Local cagers starstruck in game against NBA stars07/23/2011 | 10:49 PM
The PBA's best players were left in awe as they watched some of the NBA's top stars put on a show in front of a jampacked crowd at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Even getting the first hand look of how the likes of Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul Kevin Durant and Javale McGee put on an exhibition, our top PBA players also displayed their own wares.
1 p.m. Smart All-Stars vs Pilipinas-Smart Gilas
From Arwind Santos, the top scorer with 25 points, doing his athletic skills and even tried his luck in stopping Bryant at one point, to Jason Castro stripping Paul twice in the first half and Sol Mercado crossing over Derek Fisher on several occasions, the PBA stars tried their best to put on a respectable showing.
But the night belonged to the stars, who gave the Filipino crowd a taste of NBA basketball.
Bryant had a few dunks and even worked with Rose that left the latter, the reigning NBA MVP for the Chicago Bulls, scoring a jam and Durant draining some of the farthest threes.
McGee displayed why some believed he should have won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest with one doing a "poster dunk" on B-MEG's Marc Pingris.
Highlighting the performance of the Washington Wizards' center was in the final period when he swatted Rabeh Al-Hussaini's layup.
Afterwards, McGee made true of his promise on his Twitter account by doing the plank, a crazed practice being done in public places.
A three-point shootout also took place where Paul teamed up with James Harden in beating the pair of LA Tenorio and Larry Fonacier.
Before the game, the PBA players even waited outside the locker room for a chance to get a glimpse of their idols.
During the introductions, some even brought posters and cameras in hope of capturing or pose for photos. - JVP, GMA News
Smart All-Stars 131 - McGee 25, Durant 22, Williams 19, Evans 17, Harden 16, Bryant 12, Paul 11, Rose 9, Fisher 0.
The Final Score: Kobe Bryant the Azkal, Kobe Bryant the Tamaraw
By Mico Halili
In the normal NBA, Kobe Bryant is a Laker. But these are abnormal times. And in a current lockout, Bryant is, technically, neither a supreme Laker nor a league representative. He is a basketball player without a team or league. But he is Kobe, still; albeit Kobe being Manila's most recognizable tourist last July 13. Even as a mega-billionaire nomad, he promotes, stays top of mind, even when he assumes other frames and forms.
At 32, after 15 years in the NBA, the charm's still there, like Bryant spews out charismatic venom. The scowl is in storage. The disappointing playoffs a distant memory. He struts with the swagger of a five-time champion and the smile of a celebrity. Yet due to restrictions of a league on-hold, he's game to talk about other matters aside from a past season gone to waste, a future season in limbo. Not so eager to talk about his new coach. Not that willing to explain why players like him have been locked out of the front gates.
But Kobe the tourist is in the mood to chat, about other stuff anyway. His eyes light up when I mention football. It's his other sporting passion. It's proof of Kobe's Italian side. And he shows why any war between basketball and football is utter nonsense. I'm not sure if my mention of the word "Azkals" resonates. But the topic I raise makes him, I suspect, a little giddy.
"Football is a beautiful sport," Bryant, whose current low-cut signature sneaker was originally inspired by the low-cut shoes footballers used, exclaims. "It really helped me develop as a kid, growing up in Italy and playing football. It really helped my footwork a lot. That's why you can see me move in different angles on the floor. And I have football to thank because I had to develop great footwork when I was young."
Kobe the tourist suddenly becomes Kobe the Azkal; a basketball star endorsing the beauty of a different sport. Black Mamba is suddenly a slam-dunking footballer. He was always enthralled by how his favorite AC Milan strikers maneuvered on the pitch. The sharp cuts. The crazy change of pace. It was inspiration embedded early in the brain of an NBA predator. The proof is in his moves. The image is popping up in your head. You see it? The zig-zagging style. Deep down, in places only Kobe can access, Mamba is an Azkal.
Kobe Bryant makes a thunderous, two-handed jam. Reuters
Kobe flashes his shifty moves on a Wednesday night. A surprise performance. He slips into a gold Far Eastern University jersey for the undisputed highlight of his Manila tour. He joins La Salle's LA Revilla and Joshua Webb and Ateneo's Kirk Long and Greg Slaughter in the scrimmage of a lifetime. Kobe dunks. The Big Dome goes bananas. Over a non-Laker, a non-NBA superstar for the moment. Fans go nuts for this 6-foot-6 bakasyunista. An Azkal by heart. A Tamaraw for eight incredible minutes. - GMA News
Wearing an FEU jersey, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant joins an exhibition game with UAAP and Smart-Gilas Pilipinas players Wednesday at the Big Dome. Reuters
It’s a date with Kobe BryantBy MAV C. GONZALES
07/14/2011 | 10:05 PM
Waking up at six o’clock in the morning to follow someone around is probably the worst job ever.
Not when you’re following Kobe Bryant.
Thousands of fans lined up and waited for hours just to get a glimpse of the Black Mamba and I was just a stone’s throw away from the legendary basketball player for an entire day.
Kobe Bryant at the airport. Photo: Reuters
I have been a Laker fan since I was 11 (thanks to my dad’s obsession with them too), so I totally freaked out when I found out I would cover his “Take Every Advantage" Manila tour.
(Read: Kobe Bryant: PHL is home away from home)
The girls of GMA Sports Miakka Lim (left), Reema Changco (2nd from right) and Mav Gonzales (right) with Mico Halili at the yellow-and-purple-themed GK basketball court that Kobe refurbished.
The press conference at the Manila Peninsula was so-so, until Kobe was about to leave and I shook his hand. I shook the hand of a five-time NBA champion, four-time All-Star MVP, and Olympic gold medalist just to name a few accolades. I swore I would never wash my left hand ever again.
After a basketball clinic with underprivileged kids at a Gawad Kalinga community in Taguig and a fan meet at Nike Park, The Fort, the main event kicked off at the Big Dome.
A huge stage, smoke machines, strobe lights and a spectacular dance number – the welcome was really fitting for an international sports star.
The funny thing was, Kobe didn’t sound like a big shot whenever he talked. He kept on saying that he just practiced more than his peers so he became the better basketball player. Yes, practice and a natural knack for the sport.
Kobe dons a Tamaraw uniform
The highlight of Kobe day was the exhibition game between Pilipinas-Smart Gilas and a selection of UAAP players.
The second stringers of the nationals went up against collegiate ballers from the Ateneo Blue Eagles, La Salle Green Archers and Far Eastern University Tamaraws. After the 10-minute showdown, Kobe was supposed to pick out one player whom he would do his blackout drill with.
Gilas showed why they are the national team, burying the UAAP squad, 33-24. Oh, and did I mention Japeth Aguilar made two dunks?
Wearing an FEU jersey, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant joins an exhibition game with UAAP and Smart-Gilas Pilipinas players Wednesday at the Big Dome.Reuters
But because Kobe has a heart for the underdogs, he decided to skip the traditional blackout drill altogether and just extended the match by eight minutes. And just to even things out, he played for the UAAP team – wearing an FEU jersey.
He scored, rebounded, assisted and basically did most of the dirty work while the younger selection tried to catch up to the national team. Unfortunately, the game still ended at 45-41 in favor of Gilas. But nobody probably remembered the final score because they’re still replaying Kobe’s two-handed slam dunk over and over in their minds.
Kobe Bryant makes a thunderous, two-handed jam. Reuters
Reigning UAAP MVP RR Garcia from the FEU Tamaraws said that Kobe has inspired him a lot especially since they both play at the guard position.
“Idol ko talaga si Kobe kasi sobrang galing niya maglaro. Alam ko naman na hindi ko siya kasing galing pero nakakatuwa lang talaga na nakalaro namin siya," said RR.
Even Ateneo rookie and former Gilas player Greg Slaughter couldn’t hide his adrenaline rush after the exhibition game.
“I’m sad because I wasn’t able to take a picture with him," he lamented.
“But I can say that I got an assist from Kobe Bryant! I will remember this day for the rest of my life," he quipped.
The ultimate idol
Azkals Nate Burkey, Jason Sabio and Simon Greatwich are Kobe fans together with GMA News Online's Mav Gonzales and Miakka Lim. Aside from student-athletes and professional basketball players, thousands of fans filled Araneta Coliseum.
Among those fans were Jason Sabio, Simon Greatwich and Nate Burkey from the Philippine Azkals.
Simon was scouring for tickets weeks before the event because he really wanted to see the Laker superstar in person.
Jason said they all idolized Kobe, adding that there shouldn’t be any competition between football and basketball. Filipinos can have the best of both worlds after all.
(Read: The Final Score: Kobe Bryant the Azkal, Kobe Bryant the Tamaraw)
What’s next for the Black Mamba
While there is no definite future yet after the NBA lockout, Kobe said that he’s just practicing right now and working on a new charity foundation for homeless people that he started with his wife Vanessa.
Asked if he would join the US team in the 2012 Olympics, he explained that there are no talks yet but he is open to playing for his country again.
But right now, he wants to focus on bringing basketball to the youth, especially to those living here in Asia.
After a long day of trailing behind the Black Mamba, I must say that I became an even bigger fan. And I would never forget July 13, 2011 because I just shook the hand of arguably the greatest basketball player in the world now. -- OMG, GMA News
Re: Spotlight !!!!! KOBE BRYANT is in the HOUSE !!!!
Kobe salutes Yao Ming's impact on China's NBA dreams07/19/2011 | 05:47 PM
SHANGHAI - Yao Ming has made it possible for young Chinese basketball players to chase their NBA dreams and the country will produce more top quality players in the coming years, All Star guard Kobe Bryant said on Tuesday.
Several reports in the media have said that injury-plagued Yao will officially announce his retirement from the game at a news conference on Wednesday.
China's state television CCTV would run a four-hour program on the player, including a live broadcast of the news conference at a hotel in Yao's hometown Shanghai, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Yao became arguably Asia's biggest sports figure when he was selected first overall by the Houston Rockets in the 2002 NBA draft.
"In terms of opening up doors for Chinese basketball players to come to the NBA, or for the youth here in China to believe that it's possible to achieve the dream of being an NBA player, all that started from Yao," Los Angeles Lakers guard Bryant said.
"The movement that started in the NBA of the influx of European players coming to the NBA was started by Vlade Divac, Dino Radja and those guys.
"Even that movement didn't have the impact and magnitude that Yao Ming has had. And on top of that, he's just a heck of a basketball player to boot," Bryant, who is in China on a promotional tour, added.
The seven-foot, six-inch (2.3-meter) Yao, an eight-time All Star, has been plagued by assorted injuries in recent years and missed the entire 2009-10 NBA season after suffering a fractured bone in his left foot.
He played only five games for the Rockets last season before being sidelined on Nov. 10 when he injured his ankle during the a game.
Bryant felt Yao would leave a lasting legacy and more Chinese players would make it to top-flight NBA teams.
"Since I have been coming here and doing clinics and basketball camps with kids, you see the improvement year after year and the determination to get better and the passion they have for the game," said Bryant.
Kobe, CP3 banner NBA selection vs Gilas, PBA07/15/2011 | 01:44 PM
Early this week, Los Angeles superstar Kobe Bryant described the Philippines as his "home away from home." It didn't take long before he decided to come back.
Bryant, along with New Orleans Hornets' Chris Paul, Sacramento Kings' Tyreke Evans, Oklahoma Thunder's James Harden, and Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Derrick Williams will be coming to Manila this July 23-24 to play against a selection of players from the Pilipinas-Smart Gilas and the PBA.
Talk 'N Text coach Chot Reyes initially shared information about the event via his Twitter account Friday.
"Kobe,Chris Paul,Tyreke Evans,Deandre Jordan,James Harden, Derrick Williams + 2 more @ d Araneta on July 23-24. Buy ur tickets now! 9115555," Reyes said on his Twitter page "@choachot."
He followed up the message with information about the ticket prices saying: "SMART ULTIMATE ALL STAR WEEKEND TICKETS: Patron P5500 Lower Box P3800 Upper A 1500 Upper B 800 GA 350. 4 a chance to watch KB & CP3 Live!"
MVP Foundation president Al Panlilio finally confirmed the event in a message to GMA News Online. — Renee A. Fopalan/RSJ/OMG, GMA
K-O-B-E Bryant of the Fame NBA Los Angeles LAKers is in the House together with 8 NBA Stars ..once in a Lifetime experience especially donning FEU Jersey ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D thats awesome big thanks to MR. MVP to make it possible and of course to the NBA lockout .. Kudoz ciao!!!!!
NBA stars put on a show anew; ‘Redeem team’ and co. sweat out win over Smart Gilas Pilipinas
By June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
8:55 pm | Sunday, July 24th, 2011
Photo by Mark C. Giongco
MANILA — Kevin Durant got posterized by a high-flying Japeth Aguilar dunk, Kobe Bryant couldn’t shake off a single-coverage defender at the post, and Derrick Rose missed two pressure-free charities as M-V-P chants engulfed the entire coliseum.
These players, worshiped as gods in the basketball universe, are humans after all.
Nevertheless, the stellar cast of NBA stars capped the Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend with a thrilling 98-89 win over the Smart Gilas national team Saturday replete with highlights every fan in the full house Araneta Coliseum won’t forget in a long time.
As soon as the final buzzer sounded, the nine-man NBA crew and the national teamgathered on center court for photographs and autographs soaked by the cheers of the sellout crowd.
Seven-footer JaVale McGee of the Washington Wizards then untied his shoelaces and threw the size 15 kicks to the Upper Box section.
Four-time NBA All-Star MVP Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers joined the fun, also hurling his pair of Nike high up in the stands.
“They have very talented players who played extremely well,” said Bryant, referring to the Rajko Toroman-coached national team.
“They know how to play as a team and executed their plays pretty well,” added the member of the gold-medal winning US “Redeem Team” in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
From an 85-67 deficit, the Nationals refused to call it a day as Marcio Lassiter, Marcus Douthit, JV Casio and Dylan Ababou conspired to chop it down to a single digit.
McGee was called for a goal-tending on a layup by Casio but made up for the miscue by running the length of the court and stuffing it in with his trademark Statue of Liberty slam.
Casio then drilled a three-pointer, 89-96, before rookie Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves closed out the scoring with a rim-rattling windmill dunk.
“They have good guards who play defense well. You’ll love the team because everybody can shoot the ball,” said Chris Paul, Bryant’s teammate in the Olympics and a prime NBA point guard from the New Orleans Hornets.
The national team probably drew inspiration from Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, who arrived when Smart Gilas was trailing by 18 early in the fourth.
Bryant approached Pacquiao seated on the other side of the floor and exchanged pleasantries.
During a timeout, the world’s pound-for-pound boxing king went to the bench of the NBA stars, which also included Derek Fisher of the LA Lakers and James Harden of the Oklahoma Thunder, and greeted the visitors.
Paul even threw a banter on Pacquiao as the 2006 NBA rookie of the year playfully challenged the Pacman to a quick sparring by bobbing from side to side, drawing loud cheers up to the rafters.
WBO flyweight champion Brian Villoria, Senator Antonio Trillanes III, Philippine Olympic Committee chair Monico Puentevella, Ilocos Sur governor Chavit Singson and celebrities Willie Revillame and Aga Mulach were among the 20,000-plus crowd who attended the highly charged affair organized by the MVP Sports Foundation of chairman Manny V. Pangilinan as a gift to the fans.
Aguilar’s two-handed slam over Durant on a fast break kicked off the excitement in the first quarter and the two-time NBA scoring champion from the Oklahoma Thunder quickly retaliated with a thunderous throw down on the other end.
McGee, shackled by 6-foot-10 Marcus Douthit underneath, curled to the right and the NBA slam dunk competition runnerup from the Washington Wizards finally broke free for his first dunk of the match to the delight of the crowd.
Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings, Paul and Williams then launched a series of fan-titilating attacks before Marcio Lasiter’s three cut it down, 31-38, from a double-digit lead.
A lob by Smart Gilas skipper Chris Tiu to a streaking Aguilar led to another explosive jam and Evans converted from a steal with 1.3 ticks left to make it 55-37 at halftime.
“It’s an entirely different game than yesterday (against the PBA),” said national coach Rajko Toroman. “We tried to push the ball, shot well and even had the chance to keep it much closer.”
“It was practically a great experience for the team.”
Smart Gilas had several inspiring plays worthy of world-caliber competition.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar stifled Bryant on the low blocks, forcing the two-time Finals MVP into a turnover.
Lassiter knocked the leather out of bounds after nearly snatching it from a driving Rose while Aguilar swatted away a high-arching shot by Evans.
An encore? Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant relish the experience
By June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
11:04 pm | Sunday, July 24th, 2011 103share107 3 MANILA —
One spectacular show deserves a repeat performance.
And no less than Kobe Bryant, the brightest from among the nine-man NBA stars that played in the just-concluded Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend here, wants an encore.
“It’s been a tremendous honor to play here,” said Bryant, who won the Finals MVP twice in his five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Thank you for the love and support and the passion that you have in the sport,” added the four-time NBA All-Star MVP. “I hope this won’t be the last.”
Bryant played alongside reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, scoring champion Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma Thunder and ace point guard Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets in two exhilarating exhibition games at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
The NBA stars came out on top on both occassions as expected, beating the PBA selection coached by Chot Reyes, 131-105, on Saturday and the Smart Gilas national team, 98-89, Sunday.
“It’s one of the most tremendous experiences in my life,” said Durant. “It’s a great honor and I would love to come back here.”
Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings, JaVale McGee of the Washington Wizards, James Harden of the Thunder, Derek Fisher of the Lakers and rookie Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves completed the star-studded NBA lineup.
They agreed to play in the country after team owners and players of the NBA failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement before the June 30 deadline.
MVP Sports Foundation executive director Chot Reyes, however, is uncertain if the spectacle that thrilled hoop junkies throughout the country could be back for a repeat performance.
Thanks for the Memories NBA Superstars Kobe Bryant Chris Paul Kevin Durant Javal Mcgee Derrick Rose Derrek Fisher Tyrek Evans James Harden Derrick Williams and MVP Foundations . CHeerrss !!!! Mabuhay !!!
Petron's Santos is Govs Cup best player; RoS' Reid is top import08/12/2011 | 08:30 PM
It turned out Jay Washington's loss was Arwind Santos' gain as the Petron's lanky forward stepped up big-time when his frontline partner went down with a knee injury in the season-ending Governors Cup.
Santos was amply rewarded when he finally bagged his first ever Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Best Player of the Conference award.
The crowning glory for the former two-time UAAP MVP from Far Eastern University came Friday night at the Araneta Coliseum when he bested Mark Caguioa and Jayson Castro for the coveted conference award.
Santos, the No. 2 pick in the 2006 rookie draft, tallied 1,306 votes out of the 3,623 total. He received 602 votes from the media, 108 from the players, 150 from TV coveror Solar Sports and 150 from the PBA Committee.
In all, he won the award by 406 points from Caguioa, who finished runner up with a total of 900.
"Isa ito sa mga valued awards na nakuha ko," said Santos when he received the award. "Nagbunga ang pinagpaguran ko. Pero mas maganda sana kung saka-sakaling mananalo kami ng championship sa tournament."
Incidentally, Santos is also the frontrunner in the race for the season's Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.
Castro finished behind Caguioa with 505 votes, followed by Alaska's Sonny Thoss (310), B-MEG's James Yap (309) and Sol Mercado of Meralco (293).
Santos became the second player from Petron to win the Best Player of the Conference award this season after Washington ran away with the title in the Philippine Cup, to become the first teammates to do the feat in the last 17 years since Jerry Codinera (All Filipino) and Alvin Patrimonio (Commissioner's Cup) did the trick in 1994.