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Filipino cagers show support for Clarkson’s All-Star campaign

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Filipino superstars make one last push for Jordan Clarkson’s All-Star Game campaign

Filipinos have been making one last push on social media to bring Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson to the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. With less than 24 hours remaining, Meralco assistant coach and former Gilas Pilipinas captain Jimmy Alapag, Jett Manuel of the UP Fighting Maroons, and Isaac Go of the Ateneo Blue Eagles are all in with the “Jordan Clarkson #NBAVote” campaign.

“There’s a hundred million Filipinos all over the world so if everyone gets together and pushes that vote, who knows? He can get the opportunity to represent us in the All-Star Game,” Alapag, who met Clarkson during the 2015 Jones Cup, told Tiebreaker Times.

Currently, Clarkson and the Los Angeles Lakers are currently situated at the 12th spot in the tough Western Conference with a 15-27 record. On his part, the 23-year-old combo guard is posting norms of 13.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists.

For UAAP Season 79 Most Improved Player Isaac Go, he believes that Clarkson is one of the factors to have helped the Lakers improve from a dismal 2015-16 campaign.

“Jordan Clarkson’s playing like an All-Star and he is one of the reasons why the Lakers have improved this season,” Ateneo’s big man shared.

Manuel then added that Clarkson’s numbers may not be that high, but statistics should go out the window when it comes to the league’s annual festivity.

“You can argue that some players have better numbers than JC but that’s not what I believe the All-Star Game is all about,” the King Maroon said.

“It’s about fans coming together to support an underdog player that we can relate to when we watch the game itself.”

However, 2015 All-Rookie team member is not in the top 10 in the voting tally for guards from the Western Conference. But even with this obstacle, Alapag, Manuel, and Go hope that there will be a stunning turnaround, calling for Filipinos to vote Clarkson in.

“I’m supporting it! Who would’t want to see a Filipino on the most entertaining stage of basketball?,” Manuel said.

“Not only is he carrying his team on his back but also the dreams of the entire nation on his shoulders,” Go added.

“He’s for sure in tough company but the All-Star Game is an opportunity for the fans to get involved.

“With us Filipinos so passionate about basketball, it’s still possible,” Alapag concluded hopefully.

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Fil-Canadian Owen Graham selected as top overall pick in D-League draft

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Little-known Filipino-Canadian forward Owen Graham was picked as the first overall pick in the 2017 PBA D-League Draft by the AMA Online Education Titans, Tuesday afternoon at the PBA Cafe in Pasig City.

Graham is 25 years old and stands at 6-foot-4.

School-based squads Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas, and Akari-Adamson University Soaring Falcons opted to pass on all their picks, electing to field players from their own schools.

Wangs Basketball-Letran selected Jerrick Balanza as the second overall pick followed by Allen Marquez (EAC-Batangas), Keanu Caballero (CEU Scorpions), CJ Perez (Zark’s-Lyceum), Mohammed Pare (Gamboa Coffee-St. Clare), Kyle Toth (Marinerong Pilipino), RK Ilagan (Che’Lu-San Sebastian), Jose Romeo Bellosillo (Mila’s Lechon), and Kendrix Belgica (Go for Gold-CSB Blazers).

Other notable picks are Arellano Chief Michael Canete (Round 2, 1st) and Levi dela Cruz (R15, 1st), FEU Tamaraw Richard Escoto (R3, 1st) and Barkley Ebona (R4, 1st), and UE Red Warrior Philip Manalang (R12, 1st) to AMA; Alvin Pasaol (R2, 8th), Chester Saldua (R3, 8th), Abu Tratter (R4, 8th), and Vince Tolentino (R5, 8th) to Marinerong Pilipino; FEU Tamaraw Arvin Tolentino (R7, 9th) and former UP Fighting Maroon Rob Ricafort (R6, 9th) to Che’Lu-San Sebastian; and UP Fighting Maroon Javi Gomez de Liano (R10, 2nd), former NU Bulldog Michael Pate (R11, 2nd), FEU Tamaraw Hubert Cani (R13, 2nd), and Mapua Cardinal Christian Bunag (R14, 2nd) to Wang’s-Letran.

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Yeng Guiao pays tribute to Boyet Fernandez

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Yeng Guiao took over from Boyet Fernandez last October 5, 2016

You have to look back in order to move forward

When the NLEX Road Warriors launched its new shield for the upcoming 43rd season of the PBA, incoming second-year NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao made sure to look back at the history of the four year old franchise.

Prior to the success the team experienced during the 2017 Governors’ Cup, NLEX entered into numerous talks and executed a handful of transactions to build the roster that they have today. But the current iteration of the team could not have been made possible without the vision of the team’s first-ever head coach in Boyet Fernandez.

“I would like to pay tribute to all of our former players and ang dati nating coach na si Coach Boyet Fernandez,” Guiao shared Monday afternoon in an event held at the NLEX headquarters in Caloocan.

“Kung hindi po sa kanila, if they did not lay down that foundation, e baka po one year na ngayon, hindi pa tayo ganito kalakas.”

During the calendar year, the Road Warriors were able to acquire the likes of Alex Mallari, Larry Fonacier, JR Quinahan, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, and Kenneth Ighalo that helped turn around the fortunes of the team that finished dead last in both the 2016-17 Philippine Cup and the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup. The losses the team incurred during the first two conferences also resulted to them being granted the second overall pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft that saw the Road Warriors pick Kiefer Ravena.

“We feel that we are a very competitive team right now because of the work that’s been done previously and we just tried to improve it,” the seven-time PBA champion coach added.

With the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation focusing all its resources on the Road Warriors, the pressure will be on for Guiao and his troops. And the veteran tactician vowed to make it all worth it come the new season.

“Makakaasa kayo na sa darating na conference, we will make the NLEX company and the MPTC group be proud of this team.”

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Christian Standhardinger brings home second Heritage Import of the Week crown

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Photo from ASEAN Basketball League

Christian Standhardinger was the undisputed Player of the Week

After almost erasing the scoring record for Heritage Imports, Filipino-German Christian Standhardinger of the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team was crowned as the unanimous ABL Heritage Player of the Week.

The 6-foot-7 Philippine export averaged 29.0 points, 13.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 blocks during the week that spanned from December 4 to 10, 2017.

Last December 8, the 2017 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist posted a statline of 40 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, and five steals to lead his team to a 112-105 road win over the Mono Vampire Basketball Club.

The 28-year-old big man followed this up with a complete outing of 18 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals, and three blocks in an 81-77 victory over the Singapore Slingers in the latter’s homefloor.

Standhardinger bested Filipino-American Jason Brickman of Mono Vampire for the crown. Brickman, a floor general, averaged 9.0 points on 50 percent shooting to go along with 11.5 assists, and 3.0 steals during the same span.

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New era dawns for new-look NLEX

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A new journey lies ahead for the NLEX Road Warriors

Four year old PBA franchise NLEX Road Warrriors unveiled a new logo that is inline with the entire Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, Monday afternoon at NLEX’s headquarters in Balintawak, Caloocan.

The need to rebrand the Manny V. Pangilinan-owned franchise came about after the subsidiaries of the MPTC did so early in the year.

“Yung Metro Pacific Tollways had a rebranding that took a lot of time before we came out with our new identity,” said NLEX alternate governor Rod Franco. “There were new logos for MPTC, for NLEX, for CaviTEX, for SCTEX, and all the members of the Metro Pacific group.

“We had to do that because we wanted to project to the market the complexity of our business and the capabilities that we have as a group.”

With the Road Warriors being the representatives of MPTC in the PBA, the group felt the need to repackage the Road Warriors as well.

“After we had to do that, as I keep telling you, our business includes the Road Warriors.

“The Road Warriors embody the MPTC and the MPTC embodies the Road Warriors. The NLEX Road Warriors is the representative of the entire MPTC family. So we had to rebrand it also,” furthered Franco.

Prior to the change in logo, the Road Warriors experienced numerous changes inside the team. It was sparked by the hiring of seven-time PBA champion coach Yeng Guiao. This was then followed by drastic trades and capped by the drafting of stalwart Kiefer Ravena.

“It’s really an honor to coach the NLEX team. Isang taon na po ang pinagdaan natin dito at napakahirap. This last draft, nakuha natin yung isang magaling na player, si Kiefer Ravena,” recalled Guiao.

“Pero bago natin siya nakuha, mahirap yung pinagdaan natin.”

After all the transactions and acquisitions they made, the Road Warriors will enter the 43rd season of the PBA with high expectations. But for Guiao, what matters most is that they make the MPTC group proud of them.

“We will make the MTPC group very proud of this team,” Guiao said.

“Sa ating mga supporters, we hope that every time that we play, we can show the values that embody this company.”

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