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

Scottie Thompson ready to play for Ginebra. Ababou wants to return to Gilas. Magsanoc has wait more before takeover




Perpetual senior Earl Scottie Thompson has had quite the career in the NCAA. The native of Digos was last season’s Most Valuable Player, as well as helping the Altas to three straight Final Four appearances in from 2012 to 2014. This year, after another stellar season, Thompson looked poised to lead the Altas back into another postseason run, but all that came crashing down Friday afternoon at the San Juan Arena when top-seeded Letran dominated Perpetual, ultimately ousting them from the Final Four picture. While it was no doubt a heartbreaking moment for the Altas and the fans who were there to support the team, no one took the loss and the subsequent elimination harder than Thompson, who played his last game as an Alta. Sports-ABS-CBN


Part of his excitement is gaining a chance, although remote, to represent Gilas Pilipinas anew after team owner Manny V. Pangilinan bared an option to pull the Tropang Texters out of the PBA  two years from now to serve as the country’s de facto representative in the 2017 FIba World Cup Qualifiers. “Sobrang excited ako na may chance ako makabalik sa Gilas,” said Ababou, a member of Rajko Toromoan’s Gilas 1.0. “Sobrang honor yun at hindi lahat nabibigyan ng opportunity na makalaro sa national team.”


Philippines – Letran came out with a sustained attack and ran a surprisingly listless Perpetual Help to the ground in an empathic 93-64 victory that guaranteed the Knights a Final Four return in the 91st NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.  Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal fired 18 and 15 points, respectively, starring in an early Letran breakaway en route to the key victory that sealed their semifinals entry. Perpetual Help, meanwhile, moved out of contention with a seventh loss against 11 wins. “I was confident after our loss to San Beda that we’ll bounce back strong and the players didn’t disappoint,” said coach Aldin Ayo, whose team succumbed to the reigning five-peat champion, 73-77, last Tuesday. Philstar


Mapua shooter Exeqiel Biteng was thrown out of the game after he hit EAC’s Sydney Onwubere on the face in an ugly incident in  the second quarter. Biteng also incurred automatic one-game suspension for the infraction. Like Jose Rizal, it took Mapua a big second half run to put the game out of reach. “We made some defensive adjustments in the second half, that changed the complexion of the game,” said Mapua mentor Atoy Co. Philstar


PBA president Chito Salud is batting for the national cage federation and the pro league to put up a working committee that will study the most viable long-term and sustainable national team program. “I think the concern is for the SBP and the PBA to sit down, get heads together, take the bull by the horn and move forward,” said Salud with the question of Gilas Pilipinas’ participation in the Olympic world qualifier next year up in the air. Philstar


University of the East pulled off one of the season’s early surprises when it stunned defending champion National University. But the Bulldogs, on a steady climb since then, expect a different outcome this time when they clash with the Warriors at the start of the second round of UAAP men’s basketball Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.“We want to stay positive,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano. “There’s no point dwelling in the past. We just have to move on.” Inquirer


Teodoro leads the Heavy Bombers in scoring with 16.38 points across 18 games while Pontejos is at second with 14.89. That gives JRU head coach Vergel Meneses two lethal options. “Paolo is a good back up to Tey and Tey is also a good backup for Paolo,” Meneses said Friday at San Juan Arena after JRU trumped San Sebastian 91-69. Inquirer


After undergoing 7 difficult do-or-die games, Jose Rizal University notched a Final Four berth as the Heavy Bombers pulverized San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 91-69, on Friday, October 9 at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City. Rappler


“In view of the recent rumors regarding the head coach position of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, the Ateneo de Manila would like to affirm that Bo Perasol remains the Head Coach of the Blue Eagles with the full support of the Ateneo and team management,” stated Ateneo president, Jose Ramon Villarin SJ, in a letter addressed to the university community. “We have had several conversations with our players and coaching staff, meeting them face-to-face and heart-to-heart,” the letter also said. “We have voiced our concern about our playing and coaching performance in the first round. From external and internal feedback, and in the spirit of the Ignatian examen and this difficult discipline of self-awareness, we have noted and learned from our mistakes. I know that we will continue to improve in the second round.” Rappler


After sitting down the entire third period, Pontejos’ reinsertion paid instant dividends offensively as he scored five straight points capped by a stepback three off-the-glass that seemingly put the nail in the coffin. On the other hand, San Sebastian had a tough time making stops on the defensive end as they were trading baskets in favor of the cruising Heavy Bombers squad. “Nakita ko yung effort on defense especially starting nung second half,” JRU head coach Vergel Meneses remarked about the win after the game“More effort, big chances of winning but less effort, matatalo kami.” Tiebreakertimes


Still, Nambatac requested to be sent in once again – even though he still wasn’t feeling 100 percent – at the midway mark of the third quarter. “Gusto ko talagang makatulong pa. Ayokong nakaupo lang at nagchi-cheer. Kung may matutulong pa, gagawin ko talaga,” he said Sports-ABS-CBN


More than his coach always challenging the Heavy Bombers that they need to sweep their last six games in order to move onto the next round, Pontejos shared that it has been another voice which has pushed him into playing the best basketball of his career. “Pinagsasabihan din ako ng mommy ko. Pinapagalitan ako kung pangit laro ko,” he said while laughing. Sports-ABS-CBN


Allan Caidic showed he still has it as ‘The Triggerman’ was on target to keep at bay a Grand Slam team composed of present and former Alaska and Purefoods players. But the Grand Slam selection made the game interesting down the stretch behind PJ Simon, who hit timely baskets to bring his team back from a double-digit deficit. “It was a lot of fun out there, watching Bong (Hawkins) hit those shots and Johnny (Abarrientos) with his wizardry, then you got Allan on our side knocking threes, he’s just phenomenal,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone said. “I think it was a nice format, a little seriousness with two teams playing and some fun with the legends out there, just remembering how good they were during their time,” he added.


Instead, Cone’s protégé Jason Webb will have much of the spotlight when the 41st season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) formally opens shop on Oct. 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Webb makes his debut as coach of Star Hotshots, who battle the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the lone opening game of the Philippine Cup. Game time is set at 5:15 p.m. following the elaborate opening ceremonies kicking off the new season at 3 p.m.

Ababou, though, admitted there was a tinge of regret in his move after leaving his longtime teammates behind. “Nanghinayang din (ako) kasi ‘yung Barako Bull team namin parang Ginebra rin, yung mga pinagsamahan namin mahaba na rin kasi Ginebra days pa, sila na kasama ko,” the 28-year-old cager said. “Pero ganun talaga, move on.”