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Philippine Basketball

  1. USTe is Really Going

    Whenever I look back on the preseason predictions I could just slap my self silly. I was one of the fools who just plain dismissed Santo Tomas as a Final 4 contender, thinking that the loss of Aljon Mariano would mean there was simply even less talent available for a team that already struggled last season.

    Lo and behold the Growling Tigers of our beloved Bchoter are sharing the top of the standings with Far Eastern at 5-1, and may yet wind up at the top after the first round of eliminations.

    So why the disconnect? How could I have gotten them so wrong?

    As with most bad calls this one started with wrong assumptions.

    Assumption 1: Aljon Mariano's departure means an even less talented team.

    As good as Mariano is, as vital as he was to the two trips to the Finals for UST in the last three years, he clearly was equal parts good news and bad news for the Tigers. That infamous bad decision he made in their Finals against De La Salle in 2013 will forever etch him in UAAP lore. Mariano may have been a legit college star, but his decision-making was never his strong suit. That one bad decision in the 2013 Finals might have cost UST a championship. It most certainly cost Mariano's reputation as a player. Even some UST fans questioned whatever possessed him on that play.

    Without Mariano on this year's team that ball has been whipping around a lot more quickly. Even the ball-reversal is moving better. Mariano was one of those players that needs to fondle the ball a bit before making a move, a real tempo killer. With him gone, the ball moves better, and more opportunities are given to the likes of Ed Daquioag, Louie Vigil, Mario Bonleon, and even Jon Sheriff and Marvin Lee. (More on those guys later.)

    Assumption 2: UST cannot win without MVP numbers from Karim Abdul.

    Over six games, the 6'5" UST import has put in lower numbers across almost the entire board compared to his numbers last season. He is currently scoring nearly five points less, and getting almost two less rebounds per game compared to his Season 77 averages. Come to it, these are his lowest numbers in the five seasons he has been in the league. And yet at around this same time last season they were not even at .500, while they are sharing the lead in the standings right now.

    Of course it would be even better news for UST if Abdul would get back to being his usual dominating self. He is clearly not in 100% game shape. He has gotten beaten to spots he used to own, has had rebounds taken from him that he used to collar easily, and has allowed one too many baseline plays get by him. Still, UST is winning, and it should be only a matter of time before he gets back into game shape. When that happens expect the Tigers to get an extra gear or two leading up to the playoffs.

    Assumption 3: UST does not have reliable support for their stars.

    UST normally starts Abdul, Kevin Ferrer, Vigil, Daquioag, and Sheriff. So far their significant bench contributors have consisted of Lee, Bonleon, Kent Lao, Zach Huang, Jeepy Faundo, and during the La Salle game, former UP Fighting Maroon Kyle Suarez.

    Most fans know and expect production from the likes of Abdul, Ferrer, Daquioag, and maybe a little something from Vigil and Sheriff. Move on over to the UST bench and the same fans know and expect very little. This I think is where my most epic failure lies. And it starts with Vigil.

    I was always a bit of a Vigil fan when he was a Jose Rizal Light Bomber, even bringing him to try out for the Ateneo about five years ago. When he wound up in UST after an aborted stint with La Salle my opinion of him diminished in direct proportion to each pound of bad weight he gained. Now however he has become a vital cog for the Tigers, providing timely baskets in support of Ferrer and Daquioag. His numbers are actually down from the previous season, but the quality of his baskets seems to have improved. He had timely hits in their big victory against FEU, their comeback against the Ateneo, and in their blowout against La Salle as well.

    Bonleon, who was previously with University of the East, has also been surprising, also coming through with quality baskets. He has even been running with purpose on both ends and defending well. His best lockdown effort was against reigning MVP Kiefer Ravena, when UST overhauled a 16-point deficit to emerge with a 10-point victory.

    Lee and Sheriff have had their share of blunders at the pointguard spot, but they have certainly helped more than hurt. Neither demands the ball, nor do they look for their own offense, and they can make the occasional kick-out shot. Suddenly the odd man out is Renzo Subido.

    Lao and Faundo have provided toughness inside, rebounds, the occasional basket, and have generally done everything their coach has ...
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    Philippine Basketball
  2. Let It Snow

    Snow Badua of has been summarily banned from the Philippine Basketball Association.

    This came about because of articles by Badua that came out in, another online sports portal.

    Badua has been coming out in spin for years, so what made these particular articles so offensive to the PBA?

    Badua, as he has done throughout his online writing career, did an article that can be best described in the local media parlance as a "blind item."

    In that article, Abby Poblador had said on the podcast of a radio / talk show that she had slept with a PBA executive who used to be a coach. While the spin article did not name the PBA coach-turned-executive, Poblador referred on the same podcast to the man as "long hair".

    Sure enough the reading public put two and two together and surmised that the coach-turned-executive in question was Ginebra Governor Alfrancis Chua. Chua did after all fit in perfectly: He used to be a coach, he is now an executive, and for the longest time has sported long hair that he normally wears in a ponytail.

    Poblador is a mixed martial arts ring girl, who is now a "sexy star", however one may want to define that ridiculous designation. One of her gigs was a halftime show for the PBA called "AKTV Center".

    Naturally, in the Internet age, Chua and Badua, instead of duking it out and getting a beer afterwards, got it on in social media, particularly Twitter.

    A couple days after that article came out, the PBA banned Badua, through the Commissioner, Chito Narvasa.

    Here - verbatim - are some of what appeared in the PBA's letter to Badua:

    “It has come to my attention that you had used different media platforms to malign, embarrass and mortify a person of authority of this association. Your incessant attacks on Twitter on Mr. Alfrancis Chua, team governor of Ginebra San Miguel, has caused distress, embarrassment and disharmony with his family.”

    “And upon my investigation, said stories have no factual basis. It is only a concoction of an evil and malicious mind. And if you believe that you can evade responsibility by posting said unfounded stories in a social network, you are mistaken.”

    “For your disrespectful arrogance and unceasing attacks on a person of authority of the PBA, I am officially informing you that I am banning you from any and all PBA activities, games, practices and similar undertakings effective immediately.”

    “This ban shall take effect immediately and shall remain in effect until further clearance from this office."

    Suffice it to say, the PBA has decided to protect one of its own.

    Some things that should be made clear:

    - Badua's type of "journalism" is not to my liking. It is too much of the tabloid / showbiz variety that only happens to be about sports. His scoop-at-all-costs mentality is also not to my liking.

    As a journalist however, he was not only just doing his job. This was not even something that came from Badua originally. This already came out through that podcast; Badua essentially rehashed information that had already come out on a different online platform.

    - The PBA as a private institution certainly has every right to decide who may and may not take part in any of its activities, and who may or may not approach or otherwise deal with its teams, officials, coaches, and other employees and members.

    One thing though, is the PBA saying here that all of its officials, executives, even players, are now totally off limits for criticism and even the mere allusion of bad behavior?

    Shouldn't the PBA be more concerned that one of its high executives, a Team Governor, no less, and a married one at that, might actually have slept with a woman not his legal spouse?

    - I am not about to go into a Civil and Political Rights lecture about the freedom of the press. Suffice it to say that if this will become a test case for what one may or may not publish online, I can only hope the Courts do a good job of it.

    Online writing is too much of an open frontier. For those who have never been through any sort of press experience, or press training, the Internet is the Wild Wild West, with the only rule being he who gets the most unique hits and likes wins. As with all things that are a source or platform for commerce and making a living, there have to be rules here.

    I fully support some calls to have this sweeping overreaction of a ban on Badua lifted. He may perhaps be banned in any and all activities, including games and practices, where Ginebra is involved, but for everything else he should be allowed to make his living and to do his job. Let us say this particular game day features four teams, none of which is Ginebra, let Badua into the venue, ...
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    Philippine Basketball
  3. 2015 Fed HS Basketball Tournament: CKSC Whips HCHS for Fourth Title in a Row

    Chiang Kai Shek College exacted revenge against Hope Christian High School Sunday afternoon with an emphatic 75-57 victory in the Group A finals of the 2015 Filipino Chinese Amateur Athletic Federation high school basketball tournament that was played before a mammoth crowd at the CKSC Main Gym in Tondo, Manila.
    It was the Blue Dragons' fourth consecutive Fed crown, and third for head coach Goldwin Monteverde, which took over the CKSC mentoring reins in 2013.
    The finals' victory avenged CKSC's 65-56 loss to HCHS in the season opener for both schools.
    In the finals, CKSC led from start to finish, having raced to a 7-0 advantage in the rugged game that saw five players, including three from CKSC, thrown out.
    CKSC was ahead, 35-26, at halftime and enjoyed a 15-point edge, 50-35, after three quarters. The four-time Fed titlists enjoyed their largest lead at 66-42, time down to 5:10.
    In the fourth quarter, Boga Jamjam, Robert Minerva and Miguel Andre Oczon (entering the court from the bench) of CKSC and high-scoring Kris Harvey Pagsanjan and Mac Chester Jacob of HCHS were sent off the court for unsportsmanlike fouls.
    In the Group A third-place game, Manila Patriotic School crushed Saint Jude Catholic School, 88-68.
    During the knockout semifinals, Hope Christian HS walloped Manila Patriotic School, 70-42, and CKSC shellacked Saint Jude Catholic School, 55-24.
    The two lowest-ranking teams in the eight-school Group A have been relegated to Group B next year. Philippine Cultural College, Saint Peter the Apostle School, Saint Stephen's High School and Philippine Chung Hua School (Sampaloc) ranked in the lower half of the Group A standings and missed the Final Four playoffs.
    In a battle between unbeaten teams, Makati Gospel Church-New Life Christian Academy hung tough at crunchttime to register a close 58-51 win over Paco Citizen Academy Foundation in the finals of the Group B competitions.
    Regardless, the two teams have been elevated to Group A in next year's competitions.
    No team led by more than eight points in the pendulum-like contest that saw several lead changes.
    MGC-NLCA was ahead by just two points, 48-46, when the hardworking Carl Gavin Ong, who tallied nine points in the final 2.5 minutes, clustered five consecutive points and Aaron Sy split his free throws for a 6-0 run that pushed Wilson Ngo's troops to a 54-46 lead.
    MGC-NLCA was again up by eight points twice the rest of the way, 56-48 and 58-50.
    In the third-place game, Pace Academy crushed Philippine Sun Yat Sen High School.
    During the semifinals, PCAAF whipped PSYSHS and MGC-NLCA bucked a double-digit deficit in the payoff period and held Pace Academy scoreless during the stretch for a come-from-behind five-point win.
  4. From ABC to FIBA Asia Championship

    Next week’s FIBA Asia Men’s Basketball Championship in Changsa-Hunan, People’s Republic of China is the 28th of its kind.

    However, the biennial tournament was known by a different name during its inaugural competitions in 1960 when the Philippines played host for the first time.

    Until 2005, it was called the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) tournament.

    Like before, it also was held biennially during odd-numbered years and served as the qualifying tournament for the Summer Olympics and FIBA Basketball World Cup (which until 2014 was known as the World Basketball Championship).

    Credit a Filipino, Dionisio (Chito) Calvo, for the formation of the ABC in the late fifties.

    Known as the “Father of Philippine Basketball,,” Calvo was a member of the Philippine national team that won the 1925 Far Eastern Games (the harbinger of the Asian Games) in Manila. He subsequently became the head coach of the first two PH Olympic squads that ranked fifth – the highest-ever finish by an Asian country until now – during the 1936 Berlin Games and 12th during the 1948 London Games.

    Calvo would later become an organizer. He set up the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) in 1938. The semi-professional league lasted until the establishment of the Philippine Basketball Association – Asia’s first pro basketball league – in 1975.

    The idea of putting up the Asian Basketball Confederation was initially brought up in August 1958 in a Tokyo hotel coffee shop by six basketball officials from various Asian countries that competed in the 3rd Asian Games held in the Japanese capital.

    While basketball was part of the Asian Games calendar, Calvo and company were concerned that it had been relegated to a minor sport.

    Thus saw the birth of the ABC, the predecessor of the FIBA Asia Championship.

    Through the efforts of Calvo, the first ABC tournament was staged from January 15-28 in 1960 in Manila.
    Seven countries saw action in the two-week competitions. They were Taiwan (Nationalist China), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Malaya (now Malaysia) and the host Philippines.

    Along with Pakistan, they also attended the conference at which the draft constitution of the ABC was adopted and the participating nations admitted as members.

    Call it homecourt advantage, the 14-man Philippine team romped away with the inaugural ABC tournament in 1960.

    The Filipino cagers, who were skippered by all-time great Carlos (Caloy) Loyzaga, won all of their nine assignments at the old Rizal Memorial Coliseum, including a 99-78 shellacking of Taiwan in the titular match.

    Mentored by Arturo Rius, the first ABC championship unit also included Emilio Achacoso, Kurt Bachmann, Carlos Badion, Narciso Bernardo, Loreto Carbonell, Edgardo Ocampo, Constancio Ortiz, Leonardo Del Pilar, Roberto Yburan, Nicolas (Tata) Carranceja, Alfonso (Pons) Marquez, Mariano (Nano) Tolentino and Eduardo (Eddie) Lim.

    Badion was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

    The ABC was not officially founded until the 2nd ABC competitions in Taipei in November 1963 when representatives from nine countries ratified the ABC constitution and bylaws, and elected, among other officials, then-Philippine Senator (and 1936 PH Olympic team captain) Ambrosio (Paddy) Padilla as president and Calvo as secretary general.

    Even though it lost twice in 11 games (losing to Korea, 62-59, and Taiwan, 96-81, during the preliminary round), the Philippines, which was again skippered by Loyzaga, retained the ABC diadem during the eight-nation 1963 edition following a 91-77 decision over host Taiwan in the finals.
  5. Surprises

    Who would have thought things would be this way in the ongoing UAAP Season 78 senior division?

    Let's take a quick rundown:

    1. State University is 2-1, starting the season at 2-0, matching their best start in the last decade or so. They leaned on the surprising shooting of center Gelo Vito to turn back the University of the East in the first game of the season.

    Then they beat De La Salle on a weekday game with yet another surprisingly good shooting day, this time featuring the returning swingman Jett Manuel. Their improved defense held the normally prolific Jeron Teng to 10 points and five fouls. Teng's last foul, an offensive foul, was indicative of the frustration wrought on him by the pesky UP defense.

    They lost to Santo Tomas over the weekend, scoring only four points in the opening period of this game. They tried to come back, but Ed Daquioag and Kevin Ferrer had an answer for everyting the Fighting Maroons threw at the Growling Tigers.

    2. Speaking of which, Ed Daquiaog has turned into a scoring machine, and is the main cog in UST's 3-0 start. Import Karim Abdul, while still an intimidating presence especially off the boards, has not been his usual dominating self. Thank God for Daquioag, whose scoring average of a little over 24 points per game is second only to Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena. Daquioag has effectively tripled his scoring average from last season. The former Rizal Tech high school star is proving that athlete's really do have more of an upside. This early there is buzz about him contending for MVP.

    Their biggest win came against Far Eastern, during that same weekday schedule where UP beat Lasalle. Daquioag put on the full showcase there, driving at will, pulling up, and being a thoroughbred in transition. FEU had no answer for him.

    3. UE's Edson "Bon Bon" Batiller picked a fine time to show exactly why he got a UAAP roster spot, as he put on a second-half shooting display that upended Lasalle. Teng had a tough time against the signature pressing defense of the Pumarens as the press made life difficult for him, and indeed all of the Archers, in the second half.

    Batiller erupted in the third period, outscoring the entire Green and White side by himself. It was enough to build a 60-46 spread for his Red Warriors.

    Pointguard Ed Charcos also had a fine showing in this game, helping hold off the Archers in the end-game by getting the offensive rebound off his own missed freethrow with some 40 seconds remaining in the game.

    4. Ateneo's Team Glory B boys blew the Adamson Falcons off the floor in the third period of their game over the weekend. First half action was tight, with the Falcons even leading the Blue Eagles at some point thanks to the speed of pointguard Joseph Nalos and off-guard Jon Capote.

    In the third period though, the Ateneo finally got a double-digit spread courtesy of a highly athletic move by Ravena. But it was the mostly Glory B five on the floor that really blew the game wide open. Koko Pingoy, Aaron Black, Adrian Wong, and import Chebuize Ikeh ran the floor and played the quick outlet game they ran so well in Fr Martin Cup action to leave the Falcons behind. Gwyne Capacio got into the program and helped himself to some of Pingoy's pinpoint passing.

    Speaking of Pingoy, he was able to get his game going after going scoreless on opening weekend against the Tamaraws. Pingoy played a lot better without Mike Tolomia in front of him.

    5. As for FEU, it seems they are living up to their preseason billing as title favorites for Season 78. Although they lost to FEU and are at 2-1, their two wins came against powerhouses Ateneo and Lasalle, and both were blowouts for the Tamaraws. They walloped the Ateneo by 24, Lasalle by 18. They lost to league leader UST by only one point.

    No team has the depth of FEU, so trying to go toe to toe against the Tamaraws would be a huge mistake. Tolomia, Mac Belo, Russell Escoto, Achie Inigo, Toto Arong, Roger Pogoy, Raymar Jose, and now even 6'9" import Prince Orizu, are arguably the best rotation in the league.

    6. The defending champions are sharing the cellar with Adamson. Import Alfred Aroga is not playing at his usual high level, lending credence to preseason buss that the injury he suffered in the offseason really has not fully healed. The 6'6" import was wearing an ortho boot on his foot as late as the end of the summer tournaments.

    Gelo Alolino is playing like an MVP, but it seems the loss of Trot Rosario, Glen Khobuntin, and Henri Beteyane really are too great to overcome. NU needs to have its rookies like Med Salim, and its veterans like Jay Alejandro, step up.

    It is only about the midway point of the first round and already all the unpredictability is making for great headlines. It should be interesting ...
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