Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On PBA Expansion – 16 Teams and PBA-Asia?

First, the PBA expands to 12 teams (and has the world’s first coach-politician-boxing-champ hybrid).

Next, the PBA is talking about the possibility of having Asian imports.

Then, the PBA wants to eventually expand to 16 teams (with the Hapee and SM groups waiting for the go signal).

Now, the PBA wants to take over Asia.

There's a possibility some or all of these guys will be
playing in the PBA soon!

When I first read about the PBA mulling over the prospect of expanding to as many as 16 teams by, at the earliest, the 2016-2017 season, I was quite skeptical (read about the perils of overexpansion here). Judging by how the rosters of current expansion squads NLEX, Blackwater, and Kia hardly inspire fandom, I felt that maybe expanding this fast would be a little too risky. You see, the keys to good expansion are: maintaining relative parity (which means putting up structures to give new teams a fair shot at being competitive) and generating adequate fan interest for the expansion clubs.
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Monday, September 29, 2014

2014 Asian Games Basketball Roundup: Day Ten

The tailspin of Gilas Pilipinas continued in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. The Filipinos, with Jimmy Alapag and Marc PIngris sitting out, were thoroughly dominated by a youthful and energetic Chinese squad, while Qatar bounced back from losing to Korea by defeating Mongolia.

Ranidel De Ocampo and the rest of Gilas Pilipinas stumbled anew.

Game recaps:
2013 FIBA Asia veterans Liu Xiaoyu and Li Xiaoxu stepped up in this match, hitting a combined 5 triples as China stayed alive for a top five finish in the tournament. Gilas Pilipinas was out of this one early, consistently trailing by double-digits and falling behind by as many as 19 points. The point guard duo of Liu and Guo Ailun effectively quarterbacked Gong Luming’s squad, combining for 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists, while the wing pairing of Zhao Tailong and Zhai Xiaochuan tallied 14 and 13 points respectively. Young big man Zhou Qi also did well, anchoring the middle with 9 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Marcus Douthit continued to put up big numbers for the Philippines after being benched in the game against Korea, scattering 24 markers, 6 boards, and 2 swats. Ranidel De Ocampo was the only other Pinoy in double-figures with 14 points. China faces Qatar for fifth place, while the Philippines, even if it wins its next game against Mongolia, is set to record its worst finish in Asian Games hoops history.
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Sunday, September 28, 2014

2014 Asian Games Basketball Roundup: Day Nine

Coach Chot Reyes goes under the microscope after an earlier-than-expected
 exit in the 2014 Asian Games.
(image from Jumpball.co.kr)

The Filipinos won their game against Kazakhstan but lost out in the race for a semifinal seat in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. Gilas Pilipinas was firmly in-control of their match against the Kazakhs, but another late game collapse doomed their chances to advance. Meanwhile, Iran and Japan notched separate wins to secure the top two spots in Group G, while Korea’s win over Qatar towed the home team and Kazakhstan to the crossover semifinals.

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A SPOILER HEAVY Rurouni Kenshin Film Reaction: The Legend Could Have Ended Better

“We live by different standards.” - Shishio Makoto (paraphrased a bit from his line in the movie)

I’ll try to be not overly dramatic. Here are some facts straight up for those who have yet to see Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (TLE):
- If you have little to no Rurouni Kenshin (RK) background save for the first two films in this franchise, you will probably really like this film, and it will probably make you want to watch the anime and read the manga (which is a great thing).
- If you are a casual RK fan, then you will probably like this film as it generally maintains the spirit of the series, and you probably won’t mind certain nuances I’ll be pointing out here.
- If you are an RK fanboy/girl, you will delight in the fan service moments, but might feel a little on-the-fence about the whole thing. You will probably feel squeamish about some sweeping changes (and omissions), but still convince yourself it’s a good film because you can’t bear to say anything bad about anything RK.
- If you are as intense, as snobbish, and as geeky as me when it comes to RK, however, then several things will throw you off. Heck, you might not even like it at all. There’s a strong chance it will be your least liked entry in the trilogy. Don’t worry, though, because it surely isn’t as bad (read: debilitatingly sad) as the Seisouhen (Samurai X: Reflections) OVA.

Kenshin looking fierce as his legend ends.
(image from Warner Bros.)

Likes and dislikes. Let’s keep it simple.
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Saturday, September 27, 2014

2014 Asian Games Basketball Roundup: Day Eight

Day Eight saw Philippine hearts beak anew amidst another second half collapse in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. After leading for most of the game, the Pinoys couldn’t finish off the Koreans and suffered their third loss in a row. Hope floats, however, as the Kazakhs upset Qatar in the next game to complicate matters in Group H. Meanwhile in Group G, another upset happened as Japan beat China while Iran manhandled Mongolia.

Yang Hee-Jong, Cho Sung-Min, and Moon Tae-Jong celebrate after
completing a comeback against Gilas Pilipinas.
(image from Jumpball.co.kr)

Game recaps:
IRAN over MONGOLIA, 107-69
Mongolia gave Iran a stiff challenge in the first quarter, but Team Melli turned on the jets and proceeded to pound the Mongolians to submission the rest of the way. Once again, coach Memi Becirovic rested his prized scorer Samad Nikkhah Bahrami in preparation, no doubt, for their last three games. His heir apparent, Mohammad Jamshidi, however, stepped up with 20 points, while veterans Asghar Kardoust and Hamed Afagh chipped in 19 and 18 markers respectively. Iran shot 63% from the field while limiting Mongolia to just 36%. Mongolia’s power pair, Sanchir Tungalag and Bilguun Battuvshin, played a total of only 4 minutes and had 0 points. Uuganbayar Oyuntsetseg, Munkhbold Bataa, and Otgonmunkh Munkhtur each scored 13 points for the losing side. Iran is assured of a semis berth, but it needs a win over China tomorrow to secure top spot. Mongolia’s chances of advancing are hinged on blowing out Japan tomorrow and China losing to Iran.
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Friday, September 26, 2014

2014 Asian Games Basketball Roundup: Day Seven

Day Seven saw the Philippines fall into a couple of setbacks in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. After failing to upend Qatar, Gilas Pilipinas was on the verge of imploding as coach Chot Reyes heavily criticized his wards for their lackluster effort. In other games, China, Korea, and Iran stayed true to form and manhandled their respective foes.

Boney Watson could hardly be stopped as Qatar defeated Gilas.

Game recaps:
CHINA over MONGOLIA, 108-67
China leaned on a hot start to build an early double-digit lead that Mongolia would never be able to overhaul, and Gong Luming’s wards cruised to the big blowout to open their quarterfinal campaign. Coach Bayartsogt Odonbaatar’s team was grossly outrebounded here, 51-23, and shot just 35% from the field, while the Chinese were red-hot, making 66% of their attempts. China hit 11 three-pointers in this game, with 10 coming from the trio of Zhao Tailong, Gu Quan, and Ding Yanyuhang. Zhao had 21 points to lead the way, while Gu and Ding scored 20 and 19 respectively. Projected 2015 NBA draftee Guo Ailun also did well with an all-around line of 7 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists in 25 minutes of play. On the other end, Sanchir Tungalag and Munkhbold Bataa paced the losing side with 15 and 14 markers respectively, but the pair shot a woeful 11/29 from the floor. Team Captain Bilguun Battuvshin struggled with foul trouble and scored just 8 points. China goes up against dangerous Japan next, while Mongolia takes on powerhouse Iran.
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#UAAP77: Kontra Pelo

Pao Javelona and the rest of NU have been the perfect foils
to Chris Newsome and the rest of Ateneo.

It took NU’s J-Jay Alejandro just 14 shots (including free throws) to score a team-high 20 points. He shot 3/4 from beyond the arc, 3/3 from the 2-point area, and 5/7 from the line. He also had a pair of rebounds, 4 assists and 0 turnovers.
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

2014 Asian Games Basketball Roundup: Day Six

Day Six had plenty of excitement as down-the-wire action was all over the place in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. Iran, China, and Qatar had to scramble to get past their foes, while host team South Korea had little trouble routing Jordan. The results also sealed the final eight’s quarterfinal groupings.

Quarterfinal Group G: China, Mongolia, Iran, and Japan.
Quarterfinal Group H: Kazakhstan, South Korea, Philippines, and Qatar.

Hamed Haddadi's Iran broke the hearts of the Pinoys anew.
(image by Bay Ismoyo/AFP)

Game recaps:
CHINA over TAIWAN, 59-58
China looked to be firmly in-charge after building a 47-35 lead in the third quarter, but the Taiwanese refused to serve the win on a silver platter and made a big rally in the final period. Behind the clutch shooting of Ke Chi-Hao and Lin Chih-Chieh, Taiwan rallied and threatened to pull the rug from under the Chinese, but Gong Luming’s wards held on to sweep Group C and advance to the next round. The dynamic duo of Wang Zhelin and Zhou Peng scored a total of 24 points to lead the Big Red Machine. China shot just 35% from the floor, but they compensated by outrebounding Taiwan, 45-39. The Taiwanese surely missed naturalized player Quincy Davis, who was ruled ineligible. They were paced by Tien Lei’s 10 markers and 3 triples.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Having Asian imports in the PBA can be a good thing.

In a recent online article, it was revealed that the PBA was mulling the possibility of having, among other proposals, Asian imports in one of the reinforced conferences.

I, for one, am all for this.

At the onset, Asian imports will definitely add a different flavor to the PBA. The league’s millions and millions of fans are already used to imports who ply their trade in the States and in Europe (usual suspects like Gabe Freeman, Denzel Bowles, Marqus Blakely, Arizona Reid, Rob Dozier, Evan Brock, and Paul Harris come to mind), but it would be quite interesting to see if our Asian neighbors can also hack it in our pro circuit.

It definitely wouldn’t be the first time that Asians would be playing as imports in other Asian leagues. This phenomenon has, in fact, been happening for a long time, especially in countries like Lebanon, Jordan, and China. In the PBA, the only Asian import who was recently employed, as far as I can remember, was naturalized Lebanese Jackson Vroman, who donned the Ginebra jersey in the 2012 Commish Cup (rumors have it that other former imports like Jarrid Famous, Nick Fazekas, and even Freeman almost became naturalized players for other Asian countries, but things fell through). In eleven games, Vroman normed 16.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.4 blocks, and 1.4 steals per game.

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2014 Asian Games Basketball Roundup: Day Five

Day Five saw many of the tournament favorites strut their stuff in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. Iran, China, and Japan expectedly blasted their respective foes even as South Korea had to make adjustments in the second half to throttle upstart Mongolia.

Oh Se-Keun played splendidly in returning to action for the Korean NT.

Game recaps:
This is an example of the final score not really doing justice to the kind of hardships Korea had to go through just to dispose of pesky Mongolia. Behind the prowess of Sanchir Tungalag, the Mongolians led the hosts after one quarter and trailed by a solitary point at the half. Coach Yoo Jae-Hak proceeded to make adjustments as his squad finally caught fire in the third period to break the close game open. Returning veterans Oh Se-Keun, Heo Il-Young, and Moon Tae-Jong were at the forefront of the Korean attack, scoring 22, 12, and 10 points respectively. Korea utilized its size advantage fully, outrebounding their foes, 49-23. Tungalag finished with 24 points for Mongolia, which should still advance to the quarterfinals unless Jordan upsets Korea.
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