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  1. Uaap season 75: *brothers jeric and jeron teng to face off on august 4

    When talking about the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball competitions, avid fans of the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles and De La Salle University Green Archers are likely to mark their season calendars with a must-see check on the day that the two long-time nemesis face each other on the hardwood.

    The first of two Green vs. Blue encounters in UAAP Season 75 will take place on July 28 at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City. *The second playdate of their annual two-game duel will only be determined once the first round of the double-round elimination phase is over.

    Undoubtedly, any Ateneo vs. De La Salle showdown will be a major attraction in local basketball.

    For this Hoopster, though, the “swoosh” on his 2012 UAAP calendar is marked on August 4, the day the DLSU Green Archers clash with the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in first-round action.

    The game’s significance: *The Teng brothers – fourth-year veteran Jeric for UST and rookie Jeron for DLSU – will cross paths for the first time ever in UAAP action.

    As best as can be determined, the August 4 game will mark the first time in UAAP or NCAA history that two siblings with be playing on opposite sides during the same game. *(Jeric and Jeron did suit up for their respective schools in an elimination-round game in the preseason Fil Oil/Flying V tournament but the two were not matched up against each other at any point during the Green Archers’ victory.)

    Through the years, local college ball has witnessed sets of brothers or twins playing for the same team during a season.

    In the ongoing National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hostilities, brothers Kevin and Kristoffer (Junjun) Alas are on the roster of Colegio de San Juan de Letran under Knights bench boss Louie Alas, the duo’s dad.

    In the UAAP, there’s Arvie (a De La Salle defector) and Mark Anthony Bringas of the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.

    For the Teng brothers, who as high schoolers played together for Xavier School during the Golden Stallions’ 2009 Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association (MMTLBA) title squad, it’s an entirely different story.

    Jeric, who earned 2009 Tiong Lian Most Valuable Player honors as a high school senior, is in his fourth season with UST. He also was the UAAP’s Rookie of the Year in 2009.

    Jeron, who set a Tiong Lian record with three consecutive Most Valuable Player awards from 2010-12 and once exploded for 104 points in the Gold and Blue’s 164-74 shellacking of Grace Christian College in a January 5, 2011 Tiong Lian game for the highest individual score by a high school player in Philippine basketball history, is donning the DLSU colors for the first time as college ball’s most-coveted newcomer.

    Both Jeric and Jeron stand 6-2 and play the same swingman (shooting guard/small forward) position.

    It won’t be a surprise if the two are matched up against each other at some point during their August 4 face-off.

    And if De La Salle somehow manages to gain a ticket to the Final Four party, it is likely that Jeron will follow in the footsteps of elder brod Jeric by also romping away with the UAAP Rookie of the Year diadem. *
  2. Carlos Loyzaga: Greatest Filipino Cager Ever, Part III

    Carlos (Caloy) Loyzaga, undisputedly the greatest basketball athlete ever produced by the Philippines, made a name in the international front by earning a stunning six gold medals in as many Asian competitions (four in the Asian Games and two in the Asian Basketball Confederation, now known as the FIBA Asia Championship) from 1951 to 1963 and securing a bronze in the 1954 Rio de Janeiro World Basketball Championship.

    Believe it or not, the Philippines never once registered a losing record during Loyzaga’s 10 international stints, compiling a 58-14 win-loss mark overall, including 41-3 in Asian-level tournaments.

    Check these facts: 1951 New Delhi Asian Games (4-0), 1952 Helsinki Olympics (3-2), 1954 Manila Asian Games (6-0), 1954 Rio de Janeiro World Basketball Championship (6-3), 1956 Melbourne Olympics (4-4), 1958 Tokyo Asian Games (6-1), 1959 Santiago World Basketball Championship (4-2), 1960 Manila Asian Basketball Confederation (9-0), 1962 Jakarta Asian Games (7-0), and 1963 Taipei Asian Basketball Confederation (9-2).

    While Loyzaga’s international play attracted much attention, his performance on home soil was simply awesome.

    Loyzaga started his basketball career at age 12. He sharpened his roundball skills at the Tervalac playground in Teresa, Sampaloc.

    Caloy first saw action with the Santa Mesa Aces. That team also included Pablo and Vicente Cuna, Ramon Lopez, Vicente Siyllon, Bobby and Al Tuazon on the roster. It was coached by Jose Lansang, who later became a referee.

    After the Second World War, Loyzaga joined a team called the Bulldogs.

    He matriculated at the Padre Burgos Elementary School in Santa Mesa, Manila then moved to the National University for his high school education.

    Loyzaga chose San Beda College for his tertiary studies but not known to many, he nearly landed at another college.

    Caloy was ready to enrol at the University of Santo Tomas but before he could don the Glowing Goldies jersey, player and coach Felicisimo (Fely) Fajardo herded him to San Beda College.

    Loyzaga subsequently powered SBC to four championships.

    Anchored the do-everything Loyzaga, the Red Lions romped away with consecutive National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) titles in 1951 and 1952. The Mendiola-based school also snared the National Open crown in 1951, which was then the biggest plum in local hoopdom.

    Around this time, this goldmine with the mestizo looks named Loyzaga was already getting a lot of journalistic ink from local sportswriters and broadcasters.

    Not only did he hog the headlines in the collegiate ranks, he also was deep into the consciousness of sports-loving Filipinos as a member of the national team.

    Sports media described him as the “nonpareil” and being in “a class all by himself” in tribute to his all-around talent.

    However, the tag that stuck was “The Great Difference,” coined by the venerable sportscaster Willie Hernandez who said, “In any game, Loyzaga was the great difference.”

    Gabriel (Gabby) Fajardo, the younger brother of Fely who himself was a former national player and one of Caloy’s early coaches, observed: “He had the height, speed and a great shooting arm for a game that called for height, speed and good shooting.”

    “As a center, he utilized his height,” said another basketball expert. “He could shoot, that’s for sure, and from all angles, either from long or short range.”

    Hernandez added, “I don’t want to sound too exaggerated, but to me, he is the best player of all time. He could play any position although he was unbeatable at the pivot.”

    Loyzaga’s post-graduate exploits in Philippine basketball were just as dominating.
  3. QCAA Basketball Wrapup:* SHAN Grabs Boys HS Crown

    QCAA Basketball Wrapup:* SHAN Grabs Boys HS Crown
    *
    It’s more fun to watch high school basketball games (than college or pro hoops).
    *
    And it was HS hoops wars again that brought me to the Tivoli Royale Country Club gym last Nov. 18 for a heavy quadruple bill that featured the finals in each of the four divisions in the 6th Quezon City Athletic Association (QCAA) basketball competitions.
    *
    In the inaugural edition of the Boys High School-Developmental Division, St. Claire Fountain of Knowledge defeated Maria Montessori School-QC, 74-65, for the title.
    *
    In the Boys Elementary Division, it was Claret School toppling School of Saint Anthony, 46-35, for their fifth championship in six years.* Claret had won four straight titles before taking a leave in last year’s festivities.
    *
    Angelicum College, the (high school) alma mater of my two grown-up children, was successful in its “four-peat” title bid in the Girls High Division as the Lady Roebucks scored a come-from-behind 83-76 decision over upset-conscious Community of Learners Foundation (COLF) in the finals.
    *
    In the absence of ex-PH Youth Under 16 teamer Camille Claro, Angelicum banked on the heroics of former three-year school volleyball player Baby Charmagne Torres, a YS-10 playmaker who exploded for 33 points (on 14-for-23 field shooting) along with six rebounds and three assists to earn MVP honors.*
    *
    The Lady Roebucks trailed by seven points, 59-52, entering the third quarter before outscoring COLF, 31-17, in the final 10 minutes.
    *
    Wynona Jose Guallar added 24 scores for the winning Santo Domingo-based Angelicum unit.
    *
    In the main game of the quadrupleheader, Sacred Heart Academy of Novaliches mounted a monumental comeback in registering a heart-stopping 94-93 victory over Angelicum College for the Boys High School Division crown.
    *
    Jasper Gawingan’s stunning buzzer-beating layup off a spinning baseline drive gave the Bruins their only lead in the game.*
    *
    SHAN, last year’s runner-up in its QCAA debut, had trailed throughout the first three quarters – 27-18 at the end of the first quarter, 53-38 at halftime and 72-58 after three quarters – but bombarded the Roebucks with three-pointers and defensive stops en route to a 36-21 advantage in the payoff period. **Coach Mario Ballesteros’ troops, who fell behind by as much as 17 points (53-36 and 55-3, were still down by eight, 89-81, with four minutes remaining before engineering the biggest uprising in QCAA history.
    *
    It helped top seed SHAN greatly that Angelicum failed miserably from the free-throw line, going a frigid 15-for-34 overall in that area, including 2-for-8 in the final minute.
    *
    The shifty Gawingan wound up with 38 points (on 14-for-22 field shooting and 10-for-13 free-throw clip), nine boards and six assists for the unbeaten Bruins (10-0) and took home the MVP trophy.
    *
    Well-built Rico Pangan, a graduating 6-3 center, was held to seven markers (including 3-for-8 from the foul line) although he plucked down a game-high 19 rebounds for SHAN.
    *
    Second seed Angelicum College, the 2010 titlist, was led by Fred Lumabas, who got away with 40 points, nine boards, three assists and four steals.* Lumabas went 15-for-25 from the field, including 5-for-11 from beyond the three-point arc. *
    *
    The 6th QCAA basketball competitions thus came to a close with different winners in all four divisions.
    *
  4. KING CALOY" BOOK LAUNCHED

    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.
    *
  5. 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.
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