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ASIAN GAMES gold medalist Margielyn Didal poses with Senator Manny Pacquiao during a call at his senate office. (Wendell Alinea) 

 

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NBA SUPERSTAR Stephen Curry takes the iconic Philippine jeepney wearing his Under Armour shoes. (Under Armour photo)

 

PASAY CITY – Three-time NBA Champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors mesmerized basketball-crazy Filipinos during his second visit in the Philippines highlighted by a training camp, exhibition games and leading the oath of sportsmanship during the opening ceremonies of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) 81st season at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

 

The NBA superstar whose champion team is based in Oakland in the San Francisco Bay Area in Califoria planed in on September 6 and left two days later still feeling the energetic vibe he felt the first time he visited the Philippines in 2015.

 

Curry's visit was part of the Under Armour tour to promote his Curry 5 signature basketball shoe.

 

The baby-faced sharpshooter also addressed journalists during a media breakfast on September 7 at the Kerry Sports at Shangri-La BGC, a world-class fitness and leisure club, at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig before participating in a 3x3 championship game at the Mall of Asia Arena later in the day.

 

Reports by Philippine media stated that Curry looked very impressive during the shootaround in the presence of his father Dell whom he credited for inspiring him to excel in basketball. He also enjoyed the popular Filipino desert “halo-halo” with "pinipig" and beans.

 

Curry talked about winning a third straight NBA crown.

 

He said the Warriors have the chance to become only the fifth team in NBA history to win three titles in a row after the Minneapolis Lakers, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.

 

“We have an amazing opportunity to do something that is rarely done in the NBA and that is to win three in a row,” he said.

 

“I’m excited about the challenge. We want to accomplish the ultimate feel of winning the championship every single year. That’s why we work so hard during the offseason,” Curry added. 

 

The two-time MVP thanked the Filipino fans for “all the love and support” during the first day of his visit to the country.

 

In his message to spectators in attendance at the Mall of Asia Arena, Curry thanked his Filipino and Southeast Asian fans for their support, expressing his intention to return to Manila in the future.

 

He said he was sure he has more titles by his next visit.

 

"I just want to thank everybody here in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia for supporting my family and my team. Thank you so much. I hope to come back with a couple of championships maybe. Thank you very much. Go Warriors. Keep pushing,” said Curry.

 

From Manila, Curry was to fly to Wuhan, China and Tokyo, Japan for his Under Armour Asian Tour.

 

The three-time NBA champion staged a one-man shootaround and hit back-to-back-to-back-to back 3-point shots like he normally does in the NBA.

 

He admitted that it’s his biggest weapon — hitting 3-point shots from a range where his defenders would not think of him taking the shots.

 

With media men watching, he sank 3-pointers like he took them from 10 feet.

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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

EVENT 1ST 2ND 3RD
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). 

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By EDDIE G. ALINEA | Sports Editor & Columnist

 

(Photo from Instagram | @coachot)

 

MANILA – The Philippine team will compete in the Asian Games in Indonesia after all.

 

Nearly two weeks after controversially withdrawing its participation in the Asiad, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) formally said that it will send a squad to Jakarta for the quadrennial meet.

 

As expected, the key players of Rain ohine will make up the bulk of the national team lineup to be coached by current NLEX mentor Roseller Yeng Guiao. Caloy Garcia, ROS' chief gaffer, will serve as Guiao's associate.

 

"Kasama po rito si Maverick Ahanmisi, Chris Tiu, Gabe Norwood, James Yap, Beau Belga, at si Raymond Almazan," Guiao announced the Elasto Painters' core that will play in the Asiad.

 

They will be joined by Asi Taulava, one of Guiao's players at NLEX, Magnolia's Paul Lee, San Miguel's Chris Standhardinger, GlobalPort's Stanley Pringle, Blackwater's Poy Erram, TNT's Don Trollano, and Gilas cadets Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero.

 

While Guiao announced a 14-man pool during a press conference at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City prior to Game 5 of the Commissioner's Cup Finals between Ginebra and San Miguel, he added, "We will cut that down to 12 before we leave."

 

Daily practices, according to Guiao, will begin on Monday night at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City and will go full throttle when the team heads to the Indonesian capital on Aug. 14.

 

Philippine Olympic Committee president and Philippine Basketball Association board chairman Ricky Vargas assured, "Hindi lang [ito]team but it's going to be a competitive team. We promise our basketball fans that we're not only sending a team but we're also sending a team that they will be proud of." 

 

Presidential assistant Christopher Lawrence Bong Go said Gilas and the rest of the Philippine team that will go to Jakarta and Palembang for the quadrennial meet will have President Rodrigo Duterte’s full support.

 

"Maaasahan ng Philippine delegates sa Asian Games ang buong suporta ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. Andito kami para suportahan ang mga manlalarong Pilipino na magdadala ng karangalan sa ating bansa (The Philippine delegates to the Asian Games should expect the full support of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration. We are here to support the Filipino athletes who bring honor to our country)," Go said. 

 

A day after getting the imprimatur to represent the country in the coming Asian Games, coach Yeng Guiao and members of the Philippine basketball team met for the first time on August 6 to start their short but extensive preparations at the Meralco gym in Pasig City.

 

Only light skirmishes were scheduled, mostly for purposes of designing plays that will be, Guiao hoped, able to master comes competition time as his boys responded spiritedly.

   

“Maganda ang simula,” Guiao, who is in his second stint as a national mentor following the 2009 FIBA-Asia, assessed. “Feeling ko, inspired ang mga bata. Alam naman natin na biglaan ito at ilan sa kanila ay hindi man mang makakaisip na makalalaro sila sa Asiad representing our flag had it not for the circumstances presently prevailing in th local basketball community.”

 

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, one of the people responsible for the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ change of heart from not sending a team to eventually allowing the country’s participation owing to a strong public clamor, agreed.

 

“Alam mo, dapat nga nating hangaan at purihin and mga manlalarong ito who defied criticism that they don’t really deserve being in the national team,” Marcial emphasized.

 

“To me, these guys are already winners in the sense that they save Philippine basketball from being in the doldrums had earlier decision to not play in the Asiad pushed through,” Marcial added.

 

“That’ right,” Raymond Yu, who co-owned the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters franchise with Terry Que, butted in. “These boys saved, too, our relations with all Olympic Council of Asia member countries for agreeing to play in the midst of kantyaw ibibabato sa kanila ng ilang kababayan natin.”

 

“And for that, I consider them our modern day dheroes, ngayon pa lamang na hindi pa nagsisimua ang Asa Games,” Yu declared.

 

 “Most importantly, we must thank our basketball-crazy kababayans who didn’t stop clamoring that we send a team in a sport closest to their hearts, Marcial said. “Our thanks also go to the PBA, the SBP and the Philippine Olympic Committee for heeding the insistent demand from our basketball-loving people.”

 

Given the limited time to prepare and the equally limited talents available, Guiao said his team has sufficient manpower to perform creditably and decently and win as many games possible that will make the Filipinos happy.

 

“Out of this pool of players, we hope to build a team composed of 12 men who might come short of coming to the medal podium, but, win the admiration and respect of our people and those of our rivals,” Guiao vowed.

 

“Sisiguruhin namin sa coaching staff at sa mga mamumuno ng ating koponan na ang mga batang ipadadala sa Indonesia ay makapagbibigay karangalan sa aking bansa at sa pangalang Pilipino kung hindi man medalya,” Guiao vowed.

 

“Of course, we’ll try our best to bring home that coveted basketball edal our countrymen have been craving for quite some time,” he added.

 

All but one members of the team – Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, Raymond Almazan, James Yap, Chris Tiu and Maverick Ahanmisi, all of Rain or Shine Paul Lee of Magnolia Hotshots, Stanley Pringle of Global Port, Don Trollano of Talk ‘N Text, Asi Taulava of NLEX, Poy Erram of Blackwater and Gilas Cadets Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero – were in attendance.

 

Only San Miguel Beer’ contribution to Guiao’s selection, Christian Stanhardinger, wasn’t around, attending the Beermen’s preparation for their on-going best-of-seven series in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, now in Game 5.

 

Another Cadet member, Abu Tratter, filled the void in Stanhardinger’s absence by joining the light, but, inspired workout scheduled for the day that satisfied Guiao, assistant coach Coy Garcia, ROS owner Yu PBA Board of Governors member, Atty, Mamerto Mondragon, and PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, among others.     

 

Before practice began, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio, Yu and Guiao spoke to the team in a closed-door meeting.

 

The squad will leave for Jakarta on August 14 before plunging to action on August 16.  

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By EDDIE G. ALINEA | Sports Editor & Columnist

 

(Photo from Instagram | @coachot)

 

MANILA – The Philippine team will compete in the Asian Games in Indonesia after all.

 

Nearly two weeks after controversially withdrawing its participation in the Asiad, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) formally said that it will send a squad to Jakarta for the quadrennial meet.

 

As expected, the key players of Rain ohine will make up the bulk of the national team lineup to be coached by current NLEX mentor Roseller Yeng Guiao. Caloy Garcia, ROS' chief gaffer, will serve as Guiao's associate.

 

"Kasama po rito si Maverick Ahanmisi, Chris Tiu, Gabe Norwood, James Yap, Beau Belga, at si Raymond Almazan," Guiao announced the Elasto Painters' core that will play in the Asiad.

 

They will be joined by Asi Taulava, one of Guiao's players at NLEX, Magnolia's Paul Lee, San Miguel's Chris Standhardinger, GlobalPort's Stanley Pringle, Blackwater's Poy Erram, TNT's Don Trollano, and Gilas cadets Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero.

 

While Guiao announced a 14-man pool during a press conference at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City prior to Game 5 of the Commissioner's Cup Finals between Ginebra and San Miguel, he added, "We will cut that down to 12 before we leave."

 

Daily practices, according to Guiao, will begin on Monday night at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City and will go full throttle when the team heads to the Indonesian capital on Aug. 14.

 

Philippine Olympic Committee president and Philippine Basketball Association board chairman Ricky Vargas assured, "Hindi lang [ito]team but it's going to be a competitive team. We promise our basketball fans that we're not only sending a team but we're also sending a team that they will be proud of." 

 

Presidential assistant Christopher Lawrence Bong Go said Gilas and the rest of the Philippine team that will go to Jakarta and Palembang for the quadrennial meet will have President Rodrigo Duterte’s full support.

 

"Maaasahan ng Philippine delegates sa Asian Games ang buong suporta ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. Andito kami para suportahan ang mga manlalarong Pilipino na magdadala ng karangalan sa ating bansa (The Philippine delegates to the Asian Games should expect the full support of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration. We are here to support the Filipino athletes who bring honor to our country)," Go said. 

 

A day after getting the imprimatur to represent the country in the coming Asian Games, coach Yeng Guiao and members of the Philippine basketball team met for the first time on August 6 to start their short but extensive preparations at the Meralco gym in Pasig City.

 

Only light skirmishes were scheduled, mostly for purposes of designing plays that will be, Guiao hoped, able to master comes competition time as his boys responded spiritedly.

   

“Maganda ang simula,” Guiao, who is in his second stint as a national mentor following the 2009 FIBA-Asia, assessed. “Feeling ko, inspired ang mga bata. Alam naman natin na biglaan ito at ilan sa kanila ay hindi man mang makakaisip na makalalaro sila sa Asiad representing our flag had it not for the circumstances presently prevailing in th local basketball community.”

 

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, one of the people responsible for the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ change of heart from not sending a team to eventually allowing the country’s participation owing to a strong public clamor, agreed.

 

“Alam mo, dapat nga nating hangaan at purihin and mga manlalarong ito who defied criticism that they don’t really deserve being in the national team,” Marcial emphasized.

 

“To me, these guys are already winners in the sense that they save Philippine basketball from being in the doldrums had earlier decision to not play in the Asiad pushed through,” Marcial added.

 

“That’ right,” Raymond Yu, who co-owned the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters franchise with Terry Que, butted in. “These boys saved, too, our relations with all Olympic Council of Asia member countries for agreeing to play in the midst of kantyaw ibibabato sa kanila ng ilang kababayan natin.”

 

“And for that, I consider them our modern day dheroes, ngayon pa lamang na hindi pa nagsisimua ang Asa Games,” Yu declared.

 

 “Most importantly, we must thank our basketball-crazy kababayans who didn’t stop clamoring that we send a team in a sport closest to their hearts, Marcial said. “Our thanks also go to the PBA, the SBP and the Philippine Olympic Committee for heeding the insistent demand from our basketball-loving people.”

 

Given the limited time to prepare and the equally limited talents available, Guiao said his team has sufficient manpower to perform creditably and decently and win as many games possible that will make the Filipinos happy.

 

“Out of this pool of players, we hope to build a team composed of 12 men who might come short of coming to the medal podium, but, win the admiration and respect of our people and those of our rivals,” Guiao vowed.

 

“Sisiguruhin namin sa coaching staff at sa mga mamumuno ng ating koponan na ang mga batang ipadadala sa Indonesia ay makapagbibigay karangalan sa aking bansa at sa pangalang Pilipino kung hindi man medalya,” Guiao vowed.

 

“Of course, we’ll try our best to bring home that coveted basketball edal our countrymen have been craving for quite some time,” he added.

 

All but one members of the team – Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, Raymond Almazan, James Yap, Chris Tiu and Maverick Ahanmisi, all of Rain or Shine Paul Lee of Magnolia Hotshots, Stanley Pringle of Global Port, Don Trollano of Talk ‘N Text, Asi Taulava of NLEX, Poy Erram of Blackwater and Gilas Cadets Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero – were in attendance.

 

Only San Miguel Beer’ contribution to Guiao’s selection, Christian Stanhardinger, wasn’t around, attending the Beermen’s preparation for their on-going best-of-seven series in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, now in Game 5.

 

Another Cadet member, Abu Tratter, filled the void in Stanhardinger’s absence by joining the light, but, inspired workout scheduled for the day that satisfied Guiao, assistant coach Coy Garcia, ROS owner Yu PBA Board of Governors member, Atty, Mamerto Mondragon, and PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, among others.     

 

Before practice began, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio, Yu and Guiao spoke to the team in a closed-door meeting.

 

The squad will leave for Jakarta on August 14 before plunging to action on August 16.  

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(Photo from Instagram | @mannypacquiao)

 

GENERAL SANTOS CITY– If the opportunity comes, boxing champion Manny Pacquiao said he will not think twice to have a rematch with undefeated American prizefighter Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Pacquiao reiterated his desire  to have another fight with the now retired Mayweather, who defeated him via unanimous decision in their lone faceoff in 2015.

He initially called out Mayweather to “do a second one” with him after arriving here from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia late Monday afternoon.

The “fighting senator” wrested the World Boxing Association “regular” welterweight title from Argentinian Lucas Matthysse in an epic seventh round knockout last Sunday.

“That depends. Let’s see if he decides to return to boxing. If that happens, it means he’s coming back for me,” he told reporters at his mansion in Barangay Lagao here.

Pacquiao said he wants to do “two to three more fights” before finally hanging up his gloves and just focus on his political career.

Now 39 years-old, he acknowledged that age will finally slow him down but added that this was not the case so far, stressing his “passion for boxing” has not wavered.

Presidential son Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, who visited Pacquiao , said the latter has “a lot left” in the tank to continue his boxing career.

He congratulated the senator for knocking out Matthysse “as what we’ve been always rooting.”

“Si Mayweather dapat tumbahin niya. Kailangan niyang tumbahin yun (He should knock out Mayweather. He needs to knock him down),” the younger Duterte said.

Senator Nancy Binay, who also visited Pacquiao, said the latter’s latest feat is a huge victory for the Filipino people.

“The Senate is honored with his accomplishment,” she said.

South Cotabato second district representative and deputy House Speaker Ferdinand Hernandez said Pacquiao made the country “really proud” with his sensational win.

“It was huge for everyone to witness another knockout performance from him,” he added.

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By EDDIE G. ALINEA  | Sports Editor & Columnist

 

(Photo from Instagram | @kingjames)

 

LOS ANGELES/MANILA – A little more  than a month following his signing a four-year, $153 deal with Los Angeles, NBA superstar LeBron James  finally broke his silence on why he chose the Lakers over several teams, including his former Cleveland Cavaliers.      

 

In a video post through his own company, Uninterrupted, via Twitter, James stated that the choice was something he long dreamed of and came to fruition at an ideal time of his career.

 

 “This has always kind of been a dream come true for me, “James said.  “Growing up, I was a Cowboys fan. I was a Bulls fan. I was a Yankees fan. I always felt that was one of the historic franchises.”

 

“Then you look at the Lakers. Being able to play for a historic franchise with so much history and now being able to partner with Magic Johnson, (who is) someone I looked up to when I was younger,” he argued.

 

“Wanted to make no-look passes like Magic. Wanted to get on the break and be Showtime like Magic. Then for it all to come to fruition at this point, I think the timing is everything,” James pointed out.

 

 “For me to be in this position now, the excitement to be a Laker, I am happy to be a part of it because I believe the Lakers is a historic franchise. We all know that, but it’s a championship franchise and that’s what we are trying to get back to. I am happy to be a part of the culture and us getting back to that point,” LeBron explained.”

 

His statements were made during the opening of his I Promise  school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, through the LeBron James Family Foundation.

 

The Los Angeles Lakers were the odds-on favored to land James in free agency even before the NBA Finals, but that doesn't mean it was an easy decision for him. While most felt that the pitiful postseason performance of the Cavaliers' supporting cast ruined any chances of LeBron returning to Cleveland, there were other intriguing options out there for the King.

 

While he mostly gave the details of his latest philanthropic endeavor, he also talked a little basketball. James revealed which teams he considered before ultimately signing with the Lakers as told to Harrison Faigen of SBNation:

 

"I did my due diligence after the season on the pros and cons on a lot of different teams, including the Cavs, Philadelphia, Houston and Los Angeles," James said. "So it wasn't as quick as it may seem. It just wasn't July 9 like it was before. So after talking to my family more than anybody, I felt like this was the next step in my journey."

 

Everybody knew  the 76ers and the Rockets, along with the Cavs and the Lakers, were making a strong push for James' services, but it's interesting to hear that he actually considered all four teams, and possibly some others.

 

The fact that he has the potential to put the Lakers back to relevancy in the league after a five-year playoff hiatus, James’  revelations have made it clear that he will fully embrace the process of lifting the team back to being a dominant force in their bid for an NBA title.

 

There is a renewed buzz and excitement around the city of Los Angeles that has been lacking for quite some time, and James appears to be more than ready to help lift the Lakers back on top.(Eddie Alinea/PhlTodayUSA)

 

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By EDDIE G. ALINEA, Sports Editor & Columnist

 

FIGHTING SENATOR Manny Pacquiao punishes the heavy bag after a grueling 12 rounds of sparring at the Pacman Wildcard Gym in General Santos City Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions)

 

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — All the bases have been covered.

 

This,  Filipino boxing pride Manny Paquiao assured as he prepares himself to put the curtains down on his General Santos training camp starting Monday, exactly a week before departing to Kuala Lumpur for his World Boxing Association welterweight title date with champion Lucas Matthysse.   

 

The Filipino fighting senator is seeking to retake  his place in the elite list of world champions when he collides heads on with Matthysse for the Argentine’s 147-pound belt on July 15 at the Axiata Arena in that Malaysian capital.        

 

“After spending the past two-and-a-half months in the camp, running the road, sparring and working the mitts, heavy bag, speed ball, etc., I believe we’ve covered everything there is to cover to prepare for this coming fight,” Pacquiao said after completing another rigid grind on Saturday at the Pacman Wild Card Gym here.

 

To chief trainer Buboy Fernandez’s projection, his ward and boyhood pal is already 95 percent prepared to fight and can, in fact, lace his fighting gloves anytime this week.

 

“Ang problema lang ay ang pigilang magkaroon si Manny ng sakit like ubo, sipon at lagnat. Otherwise, what we tried to  achieve when we opened the camp has all been achieved,” Buboy said.      

 

“Yeah, I feel I’m ready to again climb the ring after a year’s absence following my last fight a year ago,” the Pamabansang Kamao declared after working a heavy 12-round sparring with three dancing partners.  

 

Assigned the task of getting Pacquiao competitive form were Australian world-ranked lightweight George Kambosos Jr., Philippine junior welterweight champ Jerich Chavez and middleweight Arnel Tinampay.

 

The eight-division champion last fought July 2017 in Brisbane, Australia where he was dethroned of his World Boxing Organization welterweight belt  by former public school teacher Jeff Horn via a controversial unanimous decision.     

 

This week’s training schedule starts Monday with very light gym activities highlighted by a 10-round job with the mitts with Buboy.

 

A slightly heavier regimen awaits Pacquiao on Tuesday when he resumes sparring with his three mates for 10 rounds, two rounds less than the 12 he worked Saturday.

 

What could be the last of his heavy load comes Wednesday when he tries to  complete a hard 10-set plyometric exercise program which, according to strength and conditioning guru Justin Fortune, is a  45-minute energy-sapping procedure.

 

“Everything from there would be relatively easy,” Justin assured. “Yeah, there’s  still eight-round and probably six-round skirmishes on Thursday and Saturday but those are only routine.”

 

Pacquiao and his team that will include his staff, his and wife Jinkee’s families, congressional allies, friends and supporters leaveMonday afternoon next week for Kuala Lumpur.

 

Buboy and Fortune said a short four-round sparring can be scheduled Monday morning depending on Pacquiao’s wish. (Eddie G Alinea/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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By EDDIE G. ALINEA | Sports Editor & Columnist

     

(Photo by Wendell Alinea/OSMP)

 

With the resumption of Congress starting on Tuesday, May 15, and up to the next two weeks or so, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao will again play the role of a dual citizen – that of being a sitting member of the Philippine Senate and a prize fighter.

 

This has, actually, been the Filipino eight-division champion’s life since being elected as congressman representing the Province of Sarangani for two terms and senator in 2016.

 

So expect to see him run every morning in the vicinity of his official residence in the posh Forbes Park as part of his preparations for a fight, attend to his duties as a lawmaker from mid-afternoon to early evening daily then resume training the rest of the day.

 

Pacquiao could actually be in the session hall as early as 10 a.m to attend committee hearings of which he is a member or chairman.

 

But wait, count the meetings and social gatherings that require his presence, including prayer rallies and bible reading sessions he is obligated to attend and, indeed, Pacquiao will be leading a busy, tough and gruelling life at least until the mid-July.

 

Already pushing 40, the Pacman is scheduled to fight World Boxing Association welterweight belt-owner Lucas “La Maquina” on July 14 (July 15 in Manila) at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, a year or so following his loss to Australian Jeff Horn.

 

Thus, requiring him to prepare harder and longer than what he usually had been doing.

 

“He can do it. Mahirap-hirap lang di gaya nung dati, pero knowing Manny, kakayanin nya,” assistant trainer Nonoy Neri assured after he and the training team, which includes chief trainer Buboy Fernandez, Roger “Haplas” Fernandez and Nonito Dodong Donaire Sr. wrapped up Pacquiao’s two-week preparations in General Santos City Saturday.      

               

Donaire Sr., father of two-division champion Nonito Donaire Jr,  joined the training team last week upon invitation of the boxer-legislator himself.   

 

“Time management lamang naman and Manny has been doing that since he was still a congressman. Konting adjustment lang sa oras,” Neri said. “Naka-dalawang linggo na nga kami sa training camp at wala naman kaming nakitang problema.”

 

“Of course, wala pa namang senado nang mag-start kami dito sa GenSan. But I believe we can manage kahit may session na,” he said.

 

Pacquiao and his team will fly to Manila Tuesday, May 15, in time for the resumption of Senate session that day.

 

Neri said the buildup program also resumes Tuesday unless Pacquiao elects to have another day of rest.

 

Plan is to spend two to three weeks here in Manila while sessions are on-going after which the camp  goes back to GenSan when Congress takes a recess anew starting June 1.

 

(Eddie G. Alinea/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )     

 

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By EDDIE G. ALINEA

 

File photo from: Philippine Daiy Inquirer

 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has opened its door to poor countries like the Philippine to experience hosting the Olympic Games by relaxing its rules on the cost of bidding that, in the past, has proven a big burden for those interested in staging the quadrennial conclave.

 

The IOC has, in fact, expressed its intention of removing the high financial requirements bidders have to face in bidding and hosting the competitions among the world’s finest athletes.

 

The IOC, in an article that appeared in the news@yardbreaker.comlast week, has detailed how it is trying to persuade African countries to host the 2022 Youth Olympics with a no-cost bidding process.

 

The IOC announced it will “assume more responsibility and work" on behalf of potential candidates before it picks a host in October.

 

 The IOC wants a "simpler, shorter and cheaper" bidding process amid worldwide concerns over the cost of offering to play host.

 

Although the IOC is setting its eyes for the 2022 Youth Summer Games to be the first Olympics hosted in Africa, not a few are of the belief that invitations are also to be applied to indigent nations in other continents like the Philippines in Southeast, which has long signified intentions of hosting the “Greatest Sports Show on Earth.”

 

Among the requirements the IOC seeks to be eased is the need to produce a candidate file or prepare and make a formal on-stage presentation to IOC voters.

 

African Olympic officials will have to meet an April 13 deadline given by the world body. Olympic officials will visit Africa in May to make a feasibility study into hosting and gauge "motivation of the local authorities."

 

The IOC also wants the Youth Olympic events to move out of stadiums and create a festival experience in parks, streets and city squares. Potential hosts can also suggest sports from recognized though non-Olympic bodies to be included in the program.

 

Invitations to bidders will be sent by the IOC executive board after it meets in July. The IOC will pick the host of the 2022 Youth Olympic Games during its Oct. 8-9 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

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