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

Sangalang is a max player.Guiao to trade’extra rice’.Gilas relying again ‘puso’




PROOF he’s a vital part of the team’s future, young big man Ian Sangalang has been re-signed by the Star Hotshots for a three-year, maximum contract. The deal is worth a total of P15.12 million over the next three seasons, or a monthly take of P420,000, for the former San Sebastian star. The contract renewal came despite Sangalang coming off a season-long layoff with the Hotshots after suffering ACL and MCL injuries right in his season debut.


Alaska’s Vic Manuel has also come to terms with the team for a two-year contract. “Pirmahan na lang within the week. But okay na kaming lahat,” said agent Danny Espiritu, who represents the ‘Muscle Man.’


Guiao had a long meeting with Belga’s agent Danny Espiritu before the start of Rain or Shine’s first practice of the off season on Monday morning at the NEGA gym in Greenhills where they discussed the options of a player who blossomed under the veteran coachs wings. The outspoken Rain or Shine coach said that much as he wants to keep the main man of his famed ‘Extra Rice Inc.’ frontline, he doesn’t want to get in the way of his player seeking greener pastures – so long as the player ‘makes an honest indication of his intention.’ “Kung ako ang tatanungin mo, gusto ko nandiyan si Beau. Ang desisyon na lang na ‘yan kung lilipat siya o hindi eh nasa kanya na ‘yan,” said Guiao. “Sa team naman namin, if you want to be traded, just make an honest indication of your intention.”


The outspoken player agent refused to divulge the identities of the teams, but sources told that Barako Bull and the San Miguel Beer are both interested in the 28-year-old former Gilas Pilipinas reserve, who signed a three-year, maximum deal with Rain or Shine in 2013.  “May mga feelers na kay Belga. Dalawang teams, secret na muna,” said Espiritu smiling.“Kung i-o-offer mo sa market ‘yan, may mga interesado talaga, although hindi naman natin ino-offer sa market ‘yan, hindi naman pina-o-open ng team sa atin. So naghihintay na lang tayo kung sino yung mga team na magsasabi, pinaparating natin sa coach,” he added.


Belga, meanwhile, was careful with his statements, saying he wants to stay at Rain or Shine but at the same time is willing to look at whatever deal his agent can secure for him. “Syempre masaya pa ako rito. Masayahing team to eh. There’s no other reason to be sad. I am happy,” said Belga. But asked if he is seeking better opportunities, Belga said: “Every player, hinahanap naman ‘yung ganung klase ng magandang opportunity. Sa akin naman ‘yung opportunity, nakuha ko with Rain or Shine. Nakuha ko with coach Yeng, hindi ko alam kung may mas maganda pang opportunity rito,” he said.


Taulava, the 42-year-old slotman, will be the oldest player in the team and possibly come the FIBA Asia men’s championship next month, but Baldwin expects everybody from Gilas to give it their all in every tournament they will be joining from here on. “We’re not gonna be the most talented team, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have the biggest heart and put forth the best effort and chemistry,” explained Baldwin, who previously coached the national teams of Lebanon and Jordan. Philstar


Philippine national men’s basketball team mainstay Ranidel de Ocampo, whose hamstring injury has kept him from practicing with Gilas Pilipinas, will still be joining the squad’s trip to Europe after all. Head coach Tab Baldwin disclosed this latest development to in a telephone interview after the team just wrapped up its last practice on Monday morning prior to leaving the country Monday night. “He’ll be joining us in Estonia, but I don’t think he’ll be playing any games because he’ll continue doing the therapy there with (team trainer) Dexter Aseron,” Baldwin said. Interaksyon


Romeo, one of the newcomers in the Gilas program, has missed three sessions because of severe flu and according to Baldwin, the star guard of GlobalPort has lost a lot of body fluids.“But he returned to practice today (Monday), of course, not the same Terrence that I expect him to be because he’s still recovering from that bout with flu,” added Baldwin. “But I like his character. He’s tough and he’s a likeable player. Great attitude.” Interaksyon


Since his national team stint in 2002, Compton never had the chance to be on the international stage again until this year’s gig with Gilas Pilipinas came. According to him, the opportunity to serve the national team is just hard to turn down. “Anytime you’ll be a part of this, it’s a great honor,” he said. “Thirteen years and 35 pounds, that’s what where I was before.” Interaksyon


In one of his text messages to Compton, Baldwin described Alaska “like a bad smell that won’t go away.” “I really believe in his coaching expertise and that’s not a little bit new for me, too. A lot of the countries I’ve coached in, but here, we have a lot of great coaches. I told the coaches in the pre-practice meetings, you guys need to get off your butts. You can do a lot more on the practice floor where you can design drills. You understand what I want. I want their knowledge. I want to broaden what we do and expose our players. I don’t want them just to hear from me,” Baldwin said. “As a coach, he’s become more comfortable with me. They trust that what I’m saying is true. I’m not gonna shut them down (assistant coaches) as soon as they opened their mouth. I think you’ll see them integrating themselves into practices more and more and that would be great for the team and great for the players as well.”Interaksyon


According to Letran coach Aldin Ayo, the boxing champ was able to mention in between their stay in the Japanese capital about the Knights’ victory over the San Beda Red Lions, 93-80, last July 16. Pacquiao was recently named Letran team manager, while Pangilinan has been the team patron of San Beda for many years now. “Nung nandoon si Boss Manny sa Japan, kasama niya si Manny Pangilinan. ‘Yung makantsawan niya lang si Manny Pangilinan na nanalo ang Letran sa kanila, malaking bagay sa amin ‘yun,” said a smiling Ayo.


Tenorio said the Kings need to give back to the team after making a big bold move of bringing Cone on board in a bid to end the team’s seven-year title drought. “It’s time for us to repay what management gave us,” said the veteran point guard out of Ateneo.


Fernando, a University of Pennsylvania Law Masters graduate, admitted being aware of how Gilas has been having problems getting players to the pool. “Without even saying, alam naman natin that some teams have reservations lending players. We read that a team now refuses to loan players because they’re afraid na baka mapirata ng iba,” he said. “I believe there is really a need for a neutral company (to come in), kasi ang nagiging isyu is yung possible na piracy (of players). So kung may conglomerate na walang team sa PBA, mawawala yung isyu na ‘yun,” he said.



 “Hopefully, Alaska signs me back,” said Banchero before leaving for the US for an offseason break. Despite twice falling short of winning a championship with the Aces, Banchero said there’s no question about his willingness to have another tour of duty with the team. “Yeah of course, I would love to be back here,” said the 26-year-old guard selected No. 5 overall by Alaska in last year’s Rookie Draft.


AMID the outcry of fans over the non-involvement of top players from San Miguel Corp. teams in the current Gilas Pilipinas program, Asi Taulava has asked fans to stop the bashing and focus on the players who have committed to flag and country. “I would just really appreciate it if everybody would stop bashing June Mar (Fajardo), LA (Tenorio) and Ping (Marc Pingris),” Taulava told“Sometimes, people forget that injuries and the long season of the PBA proved to be (taxing for all players).” “PBA is played year round. Unlucky for us, but the other teams like China, they play six to seven months in a year. Korea, they play short seasons, (same with) Japan and all these Middle Eastern countries. “Basketball is so big here (in the country) that we’re fored to play year round and sometimes people forget that.”


It will be remembered that Ravena suffered an ankle injury, reportedly during a commercial shoot, prior to the 2013 season and never really got going for the Blue Eagles, who saw their run of championships come to an end. Apparently, Kiefer is not taking chances this time. “Okay naman siya. Nagpapahinga lang siya. Kasi ayaw na niya ‘yung nangyari before,” said Thirdy, who will be ineligible to play for the Blue Eagles this season owing to academic problems.


Head coach Aldin Ayo said the team is currently in the City of Pines to work on team camaraderie after finishing with a league-best record of 8-1 at the halfway mark of the eliminations. The team went to Baguio on Saturday. Ayo said he doesn’t mind having the players take a break as the trip to Baguio will also include improving the Knights’ conditioning. “Punta kami ng Baguio. Eto ‘yung adjustment namin. Kulang pa kami sa conditioning so magpapakundisyon kami sa Baguio,” said Ayo.


Asked about UCLA-commit Kobe Paras, Patrimonio had high remarks about the freakishly-athletic 6-foot-6 wing man. “Future. Grabe yung bata. Laki ng improvement from the last time I saw him. Iba talaga kapag superb ang training. Andito lang kami, just hoping for his success. Just keep on working hard. I am sure malayo mararating ng bata,” he said.Tiebreakertimes


PBA single-game scoring record holder Allan Caidic added: “Malaki pa ang upside niya. I can see a big improvement in his shooting. He was more of slasher the last time I saw him but now may three-points na. He has gained a lot of weight and nagka-kumpiyansa so it is good for him.” Tiebreakertimes


Teodoro has been averaging 16 points a game for the Heavy Bombers, who hold a 5-3 win-loss mark in joint fourth with Arellano behind Letran, San Beda and Perpetual Help. “I’ve told him he’s the best player in this team,” said Jose Rizal coach Vergel Meneses of Teodoro.


Kobe added he was also glad to have an opportunity to inspire the Nike Rise aspirants in the reality basketball documentary program.“Everyone has potential. Basketball is a religion in the Philippines. In other countries, it’s like whatever. Seeing the passion of the kids, it’s wonderful,” Paras said. But the young Paras cherished the experience of having to go up against some of the legends of Philippine basketball including his father, who also showed he can still play ‘above the rim’ when he also slammed one home — but with the help of fellow PBA great Allan Caidic, who carried him in the final moments of the exhibition contest. “It’s crazy. It’s not just for us but for the fans. Going up against the legends and people I looked up too, it’s amazing,” Kobe said.


Two PBA coaches—one active, the other multititled—have expressed dismay after San Miguel Corp. players begged off from joining the Gilas Pilipinas pool. “Look, they (San Miguel group) have won six of the last seven PBA championships, which shows that they really have some of the best players in the country,” said the active coach who has worked for neither San Miguel nor PLDT-backed teams in the pro league. “Certainly, they have people (players) the national team can use, they have some of the most dominant players in the country,” he added, speaking on condition that he not be named due to the sensitivity of the issue. Inquirer

When he applied to the PBA D-League, the former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher was a virtual unknown to the Philippine basketball scene. But after a successful run in the developmentals capped off by a Foundation Cup title run with CafeFrance, the 22-year-old is now looking to make the long trek to Asia’s oldest pro-basketball league. “Hopefully this coming draft, I’ll be included. I’m just looking for some opportunities,” he said. Inquirer


A tearful Marc Pingris, the emotional leader of Gilas Pilipinas’ historic ride in the Fiba Asia championship two years ago, officially backed out of the national pool, personally informing coach Tab Baldwin of his decision during practice yesterday.

“Naintindihan naman ni coach yung rason ko (coach understood my reason),” Pingris told“Mahal ko talaga ang Gilas pero may bagay na di natin control. Inquirer



The dynamic duo outscored all of their opponents, 15-7, in the endgame to propel Letran to 8-1 and a first-place finish in the first round. Nambatac had 11 of those – two triples of which were courtesy of passes from Cruz. Talking about their partnership, the fifth-year lead guard told ABS-CBN Sports, “Eye contact lang kailangan namin. Naaamoy namin isa’t-isa.” Their partnership has proven to be so strong that not only did it overcome the threat of a losing streak, but also an injury that is yet to heal. Sports-ABS-CBN


Jervy Cruz, the main man of the last UST team to win the UAAP crown in 2006, will soon be reunited with collegiate coach Pido Jarencio at the Globalport Batang Pier camp in the PBA. Cruz, the No. 4 pick in the 2009 PBA draft, is moving over from Rain or Shine to Globalport through a trade deal also involving three-year pro Jewel Ponferada and the Batang Pier’s second-round pick in the coming draft. The deal, sealed by the two teams yesterday afternoon, is subject to the approval of new PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa. Philstar


Even though the vulnerability of the Intramuros-based squad has already been proven, Ayo said everyone should expect Letran to adjust to the adjustments of the other teams. “Madami pa naman kaming baong pampagulo. Mas magulo yung gagawin namin sa second round,” he said, re-emphasizing that they thrive on destabilizing the current order. Not disclosing how exactly his Knights will be “mas magulo,” Ayo instead shared the challenge he puts in front of his boys each and every game. “Sinasabi ko sa kanila na every time you step on the floor, tignan niyo sa mata kalaban ninyo and itanong ninyo, ‘How far will you go?’” He then continued, “Kasi kami, tanggap na naming mahihirapan kami kaya gagawin namin lahat.” Sports-ABS-CBN


The Cardinals’ top gunner along with court general CJ Isit  were out of action for both the heartbreaking defeats due to a tweaked hamstring and dislocated elbow, respectively. Still, they were behind the bench and felt what their teammates felt as Nimes shared, “I’m hurting for them too. Just to experience what they went through.” What hurts Mapua’s captain even more is it was him his team needed during those contests – not just his scoring to match Teodoro or Nambatac, but also his veteran leadership. “Nobody took the lead and said give me the ball or I’ll make the stops. Nobody wanted to take responsibility,” he said. According to Nimes, he could’ve forced his way into playing, but the coaching staff decided against it. “They didn’t want to make it worse and want me to be perfectly healthy for the next round,” he said. Both the Cardinals’ top gunner and court general assured their school community that they will be good to go come the second round.Sports-ABS-CBN