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Stats Don’t Lie: Will Blackwater Elite win a game this conference?

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Ahhh the fate of an expansion team.

After resisting expansion for the better part of a decade, the PBA added two legit teams (not counting NLEX since the MVP-backed team decided to purchase the Air21 franchise) in Kia and Blackwater. With the rest of the PBA teams drawing a hard-line and not allowing either team any direct hires, expectations for the two teams* have naturally been low.
*Anything more than 2 wins by either team would be a major accomplishment.

Kia has already registered one win this season, overcoming a 15-point deficit against Blackwater. And with Barako registering it’s first win this season against the Sorento, the question to ask now is, will the Elite be able to join them in the win column and book a victory this All-Filipino conference?

Here’s a look at the remainder of their schedule and probability that BWE will pull off an upset (from least to best chance)

December 9 – San Miguel Beermen
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Probability of winning: 5%

Why they might win: Let’s put this is way – this is the last playing date of the season. If Blackwater has zero wins by then, what would be a better motivation to get over the hump other than knowing it’s their last chance to pull it off?

Why they probably won’t win: By the same token, the Beermen will most likely be locked in a tight race for a top two spot, which would given them outrage passage to the semis. With that on the line, you can bet your bottom peso that Coach Leo Austria’s boys will be ready to take care of business.

November 29 – Talk N Text Tropang Texters
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Probability of winning: 8%

Why they might win: If TNT gets caught in traffic on the way to Binan, Laguna and half their roster is late, BWE could establish a nice lead entering the half. But even then, it would be tough for them to hang-on.

Why they probably won’t win: If not for squandering an 18-point lead and losing on a last-second shot, TNT would be the no. 2 team in the standings. This team is loaded at every position, with vets like Castro, RDO, Fonacier and Reyes showing their experience and savvy. Meanwhile, rookies like Alas and Rosser have blended in quite nicely. As a result, TNT has posted a point differential of 9.8 points per game, putting them third in the league. This is just too much for BWE.

November 18 – Purefood Star Hotstars
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Probability of winning: 15%

Why they might win: Purefoods hasn’t quite played up to championship form and this is quite evident in their defense. They’ve put up a defensive rating of just 101.0, putting them at 10th in the 12-team league. The toll of winning four championships in a row and losing one of their young cornerstones in Ian Sangalang seems to have sapped some of their energy. If BWE can get up and down the floor and push the pace (BWE is #5 in terms of pace, while Purefoods is last), they may stand a chance

Why they probably won’t win: Tim Cone’s teams are naturally slow starters. They just picked up a nice win against NLEX last Friday and looked more like themselves. Besides, the talent gap between the two teams may just be too much to overcome, regardless of who’s on the court for Purefoods.

November 21 – NLEX Road Warriors
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Probability of winning: 20%

Why they might win: Similar to Purefoods, NLEX’s defense hasn’t been quite up to par. With Faundo shooting lights out from mid-range (53%), Taulava & Co. will have to respect him and step outside the paint, opening up driving lanes for Menor & Nuyles. Also, outside of starting five, there aren’t any big threats, giving BWE the chance to create mismatches of their own.

Why they probably won’t win: NLEX is the number one team at drawing fouls (25.4% foul rate – one fourth of all their possessions result in a trip to the free throw line). More free throws means less opportunities to run, and so far, BWE has really struggled on offense in the half-court. Overall, the Elite ranked 2nd to last in offensive effective FG% (41.3%). The schedule also doesn’t favor the elite, as they’ll only have two days to prepare for NLEX while the Road Warriors will have a full week to scout and rest their legs.

November 26 – Barako Bull Energy
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Probability of winning: 50%

Why they might win: This game looks like Boss Dioceldo Sy’s best chance to register a win this season. First, before the win against Kia, Barako was posting up a league-worst point-differential at -16.4 points per game, boosted by 4 double-digit losses. The team also has worst FTR% and EFG% rates than Blackwater.

Second, the schedule would appear to favor the Elite. After playing on the 21st against NLEX, the Elite get full days to recover, scout and prepare. Meanwhile, Barako will be coming off a tough road game at Binan on the 23rd, giving them just two days to prepare.

Third, I’m pretty sure that coach Leo Isaac has this game circled on his calendar as the game with the biggest chance to win. As of November 15, 2014, the bulk of Blackwaters’ offense came from drive plays (to the basket and drops/ kicks), compiling just under one-third of all their possessions. On these plays, Blackwater was shooting 43%. Meanwhile, Barako was giving up a defensive FG% of 53% on all drive plays. This looks like a match-up that could perk up BWE’s half-court offense.

Why they might not win: With the opportunity to book at least a play-off spot with a win, you can bet that Barako will be going out for the kill. Ball screens are an important part of their offense and if the young guns of BWE can’t stop this, they could be in for a long night.

Verdict: Blackwater pulls off an “upset” of Barako Bull

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ABL

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

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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

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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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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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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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Basketball

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

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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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