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

Blatche is fat. Chan is Max player. Gilas is lacking.



The Elasto Painters also signed Lee a year ago with the same maximum deal they offered to Chan. Co-owners Raymund Yu and Terry Que were defintely elated at having retained one of the key pieces to the franchise’s first ever pro championship. “He deserves it. He’s one of the vital cogs in our rotation,” said Yu. Added Que: “We’re happy that he stayed with us.”


The naturalized Filipino made no effort to hide the extra poundage, but assured all he needs is the whole month of August to get back in shape. “I just need this month of August and I’d be ready. That’s all I need,” the former Brooklyn Net said at the end of his first practice with Gilas Pilipinas on Monday at the Meralco Gym. The extra weight was understandable considering Blatche played his last game for the Xinjiang Tigers last February 1, but the naturalized player said he played a lot of pick-up basketba


The former NBA player said he is looking forward to his second stint with Gilas in an overseas tournament – and his first in the Fiba-Asia tournament serving as a qualifier for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. “I miss my teammates, my coaches, and those people that I met along the way. This is my send time back here and all the people are great.” Blatche said.


NATIONAL coach Tab Baldwin bared he does not expect San Miguel Corp. stars June Mar Fajardo, LA Tenorio and Marc Pingris at Gilas Pilipinas practices in the coming days, but said he’s hoping that one if not all of the three will be showing up soon. Fajardo has not yet fully committed to the Gilas 3.0 program owing to plantar fasciitis on both feet, Pingris is currently in France to grieve with his father’s family after the death of his step mother’s mom while Tenorio had previously begged off from consideration citing fatigue and poor form. However, all three were part of the pool of 16 players the PBA submitted to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) for consideration on Monday. League officials also said the three have the green light from SMC to join Gilas if they are available. “Injuries have to heal and we have to be compassionate with people with family issues,” said Baldwin. “I have no expectations (that they will be with us soon). I have hopes but I have no expectations.”


Baldwin said among the three, all members of the Gilas team which saw action in the previous Gilas edition under Chot Reyes, Tenorio is the one capable of reconsidering his decision to skip the Gilas program. “With LA, he’s gotta to be comfortable to come in to the environment in the shape that he’s in and the form that he has. Obviously right now, he is holding himself back. I respect that. I respect LA’s decision,” he said. “I hope we can convince him to rethink that. At the end of the day, he’s gonna make a decision that is best for him and I am sure the decision he makes will be best for the team as well,” added the American-New Zealander. “LA has to decide for himself which is going to be best!”


Asked about Pingris’ readiness to play for Gilas as soon as he arrives from France on August 12, Baldwin was straightforward in saying he will have to assess the team that he has before considering the Star forward for inclusion. “I think we have to see how the roster that we have goes, I think the (August) 12th (arrival of Pingris) is getting pretty late. But that doesn’t close the door,” he said. “There’s the possibility that I may feel that we have a need. And if I do that, then we’ll welcome him,” said Baldwin, who was reportedly forced to tap Calvin Abueva right after Pingris bared his July 28 to August 12 stay in Normandy, France.


Blatche practiced with the national team for the first time at the Meralco gym after arriving in the country the night before and looked overweight. “He’s moving okay, but he’s gotta lose some weight,” Baldwin said of the naturalized Filipino. “He’s big right now.” “But we’ll get him to the medical testing and we’ll make sure we don’t put him before he’s really ready to go.”


Kelly Williams also suffered a freak knee injury after stepping on a wet spot right in the early moments of practice. The veteran Talk ‘N Text big man was later taken to the hospital for an MRI. “Jimmy’s here to help us out,” Baldwin said. “And I think when you see our numbers growing, then the answer to that (come out of retirement question) is no.” “But if our numbers dwindle for whatever reason, like Kelly falling out tonight or the players we hope to come in can’t come in, then he’ll keep training and it’ll be my decision in the end whether we think he can help us.”


Practice resumed once Williams was seated. After 15 minutes, the former first overall pick was then helped by team trainers out of the gym and brought to nearby Cardinal Santos Medical Center. Asked about the Talk n Text center’s status, head coach Tab Baldwin said,“We still don’t know. We sent him to the hospital to get an MRI.” He continued, “It wasn’t good. We just hope and pray that it sounded worse than what it really is.” Sports-ABS-CBN


The names of the PBA players requested by head coach Tab Baldwin to be part of the official pool for the Philippine national basketball team has finally been revealed. According to the list forwarded by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) on Monday, the new Gilas Pilipinas pool is headlined by the championship combination of Jayson Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo.The Talk n Text duo is joined by five others from the MVP group (Gary David, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Aldrech Ramos, Asi Taulava, Kelly Williams), three from Alaska (Calvin Abueva, Dondon Hontiveros, Sonny Thoss), and one each from Barako Bull (JC Intal), Globalport (Terrence Romeo), and Rain or Shine (Gabe Norwood). Sports-ABS-CBN


With last year’s heartbreaking defeat to eventual champion NU Bulldogs still fresh on their minds, the Red Warriors are raring to finally make the Final Four this year to ease the disappointment the entire UE community felt after heightened expectations due to them being hosts. And Javier will be the glue that will hold his entire team together. He’s pretty aware it will not be easy, but he’s up for it. “Hard talaga, it’s very hard. Training is hard, pero sabi nga nila di ba ‘no pain, no gain.’” Sports-ABS-CBN


Despite their respective issues or concerns, JuneMar Fajardo, Marc Pingris and LA Tenorio were included in the list of 16 PBA players made available for the Gilas Pilipinas training pool for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship set Sept. 23 to Oct. 3 in Changsha, China. Gilas veterans Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, Kelly Williams, Gary David, Gabe Norwood and Asi Taulava, former Gilas cadets Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Aldrech Ramos, Alaska stalwarts Sonny Thoss, Dondon Hontiveros and Calvin Abueva, Barako Bull’s JC Intal and Globalport’s Terrence Romeo are the other PBA players named to the pool to be bannered by naturalized player Andray Blatche. “In our desire to form the best national team for FIBA Asia in September, the PBA is endorsing to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas an initial list of players,” said the PBA in a statement. “Should there be additional names in the next few days, we will immediately inform the SBP.” Philstar


The retired PBA superstar recalled the days when he wore the Philippine colors, from the 2013 FIBA Asia Cup in Manila and the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. More than what transpired on the court, he said it’s all about the fans, the passion of the Filipino people, in support of Gilas Pilipinas. “The one common thing we Filipinos have is showing their love and support,” said Alapag, who left the stage with his fingers crossed that the Philippines will win the hosting. “By having the World Cup here, FIBA will experience all that passion,” he added.  Philstar


The first and last time the Philippines hosted the FIBA World Cup was in 1978. “And now is our time,” said Chot Reyes, the former Gilas Pilipinas head coach. “To win the bid will be one of the greatest victories in the annals of Philippine basketball,” said Reyes. Philstar


Abueva said it’s the dream of every player to represent the country. “Para sa bansa yan (It’s for the country). Iba yan (It’s different),” he said. During the last FIBA World Cup in Spain, the Alaska forward stayed glued to the TV set each time Gilas trooped to the court. He also said he didn’t mind being left out in the previous national teams, adding that what’s important is that this time, he was called in. “Hindi ko naman pinipilit ang sarili ko (I never force myself in). Kasi pag kukunin ka, kukunin ka at pag hindi, di hindi (If you’re in, you’re in. If not, you’re not),” Abueva said. The former San Sebastian Stag, this early, has vowed to do his best for the country. “Kailangan magpakita (I have to prove myself),” said Abueva.Philstar