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  1. PCC Pulls Pace Out of Unbeaten Ranks, St. Jude Takes Solo Leadership

    Team Standings
    Saiont Jude Catholic School (5-0), Philippine Cultural College (4-1), Pace Academy (4-1), Icure-Jubilee Christian Academy (3-2), Makati Gospel Church-New Life Christian Academy (2-3), Grace Christian College (2-3), Uno High School (0-5) and Saint Peter the Apostle School (0-5)

    Tournament Scoring Leaders
    1-Carlo Lim, Icure-JCA, 25.0 ppg (5g, 125p), 2-Jeff Lugay, Pace Academy, 19.4 ppg (5g, 97p), 3-Sebastian Choi, Grace Christian College, 19.4 ppg (5g, 97p), 4-Getson Lim, Pace Academy, 17.8 ppg (5g, 89p), 5-Calvin Uy, St. Jude Catholic School, 15.8 ppg (5g, 79p), 6-Kyle Barraza, Icure-JCA, 14.0 ppg (5g, 70p), 7-Joao Filipino, St. Jude Catholic School, 13.2 ppg (5g, 66p), 8-Jharles Uy, Philippine Cultural College, 12.4 ppg (5g, 62p), 9-Pol Antiporda, Pace Academy, 12.4 ppg (5g, 62p), 10-Seth Lim, Grace Christian College, 10.8 ppg (5g, 54p), 11-Dominique Ronquillo, St. Peter the Apostle School, 10.8 ppg (4g, 43) and 12-Bentley Tia, St. Jude Catholic School, 10.6 ppg (5g, 53p)

    Philippine Cultural College pulled Pace Academy out of the unbeaten ranks and host Saint Jude Catholic School assumed the solo leadership Saturday afternoon in the Aspirants Open Division of the 1st Philippine Ching Yuen Athletic Association basketball competitions.

    Philippine Cultural College blasted Pace Academy, 53-37, to join its foe in second place with identical 4-1 records. More importantly, the Seagulls solidified their chances of securing a twice-to-beat incentive through the semifinal playoffs with the victory.

    The Pacers not only need to win over unblemished leader St. Jude Catholic School (5-0) in their February 2 (Sunday) duel to create a three-way tie for first but also must beat the Judenites by at least 14 points to dislodge PCC from the No. 2 spot.

    The stars for both teams were not aligned in the PCC-Pace encounter. Jcharles Uy, who was averaging 14.8 points after four games with PCC, was held to three points on a first-half triple. His Seagulls teammate Lian Dy, who owned an 11-point clip after four assignments, scored a measly two.

    Jeff Lugay, who was norming a tournament second-running 23.5 ppg before the game, only had three points for Pace Academy. Big boy Getson Lim and Pol Antiporda, who were averaging 20.0 ppg and 14.8 ppg, respectively, were offensively shackled to just nine and three (Antiporda’s three came on free throws).

    For Philippine Cultural College, it was time for its shocktroopers to shine. Burly John Santos collected 17 points and 10 rebounds, beanpole Daniel Manalang totaled 13 rebounds along with four blocks, two steals and two points, and Edge Sy chalked up eight points in the final 2:21 of the game, including a pair of triples, to cement the win for the Seagulls.

    PCC raced to a 27-19 halftime lead behind 13 scores by John Santos as a lethargic Pace Academy team, which was pushed to the limit by Icure-JCA last Sunday before coming out on top by three points, was clearly outhustled and outrebounded during the first two periods.

    Getson Lim scored back-to-baskets to trim Pace’s deficit to 31-27. A 6-1 run by Pace to end the third quarter increased its lead to 37-28, though.

    Pint-sized playmaker Tyrone Tan helped Pace to come within four points once again, 37-33, but Lian Dy and Santos scored successively to bring PCC’s edge back to eight, 41-33, at the 6:36 mark.

    Back-to-back fielders by Rafael Pangilinan led to a 45-34 advantage by PCC, time down to 4:18. It was also at this time that Getson Lim went down with a hip injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the game and discounted any chance of a Pace comeback.

    John Santos wound up with 17 points for PCC, which also got nine from Edge Sy and six each from Angelo Tan (two triples in the first half), Michael Manansala and Rafael Pangilinan.

    Tyrone Tan was the only double-figure producer for Pace with 12 points (seven of them in the second half). Getson Lim added nine points (including seven in the second half) along with 10 boards and four blocks.

    It is not known whether Lim will be available to play in Sunday’s contest against MGC-NLCA.

    The top four teams after the single-round elimination phase will qualify for the quarterfinal playoffs with a twice-to-beat advantage over their respective opponents. Additionally, the top two teams will enjoy a twice-to-beat edge in the semifinals, assuming they get past the quarters.

    The Judenites easily disposed of winless St. Peter the Apostle School, 97-25, on Saturday behind five double-digit scorers – Joao Filipino, 14 points; Calvin Uy, 13; Christian Lim, 12; Bentley Tia, 10; and Gian King, 10.

    Only two players scored for the Peterians – John Tiu, 14 points, and Elijah S, 11. Their scoring leader for the season, Dominique ...
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    Philippine Basketball
  2. NBA's Highest-Paid Players

    For the fourth consecutive season, the Los Angeles Lakers’ injured star Kobe Bryant is the highest-salaried player in the U.S. National Basketball Association.

    Bryant is making $30,453,805 million during the 2013-14 wars to become only the second player in NBA history to bankroll at least $30 million after Michael Jordan, who did it twice in 1996-97 ($30.1 million) and 1997-98 ($33.1 million) while helping guide the Chicago Bulls to the league championship each time.

    Bryant voted by the fans to start for the Western Conference team in next month’s NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans even if he has only played six games so far this season due to health issues.

    The 35-year-old guard, however, plans to sit out the Feb. 16 (Feb. 17, Manila time) game, which would have been his 16th overall in his incandescent 18-year pro tenure (he did not suit up in the 2010 classic) – second-most after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 19.

    Bryant, the all-time leader scorer in All-Star Game history, and Bob Pettit share the record for the most ASG Most Valuable Player awards at four each.

    Following Bryant, German frontliner Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks is the NBA’s second highest-paid player at $22,721,381.

    Amar’e Stoudemire of the sad-sack New York Knicks ranks third at $21,679,893, followed by Joe Johnson of the Brooklyn Nets, $21,466,718; and reigning NBA scoring champion Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks, $21,388,953.

    Dwight Howard, who last summer spurned $30 million and an extra year from the Lakers to sign a free-agent contract with the Houston Rockets, is the sixth player to surpass the $20-million salary plateau with $20,513,178.

    Rounding out the top 10 on the NBA player salary ladder are Bryant’s Laker mate, Pau Gasol ($19,285,850), and the Big Three of the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat – Chris Bosh ($19,067,500), LeBron James ($19,067,500) and Dwyane Wade ($18,673,000).

    Injury-plagued Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers heads the Second Ten with an $18,668,431 stipend, followed by the Nets’ Deron Williams, $18,466,130; the Memphis Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph, $18,238,333; Sacramento’s Rudy Gay (acquired from Toronto in an in-season trade), $17,888,932; and current NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, $17,832,627.

    Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls is out for the remainder of the season following surgery on his right knee, but the one-time NBA MVP is guaranteed to take home $17,632,688 this year.

    The LA Clippers’ Blake Griffin is right behind Rose with a salary of $16,441,500.

    Two players are making $15 million – Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce, $15,333,334, and Chicago’s Carlos Boozer, $15,300,000.

    Bunched together at the $14 million level are a dozen players.

    These are: Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, $14,878,000; Memphis’ Marc Gasol, $14,860,523; Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (currently injured), $14,693,906; Minnesota’s Kevin Love, $14,693,906; Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez (out for the season), $14,693,906; Phoenix’s Emeka Okafor, $14,487,500; New Orleans’ Eric Gordon, $14,283,844; Indiana’s Roy Hibbert, $14,283,844; Cleveland’s Luol Deng (acquired from Chicago in an in-season trade), $14,275,000; New York’s Tyson Chandler, $14,100,537; Indiana’s Danny Granger, $14,021,788; and Golden State’s Andrew Bogut, $14,000,000.
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  3. 1st PCYAA Aspirants Division: MGC-NLCA CRUISES PAST UNO

    Team Standings
    Saint Jude Catholic School (4-0), Pace Academy (4-0), Philippine Cultural College (3-1), Icure-Jubilee Christian Academy (2-2), Makati Gospel Church-New Life Christian Academy (2-2), Grace Christian College (1-3), Uno High School (0-4) and Saint Peter the Apostle School (0-4)

    Tournament Scoring Leaders
    1-Carlo Lim, Icure-JCA, 24.5 ppg (4g, 98p), 2-Jeff Lugay, Pace Academy, 23.5 ppg (4g, 94p), 3-Getson Lim, Pace Academy, 20.0 ppg (4 g, 80p), 4-Sebastian Choi, Grace Christian College, 19.5 ppg (4g, 78p), 5-Kyle Barraza, Icure-JCA, 17.0 ppg (4g, 68p), 6-Calvin Uy, St. Jude Catholic School, 16.5 ppg (4g, 66p), 7-Jharles Uy, Philippine Cultural College, 14.8 ppg (4g, 59p), 8-Pol Antiporda, Pace Academy, 14.8 ppg (4 g, 59p), 9-Joao Filipino, St, Jude Catholic School, 13.0 ppg (4g, 52p), 10-Seth Lim, Grace Christian College, 12.0 ppg (4g, 48p), 11-Lian Dy, Philippine Cultural College, 11.0 ppg (4g, 44p), 12-Dominic Ronquillo, St. Peter the Apostle School, 10.8 ppg (4g, 43p), and 13-Bentley Tia, St. Jude Catholic School, 10.8 pg (4g, 43p)

    Makati Gospel Church-New Life Christian Academy played just hard enough to cruise to a 68-41 victory over winless Uno High School Thursday night in the lone Aspirants Division game in the 1st Ching Yuen Athletic Association (PCYAA) basketball competitions at the Uno High School Gym in Manila.

    With the win, MGC-NLCA shattered a two-game losing streak and evened its record to 2-2. Uno suffered its fourth straight defeat in as many assignments, although it was the Uneans’ best effort so far albeit in another losing cause.

    MGC-NLCA broke out of a 2-2 tie with 11 consecutive points, including six by John Angping, to move ahead, 13-2, before a fielder by Uno’s Adrian Ramos closed out the first 10-minute quarter, 13-4.

    Uno, which shares the cellar with St. Peter the Apostle School with identical 0-4 cards, came within six points, 17-11, on a basket and a triple by Ramos, before Ike Lim and Angping joined hands to spark a 20-6 run to give MGC-NLCA a 37-17 advantage at halftime.

    The Uneans opened the third quarter on a back-to-back triples by Matthew Vistan and Ramos to slice its deficit to 14, 37-23. It was to be their last hurrah as MGC-NLCA subsequently outscored its foes, 15-6, to finish the period with a lead of 26 points, 52-26.

    MGC-NLCA led by as much as 32, 60-28, midway through the payoff quarter.

    Angping topscored for MMGC with 12 points, 10 of them in the first half. Paolo Reyes contributed 11markers, Mikel Go, nine, Bohden Si, eight, and Lim, seven.


    Uno got two triples and 16 points from Ramos (his single-game total is the highest by any Uno player so far this season), nine from Hans Chen, and six from Warren Tan.

    MGC-NLCA faces Icure-JCA on Saturday, Jan. 25, in an important game that will determine which team gets the No. 4 spot and the final twice-to-beat incentive in the knockout quarterfinal playoffs on Saturday, Feb. 8.
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    Philippine Basketball
  4. KOBE BRYANT: Lakers'$30-Million Man

    Money matters in the U.S. National Basketball Association are just as important as winning a championship.

    Six NBA players are bankrolling at least $20 million in the ongoing 2013-14 season, including one injury-riddled superstar in rarefied $30 million range.

    The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, the No. 1 career scorer in franchise history and the fourth all-time leading scorer in NBA annals, is earning $30,453,805 this campaign as the circuit’s highest-salaried player.

    The amount is fully guaranteed regardless of Bryant’s current health woes. The 6-7 backcourter sat out the 2013 playoffs last April and the Lakers’ first 19 regular assignments (10-9) while recovering from surgery for a torn left Achilles tendon last April.

    The popular 35-year-old Bryant, who is in his 18th NBA campaign out of high school, returned to action on December 8 and played six games (2-4) during which he posted averages of 13.6 scores and 6.3 assists every time out before rejoining sick bay nine days later when he fractured a bone in his left knee in a win at Memphis.

    Bryant is expected to be back in uniform in early February in what looks like a lost season for the moribund and injury-plagued Lakers, who are 10 games below .500 (16-26) with 40 remaining in the schedule.

    Bryant’s $30 million-plus stipend appears to be exorbitant only because he has not played much this season through no fault of his. Then again, the mind-boggling payment is justifiable if past services rendered are taken into account.

    According to the late Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss once said the five-time NBA championship veteran was probably worth $60 million a year because of the billions of dollars in revenues that he had helped bring in to the franchise.

    A clause in Bryant’s current Lakers pact allowed Bryant to receive a balloon payment of $24,363, 044 on November 1 with the remaining $6.09 million to be paid out over the course of the season.

    While there’s a cap to how much a player can receive in advance, Bryant is right at that 80 percent maximum allowed under the NBA’s old collective bargaining agreement.

    That type of advanced payment was tweaked in the new labor contract signed by the NBA and its players union in 2011 although Bryant’s current three-year deal (a maximum-value contract extension he inked in April 2010 that took effect in 2011-12) was grandfathered in.

    The current CBA allows provisions to pay a player as much as 25 percent up front.

    Some players get paid every two weeks during the season, while others get paid twice a month year round. A select few, of course, receive lump-sum payments.

    After heavy state, federal and Medicare taxes, Bryant actually took home only around $10.9 million of the $24 million-plus up-front compensation.

    Bryant is the second player in NBA history to earn an annual salary of $30 million or more. His $30,453,805 stipend is the second largest ever, dwarfed only by Michael Jordan’s $33.1 paycheck from the NBA title-winning Chicago Bulls in 1997-98.

    The year before in 1996-97, Jordan made history in earning $30.1 million with the Bulls in another championship finish.

    Those two $30-million seasons were MJ’s only campaigns in which he was paid an NBA salary greater than $4 million. In contrast, Kobe made $9 million as a 21-year-old in his fourth NBA season.

    The third highest-paid NBA player ever (behind Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O’Neal), with $279,738,062 in career salary so far, Kobe is not yet done playing.

    Last November 25, he inked a two-year, $48.5-million contract extension (effective 2014-15) that will send him to seasons 19 and 20 with the Lakers for the longest single-team tenure in NBA history.

    Under the NBA’s over-age 36 rule, a player is not allowed to sign a contract extension that is longer than two years.

    Bryant, who broke into the NBA with the Lakers in 1996 (the No. 13 overall selection whose draft rights were acquired from the Charlotte Hornets – now the New Orleans Hornets – in exchange for the Lakers’ Serbian center Vlade Divac) straight out of Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania joined the NBA in 1996, took a salary cut in his latest contract extension.

    He will be paid $23.5 million in 2014-15 and $25 million in 2015-16, allowing him to keep his status as the NBA’s highest-paid player in those seasons.

    Bryant, whose work ethic is legendary, spent most of his childhood in Italy and France until age 14 while his father, former NBA journeyman Joe (Jellybean) Bryant, played pro ball overseas.
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  5. Casting A Wider Recruitment Net

    Over the last month and a half cyberspace was abuzz with all manner of chatter regarding the destinations of the top high school basketball prospects in the country. A lot of the buzz had it that most of the best players of High School Class 2014 would be heading over to Loyola Heights, home of the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

    True enough the most-sought after players did indeed confirm their commitment to the Blue Eagles in just the last week and a half. It was anticlimactic really, with these players already more or less set to go to the Ateneo.

    But what truly grabbed my attention was not that these guys were all going to the top college basketball program in the country. Heck, if I was a high school player where else would I want to go if not the top team?

    What grabbed my attention was that this sounded all too familiar. It was not even that far back, historically speaking. In 2003 the Ateneo went on a recruiting binge that saw them practically recruit en masse the starting five of the powerhouse San Beda Red Cubs that year. 6'5" center Ford Arao was literally the centerpiece of that haul, together with pointguard Yuri Escueta, forward-center Michael "Batas" Baldos, guard Jeff De Guzman, and swingman Arvie Braganza. Braganza eventually played for the University of the Philippines along with forward Jay Agbayani. Another big-name rookie recruit for that year is multimedia darling Chris Tiu out of Xavier School.

    Now let us talk about the guys they did not get. 5'9" guard JV Casio was part of the Red Cubs squad, and he matriculated at Ateneo's archrival De La Salle. Casio would go on to win a couple of UAAP titles, represent the country in Smart Gilas, and is now a bona fide PBA star, towing his Alaska Aces with the last berth into the PBA Philippine Cup Quarterfinals.

    Although he was not a part of this high school class, the Ateneo also did not get 5'11" swingman Joseph Yeo, Tiu's teammate at Xavier. Yeo and Casio would form one of the best backcourts ever in the UAAP on those multi-titled La Salle teams.

    Turns out that Tiu would be the only one from that heralded 2003 recruiting class that would win a UAAP title with the Blue Eagles; he was the Captain of the 2008 title team that started a five-year championship dynasty for the Ateneo.

    Speaking of 2008, that was yet another special rookie haul for the Blue Eagles. Swingman Ryan Buenafe (rookie of the year, Finals MVP), forward Nico Salva (two-time Finals MVP), center Justin Chua and American forward-center Vince Burke were lucky charms of a sort for the Ateneo. Their rookie class saw the Ateneo go on that historic 5-Peat dynasty. Salva, Chua and 5'10" guard Tonino Gonzaga would go on to become the only UAAP players to win championships in every year they were in the league.

    In terms of return-on-investment that 2008 rookie class's cup doth runneth over. However, that has led to some confusion / misconceptions. For all of the contributions of that 2008 Class, they were not the real or even primary reason the Ateneo was able to complete a 5-Peat. In four of their five titles the Ateneo leaned on imposing big men who were already battle-tested veterans. 6'7" center Rabeh Al-Hussaini (2008 MVP) and 6'5" power forward Nonoy Baclao (2008 best defensive player) were so clearly superior to the rest of the field in both title years in 2008 and 2009.

    Then the Ateneo recruited (literally) the biggest prize of all in 7-foot center Greg Slaughter, a man who had already won a 3-peat himself in the CESAFI, was a member of the Smart Gilas national team, and was (again literally) head and shoulders above the competition in the 2011 and 2012 title years.

    In 2010 the Ateneo may not have been as talented but they were still pretty big, with Chua, 6'5" banger Frank Golla, and 6'7" Poy Erram taking turns up front. Some might say Buenafe was the guy who singlehandedly delivered the title to the Ateneo in that year, with that now-legendary three-pointer in Karl Cruz's face in Game 2. But to be honest, Buenafe was in the worst shape of his life that year, and was constantly getting earfuls from the coaches because guys were just blowing by him. He had that one great game and it so happened to be Game 2 of the Finals versus FEU.

    Now the Ateneo has gone back to that "tried and tested" method of wholesale recruitment of the best high school talent out there. To be sure 6'4" San Beda superstar Arvin Tolentino, 6'2" Ateneo superstar Thirdy Ravena, Hope Christian stars 6'1" Clint Dolinguez and 6'3" John Apacible, and 6'4" Jay Javelosa of Reedley International by way of the Ateneo, certainly are the cream of this year's crop. They really and truly are the best high school players in the country today. They may eventually be joined by 6'6" Xavier School center Isaac Go, and 5'7" NU star pointguard Hubert Cani. If that isn't a star-studded ...
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