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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.
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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.


    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.


    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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    Philippine Basketball
  4. A LOOK AT PBA HISTORY:**No 50-point Games for Fernandez, Patrimonio and the "Big J"

    Here's a look at the Philippine Basketball Association, Asia’s first professional league whose current 38th season is momentarily on a sabbatical to give way for the training preparations being made for the participation of an all-PBA squad in the FIBA Asia Championship in Manila from August 1-11.
    Rummaging through the pages of the different issues of “Hardcourt,” the official PBA annual, I found out that not once did some of the legendary figures in PBA annals score 50 points in a game during their distinguished careers.
    Strange but true, all-time PBA greats Ramon Fernandez, Alvin Patrimonio and Robert (Sonny) Jaworski – all of whom were recipients of the Most Valuable Player hardware during their heyday – never tallied a 50 at any time.
    Fondly called “El Presidente” for his elegant, silky-smooth offensive skills, Fernandez, who is now based in Cebu City, owned a career best of 48 points with Toyota in 1980.
    Jaworski, Fernandez’s All-Star mate with the Tamaraws whom I bumped into in Tagaytay City last May 18 (the Big J was one of the sponsors for a wedding held there), notched his personal high of 34 points that same year.* Admittedly, though, Jaworski was more known for his rugged defensive skills than his offensive prowess.
    Patrimonio, who like Fernandez collected an all-time league-high four MVP trophies during his PBA tenure, chalked up a career-high 47 points with Purefoods in 1991.* “The Captain” is now the team manager of San Mig Coffee (the harbinger of Purefoods and B-Meg Derby Ace) in the pro league.
    It’s truly unbelievable that Fernandez (first), Patrimonio (third) and Jaworski (ninth) never registered a 50-point game during their remarkable PBA careers, even if all three continue to rank among the top 10 on the league’s all-time scoring charts until now.
    That being said, herewith are some of the greatest “homegrown” Filipino players who broke the 50-point barrier.
    Five - Allan Caidic (The Triggerman), Paul Alvarez (Mr Excitement), William Adornado (Bogs), Danilo Florencio and Abe King – actually reached the 60-point plateau.
    Caidic hit that many on two occasions – a 79 and a 68.* Alvarez once scored 71 points; Adornado, 64; and King, 60.
    All their efforts, however, occurred between 1977 and 1991.
    Tree-like Benjie Paras, who moonlighted as a comedy actor on television and in the big screen during his prime playing years and is currently a studio analyst during the PBA telecasts on AKTV, once made 50 markers with Shell in 1989.*
    It was the year that the effervescent 6-5 Paras became the first and only player in PBA history to earn Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in the same season.
    Like Paras, Fortunato (Atoy) Co Jr. only had a single 50-point performance during his outstanding PBA career.
    “The Fortune Cookie,” who was known for his difficult turnaround, fadeaway jumpers, got a 50 with the fabled Crispa franchise in 1979.* He, too, secured the MVP plum that year albeit in a controversial fashion.
    Co was way behind Toyota’s Ramon Fernandez in the statistical category but subsequently snared all the media votes – following a get-together with the sports editors of the top national dailies by the late Crispa team manager Danny Floro – to walk away with the MVP award.
    Co is now the rookie head coach of his alma mater, Mapua Institute of Technology, in the upcoming National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) season on a mind-boggling three-year, P10-million contract.* Once a “King Cardinal,” Co was the NCAA’s MVP awardee with MIT in 1971.

    Caloy Loyzaga, undisputedly the greatest Filipino basketball player ever, in is town for the formal launching of the “King Caloy” on March 20 at the San Beda College chapel in Mendiola.
    The book, which consists over 100 pages, features various stories on Loyzaga throughout his brilliant cage career.*
    Loyzaga, who turns 83 on August 29, migrated to Australia during the eighties.* He played varsity ball at San Beda College during his heyday, propelling the Red Lions to four championships during the 1950s – National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) titles in 1951, 1952 and 1955 and the National Open crown in 1951, which was then the biggest plum in local basketball.
    A bull-strong 6-3, 200-pound center in his prime, Loyzaga spanned an era that contributed in no small measure to the huge popularity currently enjoyed by the game among the Filipinos.
    If there is a singular personality responsible for enhancing the mass appeal of any sport in his country, he would be Loyzaga, known as “The Big Difference,” “The Great Difference” and “King Caloy” during his time.
    Loyzaga was a rarity in that he could play all three positions – center, forward and guard – with equal efficiency.* But it was at center that Caloy was most recognized – a tough, deadly and graceful slotman who sowed terror in the heart of his adversaries.
    Loyzaga was a dominant force even at the commercial/post-graduate level, latching on with the fabled Yco Athletic Club in 1954 after powering PRATRA and PRISCO to the National Open championship in 1950 and 1953, respectively.* With Yco, he helped the Redshirts/Painters put together a 49-game winning streak from 1954 to 1956.* Loyzaga took over as the commercial club’s head coach after hanging up his jersey in 1964.
    Loyzaga subsequently became the national team mentor.* He piloted the gold medal-winning PH “Dirty Dozen” team in the 1967 Seoul Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) tournament (now known as the FIBA Asia Championship) and the 1968 Mexico Olympics squad.
    Loyzaga also took a crack at local politics at the height of his popularity, winning as a councilor in the City of Manila, before migrating to Australia for a job with a security agency.
    Talking about Loyzaga is like leafing through the pages of the sport’s golden era in the Philippines.
    And much of Caloy’s greatness can be gleaned from his stunning performances in the international front.
    Under the baton of Loyzaga, the Filipinos never lost an Asian basketball title during the 1950s and early 1960s, coming up with six gold medals in as many continental competitions – four in the Asian Games, 1951-1954-1958-1962, and two in the ABC tournament, 1960-1963.
    The Philippines also grabbed the bronze medal during the 1954 Rio de Janeiro World Basketball Championship as Loyzaga earned a slot on the five-man All-Tournament Team with a tournament third-leading 16.4-point average.
    Believe it or not, the Philippines never once registered a losing record during Loyzaga’s 10 international stints (including Olympic appearances in Helsinki in 1952 and in Melbourne in 1956 and a second World Basketball Championship in Santiago, Chile in 1959).
    The Filipinos compiled a 58-14 win-loss mark overall, including 41-3 in Asian-level competitions, during the Loyzaga era.
    Wonder no more why Loyzaga is the greatest basketball player ever produced by the Philippines.
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