Gilas Pilipinas braces for tougher grind ahead

Toronto Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard nails nine 3’s in a row!

Gilas Pilipinas will try to ramp up its progress by kicking things up a notch starting from Monday next week when the team will start doing daily practice sessions.

Coach Yeng Guiao has decided to veer away from their usual twice-a-week practices in order to prepare themselves ahead of time as they fly to Spain soon for their training camp.

The veteran tactician bared that he wants to put the national team ahead of schedule, with chemistry and conditioning as his points of emphasis.

“Six to eight [in the evening] na tayo sa Monday up to Friday,” detailed Guiao after Monday night’s practice at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas.

“Ang expectation namin, magkakaroon na kami ng better chemistry and better conditioning for Andray (Blatche),” he added.

In addition, Guiao mentioned that Gilas Pilipinas is set to participate in a short, pocket tournament in Spain as they’ll face some powerhouse teams in Congo, Ivory Coast, and Spain.

By facing stiff competition this early, he believes that it will make things easier for them by the time the World Cup starts in late August, which is why he has set some lofty goals for the national squad.

“Before we leave for Spain on Aug. 4, we should be able to more or less be 70-80 percent [ready]. Yung 20-30 percent, kailangan na naming habulin pagsampa ng August,” said Guiao.

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Anton del Rosario bares bigger things ahead for Philam Life 7s Football League

Conte addresses Lukaku transfer speculation

Keystone events are lined up for the next calendar year of the Philam Life 7s Football League, starting with the inaugural Philam Vitality KAMPEON 7s Cup kicking off on July 27 at the McKinley Hill Stadium.

Featuring all-star squads from Manila, Bacolod, Cebu, and Davao, cities with their respective 7s Football League tournaments, the KAMPEON 7s Cup presented by title sponsor Philam Vitality will determine the country’s best 7s Football squad.

Present during the press launch of the KAMPEON 7s Cup at the Belle & Dragon in Makati City last Thursday, July 18 were Anton Del Rosario, 7s Football League founder and Manila Commissioner, Bernadette Chincuanco, Philam Life Head of Branding and Communications, Kats Cajucom, Head of AIA-Philam Life’s Philam Vitality program, Leonard Tan, CMO of Philam Life, Faezal Murni, 7s Football League Brunei partner, and Belay Fernando, former Philippine women’s national team player.

Del Rosario said:

“The 7s Football League is in four major cities across the nation now: Manila, Bacolod, Cebu, and Davao. In order to bring it all together, I thought it would be best to create a tournament to see who the best is in the country. What I have done together with Philam Vitality is to have these cities put together all-star teams composed of 10 Filipinos and four imports to represent their cities. We will be flying teams to Manila to compete on July 27 and 28 to see who the best in the country. That’s what the KAMPEON 7s is all about: creating opportunities for people across the country.”

Chincuanco said:

“We would like to congratulate Anton and the 7s Football League for the KAMPEON 7s Cup launch. It is a truly fitting follow-up for our 7s Football League. We were all witnesses to how the league grew by leaps and bounds, having a youth and women’s league. Now, Anton and the team are spreading it outside Manila, giving us the opportunity to spread the positive impact of people and allowing Philam Life to work with them and do more football clinics at the grassroots level. We would like to thank Anton for the opportunity for allowing us to partner with him. We are very happy and we like what we are seeing. We are going to partner with him in this journey.”

Cajucom said:

“We are very honored to partner and be the title sponsor of the KAMPEON 7s Cup as it aligns with Philam Vitality’s goals to help Filipinos live a longer, healthier, better life. Philam Vitality is a wellness program that rewards people for making healthy choices, like playing football. This is something we introduced to the Philippines a few years back because we want to communicate that healthy living is indeed rewarding and what better way to demonstrate it by partnering with the KAMPEON 7s Cup.”

Aside from the KAMPEON 7s Cup, a major development was announced by Del Rosario as the league is soon targeting going global with the involvement of Brunei and potentially, partners from Singapore and Malaysia.

Although nothing has been finalized yet, Del Rosario said the league is looking at a realistic timeline wherein a mini Southeast Asian 7s football tournament will be set for February 2020, aside from a dual meet between Brunei and the Philippines on October 2019.

Brunei 7s Football Partner Faezal Murni said:

“How I decided to partner with Anton is I like his initiative and platform. The 7s is now on a national level and he is trying to bring it to the Southeast Asian regional level. That’s what I like about this initiative and the Brunei partners are very happy to join him in this project. It has very good potential for the 7s industry.”

Plans to include a women’s category for the succeeding editions of the KAMPEON 7s Cup plus expanding the reach of 7s Football in the Philippines were also touched.

In addition, Del Rosario bared that 7s Football is in talks with Fernando to partner for the benefit of cancer patients by raising funds via jersey auctions or in-venue festivities throughout the KAMPEON 7s Cup and Season 4 of the Manila league.

“I’ve been interested in starting to raise funds for people who are diagnosed with cancer. In the previous year, I have been blessed with cancer. Why blessed? Because I was able to see and undergo how difficult it can be and how you can’t do it without the support of your family and friends,” said Fernando, a former Philippine Malditas player.

“Anton is a very good friend of mine and what we want to do is start perhaps with booths at the KAMPEON 7s Cup and invite current and former athletes to donate jerseys, shoes, and whatever they can commit for a raffle to raise funds. It became a fruitful discussion with the partners Philam Life and Philam Vitality who mentioned they do work with a charity that is in line with what I want to launch.”

For more information, visit facebook.com/7sfootballleagueph.

Mac Cuan steps in as new head coach for Imus Bandera

Toronto Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard nails nine 3’s in a row!

Imus-Khaleb Shawarma/GLC Bandera has hired Mac Cuan as its new head coach for the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Season, the team announced on Tuesday afternoon.

Part of the coaching staff of the 2017-18 ASEAN Basketball League champions San Miguel-Alab Pilipinas, Cuan brings to Imus a rich, decade-long coaching experience that would help transform Imus into a more competitive group.

Cuan will replace Buds Reyes, who has been relieved of his duties after Imus went 1-3 in its first four games.

“I have known Mac Cuan for 20 years. I have been with him in La Salle since 1999 and I have been a witness of his coaching career,” said Abad in a statement.

“He has been in the PBA; he has been a champion in the ABL with Jimmy Alapag. I know his credentials and I know the person that he is. Makakasundo namin siya sa team, and he is someone who can help us get off this losing streak,” he added.

Mac Cuan led Alab to a semifinal finish in the ABL before taking a step back to become a deputy of Alapag, who led Alab to first ABL title in 2018.

He was also a former head coach of the Mandaluyong El-Tigre team in last year’s MPBL Datu Cup.

“I want us to be known as a defensive team. We should speed up the game. We will make the game faster and pressure,” said Cuan.

“When I saw the team, I recognized it’s a guard-heavy line-up. We a lot of fine backcourt players. What I want to do here is to run and get easy points in transition. On offense, we want to execute, to run, and take advantage of our speed,” he further mentioned.

Cuan will make his Imus-Khaleb Shawarma/GLC debut on Saturday when Imus hosts the Soccksargen Marlins at the Imus Sports Complex in Cavite.

 

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Here come the PBA imports: Magnolia banks on Rakeem Christmas as they gear up for the postseason

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With one game left and playoff ramifications on the line, the Magnolia Hotshots (5-5) are looking to revamp their roster by adding ex-NBA player Rakeem Christmas as their reinforcement.

The former Indiana Pacer is set to replace James Farr after the team lost its last three outings. All in all, Farr played in nine games for the Hotshots and  helped the SMC-backed squad in securing a playoff berth in the Commissioner’s Cup.

READ — James Farr out to bolster Magnolia’s frontcourt

FOX Sports Philippines continues its “Here come the Imports” series, profiling each PBA team’s basketball mercenaries for the conference. The languishing  Magnolia team welcomes Rakeem Christmas, as they seek to make some noise come into the postseason.

Professional Experience

Rakeem Christmas played all of his four collegiate years in Syracuse where he has shown improvement year after year. He tallied norms of 17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game in his last season of eligibility.

From there, he would showcase his wares in the NBA, suiting up for the Indiana Pacers for three years after being drafted 36th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. Christmas also suited up for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the NBA G-League where he emerged as an All-Star in the 2016 season.

After his stint in the NBA, the 27-year-old played for Galatasaray in Turkey, New Zealand Breakers in the NBL, and the Henan Roaring Elephants in China.

Fit with Magnolia?

Christmas will come in as the third NBA-caliber player in the import-laden Commissioner’s Cup. With that said, Christmas will add speed and length to the Hotshots frontcourt and they’ll need it as they’re almost certain to face either the Ginebra Gin Kings or the Blackwater Elite in the first round of the playoffs.

The New Jersey native is an excellent rim-runner and finisher inside the paint. He is also adept in fortifying his team’s interior defense by deterring shots with his defensive acumen and high-leaping ability. While he looks a bit leaner as opposed to Farr, Christmas has shown the capability to hold his ground against physical players.

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Every court can dream: KOTC | STR8, Mike Swift, communities join forces to elevate street basketball courts

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Living by its mission to empower through elegance and prestige, Kings of the Court | STR8 has teamed up with Mr. Pinoy Hoops Mike Swift and local communities to transform street basketball courts and provide a unique, dream-come-true experience to basketball players on the streets.

Together with the engagement of local residents, KOTC | STR8 was able to jumpstart refurbishing makeshift basketball courts throughout the metro with the goal of elevating the game even in the street level.

Project Lead Dwight Avila of Kings of the Court | STR8 shared:

“My love for basketball doesn’t end when playtime is over. It extends to the smell of the ball, the friendships made through teamwork, charming outdoor courts, up to that feeling when you know you’ve improved your game through hardwork, or loss. This love is for the culture, and it extends not only to me, but for everybody who feels the same. This is why I do what I do, for basketball, for the culture.”

One community that benefited from the project was Brgy. “Grabe” Maybunga in Pasig, where residents and Swift joined forces to re-paint a street basketball court and take it to the next level.

“I do what I do because this is where my mind, body and soul want to take me,” said Swift of the experience.

Maybunga locals were all eager to help in the process as it would make them enjoy the one thing they all love, local hoops, even more.

By the end of the transformation, the community was humbled by what they saw: a KOTC | STR8 logo on the court and on the walls of their community, as homage to the people’s characteristics that reflect KOTC’s: respect, honor, and distinction.

KOTC | STR8 Founder Cholo Legisma said:

“As Kings of the Court’s core competency, we plan to start holding basketball leagues, clinics, and seminars within these communities so that kids and adults would develop good habits we learn from sports, and to veer away from vices. In addition, it will be our team’s opportunity to transfer knowledge and teach them basketball operations, refereeing, table officiating, etc. in an effort to open employment opportunities for them.

Residents of Brgy. “Grabe” Maybunga were thankful for the transformation, as they will now get to experience a unique basketball set-up every time they will lace up on their local court.

KOTC | STR8 will next head to “Batang Cayo” in Mandaluyong City and give them the same treatment, as part of the simple vision that Legisma defines as “Every court can dream.”

Yeng Guiao hoping for miracle as Gilas adds Jordan Clarkson for FIBA World Cup

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THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has officially released their 19-man pool for the upcoming FIBA World Cup in China on Monday night via its official Instagram page.

One of the notable names included in the list is Fil-Am guard Jordan Clarkson, whose status remains up in the air on whether the FIBA board will consider him as a local player for Gilas Pilipinas or not.

Clarkson played for Gilas Pilipinas last year as their designated naturalized player in the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia where the national team placed fifth in the tournament.

With that said, Coach Yeng Guiao remains hopeful on this matter which is why he added the NBA guard nonetheless.

“Nilagay na namin doon sa pool si Jordan Clarkson. We’re still hoping that a miracle happens,” said Guiao after Gilas Pilipinas’ practice at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas.

“It’s also a back-up plan, knock on wood, and I hope nothing happens and no harm comes to Andray (Blatche) but at least we have options on the naturalized players,” he further mentioned.

The combo guard is currently entering in the final year of his four-year $50-million contract for the upcoming 2020 NBA season.

He tallied career-high norms of 16.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game in his first full season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Which is why having a guy like Jordan Clarkson is something Guiao is looking for. But regardless of what happens, Gilas Pilipinas will have at least one NBA-caliber talent in their roster.

“We’re still not giving up on our effort to bring him as a local. Kung di naman, backup siya ni Andray (Blatche) as our naturalized player,” bared Guiao.

 

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Alex Compton sees ‘sliver of hope’ for Alaska despite dampened playoff chances

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The Alaska Aces’ chances of nabbing that final playoff berth just got a little more complicated with their 112-104 loss against the Blackwater Elite on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

With that said, they will have to face either the Meralco Bolts or the Phoenix Fuel Masters in a payoff game for the final ticket to the postseason.

The Alex Compton-coached squad is currently tied with Phoenix with a 4-7 record while Meralco will have a chance to post an identical record if they win against San Miguel on Wednesday.

According to Compton, their late-game collapse was disappointing to say the least. However, the team now has no choice but to hope for the best knowing that there are no excuses.

“Offensively their stars made the plays, and we gave up 112 points again. It was just they made shots and made big plays down the stretch,” Compton bared. “They were more patient. I thought they played a little more mature on offense than ours.”

“I don’t think today was a case of we didn’t want it and they wanted it more,” he lamented.

Rather than crying over spilled milk, the renowned tactician would rather focus on the positive. And he sees this as an opportunity for his team to shine over adversity.

Known for his nonsense and stern demeanor, expect Compton and the rest of the Aces to make the most out of their chances, whether big or small.

“My belief and one of the pillars that we built on is for us to honor the game. If you got a chance, you honor it and you play hard,” shared Compton.

“We still have a sliver breath of hope we’re going to fight for that. It might be a small chance and it might not be a big chance, but when you have a chance, you have to leave it all out there.”

(Image from PBA)

ALSO READ — After missing playoffs, Lester Prosper reiterates that Dyip is a ‘team to be reckoned with’

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After missing playoffs, Lester Prosper reiterates that Dyip is a ‘team to be reckoned with’

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What could have been if he was brought in earlier for this year’s Commissioner’s Cup?

That has been the prevailing thought for most members of the Columbian Dyip regarding Lester Prosper, who has been balling out in the last few games for the team.

In his finale against the Ginebra Gin Kings, the hulking import tallied a monstrous 45-point, 18-rebound double-double, with eight made threes to boot.

When asked about his brief stint, Lester Prosper couldn’t help but share the same sentiments as he reflected on his time with the PBA.

“I love the Philippines and the experience here has been great. My first year here is amazing,” said Prosper. “Unfortunately, we didn’t make it in the playoffs. But it’s all good, we’ll be back next year”.

The Columbian Dyip initially tapped Kyle Barone as their reinforcement in the import-laden conference. However, despite posting strong norms of 27.0 points and 15.0 rebounds per game, he was replaced in lieu of the team’s losing skid.

Prosper meanwhile, provided a huge boost in the interior for the Dyip. His athleticism and ability to stretch the floor has made life easier for the Johnedel Cardel-mentored club.

Much of his success can be owed to his meticulous preparation and blue-collar work ethic, which is something that rubs off his teammates and coaches the right way.

After showing what he can do on the floor for Columbian, don’t be surprised if he’ll be back in the PBA next year.

“I would absolutely love to come back to play in the PBA for the Columbian Dyip the next time around. I feel like my preparation and work ethic would definitely help our team to be a force to be reckoned with,” mentioned Prosper.

“Like I said, I love it here. It’s entertaining and I know what I can bring to the table,” he ended.

(Image from PBA Media Group)

ALSO READ — Brownlee’s scoring outburst gives Ginebra momentum ahead of QF match against SMB or Magnolia

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Brownlee’s scoring outburst gives Ginebra momentum ahead of QF match against SMB or Magnolia

Toronto Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard nails nine 3’s in a row!

Justin Brownlee’s 50-point explosion couldn’t have come at a better time for the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel as they gear up for the upcoming postseason wars with their 127-123 win against the Columbian Dyip on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

RELATED — Takeaways from Ginebra’s dangerously close OT victory over Columbian

The Gin Kings are almost certain to start their playoff campaign against either the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok or the San Miguel Beermen, with the squad currently sitting at the fourth seed in the standings.

Brownlee, who once again established a new career high in points, remains wary about the scenario ahead. The prolific import, however, realizes that the team would rather focus on what they can control, and simply give it their all every game as they try to defend their Commissioner’s Cup title.

“It’s not good news,” said Brownlee when asked about facing the Hotshots or the Beermen in the first round.

“Both teams are championship caliber teams. They have great experiences and have really good imports. We’re going to have a dog fight with either team. Whoever we have to play, we have to come in and give it our all,” he added.

Tim Cone echoed his reinforcement’s sentiment, citing that this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the ball club, especially with the momentum they have built so far. The multi-titled coach is already making sure that his wards will be up to the challenge come the postseason.

“Wherever the chips may fall, we did what we have in front of us. It doesn’t matter who we play. Sometimes, it’s better to get the really good teams early and to get chance to get through them and move on. They’re going to be thinking the same thing about us,” mentioned Cone.

(Image from PBA Media Group)

 

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Trident FC, Pendejo FC emerge victorious in 2nd OMNI Cup 2019

Conte addresses Lukaku transfer speculation

Two new champions were crowned in the successful staging of the 2nd OMNI Football Cup 2019 held at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig.

Trident FC lorded over the Division 1 level, beating Panna FC, 2-0 to become the new Cup titlists of the one day 7-a-side football tournament sponsored by OMNI Electrical and Lighting.

David Asare scored the opening goal of the match on an assist by Olisa Anene, then later on set up Rooss Peralta beautifully for the assurance goal in a counter attack a few minutes later.

“We were playing good. I actually play midfield but decided to stay back and David found me with a cross and I did my best,” said Peralta. “This is our first championship too. We are a new team, just one and a half years together, and we were fighting to have a Cup championship since last year.”

“We prepared but we don’t know what to expect here. But we trained together and if there’s one thing, I am always a positive thinker and I am always ready for a championship,” said Asare.

In the 3rd place battle, Pay Migas – TDG FC defeated All Stars Foot, 3-1. Dethroned champions Suicide Squad Kawaii took home a good consolation, edging out Gators FC, 1-nil for the Plate championship of Division 1.

In Division 2, goal keeper Balam Nazar was instrumental in handing Pendejo FC a slim 2-1 win on penalties over Suicide Squad Morryzle to be hailed Cup champions.

Nazar redeemed himself after conceding the match’s 1st goal, and went on to save two attempts from SS-Morryzle in the shootout while also converting one himself for the decisive win.

“For me, that first goal was my responsibility. But you have to come back and fix your mistakes. Luckily in this match, I was able to fix those and bring it to the penalties,” said Nazar.

“When you’re a goal keeper, you know how to react so I really wanted to take one of the shots. I know how a keeper is going to react. It’s not every day you get to save two penalties and also make one.”

Pendejo FC is a group of expats, mostly of Latin American heritage, playing together for the past couple of years. It was the first title for the club in an organized football setting.

“We are more of friends, most of them speak Spanish, and we tried to make it more organized. Me personally, I have a tiring job so football is my way to relax,” added Nazar.

Groundsbury FC figured in a heated shootout as well, beating Metro Aguilas, 3-2 for 3rd place in Division 2. Underground FC claimed the Plate championship over Galastars – DNO A, 1-nil.

The successful 2nd OMNI Cup drew 24 teams and more than 380 players. Event Directors KJ Olayvar and Al Alde both promised bigger and grander next editions of the tournament in the future.

“All games all transitioned well; the teams played well and we had good results. Tonight, we made a point with our event with our sponsors. We touched the lives of our players. And we will try to make it more grand next time,” said Olayvar.

“The players had fun. They said they had a good time. They really like the game. I hope we can have more tournaments that will give more entertaining games for them,” said Alde.

OMNI Cup: Fight to the Finish is also presented by event partners Head and Shoulders Philippines, MADs Essentials: Food for the Skin, Underground Football, Suicide Squad F.C., Fundador, Pik-Nik, Poke Shack, and media partners Manila Bulletin, FOX Sports Philippines, and Balita Sports.

The MPBL dark horse teams | Imus, Pasay out to show their mettle in Season 3

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With both the Imus Bandera -Khaleb Shawarma/GLC and Pasay Voyagers fielding in retooled teams from top to bottom, higher expectations are in store for them in Season 3 of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League. Continue reading “The MPBL dark horse teams | Imus, Pasay out to show their mettle in Season 3”

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Former Gilas coach Rajko Toroman calls Philippines a ‘powerful basketball country in Asia’

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Despite being on the other side of the fence last night, Coach Rajko Toroman couldn’t help but be highly complimentary of how far the Gilas national team program has gone for the better part of the decade.

The veteran mentor steered Gilas to unprecedented heights, by helping an amateur-laden squad in racking up multiple accolades despite falling short of an Olympics bid in 2012. And a lot has changed since then.

Fast forward to today, the Gilas national team program is now humming along as they prepare for the FIBA World Cup, leaving Toroman in awe and citing the program as currently one of the Asia’s best.

“The Philippines is improving. They have a bunch of really good players. It’s a powerful basketball country now in Asia, and with one import they are very competitive,” Toroman said after their tuneup game against Gilas Pilipinas on Monday night at the Meralco Gym.

“In this moment, the Philippines is a powerful basketball country in Asia,” he emphasized.

Toroman also shared his two cents on the Philippines’ chances in the upcoming World Cup, who are grouped against the likes of powerhouses Angola, Italy, and Serbia.

Despite the daunting challenge for the team ahead, the original architect of the Gilas Pilipinas believes that everything is possible and that their best chance of an upset is against the Italians.

“I think that the chance is against Italy than against Serbia. For me, the Philippines can make surprises. And whenever you play, you have a chance to win,” mentioned Toroman.

Moreover, Toroman heaped praise towards Gilas given the talent level that they have, and he’s more than happy seeing his past work here now bearing fruit.

“I’m very happy and I always watch them even if I wasn’t here for the past six years. I’m glad when I see the guys which I was working here before, and it’s very enjoying to watch them because they’re growing into great players,” shared Toroman.

“They have great shooters and with Blatche who can stretch the floor, that can be very competitive team. They have quickness, they are aggressive, and they have everything,” he ended.

 

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Renaldo Balkman lauds June Mar Fajardo’s improved perimeter shooting

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It’s not a secret as to why June Mar Fajardo keeps on racking multiple MVPs in the PBA, as he works extremely hard to fine tune every aspect of his game.

Renaldo Balkman, who has witnessed such and has spent time playing with him in San Miguel, was the least surprised to see the Cebuano slotman knocking down midrange jumpers in their friendly last night against Gilas Pilipinas in the Meralco Gym last Monday night.

“I always knew he could shoot. He’s been working on it for what I can see, and he’s been knocking it down. He’s been working on that jump shot and that’s what he’ll do,” said Balkman.

The former NBA vet was more than happy to have shared the court with his brother as both teams are preparing respectively in their upcoming competitions.

Mighty Sports is set to compete in the annual Jones Cup while Gilas Pilipinas is slated to go up against the world’s best in the FIBA World Cup in August.

“It was just a tune-up game, but we’re both trying to accomplish something and get better. It was great to be back with him, and play against him tonight. He played well tonight and I’m happy for him,” said the long-time PBA import.

The Puerto Rico native also shared his two cents about Gilas Pilipinas postgame, and he commended their efforts despite playing without Andray Blatche who has yet to fly in from the United States.

Which is why he believes that Gilas Pilipinas will go far in the tournament, especially if they come in full force.

“They were killing us in transition, and they definitely got shooters. And the pieces that they missed in Andray (Blatche), they’re going to do pretty well in the World Cup. I wish them the best of luck,” mentioned Balkman.

(Image from PBA)

 

 

 

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Mark Barroca savors mini-reunion with former Gilas coach Rajko Toroman

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The exhibition game between the Gilas Pilipinas and Mighty Sports on Monday night at the Meralco Gym was more than a gauge of chemistry of these two teams, but it was also a reunion of sorts for some players and coaches as well.

Some members of the Gilas 1.0 squad who were there include Japeth Aguilar, Mark Barroca, Marcio Lassiter, and former head coach Rajko Toroman, who’s currently manning the sidelines for Mighty Sports as they prepare for the upcoming Jones Cup.

Mark Barroca, who was called up to play last night for Gilas, couldn’t help but relish the opportunity to be reunited with his former mentor.

“Masaya kasi nga kilala namin si Coach Rajko (Toroman) tapos nakalaban pa namin. Siya na nagsabi na magpicture kami, remembrance lang namin,” said Barroca.”

“Buti nga sila Marcio (Lassiter) andito din eh, di nila alam na si Coach Rajko ‘yung coach kasi ang alam nila si Coach Charles (Tiu),” he further mentioned.

It’s been a while since they last came together, leaving the Magnolia guard to reflect on what has changed since he first donned a Philippine national team jersey. He mentioned that being in the national team helped him in becoming the player that he is today.

Furthermore, the Zamboanga native expressed his gratitude to Toroman for giving him a chance to help lay the foundation for the Gilas program back then.

“Yung experience talaga, kasi may experience na ‘yung team ngayon kumpara sa dati since amateur pa kami noon. Ngayon ‘yung maturity natin andoon na eh, andiyan na rin ‘yung good decision-making [sa laro],” bared Barroca.

“Sobrang nakakaproud din kasi siya mismo isa siya sa nagset ng foundation. As a player na marinig mo na ganyan, siyempre nakakaproud din kasi iba na level ng basketball ng Pilipinas,” he ended.

 

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