I have to admit, I feel my heart break ever so slightly every time I see news of the Gilas boys being defeated. Ive been a close follower and ardent supporter of the Philippine NT ever since I first watched the San Miguel-centric, Norman Black-coached, National Team lose a close one to the hometown Japanese in the bronze medal game of the 1994 Asian Games.
Now, nearly 20 years later, each loss still stings with the same poignancy.
On the flipside, however, is the fact that each setback also brings with it some lessons the team can use to get better. What follows are reposts of well-written articles by my fellow writer, Mr. Jude Roque, from Yahoo! Philippines. These posts detail the painful learnings our Gilas boys learned from their last two losses in the 2013 Dubai International Basketball tourney.
Al-Ahli Club (UAE) over SMART-Gilas Pilpinas, 97-82 No less than Smart Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes was the first to see the brighter side of the young national teams defeat 82-97 loss to home team Al-Ahli Club last Saturday here at the 24th Dubai International Basketball Championship.
We can learn a lot from this loss, which will help us in the more important games, said Reyes, who mysteriously lost his voice during the first quarter of the game. He had to write some key instructions on the coaching board during timeouts. After an inspiring 79-77 victory over the third best club team in Lebanon, Mouttahed Tripoli, the national squad composed of mostly amateur standouts, got its baptism of fire in international competition when it faced a very aggressive Emirates team. Al-Ahli won the Dubai Club Championship and is beefed up by American imports Cheikh Samb, Leroy Hurd and Leemire Goldwire.
This was the first time Gilas II played against a home team even when the venue was filled with cheering Pinoys.
Right from the get-go, Al Ahli surprised the young nationals with a pesky full-court press that resulted in 11 turnovers for Gilas in the first period alone. Al Ahli was up 26-18 after the first ten minutes. It was the first time that this team, which was assembled in less than two months, encountered a pressing team. Before the Dubai trip, the team only had a couple of tune-up games versus the visiting KL Dragons from Malaysia.
The trend continued in the second canto as Al Ahli went to its switching defense and aggressively denied all passing lanes. This too was a first time for the Gilas cadet team. Even PBA reinforcements KG Canaleta, Ronjay Buenafe and JayR Reyes, and naturalized import Marcus Douthit, struggled against the pesky defense of their opponents. The first half ended with the home team up, 51-32.
In the third period, Gilas went inside after going 4 out of 16 from beyond the arc in the first half. Douthit, Greg Slaughter and Canaleta were able to get some inside points to bridge the gap a little bit in the middle of the third. But 72 Al Ahli import Samb was an imposing figure in the middle, igniting several fast break opportunities for Al Ahli.
In the payoff quarter, Gilas went to its running game and tried to stage a late comeback, but Hurd and Goldwire would repeatedly quell the Philippines rally with hard-earned baskets. There were also some bum calls made by the referees against the visiting squad especially during the attempted comeback.
In the end, Gilas committed 24 turnovers that accounted for 24 points for Al Ahli. The victors also had 15 steals.
Gilas will still enter the quarterfinals despite the loss, and can possibly even top Group B if it defeats Al Riyadi of Jordan tonight. Mouttahed, the team Gilas beat last Friday, won over Al Riyadi Sunday, 81-76. Al Ahli lost to Al Riyadi on opening day.
Here are some valuable lessons from the loss to Al Ahli:
Playing under the spotlight. It seems that the newly formed cadet team succumbs to game jitters in the early goings especially when greeted by the loud and cheering crowd upon entering the court. In the Mouttahed game, Gilas fell behind, 3-18, in the opening period before catching fire in the second quarter to take a 41-40 lead. It was similar in the Al Ahli game except that Gilas turned over the ball too many times to catch its opponents. But this is understandable in the first few games. They should be able to handle this better in the next game.
Playing on hostile grounds. It was not really a home advantage for Al Ahli in terms of crowd support. In fact, it was the exact opposite. Filipinos make up the biggest crowd in this annual joust, which is why the Philippines gets invited regularly. But the unfamiliarity with the gym and the international game has its effects on the team. The officiating is different here from the PBA, D-League, and collegiate leagues in Manila even when they are all guided by the FIBA rules. Here, the officials are not intimidated by the players and coaches whom they see for the first time.
Playing against bigger opponents. In most cases, the Philippines will be the smaller team against teams from East and West Asia. Here in this tournament, the size disadvantage is further enhanced with the presence of towering imports like Samb. Al Riyadi of Lebanon likewise has 72 import Lauren Woods. Domestic players, especially from Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar and Iran, are not only tall, but hefty as well. Quickness, however, should be our advantage.
Playing everyday. In international competitions, games are played daily. These are usually short tournaments that last for a week, or two at most. This means that the team must get accustomed to playing everyday while still having the morning shoot-around and practice. Playing for flag and country is a tough job that allows very little rest.
But having stayed with this batch of Gilas for five days now, I have no doubt that the bitter taste of the defeat to Al Ahli will only make them stronger and more prepared for the coming crucial games.
Al-Riyadi Sporting Aramex (Jordan) over SMART-Gilas Pilipinas, 75-65 The Smart-Gilas Pilipinas cadet team suffered a second straight loss in the 24th Dubai International Basketball Championship at the Al Ahli gym in Dubai Monday, this time at the hands of Al Riyadi Jordan, 65-75.
The younger and smaller Philippine team fought gallantly throughout the game and had several chances to overtake the Jordanian club team in the game. But the dynamic duo of American imports Alpha Bangura and Darrin Dorsey proved too much for Gilas, which fell to third spot in Group B. Bangura, a former PBA import from Air 21, scattered 14 of his game-high 31 markers in the payoff period, dousing the attempted rally of Gilas late in the game.
But the Nationals are still in contention for the championship as they enter the quarterfinals versus the No. 1 club team in Lebanon Dubai Duty Free Al Riyadi Beirut, at 7:00 p.m. Dubai time.
Letran star Kevin Alas led Gilas in scoring with 12 points, followed by Matt Ganuelas with 11, Garvo Lanete with 10, and Marcus Douthit and Ronjay Buenafe with six apiece.
Riyadi led by as many as 15 points, at 59-44, in the fourth quarter. Gilas made a last ditch effort to make a comeback in the last five minutes of play and came to within six points, at 57-63, on four straight free throws by Douthit. But the Jordanians countered with a 6-0 blast to secure the win.
All teams will have a rest day today as the quarterfinals start on Wednesday at the Al Ahli gym.
Coach Chot Reyes met the team in his hotel room an hour after the game and talked about how each player should find the drive to uplift his game. The team will have a field trip to the desert safari later today as a team-building activity.
Phelps number one in Philippines for round 1 - 1 day ago
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American Forward Eugene Phelps (198-F-90) had an amazing evening in the last round for Phoenix, receiving a Asia-basket.com Player of the Week award for round 1. The 26-year old player had a double-double of 53 points and 21 rebounds, while his team edged out Blackwater (#9, 0-1), the league's bottom-ranked team 118-116. Phoenix is placed at 4th position in Filipino PBA. But it's just the very beginning of the season and Phoenix won just one (their first) game. It's too early to say anyth... [read more]
American Forward Eugene Phelps (198-F-90) had an amazing evening in the last round for Phoenix, receiving a Asia-basket.com Player of the Week award for round 1. The 26-year old player had a double-double of 53 points and 21 rebounds, while his team edged out Blackwater (#9, 0-1), the league's bottom-ranked team 118-116. Phoenix is placed at 4th position in Filipino PBA. But it's just the very beginning of the season and Phoenix won just one (their first) game. It's too early to say anything as the standings can be changed completely after next round. In the team's last game Phelps had a remarkable 61.3% from 2-point range. He just recently signed at Phoenix and it was his first game, where he immediately became new team's leader. Former Long Beach State University star has very solid stats this year. Phelps is league's best scorer averaging so far 53.0ppg. Phelps is in league's top in rebounds (3rd best: 21.0rpg) and averages impressive 5.0bpg and 61.3% FGP.
The second best player in last round's games was 25-year old American Greg Smith (198-F-91) of Blackwater. Smith had a very good evening with a double-double of 37 points and 30 rebounds. Bad luck as Blackwater was edged by Phoenix (1-0) 118-116. The season is still at the very beginning and this lost game may not be such crucial, of course if they start win the games. Let's wait for the next round. Smith is one of the most experienced players at Blackwater and has a reputation of one of team's most reliable players. He belongs to the best scorers in the league with 37.0ppg (#2). He also registered 30.0 boards per game.
Third on the list of top players last round was American forward Cory Jefferson (206-F-90) of Alaska Aces (#3). Jefferson scored 28 points and grabbed fourteen rebounds (!!!). He was a key player of Alaska Aces, leading his team to a 107-79 easy win against Globalport (#10, 0-1). Alaska Aces has a very good start of the season. But there was just one game played, so it's too early to judge them at this stage. Jefferson also has a very good start of the season with very strong stats. The season just started for Jefferson as he played only first game. But it already looks like he can be team's leader.
Other top performing players last week: 4. James White (203-F-93) of Mahindra - 29 points, 21 rebounds and 2 assists 5. Wayne Chism (206-PF-87) of NLEX RW - 27 points, 21 rebounds and 3 assists 6. Shawn Taggart (207-F-85) of Rain or Shine - 29 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists 7. Alex Stepheson (208-F/C-87) of Meralco Bolts - 18 points and 24 rebounds 8. Stanley Pringle (184-PG-87) of Globalport - 27 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists 9. Alex Mallari (193-G/F-87) of Mahindra - 21 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists 10. Chris Newsome (187-G) of Meralco Bolts - 17 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
D-League: Tanduay shocks No.1 Cignal to take semis Game 1 - 2 days ago
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Banking on its veteran leaders, Tanduay pulled off a 66-55 stunner over Cignal-San Beda to claim Game 1 of their best-of-3 semifinals series in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup Tuesday at Marikina Sports Center. Ex-pros Jerwin Gaco (190-F-81) and Mark Cruz (165-PG) paired up to help the Rhum Masters silence the top-seed Hawkeyes in the middle quarters to move a win away from booking a return trip to the championship series. Gaco led Tanduay with 16 points, seven rebounds, and two assi... [read more]
Banking on its veteran leaders, Tanduay pulled off a 66-55 stunner over Cignal-San Beda to claim Game 1 of their best-of-3 semifinals series in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup Tuesday at Marikina Sports Center. Ex-pros Jerwin Gaco (190-F-81) and Mark Cruz (165-PG) paired up to help the Rhum Masters silence the top-seed Hawkeyes in the middle quarters to move a win away from booking a return trip to the championship series. Gaco led Tanduay with 16 points, seven rebounds, and two assists, while Cruz got 15 markers, four boards, and two dimes. Adrian Santos also helped in the paint, finishing with 11 points and eight rebounds, while Jaymo Eguilos (196-F-87) tallied five markers and grabbed 12 boards. The Rhum Masters didn't just snap Cignal-San Beda's eight-game winning streak, but they also dealt coach Boyet Fernandez his first ever semifinals loss in his D-League coaching career. This narrative, though, doesn't appeal that much to coach Lawrence Chongson, saying, 'It's not about cliches anymore. It's about us needing to win for ourselves, We'll do whatever it takes.' Clamping down on defense, Tanduay limited the high-scoring Cignal squad to just six points in the second quarter to grab a 28-20 halftime lead and further compounded the Hawkeyes' woes with 28-point third quarter explosion to lead by as much as 21, 56-35. Cignal had one last try to close the gap and got to as close as 12, 56-44, with 7:33 left, but Paul Varilla drained big baskets late to douse the rally for the Rhum Masters. Game 2 is on Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena. Raymundo Pamboy led Cignal with 13 points and three rebounds, while Javee Mocon got 11 markers and six boards. Courtesy of: inquirer.net
Louis Amundson could join TNT Ka Tropa - 4 days ago
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Talk N Text Ka Tropa (PBA) is close to sign experienced 35-year old American power forward Louis Amundson (206-104kg-82, college: UNLV) who played last time at New York Knicks in NBA. In 2006 Amundson was drafted by Great Falls Explorers (CBA) in third round (23rd overall). The former University of Nevada - Las Vegas standoutis in his eleventh (!!!) season in pro basketball. Amundson received All-D-League Rookie of the Year award back in 2007. He has played also professionally for other... [read more]
Talk N Text Ka Tropa (PBA) is close to sign experienced 35-year old American power forward Louis Amundson (206-104kg-82, college: UNLV) who played last time at New York Knicks in NBA. In 2006 Amundson was drafted by Great Falls Explorers (CBA) in third round (23rd overall). The former University of Nevada - Las Vegas standoutis in his eleventh (!!!) season in pro basketball. Amundson received All-D-League Rookie of the Year award back in 2007. He has played also professionally for other NBA teams like New Orleans Pelicans, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz. Amundson is close to retirement age as a player. It may be one of last seasons in his extensive career, which he may end at TNT Ka Tropa. The scouts decsribe him following way:
A strong athlete who runs the floor well, crashes the boards, and plays with lots of energy. An explosive leaper, who can beat
taller players for putbacks.
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