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.
Fajardo's double-double lands him Player of the Week award - 3 days ago
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27-year old center June Mar Fajardo (210-C-89) put on an extraordinary performance in the last round for SM Beermen and receives a Asia-basket.com Player of the Week award for round 3.
He had a double-double of 23 points and 22 rebounds, while his team beat Alaska Aces (#10, 0-2), the league's bottom-ranked team 93-88. SM Beermen is placed at 5th position in Filipino league. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost that single game earlier this season. SM Beermen will need mo... [read more]
27-year old center June Mar Fajardo (210-C-89) put on an extraordinary performance in the last round for SM Beermen and receives a Asia-basket.com Player of the Week award for round 3. He had a double-double of 23 points and 22 rebounds, while his team beat Alaska Aces (#10, 0-2), the league's bottom-ranked team 93-88. SM Beermen is placed at 5th position in Filipino league. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost that single game earlier this season. SM Beermen will need more victories to improve their 2-1 record. Fajardo has many years of experience at SM Beermen, through which he has constantly improved. Fajardo has impressive league stats. He is in league's top in points (3rd best: 22.0ppg) and averages solid 57.6% FGP.
Second best performed player last round was Chris Newsome (187-G) of Meralco Bolts. He is a guard in his 2nd season at Meralco Bolts. In the last game Newsome recorded impressive double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds. Of course he led Meralco Bolts to another comfortable win 106-93 over NLEX RW (1-1) being unquestionably team leader. The season is still at the very beginning and this victory may help a lot. Let's wait for the next round. Newsome is well-known at Meralco Bolts and he already established his position as one of the team's leaders.
Third place about best performers goes to center Jean Marc Pingris (193-C-81) of Star Hotshots (#11). Pingris scored 19 points and grabbed ten rebounds. Despite Pingris' great performance Star Hotshots lost 84-91 to Globalport (#1, 2-0). But his team cannot count on just a single player as he also needs help of the other teammates. Star Hotshots can only dream about fighting for top spots in the league. They have awful season losing so far all 2 games. Pingris has a very solid season. In 2 games in Philippines he scored 13.0ppg.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Stanley Pringle (184-PG-87) of Globalport - 24 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists 5. Japeth Aguilar (206-C-85) of B.Ginebra - 23 points and 13 rebounds 6. Eduardo Daquioag (180-G-91) of Meralco Bolts - 23 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists 7. Ranidel deOcampo (197-F-81) of TNT Ka Tropa - 15 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists 8. JC Intal (193-C-83) of Phoenix - 24 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists 9. Jayvee Casio (178-PG-86) of Alaska Aces - 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists 10. Prince Caperal (197-PF-93) of Phoenix - 12 points and 17 rebounds
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)
Action in the 2016-2017 PBA Philippine Cup remained hot this weekend with Meralco downing NLEX, SMB surviving Alaska, Phoenix tripping Mahindra, and Ginebra handing ROS its first loss. Game Capsules (adapted from Interaksyon): MERALCO BOLTS over NLEX ROAD WARRIORS, 106-93 Chris Newsome and rookie Ed Daquioag led a big Meralco breakaway in the fourth quarter as the Bolts trumped the NLEX Road Warriors, 106-93, in the Oppo PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. Ne... [read more]
Action in the 2016-2017 PBA Philippine Cup remained hot this weekend with Meralco downing NLEX, SMB surviving Alaska, Phoenix tripping Mahindra, and Ginebra handing ROS its first loss.
Game Capsules (adapted from Interaksyon):
MERALCO BOLTS over NLEX ROAD WARRIORS, 106-93 Chris Newsome and rookie Ed Daquioag led a big Meralco breakaway in the fourth quarter as the Bolts trumped the NLEX Road Warriors, 106-93, in the Oppo PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Newsome and Daquioag each scored 10 points in the fourth period, where Meralco went on a decisive 24-5 run to turn a tight contest into a rout.
That run included a string of 11 unanswered points, capped by a big three-pointer from Daquioag with 46 seconds left that pushed the lead up to 16 points, 103-87.
Newsome finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while Daquioag added 23 points, four boards and three assists in the win, Meralco's first in two Philippine Cup games.
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao's squad had six players in double figures scoring, led by Sean Anthony with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Lines of the Game: Chris Newsome (MER) - 28pts, 10rebs, 5asts, 2stls, 2 triples. Sean Anthony (NLX) - 15pts, 8rebs, 2asts, 2blks, 1stl.
SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN over ALASKA ACES, 93-88 June Mar Fajardo and the San Miguel Beermen did just enough to get past an admirable stand from a depleted Alaska Aces squad, 92-88, to score get back on the winning track in the Oppo PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Alaska missed the services of Calvin Abueva and Sonny Thoss due to injuries while Vic Manuel and Ping Exciminiano sat out on team suspensions for playing in an unsanctioned event.
But that didn't stop the gutsy Aces from taking leads of as high as 15 points in the first half before San Miguel stormed back in the second half to secure the win.
Fajardo dominated for 23 points - 17 of those in the second half - and 22 rebounds as he towed his Beermen to a second win in three games.
Arwind Santos added 16 points, including a clutch jumper that tied the game in the final minute, and eight rebounds while Marcio Lassiter added 14 markers. RR Garcia, meanwhile, chipped in with 13 from off the Beermen bench.
Lines of the Game: June Mar Fajardo (SMB) - 23pts, 22rebs, 1ast, 1blk. JV Casio (ALA) - 20pts, 5rebs, 4asts, 2stls, 3 triples.
PHOENIX FUEL MASTERS over MAHINDRA FLOODBUSTER, 114-104 JC Intal and Matthew Wright waxed hot from downtown to propel the Phoenix Fuel Masters to a 114-104 victory over the lowly Mahindra Floodbuster in the Oppo PBA Philippine Cup Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Intal led all scorers with 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists off the bench while Wright followed it up with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists to lead the Fuel Masters (2-1) to their second straight win.
The two combined for 11 triples, six of which they hit in the first quarter where Phoenix began to run away before Mahindra gave them a very late scare.
Alex Mallari scored 19 points while Philip Paniamogan scored all of his 15 points in the first half for Mahindra. Ryan Arana and Joseph Eriobu added 12 markers apiece for Mahindra (0-3), which lost its first three games by an average margin of 18 points.
Lines of the Game: JC Intal (PHX) - 24pts, 7rebs, 4asts, 2blks, 6 triples. Alex Mallari (MAH) - 19pts, 4rebs, 2asts, 1stl, 2 triples.
BGY. GINEBRA GIN KINGS over RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO-PAINTERS, 81-74 Barangay Ginebra San Miguel launched a big 11-0 run in the fourth quarter to stifle the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 81-74, and pick up their first win in the Oppo PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Japeth Aguilar tallied 23 points and 13 boards to lead Ginebra (1-1) which spoiled the bid of Rain or Shine (2-1) for a 3-0 start.
Down by four, 74-70, with 4:08 remaining, Ginebra woke up starting with Aguilar's two free throws. Sol Mercado tied the score at 74-all on a jumper with 3:01 left.
Joe Devance then surprised his defender with a quick jumper, then Aguilar followed it with his own basket to give Ginebra a 78-74 lead with 1:05 left.
Devance added 13 points and eight boards for Ginebra which won the game despite missing all of its 14 three-point attempts.
Raymond Almazan scored 13 points while Yap chipped in 10 markers for Rain or Shine in the losing effort.
Lines of the Game: Japeth Aguilar (GIN) - 23pts, 13rebs, 1ast, 1blk. Raymond Almazan (ROS) - 13pts, 15rebs, 1blk.
The 2016-2017 PBA Philippine Cup continued to heat up this week. Phoenix had a big upset win over SMB last Wednesday, while Rain or Shine also throttled past Mahindra. Just last night, it was GlobalPort who prevailed over Star even as TNT handed Blackwater its first loss of the season. Game Capsules (adapted from Interaksyon): PHOENIX FUEL MASTERS over SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN, 92-85 The Phoenix Fuel Masters got a big game from JC Intal plus some key contributions from Simon Enciso and a few... [read more]
The 2016-2017 PBA Philippine Cup continued to heat up this week. Phoenix had a big upset win over SMB last Wednesday, while Rain or Shine also throttled past Mahindra. Just last night, it was GlobalPort who prevailed over Star even as TNT handed Blackwater its first loss of the season.
Game Capsules (adapted from Interaksyon):
PHOENIX FUEL MASTERS over SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN, 92-85 The Phoenix Fuel Masters got a big game from JC Intal plus some key contributions from Simon Enciso and a few others as they picked up a big win over the San Miguel Beermen, 92-85, in the Oppo PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Ynares Center.
Intal scored 22 points and made some clutch baskets while Enciso dominated in a red-hot stretch in the third quarter to finish with 15 points and nine assists.
Other strong performers included rookies Matthew Wright and Gelo Alolino, who scored 14 and 13 points respectively, and Willy Wilson, who only mustered six points but grabbed 18 big rebounds alongside four assists.
Reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo finished with 19 points and 24 rebounds to lead the Beermen.
Lines of the Game: Simon Enciso (PHX) - 15pts, 7rebs, 9asts, 5 triples. June Mar Fajardo (SMB) - 19pts, 24rebs.
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO-PAINTERS over MAHINDRA FLOODBUSTER, 105-83 James Yap finally made his much-anticipated debut for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters who put on an epic shooting display, pouring in a total of 18 three-pointers to drown the hapless Mahindra Floodbuster, 105-83, in the Oppo PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday at Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Yap, who missed Rain or Shine's season opener last week, contributed 10 points and achieved a career milestone by moving to fifth on the all-time three-pointers made list in his first game since being traded by his former long-time squad Star Hotshots in a blockbuster deal during the off-season.
Jericho Cruz scored 14 of his 15 points in the first half, spiked by four triples, as well as three rebounds and four assists to lead Rain or Shine's balanced attack that saw 14 of its 15 players make at least one field goal.
Alex Mallari had a double-double of 10 points and 10 boards to lead Mahindra which dropped its second straight game. Philip Paniamogan also had 10 points, while rookie Russell Escoto grabbed eight boards along with his 10 markers.
Lines of the Game: Maverick Ahanmisi (ROS) - 14pts, 4rebs, 4asts, 1stl. Alex Mallari (MAH) - 10pts, 10rebs, 1stl.
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIER over STAR HOTSHOTS, 91-84 The GlobalPort Batang Pier leapt out to a huge lead in the first quarter and did enough to protect it the rest of the way as they beat the Star Hotshots, 91-84, in the Oppo PBA Philippine Cup on Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Stanley Pringle scored 24 points - 12 of those in a blistering first quarter for the Batang Pier - while Terrence Romeo added 18 points and eight assists, though he did have seven turnovers.
KG Canaleta added 12 markers and seven boards while JR Quinahan scored just six points but grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out four assists in a solid performance.
Marc Pingris and Aldrech Ramos paired up for 37 points to pace Star.
Lines of the Game: Stanley Pringle (GLO) - 24pts, 3rebs, 2asts, 2stls, 1blk. Marc Pingris (STA) - 19pts, 8rebs, 2asts, 2stls, 1blk.
TNT KA TROPA over BLACKWATER ELITE, 99-92 Jayson Castro made a triumphant return for the TNT KaTropa as they slammed the erstwhile unbeaten Blackwater Elite, 99-92, for a second consecutive win in the Oppo PBA Philippine Cup on Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Mo Tautuaa and Castro each scored 20 points for TNT, which tied their victims in the standings at 2-1.
Tautuaa shot 8-for-12 from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc while Castro had five rebounds and five assists. Ranidel De Ocampo added 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists in a strong showing.
Blackwater's super rookie Mac Belo, who led them to two straight wins to open the season, finished with 21 points and nine rebounds for the Elite in the loss.
Lines of the Game: Jayson Castro (TNT) - 20pts, 5rebs, 5asts. Mac Belo (BLA) - 21pts, 9rebs, 2asts, 1stl.
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