Friday, August 29, 2014

2014 FIBA Asia U18 Championships: Final Day

The Philippines stormed back to pull the rug from under Japan in the battle for fifth place even as China, Iran, and Korea finished 1-2-3 on the last day of the 2014 FIBA Asia U18 Championships. China, Iran, and Korea, consequently, qualify for the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championships, which will be held in Crete, Greece.

China, Korea, and Iran all make it to the 2015 FIBA U18 World Championships
in Crete, Greece.


Final Day:     

The Malaysians ended their stirring run through the U18 tournament with a landmark win over Kazakhstan. Despite trailing for most of the contest, the SEABA side managed to rally in the final quarter and turn the table son the Kazakhs. Wing Jet Tan shot 6/10 from the floor to finish with a team-high 16 points for Malaysia, and he was backstopped by Yee Tong Heng and John Wong, who scored 15 and 14 respectively. The winners used stifling defense to steal this game, forcing 25 Kazakh turnovers. Coach Zlexey Yeropkin’s side, meanwhile, was paced by the 15 markers of Andrey Litvinenko.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

2014 Asian Basketball Showdown: LG Sakers vs Barangay Ginebra

(Image from:
Korea’s LG Sakers to battle PH’s Barangay Ginebra in
LG Electronics presents PH’s first of its kind basketball match
in cooperation with KBL and PBA

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Filipino and South Korean cagers had been pitted against each other in international basketball tournaments, especially in the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Asian Championships, where Korea thwarted the bid of the Filipino contingent to enter the World Cup several times.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2014 FIBA Asia U18 Championships: Day Eight

The Philippines bounced back from losing to Taiwan by beating Kazakhstan on Day 8 of the 2014 FIBA Asia U18 Championships. Batang Gilas will play Japan today for fifth place. Meanwhile, China and Iran prevailed in the semifinals to arrange a titular showdown for the U18 crown.

Mohammad Yousofvand is headed on a collision course
with Zhou Qi in the Finals. 


Day Eight:
HONG KONG over KUWAIT, 113-79
Hong Kong had a fast start and sustained it to beat Kuwait for 11th place. The Hong Kongers led by 15 after one quarter and extended this to 24 at the half and went on cruise control till the end. Yee Fu Ho unloaded 32 points for the winners, hitting 7 triples in 26 minutes. Ka Chung On also did well, dropping 20 markers along with 10 assists and 3 steals. Ho Man Chu and Tsz Fung Lee added 17 and 12 points respectively. Kuwait drew a team-high 29 points from star guard Hamad Hasan, but they were crippled by 29 turnovers and 45% shooting from the line.

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All Roads Lead to Spain: Team Focus – ARGENTINA

The 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball is closing in. After 36 years, a Filipino team is once again among the teams participating, and Pinoy hoop nuts the world over eagerly await how Gilas Pililipinas will fare against the world's best basketball talents.

In this five-part series, I will give a preview of what to expect from each team Gilas will face in Group B. In this particular post, we'll focus on a FIBA Americas squad that may be seeing the twilight of its golden era – Argentina.

Luis Scola is expected to lead Argentina in #Spain2014.
(image from the Basketball Federation of Serbia)
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All Roads Lead to Spain: Team Focus – PUERTO RICO

The 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball is closing in. After 36 years, a Filipino team is once again among the teams participating, and Pinoy hoop nuts the world over eagerly await how Gilas Pililipinas will fare against the world's best basketball talents.

In this five-part series, I will give a preview of what to expect from each team Gilas will face in Group B. In this particular post, we'll focus on a FIBA Americas powerhouse team led by three NBA-level talents – Puerto Rico.

Renaldo Balkman cannot wait to face the Philippines in #Spain2014.
(image from
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2014 FIBA World Cup: Smart Gilas: MY Final Roster

Laban Pilipinas! 

Cutting players from the National Team is not an enviable position for any coach. These players sacrificed their time and effort to play for their country (for free) but in the end, not all of them can suit up and play during the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Coach Chot Reyes of Smart Gilas had to trim down his roster to 12 players from a pool of 16 guys that traveled with Team Pilipinas overseas.

Coach Reyes selected Paul Lee, LA Tenorio, Marc Pingris, Ranidel De Ocampo, Junemar Fajardo, Jayson Castro, Jimmy Alapag, Japeth Aguilar, Gabe Norwood, Gary David, Jeff Chan and Andray Blatche (naturalized player) to represent the Philippines in Spain. Those who were left out of the final-12 included Jay Washington, Jared Dillinger, Beau Belga and Marcus Douthit.

Now, if I had the power to select 12 players for Smart Gilas, this would my team and my reasons for their selections.

Paul Lee - Mr. "Angas ng Tondo" showed us how clutch and fearless he was when he nailed three FTs to give Gilas a bronze medal in the FIBA Asia Cup last July. Lee is a solid shooter who can nail threes and he can penetrate to the pain. Lee is never afraid to bang bodies and challenge the big guys.

Jimmy Alapag - Long-range shooting is needed to counter the zone defense and Alapag can definitely provide that. Jimmy is our best off-the-dribble three-point shooter and he can hit shots coming from high screens near the top of the key. Alapag also makes good decisions with the ball.

Jayson Castro - The best PG in Asia is the fastest guy on this team. The Blur can beat most guys off the dribble and he is almost impossible to stop in transition. His size allows him to overpower most PGs and he is an above average play-maker.

Ranidel De Ocampo - RDO is our best shooting big man who has three-point range. His presence will force defenders to come out of the lane to challenge his shots and defend him. RDO can also occasionally put the ball on the floor and drive to the paint after pump-faking his defenders at the arc.

Junemar Fajardo - The MVP of the PBA is our biggest local who can defend the paint and grab rebounds. Fajardo has decent low-post moves that can be showcased when a change of pace is essential. Fajardo can also hit elbow jumpers when running pick and pops.

Gabe Norwood - Our best perimeter defender is Mr. Norwood. He can defend both guard positions and if needed, even the SF spot. Norwood is a solid ball-handler who can help bring the ball down and his improved jumper can keep defenders honest. Gabe is also a major asset during the fast break.

Marc Pingris - Pinoy Sakuragi is arguably our best all-around defender since he can defend some guards and mostly forwards. Pingris also hustles and brings a ton of energy whenever he is on the floor. He is good at transforming offensive boards into points or extra possessions for Gilas.

Jeff Chan - Chan is a decent back-court defender but his strength lies on his outside touch. Chan is our best perimeter shooter and a reliable FT shooter. He is crafty with his pump-fakes and he can fish fouls on his jumpers with frequency.

Japeth Aguilar - Aguilar and Norwood are the most athletic guys on the team. Japeth can finish above the rim and having him in transition highlights his skills. Aguilar can also hit the mid-range shot when left open and his leaping ability and length, allow him to alter and block some shots.

Andray Blatche - 'Dray is our best offensive player. He can shoot, drive to the paint, pass, dribble and rebound. He is also an adept play-maker when he does not decide to jack up long-range jumpers. His deficiencies can be found on the defensive end but playing zone defense might hide that problem.
Jared Dillinger - Jared is like Norwood. He can defend the perimeter and can be very pesky and annoying to our opponents. Dillinger can handle the ball and perform PG duties if the need arises. While Norwood has the edge on defense, Dillinger is a more consistent shooter.

Jay Washington - J-Wash is a much improved outside shooter. He has shown the ability to make treys during games that he played. Washington also has size and length that could prove crucial when playing against bigger teams.

The players that I left out include:

LA Tenorio - His outside shot has been inconsistent and he is playing a position of strength on the team since we have a lot of guys who can play PG and they are bigger and longer than Tenorio.

Gary David - Gary is still a decent shooter but his lateral quickness has been a step slower and he is not known for his perimeter defense. If David is not making his shots, he becomes a liability on defense.

Beau Belga - He is arguably the second-best shooting big man after RDO but his lack of height (not size) and foot speed does not make him one of the best choices to play in international ball.

Marcus Douthit - Kuya Marcus anchors the defense, protects the paint and grabs rebounds. He can operate in the low post but has limited shooting range. Blatche is an upgrade over him.

Overall, it does not matter who was picked or not picked to play for Smart Gilas. The players on our National Team will play with pride, effort, belief and a whole lot of PUSO! As fans and supporters, we must put our trust in them no matter what. 

It's true that we should be happy that Team Pilipinas made it to Spain BUT why not hope and aim for more? Look, if we win a game or two and advance to the next round, we should be happy, excited, inspired and proud. However, if we lose all our games, we should STILL be happy, excited, inspired and proud of our team. Go Gilas! Laban Pilipinas! We sre behind you the rest of the way! #puso

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2014 FIBA Asia U18 Championships: Day Seven

The Philippines went down yesterday, losing to the Taiwanese in the knockout quarterfinals on Day 7 of the 2014 FIBA Asia U18 Championships. Batang Gilas joins Japan, Kazakhstan, and Malaysia in the consolation round, while China, Korea, and Iran join Taiwan in the semifinals.

The Final Four is set: Taiwan vs. China and Korea vs. Iran!


Day Seven:
QATAR over KUWAIT, 84-75
Qatar rebounded from missing the quarterfinals by beating fellow Gulf nation Kuwait. Abdulrahman Saad flashes his great scoring form anew, dropping 36 points on 55% FG shooting to lead the hosts, while Abdelrahman Abdelhaleem added 19 points and 14 rebounds. Ahmed Al-Yousif and Mohamed Abed each tallied 10 markers to underscore Qatar’s dominance in this game. The Qataris led by as many as 42 points in the third quarter. Kuwait, meanwhile, was paced by Abdullah Faraj’s 31 points. Star guard Hamad Hasan didn’t see action in this game for the Kuwaitis.
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The NBA: How Much Do You (K-)Love the Trade?

Kevin Love and Andrew Wiggins swapped jerseys on August 23, 2014
(Image by: J3rs3ySwaps)

The trade between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves (and to a lesser extent, the Philadelphia 76ers) was first reported in the middle of July. Finally, after more than a month of rumors and speculations, the trade involving Kevin Love and Andrew Wiggins (plus a few other players and draft picks) has been completed and finalized. Kevin Love got what he wanted which was to be traded to a contender while LeBron James received a sweet shooting sidekick that can grab rebounds like there's no tomorrow.
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2014 UAAP Power Rankings as of August 25, 2014

These rankings are based on each team's Current Efficiency Ratings, the point difference in its game results, and “bonus points” for beating a team based on its “tier” or how strong it is perceived. The formula I used was this:

I calculate Current Efficiency Ratings or CER this way: (points + rebounds + assists + steals + blocks) - (turnovers + field goals missed + free throws missed) — for the remainder of the season, I wil be using team averages for these values.

As per the collected opinion of most UAAP pundits, I chose to segregate the eight UAAP schools into the following tiers (based on the teams’ first round performances):

Tier 1: DLSU Green Archers, UST Growling Tigers, NU Bulldogs, FEU Tamaraws, ADMU Blue Eagles, and UE Red Warriors (all Final Four contenders)
Tier 3: ADU Soaring Falcons and UP Fighting Maroons (Final Four long shots)

Any time a team beats a Tier 1 team, it gets 20 “bonus points.”

Any time a team beats a Tier 2 team, it gets 10 “bonus points.”

These are the top four teams right now, but are they all Final-Four-bound?
(images from Burn Sports)
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Sunday, August 24, 2014

2014 FIBA Asia U18 Championships: Day Six

The Philippines went through the wringer again, relying on the late-game heroics of Kobe Paras and Andrei Caracut to squeak past an overachieving Malaysian side at the close of group play on Day 6 of the 2014 FIBA Asia U18 Championships. That result sealed the QF pairings, with China facing Kazakhstan, Batang Gilas battling Taiwan, Iran playing Malaysia, and Korea squaring off against Japan.

Andrei Caracut reacts after nailing the game-winning three-pointer as
Batang Gilas finished third in Group E.


Day Six:
The Hong Kongers hung tough with the Kazakhs for the entire first quarter before the latter opened things up in the second period and proceeded in cruise control till the end. The taller Central Asians dominated the interior, outrebounding Hong Kong, 53-28, and outscoring them in the paint, 54-20. Valentin Kirilin and Ruslan Aitkali each dropped 21 points to lead coach Alexey Yeropkin’s squad to the final eight, where they will face China. Hong Kong, meanwhile, was paced by Ho Man Chu and Ka Chung On, who tallied 15 and 12 markers respectively. 
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