Cain Velasquez is a beast inside the octagon and apparently, he could be bringing his talents to the WWE or even in AEW.

In his debut match in AAA back in August, the two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion did a bunch of innovative slams and flips in his first match – including a hurricanrana with the aid of the ropes against Taurus. The match, which also had the likes of AEW’s Cody and TNA’s Killer Kross, ended with Velasquez locking in the Kimura Lock on Texano Jr.  

The dude is a luchador!

WITH THAT BUILT!

Although, his UFC contact gives him a bunch of restrictions – the most important of which is his inability to perform any physical moves inside of the United States. The violence cap is understandable as for sure, Cain is going to be ratings draw in any promotion he will sign with… and UFC wants none of the other wrestling promotions.

And that’s the thing. The two promotions want him with perhaps WWE getting the slight edge since Fox, the new home of Smackdown, is the same network as that of the UFC matches. But then again, Cain is going to be a major draw in AEW. And with a kind-of relaxed schedule and an open-field to become a main event player, it’s just right to consider AEW as a possible destination as well.

Is Cain going to get the same deal as that with Brock Lesnar? Moreover, is this some sort of mark’s dream-like how people are lining up to see the possible return of CM Punk to WWE television?  

END







There is an alleged move to shorten PBA activities to two conferences. For a while, it made no sense, especially with how the Philippine Cup and the Fiesta Conference looked. The Fiesta Conference paraded imports of unlimited height and of course, their entries disrupted how basketball worked in the land.

The worst problem to happen in this scenario is how the centers were developed. Doug Kramer once spoke about this and I guess Jojo Lastimosa saw this coming during the Fil-Am invasion of the late 90s and the early 2000s as part of the PBA Players Union. Famed power forwards like Alvin Patrimonio, Nelson Asaytono and Noli Locsin had to develop their outside shooting with the entries of Eric Menk, Asi Taulava and Davonn Harp. Back in the collegiate leagues and in the PBL, teams had to contend with the likes of Sam Ekwe, Sudan Daniel, Ola Adeogun, Karim Abdul, Emmanuel Mbe and Ben Mbala. Big men that were once focal points during their high school careers were forced to become defensive stoppers with an undercooked offensive game.

But now, Philippine basketball needs to have time for preparation. Also, our local players can compete with the Fil-Ams as well as the big imports. Even if Justin Brownlee is an awesome force and there is still time for June Mar Fajardo as well as Kai Sotto to develop, our naturalized player needs to dominate in the paint.

So yeah, the two-conference setup with the second being a conference of imports with unlimited height is a good move for the league.

But then… now what?

From this point until the 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifiers, SBP needs to align with the other Asian countries to create something awesome. I think a decade and a half ago, there was this thing that was called the Philippine Collegiate Champions League. It was initially made up of the best college teams from the different collegiate meets in the Philippines. This is where we caught a glimpse of discoveries like UV’s Greg Slaughter and JR Quinahan, UC’s June Mar Fajardo and UM’s Samigue Eman. Non-UAAP and non-NCAA players like the De Ocampo brothers were also highlighted.

Basically, while the ASEAN Basketball League is serving its purpose, we need to create pocket tournaments for our squads.

For example, after the second conference, let’s have the teams play pocket tournaments either here or abroad. For example, let’s have three PBA teams play in an extended version of the Jones Cup, then have three PBA teams play in the Terrific 12, the FIBA Champions Cup and heck, let’s just arrange our schedule to fit the ABL season. I think it’s also going to be a good thing for the league to have pocket tourneys with either the under-23 players or their main roster.

We can even have a mini-joust against the top MPBL teams and even the top college squads to see once and for all, if the trolls would still think that we're better off represented by the Maharlika boys than the PBA stars.  

I guess the major point here is exposure. If we can’t have the best teams play in our land, then we need to go to theirs instead. The European teams are successful because the teams are co-dependent with each other. We play the Asian leaders with little to no rehearsals – and this is why we still can’t figure out how some of their teams work. This must not be the case.

And it’s not just for our sake – as we need to make the Iranians, Chinese, Japanese, Jordanians, Lebanese, Koreans, and others realize that they need us also. Asia, since the current incarnation of the FIBA World Cup, struggle in the major meets.

Just take DOTA 2 as a comparison. I know there is a whole lot of difference with regards to these two sports but ever since they introduced The Majors as well as The International, they have since enjoyed a high level of competition. I believe the right mix of local and international competition should make Philippine basketball awesome.

But then here’s the bad part of this dream scenario.

MONEY.

I think it’s time for the PBA to have multiple owners for single franchises. In how I perceive this vision, I am not talking about pocket tourneys for Gilas Pilipinas players as well as the champion teams. The proper way to globalize the PBA is by exposing everyone to the style of a lot of squads. We have a lot of players that are good at international tourneys but are lost in the PBA shuffle. First up, let’s have some of the former Gilas Pilipinas players like Jason Ballesteros, Raymar Jose, Garvo Lanete, Von Pessumal, and Carl Bryan Cruz. At one point in their careers, they did well in international outings.

The thought of finding a diamond in the rough in these pocket tourneys could also be a good thing for Philippine basketball. What if Jeron Teng becomes a revelation in one pocket tourney or we discover that for some reason, defensive ace Ping Exciminiano is a good pawn to unleash against the continent’s perimeter guys?

Contrary to a lot of trolls, weak-minded critics (those who only complain without a semblance of a noteworthy solution) and pessimists, I still believe our best sport is basketball. We will never have a World Cup in football, volleyball and even baseball in the coming decade but we have the resources as well as (believe it or not, trolls) the talent. People forget that the current basketball program is just ten years old. Before Iran started their ascent as Asia’s top dogs, they also had trouble with their lineup. Sure, these past few years have been trying but it’s not that dire.

END




Calvin Abueva has been released from Willie Marcial’s proverbial doghouse and will now be able to join the Phoenix Fuel Masters.

This year has been hell for the former almost-PBA MVP. After an awesome rookie season, Abueva has had a tumultuous career. Sure, while he is a two-time Mythical Fiver as well as a one-time Second Teamer and a one-time Best Player of the Conference, he has been caught on cam for expressing pleasantries towards a female fan, doing WWE finishers on his opponents, airing domestic fights in public… and going incognito in team practices only to show up in non-sanctioned events.

BUT!

The Beast has a leash and he can only join team practices. Marcial granted the former Gilas Pilipinas star practice player access in order for him to stay in game shape.

Oh snap.

I think Marcial could use Abueva in PBA advocacy events. Call him ambassador or if you’re a hater… a mascot BUT The Beast is still The Beast and perhaps this is a good way for Abueva to earn pay. I don’t know how the Phoenix Fuel Masters will get their investment if Abueva is a practice player but I’m pretty sure they want this guy to play especially since they had Paolo Bugia tagging along with The Beast.

Abueva is about to turn 32 next February. I want to say that he’s all good now because Abueva could have been vital cog if he got the Gilas Pilipinas FIBA World Cup call. I know his antics are far from acceptable but when thinking right, Calvin is an exceptional player.

And I am not the only one who’s saying this… with the Youtube page of Sports5 as evidence.  

I mean… the trolls asking for an Abueva lifetime ban are the same peeps who are asking for his team re-entry.

That’s how crazy our FIBA World Cup stint was.

END




The name of this piece has the word “hard sell” at the front. If you’re living in a rock, I am pretty much pitching an idea that hopefully would stick in the minds of powerful people.

Anyway…




Gilas Pilipinas failed to get an Olympic qualifier invite.

I guess it’s understandable since the team placed last on the tourney.

It sucks.

Wait… I will try to veer away from saying “suck”.

It blows.

And it sucks.

Haha.

So we have all these speculations on which coach to choose after Yeng Guiao understandably stepped down. Must we return to the old dribble-drive system that has been our staple since the days of Rajko Toroman? The system gave Chot Reyes great success. Should we invite Tab Baldwin again? This is also a possibility since having him at the helm gave the team more confidence. Or how about tapping the services of Tim Cone again? I bet he wants to get back at Asia for what happened during the last time he handled the RP Team.

Whoever it is, he needs to tag with Leo Austria

... 

... 

What?

Further reinforced by the recent showing of the San Miguel Beermen in the Terrific 12 (as they were the last Pinoy team to be eliminated in the Macau-based tourney), I don’t know why we are sleeping on the league’s first Rookie of the Year as our national team coach. I know he has a lot of flaws as a coach but at the same time, his resume speaks for itself. 

Ever since he came to San Miguel, the team became perennial title contenders. 

Austria’s first big title came in the international arena as well. Okay sure, the ABL is probably the baby food of international tourneys as compared to the NBA, Euroleague and even the PBA for that matter but it is a great kick-starter for global campaigns.

Take, for instance, June Mar Fajardo. The Kraken first got acclaim when he got name-dropped for the first incarnation of Smart-Gilas. With that said, just like Calvin Abueva and Paul Lee he stayed away from the program and focused on perfecting his brand in the ABL. Fajardo battled imports and wide bodies from all shapes and forms and almost a decade later, he holds the record for most PBA MVPs.

If you think about it, Leo Austria had a hand in those MVPs. Seeing how Fajardo and in some ways, Kai Sotto challenged their counterparts when they get the means to score, having a coach like Austria could be vital to properly integrate the awesomeness of June Mar Fajardo. 

He almost led the Adamson Soaring Falcons to a UAAP title in which Eric Camson kind of became equal to Greg Slaughter

Let that sink in. 

And here’s another reason – Terrence Romeo. A season ago, we almost wrote off Bromeo from Gilas Pilipinas because of his antics. He wanted the spotlight, he missed a lot of practices, he disrespects authority and in some ways, we saw San Miguel as punishment. I mean… how can he hog the spotlight if he’s teammates with a five-time MVP at the peak of his career? But nowadays, we are puzzled as to why Romeo is contented with his current setup. San Miguel all of a sudden reaped the award of a changed man. TNT got duped in some ways because they could have crippled SMB’s death lineup but instead settled for Brian Heruela and David Semerad. I know both players are doing well in TNT but as mentioned, instead of weakening the beast, they just made him more invincible. Romeo’s scoring is constantly increasing and he is happy coming off the bench and sitting out fourth quarters with the payoff of a title.

He just won Finals MVP!

And now he is dazzling a lot of club teams in Macau!

Leo Austria also had the hand in this.

The best reason why Gilas Pilipinas needs Leo Austria is plain and simple. He is one of those coaches who know how to make his peeps comfortable. Sure, some players like Gary David or Chris Lutz or Arnold Van Opstal might disagree but they are pretty much-isolated cases if you think about it. Players like Ronald Tubid, Chico Lanete, Yancy de Ocampo, and Paul Zamar are happy sitting on the bench with championships as compensation. There are players like Romeo, Christian Standhardinger, Von Pessumal and nowadays Arwind Santos who could start for other teams and act like prima donnas but aren’t at all pissed with the diminished minutes they are experiencing. Even June Mar suffered a benchwarmer’s role during the Governors’ Cup of last season.

This is basically how a typical national team looks like. Some players will start and some can just watch. When they come in though, they know to deal with the task at hand. San Miguel’s death squad has June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, Terrence Romeo, Christian Standhardinger and more or less Von Pessumal plus the import.

This lineup is kind of like a typical national team squad! 

With Austria at the helm, they could have a pro-level coach that doesn’t try to devalue their past exploits. I hate the fact of turning superstars into role players. If you have twelve stars in your lineup, maybe they can do something cool with these players? I don't like hating people but the thing I hate about the 2019 Gilas Pilipinas squad is that their coach couldn't motivate them to go insane on the court. It's as if they are afraid to make mistakes and at the same time, they are too battle-worn to give a damn (another reason why as if CJ Perez and Robert Bolick are the only ones playing like all-stars). 

Sure, Yeng Guiao once coached Gabe Norwood, Paul Lee and Raymond Almazan in Rain or Shine, but do we really think they played their best under his tutelage?

Lee played under 30 minutes under his watch and his gameplay is a bit controlled. And it’s not like Paul Lee can’t lead a team. Just like Romeo, Lee kept his swagger from his Lawrence Tiongson days at UE and at Cobra Energy in the PBL to his current incarnation with Chito Victolero in Magnolia.

Meanwhile, we have yet to determine the gameplay of Rakenrol Almazan under Norman Black but unlike in Rain or Shine, he will get more minutes than what he got with the Elasto Painters.

The worst-hit is definitely Gabe Norwood. Sure, we see him as a defensive specialist but the last time he averaged in double figures in a PBA season was before Yeng Guiao replaced Caloy Garcia as Rain or Shine coach. The Norwood we know now is different from the Norwood that partnered with Solomon Mercado and Jay-R Reyes. Come to think of it, Yeng Guiao should have brought Beau Belga to China because he is pretty much the only player in Gilas who would whole-heartedly respond to whatever his former mentor wants.

And I guess this is how I am going to close out this piece. Prior to the entry of Austria to the fold, San Miguel was experiencing Petronovela. It’s the thing when players think they are star players and despite all the talents in the squad, they just can’t win a title. There are a lot of reasons why that phenomenon happened. For starters, San Miguel forced their early 2000s stars to sit in the sidelines even if they are still capable to deliver. I mean… how many “next Olsen Racelas” we had during that span? And then, remember when Santos, Cabagnot and Jay Washington had leadership issues? How about Beermen OGs like Danny Ildefonso and Danny Seigle speaking on the record about their disdain on the situation they were placed? Also, remember the Petronovela “curse” that happened with Marcio Lassiter and Dondon Hontiveros because the world is out to seek “vengeance” for all the lopsided trades?

Remember how it all ended when Leo Austria started to employ his presence?

Sure, if actual research on the current ways of coaching is needed, then we should just hire consultants and put a premium on scouts. Austria has a tendency to "choke" when the odds are in his favor. For example, Lance Stephenson and Salah Mejri routing the Beermen in the Terrific 12 tourney. This is where you pad his team with the best coaching deputies available. During Reyes’ run as Gilas coach, he had a platoon of peeps serving as scouts to check out the competition. I think this is one of the problems of Yeng Guiao’s squad. In some ways, this also became a problem for Gregg Popovich. In American football, they have offensive and defensive coordinators. I think Gilas Pilipinas can employ that as well.

Heck, if you just check out any random NBA game console, you have a surplus of lineup choices.

Perhaps, people could point out his iffy championship capability during import-laden tiffs. This is where the awesomeness of the MVP teams would step in. The SMC teams dominate the MVP teams in terms of local talent but with the exception of Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman, the MVP teams kind of have the edge in taking top imports. So just imagine if Austria gets dibs on an awesome naturalized player like what he got when the Beermen obtained the services of Chris McColough?

Guiao made his PBA coaching debut in 1990 and in nearly 30 years has delivered seven championship titles. Leo Austria made his PBA coaching debut in 2004 and from 2013 (when he coached the San Miguel Beermen in the ABL) to September 2019, the former Shell star had won nine titles.

Guiao is used to play unwanted overachievers and turning them into champions like his Red Bull and Rain or Shine teams. Austria meanwhile, coaches best with a team of all-stars and creates beautiful harmony in the process as what we've seen at the SMB camp. 

Last time I checked, we bring the best Pinoy players in the tough tourneys. 

If I’m a Gilas Pilipinas representative, perhaps now is the time to check out the coaching awesomeness of Leo Austria.

Especially if he nails a grand slam title… two consecutive two-titled seasons isn’t a great feat in itself.  

END





So the PBA has decided to run the 2019 PBA Draft on December 8 – which is situated in the middle of the 2019 SEA Games.

And I guess this is the right time to create a mock draft?  

Now I have to research on the possible draft order as well as the possible draft applicants. The only good thing of overlapping this season with the next is that both the UAAP and NCAA seasons are over which prompts a lot of UAAP stars to become available for the draft.

So in order for me to formulate the names I put on this list, I checked out the blog sites and YouTube sites of the following people – PH-BallGM, Meteor Hoops, Usapang Bola, Basketballero TV, WTV, Hoops Highlights and Unique Basketball. I chose these sites because their choices made sense.

Also, in order to calculate the draft order at this point of the 2019 PBA season, I made the decision that the Philippine Cup final ranking comprises 40 percent of the points while 30 percent is given to the Commissioner's Cup final ranking. As I way to mix the previous season with the current season, I am going to get 30 percent of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup rankings. If the teams have at least a one or two-point difference between them, I am going to take out the 2018 Governors’ Cup rankings. I want to make my predictions different from the other vloggers and bloggers and in some ways, it’s nice to check out what the 2018 PBA Draft did to the teams.


1 | COLUMBIAN DYIP | THIRDY RAVENA
18GOVCUP RANK – 12 | 19PHLCUP RANK – 10 | 19COMCUP RANK – 11 

I guess it’s safe to say that even without the numbers of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup, Columbian Dyip is going to earn another top pick for the third consecutive season. There are two ways to look at their pick – to raise Columbian’s brand or to raise Team Dyip’s all-time win-loss record. While Joshua Munzon is a scoring machine, I doubt if his popularity could send Columbian off first game purgatory. That is why I opted for the ultra-popular, slam-dunking and a potential game-changer, Thirdy Ravena than enlist the services of the ABL gunner. The PBA is still a way for teams to sell their brand and what better ambassador than the most popular, PBA-ready collegiate baller at the moment.  


2 | NLEX ROAD WARRIORS | JOSHUA MUNZON
18GOVCUP RANK – 8 | 19PHLCUP RANK – 9 | 19COMCUP RANK – 12 

Here’s another reason why I ranked Ravena over Munzon – I just don’t want a Thirdy and Kiefer reunion at NLEX. Now I don’t hate the Ravena brothers but keeping them away from each other makes them their brand more professional. Besides, NLEX is in dire need of a scorer. For some reason, the players familiar to Yeng Guiao’s system go from “wild dogs” to “wild dogs dead scared of its owner”. Also, the Guiao and Kiefer partnership currently bad at it stands. So there… Munzon fits the bill.


3 | BLACKWATER ELITE | ISAAC GO
18GOVCUP RANK – 6 | 19PHLCUP RANK – 12 | 19COMCUP RANK – 6 

In some ways, I get their decision to let go of Abu Tratter. The DLSU star may have some kind of arc… but I think they need a player that can even stretch their big man position. And I guess Isaac Go fits the bill. Go is not that quick but he can unleash triple bombs and dominate in the shaded lane. He’s also 6’7 which also makes him a darkhorse to get selected even higher. I can smell teams going after this pick though.   


4 | RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERS | TROY RIKE
ORIGINALLY MERALCO’S PICK | SEE RAYMOND ALMAZAN TRADE
18GOVCUP RANK – 10 | 19PHLCUP RANK – 4 | 19COMCUP RANK – 4 

I think this pick is bound to move down because of the fact that Meralco isn’t as bad as people think when Allen Durham is leading their charge. Anyway, Rain or Shine’s first of three first-round picks will have to replace Rakenrol Almazan. Troy Rike is more of a stretch four and in some ways, kind of had a disappointing initial campaign in the Philippines (they pitched Rike as a potential top pick of this draft). Hopefully, he could prosper in the pros and like what play-alike Mike Hrabak did back in the day.


5 | NORTHPORT BATANG PIER | JASON BRICKMAN
18GOVCUP RANK – 11 | 19PHLCUP RANK – 7 | 19COMCUP RANK – 5 

How this guy from Mighty Sports has fallen. Maybe he earns more from the other Southeast Asian leagues but he’s going to enter the draft sans the fanfare his contemporaries like Matthew Wright and Mo Tautuaa got. Nonetheless, Brickman has this Jimmy Alapag vibe and if he’s placed on a team with the tools to become awesome, expect this guy to shine.


6 | ALASKA ACES | ROOSEVELT ADAMS
18GOVCUP RANK – 2 | 19PHLCUP RANK – 8 | 19COMCUP RANK – 8 

Expect a lot of moves coming from new Alaska coach Jeff Cariaso. I think Jeron Teng will evolve under his system and ditto with the likes of Chris Banchero, Maverick Ahanmisi and Abu Tratter. This is going to be a problem for the veterans like Sonny Thoss and JV Casio though – as The Jet will probably look for ways to ease these guys out of his rotation to make way for his new toys… and this Mighty Sports vet to this list. At 6’5, he is a stick of solid offensive dynamite that could pose match-up problems in shooters and slashers spot.


7 | RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERS | SANTI SANTILLAN 
ORIGINALLY PHOENIX’S PICK | SEE CALVIN ABUEVA TRADE
THEN TRADED BY ALASKA | SEE MAVERICK AHANMISI TRADE 
18GOVCUP RANK – 10 | 19PHLCUP RANK – 4 | 19COMCUP RANK – 4 

You know it’s a new era we’re in when the current version of Air21 and Barako Bull do not have multiple first-round picks to disown because they are conduits. Anyway, the Elasto Painters will try to pounce on the best talent available… without hurting the careers of their up and coming stars like Rey Nambatac and Javee Mocon. I think getting a combo forward like Santi Santillan could be a good deal for the Elasto Painters. 


8 | RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERS | MIKH MCKINNEY   
18GOVCUP RANK – 10 | 19PHLCUP RANK – 4 | 19COMCUP RANK – 4 

Christmas is going to come early for the Elasto Painters as this pick could be a worthy trade chip or a project for the future. With that said, the same can’t be said with the player they are getting. I bet we’re going to see a shocker on this list (see Jorey Napoles) and that shocker will probably end up like J-Jay Alejandro (a talented first-rounder in need of playing time). Anyway, after an impressive ABL stint, this old rookie could serve as a replacement for Maverick Ahanmisi.


9 | TNT KATROPA | FRANKY JOHNSON  
18GOVCUP RANK – 9 | 19PHLCUP RANK – 6 | 19COMCUP RANK – 2 

The current draft setup (if this is indeed the case) is kind of similar as to what happened in 2015 when the league had too many Fil-Am guards like Maverick Ahanmisi, Simon Enciso, Abel Galliguez and Kris Rosales that teams only remembered the likes of Mike DiGregorio and Jerramy King after the third round. Needless to say, hopefully, the PBA teams know better. Johnson is a scoring menace and at 6’2, he could do well playing alongside Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy.


10 | BARANGAY GINEBRA SAN MIGUEL | LARRY MUYANG
18GOVCUP RANK – 3 | 19PHLCUP RANK – 5 | 19COMCUP RANK – 3 

I think Larry Muyang is the most sense for the Gins and here’s why. First up, I don’t really think they want a new toy to work in the guard spots (especially if they are planning to bid on the services of Bobby Ray Parks) and secondly, I want the Kings to have someone to lessen Japeth Aguilar’s load. Sure, Japeth Like It’s Hot is awesome under Tim Cone but he’s also barely taking any breaks as a fixture of his local and international team. At least the Letran Knight can help as an extra body on the bench.  


11 | MAGNOLIA HOTSHOTS | ARVIN TOLENTINO 
18GOVCUP RANK – 1 | 19PHLCUP RANK – 2 | 19COMCUP RANK – 7 

Magnolia is another team that’s loaded with talent. With that said, maybe they need to look at their future. Rafi Reavis may still be an integral part of their cause but the guy is already in his 40s. Also, Marc Pingris just returned from injury is also in his mid-30s. I think Larry Muyang is the best player for the squad but if he has already been taken, then selecting a combo forward like Arvin Tolentino could be a good thing for the Hotshots.


12 | COLUMBIAN DYIP | ALVIN PASAOL 
ORIGINALLY SAN MIGUEL’S PICK | SEE CHRISTIAN STANDHARDINGER TRADE
18GOVCUP RANK – 12 | 19PHLCUP RANK – 10 | 19COMCUP RANK – 11 

I really think Columbian got the better from the San Miguel trade. Sure, Christian Standhardinger is a beast but the team got a bonus in Rashawn McCarthy, a goldmine in CJ Perez and because of their woes, they could have the rights to the top pick for the third straight season. And this pick… they can get something from this pick. If the draft applicants are what I projected right now, then Columbian can have a diamond in the rough at number twelve. The last draft, Columbian got Perez but also got an underrated playmaker in JP Calvo. Whether it’s Pasaol, Arvin Tolentino, Sean Manganti, Mikey Williams, Christian Fajarito or Kib Montalbo, this is a nice landing spot for any draft applicant.


Did you like this list?

Check this site out once I get the official listings. Usually when I get the official draft order as well as the draft applicants, I do awesome content. Right now, obviously this is more speculative than sure.

END

FIBA.COM



Regardless of the outcome, Australia just sent Gilas Pilipinas to the worst end.

Maybe, it’s not enough for our team to get nailed in last place.

We had to be one-half of a bookend.

Lemme explain.

So… I won’t explain how discriminatory was one another when the Aussies fought Gilas Pilipinas back in July 2018 for the FIBA World Cup qualifiers. Man, that move set our brand of basketball to near-ice age levels. From that point on, we thought of ourselves as Australia’s rival... and it's funny... in a non-haha manner. 

Basically, we were lodged to the 32nd place due to a -147 “winning” margin and Australia would have scored the 2019 FIBA World Cup title if they won their double-overtime match against Spain.

All of a sudden, I remember the events that unfolded when Gilas battled Australia that resulted in that melee. Apart from the flying fists and the flying chairs, we were pissed because the Australians were getting the calls and making their shots. At that point, Gilas was down by 31 points – a lead we weren’t used to especially with the current Gilas Pilipinas incarnation. We played with "heart"… but we also played with arrogance… and it came to the point that the usually calm and collected peeps like Jayson Castro, Japeth Aguilar, Matthew Wright, and Andray Blatche were in fist-fighting mode.    

In some ways, I guess this is what happens when you switch “puso” (heart) with “utak” (brain). Your heart says everything is possible when you believe it but your brain says, “man, there are a lot of bigger and better teams in the World Cup”.

I got another point Chot Reyes’ team was trying to make whenever they shout “puso” after every battle. We qualified for the 2014 FIBA World Cup for the first time since 1978 in 2013 against Korea despite the fact that we were down in halftime, we were undersized and our naturalized import, Marcus Douthit – sat the entire second half because of injury. Our brains back then would have said that Korea had our number… and they have all the advantages in the world.

And yet… we F’N won.

We carried over that feat in Spain as the plucky underdogs that lost their games against the superpowers… in a wrongful manner. Again, they played with their hearts more than over-thinking their enemies’ advantages.

I would have wanted a Gabe Norwood poster to whoever Luis Scola-figure that blocks his way.  

Puso had CJ Perez going cold-blooded and attacking the defense of the Italians, the Serbs, and the Angolans despite the fact that he’s just a guard and a rookie over tall and experienced foes.

So yeah, at least we scored participation as 2023 FIBA World Cup hosts and hopefully, we have enough time to get our hearts back in basketball. I still think online trolls need to shut up about how we are undersized… or how our basketball is caveman-ish as compared to the powerhouses. I guess this is a time for self-reflection and returning to why basketball stuck as our main sport.

The SEA Games is an easy enough challenge to get us back from our basketball slump. Teams like Thailand and Malaysia and Indonesia have in some ways “grown-up” and bent of dislodging the Philippines as the top dogs in Southeast Asia but right about now, I guess we need these games more than they could imagine.

END







To the shock of no one, Yeng Guiao has stepped down as Gilas Pilipinas head coach.

I guess this the honorable thing to do – considering how we looked in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. After taking Team Pilipinas to an eighth-place finish in the 2009 FIBA Asia Championship in Tianjin, China, Guiao led Gilas Pilipinas to a last-place spot a decade later. It would have been ridiculous for Guiao to pinpoint his players and even the officials.

He failed to have a good offensive and defensive plan against our tormentors and it showed.

I thought Guiao’s services would extend to the 2019 SEA Games though. I know the SEAG is an easier path compared to the FIBA World Cup but I don’t know what our future looks like since prior to the coaching change, Guiao is the PBA coach that both the MVP and SMC squads accept the most (at least up until Guiao signed with the NLEX Road Warriors).

So after holding himself accountable, Guiao is telling the officials that the best way for Filipinos to compete in the international tiffs is by having a shortened PBA season. In some ways, that would work. Again, our television is littered with basketball – especially in the BER months with the PBA, NBA, MPBL, D-League, UAAP, and NCAA in our peripherals.

I know we want his head served on a platter.

We already have that.

So there.

But lest we forget, Guiao also did a couple of good moves for Philippine basketball. If he didn’t step in, we could have had no representation in the Asian Games. We wouldn’t have witnessed a bunch of guys like Jordan Clarkson and Stanley Pringle do their thing in that level and we finally closed the chapter of the Greg Slaughter what if.

Guiao came to the team in the midst of the Australian controversy. The problem with Guiao came in the months after the storm settled. He tried to instill discipline on Andray Blatche by opting with Pringle and Christian Standhardinger and it would have worked if we didn’t lose to Kazakhstan. For some reason, Gilas top man Jayson Castro as well as Scottie Thompson and Ray Parks wanted out of the team and no, I don’t think the public knows the entirety of the situation. It didn’t help that JP Erram, Matthew Wright and Marcio Lassiter succumbed to injuries but it’s also noteworthy that he didn’t contact the somewhat reformed version of Terrence Romeo.

His team played uninspired and for a team that preaches “heart”, it felt as if this feeling deserted the players.

I guess the biggest problem that sent Guiao to Gilas coaching exile is the team’s inability to score points as well as defend against the enemies. What exactly did Chot Reyes do to have that kind of stint that Guiao failed to get?

END  



FIBA.COM



If we’re going to listen to online trolls and dickless downers, the Philippines should give up on basketball and every player who still wants to aspire because of the sport must die a horrible death.

Let’s not do sports!

Yeah!

But… here’s the thing.

People need to realize that the country needs to play international tiffs to kind of have a say in the global scheme of things.

What?

The Philippines will host the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and it will have a bunch of events as well as DOTA 2. This is cool especially since TNC, FNATIC, and Mineski have gained international acclaim these past few years. Anyway aside from esports, the country has decided to include arnis, figure skating, and F’N chess. I need to point this out because one, we can do a lot of damage from these events, and two, these events helped to create a record of most number of sports and events contested by a host nation. The Philippines will host 56 spots and 529 events.

Meanwhile, in the 2017 edition of the SEA Games, East Timor only had a delegation of 50… and finished the tilt with three taekwondo bronze medals.

They had nine players competing for men’s volleyball.

NINE!

I am not dissing East Timor. As far as countries are, they are pretty much in their baby stages. More than anything, I would keep an eye on Laos (195), Brunei (105), and Cambodia (169) – whose combined delegations would still fail in comparison to that of our country in 2017 (497).

And I guess this is my point. Being the best basketball team in Southeast Asia gives us a say in important matters. This is why we were able to secure the 2023 FIBA World Cup as well as the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament and this is why we almost won the 2019 FIBA World Cup from China.

We have a say in things.

Now I know, if we keep on joining these international tiffs, it’s highly likely that we’ll end up in the bottom. I sound optimistic now but I was screaming obscenities for each time Yeng Guiao sits June Mar Fajardo or CJ Perez… and for every iso-ball Andray Blatche try.

BUT!

The more entries you send, the more chances of winning!

It’s that simple!

Forget the days of Caloy Loyzaga and our dominance during the pre-PBA era. That is NOT the days we have at the moment! China and Iran have since evolved as Asian superpowers in basketball with the Philippines, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, and Korea as the pretenders to the throne. I guess we need to remember the Northern Consolidated Cement days… and then tune out on the 90s up until the debut of the Smart-Gilas program.

Also, we have Australia and New Zealand to further ruin our fun.

We host the SEA Games as well as other international competitions like how peacocks prance their features to woo the pea-chicks. Prior to Japeth Aguilar joining the NBA D-League Draft, the best chance we had to have a Pinoy international player was when the USBL thought it was a good idea to call the services of 30-something scorers Bong Alvarez and Vince Hizon as well as then-up and comer Yancy de Ocampo!

We might be 32nd in the 2019 FIBA World Cup but…


MEN’S FOOTBALL | 126TH PLACE (as of July 2019)
WOMEN’S FOOTBALL | 67TH PLACE (as of July 2019)
MEN’S VOLLEYBALL | 131ST PLACE (as of October 2018)
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL | 117TH PLACE (as of October 2018)
MEN’S BASEBALL | 33RD PLACE (as of December 2018)  
WOMEN’S BASEBALL | unrated   
MEN’S SOFTBALL | 17TH PLACE (as of November 2018)  
WOMEN’S SOFTBALL | 13TH PLACE (as of November 2018)  


Check out these ranks for a sec!

If we’re not going to develop baseball and softball (and I don’t know why), then basketball is STILL the best sport in our arsenal. Again, this is the reason why the country is littered with basketball courts and makeshift basketball courts as well as a healthy dose of brand-spanking balling action in our television sets.

If we’re not going to join global basketball tiffs because we are not afraid of losing, then what’s the endgame of the sport in our country?

No, basketball stays because it is our God-given right to play in world tiffs. Again, we have to brace ourselves from hitting brick walls in Asia and the world but we also need to be wary of the rewards we could obtain.

For every 2019 debacle is a 2014 achievement.

And we can’t do this if we’re going to wilt and die in the sidelines.

END






People should boo Enes Kanter for a multitude of reasons.

For starters, he’s signaling me to finish my fantasy draft cheat sheet. I don’t know how he’ll rank in the fantasy boards but Boston is going to miss the services of both Al Horford and Aron Baynes so he’s going to be a potential fantasy helper this season.

Also, I don’t know how big of a deal is Kanter to pull off a New York welcome considering he played in New York’s dark ages... but for some reason, he got an awesome reaction compared to most midcarders. 






Finally, when he won the 24/7 Championship from R-Truth and revealed his Boston Celtics jersey, was he wearing the number eleven because that’s his number or is he wearing that to potentially reveal the surname of Kyrie Irving.

You know… that guy who should have been a Knick.

END





As the “best” players in our land return and await persecution, the consensus is that Gilas Pilipinas was good enough to break out of the Asia qualifiers but is a long way to go in terms of global dominance.

Well… I’m just stating the obvious.

#105pointlosingmarginin2games

But the crazy thing here is that when the PBA hits after the 2019 FIBA World Cup, the fans might have to brace for a ton of shitty decisions, a barrage of what-ifs and an outcry for change… to further destroy Philippine basketball.


QUESTIONS  

Basketball will always and forever be controversial especially with our level of passion.

So let me enumerate a bunch of situations that could possibly hound the FIBA World Cup combatants.

Why is Yeng Guiao the team’s coach and how long is he going to coach? What did Chot Reyes do that he couldn’t? Are the likes of Rajko Toroman, Tab Baldwin or some random international coach available? Why the hell was Kiefer Ravena given a shit-ton of minutes despite a long lull from competitive hoops? 

What drove Jayson Castro as well as Ray Parks and Scottie Thompson from NOT joining Gilas Pilipinas? Who picked the talent pool? What would have been the case if Terrence Romeo was still part of TNT and wasn’t ostracized to join Gilas Pilipinas? What is happening to the naturalization papers of Justin Brownlee and if he’s not the top choice, then what about Chris McCollough and Terrence Jones?

Jordan Clarkson to Gilas… whatever happened to that?

Who was supposed to be the leader of Gilas Pilipinas?

Wait…

Is this the reason why Guiao was shoving Beau Belga on our throats?!?  

WHERE WAS THE GODDAMN LEADERSHIP IN CHINA?

Wait… I already said this.

Is this important?

OF COURSE, THIS IS GODDAMN IMPORTANT!

And if the situation is that grave, you should expect a senate probe.  

Yikes.


OTHER SPORTS

I know the Philippines has a handicap with regards to our size and development especially when compared to the other basketball superpowers.

So... let’s switch to other sports! 

Is it that easy? 

The thing about this though is that there isn’t exactly a sport we could turn to. 

In terms of Olympic aspirations, our best chance for a medal is Hidilyn Diaz. With that said, we just don’t give a rat’s ass on weightlifting. You can’t lift what she has lifted if you don’t have the heart to do it but FOR SOME REASON, the sport can’t get noteworthy coverage even if it’s held in a stage… just like beauty pageants and noontime shows. 

Just imagine Eat Bulaga discovering our first Olympic gold medalist! 

Ditto for athletics and aquatics. Not since the days of Lydia de Vega were we dominant. If you tell me that the only names you know with regards to these sports are Elma Muros and Akiko Thompson, then… you’re probably not alone. 

Diving is still reeling from the ridiculous attempts of John David Pahoyo and John Emerson Fabriga almost half a decade ago despite producing a talent like Shiela Marie Perez from that same time.

Next to basketball, volleyball has overtaken football in terms of popularity but we’re barely contenders in Southeast Asia. There was a time when people followed the rise of the Azkals as well as rugby's Philippine Volcanoes but as soon as we saw the need to follow nearly three hours of kicking without a semblance of a goal, we reverted back to basketball. We were on the verge of developing football but now Phil Younghusband and James Younghusband are in their 30s and I doubt if you can name the next star of the sport.

Meanwhile, our volleybelles had to do sexy pictorials and beauty pageants to advertise their spiking prowess. Don't get me wrong, volleyball is more popular than what it was a decade ago but we are not in the level of competition as that of Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia

Competitive cycling went to hibernation in our country (and reverted into a squad goal) ever since the country outlawed the term “Marlboro Tour”. They tried to resurrect the sport a couple of years ago but got outmuscled by fun runs and American Ninja Dragon-like events.

Bowling, unfortunately for pin-strikers like Paeng Nepomuceno... just became a way for guys to date chicks. When was the last time you’ve heard of AMF-Puyat?

Most Filipinos are too poor to own a horse so equestrian dominance is also out of the question.

I bet you still like to see Manny Pacquiao score a win in international soil and is bent to see the return of Eduard Folayang to One Championship awesomeness but it’s not like we’ll see four to five-year-old kids from all walks of life upper-cutting their classmates as part of their physical education class.

When was the last time you watched billiards? 

Did you know that Carlo Biado is a F'N pool genius? 

Basketball is and always going to be our first priority as well as our number one fallback. We can diss it for all we could care but there is a reason why it is the only sport you can see in your television sets every single day!

At least DOTA 2 is going to be a medal sport in the SEA Games.  

GO TNC!!! 


EMPTY SEATS


The thing about these international tiffs is that they serve as indicators to the X number of fans either in attendance or on their television sets. A lot of fans returned to the PBA when they finally broke the Korean curse… and perhaps the same set of fans sighed away from the league when its players were involved in the Aussie melee.

The PBA had an awesome following in the 90s but when Olsen Racela missed two free throws and Lee Sang Min struck that blasted triple to jumpstart the Korean problem, the PBA lost their primetime dominance to the Pinoy telenovelas.

Sure, the PBA will get their audience in the playoffs (especially if they do well in the SEA Games) but expect the Governors’ Cup to be a ghost town of sorts unless it’s not a Ginebra, Magnolia or San Miguel game.



RIPE ENOUGH?  


The 2018 PBA Draft class is littered with superstars. In fact, two of which played in the World Cup and many believe that they are the future of Philippine basketball.

What sucks though is that it feels as if their awesome showing is the beginning of the end of their superstar careers. Northport traded Stanley Pringle to Ginebra without hesitation because they saw something in Robert Bolick. The thing about the talented San Beda cager who looks as if he came from the bygone PBA era is that he is currently playing in a team that has history of giving away their players to either the SMC (Pringle, Solomon Mercado, Japeth Aguilar, etc.) or the MVP Group (Terrence Romeo, Gary David, etc.). Some careers were reduced to shambles because they had the unfortunate trade route of landing to the former GlobalPort Batang Pier squad and Bolick could be a prospect for MVP and SMC teams since the former Red Lion had ties with the MVP Group and SMC is hellbent to continue their PBA dominance.

On the other hand… CJ Perez is playing for the Columbian Dyip – a team now owned by the Phoenix Fuel Masters and has been historically bad ever since they used their first-ever pick to select boxing (not basketball) icon, Manny Pacquiao. The MVP group was able to one-up the former Mahindra Enforcers by obtaining the draft rights of Troy Rosario. Meanwhile, you are a basketball illiterate if you don’t know the story behind Christian Standhardinger’s San Miguel stint.

With that said, while Columbian is a good place for Perez to explore his superstar potential, he’ll likely miss a lot of postseason goodness if his team fails to annex a couple of big names.

So I guess if you’re Perez, will you be happy being the top dog of a mediocre team or would you rather battle for minutes in a star-studded squad… whether this is your decision or not?  



TROLLS

Let’s just remember that the future is still alright as far as our brand of basketball goes. Kiefer Ravena struggled mightily in China but I expect him to bounce back. June Mar Fajardo will probably continue being the key backup but this could change especially if Gilas chooses a REAL stretch big as a naturalized player. Injuries derailed the likes of Matthew Wright, JP Erram and Marcio Lassiter from joining but they might heed the call as early as the SEA Games.

And who knows, maybe would see the return of Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo and Calvin Abueva.

But we need to help the team by boosting their confidence.

Inasmuch as they sucked in China, we sucked as fans as well. I don’t know if what most online fans are doing is a case of reverse psychology but I’m pretty sure calling them names and telling them to die isn’t the best way to motivate these players.

Or to merely state the obvious… coach.

And I bet these trolls will have physical manifestations when the PBA resumes their season. Either this would be an on-court thing like what happened to Wynne Arboleda or an off-court altercation like what happened to Terrence Romeo or worse... Jeron Teng. Some players can shrug these statements but I bet a lot of them could go apeshit on hopefully inanimate objects with again hopefully… zero intentions of driving their frustrations to the next level.

I understand the fans who expected at least a fighting chance to get disappointed. What I don’t understand are the fans who just want to troll the players. I know patriotism is just a positive term for discrimination (I even saw an online war revolving around Tagalogs and Visayans) but I just can’t believe the words of fans with how they describe our brand of basketball. If you don’t want to see the results or if you don’t care about the progress of this sport, then you can always turn off your notifications, un-friend the people that follows the sport and most importantly, keep your views to yourself.

-----  

The biggest challenge for the basketball bigwigs would happen in their post-event meeting. People are looking for answers as to why this nightmare happened. I expect heads to roll but I am also expecting positive results. Yes, we need an extended period of preparation but since most teams are also scattered with some of them in the NBA and then some of them playing imports elsewhere and some of them in different teams in Europe, I hate to say this but this is beginning to be another one of our scapegoats. 

I still see the SEA Games as a saving grace because it’s almost impossible for us to lose this tourney and it could be a good swan song for Andray Blatche and Gabe Norwood. Besides, what we need to get is confidence and what better way to get it than going “Serbia” on other people.

Hopefully the Olympic qualifiers would start and end positively. I know, it’s hard to picture this now but if we get a mentor with a better understanding in international gameplay, players who are willing to give it all for the sake of flag and country and fans that would believe again to the cause, then perhaps… maybe we can get out of this slump.

So there, did I miss anything out?

END