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June Mar Fajardo maintains strong case for fourth straight MVP award

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Despite the San Miguel Beermen’s failed Grand Slam bid this season, reigning three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo still maintains his strong case for winning his fourth straight plum, as he remains on top of his peers.

According to the updated statistical points (SP) provided by the league Friday morning, the 6-foot-10 slotman, the 2017 Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference, is still a cut above the rest with 38.58 statistical points.

But aside from Fajardo, two more Beermen are in the race for the top individual award. Guard Alex Cabagnot comes in second with 32.96 SPs, while 2013 league MVP Arwind Santos is on the fifth spot with 30.97 SPs.

Rounding out the Top Five leaders of the race are Globalport Batang Pier’s franchise player Terrence Romeo (3rd) with 32.01 SPs; and TNT Katropa’s main man and perennial MVP contender Jayson Castro (4th) with 31.52 SPs.

If ever the Pinamungajan, Cebu native bags his fourth straight plum, he will then match PBA legends Alvin Patrimonio and Ramon Fernandez for the most number of MVP awards.

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SBP, Robbie Puno still looking for ‘right player’ to naturalize for 2023 World Cup

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Though a lot of foreign cagers have presented themselves as willing to play for SMART Gilas Pilipinas and become naturalized Filipino, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has yet to pick on who will be the heir apparent to Andray Blatche come the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

“At this point in time, we do not have any particular player yet. My understanding is we’re still looking for the best possible candidate,” shared SBP vice chairman Robbie Puno during the celebration of the 2023 World Cup hosting held at Crowne Plaza in Pasig City.

Blatche, who last played for Gilas during the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, will be 37 years old when the 2023 edition rolls around. Names that have been thrown out during the calendar year were former Blackwater Elite import Greg Smith, who will be 33 years old in 2023, and Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas reinforcement Isaiah Austin, who will turn 30 by that time.

Still, Puno and his group are taking their time, carefully filtering the candidates as to not hamper the process of the legislative body of the Philippines.

“If our target is 2023, there will be probably enough time for us to make sure we have the right player in terms of his basketball skills, but also his age as well as his attitude,” said Puno, a former congressman representing the first district of Antipolo City.

Moreover, the 55-year-old politician has already planted the seeds for this long process by already talking to the members of the Lower House who will author the bill.

“Right now, we’re ready to spearhead that process. We’ve spoken with a couple of congressmen who will author the bill,” Puno disclosed.

“What we’re waiting for is the imprimatur as to who we will really make the effort to naturalize, because when you start that process, it becomes really difficult.”

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SOURCES: Perpetual Help taps Frankie Lim as consultant

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Frankie Lim looks to bring a championship to a school that is hungry for it/PBA Images

Frankie Lim will steer a once-heated rival to the promised land

The multi-titled mentor has been appointed as a team consultant of the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas as the 57-year-old tactician will be tasked to reboot the team after a lackluster run in the NCAA Season 93 Seniors’ Basketball tournament.

Sources closely monitoring the situation bared that Lim is now running practice for the Altas as he works side-by-side with coach Jimwell Gican.

“Consultant na siya sa Perpetual, pero siya rin ang nagpapatakbo sa practice,” the source said.

Another source confirmed the development and also shared that Lim is looking to bring in two of his assistants in the coaching staff, further proving his seriousness for the job. The names of the assistants, however, were not disclosed.

The Altas went 4-14 last season with Gican at the helm as he relied on Prince Eze, Gab Dagangon, and AJ Coronel to lead the squad.

According to a third source, it was either Lim or NCAA Season 93 commissioner Bai Cristobal who was being picked by Perpetual Help to serve as the team’s consultant. However, Cristobal still wanted to assume his role as league commissioner for one more year, especially since Perpetual Help is hosting the 94th season of the Grand Old League.

Perpetual is looking for an early preparation for NCAA Season 94 as it joins the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup in January.

Lim was last seen in the sidelines in the PBA when he coached Ginebra in 2015. He won four titles with his alma mater San Beda from 2007 to 2011 Before briefly going to Indonesia to coach Stadium Jakarta.

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Cost of hosting FIBA World Cup is ‘expensive’, says MVP

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The officials of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas were in a celebratory mood on Thursday afternoon as the federation celebrated the Philippines’ hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup. And this was a real victory for the country after it suffered heartbreak back in 2015 during the announcement of the 2019 FIBA World Cup hosting.

“When we lost to China in Tokyo, there were two parts in that presentation. The first is the emotional part, we won hands down,” recalled SBP Chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan. “Yao Ming came over and said you won that one.

“We just lost in the infrastructure bid.”

That was why the Philippines needed to alter its pitch for the 2023 tourney. Instead of focusing on emotion, the country tapped the assistance of Japan and Indonesia for its new bid.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

But with this, many wondered how much will it cost for the country to host this tournament that will feature 32 teams from all across the world. The officials of the national sports association were mum about it, only saying that it’s “expensive”.

“The first word that came to my mind was expensive.

“I don’t think it’s right to be precise about numbers,” Pangilinan shared.

“Sa amin na lang yun. We really can’t disclose it eh,” admitted Foreign Affairs secretary Alan Cayetano

Despite the high costs, the SBP is gunning to break the all-time FIBA attendance record.

The record was set back in the 1954 edition of the tournament in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, that attracted 35,000 fans. The Philippine Arena, which will host the semifinals and final of the tournament, has a capacity of 55,000.

“We think we will surpass the FIBA-record for attendance. Imagine a Team USA vs. Gilas Finals,” quipped SBP president Al Panlilio.

Still, Pangilinan — who said that hosting the tournament will be his lasting legacy to Philippine sports — expressed that the cost does not matter if it will give joy to the Filipino people.

“You cannot put a price on this thing.”

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Chot Reyes sees the need for calendar in accordance with 2023 Worlds

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The 2023 FIBA World Cup may still be six years from now, but Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes, like the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, already has major plans for basketball’s biggest spectacle.

It starts with the creation of a basketball calendar here in the country that will mesh accordingly not just with the 2023 showpiece per se, but with the tough road that the national team will have to tread heading into that event.

“We will need to plan a calendar now pa lang and not wait until 2021 or 2022 to put that calendar together,” said the veteran strategist during the SBP-hosted celebration of the country’s 2023 World Cup hosting, Thursday at Crowne Plaza.

Dapat ngayon pa lang may plano na tayo. As we develop the players, we develop as well the conditions to make the team at its’ strongest in 2023.”

Reyes’ plan looks to be a demanding one. And that is why as early as now, the seasoned internationalist is calling for all the local leagues to collaborate in this quest of theirs.

“It’s going to be a difficult task but we have to seek the assistance of all the stakeholders in basketball. Not only the PBA, but the commercial leagues — even the UAAP and the college leagues,” said the former PBA head coach.

And aside from his proposal of a calendar, Reyes and his staff are now looking at the players who can possibly make up the Gilas pool for 2023, which might have the likes of Kiefer Ravena, Roger Pogoy, and even Kai Sotto.

“Who they are, we (coaches) still have to sit down and identify players,” said the long-time national team tactician. “Pero like what chairman MVP said, its’ most likely players who are between 26 and 32 years old in 2023.

“We’re not discounting an exception of 22, 23-year-olds, of course, pero most probably it’s within that [range].”

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