Blog Posts by Jude Roque

  • Top hoops guru Joe Abunassar says Pinoys among his favorite trainees

    Joe Abunassar has always known that Filipinos are not only passionate in the sport of basketball but also highly skilled. After all, he has trained so many teams from the Philippines for years.

    “Filipinos work very hard. Sometimes we like them better than the NBA guys because they have such great approach to training. They really want to get better,” said renowned basketball trainer, who visited Manila for the first time last week to hold a two-day camp for kids and as well as a one-day clinic for local coaches. About 100 kids attended the clinic held at the Roosevelt Park Gym in West Greenhills.

    Abunassar heads one of the top basketball camps in the US called Impact Basketball, which has a stellar list of NBA stars that underwent training there. The list includes NBA veterans Kevin Garnett, Derek Fisher, and Chauncey Billups, young superstars John Wall, Kyle Lowry, Dion Waiters and Rudy Gay, and international stars Ricky Rubio and Yi Jianlian.

    Abunassar had coaching stints alongside

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  • Who will Tab Baldwin pick for Gilas 3.0?

    MANILA, Philippines - Tab Baldwin is announced as the new coach of Gilas Pilipinas during a presscon at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay city, south of Manila on 23 December 2014. (Dante Dennis Diosina Jr./NPPA IMAGES)MANILA, Philippines - Tab Baldwin is announced as the new coach of Gilas Pilipinas during a presscon at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay city, south of Manila on 23 December 2014. (Dante Dennis Diosina Jr./NPPA IMAGES)

    Now that the PBA Philippine Cup has come to a close, we wonder if new Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin already has a wish list for his National Team roster. 

    The next national squad, dubbed Gilas 3.0, will have the heavy task of winning the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in China in order to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics. A pool of players must then be formed soon to start preparations for this tough assignment. 

    Playing in FIBA competitions is very different from playing in the PBA. Some PBA superstars that dominate in the professional league will struggle in international tournaments. But some PBA role players will make great national players. The selection for Gilas 3.0 must therefore not be based on star status but on what the player can offer to the team.

    Here are some guidelines to choosing the players for the National Team:

    1. International Experience. As mentioned earlier, the international game is very different from the Pinoy brand of basketball. While skills

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  • Memorable Sports Moments of 2014: The FIBA World Cup Experience

    One big reason why 2014 was a great year for me is that the Philippines returned to the FIBA Basketball World Cup after 36 years. And I surely did not miss the chance to witness this historic event for myself when I flew to Seville, Spain for the most prestigious FIBA event of all.

    There were five other Spanish cities that hosted the games – Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Granada and Gran Canaria.  But Seville (or Sevilla) was all about Gilas Pilipinas.  Filipinos that came from various parts of the globe mostly filled up the 7,200-seater Palacio Municipal de Deportes gym. There were those living in Spain, mostly from Madrid and Barcelona. Some came from other parts of Europe like England, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, and nearby Portugal. But a good number came from the Philippines, many of whom are familiar faces in PBA games.

    Th author with two Greek fans. (Photo courtesy of Jude Roque)Th author with two Greek fans. (Photo courtesy of Jude Roque)

    I came with my good buddy Jay Ignacio, a passionate Red Lions and Gilas fan.  Our travel from Manila to Madrid was not exactly that pleasurable. We had three

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  • Red Lions gun for first ever PCCL title, but Green Archers vow to even series

    In the most competitive Philippine Collegiate Champions League season in recent years, two traditional collegiate basketball giants collide to be hailed this year’s National Collegiate Champions.  One side hopes to end a magical year with another feather in the cap, while the other tries to end its season on a winning note after a disappointing finish in its league.

    Five-peat NCAA titlists San Beda Red Lions and defending PCCL champions La Salle Green Archers renew an old rivalry to dispute this year’s crown.  But while the Archers are seeking to win their third PCCL diadem and bounce back after failing to retain the UAAP crown, the Lions are pursuing their first-ever national championship since the inception of the league in 2002.  San Beda bowed to UE in the finals of 2006 and has not returned to dispute the same title until now.  It has three third-place finishes (2009, 2011 and 2012). 

    The Mendiola-based squad also hopes to be just the second NCAA member to win the prestigious plum

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  • The case for Tab Baldwin as Gilas coach

    Former Jordan and New Zealand coach Tab Baldwin. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)Former Jordan and New Zealand coach Tab Baldwin. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

    When I first learned that Thomas Anthony Baldwin, better known as Tab, was coming to Manila after the FIBA World Cup in Spain, I knew he was being considered to handle the Gilas program in the future. It would not be right for a coach of his caliber to just sit as a consultant of a professional team in Asia, even if it’s a PBA team. But what I didn’t expect was that the opportunity to coach the Philippine National men’s basketball team would come this soon.

    The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas recently announced that the choices for the next National coach were down to two. According to some sources, the two remaining candidates were Baldwin and Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico, who are both under the MVP group.  MVP or Manny V. Pangilinan, of course, is the president of the SBP. With all due respect to Uichico, who is a PBA champion coach and former Gilas deputy, Baldwin clearly becomes the better choice.

    In many ways, Baldwin is like former Gilas head coach Rajko Toroman. Both are

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  • Kiefer steals show from Iverson, Ball Up All Stars

    Kiefer Ravena and Allen Iverson (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)Kiefer Ravena and Allen Iverson (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)

    With the game tied at 96-all, Kiefer Ravena reminded us again why he is the UAAP Season 77 MVP as he eluded the pesky defense of the visiting Ball Up All Stars with a thrilling drive to the basket and scored on a tough lay up with just 1.3 ticks left in the game to lift his PCWorx squad over the Allen Iverson-mentored Gawad Kalinga side in the “All In” charity basketball event at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday.

    Ravena collaborated with former NBA player and one-time PBA import DerMarr Johnson, who led all scorers with 24 markers, in an amazing 7-0 run in the last 1:07 of the game. Trailing 91-96, the Ateneo star scored on a lay-up off a pick and roll play with San Beda center Olaide Adeogun to slice the Gawad Kalinga lead to just three points. After a defensive stop, Johnson tied the count at 96-all with a three-point shot in the final 36 seconds. Gawad Kalinga muffed an attempt to regain the lead until Ravena was able to weave his own magic against a group of hoops artists to

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  • Selecting the next national coach

    (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)(Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)

    The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas announced on Thursday that a selection committee has been formed to choose the composition of the National Men’s Team, including the head coach.  This statement indicated that the current Gilas Pilipinas squad, led by national coach Chot Reyes, could be facing a revamp soon.

    “The SBP has approved the creation of a committee tasked to select the head coach of the national team and players from the PBA that would form the national pool,” PBA Commissioner Chito Salud said through a statement released by PBA Media Bureau Chief Willie Marcial.

    "The SBP is not dissolving or discontinuing the Gilas Program. It is a successful program that has the PBA's full support. The formation by the SBP of a Selection Committee to choose a head coach for the Gilas National Team, to create a pool of players from which the National Team can draw, and to synchronize the PBA calendar and the Gilas National Team training schedule is proof of a stronger collaborative effort

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  • NCAA Final Four: Not for the faint of heart

    The NCAA has had a rich history of fierce hardcourt battles in its 90 years of existence.  But most observers following Season 90 agree that this year could easily be the most balanced competition in NCAA men’s basketball in the last ten seasons.  A look at the team standings at the end of the elims revealed that the top four teams are not far apart from each other in terms of their win-loss cards.

    For the ninth straight year, defending four-peat champions San Beda Red Lions finished on top of the standings after the elims with a 14-5 record.  At second spot is first-time semis qualifier Arellano University with a 13-6 card.   At third with a similar 13-6 grade is host Jose Rizal University, while University of Perpetual Help completes the semis cast with a 12-7 mark.  San Beda and Arellano enjoy a twice-to-beat incentive.

    The Red Lions will tangle with the Altas for the third straight year in the semis on Wednesday at 2PM at the Mall of Asia Arena, followed by the duel between the

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  • UAAP Finals Game 3: All about heart and desire

    Alfred Aroga of NU is double-teamed by Raymar Jose and Mac Belo of FEU. (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)Alfred Aroga of NU is double-teamed by Raymar Jose and Mac Belo of FEU. (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)

    Both the NU Bulldogs and FEU Tamaraws vow to go all out for the prestigious UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball title on Wednesday when they slug it out in the winner-take-all Game 3 of the finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    This promises to be one of the best finals game in the UAAP in recent years as both squads are very evenly matched. Before Game 2, FEU had defeated NU in all their three encounters during the season, including its 75-70 conquest of Game 1 of the finals. The Tamaraws also scored victories over the Bulldogs in the elims – 71-62 in the first round and 74-70 in the second round.

    But Game 2 saw a different NU team – one that’s determined to finally snap a three-game skid at the hands of FEU. The Bulldogs came out like a house on fire, dominating the Tamaraws on both ends of the court to tie the series with an emphatic 62-47 win. They proved why they are the league’s best defensive squad by limiting the up-tempo Tamaraws to just 47 markers, a far cry from their norm of

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  • Manila, Philippines-Mac Belo of Far Eastern University handles the basketball against Glenn Khobuntin of National University during the UAAP Season 77 Finals Game 1at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on 05 October 2014. (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)Manila, Philippines-Mac Belo of Far Eastern University handles the basketball against Glenn Khobuntin of National University during the UAAP Season 77 Finals Game 1at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on 05 October 2014. (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)

    We saw a great match-up between the Far Eastern University Tamaraws and the National University Bulldogs in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 77 Finals on Saturday. The Tamaraws took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series via a 75-70 decision after coming out strong in the third period with a 25-12 explosion that somehow set the pace for the rest of the game. In that pivotal third canto, FEU led by as many as 13 points after trailing by 12 in the first half.

    With the way both teams are playing, the game plan will play a major role for the rest of the series. And the team that executes better will most likely take Game 2.

    A review of the numbers in Game 1 showed that both squads were very evenly matched. But it was FEU that made its usual targets. The Tams are more likely to win when they get to over 70 points. They scored 75 in Game 1. On the other hand, the Bulldogs are most successful when they are able to limit their opponents to not more than 54 points. Clearly, the Tams dictated the

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