It's the human and fun side of our sports heroes

Arana, Heruela fight for starting spot in SMB. Romeo, Calvin headed for superstar status in PBA



Heruela has felt the competition for spots since Day One. “All the guys here are winners, so you can just feel the energy in the team,” he said. “Even in practice, you can feel it’s a winning team.” “It’s very contagious,” he added. “It makes you want to push harder.”


Baldwin, a Gilas consultant during the time Fajardo was playing for Reyes, sees the same thing happening to both Romeo and Abueva, who were among the rookie players of Gilas 3.0 that captured the silver medal in the recent Fiba Asia Olympic qualifying meet in Changsa, China. “Calvin and Terrence in my opinion, they will see the same sort of leaps forward as basketball players because of this experiences, and yes they are maturing,” said the 57-year-odl globetrotting mentor.


A solid wingman who can score against defenders with relative ease, the 43-year-old Cariaso explained that the current plight of Gomez, his former teammate at Alaska, whose daughter Rizzini Alexis, is battling cancer, makes the players union such a vital component in the life of a PBA player. “Malaking bagay talaga yung players union, especially when they start thinking of retiring, which is why it requires a lot of careful planning, along with an agreement with the PBA and the team owners,” he said. Philstar


Thus, any decision related to Gilas Pilipinas along with the rest of SBP’s cage program from October until before the SBP election will still be decided by the leadership under Pangilinan. As of the moment, Barrios said the SBP has several more days to meet before making a decision on whether to send a team for the Fiba Qualifying tournament on July 2016 or not. “Iyung qualifying tournament kasi, may deadline iyang pag-signify ng interest. I think sometime between Oct. 18 or 19, so either we signify the interest to participate or not,” he said. “But that (Gilas’ participation in the qualifying tournament) is still up in the air.  Basta ang sa ngayon, gaya ng sabi ni MVP, hindi naman cast in stone dahil feeling niya (Pangilinan), yung team na nag-qualify at nag-silver medal, qualified to play sa wild card stage at dapat, kasama sa premyo nila eh sila rin ang maglaro sa qualifying,” said Barrios. “That’s one school of thought na yung feeling niya, sana huwag naman magalit yung Gilas team. Eh feeling niya kasi, mahina yun (Gilas 3.0) para sa napakalakas na competition or kalaban sa qualifying tournament, at kailangan siguro, palalakasin natin muna yun dahil malakas ang mga kalaban natin,” he added. Philstar


The country jumped three notches higher after the Gilas Pilipinas’ silver medal run in the 2015 FIBA Asia Men’s Championship. From no. 31, Philippines leaped to no. 28 in the latest FIBA world rankings. Gilas Pilipinas is now the third highest ranked team from Asia behind bronze medalist Iran (no. 17) and new FIBA Asia champion China (no. 14). Philstar


MVP cited the SBP constitution drafted in 2006 which stipulated that the president and directors will serve an eight-year term limit. The SBP is to hold an election early next year. “Having being present at the creation (of the charter) and with no desire to bend, staple or manipulate the rules, it is my conviction that I should not be an exception to it,” MVP said. He added that he believed in a change in SBP leadership with young blood needed to refresh and revitalize the organization. “All that said, I remain committed to Philippine basketball, to the SBPand its programs and to our Filipino fans here and abroad. I will continue to render my support, moral or financial.” Philstar


It’s about to get rumbling in the UAAP season 78 as the men’s basketball tournament begins its second round on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena, but its on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum where it gets interesting. Far Eastern University, which has a 6-1 record, will take on Ateneo in the first game of the Sunday double-header at 11 am. University of Santo Tomas, which also has a 6-1 record, would stake its record against 2013 Finals nemesis La Salle at 4 p.m. Inquirer


“Every game is crucial,” siad coach Eric Altamirano said after a 61-59 loss against Far Eastern University on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “We need every game we can get. Inquirer


The Barako Bull Energy Cola has dealt fifth-year forward Dylan Ababou to the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters for their second-round draft pick in the 2016 PBA Draft, it was confirmed on the PBA’s transaction page on Thursday, October 8. Rappler


First of all, he’s still second in the league in scoring (18.3) behind Daquioag (19.4), whose 34-point explosion against UE to close the first round helped that scoring average increase. Ravena is also tied with FEU’s Mike Tolomia for assists in the league with 5 a game. The Blue Eagles’ fifth-year, future PBA star is also averaging 7.1 rebounds a game, which is tied with Teng for 9th overall and just 0.2 below the average of his teammate Ponz Gotladera, who happens to be Ateneo’s starting center. How about defense? Ravena is second in the league with an average of 1.7 steals a contest. No other player in the UAAP right now is in the top 10 of points, rebounds, assists, and steals besides Kiefer. Oh, and he’s also not in the top 10 for turnovers. Rappler


The Manny Pacquiao-coached team came to terms with Nuyles Monday night after the 9th overall pick of the 2013 draft went public with Mahindra saying the contract he signed was invalid. (READ: Nuyles, sports agent explain details of Mahindra contract mess) nIn a press release from the PBA released Tuesday, October 6, the third year swingman apologized for the “miscommunication.” “It was just a case of miscommunication and I sincerely apologize to the management of Mahindra for expressing doubts that they will not honor the contract renewal I signed with KIA (now Mahindra),” he is quoted as saying. “In this light, I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to Mahindra for giving me this opportunity to play for their team in the forthcoming 2015-2016 PBA season.” Rappler


Forward Sean Anthony meanwhile was dealt by the Meralco Bolts to the NLEX Road Warriors via a three-team swap. Anthony played for the Road Warriors back when the team was called the Air21 Express and was a key part of the team’s semi-final finish in the 2014 season. Tiebreakertimes


As the game progressed, Caracut, who has been playing deep minutes for the Green Archers throughout the season, off-set his bad shooting game by playing solid defense. He may have coughed up the ball in some instances but he would make it up on defensive end of the floor by getting timely stops. “[I have] a lot of responsibilities sa team. Iyon lang, laro lang ako kung ano ang meron ko at gagawin ko kung ano ang pinapagawa nila,he added. Tiebreakertimes


With the season about to get more challenging as the second round is set to start next week, Navarro expects that he can use his learnings from the first round as a springboard to help him perform better in his team’s next slate of games. “Siguro, medyo nag-aadjust na ako sa physicality and iyong sa role ko [as one of the backup guards],” he quipped.“Mas kailangan ko ngayong mag-organize ng team kasi maraming scorers at kailangan kong mabalance iyon. Okay naman [ang adjustment ko kasi] nandoon naman si Thomas [Torres] to guide me.” Tiebreakertimes


The “Ant Man” was distraught after the game and had to be consoled by teammates and officials. He finished the game with 12 points on a dismal 5/23 shooting, 2/13 from downtown. “Galit ako sa sarili ko. I felt like wala ako naitulong sa team ko. So yun sobrang frustrated,” an exhausted Cruz said after the game. However, being the team leader, he had to keep a straight face in the locker room to bring the sad morale of the team up a little. “Siyempre, medyo malungkot pero nandun naman ako at ang coaching staff para i-cheer up yung team. Kahit ako yung pinaka nafrufrustrate sa amin but as the team captain it’s my responsibility to cheer up sila.” Tiebreakertimes


Mr. Dela Cruz, who has led UST to its best start in three seasons, said that in the second round they are expecting a tougher challenge for them after the kind of first round they have had, and that he hopes to get more consistent contribution from his other players, apart from key cogs Ed Daquioag and Kevin Ferrer. “We expect that the rest of the field will be concentrating on us. We have to keep our focus. I would like to see our other players like Kent Lao, Louie Vigil and Karim Abdul contribute consistently. We also have to play more defense, We’ll just see what happens,” the UST coach said. BworldOnline


Mr. Racela, however, said they are not too concerned about it, even seeing it as something that should help them moving forward. “Not really,” said Mr. Racela when asked by BusinessWorld if their close games of late have them worried. “In the end it would help as improve. We need those kinds of game. Of course it is nice to have a comfortable lead at end games,” he added. BworldOnline


Set for 4 p.m. at The Arena in San Juan City, Letran (12-5) faces up with Perpetual Help (11-6) in an all-important game that carries much weight in their final four aspirations. A win by the Knights takes their total to 13 victories, enough to enter the top two and earn the twice-to-beat advantage it carries in the semifinals, complication-free, while booting the Altas out of contention. A loss pulls down the Muralla-based dribblers to a tie with the Altas and, possibly, a couple of other teams and will have to go through a series of playoff matches for the top two spot. BworldOnline


The godfather of Gilas Pilipinas, the reason Filipino basketball fans are celebrating the Philippines’s return to elite status in Asian basketball, made the casual announcement on Thursday, which came down as even more shocking than any political speech by misty-eyed politicians dreaming about gaining Malacañang. He quit as head of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).  “It is for the best that I retire,” he said, telling an unplanned press briefing that it was best to give the SBP to a “young, energetic” leadership. As if to make sure that no one would miss the true import of his announcement, he made it as clear as daylight: “It signals a change of leadership and membership of the board.” Our fans’ pain was not deadened by his generic statement that, “Our love for basketball has not diminished at all.” Businessmirror


ATENEO de Manila’s Kiefer Ravena is on track for a second straight Most Valuable Player (MVP) award but two Growling Tigers, a Bulldog and a Green Archer are in hot pursuit for the top individual award in Season 78 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP). Ravena amassed the most statistical points (SPs) after the first round of the men’s basketball competition, gaining 70.85 points despite Ateneo’s 4-3 win-loss record in the tournament. Businessmirror


Heruela and Araña registered 12 and eight points, respectively, in the Beermen’s tune-up game against Alaska on Wednesday. “They’re trying to prove something,” Austria said of the duo. “Makikita mo all-out sila.” “It’s a good thing na nakita yun ng mga teammates nila dahil hindi sila pwedeng magpabaya at mag-relax dahil baka i-earn nila yung slot na nilalaro nila,” he added with a smile.


Thoss, who arrived on Monday with the rest of his Gilas Pilipinas teammates from China following their stint in the Fiba Asia Championship, was excused from the exhibition game but showed up anyway even just as a spectator. “Kita mo naman kung gaano ka-professional yun,” Alas said of the star big man, one of four Alaska representatives in the national team. “Hindi naman namin siya sinabihan na pumunta, pero nagulat kami nandyan.” “Mababasa mo na kung gaano ka-ayos na tao ‘yan,” added Alas, who will have a coaches’ meeting with returning Alex Compton on Thursday.



Big man June Mar June Mar Fajardo served of San Miguel served as Baldwin’s perfect role model. “We’ve seen it already among star players. We saw with June Mar how he grew up playing international basketball. His game changed and his confidence grew, that comes from maturity, that comes from experience,” said Baldwin of the 6-foot-11 former Gilas back-up center.