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  1. Development and Imports

    So the UAAP has finally done it.

    Rod Roque of the University of the East, the UAAP Secretary-Treasurer for this season, declared in a sportswriters forum, "Starting Season 78 only one foreign player will be allowed in the lineup."

    “We are also thinking of the possibility that by 2015-2016, there will be no more recruitment of foreign players. Soon, there will be no foreign players na nandito. Patatapusin na lang,” Roque added further.

    That means that schools have up to academic year 2015 - 2016 only to recruit foreigners to play, at least in UAAP basketball.

    Considering the school that Roque represents has three African imports - Charles Mammie, Moustafa Arafat, and Bernard Awana - it is mighty strange that this policy should be passed during the year UE is the UAAP host. I mean, for cryin' out loud, a school with three imports of its own already in tow, one would think they would be among the most vociferous to object to such a policy, if only for selfish reasons.

    We are not privy to how the process went in arriving at this policy; a policy that has a profound impact on all UAAP schools. Roque was not able to elaborate too much if this just applies to college basketball or to all UAAP sports. I think this will be - even more controversially - confined only to the flagship men's senior division basketball event.

    I'm not sure how and why any UAAP school, especially the weaker programs, could go along with this policy.

    First of all, in basketball, height is still very much might. In our country, finding a quality player six feet or taller, especially in that sweet spot big man range of 6'4" and taller, is inherently difficult. Filipinos are on average only 5'4" or so in height. At 5'8" your humble servant is already considered tall in our country. Yet no one ever has, nor ever will be confused for a quality basketball player. Finding a credible, UAAP-senior grade guard (the usual position played by guys my size) is difficult as it is. How much more difficult could it be finding a credible UAAP-senior grade big man, 6'4" or taller, in a country that is made up of guys mostly a foot shorter?

    How then to make up for that gap? Recruit a quality import, usually from Africa. UE's Mammie, 6'7" and 250 pounds, built like the proverbial brick outhouse, arguably the most powerful board cleaner in the league, more than makes up for the lack of quality UE big men. Where would UE be without him?

    Some might say, without imports then nobody has an edge, especially in size. Tell that to National University, who had a 6'7" pogo stick with a jumpshot in Troy Rosario, or to Far Eastern, who has 6'4" do-it-all forward Mac Belo, or Lasalle, who had the pair of 6'6" Norbert Torres and 6'7" Arnold Van Opstal. FEU even has its own 6'7" pogo stick in Russell Escoto, who sat out part of this season with an assortment of injuries. All of these guys bring quality size up front.

    UE was somehow able to compete toe to toe with them just because they have Mammie, and Arafat as well. Next season they can only line up one import. What happens if Mammie gets into foul trouble?

    History will also show that imports do not offer much of an advantage. Look no further once again than newly-crowned champion NU. NU is the first team to have a star import win the men's senior basketball title in 6'6" Cameroonian Alfred Aroga. As good as Aroga is he got plenty of help from Rosario up front, and from the likes of Glenn Khobuntin, Gelo Alolino, Jay Alejandro, and Rev Diputado. So in 77 seasons the UAAP has crowned exactly one champion that had a star import. So it isn't as if NU won strictly, exclusively, and only because of Aroga.

    This of course is not the same with the NCAA. In eight of its last nine seasons, a team with a star import won their men's senior basketball title, the San Beda Red Lions.

    But again, it would be a fallacy to think that it is strictly, exclusively, and only because of their imports that San Beda has won eight of the last nine NCAA championships. Simplistically speaking, one might even argue that in 2009, the one gap in what should have been a 9-Peat dynasty, an All-Filipino San Sebastian squad beat a San Beda squad that even featured an American import in 6'8" Sudan Daniel, thus ending any talk that all it takes is a good import to guarantee a championship. The NCAA beat the UAAP to the punch in imposing its own import ban.

    That is why this total ban on imports makes no sense to me. It is as if college leagues are afraid of their own shadow.

    I submit that this will not really level the playing field all that much. Think back to say 1993, when Santo Tomas won the first of what would be a 4-Peat. There was a gap in 1997 when FEU won the title behind Onak Magtulis and Robin Mendoza. Then Lasalle had its own 4-Peat ...
    Philippine Basketball

    1-Bryan Navarro, NRYS, 7 games, 164 points, 23.4 ppg
    2-Jollo Go, HCHS, 6 games, 115 points, 19.2 ppg
    3-Jonas Raphael Tibayan, CKSC, 2 games, 37 points, 18.5 ppg
    4-Bryant Terrado, SSHS, 8 games, 137 points, 17.1 ppg
    5-Renzel Yongco, SJCS, 6 games, 96 points, 16.0 ppg

    6-Earl See, SJCS, 6 games, 81 points, 13.5 ppg
    7-Bryan So, PHS, 5 games, 64 points, 12.8 ppg
    8- Luigi Laroco, SSHS, 8 games, 101 points, 12.6 ppg
    9-Richmond Legaspi, SSHS, 5 games, 61 points, 12.2 ppg
    10-Jerome Fuentes, NRYS, 7 games, 85 points, 12.1 ppg

    11-Joshua Ramirez, CKSC, 5 games, 59 points, 11.8 ppg
    12-John Mark Santos, PCC, 5 games, 59 points, 11.8 ppg
    13-Jherico Cagomoc, NYRS, 7 games, 81 points, 11.6 ppg
    14-Maynard Yap, SJCS, 8 games, 88 points, 11.0 ppg
    15-Franz Yap, SSHS, 8 games, 88 points, 11.0 ppg

    16-Gershom Montes, CKSC, 8 games, 72 points, 10.5 ppg
    17-Phillip Jason Midel, PHS, 7 games, 72 points, 10.3 ppg
    18-Pranz Chan, PA Sakya, 5 games, 51 points, 10.2 ppg
    19-John Wilbert Midel, PHS, 7 games, 71 points, 10.1 ppg
    20-Ian Kristoffer Pasion, PAS, 6 games, 59 points, 9.8 ppg

    21-Eric Anthony Guiao, CKSC, 4 games, 39 points, 9.8 ppg
    22-Antonio Miguel Yang, HCHS, 7 games, 68 points, 9.7 ppg
    23-Jeffrey Weng, SSHS, 7 games, 68 points, 9.7 ppg
    24-Daniel Pua, SJCS, 6 games, 57 points, 9.5 ppg
    25-Angelo Tan, PCC, 7 games, 66 points, 9.4 ppg

    26-Alec Johnson Billan, SJCS, 7 games, 65 points, 9.3 ppg
    27-Kris Harvey Pagsanjan, HCHS, 7 games, 63 points, 9.0 ppg
    28-Allan Paul Bautista, NRYS, 7 games, 62 points, 8.9 ppg
    29-Charles Yap, PHS, 6 games, 49 points, 8.2 ppg
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    Philippine Basketball

    There will be a new champion in the 17th Metropolitan Amateur Sports Association (MASA) high school basketball competitions.

    This came about after host Saint Jude Catholic School stunned 2013 titlist Hope Christian High School, 70-67, in their knockout semifinal showdown Sunday afternoon (November 23) at the Philippine Cultural College Gym to reach the one-game finals against top seed and unblemished Chiang Kai Shek College.

    The Judenites were limited to just eight points in the second quarter and trailed by as much as 22 points, 38-16, late in the first half. It was in the helter-skelter third period that coach Luis Nolasco’s charges turned their fortunes around, outscoring HCHS, 29-9, to move ahead, 50-47, entering the fourth period.

    SJCS, which lost to HCHS in last year’s finals, took a 67-57 lead with 2:36 left but fell into a maze of errors that enabled HCHS to come within one, 68-67, with 19.1 seconds left.

    The Judenites increased their lead to 70-67 on split charities by Renzel Yongco and Maynard Yap at the 12.6-second mark ticks and then off-form HCHS marksman Jollo Go, who struggled offensively all game long with a porous 4-for-25 field clip , sealed his team’s monumental downfall by missing a contested three-pointer in the next play.

    Earlier in the day, guest team CKSC made mincemeat of the short-handed and No.4 Saint Stephen’s High School in their own semifinal duel, coming up with an easy 65-46 victory to register their eighth victory in as many appearances in the seven-week tournament. The Blue Dragons came into the game armed with a twice-to-beat advantage.

    Chiang Kai Shek College (8-0) and Saint Jude Catholic School (6-2) will clash for the MASA crown on Saturday, November 29 (10:30 a.m.), at the PCC Gym. The twin bill starts at 9:00 a.m. with the third-place game between Hope Christian High School (6-2) and Saint Stephen’s High School (4-4).

    During the elimination phase, Chiang Kai Shek College downed Saint Jude Catholic School, 60-37, behind Jonas Raphael Tibayan’s 22 points and 12 rebounds.

    SJCS 70 – HCHS 67

    Dethroned champion Hope Christian High School raced to a 7-0 getaway behind by Antonio Miguel Young (two baskets, including a triple) and John Francis Sacundo before speedy guard Earl Vincent See connected on a trifecta to jumpstart Saint Jude Catholic School’s offense.

    The HCHS Warriors led, 15-13, after one quarter and enjoyed a 38-21 advantage at the half as nine players broke into the scoring column, led by Yang’s 12 points (including a pair of triples) on 5-for-7 shooting). Go had four points on 2-of-10 FG shooting at the half, none in the opening period.

    As if it was a portent of its impending doom, the Warriors gave up the last four points of the second period on a twinner by energetic frontliner Daniel Edwin Pua and a trey by Yongco, who went a paltry 1-for-9 from the field and missed a pair of charity attempts after 20 minutes.

    The 5-0 mini run sparked a huge comeback by SJCS. After Go connected on a jumper (his fourth and final fielder) to give HCHS a 40-23 lead, the Judenites engineered an 11-3 run to trim their deficit under single digit, 43-34, on a three-play by Yongco.

    Lorenzo Celis knocked in a short shot off a fake to restore Hope Christian’s lead back to 11, 45-34, with 6:29 remaining in the third period. It was at this stage that Saint Jude made its game-altering move, detonating a 14-0 bomb behind the snipings of See (seven points, including a triple), Yongco (a triple) and a fielder each by Yap (who jumpstarted the rally) and Pua (a putback) to go ahead, 48-45, time down to 2:16 in the same period.

    It was the first of See’s back-to-back baskets that propelled SJCS to its first lead at 46-45. Marvel Joy Jimenez stopped the bleeding with a free throw for HCHS, 48-46, but Pua made a fielder to jack up the Judenites’ advantage to four, 50-46, at the 1:01 mark. Jimenez again split his charities as the quarter ended, 50-47, in the Judenites’ favor.

    In the pivotal third quarter in which Saint Jude broke away from Hope Christian’s halfcourt pressure and mesmerized its foes with a number of razzle-dazzle plays, SJCS limited HCHS to just three field goals and nine points, with Yongco, See and Christian Erwin Carlos alternately shadowing Go and holding the National Youth Team member to just five markers. It also frolicked on the other end, with Pua and Yongco scoring eight points each, See tallying seven and Yap contributing four for the Judenites.

    See shoved SJCS to a four-point lead, 52-48, with a basket early in the payoff period but HCHS countered with consecutive twinners by Kris Harvey Pagsanjan and Joshua Davara (a putback) to force the game’s first and only deadlock at 52-all.

    See quickly connected on a three-ball ...
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    Philippine Basketball
  4. 17th MASA: SSHS Earns Final Four Berth

    Saint Stephen’s High School edged guest team Northern Rizal Yorklin School, 72-71, in overtime Saturday afternoon (November 22) to earn the fourth and final playoff berth in the 17th Metropolitan Amateur Sports Association (MASA) high school basketball tournament at the Philadelphia High School Gym.

    It was the first overtime game in the seven-week tournament that is being hosted by Saint Jude Catholic School.

    In other Saturday games, defending champion Hope Christian High School clinched the No. 2 seed in the Final Four playoffs with a forfeiture victory over the Philippine Academy of Sakya, guest school and league-leading Chiang Shek College remained unbeaten with an easy 60-37 decision over third-ranked Saint Jude Catholic School 5-2) and Philadelphia High School (2-4) walloped winless Philippine Cultural College, 114-49, in a freewheeling encounter featuring teams headed for an early vacation.

    The Final Four playoffs get underway Sunday, November 23, at the Philippine Cultural College Gym with No. 1 seed Chiang Kai Shek College (7-0) taking on No. 4 seed Saint Stephen’s High School (4-3) and No. 2 seed Hope Christian High Schoo (6-1) clashing with No. 3 seed Saint Jude Catholic School (5-2).

    The CKSC Dragons own a twice-to-beat advantage over the SSHS Stephenians while the HCHS-SJCS will be a one-game knockout affair.
    During the elimination phase, the Hope Christian HS Warriors defeated the SJCS Judenites, 79-63, while Chiang Kai Shek College routed Saint Stephen’s HS, 68-50.

    SSHS 72 – NRYS 71 OT

    Entering the final elimination-round playdate, Saint Stephen’s HS ad Northern Rizal Yorlin School were deadlocked with identical 3-3 records.
    Applying a pressure defense that forced the opposition to numerous turnovers, the Stephenians raced to a 17-0 start and were ahead, 28-7, at the end of the first quarter as Bryant Terrado (seven), Luigi Laroco (seven) and Franz Yap (six) combined for 20 points. The league’s No. 1 scorer, Bryan Navarro, had five of NRYS’ measly seven points after 10 minutes.

    A highly energetic NRYS squad came roaring back in the second period behind Navarro’s 11 markers and trailed by just 11 points at the half, 36-25.

    SSHS began the second half with four quick points to move ahead, 40-25, but NRYS came within seven, 47-40, behind the heroics of Navarro (nine-point quarter) and Jerome Fuentes (six). Terrardo next made a fielder for his eighth and ninth points in the third quarter as the Stephenians enjoyed a 50-42 advantage entering the fourth period.

    NRYS engineered a 10-0 run to open the payoff quarter that was capped by a Jherico Cagomoc basket and moved ahead for the first time, 52-50, time down to 7:40.

    Payton Chan and Terrado knocked in consecutive baskets to regain the lead for SSHS, 54-52, but Cagomoc forced a second deadlock at 54-54.
    Terrado and Fuentes exchanged triples for another deadlock at 57-all before little-known Sean Ng himself launched a trey for a 60-57 SSHS lead.
    A Fuentes fielder and an Allan Paul Bautista putback regained the lead for NRYS, 61-60, time down to 3:29. Rojeene Bondoc retaliated with a twinner for a 62-61 SSHS edge, but NRYS went on a 5-0 run with Fuentes converting a fielder for the fifth lead exchange of the fourth quarter, Cagomoc hitting a floater and Navarro splitting his free throws for a 66-62 advantage with 1:40 remaining.

    SSHS, which was coached by Jeff Tee, subsequently was rocked by a pair of unforced turnovers but stayed live on baskets from Legaspi and Terrado to force the game’s fifth deadlock at 66-66 with 17.8 ticks left.

    Navarro held on to the rock for NRYS’ final offensive play in regulation before passing off to Fuentes for a potential jumper that did not find its mark.

    Yap opened the five-minute extension with a basket for SSHS but three consecutive free throws by Stephen Rafael Chan (one) and Bautista (two) and a Fuentes jumper pushed NYRS ahead, 71-68, with three minutes left as it bucked the loss of Navarro due to cramps.

    Terrado sliced SSHS’ deficit to one, 71-70, before teammate Richmond Legaspi made a basket that eventually turned out to be the game winner, 72-71.

    Following an SSSHS backcourt violation with 9.36 seconds left, NYRS had one final chance at victory but Cagomoc muffed his jumper to hand a Final Four ticket to the Stephenians.

    SSHS got 25 points from Terrado, 14 points and 14 rebounds from game hero Legaspi, and 10 points, 16 boards and five steals from Yap. Laroco contributed nine markers and five reebies but sat out the fourth quarter and overtime after he attempted a dunk (a miss) midway through the third quarter.

    NYRS, which finished with a 3-4 for fifth place in the eight-team standings, was led by Navarro’s 29 points (16 in ...
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    Philippine Basketball
  5. Triangle Offense

    The winningest head coach in Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) history, Earl Timothy (Tim) Cone, utilized the scheme with the Alaska franchise and won 13 titles in two decades’ service from the 1990s to the 2010s.

    Great success probably “bored” the American-born Cone so much so he sought new challenges. In 2011, he moved over to Purefoods Star Margarine (formerly known as B-Meg then San Mig Coffee) and won five more titles with the same gameplan, including a rare Triple Crown in 2013-14 and four consecutive championship finishes entering the ongoing 2014-15 Philippine (All-Filipino) Cup.

    Jeffrey Cariaso, one of Cone’s former disciples on the San Mig bench, left his “sensei” to make his own trail with another San Miguel Corporation franchise during third and final conference (Governors Cup) of the 2013-14 wars. Cariaso himself has since adopted the same offensive scheme with Barangay Ginebra.

    The Triangle Offense is what we are talking about here. It’s an intricate system that takes time to develop but once fully mastered, it can be a deadly offensive strategy.

    In the U.S. National Basketball Association (NBA), the winningest bench boss ever, Hall of Famer Phil Jackson (now the president of the New York Knickerbockers), employed the triangle offense during his distinguished career in X-ing and O-ing and snared 11 championship hardware with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers from the 1990s to the 2000s.

    One of Jackson’s former Laker players, Derek Fisher, is now the rookie head tactician of the Knicks. And following his boss’ path, Fisher is implementing the triple-post offense in Gotham City.

    The origin of the triangle offense is a bit unclear although retired college and professional coach Morice Fredrick (Tex) Winter is generally considered its “inventor “and/or “innovator.”

    The basic concepts of the triangle offense, which is also known as the sideline triangle, were formulated nearly seven decades ago by former collegiate coach Sam Barry at the University of Southern California.

    Barry introduced the ‘triangle offense” where players stand in triangular positions on either side of the basketball court to create good spacing between players and allow each one to pass to four teammates.

    Barry’s initial setup employed the single triangulation setup of the center, who stands at the low post; a forward, who is at the wing; and a guard, who is at the corner, on one side of the court.

    At the other side of this five-player system are the off guard, who stands at the top of the key, and the “weaker” forward, who is stationed at the weak-side high post.

    Barry, who was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978, ran his version of the TO with a stocky guard named Fred (Tex) Winter.

    When Winter became the head coach at Kansas State University in 1953, he brought Barry’s TO and even made it more complicated with different strategies involving various advantageous moves.

    Winter subsequently immortalized the “triangle offense” by writing the book “Triple-Post Offense” in 1962 while at KSU.

    Winter joined the professional NBA in 1971-72 as the head coach of the Houston Rockets. After just one and a half seasons with the Rockets, however, he returned to the collegiate coaching ranks.

    Winter did not get back into the NBA until 1985 when he served as an assistant to head coaches Stan Albeck and Doug Collins while with the Chicago Bulls.
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    Philippine Basketball
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