Blog Posts by Sid Ventura

  • Olympic Stories: Freddie Webb

    Former senator Freddie Webb was part of the Philippine basketball team that competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics, the last time the country sent a basketball team to the quadrennial meet. Here Webb talks about his Olympic experience, including the controversial gold medal match between the USSR and the USA and the tragic death of several Israeli athletes in a terrorist attack.

    Describe your road to the Olympics.
    In my case, having gone through a horrible experience in the ’68 Olympics, I was very straight but at the same time there is satisfaction, because if you missed one, you don’t want to miss the next one. In ’68 we were 15, and there were only gonna be 12. We knew from the start that the three were going to be considered reserves, and I was one of the three unlucky ones that did not make it.
    It was a satisfaction which I really fulfilled. Any athlete would like to represent his country in the highest competition in the world, which is the Olympics.

    In the qualification round, we Read More »from Olympic Stories: Freddie Webb
  • Will third time be a charm for Viloria?

    Brian Viloria and Omar Nin Romero clash for the third time on Sunday. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight champ Brian Viloria will be facing a familiar foe when he steps into the ring on Sunday for the second defense of his belt. And it's not just any other former opponent. It's the one person who took away the very first world title he ever won — the WBC lightflyweight belt — and hacked out a majority draw in a rematch three months later.

    For the third time, Viloria will mix it up with Omar Nino Romero, the tough Mexican whom he couldn't beat in two fights in six years ago. Romero dethroned the Hawaiian Punch in August 2006 via a unanimous decision. The two fought again in November of the same year, and while Romero retained his crown, he was stripped of it for failing a drug test, and the fight was declared a no-contest.

    On Sunday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, in an event dubbed "Island Assault IV", Romero will try to reassert his mastery over Viloria, who is hoping that the third time will finally prove to be a charm. The two, of course,

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  • Cone relishes first B-Meg title, eyes more

    Tim Cone is eying more titles for B-Meg. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    Tim Cone was more than willing to field questions all night from reporters shortly after his B-Meg Llamados pulled off a classic 90-84 overtime win over Talk 'N Text to bag the PBA Commissioner's Cup crown Sunday night.

    "I can stay here all night. I don't want to go back in there (the B-Meg locker room), because I might get wet," he said with a laugh, referring to the celebration that had just broken out among the Llamados and their supporters.

    Celebrating a PBA title is a scene that the 53-year-old Cone has experienced more times than any other coach in PBA history, save for the legendary Baby Dalupan. By winning the Commissioner's Cup, Cone annexed his 14th league title, just one behind Dalupan's all-time record of 15.

    'There's nothing like winning a championship. It's really, really something.'

    It's his first title after leaving the Alaska Aces, the team he coached for 22 years and led to 13 championships, but the feeling never gets old. He has grander plans for his new team, and

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  • TNT’s streak, grand slam bid on the line tonight

    Ryan Reyes and TNT face another must-win tonight. (PBA Images)

    The Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters face a must-win situation tonight in Game 6 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals, but it's familiar territory for the defending champions.

    Dating back to the semifinals of the Philippine Cup, TNT has won five straight elimination games, rallying from a 1-3 semis deficit against Petron Blaze and overhauling Barako Bull's 2-1 semis lead just last month. So tonight marks the sixth straight must-win game for the Tropa, and they will need to extend that streak to seven if they want to retain their title and keep their hopes for a rare grand slam, which they narrowly missed last season, alive.

    But if you ask Chot Reyes, he feels his team might have finally run out of miracles.

    "I'm sensing we have nothing left in our gas tanks," the colorful mentor said moments after B-Meg took Game 5, 82-66, in the process holding the Texters to their lowest point total of the conference. "In life you gotta sense if there's something left. Motivation is overrated. At this

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  • Raymundo suspended one game; Pena to Petron

    PBA Commissioner Chito Salud cracked the whip on the three players involved in last Sunday’s Game 4 melee that marred Talk ‘N Text’s 100-85 win, the Commissioner’s Office announced today.

    Drawing the heaviest penalty was TNT reserve guard Pamboy Raymundo, who was fined P40,000 and suspended one game “for incurring two (2) flagrant fouls, both of which upon review and consideration of the totality of his actuations are upgraded to Flagrant Foul Penalty 2 (FFP2).” Raymundo was initially assessed an FF1 for his elbow to Josh Urbiztondo with 1:47 left in the match. He also hit B-Meg’s Joe Devance from behind after the latter flicked the ball at Raymundo’s face.

    For his actions, Devance was assessed an FF2 and fined P20,000, but escaped suspension. According to league rules, tossing the ball at an opponent is automatically an FF2.                                      

    Urbiztondo, meanwhile, was fined P2,400 for drawing a technical foul, his third this conference, for his second motion Read More »from Raymundo suspended one game; Pena to Petron
  • Suarez can still make it to London

    There’s still a slim chance that boxer Charley Suarez can compete in the London Olympics later this year.

    According to Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines(ABAP) executive director Ed Picson, Suarez, who lost to China’s Liu Qiang at theAsian Olympic Qualifying Event in Kazakhstan two weeks ago, could be awardedone of the few remaining AIBA Tripartite Commission Invitation Places made available to eligible countries.

    It all hinges on the approval by AIBA, headed by its president Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu, of the ABAP’s formal letter requesting for Suarez to be considered for one of the slots. Wu himself suggested this option to Picson shortly after the Filipino’s frustrating loss to Qiang in the finals of the lightweight division. The Chinese officially won, 15-11, but Picson feels Suarezdid enough to overhaul an early deficit. Qiang won the first round, 3-1, and the second, 5-3. The third was an even 7-7, even though Suarez landed the more telling blows. The crowd at the stadium,

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  • Llamados draw first blood

    B-Meg's James Yap tests the defense of TNT's Larry Fonacier in Game 1 action. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

    The B-Meg Llamados came out smoking in the first period, allowed Talk 'N Text to come back in the third, and unleashed a big run at the start of the fourth to turn back the Tropang Texters, 88-82, to grab a 1-0 lead in the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    Denzel Bowles, the favorite to win the Best Import plum, scored 25 points while PJ Simon shot 81% from the field and finished with 18 to help the Llamados overcome a lousy third period that saw them squander their double-digit advantage and allow TNT to take a five-point lead heading into the fourth.

    "We played good on the first quarter and the fourth quarter, and we battled through that bad time in the third quarter," B-Meg coach Time Cone said. "That's not a good recipe to beat talk n text. We gotta play four quarters of basketball. We can't play only three and expect to win."

    A James Yap basket at the start of the second half gave B-Meg a 50-40 lead, but TNT slowly made its run, and eventually grabbing

    Read More »from Llamados draw first blood
  • Old friends clash once again in PBA finals

    TNT's Chot Reyes and B-Meg's Tim Cone shake hands before going to war. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

    Tim Cone and Chot Reyes, two of the winningest coaches in Philippine Basketball Association history, go head to head once again in a PBA finals series, and while the teams and players they coach have changed over the 18 years that they have battled, one thing remains constant: they still want to beat each other badly.

    Cone's B-Meg Llamados and Reyes's Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters dispute the Commissioner's Cup title starting Monday, the sixth time the two will face each other on local pro basketball's biggest stage.

    "Tim and I go a long way," said Reyes, who started his PBA career as Cone's assistant on the Alaska bench in 1990. "He has a different set of pieces now."

    "I always want to go up against Chot," Cone said of his former apprentice whose Texters are the defending champions of this conference and have their sights set on a rare grand slam, something Cone achieved in 1996 with Alaska. In fact, that was the last team to have grand slammed, and if Reyes pulls off the trick this

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  • Lassiter, Cruz to Petron

    Powerade's Big Three are no more as Marcio Lassiter is shipped to Petron.

    Despite Bo Perasol's public appeal to keep his team intact, the Powerade Tigers pushed through with their trade with Petron, sending Marcio Lassiter and Celino Cruz to the Blaze Boosters in exchange for center Rabeh Al-Hussaini, guard Rey Guevarra and veteran shooter Lordy Tugade.

    It was a revision of a previous trade proposal that was ultimately rejected by PBA Commissioner Chito Salud which would have exchanged Lassiter for Nonoy Baclao and Guevarra. This time, Petron threw in Tugade and replaced Baclao, the 2010 no. 1 who has warmed the bench for most of the season, with the six-foot-seven Al-Hussaini, the no. 2 pick in the same draft who has been injured and seen limited action.

    The PBA approved this revised Powerade-Petron deal yesterday, paving the way for Lassiter to join his former Smart Gilas teammate Chris Lutz in an intriguing small forward rotation. Perasol had publicly opposed any attempt to break up his nucleus of Lassiter, Gary David and JV Casio, the trio that carried

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  • It’s TNT vs. B-Meg

    Jarde Dillinger slices through the Barako Bull defense. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

    Defending champion Talk 'N Text, going all-Filipino in the last few minutes, finally put away the pesky  Barako Bull Energy, 101-90, in their winner-take-all Game 5 showdown to arrange a mouth-watering best-of-seven Commissioner's Cup finals showdown with the B-Meg Llamados.

    Donnell Harvey scored 29 points to lead the Texters, but had to sit down with 4:47 left and TNT up by just four, 88-84, after picking up his fifth foul. Chot Reyes found no need to put Harvey back into the game, though, as his locals led by Jimmy Alapag and Ranidel De Ocampo kept the Energy at bay with big plays down the stretch.

    De Ocampo split his free throws and then Alapag hit a long triple to give the Texters a 92-84 lead, but back-to-back baskets by Ronald Tubid kept the Energy within striking distance with barely three minutes left. On the next play, Alapag beat his man off the dribble, forcing Danny Seigle to help out and leave his man De Ocampo open in the corner. Alapag dished it to De Ocampo, who hit a

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