You could see it in their eyes. From game one all the way to the last second of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals, the Alaska Aces had this cold, steely gaze etched onto their faces.
I was there in the stands during the player introductions of the Aces and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel. The cheers from the dedicated Gatas Republik fans were fewer, but more concentrated. They paled in comparison to the ovation that the Barangay gave the Ginebra players as they entered the floor, but that didn’t matter. Even though their contingent was outnumbered by the sea of Ginebra fans, their unwavering support was felt by all.
On the floor, the Aces stared at their Ginebra opponents with blank expressions. They were dying to prove themselves and send a statement. Inside, they were frothing at the mouth.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Jordan wants to "bring the buzz back" to Charlotte.
The Bobcats owner said at a press conference Tuesday evening he's changing his team's name to the Charlotte Hornets beginning in 2014-15.
Jordan said he submitted an application to the NBA board of governors earlier Tuesday informing them of his decision and is optimistic the board will approve the name change when they convene in July.
LOS ANGELES -- Vinny Del Negro is out as coach of the Los Angeles Clippers after their first-round playoff exit.
Following one of the best seasons in franchise history, the Clippers said Tuesday that Del Negro won't be offered a new contract when his current one expires at the end of June.
Del Negro is just the second coach to leave the team with a winning record, following Larry Brown in 1993.
MANILA, Philippines - Ginebra San Miguel coach Alfrancis Chua said yesterday he couldn’t ask more from his overachieving players who defied daunting odds to barge into the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals after the team started the conference 0-4 and was the No. 7 seed entering the playoffs.
Last Sunday, Ginebra formally bowed out of contention, losing to Alaska via a 3-0 sweep of the title series. The league’s most popular team survived four do-or-die knockout games, two against Rain Or Shine and two more against Talk ‘N’ Text, to arrange the Finals showdown with the Aces.
“We did everything we could but the guys were just too tired, too banged up,” said Chua. “I’m proud of them. They never gave up. We did it for the fans whose loyalty is what drives us to fight. Vernon (Macklin) hurt his right thigh in Game 5 of the Talk ‘N’ Text series and was never the same in the Finals. He had all kinds of treatment to relieve the pain and reduce the swelling. In Game 3 of the Finals, we had to rest L. A. (Tenorio) and Vernon at the same time and that gave momentum to Alaska. L. A. hurt his knee and thigh in a collision with (Calvin) Abueva. Kerby (Raymundo) was exhausted, too.”
Phil Jackson says the best job offer he has received recently was to coach the Brooklyn Nets.
But Jackson turned the Nets down and insisted that he is finished coaching during an interview Tuesday with "The Dan Patrick Show."
"Well, the Brooklyn situation is a good situation," Jackson said during the interview.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Oklahoma City isn't just a place where Thunder star Kevin Durant lives these days. It's home.
So as he watched the horrifying images Monday as a tornado ripped through suburban Moore, the emotions came bubbling to the surface and so did the need to help. Durant pledged $1 million for tornado relief through his foundation on Tuesday, eager to help a devastated area begin to rebuild.
"As the day went on and I saw the footage and the casualties and the houses being blown away, it was tough to see," said Durant, who was in Minneapolis to watch longtime friend Monica Wright play a preseason game for the Minnesota Lynx. "I call Oklahoma City my home. I go through Moore all the time. It's unfortunate. We're going to come together as a city like we always do and we're going to bounce back."
MANILA, Philippines – Wilfred Uytengsu never thought that a championship in the post-Tim Cone era would come this quick.
“It’s really wonderful to embark on this journey and to just see the fruits of labor pay off, I am pleasantly surprised. I honestly didn’t think success would come this quickly,” Uytengsu said moments after lifting the franchise’s 14th title and first since Cone left the team.
After all, his Alaska Aces are coming off their worst season in their franchise history. This came after the much talked about break-up between the franchise and Cone, their coach for 22 years, nearly two years ago.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Knicks are unsure whether Amar'e Stoudemire, their highest-paid player, will return to a starting role next season.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson told reporters that he would not commit to a starting position for Stoudemire, who will make $21.68 million next season and $23.41 million in 2014-15 -- the final year of his contract.
I haven't made that decision," Woodson said Tuesday. "I'll have this summer to kind of evaluate where I go with that. First things first, he's got to come back healthy."
TORONTO -- Bryan Colangelo is still president of the Toronto Raptors, but he's no longer the club's general manager.
The Raptors announced Tuesday that while Colangelo's contract as team president is being extended, a new general manager will be hired within the next 30 days.
The changes were announced by Tim Leiweke, who is the incoming CEO of team owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Leiweke also said he is moving up his start date from July 1 to June 3.
Throughout the Commissioner’s Cup, Robert Dozier showed little flash in his game, quietly leading the Alaska Aces to the title.
His silent but deadly game has drawn him a comparison with Sean Chambers, the legendary Alaska import who anchored the Milkmen dynasty in the 1990s.
“Rob is an unselfish player. He puts in a lot of hard work. He would gladly give up the most valuable import for a championship,” said Alaska chief executive Wilfred Uytengsu.