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Basketball

Chooks-to-Go chief not bothered by Star’s name change to Magnolia

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Since December 5, 2016, Chooks-to-Go has been synonymous with the projects of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, including the Gilas Pilipinas program.

The #ManokNgBayan tag trends when Gilas games are played, while the brand itself has become synonymous with the national team. And this was accomplished in less than a year.

Prior to Gilas’ first homestand at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum Monday evening, the San Miguel Corporation held a festive launch at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. The event served as a passing of the torch by Star, a subsidiary of San Miguel Foods Inc., to Magnolia, another subsidiary of the conglomerate.

Unlike the past entries of Magnolia in the big league, the team will not carry the beverage nor the ice cream products of the brand. Instead, Magnolia will carry the its poultry department, using the team name Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok.

When asked about this development, Bounty Agro Ventures Incorporated president Ronald Mascariñas showed no resentment towards this move by his company’s corporate rival. Instead, the amiable entrepreneur shared that he was flattered to see some resemblance from the campaign Magnolia was trying to start, with the current campaign Chooks-to-Go has been running.

“I respect yung move na yun ng Magnolia. Tingin talaga namin it’s flattering for us na they’re like yung ginagawa namin sa Gilas na Manok ng Bayan, coming out with Pambansang Manok,” said one of Gilas Pilipinas’ chief backers. “I don’t take it against them.

“In fact, yung management team ko feel proud na nagustuhan nila yung ginagawa namin and they’re trying to do the same.”

This move will undoubtedly shut the door for Chooks-to-Go’s entry into the PBA, as the league has a one-team-per-industry rule. Mascariñas and his company have realized that Chooks-to-Go will get better mileage and support with the the national team compared to a PBA franchise.

“Hindi naman. No connection at all,” shared Mascariñas when asked if Magnolia’s entry had an effect to Chooks-to-Go’s decision to focus all its resources to Gilas.

“Nakita lang talaga namin, in terms of brand exposure we’re better off supporting the national team kesa magtayo ng PBA team. A new PBA team, parang has a very small chance of getting to the level of Ginebra in terms of following,” he added.

“Sa national team, we get better brand mileage.”

As they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

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Matt Nieto looks forward to learning from Jio Jalalon, Jayson Castro

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When Matt Nieto made his way inside the Meralco Gym Monday evening, the 20-year-old quickly changed his clothes after receiving his Gilas jersey. And once he got dressed, the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ floor general quickly went to work as he wanted to absorb everything he can from the night’s session.

“Actually na-star struck ako. Di ako makapaniwala na nandito ako eh,” expressed the six-foot point guard.

Playing and practicing with the players they idolized growing up has been evident in almost all of the 23 for 2023 cadets. Same could be said about the wide-eyed Nieto as he can’t believe he was side-by-side with the present and the future of the game in Jayson Castro and Jiovani Jalalon.

“Nakita ko pa lang si idol Jiovani Jalalon, nakikita ko parang… di ako makapaniwala na sa isang practice magkasama kami.

“Sila Kiefer [Ravena], lalo na si Jalalon talaga at si Jayson Castro kasi talagang idol ko talaga sila eh. Napapasma nga ako nung una eh kasi parang baka akalain nila ‘sino ba to?’,” the one-time UAAP champion shared.

Nervous, Nieto tried to talk to Castro and Jalalon numerous times during the practice. The two did not turn, welcoming the young buck with open arms.

“Nung nakausap ko na sila medyo na ano na kasi hindi lang sila magaling, sobrang bait pa nila. Madali akong naka-adjust kaagad dito,” he beamed.

Coach Chot Reyes has high expectations with Nieto as he is being groomed as one of the leaders for the 2023 team. Still, he knows that there is still a long way to go for him.

To become a better leader, the second-generation Blue Eagle knows who to reach out to.

“Gusto ko matuto kay Jayson pati kay Jiovani kasi same position kami. And of course yung leadership ni Kiefer, yung mentality na talagang laban kung laban.

“Gusto ko marami matutunan sa kanila kasi wala pa eh, wala pa ako sa peak ko. Sila andun na. So marami talaga akong matututunan sa kanila kasi sobrang galing nila at sobrang dami na nilang na-achieve sa kanilang basketball career,” Nieto gushed.

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SJ Belangel makes leap to top 3 of Chooks-to-Go/NBTC 24

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Ateneo Blue Eaglets towering teen Kai Sotto and La Salle Greenhills Junior Blazers court general Joel Cagulangan remained the top two high school players in the Chooks-to-Go/National Basketball Training Center 24, but there was a lot of movement this week, including the rise of SJ Belangel.

Belangel, Ateneo’s graduating floor leader, had a sensational week, helping steer the Blue Eaglets to an unblemished 10-0 record. With his exploits, he was the consensus third-ranked player of the week, leapfrogging Mapua High School’s and NCAA MVP Will Gozum.

FEU-Diliman do-it-all guard L-Jay Gonzales and Katipunan swingman Dave Ildefonso also moved up the ladder, while UST Tiger Cub ace CJ Cansino dropped to eighth after finishing fourth last week.

Besides movement at the top, there were also a lot of debutatants in this week’s list.

Blue Eaglets double-double machine Joaqui Manuel’s workhorse type of game paid off, as he was ranked 21st this week.

After firing 51 markers last weekend, Bacolod Tay Tung High School’s Harold Alarcon was named as the 22nd top prospect.

Joshua Yerro of University of Visayas then rounded out the list.

Here is the complete Chooks-to-Go/NBTC 24 Week 2:

1. Kai Sotto, center, Ateneo (1)
2. Joel Cagulangan, guard, La Salle (2)
3. SJ Belangel, guard, Ateneo (5)
4. Will Gozum, center, Mapua (3)
5. L-Jay Gonzales, guard, FEU-Diliman (6)
6. Dave Ildefonso, forward, Ateneo (8)
7. Rhayyan Amsali, forward, NU (7)
8. CJ Cansino, forward, UST (4)
9. Clint Escamis, guard, Mapua (10)
10. Aaron Fermin, center, Arellano (9)
11. Terrence Fortea, guard, NU (16)
12. RJ Abarrientos, guard, FEU-Diliman (15)
13. Inand Fornilos, forward, La Salle (11)
14. Evan Nelle, guard, San Beda (12)
15. Warren Bonifacio, center, Mapua (13)
16. John Galinato, guard, Chiang Kai Shek (14)
17. Mac Guadaña, guard, Lyceum (18)
18. Raven Cortez, center, La Salle Zobel (19)
19. Harvey Pagsanjan, guard, Hope Christian (20)
20. Maui Cruz, guard, EAC (23)
21. Joaqui Manuel, forward, Ateneo (N/A)
22. Harold Alarcon, guard, Tay Tung-Bacolod (N/A)
23. Jancork Cabahug, forward, UV (17)
24. Joshua Yerro, guard, UV (N/A)

On Tuesday, January 23, the second episode of Chooks-to-Go/NBTC 24 will air live at 7:00pm. Tonight’s special guest will be former Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas player and NBTC alumnus Jeron Teng.

The Chooks-to-Go/National Basketball Training Centre 24 is the first-ever attempt to rank the top high school prospects in the country today.

The weekly ranking used the following criteria: league stats, impact in team, team record, leadership, defense, offense, and level of competition.

These rankings will be used to determine the 24 players who will take part in the annual SM-NBTC High School All-Star Game on March at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

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Kent Salado re-injures MCL, out for Go for Gold campaign

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Photo by PBA Images

Kent Salado suffers a setback

The worst fear of the Go for Gold Scratchers came true Monday evening as all-around combo guard Kent Salado re-injured the medial cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The injury was confirmed by Kent Salado and the officials of Go for Gold and he will miss the entire 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.

With under three minutes left in the third quarter of Go for Gold’s opening game against the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers Monday afternoon, the 5-foot-9 guard went for a drive but could not get the proper lift. He tried to walk it off but limped towards the audience section of the Pasig Sports Center.

“Parang may narinig nga siya na may tumunog daw,” shared Scratchers head coach Charles Tiu after their 75-68 win.

“We’re very worried.

“I think our PT said baka MCL ‘yun, so that might be a month or two, so that’s a big problem for us,” the youthful mentor added.

Salado finished the game with nine points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. He was immediately rushed to the Makati Medical Center afterwards. At around nine in the evening, the MRI showed that he tore his ACL as was initially reported by Tiebreaker Times. A second opinion, however, contradicted the initial diagnosis, showing only an MCL tear.

Prior to this, the native of Cagayan de Oro suffered a partial tear on medial collateral damage on the same knee last October 10, 2017 during Arellano’s 85-79 win over the San Sebastian Golden Stags.

With this setback, Salado was also advised to not play in the summer leagues to fully recover in time for the NCAA Season 94 Seniors Basketball tournament.

“Okay lang para NCAA na ko makapaglaro,” he said.

“Mas importante naman yun.”

The 23-year-old averaged 19.1 points, 5.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 steals last season. He is eligible to enter the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.

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San Beda overwhelmed by Sale, out of title contention

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Against a taller Moroccan club team, the San Beda College Red Lions could not get the ball rolling against Al Sale, falling 77-104, early Tuesday morning (Manila time) at the Al Ahli Club in Dubai.

With the loss and the UAE National Team defeating Sagesse earlier in the day, the 0-3 Red Lions can no longer advance to the next stage of the 29th Dubai International Basketball Tournament.

San Beda ace Robert Bolick continued his string of sensational outings. After putting up 28 and 27 points respectively in their first two games, the 23 for 2023 Gilas cadet had 20 markers in this game to lead San Beda.

Bolick’s fellow 23 for 2023 teammate Javee Mocon had 10 points but shot just 4-for-14 from the field while NCAA Season 93 Seniors Basketball Finals Most Valuable Player Donald Tankoua had six points, eight rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.

Sale, a team that has three national team players including 6-foot-11 Soufiane Kourdou and two American reinforcements, imposed their will right from the get-go — leading 28-7 to end the first frame.

Sale led by as much as 37 points midway through the second quarter, 51-14. On the other hand, San Beda could not muster a strong run as their longest rally was just a 6-0 spurt late in the third canto.

Sniper AC Soberano and Jeramer Cabanag played their best games in the tournament so far, finishing with 11 and eight points respectively. Co-captain Joe Presbitero also had eight markers.

American Patrick Rembert led six Sale players in double-figures with 22 points. Abderrahim Najah went 7-for-8 from the field for 17 points while Kordou had 16 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks.

San Beda-Pilipinas ends its campaign against Sagesse on Wednesday, January 24 (Manila time).

The Scores:

San Beda 77 – Bolick 20, Soberano 11, Mocon 10, Presbitero 8, Cabanag 8, Tankoua 6, Noah 4, Oftana 4, Carino 3, Adamos 3, Toba 0, Tongco 0.

Sale 104 – Rembert 22, Najah 17, Kourdou 16, Baery 14, Cutis 14, Arnold 13, Almahini 4, Jaddi 4, Elmadini 0, Belhaddar 0.

Quarterscores: 7-28, 22-54, 53-82, 77-104.

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