Monday, July 6, 2015

#NBAFinals: Will the Dubs REPEAT?

GSW: Your 2015 NBA Champs!
(from: Getty Images)
They led the NBA standings from Day 1 and they barely wavered from the top. They finished with the best record in franchise history at 67-15 and they were nearly unbeatable at the Oracle Arena during the regular season (39-2). The Warriors were hardly threatened as they made their way to the top of the NBA mountain as 2015 world champs. But that was last month and it's time to reflect if the Dubs can do this allover again for the upcoming season.

So, will the Warriors Repeat?

YES they will because

  • All of their starters and important role players will be back for next season. The Warriors re-signed Draymond Green and activated their team option on Marresse Speights. This means that team chemistry will not be negatively affected plus their bond and unity should be a lot stronger for next season due to their familiarity with one another. While there's talk that David Lee might be traded, the Dubs are apparently trying to do him a favor by looking for trade destinations that appeal to Lee. Can you imagine if all other teams were this nice? If Lee does stay with the Dubs, he appears ready to accept a supporting role on the bench once more.
  • They still have the regular season MVP on their team, Stephen Curry and the Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala as well. They were a top offensive team last season and they were also among the top 5 defensively, so the components of an elite team are still present. They can win playing small ball and/or traditional basketball.    
  • Coach Steve Kerr won 3 straight rings with the Chicago Bulls as a key role player off the bench. Needless to say, Kerr has vast experience on what it takes to constantly motivate players to perform at a high level. You can expect Kerr to have a few tricks up his sleeve to make sure the Warriors don't relax too much during the regular season.  
  • The Warriors are the epitome of a TEAM. Players will still sacrifice playing time and not mind coming off the bench as long as the team continues to win. They also have a star player who is very humble and down-to-earth. Plus, the head coach exudes a positive vibe and his players love playing for him. Such a combination isn't common in today's NBA. Find me more than 10 teams who can say they have these factors in their favor. 

"We're number 1!" - Steph Curry
(Image from: USA Today Sports)


NO, they will not because

  • The West got stronger especially the San Antonio Spurs who recently landed LaMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs are gearing up for another run (or more) at the Larry O'Brien trophy with LMA as their leading player. Aldridge seems to be a perfect fit for their system and he believes that the Spurs have what it takes to win now. Additionally, the LA Clippers got weaker so the team that knocked out the Spurs during the 2015 Playoffs probably won't be able to duplicate that feat next year. A Warriors-Spurs match-up for the West Finals seems inevitable as of now. 
  • Additionally, another Texas team bolstered their roster to compete against the Warriors. The Dallas Mavericks added Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan to their roster. Over in the East, the Cleveland Cavaliers are healthy for now and so is the Miami Heat. The Warriors won't be lacking challengers ready to supplant them as world champs.   
  • The Warriors are no longer "under the radar" and they will have targets on their backs every single night. All the other 29 teams will bring their "A" games whenever they face the world champs. You can count on that. Can GSW consistently play at a high level during the regular season?
  • Winning back-to-back titles is more difficult. Players start to bicker and complain about playing time and touches. Maybe the drive and hunger to win are no longer as intense as before. Maybe the players will relax and coast as they wait for the playoffs. The proverbial "ON" switch will be flipped for the playoffs... but what if that switch is not working?
    Will Andre Iguodala continue to be a team player or will
    he aim for individual awards (DPOY, Sixth Man of the Year)?
    (Image from: USA Today Sports)


    Prediction: As long as the Warriors remain healthy (they were relatively fortunate with injuries last season), they should make the playoffs easily. Being the #1 seed again would require them to play at their best every single night. I'm not so sure they can do that OR if they are willing and motivated to do that. The Warriors are still the favorites to win next year and they have a great shot to repeat. However, winning 2 straight is extremely difficult. So, I'm expecting a new champion for next season. But don't bet your money on that. 
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#PBA2015 Govs Cup Semifinals Roundup: July 6, 2015

The San Miguel Beermen outlasted the Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters in Game 3 of their 2015 PBA Govs’ Cup semis series. SMB is now just a win away from booking a rematch with the team they beat in the 2014-2015 Philippine Cup — the Alaska Aces.
It was an opportune time for Alex Cabagnot to take the spotlight and end up shining.


Game recap (adapted from Interaksyon):

SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN over RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO-PAINTERS, 114-108
Box scores.
The San Miguel Beermen drew huge performances from import Arizona Reid and point guard Alex Cabagnot as they clinched a crucial 114-108 victory in Game Three of the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals on Monday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Reid finished with 37 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, while Cabagnot had 26 points and a game-high 9 assists as the Beermen took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.

Marcio Lassiter and June Mar Fajardo each added 17 points, with the MVP center also grabbing 8 rebounds in the win.
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Sunday, July 5, 2015

2015 #FIBAU19 World Championship Finals Recap: July 6, 2015

For the second straight game, Team USA had to fight off a determined foe as Croatia stuck it to the Americans for 40 minutes and then some. Team USA, however, proved to be steadier in the overtime en route to copping the 2015 FIBA U19 Championship crown.

Jalen Brunson led Team USA in a nail-biter over Croatia.
The day’s recap (from FIBA.com):

The United States became the first country since 1983 to successfully defends its title, fighting off a valiant challenge from Croatia for a 79-71 victory in overtime to win the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship trophy. The Americans captured their sixth U19 Worlds crown as four players scored in double-figures, paced by MVP Jalen Brunson's 14 points. Croatia claimed their first podium finish in taking second place as Nik Slavica scored 23 points in the loss.

Croatia trailed 71-67 in overtime and Ivica Zubac missed two close baskets after which Chinanu Onuaku scored inside and the lead grew to 77-67.
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#PBA2015 Govs Cup Semifinals Roundup: July 5, 2015

The first finalist of the 2015 PBA Govs’ Cup has finally been known. The Alaska Aces completed an unexpected sweep of the defending champion Star Hotshots to book a slot in the last championship series of the season.


Rome dela Rosa stepped up big as the Aces brought out the brooms in Game 3.


Game recap (adapted from Interaksyon):

ALASKA ACES over PUREFOODS STAR HOTSHOTS, 82-77
Box scores.
The Alaska Aces completed a three-game sweep of the defending PBA Govenors’ Cup champion Star Hotshots, 82-77, to reach the championship round on Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Alaska, the No. 1 seed in these playoffs, defeated Star for a third straight game to breeze into the finals, where they will await the winner of the San Miguel-Rain or Shine series.

Import Romeo Travis shrugged off some early struggles to finish with 19 points – 10 in the fourth quarter – alongside 10 rebounds.
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2015 #FIBAU19 World Championship Semifinals Recap: July 4, 2015

Team USA had to scramble to survive host Greece, while Croatia outclassed Euro rival Turkey to arrange a titanic tussle for the title in the 2015 FIBA U19 Championship.


Harry Giles and Ivica Zubac are set for a collision course in the Finals of the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship!


The day’s recap (from FIBA.com):

The United States will have to beat Croatia again at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship if they want to repeat their title after both teams advanced to the title game.

The USA got 30 points from Jalen Brunson while Harry Giles collected his fourth straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds as the Americans beat hosts Greece, 82-76, in a hotly contested battle.

Terrance Ferguson and Jayson Tatum both added 11 points to give the USA the chance to become the first team to repeat the title since they accomplished the feat in 1983. 
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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Pumped Up #Kicks: Introducing the #YEEZYBOOST 350

Who knew that it would be a Kanye West shoe busting up a ton of headlines in the local sneaker community this past week? Pretty crazy, huh? Still, it actually happened, and we have adidas Philippines and Sole Academy to thank for it. 




Launched this past February with an epic New York Fashion Week presentation, YEEZY Season 1 by Kanye West and adidas Originals ignited a global sensation with an unprecedented public live-stream and the subsequent release of the YEEZY BOOST, which immediately sold out in a worldwide frenzy of anticipation.
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2015 FIBA U19 World Championship Quarterfinals Recap: July 3, 2015

Not surprisingly, Team USA continued to roll in the 2015 FIBA U19 Championship in Heraklion, Greece. The Americans blew past Italy and will face Greece next, while Turkey and Croatia set a date in their own half of the tournament semifinals.

Future US NCAA and NBA star Harry Giles slams one home against Italy.


The day’s recap (from FIBA.com):

The reigning champions United States were joined by three Europeans in reaching the Semi-Finals of the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship with both final four games promising plenty of intrigue. 

The United States will face off against hosts Greece, while Turkey and Croatia will square off in a re-match of the Semi-Finals of the 2014 U18 European Championship.
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#PBA2015 Govs Cup Roundup: July 4, 2015

It was a grand meltdown for the San Miguel Beermen as the Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters rallied from 20 points down to square their 2015 PBA Govs’ Cup semis series at one game apiece.


Wendell McKines unloaded a heckuva game for the Painters.

Game recap (adapted from Interaksyon):

RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO-PAINTERS over SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN, 113-110
Box scores.
The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters gave San Miguel a dose of its own medicine in Game Two, coming back from 20 points down to win, 113-110, and even up their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals on Saturday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Import Wendell McKines had a monstrous effort with 53 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks, while Jeff Chan came up big, nailing the go-ahead three-pointer with nine seconds remaining.
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Friday, July 3, 2015

#PBA2015 Govs Cup Roundup: July 3, 2015

The Alaska Aces are suddenly looking like a title favorite after blasting the Purefoods Star Hotshots in Game 2 of their 2015 PBA Govs’ Cup semis series. Can they close it out in Game 3?


Romeo Travis led the Aces' dismantling of the Hotshots in Game 2.


Game recap (adapted from Interaksyon):

ALASKA ACES over PUREFOODS STAR HOTSHOTS, 95-74
Box scores.
The top-seeded Alaska Aces moved one step closer to PBA Governors’ Cup finals after routing the Star Hotshots, 95-74, to improve to 2-0 in their best-of-five semis series on Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Import Romeo Travis led the way with 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Calvin Abueva chipped in 11 markers in the win.
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Thursday, July 2, 2015

#PBA2015 Govs Cup Roundup: July 2, 2015

The second 2015 PBA Govs’ Cup semis match-up saw Wendell McKines score virtually at will, but his Painters couldn’t keep the Beermen at bay and lost Game 1. 

June Mar Fajardo and the Beermen roared back and rallied to beat ROS.


Game recap (adapted from Interaksyon):

SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN over RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO-PAINTERS, 101-95
Box scores.
The San Miguel Beermen needed to buck a slow start but got the job one in the end as they defeated Rain or Shine, 101-95, to take a 1-0 lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals on Thursday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The No. 2-seeded Beermen came back from a 24-point first-half deficit to nail a tough Game One victory.

Import Arizona Reid and Marcio Lassiter led an impressive showing from San Miguel’s starting five, with both players pacing the team with 22 points apiece. Reid also had 13 rebounds and 8 assists, while Lassiter grabbed 7 boards and knocked down 4 triples.
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