SPORTS NEWS THE WEEK AFTER
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

NCAA 91: LIONS SURVIVE ATLAS FIGHTBACK


San Beda’s Arthur Dela Cruz (18) drives strong to the hoop and draws a foul from Perpetual Help’s Bright Akhuetie during their NCAA encounter at The Arena. Joey Mendoza Jr.  San Beda bucked a furious Perpetual Help rally then pounced on Earl Scottie Thompson’s miscue in the closing seconds to pull off an 83-81 decision and grab solo second in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.
Micole Sorela canned in two free throws after Thompson blew the Altas’ bid to equalize with a costly error on an in-bound play, giving the Red Lions a four-point cushion, 83-79, with 6.6 seconds left in the highly physical contest after leading by 11, 65-54, on a basket by JV Mocon early in the fourth. Perpetual still had a mathematical chance to at least send the game into overtime after Thompson was fouled from outside the arc in the ensuring play. But the pro-bound cager missed the front end of his charities and made the next two and the Altas failed to stop the clock, enabling the Lions to complete the win. The victory put San Beda at second with a 5-1 card, just behind the unbeaten Letran side (5-0) while dropping the Altas to joint fourth with the Jose Rizal U at 4-2 after the Bombers routed the St. Benilde Blazers. 67-49, in the first game. Idle Arellano took solo third with a 4-1 mark. Arthur dela Cruz erupted for 25 points but it was the Lions’ key defensive stops that helped foil the Altas’ comeback bid after the Las Piñas-based squad dominated the first 20 minutes of play and struck back in the closing minutes. READ MORE...

ALSO: POC supports SBP World Cup bid


POC president Peping Cojuangco
The Philippine Olympic Committee yesterday declared its support to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas as it bids to host the Fiba World Cup in 2019, the same year the country is staging the Southeast Asian Games.
“We’re all-out in supporting the bid of the Philippines to host the Fiba World in 2019,” POC president Peping Cojuangco said after the POC general assembly. The POC membership adopted a resolution stating it’s “not only in agreement but also in favor” of the SBP’s quest to bring the Worlds to Manila. The POC’s formal support was given nine days before the SBP headed by PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan is to make its final pitch before the Fiba Central Board in Tokyo. PSC chairman Richie Garcia, meanwhile, reiterated the government sports arm’s position favoring the bid. “We’ve already expressed our support to SBP’s bid when we met with a Fiba delegation led by (Patrick) Baumann a few months ago when they came over to inspect the venues,” said Garcia. “We’re endorsing it, though we’re not committing funding at this point. We can provide support technically, in terms of venue and manpower. Later on, if we win the bid, we can discuss the support further,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO SBP: There’s enough time for Gilas buildup for FIBA 2015


Sonny Barrios
With just under two months left before the 2015 FIBA Asia Championships, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has yet to announce the final lineup to Changsha, China.
The tournament is scheduled Sept. 23 to Oct. 3. At stake is an automatic slot to the 2016 Rio Olympics. It goes to the champion. The clock is ticking, and yet SBP executive director Sonny Barrios told yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate there’s no need to panic. “It’s not too late,” said the former PBA commissioner, adding that the final lineup being prepared by head coach Tab Baldwin may be announced on Monday. “It may not be that ideal but Filipinos are known to rise to the challenge of adversity,” said Barrios, the past few days being bombarded with questions from mediamen. “We really don’t know who’s there and who’s not. The idea is for us to announce the whole lineup,” he said, begging off to even drop a few names. READ MORE...

ALSO: Globalport welcomes Romeo to Gilas pool


Terrence Romeo
If ever Terrence Romeo is picked to join the Gilas pool, Globalport governor Erick Arejola said yesterday the franchise will welcome the inclusion as it could only make the PBA’s leading local scorer a better player.
“Every conference, Terrence is showing more maturity,” said Arejola. “He’s learning how to play within the team concept. I think playing with Gilas will make Terrence mature even faster. There’s no doubt that he’s a skilled player. The exposure with Gilas will give him an opportunity to test himself against new competition. For sure, when he returns to Globalport, Terrence will be much improved and we look forward to that. But at this point, we still don’t know if he’ll be named to the pool.” Romeo, 23, will see action with KG Canaleta, Aldrech Ramos and Rey Guevarra on the Manila West squad in the Manila Masters leg of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour at Robinson’s Place Manila this weekend. Manila West is the defending Manila Masters champion. Two other Manila selections will participate in the 12-team tournament. Manila North is made up of Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, Karl Dehesa and Troy Rosario while Manila South is composed of Jair Igna, Carlo Ortega, Lucky Ecarma and Joshua Sinclair who won the Talk ‘N’ Text national “tatluhan” championship representing Cebu. READ MORE...

ALSO by Joaquin Hemson: Wish list for Gilas 12


By Joaquin M. Henson
There were nine common players in the rosters of the Philippine basketball team that played at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships, the 2014 FIBA World Cup and the 2014 Asian Games. They were Jimmy Alapag, L. A. Tenorio, Jeff Chan, Gary David, Ranidel de Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, JuneMar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar and Marc Pingris. Others who suited up in one or two of those tournaments were Jayson Castro (2013 FIBA Asia, 2014 FIBA World Cup), Larry Fonacier (2013 FIBA Asia), Andray Blatche (2014 FIBA World Cup), Marcus Douthit (2013 FIBA Asia, 2014 Asian Games), Jared Dillinger (2014 Asian Games) and Paul Lee (2014 FIBA World Cup, 2014 Asian Games). Additionally, Douthit played on the Gilas Cadets squad that took the gold medal at the recent Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. His teammates were Keifer Ravena, Troy Rosario, Scottie Thompson, Baser Amer, Glenn Khonuntin, Almond Vosotros, Norbert Torres, Mac Belo, Jiovani Jalolon, Kevin Ferrer and Prince Rivero. Any day now, the SBP and PBA will announce the composition of the new Gilas pool for the FIBA Asia Championships in Changsha, Hunan, China, on Sept. 23-Oct. 3. For sure, coach Tab Baldwin has a wish list but he’s not sharing it with anyone. Baldwin said he won’t push for any player who is restrained from joining Gilas for whatever reason. He’ll work with whomever is placed at his disposal by the SBP and PBA. The ideal scenario is for each PBA team to allow at least two from its lineup for the Gilas pool. But if that’s not possible, Baldwin isn’t going to bang his head against the wall. As Baldwin said, his approach is to build, not destroy, bridges. READ MORE...

NCAA 91  STANDINGS JULY 30, 2015

ALSO Khan: Pacquiao fight in Dubai would be 'amazing'


Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao
British boxer Amir Khan is welcoming a fight with Manny Pacquiao in Dubai next year.
“[A fight] with Manny Pacquiao in Dubai could be massive. I’d love to take that fight,” Khan recently told Alex Rea of Sport 360. Although Khan says his priority is a showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. is his priority, he is ecstatic to share the ring with Pacquiao. The Filipino icon is recovering from a shoulder injury he sustained while training to fight Mayweather, who defeated him in boxing’s richest bout ever. He is expected to return to the ring in 2016. Pacquiao and Khan have a history, having been sparring partners before. The latter even trained with Freddie Roach. “We’re friends but sometimes you’ve got to put friendship to one side. That fight would be amazing,” said Khan. – Dino MaragayTHIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: What’s Floyd scared of?


By Joaquin M. Henson
There are two undefeated world welterweight champions in the boxing firmament aside from Floyd Mayweather and it would make sense for the man who calls himself The Best Ever to face either one if his claim is to be believed. Unfortunately, Mayweather couldn’t care less to back up his gab. He’s 38 and a win away from equalling Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0 when the heavyweight champion walked away from the ring for good. There’s one fight left in Mayweather’s Showtime contract and that’s set at the MGM Grand Garden Arena (where else) in Las Vegas on Sept. 12. Mayweather has fought his last 11 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena since the Oscar de la Hoya bout in 2007. That’s like his home base. Mayweather has a special arrangement with MGM and presumably, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. When Mayweather fights, he likes to stack the cards heavily in his favor. He takes no risks. He’ll watch MGM’s back if MGM watches his. They watch and scratch each other’s back. Mayweather holds the WBC welterweight title. He is also recognized by the WBA as the 147-pound king in the “unified” category. The crass WBA bosses make no bones about recognizing as many as three world welterweight champions under the money-making principle of “the more, the merrier.” The other WBA titlists are regular champion Keith Thurman and interim ruler Andre Berto. For the record, the WBA currently recognizes 40 world champions in 17 weight categories. The breakdown is 16 regular, 12 interim, six super, three unified, two undisputed and one in recess (lightweight Richar Abril). READ MORE...


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NCAA: Lions survive Altas fightback


San Beda’s Arthur Dela Cruz (18) drives strong to the hoop and draws a foul from Perpetual Help’s Bright Akhuetie during their NCAA encounter at The Arena. Joey Mendoza Jr.

MANILA, JULY 29, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Joey Villar July 29, 2015 -  San Beda bucked a furious Perpetual Help rally then pounced on Earl Scottie Thompson’s miscue in the closing seconds to pull off an 83-81 decision and grab solo second in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.

Micole Sorela canned in two free throws after Thompson blew the Altas’ bid to equalize with a costly error on an in-bound play, giving the Red Lions a four-point cushion, 83-79, with 6.6 seconds left in the highly physical contest after leading by 11, 65-54, on a basket by JV Mocon early in the fourth.

Perpetual still had a mathematical chance to at least send the game into overtime after Thompson was fouled from outside the arc in the ensuring play. But the pro-bound cager missed the front end of his charities and made the next two and the Altas failed to stop the clock, enabling the Lions to complete the win.

The victory put San Beda at second with a 5-1 card, just behind the unbeaten Letran side (5-0) while dropping the Altas to joint fourth with the Jose Rizal U at 4-2 after the Bombers routed the St. Benilde Blazers. 67-49, in the first game.

Idle Arellano took solo third with a 4-1 mark.

Arthur dela Cruz erupted for 25 points but it was the Lions’ key defensive stops that helped foil the Altas’ comeback bid after the Las Piñas-based squad dominated the first 20 minutes of play and struck back in the closing minutes.

READ MORE...

Sorela ended up with a season-best 15 points but it was his steal off Thompson that sealed the Lions’ victory.

“Those key stops in the end helped us a lot,” said San Beda coach Jamike Jarin.

Nigerian Bright Akhuetie atoned for his seven-point, six-rebound performance in a 71-79 loss to the Knights last Thursday with a 25-point show spiked by game-highs 16 rebounds and six steals. But Thompson struggled from the foul line, muffing eight of his 15 tries after coming into the match with an impressive 83.3 percent clip.

Thompson, who dished out two triple doubles in their first five games, still wound up with 20 points but failed to keep his composure when hounded by Solera in a crucial in-bound play.

San Beda’s Ola Adeogun also came back from a scoreless first half to finish with 11 points, including six in the fourth quarter.

“I just tried to play decoy in the first half but I realized I should help in the scoring,” said Adeogun.

Earlier, Tey Teodoro, who sizzled for a season-high 25 ponts in a 75-60 romp over the Lyceum Pirates last week, sustained his hot-shooting and fired 21 points as Jose Rizal U extended its run to three.

“The reason why we did good in the pre-season is because of him, he’s our go-to-guy,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses, referring to Teodoro, who helped power the school to the Fr. Martin Summer Cup title and a third place finish in the Filoil tilt.

Jose Rizal also held St. Benilde to the league’s second lowest output, second only to the total points scored by Emilio Aguinaldo in a 47-67 loss to the same Kalentong-based school squad.

“I just told the team if we can hold our opponent to less than 70 points, we have a chance to win. I’m glad they responded,” said Meneses.

The Blazers fell to 1-5.


PHILSTAR

POC supports SBP World Cup bid By Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 30, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


POC president Peping Cojuangco

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Olympic Committee yesterday declared its support to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas as it bids to host the Fiba World Cup in 2019, the same year the country is staging the Southeast Asian Games.

“We’re all-out in supporting the bid of the Philippines to host the Fiba World in 2019,” POC president Peping Cojuangco said after the POC general assembly.

The POC membership adopted a resolution stating it’s “not only in agreement but also in favor” of the SBP’s quest to bring the Worlds to Manila. The POC’s formal support was given nine days before the SBP headed by PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan is to make its final pitch before the Fiba Central Board in Tokyo.

PSC chairman Richie Garcia, meanwhile, reiterated the government sports arm’s position favoring the bid.

“We’ve already expressed our support to SBP’s bid when we met with a Fiba delegation led by (Patrick) Baumann a few months ago when they came over to inspect the venues,” said Garcia.

“We’re endorsing it, though we’re not committing funding at this point. We can provide support technically, in terms of venue and manpower. Later on, if we win the bid, we can discuss the support further,” he added.

READ MORE...

The PSC chief once more allayed fears of a “conflict” should the country get the Fiba World hosting in the same year it is organizing the SEAG.

“I don’t even know why they’re worried about hosting the two. We can even host three (events),” said Garcia.

The SBP is banking on what it calls “heart-ware” to sway the Fiba execs to their side in the bid against China.

Pangilinan had said the Filipinos’ “pure and undeniable love for basketball” would be the country’s edge against the Chinese, whom he described as a “formidable opponent.”


PHILSTAR

SBP: There’s enough time for Gilas buildup By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 29, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Sonny Barrios

MANILA, Philippines - With just under two months left before the 2015 FIBA Asia Championships, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has yet to announce the final lineup to Changsha, China.

The tournament is scheduled Sept. 23 to Oct. 3. At stake is an automatic slot to the 2016 Rio Olympics. It goes to the champion.

The clock is ticking, and yet SBP executive director Sonny Barrios told yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate there’s no need to panic.

“It’s not too late,” said the former PBA commissioner, adding that the final lineup being prepared by head coach Tab Baldwin may be announced on Monday.

“It may not be that ideal but Filipinos are known to rise to the challenge of adversity,” said Barrios, the past few days being bombarded with questions from mediamen.

“We really don’t know who’s there and who’s not. The idea is for us to announce the whole lineup,” he said, begging off to even drop a few names.

READ MORE...

“I’d rather not talk about names,” he said.

In the 2013 FIBA Asia, held at the Mall of Asia Arena, the Philippines finished second behind Iran, and gained entry to the World Championships in Spain.

If and when the final lineup is announced early next week, the team will have just enough time to prepare for the year’s biggest tournament.

Baldwin has certain players in mind but Barrios said there’s no guarantee that he can get them to play for Gilas this time.

June Mar Fajardo, the back-to-back MVP in the PBA, has reportedly begged off due to pain on his feet that carries all his weight.

Also in the wish list but may not be available is Marc Pingris, who will have to attend to family matters by the time the team plunges into training.

Barrios, again, said there’s enough time left.

Regarding Fajardo, he said there’s still a ray of hope that things will get better in the coming days. He’s keeping his fingers crossed on the 6-foot-10 center.

“It will depend on two things – the checkup and his own decision. We have to respect the individual decision of the player,” said Barrios.

Even the coach of the US basketball team doesn’t get every player he wants in the team.

“Even Kobe Bryant begs off,” he said.

“We just have to put our best foot forward,” Barrios added.


PHILSTAR

Globalport welcomes Romeo to Gilas pool By Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 29, 2015 - 12:00am 1 0 googleplus0 0


Terrence Romeo

MANILA, Philippines - If ever Terrence Romeo is picked to join the Gilas pool, Globalport governor Erick Arejola said yesterday the franchise will welcome the inclusion as it could only make the PBA’s leading local scorer a better player.

“Every conference, Terrence is showing more maturity,” said Arejola. “He’s learning how to play within the team concept. I think playing with Gilas will make Terrence mature even faster. There’s no doubt that he’s a skilled player. The exposure with Gilas will give him an opportunity to test himself against new competition. For sure, when he returns to Globalport, Terrence will be much improved and we look forward to that. But at this point, we still don’t know if he’ll be named to the pool.”

Romeo, 23, will see action with KG Canaleta, Aldrech Ramos and Rey Guevarra on the Manila West squad in the Manila Masters leg of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour at Robinson’s Place Manila this weekend.

Manila West is the defending Manila Masters champion. Two other Manila selections will participate in the 12-team tournament. Manila North is made up of Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, Karl Dehesa and Troy Rosario while Manila South is composed of Jair Igna, Carlo Ortega, Lucky Ecarma and Joshua Sinclair who won the Talk ‘N’ Text national “tatluhan” championship representing Cebu.

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Romeo, the UAAP MVP in 2013, was the fifth overall pick in the 2013 PBA draft behind Greg Slaughter, Ian Sangalang, Raymond Almazan and James Forrester. As a rookie in 2013-14, he averaged 12.4 points with Globalport.

This past season, Romeo led the PBA in scoring with a 19.7 clip, shooting 30.7 percent from beyond the arc and 76.3 percent from the line.

Globalport came close to making it to its first Final Four appearance in the recent Governors Cup but frittered away a twice-to-beat advantage in losing to the Star Hotshots in the quarterfinals.

“We finished fourth at the end of the eliminations and were a win away from qualifying for the semifinals,” said Arejola. “But we went up against a team with a lot of veterans and championship experience. We’re still in the learning process, both our players and coaches. We’ll bounce back.”

Globalport has played three seasons in the PBA so far. In 2013-14, the rookie franchise posted a record of 7-27. The next season, it was 7-31. Globalport went 5-7 in the Philippine Cup, 4-7 in the Commissioner’s Cup and 7-6 in the Governors Cup for an overall record of 16-20 this year.

Arejola said Globalport has only one slot in the coming PBA draft, No. 17 in the second round. “We need a big man,” he said. “We were competitive in the Governors Cup because of (Jarrid) Famous who filled our gap at center. But in the All-Filipino conference, we’ll be deficient.

The draft has a lot of big guys like Moala Tautuaa, Troy Rosario, Norbert Torres and possibly Arnold Van Opstal. We just don’t know who will still be available when we pick.”


TERRENCE ROMEO

Arejola said Globalport team owner Mikee Romero will call a meeting this week to discuss plans for next season. “Boss Mikee wants us to focus on defense,” he said.

“Offense is no problem but it’s defense where we need to improve. We’ll also study how to beef up our lineup, maybe through trades. We still don’t know. We’ve got a lot of expiring contracts and some missing pieces so we’ll address those issues.” Among the Globalport players with expiring contracts are Ronjay Buenafe, Paolo Taha, Denok Miranda, Doug Kramer, Keith Jensen and Marvin Hayes.

Last season, Globalport ranked No. 4 in offense, averaging 92.97 points but it was No. 9 in defense, giving up exactly the same number. In losing two in a row to the Hotshots in the Governors Cup playoffs, the Batang Pier gave up an average of 113.5 points. Globalport surrendered 117.3 points in its six losses but only 90.9 in its seven wins in the third conference.

Arejola said Globalport intends to start practice on Aug. 3. “We want to get ready early,” he said. “There’s a possibility that we’ll play in a pocket tournament in Macau at the end of August.”

Arejola said he wasn’t surprised that Famous found an NBA team after playing for Globalport. Famous was recently signed by the Dallas Mavericks. He averaged 30.2 points and 23 rebounds in nine games for the Batang Pier in the Governors Cup. Famous had previously suited up for Meralco in the PBA and Petron in the ABL.

“That’s welcome news because it speaks well of the PBA,” said Arejola. “Imports will realize if they play well in the PBA, it could lead to an NBA contract just like what happened to Famous. I’ll never forget his 30-30 game when he had 30 points and 37 rebounds in our win over Kia. I was talking about Famous with coach Pido (Jarencio) and our coaching staff the other day. We all agreed that playing in the PBA prepared him for the NBA.”


PHILSTAR

Wish list for Gilas 12 SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 28, 2015 - 12:00am 1 3 googleplus0 0


By Joaquin M. Henson

There were nine common players in the rosters of the Philippine basketball team that played at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships, the 2014 FIBA World Cup and the 2014 Asian Games. They were Jimmy Alapag, L. A. Tenorio, Jeff Chan, Gary David, Ranidel de Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, JuneMar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar and Marc Pingris.

Others who suited up in one or two of those tournaments were Jayson Castro (2013 FIBA Asia, 2014 FIBA World Cup), Larry Fonacier (2013 FIBA Asia), Andray Blatche (2014 FIBA World Cup), Marcus Douthit (2013 FIBA Asia, 2014 Asian Games), Jared Dillinger (2014 Asian Games) and Paul Lee (2014 FIBA World Cup, 2014 Asian Games).

Additionally, Douthit played on the Gilas Cadets squad that took the gold medal at the recent Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. His teammates were Keifer Ravena, Troy Rosario, Scottie Thompson, Baser Amer, Glenn Khonuntin, Almond Vosotros, Norbert Torres, Mac Belo, Jiovani Jalolon, Kevin Ferrer and Prince Rivero.

Any day now, the SBP and PBA will announce the composition of the new Gilas pool for the FIBA Asia Championships in Changsha, Hunan, China, on Sept. 23-Oct. 3. For sure, coach Tab Baldwin has a wish list but he’s not sharing it with anyone. Baldwin said he won’t push for any player who is restrained from joining Gilas for whatever reason. He’ll work with whomever is placed at his disposal by the SBP and PBA. The ideal scenario is for each PBA team to allow at least two from its lineup for the Gilas pool. But if that’s not possible, Baldwin isn’t going to bang his head against the wall. As Baldwin said, his approach is to build, not destroy, bridges.

READ MORE...

While it’s expected the pool will include shoo-ins, nobody from the previous rosters is a sacred cow. If there’s a player who has shone brightly in the last PBA season and deserves a look, he should be called up. No incumbent is guaranteed to be retained.

At the coming FIBA Asia Championships, host China will be out for redemption behind NBA veteran Yi Jianlian. China lost a 96-78 decision to Chinese-Taipei in the quarterfinals of the 2013 edition and settled for fifth place after beating Qatar, 96-85. Iran and the Philippines finished 1-2 in the tournament. Lebanon didn’t play in 2013 because its federation was suspended by FIBA but in Changsha, the Cedars will be back with a vengeance. South Korea, fresh from winning the basketball gold at the Asian Games, is another title contender. Defending champion Iran and Jordan, with coach Rajko Toroman, are also formidable. Only the winner will be given an automatic ticket to represent Asia at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The second and third placers will be invited to join an Olympic qualifying tournament a month before the Olympics but that will mean battling countries from the Americas, Oceania, Europe and Africa.

Because the competition will be stiff in Changsha, Baldwin can’t afford to bring over a team of half-hearted players. He’s got to be armed with battle-ready warriors who won’t consider losing an option.

Without pre-empting the pool to be announced by the SBP and PBA, here are 15 players in my own list.

First is naturalized player Andray Blatche. The good news is he’s come to terms on a new contract with Gilas. Blatche, 28, has played in nine NBA seasons and was the leading rebounder, second top scorer and most efficient player at the FIBA World Cup last year. He recently signed a three-year contract to play as an import in the Chinese league with no NBA out-clause. What Blatche showed in Spain last year was his willingness to play his guts out for Gilas, game after game.

Second is back-to-back PBA MVP JuneMar Fajardo who’s only 25. He has matured as a player since Spain and will be ready to face off against the likes of Yi and Hamed Haddadi in Changsha. Fajardo and Blatche could form a Twin Towers combination that will be hard to suppress.

Third is Talk ‘N’ Text’s Ranidel de Ocampo, the PBA’s No. 1 stretch forward. Because of his incredible range, RDO can play the three spot with Fajardo at No. 5 and Blatche at No. 4. That frontline will be tough for any team to handle.

Fourth is Asia’s No. 1 point guard Jayson Castro. Although the Texters failed to make it to the playoffs in the recent PBA Governors Cup, Castro ended the season on a positive note. He sat out the first three games of the conference then stormed back to average 19.1 points with a high of 34. Castro ranked second in scoring for the season with an 18.04 clip.

Fifth is Rain Or Shine combo guard Paul Lee. There is absolutely no doubt that ice water runs in the clutch player’s veins. At the FIBA Asia Cup last year, the Lethal Weapon buried three straight free throws with no time left to lift Gilas to an 80-79 win over host China for third place. Lee is a threat beyond the arc and a rugged defender, too.

Sixth is Rain Or Shine sharpshooter Jeff Chan whose deadly sniping is key in Gilas’ dribble-drive offense as a kick-out option. Chan finished the PBA season with 21 points in a semifinal loss to San Miguel Beer.

Seventh is Rain Or Shine’s all-purpose mainstay Gabe Norwood. Mr. President will always be remembered for posterizing Argentina’s Luis Scola at the FIBA World Cup last year. But more than that, Norwood is a steadying influence on the floor. His ability to defend players of any size or position is a huge plus.

Eighth is Star Hotshots’ power forward Marc Pingris. If there’s anyone who personifies Puso, it’s Pingris. He plays beyond his height and doesn’t mind mixing it up against bigger boys under the boards. Pingris is tough as nails and his grit is an inspiration to his teammates.

Ninth is Barangay Ginebra guard L. A. Tenorio who doesn’t back down from anyone, big or small. The former Ateneo star was MVP at the 2012 Jones Cup where he hit 20 points in Gilas’ 76-75 win over the US for the gold medal. That win enshrined Chot Reyes as the only Filipino coach ever to bag a Jones Cup championship.

Tenth is San Miguel Beer’s Marcio Lassiter. He’s the ultimate floor spacer. Super Marcio can light it up from the outside in a snap. It’s difficult to stop Lassiter because of his quick and almost instinctive release. He’s familiar with the international style and will be a potent weapon at either No. 2 or No. 3.

Eleventh is Talk ‘N’ Text’s Kelly Williams. The PBA 2007-08 MVP is a no-frills inside defender and a ferocious rebounder. If he’s healthy, Williams deserves a spot on the roster. He has the ability to make life difficult for any post player.

Lastly, there has to be slot for the PBA’s leading scorer Terrence Romeo who averaged 19.7 points for Globalport this past season. Romeo has incredible talent and skills. The challenge is for Romeo to play within Baldwin’s system. To fill up the 15-man pool, the reserves could be the Hotshots’ point guard Mark Barroca, NLEX center Asi Taulava and Alaska center Sonny Thoss. Who are your picks?


PHILSTAR

Khan: Pacquiao fight in Dubai would be 'amazing' (philstar.com) | Updated July 29, 2015 - 9:40am 3 359 googleplus1 0


Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao

MANILA, Philippines – British boxer Amir Khan is welcoming a fight with Manny Pacquiao in Dubai next year.

“[A fight] with Manny Pacquiao in Dubai could be massive. I’d love to take that fight,” Khan recently told Alex Rea of Sport 360.

Although Khan says his priority is a showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. is his priority, he is ecstatic to share the ring with Pacquiao.

The Filipino icon is recovering from a shoulder injury he sustained while training to fight Mayweather, who defeated him in boxing’s richest bout ever. He is expected to return to the ring in 2016.

Pacquiao and Khan have a history, having been sparring partners before. The latter even trained with Freddie Roach.

“We’re friends but sometimes you’ve got to put friendship to one side. That fight would be amazing,” said Khan. – Dino Maragay


PHILSTAR

What’s Floyd scared of? SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 29, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


By Joaquin M. Henson

There are two undefeated world welterweight champions in the boxing firmament aside from Floyd Mayweather and it would make sense for the man who calls himself The Best Ever to face either one if his claim is to be believed.

Unfortunately, Mayweather couldn’t care less to back up his gab. He’s 38 and a win away from equalling Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0 when the heavyweight champion walked away from the ring for good. There’s one fight left in Mayweather’s Showtime contract and that’s set at the MGM Grand Garden Arena (where else) in Las Vegas on Sept. 12.

Mayweather has fought his last 11 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena since the Oscar de la Hoya bout in 2007. That’s like his home base. Mayweather has a special arrangement with MGM and presumably, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. When Mayweather fights, he likes to stack the cards heavily in his favor. He takes no risks. He’ll watch MGM’s back if MGM watches his. They watch and scratch each other’s back.

Mayweather holds the WBC welterweight title. He is also recognized by the WBA as the 147-pound king in the “unified” category. The crass WBA bosses make no bones about recognizing as many as three world welterweight champions under the money-making principle of “the more, the merrier.” The other WBA titlists are regular champion Keith Thurman and interim ruler Andre Berto.

For the record, the WBA currently recognizes 40 world champions in 17 weight categories. The breakdown is 16 regular, 12 interim, six super, three unified, two undisputed and one in recess (lightweight Richar Abril).

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Thurman, 26, has a 26-0 record, with 22 KOs. The other unbeaten welterweight champion is the IBF’s Kell Brook of England. Brook, 29, totes a 35-0 mark, with 24 KOs. If Mayweather is truly the best as he insists, why not take on either Thurman or Brook on Sept. 12? Brook is fresh from stopping Frank Gavin last May 30 while Thurman halted Luis Collazo last July 11. No doubt, either will be more than willing to face Mayweather.

But Mayweather’s anointed opponent won’t be either Thurman or Brook. His preferred candidates are Berto and Karim Mayfield. Legendary Mexican fighter Erik Morales said it’s obvious Mayweather has no intention to engage a tough foe. Someone called it a joke for Mayweather to end his Showtime contract and possibly his career with a walk in the park.

Berto, 31, has lost three of his last six outings to Jesus Soto Karass, Robert Guerrero and Victor Ortiz. Thurman has beaten both Karass and Guerrero. The Haiti Olympian has a shaky record of frequent trips to the canvas. He was dropped by Cosme Rivera, twice by Guerrero, twice by Ortiz and once by Karass. Berto is coming off back-to-back wins over Steve Chambers and Josesito Lopez. But Chambers had previously lost to Eddie Gomez and Collazo while Lopez has been knocked out by Marcos Maidana and Saul Alvarez. Berto and Mayweather, by the way, share the same adviser Al Haymon so it’s no surprise why they’re being matched up.

Berto also has a history of withdrawing from tough fights, a sign of reluctance in the face of a challenge. He was once slated to meet Sugar Shane Mosley but backed out of a WBA/WBC unification showdown, citing as reason his concern for Haitian countrymen who were hit by an earthquake. On another occasion, Berto pulled out of a fight against hard-hitting Randall Bailey and even relinquished his IBF welterweight title to avoid the duel.

Of Mayweather’s five fights on Showtime, only his appointments with Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao were blockbusters. Showtime shelled out quite a bit of money, at least $200 Million, for the six-fight contract. The network should at least advise Mayweather that for the last bout, his opponent can’t be a patsy. If the climax is supposed to be a legacy fight, Mayweather should find a more credible opponent than Berto or Mayfield.

If Berto is a joke, Mayfield is a farce. Mayfield has sparred with Pacquiao and isn’t rated in the top 15 by the WBA and the top 40 by the WBC. So what makes him a worthy candidate as Mayweather’s opponent? Mayfield, 34, has lost two of his last three bouts. His record is 19-2-1, with 11 KOs.

There is talk that Showtime wants some kind of assurance that if Mayweather decides to continue fighting beyond their contract, the network will remain a business partner. Mayweather isn’t likely to agree to that. Why tie himself down to Showtime when HBO might make a more attractive offer down the road?

A Mayweather rematch with Pacquiao is definitely in the horizon. Once Mayweather ends his Showtime deal, he’ll be free to negotiate a return bout with Pacquiao. But that will depend on how Mayweather performs on Sept. 12. Maybe, that’s why Mayweather isn’t risking a tough fight. He could be laying the groundwork for another big money battle with Pacquiao. At the moment, Mayweather said the Sept. 12 bout will be his swan song.

“My last fight is in September and then it’s time for me to hang it up,” said Mayweather, quoted by Ron Borges of The Ring Magazine. “Almost 40 years old now. I’ve been in the sport 19 years and have been champion for 18 years. I gotta do things my way. At one time, I loved the sport of boxing. Through the years, I lost the love of the sport. I don’t think I’ll miss the sport. I didn’t come into this boxing business, this boxing game, to outdo anyone. I just wanted to be me. It’s no different from Ali. He called himself the Greatest and you know, this is my era and in my era, I’m The Best Ever.” Mayweather may not miss the sport but the lure of big bucks is what will bring him back to fight Pacquiao.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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