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  1. Luc Longley Topbills 2012 Jr. NBA at UP Gym

    Top 10 kids among 50 campers to be selected as 2012 Jr. NBA All Star Team

    The 2012 Jr. NBA Philippines Program presented by Alaska reaches its climax May 3 and 4 at the University of the Philippines Gym in Diliman and at the SM Mall of Asia on Saturday May 5 as 50 of the most promising young cagers of the land take part in the Jr. NBA National Training Camp.

    NBA Legend and former Chicago Bull Luc Longley and Alaska coaches led by Jojo Lastimosa will run the camp for the boys aged 10-14 who topped their respective regional selection camps in Puerto Princesa, Cagayan de Oro, Pampanga, Manila and the Alaska Power Camp earlier this month. Longley will conduct an NBA Cares activity at the end of the training camp.

    The 40 players selected as the best from their respective regions are : Randolf Erickson Marcelo, Gilbert Cague, Samuel Abuhilijeh, John Ronald Mayor, Miguel Kristoffer Abila, Omar Pius Mangadam, Patrick Sison, Aljun Jay Melecio, Tommy York Gedaria, Juan Carlo Garcia, Bryan Joshua Lina, Camillus Altamirano, Joshua Francis Callejo, Aaron Ivan Reyes, Aoki Estacio and Patrick Ramirez from the Manila Camp; Paul Dagunan, Himel Samante, John Mark Bentulan, Lorenzo Carlos, and Miguel Raphael Jison from the Puerto Princesa Camp; Arnold Cagang, Jepher Egan, Ian de la Cruz, Lorenz Viajar, *Lui Besa, Felixberto Jaboneta, Arnie Padilla, Arvid Ong and Zachary Juang from the Cagayan de Oro Camp and Rico Soliman, Pawan Singh, Diesel Jericho Malonzo, Polo Alberto Dayrit, Anton Miguel David, Antonio Jeffrey Coronel, Joshua Alfonso Gantan, Ivan Jules Pineda and Jeremiah Joy Sandalo from the Pampanga Camp.

    The Alaska Power Campers are:*Rigell Kent Ilagan, Ryen Dizon, Andrei Monserrat, Krystoffe Jimenez, Jaime Alonzo Senires, Maurice Rainier Caculitan (Manila); Jon Olaso (Olongapo); Nino Dave Carmel, Darrel Menina and Khryss Alerta (Cebu).

    From May 3-4, the young hopefuls will undergo a basketball boot camp that will test their basketball skills, strength, stamina and character via conditioning workouts, transition drills, skills stations and competitive games. Also highlighted in the three-day National Training Camp is the teaching of the Jr. NBA core values of Sportsmanship, Teamwork, a positive Attitude and Respect (S.T.A.R.), alongside Gatorade’s on-site testing and evaluation of the campers’ body composition, strength, vertical leap, endurance, speed and balance.
    The public is invited to watch the last day of the Jr. NBA Camp at the SM-MOA on Saturday (9am – 4pm) where the final scrimmage will be the high point of the day. The announcement of the ten 2012 Jr. NBA All Stars, who will be rewarded with an authentic NBA experience and the chance to play a counterpart Jr. NBA selection out of the country, will be made after the scrimmage in the afternoon.

    The 2012 Jr. NBA presented by Alaska is also made possible through the support of the NBA's Official Partners including Gatorade, Spalding, Basketball TV (BTV), Studio 23 and Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines. For more information on Jr. NBA Philippines, including registration information, dates, venues, photos and news, log on the www.jrnba.com.ph.
  2. Jr. NBA presented by Alaska conducts NBA Cares activities in key cities

    The 2012 Jr. NBA Philippines presented by Alaska will hold an NBA Cares activity in Cagayan de Oro City on May 1when NBA Legend and former Chicago Bull Luc Longley arrives for the National Training Camp late this month.

    Longley joins other NBA Legends who have conducted NBA Cares activities in the country in conjunction with the Jr. NBA Philippines Program, demonstrating the continuing commitment of the global basketball league to share basketball goodwill to communities and individuals it has touched along the way.

    The National Basketball Association’s international youth development program was first introduced in the country in 2007. The 2012 Program is the fifth consecutive Jr. NBA Program in the Philippines.

    BJ Armstrong , Longley’s Bulls teammate, conducted a basketball clinic with the residents of Boys’ Town in Marikina in 2010. AC Green teamed up with renowned mural artist and conservationist AG Sarno to paint a dolphin mural at the De La Salle campus to highlight the plight of dolphins and encourage their protection in 2011.

    In 2012, NBA Legend and US Jr. NBA Coach Marty Conlon led the NBA Cares activity on January 18 at the San Fernando Special Education School where children who were deaf, dumb or afflicted with Down’s Syndrome were given the chance to have fun with the basketball.
  3. 2012 nba playoffs: An early exit by the mavs?

    Though it’s nearly two weeks later than usual, no thanks to a prolonged team owners-imposed lockout that forced the regular season to start not until Christmas Day and sliced each of the 30 member clubs’ schedule to just 66 games (instead of the traditional 82), the U.S. National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs finally got underway last April 28 (Apr. 29, Manila time).

    Only the top eight finishers – including the three division leaders – in both the Eastern and Western conferences are competing in the NBA playoffs, aptly described as the league’s “real” season since the much-coveted Larry O’Brien championship hardware will be up for grabs.

    For the second consecutive year, the Chicago Bulls (50-16) edged the San Antonio Spurs (50-16, lost to the Bulls in their head-to-head season series, 0-1) for the NBA’s best regular-season record but nobody really remembers the team that tops the regulars.

    Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose is hampered by various injuries and his Bulls look to avoid being the second team in league history to pace the regulars in consecutive seasons without qualifying for the NBA Finals at least once.

    LeBron James, who along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh reached the Finals a year ago with the Miami Heat, was unable to lead Cleveland to the title playoffs in 2009 and 2010 even though the Cavaliers finished No. 1 overall during the regulars in both years.

    All 16 playoff teams are taking part in the first round of the four-tier postseason, all of which have been best-of-seven duels since 2003.

    Overall, there are 15 best-of-seven series to be played, including the NBA Finals scheduled during the first week of June.

    In every matchup, the team with the better win-loss record owns homecourt advantage over its opponent, regardless of the seeding positions.

    In a tweak to the NBA playoff format a few years back, the seedings for the top four positions have been rearranged to include the conference’s three division winners and the club with the best record among the non-division titlists. *They are subsequently ranked according to their win-loss ledgers.

    This means that a division winner may not be seeded lower than fourth and a non-division leader in a conference may rank as high as second if the top seed somehow comes from its own division.

    This year, the Boston Celtics (39-27) took the Atlantic Division crown but were seeded only fourth in the East playoffs – or one rung lower than Most Improved Player candidate Roy Hibbert and the Central Division runner-up Indiana Pacers (42-24), who grabbed the No. 3 seed with a three-game lead over the Hub City unit.

    The Atlanta Hawks (40-26) wound up second in the Southeast Division and were relegated to the fifth seed. *Despite a lower seeding, the Hawks are enjoying homecourt advantage in their first-round, best-of-seven East series against the Celtics due to a superior win-loss record.

    German star Dirk Nowitzki, the 2011 recipient of the Bill Russell Trophy as the NBA Finals MVP, is still posting creditable numbers (21.7 ppg and 6.8 rpg) but his Dallas Mavericks will be hard-pressed to repeat as NBA champions this year. *

    The Mavs (36-30) are seeded only seventh in the West and don’t have homecourt advantage against three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant (28.03 ppg) and the second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder (47-19) in their first-round duel.

    Other opening-round series feature the following: *EAST – No. 1 seed Chicago vs. No. 8 seed Philadelphia (35-31), No. 2 seed Miami (46-20) vs. No. 7 seed New York (36-30) and No. 3 Indiana vs. No. 6 Orlando (37-29) *and WEST – No. 1 seed San Antonio, No. 3 *seed Los Angeles Lakers (41-25) vs. No. 6 seed Denver (38-2 and No. 4 seed Memphis (41-25) vs. No. 5 seed LA Clippers (40-26).

    My educated guess is that Chicago, Miami, Indiana and Atlanta will advance to the East’s second round and San Antonio, Oklahoma City and the two Los Angeles teams will make it to the Western conference semifinals.

    With a young Thunder team seeking a payback for its 4-1 loss to Dallas in last year’s West finals, a quick exit by Nowitzki and the 2011 champion Mavericks is in the offing. *

    Updated 05-01-2012 at 09:50 PM by designerzcall

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  4. PBA Finals Game 1: Simon Says

    Over 13,000 paying fans came to watch what many described as the most evenly matched championship series in a long while. They were not disappointed. BMEG started the game with all guns blazing then finished strong to hang on for the 88 – 82 victory over heavily favored Talk N Text.

    Coach Tim Cone took no chances with his starting unit, going with his two best local gunners in former MVP James Yap and Peter June Simon. While Yap would go on to have a so-so game, at least by his personal standards, Simon would shine at various critical stages of the game. Simon scored eight of his 18 points in a pivotal fourth-period spurt to overturn a five-point TNT lead. Not bad for a guy who was a fifth-round draftee some 11 years ago. “Nagkataon lang siguro maganda shooting ko,” said the soft-spoken shooting guard out of the University of Mindanao.

    Cone was a little more appreciative than his so-called second star. “We basically rode PJ in that stretch,” said the multi-titled bench boss. “He was making his shots and he was really filling the lanes so he had a little bit of everything going for him,” Cone added. Simon connected on nine of his 11 shots, a mind-boggling percentage in an era of volume shooting.

    Simon however was not the only reason the Llamados were able to draw first blood in this series. Averaging a little over 100 points per game, the Tropang Texters were held down to only 82 points by the stifling BMEG defense. Forward-center Jean Marc Pingris led the defensive effort, mostly matching up against TNT import and NBA veteran Donnel Harvey. Credit also goes to the pesky perimeter defense of pointguard Josh Urbiztondo, who started for Cone in this game. “We just hunkered down on defense when we got into a bit of a dry spell, and lucky for us they weren’t making their jumpshots,” Cone said.

    Pingris also chipped in 11 points, mostly with the bigger Harvey on him. Urbiztondo put the clamps on reigning MVP Jimmy Alapag, while setting the table for the Llamados. “Jimmy is always a tough match-up, you just have to get in your stance and try to make things a little more difficult for him,” Urbiztondo explained.

    Making things even more difficult for TNT was their awful shooting from the foul line. TNT just could not seem to sink a shot from the 15-foot line. “You can’t win a game if you miss 20 free throws,” Coach Chot Reyes rued. “I can’t help them there; I can’t shoot free throws for them,” he added, with frustration clear in his voice.

    BMEG basically played three great quarters of solid basketball, essentially giving up the third period to TNT. “That is not a good recipe to follow,” said Cone. Indeed, with a team as deep and talented as TNT, all it takes is a good run of a few minutes for them to overturn a deficit and suddenly charge ahead and bury opponents. “We can’t give Talk N Text a quarter because they can blow you out in that span.”

    Cone could not get anything from his bench in that third period, as guard Mark Barroca, power forward Joe Devance and forward JC Intal suddenly could not buy a basket. Barroca and Devance made some baskets coming off the bench in the second period but suddenly went cold for much of the third. “They should probably bring back at least one of their three scorers – James Yap, Simon or Denzel Bowles,” noted TV panelist and Rain or Shine Coach Yeng Guiao.

    Luckily for Cone things turned around just in time in the payoff fourth period as Simon rediscovered his scoring touch along with Bowles. “If he hadn’t gotten into foul trouble I would’ve kept him in the game throughout the entire second half,” Cone declared with a slight grin.

    Bowles led all scorers with 25 points, matching the production of the older Harvey. Bowles is the leading contender for the Best Import Award for the Commissioner’s Cup.

    Simon was the leading local scorer with 18 points. Alapag had 12 for TNT.

    Updated 04-25-2012 at 11:45 AM by admin

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  5. PBA Finals: Stand and Deliver By Joseph W Buduan

    After one of the most frenetically paced conferences in its history, the 2012 PBA Commissioner’s Cup has come down to two teams: BMEG and Talk N Text. They faced each other only one other time this conference, with TNT beating BMEG 102-96 in the single-round eliminations. TNT is the second best offensive club averaging over 100 points per game, while BMEG leads the league in defense allowing only 87 points per game.
    Both teams went through a bit of a wringer in the Final 4 semifinals against Barangay Ginebra and Barako Bull respectively. In the end though, both powerhouses came in with strong finishing kicks to reach the Finals. BMEG needed four games out of five to get the job done, while TNT survived being down 1-2 before breaking through.
    As this is an import-reinforced conference, the respective American imports of either team are the focal points for this series, although they themselves are not strict make-or-break deals. TNT has NBA veteran Donnel Harvey, a 6-foot-10 center-forward. BMEG leans on international veteran Denzel Bowles, also 6-foot-10. Both Americans are cut from the same cloth: power-playing, board crashing, shot blocking athletes with only average touch from anywhere beyond 10-12 feet. Both are veritable double-double machines who can score inside and clean glass on both ends, but have a hard time making a shot anywhere other than in the immediate paint area. Neither is even an average free throw shooter. This means they could conceivably just cancel each other out. It seems doubtful that one is at any real advantage over the other.
    Bowles had sort of a break going up against Jackson Vroman in their series versus the Gin Kings. Vroman isn’t exactly an athlete although he did match up well enough size-wise against Bowles. Vroman, at 6-foot-11, had the size but just did not have the speed and agility to stay toe-to-toe against Bowles. For his part, Harvey was literally looking down against his counterpart with the Energy. 6-foot-6 Gabe Freeman is a former two-time PBA Best Import and proven champion, but simply gave away too much in terms of size against Harvey. Harvey often found himself guarded by the slower-moving Mick Pennisi or Dorian Pena.
    That means the local players will most likely be the difference between victory and defeat in a series that promises to go down the wire. Neither team is bereft of proven superstars who all have championship experience and all-league credentials. TNT is widely acknowledged as being arguably the most talent-stocked team in the PBA, but BMEG’s roster is nothing to sneeze at either.
    For the Llamados, everything begins and ends with former MVP James Yap. Yap, a strongly-built 6-foot-2 swingman with a deadly trigger and incredible range, is one of the best scorers of the PBA of all time. He can knock down the long three-pointer with many hands in his face as easily as drive and pull up. He has also developed his passing and decoy-playing skills, making him truly a multiple threat. Yap’s biggest sin however is that he is at best an average defender and rebounder. He will normally only take in caroms that come his way, and is not particularly known for getting in the stance and dogging his man. So if for some reason his shot isn’t falling, he has to make himself useful as a play maker and facilitator, or else his Llamados will have a tough time matching the combined firepower of the Tropang Texters.
    Speaking of firepower, this might be the best time to shine for backup swingman Peter June Simon. Simon, a 6-foot-1 shooting guard who sometimes plays 3 in a three-guard set, is almost as good as Yap when it comes to scoring. He certainly has a better sense of shot selection, unlike Yap who does not discriminate as long as he is within 30 feet of the basket. Simon allows Yap to freelance more when the two are on the floor together. Opposing defenses have to respect Simon’s offense almost as much as Yap’s. Unlike Yap though, Simon is a strong and underrated perimeter defender who works hard fighting through staggered screens.
    Both men will be severely tested though since the Tropang Texters have their own MVP backcourt in pointguard Jimmy Alapag and his just-as-talented partner Jason Castro. Alapag and Castro are arguably the best backcourt combo in the league. They have been co-Finals MVP, creating all sorts of problems with their speed, explosiveness and scoring. Both men can hit long jumpers and have range all the way past the three-point arc, can drive and pull up, break down defenses with their dribble penetration, and run like Olympic sprinters in transition. They may not quite be the long-range gunner that Yap and Simon are, but they can score in far more ways and alternate at the 1 and 2 spots with ease.
    Up front, BMEG might be one of the few teams that can boast a real size advantage against TNT. 6-foot-9 Yancy De Ocampo, 6-foot-9 Rafi Reavis, 6-foot-6 Joe Devance and 6-foot-5 Marc ...
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