Sunday, July 22, 2012

2012 PBA Governor's Cup Final Game 1: Poise


Poise. If you ask an avid Philippine basketball fan who is more poised between the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and B-Meg Llamados, most likely you will hear that the latter is more poised than the two. In Game 1 of the 2012 PBA Governor's Cup Final, it was a different story. Rain or Shine played like a veteran team while 2012 PBA Commissioner's Cup champs B-Meg Llamados got carried away by the moment. The boys of Yeng Guiao were able to set a very physical tone early and eventually it got to the heads of the B-Meg camp including their coach.

It was the first time for Rain or Shine to play in the finals but it did not show as players like Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Jireh Ibanes, Ronjay Buenafe, JR Quinahan, and Beau Belga took turns in helping import Jamelle Cornley overcome the much more experienced B-Meg team.  RoS took control of the second half after a bruising first half to win 91-80 en route to 1-0 lead in their best of 7 finals series.

It might just be one game but for sure, poise will be a factor in this series.  So far, 4 technical fouls have been called including one that led to the ejection of Coach Tim Cone for doing a Bobby Knightesque act.  Fans can expect to see more "mind-game" moves in both camps in the coming games. In the end, the champion will be the more poised team in the series.  Who is your bet?

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pacquiao-Bradley: Boxing world unanimous.... save for 2 judges at ringside

Some call it a joke, a robbery, shocker, fixed, rigged, etc. It could be all of the above but what else is new? Boxing has been like that. It is slowly evolving into a new version of professional wrestling. What's next? Costumes? Chairs? Tag-team? By the rate this is going, we might just make mixed martial arts an olympic sport. 

The fans and the writers are all unanimous in saying that Pacquiao won the fight.  Not just won, but dominated. Well, unfortunately, they weren't the judges of the fight.   CJ Ross and Duane Ford saw it for Bradley at 115-113.  While a 3rd judge (Jerry Roth) saw it for Pacquiao.  How can that be?  The fans at MGM can't believe it. The one watching TV are shocked. It is an outrage and maybe, it will be the start of change.

Change. It could be for good or for bad but it is definitely bound to happen. Many Pacquiao should decide on a new direction to take. There is so many alphabet belts already and I think Manny Pacquiao can do away with WBO. Bradley can have the belt and keep it.  It was a farce anyway.  Why should he go for a rematch. What for? If he goes for it, he is like validating cheats and he is a major player in the "script". 

Second, promotions.  Bob Arum says he will make tons of money in the rematch lol. So it was like what he was craving all along. It is a planned trilogy because if Manny won, there is no fight left except the one with Mayweather who likewise is stalling. Manny Pacquiao can do away with this non-sense. He can tell his promoter he will fight in Manila and save his best years to his kababayans.  He can even walk away now and enjoy a new life preaching the right way to live and serving his constituents. 

It is a time for change and Manny can have a big impact on boxing as a whole.  If he leaves then probably boxing will try to fix what went wrong.  He can be boxing's savior or he will be the last straw that made professional boxing extinct.  Manny, it is up to you.


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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ronda Pilipinas Match-ups

The Ronda Pilipinas 2012 is in its finals stages and every major prize is still up for grabs. Here are the match-ups to watch as the Ronda draws to a close.

Battle for Red Jersey and White Jersey: Mark Galedo vs. Iris Valenzuela
The Red jersey is for the overall classification while White jersey is for the King of the Mountain (KOM) title. After the crucial trek to Baguio in Stage 12, Galedo leads Valenzuela by a mere 51 seconds. Valenzuela meanwhile leads the KOM race by over 20 points after getting top points in the Hors Category climb in Stage 12.  The battle for supremacy between the top two will be highlighted in Stage 13's Individual time trial.  If Galedo can catch up and gain against Valenzuela, then he could be this year's Ronda champion.  Valenzuela will be cycling 1 minute ahead of the leading Galedo in the ITT.  Galedo captured the bronze medal in the 50km ITT in the 26th SouthEast Asian Games. He definitely holds the advantage in the upcoming stage.
The ITT was won by Valenzuela but Galedo was just a few seconds behind.  The gap now between the Top 2 riders is juts 33 seconds. Barring any accidents or any unfortunate event, it looks like Galedo is set to win this year's Ronda.  Tomorrow's penultimate lap is a flat stage and Roadbike Philippines will utilize some strategies to keep Valenzuela from pulling away from Galedo.

Battle for Team Classification
The team race in this year's Ronda has been full of lead changes. The top 5 teams are currently within 12 minutes from each other. V-Mobile is currently leading buoyed by its performance in Stage 12. Stage 12 team classification winner American Vinyl/LPGMA is currently second followed by Philippine Navy, Metro Manila, and One Tarlac. The team title is still too close to call and many Filipino cycling teams now are experienced in making successful race strategies so it would be harder to predict. Teams like Roadbike Philippines will just probably be using most of its team resources to support Mark Galedo but many cyclists from the Top 5 teams have also individual aspirations so let's see happens.
American Vinyl/LPGMA is just 2:52 behind V-Mobile.  There is a still a chance for the second running team to overtake the leaders with 2 laps remaining.

Battle for Yellow/Gold Jersey
The Yellow/Gold jersey rankings or young rider classification was ruled by RP Team member George Oconer in the first 10 stages. A mishap in the 11th stage gave the coveted jersey to Ronald Oranza but his rule only lasted one stage as he lagged behind in the climb to Baguio.  The new holder is Philippine Army/RC Cola's John Mier who finished 4th in Stage 12. Mier now leads Oconer by over 5 minutes. Mier has won bronze medals in pursuit events in SEA games, while Oconer was last year's sprint king and best young rider in the Ronda. It will be exciting to see which among these young national team members gets the title this year. The crucial ITT will definitely play a big part on their respective campaigns.
John Mier topped the young rider classification in the ITT thus increasing his lead against Oconer.  It now stands at 5:29. It will take a miracle for the other riders to snatch the prestigious yellow/gold jersey from the Philippine Army/RC Cola cyclist.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

NBA: Bye Bye Lakers, Bye Bye Clippers

In a perfect world, a Clippers vs. Lakers conference finals series would have been a first. Two teams with the same home court battling in a seven game series. Staples Center would become the center of the basketball world in May. The dream match-up however, did not materialize this year. As both teams were shown the exit by two of the hottest teams in the NBA right now. 

The San Antonio Spurs brought the broom to LA and swept the Chris Paul-led Clippers.  The Oklahoma City Thunder disposed the aging Lakers in 5 games. For LA fans, too bad but at least they have a good consolation with the overachieving LA Kings in the NHL. 

The offseason will be very interesting for both squads.  Many expect that the Lakers will be dismantled piece by piece but who knows, Dwight howard might end up in purple and gold. Who will remain? Will Pau still be there? Bynum? the rugged Meta World Peace? Who will be LA Lakers' guards?  I am sure that many free agents salivate on the prospects of playing in the bright lights of Hollywood. LA will definitely contend next year but can they contain the emergence of OKC? They are in for  tough rebuilding.

For the Clippers, they have a good core. Will Chris Paul sign a long term deal? It would be sad if he will go after one of the most successful Clipper seasons of all-time. They could probably make the next Stockton to Malone combo but hoping to win at least one title before retiring. The clippers are on the rise but they have a history of being so inconsistent.

Next year, there is a good chance that a Staples series will happen. Unlike baseball's subway series, a Lakers-Clippers series will be played in just one venue. It will definitely be "sui generis". I guess, I still have the impeachment bug. :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

2012 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals: Game 7 beckons!

The current PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals that pits the Talk 'N text Tropang Texters and the B-Meg Llamados have indeed revitalized the Philippine Basketball Association. The finals series is rating well and fans of both squads are flocking to game venues to give it a very festive feel.  I am so happy that the PBA is becoming the center of talk and attention of Pinoy sports fans once again.

With no Azkals match and Manny Pacquiao fight on the schedule, the PBA Commissioner's Cup final is a sure blockbuster, indeed. So what is so special with this series?

1. Coaching - Tim Cone is in the finals for the first time after leaving his longtime post in Alaska Aces. He faces friend and rival Chot Reyes in an epic match-up of arguably the best PBA coaches in the last 20 years.

2. Rivalry storylines - It's San Miguel group vs. MVP, Cone vs. Reyes, Yap vs. Castro, Yancy vs. Ranidel

3. Alternating victories - No team has won 2 straight games so far in this series. Will it be different in Game 7???

4. Yap revival - James Yap has gotten back his high-scoring self in this series.

5. Castro emergence - Jason Castro is showing that he is a future MVP of this league.

6. Soaring ratings and crowd - Game 6 was watched by over 20,000 people.

The Commissioner's office cannot wish for a better ending i guess unless this series will be down to the last shot (which could happen).  I am sure many players would wish that they would be playing in one of the most anticipated PBA games in years.  Many people will surely bet tens, hundreds, and probably millions of pesos for game 7.

Who would win? It is too close to call for me. One thing's sure though, I will be glued to my TV set come Sunday. How about you, what do you think?


Links:

Texter's win Game 6
PBA Finals drew big ratings
PBA website
If I were a PBA fan, I would definitely...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Boston is humming lead by the amazing Rajon Rondo


Isn’t it amazing to see a guy get double figure assists in 20 straight games. In the NBA, only 3 people have done it. John Stockton in his heyday had 29 straight games of amassing more than 10 assists. Magic Johnson had 20. Now, Rondo’s streak still alive.
Since Boston is fighting for home court advantage for the first round. I am sure that Doc Rivers will keep him on the floor. Most likely the streak will extend to the playoffs.  The Celtics are also similarly streaking and I think many teams will avoid a first round match-up against the red hot Boston team.
In the last 5 games, Boston went 4-1 with victories over potential playoff opponents Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia, and Indiana. The lone loss was against the out of contention Raptors. In those 5 games, Rondo averaged 14.8 assists and he even had a triple double against Atlanta Hawks. It was his 6th triple double in the season.
The Celtics will be facing the Nets and Bobcats in the next two games and they will be finishing the season battling 5 other teams who are fighting for playoff spots. If Boston remains hot, then I expect to see a salivating Boston-Chicago match-up in the 2nd round of the playoffs. J

The Streaking Rajon is leading the red-hot Celtics!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

2012 NBA Playoff Race as of Easter Sunday

It is already April and NBA teams are starting to position themselves for the playoffs in this lockout-shortened season. Here is the conference standings as of today.

Western Conference:

  1. San Antonio Spurs (39-14)
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder (40-15)
  3. LA Lakers (35-22)
  4. LA Clippers (34-22)
  5. Memphis Grizzlies (32-23)
  6. Houston Rockets (30-25)
  7. Dallas Mavericks (31-26)
  8. Denver Nuggets (30-26)
  9. Phoenix Suns (29-27)
  10. Utah Jazz (29-27)
  11. Portland Trailblazers (27-30)
  12. Minnesota Timberwolves (25-32)
  13. Golden State Warriors (22-33)
Eastern Conference:
  1. Chicago Bulls (43-13)
  2. Miami Heat (39-15)
  3. Indiana Pacers (34-22)
  4. Boston Celtics (31-24)
  5. Atlanta Hawks (34-23)
  6. Orlando Magic (33-23)
  7. Philadelphia 76ers (29-26)
  8. New York  Knicks (28-27)
  9. Milwaukee Bucks (28-28)
  10. Detroit Pistons (21-34)
  11. Toronto Raptors (20-36)
  12. New Jersey Nets (20-37)
  13. Cleveland Cavaliers (18-35)
Eliminated Teams:
  1. Charlotte Bobcats (7-47)
  2. New Orleans Hornets (15-41)
  3. Washington Wizards (12-44)
  4. Sacramento Kings (19-37)
In the West, the race for the final 3 spots is between 5 teams.  Phoenix and Utah are just one game behind the Denver Nuggets. In the East, the 76ers, Knicks and Bucks are battling for the 7th and 8th seeds. So far, Chicago, Miami, San Antonio and Oklahoma City are the only teams that clinched a playoff berth.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pennisi makes it to Sportscenter



6'9" Mick Pennisi's famous flop became viral that even the guys of ESPN have given him a few seconds of fame by including his act in the top ten plays of the day. Pennisi has that reputation of being an enforcer in any team that he plays. He is sort of like the Dennis Rodman of the PBA. He does not cross dress but he knows a million ways of getting under the skin of opposing players. Well, Will McDonald now knows that someone in the PBA will not back down no matter how big or tough his opponent is. McDonald learned the hard way and Petron is sent reeling towards the bottom of the standings. 

The reaction was a bit delayed and it would not have mattered since players will surely get penalized when they throw the ball and hit someone. Many really find it funny but Petron and Will McDonald is definitely not amused. This blog would really like to congratulate Pennisi for landing in the No.2 top play of the day. It is my first time to see a PBA player in Sportscenter's top plays. WTG MICK!!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tale of 3 Fil-Ams in the 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament

The March Madness has started but it ended so soon for a trio of sophomore guards who have Filipino roots. 5-10 Jason Brickman plays for Long Island University Brooklyn Blackbirds. 6-4 Fil-American Stephen Holt dons the St. Mary's Gael's jersey. Former RP U-18 reinforcement 6-4 Matthew Wright is a varsity player of the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. St. Bonaventure, St. Mary's and LIU all lost their round of 64 matches to be eliminated from the big dance. 

It is sad to know that their teams lost immediately but as a consolation, I realized that we have 3 up and coming players from very good NCAA programs. All their teams won at least 20 games this season. Brickman is even No.5 in assists per game (7.3) in the NCAA. These players could be tapped by the SBP to play for the Smart Gilas in the future. All 3 are still sophomores and could still improve their games. Who knows? One of this 3 could be make it to the NBA. I will definitely be keeping my eye on them for the next couple of years.

Stats:

Matthew Wright 
2011-12 27.7 min. per game 7.0 ppg 2.5 rpg 2.8 apg 1.0 spg 1.5 TOpg 36% FG 32%3FG 78%FT
2010-11 16.2 min                 4.7 ppg 1.9 rpg 1.6 apg 0.8 spg 0.8 TOpg 39% FG 32%3FG 85%FT


Stephen Holt 
2011-12 32.6 min. per game 10.4 ppg 4.7 rpg 3.3 apg 1.8 spg 1.6 TOpg 50% FG 38%3FG 77%FT
2010-11 22.9 min. per game  6.2 ppg 3.1 rpg 1.0 apg 1.8 spg 1.0 TOpg 43% FG 34%3FG 83%FT


Jason Brickman
2011-12 34.3 min. per game 9.7 ppg 2.6 rpg 7.3 apg 0.9 spg 3.8 TOpg 45% FG 41%3FG 82%FT
2010-11 22.8 min. per game  6.2 ppg 2.1 rpg 5.5 apg 0.8 spg 1.9 TOpg 42% FG 39%3FG 88%FT

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Angel Guirado stars in the Azkal's conquest of Tajikistan

Days after being involved in a controversy, Angel Guirado gave the performance of his life to lead the Philippine Men's Football team to a victory over Tajikistan in their AFC Challenge Cup group match. The 2-1 win catapulted the Philippines to football heights that has never been reached before by its national teams of the past.

The Azkals fell behind at stoppage time in the first half via a controversial goal. Down 1-0, Angel Guirado got aggressive on the 54th minute and stole the ball from Davronjon Ergashev at the left flank. He then made an amazing cross to Phil Younghusband who kicked the ball to the back of the net and tie the match.  On the 79th minute, Guirado headed home the game winner. With the win, the Philippines has a chance to be the first Southeast Asian team to win the Challenge Cup.

Angel Guirado is in the center of attention again and this time, it is for good reason. Hopefully, the Azkals will respond to the challenge in the next match as they will play without him. He got his 2nd yellow card of the tournament and he will sit out against Turkmenistan.  His presence will definitely be missed.

I am sure though that his performance will be a canon-fodder for some supporters who did not like the accusation being hurled by Cristy Ramos againt Guirado and Lexton Moy. After the tournament, the 2 players will be at the mercy of the AFC disciplanary committee after being accused of sexual harassment. If he ever get some ban, I am sure that a lot of people will say that Ramos is sabotaging the Azkals ascent. It is quite hard to speculate what will happen in the coming weeks but for today, Angel Guirado is the Filipino Man of the Hour. :)
Guirado (middle left) - the Man of the Hour (photo via Philstar.com)


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Thursday, March 8, 2012

The day Pagunsan was better than Woods



I was pleasantly surprised to know that Filipino golfer Juvic Pagunsan is currently tied at 5th after the first round of the prestigious World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. The event is held in Florida and its the first time in recent years that a Filipino is doing well against golf's best. Well, our jungolfers had their share of exploits while Dorothy Delasin and Jennifer Rosales had won LPGA events but our men cannot seem to find the grove in the Western hemisphere.

Here comes Juvic Pagunsan.  He became the first Filipino winner of the Asian Tour Order of Merit last year. With the win, he was invited to the WGC event at Doral. So far, he is representing the Philippines and Asia well. He finished 3 under par in the opening round just 3 shots behind Jason Dufner and Adam Scott. He is 3 shots ahead of Tiger Woods and 4 shots ahead of World No.1 Rory McIlroy. I am sure he is happy with his performance. 

If Pagunsan continue to perform well, he is in for a big windfall for this is an $8.5M event. He could also get a ton of ranking points as a WGC event only ranks behind Majors when it comes to awarding points. A win or even just a Top 10 finish here would surely put our country in the Golf World Map. Pagunsan is the Filipino golfer right now but he has the potential to be the all-time great if he continue to improve his game and avoid controversies that has hounded him in the past.

Great job, Juvic!

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Sonny Boy Jaro upsets Pongsaklek Wonjongkam

What an amazing feat! Jaro's victory reminded me of Pacquiao's first world title in the 112 lb. class. Unlike the young Pacquiao, Sonny Boy is a veteran. At 29, some could consider that he is past his prime especially if you look at his record. His last loss was about a year ago against Hirofumi Mukai who was just on his 4th professional bout.

After the loss though, he somehow found his second win as he won 4 straight before his championship bout in Chonburi, Thailand. Nobody in the right mind would have bet for him against the legendary Thai fighter who was 83 wins in his career. Add to the fact that the match is held in Thailand. Even Alfie Jaro, Jaro's manager believed that the only to win is by knockout. And that was just what he did.

Sonny Boy gave it his all. He has lost in Mexico, Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia. Finally, the law of averages fell to his favor. Finally, he can say that he is a world champion. He won the same belt held by Manny Pacquiao, Malcolm Tunacao, Jorge Arce, and Daisuke Naito in the past. It is the belt that Pongsalek won and defended countless of times.

The victory of Sonny Boy Jaro capped the week when a 64 year old man became a bar top notcher. Their victories and vindications epitomizes the sayings that Age does not matter and it is never too late to pursue your dreams. Well done, Sonny Boy!

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Monday, February 27, 2012

2011 PSA Awards


The Philippine Sportswriters Association feted the best in Philippines sports in its Annual Awards night. Here are the awardees for 2011:
Athletes of the Year: Dennis Orcollo, Nonito Donaire Jr.
PSA Presidential Achievement Award: Juvic Pagunsan
My Reactions: Dennis Orcollo and Nonito Donaire really deserve the awards that they received. Orcollo has emerged as the best Filipino billiard player in the new decade. He has been consistent all throughout the year and he even ranked No.1 in the world rankings.
Donaire has also emerged from the shadows of Cong. Manny Pacquiao. He is slowly showing the world that he has what it takes to become a pound for pound star. This award might be one of the many he will get in the course of his career. Donaire is set to become the best boxer under 130 lb. 
Another athlete who had an astounding 2011 was golfer Juvic Pagunsan. He became the first Filipino to top the Asian Tour Order of Merit.  Although he became somewhat controversial in the local scene, his exploits in the Asian Tour has once again shown that the he is the best Filipino golfer right now.
Just like OFWs, these athletes are bringing in dollars to our country and I hope that our leaders will continue support them and give them venues to improve in their chosen sport. In the end, a country's sports heroes are comparable to crown jewels. Congratulations to all the winners of the 2011 PSA Awards!