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

IN TAIPEI: GILAS AFTER SOUTH KOREA LOSS BOUNCES BACK TAKES DOWN RUSSIA


SEPTEMBER 1 -Both benches cleared in the first half during Gilas’ bloody win over a big Spartak Primorye side from Russia Tuesday in the 2015 Jones Cup. Musong R. Castillo /Philippine Daily Inquirer
The enemy sucked Gilas Pilipinas into a very physical match and found out the hard way that it is just right up the Filipinos’ alley. After seeing a teammate bloodied by the biggest Russian from Spartak Primorye, Gilas responded in kind – and then some – on Tuesday, scoring an 85-71 victory to get back in the Jones Cup fight at Xinchuang gymnasium here. The smaller Filipinos dished out more than they took, with their ruggedness and fine team play ultimately frustrating the Russians in the second half as Gilas quickly picked itself up from a loss to South Korea the night before and dealt Spartak its first defeat in four games. Ranidel de Ocampo announced his return to peak form with 13 points highlighted by two clutch triples in the fourth, and four others scored in twin digits as the Filipinos responded to coach Tab Baldwin’s plea of leaving individuality behind after going down in flames against the Koreans, 82-70. “It wasn’t a polished performance, but everybody stepped up and did what they had to do,” Baldwin said. “We played within our roles pretty well – the shooters making their shots and rebounders getting their rebounds. “Defensively we were tough. It still had some lapses, but the guys did a good job.” The Russians have built a reputation as a very physical team in the tournament, but against the Filipinos, they were nothing short of dirty early on. Sonny Thoss sustained a busted head courtesy of an intentional elbow from 6-foot-10 center Alimdzhan Fediuhin with barely two minutes gone in the game. This did nothing but fire up the Filipinos, who didn’t exactly inflict wounds on the enemy but got them sprawled on the floor so many times before dealing the Russians the blow that hurt the most – on the scoreboard. READ MORE...

ALSO: Gilas escapes USA for 2nd place as Iran rules Jones Cup 2015


SEPTEMBER 5 --Photo by Musong Castillo. INQUIRER.net
TAIPEI – Playing without a point guard and two of its leading scorers, Gilas Pilipinas still ran a tall USA Select-Overtake club to the ground on Saturday and held on for a 78-74 victory for second place in the Jones Cup won by Iran at Xenzhuang gymnasium here.Using quickness and their outside shots as weapons, the Filipinos peeled away from the Americans – playing hard all game in a match that was well-applauded by a huge crowd of OFWs enjoying their days off – in the third period before warding off the enemy in a furious finish.Terrence Romeo, down with a swollen left ankle and Jimmy Alapag, who has a leg injury, were joined in the sidelines by Jason Castro, whom coach Tab Baldwin elected to rest after a hard game against the Wellington Saints of New Zealand on Friday. Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Gabe Norwood still quarterbacked a strong running game that the Americans couldn’t keep up to, as Gilas took a 55-37 lead late in the third quarter before playing it smart in the final minutes to win.Sonny Thoss drained three straight medium-range jumpers that to keep the Filipinos’ collective heads above water, 74-66 lead going into the last 1:23.There was no quit in the Americans as they came within 71-74 on two JC Bradford free throws, before Dondon Hontiveros, one of the heroes for Gilas in a 92-88 overtime win over the Wellington Saints of New Zealand on Friday, sealed the deal with two charities with 2.3 ticks left. READ MORE...

ALSO: Gilas is No. 4 in FIBA Asia power ranking


SEPTEMBER 5 -TAIPEI – FIBA.COM considered titleholder Iran, China, South Korea and the Philippines the top four in power ranking in Week One of the lead-up to the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship set September 23-October 3 in Changsha, China.
Iran was picked as the top choice for its intact lineup, China second for its homecourt advantage, Korea third for its depth and consistency and Gilas Pilipinas fourth with its solid showing in the Jones Cup. FIBA.COM ranked the teams based on player rosters and preparations for the biennial event which, this time, doubles as the regional qualifier for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The website of the international cage body is aware of a possible stint of Fil-Am NBA guard Jordan Clarkson with Gilas Pilipinas. “Despite half of the team that played in the 2014 FIBA World Cup missing, the Philippines got a big boost this past week with the possibility of Clarkson suiting up,” the FIBA.COM report said. “Their trip to Estonia yielded a lot of learnings, and they have racked up some impressive wins in the 2015 Jones Cup. Momentum seems to have swung and things are improving for Gilas Pilipinas,” the report also stated. READ MORE...

ALSO by Bill Velasco: Gilas in 2019, One dream at a time


SEPTEMBER 5 -Bill Velasco
Though Gilas Pilipinas is making a great stand in the current Jones Cup in Taiwan, we all know that it is not the ultimate goal. Even when the NCC squad took the tournament by storm and won the championship under Ron Jacobs three decades ago, that was not the target. The goal is to finally bring the Philippines back into the Olympic basketball tournament. As a pioneering participant back in Berlin in 1936, and as probably the most passionate basketball country in the world, Filipino fans have been dying to see us back on that platform. As of now, Gilas Pilipinas is showing improvement with every game, though obviously there are still concerns about shooting and chemistry. There are two things this writer would like to note, though, that bode well for the team. First, there is a general attitude of humility about this group of players. From Jordan Clarkson playing water boy to Mo Tautuaa doing rookie chores like his veteran teammates’ laundry, there is a deep simplicity in the attitude of the team. There is no grandstanding, complaining, or whining. Even the veterans are all about the team. There is no sense of entitlement, but an attitude of sharing knowledge, experience, and the ball. The Russia game was a big indicator of what this team is willing to go through to achieve its goals. The other change some observers have noted is the degree of freedom the players have to create on the fly. Intentionally or not, by necessity or not, head coach Tab Baldwin is unleashing the natural talents of the new Gilas recruits. READ MORE...

ALSO From Philstar Dean's Corner: History in the making


SEPTEMBER 3 -JOAQUIN HENSON Perlas couldn’t have shone more brightly yesterday as the Philippine national women’s team bucked the odds to upset highly-favored Kazakhstan, 80-73, in overtime at the FIBA Asia Championships in Wuhan. The win propelled Perlas to the top of the Level 2 standings and a win over India tomorrow will promote the Philippines to Level 1. “This is history,” said Perlas’ chief benefactor, Ever Bilena CEO and Blackwater PBA team owner Dioceldo Sy who watched the game at courtside. “Now, we have a chance to go to Level 1. When we went up by six over Kazakhstan with 58 seconds to go in overtime, I knew that was it. This team is unbelievable.” Ewon Arayi, the 5-4 spitfire from Adamson, erupted for 28 points, including 4-of-14 treys and 12-of-12 free throws. Allana Lim of FEU hit 17 while Shelly Gupilan and Andrea Tongco, both of NU, chipped in 10 apiece. Kazakhstan had more rebounds, 63-52, but Perlas had the edge in three-point conversions, 10-of-41 to 6-of-24, and free throw makes, 20-of-27 to 13-of-22. A key contributor to Perlas’ big win was 5-8 Afril Bernardino who collected four points, 14 rebounds, five assists, six steals and two blocked shots. Perlas was on top at the half by a hair, 33-32, and regulation ended in a 63-all standoff. What brought the Philippines back in the fight was its feisty defense, holding the Kazakhs to nine points in the second period and eight in the fourth. Kazakhstan was led by 6-1 Oxana Ossipenko and 6-0 Tamara Yagodkina with 19 points each. Center Kadezkda Kondrakova, a 6-4 bruiser, had 11 points and eight boards. READ MORE...

ALSO: Pacquiao could see action for Aguilas team in Asean Basketball League (ABL)


SEPTEMBER 1 -Manny Pacquiao (right) could suit up and play for his Powervit Pilipinas Aguilas team in the Asean Basketball League (ABL), which opens its new season this October. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
KUALA LUMPUR — Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is not passing up on the chance to show his basketball chops in the Southeast Asian stage. Pacquiao, the team owner of the newest addition to the ASEAN Basketball League the Pacquiao Powervit Pilipinas Aguilas, is planning to suit up for a few games in the regional tournament. “According to him, we will play in some games. He will definitely play,” Aguilas team manager Bien Orilla told INQUIRER.net after the press launch of the new ABL season on Tuesday at the Berjaya Hotel here. READ MORE...

ALSO: ABL making an impact in regional basketball scene


AUGUST 31 -The San Miguel Beer franchise won a championship during its stint in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) before bringing back its name in the PBA. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
KUALA LUMPUR — Running a regional basketball league with teams scattered around Southeast Asia is not without its struggles. But now on its sixth season, the Asean Basketball League is fueled with the vision to grow into a premier league not only in the Southeast but in the entire Asian region.
“The people who drive the ABL year in and year out are passionate people, passionate about the vision that in the couple of years the ABL will be bigger than what they envisioned it to be,” said Jericho Ilagan, the newly named Chief Operating Officer of the ABL who hails from the Philippines. From intermittent scheduling, difference in quality of competition, to sustaining interest in countries whose primary sport is not basketball, the ABL has been able to embrace the diversity. Filipinos impact Last season, the ABL took a huge hit when for the first time since its inauguration in 2009 the two Philippine-based teams withdrew from tournament that left the league without its biggest market.READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Gilas Pilipinas after South Korea loss bounces back, takes down Russia


Both benches cleared in the first half during Gilas’ bloody win over a big Spartak Primorye side from Russia Tuesday in the 2015 Jones Cup. Musong R. Castillo/Philippine Daily Inquirer

TAIPEI, SEPTEMBER 7, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By: Musong R. Castillo  - The enemy sucked Gilas Pilipinas into a very physical match and found out the hard way that it is just right up the Filipinos’ alley.

After seeing a teammate bloodied by the biggest Russian from Spartak Primorye, Gilas responded in kind – and then some – on Tuesday, scoring an 85-71 victory to get back in the Jones Cup fight at Xinchuang gymnasium here.

The smaller Filipinos dished out more than they took, with their ruggedness and fine team play ultimately frustrating the Russians in the second half as Gilas quickly picked itself up from a loss to South Korea the night before and dealt Spartak its first defeat in four games.

Ranidel de Ocampo announced his return to peak form with 13 points highlighted by two clutch triples in the fourth, and four others scored in twin digits as the Filipinos responded to coach Tab Baldwin’s plea of leaving individuality behind after going down in flames against the Koreans, 82-70.

“It wasn’t a polished performance, but everybody stepped up and did what they had to do,” Baldwin said. “We played within our roles pretty well – the shooters making their shots and rebounders getting their rebounds.

“Defensively we were tough. It still had some lapses, but the guys did a good job.”

The Russians have built a reputation as a very physical team in the tournament, but against the Filipinos, they were nothing short of dirty early on.

Sonny Thoss sustained a busted head courtesy of an intentional elbow from 6-foot-10 center Alimdzhan Fediuhin with barely two minutes gone in the game.

This did nothing but fire up the Filipinos, who didn’t exactly inflict wounds on the enemy but got them sprawled on the floor so many times before dealing the Russians the blow that hurt the most – on the scoreboard.

READ MORE...

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, watching the game back home, gave trusted lieutenant Ricky Vargas a call and expressed pride at how the Filipinos didn’t budge an inch.

“They probably thought that they could bully us. No way,” Vargas quoted MVP as saying after their conversation ended.

Baldwin went to tournament officials when the game was halted with 4:11 left in the first after both benches emptied during a play involving Terrence Romeo and Aleksei Goliakhov.

“If they had backed down from them (Russians), they would have to confront (deal with) me,” Baldwin said with pride.

Protecting a 43-40 lead entering the third, the Filipinos forced Spartak to bad field goal shooting and allowed just 10 points, with a 61-50 lead going into the last 12 minutes proving easy for Gilas to protect.

De Ocampo, who returned to the lineup only two days before the team left for here, scored eight of his total in the fourth, while Terrence Romeo showed everyone that he could be an effective quarterback after Baldwin sat out Jason Castro and three other veterans for the game.

Romeo had 11 points – his lowest output in the tournament – but was the point guard half of the game, even as Matt Ganuelas-Rosser piled up 10 points after playing a team-high 28 minutes.

Calvin Abueva was again one of the sparkplugs of Gilas, shooting 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds against the towering Russian frontline which added to Spartak’s frustrations.

Kostiantyn Glazyrin paced the Russians with 23 points with starting point guard Aleksei Goliakhov shooting 12.

Next up for the Filipinos is Japan at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

Games Wednesday
(Xinchuang Gymnasium)
1 p.m. – Iran vs USA Select-Overtake

3 p.m. – Japan vs Gilas Pilipinas
5 p.m. – South Korea vs Wellington Saints
7 p.m. – Spartak Primorye vs Chinese Taipei-B

The Scores

GILAS PILIPINAS 85 – De Ocampo 13, Romeo 11, Abueva 10, Tautuaa 10, Ganuelas 10, Intal 8, Taulava 7, Rosario 6, Hontiveros 6, Alapag 3, Thoss 1, Ramos 0.

SPARTAK PRIMORYE 71 – Glazyrin 23, Goliakhov 12, Uzinskii 11, Savelev 10, Ferorkhov 5, Fediushin 5, Ivanov 4, Zverokv 1.
Quarters: 20-23, 43-40, 61-50, 85-71.


INQUIRER

Gilas escapes USA for 2nd place as Iran rules Jones Cup 2015 By: Musong R. Castillo @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 07:12 PM September 5th, 2015


Photo by Musong Castillo. INQUIRER.net

TAIPEI – Playing without a point guard and two of its leading scorers, Gilas Pilipinas still ran a tall USA Select-Overtake club to the ground on Saturday and held on for a 78-74 victory for second place in the Jones Cup won by Iran at Xenzhuang gymnasium here.

Using quickness and their outside shots as weapons, the Filipinos peeled away from the Americans – playing hard all game in a match that was well-applauded by a huge crowd of OFWs enjoying their days off – in the third period before warding off the enemy in a furious finish.

Terrence Romeo, down with a swollen left ankle and Jimmy Alapag, who has a leg injury, were joined in the sidelines by Jason Castro, whom coach Tab Baldwin elected to rest after a hard game against the Wellington Saints of New Zealand on Friday.

Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Gabe Norwood still quarterbacked a strong running game that the Americans couldn’t keep up to, as Gilas took a 55-37 lead late in the third quarter before playing it smart in the final minutes to win.

Sonny Thoss drained three straight medium-range jumpers that to keep the Filipinos’ collective heads above water, 74-66 lead going into the last 1:23.

There was no quit in the Americans as they came within 71-74 on two JC Bradford free throws, before Dondon Hontiveros, one of the heroes for Gilas in a 92-88 overtime win over the Wellington Saints of New Zealand on Friday, sealed the deal with two charities with 2.3 ticks left.

READ MORE...

Former PBA imports Marquin Chandler, who saw action for Purefoods, and Calvin Warner, who played last season for GlobalPort, were the main guns of the Americans.

It was the fifth win in seven games for the Filipinos, who will close out with an expected win over young and winless Chinese Taipei-B on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Iran triumphed for the fifth time here after a 78-54 win over Spartak Primorye of Russia in an earlier game for an unreachable 7-1 card.

Mahdi Kamrani scored 20 points, Hamed Afagh 16 and Hamed Haddadi had 11 and seven rebounds for the Iranians, the defending Asian champions who were also kings here for three straight years from 2009 and two years ago when Gilas did not play.

The Iranians’ only loss came at the hands of these same Americans when Iran coaching staff decided to rest Haddadi in preparation for the Filipinos whom they beat the next day, 74-65.

The Philippines, which won the last of its four titles with a different Gilas crew in 2012, finished second for the first time. The Filipinos also have three third place efforts, all coming in the 2000s.


PHILSTAR

Gilas is No. 4 in FIBA Asia power ranking By Nelson Beltran (philstar.com) | Updated September 5, 2015 - 11:59am 4 89 googleplus0 0

TAIPEI – FIBA.COM considered titleholder Iran, China, South Korea and the Philippines the top four in power ranking in Week One of the lead-up to the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship set September 23-October 3 in Changsha, China.

Iran was picked as the top choice for its intact lineup, China second for its homecourt advantage, Korea third for its depth and consistency and Gilas Pilipinas fourth with its solid showing in the Jones Cup.

FIBA.COM ranked the teams based on player rosters and preparations for the biennial event which, this time, doubles as the regional qualifier for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The website of the international cage body is aware of a possible stint of Fil-Am NBA guard Jordan Clarkson with Gilas Pilipinas.

“Despite half of the team that played in the 2014 FIBA World Cup missing, the Philippines got a big boost this past week with the possibility of Clarkson suiting up,” the FIBA.COM report said.

“Their trip to Estonia yielded a lot of learnings, and they have racked up some impressive wins in the 2015 Jones Cup. Momentum seems to have swung and things are improving for Gilas Pilipinas,” the report also stated.

READ MORE...

Making the Top Eight in the FIBA.COM ranking are Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Japan.

Then came Jordan, Qatar, Palestine, India, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

“Team Melli (Iran) is expected to be very strong again with the same old faces doing the same amount of damage to their foes,” the FIBA.COM report said.

On China, the portal said: China have been training since March, and the injuries might be taking a toll. As of now, start player Yi Jianlian is still resting and has not yet rejoined the team. Still, this team maybe has the biggest size in the field and they have homecourt advantage throughout the entire tournament. China is renowned for playing a notch or better at home.”


PHILSTAR

Gilas in 2019 THE GAME OF MY LIFE By Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 5, 2015 - 12:00am 1 1 googleplus1 0


Bill Velasco

Though Gilas Pilipinas is making a great stand in the current Jones Cup in Taiwan, we all know that it is not the ultimate goal. Even when the NCC squad took the tournament by storm and won the championship under Ron Jacobs three decades ago, that was not the target. The goal is to finally bring the Philippines back into the Olympic basketball tournament. As a pioneering participant back in Berlin in 1936, and as probably the most passionate basketball country in the world, Filipino fans have been dying to see us back on that platform.

As of now, Gilas Pilipinas is showing improvement with every game, though obviously there are still concerns about shooting and chemistry. There are two things this writer would like to note, though, that bode well for the team.

First, there is a general attitude of humility about this group of players. From Jordan Clarkson playing water boy to Mo Tautuaa doing rookie chores like his veteran teammates’ laundry, there is a deep simplicity in the attitude of the team. There is no grandstanding, complaining, or whining. Even the veterans are all about the team. There is no sense of entitlement, but an attitude of sharing knowledge, experience, and the ball. The Russia game was a big indicator of what this team is willing to go through to achieve its goals.

The other change some observers have noted is the degree of freedom the players have to create on the fly. Intentionally or not, by necessity or not, head coach Tab Baldwin is unleashing the natural talents of the new Gilas recruits.

READ MORE...

When you think about it, that is the essence of Filipino basketball, the untranslatable gifts of abilidad and diskarte. That is something that cannot be scouted by the opposition. If you combine that latent ability with the high-level technical training the players are getting, then we will have a new definition for Filipino-style basketball. This will translate to a guard-heavy team, of course, but that’s where a lot of the creativity comes from, in the first place.

Nevertheless, should the present crop of Gilas players be unable to qualify for the Olympics, the next batch would have an even better chance. It will be a combination of homegrown college starts and those who have ventured and made the leap to the US in one way or another. Think about this possible combination of players.

Four years from now, Kobe Paras would still be playing for UCLA, unless he opts out of school early to enter the NBA draft. Paras, still growing, could top out at 6-7 <x-apple-data-detectors://0> or 6-8, and play one, two or three. And he would have been trained at one of the best basketball schools in the world. Having had technical training since early childhood, his confidence would be a big boost to the next Gilas squad. Imagine pairing him with Clarkson in the backcourt. How about putting together Kiefer Ravena and Ray Parks? The two former UAAP rivals and national team leaders would be another potent combination. Ravena’s killer instinct and Parks’ natural talent, honed by what will by then be a couple of years overseas or in the PBA, will make them a lethal duo.

In four years’ time, half the current roster will have retired or surrendered their slots to younger players. But continuity could still be provided by the likes of Gabe Norwood, Moala Tautuaa and a couple of other players who might still be around. What is for certain is that, by then, the country will have naturalized another foreign player who will match whatever system the coaches will have installed by that time, size is definitely the one thing the Philippines concedes at this point, and having a dominant, versatile big man who can put the ball on the floor and play with his back to the basket would be a big plus. Given that a lot can happen in four years, it is possible that Junemar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar could play for a future edition of the national team. They would certainly be a big help.

By then, there would most certainly be one or two names coming up from the UAAP and NCAA, players who could shore up the forward spots and bring energy, defense and toughness off the bench. The Gilas cadet program will bring out the best in those youngsters.

But the most exciting prospect, as proven by the success of the Azkals in football the past five years, is the potential for more Filipino-foreign players to come out of the woodwork and realize their patriotism to their mothers’ homeland. With over 30 million Filipinos working overseas and millions more having married in other countries, there should be a few who would have the size, strength, training and desire to play for the Philippines. Athletes in other sports like tennis, ice skating and athletics have done it, as well, what more for basketball? The lure would be education and a financial payoff should they make it to the PBA. But in the meantime, they can develop their skills as member of the national team.

For those of us who barely even remember the last time the Philippine basketball team paraded in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, this would be a fond dream come true. We have realized that this is no longer the late 1960’s or early 1970’s when we could just dominate other countries with ease. The gap between our talent level and Southeast Asia is just as wide as the gulf between us and the rest of the world outside Asia. Things are not the same. In Asia, we are closing in on being the second-best team in the region. That would be a tremendous accomplishment in the next few years, and assures a continued presence in the Olympics if the country can maintain it. Then the next big leap would be to actually win games at the Olympic level.

But let’s take it one dream at a time.


PHILSTAR

History in the making SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 3, 2015 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


JOAQUIN HENSON

Perlas couldn’t have shone more brightly yesterday as the Philippine national women’s team bucked the odds to upset highly-favored Kazakhstan, 80-73, in overtime at the FIBA Asia Championships in Wuhan. The win propelled Perlas to the top of the Level 2 standings and a win over India tomorrow will promote the Philippines to Level 1.

“This is history,” said Perlas’ chief benefactor, Ever Bilena CEO and Blackwater PBA team owner Dioceldo Sy who watched the game at courtside. “Now, we have a chance to go to Level 1. When we went up by six over Kazakhstan with 58 seconds to go in overtime, I knew that was it. This team is unbelievable.”

Ewon Arayi, the 5-4 spitfire from Adamson, erupted for 28 points, including 4-of-14 treys and 12-of-12 free throws. Allana Lim of FEU hit 17 while Shelly Gupilan and Andrea Tongco, both of NU, chipped in 10 apiece. Kazakhstan had more rebounds, 63-52, but Perlas had the edge in three-point conversions, 10-of-41 to 6-of-24, and free throw makes, 20-of-27 to 13-of-22.

A key contributor to Perlas’ big win was 5-8 Afril Bernardino who collected four points, 14 rebounds, five assists, six steals and two blocked shots. Perlas was on top at the half by a hair, 33-32, and regulation ended in a 63-all standoff. What brought the Philippines back in the fight was its feisty defense, holding the Kazakhs to nine points in the second period and eight in the fourth.

Kazakhstan was led by 6-1 Oxana Ossipenko and 6-0 Tamara Yagodkina with 19 points each. Center Kadezkda Kondrakova, a 6-4 bruiser, had 11 points and eight boards.

* * * *

READ MORE...

“Kazakhstan played physical and rough, that’s how Kazakhstan is,” said Perlas coach Pat Aquino. “We couldn’t go in because they’re so big. Luckily, our outside shots fell in. Ewon hit four triples, Shelley three, Andrea two and Sofia Roman one. Everybody contributed in defense which was critical.”

Perlas got off on the wrong foot by losing to Malaysia, 71-64, to open the tournament. Then, the Philippines regained its bearings to nose out North Korea, 68-67 and crush Sri Lanka, 65-45 and Hong Kong, 75-62, to set up the showdown with Kazakhstan. The win over North Korea was a proof of character. Perlas recovered from 16 down to ice it with Cindy Resultay’s three-point play down the stretch. Resultay wound up with 14 points and seven boards.

North Korea finished second to the Philippines in Level 2, routing Malaysia, 83-45 and beating Kazakhstan, 68-55. Because of the Philippines’ loss to Malaysia, Perlas couldn’t afford a defeat to the Kazakhs who had disposed of Malaysia, 73-65. A loss to Kazakhstan would’ve struck the Philippines out of contention for a Level 1 slot.

As it turned out, the Philippines zoomed to first place in Level 1 with a 4-1 record. North Korea had the same record but settled for second place because of the winner-over-the-other rule. Tomorrow, the Philippines plays Level 1 No. 6 India for a spot in Level 1 at the next FIBA Asia Championships while North Korea takes on Level 1 No. 5 Thailand, also for a spot in Level 1.

* * * *

“India is tall and very experienced,” said Aquino. “I think India’s post players are better than Kazakhstan. They’ve got three bigs whom we must take care of. We’ll just have to make adjustments. We played tough defense and hit our outside shots against Kazakhstan. We have to do the same against India. The girls are eager to make history. This is their chance to move up to Level 1. We started poorly against Malaysia. Their outside shots were entering and we couldn’t do anything right. But it was a wake up call. From that loss, we’ve won four in a row.

Aquino said four players from the Southeast Asian Games lineup were not available for Wuhan. They are Clare Castro, Danica Jose, Bambi Almazan and Fria Bernardo. “We lost key bigs so we had to compensate by playing smarter and quicker,” he said. “We had to focus on defense as a team. We knew that in every game, we would be outsized so we had to make adjustments. Whatever success we’ve achieved is because of team effort. Everybody wants to be part of history.”

It won’t be easy beating India. At the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships, India was fifth in Level 1 and would’ve been demoted to Level 2 if it lost to Level 2 second placer Malaysia. India, however, stayed in Level 1 with a 74-59 trouncing of Malaysia. In this year’s edition, India is winless, losing to China by 63, Chinese-Taipei by 30, Japan by 100 and Thailand by two. Despite the poor showing, India will retain its spot in Level 1 with a win over the Philippines tomorrow.

The Level 1 teams are China, South Korea, Japan, Chinese-Taipei, India and Thailand while the Level 2 teams are the Philippines, North Korea, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan and Hong Kong. The Philippines is already assured of improving its FIBA rating. In FIBA Asia, the Philippines is ranked No. 14 behind No. 9 Kazakhstan, No. 11 Sri Lanka and No. 13 Hong Kong all of whom Perlas has beaten in Wuhan.


PHILSTAR

Pacquiao could see action for Aguilas team in ABL By: Celest Flores-Colina @CFColinaINQ 09:14 PM September 1st, 2015


Manny Pacquiao (right) could suit up and play for his Powervit Pilipinas Aguilas team in the Asean Basketball League (ABL), which opens its new season this October. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

KUALA LUMPUR — Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is not passing up on the chance to show his basketball chops in the Southeast Asian stage. Pacquiao, the team owner of the newest addition to the ASEAN Basketball League the Pacquiao Powervit Pilipinas Aguilas, is planning to suit up for a few games in the regional tournament.

“According to him, we will play in some games. He will definitely play,” Aguilas team manager Bien Orilla told INQUIRER.net after the press launch of the new ABL season on Tuesday at the Berjaya Hotel here.

READ MORE...

“As we all know that aside from boxing, basketball is really his passion, so the more games he play the happier he is.”

A playing-coach for the Mahindra Enforcers (formerly Kia Carnival) in the PBA, Pacquiao could slide himself down to the injured list to make himself available to play in the ABL.

Pacquiao Powervit Pilipinas joins two new teams and four mainstays in the ABL, which kicks off this October.

This is the newest basketball-related venture of Pacquiao, who aside from having a big involvement with Mahindra in the PBA also owns team MP Hotel in the PBA D-League and bankrolls the Letran Knights as team manager.

The eight division champion is a known basketball enthusiast who even uses the sport as part of his training regimen for his bouts.


INQUIRER

ABL making an impact in regional basketball scene By: Celest Flores-Colina @CFColinaINQ INQUIRER.net 10:18 PM August 31st, 2015


The San Miguel Beer franchise won a championship during its stint in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) before bringing back its name in the PBA. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

KUALA LUMPUR — Running a regional basketball league with teams scattered around Southeast Asia is not without its struggles.

But now on its sixth season, the Asean Basketball League is fueled with the vision to grow into a premier league not only in the Southeast but in the entire Asian region.

“The people who drive the ABL year in and year out are passionate people, passionate about the vision that in the couple of years the ABL will be bigger than what they envisioned it to be,” said Jericho Ilagan, the newly named Chief Operating Officer of the ABL who hails from the Philippines.

From intermittent scheduling, difference in quality of competition, to sustaining interest in countries whose primary sport is not basketball, the ABL has been able to embrace the diversity.

Filipinos impact

Last season, the ABL took a huge hit when for the first time since its inauguration in 2009 the two Philippine-based teams withdrew from tournament that left the league without its biggest market.

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“Because of the fact that your best competition is not there, the top tier is not present, then you play against the second tier so the level of competition is not that high,” admitted Ilagan, who served as a Technical Director for the ABL in the recent years.
The ABL, though, was bolstered by the presence of Filipino players who suited up for other countries as ASEAN imports and, more often than not, are the cornerstones of of their respective teams.

“You support Filipinos who play for other countries. They are also OFWs who are excelling in their own teams,” he said.

Former PBA stalwarts like Froilan Baguion and Leo Avenido are some players who have developed a following in other countries because of their successful stints in the ABL.

PBA first round picks Moala Tautuaa, Stanley Pringle and Chris Banchero, meanwhile, made a name for themselves in the first-ever ASEAN regional league first before plunging into the pros.

Closing the gap

Because of the competition brought about by a basketball-crazy nation like the Philippines, the ABL believes that it has contributed to closing the gap of the level of competition between countries.

“The biggest triumph for me is that before, PH is always the champion in the region. But during the SEABA and the SEA Games, it seemed like we would be defeated by other teams like Singapore, Thailand. If you close the parity gap, that’s a win for the ABL,” Ilagan said.

During the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore last June, the Gilas cadets, heavy favorites to rule men’s basketball, had to grind their way to win the gold after getting a scare from the Thais, whose core was composed of ABL players.

“The development can be attributed in the ABL. Their players are training year round. In 4-5 years Singapore turned from zero to consistent podium finishes.

Thailand now always sends its best team and Indonesia doesn’t like losing big anymore.”

Expansion

The fact remains that sustaining the interest in these football nations is a struggle.

“The biggest struggle is that besides the Philippines, it’s not the primary sport.

With that said, it’s hard to ensure that you have funding every year,” said Ilagan.

“Basketball takes a back seat unlike in the Philippines.”

But in the past seasons, the reception has been generally warm for ABL games with long lines, sold out tickets and packed gyms every game, especially when the Philippine team is visiting.

The ABL, which usually runs up to six months per season, also has to sort out the kinks when it comes to scheduling and holidays, cost of living in different cities and salary differences.

After the fifth season won by the Hi-Tech Bangkok in 2014, ABL’s opening was moved from July to October due to scheduling conflicts amid the SEA Games and the SEABA tournaments.

“You have to work around the schedules of each country’s different local leagues, and holidays like Christmas, Chinese New Year, Ramadan,” Ilagan said.

But Ilagan said that the league is accepting the diversity of the multi-nation league, saying that it builds precious relationships between different nationalities, contributing to the beauty of the sport.

“Sometimes Filipino players have best friends from other countries,” he said.
Next for the ABL, which launches its new season on Tuesday to be attended by ABL and Air Asia executives at the Berjaya Hotel here, is to bring in more participating teams and possibly add one or two teams outside the Southeast Asian region.

“Our goal is to expand the game. We’ll look at other ways to innovate. Our goal is to expand outside of SEA region, you have to grow outside your comfort zone,” Ilagan said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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