PBA: Rookies who flourished in the Philippine Cup

PBA Rookies are the building blocks of the league’s future.

While not all of them are expected to make an impact right away, they are all picked with the idea that they would become rotation players. However, there are some transcendental talents who would become integral parts of their respective teams’ success right off the bat.

It’s fitting that the first season that a rookie must face is the Philippine Cup, where teams can’t rely on imports to beef up their rosters.

Here are some of the rookies who helped their respective teams to playoff appearances in their first conference over the past five years:

PG Kiefer Ravena












Drafted By: NLEX Road Warriors, 2017
School: Ateneo De Manila University
PH Cup Stats: 16.9 ppg 5.7 apg 3.7 rpg 2.1 spg

The second overall pick in the latest draft was as good as advertised as he’s leading NLEX in a league-best four game win streak. His all-around game and clutch performance that have been a staple in his UAAP career was surprisingly carried easily in the PBA.

SF Jeron Teng

Drafted By: Alaska Aces, 2017
School: De La Salle University
PH Cup Stats: 13.0 ppg 4.2 rpg 1.8 apg 1.1 spg

A rival of Ravena’s during their UAAP days, Teng is having a decent start to his PBA career. While he may not be leading the team in any category, Teng has been able to plug himself as an essential piece in Alaska’s playoff bid.

PG Jio Jalalon

Drafted By: Star Hotshots, 2016 (Gilas Special Draft)
School: Arellano University
PH Cup Stats: 10.8 ppg 4.5 rpg 3.8 apg 1.3 spg

Jalalon was part of the separate draft that was exclusive to the Gilas Pool members. He was a spark off the Hotshots bench and was having a tremendous season despite playing just 21.9 minutes per game. His contribution was crucial as Mark Barroca’s production dipped with the arrival of Paul Lee.

PG Matthew Wright

Drafted By: Phoenix Fuel Masters, 2016 (Gilas Special Draft)
School: St. Bonaventure (USA)
PH Cup Stats: 17.9 ppg 7.1 rpg 3.8 apg 2.2 3PM

Another product of the special draft, Wright asserted himself right at the get-go for the Fuel Masters. He helped Phoenix to a sixth-place finish in the eliminations to advance to the quarterfinals, but couldn’t pull off a win against Jalalon and the Hotshots.

PF Troy Rosario

Drafted By: Mahindra Enforcers, 2015
School: National University
PH Cup Stats: 15.6 ppg 6.7 rpg 1.7 3PM

Rosario’s start was marred by controversy, having never suited up for the team that drafted him, as he was shipped out two days later to Talk N’ Text. There, he would form a frontcourt with another highly-touted rookie as the Texters begin their first season without Jimmy Alapag, who served as the team manager following his first retirement early in the year.

C Moala Tautuaa

Drafted by: Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters, 2015
School: Chadron State (USA)
PH Cup Stats: 13.2 ppg 5.2 rpg 1.9 apg

The most coveted rookie in the 2015 draft, Tautuaa was seen as a franchise player they could build around following Alapag’s departure. He and Rosario helped TNT in reclaiming their spot in the playoffs, after failing to qualify in the Governor’s Cup, giving the Texters a renewed hope for their future.

SG Stanley Pringle

Drafted by: GlobalPort Batang Pier, 2014
School: Penn State (USA)
PH Cup Stats: 14.0 ppg 6.7 rpg 4.7 apg 1.9 spg

The first overall pick in the 2014 draft did not disappoint, but at 27 years old, he was also the oldest player selected first at the time (Christian Standhardinger was 28 years old when he was picked first last year). Pringle formed a high-scoring backcourt with Terrence Romeo as they led the team to five wins after a combined two over the previous two conferences.

C Greg Slaughter

Drafted by: Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 2013
School: Ateneo De Manila University
PH Cup Stats: 15.7 ppg 10.2 rpg 1.9 bpg 53% FG%

The top overall pick in the frontcourt-heavy 2013 draft showed right away that he was ready for the big league, averaging a double-double in his first conference. He helped the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings to an 11-3 slate in the eliminations. However, they were stopped by the Star Hotshots and their own rookie, Ian Sanggalang.

SF Calvin Abueva

Drafted By: Alaska Aces, 2012
School: San Sebastian College
PH Cup Stats: 14.6 ppg 10.2 rpg 2.1 apg 1.6 spg

With top overall pick June Mar Fajardo nursing an injury for most of the Philippine Cup, it was Abueva who took the spotlight among rookies in his draft class. He finished his collegiate career as the only player in college basketball history to lead a league in points, rebounds, and assists, so it wasn’t like Fajardo was the only gem in the 2012 draft class.

Honorable Mentions:

While their Philippine Cup stats did not stand out as much, some rookies eventually found their groove to become important pieces for the teams they played on. They are:

June Mar Fajardo, Cliff Hodge, Vic Manuel, and Alex Mallari in 2012
Ian Sanggalang, Terrence Romeo, Justin Melton and Raymond Almazan in 2013
Kevin Alas and Chris Banchero in 2014
Chris Newsome, Scottie Thompson, and Art Dela Cruz in 2015
Carl Bryan Cruz and Roger Pogoy in the 2016 Special Draft

Second Jr. NBA 2018 regional selection camp to happen in Agusan on Feb. 24-25

Jr. NBA Philippines 2018 presented by Alaska continues its search for skillful ballers aged 10-14 as it visits Agusan for the second Regional Selection Camp in 2018. Young cagers in Mindanao and surrounding localities as well as interested participants outside of Mindanao are invited to attend the camp on Feb. 24 at Father Saturnino Urios University starting 9 a.m.

Boys and girls born 2004-2008 are encouraged to take advantage of the league’s global youth basketball participation program to not only learn the fundamental basketball skills set but also the Jr. NBA S.T.A.R values of Sportsmanship, Teamwork, a positive Attitude and Respect. The Agusan Camp will be run by Jr. NBA Coaches Carlos Barroca along with other Jr. NBA coaches from presenting partner Alaska.

Registration and participation are free. On the first day, participants will be measured in a series of vitals tests and skills challenges, with their scores determining their return the following day to undergo more basketball drills and team exercises. On the second day, the remaining participants will immerse in team drills and showcase team and individual skills in the scrimmages. The camp’s top performers will be selected to represent Mindanao in the National Training Camp in Manila on May 18-20.

The Jr. NBA National Training Camp is the third phase of the Jr. NBA program that will select the most outstanding eight boys and eight girls as Jr. NBA All-Stars from the Regional Selection Camps. The Jr. NBA Philippines 2018 All-Stars will embark on a unique, overseas NBA experience together with fellow Jr. NBA All-Stars from Southeast Asia later this year.

Two more Jr. NBA Regional Selection Camps will be staged in Baguio and Manila on March 17-18 and April 7-8 respectively. Qualified boys and girls can still register at www.jrnba.asia where the program terms and conditions can be found. Fans can also follow Jr. NBA on Facebook, the NBA at www.nba.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Muntinlupa hands QC first MPBL loss; Bataan breaks into win column

This time, Muntinlupa made sure it won’t disappoint its hometown cheering crowd.

The Angelis Resort-backed Cagers went off to a blazing start then held tougher down the stretch in handing over the first loss on the Quezon City Capitals-Royal Manila, 103-87, late Tuesday night.

A sea of blue packed the Muntinlupa Sports Complex all anticipating of a home win for the Cagers, who were denied a victory in their home court in their first game here about a month ago.

Pari Llagas and the rest of the Cagers made sure they will be up to the task.

The 6-foot-2 frontliner from University of the East finished with 21 points and provided the inside presence the Cagers needed in picking up their fourth consecutive win and becoming the first team to deal the Capitals their first loss in the tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with former PBA MVP and 40 Greatest member Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

Muntinlupa has now forged a tie for second to third places with its victim.

In the first game, the Bataan Defenders-Bai Shipping spoiled the coaching debut of Jerry Codinera at the Imus Bandera-GLC Truck and Equipment camp, winning 91-87, in the battle between two winless squads.

The Defenders got a big lift from Al Carlos, who finished with a career-high 22 markers. Gary David added 20 points and continued his string of double-digit games for his squad.

Lito Alvarez, team owner of the Cagers, was overwhelmed by the turnout.

“Ang ganda ng crowd. The fans were very supportive. Iba talaga yung atmosphere kapag may home court, parating puno ang mga venues,” said Alvarez, a former chairman in the PBA.

The Cagers raced to an early 11-0 advantage and although the Capitals were able to come back, the home team was poised to salvage a victory and avoid another melt down. A 9-2 run capped by GJ Ylagan’s triple in the last 13 seconds enabled Muntinlupa to take a 77-70 lead entering the final period.

PBA players who would have thrived in a Gilas uniform

We’re only a day away from seeing Gilas Pilipinas duke it out against the Australian Boomers, who are ranked 10th in the world. With a guard-heavy lineup in tow, head coach Chot Reyes is hoping for an upset against a team that’s taller and longer than half of the roster.

A lot of fans didn’t agree with how Reyes formed his lineup for the second window, with many saying that he snubbed better players that would have curbed the team’s natural disadvantages against Australia.

Such ‘snubs’ are common during the selection process for Gilas Pilipinas, where not all the players we want to see in uniform would be picked due to a multitude of factors, which include age, FIBA eligibility, the (old) two players per team limit, and so on.

Here are a few guys who definitely would have been perfect pieces for the Gilas program.

Alex Cabagnot

2017-18 Philippine Cup stats: 19.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 38.8 percent from the field, 27.6 percent on threes

Despite having a bit of a “down” conference, Cabagnot is still arguably one of the league’s best point guards. He’s a steady distributor (only 1.5 turnovers this season) and he probably would have thrived running Chot Reyes’ fast-paced dribble-drive offense or Tab Baldwin’s fluid swing offense. The pool, however, is always filled with terrific guards and it didn’t help that there was a limit on the number of players Gilas could borrow from PBA teams back then.

Arwind Santos

2017-18 Philippine Cup stats: 16.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.9 blocks, 1.7 steals, 40.9 percent from the field, 32.9 percent on threes

A younger Arwind Santos paired with Gabe Norwood on defense would have been terrifying. He’s got decent footwork and a long reach which would have bothered the best international players on the perimeter. He could have also played the four, where Arwind would have stretched the floor well while having little problem snagging rebounds and turning away guards at the rim with his impressive vertical and wit down low. Sadly, management issues and the now-lifted PBA limit prevented us from seeing him in a Gilas uniform a few years ago.

Stanley Pringle

2017-18 Philippine Cup stats: 21.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 42.7 percent from the field, 34.6 on threes

There’s no way you can say that Pringle wouldn’t kill it in the international level. He’s ridiculously fast and steady with the ball, and he’s playing at a very efficient level on both ends of the floor while carrying a heavy workload (37.3 minutes per game) without his backcourt partner Terrence Romeo this conference. We can only imagine how he’d fare in a system with better players and better coaching since he Pringle wasn’t able to get hold of a Philippine passport before turning 16.

Chris Ross

2017-18 Philippine Cup stats: 12.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 2.0 steals, 39.8 percent on field goals

Ross is the current league leader in assists and is fourth in steals, and you can bet on him to bring these intangibles wherever he went. He’s an unselfish guy who defers to scorers in San Miguel and works hard on defense; having even better teammates in Gilas would have opened the floor for him on scoring (where he’s struggling this conference). Paired with other world-class defenders on the floor for a period of time would have also made him one of the best hounds internationally. Too bad he’s not eligible under the current FIBA rules.

Chris Newsome

2017-18 Philippine Cup stats: 11.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.5 steals, 35 percent from the field, 33.3 percent on threes

Like the two others before him, Newsome wasn’t able to secure a passport before turning 16. He would have been terrific on the wings as a more efficient all-around player, knocking down threes at a better rate off the ball while finding others on offense as a secondary distributor. Chris isn’t a bad on the boards himself, proving to be a force with that motor of his.

Chris Banchero

2017-18 Philippine Cup stats: 11.6 points, 3.9 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 49.4 percent from the field, 37.5 percent on threes, 74.2 percent on threes

The Fil-Italian point guard is probably Alaska’s poster boy for consistency. Baldwin and Reyes would have loved having him run their offensive schemes; Banchero is a smart floor general and willing facilitator, and together with his savvy offense and physical defense, there is no doubt that he would have been a fan favorite for Gilas.

Five NBA Team Twitter Accounts that Everyone Should Follow

There’s no doubt one of the best ways to stay connected to the NBA is through Twitter. Unfortunately, not all team accounts are created equal. While some try hard to keep things enjoyable for their fans, there are just others that are a cut above the rest.

Today, FOX Sports Philippines gives you five teams which you should definitely check out and follow if you’re on Twitter.

Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings)
Followers: 945K

The Kings might be a small-market team, but they are giants when it comes to Twitter. They are consistently funny and their feed isn’t full of promotions.

Even though they are not winning a lot this season—they only have 18 at the time of writing—they still come up with great tweets to keep their fans engaged. And whenever they win, they make sure to rub salt on their opponents’ wounds!

Take a look at this exchange.

…or this series of tweets during their comeback victory against the Chicago Bulls.

Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers)
Followers: 1.42M

When you have the undisputed Twitter GOAT Joel Embiid on your team, it’s easy to be good at Twitter. Sure enough, the Sixers are never shy of using their All-Star big and promoting his hilarious personality (and elite skills).

Philly’s Twitter, of course, is not only about Embiid. They also effectively blend serious and funny tweets, so it’s not tiring to follow them at all.

Toronto Raptors (@Raptors)
Followers: 1.65M

One thing remarkable about the Raps’ account is its consistency. They are cheeky and clever, but they stay true to their branding. Not to mention that they are the best when it comes to creating awesome graphics.

The people behind their Twitter know how to throw shade as well. Just look at this tweet they sent out after winning Game 4 of their playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks last year.

Plus, it’s always amusing to watch OG Anunoby’s “in depth” preview of every game!

Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks)
Followers: 1.18M

The Hawks are really, really good on Twitter and that’s not an overstatement. They are simply wacky, playful and not mean, making you think why the other NBA teams (not on this list) can’t just be like them.

Their tone resonates well with everyone, including casual fans, and they do so without looking like a try-hard.

Among their most notable habit on Twitter is announcing their schedule through emojis.

It’s also not easy to forget that time when they negotiated a social media trade with the Charlotte Hornets.

Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers)
Followers: 1.12M

It’s well known around the league that the Trail Blazers are the Kings of NBA Twitter, and for a good reason. They talk the same language as basketball fans and it feels like they are just your buddy who is as passionate about the game as you do.

The Blazers don’t fall short on the creative department as well, and they respond to a lot of people—fan or not.

If you were not following them this past Valentine’s day, you missed a lot.

NBA: Struggling Hornets fire general manager

The struggling Hornets have shaken up their front office, firing general manager Rich Cho on Tuesday.

”Rich worked tirelessly on behalf of our team and instituted a number of management tools that have benefited our organization,” Hornets owner Michael Jordan said in a release. ”We are deeply committed to our fans and to the city of Charlotte to provide a consistent winner on the court. The search will now begin for our next head of basketball operations who will help us achieve that goal.”

Charlotte is 24-33 and on the verge of failing to reach the playoffs for the second straight season.

Jordan’s college teammate Buzz Peterson was hired last year as the team’s assistant general manager is a potential replacement. Former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak could be another candidate to join Peterson in the front office in some capacity.

Cho was hired as GM in 2011 and assumed day-to-day responsibilities of the basketball operations department in 2014.

”I will always be grateful for my experience with the franchise,” Cho said.

Cho and the Hornets have struggled with building a consistent winner.

He was responsible for drafting All-Star point guard Kemba Walker in 2011, but the team’s inability to get the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft after a 7-59 season proved to be a backbreaker. Instead of getting perennial All-Star center Anthony Davis, the Hornets settled for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the No. 2 pick, a significant dropoff in talent.

Charlotte missed on second-round pick Jeffery Taylor from Sweden in 2012.

They took Cody Zeller, now a backup center, fourth overall in 2013, Noah Vonleh ninth in 2014 and Frank Kaminsky ninth overall in 2015. Cho drafted Malik Monk in the first round last year, but he barely sees any action for Charlotte because of concerns about his defense.

Cho traded this past offseason for center Dwight Howard, who has improved his play and had a decent season for the Hornets. However, the five-year contract given to Nic Batum last year has left the Hornets strapped under the salary cap.

Roundtable: 2017 Draft Class Redrafted

Halfway through the season, we now have a better look at the 2017 Draft Class.

The FOX Sports Digital Ambassadors for Basketball sat down and talked about the rookies.

1.) Who are the rookies that impressed you the most?

Angelo: Donovan Mitchell and Kyle Kuzma are the easy picks. They have performed way above their draft selections and are undoubtedly stars in the making. However, I also like what I have seen so far from Toronto rookie OG Anunoby. He has regressed offensively as of late, but his defense remains consistent and is one of the reasons why the Raptors are on top of the East.

Voltaire: Ben Simmons is going to have the Rookie of the Year award this year, but for the rooks in the 2017 draft class, I think Donovan Mitchell has impressed the most. He didn’t have the pre-draft fanfare most of the top picks had, but he’s emerged as an elite offensive guard that’s definitely ready for the NBA.

Imon: Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma as a 27th pick impressed most of the NBA fans. He currently averages 15.7 points per game – third highest among rookies. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell just won the Slam Dunk Contest but he is more than slams, as he was able to lead his team in scoring during their 11-game win streak just before the All-Star Break. And oh, don’t sleep on the Finnisher Lauri Markkanen!

Eros: I’m impressed with how Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Kuzma, Lauri Markkannen and Lonzo Ball have been playing.
– Mitchell has emerged as a primary scoring option for the Utah Jazz, is firing and hitting at a respectable clip (19.6 points, 3.5 assists, 1.4 steals on 43.9 percent from the field and 35.4 percent on threes) and is currently leading the team on an 11-game winning streak.
– Kyle Kuzma is a spectacular steal at the 27th pick. His college numbers weren’t pretty (10.1 points on 50.6 percent field goal shooting, uncluding 30.2 percent on threes) but he absolutely turned it around in the NBA as LA’s second-top scorer this season (15.7 points, 35.8 percent on threes).
– Lauri Markkanen’s mold is that of Dirk Nowitzki, but he’s projecting to be better than the German legend. Dirk’s rookie numbers don’t hold a candle against ‘The Finnisher’, as Lauri’s been better in every field offensively and is only getting better as the season progresses.
– Lonzo Ball is 3rd among all guards in rebounding, fourth among all guards in blocks, fourth among all rookies in steals, and 7th in the league in assists. He’s negating his terrible shooting with numbers across the board.

2.) Give one non lottery pick that should be one and one lottery pick that should have been drafted late.

Angelo: Kyle Kuzma should have been a lottery pick. He’s already one of the most offensively talented prospects in the 2017 NBA draft, so it’s quite confusing why he would fall all the way to 27th. Sure enough, no one could have predicted that he’d play with a high level of composure, but he still could have gone higher or even in the lottery. Meanwhile, Jonathan Isaac, the sixth pick in the draft, should have gone lower. The Florida State product is averaging a measly 5.3 points in 19 minutes per game and has consistently struggled due to injury.

Voltaire: In today’s era of the “Stretch Five,” I think Jarrett Allen of the Brooklyn Nets (drafted 22nd overall) should have been picked higher. He’s an agile big man with a soft touch, and a knack for getting boards blocks, which make him a really under the radar fantasy player. Malik Monk (drafted 11th) was touted as one of the best shooters in the draft but failed to step up when Jeremy Lamb and Nicolas Batum were injured. He’s a pain off the bench when you go up against the Hornets in 2K18 though.

Imon: Obviously, Kuzma should have been a lottery pick. Teams are always in need of that spark off the bench and someone who can get buckets in bunches. John Collins who was the 19th pick could have slotted in with a lottery team – probably at Sacramento’s #10 then be traded to the Blazers. I was hyping Malik Monk before the draft but it seems he got lost somewhere in the transition to the professional game. And yeah, Markelle Fultz, shoulder injury and all, should have been lower – have you seen his shooting form…

Eros: Kyle Kuzma should be a lottery pick, while Malik Monk and Luke Kennard should have been lower. Sure, Kuzma probably won’t see a lot of time in Charlotte and Detroit’s packed frontcourts, but you can argue that he should and that he’s outplaying these two right now.

3.) If you would redraft the 2017 class, who’s your top 5?

Angelo: If the Sixers still traded for the first pick, my top five would be Lonzo Ball (Philadelphia), Donovan Mitchell (Los Angeles Lakers), Jayson Tatum (Boston), Kyle Kuzma (Phoenix Suns), De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento King). The Sixers needed a point guard, and I think Lonzo would fit perfectly to their young squad. Mitchell, meanwhile, should be able to give the Lakers a much-needed offensive boost. Tatum and Fox seem a good fit for the teams that drafted them, while Kuzma is obviously a better option, at least offensively, than Josh Jackson.

Voltaire: Based on team needs and draft positions, I would have Mitchell (Sixers thought needed a guard that time), Lonzo (Lakers weren’t picking anyone else), Tatum (Boston moved down knowing Tatum would be available at 3), DSJ (Phoenix was building around Devin Booker, DSJ would have been a McCollum to Book’s Lillard.), and Jordan Bell (Draymond-lite fits nicely in that young Kings core).
Sheer talent, I’d say Mitchell, Kuzma, DSJ, Lauri, Tatum.

Imon: Mitchell as the first pick of the Sixers. Luke is loving Ingram’s production as a point guard so knowing what we know now, the Lakers would probably be better off getting Markkanen. Boston will still go with Tatum while Phoenix picks DSJ as sidekick to Devin Booker. Lonzo and Lavar will be staying in their lane in Sacramento.

Eros: I’m gonna go with how they fit with the drafting teams, so my top five are:
– Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
– Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers
– Donovan Mitchell, Philadelphia 76ers
– Kyle Kuzma, Phoenix Suns
– Dennis Smith Jr., Sacramento Kings

Knowing what everyone knows now, the Celtics probably won’t risk losing Tatum to any other team. He’s the perfect fit for Brad Stevens’ system over all other players. The Lakers would still take Ball at the number two spot since his main role, really, is to facilitate and keep the offense humming. Mitchell would be a terrific in the Sixers’ backcourt and he’ll take a lot of pressure off of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Kuzma would be terrific off the ball if with another scoring option primarily handling the ball (Devin Booker) or if the Phoenix gets a reliable point guard (like what they did in the deadline when they dealt for Elfrid Payton). The Kings, meanwhile, need a guard to keep the offense running; Fox isn’t really doing any better than DSJ right now, who’ll probably treat Sacramento’s desolate offense like his own blacktop court and run the engine his way all season long.

You can also check out Mo Twister’s picks 6-10 on FOX Sports DDay

Ranking some of the best Gilas Pilipinas teams ever

Philippine basketball has certainly made big splashes after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) established the Gilas program in 2010. Initially aiming to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, the program went on to consistently rank among the top teams in Asia and even qualified for the FIBA World Cup back in 2014.

The program has bannered various rosters in different tournaments; most of the teams are led by PBA players and a single import. Of course, some are more memorable and notable than the others.

Today, we are taking a look at some Gilas teams that were formed to represent the Philippines in FIBA tournaments in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Not included in this list are the cadet teams that played in different formats and those that played in tournaments not sanctioned by FIBA (ex. Jones Cup).

5. Gilas 5.0

Lineup: Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Christian Standhardinger (FIBA Asia), Andray Blatche (SEABA) June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Matthew Wright, Calvin Abueva, Jio Jalalon, Raymond Almazan, Japeth Aguilar, Carl Bryan Cruz, Roger Pogoy

Head coach: Chot Reyes

Notable FIBA-sanctioned tournaments participated/won:
– 7th place, 2017 FIBA Asia Cup
– 1st place, 2017 SEABA Championship

There were high hopes for this roster after demolishing their competition in SEABA by an average of 58 points per game, but they surprisingly fell apart in the FIBA Asia Cup. Gilas started that tournament strong, picking apart China in their first game and sweeping Group B, until they were sent crashing back to earth in an 86-118 loss to South Korea in the quarterfinals. They fell even further after that after being handed an 87-106 drubbing by Lebanon. Gilas settled after narrowly beating Jordan in the seventh-place game, 75-70. This roster, which had a mixture of size, depth, speed, shooting and experience, was outcoached and the absence of Blatche (a big man who can both tussle in the paint and space the floor) for the tournament might have been a huge factor for their underwhelming performance.

4. Gilas 1.0

Lineup: Jimmy Alapag, Chris Tiu, Mark Barroca, JVee Casio, Chris Lutz, Sol Mercado, Marcio Lassiter, Mac Baracael, Ranidel de Ocampo, Kelly Williams, Jason Ballesteros, Japeth Aguilar, Greg Slaughter, Asi Taulava, Marcus Douthit

Head coach: Rajko Toroman

Notable FIBA-sanctioned tournaments participated/won:
– 4th place, 2011 FIBA Asia Championship
– 4th place, 2011 FIBA Asia Champions Cup
– 4th place, 2010 FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup
– 6th place, 2010 Asian Games
– 1st place, 2011 and 2012 SEABA Championship
– 1st place, 2011 SEA Games

This was the team that started it all. Led by Serbian coach Rajko Toroman, they played the most international tournaments among all teams formed under the program and was even tantalizingly close to gaining a berth to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament during the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship in Wuhan, China, where they fell against South Korea in the bronze medal game. Despite not having cracked the top three in any of the major Asian tournaments, Gilas 1.0 was notable for playing cohesively under Toroman’s European-style offense and paved the way for the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to inject more talent into the roster for future tourneys.

3. Gilas 4.0



Lineup: Andray Blatche, Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, June Mar Fajardo, Ranidel de Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, Marc Pingris, Troy Rosario, Japeth Aguilar, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Ryan Reyes

Head coach: Tab Baldwin

Notable FIBA-sanctioned tournaments participated/won:
– 6th place, 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament
– 1st place, 2016 SEABA Cup

Gilas 4.0 didn’t participate (and win) in a lot of tournaments like Gilas 1.0, but this lineup was easily better in terms of talent and level of competition. They predictably swept the SEABA Cup en route to qualifying for the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge. Gilas wasn’t able to play in Rio, but they kept every game in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) competitive, losing tightly-contested games against a basketball heavyweight in France (84-93) and to a veteran squad in New Zealand (80-89). This roster wasn’t able to play together in the FIBA Asia Challenge, though, as problems with player availability due to the then ongoing PBA tournament marred the selection process.

2. Gilas 3.0

Lineup: Jayson Castro, Andray Blatche, Gabe Norwood, Calvin Abueva, Ranidel de Ocampo, Terrence Romeo, Marc Pingris, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Sonny Thoss, Dondon Hontiveros, JC Intal, Asi Taulava

Head coach: Tab Baldwin

Notable FIBA-sanctioned tournaments participated/won:
– 2nd place, 2015 FIBA Asia Championship
– 1st place, 2015 SEABA Championship

For a short time, fans became critics of this lineup when it was first released; Jimmy Alapag just retired from international basketball and June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Jeff Chan and Paul Lee were excluded due to different reasons. This was Baldwin’s first Gilas team at the helm, and he coached it beautifully. After getting upset by Palestine in the first game of the FIBA Asia Championship, the team barreled through the rest of the competition by scoring seven straight victories, including impressive wins against Japan twice (73-66 in Group E, 81-70 in the semifinals), Iran (87-73), and Lebanon (82-70). They lost in the final, however, to a tall Chinese side in a competitive game littered with no-calls and questionable refereeing. This victory gave them momentum heading towards the FIBA OQT and erased the sting of an embarrassing seventh-place finish in the 2014 Asian Games.

1. Gilas 2.0

Lineup: Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, Marcus Douthit, Ranidel de Ocampo, Marc Pingris, LA Tenorio, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, Gary David, Larry Fonacier, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar

Head coach: Chot Reyes

Notable FIBA-sanctioned tournaments participated/won:
– 2nd place, 2013 FIBA Asia championship
– 21st place, FIBA World Cup
– 7th place, 2014 Asian Games

In a move that would put Philippine basketball back on the world map, SBP decided to form a Gilas team that would be composed of PBA players. Joined by carry-overs from Gilas 1.0 (Alapag, Douthit, de Ocampo, Aguilar), they not only qualified for the World Cup but also gave Filipino fans arguably the most beautiful sports memories. Backed by a boisterous and ever supportive home crowd, Gilas only had one loss (against Chinese Taipei, 79-84) and steamrolled past Saudi Arabia (78-66), Jordan (77-71), Japan (90-71), Qatar (80-70), Hong Kong (67-55) and Kazakhstan (88-58) to make their way to the semifinals. There, clutch baskets from Jayson Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo in the last minutes, capped off by a Jimmy Alapag three (!) and a Marc Pingris putback helped Gilas overcome a fourth quarter deficit to beat South Korea in an emotional 86-79 win. They lost to Iran, 71-85, in the final, but that barely mattered as the team qualified for the FIBA World Cup for the first time in 40 years. Later, Congress approved the naturalization of Andray Blatche just in time for Seville, where Gilas almost pulled off massive upsets against powerhouses Croatia (78-81, OT), Greece (70-82), Argentina (81-85) and Puerto Rico (73-77) before edging Senegal in a nail-biting 81-79 overtime win. They crashed terribly in the Asian Games, managing to win only three out of seven games without Blatche, but surely this team is remembered more for the terrific performances rather than the bad ending.

Adidas, Harden change direction with Harden Vol. 2

James Harden knows within seconds that his defender can’t guard him. Jab, dribble, hesi, cross, step-back, drill the three. Harden’s got his defender on skates before they can even react to his first move. A recipe few can master but for Harden it’s what makes him basketball’s most lethal creator.

Designed to enhance No. 13’s skill for changing direction, adidas introduces Harden Vol. 2 with FORGEFIBER and full-length BOOST. The second volume in Harden’s signature line is uniquely constructed to elevate his deceptive footwork and amplify his ability to create space on-court.

“It’s tailored to my game and quick change of direction,” Harden explained. “Being different in the sense of my movements – the step-backs and Eurosteps and quick crossovers – you got to have a shoe that’s designed to move whenever you move… and not a second later.”

Engineered for the movements that separate Harden from the rest, FORGEFIBER hits the court for the first time and provides all the comfort a foot in motion needs without the traditional stiffness. An application process utilizing TPU-coated yarn, FORGEFIBER is compressed across stretch-based mesh for strengthened support and stitched with three unique layers to reinforce Harden’s signature jab step, step-back and Eurostep.

Harden Vol. 2 features a customizable lacing system, equipped for personalized lockdown. Large scale mesh is utilized on the tongue for added breathability while a lace band stretches across the foot, bridging the upper for added containment.

Loaded with full-length BOOST cushioning, Harden Vol. 2 is designed with a wide base at the back of the foot to create stance and provide a balanced platform for Harden’s footwork in isolation. Midfoot grooves house a stability plate to reinforce torsion control, while the silhouette’s heel counter ensures durability and balance.

Embracing one of James’ favorite features of the Harden Vol. 1, the design team went back to the lab with advanced generative software to evolve the Harden Vol. 2 traction pattern. Derived from testing and data mapping of James’ on-court movements, a traction pattern was created to vary densities across the outsole and focus on Harden’s key zones for changing direction.

Inspired by Harden’s love for Los Angeles. Created for the City of Angels. This is where Harden shaped his game and learned to dream. Harden Vol. 2 California Dreamin’ takes on the hues of a LA sunrise, featuring palm tree camo on the lace system, pastel green and purple accents, a chalk coral upper with orange FORGEFIBER threads and dark gray BOOST.

Creating more points – scored or assisted on – than any player in the league, James is the key to igniting the Rockets’ high-powered offense. Harden Vol. 2 Ignite represents James’ fire to bring a title back to Houston.

PBA Memorable Moments: 1997 Gordon’s Gin Commissioner’s Cup Celebration

It was the 1997 Commissioner’s Cup Finals, the most popular and charismatic franchise in the PBA, Ginebra (then playing under the Gordon’s Gin brand), had been waiting for a championship for so long.

Their last trophy was won way back in 1991 during the first conference, and come 1997 it was undeniable that the team with the biggest fanbase is already in a significant title drought. The previous conference, the 1997 All-Filipino was a bitter pill to swallow as they bowed to Purefoods in 6 games.

The Commissioner’s Cup would be their revenge, but it wasn’t a walk in the park as they faced last year’s grand-slam winning Alaska who were eager to right their ship and get back to last year’s glory.

To cut the story short, the Gin Boars were able to power through against the odds beating the Milkmen in six games and finally ending the title drought as majority of the fans in the stadium celebrated with the team.

It was pandemonium of a very happy and glorious sort. After the trophy was awarded, larger than life playing coach Robert “The Living Legend” Jaworski addressed and saluted the fans for their unwavering support as he dedicated the trophy to them.

Later in the dugout, the media interviewed the players who made up the team.

Because of this particular squad’s achievement of giving the PBA’s most beloved team a championship once again after a considerable time of disappointing campaigns, many of them became unforgettable individuals and instant PBA lore after all these years.

Here they are:

Bal “The Flash” David

The quick and tenacious point guard was instrumental as he epitomized the “never say die” culture of the team.

“Mr. Adrenaline” Jayvee Gayoso

An intense player who is a specialist from beyond the arc, his shooting touch came in handy during crucial moments.

Vince “The Prince” Hizon

Lethal from beyond the arc, can take it strong inside and has good court vision, don’t let The Prince’s was the good guy image fool you. He’s dangerous on court!

Enjoy their clip!

Benny Cheng

Gordon’s role player but has endeared to fans because he can light up from time to time.

Marlou “The Skyscraper” Aquino

Gordon’s Gin’s center who is a presence and creative inside the paint, he just opted to stay huddled in his designated space in the locker room during the interview.

Noli “The Tank” Locsin

The Player of the Game when they won the championship, who doesn’t look like he won the championship this time.

Noli Locsin was one of the most explosive players whose game belies his stocky appearance.

An inside force who can take the ball strong to the rim, his scene here was one of the most memorable and thought-provoking as he really seemed not in the mood to celebrate.

Chris King

Who can forget The Boars’ import, Chris King, who gave is all even if nursing a hamstring problem. He never wavered and continued on for the prize.

Here is clip with their respective moments:

The Aftermath: The Song

Such was the level of impact of their championship run that it inspired Gary Granada to release a special version of his “Pag natatalo ang Ginebra” song in homage to the monumental achievement.

So, we hope the memories came flooding back! It iss definitely one of the big moments in PBA.