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Why MVP chose Blatche over Clarkson… P10K for FIBA VIP seats…David debuts for SMC

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There will be no Jordan Clarkson to reinforce Gilas Pilipinas when the country bids for the wildcard ticket to the Rio Olympics. Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Manny V. Pangilinan broke the bad news on Tuesday during the official press conference for the Manila leg of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Manila Peninsula Hotel. Pangilinan said FIBA made them choose between using Andray Blatche and Clarkson. “When I was in Geneva (FIBA headquarters) last March, we talked about Jordan Clarkson again and I was told to choose between him and Andray Blatche,” Pangilinan said. Fox Sports ASia

The SBP and Gilas coaching staff decided to stick with Blatche rather than going through the complicated process of getting Clarkson’s services. “The decision is to get Blatche back. We’re only talking about the FIBA OQT. Mas familiar si Andray sa system ni (coach) Tab (Baldwin) and the players so given the short preparation time, I think the safer choice is Blatche,” said Pangilinan. Fox Sports Asia

During a press conference on Tuesday (April 12), local organizing committee (LOC) chairman Manny V. Pangilinan said they would need “to field the best players available.” “There is no doubt that Gilas will face tough competition there,” he said. “I am confident we will be getting the support we desire from the PBA.” CNN Philippines

Pangilinan also revealed that Andray Blatche would suit up for the national team — not Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers. “We are leaning towards bringing in Andray Blatche instead of Jordan Clarkson,” he said. “Blatche is already on board. The contract has been signed.” CNN Philippines

Speaking before media men on Tuesday’s Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament press conference, Pangilinan explained that the invasion of NBA players this July is something “we can’t control, while giving Gilas an opportunity to see how it could stack up with some of the world’s best players.” “Huwag tayong matakot. Of course, NBA players are NBA players and they are the best in the world,” said Pangilinan in the press conference held at the Conservatory in The Peninsula Hotel in Makati City. “Unang una, wala ka namang magagawa dahil sa kanilang desisyon yun. So subukan natin, let’s see how we stack up with these guys di ba?” Fox Sports Asia

Pangilinan stressed that the presence of the likes of San Antonio Spurs playmaker Tony Parker, who will reinforce France, gives Gilas players a chance to level up their plays and learn some more in basketball’s big stage. “We just play with the best in the world. That’s the only way to learn. Why play with a lesser team?,” he said. Fox Sports Asia

Retirement seemed to have been the next step for David after the Bolts made him available for prospective teams as a consequence for his refusal to enter a game earlier in the conference. But that’s when San Miguel emerged as the surprise winner of the David sweepstakes, beating the likes of Mahindra and Blackwater in the race to sign the former Gilas Pilipinas mainstay. Manila Bulletin

David said he’s just thankful to be given another chance. “Sa totoo lang na-set ko sa mind ko na tapos na talaga career ko, para sakaling walang kumuha, hindi ako madi-disappoint,” said David, who is eyeing his first championship since joining the league in 2004 with the Coca-Cola Tigers. “Pero nagulat ako na tumawag sila sa akin. Very thankful ako, lalo San Miguel pa kumuha sa akin, halos lahat ng player e pangarap din maka-laro sa SMB kasi matagal na sila sa PBA,” added David. David’s arrival at San Miguel set up a reunion between him and ace shooter Marcio Lassiter. The two were teammates during Powerade’s improbable run to the finals of the 2012 Philippine Cup. Manila Bulletin

The San Miguel Beer recruit admitted he had been preparing himself for a post-PBA life after finding no takers for almost a month following his bitter parting of ways with Meralco. “Ang sinet ko sa mind ko, baka tapos na yung carrer ko,” David said after his debut on Sunday night. “Para kung sakaling walang kumuha na team, di ako masyadong madi-disappoint.” Spin.ph

Joining the Beermen was already a blessing; Playing right in his first game was a huge bonus. “Expected ko naman na ‘di ako masyadong makakapaglaro,” the 37-year-old cager said. “Thankful lang ako kay coach Leo (Austria) na binigay nya sa akin ito. At least, pagpasok ko, naka-contribute ako kaagad. Basta ang sabi ko lang kung gagamitin ako, ready lang dahil kahapon lang ako nakasama sa scrimmage.” Spin.ph

Gary David could only marvel at raucous chants of “Gary! Gary!” by San Miguel fans when he checked in late in the Beermen’s game against Phoenix Sunday night. It had been a while since the veteran PBA scoring guard last heard such chants, and he was quick to appreciate the moment when he experienced it anew. “Kinilabutan ako kanina. Naalala ko yung time na nasa Gilas ako noong sinisigaw ng SMB fans yung pangalan ko. Nagpapasalamat ako sa pagtanggap nila sa akin. Yung adjustment ko, mapapadali talaga,” David said of the chants which reminded him of the moment he had during the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship in Manila when he received the same support. Tiebreakertimes

David even admitted he already conditioned himself to think his career was over, just to be prepared for the inevitable. “Ang totoo niyan, sinet ko na sa isip ko na baka tapos na yung career ko para baka sakaling walang kumuha sa akin, hindi ako ma-disappoint. Kaya yun yung sinet ko noong wala akong team. Tapos nagkaroon ako ng tawag sa SMB,” David recalled. But Austria had other plans for David. Even with a stacked shooting guard rotation which includes Marcio Lassiter and Ronald Tubid, Austria said having a veteran like David is a big help, especially if others struggle. Tiebreakertimes

Phoenix-Far Eastern University is determined not to give CaféFrance another lifeline as it goes for the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup crown in the fourth game of their best-of-five title series today at The Arena in San Juan. While Phoenix-FEU has vowed to try and end it in today’s 3 p.m. encounter, its coach Eric Gonzales said that CaféFrance is hungry to atone for that devastating loss. “Kung pwede naming tapusin, tatapusin na namin pero hindi yun ganung kadali dahil defending champion yan. Napakalakas nila at ang hirap nilang talunin,” said Gonzales, who serves as an assistant coach for Globalport in the PBA and UAAP champion FEU. Manila Bulletin

Pogoy’s winning trey came after the Accelerators overcame an 11-point third quarter deficit and nine entering the final minutes. Gonzales is hoping that the same desire would be evident once they troop to the floor. “I’m thankful to the players dahil ‘di sila bumitaw (in Game 3), kaya andito kami ngayon. Pero binabalik ko pa din sa kanina by challenging them if they really want to win (the title),” he said. Manila Bulletin

PHOENIX-FEU goes for the jugular when it clashes anew with CaféFrance today in Game 4 of their PBA Aspirants Cup finals showdown at The Arena in San Juan. Seeking their first D-League title, the Accelerators took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five duel by scoring an 85-84 squeaker last Thursday on a last-gasp three-pointer by Roger Pogoy. Malaya

Accelerators coach Eric Gonzales, while admitting they have the momentum, said it won’t be easy against a Bakers crew looking for their second D-League crown.“Kung puwede naming tapusin, tatapusin na namin pero hindi ‘yun ganu’n kadali dahil defending champion ‘yan. Napakalakas nila at ang hirap nilang talunin,” he said. Malaya

The Cafe France-Centro Escolar University Bakers were just 19 seconds away from going 2-1 in the best-of-five 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup Finals Thursday afternoon at the Ynares Sports Centre in Pasig City. “I trusted Bryan to receive the ball because I know he’s going to be fouled,” Macaraya said as he took the blame for the loss. Cruz was superb in Game Two of the Finals in scoring 18 points and grabbing nine boards. “In our last game, Bryan was superb and I chose him to get the ball at that moment. Nag-mintis siya and it was my fault,” the head coach rued as Cruz was just 4/11 in the third game for nine markers. “It could be anybody, but it was Bryan who I chose. It was the breaks of the game. Wala na tayong magagawa.” Tiebreakertimes

Hot-shooting Jeff Chan beats Romeo, Fajardo, Alapag for PBA Player of Week citation
The Bacolod sniper hardly cooled off five days later, firing five crucial points in the final period as the Elasto Painters hammered Blackwater Elite, 118-107, for Rain or Shine’s sixrh win in its past seven games. He finished the game with 12 points. Chan bested San Miguel star slotman June Mar Fajardo, Meralco’s Jimmy Alapag, Tropang TNT guard Jai Reyes and GlobalPort’s Terrence Romeo for the weekly citation. Spin.ph

The Bacolod sniper showed he was far from down because five days later, Chan struck again, firing five crucial points in the final period to as the Elasto Painters hammered Blackwater Elite, 118-107. He finished the game with 12 points. Chan bested San Miguel star slotman June Mar Fajardo, Meralco’s Jimmy Alapag, Tropang TNT guard Jai Reyes, and GlobalPort’s Terrence Romeo for the weekly citation. Rain or Shine’s two-game sweep last week vaulted the Asian Coating franchise to solo third spot in the standings with its 7-4 record. Tiebreakertimes