Key player trades in GlobalPort Batang Pier’s history

Stephen Curry on Olympics and Tokyo ambition

The NorthPort franchise is no stranger to the trading table.

The Batang Pier roster has been overhauled numerous times since their acquisition of Powerade’s PBA franchise in 2012. GlobalPort/NorthPort players’ involvement in trade transactions have hogged sports headlines especially when big names are thrown into the mix.

Recently, the Mikee Romero-owned franchise sent its star point guard Stanley Pringle to Barangay Ginebra for Sol Mercado, Kevin Ferrer and Jervy Cruz — sending shock waves anew to the pro league.

RELATED — PBA coaches weigh in on Pringle’s shocking trade to Ginebra

After establishing himself as the team’s ace, Pringle’s transfer came as a surprise which happened right at the middle of the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup. The Batang Pier came away with a 6-1 win-loss card despite the absence of Pringle due to a bone spur surgery on his right foot.  Following a 127-99 victory Saturday night over Blackwater, NorthPort earned a share of the top spot in the team standings with a 7-1 slate.

RELATED — How did the ex-Ginebra trio fare in their NorthPort debut?

Looking back, NorthPort has been here before. The PBA trading block has always had a Batang Pier on the list, be it a starter or a second-stringer.

FOX Sports Philippines lists down some of the memorable trade deals involving key NorthPort players:

Gary David

One of the holdovers from Powerade, David maintained his reputation as the “face of the franchise” in the early years of the Batang Pier squad. Despite his glowing resume as a former league scoring champion and national team member, David found himself on the trading block in 2013 with NorthPort shipping the Dinalupihan, Bataan native to Meralco for Chris Ross, AJ Mandani and two second round draft picks.

Japeth Aguilar

Currently a star forward for Barangay Ginebra, Aguilar once suited up for the Batang Pier way back in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup. Acquired that same year by NorthPort via a three-team deal involving nine players and a 2015 first round draft pick, Aguilar’s exit from the team went through an almost similar arrangement. In June 2013, four teams sat down to deal five players and three future draft picks. When the dust settled, Aguilar ended up with the Gin Kings while NorthPort snared Jay Washington, Yousef Taha and a 2013 first round draft choice.

Jay Washington

Washington’s stint with the Batang Pier didn’t last long either. The do-it-all forward, who won two Best Player of the Conference citations while with the Petron Blaze Boosters, became part of another three-team carousel involving NorthPort, NLEX and TNT. Along with NLEX’s Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, TNT reeled in Washington while the Batang Pier received Noy Baclao and two future draft picks from the KaTropa.

Willie Miller

Miller, a former PBA Most Valuable Player, has donned the uniform of six different ballclubs. His entry to the Batang Pier, his fifth PBA team, was a result of a blockbuster trade in 2012 which also involved fellow guards LA Tenorio and JVee Casio. Prior to the intricate five-team deal, Miller was the starting point guard for Barako Bull Energy. Fifteen months later, Miller would find his way back to Barako Bull via a trade with Enrico Villanueva. Hans Thiele was also part of the trade that saw the Batang Pier land the former UAAP MVP.

Alex Cabagnot

Cabagnot’s tenure with San Miguel was once cut short in 2014, wherein the talented play maker was shipped to the Batang Pier in exchange for Sol Mercado. Cabagnot’s stint with the Batang Pier, however, lasted just 10 months. In time for the 2014 Philippine Cup playoffs, the Beermen reacquired Cabagnot from the Batang Pier, parting ways in the process with Mercado and two future second round draft picks.

Terrence Romeo

In his five-year stint with the Batang Pier, Romeo established himself as one of the league’s best offensive threats. The two-way guard from FEU claimed three-straight scoring titles in a starring role with the team that selected him fifth overall in the 2013 Rookie Draft. However, Romeo’s relationship with team management turned sour in 2018 after a series of disagreements. The Batang Pier finally decided to part ways with Romeo in April 2018, sending the 5-foot-11 dynamo and Yousef Taha to the TNT KaTropa for center Mo Tautuaa and two future draft picks.

 

 

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Here come the PBA imports: Nino Johnson in, Chris Daniels out for Alaska

Stephen Curry on Olympics and Tokyo ambition

It’s that time of the year again, as each PBA team once again welcome battle-tested reinforcements for the highly anticipated 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. 

These imports, who were first welcomed by the league in 1981, have brought world class talent to the Philippine hardwood and have raised the level of play among locals.

FOX Sports Philippines presents our “Here come the Imports” series, where we profile each PBA team’s basketball mercenaries for ongoing conference.

With a quad injury sidelining their original choice Chris Daniels, the Alaska Aces scampered for a replacement – another PBA “first-timer” – in the person of 6-foot-9 forward Nino Johnson.

Professional basketball experience

Johnson played four seasons of NCAA Division I basketball for the Southeast Missouri State University. In his sophomore year, he registered career-best 11.09 points, 8.76 rebounds and 2.48 blocks per game for the Redhawks, who compete in the Ohio Valley Conference.

After going undrafted in the 2015 NBA Rookie Draft, Johnson plied his trade overseas for teams in Finland, Poland and Iceland. During his latest stint with Icelandic ballclub Thor AK Akureyri, Johnson posted a double-double average consisting of 17.45 points and 10.91 rebounds per contest.

Then in the 2018-19 season, Johnson brought his act to the NBA Development League, suiting up for the Memphis Hustle. In 32 games, the 26 year-old slotman tallied per game norms of 6.3 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Hustle – the G-League affiliate of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.

 

Fit with Alaska?

Halfway through the eliminations, the Aces’ campaign took a hit with Daniels’ injury. Taking in an untested talent up against teams with veteran imports, even those who have already played in the PBA, might be a big gamble for Alaska. The Alex Compton-mentored squad is currently sitting on the upper half of the team standings, looking ahead for a deep run in the tournament. With no room for error, Johnson’s stay with Alaska would be put to scrutiny, especially with Daniels’ past performances as the barometer.

(Photo from Getty Images)

RELATED — Meralco hopes to reignite surge with addition of Jimmie Taylor

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The MPBL underdogs | Newcomers Bicol, Mindoro bolster league expansion

Stephen Curry on Olympics and Tokyo ambition

Regional basketball fever is about to hit the Bicolandia and MIMAROPA regions.

Looking to continue its unprecedented growth, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) opened its doors to new teams in time for its third season, slated for a grand opening this afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

From 10 teams in its first-ever tournament in January 2018, the number of squads ballooned to 26 in its second conference, the Datu Cup, which concluded just last April.

Now, the league is on course to outdo its own feat with the increase of the number of ballclubs to 31. Following the pullout of Mandaluyong, six new teams came forward to boost the third season of the MPBL.

Today, FOX Sports Philippines looks into the composition of the two MPBL expansion teams, the Bicol Volcanoes and the Mindoro Tamaraws.

Unifying force binds Bicol

The Volcanoes were initially set to represent the province of Albay. However, immense support from a number of government officials of this Southern Luzon region prompted the name change: from Albay Volcanoes to Bicol Volcanoes. Apart from provincial governor Al Francis Bichara, Guinobatan mayor Ann Gemma Ongjoco, board member Rey Bragais, Legaspi mayor Noel Rosal and councilor Vince Baltazar, and Sto. Domingo mayor Herbie Aguas have expressed their willingness to help out the team.

Under the tutelage of seasoned coach Monel Kallos, the Volcanoes have enlisted 13 homegrown talents in their 21-man roster submitted to the MPBL. Of these 13 true-blue Bicolano players, three have made it to the big leagues and are expected to provide leadership for this debuting squad.

Ronjay Buenafe, the pride of Camarines Sur, spent 11 seasons in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) for nine different clubs. A member of 2008 All-Rookie Team, the 6-foot-2 Buenafe won one championship in the PBA – the 2012 Governors’ Cup – during his stint with Rain or Shine.

Hailing from Camalig, Albay, Alex Nuyles makes his way to the MPBL after five seasons in the PBA. This former Adamson Soaring Falcon suited up for four PBA teams before getting the call-up to represent his home province.

Completing this triumvirate of former pros is Jonathan Aldave, who once suited up for Talk ‘N Text. In the previous MPBL season, Aldave played for Northern Division team Pasig Pirates.

Other players that could provide key contributions for the Volcanoes are Alwin Alday, Jerome Garcia, Raffy Gusi, Chris Lalata, Kent Lao, Jefferson Ongteco and Haffer Mondragon.

Mindoro ready to charge

The province of Mindoro has finally joined in the fray as they parade an interesting mix of talented homegrowns and recruits, for the first time in local mainstream hoops.

Owned by Justin Tan, the Tamaraws enjoys the full backing of their local government unit thru Congressman Doy Leachon and Board Member Mikan Leachon. Tasked to mentor this young and exciting team is coach Bengie Teodoro, to be assisted by Homer Jagunap, Rysal Castro, Mac Abolucion, and Paco Madamda.

Rodel Vaygan, Kerr Hastkey Bangeles and Khen Osicos head the list of Mindorenos signed up for the Tamaraws’ debut run in the MPBL. Veteran campaigners Michael Galinato, Raymond Matias, Francis Camacho and former high school phenom Joshua Saret shore up this promising Mindoro side. Saret, a product of the Jose Rizal University high school basketball program, once scored 89 points in an NCAA Juniors game – a record that still stands to this day.

The Tamaraws’ prized recruit however in their buildup for the MPBL is, incidentally, a former “Tamaraw” himself.

Far Eastern University standout Mac Baracael agreed to come on board for Mindoro days before their official launch. A member of Gilas Pilipinas 1.0 under coach Rajko Toroman, the 34-year old Baracael also has seven years of professional basketball experience under his name. The veteran forward had fruitful stints with seven PBA teams, the last of which was in the 2017-18 season with Meralco.

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Reform group slams POC membership committee head Robert Bachmann

Bolt races in zero gravity

A group of Philippine Olympic Committee member associations expelled by the past administration have slammed recently ousted POC membership committee head Robert Bachmann for inaction on their demand for reinstatement.

The group also criticized him for making contradictory statements in a major daily regarding the functions of the committee he chaired for the new POC administration’s first year. This was in reaction to public pronouncements by Bachmann explaining why his committee was not able to restore their POC membership.

The Reform Philippine Sports (RP Sports) movement, composed of no less than four former national sports associations, has met with Bachmann more than once, seeking reinstatement. The officials of the erstwhile NSAs for dragonboat (Philippine Dragonboat Federation or PSBF), bowling (Philippine Bowling Congress or PBC), volleyball (Philippine Volleyball Federation or PVF) and table tennis (Table Tennis Association of the Philippines or TATAP) and others said that Bachmann has made conflicting remarks instead of addressing the issues. The four NSAs claimed that they were expelled by former president Peping Cojuangco merely for voting against him in the 2008 POC elections.

“You have really succeeded in confusing us,” says RP Sports lead convenor, retired general Charly Holganza. “First, you wash your hands by claiming it was not within your mandate to look into the complaints of the five claimant NSAs. Next sentence, you admit that you are indeed a recommending body. And then next, you wash your hands again by saying you do not handle NSA disputes.”

The group issued a joint statement in May, describing their hopefulness after their initial meeting with Bachmann in 2018, after he had been appointed by new POC president Ricky Vargas to address membership complaints. However, the group complains that, in subsequent meetings, Bachmann changed his tune.

In the case of dragonboat, Cojuangco falsely insisted that the International Olympic Committee insisted that they join the Philippine Canoe-Kayak Federation, and removed them from the POC. For PVF, a leadership dispute opened the door for a new federation to be inserted by the Cojuangco faction into the POC ranks. The bowling and tabke tennis groups claimed that they were usurped and replaced for no reason, and without due process.

“We merely want what waa taken from us,” insists Jerry Mallillin, PBC president. “We were betrayed by one of our own officers, who registered a different entity with our international federation. We did not do anything wrong, and the POC General Assembly never voted on our case.”

In his statement Bachmann stressed that investigating NSA disputes was not his mandate, and that he only looked into their cases at the request of Vargas. The president of the NSA for squash also claimed that the committee is only a recommendatory body. Bachmann was among those removed from their committee leadership positions by Vargas at the POC General Assembly two weeks ago.

“Then you flip-flop and say you are just a recommending body. If this was so, where were your recommendations on the cases then? What were your findings?” Holganza continued. “Nobody has ever received a copy of your resolutions and recommendations. Don’t you think they deserve to be given notice of your results? I want to put it on record that after more than a year of waiting, these NSAs never received any official document from you. So that at least they would know what to do. Some of these NSAs were looking forward to perhaps being able to help the country by participating in the last Asian Games. But you simply ‘froze the ball’ on this one, depriving their athletes of their right to play.”

The group also recounted the allegedly conflicting statements made by Bachmann in other publications, and expressed the urgency of the situation, given the approachingSoutheast Asian Games.

“Mr. Bachmann, our frustration lies in the fact that you have not finished anything at all,” Holganza says. And now, we realize you have misinformed us, and have practically toyed with the future of so many of our athletes. Why didn’t you come up with a written document detailing the points that would disqualify the four NSAs? Why don’t you answer the points raised point by point.”

The group is planning to take legal action against a Cojuangco for their disenfranchisement, and may include Bachmann and others whom they perceive are blocking their reinstatement.

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Will Jericho Cruz fit in with NLEX?

Stephen Curry on Olympics and Tokyo ambition

With a lowly 0-5 win-loss card, the NLEX Road Warriors need all the help they can get to turn their fortunes around in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Their new point guard Jericho Cruz could provide just that – and possibly more.

The skidding NLEX Road Warriors have recently acquired the services of Cruz thru a three-team trade, ending months of inactivity for the shifty point guard out of the Adamson University.

READ — PBA green lights three-team swap that sends Jericho Cruz to NLEX

With his playing minutes dwindling over at TNT, Cruz was placed on the trading block and eventually landed with the Road Warriors camp helmed by his former mentor at Rain or Shine, coach Yeng Guiao.

The Road Warriors started their campaign in the midseason conference off the wrong foot. Despite the arrival of high-scoring import Tony Mitchell, NLEX has yet to score a victory in the tournament and are in danger of missing out the quarterfinals if their woes continue.

Hampering the Road Warriors’ progression is the continued absence of their top two guards Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas. Ravena, a member of the Gilas Pilipinas national pool, is still serving the remainder of his 18-month suspension served by FIBA last May 2018 in relation to testing positive for intake of a banned substance. Alas, on the other hand, has been out of commission since February due to an ACL tear on his right knee.

The entry of Cruz, the ninth overall pick in the 2014 Rookie Draft, into the NLEX roster couldn’t have come in the most opportune time. The team’s depleted guard rotation could very well use Cruz either as a starter, or as a reliable backup playmaker off the bench. Cruz can direct the NLEX offense and also contribute to the team’s point production – which at the moment is solely carried by Mitchell.

During his days with Elastopainters, Cruz has showcased his ability to put up decent numbers across his name. In the 2015-2016 season, wherein he was adjudged as the Most Improved Player, Cruz posted averages of 12.49 points per contest, shooting 48.3% from the field and 36.7% from the three-point territory. Those numbers plummeted to 8.67 points per game on 38.5% field goal shooting and 25.8% from beyond the arc during his stint with TNT.

The NLEX coaching staff could insert Cruz at the guard spot, competing for minutes against Juami Tiongson, Emman Monfort and Kyles Lao.

The opportunity to continue his stalled PBA career has finally arrived for Cruz.

ALSO READ — Jericho Cruz on reunion with Yeng Guiao: ‘Para akong rookie ulit’

(Image from PBA)

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Championship hangover for the Beermen, yet again

Stephen Curry on Olympics and Tokyo ambition

The post-championship bug has bitten the San Miguel Beermen once more.

In all likelihood, the Beermen have stamped their class in the PBA Philippine Cup, emerging as the prestigious tournament’s champions for the last five years. After claiming the Perpetual Trophy in 2018, the Beermen upped the ante just last month by winning a fifth-straight All-Filipino crown at the expense of the Magnolia Hotshots.

Right after every San Miguel victory party, talks of a possible grand slam soon follow. Team officials and corporate executives give their marching orders to the Beermen to continue their quest for a second league trifecta in franchise history.

That quest resumes with the import-spiced Commissioner’s Cup, in which San Miguel – ironically – has struggled.

Believe it or not, the Leo Austria-mentored squad has stumbled on the starting block in four of their five debut games in the midseason conference. San Miguel, with its vaunted local core headed by June Mar Fajardo, has gone 1-of-4 in their opening matches in the Commissioner’s Cup since 2015.

Here at FOX Sports Philippines, we look back at the Beermen’s last five debut games in the said conference:

2015 Commissioner’s Cup, February 4: Kia 88, San Miguel 78

Fresh from capturing the Philippine Cup title after a 13-year slump, the Carnival brought the Beermen back to earth with an 88-78 shocker. Looking to snap an 11-game losing skid, Kia banked on the exploits of Puerto Rican import Peter John Ramos, who scored 22 points, and LA Revilla, who added 12 markers, to topple the 2014 Philippine Cup champions.

After an 0-4 win-loss start to the conference, San Miguel replaced Ronald Roberts with two-time Best Import of the Conference Arizona Reid. Despite Reid’s arrival, the Beermen ended the eliminations with a dismal 4-7 record, missing out on the quarterfinal phase of the tournament.

2016 Commissioner’s Cup, February 20: Mahindra 102, San Miguel 96

For the second year in a row, the Columbian Autocar franchise, now known as Mahindra Enforcer, played spoiler to the post-championship celebration of the Beermen via a 102-96 squeaker. KG Canaleta waxed hot from three-point range in the fourth quarter to secure the victory for Mahindra.

Behind their import Tyler Wilkerson, the Beermen topped the eliminations with an 8-3 card. After escaping the Star Hotshots in the quarterfinals, San Miguel bombed out of contention, losing in the next round against eventual champions Rain or Shine.

2017 Commissioner’s Cup, April 2: San Miguel 99,  Meralco 92

The Beermen overhauled an 11-point half time deficit to secure a 99-92 victory over the Bolts, in their only debut game victory in their last five Commissioner’s Cup stints. San Miguel brought in Charles Rhodes as their import in this conference, who impressed in his debut with 22 points and 12 rebounds.

The Beermen were eventually crowned as tournament champions via a 4-2 series win over TNT KaTropa. Rhodes, on the other hand, claimed the Best Import of the Conference citation.

2018 Commissioner’s Cup, May 9: Meralco 93, San Miguel 85

With import Arinze Onuaku and three other locals scoring in double figures, the Meralco Bolts spoiled the PBA debut of then-rookie Christian Standhardinger with a 93-85 decision over the Beermen. The Fil-German center tallied just four points, five rebounds and two assists in his very first league game, while import Troy Gillenwater – who scored 17 markers in the first half – struggled in the second half with just two points.

Entering the playoffs as the sixth-seed team, the Beermen managed to punch a ticket to the best-of-seven finals series – only to succumb to sister team Barangay Ginebra in six games.

2019 Commissioner’s Cup, June 5 –Northport 121, San Miguel 88

Bucking the absence of star point guard Stanley Pringle, the Batang Pier still found ways to zoom past the out-of-sync Beermen, 121-88, last June 5 at the Araneta Coliseum. After a 25-25 standoff in the first quarter, Northport established a 54-41 lead by half time, from which San Miguel never had a chance to recover. Robert Bolick paced the Batang Pier with 25 points, while import Prince Ibeh added 18. In his return to the PBA, Charles Rhodes tallied a double-double consisting of 27 points and 12 rebounds.

(Images from PBA)

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What can Jared Dillinger bring to Ginebra?

Stephen Curry on Olympics and Tokyo ambition

Two years since his infamous tweet, Jared Dillinger gets a chance to play with the guys he “can’t stand”.

The Barangay Ginebra Kings recently acquired the services of the Filipino-American swingman, relegated to unrestricted free agency by his former team the Meralco Bolts. Dillinger spent six seasons with the Bolts, albeit playing sparingly in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup due to a right quad injury.

Dillinger coming over to Ginebra came as a bit of a surprise, if a June 2017 Twitter exchange on would be the basis. Following Meralco’s loss to TNT KaTropa in the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals, the University of Hawaii standout urged their conquerors to defeat Ginebra in the tournament’s semifinals, also stating that he “didn’t like” any of the Gin Kings.

The tweet garnered reactions from Greg Slaughter, Sol Mercado and Joe Devance, who quickly jumped on Dillinger with some online banter. Fast forward to 2019, and Dillinger is set to don the same Ginebra jersey with Devance and company.

While the signing drew flak from the Meralco camp – citing an unfulfilled “gentleman’s agreement,” league observers are somehow upbeat on what Dillinger can bring to the popular ballclub.

Here at FOX Sports Philippines, we list down the possible contributions of Dillinger to Ginebra.

Wealth of championship experience

A veteran of almost 11 years, Dillinger has been to tough wars in the PBA. For his first five years in the professional ranks, the 6-foot-4 Dillinger suited up with the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters. It was with Talk ‘N Text that Dillinger would capture five PBA championships, including four Philippine Cup titles. For a team that features a handful of young talents, having another battle-scarred in the lineup is a welcome sight.

Outside shooting

One weapon Dillinger has in his arsenal is his outside shooting. A career 33% shooter from beyond the arc, Dillinger has proven his ability to nail the long ball – even in transition. With resident sniper Jeff Chan out with an injury, the South Dakota native could possible fill in that role for the time being.

Energy

Dillinger wouldn’t be called the “Daredevil” for nothing. On the open court, Dillinger is a known speedster who could finish strong to the basket. With his ability to zoom past the defense, Dillinger has that infectious energy that fans long for. Over at Ginebra, seeing Dillinger run that fast break will surely ignite scoring outbursts and electrify their boisterous crowd.

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Who will stop Ray Parks? | These defenders look to shackle Blackwater ‘rookie’

Stephen Curry on Olympics and Tokyo ambition

For the past three games at least, Ray Parks Jr. has been living up to the hype and hoopla surrounding his much-anticipated arrival into the big league.

RELATED — Import Terrence Jones, rookie Ray Parks having strong starts to PBA careers

The prized Blackwater Elite rookie has finally stepped onto the hardwood floor of the PBA in time for the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup. The Dioceldo Sy-owned franchise, as well as the fans of the league, had to wait for Parks, who missed out on the entirety of the 41st Philippine Cup due to commitments with his former ABL team San Miguel Alab Pilipinas.

Slowly but surely, Blackwater has been reaping the fruits of that four-month wait.

The versatile combo guard announced his entry to the PBA in style through three games wherein the Elite emerged victorious. With import Alex Stepheson impressing in his second foray in the PBA, Parks has somewhat become the band leader of Blackwater’s local crew.

RELATED — How did Bobby Ray Parks fare in his PBA debut?

Posting averages of 23.67 points, 3.0 assists, 5.33 rebounds and 2.33 steals per contest, the son of the legendary Bobby Parks Sr. has proven to be a vital cog in the Elite’s early undefeated streak in the midseason tournament. A pair of overtime victories over Meralco and Barangay Ginebra, and an eight-point triumph over Columbian, ushered in Parks’ ascent to a lead role with the 2014 expansion squad.

It’s three down and eight to go for the Aris Dimaunahan-mentored squad. Certainly, the eight other ballclubs have taken notice of Parks’ immediate impact with Blackwater – a team that has finished at the bottom three in 10 of 13 conferences.

Out of these eight clubs, FOX Sports Philippines chose four defensive stalwarts who may be tasked by their respective coaches to contain, or the very least, limit the production of Parks on offense. Easier said than done, but these famed defenders may have what it takes to neutralize the 26-year-old lefty.

Calvin Abueva – Phoenix Pulse

On May 31, the Elite go for an unprecedented 4-0 win-loss slate as they clash with the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters. Coach Louie Alas, a known defensive-oriented coach, may tap Calvin Abueva to shadow Parks in that encounter. Recognized for his on-court aggressiveness, the “Beast” is expected to unleash his brand of defense on Parks, coupled with taunts, trash-talk and other antics.

Gabe Norwood – Rain or Shine

A no-nonsense defender, Norwood gets his chance to size up Parks in their June 2 showdown at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. The Gilas Pilipinas standout has made a career out his handiwork against the opposing team’s best players. With a two-inch height advantage, Norwood has the physique and reflexes required to keep in-step with a shifty playmaker like Parks.

Matt Ganuelas-Rosser – San Miguel

Coach Leo Austria, at times, may summon Ganuelas-Rosser off the bench for a defensive assignment on Parks. The lanky forward has established himself with the Beermen as a lynchpin on defense. It should be interesting though how this San Miguel rotation, with Ganuelas-Rosser on the floor, would affect their offense. With import Charles Rhodes likely at the four-spot, Ganuelas-Rosser may eat up some of the minutes of main gunners Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter at the small forward position.

Rome Dela Rosa – Magnolia

A member of the 2018 All-Defensive Team, Dela Rosa may have his hands full in trying to keep a tight rein on Parks. Standing an inch shorter than Parks, the Magnolia forward will rely on his innate quickness and athleticism in order to stay on the grill of the multiple-time UAAP and ABL Most Valuable Player.

(Images from PBA)

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Here come the PBA imports: Charles Rhodes aims for another crown with San Miguel

Stephen Curry on Olympics and Tokyo ambition

It’s that time of the year again, as each PBA team will once again welcome battle-tested reinforcements for the highly anticipated 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, which began last May 19.

These imports, who were first welcomed by the league in 1981, have brought world class talent to the Philippine hardwood and have raised the level of play among locals.

FOX Sports Philippines presents our “Here come the Imports” series, where we profile each PBA team’s basketball mercenaries for the upcoming conference.

Another “balik-import” is slated to make his way back to the PBA. In his return to the Philippines, Charles Rhodes, the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup Best Import awardee, is set to reinforce the San Miguel Beermen.

ALSO READ — Northport rolls the dice with Prince Ibeh

ALSO READ — Justin Brownlee to help maintain the winning tradition of Ginebra

Professional basketball experience

A well-traveled import, the 33-year-old Rhodes has plied his trade in five countries which include the Philippines, Latvia, South Korea, Spain and Turkey. The Galveston, Texas native has become a sought-after reinforcement especially in South Korea, where he would suit up for five different ball clubs.

In his recent stint with the Incheon ET Land Elephants, Rhodes averaged 18.85 points and 9.15 rebounds per game to help guide the team to a runner-up finish in the 2018-19 season of the Korean Basketball League.

Rhodes’ first stop in the Philippines was a fruitful one, as the former Mississippi State Bulldog bolstered a loaded San Miguel side for its championship run in the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup. Along with mainstays June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross, Rhodes was instrumental in helping the Beermen claim their 26th PBA title. Pitted against the TNT KaTropa in the best-of-seven finals showdown, Rhodes outplayed his counterpart Joshua Smith to lead the Beermen to a 4-2 series win.

In his lone stint in the PBA, the 6-foot-8 forward tallied 27 points and 11 rebounds per contest. Rhodes also displayed versatility on offense, converting 64.1% of his field goal attempts while draining 36% of this three-pointers. Rhodes’ dunks also became a regular fixture on highlight reels, often punctuated by his signature celebration.

Fit for San Miguel?

Familiarity with the local players and the system implemented by coach Leo Austria should be the least of worries for Rhodes. Having worked with the San Miguel core in 2017, blending in with the established stars of San Miguel shouldn’t be a challenge for their former import.

The challenge for the entire team actually is scoring an encore to their recent championship conquest in the 2019 Philippine Cup. With a squad now backstopped by Christian Standhardinger and Terrence Romeo, the pressure is on the Beermen once more to claim the midseason crown.

RELATED — Chris Daniels brings wealth of experience to Alaska Aces

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Here come the PBA imports: Northport rolls the dice with Prince Ibeh

Stephen Curry on Olympics and Tokyo ambition

It’s that time of the year again, as each PBA team will once again welcome battle-tested reinforcements for the highly anticipated 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, slated to begin on May 19.

These imports, who were first welcomed by the league in 1981, have brought world class talent to the Philippine hardwood and have raised the level of play among locals.

FOX Sports Philippines presents our “Here come the Imports” series, where we profile each PBA team’s basketball mercenaries for the upcoming conference.

The NorthPort Batang Pier are set to parade a PBA “first-timer” – 6-foot-10 center Prince Ibeh.

ALSO READ — Justin Brownlee to help maintain the winning tradition of Ginebra

ALSO READ — Kyle Barone eager to boost Columbian’s playoff hopes

Basketball experience

The 24-year old Ibeh spent four seasons for the Texas University, a Big 12 Conference squad competing in NCAA Division I. Starting in 22 out of the 32 games for the Longhorns in his senior year, Ibeh closed out his collegiate career with averages of 4.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per contest.

In 2016, the Garland, Texas native tried his luck in the NBA via the Rookie Draft. Unfortunately, Ibeh went undrafted in the Rookie Class that featured Ben Simmons as its top pick.

Ibeh then ventured into the NBA G-League, suiting up from 2016 to 2017 for the Long Island Nets – an affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets. In 42 games, Ibeh registered 2.55 markers, 2.67 caroms and 1.29 rejections per outing for Long Island.

Then in November 2018, Ibeh flew to Japan to reinforce the B.League club Yokohama B-Corsairs. Ibeh spent three months for the Central Conference squad, averaging 4.58 points, 7.37 rebounds and 2.63 blocks per game.

Fit with NorthPort?

Having Ibeh on board beefs up a shallow Batang Pier frontline that features 6-foot-8 Moala Tautuaa and 6-foot-6 Bradwyn Guinto at center. The Commissioner’s Cup enables undersized teams to beef up their rosters with foreign recruits, and NorthPort surely is in need of added ceiling.

The challenge for Ibeh – a relatively young talent – is how he would fare against the imports from other teams who have a more extensive basketball resume with stints in the PBA and other leagues overseas.

With a crew headed by Stanley Pringle, Sean Anthony and Robert Bolick, NorthPort aims to reach their first semifinals appearance in the PBA with Ibeh manning the shaded lane.

Photo credit: Bucks Summer League 2016

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Here come the PBA imports: Phoenix hopes to continue rise with Rob Dozier

Stephen Curry on Olympics and Tokyo ambition

It’s that time of the year again, as each PBA team will once again welcome battle-tested reinforcements for the highly anticipated 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, slated to begin on May 19.

These imports, who were first welcomed by the league in 1981, have brought world-class talent to the Philippine hardwood and have raised the level of play among locals.

FOX Sports Philippines presents our “Here come the Imports” series, where we profile each PBA team’s basketball mercenaries for the upcoming conference.

Another “balik-import” is slated to make his way back to the PBA. In his return to the Philippines, Robert Dozier – formerly an import for the Alaska Aces – is set to reinforce the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters.

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Professional basketball experience

Picked 60th overall in the 2009 NBA Rookie Draft, the 6-foot-9 Dozier plied his trade with European and Asian club teams after being left unsigned by the Miami Heat.

With stops in Greece, France, Spain, Dubai, Japan, and the Philippines, Dozier has made a basketball career as a globetrotting import.

In his first tour of duty in the Philippines, Dozier immediately struck gold. The Alaska Aces enlisted the services of a then 28-year old Dozier for their campaign in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup.

Dozier backstopped an Alaska side that featured Sonny Thoss, JV Casio, Cyrus Baguio, and then-rookie Calvin Abueva. After topping the eliminations with an 11-3 win-loss card, the Aces eliminated Air21 and San Mig Coffee in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, to formalize their entry to the finals.

In the best-of-five championship series, the Luigi Trillo-mentored squad faced seventh-seed Ginebra, bannered by LA Tenorio, Jayjay Helterbrand and their import Vernon Macklin.

Unfazed by Ginebra’s firepower and their crowd support, Alaska claimed the 2013 midseason title via 3-0 sweep. Along with Alaska’s 14th championship crown in franchise history, Dozier won himself the Best Import of the Conference award. The former Memphis Tiger averaged 20.4 points, 17.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game in his maiden conference with Alaska.

A year after, Dozier would make a return to help the Aces defend their Commissioner’s Cup title. But in the playoffs, Alaska would bomb out early, falling 2-1 to the San Mig Coffee Mixers in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup.

Dozier, however, would get a chance to redeem himself two years later with Alaska signing up the lanky power forward for the remainder of the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup. Taking over from Shane Edwards, Dozier would tow the Aces all the way to finals, after disposing of TNT and Meralco in the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the title hopes of Dozier and the rest of the Aces would be foiled by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. Led by Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan and import Pierre Henderson-Niles, the Elasto Painters wrested the championship from the Aces with a 4-2 series win.

In that conference, Dozier tallied 19.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per contest.

Fit for Phoenix?

The Fuel Masters will look to capitalize on an impressive showing in the 2019 Philippine Cup, where they registered their best elimination round record in franchise history. A 9-2 win-loss slate propelled the Louie Alas-mentored squad to the top of the team standings, which earned them a twice-to-beat advantage for the quarterfinals.

In the said round, Phoenix wasted no time in eliminating Alaska. But in the semifinals, their magical run came to an end against the defending Philippine Cup champions San Miguel.

With Dozier in their fold, the Fuel Masters have for themselves a veteran import that has gone through the rigors of playing in the PBA. After three stints with Alaska, Dozier has definitely familiarized himself with the physicality and level of competition in the PBA. More importantly, Dozier provides ceiling for Phoenix, which currently has Jason Perkins, Doug Kramer, Justin Chua and Dave Marcelo in their big man rotation.

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Barroca, Hotshots hold off Beermen in “bizarre” Game 5

Stephen Curry on Olympics and Tokyo ambition

The contenders are on the hill first. The defending champions are a defeat away from falling off it.

Mark Barroca sank a buzzer-beating jumper to lead the Magnolia Hotshots to an 88-86 squeaker over the San Miguel Beermen in Game 5 of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Finals held Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The all-important win enabled the Hotshots to move within one from another Philippine Cup title, which they last captured in 2013. Another Magnolia victory on Sunday clinches a seventh Philippine Cup crown for the franchise and their 15th overall.

At the final 3:06 and with the Hotshots ahead 84-78, a spectator dressed as “Spiderman” entered the court and collided with San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo. The perpetrator and his companion were escorted off the venue by the police and arena’s security personnel.

Barroca finished with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-21 (42%) field goals. Ian Sangalang notched a double-double consisting of 18 markers and 14 rebounds.

Fajardo tallied 21 points and hauled down 22 rebounds, while Marcio Lassiter broke out of his shooting slump and contributed 20 markers.

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Rain or Shine to unleash ‘Monster’ Bowles anew

Stephen Curry on Olympics and Tokyo ambition

It’s that time of the year again, as each PBA team will once again welcome battle-tested reinforcements for the highly anticipated 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, slated to begin on May 19.

These imports, who were first welcomed by the league in 1981, have brought world class talent to the Philippine hardwood and have raised the level of play among locals.

FOX Sports Philippines presents our “Here come the Imports” series, where we profile each PBA team’s basketball mercenaries for the upcoming conference.

Set to parade a “balik-import” are the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, who have decided to tap the services of Denzel Bowles.

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Professional basketball experience

A one-time recipient of the Bobby Parks Best Import of the Conference award, the 6-foot-10 Bowles actually had four stints with the Purefoods franchise. After spending a year in Lithuania with BC Siauliai, Bowles first made it to the Philippines in 2012 as a reinforcement for the B-Meg Llamados in the 37th season Commissioner’s Cup. Three more call-ups would follow as the Purefoods management opted to bring back the James Madison University standout in future editions of the midseason conference.

In 2013, Bowles replaced Matt Rogers to power the San Mig Coffee Mixers all the way to the semifinals only to succumb to the eventual champions, the Alaska Aces. After per game averages consisting of 22.7 points and 15.2 rebounds, Bowles was one of the contenders for the conference’s best import plum, eventually losing out to Alaska’s Robert Dozier.

Coming as the third import behind Marqus Blakely and Daniel Orton in the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup, Bowles would once again tow Purefoods – then known as the Purefoods Hotshots – to the semifinals. But similar to their 2013 campaign, Purefoods fell short again in the said round, bowing in four games to Talk ‘N Text.

Bowles’ last hurrah for Purefoods came in 2016, which lasted just five games. After a 1-4 win-loss start, Bowles – who averaged modest numbers made up of 26.4 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per contest – requested for his release from the team. Reportedly, the passing of a close family member prompted Bowles to leave the Purefoods’ camp midway through the eliminations.

A fifth return to the PBA for Bowles unfortunately bogged down even before the tournament started. In the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup, the Virginia native was penciled to suit up for the TNT KaTropa but was kicked off the team on the eve of the said conference, following disagreements with team officials and other players.

Aside from the Philippines, Bowles also had stops as an import in China, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Lebanon, Israel, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, and recently, in Japan. Playing for the Kanazawa Samuraiz in Japan’s B.League from September 2018 to April 2019, Bowles emerged as the club’s leading scorer (21.9 ppg) and rebounder (11.4 rpg).

Remember Game 7 of the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup?

Undoubtedly, Bowles’ most memorable moment in the PBA came in the decider of the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup Finals, which pitted the Llamados against the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters. With B-Meg down 76-74, a teary-eyed Bowles canned two pressure-packed free throws with 1.2 seconds left in a classic Game 7, which effectively went to overtime.

In the extra frame, Bowles would continue his game-long dominance to rally the Llamados to a title-clinching 90-84 victory over the Tropang Texters. His 39-point, 21-rebound double-double performance in Game 7 punctuated a remarkable conference run which netted Bowles his first and only “best import” citation.

Fit with Rain or Shine?

It would be interesting how Bowles would figure in coach Caloy Garcia’s roster, led by veterans Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga and James Yap, and youngsters Rey Nambatac and Javee Mocon. With Rain or Shine’s tallest frontliner Raymond Almazan still on the injured list, Bowles is expected to fill in the center spot. This would allow Belga, Mark Borboran and Norbert Torres – Rain or Shine’s battery of sweet-shooting big men – to lurk beyond the arc for long jumpers. Having a post presence in Bowles opens up the floor for the Elasto Painters on offense, whilst easing up the workload for their undersized forwards on the boards.

As long as he shuns away from all the distractions and past issues, “Monster” Bowles could be collecting those monster numbers once again.

ALSO READ — Rain or Shine asks for James Yap’s endorsement to get Denzel Bowles

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Magnolia foils late SMB rally to take series opener

Stephen Curry on Olympics and Tokyo ambition

Not even a Kraken-sized uprising could spoil this breakout night for the Magnolia Hotshots.

Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang and Mark Barroca led at the forefront as Magnolia kicked off the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Finals with a 99-94 victory over the San Miguel Beermen, Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Pitted against a San Miguel side gunning for a historic fifth-straight Philippine Cup title, the Hotshots put up a brave stand in the third and fourth quarters to seal the Game 1 win in this best-of-seven series.

PBA

The Chito Victolero-mentored squad mounted a spirited rally in the third frame to reverse a 10-point halftime deficit to 78-68 lead at the 1:34 mark, courtesy of two free throws from Jio Jalalon. Outscoring the defending champions 28-18 in the said frame pushed the Hotshots ahead 80-73 going into the deciding quarter.

With their backs against the wall, the Beermen went almost exclusively to their main scoring option, hoping for a turnaround in the final period. Five-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo carried his team in the fourth, scoring 15 of the Beermen’s 21 points in the final quarter.

After a Barroca three in the final 8:22 propelled Magnolia to an 88-79 headway, the Beermen fed the “Kraken” at the post for higher percentage shots.

In the final 1:29, Fajardo canned two free throws off the sixth foul of Rafi Reavis to cut Magnolia’s lead to a solitary point, 95-94. It would turn out to be the final tally for the Leo Austria-mentored quintet, as Sangalang and Lee shut the door on the opposition with timely hits down the stretch.

A jumper from Sangalang at the final 1:16 extended the Magnolia lead to three, while Lee’s two free throws with 17 ticks to go after a couple of missed threes by San Miguel sealed the verdict.

Lee paced the Hotshots with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Sangalang and Barroca both chipped in 17 markers. Jalalon came off the bench to register 16 points and five rebounds.

Fajardo, the Best Player of Conference race frontrunner, finished with a monster double-double performance consisting of 35 points and 21 rebounds. Alex Cabagnot contributed 18 points and three assists.

Game 2 is set on Friday also at the Big Dome.

The scores:

Magnolia (99) — Lee 18, Sangalang 17, Barroca 17, Jalalon 16, Reavis 12, Melton 11, Ramos 4, Dela Rosa 4, Pascual 0, Brondial 0, Simon 0.

San Miguel (94) — Fajardo 35, Cabagnot 18, Santos 13, Pessumal 11, Romeo 8, Ross 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Standhardinger 2, Nabong 0, Lassiter 0.

Quarters: 34-30, 52-55, 80-73, 99-94.

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