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Another emotional return for Kelly Williams



Since being sidelined in 2009 due to a bout with a rare blood disorder, it has been a constant on and off, up and down career for Talk ‘N Text’s Kelly Williams.

Having to deal with several ailments has forced him to miss a huge chunk of his PBA career. There would be moments where Williams would enter the Tropang Texters’ practice facility not to train, but to announce that he’d be leaving indefinitely.

The latest chapter in that roller-coaster ride happened in November last year, when the Talk ‘N Text forward faced pneumonia. Much has been said via his blog “What’s The Point?” published last January. Here’s a paragraph of that post below, giving the people a glimpse of how painful it was for the former PBA Most Valuable Player:

Kelly Williams

“Why do I do this? Why can’t  I forget all the ‘rise higher’ stuff and just break some things this time? Yup, that’s me asking myself that. See, after battling a bout of pneumonia, getting fluid drained from atop one of my lungs twice, then ringing in my 2015 with a foot long pigtail catheter stuck in my chest for a week, which brought me some of the worst uncomfortable pain I’ve had to endure in my life, I was building a good case. This was in a span of almost eight weeks. Now, counting all the blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds and follow-ups, I was in the hospital about 70% of the time. Of course, I’ve been no stranger to the place, having to deal with this blood disorder I’ve had since April 2009. Don’t get me started on how much I hate dealing with the medication that I’ve had to take for it though. I’ve tried to vent my full frustration about Prednisone in this blog post from 2011. I’ll just say that six years on that awful steroid will definitely change a person. Not to mention it certainly didn’t mix well with the antibiotics I had to take for my recent issues.”

Williams also missed several games in the Commissioner’s Cup, and he last suited up on February 4 in a loss against Meralco . [READ: Meralco escapes feisty Talk ‘N Text to go 3-0]

To say Williams has been suffering is an understatement. In spite of times where he just wanted to give it all up after six long years of agony, basketball still drives him to keep going.

It would have been more painful for him to just be watching PBA games in America than actually playing. After every disease or injury that forced him to sit down, Williams always stages a return.

On Wednesday, with the Tropang Texters already ahead by a mile against a struggling San Miguel crew, head coach Jong Uichico approached Williams to tell him to check in.

Williams got up, raced to the scorers table, and behind him were fans clad in blue and gold, who backed the forward with loud chants of “Kelly! Kelly!” – a moment Williams was there for.

“When I heard that, I got a bit emotional going to the scorers table. When you see that, when you went through stuff, and you feel you’re alone and nobody cares or understands. Seeing that response, it gives you a lift. I’ve always been thankful. To hear that, really felt good,” Williams said.

“It’s a tough battle but that’s just life. You just take a go with the bad and try to work my way back into shape. I am just thankful for my teammates and coaches who helped me get back in shape. I feel great and I’m ready.”

Williams may have grabbed a rebound and just one attempt in over three minutes of play, but it was about being able to step on hardwood again, after spending so much time recuperating and receiving treatment.

“It’s a long process. It’s a lot of working out and sorting things together. With the blood disorder I’ve been on medication for six years now. I’ve accepted that, and I’m just here to balance that out. If something changes, it changes, but I am doing well with it,” he said.

“I found a way around it. It’s just it is what it is. I am ready. Before the pneumonia, I was playing at a high level with the training we had in the offseason. So it’s about getting back to that.”

It was another emotional return for one of the toughest guys in the league. What is clear to the people is Williams just isn’t going to stop, because basketball is what he loves.

Like what it says in one of his books, it’s about rising higher.

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Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa



After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Ryan Moss grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record



Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Ilocos United takes leave from PFL



Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level



After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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