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  1. College Cage Wars: *UAAP Now Leads the Field

    With the professional Philippine Basketball Association currently on vacation, having produced three different conference champions – Talk ‘N Text (All-Filipino Cup)), B-Meg (Commissioner’s Cup) and Rain or Shine (Governors’ Cup) – in its previous 37th season for the first time since 2003, local hoops action shifts to the collegiate level.

    The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) undoubtedly are the premier collegiate leagues not only in the Metro Manila area but also throughout the country.

    The NCAA was this Hoopster’s favorite league during his teen-aged and college days from the 1960s to the mid-1970s. *

    The rival UAAP league admittedly possessed the more talented players at the time, but the NCAA was more popular as a gate attraction.

    The NCAA was the “glamour” league due to the presence of elitist schools Ateneo and De La Salle. *Moreover, the NCAA games were more exciting and competitive and parity existed among the member schools. Results were unpredictable as various schools took turns in annexing the championship.

    Check out the title winners at the time: *1965 – Mapua Institute of Technology, 1966 – Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 1967 – Jose Rizal College, 1968 – Jose Rizal College, 1969 – Ateneo de Manila University, 1970 – Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 1971 – De La Salle College, 1972 – Jose Rizal College, 1973 – San Sebastian College-Recoletos, and 1974 – De La Salle College.

    Pardon my fertile mind, but the NC schools back then also owned the prettiest fans and supporters in the local college ball scene. *English-speaking, perfume-scented colegialas from Marynoll (now Miriam College) and St. Scholastica College trooped to the games to cheer and make pa-cute to their favorite players from nearby schools Ateneo and La Salle.

    In contrast, two schools dominated the UAAP cage wars during the mid-sixties – the University of the East Red Warriors and the University of Santo Tomas Glowing Goldies (now known as the Growling Tigers).

    During those years, it was either the Warriors or Goldies that came out as the champion. *UE emerged victorious in 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971 while UST took the crown in 1964.

    In 1967, the two schools shared the title after the referees declared a “no contest” in the championship game when the head coaches from both sides – Virgilio (Baby) Dalupan for UE and Rogelio Serafica for UST – refused to identify their first five to open the second half and thus caused a prolonged stalemate.

    At the time, Robert (Sonny) Jaworski was UE’s meal ticket while Danilo Florencio was UST’s brightest star.

    Despite the presence of Jaworski and Florencio, mas may “dating” pa rin ang NCAA noon kaysa sa UAAP.

    Even as it sent a number of stars to the Philippine national team, notably Jaworski and Florencio to the 1967 Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) tournament (now known as the FIBA Asia Championship) in Seoul, South Korea where the Filipinos snared the title with a 9-0 record, the UAAP still ranked a far second to the NCAA at the turnstiles.

    Of course, things are so different now.

    The NCAA lost much of its luster following the defection of Ateneo and La Salle to the UAAP in 1978 and 1986, respectively. *And the UAAP has progressively become college ball’s top league since the 2000s with better television coverage and ratings and higher gate attendance than the NCAA.

    Legendary musician Bob Dylan is right: *“The times they are a-changin’.”
  2. UAAP Season 75 Race to the Final 4

    With the second round of eliminations coming to a close in the next couple of weeks, UAAP Season 75 is now looking towards the Final 4. Let's take a look at the current team standings as of this writing.

    Reigning champion Ateneo De Manila remains firmly in the Number 1 position at 9-1. Coming off a methodical 77-67 win over archrival Lasalle, the Blue Eagles have zoomed to their seventh straight victory in the eliminations. Ryan Buenafe had a career game with 24 points and eight boards to lead the Ateneo. He was tossed in their game previous to that against FEU, although the Ateneo still wrapped that game up 77-64. The Ateneo is averaging over 74 points per game as a team to lead the league. On this roster, the boggest player is also the biggest reason the team is leading the league. 7-foot center Greg Slaughter is averaging over 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocks per game, and providing a massive presence in the paint that other teams simply cannot match. The second round has seen his scoring dip but his rebounds and blocks have picked up. As long as the big man is in the middle the Ateneo is looking good at securing the Number 1 seed going into the Final 4.

    Santo Tomas and Far Eastern are at identical 8-3 records, but FEU is running second to the Ateneo in the standings because they swept their season series versus the Growling Tigers. FEU is the only team to have completely shocked and awed the Tigers this season, coming away with a near 30-point rout in their second round encounter. The Tamaraws have the two best guards in the tournament in Terrence Romeo and former MVP RR Garcia. Both men are averaging over 30 minutes per game, with Romeo the second best scorer in the league at nearly 18 points per game, while Garcia is second in assists at over five assists per game. These two should guarantee a Round 3 in the Ateneo-FEU Finals series. Their team in is good position to take the Number 2 seed going into the Final 4, edging National University in their most recent game 77-75 on a buzzer-beating layup by Garcia.

    UST however is the only team to have beaten the Ateneo, and have been very resilient against the other highly-touted teams in the tournament. African import Karim Abdul is in prime position to be named season MVP leading the league in rebounds (over 11 per game) and minutes (over 34 per game), while being among the Top 5 in scoring (over 16 per game) and blocks (two per game). He's gotten plenty of help from comeback player of the year Aljon Mariano, as the 6-foot-3 forward has built a reputation for winning games for his Tigers. He overhauled a 19-point deficit in their 71-70 upset of Ateneo, then nailed the winning basket in overtime in their 58-57 win over NU. If a few more things fall into place, Coach Pido Jarencio and his boys might be making a return trip to the UAAP Finals.

    Lasalle is holding on precariously to the Number 4 spot thus far at 6-4. Losing to the Ateneo has put them in a bit of a bind with host NU just a half game behind at the Number 5 spot at 6-5. They find themselves leaning on a legit freshman rookie in 6-foot-2 swingman Jeron Teng. Teng, who scored over 100 points in one game in high school, had a record-breaking 35 points in a double-overtime 87-86 victory over NU in the first round. He is among the Top 5 in scoring at over 16 points per game. His buzzer-beating jumper lifted Lasalle past UST 53-51 in a low-scoring affair just this past week. Two Lasalle big men are averaging over three blocks per game combined, Norbert Torres and Yutien Andrada. Unfortunately for the Green Archers of Coach Gee Abanilla, their most vital cog is probably out for the season. LA Revilla, one of the best pointguards in the country has proven to be rather fragile this season. This was probably the third or fourth time he's injured his ankle since the summer. He had to sit out the game against the Ateneo. Without his heady playmaking, Lasalle has looked lost during crucial situations.

    Speaking of NU, the Bulldogs must be wondering whether or not the basketball gods have any sense of humor at all. In their hosting year this season, the Bulldogs were realy looking forward to a breakout year, when all the hype would finally be justified, and all the potential would finally become reality. That has not happened so far. At 6-5 the Bulldogs are just three losses shy of equaling their record from last season. With the Ateneo, Lasalle and UP still to go on th remainder of their elimination schedule, the road ahead is getting ever rockier for NU. Ray Parks, the reigning MVP is on track to become the first back-to-back UAAP MVP in the last few decades. He leads the league in scoring with nearly 22 points per game, including back-to-back 30-point games. He also leads the league in steals with nearly two swipes per game. Unfortunately he's also leading the league in turnovers with over three and a half errors per game. He'll ...

    Updated 09-03-2012 at 10:15 PM by admin

    Philippine Basketball

    All-time basketball great Carlos Loyzaga was a dominant force even at the local commercial/post-graduate level.

    A product of San Beda College, Loyzaga suited up for PRATRA and PRISCO that captured the National Open championship in 1950 and 1953, respectively.

    In 1954, Loyzaga hooked up with the fabled Yco Athletic Club that played in the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) league, the predecessor of the professional Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

    Together with some of the game’s greatest names, the bull-strong and versatile 6-3, 200-pound center established records for the Painters which may never be duplicated in Philippine basketball history.

    It was with Loyzaga that Yco put together 49 consecutive victories from 1954 to 1956.

    In 1954, the Painters accomplished the first so-called Grand Slam in local hoops when they bagged the National Open, Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) and Challenge to Champion titles.

    The annual National Open competitions featured all-comers, including top commercial clubs and prominent collegiate squads such as San Beda College, Ateneo de Manila, Far Eastern University, University of Santo Tomas, and Colegio de San Juan de Letran.

    Yco collared a record seven straight National Open championships starting in 1954.

    By April of 1960, Loyzaga had taken a dual role with the Painters as their playing coach. *In his first stint in a concurrent capacity, he piloted Yco to the MICAA crown against Ysmael Steel.

    The Painters’ winning streak in the National Open was halted only in 1961 when their arch nemesis, the Ysmael Steel Admirals, rose to provide, together with Caloy’s team, what may be the greatest single rivalry in local basketball history (counting even the Ateneo vs. De La Salle and Crispa vs. Toyota rivalries).

    Following a year’s stint with the Painters, Loyzaga returned to the collegiate hardwood in 1955 and helped the San Beda College Red Lions claim permanent possession of the prestigious three-legged Crispulo Zamora Cup with another National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) title.

    The Zamora Cup was the hardware awarded by the NCAA to the first team that captured three championships after the Second World War.

    After 15 long, fruitful years in the major leagues, Loyzaga finally felt the ravages of time take their toll.

    Injuries, including a recurring knee ailment, had become increasingly painful to bear.

    In 1964, King Caloy hung up his jersey.

    But even as he did, Loyzaga had left behind a legacy that may never be equalled in the whole of Asia.
  4. 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.
  5. Tamaraw Thugs

    This last Wednesday proved to be a most eventful day in the ongoing UAAP Season 75 basketball tournament. First Lasalle won in dramatic fashion over first round tormentor Santo Tomas 53-51. Jeron Teng, the rookie sensation and youngest ever King Archer, saved the collective hides of the Green and White with a buzzer-beating jumper with some three seconds left in that contest. That tied them with UST at 7-3, and solidified the bid of Lasalle to make the Final 4 and even contest one of top two seedings.

    That wasn't the best part though. In the main game for that separate ticketing game day, reigning champion Ateneo De Manila literally had to get through a Far Eastern gauntlet before pulling away 77-64. That win kept the Blue Eagles solidly in the Number 1 position in the tournament at 8-1. However the boys of Coach Norman Black must not have felt like winners in arguably the most bruising game of the tournament this season. Three players - Ateneo's Ryan Buenafe and FEU's Arvie Bringas and Mac Belo - got tossed for various combinations of excess unsportsmanlike fouls and technical fouls whistled in this game.

    Right from the opening period, the Tamaraws were literally out for some blue blood. Nico Salva tweeted after that same evening that he took easily four cheap shot punches from FEU. Belo was actually caught on camera giving a cheap shot to Salva's side from a back angle, one of the unsportsmanlike fouls that led to his tossing. Buenafe, ever the good sport and always a true believer in giving something back, took FEU's American import Anthony Hargrove down by hacking him hard on the arm on Hargrove's way up for a basket. Belo then bumped Buenafe as Hargrove writhed on the floor in pain, clutching his arm. Buenafe, never one to back down from returning a friendly gesture, half-cocked a fist and had to be separated from Belo. Arvie Bringas, Buenafe's high school teammate in San Sebastian, had to restrain his old friend. Belo and Buenafe were lined up for technical fouls and subsequently tossed.

    Throughout the game the likes of Karl Cruz, Ryan Mendoza and Roger Pogoy would do their best to keep the chippy levels at a good all-time high. "This has to be the dirtiest game in the modern coverage era I've ever seen," remarked Alan Taule, a former college coach. That FEU was suddenly playing like this came as a surprise to quite a lot of people. In the today's UAAP, this sort of thing rarely happens, what with all of the cameras at almost every angle just right there and ready to capture every little bit of action.

    Speaking of which, Arvie Bringas took the cake in this contest, discharging a load of spit right smack in Justin Chua's face right in front of the Ateneo bench. As the Ateneo bench pointed it out, the referees promptly tossed Bringas for incurring a disqualifying foul. FEU's coaching staff was up in arms. Bringas had earlier been brought down when Greg Slaughter, the 7-foot Ateneo center, nailed him with an elbow. Subsequent replays showed Bringas flopped, a ploy they have used since last year in trying to stop the gigantic center. Slaughter of course talked some smack as Ateneo called a timeout. That was when Bringas unloaded the spit bomb. It was intended for Slaughter but Chua caught it. When the replays clearly showed Bringas in flagrante delicto the FEU coaching staff finally quit their whining.

    When action resumed the Ateneo had taken a 17-point lead and would have cruised to the win were it not for a few more extracurriculars from the FEU side. Some bench bum from FEU surnamend Guerrero, a 6-foot-4 Fr Martin mainstay, gave Nico Elorde an elbow. Elorde, grandson of boxing great Gabriel "The Flash" Elorde, looked upset enough to to take a right straight to Guerrero but was cooled off by his teammates. Pogoy, another paradigm of gentlemanly conduct, also took an elbow to Juami Tiongson, the game hero for Ateneo, as Tiongson was inbounding on the FEU part of the sidelines.

    Through it all, former FEU head coach Danny Gavieres was having a fit. Gavieres, one of the toughest customers in the history of the UAAP, and one of his favorite players, Ronald Magtulis, now also an assistant coach for FEU, probably could not believe that their guys were not getting away with the old shenanigans every player could get away with back in their day. Magtulis and Gavieres won the 1997 UAAP title in a less genteel, less media-frenzied UAAP era. It would not be far-fetched to think that these two were the brains behind this thuggery, simply because this never happened at this level prior to their both joining the team.

    This level of roughhousing is in fact so unheard of that for the first time in perhaps a decade, the Ateneo gallery, usually polite enough to at least stand if not applaud an opposing team while that team sings their alma mater song, this time was raining down boos, hisses and taunts on the FEU gallery ...

    Updated 08-31-2012 at 04:03 PM by gameface_one

    Philippine Basketball
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