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PHL basketball team routs Kazakhstan, NBA's Clarkson in

Published in Sports

By EDDIE G. ALINEA | Sports Editor & Columnist



MANILA – A team willing and determined to bring honors to the country and the Filipinos carries the Philippines’ red, white and blue colors in basketball hostilities of the  18th Asian Games in Indonesia.


This was what head coach Roseller Yeng Guiao thinks of the Gilas Pilipinas lineup he finalized in just three days and this was proven with its initial game when it routed Kazakhstan.      


The Nationals are made up of Maverick Ahanmisi, Raymond Almazan, Beau Belga, Chris Tiu, Gabe Norwood, James Yap, all of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters; Magnolia Hotshots' Paul Lee, Christian Standhardinger of the San Miguel Beermen; GlobalPort Batang Pier's Stanley Pringle, Poy Erram of the Blackwater Elite, NLEX Road Warriors' Asi Taulava.


Fil-American Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers rounded up the roster after a reversal of decision by the National Basketball Association. The NBA earlier did not issue the greenlight for Clarkson to play but changed its mind and allowed him to play for the Philippine team.


“I’m happy to have this team,” Guiao told the Philippines Today USA/PhilAmPress team in an interview hours before the team’s departure from Manila to Indonesia.


“Happy, because in so short a time of one week, we were able to assemble this group of young boys ready to sacrifice for flag country knowing that under normal circumstances they won’t be able to make it as members of the national team.”   


“And they’re happy, too, we, in the coaching staff know. Alam nila maigsi lamang ang panahon ng ensayo a kahit anong ipagawa namin, ginawa nila,  walang reklamo. Isinisigaw nga nila habang nag-e-ensayo, para sa bayan ito,” Guiao disclosed.


“First and foremost, they love the country. They love the sport at alam nilang naatasan lang sila dahil sa pangyayaring di naman  nilakasalanan, they’re willing to do everything to save Philippine basketball,” Guiao reasoned out.   


“Never say die itong mga batang ito with due respect to newly-crowned PBA Commissioner’s Cup champion Baragay Ginebra,” he added chuckling. “Patay kung patay, sabi nga natin.”


“In fairness, this team is not short talents. I won’t even say that we lack the needed time to prepare,” he temperamental bench tactician assessed.


“Malakas ang team. We have shooters from outside. We have slashers, rebounders, speed to run our game. We have a little of everything, these boys are all pros na marurunong maglaro,” he explained.


“Imagine Asi, 45 years-old na yan, rume-rebound na tumatakbo pa at sumi-syut pa from three-point area.”


“Paano ka naman hindi mautwaa sa mgax nagawa ng mga batang ito?” Guiao asked. “Ang maipangangako lang namin sa ating mga kababayan ay ito: Maglalaro kami sa Asian Games at hind kami gagawa ng mga bagay na mapapahiya ang ating bayan."


“Matatalo kami, given yan. But we will be coming back home na nakataas an ulo naming. Maaring wala kaming madalang medalya, bu what we will be bringing home ay karangalan para sa bansang Piipinas at sa salitang Pilipino,” Guiao vowed.  


Gilas Pilipinas, playing with just 11 men as Filipino American NBA player Jordan Clarkson only arrived at the GBK Basketball Hall in Jakarta late into the third quarter of its match, blasted an ice-cold Kazakhstan squad, 96-59, at the start of their respective campaigns in the Asian Games men's basketball competition on Thursday, August 16.


Gilas banked on a hot start as Kazakhstan could not make its field goals early on, only making one of 14 attempts in just the first quarter.


Kazakhstan began getting its groove in the third quarter, but Gilas had already secured a huge lead enough for the team to hold on until the end.


In his homecoming of sorts, Stanley Pringle, who played for the Indonesia Warriors in the ABL, tallied 18 points, four rebounds, two assists, and one steal in his first game for Gilas in the 5-on-5 setting.


Chris Standhardinger chipped in 15 points, four rebounds, and one steal.


James Yap added 12 points, six rebounds, one steal, and one block, while Paul Lee poured in 10 points all in the fourth quarter.


Anton Bykov led Kazakhstan with 13 points, five rebounds, and one assist. 


Box Scores:

Philippines 96 - Pringle 18, Standhardinger 15, Yap 12, Lee 10, Tiu 9, Norwood 7, Almazan 6, Erram 5, Belga 5, Taulava 5, Ahanmisi 4

Kazakhstan 59 - Bykov 13, Gavrilov 9, Yergali 8, Zhigulin 7, Bazhin 6, Chsherbak 6, Kuanov 6, Marchuk 2, Maidekin 2, Yagodkin 0, Satkeyev 0

Quarterscores: 16-9, 41-20, 61-43, 96-59


In the last edition of the quadrennial meet in 2014, the national squad finished with a 3-4 record to salvage the seventh spot.


The Philippines has captured four gold medals in the men's basketball of the regional tournament (1951, 1954, 1958, 1962).


The Filipinos will play in Group D together with Kazakhstan and China.


The 2018 Asian Games will run from August 18 to September 2.


It's down to the last stretch for the Philippine men's basketball team in their preparations for the Asian games. The main agenda tonight: The final lineup of players who will represent the country in Indonesia. 


PH men's basketball head coach Yeng Guiao says the players can perform decently in the Asian games despite the short notice and subsequent limited preparation time.


FIBA ranking: 30 Steady

Joined FIBA: 1936

FIBA zone: FIBA Asia

National federation: Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas

Coach: Chot Reyes

Nickname(s): Gilas Pilipinas


Olympic Games

Appearances: 7

Medals: None


FIBA World Cup

Appearances: 5

Medals: Bronze (1954)


Asian Championships

Appearances: 27

Medals: Gold medal (1960, 1963, 1967, 1973, 1985), Silver (1965, 1971, 2013, 2015), Bronze medal (1969)


Asian Games

Appearances: 16

Medals: Gold medal (1951, 1954, 1958, 1962), Silver medal (1990), bronze medal (1986, 1998)


First international

Philippines W-L China (Manila, Philippines; February 1, 1913)

Biggest win: Philippines 184–40 North Yemen (New Delhi, India; November 22, 1982)

Biggest defeat: Philippines 53–121 United States (Melbourne, Australia; November 26, 1956)


Medal record

FIBA Basketball World Cup 0 0 1
FIBA Asia Championship/Cup 5 4 1
FIBA Asia Cup/Challenge 0 0 1
Asian Games 4 1 2
SEABA Championship 8 1 0
SEABA Cup  2 0 0
Southeast Asian Games  17 2 0
Far Eastern Championship Games 9 1 0
TOTAL 45 9 5


The Philippines men's national basketball team (Filipino: Pambansang koponan ng basketbol ng Pilipinas) is managed by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (Basketball Federation of the Philippines or simply SBP). 

MANILA – The economy expanded by 6 percent in the second quarter of 2018, making the Philippines still one of the best-performing economies in Asia.


 Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the April to June growth rate is “less than what we had hoped for” behind Vietnam’s 6.8 percent and China at 6.7 percent growth.


Pernia remains hopeful about achieving at least the low-end of the 7 to 8-percent growth target range for the year with the implementation of policies towards attracting more investments, after the economy accelerated 6 percent in the second quarter.


Pernia said the Philippines remained one of the best-performing economies in Asia after Vietnam at 6.8 percent growth and China at 6.7 percent growth, even as the second-quarter growth rate is “less than what we had hoped for.”


Pernia attributed the slowdown partly to policy decisions undertaken that are expected to promote sustainable and resilient development.


He was referring to the temporary closure of Boracay Island from April to October 2018, which partly made a dent on the economy and growth in exports of services slowing to 9.6 percent in the second quarter from 16.4 percent in first quarter.


Pernia said the mining and quarrying sector also showed a lackluster performance amid the closure of several mining pits and the excise tax on non-metallic and metallic minerals.


“But, I emphasize, all measures should ensure sustainable and long-run growth for the economy. These policy decisions were prudent and judicious,” he said.


The gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the first six months of the year reached 6.3 percent.

The economy grew 6.6 percent in January to March.


“This implies that the Philippine economy would have to expand by at least 7.7 percent in the second semester to attain the low-end of the 7.0 to 8.0 percent growth for 2018,” Pernia said.


Meanwhile, an economist from IHS Markit said rising world crude prices and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' (BSP) tightening of monetary policy are slowing down the country’s economic growth.


IHS Markit Asia Pacific Chief Economist Rajiv Biswas made the statement, following the release of the gross domestic product (GDP) growth figure for the second quarter of the year at 6 percent.


“With the GDP growth rate in Q2 2018 moderating to 6 percent, the lowest year-on-year pace of growth since Q3 2015, the Philippines government and central bank face a more challenging economic outlook of softening growth momentum and rising inflation,” Biswas said in an e-mail.


“A key risk to the near-term outlook is from the risk of further rises in world oil prices, which could push inflation higher and force more BSP rate hikes during H2 2018 and in 2019,” he added.


Early this week, government data showed that inflation rate hit its five-year high jumping to 5.7 percent in July.


The higher global oil prices coupled with the weaker peso contributed to price pressures in the domestic market.


With the rising price pressure, it was expected for the BSP to raise key policy rates as much as 100 basis points for the second half of 2018.


Pernia pointed out that the immediate approval of the 11th Regular Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL) should be prioritized to reduce foreign investment restrictions.


“Together with the proper implementation of the Ease of Doing Business Act, this will surely encourage more investments from both foreign and domestic sources,” he noted.


Pernia said the Philippine economy would have to expand by at least 7.7 percent in the second semester to attain the low-end of the 7.0 to 8.0 percent for 2018.


The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 6.3 percent in the first half of the year. It was pulled up by the 6.6 percent growth in January to March.


Pernia is also hopeful that the timely implementation of the “Build, Build, Build” program bodes well with the construction industry, and is seen to boost not only public construction but private builders as well.


In the services sector, the immediate facilitation of the possible entry of a third player in the telecommunications industry will enhance the efficiency of communications, and support the growth of small business, particularly retail trade, he said.


“Further, the resumption of tourism activities in Boracay Island by October gives us good reason to be bullish about prospects for tourism and other service sectors in the fourth quarter,” he added.


Pernia attributed the slower second-quarter economic growth to policy decisions undertaken that are expected to promote sustainable and resilient development.


He said the temporary closure of Boracay Island from April to October 2018 partly made a dent on the economy with growth in exports of services slowing to 9.6 percent in the second quarter from 16.4 percent in first quarter.


He pointed out that the mining and quarrying sector declined 10.9 percent with the closure of several mining pits and the excise tax on non-metallic and metallic minerals.


“Moreover, the stricter enforcement of regulations on aquaculture producers at Laguna Lake resulted in the drop of freshwater fish catch,” he said.


Pernia said industry growth is slower at 6.3 percent in the second quarter, as manufacturing softened on the back of strict regulations of controlled chemical and chemical products, coupled with the high rates charged by shipping companies for transporting chemicals.


He also noted the almost stagnant output of the agriculture sector, supporting their premise that the main reason behind the country’s high inflation is the gross deficiency in the domestic production of food, which was not augmented by imported goods, especially rice.


Palay, corn, sugarcane and mango harvests for the quarter were dismal. Coconut including copra, livestock and poultry production all reported weak output.


“Rice tariffication is a crucial measure to address food supply issues and their consequent impact on inflation. It will reduce the policy uncertainty in rice trade, and hopefully, encourage more productive investments in the sector,” he said.


Meanwhile, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that services recorded the fastest growth at 6.6 percent in the second quarter of 2018.


Industry followed with a growth of 6.3 percent, and agriculture with a growth of 0.2 percent.


The PSA said manufacturing, trade and construction were the main drivers of growth for the quarter.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has raised its benchmark rate by 50 basis points on August 9, after inflation breached its target for 5 straight months.


The highest increase in 10 years brought the overnight borrowing rate to 4 percent. It was also the third straight hike this year. The BSP earlier raised rates twice by 25-basis point increments.


"The BSP reiterates its strong commitment and readiness to take all policy actions to address the threat of high inflation and deliver on its primary mandate of price stability," BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said. 


Espenilla reiterated the regulator's "firm commitment" to meet its 2 to 4 percent inflation target for the year.


Consumer prices rose 5.7 percent in July, exceeding the BSP's goal for the fifth straight month and quickening for the seventh straight month. It was also the highest in data since January 2013.


President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers have outlined several measures to cushion the impact of inflation, including taxing rice imports to help bring down the price of the staple and cash subsidies for the poor.


Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is now Speaker of the House of Representatives, last month asked Duterte to "do something" about rising prices and had met with his economic team.


"Should price pressures continue to rise through the third quarter, the risk would be of further tightening at the September 27 meeting... and another 25 bp hike in the fourth quarter," Benjamin Shatil, ASEAN economist at JPMorgan, said in a note.


Standard Chartered's Asia economist Chidu Narayanan meanwhile said today's rate hike is likely the last for this year.


"I don't think they (BSP) will be hiking again after today's meeting because, partly, I think inflation would top out in August. I mentioned 6 percent," Narayanan said in an interview with ANC's Market Edge. 


Narayanan said he expects inflation to go down in the 4th quarter and to average 4.4 percent in 2019.

Stop cha-cha now!

Published in On Distant Shore

With its top two economic managers warning of the dangers of the rush to federalism, a third Cabinet member expressing doubts to the country’s readiness to the shift, and big business groups opposing a charter change, it’s inconceivable why the Duterte administration continues to insist that the proposed break-up of our tiny country into 18 federated regions remains its priority.


Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, the head of the administration’s economic team, said the draft federal charter would widen the budget deficit, downgrade the country’s credit ratings, and may lead to job losses and fewer funds for the administration’s infrastructure program.


In unequivocable terms, Dominguez said “the possible repercussions could result in dire, irreversible economic consequences.”


Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, on the other hand, said the shift would be too costly for the government and may disrupt the economy’s growth momentum. Pernia, who also heads the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), said the shift to federalism would directly cost the government P120 billion, not including costs such as disruption of government projects, and would take critical funds from the administration’s centerpiece “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.


Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, describing the draft submitted by the constitutional committee created by President Duterte as “confusing,” warned that the country is “not yet” ready for the proposed change in the government system.


In calling for “full, open, and dispassionate dialogues” about federalism, several business groups, led by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), said they worry that the high cost of shifting to a federal form of government might lead to a fiscal deficit of 6.7 percent of the gross domestic product, which is way beyond the target of the economic managers.


“We worry about the dire consequences that such fiscal imbalance could have on the economy and the flagship ‘Build, Build, Build’ program of the current administration,” the business leaders said.


Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., who has opposed federalism from Day One, said: “The Charter change and federalism proposed in the CCCOM would not bring (to the people) the manna from heaven, but tyranny, injustice, corruption, poverty and penury.”


Davide also said the Supreme Court has already ruled last month that the 40 percent IRA for the local government units shall be based on all ‘national taxes,’ not only on ‘internal revenue taxes.’


According to Davide, the LGUs can now collect their shares in all the national taxes from 1992, upon the effectivity of the Local Government Code. Under this decision, the amount owed by the national government to the LGUs effective 1992 until the present would reach P1.5 trillion.  


This ruling effectively removes the main reason being cited by federalism proponents, who said government funds are concentrated in “Imperial Manila” and local government units in other regions do not get their fair share for development.


The proposed charter calls for a 50-percent share for the regions from the national government tax revenues, but the Supreme Court already ruled that the local government units are entitled to 40 percent of national government revenues, so why aim for another 10 percent when it would bring all the unnecessary risks of an uncertain and untested federal form of government?


In his testimony to the Senate, Pernia noted that any hasty attempt to enforce federalism would set back the country’s economic progress and instead of giving regions a fair share, would just leave most of the regions even further behind.


He said only five of the proposed 18 federated regions, have the political and economic infrastructure that would allow them to adopt federalism. He cited four of the five regions—the National Capital Region, Cebu, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.


Indeed, why change the present form of government when it is under this system that the country attained what has been touted as one of the highest economic growth rates in Asia? What can a federal form of government offer that can’t be fixed under the present setup? Why divide a nation that took years and our heroes’ blood to unite?


Why can’t the government just focus on sustaining the 6.5 to 6.7-percent economic growth that the country has had in the past several years? Why can’t this administration just focus on other ills that need immediate attention -- such as the runaway inflation, the rising prices that have worsened poverty in the country, the worsening traffic and transportation problems, the declining value of the Philippine peso, the degradation of moral values, the rampant graft and corruption – instead of draining the country’s limited resources and distracting the people and the public officials’ attention to a federal shift fraught with dangers and devoid of clear benefits?


The uncertainties that the proposed new system of government present have only added to the chaos and confusion that several policies of the Duterte administration have brought. Capital flight continues to hound the country, with several multinational companies planning to move out to business-friendlier countries such as Vietnam.


The stiff taxes that the administration imposed under its much-touted TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) have made it difficult for companies to survive, much less to sustain growth, and for ordinary Filipinos to put food on the table, triggering runaway inflation and threatening to decelerate, instead of accelerate, economic growth. In fact, it was reported last week that the economy has decelerated to 6.0 percent in the second quarter from the 6.6-percent in the first quarter, way below the 7 to 8 percent growth targeted by the government this year.


The cha-cha express, the term coined to denote the rush to charter change (cha-cha), and the shift to federal/parliamentary system of government, has only succeeded in derailing the administration’s own TRAIN and in distracting the country from the more pressing goal of accelerating economic growth and combatting poverty, while making our long-entrenched traditional politicians and political dynasties salivate over the prospect of strengthening their stranglehold on their respective fiefdoms and of having deeper coffers to dip their hands on.


We all have to raise our voices to stop this nonsense. Stop cha-cha now!


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