Monday, September 22, 2014

2014 Asian Games Micro-Preview Part 2: The Preliminaries


The first three days of hoops in the 2014 Asian Games are done. Four teams have bid adieu (Hong Kong, Maldives, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia), while four others joined the eight pre-qualified teams in the second phase of the competition, which is also called the Preliminary Round. In this round, the twelve remaining countries are divided into four different groups, and each group will go through a single-round-robin format of play. This means each team only has two games to play before either moving on to the quarterfinals or packing their bags for home.

Needless to say, each game is going to be huge in this round. One loss puts a huge amount of pressure on any team, while it’s also very possible to have a three-way 1-1 tie in a group.

It can definitely get pretty wild.

What makes this round even more interesting is that many of the teams are relatively on the same level (perhaps with the exception of FIBA Asia champion Iran). Heck, even defending Asian Games champion China didn’t send its deepest possible team. Even the Koreans aren’t clear-cut favorites to win gold in spite of the fact they’re playing on home soil. Not having their ideal naturalized players has also gutted teams like Jordan, Taiwan, and the Philippines. In general, we should see a lot more unpredictability starting in this round.

Can PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo compensate for the absence
of NBA player Andray Blatche?
(image from FIBA)
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2014 Asian Games Basketball Roundup: Day Three


Basketball action heated up in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea India got back on-track with a huge win over Kazakhstan even as Mongolia and Kuwait figured in a nail-biter for the solo lead in Group A. The results finalized the top two qualifiers from the first round and formalized the groupings in the second round.

India recovered from its Day 2 loss by thumping Kazakhstan on Day 3.

Game recaps:
KUWAIT over MONGOLIA, 82-81
Nayef Al-Rashidi hit 2 free throws after the final buzzer sounded to pull the rug from under Mongolia and give Kuwait its third win in as many games. Consequently, the Kuwaitis swept Group A and advanced to the next round to be grouped with Japan and fellow Gulf nation Qatar. Mongolian fans thought their team had this win in the bag after Sanchir Tungalag hit two free throws to give his team an 81-80 edge with 6 seconds left. Kuwait failed to launch a shot in the final sequence, but a foul was called on Mongolia that led to Nayef’s game-winning charities. Mohammad Abdul-Aziz paced five Kuwaitis in double-digit scoring with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists, while Abdullah Al-Shammari added a dozen markers, 8 boards, 5 dimes, and 5 steals. Mongolia also advances to the next round and is grouped with Jordan and home team South Korea. The Mongolians were led by Tungalag’s 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 triples. He did, however, also commit 12 of his team’s 26 turnovers.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

2014 Asian Games Basketball Roundup: Day Two


Basketball action continued in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea yesterday, with a couple of upsets sprung. Kuwait buried Hong Kong to move up to 2-0, while the ballyhooed Indians suffered a blow to their campaign after losing to Saudi Arabia. Mongolia and Kazakhstan also got their second wins to bolster their chances of advancing.

Mohammad Al-Marwani of KSA drives into Amritpal Singh of India.

Game recaps:
KUWAIT over HONG KONG, 81-65
Kuwait led most of the way here and limited Hong Kong to just 9 points in the fourth quarter to come up with their second victory in as many outings. Kuwait outrebounded Hong Kong, 43-36, and shot better from the field (45% to 36%). Ahmad Al-Baloushi and Hussein Al-Khabbaz each scored 15 points to lead the winners, while 6’8 Saleh Al-Brahim added a dozen markers and 7 boards. Hong Kong drew 16 points and 4 triples from shooter Lee Ki, but ace players Lo Yi Ting and Duncan Reid combined to shoot just 5/18 from the floor.
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Saturday, September 20, 2014

#PBA2015 Rookie Watch: Stanley Pringle


The GlobalPort Batang Pier didn’t exactly have a sterling sophomore campaign in the PBA during the 2013-2014 season. They bid adieu to veterans Gary David, Willie Miller, and Sol Mercado. They had conflicting talents Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia manning the backcourt together with fish-out-of-water old-timers Alex Cabagnot and Jay Washington. They had Richie Ticzon start the season as interim coach, and then he gave way to former UST Growling Tigers mentor Pido Jarencio in the Commissioner’s Cup. Mikee Romero’s franchise finished seventh seed in the 2013-2014 Philippine Cup, but they fared much worse in the latter two conferences. GlobalPort won a grand total of two games in the Commish and Govs’ Cup and ended its season with a cumulative win-loss record of 7 victories against 26 defeats. 

Stanley Pringle is set to light up the PBA with his scoring prowess.
(image from the ABL)

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2014 Asian Games Basketball Roundup: Day One


Basketball action kicked off in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea yesterday, with four teams gaining significant ground in trying to qualify for the next round. There weren’t any surprising results save for the big upset of Mongolia over fellow East Asian side Hong Kong. In the other games, Kazakhstan and Kuwait routed their foes even as rising power India continued flashing its impressive form.

Abdullah Al-Shammari rises in traffic as Kuwait blasted the Maldives.
(image from Jumpball.co.kr)

Game recaps:
MONGOLIA over HONG KONG, 86-77
Mongolia avenged its loss to Hong Kong in the 2013 East Asian Games by turning to its two young stars, Sanchir Tungalag and Bilguun Battuvishin. Tungalag led the way with 31 points and 13 rebounds, playing all but two minutes, while Battuvishin added 27 points, 7 boards, and 3 triples. This win puts the Mongolians one step closer to the next round and might even push them to first place should they beat Kuwait and lowly Maldives in their next games. It was a sorry result for the Hong Kongers, who were hoping to build on their top ten finish in the 2013 FIBA Asia Men’s Championships. They now have to win their remaining two games to advance. They shot better from the field, but they also got outrebounded and turned the ball over 19 times. Duncan Reid led Hong Kong with 15 points, while Lo Yi Ting and Chan Siu Wing each  tallied 14 markers.

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#Spain2014 Championship Roundup & Reflections


Not surprisingly, Team USA dominated anew in the recently-concluded 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. The Americans were just too good, sweeping the competition in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and in the championship game. Serbia and France, meanwhile, turned a lot of heads by playing beyond expectations and knocking off some strong rivals.

Team USA, Serbia, and France finished atop the heap in #Spain2014.

Game recaps (adapted from FIBA.com):
Quarterfinals:
LITHUANIA over TURKEY, 73-61
Darjus Lavrinovic pumped energy into the Lithuanian engine powering the Baltic nation to a big win over Turkey at Palau Sant Jordi. The win marked Lithuania's second consecutive trip to the semifinals of FIBA's flagship event. Lithuania, who now await the winners of the Slovenia-USA Quarter-Final, made 10 of its 19 three-pointer attempts. Turkey raced out to an 18-10 lead after the opening period before Lithuania found their bearings in the second, thanks to the sharp-shooting brilliance of Lavrinovic. The 7’0 big man made all three of his three-pointers in the first five minutes of the second quarter, the last of which put Lithuania up 24-23 for their first lead of the game since Jonas Valanciunas had scored the opening basket.
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

2014 Asian Games Micro-Preview Part 1: The Qualifiers


Amidst all the controversy regarding athletes’ eligibility, the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea will charge forward. Despite many athletes (mostly those naturalized and foreign-born) being ruled out as the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee (IAGOC) upholds confusing (and conflicting) rules on athlete eligibility, teams and players have trooped to this Korean entry city for the quadrennial meet.

Basketball has not escaped the controversy (it has been at forefront, actually), what with guys like Taiwan’s Quincy Davis and the Philippines’ Andray Blatche being deemed ineligible. A few months ago, even Korea’s own efforts at naturalizing KBL veteran Aaron Haynes were thwarted by the OCA and IAGOC. Simply put, everyone has suffered. It’s crazy.

Still, the games will go on, and so must we. 


Marzouq Al-Muwallad will spearhead Saudi Arabia's attack.


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Sunday, September 7, 2014

#Spain2014 Round of 16 Roundup


Some favorites fell and some underdogs rose in the Round of 16 of the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Team USA joined powerhouses Lithuania, Brazil, and Spain in the quarterfinals along with France and Slovenia. Upstarts Serbia and Turkey also crashed the party.

Are these the consensus top four teams remaining in #Spain2014?

Game recaps (adapted from FIBA.com):

Day 7:
USA over MEXICO, 86-63
Box Scores 
There wasn’t much of a surprise here as the Americans started strong and clinically dismantled the Mexicans. Steph Curry had his best shooting game of the tournament, making six of nine three-balls en route to 20 points. The USA's perimeter defense did not allow Mexico's vaunted long-range  shooting attack to become a factor, with Sergio Valdeolmillos' squad just four of 16. Gustavo Ayon of Mexico, the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship MVP, did leave a good impression with a 25-point, eight-rebound effort.
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Saturday, September 6, 2014

#Spain2014: Round of 16 Micro Previews Part 2


Hola! Yes, it sucks that Gilas Pilipinas has been eliminated, but aren’t you even a little bit happy about how well they represented the Philippines? Our boys exceeded expectations and will come home heroes. ‘Nuff said.

Right now, however, the hoop wars in Spain aren’t over yet. Sixteen countries have survived the grueling group stages and have advanced to the dangerous knockout rounds, where one loss sends any team packing.

In this second of two parts, we will give micro previews of the next four Round of 16 matches.

Who moves on and who gets the boot in the Round of 16?

Rambulan na!
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Friday, September 5, 2014

#Spain2014: Round of 16 Micro Previews Part 1


Hola! Yes, it sucks that Gilas Pilipinas has been eliminated, but aren’t you even a little bit happy about how well they represented the Philippines? Our boys exceeded expectations and will come home heroes. ‘Nuff said.

Right now, however, the hoop wars in Spain aren’t over yet. Sixteen countries have survived the grueling group stages and have advanced to the dangerous knockout rounds, where one loss sends any team packing.

In this first of two parts, we will give micro previews of the first four Round of 16 matches.

Rambulan na!

Are these four destined to make it to the quarterfinals in #Spain2014?

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