Saturday, January 30, 2016

Overflow crowd expected for Manila FIBA Olympic Qualifier

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Executive Director Sonny Barrios expects an overflow crowd for the FIBA Olympic Qualifiers in July.

Set to take place at the Mall of Asia Arena on July 5-10, the Olympic Qualifiers represent the final chance for eighteen nations in a quest to secure one berth in the Rio Games later this year.

The former PBA Commissioner notes that plans are being made for closed-circuit coverage in movie theaters, as well as giant screens to be placed in town plazas or open parking lots, as a means to make these games more accessible to a wider audience.

The Philippines won a bid to host one of the three tournaments, and Barrios counts on home court advantage to be a factor that could put Gilas over the top, acknowledging the stiff competition they are to face on the court. He adds, "At the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships, we saw how our team was inspired by the homecrowd. For the first time in FIBA history, we witnessed the wave. No one was surprised when at the FIBA World Cup in 2014, the Philippines was named the country with the Most Valuable Fans."

The last time the Philippines made it to the Olympics was in 1972, while the last time they participated in a qualifier for men's basketball was in 1964.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

FIBA to conduct Olympic qualifying draw

The Swiss city of Mies will be the focus of the basketball world later, as the draw for the composition of the three Olympic Qualifying Tournaments will be determined.

The Philippines, Italy, and Serbia were selected by the FIBA Executive Committee from eight prospective bidders to host the tournaments, with the minimum bid being 1.8 million Euros (PhP 93.7M).

Representing the Philippines as a witness for the draw is Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Executive Director Sonny Barrios, who will meet with FIBA's Director of Events Predrag Bogosevljev during his stay in Mies.

The other nations participating in the Olympic Qualifiers are France, Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Iran, Japan, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, Angola, Tunisia, Senegal, and New Zealand.

Barrios says that Pinoy fans will have the "rare and golden opportunity to witness world-class competition in this Olympic qualifier." He adds that this is not "an exhibition or a tune-up or a pocket tournament," and views this competition as the same level as the 1978 FIBA World Cup (then known as the World Championships) that Manila hosted.

The Philippines has only participated in just one Olympic qualifier in its history (1964), but Barrios believes that this time it will be different, since "we will be hosting." He also says that the Qualifiers are a tougher challenge the FIBA-Asia Champioship in Changsha last year, and that the chances of winning it are slim, but believes that the homecourt advantage might be able to tilt the balance into Gilas' favor.

Collegiate Basketball Awards set tonight

The best and the brightest basketball players from the past collegiate season will be gathered together tonight, as the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps and SMART Sports will have their Collegiate Basketball Awards tonight.

The highlight of the event is the announcement of the SMART Player of the Year, from which the winner will be based from the Collegiate Mythical Five (Kiefer Ravena, Allwell Oraeme, Mac Belo, Kevin Ferrer, Scottie Thompson) that has already been revealed to the public.

Other awardees to be feted by the media covering the collegiate beat are:

Aldin Ayo and Nash Racela (Coach of the Year)
Kevin Racal and Roger Pogoy (Pivotal Player)
Baser Amer, Mark Cruz, and Mike Tolomia (Super Senior)
Art dela Cruz and Ed Daquioag (Impact Player)
Jiovani Jalalon (ACCEL Court General)
Jeron Teng (Gatorade Energy Player)

In addition, Aric del Rosario will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his accomplishments, joining Ato Badolato as the only individuals to be bestown this honor.

Hosted by Ceej Tantengco, the Collegiate Basketball Awards are backed by ACCEL Quantum-3XVI, Gatorade, San Miguel Corporation, the Philippine Sports Commission, and the two host schools this season in UP and Mapua.

Daquioag, Dela Cruz, Del Rosario receive nods

A couple of graduating players and a legendary coach will be cited by UAAP-NCAA Press Corps at the Collegiate Basketball Awards tonight.

Art dela Cruz of San Beda and Eduardo Daquioag of the University of Santo Tomas will be receiving the Impact Player award, as they became two of the best players in the collegiate scene this past season, helping their respective schools to runners-up finishes.

Daquioag showed marked improvement in his final season for the Growling Tigers, as head coach Bong dela Cruz unleashed his scoring prowess on opposing teams, averaging 16.4 points.

Dela Cruz led the Red Lions in scoring, rebounding, and assists, averaging 19.72 points, 11.39 rebounds, and 6.22 assists.

The sports scribes are also honoring Aric del Rosario with the Lifetime Achievment Award, the second person to be bestown this nod, following Ato Badolato. Del Rosario is being cited for his contributions as coach of both UST in the UAAP and Perpetual in the NCAA.

Also being feted with special citations in the event are Jiovani Jalalon of Arellano (ACCEL Court General) and Jeron Teng of La Salle (Gatorade Energy Player)

Supporting the College Basketball Awards are SMART Sports, ACCEL Quantum-3XVI, Gatorade, the University of the Philippines, Mapua Institute of Technology, San Miguel Corporation, and the Philippine Sports Commission.

Collegiate Press Corps reveals Mythical Five

A senior and a first-year foreigner lead the batch of players who were selected as the Collegiate Mythical Five for this season's Collegiate Basketball Awards.

Kiefer Ravena of Ateneo and Allwell Oraeme of Mapua highlight the list of honorees, after being named as the MVP by their respective leagues. Joining them are Mac Belo of Far Eastern University, Kevin Ferrer of the University of Santo Tomas, and Perpetual's Scottie Thompson.

Ravena claimed his second consecutive MVP with an eliminations average of 18.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.2 steals, helping Ateneo make it to the Final Four on his final season.

Oraeme's impact for the Cardinals was immediate, averaging 16.33 points and 20.28 rebounds, while adding 1.61 assists and 2.94 blocks in the eliminations. His Rookie-MVP performance helped power Mapua to their first Final Four appearance in five seasons.

Belo averaged 12.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists for the Tamaraws in the eliminations, then raised it in the postseason, averaging a double-double (16.8 points and 10.3 rebounds) to go along with 1.3 blocks in helping FEU claim the championship.

Ferrer blossomed into a collegiate superstar, finishing second in the MVP race with an average of 17.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists and almost one steal in the eliminations. Basketball fans will surely remember his memorable Game 2 performance in the finals, torching the Tamaraws for 29 points.

Although the Altas missed out on the NCAA Final Four race, Thompson wowed the Pinoy basketball world by nearly averaging a triple-double, finishing up with 14.22 points, 11.11 rebounds, and 8.72 assists, while adding 1.33 steals.

It is from these five players that the SMART Player of the Year will be determined, which will be named tonight.

Super Senior Awards nod for Amer, Cruz, Tolomia

Three stellar guards will be recognized for their collegiate basketball careers tonight at the Collegiate Basketball Awards.

Baser Amer of San Beda, Mark Cruz of Letran, and Mike Tolomia of FEU will be cited with the Super Senior Awards for their impressive five-year stint at their respective schools.

Amer was part of a Red Lions squad that won four straight titles during his stay, and in spite of a shoulder injury that kept him out of half the eliminations, he still managed to contribute an average of 8.11 points, 2.67 rebounds, and 4 assists in the eliminations, as they made it to the finals this past season.

Cruz denied Amer's championship aspirations this season, as he led the way for Letran to claim their 17th NCAA title. The "Ant-Man" averaged a team-high 17.94 points and 4.17 assists, while adding 3.61 rebounds and 2.11 steals in the eliminations this past season.

Tolomia averaged 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 66 elimination games for Far Eastern University, while raising them in the postseason to 12.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in twelve total games in his five-year career.

Pivotal Player Award cited for Racal, Pogoy

A couple of recently graduating players will have one final award for their collegiate exploits.

Kevin Racal and Roger Pogoy's feats in the finals of their respective leagues are set to be acknowledged by the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps with the Pivotal Player award.

The Pivotal Player award is designated to players who made a significant impact for their teams in a championship series. Recent winners of this award include Garvo Lanete, Dave Marcelo, Anthony Semerad (San Beda), Ryan Buenafe, Kirk Long (Ateneo), and Alfred Aroga (NU) 

Racal averaged 20 points for Letran as they clinched their 17th NCAA title by dethroning San Beda in three games.

Pogoy, on the other hand, averaged 14.7 points for Far Eastern University against the University of Santo Tomas in their finals matchup. His three-pointer with 87 seconds remaining gave the Tamaraws the lead at 61-60 that they would never relinquish on their way to their 20th UAAP title.

The two will be bestown this honor on the Collegiate Basketball Awards later tonight.

Sonny Barrios in Switzerland for FIBA OQT Draw and Meeting

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Executive Director Sonny Barrios is scheduled to meet with FIBA Sport and Competitions Director Predrag Bogosavljev later today at Mies, Switzerland, the same day that the draw for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament is to be conducted.

The meeting, which was requested by SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan, will center around the Philippines' preparations for the upcoming competition, which Manila, alongside Turin (Italy) and Belgrade (Serbia) will host on July 4-10.

Once Barrios arrives in Manila on Wednesday, a meeting involving SBP officials will be conducted to discuss the results of the Mies meeting.

Barrios says, “Mr. Pangilinan is leaving nothing to chance in making sure the staging of the OQT will be a huge success. Concerns like formation of the LOC , venue, transportation, security, hotel accommodations, IT and media accreditation have also been calendared for discussion right after I return.” He adds that there are already ticket inquiries for the competition, even if there is no information yet available for prices or the teams participating.

The draw itself will take place at 6:30pm today in Switzerland (1:30am on Wednesday, January 27 in Manila). Aside from the hosts, fifteen other countries will be involved in the OQT (Angola, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Iran, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Tunisia, Latvia, Croatia and Turkey). The three remaining slots for the Olympics will be decided based on this

One can understand the draw procedure below.

The Mall of Asia Arena will serve as the venue for the Manila OQT, the same place that hosted the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championship.

The format sees the six-team pool subdivided into two groups of three teams. A round robin is slated for the sub-group, with the top two teams moving into the crossover semifinals. The winners then face off for the right to play in the Olympics.