Thursday, May 31, 2018

Recapping Day 1 of BWB Asia 2018

The NBA and FIBA kicked off its tenth edition of the Basketball without Borders Asia Camp yesterday at The NBA Academy India in Delhi, with sixty-six participants from all across the region taking to the court and learning from the different coaches and guests.

NBA players Corey Brewer, Caris LeVert, Dwight Powell, and BWB alum Kelly Olynyk, and former WNBA players Ruth Riley and Ebony Hoffman were on hand for the event, as well as Indian nationals Satnam Singh and Amjyot Singh to help assist in teaching the campers. Also present are current NBA assistants Bret Brielmaier, Darvin Ham, Ryan Saunders, and Mike Wells, with Casey Smith acting as the athletic trainer. Current World Association of Basketball Coaches Patrick Hunt is the camp director.

The morning saw the campers go through a variety of activities like movement efficiency, positional skill development, shooting and skills competitions, and five-on-five scrimmages. Then during the afternoon, they helped conduct a basketball clinic for kids from the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program, which helps teach the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle and the values of the game, including teamwork, respect, determination, and community, while also helping promote cultural understanding.

Here are some quotes from Day 1:

LeVert: It was a great first day at the camp. The kids are very receptive here and are eager to learn.  I am looking forward to having a great time with them here.

Powell: It’s amazing to see the talent here. From what I saw in the last few hours here, these guys have much more to not only be the best of youth talent in Asia but be among the best in the world. I am glad to be here and help them in whatever way possible.

Olynyk: Back in 2009, BWB was an unbelievable experience. The learning at such camps helps you develop and elevate your game. You have these fantastic coaches and current players, you only get  better from here. It’s a great opportunity. The level of knowledge or competition too for the campers here is awesome. It’s always great to play against the best.

Satnam Singh: This BWB Camp is an opportunity of a lifetime. Life if all about making the most of the opportunities one gets. Like I got an opportunity to be in NBA and made whatever best I could out of it, this camp should serve as a great platform for campers to move up in their basketball careers.

Amjyot Singh: This is a great setup for all the campers here. I’m glad that I could come here and share things that I have learnt so far. The level of coaches and players here is very good and the campers should go back as better players and human beings too.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Bruce Bowen to join Filipino fans in checking out the NBA Finals

Bruce Bowen
The NBA announced earlier this afternoon that three-time NBA Champion Bruce Bowen is set to visit the Philippines to celebrate the NBA Finals with Pinoy fans.

According to the defensive workhorse, "I look forward to visiting the Philippines to enjoy the NBA Finals alongside Filipino fans. I’ve heard so much about the Philippines and their basketball fandom, and I can’t wait to experience it for myself."

Bowen will be attending the NBA Finals viewing parties that Solar has set up for Game 1 on June 1 at the Eastwood City Mall Activity Center and for Game 2 at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Glorietta 2 in Makati on June 4.

Bowen will also be with the #NBAStreamSquad on June 3 at the Eastwood City Mall Activity Center. and will be featured on the #NBAStreamSquad's preview of the NBA Finals. In addition, he will also be on the NBA Philippines' Facebook page on May 31 and June 3.

Capping things is a NBA Cares activity on June 2, where he will help lead a basketball clinic at the NBA-revitalized basketball court at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines College of Engineering.

BWB Asia set for 10th edition this week

The NBA, FIBA, and the Basketball Federation of India are set to host the tenth edition of Basketball Without Borders Asia this week.

Set to take place between May 30 and June 2 at the NBA Academy India in Delhi, it would be the second time BWB Asia is held in the subcontinent.

66 have been selected to participate in this special camp, including a couple of Filipinos in Forthsky Padrigao and Raven Cortez.

Participants will be undergoing a variety of activities on and off the court, including movement efficiency, positional skill development, shooting and skills competitions, 5-on-5 games, and daily life skills seminars focusing on health, leadership and communication. After four days, a boy and a girl will be named as BWB Asia 2018 MVPs.

A selection of players from the NBA will be helping out in coaching these kids, namely Corey Brewer, Caris LeVert, Kelly Olynyk, and Dwight Powell, as well as former WNBA champion Ruth Riley and former WNBA player Ebony Hoffman. Olynyk would be at home in this situation as a BWB alum (Americas 2009). Aside from them, current NBA assistant coaches Bret Brielmaier of the Brooklyn Nets, Darvin Ham of the Atlanta Hawks, Ryan Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Mike Wells of the Utah Jazz, will also serve as BWB Asia 2018 coaches. World Association of Basketball Coaches President Patrick Hunt will serve as the camp director, while Casey Smith of the Dallas Mavericks will act as the camp’s athletic trainer.

Preceding BWB Asia is a special camp tailored for eighteen female Indian prospects. Part of the NBA Academies' Women's Program, it will have Riley, 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Jennifer Azzi, and Blair Hardiek overseeing the camp. The three serve as the NBA Academy's global technical directors for women's programming across all seven NBA Academies worldwide.

Aside from these, both camps will have a variety of NBA Cares activities and Jr. NBA community outreach efforts with the youth in New Delhi, in partnership with local community organizations. Such an alliance highlights the power of sport to promote cultural understanding while teaching the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle and the values of the game, which includes teamwork, respect, determination, and community.

The Basketball Without Borders program has reached almost 3,200 participants from over 127 countries and territories since 2001,with fifty alums either drafted into the league or were signed as free agents. Currently 24 alumni were on the opening night rosters this season. 53 BWB camps have taken place in 33 cities across 27 countries.

An official partner since 2002, Nike will help outfit the campers of BWB Asia.

PLDT and SMART to offer NBA League Pass

PLDT / SMART + NBA = good times

Last week, telecom and digital service providers PLDT and SMART entered into a multi-year partnership with the NBA, allowing the former to offer the latter's NBA League Pass to its 62 million subscribers in the Philippines.

NBA League Pass is the league's premium live game subscription service, allowing fans to access games whether live or on demand either online or through their mobile device. Already available in more than two hundred countries, NBA LP not only allows users to watch regular season and playoff games in high-definition, but also the NBA All-Star Weekend, as well as select preseason and NBA Summer League games. In watching the games, viewers also have the ability to pick their preferred viewing options, which includes NBA Mobile View, which is tailored for viewing on tablets or mobile phones.

Under this new partnership, PLDT and SMART subscribers will have the ability to avail of the service, either through using the PhP 50 Day Pass or bundling the service onto their current plan.

For SMART subscribers, just text NBA50 to 9999 to avail of the service for a 24-hour period, whilst PLDT Home users can tack on their preferred NBA League Pass offering onto their monthly broadband subscription.

In addition, both PLDT and SMART subscribers will have access to NBA highlights, recaps, and top plays daily on the official websites of PLDT Home and Smart 360.

PLDT and SMART Senior Vice President and Head of Consumer Business Market Development Oscar A. Reyes, Jr., shares, "Filipinos have an unparalleled love for basketball, which is why the game has been at the center of our advocacy for sports excellence all over the country. Through our groundbreaking partnership with NBA, we look forward to empowering Filipinos with digital experiences that enrich their lifestyle whether at home or on-the-go – through our world-class partners and innovative platforms, powered by the country’s most extensive and robust fixed line and wireless networks."

NBA Philippines Managing Director Carlo Singson adds, "We are excited to work with PLDT and Smart, two companies that share our passion for providing live NBA action and exciting content to our Filipino fans on the devices they use most. PLDT and Smart provide the ideal platform for us to broaden our reach in the Philippines and provide more channels to bring the NBA experience to our passionate fans across the country."

In addition, PLDT and SMART will now be official partners in the upcoming NBA 3X Philippines presented by AXA. NBA 3XPH is the league's 3x3 tournament in the country that is spiced up by authentic NBA entertainment.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Ayala Malls, ABS-CBN Sports bring HoopBattle 3x3 to Manila

The rise of 3x3 basketball continues, as Ayala Malls Synergies, Inc. and ABS-CBN Sports have joined forces to port over the HoopBattle Championship 3x3 from China to the Philippines.

The announcement was made at the Ayala Malls Verts North in Quezon City earlier this week, with 48 teams getting the chance to play for the right to be crowned the first champion of this tournament, the first one of its kind to take place outside China. HBC 3x3 general manager Temple Deng says, "It is a privilege to bring the top Chinese basketball 3x3 game to the Philippines."

HoopBattle was established in 2015, with the vision of highlighting the best upcoming basketball talent in China. With the Filipinos' passion for the sport, it was convenient to bring the tournament over. It is played under standard FIBA 3x3 rules with the support of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas. The major tweak for this tournament lies in the team's option to include a woman on their four-man roster.

In collaboration with Vivo Philippines, the Vivo HoopBattle Championship Philippines will take place at a particular Ayala Mall starting July 1, with the final to take place on July 29 at Market! Market! ABS-CBN Sports will handle broadcast of the tournament, with the final to be shown LIVE on S+A. The finalists will get the chance to travel to China and play against Chinese opposition.

Interested parties can download the application forms on, with the deadline for submission set for June 3. The final field will be revealed a week later after the screening committee that includes officials from Ayala Malls, S+A, and Virtual Playground will go through the prospective field.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Folayang returns to Singapore to restart comeback bid

Eduard Folayang in his last fight
The last time Eduard Folayang fought in Singapore, he claimed the biggest victory of his professional career.

His win over Shinya Aoki at ONE: Defending Honor back in November 2016 was a result few, if not no one, expected. Folayang drove a hard knee to the then-ONE Lightweight World Champion, then unleashed a barrage of punches that eventually forced referee Yuji Shimada to stop the fight in the third round. Aoki had been considered as one of the most dominant Asian mixed martial artists in recent years.

Fast forward to May 18, the man called "Landslide" returns to the city-state to fight the undefeated Russian prospect Kharun Atlangeriev as part of the undercard for ONE: Unstoppable Dream inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Eduard says, "Singapore is where I won the title. I was the underdog in that title bout against Shinya Aoki, but I managed to pull off the upset win. It was so memorable. The country will always be dear to my heart." He adds, "Singapore is an awesome country. The venue is so awesome. It’s truly world-class. The energy is palpable. I won’t say it’s my home court, but it gives me the motivation and inspiration because it is the place where I became the champion."

After losing his title to Martin Nguyen, Folayang admitted that he was at a loss as to how he could address his defeat. He bares, "It was hard to talk about it for a time Finding the right words to describe what I was feeling was a challenge, even for myself." He adds, "I think that is just how it goes for me after a tough loss. Losing is not new to me, but it is also an opportunity for me to take a step back and try to pick up the pieces."

Ultimately, the Team Lakay standout decided to take an extended break in order to understand and break down the errors that cost him the title. "I needed the time off to realize where I went wrong – whether that was in my preparations or in the fight itself. I wanted to know where I had miscalculated. I reviewed every angle, and I really took the time to look at my mistakes."

He also acknowledged that the extended break allowed him to relax and ease his mind. "I am a firm believer that this game is mental, first and foremost. After you get your mind right, then you can start to work on the physical aspect of it all. It does not matter how strong you are; if you are not in the right frame of mind, you cannot move forward."

Armed with a fresh outlook, Folayang declares that he is ready for the quest to reclaim the title. "I am more motivated than ever. I am definitely looking forward to what 2018 is going to bring. I am laser-focused, and I am confident that I can get the world title back."

His road towards reclaiming the title will not be easy, as his first fight since losing the title will be against the man called "the Predator." Atlangeriev has won all eleven of his fights, with only one of them going the full distance.

Folayang says, "I won't take any opponent for granted, especially not someone as talented as my opponent on May 18. I still have much to do in the sport of mixed martial arts. I'm going to kick off the next chapter of my career against one of the top prospects in this promotion"

He concludes, "You win some, and you lose some. It is part of being an athlete. Despite the losses, I remain as motivated and as determined as ever. One loss will not stop me from reaching for the stars and chasing my dreams. I am working harder than ever to get back to championship form. A different ‘Landslide’ is ready to emerge from the rubble."

Cauley-Stein, Swoopes set to grace Jr. NBA National Training Camp

The NBA announced today revealed the two individuals that will be the guests in the 2018 edition of the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA National Training Camp on May 18-20.

Sacramento Kings big man Willie Cauley-Stein and Basketball Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes are headed to Manila next week to help coach, identify, and select the latest Jr. NBA Philippines All-Stars. They will also serve as coaches for the Jr. NBA Alumni All-Star Game.

Cauley-Stein shares, "Filipinos are among the most passionate basketball fans in the world and I’m eager to work with these dedicated young players who have earned the right to be chosen as Jr. NBA All-Stars." He adds, "I’m excited to share my basketball knowledge and help the kids become the best version of themselves on and off the court." The sixth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Willie averaged 12.8 points, seven rebounds, and 2.4 assists for the Kings this season.

For Swoopes, she says, "Participating in sports and having proper nutrition are both integral parts of a child’s holistic development as it touches on physical, emotional and mental well-being. Through the Jr. NBA program, I look forward to this opportunity to contribute to our goal of getting more kids, especially girls, to play the game of basketball and help them understand how working hard on their craft in the same way it opened doors for my career, can unlock greater opportunities in life." Sheryl is one of the top 15 WNBA Players of all time, a four-time WNBA champion, three-time WNBA MVP, and an Olympic Gold Medalist.

The National Training Camp is the culmination of the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA Philippines program, with the top 75 boys and girls from the Regional Selection Camps held in Bacolod, Baguio, Butuan, and in Manila, as well as the Alaska Power Camps held in Manila and Subic. Participants are taught drills, exercises, and participate in scrimmages The first two days of the NTC will be held at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati, with the final day taking place at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall.

From that group, eight boys and eight girls will be picked to be the Jr. NBA All-Stars. They will be rewarded with the experience of witnessing the 2018 edition of the NBA China Games this coming October, featuring the Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks. They will also compete against their fellow All-Stars from the ASEAN region.

Aside from the Jr. NBA All-Stars, the program is also searching for the 2018 Jr. NBA Coach of the Year, with the winner also joining the All-Stars in China.

Presented by Alaska, the Jr. NBA Philippines program also has AXA, Cloudfone, Gatorage, Globe Telecom, and Panasonic serving as its Official Partners, while Spalding is a Supporting Partner. BTV, NBA Premium, and S+A serve as the media partners.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

FIVB Manila Open champions crowned

Your women's champions

The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open concluded last night at the Sands SM By The Bay, with the organizers honoring the top three finishers in men's and women's divisions.

The day kicked off with the semifinals, with Ayumi Kusano and Takemi Nishibori topping their fellow Japanese compatriots, Shinako Tanaka and Sakurako Fujii, 21-13 21-16, while Spanish duo of Paula Soria and Maria Belen Carro bested the Paraguayan pair of Erika Bobadilla and Michelle Amarilla, 21-16 21-15.

The men then took to the sands for their semifinal encounters, with the Russian duo of Petr Bakhnar and Taras Myskiv ousted the Spanish Huerta brothers, Alejandro and Javier, 21-18, 17-21, 20-18, while the German pair of Max-Jonas Karpa and Milan Sievers outlasted their Swiss counterparts Michiel Zandbergen and Gabriel Kissling, 21-17 21-16.

In the bronze medal game, Bobadilla and Amarilla made history by securing the first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour medal for Paraguay, defeating Shinako and Sakurako, 21-17 21-16. They had the chance to do this a week earlier in Langkawi, but fell short in the quarterfinals.

Bobadilla shares, "Well, we finished fifth (in Langkawi) so this was a lot better because we made it to the semifinals. Playing the last game I think is one of the best things for every player. You are so prepared mentally coming to a tournament. Playing in three days, four days or five days." She adds after witnessing how Filipinos took in to the tournament, "We loved Manila. We were so easily adjusted here. Having people being supportive for us is really, really great for us."

The gold medal game then saw Kusano and Nishibori impress against Soria and Carro, claiming the title, 21-14 21-18.

Nishibori would clinch the title with a kill off a feed from Kusano to cap their Manila campaign with six straight victories. They would use their speed and superb sand court coverage to neutralize their height disadvantage.

Kusano, who won the Spike for Peace invitational championship three years ago, shares that they used their brains in securing the championship.

On the men's side, Kissling and Zandbergen beat the Huerta brothers, 22-20 19-21 15-13 for the bronze, while Karpa and Sievers claimed the title with a 15-21 23-21 15-9 win over Bakhnar and Myskiv, capping off the tournament in the evening heat.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

One Filipino left standing in FIVB Manila Open play

At the conclusion of the Round-of-12 play at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open, there is just one Filipina team standing.

Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio secured a quarterfinal berth with a 21-17 21-17 victory over the Canadian duo of Caleigh Cruickshank and Megan Nagy.

Gervacio was satisfied with her maiden partnership with Rondina, considering how short-notice it was in preparing for this tournament. She shares, "Ako, hindi ko talaga inii-expect na malayo ang mararating namin. Na aabot kami ng Day 2. Kasi, ako personally, I haven't trained internationally. And I know for a fact na matatangkad ang kalaban natin. But from the get-go, noong nakalaban namin ang USA, alam ko may pag-asa tayo."

In their win this morning as well as their 21-12 21-16 win over the American duo of Lindsay Fuller and Kaley Melville last Friday, the Pinays managed to compensate for their size disadvantage with some solid sand defense and smart play.

The other remaining Filipina squad in the Manila Open bowed out in heartbreaking fashion earlier this morning.

Lot Catubag and Karen Quilario kicked off Day 3 action at the Sands SM By the Bay, ending up on the short end of the stick against the Thai duo of Thatsarida Singchuea and Pawarun Chanthawichai, 36-34 23-25 15-17.

The duo from the PNP managed to secure a chance at a victory at least twice, once during the second set and twice in the third set, but the Asian U19 beach volleyball champions were up to the challenge and successfully pulled off the victory.

Quilario shared that they need "more teamwork and more practice" afterwards. She hopes that they are able to participate in future FIVB World Tour events to be able to net additional exposure.

Catubag adds, "Kung bibigyan kami ng pagkakataon, iga-grab namin ang opportunity na maglaro ng ganitong level. Maraming gustong maglaro pero bihira lang ang magbigyan ng pagkakataon sa ganitong competition."

Completing the Round of 12 matches in the FIVB World Tour Manila Open are the following results:

Lisa-Sophie Kotzan and Leonie Klinke (Germany) beat Katja Stam and Lisa Wouters (Netherlands), 21-11 21-19
Lindsay Fuller and Kaley Melville (United States) beat Janne Pedersen and Hanne Zylstra (Norway), 21-15 21-17
Javier and Alejandro Huerta (Spain) beat Martin Appelgren and Simon Boman (Sweden), 24-22 21-15
Felix Friedl and Maximillian Trummer (Austria) beat Jorg Wutzl and Simon Fruhbauer (Austria), 23-21 21-19
Petr Bakhnar and Taras Myskiv (Russia) beat Wang Chin-Ju and Hsieh Ya-Jen (Chinese-Taipei), 21-14 21-8
Marcus Ferguson and Tom Dickson (Australia) beat Kevin Lau Tsz Ho and Wong Pui Lam (Hong Kong), 21-15 21-15

Friday, May 4, 2018

Filipinas struggle in Manila Open

#DziSi loses, but still keeps hopes alive
Hopes for continued Filipino participation in the FIVB Beach Volleyball Manila Open are dimming, with the completion of pool play in the women's draw this afternoon at the Sands in SM By The Bay.

The duo of DM Demontano and Jackie Estoquia bowed to their German counterparts in Klinke Leonie and Lisa-Sophie Kotzan, 16-21 12-21, while Charo Soriano and Bea Tan exits after losing to the Canadian tandem of Megan Nagy and Caleigh Cruickshank, 12-21 15-21. Both suffered their second loss in as many matches.

Meanwhile, Cherry Rondina and Dzi Gervacio were unable to follow-up their victory earlier this morning, gallantly losing to the Spanish duo of Paula Soria and Maria Belen Carro, 20-22 21-23.

Saving the afternoon for the Philippines is Karen Quilario and Lot Catubag, as they beat the Hong Kong squad of Yuen Ting Chi and Au Yeung Wai Yan, 21-13 18-21 15-11. The win allows them to join Rondina and Gervacio into the Round of 12 set to take place tomorrow morning. A draw slated to take place after the completion of the matches tonight will determine the matchups, with the winner entering the quarterfinals later that day.

DziSi lone bright spot in early FIVB Beach Volley action

#DziSi with the lone Filipino win in early FIVB Beach play

The duo of Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio served as the lone bright spot early on for the Philippine contingent in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open.

Rondina and Gervacio combined for the only win by a Filipino side so far in the competition, as they beat the American duo of Lindsey Fuller and Kaley Melville, 21-12 21-16.

Although adept with experience in beach volleyball independently, this is the first time that the two joined forces in this partnership. They used a combination of smart plays, solid attacking, and sharp service to beat their taller opposition.

According to Rondina, "We just played. We didn’t look at their perceived advantage over us and we didn’t think of how much bigger and taller they were." The three-time UAAP Beach Volleyball MVP adds, "What we did was just showcase what we were capable of, what we could be proud of as Filipinos in front of the crowd rooting for us."

As for the rest of the Filipino contingent, all the other duos lost their opening matches.

In the women's draw, DM Demontano and Jackie Estoquia lost to the Paraguayan duo of Michelle Amarilla and Erika Bobadilla, 19-21 13-21. Charo Soriano and Bea Tan bowed to the Japanese tandem of Ayumi Kusano and Takemi Nishibori, 10-21 9-21, while Karen Quilario and Lot Catubag lost to the Dutch tandem of Katja Stam and Julia Wouters, 13-21 11-21.

Kusano praised the tandem of Soriano and Tan, referring to them as "very good." She also thought the conditions were "very difficult" and the outside court set up as "very different."

The men's draw had a couple of close calls, with Calvin Sarte and Jade Becaldo narrowly losing to the Swedish duo of Martin Appelgren and Simon Boman, 24-26 23-21 13-15, while Ranran Abdilla and Edwin Tolentino dropped their match against the Hong Kong tandem of Kevin Lao Tsz Ho and Wong Pui Lam, 18-21 22-20 10-15.

The remaining two teams lost in straight sets. Kevin Juban and Raphy Abanto bowed to the Austrian tandem of Florian Schnetzer and Daniel Mullner, 10-21 14-21, while KR Guzman and James Pecana lost to Chinese-Taipei's Wang Chin-Ju and Hsieh Ya-Jen, 20-22 14-21.

Depending on the remaining matches still on tap, the Filipino teams could still make it to the knockout rounds tomorrow via the Round of 12. The winners from that round will advance to the quarterfinals to be played later that day.

The Manila Open is a one-star beach volleyball event organized by Beach Volleyball Republic, with E-Plus Global Sdn Bhd promoting the tournament.

Team Pilipinas for the Street Child World Cup revealed

Amidst the hustle and bustle of what took place on Wednesday, a simple announcement was held in Taguig, with as the Fairplay for All Foundation officially revealed the nine girls who are going to represent the Philippines in the 2018 edition of the Street Child World Cup.

Team Philippines in the Street Child World Cup
The nine were selected from a final pool of sixteen picked from all across the country, with each one having had the experience of either living, working, or sleeping in the streets.

The Philippines will be up against eleven other nations in the Street Child World Cup, which will take place in Russia next week. The girls are hoping to match the 2014 feat of making the finals, with the hope of going one step further and winning the competition.

For 2018, Team Philippines plays for the motto: when we show we care, everybody wins. Team Philippines wants to show that social issues like homelessness, poverty, childhood trauma, addiction, and many more are actually cheaper to solve than to ignore. When we genuinely care about the children around us, in communities like the ones the girls in Team PH have grown up in, we begin to see them not as poor children to receive handouts, but as investments. Children who will give back to far more than they get.

Helping Fairplay for All Foundation in this initiative is Nivea and the Kulczyk Foundation.