Friday, June 19, 2020

SBP, eSNAP express support towards e-Gilas

Lakad Matatag at Laban Pilipinas

With FIBA announcing the establishment of their first-ever international eSports competition, the FIBA eSports Open 2020, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas was able to quickly mobilize a team to represent the country on June 19-21.

"Our participation in the FIBA eSports Open 2020 is an amazing opportunity to show the whole world that Philippine Basketball is a force in any arena that it is played in, digital or otherwise.” said SBP President Al Panlilio. “We are proud to be represented by the best of the best that the country has to offer and have no doubt that Team Pilipinas will show off the intensity, the heart, and the honor that we have when we play this game that we love."

Operations Director Butch Antonio adds, "Our Team Pilipinas is on the cusp of something great here. The great thing about competing in the virtual realm of esports is that there's no size mismatch, no height difference, there's only the dedication and drive to win--something that our sportsmen have always had in spades."

This was made possible with a collaboration with the eSports National Association of the Philippines (eSNAP), which already has team ready to compete. Seven players, all of which tote a 99 rating, will participate.

Answering the call are some of the best professional NBA2K players in the region:

Aljon "Shintarou" Cruzin
Rial "Rial" Polog, Jr. (2-Time NBA 2K Asia Champion)
Custer "Aguila" Galas (NBA 2K17 Asia Champion)
Philippe Alcaraz "Izzo" Herrero IV (NBA 2K18 Asia Champion)
Clark "Clark" Banzon
David John "Alt" Timajo
Rocky "Rak" Braña

Team is coached by Niele "Nite" Alparas.

Team Captain Herrero shares, "I believe Team Pilipinas is a dream team, and I'm just humbled that I'm part of this because I have been playing this game almost half of my life. With exceptional mechanics, good teamwork, and amazing teammates under my leadership, we can make it to the top. I'm just happy and excited to represent our country and make the Filipinos proud."

The FIBA eSports Open 2020 is a series of exhibition games featuring seventeen countries, using the NBA2K Pro-Am game mode. The Philippines is slated to face Indonesia five times in those three days. With experience in the continental NBA2K circuit, the Philippines is considered the favorites against their southern neighbors.

Matches will be done remotely and streamed online, with fans able to check out the action on the SBP's Facebook page. It will also be shown on the social media platforms of FIBA as well, allowing the federation to flex its new eSports facility in Riga, Latvia.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

2019-20 football season set to resume in Spain

Welcome back, futbol.

After being sidelined due to the coronavirus pandemic for three months, Top-flight football in Spain officially resumes on June 11 (12 in Manila). LaLiga is marking the return to action with a special matchup for Matchday 28: the El Gran Derbi between Sevilla FC and Real Betis. The return to play is a collective effort from multiple parties, from the league working with government officials on the proper protocol, followed by a month of training sessions that was gradual in its development.

Until July 19, LaLiga will pack in its 110 remaining matches during this stretch, provided conditions continue to improve in Spain enough for health officials. Kickoff times are at 730pm and 10pm CET, with additional 2pm and 5pm CET kickoffs during weekends. (130am, 4am, 8pm, 11pm in Manila).

There is plenty of storylines to watch for the remainder of the season, with league leaders FC Barcelona trying to fend off Real Madrid for the championship, as the former is just a couple of points ahead of its bitter rivals. Continental play is also looking to be competitive, with two points separating current third placers Sevilla FC and sixth placers Atletico Madrid, with Valencia being three points behind Atleti. At the other end of the table, nine points separate cellar dwellers Espanyol and Valladolid, who is in 15th overall, and one point separates currently safe Celta and Mallorca, who is currently in the relegation zone.

Even though matches are being played in closed-door facilities, the league is exerting efforts to still keep fan involvement a thing.

The league tied up with Electronic Arts to utilize its EASPORTSFIFA audio library to provide authentic stadium sounds to its viewers. It is also conducting multiple global activities to celebrate the return of football this weekend, highlighted by its #BackToWin campaign. Among those activities is the Applause to Infinity, a tribute at the 20th minute to all the victims of the pandemic as well as to all the frontliners and heroes who worked on mitigating the impact of COVID-19 worldwide.

La Liga matches locally can be seen on beIN Sports, so check your cable subscriber for details. Otherwise, the beIN Sports Connect app is one's best friend.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Brian Shaw named as G-League Select team head coach

The build-up of the new NBA G-League Select team took a new step further.

League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim announced today that Brian Shaw will be the Select team's head coach when it debuts in the 2020-21 season.

The Select squad is the team that the NBA G-League will incubate elite youth prospects in, featuring its first-ever batch of signees in Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd, Daishen Nix, and Kai Sotto. These prospects will be receiving mentorship and life skills training, while also allowing their basketball skills to develop as they start their professional careers. The Select team will be unaffiliated with any current G-League or NBA franchise.

Abdur-Rahim shares, "Brian’s extensive experience and success as an NBA player and coach make him a natural choice to lead the new NBA G League team. We look forward to watching these terrific young players develop their skills and grow as professionals under Brian's leadership."

Shaw says, "I’m excited to serve as head coach of the new NBA G League team. This is a new and different challenge in my career, and I’m ready to get to work mentoring, coaching and developing the next generation of NBA stars."

Shaw played fourteen seasons in the NBA, with stops in Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, Orlando, Golden State, Philadelphia, and Portland, winning three titles with the Lakers from 2000-02. The 6'6" guard also has some international experience, helping the United States win gold in the FIBA Basketball World Championship (currently called the FIBA World Cup) in 1986, as well as playing in Italy during the 1989-90 season.

Shaw would then tack on a couple more titles with the Lakers during his first stint with the team as an assistant coach from 2004-11. Named as an associate head coach with the Indiana Pacers, he would help them reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 2013, before making his league debut as a head coach with the Denver Nuggets, lasting a couple of seasons.

Shaw then returned to the Los Angeles Lakers for a second stint as an assistant coach from 2016-19.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Puma x LaLiga celebrate Spanish football's imminent return

Carlo Dorin

With the imminent resumption of the 2019-20 season about to take place in Spain, LaLiga and its official partner PUMA released a new campaign highlighting the world's eagerness to see top-flight Spanish football return.

For the #LaLigaBouncesBack campaign, a video illustrates a variety of football players passing around the LaLiga official match ball, which is a PUMA design. Among the participating LaLiga ballers are PUMA athletes Marc Bartra (Real Betis) and Suso (Sevilla FC), who will feature in the El Gran Derbi, the most notable matchup on June 11, the day LaLiga Santander resumes action.

Other notable LaLiga players in the video are FC Barcelona's Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann, as well as Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak. Also participating are league ambassadors Diego Forlan, Christian Karembeu, and Fernando Morientes.

The ball passed through eight different countries before arriving back in Spain, a reflection of the global audience LaLiga has secured over the years. Among the places it went are Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, and the United States. LaLiga coincidentally has global offices in those particular locations.

In addition, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines are the other locations the ball went in its circumnavigation. Representing the Philippines in the video is U18 international Carlo Dorin, who is part of the GOM Football Center of Excellence.

The #LaLigaBouncesBack campaign is in conjunction with a separate campaign, the #BackToWin movement LaLiga and Movistar currently in place. The message the video conveys illustrates the importance of the resumption of football not only for the league and its clubs, but also for the millions of fans worldwide who follow the league, as well as those in the wider sports industry.

LaLiga head of revenue, marketing, and international development Óscar Mayo shares, "More than 2.7 billion people in 183 countries watch LaLiga every year. This initiative with PUMA underlines the global nature of our competition and the anticipation that is being felt far beyond Spain as we prepare to return. We want to share this moment with all our followers as well as our partners worldwide."

Fans can watch the video below:

The complete list of participating footballers:

PUMA athletes

Luis Suarez and Antonie Griezmann (FC Barcelona)
Suso (Sevilla FC)
Santi Cazorla (Villarreal CF)
Marc Bartra (Real Betis)
Jan Oblak (Atletico de Madrid)

LaLiga Ambassadors

Diego Forlán
Fernando Morientes
Christian Karembeu

United States

Fafa Picault (FC Dallas)
Juan Pablo Torres (NYCFC)


Raúl Gudiño and Oribe Peralta (Guadalajara)
Nico Sanchez and Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey)


Jed Hockins (Freestyle)
Daniel "D10" Cappellaro (Futsal)


Carlo Dorin (GOM Football Center of Excellence, U18 International)


Louis Yamaguchi (Extremadura UD)


Otavio Dutra (Persija Jakarta)
Fachruddin Aryanto (Madura United)


Jun Tan (Junpiter Futbol)
Raihan Rahman (Tanjong Pagar United)
Azri Majilan (Freestyle)
Ho Wai Loon (Lion City Sailors)
Darren Teh (Geylang FC)

South Africa

Themba Zwane and Lebogang Maboe (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Thembinkosi Lorch and Zakhele Lepasa (Orlando Pirates)
Mpho Makola (Cape Town City)
Lebogang Manyama (Kaizer Chiefs)

CESAFI receives BAVI donations

USJR receiving the BAVI donations

With the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. having cancelled its upcoming 20th season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. provided some sort of assistance to the affected schools.

Led by its president, Ronald Mascariñas, five thousand pieces of dressed chicken were distributed to the league's member schools: Cebu Eastern College, Cebu Institute of Technology - University, Don Bosco Technical College, Southwestern University-PHINMA, University of Cebu, University of Cebu-Lapu Lapu, University of Cebu-Mandaue, University of San Carlos, University of San Jose-Recoletos, University of Southern Philippines Foundation, University of the Visayas, and Sacred Heart School - Ateneo de Cebu.

Also receiving dressed chickens are the other members of the CESAFI family: the league officials, referees, coaches, ballboys, security guards, utility teams, and venue personnel.

Mascariñas shares, "We admire the efforts of CESAFI management in looking after the welfare of athletes and officials during this most difficult time. They are truly an inspiration."

CESAFI commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy expressed his gratitude to BAVI for the assistance, says "The CESAFI is truly grateful and blessed at this pleasant surprise from Mr. Ronald Mascariñas. We are thankful for his generosity."

Although the league has cancelled its upcoming season, they hope that they can already resume play next year.

Explaining the NBA format for the remainder of the 2019-20 season

Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets handles the ball against the Dallas Mavericks on March 11, 2020 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

With the NBA set with its plan for the 2019-20 season, it is important to delve into what is the format they agreed upon for the season.

Here are the standings when the NBA suspended play back in March:

Screenshot from the NBA website.

To determine the field, the teams that would be in the playoffs if it started today comprise the initial field.

In the Eastern Conference, that would be the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, and the Orlando Magic.

In the Western Conference, that would be the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, and the Memphis Grizzlies.

In addition, any teams within six games of the team currently pegged as the eighth seed in both conferences will be included in the field.

There are six teams that fall within that criteria:

The Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference.

The Portland Trailblazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, and the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference.

The 22 teams will each play eight "seeding games" determined from the remainder of its remaining regular season schedule, with these games counting in the league standings.

The best seven teams from each conference are automatically in the postseason, while the eighth seeds will have to sweat it out to see if it will have to participate in a play-in game. If the ninth seed is within four games of the eighth seed in the standings when the regular season concludes, the play-in game will take place. The eighth seed will have a twice-to-beat advantage over the ninth seed.

Here is the race for the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference:

Here is the race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference:

Once the play-in games are completed (if necessary), the postseason can commence accordingly. Format remains unchanged, with best-of-seven matchups in all rounds.

Teams that miss the postseason will qualify for the NBA Draft Lottery, slated to take place on August 25 (26 in the Philippines).

Already locked in with regards to their lottery odds seeding are the teams who are not participating in Orlando:

Screenshot from

The six remaining lottery teams will be coming from this group below. The odds will be distributed accordingly based on their record when the NBA paused action back in March.

Screenshot from ESPN

If everything augurs well, league will resume play on July 31 (August 1 in Manila).

NBA Board of Governors approve resumption plan for 2019-20 season

NBA is back.

Another key step to getting the ball rolling once again in the sports world took place on Wednesday, with the NBA Board of Governors approving the format for the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season.

League commissioner Adam Silver shares, "The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season. While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts. We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways."

July 31 is the tentative start date for play to resume, with 22 teams involved. There will be eight "seeding games" that will count in the regular season standings. The format also incorporates the "twice-to-beat" advantage for the eighth seed, but will only be invoked if the gap between the eighth and ninth seed in each conference is four games or fewer.

The playoffs this season remains the traditional format, with best-of-seven matches in the first round, conference semifinals, conference finals, and the NBA Finals. If things go on as scheduled, the last possible date for the NBA Finals is October 12 (13 in Manila).

With regards to specific events, the NBA Draft Lottery will take place on August 25, the NBA Draft on October 15, and the start of the 2020-21 NBA regular season likely on December 1.

Those who miss the playoffs will be participating in the Draft Lottery, and their odds assignment will be based on their records as of March 11.

Securing the affirmative vote is merely the first of many steps that are necessary in order for the league to resume play. Deal necessitates approval with the National Basketball Players Association, with both groups working with infections disease specialists, public health experts, and government officials to establish a rigorous program that will prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Said program is expected to include regular testing protocol as well as stringent safety practices. In addition, it also includes a separate agreement with The Walt Disney Company to utilize facilities within the Walt Disney World Resort as a single site for the NBA's operations for the remainder of the season, which is not limited to just games, practices, and housing for the players and staff.