All-Star Week goes back to its roots (November 07, 2016)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

June Mar Fajardo. PBA IMAGES

SEOUL—Wanting fans to re-affiliate themselves with PBA players, the league’s annual All-Star Week will take a different twist this season as it goes regional in theme and could be playing multiple games in different venues.

As part of new chair Mikee Romero’s efforts to broaden the reach of the league, the All-Star Game will ditch the old North vs South or Rookies, Sophomores and Juniors vs Veterans formats in place of one that celebrates the roots of the players.

“We want the fans to affiliate with the players and vice-versa, to be able to identify with the players,” Romero said during the annual planning session of the board here.

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 Photo courtesy of Nike

MANILA -- We’ve all seen that viral video of former Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena unboxing a package from LeBron James himself, and the words of wisdom from the King himself about The Phenom being the “first Filipino player to make it to the NBA” if ever. “Don't let the dream go.”

But who else got curious over those shoes?

The brand of the shoes is obviously sports clothing and footwear giant Nike, of which James is a lifetime endorser. (His deal with Nike is reportedly the largest in history!) The model: Nike Zoom Soldier 10 Camo, which just launched last October 1 with a price tag of P7,195.

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Philippine Hoops

The dribble drive.

This popular offensive strategy is simple: a guard drives to the lane to either shoot a layup or pass it to the open man.

Vance Wahlberg, the man credited as the creator of the dribble-drive offense said Filipinos can tweak with the system that best suit their generally short stature.

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This is what Lillard thinks of Kiefer Ravena (June 16, 2016)
Camille B. Naredo [ Source: ABS CBN News ]

Philippine Hoops

Ravena met Lillard in Oakland last May and briefly worked out with the two-time NBA All-Star before the Blazers played the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.

"I walked into the gym and I noticed him and a couple of other guys, and he worked really hard. He worked hard," Lillard told Marco Benitez in an interview on The Score.

"He can shoot. He can really shoot the ball," Lillard added. "I think, any time you're looking to be a pro, you gotta have one skill that will allow you to stick, or that a team can always count on, something that you can always count on."

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Ayo lauds Jalalon but picks Letran to win NCAA title (June 13, 2016)
Camille B. Naredo [ Source: ABS CBN News ]

 Arellano guard Jiovani Jalalon (6) poses with the rest of the Mythical 5 selection. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – De La Salle University head coach Aldin Ayo was impressed with how much Arellano University guard Jiovani Jalalon has improved after the so-called "Bus Driver" towed the Chiefs all the way to the Finals of the 2016 FilOil Flying V Preseason Tournament.

Jalalon was one of the most impressive players in the preseason tilt, earning Mythical Five honors after averaging 19.1 points, 3.8 boards, and 4.1 assists per game.

He was spectacular in the Final 4, nearly notching a triple-double in their triumph against National University.

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Tratter relishing tandem with Mbala (June 13, 2016)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

DLSU teammates Ben Mbala and Abu Tratter. Tristan Tamayo/

All eyes may be on Ben Mbala, but Abu Tratter is slowly coming into his own, as he and the Cameroonian import form a potent twin tower combo for La Salle.

But while that tandem has come as a surprise to many, the 6-foot-6 Tratter said it’s not something new to the Green Archers.

“It’s definitely fun to have both of us on the floor. It’s reminiscent of three years ago when we played in Team B,” the Fil-Am center recalled.

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Mbala shrugs off awards in pursuit of team glory (June 13, 2016)
Camille B. Naredo [ Source: ABS CBN News ]

 La Salle's Ben Mbala shows off his awards. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – De La Salle University big man Ben Mbala won all individual awards in the 2016 FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup, but "The Kid from Cameroon" insisted that the Green Archers' triumph was what truly mattered.

Ahead of their Finals showdown against Arellano University, Mbala was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, Best Defensive Player, and joined teammates Jeron Teng and Abu Tratter – along with Arellano's Jiovani Jalalon and Kent Salado – in the Mythical Five.

He lived up to his MVP-billing in the title game, scoring 28 points, grabbing 26 rebounds, and rejecting a tournament-record eight blocks to power La Salle to an 86-74 victory.

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