Gilas bares ‘incomplete’ FIBA lineup (August 03, 2015)
Nelson Beltran [ Source: Philippine Star ]

FIBA Asia Championships

MANILA, Philippines - Members of the Gilas Pilipinas pool will be formally announced anytime today, then they will gather at the Meralco Gym for their first official practice, starting a two-month training that hopefully is enough to achieve its goal of nailing  down the lone Olympic berth to be disputed in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China.

Gilas team manager Butch Antonio said they will name 16 to 20 players to the “working pool” led by naturalized player Andray Blatche who was to arrive from the United States last night.

It’s called a working pool as it will be flexible, meaning the list may be expanded as other players become available. Junmar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Marc Pingris and Marcio Lassiter are said to be either nursing an injury or attending to personal matters.

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International Basketball

MANILA, Philippines -- Team Latin America used a strong start to keep top Filipino high school prospect Kobe Paras and his Team Nations Select winless, 117-68, on Sunday in the 2015 adidas Global Nations camp in Long Beach, California.

Team Latin American waxed hot early on as they ran Team Nations Select to the ground with a 13-0 start.

Despite a strong effort from Paras, Team Nations Select could not avoid falling to their third straight lopsided loss. The 6-foot-5 Paras scattered a team-high 21 points, six rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes in what was easily his best game in the camp. But everything went for naught as they fell to their third straight loss and got eliminated in the process.

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Philippine World Cup bid has ‘fighting chance’ (August 03, 2015)
Joaquin Henson [ Source: Philippine Star ]

FIBA World Cup

MANILA, Philippines - TV5 Sports head and former Gilas national coach Chot Reyes said yesterday the Philippines has “a fighting chance” to clinch the hosting rights for the 2019 FIBA World Cup but admitted China, the other bid finalist, is a major stumbling block with its “money and facilities.”

Reyes said it’s a 50-50 proposition with both countries set to face the FIBA Central Board in making a 20-minute audio-visual presentation and appearing in a closed-door, question-and-answer session in Tokyo on Aug. 7. Reyes, Jimmy Alapag and another speaker will represent the Philippines during the audio-visual presentation which is to be held in a staging area at the Prince Park Tower Hotel. The bidding countries are allowed to bring in a viewing delegation of 30 each. The presentations will reportedly be accessible via live streaming on the FIBA website.

While Reyes was tight-lipped on the details of the Philippine presentation, he said the three key points are the country’s passion for basketball, the game as a unifying element and the Filipino people’s creativity and connectivity. “We know China’s advantage to be its resources,” he said. “It’s a tough challenge for any country to go against China which is bidding to host many other events like the 2022 Winter Olympics. But I believe we’ve got a fighting chance. First, our people love basketball like no other people in the world. Second, this event will showcase our unity as a country, the unity of the private and public sectors in working together to make it happen. The whole country is behind our bid. A survey established that almost 100 percent of our population supports it. Finally, we’ll make a strong case of our ability to create an unforgettable experience for the world’s greatest players.”

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Gilas Pilipinas pool known Monday (August 03, 2015)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

FIBA Asia Championships

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will announce the members of the Gilas Pilipinas pool Sunday even as it exerts all efforts to convince everyone in its original list to make a commitment for flag and country.

Coach Tab Baldwin had reportedly drawn up an initial list of 26 players, but several standouts in the roster have begged off because of different reasons.

An SBP insider who requested that he not be identified said the association and Baldwin are not giving up on the players, and that they are still hopeful that the likes of two-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo, Paul Lee of Rain or Shine and Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel would reconsider.

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Manila North team (blue shirt, from left): Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, Karl Dehesa, Troy Rosario. InterAksyon.com/Rey Joble

Barring any injury or unavailability of the Manila North players, Philippine team coach Eric Altamirano is not planning on making any changes to the lineup of the team that qualified for the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final in Abu Dhabi this October.

The coach said that the current foursome – Alaska teammates Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel, Mahindra’s Karl Dehesa and PBA Draft hopeful Troy Rosario – will stand a decent chance if it can head to the World Tour Final as currently constructed.

“Ang maganda sa team na ito yung effort. Kailangan mo yan pagdating ng world stage. Malalaki doon and teams here are better,” Altamirano told InterAksyon.com in an exclusive interview.

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Manny Pangilinan. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

The Philippines has successfully staged a FIBA 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters for the second straight year and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manuel V. Pangilinan reaffirmed his commitment to bring an event here at least once a year.

“This is a much bigger turnout this year and it’s a wonderful event,” Pangilinan told InterAksyon.com in an interview. “We’re committed to FIBA that we’re going to do this an annual thing.”

He said that the Philippines is looking to stage something bigger than the Manila leg and bared plans to host the FIBA 3×3 World Championship in the near future.

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Andray Blatche back in Manila for Gilas (August 03, 2015)
Mark Giongco [ Source: Inquirer ]

Philippines’ centre Andray Blatche gestures during the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships group B match Philippines vs Puerto Rico at the Palacio Municipal de Deportes in Sevilla. AFP File Photo

Naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche arrived in Manila late Sunday night as Gilas Pilipinas prepares for the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship in China next month.

The 28-year-old Blatche is expected to attend Gilas’ practice on Monday night at Meralco Gym.

Gilas is in the midst of forming its roster from a pool of players without several of its mainstays from the previous team, which won the silver medal in the 2013 Fiba Asia competition and booked a ticket to the 2014 World Cup in Spain.

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Fiba 3×3 MVP Terrence Romeo raring to take ‘dream’ Gilas step (August 03, 2015)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Fiba 3×3 MVP Terrence Romeo. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Dazzling the crowd for two days in the 2015 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters, it still came as a surprise for Terrence Romeo that he was named as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

“Di ko inexpect kasi di naman kami nakapasok ng Finals (I didn’t expect it becuase we didn’t make it to the Finals.),” he said.

But the two-day competition allowed Romeo to showcase his talents which earned him tons of praise from fans and spectators, some of which wants to see him on the national team.

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Calvin Abueva. Sports5 file/Paul Mata

Alaska forward Calvin Abueva hasn’t been playing in the 3×3 format for very long but it looks like he’s already getting the hang of it.

In the 2015 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters, his Manila North team claimed some very impressive victories, including No. 2 ranked Ljubljana from Slovenia in the group stage and defending Manila leg champions Manila West in the semifinals of the tournament.

They also qualified for the World Tour Finals to be held in Abu Dhabi in October although they fell short of winning the title, crashing into a more experienced side, world champion NoviSad Al Wahda, in the finals of the tournament.

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Fajardo remains low-key (August 03, 2015)
Eddie Alinea [ Source: Journal ]

D-League

JUN Mar Fajardo has already clinched the most valuable player plum for two straight seasons, yet not many of us know his humble beginning in his hometown in Compostela in Cebu.

Fajardo used to sell candles, especially during All Souls’ Day, to earn a living and that playing basketball was never in his mind during those times.

“I never dreamt of earning big, kasi simple lang ang buhay sa amin sa probinsya,” said Fajardo when reached by People’s Journal through phone days after the San Miguel Beer’s victory of the PBA Governors’ Cup.

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