Friday, June 28, 2019

The Great UP Run set to kickstart UAAP Season 82 for Maroons

The UP community has something to look forward to in a couple of months.

The Nowhere to go but UP Foundation continues to seek complementary funding for the University of the Philippines student-athletes, and in collaboration with RUNRIO Events, Inc. and the Quezon City Athletics Association, they are set to launch their latest fundraising initiative, the Great UP Run.

Set to take place on August 11 at the UP Diliman grounds, three thousand runners are anticipated to take part in four categories, 3K, 5K, 10K, and 21K.

The run will be held during the afternoon, providing a new twist for aficionados. It will also take the participants around the campus and out, with certain roads to be closed to traffic to make room for this event.

Race fees are as follows: PhP 1,100 (21K), PhP 800 (10K), PhP 700 (5K), and PhP 600 (3K). All proceeds will go towards the NTGBUP Foundation in their efforts to provide assistance to the UP student athletes.

Registered runners will be able to receive a race kit that contains a singlet, race bib, timing chip, and a loot bag. For 21K runners, they will also receive a finisher's shirt and medal.

Afterwards, the foundation will be holding a concert that would feature homegrown UP artists, one that would also serve as a kickoff for the upcoming UAAP Season 82.

For further details on the race, one can check it out on RUNRIO.

Allianz aims to promote "Diversity in Football" with Sugod Malaya FC

The Sugod Malaya U16 squad with Mr. Mark Angos, Secretary General, Sugod Malaya FC (standing, far left) and Ms. Josephine Bulilan, Sales Manager for North Metro Manila Region, Allianz PNB Life (standing, far right)
Allianz remains committed in its support for the sport of football in the country, with their most recent endeavour of having supported the exploits of grassroots side Sugod Malaya FC in their recent competitions.

According to Allianz Philippines Chief Marketing Officer Gae Martinez, "Globally, Allianz is known to be a staunch supporter of football, and we want to promote that same passion here in the Philippines. When Sugod Malaya came to us for help, we immediately saw that they are an organization that represents our goals and ideals for the sport—that it’s not just a game to be played by a few, but by all."

A non-profit football club established six years ago, Sugod Malaya has close to three hundred active members that span the entire financial spectrum, from the well-to-do to the poorest of the poor. Co-Founder and current Sugod Malaya Secretary-General Mark Duane Angos shares, "When we started, our dream was to establish a club that is really free, regardless of whatever the player’s background is."

He adds, "We were forming a team back then and realized that it lacked diversity. At that time, I was doing a community outreach program for San Beda and got in touch with folks in Tondo." Mark noted that football in the Philippines is perceived as a sport for the rich, something that the club intends to change.

That connection with Tondo allowed them to eventually get four kids from the area, which helped complete their team that participated in a tournament in Bacolod, one of the premier football hotbeds in the country. Angos notes, "When they played in Bacolod, they really played well together.

From being a football club, Sugod Malaya eventually evolved into being a community development tool, with over half of the current club membership comes from impoverished backgrounds, thirty to forty percent of which is being categorized as part of the "poorest of the poor.". From relying on generous donations, according to Angos, "It is now a club that provides an opportunity for kids from all backgrounds to play and, at the same time, have their talent seen and discovered by the global community."

The club has also managed to participate in overseas youth competitions, like the Borneo Cup in Malaysia and the Singa Cup in Singapore. They also even managed to play in Europe, having participated in the Mediterranean Cup in Barcelona, where they competed against the likes of the fabled La Masia of FC Barcelona.

The idea of being able to participate in overseas competition was thought to be a pipe dream, until the entry of the likes of Allianz came in.

Mark notes, "We knew, from the perspective of cost, that Barcelona would be too much even though its organizers were nice enough to give us partial subsidy. At some point, we thought of backing out because we felt that participating in one tournament might affect our entire program—we have a team playing in Europe and getting that experience, but then the other scholars would be suffering because we’d run out of funds and resources. So when Allianz and like-minded individuals came in, we saw the light at the end of the tunnel." He also pointed out that "When we heard that they were willing to help us, we were excited. We are very thankful and, at the same time, excited to see that we have represented Allianz well."

Angos noted some lessons they learned from being involved in this kind of competition.

"You can see that it (playing against Barcelona) reinforced their determination," he says, adding that "In the Philippines, they would cheer for you when you make a goal. In Spain and the rest of Europe, the crowd will clap and appreciate your good pass, even if you don’t score, and when you make a good save. They can appreciate the strengths of the whole team."

Being able to participate overseas has opened the doors for Sugod Malaya to other opportunities, as it allowed them to secure invitations to play in Colombia, Ireland, and Portugal, among others, which dovetails into their goal of making Filipinos realize that "Football is a sport for Filipinos."

Balanga, Basilan tapped for Haining Challenger

The Chooks World Tour has two new playdates.
In its quest to secure enough points to finish among the top 24 nations in the men's division to earn a spot in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 will be fielding three teams into two upcoming FIBA 3x3 World Tour Challenger events.

With the assistance of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the league is set to field Wilkins-Balanga (as Balanga Chooks) and Phenom-Basilan Steel-CTC Construction (as Isabela City Chooks) for the 2019 Hongxiang Holding Group Haining Challenger this coming weekend.

League owner Ronald Mascariñas shares, "We were only invited to the tournament with just one-week notice. But we need to join this tournament to continue to gather more points for the country." He also is grateful towards the SBP for their assistance in enabling this participation.

Chooks 3x3 commissioner Eric Altamirano adds, "Rest assured that the teams are preparing hard and will give their best in representing the country"

Representing the SBP, Director of Operations Butch Antonio expressed support on behalf of the federation to Chooks 3x3's effort in going for the spot in Olympic Qualifying. Antonio led a delegation that included ten Regional Directors, current Academy head for Coaches and Tournaments Jong Uichico, and Special Assistant to the President Ryan Gregorio.

Serving as the qualifier for the Montreal Masters, the Level-9 Challenger features a two-phase tournament, with a qualifying element slated in the morning before the tournament proper in the afternoon.

Whilst Balanga has already secured a spot in the main draw in Pool A alongside top seed Liman and Sosnovy Bor CopRosatom, Isabela City will have to earn their way into Pool C. To join Gagarin and Moscow Inanomo, the Steel will have fend off a couple of Mongolian sides in Sukhbaatar and Taikhar ARA ADM.

Pool B features Princeton, Ulaanbaatar, and Chongming, while Pool D features Zemun, Beijing, and one of Shanghai SSLC, Hangzhou Ashley, and HaiNing.

For Basilan, this is their first foray into international basketball. Team manager Jackson Chua notes, "Kami ng Chooks-to-Go, pareho yung mission namin which is to represent our country well. Yung local government namin ay in full support for this team because we want to change the image of Basilan."

The Steel will be fielding Roosevelt Adams, Franky Johnson, Marcus Hammonds, and guest player Gab Banal. Last season's Most Valuable Player in the MPBL is a replacement for Troy Rike, who is registered under Pasig Chooks in the FIBA 3x3 circuit this season. They are looking to keep their momentum from making the finals of both Patriots' Cup legs onto the international stage.

Balanga, on the other hand, will rely on the quartet of Alvin Pasaol, Karl Dehesa, Chris De Chavez, and Travis Franklin.

Chooks Pilipinas 3x3 champions Gold's Gym-Pasig were also present, with their impending participation at the Poitiers Challenger next week already scheduled.

Monday, June 24, 2019

VetHealth-Delhi claims Patriots' Cup Second Leg

They got the job done.
The second leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Patriot's Cup presented by Coca-Cola last Sunday finally saw invited guests VetHealth-Delhi of the 3x3 Basketball League claim the crown.

The 15th-ranked team in the World buckled down to business and eked out a 21-20 win over Phenom-Basilan Steel CTC Construction in front of a packed crowd at the SM City Fairview Events Center, securing the PhP 100,000 that comes with the title.

Kiran Shastri showcased why he is the best shooter in the tournament, knocking down the long 2 to move past the Steel and steal the win with 3:36 remaining. The Chaminade alum actually a deuce attempt before that, but Bikramjit Gill managed to secure the rebound and found him again open. This time, he made sure he'd nail this one.

Kiran shared after the game, "It was a hard fought tournament. Really excited to be here. It was a good win for us and we’re really proud of the way we played."

He also credited Basilan for their performance in the final, and adds, "Our opponents were great and we just tried to win."

Franky Johnson came out firing in the final, scoring twelve of Basilan's first sixteen points, allowing the Steel to hold a 16-13 lead with 5:13 left.

Delhi would answer with their own 5-0 run anchored on Bikramjit and newcomer Amjyot Gill to take an 18-16 lead.

Marcus Hammonds did manage to tie things up at 18 with 4:10 remaining, but Inderbir Gill retook the lead at 19-18 with a layup.

Roosevelt Adams did manage to retake the lead once again for Basilan with 3:57 remaining after a corner deuce with 3:57 remaining on the clock, setting the table for the Shastri's heroics.

Securing the win on the final leg allows both finalists to make a move atop the standings once the third leg takes place on July 6 at SM Muntinlupa, having secured a tally of 160 points, just ten behind Gold's Gym-Pasig, who has 170 points.

Pasig is set to miss the third leg, as they will participate in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Poitiers Challenger in France that same day.

This is the first leg in the history of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 that did not feature the top-ranked Filipino team in the final, as they were upset by Basilan in the semifinals, 20-18, allowing the Steel to avenge their loss to them in the final of the first leg in Cebu.

Delhi booked their seat in the final with a 22-15 victory over Wilkins-Balanga with just over 100 seconds remaining in this one. This was a matchup that featured a little bit of color and intensity, as warranted with both sides having played top-caliber 3x3 competition.

Balanga is fourth in the standings with 130 points.

Shastri managed to keep his Shootout title with in a shoot-off against Jan Jamon of Inoza-Gulf Bulacan, 6-5, while David Carlos remains the Slam Dunk titleholder after defeating Jebb Bulawan and Obi Fly.

The Scores:

VetHealth-Delhi 21 - Shastri 8, Gill A. 7, Gill K 4, Gill I 2.

Phenom-Basilan 20 - Johnson 12, Adams 4, Hammonds 4, Rike 0. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Patriots' Cup Second Leg tips off today

These two are set to make their 3x3 debut later.

The Chooks Pilipinas 3x3 Patriots' Cup presented by Coca-Cola is set for its second leg at the SM City Fairview Events Center, with teams planning on recalibrating its efforts a week after playing the first leg at the SM Seaside City in Cebu.

Marikina kicks off its campaign after opting to skip the trip down South last week, with the Shoemasters fielding a quartet of JJ Espanola, Joshua Gonzales, Owe Mendenilla, and Charles Mammie for this leg. They are assigned in Pool C with last week's runner-up Phenom-Basilan Steel, and Tycoon-Quezon City.

Foreign guest side VetHealth Delhi of the 3x3 Basketball League returns, and aims to improve on their maiden semifinal appearance, as they are finally complete for this leg. With Arsh Deep Singh having travel issues, Amjyot Singh Gill is stepping in to fill his shoes. They will lead Pool A alongside Thunder-Pateros, who will field the reigning NCAA MVP Prince Eze as their foreign reinforcement, and MPBL expansion team Mindoro.

Wilkins-Balanga aims to bounce back from their surpise semifinal exit last week in Pool D against MiGuard-Vigan and Inoza-Gulf-Bulacan, who both sport new additions to their squad. The Wolves remains all-Filipino in adding Jerwin Gaco for Jojo Cunanan, while the Supreme Boosters opted for Chibueze Ikeh to bolster their side.

In making the swap, Vigan player-owner Christian Singson says, "Actually, may six-man lineup is not yet full. But right now, I'm already content with my team and I'm not looking for any import. Hopefully, we'll do better this leg."

Gold's Gym-Pasig seek to extend their streak of consecutive wins in Chooks 3x3 in Pool B alongside Max4-Birada-Cebu and Zamboanga MLV.

When asked how they can keep this run going, Taylor Statham shares, "Just defense. Everything we do right now is to improve our defense. If we play defense really well, life will be easy for us. And we need to share the ball more."

After acting as one of the co-hosts last week, Max4-Birada Cebu will only field a three-man crew later, with new reinforcement Frederick Elombi joining Darrell Menina and Jerome Napao.

Zamboanga, on the other hand, is fielding Ola Adeogun for Shooster Olago.

Pool A winners will face Pool D winners and Pool B winners will face face Pool C winners in the semifinals, with the champions set to receive PhP100,000.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Four Filipinos in Jr. NBA Asia-Pacific roster for the Global Championship

The Jr. NBA Asia-Pacific team for the Jr. NBA Global Championship

The Jr. NBA Asia-Pacific Global Championship roster has been finalized, and the Philippines is very much represented as the biggest contributor.

Three Filipino boys (Henjz Gabriel Demisana, Sebastian Roy Reyes, Lionel Matthew Rubico) and a Filipina girl (Dianne Camille Nolasco) made the final cuts by the Jr. NBA coaches in Jakarta during the Asia-Pacific Selection Camp, which took place last June 15-16 at the Universitas Pelita Harapan (UPH) in the Indonesian capital.

When asked about making it to the Asia-Pacific team, this is what the four shared:

Demisana: "Basketball has given me many opportunities with one of them being able to play in the Jr. NBA program. I’m very proud to join the Asia Pacific team competing in the Jr. NBA Global Championship."

Nolasco: "When I first saw my opponents, I didn’t expect to be here since they’re so tall, but I brought the Filipino mentality ‘puso’ which helped achieve my goal of being part of the Jr. NBA Asia Pacific girls team."

Reyes: "I’m excited for the competition in the United States because it will be a lot harder than in Asia. Representing the Philippines is a big deal for myself because not all kids have an opportunity to play for their country."

Rubico: "My coaches always reminded to go hard to the basket, not be afraid, believe in myself, and fight with all my heart. I’m looking forward to meeting new friends and challenging the talented players from around the world."

The quartet made it out of the 34 boys and 34 girls from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Completing the Asia-Pacific roster for the Jr. NBA Global Championship are the following:


First Name
Last Name
Henjz Gabriel Demisana Philippines
Joshua Dent Australia
Tan Zi Sheng Jayson Singapore
Email Ajmal Bin Jamil Malaysia
Brian Leonard Indonesia
Eishin Naito Japan
Dontae Nance New Zealand
Sebastian Roy Reyes Philippines
Lionel Matthew Rubico Philippines
Tikun Sriphrawiang Thailand


First Name
Last Name
Supawadee Aupatum Thailand
Angelica Jenifer Candra Indonesia
Reina Fukuo Japan
Summah Hanson Australia
Chong Pui Khee Malaysia
Phung Trang Linh Vietnam
Diane Camille Nolasco Philippines
Vanissa Renata Siregar Indonesia
Lily Taulelei New Zealand
Iris Yuen Singapore

Jr. NBA Coaches Carlos Barroca, Natalia Andre, and Rob Newson taught the campers lessons on executing technical and tactical skills, as well as having them develop teamwork among teammates with varying languages and cultural backgrounds.

There was also a Jr. NBA All-Star Saturday Night, where select Indonesian personalities and Jr. NBA Indonesia alumni were featured, including IBL guard Daniel Wenas, actress/singer Mikha Tambayong, and social media influencers Hadi al-Ghifary and Reynal Abipraya

The Jr. NBA Philippines 2019 presented by Alaska was conducted in partnership with AXA, Gatorade, Globe, Panasonic, Rexona, and Vivo. ABS-CBN S+A, Basketball TV, and NBA Premium act as its official broadcasters.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Martinez, Helterbrand power Imus to victory in Lakan Cup opener

James Martinez driving for the layup for Imus against the Caloocan defense.
The souped-up Imus Bandera-Khaleb Shawarma/GLC kicked off their campaign with a 78-75 overtime victory over Caloocan Supermos-Victory Liner last June 13.

James Martinez torched the hosts with seven triples on his way to a team-high 26 points, but he credits the presence of Jayjay Helterbrand as one of the main factors the Bandera pulled out the win.

The former Red Warrior shares, "At least dumagdag si Jayjay Heltebrand. Nabibigay niya sa amin yung winning attitude. Talagang never-say-die siya. Nadadamay niya kami. Pinu-push niya ako."

He adds, "Siguro breaks of the game na lang and kung sinong gustong manalo kasi nag-overtime, pagod na 'rin lahat eh. Nagpapakundisyon pa lang din. Kinukuha pa namin yung chemistry namin. Kahit papa'no, at least nanalo. Ako naman, gusto ko lagi competitive team and lumalaban sa championship."

The former Ginebra stalwart marked his return to competitive basketball with an all around performance, stuffing the stat sheet with fourteen points, eight rebounds, eight assists, a couple of steals, and a block in about thirty minutes of action.

New Imus head coach Budds Reyes agreed with Martinez on Helterbrand, adds, "We have Jayjay. Somehow, maganda yung experience. He helps out a lot. Sana magtuloy-tuloy. Noong second half, nahirapan kami dahil nagkaroon ng injury rin si Mikee Reyes."

The former Ginebra guard deflected the praise sent his way, says, "It was fun and a good experience for me. We played as a team. All the guys stepped up. Sobrang saya na we got our first win. It was a total team effort. As for me, I have a long way to go. I am out of shape talaga. This league is fast-paced, up and down, kailangan magpa-kundisyon talaga."

Jayjay adds, "As long as we stay humble, focused, and hungry, I think we can do well. As long as we continue to play well and not forget why we won. There are still things we have to improve on. Hopefully we can improve on those things in practice and play better the next game."

Imus looks to make it back-to-back wins when they face Bacoor on June 20 at the Bulacan Capitol Gym.

Former Ginebra teammates sound off on Helterbrand comeback

Impactful debut for Jayjay Helterbrand
With Jayjay Helterbrand ending his retirement from competitive basketball, his former teammates in Ginebra have given their support for the basketball icon.

Helterbrand led Imus Bandera-Khaleb Shawarma/GMC to a 78-75 victory over the Caloocan Supremos-Victory Liner back on July 13, contributing a near triple-double with fourteen points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. He also added a couple of steals and a block in just under thirty minutes of action.

Here are some quotes from his former Ginebra buddies:

LA Tenorio: "I wish him luck. I still see Jayjay playing. He can still play. He is fit to play. I think ginawa niya yun for the fans. Fans are really looking forward to see him play. I wish him well sa career niya sa MPBL and sana injury-free. Yun naman ang gusto natin. Makapaglaro siya nang maayos and makapagpasaya siya ng tao. Sana marami pa siyang ma-inspire na player sa ginawa niya."

Justin Brownlee: "I like to see him coming back to play. A talent like him, I still think he has a lot left in the tank. I miss him a lot but I am proud of and happy for him. He loves the game of basketball and this is another opportunity for him to play. He has been missing it so I am happy for him."

Joe Devance: "I am very excited. I am very proud of Jayjay. I thought it was going to be the end of his basketball career but to see him resurrect himself, he really loves the game that's why it's hard for him to be away. I'm sure he is going to do well in that league. The league is doing well, and making a lot of noise right now. I am happy for him."

All three agree that Jayjay will play an essential role for the Bandera with his basketball IQ, experience, and that trademark never-say-die attitude that made him a Ginebra legend.

Joe says, "He is going to be the same leader he has always been. He is going to bring that same game to that team and for sure it is going to be a lot of fun for them."

LA shares, "Jayjay is a fighter. Sila ni Mark (Caguioa) ang epitome ng never-say-die. I am sure, madadala niya yun sa Imus. And of course, fan-favorite yan eh."

Justin adds, "From what I've seen before he retired, he's still got some speed and he definitely can still score. But I think at this point of his career, his IQ is off the charts and unbelievable."

PayMaya firmly behind UP Men's Basketball for the UAAP Season 82

PayMaya CEO-founder Orlando Vea with members of the University of the Philippines Men's Basketball Team
The efforts by the Nowhere to Go But UP Foundation to continue to provide support for the University of the Philippines student-athletes bore fruit once again, as they unveiled PayMaya Philippines as their latest partner for the men's basketball team.

PayMaya Founder-CEO Orlando B. Vea shares, "As a home-grown digital brand that aims to change the game for the Filipino consumers and enterprises, the story of the UP Men’s Basketball team, along with their hard work, grit, and passion for excellence, resonates very well with all of us at PayMaya."

The Maroons' ascent towards the finals last season allowed the team to gain immense popularity, whether from the UP community of students and alums, to those who liked the team's underdog story from perennial doormat to what it is now.

The University of Philippines President, Atty. Danilo Concepcion, was present for the event, and expressed his excitement for the upcoming partnership. He shares, "We’re thankful to PayMaya for the trust and the faith they have placed in our basketball team. Having the support of a young and innovative brand like PayMaya, will definitely give us the much-needed boost to step up our game. We couldn’t be more excited to go on this journey to the finals with them, and to deepen our collaboration with PayMaya in  the future."

Head coach Bo Perasol adds, "The UP Men's Basketball Team is extremely grateful for all the support that has come our way the past year, and we're more than glad to welcome PayMaya into the growing UP Fighting Maroons family. As we gear up for the upcoming season, we need all the support we can get and local brands such as PayMaya help us get to where we want to be."

Supporting sports is something PayMaya is familiar with, as they recently were in the Premier Volleyball League, with the Highflyers making it to the finals in their lone stint in the league. They also threw their backing to the upstart Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

Among the things PayMaya also bestown in their support for the Fighting Maroons is by providing them with their very own PayMaya account, including a PayMaya card that one can then link onto the PayMaya app. Owning such an account allows them to kickstart their very own cashless lifestyle, ensuring that their fiscal situation is stable and convenient to allow them to focus on their academics and training.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

OMNI Cup ready for a "Fight to the Finish" in July

The OMNI Cup
Coming off a successful launch a few months ago, the OMNI Cup is set to return for the second edition of their football tournament in a few weeks.

Called OMNI Cup: Fight to the Finish, the one-day, seven-a-side tournament will take place on July 13 at the McKinley-Hill Stadium. It will feature 24 teams split into two divisions of twelve.

Division 1 is open to all athletes, while Division 2 is of the beginner-intermediate variety, which rules out those who have played top tier football in the country, whether in the UFL, the ill-fated PPL, and the ongoing PFL.

The competition is of the co-ed variety, as league rules mandate at least a female athlete is on the field at all times. Division 1 requires one female, while Division 2 requires three.

The first edition back in March featured Suicide Squad Goons topping Division 1, while Kickstart FC claimed Division 2.

A new element in the OMNI Cup is an all-star 11-a-side exhibition, which will have player representatives from all teams involved taking part in this special matchup.

The OMNI Cup: Fight to the Finish is an offshoot of OMNI Electrical and Lighting's goal of engaging people to have a more active lifestyle. Serving as event partners for the tournament are Head and Shoulders Philippines, MADs Essentials: Food for the Skin, Underground Football, and Suicide Squad FC, with media partners Manila Bulletin, Fox Sports Philippines, and Balita Sports.

More details on the OMNI Cup can be found on their Facebook page.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Pasig claims first leg of Patriots Cup

The best 3x3 team in the country. The team with the two best 3x3 players in the country.
New tournament. Tweaked rules. Same result.

Gold's Gym-Pasig Kings reminding everyone about their place in the 3x3 basketball scheme of things, as they secured the first leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Patriots' Cup presented by Coca-Cola on Sunday afternoon at the SM Seaside City in Cebu.

The President's Cup champions claimed the title by defeating upstarts Phenom-Basilan Steel, 21-15, in just under 8 minutes.

Taylor Statham ran roughshod against the Steel, scoring 13 points. He shared after the tournament, "It's great. Honestly this is what our team needed."

Pasig struggled in both the Kunshan and Tinkoff Moscow Challengers, finishing both competitions without a win.

Taylor went on a personal 5-2 run against Basilan, allowing the Kings to move ahead 15-14 after trailing 12-10.

Joshua Munzon and Nikola Pavlovic each added four points for Pasig to complete scoring.

Marcus Hammond led Phenom-Basilan with eleven points, with both Franky Johnson, Roosevelt Adams, and Troy Rike shut down by the Kings' defense.

Basilan managed to break through to the final after riding on Johnson's shooting to fend off Wilkins Balanga Pure, 21-19.

This leg featured the presence of a foreign squad with VetHealth Delhi of India's 3x3 Pro Basketball League. The 14th-ranked club side in the FIBA 3x3 rankings made it to the semifinals before bowing to Pasig, 21-16, doing so with just three guys due to Arsh Deep Singh having travel issues.

The Indian side did have something to be proud of, as Kiran Shastri claimed the Shootout competition with a 14-9 victory over Max4 Birada Cebu's Mark-Gil Panerio.

Meanwhile, David Carlos ruled the roost in the Slam Dunk competition.

Statham adds, "Those are two great teams we just played. Can't make too many turnovers and mistakes."

Pasig took home PHP 100,000 and 100 points in taking the first leg. Excelling in all five legs is a must after league owner Ronald Mascarinas announced that berths in the Jeddah Masters and the Xiong'an Challenger are on the line for outstanding teams in the Patriots' Cup.

The Scores:

Pasig 21 -- Statham 13, Munzon 4, Pavlovic 4, Ababou 0.

Basilan 15 -- Hammonds 11, Johnson 2, Adams 2, Rike 0.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Patriots' Cup set to debut today

Chooks 3x3 is in his home turf
THE premier 3x3 tournament in the Philippines is set to commence its second conference today.

The Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 will have the first leg of the Patriots' Cup presented by Coca-Cola at the SM Seaside mall in Cebu, with twelve teams set to compete.

The format of the President's Cup will be adopted, with the additional twist of having the option of fielding a foreign reinforcement. Also included are the shootout and slam dunk competitions to help keep the crowd engaged.

Organizers have also invited a couple of foreign squads to add some spice to this tournament in 14th-ranked Indian squad VetHealth-Delhi 3BL and 20th-ranked Moscow Inanomo.

The Delhi squad will participate in this Cebu sojourn, while Moscow will be in the June 23 leg at SM Megamall.

League owner Ronald Mascariñas shares, "We invited two topflight foreign teams to our league to raise the level of our local teams. We definitely want to learn from them while sharing our experiences to them as well."

Proud Sugbus will have a chance to provide local pride in the Patriots Cup with two teams in today's field. MAX4-Cebu Birada is back for another go, with Darell Menina, Mark-Gil Panerio, Rich Managor, and Elmer Echavez, Jr., while CESAFI side SWU-PHINMA will have its quartet of Shaq Imperial, Dyul Roncal, Red Cachuela, and Lamine Thiam trying to make an impact in their league debut.

Mascariñas adds, "Hopefully, the Cebuanos come out to support their two teams for this leg."

Action starts at 1045am and broadcast via livestream, with the opening ceremonies scheduled at noon and will be shown LIVE on ESPN5.

Gracing the opening ceremonies are Mascariñas, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. Corporate Affairs head Juan Lorenzo Tanada, Chooks Pilipinas 3x3 commissioner Eric Altamirano, and Cebuano basketball legend and councilor-elect Dondon Hontiveros.

Six teams return from the President's Cup, led by Pasig as Gold's Gym-Pasig Kings and Bataan as Wilkins Balanga Pure. They are joined by the aforementioned MAX4-Birada Cebu, MiGuard-Vigan Wolves, Zamboanga Valientes MLV, and the Marikina Shoemasters.

The Shoemasters are not participating in today's leg, however, but guest side Thunder Pateros Hunters have stepped in.

Leading the debutants are Phenom-Basilan Steel and their quartet of Troy Rike, Roosevelt Adams, Franky Johnson, and Marcus Hammonds, joined by Inoza-Gulf Supreme Bulacan Boosters, Tycoon-Quezon City Ballers, and MPBL expansion team Mindoro Tamaraws.

The winners receive PHP 100,000.

For this leg, the bracketing is as follows:

Pool A: Gold's Gym-Pasig, Inoza-Gulf Supreme Bulacan, Thunder Pateros
Pool B: Wilkins-Balanga, Mindoro, SWU-PHINMA
Pool C: Max4-Cebu, Phenom-Basilan, MiGuard Vigan
Pool D: VetHealth-Delhi, Zamboanga MLV, Tycoon-QC

Friday, June 14, 2019

Ulimate Boxing Series set for June 23 premiere

Outgoing TV5 head Chot Reyes with Gerry Penalosa
The much-anticipated sports reality series finally has a premiere date.

ESPN5 Boxing, in collaboration with Gerrypens Promotions, will premier its touted boxing tournament training program, Ultimate Boxing Series: Kamaong Pinoy, on June 23, 2019, and will be seen Sundays at noon on TV5.

Twenty professional prospects from a variety of Filipino boxing stables throughout the country will have the chance to train in one roof, under the auspices of former two-time champion and boxing legend Gerry ‘Fearless’ Peñalosa. Ten are from the bantamweight division, with the other ten being from the flyweight division.

The fights will take place at the boxing facility TV5 has carved out of its Novaliches complex. ESPN5 Boxing earlier this month had hosted a fight card there in collaboration with Sanman Promotions.

The lucky finalists in both divisions will be featured as co-main events for the upcoming title fight between Carlo Penalosa and Maximino Flores for the vacant IBO flyweight championship in a couple of months.

Aside from the fights, UBS: KP will also provide a behind-the-scenes look in their respective training and conditioning, as well as shed light on what their motivations are for lacing up their gloves, whether personal or professional. As such, it is a way for the show to illustrate who they are and why they do this.

Peñalosa shares, "Ang Kamaong Pinoy ay hindi lang panglaban, ito rin ay pang-protekta ng mga mahal sa buhay."

Outgoing TV5 head Chot Reyes adds, "The Filipino boxing scene has never been this exciting. The search for the next dominant Pinoy boxer can come from anywhere and bring something new to the table – a new stable, a new boxing style, a new motivation. We are proud to be a pivotal part of this, and to share Gerry Peñalosa’s vision in his search for the next Fearless Pinoy Fighter."

Statement on UP's pullout from the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup

Here is the statement from the league re: UP not participating in the quarterfinals and onwards next week. 
Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup officials announced the pullout of the University of the Philippines Men’s Basketball Team for the remainder of the tournament.

In a joint statement with UP team officials, the matter was clarified for all fans, media, teams participating in the competition, and the league organizers.

“It is with regret that we announce the pulling out of the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in the quarterfinals stage of the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup.”

Prior to the start of the tournament, we made plans on training abroad in the United States,” clarified head coach Bo Perasol. “Our training abroad was contingent upon our securing visas for our players of which there was no guarantee. As a team, we agreed that if we cannot be complete in our training abroad, we will not go at all."

“Since we have competed every year in the Filoil flying V Preseason Cup, we went ahead and took part. We received the approval of the approval of all our players the same week as we played our final match of the elimination round of Filoil against UST prompting us to scramble for our plans in training abroad.”

“The window for our training is small and unfortunately, it ran across the same time as the quarterfinals and onwards of the tournament.”

“We regret pulling out and promise to make this up in future Filoil Flying V Preseason Cups.”

“We deeply apologize to the fans, the media, the other teams in participating in the tournament, and most especially to the organizers of this wonderful tournament.”

The Centro Escolar University Scorpions, who finished fifth in Group A of the two division men’s basketball competition will take their place.

The quarterfinals tips off on Monday, June 17, 2019, at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Imus inks Jayjay Helterbrand for MPBL Lakandula Cup

Imus Bandera, with new backer Khaleb Shawarma.

With the MPBL Lakandula Cup set to commence on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena, the Imus Bandera-Khaleb Shawarma/GLC made a final splash in free agency, as Jayjay Helterbrand on Monday agreed to join the team for the upcoming season.

According to Imus team manager Lou Abad, "We’re happy to have finally signed Jayjay Helterbrand into our roster. His overall experience, basketball IQ, and leadership would definitely provide a huge boost for our bid in the upcoming season."

He adds, "Kaya kayang pa niya maglaro. As you can see, he is still well-conditioned given that he has not stopped in playing regularly sa iba’t-ibang mga liga. He can still keep up with the young guys."

Helterbrand ends his almost two-year hiatus from competitive basketball in joining the MPBL. One of the 40 Greatest Players in PBA history, he spent his entire 17-year career with Barangay Ginebra before calling it a day, not long after they clinched the 2017 PBA Governors' Cup title, his sixth with the franchise. Jayjay also is a six-time PBA All-Star, winning the All-Star MVP twice. He also was a two-time Mythical 1st Team selection and won the Most Valuable Player nod in 2009. The PBA Press Corps also bestowed him as the Finals MVP in the 2007 All-Filipino Cup. 

Now 42, he joins what looks like a stacked roster at Imus, who squeaked their way into the postseason at the Datu Cup with an 11-14 record as the seventh seed in the South Division. The Bandera would then bow out against defending champions Batangas City in the first round, but not before taking the Athletics to a deciding Game 3. The core of the Bandera features the likes of MC Caceres, Chad Alonzo, James Martinez, Floyd Dedicatoria, Khasim Mirza, Mark Doligon, and a trio of former University of the Philippines standouts in Mikee Reyes, Gelo Vito, and Jarrell Lim. Budds Reyes will act as the head coach.

Aside from Helterbrand, Imus also managed to snap up actor Gerald Anderson, who was in the top 10 in the league in steals when he played for the Marikina Shoemasters last campaign.

Abad says, "We’re thrilled to have Jayjay Helterbrand and Gerald Anderson play side-by-side with each other. Their additions, along with the other players that we have, will surely bolster our squad." He adds, "It’s a big win not only for our team, but for the whole league as well as we try to help MPBL grow in terms of competition level and our fanbase."

Imus, which is backed by its local government leadership of Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi, Vice Mayor Ony Cantimbuhan, and Cavite's third district Representative Alex Advincula, opens their Lakan Cup campaign on June 13 against Caloocan at the Caloocan Sports Complex.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

7s Football League set for July return with Philam Vitality KAMPEON 7s Cup

The 7s Football League All-Stars
Anton del Rosario is taking his 7s Football League onto a national scope, setting up the first-ever Philam Vitality KAMPEON 7s Cup next month.

Set to take place at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig on July 27 and 28, it will bring together the best 7-a-side players in the country. All-Star lineups from the four places where the 7s Football League have either set up shop or about to do will be battling out, while also having youth matches involving different age groups.

According to the former Philippines international, "We are based in four different areas right now. These are four key cities in the country and being able to establish 7s Football as the main football league in these cities will be huge. And when it comes to that, we want to claim who the best city is in the country. The Kampeon 7s Cup will have all-star selection teams from each of the leagues created from each province to see who's the best in the country."

Many fans recognize the 7s Football League in Manila, which featured Ghana FC and Outkast FC as champions in the men's and women's divisions.

The Bacolod leg of the 7s Football League also concluded last May, with Villa Angela FC emerging as champions, securing a 3-1 win over Atletico de Bago FC in the final. Villa Angela is led by Michael Benedicto, Bon Jovi Amaguiton, and Finals MVP Florence Panongaling.

Del Rosario notes that Philippines international and Ceres Negros FC playmaker Stephan Schroeck was appointed as the head for this particular leg.

Set to follow suit are the legs in Davao and Cebu, with Misagh Bahadoran being tapped to take charge of the latter. Having both Misagh and Stephan to lead their respective legs allows the league to have a strengthened foothold, influence and reach in their respective cities.

The league is also looking at extending its reach by putting up similar leagues across the country, as Del Rosario says that Laguna and Quezon City are being tipped to have their own 7s Football Leagues.

He adds, "Hopefully, soon enough, we will be able to have eight to 10 provinces and cities where we would be able to create selection teams competing for the title."

Friday, June 7, 2019

Chooks-to-Go brings Kai Sotto home for U19 World Cup

Kai and Chooks-to-Go

Kai Sotto is coming back to the country this weekend, and helping facilitate his return is Chooks-to-Go.

BAVI head honcho Ronald Mascariñas promised Kai and his family that Chooks-to-Go will continue to support the Gilas Youth centerpiece, sharing "Whether nandito si Kai or sa labas ng bansa, our support will continue."

And with the preparations for the FIBA U19 moving up a notch, it is going to necessitate getting as much of the current 14-man pool to be available to practice. And Chooks-to-Go chipped in their share by financing the flights of Kai's entire family from Atlanta to Manila.

The Sotto family departed the state of Georgia on Thursday evening, where they set up their base of operations for Kai's personal preparations in line with his eventual move to Europe. They are expected to arrive on Friday.

Mascarinas values the importance of family. He shares, "We always promote the importance of family in Chooks-to-Go. Kaya we can't let Kai come back home alone. Ervin and Pamela need to be with him dahil alam namin na na-miss na nila yung Pilipinas."

Kai and his father Ervin were grateful for this gesture.

Erwin says, "Maraming salamat talaga sa Chooks-to-Go dahil kahit saglit pa lang kami dito sa States, miss na namin ang Pilipinas. We can't wait to get back home."

Kai adds, "Chooks-to-Go is my one and only corporate sponsor and financial supporter for my U19 campaign. Sobrang thankful ako sa Chooks for making this happen.

Country's Finest 3x3 players eye redemption at Moscow Challenger

Pasig. Balanga. The Chooks World Tour heads to the Russian capital.
The best 3x3 ballers in the Philippines are eyeing redemption.

Fresh from disappointing results in the men's draw of 3x3 basketball, whether club or country, the Philippines is looking to rebound and redeem themselves in the global scene at the Tinkoff Moscow Open, which starts Friday night (Manila time).

Chooks Pilipinas 3x3 is sending two teams to the Russain capital, managing to successfully lobby Balanga into the field after Pasig having secured a formal invitation to participate.

League owner Ronald Mascarinas shares, "We need to rack up more points as we recently fell to 32 in the men's rankings. That is why we are sending two teams to Russia."

The drop came after the results of the Kunshan Challenger for Pasig Chooks and the Gilas Pilipinas squad in the 3x3 Asia Cup, where both squads were bounced out of Pool play.

The BAVI head honcho adds, "I think that was the worst tournament we participated in. We left Kunshan with no wins. That's behind us now and the most important thing is that we learned a lot. This time around, we need to start winning because we are running out of time in the race to the OQT.

Only teams ranked in the top 24 will be granted a slot at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, and with the November deadline looming in the horizon, the urgency gets more massive.

Pasig is currently ranked as the 24th amongst club sides in FIBA 3x3, and as such, has secured an automatic Pool berth, specifically in Pool B alongside Riga Ghetto and Antwerp. 90th ranked Nikola Pavlovic rejoins the trio of 89th ranked Joshua Munzon, 91st ranked Taylor Statham, and Dylan Ababou as they bounce back from losing both of their matches in Kunshan.

Munzon's mission is very clear. "We want to make up for what happened in Kunshan," he says. Statham only had one word for their goal in Russia. "Redemption."

Pasig plays Antwerp first at 11pm before facing the Doha Masters champions at 1225am.

As for Balanga, they will need to survive Moscow Inanomo and Odessa in Qualifying A, with the top team there being assigned to Pool C with Gagarin and Gdansk Energa 3x3. They have tapped Chris de Chavez from Valenzuela in Chooks Pilipinas 3x3 play to complete their squad, joining Alvin Pasaol, Karl Dehesa, and Travis Franklin as they undertake their gauntlet of a schedule.

Moscow Inanomo is no stranger to Balanga, as their matchup at the Doha Masters was one of the best games in that tournament, with Pasaol nailing the TISSOT Buzzer-Beater for the 20-19 win in overtime.

Pasaol shares, "Sobrang excited ako na makalaban sila ulit. Hindi kami magpapatinag sa kanila kahit homecourt pa nila."

Before the 8:20pm rematch, Balanga will have to deal with Odessa Basket at 7:40pm. Survive those and they get Pool C matches against Gagarin at 955pm and Gdansk at 1120pm.

If both teams can navigate their respective schedules, they will continue on with action the next day.

The Moscow Challenger offers a couple of tickets into the Prague Masters leg of the 3x3 World Tour as one of the prizes, with a total pot money of $32,000 as well on the line.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Jr. NBA Global Championship Asia-Pacific Camp set for June

These kids are headed to Jakarta
The Asia-Pacific seeks to make a splash in their debut at the Jr. NBA Global Championship, and their road towards there begins with their Selection Camp.

The Jr. NBA Global Championship Asia-Pacific Selection Camp is a two-day camp which involves 34 boys and 34 girls across the region. It is the opportunity for these youngsters to be able to represent the region for the Jr. NBA Global Championship, a youth basketball tournament for the top ballers between the ages of 13 and 14 that will take place on August 6-11 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex inside Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The Central team claimed the inaugural title in both boys' (Overland Park, KS beating Africa/Middle East 60-50) and girls' (Kansas City, MO beating Europe 68-38)

The camp itself will take place on June 15-16 at the Universitas Pelita Harapan (UPH) in Jakarta, Indonesia, and will feature participants from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. It will feature technical and tactical skills development as well as five-on-five competition, with the ten outstanding boys and girls being selected to comprise the Asia-Pacific team for the Jr. NBA Global Championship.

The Philippines is sending its Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA All-Stars to Jakarta for the camp, which they selected from its National Training Camp that took place a few weeks ago.

Boys: Henjz Gabriel Dimasana, Joshua Minguillo, Zhan Paolo Moreno, Sebastian Roy Reyes, Lionel Metthew Rubico

Girls: Diane Camille Nolasco, Karylle Sierba, Mikylla Taborada, Justine Myhrra Vibanco, Princess BJ Marie Villarin

Coca-Cola forms partnership for Chooks Pilipinas 3x3 Patriots' Cup

Chooks-to-Go x Coke: Chooks 3x3 league owner Ronald Mascarinas with Coca-Cola Philippines' Ken Lumbao (Modern Trade Manager), Neil Dizon (On-premise Senior Executive), Gabriel Balboa (Modern Trade Specialist) and Jana Tabuzo (Modern Trade Marketing)
The quest for the Philippines to be in play for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics got a boost on Monday with the announced partnership of Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. and Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc.

The upcoming Patriots' Cup is now officially called the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Patriots' Cup, presented by Coca-Cola.

According to Coca-Cola Philippines Modern Trade Manager Ken Marvin Lumbao, "Coca-Cola and Chooks-to-Go share the mission which is to do whatever we can to help the country reach the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in whatever way we can. And from what we have seen during the President's Cup (first conference), Chooks-to-Go has been the one racking up points for the country. We want to help them out in this endeavor."

Chooks Pilipinas 3x3 owner and BAVI head honcho Ronald Mascariñas is delighted with this news, notes that "This is indeed a great development not only for us but also for our local 3x3 basketball scene. With this partnership, we will continue to push for more top-level 3x3 events in the country leading up to the November 1 deadline of FIBA for the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments."

Coca-Cola is no stranger to helping out in 3x3 basketball, as it is a staunch backer of Mongolia's program that helped establish it as one of the best in the region.

Currently the host of the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup, the sparsely-populated country is currently ranked third in the world with its 9,405,105 points. In contrast, the Philippines is currently ranked 28th with 2,088,477 points.

Lumbao adds, "Besides being a football country, Mongolia is a force in the 3x3 basketball scene as they are definitely shoo-ins for the Olympics. Our company knows that the Philippines is a 3x3 powerhouse waiting to be unraveled. And with Chooks-to-Go, we will work hand in hand to make it to the top 24 and join an OQT."

The 2019 Chooks Pilipinas 3x3 Patriots' Cup presented by Coca-Cola brings together twelve teams across five legs. Each team will have a foreign guest player to reinforce their respective squads.

The Level 7 tournament kicks off play on June 16 at the SM Seaside City in Cebu, with subsequent legs at SM Fairview (June 22), SM Muntinlupa (July 6), and SM Megamall (July 13). The final leg serves as the Grand Finals and will take place on July 27 at SM Megamall. ESPN5 will all games LIVE.

The first conference of the Chooks Pilipinas 3x3, the President's Cup, saw Pasig Grindhouse dominate and take the PhP 1,000,000 purse and a ticket to the 2019 FIBA 3x3 World Tour Doha Masters. Pasig and the President's Cup runner-up, the Bataan Risers, then participated in the first-ever FIBA 3x3 Super Quest, which had a prize pool of $50,000, a couple of spots at the aforementioned Doha Masters, a spot at the Penang Challenger leg of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour, and a couple of spots in the Kunshan Challenger leg of said tour.

The establishment of the President's Cup allowed the country to ascend the FIBA 3x3 rankings, moving it into 30th place as of April.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

CD Leganes in Leganes

CD Leganes defender Rodri Tarin at the municipality of Leganes in Iloilo

After a 13th place finish in La Liga this season,  CD Leganes decided to adopt this particular slogan: "This season, all Leganés will support C.D. Leganes, but only a few will be SuperPepineros (SuperCucumbers)."

To do that, they had a team that included one of their players, central defender Rodri Tarin, fly over sixteen hours to the province of Iloilo and document their visit to the municipality of Leganes.

Here is the first of a series of videos they put out of their experience in Leganes, done with the assistance of the LaLiga regional office that is currently based here.

Who is CD Leganes? Founded in 1928, the squad reached the top flight in Spanish football back in 2016. They would stave off relegation twice, before settling to just below mid-table this past season. African football legend Samuel Eto'o first played football in Spain with this team as a loan from Real Madrid back in late 90s.

They are considered as one of LaLiga's true up-and-coming sides, managing a run to the semifinals in the Copa del Rey two seasons ago. They also are considered as one of the more creative teams in LaLiga Santander with regards to their social media, whether through the use of clever posters or through their tweets involving fans, players, and even opposing clubs. Take this, for example.

The nickname Los Pepineros came about from the Spanish city's agricultural past, Lega has since adopted the monicker and made it their own. One of the segments in the video sees Tarin looking for cucumbers (called pipino here) in the local market.

In addition, other segments saw Tarin visit a Gawad Kalinga community, check out not only the municipal hall and meet its mayor, Junjun Jaen, but also visit Philippines Football League side Kaya FC.

One thing that can be directly gleamed from the video is the quest to build Filipino support for the Spanish club.

Who is Rodrigo Tarin? The Valencia native and former Spanish Under-17 international is 5'9 and can play either fullback or centerback. He started off his career in the Barcelona football pyramid, eventually reaching FC Barcelona B and becoming its captain, before transferring to Lega this past season. He helped Barcelona win the UEFA Youth League title in 2014, scoring one of the team's three goals in the final against Benfica.

Rodri made 18 appearances for Lega this past season, with fifteen of those coming as a starter.

The team and LaLiga has made note of the welcoming and helpful nature of their sister city brethren during their stay in the country.