AMA to select 1st in 2017 PBA D-League Draft

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/
Alvin Pasaol, the super scorer out of University of the East, is tipped to be the top selection in the 2017 PBA D-League Rookie Draft set on Tuesday at PBA Cafe in Metrowalk, Pasig.

AMA Online Education holds the rights to the No. 1 overall pick.

Titans coach Mark Herrera will have the luxury of picking his guy from the 201-man pool as he seeks beef up his roster bannered by hard-nosed big man Andre Paras.

This will be the second consecutive year that AMA will be selecting first, after nabbing Jeron Teng in the 2016 draft.
Aside from Pasaol, some of the highly-touted players this year include Arvin Tolentino of Far Eastern U, Abu Tratter of La Salle, Javi Gomez de Liaño of University of the Philippines, and Robbie Manalang of Adamson.
Wangs Basketball-Letran will pick at number two, while Batangas-EAC is at third.
Thirteen teams are set to participate in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup, which tips off on January 18.
Eleven of the 13 squads participating this year will be school-based teams as they make early preparations for their respective mother leagues, namely CEU, Zark’s Burgers-Lyceum, Gamboa Coffee-St. Clare, and JRU, and debuting teams Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian, Powerball-St. Benilde, Perpetual, and Akari-Adamson.
Only returning Marinerong Pilipino and newcomer Mila’s Lechon are the teams that won’t be featuring varsity crews.

Ateneo honors its UAAP Season 80 champions with bonfire party

ONE BIG FIGHT. The Ateneo community comes together to celebrate with their champion teams. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler


MANILA, Philippines – Katipunan Avenue was on party mode as the Ateneo de Manila University held a bonfire party in celebration of its UAAP Season 80 first semester champion teams on Saturday, December 9.

Although the bonfire is done yearly to commemorate Ateneo’s champion student-athletes, the university held an extra special first semester-ending bonfire as hundreds of students, faculty, administrators and alumni flocked the university's Grade School grounds to celebrate the Blue Eagles men’s basketball team’s first title in 5 years.

The Men’s Judo Team and the dominant men and women of the Swimming Team were also honored at the event. But as expected from a basketball country, the men’s ballers were the focus of the celebrations.

After a highlight reel featuring every player’s best moments in Season 80, the new champs were then introduced one after the other by Ateneo alum and resident UAAP barker Rolly Manlapaz. Some were cheered louder than the rest, including clutch machine Isaac Go, sharpshooting point guard Matt Nieto and the Finals Most Valuable Player and Mythical Five member, Thirdy Ravena.

Through interviews onstage, the Blue Eagles amused the crowd with stories of their hardships and triumphs, including Matt and Mike Nieto’s own lifelong journey as twins through Ateneo.

“Sobrang sarap ng journey,” said Matt. “Pero pinakamasarap yung bonfire ngayon kasi dream come true sa amin ni Mike ‘to. Kasi nung bata pa kami, pinapangarap lang naming umakyat dito sa stage kaharap ng buong Ateneo community, and now, it’s really happening.”

(The journey is really sweet, but this year’s bonfire is the sweetest because it’s a dream come true for Mike and I. When we were kids, we only dreamed of coming up the stage facing the entire Ateneo community and now, it’s really happening.)

Others like Ravena used their time to shower thanks upon the fans and coaches.

“Marami po talagang pinagdaanan, pero ‘pag iniisip mo na gustung-gusto mo talagang ilaro para sa Ateneo community, ibibigay mo talaga para sa kanila. Gagawin mo lahat,” he said.

(There were really a lot of struggles, but if you think that you really want to play for the Ateneo community, you’d really give it all and do it all for them.)

There were also a lot of lighthearted moments, like the time Gian Mamuyac was asked whether he preferred his block on an NBA MVP (Steph Curry during a Taiwan exhibition) or a UAAP MVP (Ben Mbala during Game 3 of the Finals). Quivering in front of the massive crowd, the 18-year old rookie said, “UAAP.”

After the interviews, graduating team captain Vince Tolentino finally lit up the bonfire before the singing of the school hymn "Song For Mary". The night ended with fireworks across the sky as loud Atenean chants boomed into the night. –

IOC 'confident' Tokyo 2020 venues will be ready on time

TOKYO, Japan – Tokyo organizers are back on track and will complete their 2020 Olympic venues on schedule, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Monday, December 11, at the start of a 3-day visit.

After bungling the rollout of the showpiece Olympic stadium two years ago, local organizers have come under scrutiny but last month unveiled their first new permanent venue for the 2020 Olympics in a welcome public relations boost.


The new national stadium is set to be completed by November 2019 after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tore up the original blueprints over its eye-watering $2 billion price tag.

But the IOC's Games coordination commission chairman John Coates backed Tokyo 2020 to deliver the venue on time.

"It was a significant accomplishment to complete the first permanent venue," he said before a meeting with key Japanese officials, including Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike and Olympics Minister Shunichi Suzuki.

"There are 6 other venues under way and with the progress of the national stadium, we are very confident of meeting the delivery dates you've set."

Other items on the agenda in Tokyo this week are security, efforts to further reduce the $12 billion Games budget and anti-doping protocols, officials said.

Coates noted further progress with last week's shortlist of 3 Tokyo 2020 mascot candidates.

Schoolchildren from across Japan will vote on the winner by the end of February and Coates said the new sports approved for Tokyo 2020 – including skateboarding, sports climbing and BMX freestyle cycling – would bring some street cred to the Games.

"That youth focus and gender balance will be one of the greatest legacies of Tokyo 2020," he added, pointing to the record 48.8% of women set to compete in the Games.

Koike, who has often been at loggerheads with local organizers over the prickly issue of costs, revealed the IOC president had "praised Tokyo's progress" during a recent meeting in Paris as both sides painted a rosy picture before getting down to business.

Suzuki, meanwhile, underlined the role of the Japanese government in guaranteeing a safe Olympics.

"Of course security will be of paramount importance," he said. "To that end, the government's cooperation will be crucial, in particular in terms of counter-terrorism measures and identifying potential risks and threats to the Olympics."

Tokyo won hosting rights in 2013, beating bids from Istanbul and Madrid, but preparations have been far from smooth.

After the fiasco of the Olympic stadium, designs for the official Games logo were ditched following accusations of plagiarism.

There was more bad news in October when organizers admitted that prolonged summer rain had brought high levels of bacteria to a venue earmarked for triathlon and open water swimming. –



Boels-Dolmans extend sponsorship of women's team to 2020

The Boels-Dolmans team has secured deals with both of its title sponsors until the end of 2020. The Dolmans landscaping company has sponsored the team since its inception in 2010 with Boels Rentals coming on board for the 2012 season.

Following the arrival of Boels as a sponsor, the team has quickly risen to the top ranks of women’s cycling. It has finished top of the team rankings for the past two season with Megan Guarnier winning the inaugural Women’s WorldTour for them.

“There wasn’t much to discuss when contracts were renegotiated,” said Boels Rental’s Corporate Marketing & Communications Manager, Yvo Hoppers. “It’s clear from everything that the team does that its management and riders have the right attitude towards professional cycling, which includes respect, sportsmanship and commitment. Boels Rental is pleased that the team will carry its name for another two years.”

Boels Dolmans dominated the Women’s WorldTour once again this season with Anna van der Breggen winning the individual rankings while the team ended the year over 1,000 points ahead of the next best, Sunweb, in the team rankings. A large part of that was down to Van der Breggen’s domination of the Ardennes Classics, where she won all three races, along with the second place finishes of Lizzie Deignan.

The team ended the season with 29 victories, which included, in addition to all three Ardennes races, the Giro Rosa, the Tour of California and the Crescent Vargarda team time trial. Chantal Blaak also ensured that the rainbow jersey would remain within the team for a third season when she won the world road race title in Bergen.

“Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team is the number one UCI women’s team in the world. Team spirit, passion and commitment from everyone involved in the team have led to our successes,” said Erwin Janssen, owner of Dolmans Landscaping Group. “We celebrate all of our achievements together and I think that’s exemplary of the atmosphere within the team. I’m thrilled that our partnership with the team will be continued for another two years. We are still eager for more success.”

There has been little change to the team’s line-up for the forthcoming season with Skylar Schneider and Anna Plichta their only signings, while Nikki Brammeier and Katarzyna Pawlowska leave at the end of 2017.

Love scores 38, LeBron ejected as Cavs beat Heat

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love (0) drives against Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside (21) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in Cleveland. | AP Photo/Tony Dejak
CLEVELAND — Kevin Love scored 32 of his 38 points in the first half, LeBron James was ejected for the first time in his career and the Cleveland Cavaliers extended their longest winning streak since 2015 to nine games by downing the Miami Heat 108-97 on Tuesday night (Wednesday Manila time).

Love had his way with every defender Miami put on him, finishing 10 of 16 from the field and 14 of 17 on free throws. He scored 22 in the first quarter and the Cavs opened a 27-point lead before halftime.

James added 21 points before he was slapped with two technical fouls by referee Ken Fitzgerald and tossed with 1:59 left in the third quarter and the Cavs leading by 23. It was the first time James was thrown out in 1,082 career games.

Dwyane Wade added 17 points for Cleveland, which has shaken off a slow start and is again playing like the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

Dion Waiters scored 21 and Bam Adebayo had 19 for the Heat, who had won three in a row. Goran Dragic finished with just seven points — 12 below his team-leading scoring average.

With the Cavs leading 93-70, James drove to the basket and missed a layup while getting bumped by James Johnson and Waiters. James felt there should have been a foul called and he stormed after Fitzgerald and screamed at the official, who quickly blew his whistle twice and pointed for the superstar to leave the floor.

Sportshub ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
The Heat closed to 93-76 early in the fourth, but Wade scored Cleveland’s first six points in the quarter and fed Kyle Korver for a 3-pointer to give Cleveland a 102-79 lead.

At the end of the first quarter, Miami had 24 points to Love’s 22 and there didn’t seem to be anything Heat coach Erik Spoelstra could do to stop Cleveland’s All-Star center. Love was able to pull Heat shot-swatter Hassan Whiteside away from the basket, and he was too physical for Kelly Olynyk, who went to the bench with early foul trouble.

Love also overpowered Josh Richardson and tied the record for the most points allowed by the Heat in one half. Tracy McGrady and Lafayette Lever also dropped 32 on Miami. It was also the most points any player scored on Miami — in a game — all season, topping the 31 by San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge on October 25.

Love, who set an NBA record for points in a first quarter with 34 last season against Portland, made three 3-pointers in the opening 12 minutes as the Cavs built an 18-point lead.

Love also forced one-time playoff nemesis Olynyk to commit three fouls in four minutes. It was Olynyk who dislocated Love’s shoulder during the 2015 postseason, an injury that knocked him out for the remainder of Cleveland’s run to the Finals.


Heat: Spoelstra didn’t get too nostalgic when was asked about his time coaching Wade and James in Miami. “When you see these guys in different uniforms it’s always like, ’Really, that looks strange,’” he said. “When I see them, it’s always nice to have that split-second going back memory lane. But my focus is what these guys in here right now.” ... Spoelstra isn’t surprised that Wade has embraced his role coming off the bench for Cleveland. “Any role that has to do with winning suits him,” Spoelstra said. “That’s what he’s been about his whole career.”

Cavaliers: Coach Tyronn Lue said the next step for G Isaiah Thomas in his comeback from a serious hip injury is to play 2-on-2 and 3-on-3. That hasn’t happened yet, and Lue does not know if Thomas will make his debut earlier than the team’s original projection of the end of December. ... G Iman Shumpert was not available after playing seven minutes in Monday’s win at Philadelphia. Shumpert has been sidelined with a swollen left knee. ... J.R. Smith wrote “RIP Petey” on his sneakers to honor a cousin who died last weekend in a fire.

UCBL: CEU vs CdSL in finals

Image: Olivarez vs Cdsl (UCBL Facebook)

Colegio de San Lorenzo routed Olivarez College in their knockout duel yesterday, 78-61, to clinch the other finals berth in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) Season 2 at the Sea Lions gym in Sucat, Parañaque City.

Pro league hopeful Jon Gabriel made a triumphant return as he helped ease the load off the shoulders of Benin big man Soulemane Chabi Yo, veterans Charles Callano and Gelo Sablan as the No. 2 Griffins jumped the gun on the No.3 Sea Lions early on and never let up.

The solid victory, far from its showing in a 74-69 loss in the series opener last Monday, also primed up CdSL in what promises to be an explosive best-of-three titular showdown with reigning titlist Centro Escolar University starting tomorrow at the same venue.

The 6-foot-6 Chabi Yo was back at his dominant form with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Callano continued his stellar play with 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. It was, however, the surprising return of Gabriel that caught Olivarez College by big surprise and served as the key in CdSL’s all-important victory.

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