• 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

    Read More »from Top hoops guru Joe Abunassar says Pinoys among his favorite trainees
  • 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

    Read More »from Who will Tab Baldwin pick for Gilas 3.0?
  • 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

    Read More »from Memorable Sports Moments of 2014: The FIBA World Cup Experience
  • 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

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

    Read More »from The case for Tab Baldwin as Gilas coach
  • 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

    Read More »from Kiefer steals show from Iverson, Ball Up All Stars
  • (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

    Read More »from Selecting the next national coach
  • Gilas versus Croatia (Photo from FIBA.com)Gilas versus Croatia (Photo from FIBA.com)

     

    At the conclusion of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, it became clear that the Philippines has overachieved in its first participation after 36 years in this prestigious event. For the record, the country last saw action in this tournament in 1978 when the world championship was held in Manila. As host country, the Philippines was seeded in the Semi-final Round but lost all its seven matches. The last time the Filipinos won in the event was 40 years ago during the 1974 world championship in Puerto Rico, where they nipped Australia (101-100) and the Central African Republic (87-86) in the Classification Round.

    The fact that this basketball-crazy nation qualified again in the latest world championship through the efforts of Gilas Pilipinas is by itself a huge achievement.  But the country gained so much more and certainly exceeded all expectations with a much-celebrated triumph over the 2013 FIBA Africa bronze medalist Senegal via an 81-79 overtime decision. Not to mention the

    Read More »from Gilas gets highest efficiency rating among Asian teams in FIBA World Cup
  • Kevin Espinosa is all smiles after being drafted by Rain or Shine in the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft. (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)

    It was certainly the biggest surprise of his life. Right after PBA Commissioner Chito Salud announced his name, Kevin Espinosa admitted that he was “stunned” upon learning that he got picked 14th overall in the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft by Rain Or Shine.

    “I was really stunned when I heard my name. I did not expect this at all. I said to myself, ‘is this really happening?’ I am one step closer to reaching my dream,” said an ecstatic Espinosa in an interview with Yahoo Philippines Sports.

    Espinosa was the No. 2 pick in the second round behind Rome Dela Rosa.

    It came as a big surprise to many that the 26-year old former Mapua Cardinal would be picked early in the draft. In fact, he came way ahead of other more notable applicants like current NCAA stars Prince Caperal (No. 17), John Pinto (No. 19), Harold Arboleda (No. 20), Kyle Pascual (No. 24), Paolo Taha (No. 29), and Juneric Baloria (No. 30).

    Kevin offered a simple explanation. “Last year I planned on applying for the draft already and I

    Read More »from Kevin Espinosa’s long road to the PBA
  • Chris Weidman celebrates his win at UFC 175. (AP Photos)

    I’d never been a big fan of Chris Weidman. Until today.

    Not only did he successfully defend his UFC Middleweight title for the second straight time but also won convincingly against one of the most dangerous fighters in all of MMA in former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida.

    Despite wresting the title from arguably the best fighter of all time, Anderson “The Spider” Silva, and repeating over the highly touted Brazilian in the rematch, Weidman never really got the respect he deserved as a champion. His name was nowhere near the other UFC champs when it comes to accolade coming from both the fans and colleagues alike. Nobody ever mentioned him as being among the best pound-for-pound fighters today like fellow UFC titlists Jon Jones, Jose Aldo, Cain Velasquez or Demetrious Johnson.

    It was perhaps due to the manner that he won both matches against Silva. The first one was mainly Silva’s fault. The long-time former Middleweight king became too cocky, fooling around

    Read More »from UFC 175: Weidman passes big test with flying colors

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Blog Authors / Profiles

  • Jude Roque

    Jude has been a basketball coach for 13 years. He was an assistant with the San Beda Red Lions in the NCAA, the Coca-Cola Tigers in the PBA, and most recently with the Smart Gilas National Team. He has been writing for various publications and online sites for several years, and is the author of “A Time To Roar”, which chronicled San Beda’s 2006 championship season.

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