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  1. PBA Preseason Tournament in Cebu City

    A four-team pocket tournament that will feature three professional clubs from the Philippine Basketball Association will be held at the tradition-steeped Cebu Coliseum in Cebu City from November 7-9.

    Seeing action in the CFBJ Cup are reigning Commissioner’s Cup titlist Alaska, Barako Bull and Globalport from the PBA and CM Farm Tagum City (Davao).

    The three-day event, which is being organized by the Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists, will serve as a PBA preseason tournament as the 39th renewal of the PBA competitions will get underway on Sunday, November 17, with a three-game bill to start the Philippine Cup in key cities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

    Sister teams San Mig Coffee, which beat sister team Petron Blaze in a seven-game thriller during the Governors Cup finals last month, will make its 2013-14 season debut against another sister club, Barangay Ginebra, at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

    Talk ‘N Text, which is bidding to capture its fourth consecutive All-Filipino crown, will clash with sister club Meralco at the newly-renovated Cebu Coliseum. The Tropang Texters swept Rain or Shine, 4-0, in last season’s Philippine Cup finals.

    In Davao City, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters will open their season against the Alaska Aces, who defeated Barangay Ginebra, 3-0, in the best-of-three Commissioner’s Cup finals last May.

    Barako Bull and Globalport seek to turn around their fortunes in the upcoming PBA season. The Energy Boosters and Batang Pier finished in the lower half of the 10-team standings in Season 38.

    Meanwhile, CM Farm, which is owned by Virginia Allones and Mario Bantillan, is composed of ex-PBA players Ardy Larong, Mark Andaya and Jercules Tangkay, Glenn Bolocon (one-time Liga Pilipinas MVP), Ferdinand Lusdok and Vani Aguilar, Cameroon recruits Arnavd Noah, Douglas Njapa and Ahmed Salihov and four players from the recently-crowned Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI) champion University of the Visayas – 2013 Universiade veterans John Abad and Hernal Escosio (the 2012 CESAFI Rookie of the Year and MVP awardee) and Cameroonian imports Steve Akomo and Jean (Anaconda) Mpouma.

    Head coach of CM Farm is Van Halen Parmis, the UV Lancers assistant coach who is known as the Panalay King in the Queen City of the South.
    Tags: henry liao, pba Add / Edit Tags
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    Philippine Basketball
  2. Gadzooks! I've Been Drafted! (Part II)

    Second round picks usually mean teams are trying to fill roster gaps at best, although some second round surprises do happen (like Ato Agustin). For the most part though, guys picked here will have to fight hard for a regular roster spot.

    SECOND ROUND:

    11. GlobalPort Batang Pier

    Needs - Backup big man

    Likely pick - Isaac Holstein. Holstein didn't see much action in his one and only D League conference, but he's still a legit 6-foot-9 and can play; he led the league with over two block per game. He will need to get bulkier and stronger to stick in the pros though. If the Batang Pier are patient enough, he could form a potent partnership up front with another young and lean big man in Yousef Taha.

    12. Rain or Shine ElastoPainters

    Needs - Alternate pointguard

    Likely pick - Justin Melton. Melton tested well athletically in the draft combine, and some scouts are already comparing him to recent FIBA Asia hero Jayson Castro. At the very least he is a highly athletic and legit pointguard who can finally take pressure off Lee, Tiu and TY Tang. Melton however needs to work on his jumpshooting to prevent defenses from clogging his driving lanes.

    13. San Mig Coffee Mixers

    Needs - More youth up front

    Likely pick - JP Erram. Erram had a terrible last year as an amateur, playing through various injuries in UAAP Season 76. But he is still a legit 6-foot-7 and partnering with a strong and skilled Sangalang as a rookie should serve him in good stead. He won't be expected to play major minutes right away anyway, what with De Vance, Reavis and Yancy De Ocampo all still good for anywhere from two to four more years.

    14. Barako Bull Energy Cola

    Needs - After all the trades, plenty

    Likely pick - Eric Camson. Camson played 4/3 in college at 6-foot-2, but made up for his lack of size with a good stroke all the way out to three-point range. If Leo Austria, his coach in college, gets the job vacated by Toroman as some reports say, Camson's entry into the PBA will indeed be an auspicious one.

    15. Air 21 Express*

    Needs - A solid pointguard

    Likely pick - Jeric Fortuna. With Melton likely going earlier, Fortuna is the next best bet at pointguard still available. He's barely 5-foot-7, but his experience in both the D League and the ASEAN League are invaluable. Plus Fortuna is one of the best long-range shooters in the country. He'll get kickout opportunities thanks to Mac Cardona.

    16. Alaska Aces*

    Needs - Backup shooter / scorer

    Likely pick - Rob Celiz. Celiz boosted his draft stock tremendously with a strong showing in the last D League Finals where his Blackwater Elite upset and ended the dynasty of the NLEX Road Warriors. He's a tall shooter at a bit over 6-foot-2, and knows how to shoot off his own dribble. He can help keep defenses honest coming off the bench.

    17. Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters

    Needs - Quality youth, everywhere

    Likely pick - Ryan Buenafe. At this point in the draft it would be safe to pick the enigmatic and star crossed swingman. Perhaps a reunion with his college coach Norman Black would be just what the doctor ordered for both their careers. Buenafe however still has to convince the PBA Powers that he had a legitimate excuse for missing the draft combine, supposedly because of the flu. Black has seen this before with Buenafe and would not be averse to taking in his old star.

    18. Alaska Aces

    Needs - Quality backup anything

    Likely pick - JR Cawaling. Cawaling never really lived up to the promise when he was named UAAP Rookie of the Year over a half-decade ago. In his one trip to the UAAP Finals in 2010 a rotund and out of shape Buenafe made a monkey out of him as the Ateneo went on to win what was their third straight UAAP championship. He barely stirred on the San Miguel Beer ABL roster just this past conference. Still, he is a long and athletic 6-foot-3 swingman with very good skills and a one-time Gilas national team player. Maybe being an understudy to Baguio for a few years will do him some good.

    19. Rain or Shine ElastoPainters

    Needs - Quality backup anything

    Likely pick - Mark Lopez. Lopez was one of the best players on a UP squad that was just terrible the whole time he was there. Still, he's a 6-foot guard with a lean, strong body and complete skills. Said skills are not of course all star level, but at this point in the draft, you take anybody who has at least had experience with real organized ball. Lopez might be good enough to finally rid the PBA of Jonathan Uyloan.

    20. Barako Bull Energy Cola

    Needs - Quality backup anything

    Likely pick - Mike Silungan. ...
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    Philippine Basketball
  3. Gadzooks! I've Been Drafted!

    In one of our previous columns I presented both the applicants and the order of picking for the 2013 PBA Draft to be held this Sunday. Let's now take a look at how teams will most likely pick.

    Word to the wise though: the first three picks should be set in stone, with the three local big men going the earliest. Also, it seems Barako Bull traded away its picks at Number 4 and Number 5 overall. Picking at Number 4 will be Barangay Ginebra, then Petron at Number 5.

    FIRST ROUND:

    1. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel

    Needs - Big man, scoring help from the wings, backup pointguard

    Likely pick - Greg Slaughter. Really a no-brainer regardless of who was picking Number 1 overall. Slaughter is seven feet tall and some 260 pounds. He learned a lot playing for Norman Black at the Ateneo and nearly two years under Rajko Toroman at the Gilas national team. He will form a towering frontline with 6-foot-9 Japeth Aguilar and 6-foot-7 JR Reyes, and this trio is young enough to play together effectively for at least the next 4-5 years.

    2. San Mig Coffee Mixers

    Needs - Big man, scoring help from the wings

    Likely pick - Ian Sangalang. Sangalang has shown throughout his amateur career that he is arguably the most skilled homegrown big man today. He rebounds well, blocks shots, helps and recovers quickly, and has all the big man scoring tricks from turnaround jumpers to jump hooks to elbow jumpers. He will get plenty of tutoring from veterans Rafi Reavis, Joe De Vance and newly-minted Finals MVP Marc Pingris.

    3. Rain or Shine ElastoPainters

    Needs - Big man, pointguard

    Likely pick - Raymund Almazan. Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao has already unequivocally stated many times that ROS will pick the best available big man at Number 3. Almazan in fact worked out with the Elasto Painters over the summer. He will bring legitimate size and athleticism to a frontline that has plenty of bulk and toughness but little by way of height and athleticism. He can only get tougher practicing everyday with Beau Belga, JR Quinahan, Larry Rodriguez and Jervy Cruz.

    4. Ginebra via Barako Bull Energy Cola

    Needs - Big man, scoring help from the wings, backup pointguard

    Likely pick - James Forrester. Our sources said that the Gins were actually interested in using this pick on reigning UAAP MVP Terrence Romeo. But with Emman Monfort coming (traded for Rob Labagala, approval still pending as of this writing), they have an able pointguard prospect to back up LA Tenorio. Forrester should therefore address their other need: scoring help at the wings, which is why they are likely going to get the Filipino-Canadian out of Toronto. Why on earth they'd take Forrester over say the slightly more polished Alex Nuyles however boggles the mind.

    5. Petron via Barako Bull Energy Cola

    Needs - Backup big man for either or both the 4 and 5 spots

    Likely pick - Justin Chua. Petron gave away backup center Magi Sison and forward Mark Isip to get this pick. They also traded backup pointguard Dennis Miranda to try and get Chris Ross from Global Port. That means they suddenly became a shorter but faster team. Still, they need some insurance up front and a reliever for June Mar Fajardo. Chua, a bulky throwback-type big man, might be a surprise pick in the first round with this development. Although the way San Miguel teams are wheeling and dealing, the Boost Blazers might yet select one of the FEU gunners.

    6. Barako Bull Energy Cola (might become Global Port)

    Needs - Quality youth, desperately

    Likely pick- Terrence Romeo. Once again Barako is giving away draft picks and a chance to get younger for what should be a chance to win more immediately with veterans. Dylan Ababou, Mark Isip and Magi Sison are headed Barako's way (approval pending as of this writing). It might have been a Gilas reunion of sorts had Rajko Toroman not been suddenly given his walking papers. Romeo will be handed the keys right away but he can't be hogging the ball as a rookie pointguard or the veterans will will beat some sense into him.

    If this is Global Port's pick though, Romeo will find a more welcoming home.

    7. GlobalPort Batang Pier

    Needs - Scoring from the perimeter

    Likely pick - Jeric Teng. Teng will get every chance, and every shot, to prove he belongs in the PBA. Gary David is gone, and apparently Chris Ross has not even attended a Batang Pier practice. Enter Teng, the man who blossomed into a go-to scorer for the Santo Tomas Tigers, fresh off back-to-back Finals in the UAAP. Global Port has repeatedly expressed their interest in him and now have a legit shot at getting him.

    8. Alaska Aces

    Needs - Backup big man, off ...
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  4. 2013-14 NBA: THE (MIAMI) HEAT IS ON

    Here are some facts and figures that you readers might want to know regarding the start of the 2013-14 U.S. National Basketball Association season.

    + Each of the 30 member clubs is allowed to employ no more than 15 players on its regular roster with a minimum of 13. Team are permitted to dress 13 active men for each game although only 12 can see action. The old rule was 12 active players with at least one on the inactive list. The latest scheme was instituted during the lockout shortened 2011-12 season and has become permanent since the time. Players assigned to an NBA Development League-affiliate are automatically placed on their NBA team’s inactive list.

    There are some exceptions, though. A team is allowed to carry just 11 active players or zero inactive players for no more than two weeks at a time. It can also temporarily place up to four men on its inactive list (for a total roster of 16 players) with league permission in the event of an injury hardship.

    In the past, a team must have a minimum of 11 active players but no more than 12 on its roster and at least eight men must dress up during a game. Additionally, a maximum of three can be placed on the injured list. At the time, a player assigned to the injured list must sit out at least five games. That policy was disregarded more than half a decade ago.

    + The Indiana Pacers’ blossoming All-Star forward Paul George, the 2013 NBA Most Improved Player awardee who last September inked an incentive-based five-year, $90 million-plus maximum contract extension that takes effect in 2014-15 (following the expiration of his four-year rookie-mandated scale deal that pays him a paltry $3.2 million this season), scored on an unmolested short jumper for the first points in Season 68 of the NBA’s 1,230-game regular wars.

    Behind George’s 24-point, six-rebound, five-assist output, the Pacers went on to register a 97-87 home victory over the Orlando Magic. Indiana’s other high-priced All-Star forward, Danny Granger, is out for the first three weeks due to a calf strain. He was limited to just five games last season due to a knee injury.

    With the 23-year-old George’s star on the rise, the 30-year-old Granger (and his expiring contract) is reportedly on the trading block. Magic rookie guard Victor Oladipo, the NBA’s No. 2 overall draft selection from Indiana University behind the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Anthony Bennett (the first Canadian ever to be drafted No. 1 out of University of Nevada at Las Vegas and an asthmatic 6-8 power forward who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery), came off the bench for Orlando to collect 12 points and a pair of assists.

    + Chicago completed the exhibition schedule with an 8-0 record, putting together its first perfect preseason of at least eight games since 1992. In their regular season opener at the hostile AmericanAirlines Arena, the Bulls got a 107-95 spanking from the two-time defending NBA titlist Miami Heat. The Heat received their 2013 championship rings during a pre-game ceremony.

    Seven of the nine men fielded in by Fil-American Miami bench maestro Erik Spoelstra scored in twin digits, led by LeBron James’ 17 points and Chris Bosh’s 16.

    Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose made his first NBA appearance since suffering a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his left knee during a first-round playoff game against Philadelphia on April 28, 2012 and subsequently undergoing surgery that forced him to sit out the entire 2012-13 campaign.

    In his first game in 18 months, the 6-foot- 3 Rose, the youngest NBA Most Valuable Player awardee in 2011 at age 22, stared for the Bulls, scored 12 points on 4-for-15 field shooting and dished out four assists in 34 minutes.

    In the final game of the three-game NBA-opening bill, the retooled Los Angeles Lakers started their season against the up-and-coming LA Clippers, at the Staples Center without meal ticket Kobe Bryant for the first time since 2006.

    Bryant is still recovering from last April’s surgery for a torn left Achilles tendon and reportedly will be unavailable for action until Christmas Day (versus Miami).

    Without Kobe, the Lakers won again, 116-103, and are now 5-0 in Bryant’s opening-game absences since the Black Mamba made his NBA debut in 1996. It was considered a “home” game for the 16-time league champion Lakers, who are co-tenants with the Clippers at the Staples Center.

    Down by four points (79-75) after three quarters, the Lakers broke away to take a 17-point lead (98-81) late in the payoff period with a number of three-point bombs from their reserves, who played the entire payoff period and the game’s final 15 minutes and knocked in the team’s final 48 markers.

    Little-publicized Xavier Henry, a ...
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  5. 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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