Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The UAAP: Season 77 - Ateneo vs La Salle Round 1

A sea of blue and white welcomed me at the Ateneo side of the Araneta
(All photos by: Rolly Mendoza)

What's better than writing about basketball? Watching LIVE basketball!

I haven't been to a live UAAP Mens' Senior Basketball game in years. I think my last game was 10 years ago, maybe more. Fortunately, I was able to watch the first round game between Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University last Sunday. The coliseum was packed and loud! Nothing beats cheering for your alma mater!

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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Games That Play Us: Well That Was Fun

It was a great weekend of UAAP action again as Ateneo, NU, and UE, remained
unbeaten while UST defeated FEU.

The De La Salle Green Archers might just be the most fun (or at least most interesting) team to watch this season. 

0-2? Sure, but consider the following:

- Last weekend, their coaching staff wore apple green pants that would make green apples scream, “APPLE GREEN!”
- In their loss to Ateneo, Arnold Van Opstal thought Ren Ren Ritualo was his teammate and, of course, threw the former King Archer a baseball pass from the low block.
- Admittedly, Jason Perkins is a beast, and that smirk after every made basket reminds me of DLSU players of old (Hello, Mac Cardona!).
- And, again, AVO provides some entertainment even after the game by possibly getting himself penalized for a forearm (closed fist?) to the back of former teammate Ponso Gotladera’s head. (http://www.rappler.com/sports/university/uaap/dlsu/63974-uaap-considering-suspension-arnold-van-opstal)

Man, these Archers might be staring at the other teams from the bottom of the barrel, but there isn’t any dull moment with them.

But on to the games now.
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The NBA: Smart Gilas: The Last Home Stand

UPDATE - July 23, 2014
Events for July 22 and 23 have been cancelled. The organizers and PLDT are giving conflicting reasons for the failure of the charity event. One reason talks about the NBA threatening the Fibr All-stars with fines and suspensions if they play in a game not sanctioned by the league. The other reason revolves around the notion that the event "was never promoted as a game". Whatever the actual reason was, the Last Home Stand was an embarrassment. However, that should not influence my support for Smart-Gilas. Laban Pilipinas! #Puso 

Smart Gilas completed a successful run during the recent FIBA Asia Cup at Wuhan, China where they placed their best finish ever at 3rd place and received the bronze medal. Now, Gilas is back in Manila to face another adversary, the Fibr All-Stars. The event will take place at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum during July 22-23.

2014 NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard
(All images by: Joey Puno)

The Fibr All-Stars are composed of NBA players headed by current Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs and James Harden of the Houston Rockets. They are also reinforced by Brandon Jennings of the Detroit Pistons and a trio of players from the Toronto Raptors (Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross and DeMar DeRozan).
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

The NBA: 2014 Free Agency Grades

With the essay announcement of LeBron James going home to Cleveland almost two weeks ago, the dominoes have fallen in the free agency signings. NBA teams scampered to woo, court and sign the remaining free agents. Here are the grades for the significant movements and acquisitions of the summer. Only those who changed teams are graded.

Paul Pierce and Pau Gasol are among the top players
 who changed allegiances during the off-season
(Image from: elitedaily.com)

Grade: A+
Adding the best player in the league immediately makes the Cavs a contender while weakening the 4x Eastern champs, Miami Heat. LBJ is very influential within the Cavs' management that there are reports that James is pushing a potential trade of Andrew Wiggins with Anthony Bennett and/or Dion Waiters (maybe draft picks too) for Kevin Love. With or without this trade, the Cavs should be among the best in the East. Getting a solid shooter in Mike Miller will also help spread the floor for LBJ. To add more injury to insult, ex-Heat James Jones also bolted South Florida to join LBJ. Even Ray Allen is rumored to join the Cavs.

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The Top Five PBA Power Forwards of the 2013-2014 Season

Arwind Santos is no MVP, but he's still the league's top PF.

Being a power forward in the PBA is a little difficult simply because the position is just so loaded with talent. Proof? Four guys on this list are among the ten most efficient players in the entire league. That just tells you how top-heavy this spot is for PBA teams. In this list, we have the classic power forwards – those who bang bodies in the paint and get rebounds like crazy – and the more nouveau stretch forwards – those who can put the ball on the hardwood and space the floor with their perimeter shooting.

Without further ado, here they are – the top five power forwards of the entire 2013-2014 PBA season (as always, this is based on the Player Efficiency ratings as calculated by PBA-Online.net):
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

2014 FIBA Asia Cup Roundup: Final Day

It was a super final day of action in the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup!

The Final Day of the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China saw the Iranians run away with another crown, while the Philippines improbably snatched third place after a scintillating endgame against the hosts.

In the first game, India had no trouble beating Singapore for 7th place, 85-36. The Indians started the game strong and led all the way, limiting the Singaporeans to a measly 13 points in the first 20 minutes of action. Amjyot Singh unloaded a monster of a game, scoring 30 points on 12/15 FG shooting while also grabbing 7 rebounds and getting 5 steals. Amritpal Singh backed him up with 13 markers, 10 boards, and 2 blocks, while Narender Grewal contributed 14 points off the bench. Singapore, meanwhile, was paced by Desmond Oh’s 13 points. This is the best-ever result for India in the FIBA Asia Cup. They finished winless in four games in the previous edition in 2012.
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Friday, July 18, 2014

2014 FIBA Asia Cup Roundup: Day 7

Liu Cheng of Taiwan goes up against Mohammad Jamshidi of Iran
in the Finals of the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup today.

Day 7 of the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China featured two classification games and the knockout semifinals. Iran and Taiwan disposed of their respective rivals to book seats in the Finals.

In the first game, India fell short against Jordan, 65-69. With starting center Amritpal Singh getting into foul trouble and playing a total of just 12 minutes, India had to turn to other players for the bulk of its production. Substitute frontliners Palpreet Brar, Yadwinder Singh, and Rikin Pethani tried to come to the rescue, but, in the end, they couldn’t help tow India to a victory. The Jordanians exploited this weakness to the full as twin towers Ahmad Al-Dwairi and Mohammad Shaher Hussein had their way in the paint, scoring 21 and 10 points respectively. Al-Dwairi also dominated the glass with 10 rebounds. Vishesh Bhriguvanshi and Amjyot Singh carried the fight for India, but their combined 31 markers fell short. India looked to be in control after Brar scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to hand India its final taste of the lead, 51-47, before Hussein sparked a 16-5 run that gave Jordan enough of a cushion to cruise to the win. Jordan advances to the battle for fifth place, while India is relegated to the match for seventh.
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Top Five PBA Small Forwards of the 2013-2014 Season

The best small forwards in the PBA right now.
The small forward position hasn’t been the most productive in recent times, what with the advent of talented big men and the continued influx of highly-skilled playmakers and off-guards. Gone are the days of guys like Danny Seigle, Lordy Tugade, and Vergel Meneses continuously dominating the scoreboards and filling the stat-sheets. Nowadays, PBA SFs have to be more versatile than ever before – able to defend the opposing team’s best player, shoot from the outside, and be occasional playmakers. As a result of having to play multiple roles, modern swingmen’s contributions are, ironically, hardly felt in the stats. Rarely do they produce double-doubles or big, explosive scoring games. Still, they are surely vital parts of each team’s championship aspirations.

Without further ado, here they are – the top five small forwards of the entire 2013-2014 PBA season (as always, this is based on the Player Efficiency ratings as calculated by PBA-Online.net):

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2014 FIBA Asia Cup Roundup: Day 6

Only four are left standing: China, Gilas, Taiwan, and Iran.

Day 6 of the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China featured four quarterfinal knockout games. Taiwan, Iran, and China all disposed of their foes quite easily, but the Philippines had to squeak past a much-improved Indian squad to advance.

In the first game, Taiwan left the door open for a Japanese comeback in the second half before righting the ship in the fourth quarter and winning, 76-62. The Taiwanese carried a 12-point lead into the break, but saw it evaporate amidst torrid shooting from Japan in the third canto that trimmed the difference to just two points entering the final frame. Taiwan was up to the challenge, however, outscoring Team Hayabusa by a dozen points in the final ten minutes to seal their semifinal seat. Liu Cheng filled the stat-sheet for Taiwan with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks, while naturalized player Quincy Davis added 14 points and TWENTY rebounds. On the other end, Daiki Tanaka led Japan with 14 points, while Joji Takeuchi and Tenketsu Harimoto each tossed in 10 markers.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Week 1 UAAP Season 77 Position Battle

Let's welcome Season 77 with our first UAAP Position Battle post ever!

Week 1 of the UAAP has passed, and it was definitely a doozy. We were treated to a lot of statement games, most notably the huge wins by FEU and NU over DLSU and UST respectively.

Now it’s time to take stock and reward the best performers of Season 77’s opening weekend. 

Let’s look at the best players per position and the best ones overall.

All stats are taken from PBA-Online.net.

Top Center: Chris Javier (UE) - 12pts, 9rebs, 1ast, 1blk, .667 FG%, 34.3 EFF
- Javier isn’t the hottest name on the UE roster (that’s reserved for either Roi Sumang or Charles Mammie), but he was the most productive this past weekend, putting up a near double-double against the lowly Maroons.
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