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PBA agrees to release Gilas members to RP Team

PBA agrees to release Gilas members to RP Team

TAIPEI – PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa announced on Tuesday that all the PBA teams have agreed to release Gilas pool members to the national team that will vie in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon on Aug. 8-20.

This means coach Chot Reyes will have at his disposal all the players he named to the 24-man Gilas team from which the Final 12 will come.

Recent SEABA campaigners June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Allein Maliksi, Troy Rosario, Calvin Abueva, Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, Jio Jalalon, Matthew Wright and RR Pogoy lead 19 PBA players in the 24-man roster.

Other PBA players in the list are Gabe Norwood, Norbert Torres, Kevin Alas, Baser Amer, Mac Belo, Kevin Ferrer, Chris Tolomia and Carl Bryan Cruz.

Naturalized player Andray Blatche, Fil-German Christian Standhardinger, Bobby Ray Parks, Kiefer Ravena, and Kobe Paras complete the list.

The release of the PBA players to the Gilas pool will be in accordance with the memorandum of agreement between the PBA and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas – 30 days before the tourney among the Gilas cadets and 15 days among the PBA veterans.

Narvasa said they will try to find a way to settle the conflict of the PBA Governors Cup schedule with that of the Asia Cup.

“It always affects the PBA whenever there is a change in (FIBA) schedule. We’ll discuss it with (SBP president) Al Panlilio and coach Chot Reyes,” said Narvasa.

The PBA has made the necessary adjustments in its 2017-18 season to give way to the numerous window periods of the FIBA Asia world qualifiers.

One adjustment is the season opener set in December.

“No specific date yet. We want to know the exact dates of the FIBA games first,” said Narvasa.(PBA)


Gold-like silver for Gilas


 Jun Mar Fajardo versus Hammed HADADI and SOHRABNEJAD Hamed.(Photo by Nuki Sabio)

GILAS Pilipinas failed fell short in its bid to add on to a dream run Sunday, falling to stratospheric Iran, 71-85, but has a glittering prize to show nonetheless from the 27th FIBA Asia Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Hammed Haddadi translated his hulking 7-foot-2 frame into a Most Valuable Player of the tournament performance of 29 points and 16 rebounds in powering Iran to the crown it held in 2007 and 2009, but lost with an early exit two years ago in Wuhan, China.

Sammad Bahrami and Mehdi Kamrani combined for 34 points as the Iranians fully exploited its size advantage to the fullest in the second half, enabling it to post leads that reached a high of 16 in the fourth quarter.

With Marcus Douthit not suiting up due to a right shin injury, the Philippines had no answer to Haddadi and Iran’s other frontliners and came at a time when its outside shooting which could have stretched its opponent’s defense failed to show up.

Yet the second place remains the highest the Filipinos have achieved in the biennial tourney since their last win in the 1985-86 edition and, besides, they have already realized the bigger objective.

The top three finishers in the tourney are rewarded with passage to next year’s FIBA World Cup in Spain, a stage the Philippines has not been in since 1978 and only because it hosted the sport’s biggest dance then.

Denied of a finals shot by the home team Saturday, Korea settled for the next best thing by taking the continent’s last slot in Spain after beating Chinese Taipei 75-57 in their battle for third.

Kim Mingoo scored a gamehigh 21 points and veteran center Kim Joo-sung added 12 points and eight rebounds as the Koreans reprised their finish in Wuhan.

The likes of Jayson Castro, Jimmy Alapag and the rest of Gilas put up one gallant fight and the crowd of almost 20,000 lustily cheered the players on when their time to occupy the podium came.

Castro even had the distinction of being named the tournament’s best point guard, joining  Korean shooting guard Kim Mingoo, Taiwanese forward Lin Chih-Chieh, Iranian power forward Oshin Sahakian and Haddadi in the Mythical Team.

Denied of a finals shot by the home team Saturday, Korea settled for the next best thing by taking the continent’s last slot in Spain after beating Chinese Taipei 75-57 in their battle for third.

Kim Mingoo scored a gamehigh 21 points and veteran center Kim Joo-sung added 12 points and eight rebounds as the Koreans reprised their finish in the last edition of the biennial tourney.

The finish was something hoped-for but not truly expected, until things started falling into place for Gilas, its date with destiny helped along by circumstances beyond its control.

There was the surprise 71-68 win fashioned by Qatar over Chinese Taipei last Wednesday, helping the home team finish on top of its group and avoid a quarterfinals confrontation with China.

There was also the suspension slapped on Lebanon, taking away one potential threat which the Filipinos would have been sure to meet in the second round of the eliminations.

First and foremost was the awarding of the hosting rights to Manila after FIBA Asia decided the situation in original host Lebanon was too volatile. In the process, Gilas got the indispensable homecourt advantage that went a long way.

Gilas took care of its end of the business.

The Nationals, given just two months to gel together and without a key phase in their preparations after getting disinvited in the Jones Cup, absorbed just one loss in the first round but racked up three straight W’s in the second round.

Paired against Kazakhstan in the quarters, Gilas came up with its most explosive game on both ends of the court yet in fashioning an 88-58 rout that set it up against dreaded Korea in the Final Four.

On that muggy Saturday evening Gilas showed it would not be denied a ticket to Spain, playing minus Douthit in the last 25 minutes of play for an 86-79 victory.

The rest of the field, including the top two in the last edition of the biennial tourney, was left trying to salvage some pride.

Jordan, runnerup two years ago in Wuhan, China, dealt Kazakhstan an 88-59 drubbing to cop seventh place.

China, its drive for a 16th title stopped in its tracks by a quarterfinals loss to Chinese Taipei last Friday, rolled back Qatar 96-85 for fifth place.

In matches decided last Saturday, Japan whipped Hong Kong, 79-50, to clinch ninth place while India wound up in 11th following a 75-65 victory over Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia landed 13th, Thailand 14th and Malaysia 15th and last, rounding up the other participants’ finishes.(pr)


Gilas heartbeat away from making 2014 FIBA World Cup



Gary David shoots over Dmitriy Klimov. (Photo by Nuki Sabio)



Gilas Pilipinas is a heartbeat away from making the 2014 FIBA World Cup cast of participants.

Making a big turnaround from its lousy performance against Hong Kong Wednesday, Team Phl sent Kazakhstan down to its knees, 88-58, to advance to the semifinals of the 27th FIBA Asia Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena Friday night.
The Nationals punished the Kazakhs on both ends and came away with their big victory cheered lustily by the mammoth crowd in the Pasay City playing venue.
“We put in a great effort on defense. But in the end, it was the support of the crowd that kept us going,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes acknowledging the significant help of those in the gallery.
Getting past Kazakhstan, Reyes and his troops battle either South Korea or Qatar Saturday for a spot in the finale.
Chinese Taipei scored a historic first win over China, 96-78, to arrange a semifinal showdown with two-time champ Iran.
The Iranians, the heavy favorites to rule this regional world qualifier, exacted revenge versus Jordan, 94-50, in their own quarters rematch.
Winners in the Final Four Saturday automatically gain tickets to the World Cup in Spain next year. The last World Cup slot allotted to Asia goes to the winner of the bronze-medal game Sunday.
Gary David finally hit his strides and the rest had their shares in what’s easily Gilas Pilipinas’ finest showing in this FIBA Asia tourney.
“Binalik ko lang kung anong dati kong ginagawa,” said David, coming out of his shell to top score with 22 points.
“Umuwi ako sandali sa bahay kahapon, at mukhang nakatulong,” David added.
The Nationals rattled the Kazakhs early with a defensive press and were as menacing on the offensive end in pulling away early at 32-13.
They hardly relaxed from there, and thus completed a wire-to-wire victory.
Weary by the second quarter, Gilas had its lapses pounded by the Kazakhs to charge to within six at 38-44.
The Nationals, however, restored a double-digit spread at 51-38 on a two-handed jam by Marcus Douthit, a trey from Gabe Norwood and two charities from Japeth Aguilar.
Gilas kept Kazakhstan from getting its game going early with Norwood and Jason Castro alternately shackling Kazakh star guard Jerry Johnson.
The Gilas second group — Aguilar, Castro, David, Ranidel de Ocampo and Larry Fonacier – worked on crucial defensive stoppages that they translated into successive breakaway layups as the Nationals again widened the gap, 67-49, at the end of the third.
The Nationals sustained the heat to the finish.
The scores:
Philippines 88 – David 22, Castro 13, Aguilar 11, Norwood 10, Chan 7, De ocampo 6, Pingris 6, Douthit 5, Tenorio 3, Fonacier 3, Alapag 2, Fajardo 0.
Kazakhstan 58 – Klimov 14, Johnson 8, Ponomarev 8, Yevstigneyev 6, Lapchenko 5, Murgalayev 5, Bondarovich 4, Zhigulin 3, Sultanov 3, Yargaliyev 2, Bazhkin 0.
Quarterscores: 32-15, 51-40, 67-49, 88-58  (pr)

Gilas notches 67-55 win over Hong Kong

GILAS Pilipinas was given a piece of cake by Qatar earlier Wednesday. It took a lot of doing before it could eat it too.

The Filipinos came up with the firm they wanted only in the last three minutes in notching a 67-55 win over Hong Kong Wednesday and formally claim group topnotcher honors in the 27th FIBA Asia Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Marcus Douthit bucked a sore shin and finished with 13 points and eight rebounds but it was the likes of Gabe Norwood and Jayson Castro who led Gilas home by combining for a fiery windup that plucked the team out of a 58-54 count.
The win was the third straight in all for the hosts and, combined with Qatar’s 71-68 upending of erstwhile unbeaten Chinese Taipei in the afternoon, gave it top spot in Group E despite a three-way tie with those two at 4-1.
By virtue of the quotient used as tiebreak the Filipinos, Qataris and Taiwanese finished in that order in the bracket with Jordan taking the fourth quarterfinals spot from the group following a 65-56 win over Japan.
Gilas next takes on Kazakhstan in the knockout quarterfinals Friday. 
The Kazakhs have lost three in a row, the last two via blowouts to Korea and Iran, which relegated them to sure fourth in Group F. 
The other quarterfinals pairings pit Group F topnotcher Iran versus Jordan, Chinese Taipei against China and Qatar against Korea.
The loss was the fifth in as many games in all for Hong Kong, but not after a gallant stand that saw them engage the heavy favorite home team to a long drawn-out battle.
“Give credit to Hong Kong, they had a great game off a great gameplan, but as I keep saying, there’s no such thing as an easy win,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes.
“We started out flat and even though we only planned to give Marcus limited minutes I had to make sure we ground out this win,” added Reyes.
It also almost hurt Gilas’ cause when it made just 23 of 60 field goal tries and only drained five triples on 24 launches, compounded by Hong Kong’s doubling defense on Douthit.
But when winning time came Gilas was head and shoulder above Hong Kong.
Norwood led the charge with five straight points he laced withy a steal. Castro also had a drive and a swipe, typifying the Filipinos’ own lockdown defense in the stretch.(pr)

Gilas aims to put RP back on world stage

A ROSTER packed with enough talent to get the job done.
That is how practically all observers look at the Gilas Pilipinas team aiming to put the country back on the world basketball stage through the FIBA Asia Championship set Aug. 1 to 11 at the MOA Arena and Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
No less than well-traveled coach Rajko Toroman heads those who opined the Nationals have the depth, shooting touch, height and speed and quickness that should earn them one of the top three tickets the continental tourney is offering for the World Cup next year in Spain.
“We have everything,” said the Serb who steered the Philippine team to a fourth place finish in the 2011 edition of the Asian tourney.
“We have the size, the speed, shooters and, having been together for three months now, chemistry,” added Toroman.
Indeed, Gilas coach Chot Reyes’ team is one of the tallest national squads ever with a frontline led by 6-11 Marcus Douthit, 6-10 June Mar Fajardo and 6-10 Japeth Aguilar. Ranidel de Ocampo, Marc Pingris and Gabe Norwood stand at least 6-5 while the likes of Jimmy Alapag, LA Tenorio, Jayson Castro provide the flash and Larry Fonacier, Gary David and Jeff Chan are sure to lead in the sniping department.
With such a stacked arsenal, Reyes’ focus of late has been on how to defend the likes of defending champion China, Iran and the other Middle Eastern teams, which boast of much taller and heftier players, and the speedier crews from Korea and Chinese-Taipei.
That is where agility and quickness come in, as Reyes himself had previously laid bare when he started naming his pool last February. 
“We need to be very versatile, we can play up-tempo, we can go down low if we need to. But we  have to have a lot of speed, quickness and athleticism and a lot of outside shooting,” said  and I think the lineup bears that.” 
Tim Cone, whose Centennial Team won the bronze in the 1998 Asian Games, said the presence of Alapag, Castro and Tenorio in Gilas should put pressure on the opposing teams on both ends of the floor.
“I will say I’m not surprised. I expected them to keep their three point guards because I know Chot Reyes likes to play small at times,” said Cone upon learning of Reyes’ final lineup bared last Thursday.
“He can play them at same time, put a hard pressure on the other team and all are great shooters,” added Cone. “They also have the opportunity to go big. I think Japeth gave them a little bit more athleticism, length and quickness on the floor.”
For coach Yeng Guiao, who can’t help but compare the current RP Team to the one he mentored in the 2009 FIBA Asia, there are several factors going Reyes’ team’s way.
“Expectedly, they should be able to address the size differential better and they also have a lot of outside shooters, so that is another concern that has been addressed,” said Guiao.
The Middle eastern teams’ slow turnover of talent should also work in Gilas’ favor, added Guiao.  
“Iyung mga regular superstars or key players nila mas matanda kesa sa atin dahil nga mas mabagal ang pag-ikot ng talent nila, di kasing-bilis ng China, Japan, Korea or the Philippines,” noted Guiao.
“So I think it will just be a matter of some psychological or mental questions na lang on our part, but nandiyan din ang homecourt advantage kaya all signs are pointing towards the attainment of our objective,” noted Guiao.(pr)