WATCH: Teen prodigy Kai Sotto easily dunks over dad Ervin

Kai Sotto

Standing at 7’2 with pterodactyl-like wingspan, it doesn’t take much for Kai Sotto to dunk a basketball.

Currently undergoing an intensive skills training in the United States, Sotto recently gave us a glimpse of his dunking prowess by jumping over a 6’7 grown man.

As seen in a Facebook video shared by Theia Sports on Facebook, his dad Ervin willingly played “victim” as he stood still while his 16-year-old offspring leaped over him for an impressive finish during what appears to be a lull during Kai’s practice.

The father and son duo arrived in Atlanta earlier this month for a 60-day training at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex.

READ — Kai Sotto shares sneak peek of training facility in Atlanta

Aside from basketball related activities, the younger Sotto has also been working on his strength and conditioning to prepare himself for bigger and more physical competition down the line.

RELATED — Andray Blatche’s trainer shares clips of workouts with Kai Sotto

(Image from Chooks to Go press release)

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UFC Fight Night 149: Alistair Overeem vs. Alexey Oleinik live stream, fights, full card, date, time, TV info, how to watch

A Heavyweight encounter of epic proportions takes place this Sunday (Manila time), as former title challenger Alistair Overeem (44–17 -1) will look to start another winning streak by taking on the durable Alexey Oleynik (57–11–1) in the main event of UFC Fight Night 149.

With over 100 fights between them, the veteran fighters will be looking for an impressive finish in order to be on the short list of challengers to face the current champion, Daniel Cormier.

After back-to-back setbacks, Overeem bounced back big time in his last bout, finishing Sergey Pavlovic in just under a round. Oleynik, meanwhile, is on a two-fight winning streak, with impressive submission victories over Junior Albini and Mark Hunt.

When and where you can watch it:

UFC Fight Night 149: Overeem vs. Oleynik is scheduled on Sunday, April 21, 2019 (Manila time) inside the Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. The preliminary card starts at 10:00 pm (Saturday, April 20 in Manila) followed by the main card at 1:00 Am.

You can watch the whole event on FOX+, which is FOX Networks Group Asia’s video-streaming service. It is available on Android and iOS devices as well as on Apple TV and select Android TVs. A free 30-day trial is also available for new subscribers.

ESPN will also show the preliminary fights and will have a pay-per-view for the main card.

Who are the other fighters on the card?

Main Card

(Heavyweight) Alistair Overeem vs. Alexey Oleynik

(Lightweight) Islam Makhachev vs. Arman Tsarukyan

(Heavyweight)Sergei Pavlovich vs. Marcelo Golm

(Light Heavyweight) Ivan Shtyrkov vs. Devin Clark

(Women’s Flyweight) Roxanne Modafferi vs. Antonina Shevchenko

(Middleweight) Krzysztof Jotko vs. Alen Amedovski

Preliminary Card (ESPN+)

(Bantamweight) Movsar Evloev vs. Seung Woo Choi

(Welterweight) Sultan Aliev vs. Keita Nakamura

(Lightweight) Alexander Yakovlev vs. Alex da Silva Coelho

(Heavyweight)Marcin Tyburavs. Shamil Abdurakhimov

(Light Heavyweight) Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Michał Oleksiejczuk

(Lightweight) Magomed Mustafaev vs. Rafael Fiziev

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UFC 236: Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier 2 live stream, fights, full card, date, time, TV info, how to watch

UFC 236

The interim UFC Lightweight title will be up for grabs as current 145-lb. titleholder Max “Blessed” Holloway will look to avenge his earlier loss to the surging Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier at the main event of UFC 236.

Holloway and Poirier, who are both riding the momentum of lengthy winning streaks, first locked horns at UFC 143 back in 2012. Porier got the better of that fight, forcing the Hawaiian to tap via a nasty mounted triangle armbar in round 1.

Both fighters have evolved since then, with Holloway tallying the longest active winning streak in the promotion (13 straight victories), while Poirer has found a new breath in the 155-lb. division by finishing impressive names like Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, and Eddie Alvarez in his last three fights.

An interim Middleweight title scrap between Kevin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya will take place in the co-main event.

When and where you can watch it:

UFC 236: Holloway vs. Poirier 2 is scheduled on Sunday, April 14, 2019 (Manila time) inside the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The early preliminary card starts at 6:15 Am, followed by the main card at 10:00 Am.

You can watch the whole event on FOX+, which is FOX Networks Group Asia’s video-streaming service. It is available on Android and iOS devices as well as on Apple TV and select Android TVs. A free 30-day trial is also available for new subscribers.

ESPN will also show the preliminary fights and will have a pay-per-view for the main card.

Who are the other fighters on the card?

(Lightweight) Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier

(Middleweight) Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya

(Light Heavyweight) Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.

(Welterweight)Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant

(Light Heavyweight) Ovince Saint Preux vs. Nikita Krylov

Preliminary Card (ESPN)

(Lightweight) Jalin Turner vs.Matt Frevola

(Flyweight) Wilson Reis vs. Alexandre Pantoja

(Welterweight) Max Griffin vs. Zelim Imadaev

(Bantamweight) Boston Salmon vs. Khalid Taha

Early Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)

(Welterweight) Curtis Millender vs. Belal Muhammad

(Bantamweight) Montel Jackson vs. Andre Soukhamthath

(Women’s Flyweight) Lauren Mueller vs. Poliana Botelho

(Bantamweight) Brandon Davis vs. Randy Costa

 

WATCH: Andray Blatche’s trainer shares clips of workouts with Kai Sotto

Kai Sotto

The grind has started for Kai Sotto.

In order to realize his dream of becoming the first homegrown Filipino NBA player, the 16-year-old prodigy has stepped away from his comfort zone and is currently undergoing intensive training at the renowned Emory Sports Medicine Complex in Atlanta, Georgia.

RELATED — Kai Sotto shares sneak peek of training facility in Atlanta

As seen in a couple of videos shared by American personal trainer Rory Jones on Instagram, the lanky teenager performed several physical workouts that would help him improve his frame and increase his strength.

View this post on Instagram

@kzsotto Keep grinding its a process enjoy it lol bro.

A post shared by Coach RJ (@coachjones5079) on

Jones, who also works with Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player Andray Blatche, was also impressed by Sotto’s manners after their workout.

“Just got done working out and he’s picking up the cones. I’m telling you, I don’t know many seven-footers like this,” he said in a separate video.

View this post on Instagram

Grind don’t stop😎🇵🇭🤘🏾#gilaspilipinas

A post shared by Coach RJ (@coachjones5079) on

Sotto and his family are currently reviewing multiple offers from European ball clubs to play overseas. He is expected to suit up for the Philippines in the FIBA Basketball U-19 World Cup slated on June 29 to July 9.

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LOOK: Manny Pacquiao agrees to sign with Japanese promotion Rizin

Following the footsteps of his rival Floyd Mayweather Jr., WBA (Regular) welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao has struck a deal with Japanese mixed martial arts organization Rizin.

The development was confirmed by the promotion’s CEO and founder Noboyuki Sakakibara on Monday through his official Twitter account.

“I’m here in the Philippines,” Sakakibara captioned a photo of the eight-division champion signing the contract. “RIZIN.15 will have this man involved in a way. We will be ready to announce as I get back to Japan!”

As of writing time, Pacquiao’s level of involvement with Rizin remains unclear. The promotion has an upcoming event slated in Yokohama, Japan on April 21. Pacquiao last fought in January, when he breezed through American challenger Adrien Broner en route to a convincing unanimous decision victory.

Sakakibara, on the other hand, founded Rizin in 2015, after the success of his former promotions Pride Fighting Championships and Dream Stage Entertainment. He briefly lured Mayweather out of retirement and pitted him against kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in Tokyo last New Year’s Eve.

Footnote

Footnote

LOOK: Kai Sotto shares sneak peek of training facility in Atlanta

Much to the delight of Filipino basketball fans, Kai Sotto finally took a step forward to chasing his NBA dream by announcing his decision to train in foreign soil.

ALSO READ — Kai reaches for the sky

Along with his father Erwin Sotto, Kai left Manila earlier this week to begin his two-month intensive basketball training in Atlanta, Georgia.

In an Instagram story, the 16-year-old wunderkid shared an image of his sanctuary for the next 60 days — Emory Sports Medicine Complex, which just so happens to be the practice facility of the Atlanta Hawks. The move was made possible by Atlanta-based East-West Private agency, the same agency that represented Gilas Pilipinas in the past.

The 7’2 teen also seems to be settling in to his new environment, as he also shared clips of him grocery shopping and enjoying some time on the golf course.

Sotto is currently fielding multiple offers from established European clubs to play overseas.

The entire country will certainly be watching eagerly on his next decision. But for now, the young prospect seems to be solely focusing on honing his basketball skills and reach his full potential.

(Images from Kai Sotto‘s Instagram stories)

RELATED — Where should Kai go? A closer look at the European clubs interested in Sotto

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5 NBA teams that would love to have Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson

Apart from the whole ‘exploding sneakers’ fiasco, Zion Williamson truly justified the hype in what most likely be a one-and-done collegiate career.

Shortly after the Duke Blue Devils were defeated by the Michigan State Spartans in the NCAA Elite Eight, the 18-year-old phenom confirmed that there’s a high chance he will enter the 2019 NBA Draft. Let’s face it, all 30 NBA teams would love to get their hands on probably one of the most promising prospects to ever enter the league in recent years.

Zion Williamson

After all, rarely will you ever see a 6’7 freak of nature that’s built like a defensive lineman but blessed with agility and monstrous bounce. In four NCAA Tournament games, he normed 26 points and 8.5 rebounds. Williamson even broke several collegiate records—punctuated by becoming the only freshman to ever win ACC Player of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP awards.

With mock drafts already picking Zion as the first player to be picked come June, FOX PH lists five NBA teams that would love to draft Williamson.

New York Knicks

Knicks

Cold fact: The Knicks need all the help they could get if they will ever escape the pit of mediocrity that’s haunted the city for years. Along with Phoenix and Cleveland, NY currently has a 14 percent chance of landing the number one overall pick, according to the latest lottery odds.

RJ Barrett and Ja Morant’s stock might rise even more in the coming months, but the massive upside of a healthy Williamson might just be too good to pass up at number one. The Knicks would definitely make a leap back to prominence with a talent like Williamson.

And with NY rumoured to be possible destinations of upcoming free agents like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the “mecca” of basketball will surely make a lot of noise in the East.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs

The devastation of LeBron James’ second departure continues to linger in Cleveland. The city desperately needs another savior — and Williamson certainly looks like the second coming of “The King”.

A player of Zion’s caliber will indeed accelerate Dan Gilbert’s rebuild, and will also help the franchise escape LeBron’s shadow for good.

Phoenix Suns

Suns

The Phoenix Suns have a budding superstar in Devin Booker, plus a dominant force in the paint in rookie DeAndre Ayton. Still, the team has found itself in lottery yet again and are in prime position to add another vital building block.

Booker’s effortless scoring, Ayton’s inside presence, and Williamson’s freakish athleticism will indeed be scary for the rest of the league. The squad is also in need of a wing player who can also handle the ball in stretches — a role perfect for Williamson.

Chicago Bulls

Bulls

Unlike the three earlier teams, the Bulls only have a 12.5 chance to land the first pick, which dampens their chances on acquiring the services of Williamson. The team has promising pieces in Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter Jr., Lauri Markkanen, and Kris Dunn, but they have a glaring hole in the wing position.

The Jabari Parker experiment did not work, while Otto Porter is serviceable but it appears he won’t be a superstar anytime soon. Zion’s verticality will indeed be welcomed in the Windy City and bring the excitement back that was last seen from the days of his “Airness”.

Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers

This scenario might be a stretch, considering the Lakers only have a 1.7% chance of securing the top pick. Still, the team has plenty of young assets, plus a flexible cap space, which they could offer in case they decide to go all in on acquiring a generational talent like Zion.

With LeBron getting up there in age, Magic and Rob Pelinka will indeed move heaven and earth to get him more help. Don’t be surprised if the Lakers will indeed take the route that leads to Williamson.

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UFC on ESPN: Edson Barboza vs. Justin Gaethje live stream, fights, full card, date, time, TV info, how to watch

UFC

An explosive stand-up war is set to erupt this Sunday (Manila time), as feared Lightweights Edson Barboza and Justin Gaethje duke it out to see who moves in closer to a shot against current 155-lb. king Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Both endeared by fans for their exciting style of fighting, Barboza and Gaethje are proven finishers who could end a fight in an instant. The two combatants also share the same fate as of late, coming off impressive wins after dropping their last two bouts in shocking fashion.

The Brazilian muay-thai powerhouse lost to decorated wrestlers Nurmagomedov and Kevin Lee, but bounced back beautifully by overwhelming Dan Hooker in his last bout.

The American, on the other hand, was KO’ed by Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, but got back on the winning track by putting James Vick to sleep in his last match.

When and where you can watch it:

UFC on ESPN: Barboza vs. Gaethje (UFC on ESPN 2) is scheduled on March 31, 2019 (Manila time) inside the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania . The early preliminary card starts at 3:30 Am, followed by the preliminary card at 5:00 Am. The main card kicks off at 7:00 Am.

You can watch the whole event on FOX+, which is FOX Networks Group Asia’s video-streaming service. It is available on Android and iOS devices as well as on Apple TV and select Android TVs. A free 30-day trial is also available for new subscribers.

ESPN will also show the preliminary fights and will have a pay-per-view for the main card.

Who are the other fighters on the card?

Main Card

(Lightweight) Edson Barboza vs. Justin Gaethje

(Middleweight) David Branchvs. Jack Hermansson

(Featherweight) Josh Emmett vs.Michael Johnson

(Women’s Strawweight) Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Michelle Waterson

(Light Heavyweight) Paul Craig vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu

(Featherweight) Sheymon Moraesvs. Sodiq Yusuff

Preliminary Card (ESPN)

(Women’s Strawweight) Marina Rodriguez vs. Jessica Aguilar

(Lightweight) Ross Pearson vs. Desmond Green

(Featherweight) Enrique Barzola vs. Kevin Aguilar

(Middleweight) Kevin Hollandvs. Gerald Meerschaert

Early Preliminary Card (ESPN+)

(Bantamweight) Ray Borg vs.Casey Kenney

(Women’s Flyweight) Maryna Moroz vs.Sabina Mazo

(Bantamweight) Alex Perez vs. Mark De La Rosa

LIVE UFC Fight Night Nashville: Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson vs Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis – updates, streaming, scores, results, watch live, bout

Two certified kicking machines clash inside the octagon as former UFC Welterweight number one contender Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson will figure in an explosive Welterweight bout against former UFC Lightweight kingpin Anthony “Showtime” Pettis.

Both athletic specimens are looking to bounce back from their respective setbacks, with Thompson looking to shrug off a close decision loss to Darren Till, while Pettis will look to recover after that unfortunate TKO corner stoppage against Tony Ferguson.

The lanky Thompson has been an enigma for fellow 170-lb. fighters for his unorthodox karate style. Since arriving in the promotion in 2012, “Wonderboy” has amassed a 9-3-1 record, with big wins over the likes of Rory McDonald, Johny Hendricks, and Robert Whittaker.

Pettis, on the other hand, has hit a rough patch as of late after that blistering start since coming over from the WEC in 2011. He has fought in both Featherweight and Lightweight divisions, but appears to be settling in at his natural weight class.

UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Pettis (UFC Fight Night 148) is available on FOX+, which is FOX Networks Group Asia’s video-streaming service. It is available on Android and iOS devices as well as on Apple TV and select Android TVs. A free 30-day trial is also available for new subscribers. The preliminary card starts on Sunday 5:00 Am (Manila time), while the main card kicks off at 8:00 Am.

 

 

 

 

 

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Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis kick, record, UFC fights, highlights, Instagram, brother

Anthony “Showtime” Pettis looks to make a fresh start in the 170-lb. division as he takes on perennial contender Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in the main event of UFC Fight Night Nashville this Sunday (Manila time).

UFC Fight Night Nashville: Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson vs Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis: live stream, fights, full card, date, time, TV info, how to watch

A former titleholder at the Lightweight division, the explosive striker seeks to relive his past glory and shake off his recent string of bad luck, alternating wins and losses in his last six bouts.

‘Showtime kick’

Pettis rose to prominence in his early days with the now defunct WEC, where he unleashed one of the most devastating kicks in all of MMA. Pettis has become synonymous with the now internet famous “Showtime kick”, which he used to claim the WEC Lightweight title in the promotion’s final card.

To quote that fight’s announcer, Pettis “ran off the wall like a ninja” and uncorked a blistering high kick that landed flush on Benson Henderson’s chin.

The move has since became a popular technique among fighters, with Jose Aldo using a variation of the move to transition to a superman punch.

MMA record

A 3rd degree black belt in taekwondo and a practitioner of capoeira, Pettis came in to MMA as a savant and won his first eight bouts. He compiled a 13-1 record in the WEC, but hasn’t achieved the same success in the UFC, only winning eight of his total 15 fights.

He currently holds a 21-8 win-loss slate, with nine of those wins coming by knockout, and eight by submission.

Highlights and UFC fights

Pettis is perhaps one of the flashiest fighters in UFC history and has compiled quite the personal highlight reel. Aside from the ‘Showtime kick’, his elite striking was in full effect when he KO’ed Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon in devastating fashion.

He proved to be no slouch in the ground either, setting up death traps against submission specialists Charles Oliveira (guillotine choke) and Michael Chiesa (triangle armbar). Pettis won the UFC Lightweight title against rival Benson Henderson via verbal submission by a quick armbar, and successfully defended the title against Gilbert Meledez via a mounted guillotine.

UFC Nashville: Anthony Pettis top 5 moments

Instagram

Pettis’ popularity among MMA fans has earned him quite a following on Instagram, as he just recently reached one million followers. Like most fighters, he usually shares clips of his training regimen, diet, and some personal stuff from time to time.

Brother

Anthony has a younger brother who also competes in the UFC, Sergio Pettis. Although not as successful as his older brother, the younger Pettis has rose above the rankings at both Flyweight and Bantamweight, and currently has a 17-5 record.

ALSO READ — Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson highlights, record, net worth, wife, brother-in-law, gym, UFC fights

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Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson highlights, record, net worth, wife, brother-in-law, gym, UFC fights

Thompson

UFC’s “Wonderboy” Stephen Thompson returns to the octagon this Sunday (Manila time), as he welcomes former 155-lb. champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis to the Welterweight division.

UFC Fight Night Nashville: Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson vs Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis: live stream, fights, full card, date, time, TV info, how to watch

After a hard-fought five-round loss against Darren Till in May last year, Thompson hopes that the long lay-off would reinvigorate his run back to the top of the division.

Highlights, UFC fights and record

Known best for his unorthodox karate style, the 36-year-old fighter often presents a precarious, methodical approach to his fights. But underneath the technicality lies a stunning, fight-ending power, which he first displayed in his UFC debut against Dan Stittgen. Thompson KO’ed Stittgen stiff with a head kick in just under a round. He also finished Chris Clements and former UFC Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.

His most devastating highlights were against two of the division’s hardest hitters, as he also finished Jake Ellenberger and former WW king Johny Hendricks. Thompson currently holds a 14-3-1 record.

UFC Nashville: Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson HIGHLIGHTS

Net worth

According to celebritynetworth.com, Thompson currently has a net worth of $3 million. Apart from his post-fight purses, Thompson has received bonuses by winning KO of the night (one time), Fight of the Night (one time), and Performance of the Night (thrice).

Wife and brother in law

Thompson keeps his personal life very much private and it’s unclear if he is seeing anyone at the moment. Thompson’s sister is married to Brazilian jui-jitsu world champion Carlos Machado.

He also considers longtime sparring partner Chris Weidman family, as Thompson’s brother is married to Weidman’s sister.

Gym

Thompson trains out of Pitch Black MMA and is also a member of the elite Serra-Longo Fight Team.  Aside from picking the brain of Ray Longo and Matt Serra, Thompson is coached by his father and now trainer and manager Ray, who was also a professional kick boxer back in the day.

ALSO READ — Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis kick, record, UFC fights, highlights, Instagram, brother

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UFC Fight Night Nashville: Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson vs Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis: live stream, fights, full card, date, time, TV info, how to watch

Two certified kicking machines clash this coming Sunday (Manila time), as former UFC Welterweight number one contender Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson will figure in an explosive Welterweight bout against former UFC Lightweight kingpin Anthony “Showtime” Pettis.

Both athletic specimens are looking to bounce back from their respective setbacks, with Thompson looking to shrug off a close decision loss to Darren Till, while Pettis will look to recover after that unfortunate TKO corner stoppage against Tony Ferguson.

The lanky Thompson has been an enigma for fellow 170-lb. fighters for his unorthodox karate style. Since arriving in the promotion in 2012, “Wonderboy” has amassed a 9-3-1 record, with big wins over the likes of Rory McDonald, Johny Hendricks, and Robert Whittaker.

Pettis, on the other hand, has hit a rough patch as of late after that blistering start since coming over from the WEC in 2011. He has fought in both Featherweight and Lightweight divisions, but appears to be settling in at his natural weight class.

With fireworks guaranteed in the main event, here’s how you can watch the match as well as the rest of the fighters on the card.

When and where you can watch it:

UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Pettis (UFC Fight Night 148) is scheduled on March 24, 2019 (Manila time) inside the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. The preliminary card starts at 5:00 Am, while the main card kicks off at 8:00 Am.

You can watch the whole event on FOX+, which is FOX Networks Group Asia’s video-streaming service. It is available on Android and iOS devices as well as on Apple TV and select Android TVs. A free 30-day trial is also available for new subscribers.

ESPN will also show the preliminary fights and will have a pay-per-view for the main card.

Who are the other fighters on the card?

Aside from a thrilling Welterweight action, the co-main event features an important match-up with big implications in the Heavyweight division as Curtis Blaydes takes on Justin Willis. 

(Welterweight) Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis

(Heavyweight) Curtis Blaydes vs. Justin Willis

(Lightweight) John Makdessi vs. Jesus Pinedo

(Flyweight) Jussier Formiga vs. Deiveson Figueiredo

(Featherweight) Luis Peña vs. Steven Peterson

(Women’s Flyweight) Maycee Barber vs. JJ Aldrich

Preliminary Card (ESPN+)

(Featherweight) Bryce Mitchell vs. Bobby Moffett

(Bantamweight) Frankie Saenz vs. Marlon Vera

(Women’s Flyweight) Alexis Davis vs. Jennifer Maia

(Women’s Strawweight) Randa Markos vs. Angela Hill

(Bantamweight) Ryan MacDonald vs. Chris Gutierrez

(Flyweight) Eric Shelton vs. Jordan Espinosa

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SEA games basketball back to MOA Arena, thanks to joint efforts by POC, SBP, PHISGOC

The 30th Southeast Asian Games to be hosted by the Philippines is still nine months away, but has already faced its fair share of potential roadblocks.

Events of this magnitude are usually held inside world class sports amenities like the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, but difficulty in booking the stadium has reportedly forced PH officials to move the basketball events to the much smaller Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

The development certainly did not sit well with the masses, particularly due to the replacement’s seating capacity. The Filoil Flying V Centre could only accommodate 5,500 people, contrary to MOA Arena’s 20,000.

Hearing the pleas of many, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC)  President Ricky Vargas, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio and Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISCOG) Chief Operating Officer Tats Suzara met in Hongkong last weekend to lay out plans to bring basketball back to the MOA Arena, as initially planned.

“We heard the voices of our people. We were also made aware that some sectors have started to put the blame on certain agencies without really understanding the complexities of the situation”,  Panlilio shared. “The best way to solve an issue is to discuss peacefully and to look for ways to find an acceptable solution”.

Aside from the country’s capital, the games will also take place in facilities in Clark, Subic, and BLT (Batangas, La Union, and Tagaytay). Given the country’s unrelenting love for basketball, it’s only fitting that a hoops-crazed nation should be able to provide the best sporting experience for our neighbouring countries.

“Holding an event in this magnitude is a shared responsibility among different sports leaders and even our people. This event is a showcase of our capacity to hold massive regional sporting events and can play as a window for other countries to look at our country with a more positive outlook. Instead of playing the blame game, we took it upon ourselves to find an answer to the clamor. So, together with POC President Ricky, PHISGOC COO Tats and the SBP, we were able to find a win-win solution”, Panlilio added.

“PHISGOC COO Tats initiated the discussion and asked for our support to bring  basketball back to a bigger venue and give our countrymen an opportunity to cheer for our team”, SBP  President Panlilio shared.

With the booking conflicts now resolved, together with the initiative of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to adjust its schedule to accommodate the event, Panlilio hopes for an an even stronger interest from our countrymen to witness and support the games live.

“As requested by POC president and PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas to the SBP which we agreed, we want to bring nothing less but the best PBA talent that we can assemble. We want to win the gold medal in basketball and the SBP is fully committed to make this a reality”, Panlilio concluded.

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SBP chief Panlilio wary of Gilas’ group in World Cup, vows to bring best talent available

Gilas

Gilas Pilipinas overcame tremendous odds in the gruelling Qualifiers to make it to the World Cup in China. But the next stage poses an even greater challenge for the Filipino quintet, as  the team has been grouped with powerhouse squads Serbia, Italy, and Angola.

RELATED —Gilas Pilipinas to clash against Serbia, Italy, Angola in FIBA World Cup

After seeing what’s in store for the national team in the upcoming tournament slated from August 31 to September 15, Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio bared his observations of the formidable teams in Group D.

“It is a very challenging group. Serbia is a basketball super-power and ranked #4 in the world. They currently have four active NBA players who could be part of the national team including 7’0 superstar Nikola Jokic, 7’3 Boban Marjanovic, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica. Italy is ranked #13 by FIBA. NBA stars Danilo Galinari and Marco Bellenelli could make themselves available for the World Cup. While Angola, although ranked #36, is one of the best teams in Africa”.

Gilas

Gilas needs at least one win in the first stage, as the the top three teams from each group will advance to round two. Last placed teams will play the best Division B teams to qualify for the next season’s Division A.

Both Serbia and Italy have already left a mark in the international stage, having legitimate NBA caliber players at their disposal. Angola, meanwhile, has won the FIBA Africa tournament 11 times.

“It is obvious that we are the overwhelming underdogs but we are certainly not going to give-up,” the SBP chief added. “What we need right now is to look at the PBA calendar and come up with the best training schedule for our Gilas Pilipinas”.

“The competition is going to be a lot harder and we are compelled to bring the best available talent and give it all we’ve got to compete and win games,” he concluded.

After three stages, only the top 8 teams (including host Japan) will make it to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Only two teams from each of the Americas and Europe, and the top team each from Africa, Asia and Oceania will be able to represent their country.

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