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

Paul Lee can’t wait to gel with Star… Pumaren on DLSU talent: They should be 14-0… Can Sarr handle Mbala?


“Medyo nagmadali kami. Kasi nga, new system, new coach and kahit ako bago sa team, so lahat gusto makapagpakita ng maganda at manalo kaya siguro ganoon ‘yung nangyari,” added Lee, who still managed a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Moving forward, Lee is keen on jelling better with his new team and getting more familiarized with the chemistry and system implemented by new Star coach Chito Victolero. “Kailangan mag-adjust pa rin ako and ‘yung team pero nakita naman namin na may igaganda pa talaga ‘yung laro namin.” Manila Standard



Don’t be surprised if Blackwater rookie Mac Belo shows up a little bit heavy-eyed on Wednesday. “Nakaka-excite, sobra. Baka nga hindi ako makatulog ng maayos mamaya,” he told FOX Sports in between laughs on Tuesday afternoon while spending time with his parents, father Porferio and mother Rosemarie, at his condominium unit in Wack-Wack, Mandaluyong City. “Isa sa mga pinakamahahalaga na laro para sa akin ‘yung bukas kasi alam naman natin na ‘yung PBA, highest league dito sa Pilipinas. Alam kong mabigat ‘yung mga players kasi andito na ‘yung best of the best,” he said. Fox Sports Asia


“Andun ‘yung pressure tsaka excitement ko na makapaglaro against professional players. Halo-halo na talaga ‘yung emotions ko ngayon.” “Sa mga ensayo namin, maganda naman ‘yung performance ng bawat isa,” he said. “Hopefully, maganda ‘yung maipakita namin bukas, mai-execute ‘yung gameplan and mga plays at manalo. ‘Yun rin naman ang pinaka importante, manalo kami.” Fox Sports Asia


“We’ve been tagged as the offensive-minded team last season kaya ang buong yun talaga yun ang pinagsikapan namin,” Vanguardia told FOX Sports, whose Fuel Masters play their first game for the new season on Wednesday against the new-look Blackwater Elite side at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Rookie guard Gelo Alolino and Fil-Canadian sharp shooter Matthew Wright are expected to bring stability and shooting, though the Phoenix mentor said both can do far more than just score. “Iyun talaga ang goal namin, na makahabol sa depensa kasi sa opensa ayos na kami,” he added.  Fox Sports Asia


“Tulung-tulong pa rin naman kami. Habang nasa UAAP ako, coach Josh will be taking the lead kumbaga. And right now, he’s been doing well,” Racela told FOX Sports in a phone interview on Tuesday. A long-time TNT assistant who was promoted to the full-time coaching position in lieu of Jong Uichico nearly a month ago, Racela has high hopes on Reyes, the proud son of former KaTropa mentor and current Gilas Pilipinas tactician Chot, an eight-time pro league champion. Fox Sports Asia



Racela is coming in to replace multi-titled Jong Uichico, who failed to steer the top seed TNT to the PBA title during the franchise’s ill-fated Governors’ Cup campaign. “New chance, new beginning pero di naman talaga maraming nagbago,” de Ocampo told FOX Sports via phone interview on Tuesday. “Kahit papaano malaking bagay na rin nandyan pa rin yung dati.” Fox Sports Asia


Like Slaughter, Erram is recovering from surgery after suffering an ACL injury midway through the PBA Governors Cup last season. Yet, that didn’t deter the Elite from re-signing the 27-year-old center to a fresh two-year deal entering the league’s 42nd season. “Nakita naman natin ang laki ng improvement in Poy,” said Martinez on Tuesday. “He has the complete trust of Blackwater management.”


James Yap was the face of the old Purefoods team, now carrying the name of Star, until a sudden twist in the story changed all that just weeks ago. “Sana yung mga fans ng Rain or Shine matanggap ako as their player,” Yap told sportswriters, expressing his apprehension over the changes. “Hindi na rin naman bago sa akin yung Rain or Shine, lalo na si Coach Caloy (Garcia) kasi nakasama ko na siya,” added Yap. “Nagte-therapy pa ako pero excited na ako to join the team. Sa tingin ko susuportahan ako ng mga bagong teammates ko gaya nina Beau Belga and Ronnie Matias. Tingin ko malilibre talaga ako kasi solid magbigay ng screen ang mga yan,” added Yap. The Daily Tribune


Back in the Final Four round for the first time in the last five years, Adamson intends to make the most out of it. “Our mindset right now, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” he said. Pumaren added La Salle, behind the presence of dominant import Ben Mbala and a formidable local support led by graduating star Jeron Teng, should have swept the double-round of elimination and earned an outright finals berth as early as now. “They should even be 14-0, with that kind of line-up, they should really be dominating the UAAP,” he stressed. “You’re playing against probably the best player right now in the UAAP, they probably have the best number three guy rich in championship experience.” Fox Sports Asia


DE La Salle and Adamson square off to begin the Final Four on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena as the title chase in Season 79 of the UAAP heats up. To no ones’ surprise, the Green Archers topped the elimination round with a 13-1 win-loss record thanks in large part of the dominance of Ben Mbala, who is set to receive his MVP trophy during the finals. The Falcons, on the other hand, turned out to be the biggest surprise of the year with head coach Franz Pumaren transforming the perennial also-rans into a Final Four team by finishing with an 8-6 slate.



There’s no doubt in coach Aldin Ayo’s mind that Ben Mbala is the rightful winner of the Most Valuable Player award this UAAP Season 79. “He deserves it,” he said. “With the stats that he has, yung dedication nya sa laro, and yung commitment nya sa objective ng team namin, he deserves to win the MVP.”


With the ABL’s home-and-away system, Alab will have to fly in and out of six countries and travel to its different home courts here in the Philippines for the next six months. It may sound grueling, but Alab Pilipinas head coach Mac Cuan is looking to take advantage of their expeditions to better build the chemistry and camaraderie between his players.


Parks is set to join Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League and the two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player is wxcited to take on this new endeavor. “The NBA dream is still alive, but right now, it’s in the backburner because my priority is Alab and representing my country,” he said. “It’s a huge deal for me. I’m definitely proud to be Filipino and I’m thankful for the support. This is home for me.”