Chooks-to-Go to continue supporting Kai Sotto abroad

Over a year ago, Chooks-to-Go pledged to fund Kai Sotto’s overseas training for the years to come.

“We’re very excited about Kai Sotto,” expressed Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas back in Ferbruary 10, 2018.

“He’s the Yao Ming or the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Philippines. We’re excited to be part of his development.”

But now that the 7-foot-2 enigma is about to go out west to pursue his NBA dreams, the sports patron vowed that he will continue supporting the 16-year-old.

“Whether nandito si Kai or sa labas ng bansa, our support will continue,” he said during the Chooks-to-Go-hosted sendoff for Sotto.

“Maraming Pilipino ang nangangarap na maglaro sa PBA. Hindi iba si Kai. I can only wish that God will continue to bless Kai and his family in this very tough journey,” the amiable executive continued.

“So Kai, good luck. You are a gift to our country.”

Upon hearing this, the best under-17 center in Asia expressed his utmost gratitude to the company that supported him over the past two years.

“Gusto ko lang magthank you sa Chooks-to-Go tsaka sa lahat ng tumulong. Sobrang happy ko na mapasama sa group na ‘to,” expressed Sotto, who will leave for a two-month US training on Monday, April 1.

“Aasahan niyo sa’kin na gagawin ko best ko.”

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Star-studded FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Draw completed in Shenzhen

SHENZHEN (China) – The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Draw, presented by Wanda, took place in front of 8,000 spectators at Shenzhen Bay Arena on Saturday evening.

The draw sets out the path for the 32 participating teams in their journey to be crowned world champions when FIBA’s flagship competition concludes on September 15.

Global sporting icon and World Cup Ambassador Kobe Bryant, together with American best-selling singer/songwriter Jason Derulo, headlined the star-studded event.

The milestone event on the Road to China 2019 took place under the watchful eye of FIBA President Horacio Muratore, FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis and representatives from the 32 participating national teams, including Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) President Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian, captain of the Chinese team. They were joined by members of FIBA’s Executive Committee and Central Board, as well as by high-ranking officials from the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and representatives from the eight host cities.

The competition’s schedule will be available shortly. Go to worldcup.basketball for complete information and coverage of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.

Tickets for the World Cup went on sale earlier this month with the launch of the Team Pass. Following the draw, all 32 teams know their opponents in the First Round of the Group Phase and in which city they will play their games. Fans and supporters interested in purchasing tickets to watch their teams should visit worldcup.basketball/tickets.

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

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First tickets go on sale for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China

Tickets for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 went on sale on Thursday with the launch of the Team Pass.

China 2019 Global Ambassador Yao Ming received the first World Cup ticket during a Ticketing Launch Ceremony held at the Beijing Olympic Tower to mark the latest milestone event ahead of this summer’s showpiece event.

The Team Pass is the first of four types of tickets that will enable spectators to experience the action at the first-ever 32-team edition of FIBA’s flagship competition, which takes place in eight Chinese cities from August 31-September 15.

The holder of a Team Pass can secure a ticket to games of a selected team during the competition.

The “Group Phase” Team Pass grants tickets to all five (5) games of a selected team during the Group Phase. Depending on the results of the team in the 1st Round, this can mean:

  • Three (3) 1st Round games + Two (2) 2nd Round games; or
  • Three (3) 1st Round games + Two (2) Classification 17-32 games.

A Group Phase Team Pass ranges in price from Chinese Yuan (CNY) ¥1,530 (equivalent to PHP P11,788) to RMB ¥6,480 (PHP P49,894).

An “All Games” Team Pass adds to what is offered under the “Group Phase” Team Pass, by securing an option for tickets to the three (3) additional games of the Final Phase – in case the selected team makes it to the Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Final (or 3rd-Place Game).

Team Passes for each of the 32 participating teams are available in a limited number and will be on sale until Friday, April 12.

The three following types of World Cup tickets will become available in coming weeks and months:

  • City Pass – will go on sale following the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Draw, presented by Wanda;
  • Day Pass – will go on sale in June;
  • Game Tickets – will go on sale in June.

Go to worldcup.basketball/tickets for complete information about tickets for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.

The launch of ticket sales comes following the conclusion on Monday of the FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers, the 18-month long global qualification process to determine the field of 32 participating teams for basketball’s biggest competition.
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Top seeds for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 draw confirmed in latest NIKE FIBA world ranking

The FIBA World Ranking Men, presented by NIKE, has been updated after the February window brought the curtain down on the Qualifiers for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.

This latest edition of the ranking serves as the basis to determine the seeds and pots for the draw of the first-ever 32-team World Cup. The top seeds will be tournament hosts China and the seven best ranked qualified teams – USA, Spain, France, Serbia, Argentina, Lithuania and Greece.

The complete draw procedures, based on the ranking and geographical principles, will be published during the week leading up to the next milestone event on the Road to China 2019.

The top 9 remains unchanged, with Russia (525.3 points) moving up to complete the top 10. This is in part due to Sergey Bazarevich’s charges going 2-0 in their last two games of the European Qualifiers to ensure their return at the World Cup after missing out in 2014.

Russia’s gain is Australia’s loss as the Boomers (515.0) drop to #11 after splitting (1-1) the last two games of their Asian Qualifiers campaign.

Senegal move up two places to #37 on the back of winning their last three African Qualifiers games to clinch their World Cup place.

Estonia will not be joining them at FIBA’s flagship competition but a 71-70 win over #4 Serbia enables them to move up three spots to #45.

The FIBA World Ranking Men, presented by NIKE, will next be updated following the conclusion of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 (August 31-September 15). It takes into consideration rating points of games played in top official FIBA competitions and their Qualifiers over the course of an eight-year period.

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FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019’s 32-team field complete after Qualifiers come to an end

All 32 teams that will compete at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China this summer (August 31-September 15) are known following the conclusion on Monday of the sixth and final window of the Qualifiers.

This brings to a close the 15-month qualifying campaign that began in November 2017 as a way of establishing a clear Road to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019and, with it, mark the beginning of a new era for basketball worldwide.

FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019

Tournament hosts: China
Africa (5): Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia
Americas (7): Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, USA, Venezuela
Asia (7): Australia, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Korea, New Zealand, Philippines
Europe (12): Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Turkey

FIBA President Horacio Muratore said: “On FIBA’s behalf, we wish to congratulate all 32 teams that have qualified for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. We also want to take the time to acknowledge and thank the 48 teams – and their national federations – that will not play in China but who gave their best efforts during the Qualifiers. We now very much look forward to seeing history being made with the biggest FIBA Basketball World Cup taking center stage from August 31-September 15.”

FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis said: “These Qualifiers – the first of their kind for the FIBA Basketball World Cup – have made it possible for 80 national teams all over the world to regularly play official games in front of their fans for the right to compete on the biggest stage. None of this would have been possible without the support and collaboration of our National Member Federations, their respective leagues and clubs. Therefore, on FIBA’s behalf, we want to thank the entire basketball family for doing their part in helping us transition into a new era for basketball worldwide.”

The next step on the Road to China 2019 for the 32 qualified teams will be finding out what groups they will play in and who they will face as they do battle to be crowned world champions. These answers will come on Saturday, March 16, when the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Draw, presented by Wanda, takes place in Shenzhen, one of the competition’s eight host cities. The star-studded event will be headlined by global sporting icon Kobe Bryant, American best-selling singer/songwriter Jason Derulo and World Cup ambassador Yao Ming.

With the 32-team field set, tickets for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 will go on sale in the coming days.

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Guiao remains wary after doping debacle: ‘Hindi na mauulit yung nangyari kay Kiefer’

by Sel Guevara

Gilas Pilipinas is ready to go to war for a spot in the FIBA World Cup, and the team is taking extra measures to make sure nothing will get in the way—especially with matters off the court.

“I made it my mission, with the players I coach in Gilas, na huwag na maulit or wag na mangyari ulit,” Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao said, referring to the Kiefer Ravena incident, which left him ineligible to play basketball for 18 months.

Ravena failed a mandatory drug test conducted after the FIBA World Cup qualifier game against Japan last February 25, 2018 in Mall of Asia Arena, where Ravena scored 13 points, grabbed two rebounds and dished out five assists in an 89-84 victory against Japan.

He tested positive for three banned substances; Higenamine, 1,3-Dimethylbutylamine, and 4-Methylhexan-2-amine. These are ingredients found in “Dust,” a pre-workout supplement drink he reportedly bought over the counter of a drug store.

As soon as the Gilas pool assembled for the first time during practice for the upcoming FIBA Qualifying window, Guiao made sure that the players stopped taking any supplements. If the players wanted to continue taking supplements, they were advised to consult with the coaching staff to make sure the supplements do not carry any ingredients that are included in the WADA list of prohibited substances.

SBP also provided each of the players and coaches a copy of the list of WADA prohibited substances, but Guaio said that the list would be hard for the players to understand and analyze on their own. This prompted Guiao to just inform his players to cut any supplements or consult with an expert, instead.

“We are already thinking ahead in terms of those things” said Guiao.

“I know these guys are very tired. Playing (in the) PBA, practicing (for Gilas) at the same time, and trying to get some rest in between which is very hard for them,” he added.

The  fiery mentor also insisted that the players should just focus on having a healthier lifestyle and not depend on any supplements to keep up with the physical demands of playing for their mother teams and the national team at the same time.

“You know one reason why I am so particular about what these guys now in the Gilas team should be careful about? It’s because I know first hand how it feels to lose a player, and I know how it feels for a player to be in that situation” according to Guiao, who is also missing the services of Ravena for the NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA Philippine Cup.

“I am really confident na hindi na mauulit yung nangyari kay Kiefer” said Guiao.

With these extra measures that Gilas Pilipinas is taking, Guiao is very confident that they can just focus simply on punching a ticket in the FIBA World Cup. Their quest in the 6th and final window begins at midnight tonight, February 22, 2019 (12:00mn Manila Time) against Qatar.

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LIVE: UFC 234: Whittaker vs Gastelum, Anderson Silva vs Israel Adesanya – results, updates, streaming, watch live, fight

Two titanic clashes await in Australia as UFC 234 unfolds on Sunday.

A red-hot Robert Whittaker (20-4-0) will look to successfully defend his middleweight title in front of a rowdy home crowd rooting for him against Kelvin Gastelum (15-3-0, 1 no contest) in the main bout.

Meanwhile in the co-main event, Anderson Silva (34-8, 1 NC) will try to kick off his comeback tour with a bang against an up-and-coming star in Israel Adesanya (15-0) in another middleweight battle.

RELATED — UFC 234: Whittaker vs Gastelum live stream, fights, full card, date, time, TV info, how to watch

Dubbed as the promotion’s most underrated champion by president Dana White himself, Whittaker wants to extend his nine-game winning streak against the 27-year-old Gastelum, who dispatched Michael Bisping and Jacare Souza in his last two fights.

Silva, meanwhile, has a huge challenge at hand against ‘The Last Style Bender’.

The 29-year-old, who has put the whole division and UFC on notice since his arrival last year, is unbeaten in his MMA career so far after dominating the kickboxing circuit. A win might put him next in line to contend for the title—and end the career of ‘The Spider’, too.

RELATED — UFC 234: Anderson Silva vs Israel Adesanya preview and predictions

WHEN AND WHERE TO WATCH:

UFC 234 in Melbourne is scheduled to begin at 7:00 a.m (Philippine time) tomorrow. The undercard will begin at around 9:00 a.m, while Whittaker and Gastelum are bound to walk out at 12:30 p.m.

The whole event 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.

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

RELATED — UFC 234: Anderson Silva’s net worth, fights, opponents, knockouts, leg break

RELATED —UFC 234: Israel Adesanya’s UFC fights, highlights, opponents, knockouts

OTHER BOUTS

Main card

Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum (middleweight title)

Anderson Silva vs Israel Adesanya (middleweight)

Rani Yahya vs Ricky Simon (bantamweight)

Montana De La Rosa vs Nadia Kassem (flyweight)

Jim Crute vs Sam Alvey (light heavyweight)

Undercard

Devonte Smith vs Dong Hyun Ma (lightweight)

Shane Young vs Austin Arnett (featherweight)

Kai Kara France vs Raulian Paiva (flyweight)

Teruto Ishihara vs Kyung Ho Kang (bantamweight)

Lando Vannata vs Marcos Mariano (lightweight)

Jalin Turner vs Callan Potter (lightweight)

Wuliji Buren vs Jonathan Martinez (bantamweight)

(Photo credit: MMAFighting.com)

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UFC 234: Whittaker vs Gastelum live stream, fights, full card, date, time, TV info, how to watch

UFC 234 is set to be an explosive one this Sunday (Manila time) over at Melbourne, Australia.

Australian Robert Whittaker (20-4-0) is gunning to defend his middleweight title on home soil against Kelvin Gastelum (15-3-0, 1 no contest) in the main bout, while living legend Anderson Silva (34-8, 1 NC) will be taking on Israel Adesanya (15-0) in the co-main event.

FOX Sports Philippines provides you with all the important details of the match, including when and where to watch the live streams, the date of the fights, the time and the full card.

When and where you can watch it:

UFC 234, which will be held in Melbourne, Australia, is scheduled to begin at 7:00 a.m (Philippine time) on Sunday, February 10, while the undercard will begin at around 9:00 a.m. Whittaker and Gastelum are bound to start the main event at 12:30 p.m.

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 fighters on the card?

Main card

Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum (middleweight title)

Anderson Silva vs Israel Adesanya (middleweight)

Rani Yahya vs Ricky Simon (bantamweight)

Montana De La Rosa vs Nadia Kassem (flyweight)

Jim Crute vs Sam Alvey (light heavyweight)

Undercard

Devonte Smith vs Dong Hyun Ma (lightweight)

Shane Young vs Austin Arnett (featherweight)

Kai Kara France vs Raulian Paiva (flyweight)

Teruto Ishihara vs Kyung Ho Kang (bantamweight)

Lando Vannata vs Marcos Mariano (lightweight)

Jalin Turner vs Callan Potter (lightweight)

Wuliji Buren vs Jonathan Martinez (bantamweight)


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Former WWE superstar Jack Swagger wins his pro MMA debut

Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) heavyweight champion Jake Hagger made a stunning debut in the pro mixed martial arts Saturday night as he made quick work of 41-year-old J.W Kiser.

Known as Jack Swagger amongst wrestling fans, the American only needed 2:09 via submission to annihilate the veteran Kiser in their heavyweight main-card bout at Bellator 214.

The 36-year-old former wrestler wasted little to no time as he went for an armbar onto Wiser, then landed some elbows before the submission choke.

“It was a matter of keeping my posture and then it was just a matter of time before I put it on him,’ Hager said after the bout.

The win gave Hager a 1-0 win-loss card while Kiser dropped to 1-2.

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How close is Team Pilipinas to qualifying for the FIBA World Cup?

Team Pilipinas 1

by Ariel Ian Clarito

There are still 12 teams still in contention for the 2019 FIBA World Cup berths after the first round of the Asian qualifiers. Four teams have fallen by the wayside and have been eliminated. These are Chinese-Taipei, India, Iraq, and Hongkong.

The 12 teams are split into two groups. The top 3 teams from each group and the highest ranked 4th placed team from Asia Oceania will earn slots to the World Cup which will be held from August 31 to September 15, 2019, across 8 cities in China.

The 4th qualifying window last September has resulted in the team standings below:

Group E Win-Loss Records

New Zealand — 7-1

South Korea  — 6-2

Lebanon        — 6-2

Jordan           — 5-3

China             — 4-4

Syria              — 2-6

Group F Win-Loss Records

Australia        — 7-1

Iran                — 6-2

Philippines    — 5-3

Japan            — 4-4

Kazakhstan   — 3-5

Qatar             — 2-6

Team Pilipinas will have two more games in the 5th window of the qualifiers. Both will be home games on November 30 versus Kazakhstan and on December 3 against Iran.  The 6th and final window will be played from February 21-25 — which will consist of two away games for the Philippines. 

The question now that Filipino basketball fans are asking is this; how close is Team Pilipinas to qualifying for the 2019 FIBA World Cup? 

Coach Yeng Guiao’s chances to earn a spot to the World Cup remains pretty good. The caveat here is that 3rd place is a rather precarious position to be in, given that breathing down the neck of Team Pilipinas is Japan which sits at 4th place. After a 0-4 start in the FIBA qualifers, Japan has bounced back big time to emerge as the hottest team in Group E after having won their last 4 games. Two of those wins came against powerhouse squads Australia and Iran.

Japan, however, will be without their top two locals, Yuta Watanabe and Rui Hachimuri, in the next two windows. Watanabe will be playing for the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA, while Hachimura will be in his junior year with Gonzaga in the US NCAA. But even sans Watanabe and Hachimura, Japan still has the tools to possibly sweep Qatar and Kazakhstan in the next window. If this does happen, then Japan will end up with a 6-4 record after the November-December window.

Team Pilipinas 2

This essentially means that Team Pilipinas must win both games in the next window. The national quintet beat Kazakhstan by a comfortable margin in the Asian Games, and with Junemar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter possibly suiting up, there is no reason why they cannot beat the Kazakhs anew. The game against Iran will be the pivotal game in the campaign of Team Pilipinas. Regardless whether Haddadi plays or not (he has declared that he will be retiring from the national team), Team Pilipinas will have the materials to match-up against Iran given that Andray Blatche, Troy Rosario, Jayson Castro, and Terrence Romeo will finally be available again after their suspensions.

Iran most likely will be coming off a loss as they will face Australia in the first game of the 5th window, so that means Iran and the Philippines could both have 6-3 records leading to their face-off. A win then by Team Pilipinas over Team Melli will mean the Philippines will get solo second place with a 7-3 record after the 5th qualifying window, whereas Iran will share third place with Japan at 6-4.

For the last qualifying window on February, Team Pilipinas will be up against Qatar and Kazakhstan, two teams which will be probably be out of contention already. Both these teams will be playing with nothing to lose in their respective home courts and they will definitely seek some payback against Team Pilipinas. But the path to the World Cup will be less arduous for the Philippines compared to Iran and Japan, who will still need to face each other one more time.

If Team Pilipinas does emerge victorious over Qatar and Kazakhstan, they will end up with a 9-3 record — which is virtually unreachable for both Iran and Japan who at best can only end up with an 8-4 record — assuming one of them sweeps the last qualifying window. This will be very difficult for Iran as they will still play Australia again. It is possible both Japan and Iran end up tied at 7-5, that is if Iran beats Japan, Japan beats Qatar, and Australia beats Iran. 

The above possibilities are best case scenarios and a number of factors have to fall into place for these to transpire. But Team Pilipinas is in a much better place than its two main rivals for the last two slots, Iran and Japan, who quite possibly will be missing key players. Team Pilipinas, on the other hand, will have a bigger pool of players to choose from and could possibly parade its tallest and strongest line-up in years. It is therefore not far-fetched to hope that next year, Team Pilipinas will be back in the FIBA World Cup.

(Images from FIBA)

Related: Tickets for Team Pilipinas’ next Fiba window now available

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Team Pilipinas falls short against Iran in Tehran

Team Pilipinas

by Khristian Ibarrola

Team Pilipinas kept it close for majority of the game but eventually ran out of steam against an extremely physical Iran squad in Group F of the fourth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Fired up by their home crowd inside the Azady Gym in Tehran, the Iranians pulled away in the fourth quarter to score an 81-73 victory and deny a gutsy effort by the Filipino quintet.

The visiting squad relied on the brilliance of Christian Standhardinger early on, as he tallied 19 points and 5 rebounds in the first 20 minutes of play.

But a more balanced attack by Iran’s wily veterans Sajjad Mashayekhi, Nik Khahbahrami and Arsalan Kazemi — who scored a combined 28 of the team’s 40 points at the half – gave the home team a slight advantage after two quarters.

Iran amped up the physicality in the third quarter, but the stubborn visitors refused to be left behind and trailed by only four points entering the final canto.

Turnovers and cold shooting from the beyond the arc doomed the Philippines in the fourth, as timely three-pointers by Behnam Yakhchalidehkordi and Rouzbeh Arghavan gave Iran a comfortable 75-66 cushion with under 4 minutes left in the game.

The home team rode the momentum and never looked back, with Khahbahrami and Mashayekhi leading the team with 21 and 19 markers, respectively.

Only Fil-German naturalized player Standhardinger scored in double-digits for the Philippines, finishing the game with yet another impressive double-double of 30 points and 12 boards.

THE SCORES:

Iran (81) – Bahrami 21, Mashayekhi 19, Kazemi 11, Arghavan 8, Yakhchalidehkordi 7, Jamshidijafarabadi 6, Mirzaeitalarposthi 5, Saberi 4, Haddadi 0, Davoudichegani 0, Mozafarivanani 0.

Philippines (73) – Standhardinger 30, Cabagnot 9, Belga 7, Lee 6, Thompson 5, Almazan 5, Lassiter 4, Taulava 3, Sangalang 2, Norwood 2, Erram 0, Maliksi 0.

Quarters: 21-22; 40-38; 63-59; 81-73.

(Image from FIBA website)

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Commitment most important requirement of any Gilas player under Guiao

By Rey Joble

COMMITMENT.

In one word, that’s how pinch-hitting coach Yeng Guiao summed up the most important requirement needed to become part of the Gilas Pilipinas team he is set to handle in the next FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“All we want are guys who are committed. We will not take it against you if you decide otherwise. I am personally awed to see this kind of a talented group together in one room,” Guiao said in his first talk with the pool members who were present in his first official practice as head coach coach.

“I would like to thank SBP and the PBA and of our commissioner for coming up with this kind of a talent pool.”

Players requested by Guiao to attend the workout heeded to the call among them include Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson of Barangay Ginebra, Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel, Allein Maliksi of Blackwater, Ian Sangalang of Magnolia, and Matthew Wright of Phoenix.

These guys joined Asi Taulava of NLEX, Stanley Pringle of NorthPort, Paul Lee of Magnolia, Gabe Norwood, Raymond Almazan and Beau Belga of Rain or Shine, Poy Erram of Blackwater and Christian Standhardinger of San Miguel.

Guiao is happy to see the show of force put up both by the PBA, represented by Commissioner Willie Marcial and Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas headed by chairman emeritus Manuel V. Pangilinan.

“Thank you for answering the call of flag and country,” added Pangilinan while welcoming the players.

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FIBA: Overflowing talent seen as Gilas under Guiao resumes practice

By Rey Joble

New faces and familiar names joined Gilas Pilipinas’ preparation for the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers as practice resumed on Monday at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas.

Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel, Scottie Thompson, Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra, Ian Sanggalang of Magnolia, Matthew Wright of Phoenix, and Allein Maliksi of Blackwater were among those who joined the previous national squad that played in the recent Asian Games in Jakarta.

These invited players heeded to the call of pinch-hitting coach Yeng Guiao, who is taking the reins in lieu of suspended mentor Chot Reyes.

“You can see that the talent level of the pool is so high. You can sense the excitement of everybody in the practice venue. It’s a sign that the PBA is going all out in terms of its support to the national team’s next campaign,” Guiao told FOX Sports Philippines.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, Manny V. Pangilinan and team owner Dioceldo Sy were also at the team’s first workout.

The new players joined the holdovers of the Rain or Shine-Pilipinas squad that finished fifth. The holdovers who attended the practice were Asi Taulava of NLEX, Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga and Raymond Almazan of Rain or Shine, Paul Lee of Magnolia, Stanley Pringle of GlobalPort and Christian Standhardinger of San Miguel Beer.

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After Asiad duty, Clarkson remains eager to represent the Philippines

Jordan Clarkson

by Khristian Ibarrola

Jordan Clarkson will be leaving Indonesia without a medal draped on his neck, but his awe-inspiring stint for the Philippines in the 2018 Asian Games has earned him the love and adulation of millions of our countrymen.

After leading the hastily-assembled Rain or Shine-Philippines squad to a 5th place in the quadrennial meet – the country’s best finish in 16 years – the Cleveland Cavaliers guard took to Instagram to express his gratitude to finally be able to don the national tri-colors.

“This experience was one I will never forget so blessed to play for the country and represent the flag and the people!” the 26-year-old former NBA-Rookie First Team captioned a photo of himself along with his RoS-Pilipinas brothers during a huddle. “Loved playing for coach, along with my teammates/brothers building bonds that will hold strong”.

Clarkson will report back to his mother team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will take part in a training camp for the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season in October.

Although he failed to lead the country to a podium finish, the Filipino-American cager made it clear that he intends to heed the country’s call in future international tournaments.

“More to come! Can’t wait for the next time I get to put the colors on. Laban Pilipinas! Puso!” he wrote.

During his short but sweet stint for the Philippines, the highly-touted Clarkson showed a glimpse of how scary our national team could be with him at the forefront. Clarkson top-scored in three of the four games he played for the flag, capped by 29 points, six assists and four rebounds-outing in the Philippines’ 109-55 rout of Syria.

He also congratulated all the Filipino athletes who nabbed medals in the Asiad games, and shared how he hopes to also obtain one for the country in the near future.

BLESSED. SMALL RECAP FROM ASIAN GAMES.

A post shared by Jordan Clarkson (@jordanclarksons) on Aug 31, 2018 at 7:14am PDT

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