Hidilyn Diaz settles for bronze medal in 2019 IWF World Championships

HIDILYN Diaz, the country’s best hope in the world weightlifting events, settled for a third place finish in the IWF 2019 World Championship held in Pattaya, Thailand late Friday night.

A silver medalist in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Diaz ended up with a bronze behind Liao Quiyun and Zhang Wangqiong of China, who ended up winning the gold and silver medals, respectively in the women’s 55-kg division.

Diaz, gold medalist in the Asian Games last year, garnered 93 points in the snatch and 121 points in the clean and jerk, both god for third spot.

Up against the best in the world in the IWF event, Diaz’s third place finish is a strong indication that she remains as the best source of gold medal in the country’s campaign in the Southeast Asian Games to be held here in the Philippines from late November to early December.

More than 600 competitors from 100 countries participated in the biggest weightlifting event in the world.

Diaz is one of the many athletes being supported by the MVP Sports Foundation headed by Al Panlilio and executive director Ryan Gregorio and the group is geared towards developing and inspiring the Filipino athletes in producing the country’s first ever gold medalist in the Olympics.

Aside from weightlifting, the MVPSF is also supporting basketball, badminton, boxing, cycling, taekwondo, golf, football and rugby.



Caloocan claims Vosotros has exit clause in MPBL, ready for potential sanction after release to TNT

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ALMOND Vosotros is now playing for the TNT Ka Tropa in the Terrific 12 Tournament in Macau, an indication that the Caloocan Supremos had already released the high-scoring guard, who is taking another crack at a possible PBA return.

Last month, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League issued a memo, stressing that players will not be released to the PBA until after the season ends.

Two players were released back to the pros — Samboy de Leon, who previously played for the Iloilo United Royals and just recently, Almond Vosotros.

Iloilo team owner JJ Javelosa previously showed MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes the contract of De Leon signed to join TNT even before a memo was issued by the amateur league which prevents ex-pros going back to play to the PBA while the third season is ongoing.

In Vosotros’ case, Caloocan head coach John Kallos said that although the MPBL released a memo last month, there’s an existing exit clause on the contract of the player and the Supremos management couldn’t do anything but to release the former Gilas Cadet stalwart to the Ka Tropa.

“Wala kaming magagawa kasi nauna naman ang contract niya kaysa sa memo,” Kallos wrote in an exclusive online interview with FOX Sports Philippines.

“Ready kami for a possible sanction and nakausap ko na si Atty, Brando (Viernesto), legal counsel of the MPBL.”

Senator Manny Pacquiao, founder and chief executive officer of the MPBL, told Commissioner Duremdes that a severe sanction might be given to Caloocan for releasing Vosotros since there’s already a memo issued regarding non-release of players to the PBA.

But Kallos said the exit clause in Vosotros’ contract signed with the Supremos last May was legal.

“Meron exit clause siya. Hinddi naman pwede pigilan yung bata. Gusto din namin sumunod sa usapan dahil yun ang nasa contract niya,” added Kallos. “I hope Sen Manny will understand.”


“Nagpapasalamat si Vosotros kasi mayroong MPBL at nabuhay ang career niya.”

MPBL: Voyagers make it seven in a row as Classic get back on track

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THIS time, the Pasay Voyagers played the role of conquerors as they played the spoiler role against home squad Iloilo United Royals, 56-52, Thursday night in the MPBL Lakan Season at the University of San Agustin Gym in Iloilo City.

Iloilo shot a woeful 9-of-22 shooting from the foul line, which cost the host team the match. Pasay was able to take advantage, capping its solid game with a good defensive game plan en route to notching its seventh win in a row in the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

Following their latest win, the Voyagers improved their win-loss record to 10-5 and moved up to the fifth spot of the tough northern division by overtaking the Pampanga Lanterns.

The Voyagers engaged their rivals in a defensive struggle as neither squad shot better than 33-percent from the field.

Only Ryan Arambulo ended up in double figures for Iloilo, tallying 12 while Elmar Moradas and Axel Iñigo also came up with the same output.

But the Voyagers put the clamps down on Richard Escoto and Alfrancis Tamsi, who only combined for 11 points. Tamsi only made 1-of-6 shooting from the field.

Earlier, Valenzuela outplayed Mindoro, 67-59, behind Jaymar Gimpayan’s double-double performance.

Gimpayan finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds as the reed-thin athletic forward wound up with one of his better games in the ongoing season.

With the win, Valenzuela got back on the winning track, picking up its sixth victory in 16 games and found itself at the 11th spot of the northern division halfway the elimination round.


Gilas women’s team in ‘Group of Death’ in FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in India

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It’s now the Gilas women’s basketball team’s turn to take center stage as the country’s cagebelles represent the Philippines in the coming FIBA Women’s Asia Cup to be held in Bangalore, India from September 24-29.

The event will be a fitting preparation for the country’s build up for this year’s Southeast Asian Games, which will be held in the Philippines from late November to early December.

Leading the Gilas Pilipinas women’s team’s campaign is highly-touted US NCAA Division 1 player Kelli Hayes, who played for the UCLA Bruins.

A long-time prospect, Hayes will use her experience as she represents the Philippines in her first major international competition.

Aside from Hayes, several other local standouts were also included in the line-up headed by Jack Danielle Animam, a member of the multi-titled National University Lady Bulldogs team in the UAAP, who has also played in the national team program for four years now.

Hayes and Animam will lead the charge up front, but head coach Patrick Aquino will still count on his old reliables like Afril Bernardino and Janine Pontejos, two other players who had represented the women’s squads in different major international tournaments, including the FIBA 3 x 3 World Cup held at the Philippine Arena a few months ago.

Also in the line up are Gemma Miranda, France Mae Cabinbin, returning players Danica Jose and Bea Daez, Ana Alicia Castillo, Eunique Chan, Andrea Tongco, and Ria Joy Nabalan.

According to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio, women’s basketball has made some strides and improved by leaps and bounds.

“We’re trying to  join as many tournaments as we can. We had a great coach in Pat Aquino. It starts really with the coach and then the coach identifies the program and the road map, that’s why he’s also my program director for women’s — both for 5-on-5 and 3 x 3 — So he will identify the talent that he needs also. We will continue to rack up the rankings for women’s, so we’re improving and we will continue to do so,” Panlilio told FOX Sports Philippines in an exclusive interview.

The FIBA Asia Women’s Cup will be a tougher tournament to deal with and the Filipinas are bracketed in the group of death, joining Australia, China and New Zealand.

As early as the opening day on September 24, the Philippines will face an acid test taking on the mighty Australian squad in its Group B match.

Gilas women’s squad battles China the next day at 5:45 p.m., followed by its final group stage match versus New Zealand at 1:15 p.m. on September 26.



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Cebu, Gen San subdue rivals as Manila salvages tough home win

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Staring at a three-game losing skid, the Cebu Sharks turned to their old reliable who flexed his muscles and carried his team on his shoulders Wednesday night in the MPBL Lakan Season at the San Andres Gym.

Will McAloney pumped in 28 points and proved to be a one man wrecking crew to power the Sharks to a 74-70 win over the Zamboanga-Family’s Brand Sardines.

It was only the fifth win in 13 games for Cebu, but that was enough to break an alarming skid and put the Sharks back on track halfway the elimination round of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

McAloney hit 11-of-15 shots from the field and simply outplayed his counterparts up front.

Following the loss, Zamboanga dropped into a tie with Bicol at seventh to eighth spots, both carrying an 8-8 card.

Also getting back on the winning track was Gen San, which outplayed Pasig, 91-82, in the other game.

Juju Bautista finished with 23 points while Pamboy Raymundo dished out a double-double performance for Gen San, which bounced back from two straight losses and improved its standing to 11-4 for solo third spot in the southern division.

Raymundo had 14 points and 11 assists and set the tone for Gen San’s fluid offense. The Warriors shot a steady 50-percent shooting from the field and dished out 26 assists, 12 more than their rivals.

Three more players also ended up in double figures for Gen San. John Orbeta contributed 13 while Rob Celiz and Daryl Goloran tallied 12 apiece.

Manila salvaged a 96-96 squeaker of Navotas in the main game as Gian Abrigo finished with a double-double performance of 18 points and 11 boards to lead the Stars to their 12th win in 14 games and solidified their hold of the solo second spot of the tough northern division.


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Alvin Pasaol to Zamboanga, Reed Juntilla to Bataan

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It’s official: Alvin Pasaol is now headed to the Zamboanga-Family’s Brand Sardines while Reed Juntilla will move to the Bataan Risers.

A memo signed by MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes sealed the trade between Zamboanga and Bataan that would send the young forward to the Universal Canning Inc.-owned franchise and the veteran guard to the rebuilding Risers team which is now under new management.

Juntilla, an MPBL All-Star, was one among the top guns of Zamboanga, which went one game away from reaching the championship round of the southern division finals last season.

Pasaol, one of the top players in the country in 3 x 3 competitions, was the tour de force of University of the East before moving to the MPBL to play for the Risers.

The inclusion of Pasaol will give Zamboanga the added heft inside the paint while Juntilla’s addition in the revamping Bataan will give the team an instant scorer and playmaker.

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MPBL: After retooling management, coaching staff, what’s next for Bataan Risers?

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THERE must be a better reason why the Bataan Risers showed up with only eight gallant men the moment Jonas Villanueva took over as head coach of the squad.

Alvin Pasaol, a talented forward, was not able to see action along with big man Santy Santillan, ex-pros Leo Najorda, Jai Reyes, Chito Jaime, and Fonso Gottladerra, veteran guard Mar Villahermosa and other young aspirants like Anton Asistio, Sean Manganti, and Vince Tolentino among others.

Of the big names mentioned, only Jaime was guaranteed to return by Villanueva as the veteran forward hails from Bataan.

“Si Chito mag-stay siya,” Vilanueva told FOX Sports Philippines. “The rest of the squad, they might end up getting traded.”

The players mentioned were acquired by the previous management group, Zetapro, headed by businessman Anthony Zubiri, whose group is no longer operating the basketball squad in the MPBL after franchise owner, Camaya Coast, terminated its partnership with the former.

Also no longer part of the squad are head coach Jong Uichico and his assistants — Junel Baculi and Ryan Betina, all of them under the contractual obligations of Zetapro.

The MPBL announced the opening of the trading period last Monday and it will last for only a week. Only teams which submitted their Uniform Player’s Contract are allowed to participate in the trade, according to league commissioner Kenneth Duremdes.

Bataan had already complied by submitting their UPCs along with Rizal, Makati, Cebu, Pampanga, Bulacan, Marikina, Parañaque, San Juan, Muntinlupa, Bacoor, Zamboanga, and Valenzuela.

These teams can now start making trade transactions, but Commissioner Duremdes added that teams willing to make trades can still do so by sending the UPCs of their respective squads.

Al Panlilio bats for better team, better Philippine hosting of 2023 World Cup

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As soon as the officials of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas returned home along with our Gilas Pilipinas squad which represented the country in our second straight FIBA World Cup, the heads of our governing cage body only had one thing in mind as they started to lay the groundwork for the 2023 hosting of the biggest basketball event in the world.  

“Just to get better. We need to get better,” SBP president Al Panlilio told FOX Sports Philippines in an exclusive interview.  “Always improving and excelling at a higher level. We’re in our second World Cup. We guaranteed ourselves of a third World Cup by hosting it, but being in the World Cup should be a norm for Philippine basketball. Hopefully, we can continue a program that could help us qualify us to the World Cup.”

Gilas Pilipinas had a disappointing, winless campaign in the recent FIBA World Cup, a slide down from its previous stint five years ago in Spain.

According to Panlilio, although the Philippines is already guaranteed of a spot in the 2023 World Cup by jointly hosting the event along with Japan and Indonesia, the country’s basketball program will definitely need a shot in the arm and come up with a much-improved program that could benefit us for a long term.

“Up to the third World Cup in 2023, hopefully we can still qualify for the 2027 Games.  It’s a long term program for us. We need to look at it, on a longer term, hindi lang sa next tournament. On the onset, we’re already looking at two World Cups,” added Panlilio.

“Although we’re guaranteed a spot for 2023, we still need to look at our team, how can we improve our position, our framework, the system.”

Yeng Guiao, who immediately stepped down as Gilas Pilipinas coach, suggested that the Philippines should now start emulating the European style of play.

In the recent World Cup in China, the United States, composed of young stars from the NBA, finished at seventh spot, the worst finished by an American squad since it started sending NBA players since 1992.

“Even Coach Yeng (Guiao) had suggested that we should look at the European basketball. We will assess that and see what we can do to do that. Kakabalik lang ng lahat, it’s time for us to come together and assess how can we improve the program for the national team. The other thing is how can we do a better job,” added Panlilio.

The Philippines should also look at the way China hosted the games. The Chinese had been in the center piece of major international sporting events, including the hosting of the 2008 Olympics, numerous FIBA Asia events and recently, the World Cup.

“China did a very good job hosting. First time itong ganitong klaseng format (four-year cycle, home and away). It was well done by China basketball and FIBA. Knowing FIBA, they want us to do it better. We will have to make it a better hosting,” said Panlilio.

“It’s a very hard task because China did very well, so we just have to make sure that the experience we give the fans, not only the Filipinos, but globally, I’m sure a lot of fans will come to the Philippines when we host it four years from now, hopefully they could have the best experience coming to the Philippines. Maraming kailangan gawin.”

The country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games this year from late November until early December might be a good way to prepare the Philippines even more for the 2023 World Cup hosting. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation had released an P800-M budget to help renovate the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Ninoy Aquino Stadium and Philsports Arena (formerly ULTRA), which can also serve as alternate venues for some of the games.

Although two other venues already made the passing mark from the FIBA inspection team – the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan and the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay — the Araneta Coliseum still requires improvement.

“We have no choice but to be ready before 2023. Venue-wise, FIBA already came here even before they awarded it to us and one of the the technical team members that came over, looked at the venues. They already checked it. Despite what we had when we won the bidding two years ago, they approved our bid. Obviously, we can only improve it. There are some things we need to do — Araneta will need improvement, MOA is OK, Philippine Arena is OK,” said Panlilio.

The Araneta Coliseum, considered as the Philippine’s mecca for sports, will still have some improvement to do. In 1978, the venue served as the site of the 1978 World Basketball Championship, the last time the country held the world basketball event.

Aside from the venues, Panlilio also cited the infrastructures as key components in getting the hosting bid. One of the reasons why China was chosen to host the 2019 World Cup over the Philippines is the Chinese’ solid infrastructures that have been visible since they last hosted the Olympics in 2008.

The Philippines is making sure this time that we’ll be more ready for the hosting of the biggest basketball event in the world.

“There’s a program from the government when it comes to  infrastructure, that’s happening also. We have the NLEX-SLEX link that will soon be finished and that causes traffic now in Bulacan. Even before the SEA Games, they’re building an interchange along the Arena going south. Hindi ka na pupunta ng norte at hindi ka na mag-U-Turn. This project of the government helps a lot and makes the experience better,” added Panlilio.




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With Wilson on fire, San Juan nips Pampanga as Basilan, Davao Occidental deliver

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ANGELES CITY — John Wilson is making a strong case for this season’s Most Valuable Player award. The veteran guard is playing like a man on a mission for the reigning champions San Juan Knights.

Wilson tallied a new league-high for most points scored in a game as he torched home team Pampanga Giant Lanterns with his torrid shooting and propelled San Juan to a thrilling 102-97 overtime win late Tuesday night at the Angeles University Foundation Arena.

The 6-foot-1 guard knocked in 44 points, breaking the previous high 41 scored by Leomar Losentes last season.

For Wilson, setting scoring record wasn’t new for him, much like his feat 10 years ago as a college player.

“Naka-record na rin ako sa NCAA, 48 points. Hindi ko ini-expect na naka 40-plus na pala akala ko mga 30 lang, pero 44 pala. I’m proud of myself na talagang nagri-resulta yung extra workout ko,” Wilson told FOX Sports Philippines.

With Wilson on fire, San Juan kept its burning desire of winning back-to-back championships. The team has improved to 13-1 and remained on top of the standings.

Playing the reigning champions had somehow toughened up the Basilan Steel ahead of their game against the Imus Bandera and on Tuesday night, the team from down south was able to run roughshod against their rivals from Southern Tagalog.

Jay Collado finished with 17 points while four other players ended up in double figures as the Steel bounced back strong from a painful loss against the Knights and vented their ire on the Imus Bandera, 98-85.

Gab Dagangon contributed 15 markers while Junjie Hallare and Hesed Gabo had 13 apiece. Anthony Bringas came away with a double-double effort of 10 points and 11 rebounds in a display of balance firepower by Basilan, which improved its win-loss record to 9-5 for solo fifth spot in the southern division of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

Imus absorbed its fourth straight loss and dropped to 3-10.

Davao Occidental blasted Bicol, 88-76, in the other game as Mark Yee came away with yet another double-double effort.

Last season’s runner-up to Gab Banal in the MVP derby, Yee had another solid game of 19 points and 10 boards.

Emman Calo contributed 15 markers, Bogs Raymundo chipped in 11 and Chester Saldua had 10 as the Cocolife-backed Tigers continued their onslaught in the tournament to pace the southern squads.

The Tigers now carry a 12-2 win-loss slate.



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MPBL to hold dispersal draft for free agents on September 22

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TheMaharlika Pilipinas Basketball League will hold its dispersal draft for active free agents on Sunday, September 22, at Metrowalk in Pasig City to give teams at the bottom a chance to beef up their respective rosters ahead of the playoffs of the ongoing Lakan Season.

MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes told FOX Sports Philippines that teams have already released players and were given a deadline until last Saturday.

On Monday, Duremdes announced the start of the week-long trading period which will be made available only to those teams which had submitted their Uniform Player’s Contract.

In the coming dispersal draft, teams are ranked based on their placings and the league set a cut off period last September 10.

The first five teams that will get a crack to pick in the coming dispersal draft are: 1. SOCCSKSARGEN Marlins, 2. Marikina Shoemasters, 3. Muntinlupa Cagers 4. Nueva Ecija Forestlake and 5. Parañaque Patriots.

Completing the drafting order of teams are: 6. Valenzuela Classic, 7. Navotas Clutch, 8. Imus Bandera, 9. Rizal Golden Coolers, 10. Bacolod-Master Sardines, 11. Biñan City Heroes, 12. Cebu City Sharks, 13. Quezon City Capitals, 14. Mindoro Tamaraws, 15. Zamboanga-Family’s Brand Sardines, 16. Bataan Risers, 17. Caloocan Supremos, 18. Bicol Volcanoes, 19. Bulacan Kuyas, 20. Iloilo United Royals, 21. Pasay Voyagers, 22. Batangas City Athletics, 23. Basilan Steel, 24. Pampanga Giant Lanterns, 25. Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors, 26. Bacoor Strikers, 27. General Santos City Warriors, 28. Makati Super Crunch, 29. Manila Stars, 30. Davao Occidental Tigers, 31. San Juan Knights.

Each team will be given a chance to select players once every round and they will continue to select until they decide to pass. Same draft order will be applied in the succeeding rounds.

The league also allowed squads to pick up anytime inactive free agents who saw action previously, but were not included in the roster of teams this season.

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PH esports team SIBOL names final roster for coming SEA Games esports event

FIFA Global Series’ FUT Champions Cup takes centre stage in Singapore

After a tough week for the 77-strong training pool for Sibol, the Philippine team that will represent the country in the esports medaled events of the 30th SEA Games, only 27 athletes have made the final team.

Seven members are needed for each of the team-based games: Dota2, Arena of Valor, and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang while two members each will make up the rest of the games: StarCraft 2, Hearthstone, and Tekken 7.

These are the 27 athletes that will comprise Sibol:

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang’s team of 7 is comprised of Kenneth Jiane ‘Kenji’ Villa, Karl Gabriel ‘KarlTzy’ Nepomuceno, Carlito ‘Ribo’ Ribo, Jeniel ‘Haze’ Bata-anon, Angelo Kyle ‘Pheww’ Arcangel, Allan Sancio ‘Lusty’ Castromayor and Jason Rafael ‘Jay’ Torculas.

For Dota 2 we have Mc Nicholson ‘Mc’ Villanueva, John Anthony ‘Natsumi’ Vargas, Jun ‘Bok’ Kanehara, Marvin Salvador ‘Boomy’ Rushton, Bryle Jacob ‘CML’ Alvizo, Van Jerico ‘Van’ Manalaysay and James Erice ‘Erice’ Guerra.

Arena of Valor will be led by Kevin Kio ‘Gambit’ Dizon, Jeremiah ‘1717’ Camarillo, Jevan Lorenzo ‘Bents’ Delos Santos, Lawrence Anthony ‘Rubixx’ Gatmaitan, Miguel Klarenz ‘Miggie’ Banaag, Bradie Ryan ‘Yats’ Velasquez and Kyle Jepherson ‘Vindiicated’ Padlan.

StarCraft II’s duo will have Justin ‘NuksPH’ Santos and Caviar ‘Enderr’ Acampado.

Hearthstone: Dustin ‘WaningMoon’ Mangulabnan and Jacinta ‘Jia’ Dee.

Tekken 7: Andreij Hosea ‘Doujin’ Albar and Alexandre Gabrielle ‘AK’ Laverez

From here, the Sibol team will be tested and trained by their coaches, in an effort to mold them all into solid individuals and teams with their eyes on one thing: SEA Games’ GOLD. The catchphrase ‘Lakad Matatag’ embodies the Sibol athletes, entering the battlefield with pride and confidence.

The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Esports Union (PSEU) has teamed up with the country’s biggest mobile network, Smart, as the official presenter for Sibol. Razer, the official esports partner for the Games, is also present to help in Sibol’s training and preparation.

“Esports in the SEA Games is not just about making history; it is about building the foundation for all our young Filipinos who aspire to represent our country on a world stage. The athletes of Sibol are not just pioneers, they are our country’s pride. We at Smart wholly support our athletes in their SEA Games journey,” Alfredo S. Panlilio, President of Smart Communications, Inc., said in a comment.

For more information about Sibol, head over to their official website SIBOLesports.ph and @SIBOLesports on social.

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MPBL: Explosive Bacoor too much vs QC as Bulacan, Caloocan prevail

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MALOLOS — Title-favorite Bacoor displayed its awesome firepower to the hilt in giving Quezon City a sound beating, 111-79, in the MPBL Lakan Season at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium here.

Five players ended up in double figures for the Strikers led by Mark Montuano, who pumped in 21 points while team captain Chris Sumalinog chipped in 16.

Reigning Most Valuable Player Gab Banal and Michael Cañete contributed 13 apiece while Paolo Castro had 11 for the Strikers, who shot a steady 52-percent shooting from the field (47-of-89) and held the Capitals to just 37-percent shooting (29-of-77).

Bacoor also attacked the basket more often, producing 60 points compared to only 28 for Quezon City and that virtually sealed the outcome of the match.

The Strikers bench was also far superior as the second unit knocked down 65 points, 27 more than their counterparts.

Following their latest conquest, the Strikers upped their positionin the team standings of the southern division of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

Bacoor improved its win-loss record to 12-3 and solidified its grip of the second spot.

Host team Bulacan walloped a Muntinlupa side which paraded with a new coach. The Kuyas blasted the Bonnie Garcia-mentored Cagers, 77-62.

Garcia, head coach of the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs, took over as new mentor Monday, but even his presence was not enough to inspire the Cagers, who succumbed to their seventh straight loss and fell deeper in the southern division.

Muntinlupa is now running second to last in the south, carrying a 3-12 mark.

Caloocan nipped Nueva Ecija, 92-90, as the Supremos bolstered their bid ahead of the coming dispersal draft for free agents on Sunday.

Paul Sanga presided on his team’s offense as he finished with 24 points while Rene Pacquiao ended up with a double-double performance of 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Thomas Torres wound up one rebound away from posting his own double-double as he tallied 11 markers on top of nine boards.

The trio’s production was more than enough to lift the Supremos to their eighth win in 15 games and kept a hold of the eighth spot of the tough northern division.

Nueva Ecija absorbed its sixth straight loss and fell deeper in the standings with a 2-11 card, just half a game ahead of tailender Marikina in the northern division.

Teams gear up as MPBL announces week-long trading period

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THE Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League on Monday announced the opening of the one week trading period which started on the same day and will last until September 23.

League commissioner told FOX Sports Philippines that the trading period will be open to all the teams which had already complied submitting the Uniform Players’ Contract.

Teams which fail to submit their UPCs can not participate in any trading transaction, according to Commissioner Duremdes.

“We already set a timeline for the submission since the UPC will also serve as a basis in trading transactions bukod sa talent level ng mga players involved,” said Commissioner Duremdes.

Duremdes added that the dispersal draft for active free agents released recently will be held on Sunday,  7 p.m. at Metrowalk in Ortigas, Pasig.

Teams, which opted to release players for free agency, had completed the task until last Saturday and the list will be made available to those squads shopping around to bolster their respective rosters.

OPINION: Illegal intervention of external auditor creating a rift, dysfunction in MPBL

Dennis Rodman on matchmaking Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un

I’ve seen it. I’ve witnessed it. From its baby steps to becoming the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league in the country — that is the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

In just a year, teams increased from 10 to 31 and the league continues to grow.

Everything then was smooth sailing until somebody rocked the boat.

True, there were challenges along the way the league hurdled but nothing is more disturbing than the ones created by people from the outside, most notably its external auditor, Andrea Suanding.

Suanding has been making decisions behind the back of MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes and has been using her close ties with Senator Manny Pacquiao in making transactions.

The recent transaction she made where she inserted people of her preference and removed people who were assigned to work there without seeking the approval of Commissioner Duremdes in the coming Iloilo and Bacolod game, was something the head of the organization didn’t take sitting down.

Last week, Commissioner Duremdes issued a memo on Ms. Suanding regarding the latter’s decision to insert people of her preference and directly transacting to the travel agency without the former’s authority.

Commissioner Duremdes met with no less than Senator Manny Pacquiao, the chief executive officer and founder of the league, along with rest of the MPBL staff, and was given by the eight-division world champion the blanket authority to run the operations of the league.

Senator Pacquiao showed an organizational chart stressing that Duremdes should be making all decisions concerning the league.

According to Duremdes, Ms. Suanding is not even part of the MPBL. Thus he affirmed in the memo that she has no right to intervene when it comes to making decisions in the league.

The recent actions made by Ms. Suanding came on the heels of the dysfunction that is happening in the MPBL.

Staff members including the Commissioner’s Office, the production staff, and daily wage earners were greatly affected since Ms. Suanding came in the picture and took charge of the finances of operating expenses of the league.

It’s something a lot of people in the organization opposed as there’s already a conflict of interest on the part of Ms. Suanding, being an external auditor and taking charge of finances at the same time.

“May conflict na kaagad dyan,” said a staff member, who requested anonymity. “There should always be check and balance. Hindi puwedeng yung auditor, sa kanya rin magpapa-approve ng finances. If sa usual set up ng company, yung auditor ang nago-audit sa finance, sino ang mago-audit sa auditor who is in charge of the finances as well? Malaking kalokohan yan.”

Staff members were up in arms, particularly those who were making daily wages.

“Yun lang inaasahan nila na maiuuwi para sa pamilya nila,” said another MPBL staff. “Tapos, hindi pala sila makakasuweldo. Dapat pala kumuha sila ng trabaho sa iba.”

Commissioner Duremdes issued another memo stressing that Ms. Suanding should not be in-charge of the finances but Atty. Francisco Gacal.

Staff members were up in arms when the league experienced continued salary delays, which never happened when Miraflor Mantalaba and Dave Vendham Homo were the ones in charge of the finances.

Last week, the different department heads sent Senator Pacquiao a letter requesting — and in fact even pleading that their salaries be given. They also condoned the lack of compassion being shown by Ms. Suanding, who even demanded that a tax should be imposed on those daily wagers as soon as they received their partial delayed dues.

“Ita-tax ka sa delayed na sahod mo, tapos wala namang pinapirmahan na form. Ang dapat dyan, dahil freelance naman kami, kanya-kanyang file na lang kami,” said one of the blue-collar workers of the league.”

Even reimbursements in gasoline and toll fees are yet to be paid, as well as the additional one game inclusion in its daily schedule and the payables continue to pile up to this time.

It’s about time the good Senator step in and end these miseries once and for all. He has a legacy to protect, a good name to take care of, and probably bring in more professional people to run the organization.

Only he can cure this worsening malady.

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