Laurente conquers bad boy image to become CESAFI Junior MVP

LESSONS LEARNED. Laurente makes the most of out of this season after his punishment-filled run last year. Photo by PJ Estan.

CEBU CITY, Philippines - From being the league’s bad boy to the 2017 CESAFI junior basketball MVP, the transformation of University of Visayas (UV) Baby Lancers Beirn Anthony Laurente can’t get any better.

The point guard and shooting guard admitted that he did not expect to get the prestigious honor because in their team alone, there were many who were also good and all useful to the team. Nevertheless, he was happy he got the award.

“Lipay kaayu kay mao na ako pangandoy sukad pag sulod nako sa UV. Nya dugay nana nako gepangayu sa Ginoo, taga gabie ko mag-ampo na ma MVP ko.” (I am very happy because I have always aspired for that since I joined UV. I asked that from God for so long, every night I pray that I become the MVP.)

His mother who was in town to watch and support him during the finals said she was very happy for her son as this was his ambition since he was 3 years old.

Prior to this season, Laurente had a reputation for his physical game on court and for being a troublemaker. However, it all came to head last season when he was thrown out from two games, incurred a total penalty of P15,000, and was made to do a total of 12 hours community service.

In the CESAFI, any player who is thrown out of the game will not only be suspended for one game but he will also have to pay a penalty and do community service. First offense would entail the player a P5,000 fine and 4 hours of community service. A second offense would double the penalty and the hours of serving the community, while a third would get a player banned from CESAFI. The rules are strict to deter recidivism among players.

However, it had to happen twice before Laurente realized things.

Laurente was thrown out the first time during a pre-CESAFI season game wherein he hit Don Bosco Greywolves’ Ken Gato with the ball. UV paid for the penalty and Laurente was tasked to clean a gym in one of the Cebu City barangays for four hours.

It apparently was not enough to jolt Laurente as he was again thrown out of the ballgame, this time during the season, when he hit University of Cebu Junior Webmasters’ John Bryl Cuyos in the face. UV then split the P10,000 penalty fee with Laurente so the cager had to shell out P5,000 and was tasked to do 8 hours of community service.

He managed to split the 8 hours—4 hours of cleaning and the remaining four hours of teaching basketball under the Cebu City Sports Commission grassroots program. League officials hoped he sees the wisdom of sharing his talent to young ones.

Following that second punishment, Laurente realized that being a hot head on court wasn’t worth it.

“Ako bad boy sa court, di ko ganahan mawala na nako kay mao na ako gusto, play physical ba, nya sukad atong naka community service ko kaduha kay kaduha man ko nakasa, didto rako natagam nga di man jud lalim.” (I am a bad boy on the court, I didn’t want to lose that tag because it is what I want, to play physical, but ever since I was made to do community service twice because I committed a mistake twice, I got discouraged because it is not really easy.)

There is a reason why Laurente resorts to playing physical. He said basketball is his outlet for his anger.

“Basketball, ara ra nako ma-ipagawas ako kalagot, og naa man gani ko problema dira nako masulbad kay para sa ako basketball is my life man.” (It is through basketball that I can let my anger out, if ever I have a problem, I solve it by playing basketball because basketball for me is life.)

But after serving his punishments, Laurente said he will still play hard on court but he now knows better than to let his anger get the best of him in a game.

Laurente started playing for the UV Baby Lancers since he was in 9th grade four years ago.

His older brother, who plays in a varsity league in Palompon, Leyte, was the one who influenced him to play basketball.

Laurente said he was a native of Baybay, also in Leyte. He grew up in Palompon before his family decided to return permanently to Baybay.

He was a student at the Franciscan College of Immaculate Conception when he signed up for a UV basketball clinic in their school in 2013. It was there that he was spotted by UV scouting coach Van Halen Parmis, also a native of Baybay. Laurente was asked to try out, then was accepted to UV’s junior team.

However, his mother wanted him to play with UV’s passerelle first as he was still in the 8th grade. He played passarelle for a for a year before he moving up to the UV Baby Lancers.

Now that he is an MVP, his biggest achievement in the sport so far, Laurente said he still feels the same about himself.

“Ako na feel sa ako sarili kay mao ra gehapon sauna, nya humble gehapon bisag unsa pa imo naabtan.” (I feel the same way as I felt before, and I should stay humble no matter my achievements.)

Safe to say that with his incredible transformation, there’s more to look forward from Laurente who like any young basketball player hopes to someday play in the PBA. –

Who Is Laurene Powell Jobs? Apple Founder Steve Jobs’ Widow Set to Become NBA’s Newest Billionaire Owner

Laurene Powell Jobs at Pier 48, San Francisco, California, September 20. Steve Jennings/Getty


One of the wealthiest women in the world has reportedly become the newest owner of an NBA team. Laurene Powell Jobs, the billionaire philanthropist, has bought a stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment which controls the NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Capitals, according to The Washington Post.

Her investment, said to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, will see Powell Jobs own 20 percent of Monumental, the second largest stake after Ted Leonsis. Though the deal is yet to be approved by the NBA and NHL, Powell Jobs is set to become one of the most influential women in sports.

She would be only the fourth female NBA franchise owner, joining Jeanie Buss of the Lakers, Ann Walton Kroenke of the Nuggets, and Gail Miller of the Jazz.

On March 18, 1991, Laurene Powell’s surname got a little longer, adding what would become one of the world’s most well-known names: Jobs. She married Steve Jobs, the late chief executive and co-founder of Apple Inc. who died in 2011, and much of her $20 billion fortune comes from her stock in the company.

According to the Post’s report, Powell Jobs also owns four percent of the Walt Disney Company. This vast wealth has allowed her engage in philanthropic work. In 2004, she launched Emerson Collective, which is an organization “dedicated to removing barriers to opportunity so people can live to their full potential.”

It focuses on education, immigration reform, environmental issues and social justice. Earlier this summer, Emerson Collective also bought a majority stake in The Atlantic magazine, sharing ownership with David Bradley. The name Emerson Collective, Powell Jobs says, was inspired by the co-founder of The Atlantic, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“What I loved about Laurene from the first is that her confidence was forged on a different coast,” Bradley said. “And, if anything, her ambition is greater than my own.”

Owning an NBA franchise has clearly been a target for Powell Jobs. A few years ago, she reportedly launched an ultimately unsuccessful bid for the L.A. Clippers and, according to NetsDaily, she was also interested in purchasing the Brooklyn Nets in 2015. Fortunately, for Powell Jobs, she looks to have been more successful this time round with the Wizards, valued at $1 billion in 2015 but likely to be worth more now.

Her desire to get involved in an NBA team is intended to help drive forward the Emerson Collective goal. “Laurene and Ted share the same commitment to a double bottom line, that the best companies are those that do good in their communities,” a source told the Post.

New hairdos can't stop UP Fighting Maroons downward spiral

LOSING STREAK. The UP Fighting Maroons had fewer bright spots than Paul Desiderio's hair in their loss to the NU Bulldogs. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines - Three new hairstlyes couldn’t save them from losing 3 straight games.

From ranking as high as second place after beating champion DLSU, the UP Fighting Maroons now find themselves finishing sixth in the first round after a late collapse to the NU Bulldogs, 77-70.

Despite their new do’s, the now-blonde Paul Desiderio and Jun Manzo went bleach-white instead of red-hot, while the new braids of Javi Gomez de Liano didn’t help as he blanked all of his shots in the crucial 4th quarter. Bad times turned to worse as lead point guard Manzo suffered an ankle sprain early in the third frame and would not return.

Team captain Desiderio still led the Maroons’ charge with 15 points, although he also took 15 shots to get there. The injured Manzo abruptly finished the game with just 6 points and a lone assist in 17 minutes while older GDL brother ended with 10 points, 8 boards and a team-high 6 helpers.

Although Coach Bo Perasol refused to call the 3-4 stretch a slump for his team, he still expressed his disappointment with the team and his own performance. “We were all disappointed in the last 2 games. Di pwedeng “muntik na tayong manalo.” We just need to find a way to get through that hump.” (“We can’t accept just ‘we almost won.’”)

“It shouldn’t have been easy, but we could’ve been 5-2 right now instead of 3-4,” Perasol added. “The other one [against Adamson] was last 2 seconds, the other [against NU] was a minute and 30. It really hurts because I believe it could’ve gone either way.”

Perasol remains hopeful for the second round but also admits that getting 5 more wins would be a tough challenge. Manzo’s injury is just the icing on the rotten cake as the entire team was waiting for a return that never happened. Streaky reserve Diego Dario tried to make up for the loss with 11 points – his first double-digit game of the season – but it wasn’t enough.

Fortunately, Manzo’s sprain doesn’t appear to be serious, according to Perasol. “He’s hurting right now, but we’re hoping he’s going to play in the next games.”

Right now, UP still has Dario and Jarrell Lim manning the point. However, Coach Bo was split on who would get the keys to the offense that Manzo has temporarily dropped. “It should be both of them. They have to share.” –

Heartbroken Nadal 'wants to cry' over Catalan vote

DOUBLE FAULT. Rafael Nadal says 'I think the image we have presented to the world is negative.' Photo by Michal Cizek/AFP

BEIJING, China - Spain's world number one Rafael Nadal said on Monday, October 2 he was stunned and felt like crying following a banned independence referendum in Catalonia and a police crackdown.

Sunday's plebiscite was organized under the threat of reprisals and criminal charges but thousands of Catalans stood in defiance of the central government in Madrid.

Nadal, a national hero in Spain who spoke out before the referendum to condemn it, was visibly moved as he addressed a press conference in Beijing, where he starts his assault on the China Open on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old, who grew up and lives on the Balearic island of Mallorca but is also a Catalan speaker, said he had watched events of the weekend unfold "with concern and sadness".

Dozens of people were injured and Nadal said: "I want to cry when I see a country where we have known how to co-exist and be a good example to the rest of the world get to a situation like this.

"I think the image we have presented to the world is negative."

The 16-time Grand Slam winner added: "It was a sad moment, my heart sank all day.

"Moreover, from here, at a distance, you experience it differently.

"I have spent many parts of my life in Catalonia, important moments, and to see society so radicalized surprises and disheartens me."

Catalonia's leader Carles Puigdemont says the region has won the right to break away from Spain after 90 percent of voters chose independence. –

Team Sky fade to third in Worlds TTT

They came, they saw, but in the end Team Sky's galacticos had to settle for bronze in the men's team time trial in Bergen. Steered by Tour de France and Vuelta a España winner Chris Froome, the British team had led at the first checkpoint but were overhauled by winners Team Sunweb and BMC Racing.

Team Sky team arrived in Norway with a stacked squad that included Froome, former yellow jersey Geraint Thomas, former world time trial champion Vasil Kiryienka, one-time road world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, Vuetla revelation Gianni Moscon and the highly-rated Owain Doull. Yet in the end Sunweb's proficiency and BMC's experience shone through.

"We gave it everything out on the course today," Froome told Cyclingnews and De Telegraph at the line.

"It wasn't good enough for the first place but we've got to be happy with that. It's a very tough circuit and maybe we could have done things differently in hindsight but we've got to be happy with third place."

While several teams, including BMC and fellow pre-race favourites QuickStep Floors, organised training camps ahead of the race and arrived several days in advance, Team Sky's approach was somewhat different. They selected riders from the Tour of Britain and the Vuelta but spent less time riding reconnaissance than several of their rivals.

Froome and company started in impressive fashion, hitting the first checkpoint in the fastest time, with Quick-Step second, BMC third and Sunweb a distant fourth but according to Froome the early pace may have come back to punish Sky.

"We probably started a little bit fast, so maybe we'd start a little bit more controlled," Froome said when asked if he and his team would have tackled the course differently after the experience.

"I think we went out a bit fast and then paid the price towards the end. Maybe we could have put more emphasis on getting more guys over that climb with 11km to go. It seems like there were big time gaps made and lost against the teams that got over there with six guys."

On the major climb of the race – a 1.4-kilometre slog with pitches of nine per cent – Team Sky showed signs of frailty. They weren't the only team to do so, of course, but by then Doull had peeled off and Thomas was jettisoned with Froome seemingly making the call to push on with four riders left.

"Initially the plan was to try and get over the climb with Geraint but towards the top of the climb he said 'no guys, it's enough' and signalled to us to keep going," Froome added.

"For me personally it's not something I've really focused on. I'm just here on the back of the Tour and the Vuelta. I still feel good and the legs feel good. I was happy to be part of the team and bring something to the team but as you said, a lot of teams have focused for this and pulled riders from Grand Tours to be ready for this. We just put the best squad we could together."

Froome's next and final outing of these World Championships will come on Wednesday when he looks to win the individual time trial.


Contador: It was the right time to retire

Although he appeared in the race just three times during his career, Alberto Contador seems to hold the Giro in special regard. It was the Giro, after all, that provided him with a lifeline in May 2008, when his Astana team was barred by the organisers of the Tour de France.

Contador was welcomed back warmly in 2011, despite the fact that he was in the process of appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport – ultimately unsuccessfully – against his positive test for Clenbuterol the previous year. In 2015, Contador made his third and final appearance, claiming what he maintained to be his third win, though only two remain in the record books.

No matter, Contador hit all the required notes when he appeared on stage at the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem on Monday to promote the Israeli Grande Partenza of the 2018 Giro d'Italia. He was applauded by local attendees at the presentation when he downplayed the idea that bringing the Giro to Israel constituted a security risk.

"In my opinion, I don't think it's a problem to be here," Contador said. "I was in Israel in 2012 for close to two weeks on a training camp and the support was incredible. Now the situation of the world is a little crazy but it's not a question for just one country or another, it's all the world. I'm sure all the riders will be happy to come here and won't think of these things."

RCS Sport will have been equally content with Contador's comments to reporters after the presentation, when he suggested that Chris Froome ought to line out in next year's Giro in order to complete the rare feat of holding all three Grand Tour titles at once. Contador pointed in particular to the strength of Froome's supporting cast at Team Sky.

"If I were Froome, I'd ride this Giro, but clearly the decision is up to him," Contador said. "He can definitely do it. He's used up a lot of energy in the last few months both physically and mentally, but he has a great team around him, and that allows him to make the difference in the time trials or in the last kilometre of mountain stages. So if I were in his place, I'd aim for the Giro, especially with this spectacular and difficult start."

Barely a week on from his hanging up his wheels, it is perhaps too early to wonder whether Contador has any regrets about his decision. He is, after all, still only trying the mantle of ex-professional cyclist for size, but he evinced no doubts in Jerusalem on Monday, not least because he signed off on his turbulent career with a valedictory win atop the Angliru on the final weekend of the Vuelta a España.

"I don't feel nostalgia, I'm just happy for the way I finished my career by winning on the Angliru. It was the right time to leave," Contador said. "I decided at the Tour when I crashed. I've always given everything and I think it was the best thing to leave while I was still at a high level. At the Vuelta, every day was like a fiesta for me. The last month of my career was incredible, and I couldn't have asked for better."

Contador explained that his time in retirement will be divided between supporting his Fundacion Contador development squad – which will step up to Continental level after taking over the running of Trek-Segafredo's development team – and acting as an ambassador to promote stroke awareness.

"Maybe people don't know the symptoms and it is very important to know to catch this disease in time," said Contador, who suffered a stroke at the Tour of Asturias in 2004.

"I will continue to ride my bike, but I will also have other commitments and a great part of my time will be dedicated to the Fundacion Contador, where we have several cycling teams, including this year a new Continental one." 


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