to sanctions even if a video review should eventually show that the referees had erred by not calling anything against that player. The player could just be issued a "strong warning" or some similar official message from the Commissioner's Office, just to let him know that the league did catch him even if the referees in that game did not. If in the judgement of the referees working that game, particularly the referee assigned to that area, there was no foul then the league should uphold that because that constituted part of the breaks of any game. If the Commissioner can overturn any ...
    Categories
    Philippine Basketball
  3. Red Suspension

    I do not have the numbers, but I do believe this season of the UAAP has seen the most number of player suspensions being handed down from the Commissioner's Office. This is seen as a proverbial two-edged blade. On the one hand it shows a proactive and dynamic Commissioner taking charge and stepping in even when game officials fail to do so. On the other hand, it might more realistically be seen as "tantamount to giving the commissioner’s office disproportionate power in determining the league’s champion for the year" in the words of Tommy Manotoc, one of only four coaches to have completed a rare title grand slam in the PBA.

    Arguably the most apparent case study of this two-edged sword effect is the University of the East. This season, UE is dubiously leading the league in players suspensions. Their powerful Sierra Leone center Charles Mamie has already missed two games this season due to suspension. He will miss a third game tomorrow, his third suspension of the season. UE lost the two games Mamie was not around, to Santo Tomas and to National University.

    Their game tomorrow versus a surging De La Salle is already being chalked up as another loss in Mamie's absence. Compounding that however is yet another Warrior who has been suspended by the Commissioner, swingman Ralf Olivares. Olivares will sit out UE's next two games, the one tomorrow versus the Green Archers, and the one after that this weekend versus reigning champion Ateneo De Manila. UE can probably count its blessings because a third Warrior - guard Lord Casajeros - was originally meted a two-game suspension himself, but that has since been pulled back to just a one-game suspension which he already served during their loss to NU. Casajeros will be back versus La Salle tomorrow.

    At 5-5 as of this writing, and with a crucial homestretch that will have La Salle, the Ateneo and still-dangerous Adamson, UE's season is precariously on the brink. "Tanggalin na lang nila kami sa UAAP," a very frustrated and disappointed Roi Sumang declared in the wake of all the suspensions.

    A UE fan might be tempted to think that the Commissioner has it in for his team. And indeed when your side is getting a shit storm rained on it by The Man it is easy to think that perhaps the Commissioner really is out to get you.

    Let us however take a look at how these suspensions came about.

    Mamie's first suspension came as the result of two unsportsmanlike fouls called on two different instances. In the UAAP drawing two unsportsmanlike fouls brings with it an automatic one-game suspension. As with other organized sporting tournaments, subsequent infractions will draw even greater sanctions. Mamie's second suspension was for two games because he had already been meted a one-game suspension previously. This second, two-game suspension came because he apparently stuck his foot out purposely while challenging a shot by Terrence Romeo in their second round game with FEU won 98-94 in double-overtime. In this last instance however Mamie somehow got away with the referees in that game NOT calling him even for a regular foul.

    Romeo took and missed that jumpshot, landed on Mamie's foot and twisted his own foot. Romeo writhed in agony for a couple of minutes until he miraculously recovered, returned to finish the game and even played in their next game without so much as a slight limp. Aljon Mariano suffered a similar fate in one of UST's own games and failed to return to action in that game, giving rise to speculation that Romeo put on a show for the sake of the game officials more than out of any real pain, but I digress.

    Olivares's two-game suspension is something a little more straightforward. Without Mamie it fell to Sumang and Olivares to try and carry the fight for the Warriors versus the Bulldogs over the weekend. Olivares started out hot, nailing eight of UE's first-period points including two triples. It was a pretty close first half even sans Mamie and Casajeros.

    Then the second half got underway and Olivares just plain lost it. Within the third period alone he fouled out, drew an unsportsmanlike foul because of shenanigans directed against Robin Rono and Nico Javelona, then capped that by shoving the loveable Jeff Javillonar sometime in the fourth period when Javillonar was chasing down a loose ball and found himself near the UE sidelines. May I just remind everyone that Olivares had already fouled out in the third, and yet somehow still thought he'd sneak in a cheap shot in the fourth. From his own bench.

    “You (Olivares) were seen planting your foot on the stomach of NU player Nico Javelona after an offensive foul was called against you with 6:43 remaining in the second quarter. An additional unsportsmanlike foul against the opposing player should have been assessed against you,” according to the memo from the Commissioner's Office. ...
    Categories
    Philippine Basketball
  4. 2013 UAAP Men's Basketball: 4 Up, 4 Down

    Since the turn of the 2lst century in 2000, only four schools have taken turns in securing the men’s basketball title in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines .

    Ateneo de Manila University, of course, lords it over with six championships during the 13-year stretch, including the past five seasons.

    In 2002, No. 3 seed Ateneo (behind Enrico Villanueva, L.A. Tenorio and Larry Fonacier) defeated No. 1 seed De La Salle University (bannered by Mike Cortez and Marc Cardona) in a maximum three games during the finals (winning the first and third contests) to earn its first UAAP crown since back-to-back title finishes in 1987 and 1988 while scuttling its arch nemesis’s bid for a fifth consecutive crown.

    It was just as sweet that ADMU prevented DLSU a 14-0 sweep of the elimination phase with a 76-63 victory at the elims’ conclusion that denied the Green Archers an automatic trip to the best-of-three finals.

    During the 2001 Final Four playoffs, La Salle quickly disposed of No.4 seed University of Santo Tomas and Ateneo knocked off James Yap and No. 3 seed University of the East twice to arrange a titular duel. A buzzer-beating shot by little-publicized guard Gec Chia in the second game against the Red Warriors sent head coach Joel Banal and the Eagles to the finals.

    Fast forward the time machine and most collegiate cage fans from this generation know that Ateneo has dominated the UAAP for the last five years, gifting Eagles bench boss Norman Black with a championship each time.

    The Blue Eagles’ dynastic rule, which includes last year’s 2-0 finals sweep of UST, was historic for players Nico Salva (back-to-back Finals Most Valuable Player awardee), Justin Chua, Tonino Gonzaga and Chris Sumalinog, who all became the first players in UAAP or National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) annals to collect five rings with the same team during their collegiate careers.

    Mammoth Greg Slaughter also owns five collegiate titles – three with the University of the Visayas in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI) and a pair with Ateneo in the UAAP after completing the one-year residency rule.

    Far Eastern University and De La Salle have the second most number of UAAP championships since 2000 with three each.

    De La Salle won in 2000, 2001 and 2007 (after a one-year UAAP suspension due to eligibility violations by two players from 2003 to 2005).

    FEU was triumphant in 2003 (when Tamaraws coach Koy Banal beat then-defending titlist Ateneo, a team that was mentored by Koy’s elder brother Joel, in the finals), 2004 and 2005.

    De La Salle and FEU were the combatants in the 2004 UAAP finals. The Green Archers actually defeated the Tams in the best-of-three series but were stripped of their title a year later due to player ineligibility).

    The two schools also clashed during the 2005 finals but the Green Archers, again due to the aforementioned league violations, surrendered their runner-up trophy.

    During La Salle’s one-year sabbatical in 2006, Ateneo was favored to romp away with the UAAP title but UST unexpectedly turned back the Blue Eagles in a thrilling three-game championship series that Growling Tigers, behind rookie mentor and former school player Pido Jarencio and star center Jervy Cruz, grabbed with victories in the second and third games.

    Meanwhile, the other four UAAP members – National University, Adamson University, University of the Philippines and University of the East – have yet to pull off a title finish in nearly three decades or even longer.
    Tags: henry liao, uaap Add / Edit Tags
    Categories
    Philippine Basketball
  5. Disappearing Acts

    With the UAAP and NCAA seasons in full swing and approaching playoff time, let's take a look at the players who seem to have dropped off the planet. Now please remember that we are not going to do a metric analysis here, so don't expect numbers to be tossed about hither and yon. We will be taking a look at some numbers, but this is not strictly metric-based.

    This is just my impression of certain players this season who seem to have become conspicuous by their so-so play after relatively productive outings the previous season and even over the summer preseason, and they come in no particular order.

    JR Sumido, Forward, University of the East - Sumido was once an RP Youth national team candidate who made it all the way to the last few rounds of selection. He brings height, length and a pretty good long-range shooting game. Unfortunately he also seems to be the most awkward moving basketball player in all of college ball in this country. Nothing about him looks fluid, and he often runs, dribbles and just plain moves in such a disjointed fashion. If a bio-mechanics or even physical therapy expert took a look at him they would say there is something unusual and inefficient about his movements. This would not be a fatal flaw if only he were productive. Unfortunately for him and the Red Warriors he has been far from productive this season. All of his numbers took nosedives across the board this season.

    Even that one skill upon which he has hung his hat in the past has abandoned him: his long-range shooting. That seems to be the last straw, because if there is one thing shooters will always be good at it is shooting. Shooters in their 50's to 70's can still nail 10 straight set shots from about 15 feet and beyond. It is simply a skill that never goes away. Apparently Sumido has become that rare case of a shooter whose shot has deserted him.

    Some would point to the arrival of do-all Ralf Olivares as signaling Sumido's playing demise. That does not necessarily wash. Sumido and Olivares did well alternating or even playing alongside each other over the summer. Sumido even had some great games against top UAAP rivals UST and Lasalle in the 2013 Fil Oil which UE won. One can only wonder if there isn't anything else that may not be basketball-related that has reduced Sumido to a shell of his former self.

    Jon Pinto, Guard, Arellano University - Pinto came into the summer preseason tournaments firing but steadily saw his numbers dip as defenses became more keyed onto him. Perhaps the most telling was his inability to make plays and hit shots. Up to the middle of the Fil Oil he was still able to find teammates on their sets, run the early offense and stick the mid-range and pull-up shots. When the NCAA tournament started he was suddenly taking hurried shots deep into an expiring shotclock from way downtown. It is as if the rest of the NCAA only needed half the summer to fully figure him out and now he is unable to deliver for his team.

    Of course having the likes of James Forrester asserting himself more for the Chiefs, plus the improvements of center Prince Caperal, the steadily improving productivity of Keith Agovida and the return of Adam Serjue might have eaten into a lot of his own opportunities. But his style of play - as a primary handler and setter, drive-and-pull-up specialist, recipient on the drive-kick out plays - should have lent itself more to having more productive teammates. Sadly he has not quite responded as well to these developments as expected.

    Scotty Thompson, Swingman, Perpetual Help - Talk about new teammates taking your production away and Thompson might be the first one to come to mind. Juneric Baloria has been the revelation of the NCAA, leading the league in scoring and emerging as one of its best players. All this has come at a price however, and it looks like Thompson is the one paying for it.

    Thompson, much like Baloria, is a perimeter player, although Baloria is more ball-dominant and shoots at a more impressive range at a more impressive clip. As early as the summer preseason tournaments it seemed Thompson's game would be the one that would become the biggest casualty of Baloria's emergence as the new go-to star for Perpetual Help. All of Thompson's numbers have been practically reduced by half across the board.

    Thompson can still make hay in the new sun though if he focuses more on defense and helping out with the rebounding chores. As a relatively short team, the Altas need all of the active bodies they can get hustling on defense especially on helping and switching, as well as crashing the boards from the outside to offset the size advantage of the other teams.

    Chris Javier, Center, University of the East - Was it not just last season that Javier was the giant-slaying game hero that beat reigning champion Ateneo De Manila with that buzzer-beating ...
    Tags: ncaa, uaap Add / Edit Tags
    Categories
    Philippine Basketball
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