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  1. 2013 UAAP Basketball: Coaching is a dog-eat-dog profession

    Every sports fan worth his salt knows that the basketball coaching profession is a dog-eat-dog business.
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    “Here today, gone tomorrow” sports coaches usually experience during the course of their X-and O tenures.
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    Even if he carries brilliant credentials, no coach is indispensable, be it in the professional ranks or the high school or collegiate levels.*
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    Job security there is none for a coach can be fired at any time, even during halftime of a game.
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    Remember the late Fort Acuña, who was unceremoniously fired by Toyota at halftime of a Philippine Basketball Association game against Crispa during the early eighties when he refused to field in Tamaraws star Robert (Sonny) Jaworski?
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    The timing might have been so bad, or too humiliating to Acuña, that he committed suicide several years later.
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    Handing the pink slip to a basketball coach is painless if his team has been losing through the years.* Yet in this “quick-fix” era, just a single lousy season and it could be a one-and-done” disaster for the bench tactician.
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    Even consecutive winning seasons that do not include a title finish is unacceptable to some.
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    In the end, it’s easier (or more fun) to dismiss the basketball coach than the 12 (or 15) players on his basketball team.
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    What about the “loyalty” factor?* It’s said that loyalty is valued highly in the corporate world.* But this rarely comes to play in the sports business, where an athlete can be traded or let go in a hurry and a coach can never expect to be guaranteed a “lifetime” job with one team.*
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    “What have you done for me lately” might be one question that a team owner would ask of his coach when his next contract is up.* A previous championship or two may be appreciated but contract negotiations will still revolve around his current accomplishment.
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    The greatest coach in U.S. National Basketball Association (NBA) history, Phil Jackson, won a record 11 titles with the Chicago Bulls (six) and Los Angeles Lakers (five).* When Jackson’s back-to-back champion Lakers, however, were swept in four straight games by the eventual NBA titlist Dallas Mavericks during the 2011 in the Western semifinal playoffs, he was not offered a new contract.
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    With this mind, I wonder why there’s much controversy in the firing of Ricky Dandan as the Unibersidad ng Pilipinas coach in the ongoing University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) competitions.
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    Dandan was dismissed and deservedly so.
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    Whether it was instigated by the UP Alumni Association or the dean of the College of Human Kinetics or even the sports-loving street sweeper in the sprawling Diliman campus, nobody cares.
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    The bottom line is Dandan had lost 15 straight games with the Fighting Maroons, having gone 0-7 in the second round of last year’s UAAP competitions and 0-8 this year.
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    Dandan took over the UP reins in 2012.* The lone victory of his brief 1.5-year UP tenure came against the University of the East, 63-48, on August 19, 2012.* The win broke a 15-game losing skid by the Maroons (since 2011).
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    Overall, Dandan was 1-21 with State U.
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    Dandan deserved to be fired and Momma need not insinuate that his son’s successor was an ingrate for accepting the job.* Rey Madrid may owe Dandan some loose change for his previous post on the UP team but coaching is a dog-eat-dog profession.
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    In sports, loyalty is an afterthought.* Winning is everything.
    Tags: henry liao, uaap Add / Edit Tags
    Categories
    Philippine Basketball
  2. 2013 UAAP/NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENTS: PARITY RULES

    It’s been a long time since parity has ruled the premier collegiate men’s basketball leagues in the Metro Manila area, specifically the University Athletic Association of the Philippines and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

    This season, a number of schools have a legitimate chance at winning a championship in the UAAP or NCAA. There is no clear-cut favorite to accomplish the feat. The games have become unpredictable that a lesser light can easily knock off the oddsmakers’ choice on any given day.

    And with both leagues employing a double-round elimination round (14 games for the eight-team UAAP and 18 games for the 10-team NCAA) with a Final Four format, anything is possible between now and October.

    Hoop pundits would often comment that “bilog ang bola” in assessing the basketball games. And the assessment cannot be more apt when describing the topsy-turvy developments in the ongoing UAAP and NCAA competitions.

    After the first round, seven of the eight UAAP schools – with the exception of winless (0-7) and perennial laughing stock University of the Philippines (or Unibersidad ng Pilipinas) – were all within striking distance of the Final Four playoffs. Far Eastern University topped the standings with a perfect 7-0 record; National University, University of Santo Tomas and University of the East were deadlocked at second place at 4-3; and De La Salle University, five-time reigning titlist Ateneo de Manila University and host Adamson University were all just a full game behind the No. 2 spot with identical 3-4 ledgers.

    Then the second round came. Simultaneous with the calamitous rains and flooding that struck the National Capital Region, the FEU Tamaraws quickly slipped and slid, losing in succession to the NU Bulldogs and DLSU Green Archers as leading Most Valuable Player candidate Terrence Romeo suffered through an offensive tailspin (7-for-34 field-goal shooting in the twin defeats).

    Last Sunday, rookie UAAP mentor Nash Racela’s Tams halted their two-game losing skid in subduing a fighting UE Red Warriors unit, 98-94, in double overtime.

    With the epic win, FEU remained on top of the standings at 8-2, keeping second-running NU (7-3) at bay while sending UE (5-4) to its first loss in five games.

    NU, which currently owns a four-game winning streak, started the second round with triumphs over FEU and a pair of struggling teams in Adamson (3-6, four straight losses) and UST (4-5, three consecutive losses). The Bulldogs edged FEU, 59-58, and crushed Adamson, 80-48, to avenge first-round losses to both schools (87-83 vs. FEU and 68-66 vs. Adamson) then blew away UST, 75-61, for a second time last Saturday.

    Also with three straight wins to start the second round is La Salle, which at 6-4 has temporarily moved up to third place. This may not mean much as two of the victories were registered against the league’s weakest teams. The Green Archers repeated over Adamson, 70-69, in overtime; blasted FEU, 75-66, to avenge an 83-79 overtime loss; and sent UP to its 16th consecutive defeat in two seasons (including 0-7 in the second round of the 2012 tournament) with an 85-63 decision last Saturday after trailing by seven points, 42-35, at the half.

    La Salle is off for seven days but the road to the Final Four gets tough next week when the Green Archers takes on arch nemesis Ateneo (Sept. 1), UE (Sept. 4) and NU (Sept. – “hard” games that could make or break their campaign for a second straight semifinal appearance.

    DLSU will face UST in their final elimination assignment on Sept. 14. By the time, their fate would have already been sealed.

    Against La Salle last Saturday, hard-luck UP paraded a new head coach against DLSU in erstwhile assistant Rey Madrid , who has taken over the reins from Ricky Dandan.

    Dandan’s beloved mom’s harsh press statements over his son’s firing and Madrid ’s acceptance of the new post were more controversial than Dandan’s dismissal itself. Swinging Momma would even insinuate that Madrid was an ingrate and that the latter’s mom, a friend of hers, would be ashamed of what her son had done (which was to accept the job). Dandan is no Mama’s Boy but every sports fan worth his salt knows that the coaching profession is a dog-eat-dog business that does not embrace loyalty without limits.

    Madrid’s now in but the end result of his debut remained the same – another loss, the second against La Salle this season. UP is headed for a winless 0-14 campaign for the second time in four years unless Adamson offers to be a generous victim.

    Adamson (3-7) has practically kissed goodbye to its Final Four quest after the Falcons were humiliated by improving Ateneo, 79-66, last Sunday for their fifth consecutive ...
    Tags: henry liao, ncaa, uaap Add / Edit Tags
    Categories
    Philippine Basketball
  3. Happy 8th Anniversary Gameface!

    When I turned eight years old I was a Grade 2 pupil. I'm not quite sure if the same mental-psychological-physical age applies to Web sites. All I know is that the leading and only true hardcore basketball media portal of the Philippines turned eight this month, and it has been a heck of an experience for everyone, from us site owners to the moderators, forum members including players, coaches, team management, school administrators, faculty and staff, students, even captains of industry and head honchos of Top 500 corporations that have made www.gameface.ph one of the country's most popular online communities.

    Gameface has undergone at least three makeovers over the last eight years, and its Forum, the most comprehensive and most professionally moderated such online community, is still the place to be to get the information on basketball that cannot be found elsewhere.

    More than just basketball though, the non-hoops aspects of life in general are also well-represented throughout the site. Everything from local to international news and current affairs, topics philosophical, legal, financial, artistic, gastronomic and controversial are also found in these virtual pages. Gathered from sources both local and international, the current events forum is a treasure trove of some of the best bits of news, analysis and opinions anywhere in the world.

    As it evolved through the last eight years, Gameface has come to take on more of an international outlook, as it strives to attract an even greater variety and higher quality of membership. Filipinos and other fans of Philippine basketball based overseas have come to find in Gameface an online tambayan to meet and interface with fellow hardcore hoop nuts, and just about anybody with an opinion and a mind to share it.

    "It's been a slow but steady rise I think," said Joseph W Buduan, the chief editor of www.gameface.ph, and one of the original site founders. "It started out as an online tambayan, but now the number and diversity of the membership is just astounding," he added.

    True enough the humble beginnings of www.gameface.ph were inauspicious. There was no fanfare when it came online in August of 2005. There was just a handful of members, a lot of them migrants from other online communities. Within a year though the community had grown to a couple hundred distinct members and the daily distinct hit count was climbing to five digits. Soon Gameface mainstays were being invited to guest on sports talk shows and to interviews for the mainstream media. By 2006 Gameface was already a fledgling media organization getting credentials for all of the main basketball events on the calendar from the PBA to the UAAP to the occasional visit from the NBA and FIBA.

    Gameface has also gone into the other media as well. Basketbolista was the print offspring of the site and covered basketball from every corner of the Globe beginning 2008, including leagues in Europe and the smaller collegiate leagues with only the hardest of hardcore followings in the Philippines. Gameface partnered with the Makisig Network in 2009 to produce Basketball Crazy, the liveliest hour of basketball in Philippine television. Syndicated reruns of Basketball Crazy continue to be enjoyed by hoops-insane Filipinos in parts of the Middle East and mainland Asia. In 2010 Gameface produced Gameface Radio over at 92.3 FM and we were one of the last media outfits to have a comprehensive interview with the late and much-lamented Bobby Parks, arguably the best import to ever play on Philippine hardcourts.

    Now in the middle of the current UAAP, NCAA and NAASCU basketball seasons, and the start of the PBA Governors Cup, Gameface is once again right in the thick of the hoop wars. We are looking forward to providing even greater depth and quality of basketball coverage far into the future.
    Tags: gameface, ncaa, pba, uaap Add / Edit Tags
    Categories
    Philippine Sports , ‎ Philippine Basketball , ‎ Others
  4. Bader Malabes:* Animo Bahrain!

    Naturalized Bahrainian Chester Jarrel (C.J. Giles) was one player that most Filipinos could easily recognize among the participants in the recent FIBA Asia Championship in Manila.
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    The 6-11 Seattle native was initially recruited in 2008 to suit up for the Philippine men’s basketball team under the Gilas Pilipinas program.*
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    However, Giles was far from being an ideal prospect to become the country’s first acquisition under the FIBA’s naturalization policy since American-born frontliners Jeff Moore and Dennis Still hooked up with the Nationals during the their gold-medal finish in the 1985 Asian Basketball Confederation tournament (now known as FIBA Asia Championship).
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    Giles was a faithful Allen Iverson disciple who disliked practice.* If only our scouts were more discerning of their advanced reports, they would have easily noted that Giles was the same guy who was dismissed from one school to another – from Kansas to Oregon State – because of missed practices and “attitude” problems.
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    Giles was eventually replaced by former National Basketball Association journeyman Jamal Sampson on the PH training pool but even Sampson did not pan out.* Then came Los Angeles Lakers draftee Marcus Douthit and the rest is history.
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    Following his unlamented fling with Team Pilipinas, Giles, who turns 28 next month, earned roundball employment in Lebanon (two tours of duty), Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia before landing a job with the Al-Muharraq team in the Bahrain Basketball Association last year.
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    Giles was limited to just three appearances (14.3 ppg, 14.7 rpg) in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship due to an injury.* All came during preliminary-round play.*
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    Giles was one of four Bahrainians to post double-digit scoring averages, the others being Mohamed Alderazi (8 games, 12.3 ppg), Ahmed Ismaeel (5 g, 11.6ppg), and Husain Altawash (8 g, 11.1 ppg).
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    Another familiar face in the Bahrain lineup was Bader Abdulla Malabes, a De La Salle product who hit at a 6.4-point clip in five games while shooting .282 (11-for-39) from the field, including .267 (4-for-15) from the three-point territory, and a perfect 100 (6-for-6) from the foul line. The 6-foot, 26-year-old guard knocked in 14 markers in a 79-76 overtime loss to Kazakhstan in first-round action.
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    Malabes, whose mom is a Filipina, was a member of DLSU’s 2007 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) title unit (the Green Archers blasted* 14-0 elimination-round leader University of the East, 2-0, in the best-of-three finals that featured brother coaches Franz and Dindo Pumaren on opposite benches.)
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    He has been a member of the Bahrainian national team for the last four years and is a teammate of Giles on the Al-Muharraq club.
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    Bahrain finished 12th among 15 participants, ahead of Saudi Arabia, Thailand and winless Malaysia, and registered a 2-6 record, including first-round victories over India (82-80 OT) and Thailand (86-62) to qualifying for Round Two.
    Tags: fiba, henry liao Add / Edit Tags
    Categories
    Philippine Basketball
  5. 2013 FIBA ASIA CHAMPIONSHIP: NUMBERS DON'T LIE

    The 2013 FIBA Asia Men’s Basketball Championship are over but let us revisit some of the outstanding performances during the biennial continental competitions held in Manila from August 1-11.

    Unquestionably, man-mountain Hamed Haddadi of the unbeaten gold medalist Islamic Republic of Iran (9-0) was the best player in the FIBA Asia tournament that rewarded three tickets to the FIBA World Cup in Madrid , Spain next year.

    A five-year National Basketball Association vet (2008-13) with Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns, the lumbering 7-foot-2 Haddadi ranked first in the 15-nation tourney in point production with an 18.8-point average in nine appearances, having made .623 of his attempts from the field.

    Haddadi was one of only two men to collect at least 30 points in a single game, the other being Wang Zhizhi of deposed titlist People’s Republic of China . The 28-year-old Haddadi chalked up 30 markers in the Iranians’ 76-65 conquest of South Korea on the second day of action. Wang, a fading 7-foot, 36-year-old frontliner from Beijing who made NBA history in April 2001 when he suited up for the Dallas Mavericks to become the first player from Mainland China, torched Jordan for 33 points in a 79-76 victory during the semifinals of the classification phase for fifth to eight places.

    Haddadi also shared first place in the rebounding category for players with at least four games played. He normed 10 boards an outing, including 16 (along with 29 points) in the 85-71 finals win over the Philippines that sealed Iran’s third FIBA Asia crown in the past four stagings. Mohammed Almarwani of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also owned a 10-rebound average in four games.

    Former Team Pilipinas recruit Chester (CJ) Giles of Bahrain actually registered a higher clip at 14.7 rpg (along with 14.3 ppg) but he appeared in just three games due to an injury. No other player was in double digits in boardwork.

    A total of 37 players with at least four games averaged at least 10 points during the FIBA Asia tournament.

    Following Haddadi, the others in the Top 10 scoring were China’s Yi Jianlian (5 games, 17.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.6 apg), Qatar’s Jarvis Hayes (6 g, 16.7 ppg), KSA’s Ayman Almuwallad (4 g , 15.3 ppg), Chinese-Taipei’s Quincy Davis (9 g, 14.7 ppg), Jordan’s Jimmy Baxter (9 g, 14. 1 ppg), China’s Wang Zhizhi (9 g, 13.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.4 apg), India’s Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (8 g, 13.1 ppg), Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Yevstigneyev (7 g, 12.9 ppg) and Iran’s Samad Nikkah Bahrami (9 g, 12.8 ppg, 4.2 apg, 3.2 rpg).

    Other double-figure scorers included South Korea’s Kim Mingoo (9 g, 12.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.7 apg), Jordan’s Mohammad Hadrab (8 g, 12.5 ppg), Kazakhstan’s Jerry Jamar Johnson (8 g, 12.3 ppg), Bahrain’s Mohamed Alderazi (8 g, 12.3 ppg), South Korea’s Cho Sungmin (9 g, 12.3 ppg), Japan’s Kosuke Kanamaru (7 g, 12.1ppg), the Philippines’ Marcus Eugene Douthit (8 g, 11.9 ppg), the Philippines’ Jayson Castro William (9 g, 11.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.0 apg), Hong Kong’s Duncan Overbeck Reid (7 g, 11.7 ppg) , Bahrain’s Ahmed Ismaeel (5 g, 11.6 ppg), Jordan’s Wesam Al Sous (8 g, 11.6 ppg), Bahrain’s Husain Altawash (8 g, 11.1 ppg), Iran’s Hamed Afagh (9 g, 11.0 ppg), Japan’s Kosuke Takeuchi (7 g, 11.0 ppg), and India’s Narender Kumar Grewal (8 g, 11.0 ppg);

    Chinese-Taipei’s Cheng Ju Lu (9 g, 10.8 ppg), Qatar’s Daoud Mosa Daoud (8 g, 10.8 ppg), KSA’s Marzouq Almuwallad (4 g, 10.8 ppg), KSA’s Mohammed Almarwani (4 g, 10.8 ppg), Chinese-Taipei’s Chih Chieh Lin (9 g, 10.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, tournament third-best 4.9 apg), Qatar’s Yasseen Musa (7 g, 10.7 ppg), Iran’s Mahdi Kamrany (9 g, 10.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, tournament-high 6.6 assists, tournament-best 1.56 steals), Kazakhstan’s Rustam Yargaliyev (9 g, 10.3 ppg), China’s Wang Zhelin (9 g, 10.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg), Qatar’s Erfan Ali Saeed (6 g, 10.2 ppg), Japan’s Naoto Tsuji (6 g, 10.2 ppg), and Thailand’s Anasawee Klaewnarong (5 g, 10.0 ppg).

    Douthit (11.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.6 apg, a tournament-best 2 blocked shots a game), who because of an injury was limited to two points, three rebounds and two blocked shots in 13 minutes during the Filipinos’ crucial 86-79 semifinal triumph over South Korea, was one of the eight naturalized players in the tournament.

    The others were Chinese-Taipei’s Quincy Davis ((14.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.22 bpg, 0.9 apg and a tournament-best .737 field-goal shooting), Kazakhstan’s Jerry Johnson (12.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, tournament second-best 5.0 apg), Qatar’s Jarvis Hayes (16.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.3 apg), South Korea’s Lee Seung Jun/Eric Sandrin (9 g, 7.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.8 apg), Japan’s J.R. Sakuragi/J.R. Henderson (7 g, 9.6 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.3 apg), Bahrain’s Chester (C.J.) Miles (14.3 ppg, 14.7 rpg, 0.3 apg) and Jordan’s Jimmy Baxter (14.1 ppg, 3.6 ...
    Tags: fiba, henry liao Add / Edit Tags
    Categories
    Philippine Basketball
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