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

ARUM: PACQUIAO COULD FIGHT THIS YEAR


JULY 29 ---In this May 13, 2015 file photo, Manny Pacquiao poses for the media following a news conference upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. | AP Photo/Bullit Marquez Don’t be surprised if Manny Pacquiao returns to the ring sooner than expected. This after Top Rank Inc. chief Bob Arum revealed that Pacquiao is doing well in rehabilitating his right shoulder, which the Filipino icon injured while preparing for his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. last May. Speaking to Joe Habeeb of Thaboxingvoice.com, Arum quoted Pacquiao’s therapists as saying that they were “stunned” at how the boxing star is going through his rehabilitation “He sent us a video and the therapists are stunned at his progress,” the veteran promoter said. Pacquiao is originally expected to sit out the rest of the year to let his shoulder heal, but his therapists added that it is possible for the fighting congressman to return to the ring this year instead. “They said he could be back at the end of this year,” Arum continued. READ MORE...

ALSO Who’s truly ready: Viloria or Donaire?


JULY 27 --Viloria (left) Donaire (right) AP Photo It has nothing to do with President Aquino and his doubtful overall performance, but it should be worth checking on who’s truly ready for a crack at a world boxing crown between Nonito Donaire Jr. and Brian Viloria.Viloria, 34, stopped Omar Soto by dropping his old Mexican rival three times in the first round in Hollywood, California, on Sunday (Manila time).Donaire, 33, knocked out Frenchman Anthony Settoul with a single shot to the head in the second round in Macau two Saturdays ago. * * *Even before he could be officially declared winner, Donaire stood tall to cry out he wanted a crack at a world crown, fast.For his part, Viloria said he wanted Roman Gonzalez, the unbeaten Nicaraguan world flyweight champion fondly nicknamed Chocolatito, as his next foe.Viloria claimed Gonzalez has been dodging him.* * *Unlike Donaire’s tasteless win, Viloria’s roaring first-round KO was never seen by home fans who stayed up past lunchtime, hoping for a satellite replay.After his absence, television producers may have thought that Viloria had gotten tired of boxing? READ MORE...

ALSO: Rome rules out using Vatican for 2024 Olympics bid


AUGUST 2 --Rome will not use the Vatican for events in its 2024 Olympic bid, a top Italian sports official said Sunday, as Toronto gave stronger hints that it will join the campaign.The Italian capital was one of the first of the four cities so far in contention to announce that it would compete. Budapest, Hamburg and Paris are also in the race, while Los Angeles is expected to enter after Boston’s embarrassing withdrawal. Toronto is also considering entering. Giovanni Malago, president of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), said the historic Colosseum could be used in the Italian campaign. Rome’s mayor, Ignazio Marino, has proposed using the Colosseum for medal ceremonies.
But Malago said the exact role of would only be revealed after the International Olympic Committee deadline for bids closes on September 15. Early reports also said an event like archery could be held in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican. But Malago ruled this out for religious reasons. “It would not be right to involve the Vatican in our bid” because of its connection to the Roman Catholic Church, he told a small group of reporters on the sidelines of an International Olympic Committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur.The CONI president said Rome wanted all religions involved.“Islamic, Hebrew, Catholic, they will be co-protagonists” in the Italian campaign, Malago commented.He also ruled out holding a referendum as some other Olympic candidate cities have. READ MORE...

ALSO Meanwhile: Beijing wins bid to host 2022 Winter Olympics
[China’s mountain venues also rely heavily on man-made snow, which was considered one of the bid’s main weaknesses and one that was the target of Almaty’s “Keeping it Real” slogan. Almaty is surrounded by towering mountains and plenty of natural snow, but Beijing bid leaders insisted they have sufficient water supplies and snow-making equipment for ideal skiing conditions.]


The International Olympic Committee has awarded the 2022 Winter Games to Beijing. It beat out the only other contender – the city of Almaty, in Kazakhstan – by a close 44 to 40 vote. Four European cities initially submitted their bids, but each one of them eventually abandoned their bid. But for Beijing, neither cost nor the technical challenges of hosting the games seem to be an issue. Reid Fiest reports.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Beijing was selected Friday to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, becoming the first city awarded both the winter and summer games. Beijing narrowly defeated Almaty, Kazakhstan, in a vote of the International Olympic Committee. The vote was surprisingly close: 44-40. The Chinese capital, which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, came in to the vote as the strong favourite, despite its lack of natural snow. The secret vote was conducted by paper ballot, after the first electronic vote experienced technical faults with the tablets. Beijing was seen by the IOC as a safe, reliable choice that also offered vast commercial opportunities in a new winter sports market of more than 300 million people in northern China. READ MORE...

Fiba 3×3 MVP Terrence Romeo raring to take ‘dream’ Gilas step By: Randolph B. Leongson @RLeongsonINQ INQUIRER.net 06:42 PM August 2nd, 2015


AUGUST 2 ---Fiba 3×3 MVP Terrence Romeo. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net
Dazzling the crowd for two days in the 2015 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters, it still came as a surprise for Terrence Romeo that he was named as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “Di ko inexpect kasi di naman kami nakapasok ng Finals (I didn’t expect it becuase we didn’t make it to the Finals.),” he said.READ: Manila North yields to Novi Sad in Fiba 3×3 Manila Masters final
But the two-day competition allowed Romeo to showcase his talents which earned him tons of praise from fans and spectators, some of which wants to see him on the national team. Little do they know, it’s also Romeo’s ultimate dream. “Kung mapipili ako sa national team, ibibigay ko yung best ko para sa team at para sa bansa kasi sobrang dream ko makapaglaro dun,” the Globalport guard said.READ: Romeo wins Fiba 3×3 Three-Point Shootout (If I will get selected on the national team, I will give my best for the team and for our country because it’s really a dream of mine to play there.) Romeo is also thankful for his experience in the 3×3 competitions, saying it has allowed him to improve other facets of his game. “Nage-enjoy talaga ako sa three-on-three. Ang dami kong natutunan, lalo na yung experience, communication, at depensa sa mga ganung kalaking kalaban,” he said. “Kailangan talagang pinaghahandaan yan.” (I really enjoyed playing three-on-three. I learned so much, especially the experience, communication, and defending bugger opponents. You really have to prepare for it.) CFC THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Only 16 players for Gilas pool as SBP trying last minute effort to bolster team roster


AUGUST 2 ---Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Asi Taulava, and Gabe Norwood make up the 16 players comprising the Gilas training pool of coach Tab Baldwin.
COACH Tab Baldwin will not have 26 but 16 players in his disposal who will comprise the training pool of Gilas Pilipinas team bound for the FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship in Changsha, China. More or less the current players who showed up during the start of practice last Wednesday at the Meralco gym are the ones expected to make the pool, with the addition of Alaska stalwart Calvin Abueva and naturalized player Andray Blatche, set to arrive Sunday night in the country. This developed as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is reportedly trying to get additional pieces for the national team by persuading PBA team owners and executives for another round of meeting and possibly, lend some of their players at the last minute for national cause, according to Spin.ph sources. Baldwin sources said, is still looking for a legitimate big man and a reliable point guard to reinforce the team seeking to clinch the lone Asian berth to the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics. Blatche and Abueva are the among the last additions to the team as the two will appear and join the pool during its Monday night practice also at the Meralco gym.

ALSO: Gilas 'working pool' known Monday


AUGUST 2 --File photo of the last Gilas Pilipinas squad
 Members of the Gilas Pilipinas pool will be formally announced anytime Monday, then they will gather at the Meralco Gym for their first official practice, starting a two-month training that is hopefully enough to achieve its goal of nailing the lone Olympic berth to be disputed in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China.
Gilas team manager Butch Antonio said they will name 16 to 20 players to the “working pool” led by naturalized player Andray Blatche who was to arrive from the United States last night. It’s called a “working pool” as it will be flexible, meaning the list may be expanded as other players become available. Junmar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Marc Pingris and Marcio Lassiter are said to be either nursing an injury or attending to personal matters. “We’ve yet to finalize the list. PBA commissioner Chito Salud is helping out for us to come out with the best team possible,” said Antonio. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Pacquiao could fight this year – Arum


In this May 13, 2015 file photo, Manny Pacquiao poses for the media following a news conference upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. | AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, AUGUST 3, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Dino Maragay - Don’t be surprised if Manny Pacquiao returns to the ring sooner than expected.

This after Top Rank Inc. chief Bob Arum revealed that Pacquiao is doing well in rehabilitating his right shoulder, which the Filipino icon injured while preparing for his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. last May.

Speaking to Joe Habeeb of Thaboxingvoice.com, Arum quoted Pacquiao’s therapists as saying that they were “stunned” at how the boxing star is going through his rehabilitation

“He sent us a video and the therapists are stunned at his progress,” the veteran promoter said.

Pacquiao is originally expected to sit out the rest of the year to let his shoulder heal, but his therapists added that it is possible for the fighting congressman to return to the ring this year instead.

“They said he could be back at the end of this year,” Arum continued.

READ MORE...

Interestingly, the Top Rank boss previously slammed Pacquiao for apparently not treating his rehabilitation seriously, even going as far as saying that his ward is “not an active fighter.”

Arum issued the comment after Pacquiao missed an appointment with Los Angeles surgeon Neal ElAttrache earlier this month for a follow-up check-up on his shoulder.

Pacquiao, for his part, assured Arum that everything is fine.

Meanwhile, in the same Thaboxingvoice.com, Arum brought up WBO junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford as a possible opponent for Pacquiao in his return.

"That (Pacquiao-Crawford bout) would be a tremendous, tremendous fight," Arum told reporters in Las Vegas a day before Pacquiao faced Mayweather.

The General Santos City-based southpaw could also end up fighting British star Amir Khan, who recently declared that a bout between him and Pacquiao in Dubai would be “amazing.”


INQUIRER

Who’s truly ready: Viloria or Donaire? By: Recah Trinidad @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 09:09 PM July 27th, 2015


JULY 27 --Viloria (left) Donaire (right) AP Photo

It has nothing to do with President Aquino and his doubtful overall performance, but it should be worth checking on who’s truly ready for a crack at a world boxing crown between Nonito Donaire Jr. and Brian Viloria.

Viloria, 34, stopped Omar Soto by dropping his old Mexican rival three times in the first round in Hollywood, California, on Sunday (Manila time).

Donaire, 33, knocked out Frenchman Anthony Settoul with a single shot to the head in the second round in Macau two Saturdays ago.

* * *
Even before he could be officially declared winner, Donaire stood tall to cry out he wanted a crack at a world crown, fast.

For his part, Viloria said he wanted Roman Gonzalez, the unbeaten Nicaraguan world flyweight champion fondly nicknamed Chocolatito, as his next foe.
Viloria claimed Gonzalez has been dodging him.

* * *
Unlike Donaire’s tasteless win, Viloria’s roaring first-round KO was never seen by home fans who stayed up past lunchtime, hoping for a satellite replay.
After his absence, television producers may have thought that Viloria had gotten tired of boxing?

READ MORE...

On the other hand, Donaire’s second trouble-free comeback fight—since being stopped by Jamaican axeman Nicolas Walters last year—got replayed the noontime after on television.

* * *
For the record, both were former world champions—Viloria twice; Donaire, 2012 Boxer of the Year, four times.

Five years ago, Viloria scored a tough split decision over Soto in a nontitle bout at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

It took Viloria less time to score his second conquest of Soto, but it goes without saying Viloria also got tested in his latest fight.

Soto rose and fought back after suffering two knockdowns, and the fight had to he halted by the referee following his third successive fall.

* * *
There were random claims Viloria may also be considered a late-maturing artist.
In Donaire’s case, there was no apt way of gauging his actual condition because the French champion he was supposed to face was a no-show.

As noted here previously, Settoul appeared more like a sleepless French chef wrestling with jet lag when he materialized at mid-ring in Macau.

In fact, seasoned boxing spectators hereabouts refused to call the Donaire win the result of a mismatch.

There were cries the eyesore should have been disallowed in the first place.


INQUIRER

Rome rules out using Vatican for 2024 Olympics bid
@inquirerdotnet Agence France-Presse 09:45 PM August 2nd, 2015

Rome will not use the Vatican for events in its 2024 Olympic bid, a top Italian sports official said Sunday, as Toronto gave stronger hints that it will join the campaign.

The Italian capital was one of the first of the four cities so far in contention to announce that it would compete. Budapest, Hamburg and Paris are also in the race, while Los Angeles is expected to enter after Boston’s embarrassing withdrawal. Toronto is also considering entering.

Giovanni Malago, president of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), said the historic Colosseum could be used in the Italian campaign. Rome’s mayor, Ignazio Marino, has proposed using the Colosseum for medal ceremonies.

But Malago said the exact role of would only be revealed after the International Olympic Committee deadline for bids closes on September 15.

Early reports also said an event like archery could be held in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican. But Malago ruled this out for religious reasons.

“It would not be right to involve the Vatican in our bid” because of its connection to the Roman Catholic Church, he told a small group of reporters on the sidelines of an International Olympic Committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

The CONI president said Rome wanted all religions involved.

“Islamic, Hebrew, Catholic, they will be co-protagonists” in the Italian campaign, Malago commented.

He also ruled out holding a referendum as some other Olympic candidate cities have.

READ MORE...

He said other ways would be used to measure “public opinion” but did not give details.

Malago said the bid would be based on Rome, but that football would be held in six cities across the country and that sailing could be in Sardinia, Naples or Venice on the Adriatic. The decision will be made by the International Sailing Federation.

“We want to be compact as we think this is a plus,” he commented.

Rome was a candidate for the 2020 Games, but the government abandoned the effort because of the country’s economic troubles before the event was awarded to Tokyo.

Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut gave backing, meanwhile, for a Toronto campaign for 2024.

“After the enormous success of the Pan-American Games, the time has come for Toronto to go forward,” Aubut told AFP.

Several city leaders have called for Toronto to enter and Aubut said he would work on details when he returns to Canada.

Aubut said he did not think that a legislative election on October 19 would stop Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a conservative, from backing Toronto.

“On the contrary, I have the impression that all the parties are open to the idea. It is difficult to go against young people, against sport and against the city of Toronto,” said the Olympic official.

Canada has organised only one summer Olympics, in Montreal in 1976.

--------------------------------

RELATED FLASHBACK NEWS ASSOCIATED PRESS

DECEMBER 10, 2014

Pope boosts Rome's 2024 bid but warns: 'I won't be around'



VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis has given a papal thumbs up to Rome's bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics amid talk that the Vatican might host some events.

But he is warning: "I won't be around."

Francis, 78, met with members of the Italian Olympic Committee at the Vatican Friday for a Mass to mark their 100th anniversary. The soccer-mad Francis extolled the benefits of sport and the peaceful message of the Olympic movement.

He said: "Best wishes also for Rome's bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games!" then added "I won't be around."

Speculation has mounted that the Vatican might host archery or badminton in St. Peter's Square, if Rome gets the Games. Vatican officials say they've discussed the Olympic bid and areas for collaboration, but that no decisions have been made.

By The Associated Press


GLOBAL NATIONAL NEWS TORONTO

Beijing wins bid to host 2022 Winter Olympics By Stephen Wilson The Associated Press 2 497 36


The International Olympic Committee has awarded the 2022 Winter Games to Beijing. It beat out the only other contender – the city of Almaty, in Kazakhstan – by a close 44 to 40 vote. Four European cities initially submitted their bids, but each one of them eventually abandoned their bid. But for Beijing, neither cost nor the technical challenges of hosting the games seem to be an issue. Reid Fiest reports.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Beijing was selected Friday to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, becoming the first city awarded both the winter and summer games.

Beijing narrowly defeated Almaty, Kazakhstan, in a vote of the International Olympic Committee. The vote was surprisingly close: 44-40.

The Chinese capital, which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, came in to the vote as the strong favourite, despite its lack of natural snow.

The secret vote was conducted by paper ballot, after the first electronic vote experienced technical faults with the tablets.

Beijing was seen by the IOC as a safe, reliable choice that also offered vast commercial opportunities in a new winter sports market of more than 300 million people in northern China.

WATCH: Hundreds cheered in China’s Hebei province on Friday as a live feed showed the International Olympic Committee’s decision to award the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing and its two co-host locations, Yanqing and Chongli.

Almaty had hoped to bring the games to Central Asia for the first time, but was a lesser-known quantity and viewed as a riskier choice by IOC members. Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov made a last-minute impassioned plea for the IOC to be “brave” and give the games to his country, but it wasn’t enough.

READ MORE: Almaty, Beijing make last pitches ahead of IOC vote on 2022 Winter Olympics

The contest was a study in contrasts between the world’s most populous nation and a former Soviet republic seeking to establish itself on the world stage. China’s size and political and economic might was a big advantage against its northwestern neighbour, which became independent in 1991.

Beijing and Almaty had both been considered longshots when the 2022 bid race opened two years ago. But they were the only two candidates left after four European cities – including Oslo and Stockholm – pulled out for political or financial reasons.

Beijing plans to use several venues from the 2008 Olympics, including the “Bird’s Nest” stadium and “Water Cube” arena. But the snow and sliding events would be at venues in Yangqing and Zhangjiakou, 60 and 140 kilometres (40 and 90 miles) outside Beijing. A planned high-speed rail line to Zhangjiakou is supposed to cut travel time to 50 minutes.

China’s mountain venues also rely heavily on man-made snow, which was considered one of the bid’s main weaknesses and one that was the target of Almaty’s “Keeping it Real” slogan. Almaty is surrounded by towering mountains and plenty of natural snow, but Beijing bid leaders insisted they have sufficient water supplies and snow-making equipment for ideal skiing conditions.


INQUIRER

Fiba 3×3 MVP Terrence Romeo raring to take ‘dream’ Gilas step By: Randolph B. Leongson @RLeongsonINQ INQUIRER.net 06:42 PM August 2nd, 2015


Fiba 3×3 MVP Terrence Romeo. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Dazzling the crowd for two days in the 2015 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters, it still came as a surprise for Terrence Romeo that he was named as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “Di ko inexpect kasi di naman kami nakapasok ng Finals (I didn’t expect it becuase we didn’t make it to the Finals.),” he said.

READ: Manila North yields to Novi Sad in Fiba 3×3 Manila Masters final

But the two-day competition allowed Romeo to showcase his talents which earned him tons of praise from fans and spectators, some of which wants to see him on the national team. Little do they know, it’s also Romeo’s ultimate dream.

“Kung mapipili ako sa national team, ibibigay ko yung best ko para sa team at para sa bansa kasi sobrang dream ko makapaglaro dun,” the Globalport guard said.

READ: Romeo wins Fiba 3×3 Three-Point Shootout

(If I will get selected on the national team, I will give my best for the team and for our country because it’s really a dream of mine to play there.)

Romeo is also thankful for his experience in the 3×3 competitions, saying it has allowed him to improve other facets of his game.

“Nage-enjoy talaga ako sa three-on-three. Ang dami kong natutunan, lalo na yung experience, communication, at depensa sa mga ganung kalaking kalaban,” he said.

“Kailangan talagang pinaghahandaan yan.” (I really enjoyed playing three-on-three. I learned so much, especially the experience, communication, and defending bugger opponents. You really have to prepare for it.) CFC


SPIN.PH

Only 16 players for Gilas pool as SBP trying last minute effort to bolster team roster From: Snow BaduaAugust 2, 2015, 05:05 pm 24/7 SPORTS ACTION IN YOUR NEWSFEED?LIKE US!


Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Asi Taulava, and Gabe Norwood make up the 16 players comprising the Gilas training pool of coach Tab Baldwin.

COACH Tab Baldwin will not have 26 but 16 players in his disposal who will comprise the training pool of Gilas Pilipinas team bound for the FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship in Changsha, China.

More or less the current players who showed up during the start of practice last Wednesday at the Meralco gym are the ones expected to make the pool, with the addition of Alaska stalwart Calvin Abueva and naturalized player Andray Blatche, set to arrive Sunday night in the country.

This developed as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is reportedly trying to get additional pieces for the national team by persuading PBA team owners and executives for another round of meeting and possibly, lend some of their players at the last minute for national cause, according to Spin.ph sources.

Baldwin sources said, is still looking for a legitimate big man and a reliable point guard to reinforce the team seeking to clinch the lone Asian berth to the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.

Blatche and Abueva are the among the last additions to the team as the two will appear and join the pool during its Monday night practice also at the Meralco gym.

READ MORE...

Currently attending the training Baldwin is supervising are Jimmy Alapag, Asi Taulava, Terrence Romeo, Sonny Thoss, Dondon Hontiveros, JC Intal, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Jayson Castro, Kelly Williams, Aldrech Ramos, Gabe Norwood, and incoming PBA rookie Troy Rosario.

No less than SBP president and Smart big boss Manny V. Pangilinan will personally meet with the Gilas pool in a closed door meeting at 5 p.m. Monday at the Meralco office in Ortigas, where the national team's practice facility is also located.

“Dun natin malalaman lahat if there will be additions and what boss MVP will tell these players and the whole team,” said the source.

“But basically, halos yan na yun!”

Rain or Shine top gunner Paul Lee will be arriving in the country on Monday, but his representative Lawrence Chongson isn’t hopeful the playmaker out of University of the East will be given the green light by his mother ballclub to join Gilas.

“Sa akin lang gustong-gusto kong makasama sa national team si Paul. Gusto rin ni Paul, kasi bandila natin yan eh," said Chongson.

“Kaso alangan namang talikuran ni Paul ang gusto ng nasa itaas. Dun siya sumusweldo,” he added.

The outspoken Tanduay coach also regretted not having done one major thing when he was negotiating for Lee’s new contract with Rain or Shine.

“Sana pala nung nag negosasyon kami nun, naglagay ako ng clause sa kontrata gaya ni LA Tenorio nuong araw sa Alaska na bibigyan siya ng permiso na lumaro sa national team,” Chongson said.

“Kaso kilala naman ng lahat na all out sa national team ang Rain or Shine eh. Hindi ko lang alam kung bakit bigla nagbago ang ihip ng hangin,” added the former UE Red Warriors coach.

Another source bared the SBP is still trying to persuade Ginebra big man Gregory Slaughter to join the pool, although the 6-foot-11 slotman from Cebu claimed he is still trying to recover from an ankle injury that sidelined him during the early part of the last Governors' Cup.

Slaughter has been very vocal over the last three weeks about the injury that is still being assessed whether it will be up for a minor surgery or not.

The source added, Slaughter has been hesitant to join the training pool since his eligibility might be questioned especially in a FIBA-sanctioned tournament.

“He hasn't played in any major FIBA sanctioned tournament. It's one of the issues, Greg might not be eligible. He knows it, SBP officials know it. He played for Gilas in the Asian Games and SEA Games, but those are not FIBA tournaments,” said an SBP source.

With Lee and Slaughter still questionable, Baldwin is left with only minor additions to the ones who are already attending regularly the Gilas practice.


PHILSTAR

Gilas 'working pool' known Monday By Nelson Beltran (philstar.com) | Updated August 2, 2015 - 12:22pm 2 388 googleplus0 0


File photo of the last Gilas Pilipinas squad

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Gilas Pilipinas pool will be formally announced anytime Monday, then they will gather at the Meralco Gym for their first official practice, starting a two-month training that is hopefully enough to achieve its goal of nailing the lone Olympic berth to be disputed in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China.

Gilas team manager Butch Antonio said they will name 16 to 20 players to the “working pool” led by naturalized player Andray Blatche who was to arrive from the United States last night.

It’s called a “working pool” as it will be flexible, meaning the list may be expanded as other players become available. Junmar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Marc Pingris and Marcio Lassiter are said to be either nursing an injury or attending to personal matters.

“We’ve yet to finalize the list. PBA commissioner Chito Salud is helping out for us to come out with the best team possible,” said Antonio.

READ MORE...

Fajardo, the reigning back-to-back PBA MVP awardee, is doubtful due to a foot injury.

“We’ll have to wait for whatever is his status. His team will have him checked,” said Antonio on the 6-foot-10 behemoth who could form a solid frontline tandem with Blatche.

Players who made themselves available in the informal Gilas practices that started Wednesday included Ranidel de Ocampo, Jayson Castro, Gary David, Sonny Thoss, Dondon Hontiveros, Terrence Romeo, Asi Taulava, Aldrech Ramos, JC Intal, Matt Ganuelas, Gabe Norwood and pro-bound Troy Rosario.

LA Tenorio has begged off from joining the pool, citing fatigue and poor form as reasons. Fajardo and Aguilar have hinted they may not be ready to join the pool due to health woes while Pingris and Lassiter have left the country to attend to personal matters.

There’s also doubt on the status of Greg Slaughter, Paul Lee and Jeff Chan.

Meanwhile, Filipino basketball fans have voiced out their opinion, flooding the social media with their disgust over the lack of interest by a big number of players to render service to the national team.

Also being hit are the PBA and some PBA ball clubs.

Scathing remarks were thrown at them in a Facebook post shared by Pilipinas Basketball to the public.

“The Filipino basketball fan deserves the best. Let PBA players play for country not just for money,” says the Facebook post that has gone viral.

But hopes are high Team Phl will be competitive with Blatche leading the campaign in the Chinese joust slated Sept. 23 to Oct. 3.

The nine-year NBA veteran is expected to be a dominant force in the Asian meet as he was in his first season in the Chinese Basketball Association where he averaged 31.1 points, 14.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.8 steals per game.

He was among the best performers in the last World Cup where he normed 21.2 points and 13.8 rebounds a game. He collected 18 markers and 14 boards to help the Philippines to their first “WC” win in 40 years, edging Senegal, 81-79, in overtime.

He played so well in his first season in the CBA that he merited a three-year contract-extension deal with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers worth $7.5 million.

The question is who will be the PBA players to be put around Blatche.

“PBA chairman Pato Gregorio and commissioner Chito Salud want the best possible team that we can form. But if players are injured or must attend to personal priorities, we’ve just got to learn to cope. We’ll try our best to work things out. We’re not closing doors on anyone,” said Gregorio.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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