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Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Philippines 2015 presented by Alaska Awards Top Young Athletes International NBA Fan Experience



Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Philippines 2015, presented by Alaska culminated with the National Training Camp held at the Mall of Asia Music Hall, has selected 10 boys and five girls to represent the Philippines in this program.

What started out as a journey across the archipelago—with stops in Puerto Princesa, Binan, Iloilo, Baguio, Bacolod, Davao, and Manila—became an inspiring engagement with several hundreds of budding young athletes, which trickled down to a select 50 boys and 24 girls to participate in the 8th annual Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA National Training Camp in Manila.

“My dream is that the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA program continues to grow, reach more kids, more schools, more cities, and train more coaches. We envision more girls participating, playing basketball, and living active healthy lifestyles,” shared NBA Philippines Country Manager, Carlo Singson. “We are already seeing Jr. NBA alumni in the UAAP and the NCAA, hopefully soon in the PBA, but I would love to see one of these guys make it all the way to the NBA.
2015 jr nba exhibition
NBA Philadelphia 76ers rookie, Nerlens Noel, and WNBA Legend, Ruth Riley, kicked off the 3-day camp by motivating the kids to give their best in a series of drills and exhibitions lined up their way. Among these activities was the Gatorade training session where participants made their way to Focus Athletics Gym to learn about the benefits of functional training and proper hydration.

I love working with kids and feel honored to have the opportunity to come here to work with the next generation of talent. As a basketball brother, giving them a good message on how you need to work to reach where you want to be is a great thing,” added Noel.

In spite of growing up at a time when the WNBA was still not yet formed, Olympic gold medalist and 2-time WNBA champion, Riley, echoed the same sentiments in encouraging more young women to take part in programs such as the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA clinics to further hone their skills as a player.

“My role here is to continue to inspire Filipinas and give them confidence to pursue their passion of playing sports whether it’s for their national team or other opportunities to play professionally outside the country,” added Riley.

During the final day, the event grounds hosted an Alumni All-Star game that featured the likes of current UAAP cagers, Hubert Cani and Kib Montalbo, Batang Gilas players, Lorenzo Navarro and Rhayyan Amsali, as well as SLAM Rising Stars, Ricci Rivero and Tyler Tio. Aside from this, there was the NBA Cares program that conducted a fun basketball clinic with the kids of World Vision Philippines.

All-Stars Chosen

Standing in between the finalists and the ultimate NBA experience is the exhibition game where the top 20 candidates from both boys and girls division showcased their talents to prove why they are worthy to be chosen as part of the select team.


After each kid was assessed by the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA coaches based on their collective performance and ‘STAR’ values (an acronym that stands for sportsmanship, teamwork, positive attitude, and respect) throughout the camp, the results for the All-Star team were delivered.
Joining the Jr. NBA All-Stars from Southeast Asia are Miguel Santos (14) of Ateneo de Manila; Ernest John Felicilda (13) and Jeffy Mailim (13) of Corpus Christi School; Robert Castro (13) Basti Locsin (13) and Lloyd Oliva (13) of La Salle Greenhills; Edrian Custodio (13) of De La Salle-Santiago Zobel; Joshua Garing (12) of De La Salle Lipa, Batangas; Daniel Coo (13) of St. John’s Institute, Bacolod; and Allen Magno (14) of St. Albert the Great School, Pangasinan.

“I worked hard to get to this point and feel blessed, thankful to the Lord to be here right now,” said Castro, who showed tremendous heart despite being one of the smallest players among the competitors.

“It means a lot to me. As a top player, it makes me more focused and motivated to work harder and help more people play basketball,” imparted Santos. “My advice for the other kids is that every time they step on the court, give your best, stay humble and focused, and be proud of yourself for what you do.”

At the same time, the Jr. WNBA All-Star team is composed of Nelia David (14) and Micaela Pentecostes (13) of Diliman Preparatory School; Kyla Flores (14) of Parañaque Science High School; Luisa San Juan (13) of Amazing Grace School, Laguna; and Heart Donor (13) of Assumption College, Davao.

“Magaling kaming mga napili kasi pinaghirapan namin. Pinagbutihan ko talaga kaya sobrang saya ng feeling na mapili,” said San Juan, who came all the way from Laguna to make a statement by redeeming herself as a top baller after being cut the previous year.

Felicilda and David were presented with Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA MVP respectively, while Santos and Flores were named the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA Ambassadors.

Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA is presented by Alaska. Gatorade, Globe Telecom, and Phoenix Petroleum are Official Partners, while KFC and Spalding are Supporting Partners. Official NBA Broadcasters are Basketball TV, NBA Premium TV, and ABS-CBN Sports + Action. Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA is also supported by the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines (BCAP).

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Calvin Abueva rejuvenated with return of physical play: ‘Masarap maglaro’



Photo by PBA Images

For Calvin Abueva, it feels great to play in the PBA nowadays.

The Beast, who has always been known as one of the league’s most physical players since entering in 2012, was all praises for the way the officiating has changed this 43rd season — by just letting all the players play.

“Mas gumanda yung tawagan ngayon, naging physical nga. Naging exciting para sa mga tao, mas marami na nanonood ngayon eh,” said Abueva moments after their 97-83 victory over the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Sunday night.

As has been said many times, physicality had become something controlled over the last two years. Abueva knows it too well, having been a casualty, as he has paid a bevy of penalties during that time.

And now that it is a thing of the past, the 6-foot-2 bruiser feels much better, knowing that he can display his brand of basketball once more.

“Masarap maglaro, talagang pisikalan,” said the 29-year-old forward from Angeles, Pampanga. “Siyempre makikita naman natin kung sinasadya o hindi, basta katawan lang.

“Pisikal. Yun yung magandang laro di ba?”

Aside from the comeback of physicality, what makes Abueva beam even more is the way the Aces have been playing in the 2018 Philippine Cup. After a 0-2 start in the tourney, they have now booked their third straight win.

“Nung 2017 parang nilubog na namin yung losing streak namin doon. Ito 2018 na at panibagong destination na naman yung ina-ano namin,” said Abueva, who had nine points, nine rebounds, and five assists against Ginebra.

“Sustain muna namin ‘to… Sana magtuloy-tuloy ‘tong winning streak namin.”

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Alaska takes advantage of Greg Slaughter’s absence



For the streaking Alaska Aces, their stunning 97-83 victory over the favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday night was partly made possible by the absence of one key player: seven-foot behemoth Greg Slaughter.

The 28-year-old center, who was averaging 20.67 points and 10.3 rebounds prior to Sunday, did not play against the Aces due to a hamstring injury. How he incurred the injury has yet to be determined.

“There’s a small person named Greg Slaughter who didn’t play; I think he has an impact on the game,” quipped coach Alex Compton after the match.

“[They missed] a guy who I think is gonna win an MVP soon in Greg Slaughter.

“Sometimes dito sa liga natin, you have to take advantage when opportunities come your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt [though],” added Compton.

With Slaughter out of the way, the Aces’ big men feasted.

Vic Manuel top-billed with 18 points and five rebounds, and elder statesman Sonny Thoss turned back the clock with a 17-point, four-rebound outing.

“Malaking bonus na rin sa amin, kasi wala nga si Greg kaya nakuha namin yung panalo,” said Manuel.

“Yeah it definitely helped,” added the six-foot-seven Thoss, who shot 6-of-12 from the floor and made four of his freebies.

“He’s a big guy, he’s a big presence inside so it took one big guy off our shoulder.”

Slaughter was approached and asked by scribes regarding his injury, but he was not in the mood to comment. No one can blame him, though, since the Barangay have slipped to their second straight defeat after a 2-0 start.

“I’m always there in practice, going over our gameplans. But it’s better if you ask our PT,” he said.

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Alaska completes turnaround at Greg Slaughter-less Ginebra’s expense



Photo by PBA Images

A strong second half surge was all the Alaska Aces needed to turn back the heavily-favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 97-83, and book their third straight victory, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The Aces, who have yet to lose this 2018, have now improved to 3-2. Meanwhile, the Barangay absorbed their second straight loss and have dropped to 2-2.

“I was telling the guys na parang ang dami nating iniisip, hindi natin ginagawa yung ginagawa natin noong nakaraang dalawang linggo. Sabi ko relax lang tayo,” said coach Alex Compton, sharing what he told his wards that sparked the win.

Vic Manuel led the Milkmen with 18 points and five rebounds. Sonny Thoss turned back the clock as he made 17 markers on 6-of-12 shooting, while Chris Banchero supplied 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds.

The Aces were trailing by eight, 36-44 at the half, but it became a different ball game come the third chapter as they outscored the Gin Kings, 37 to 19, to erect a favorable 73-63 cushion heading into the game’s final 12 minutes.

From there, Alaska kept their foot on the gas to sustain their lead, which grew to as much as 18, 85-67, after their 6-0 spree — punctuated by Banchero’s lay-up plus a foul — with 6:14 remaining in the final frame.

Ginebra still tried to make one last push as they inched within 10, 75-85, but baskets by Thoss and Kevin Racal propelled Alaska to an 89-75 lead with 3:42 left to play — more than enough to knock out their counterparts.

“I was glad to come away with the win,” added Compton. “Sometimes, we have to take advantage of opportunities coming your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt but when two number one picks on the other team aren’t playing… There.”

Jvee Casio had 13 markers for Alaska, while Calvin Abueva nearly had a double-double of nine points and nine boards along with five assists in 20 minutes.

Aljon Mariano had 15 points, nine rebounds, and three dimes for Ginebra, who — despite having Sol Mercado back in the fold after ankle issues — missed the services of Joe Devance and Greg Slaughter due to injuries.

Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and Kevin Ferrer each scored 12 for the Barangay, with Thompson adding five assists. The trio combined for 15 of Ginebra’s 43 rebounds.

Alaska will aim to extend their streak versus the Blackwater Elite on Saturday, January 27 at 4:30 PM, while Ginebra will look to end their slump against the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Friday, January 26 at 7:00 PM. Both games are at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Alaska 97 — Manuel 18, Thoss 17, Banchero 14, Casio 13, Abueva 9, Teng 9, Cruz 5, Enciso 3, Potts 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2, Racal 2, J. Pascual 0.

Ginebra 83 — Mariano 15, J. Aguilar 12, Ferrer 12, Thompson 12, Caguioa 8, Cruz 8, R. Aguilar 5, Tenorio 5, Mercado 2, Taha 2, Wilson 2, Jamito 0.

Quarterscores: 26-23, 36-44, 73-63, 97-83.

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Frustrated Jared Dillinger admits ‘he’s getting sick’ of Meralco’s bad PH Cup runs



It’s no secret that the Meralco Bolts have struggled in the Philippine Cup for the last three years. During the last two seasons, the eight-year-old franchise’s win-loss tally is four wins and 18 losses.

And in the 2018 edition, the narrative has been the same, with little to no hope of it turning the other way around.

The Bolts bowed to the TNT Katropa, 99-81, Sunday night — their third straight defeat after winning over Blackwater Elite in their opener last December. If things continue as they are, it looks like another poor all-Filipino tilt run is looming.

“We’re 1-3 and there’s nothing to be happy about,” said Jared Dillinger, who had 14 points and five caroms in the match at Ynares Center in Antipolo. “It’s a long season though… We [shouldn’t] panic but it’s not fun right now.

“The Philippine Cup has been our Achilles heel and every damn Philippine Cup we get our ass kicked. I’m getting sick of it.”

In this game, Meralco missed the services of top forwards Ranidel De Ocampo and Cliff Hodge due to injuries. But for Dillinger, those issues shouldn’t be excuses.

“When you get two guys like Ranidel and Cliff out, as a team, that’s the opportunity for the guys below them to step up,” asserted Dillinger, who has been with the franchise since 2013.

“It doesn’t have to mean scoring, getting the assists or rebound, it’s just making the right play, being smart.”

Asked what went wrong in this particular loss versus their sister team, where they shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and had committed 17 turnovers, the 10-year veteran lamented the poor effort that the Bolts put up.

“TNT didn’t do anything much, given that they played well. But they didn’t have any secret schemes against us. They just passed the ball around, and they got open shots,” added the 10-year pro, as TNT made 23 assists and shot 18 triples.

“Our effort wasn’t there. We got to put up the intensity cause it sucks right now.”

Meralco have a chance to end their slump against the Kia Picanto this Wednesday. Dillinger sees it as a do-or-die affair, warning that it will be a grind-out affair knowing that the Picanto is coming off a skid-ending win over Rain or Shine.

Do-or-die ’cause that’s gonna be a playoff game. Thank God they beat Rain or Shine ’cause you don’t want to be that one team that gives the win to a 0-16 [team]. You don’t want to play teams like that,” stressed the all-around forward.

“Nothing to take away from Kia though. It’s gonna be tough.”

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