• The NU Bulldogs had just won the Season 77 UAAP men’s basketball crown, and Eric Altamirano was nowhere to be seen.

    Coach E was set to receive one of several sponsor-driven awards that were being handed out in the minutes following the Bulldogs’ improbable run that ended a 60-year title drought, but the amiable head mentor apparently wasn’t on the Araneta Coliseum floor anymore.

    Oh, he was still in the venue, it’s just that he was doing something that, to his mind, was more important than receiving an award. A fine coach and an even finer gentleman, Altamirano was in the locker room of the FEU Tamaraws, the team the Bulldogs had just vanquished, to talk to his counterpart Nash Racela and make sure he was okay.

    Altamirano eventually made his way back to the center of the festivities to accept his award, and as usual he spoke calmly and humbly. Looking at him, you wouldn’t think he had just helped end the longest championship drought in UAAP men’s basketball history.

    NU Bulldogs coach Eric Altamirano. (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)NU Bulldogs coach Eric Altamirano. (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)

    Then again, a lot of

    Read More »from Memorable Sports Moments of 2014: The NU Bulldogs are UAAP champions
  • Caltech assistant coach Leo Balayon (front) is helping Japeth Aguilar (behind Balayon) in his training. (Photo courtesy of Leo Balayon)

    A former Ateneo de Davao varsity player who is an assistant coach in a US NCAA Division III school is overseeing Japeth Aguilar's skills training as the former PBA no. 1 draft pick continues his quest to break into American professional hoops.

    Leo Balayon, who was recently hired as an assistant coach for the California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, a Division III school in Pasadena known for its excellent science and engineering courses, has been working out with Aguilar and preparing him to break into the National Basketball Developmental League (NBDL), or the D-League.

    "It's a tough road," said Balayon in an e-mail to Yahoo! PH Sports. "My focus is to get him signed in the D-League. I'm not even thinking beyond that because the D-League will have a big role in his NBA development. My goal is really foundational and our target role for him is like a Steve Novak or at the most, Rashard Lewis. As he is now, (he is) not even at his peak. Me and Japeth are very realistic with our

    Read More »from Japeth’s US trainer is a Pinoy from Davao
  • Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo lets out a smile during his skills clinic. (Photo credit: Victor Fraile/The Power of Sport Images)

    Rajon Rondo's recent skills clinic at the RONAC Center in San Juan was pretty much similar to the way man himself plays: no frills and little fanfare, but spiked with a display of vast basketball knowledge.

    The Celtics' All-Star point guard, whose trip here was courtesy of his sponsor Red Bull, conducted a two-hour training session for selected UAAP and NCAA junior and senior players, where he taught the wide-eyed youngsters the basketball drills that have helped hone his skills and have made him one of the best court generals in the NBA today.

    Rondo takes his basketball very seriously. To make sure the clinic didn't turn into a media circus, he instructed organizers to limit the media people present to a small number and also disallowed the use of flash photography. The moody NBA star also limited his interaction with the media, eschewing the usual one-on-one interviews and instead entertaining only around four to five questions after the clinic was over.

    His message was clear: he

    Read More »from What we can learn from Rajon Rondo
  • Rolles, Gregor and Igor Gracie are in town for the ONE FC card on August 31. (Photo courtesy of Loren Mack)

    The G & A Building along Pasong Tamo Extension in Makati City is an old, rundown three-story structure that has clearly seen better days. Its façade is straight out of the 80s, and a dark interior with poorly-lit hallways greets you when you enter.

    It's the last place you'd expect to find a state-of-the-art fitness center, yet in the basement of this decrepit building that's exactly what you'll find. The Elite Fitness Gym 24/7 is at the very end of the otherwise abandoned basement, like an oasis in the middle of the desert.

    As the name implies, the gym is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and offers specialized training and conditioning programs. It's partly owned by PBA players LA Tenorio and Paolo Bugia, and as such it boasts of some pretty high-profile clientele from the local sporting world.

    Last Friday, though, the gym played host to three very, very high-profile visitors, that is, if you're a mixed martial arts (MMA) fan. The Gracie brothers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fame are

    Read More »from The Gracies of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fame are in town
  • 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,

    Read More »from Will third time be a charm for Viloria?
  • 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

    Read More »from Cone relishes first B-Meg title, eyes more
  • 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

    Read More »from TNT’s streak, grand slam bid on the line tonight
  • 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
  • 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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  • 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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