Blackwater to go for Mac Belo as Gilas draft top pick (October 23, 2016)
Nelson Beltran [ Source: Philippine Star ]

 Mac Belo in this file photo.

MANILA, Philippines – For Blackwater, Mac Belo is an easy choice as the top pick among Gilas Pilipinas players in the 2016 PBA Rookie Draft slated next Sunday at Robinson’s Place Manila.

The Blackwater Elite management and coaching staff, however, will still have to discuss their choices for the No. 1 pick in the regular draft.

Dioceldo Sy, team owner of the Blackwater franchise, said they will make good use of their draft rights and will also look for good materials from the trade and free-agent markets in an effort to beef up their lineup and boost playoff chances in the coming PBA tourneys.

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PBA Coach of the Year awardee Leo Austria. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Leo Austria was named back-to-back “Baby Dalupan” Coach of the Year on Saturday night in the 2016 PBA Press Corps Awards Night at Gloria Maris Restaurant inside Gateway Mall at Araneta Center in Cubao.

Austria, who became the first coach since Chot Reyes in 2002 and 2003 to win the prestigious award for the second consecutive year, steered San Miguel Beer to a historic title in the Philippine Cup where the Beermen came back from a 0-3 hole and semifinals stints in the Commissioner’s and Governors’ Cup.

“This award serves as an inspiration for me to be better one game at a time,” said Austria, who received the award the same year as Dalupan’s passing.

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 Barangay Ginebra in a huddle. Photo courtesy of the PBA Media Bureau

MANILA -- Former Ginebra coach and current San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua considers Sol Mercado the most underrated Gin King of them all.

After Ginebra clinched the Governors’ Cup title to end an eight-year dry spell, Chua said Mercado finally dispelled talk that he is “bad luck” to any team he joins.

“He played very well, that's why we're here,” Chua said in an interview with Boyet Sison in DZMM’s "Fastbreak" on Saturday. “Sol Mercado hitting the three, Sol defending the import, defending the guys who were killing us. Laging niyang sinasabi, 'I'll defend him, coach,'” he said.

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Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley, after meeting with team doctor Walt Lowe on Saturday morning, has decided to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, a source told ESPN.

The surgery will take place Tuesday in Houston.

After Friday's preseason loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said Beverley would miss roughly 20 games.

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No more monkey on Sol’s back (October 23, 2016)
Joaquin Henson [ Source: Philippine Star ]

Sol Mercado. Tristan Tamayo/

MANILA, Philippines - On his eighth PBA season with his sixth team, Barangay Ginebra guard Sol Mercado finally nailed a championship and took the monkey off his back. Last Wednesday, Ginebra brought down Meralco, 91-88, in Game 6 of the Governors Cup Finals and ended an eight-year title drought with Mercado coming along for the ride.

“It was surreal, the best feeling ever,” said Mercado yesterday. “It didn’t even hit me at first. I had my doubters, guys who thought I’d never win a championship, who questioned my ability, who pointed out that after I got traded, teams would win championships without me. But instead of that talk dragging me down, I took it as motivation to work harder. It can’t get any better than winning my first championship with Ginebra.”

What made the ascent to the throne more special was his mother Rosalie Rayos’ presence. She flew in from Los Angeles last week and was able to watch Games 5 and 6. His mother left last night to go back to her work at the University of California-Davis. Mercado said his brother-in-law Tony texted from Los Angeles to remind him of how proud his late father Aaron must be up in heaven. Mercado’s father, who was Puerto Rican, died of a heart attack in 2012 at the age of 51.

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One more ride (October 23, 2016)
Joaquin Henson [ Source: Philippine Star ]


It’s not over for the Fast and the Furious, at least, that’s what Barangay Ginebra fans are hoping. From all indications, Mark Caguioa and JayJay Helterbrand will be back for another Ginebra ride next season, fresh from a remarkable journey back to the top in the just-concluded PBA Governors Cup.

To be sure, they’re not spring chickens anymore. Their numbers are down, their minutes are low. But in Ginebra coach Tim Cone’s scheme of things, a player’s worth isn’t measured by numbers. In his mind, a player can go scoreless but still make an impact in the game. Take Sol Mercado’s case. In the title-clinching Game 6 last Wednesday, Mercado went scoreless in 24:01 minutes as a starter but had three rebounds and an assist. When the smoke of battle cleared, Ginebra beat Meralco, 91-88.

Similarly, Ginebra guards L. A. Tenorio, Aljon Mariano and Mercado were blanked in Game 4 of the semifinal series against San Miguel Beer. They bounced back with a vengeance in the Game 5 closer with Mercado hitting 22, Tenorio 18 and Mariano, 11, as Ginebra took out San Miguel, 117-92.

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FEU head coach Nash Racela. Tristan Tamayo/

Whatever happens in the next several days or even weeks, Nash Racela will finish his coaching duties with Far Eastern University this season.

FEU athletic director Mark Molina assured the Tamaraws that Racela, who is reportedly on his way to becoming head coach of TNT in the PBA, will stay at the team’s helm through the end of UAAP Season 79.

“Our only concern with FEU is to make sure that Nash will finish the season with FEU. There is no doubt we know that Nash will not leave the team in the middle of the season,” Molina told reporters after FEU’s comeback win over University of the Philippines on Saturday.

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Derrick Rose rejoins Knicks, glad to put civil trial behind him (October 23, 2016)
Ohm Youngmisuk [ Source: ESPN ]


GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Derrick Rose rejoined the New York Knicks on Saturday, eager to put his civil trial behind him and get back to playing basketball.

Rose was with the team for the first time since Oct. 4, when he left for his trial in Los Angeles after a preseason game in Houston.

Rose and two friends were found not liable in a civil lawsuit that accused them of gang-raping Rose's ex-girlfriend when she was incapacitated from drugs or alcohol. Rose and his friends were being sued for $21.5 million.

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 Papi Sarr scored 25 points and 15 rebounds for Adamson. Josh Albeda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA -- Adamson University maintained its hold on the fourth spot by vanquishing University of the East (UE), 71-79, and snap a two-game slump in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament on Saturday.

Papi Sarr powered the Falcons past the Red Warriors, firing 25 points to go with his 15 rebounds.

Jerrick Ahanmisi also had a good game for Adamson, tallying 17 points including four treys.

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 Far Eastern University now has eight wins and two defeats. Josh Albeda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA -- (UPDATED) Far Eastern University (FEU) clawed its way out of a double-digit deficit to hack out a 63-60 win over the University of the Philippines (UP) in the UAAP men's basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.

FEU trailed UP by 20 points before rallying in the fourth quarter to register its seventh straight victory.

Skipper Toto Jose led the Tamaraws with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

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