Friday, July 31, 2020

Chooks 3x3 discusses protocols in owners' meeting

Getting closer to the 3x3 campaign starting.

With Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 securing its professional status from the Games and Amusements Board, league commissioner Eric Altamirano buckled down to work to get the league ready to resume action.

Altamirano met with the team owners who will participate in the upcoming competition Thursday, with the C3 Events Place in San Juan serving as the venue.

Among those gracing the proceedings are San Juan-Go for Gold team governor Chris Conwi, Sta. Lucia sports head Buddy Encarnado, Nueva Ecija team manager Jai Reyes and Mike Baldos, Porac-Big Boss Cement's Ryan Monteclaro, Zamboanga-Family's Brand Sardines' Tonette Roque, Mindoro's Justin Tan and Teytey Teodoro, and Sulu's Marvin Forniza.

The meeting centered on aspects for the upcoming competition, which includes testing, eligibility, and life inside the bubble. According to Altamirano, "We had to be very thorough and detailed during the meeting with the team owners since we can't leave no stone unturned especially with the pandemic still on-going."

Dr. Butch Ong of the UP Science and Society program discussed the health protocols, while GET Philippines tacked the contract tracing application that the league will use for its bubble.

Attendees were pleased with the meeting's outcome, noting that the league is fully complying with guidelines put in place by the Joint Administrative Order.

"We are glad to be part of this organization," expressed Encarnado.

"The players' safety was greatly emphasized earlier. We can't wait to get back to work since this is really for them," added Reyes.

Although teams have yet to reveal their respective quartets for the competition, which is scheduled to take place this September at the INSPIRE Sports Academy, Altamirano guaranteed that there is a lot of player movement from the last time teams played.

"We will definitely see a lot of new faces while our the players from our previous powerhouse teams like Pasig and Basilan will see their players move to new squads. This season will see more balance, I believe," he says.

INSPIRE Academy selected as Chooks 3x3 venue

The 3x3 bubble will be played in Calamba.

3x3 basketball in the Philippines is set to commence its professional debut inside a bubble.

According to Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 commissioner Eric Altamirano, they are targeting the third week of September for their inaugural pro campaign. He adds, "Then it will go until February next year to be able to complete the season so magkakaroon tayo ng tatlong conferences for this year."

The league has selected the INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna as their host for the bubble, as Altamirano acknowledged a need for an isolated area.

Owned by the SM Group and located inside the Calamba campus of National University, the INSPIRE Sports Academy styles itself as "the first world-class learning and sporting institution in the Philippines that features 360-degree sport science and educational support for athletes."

The facility includes a dormitel that contains sixty rooms with 176 beds, which includes 32 dorm-type rooms, 20 hotel-type rooms, and four executive rooms.

Altamirano shares, "We were able to go there and inspect the campus and it’s a world-class campus. Kumpleto na, may hotel sa loob. Really nice facility. And one thing we requested from them is once we get into the bubble, kami lang yung tao sa loob ng campus, so that will really assure that everyone will be safe and air-tight."

As the norm in these times, the league will abide by strict health protocols, which include everyone undergoing CoViD-19 testing before entering the bubble.

The former head coach of NU explains, "For example, we’re gonna enter the first day. Right before we enter, there’s going to be a series of testings so that is probably five to seven days prior to the entry to the bubble. Magkakaroon ng PCR testing ang mga players, and then on the day itself, we’re gonna have a rapid test, so that will ensure us that whoever goes into the bubble will be safe."

He adds, "Say, we hold our first leg Friday and then mayroong break ng Saturday, Saturday we are still going to have another round of tests for everybody inside the bubble and the we will play our second leg Sunday and then Sunday night right after the second leg, everybody will get out of the bubble. After that, every two weeks, we go inside the bubble."

Altamirano also reaffirms their commitment to protocols, says "We will continue to apply yung safety protocol in terms of testing before going inside the bubble. Importante, everybody has to follow and be disciplined sa execution ng protocol." He also notes that the league has contingency plans when someone tests positive, which includes high-tech contract tracing.

"For us, there are three important things that we wanna emphasize sa protocol. Number one is the testing. Number two, yung educate -- we want to educate our players, all the people that will be part of the league. And then number three, yung contact tracing. So, napaka-importante sa amin niyan," enumerated the soft-spoken mentor.

"We have partnered with a company na very high-tech yung app nila that we’re going to use in our practices and during the games. We wanna ensure na if ever there’s an eventuality of a positive case, then we will be able to report it and be able to trace the people na nala-interact ng player or whoever na CoViD positive," Altamirano continued.

Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra was impressed with the guidelines put in place by Chooks 3x3, although he reiterated the reminders put in place by the Joint Administrative Order that was unveiled earlier this week.

"Maganda yung safety protocols that Chooks-to-Go sent us. And yes, under the joint administrative order of the DOH, PSC and GAB, only professional players, athletes, will be allowed to practice," Mitra says.

He adds, "At first, mas konti ang magpa-practice kasi 3-on-3. Second, I understand that they will be locating themselves outside of Metro Manila and they will be placed and their training under isolation or what is now called a bubble. And the high-tech contact tracing will be done and will also be shared with other professional leagues. So, yes, they will be allowed to practice and eventually resume."

"Ang hinihingi lang naman nila is to practice muna. No scrimmage, conditioning, strength training and then eventually, when the quarantine levels may go down, then I’m sure the IATF will eventually allow scrimmages."

United City Football Club reveals new crest

United City Football Club crest, as designed by Grit Sports' Gerard Andaya

United City Football on Wednesday revealed their team crest, as it continued to share its progress after its recent takeover of Ceres-Negros FC.

The announcement was made during the SPIA-Asia webinar featuring co-founder Eric Gottschalk, where he also discussed the continued development of the new club to viewers.

Designed by Gerard Andaya of Grit Sports, the final design of the crest was the result of a logo design contest, enabling fans to be part of the growth of the club. It was one of five finalists, picked from over three hundred entries worldwide, with almost a third of them being Philippine entries. Andaya's design received 58 percent of the votes, according to Gottschalk, who adds, "This is only the beginning of many fan activations, as we intend to be a club focused and dedicated to our fans.  We also intend to have a million followers on social media by year end, and to have a membership program with 5,000 registered members by year end as well."

Entries were required to provide an accompanying description of the crest, with Andaya sharing his as follows: "A circular crest not too different from its original identity to acknowledge the roots of the club.  With two (2) stars which pay tribute to the origins of the "Ceres–LaSalle" & "Ceres–Negros" heritage." As for the center of the logo, he describes it as a "Geometric patterned football to represent that football is at the center of the club’s existence, while the symmetry of the ball stands for “Unity & Stability."" As for the solid outer circle, it "Symbolizes the solid fans, being the club’s foundation that holds everything together."

For his efforts, Andaya is rewarded PhP 10,000 and a customized jersey.

Ten additional fans also received customized jerseys as well: Cicile Casmiro, Aero Estrellado, Mark Galang, Kim Angara, Frederick Ajose, Joseph Ubas, Rene Divina, Hannah Vergara, Novy Salas, Loue Salvado.

Chooks Pilipinas 3x3 joins the professional ranks

The movement takes a new step.

The Games and Amusement Board has given its approval to the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 as a professional league, joining the Philippine Basketball Association and the Philippines Football League.

The announcement was made on Wednesday, with GAB chairman Baham Mitra and league commissioner Eric Altamirano gracing the ceremony on the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas Facebook page.

Mitra says, "We'd like to announce that in the board meeting of the Games and Amusement Board yesterday, we have accepted the interest of Chooks-to-Go 3x3 to turn professional."

In response, Altamirano replies, "I'd like to thank the Games and Amusement Board, headed by Chairman Baham Mitra, for allowing our sports organization, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3, to become a professional league."

Founded by Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. president Ronald Mascarinas, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3's objective was to help the Philippines gain enough points in the FIBA 3x3 rankings to earn a spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which the event will make its debut in.

Said efforts allowed the league to get themselves a fighting chance for that spot, as the country made it into the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in the men's division. Originally scheduled to take place in India, the coronavirus pandemic has rescheduled the tourney to Austria next year.

Altamirano adds, "I really believe that we Filipinos have a very strong chance of excelling in this sport. We all know what happened last year. For the first time, we were able to qualify for the Olympic Qualifiers. 16 lang naman yung nag-qualify and we were one of them. It only shows that Filipinos can excel in this, considering na maliliit tayo. I don't think height really matters when it comes to 3x3."

The move to become a professional league will allow Filipino hoopers to have another platform to aspire to. According to Altamirano, "This will provide our local players the opportunity to explore possibilities as a professional career in the 3x3 league. Gusto namin maging something aspirational for young 3x3 players."

The long time 3x3 advocate also shares, "Siguro iisipin ng iba, hindi ako pwede sa five-on-five, so there's another platform that they can really aspire to become a basketball player. And by having a pro league sa 3x3, then there's something na meron pala akong pupuntahan if I start playing the 3x3 at an early age."

The league believes that its elevation onto the professional ranks will help the Philippines be recognized as among the top nations in the 3x3 scene. Already home to the top ten 3x3 players in the country in the likes of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Dylan Ababou, Karl Dehesa, Leonard Santillan, Jaypee Belencion, Chris de Chavez, Ryan Monteclaro, Gab Banal, and Leo De Vera.

Munzon in particular expressed excitement with this development, having been part of the league since its inception. "It's pretty cool. It's definitely a step in the right direction in growing the game in the Philippines," he said. "It's pretty cool, from when we started the first 3x3 league in the Philippines to now that we're turning pro."

What started out as a dream has finally turned into reality as the groundbreaking Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 is now a professional league, following the approval of the Games and Amusement Board.

With this, the Philippines has joined the likes of Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and majority of European countries that have its own 3x3 pro league, something that Altamirano is extremely thrilled about.

But beyond being a platform, Altamirano strongly believes that finally having a 3x3 pro league will further help the Philippines in its aim of becoming a force to be reckoned with in the global 3x3 scene.

"'Yung pagiging professional ng Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 will help strengthen our drive in becoming a dominant force in the 3x3 sport all over the world," Altamirano said.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Global perspective on the NBA restart

c/o Gary Dineen / NBA Entertainment via Getty Images

The NBA is set to resume its 2019-20 season inside the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida, and the league continues to boast about the sport being a global game in its own right.
Starting with its doubleheader on July 30 (31 in Manila), the remainder of the season and the playoffs will be made available to fans in 215 countries and in 47 languages, whether on television, computers, or mobile gadgets. In the Philippines, the league recently tied up with Cignal and SMART to satisfy Filipinos with their much-desired taste for world-class basketball.

The pandemic has forced the NBA to adjust, and as a result, the league is departing from its conventional 82-game schedule. 88 seeding games involving 22 teams who are in (and are still hoping to make) the postseason. Almost half of these games will be shown on primetime in Europe, the Middle East, and in Africa, making it a very early morning for most Filipino fans. If the situation calls for it, the play-in games will take place mid-August, with the postseason officially commencing a couple of days later.

League Pass subscribers can enjoy alternate feeds with new camera angles, enhanced graphics, in-language streams, and influencer commentary with a focus on areas like pop culture and music. While watching the game, one can also be subjected to in-game polls and quizzes to help provide entertainment.

Although the bubble will not have fans, they will have the chance to make themselves felt virtually. Over 300 fans per game will be invited to be part of the Michelob ULTRA Courtside's 17-foot video boards that are surrounding the court. Thanks to the NBA's partnership with Microsoft, those fans will have the chance to interact with each other throughout the game via the "Together Mode" feature available on Microsoft Teams. The feature removes fans from their individual backgrounds and brings them into a shared visual space that will be seen through the broadcast and in-venue. In that manner, it allows those fans the experience of sitting next to one another in a live game without the need to leave the comfort and safety of home. At the same time, players will be able to feed off their energy and support.

An alternative means of showing fan support is through the virtual cheering experience. One can digitally cheer for their team through the NBA App, as well as on and on Twitter with the official team hashtags. These would then be reflected through the video boards and enhanced with graphics and animations that capture the level of fan engagement worldwide. For those who use certain social media applications, one would be able to conduct TikTok challenges, as well as "ground segmentation" augmented reality technology on Snapchat. The latter enables fans to explore a virtual rendering of the official NBA bubble court through a Lens.

On the court, there are 89 international players from 34 countries and territories currently rostered amongst the 22 teams. All of the teams have at least one international player, which includes seven of the record eight internationals who participated in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Luka Dončić (Slovenia), Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Rudy Gobert (France), Nikola Jokić (Serbia), Pascal Siakam (Cameroon), and Ben Simmons (Australia).

As for the eighth international, Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania) is currently sidelined due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He, in fact, has departed from the bubble to have that injury treated. The Indiana Pacers have not yet made a decision regarding his status, although he is on the roster.

Dončić is among the seven international players that the Dallas Mavericks will field for the remainder of the season, which is the most amongst the 22 teams. Canadians form the biggest block of internationals, with fifteen players. The French have seven players, whilst there are five players each from Australia, Germany, and Serbia. 

The NBA remains proud of their Basketball Without Borders program, with Embiid (BWB Africa 2011) and Siakam (BWB Africa 2012) serving as its crown jewels. An additional twenty more alumni campers made the season restart rosters.

An emphasis for the remainder of the season is the ability for teams and players to highlight social justice. With the league allowing players to wear social justice messages, select international players have taken up on the option and are doing so in their native languages. Once the league resumes, one can see those messages in Bosnian, French Creole, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latvian, Maori, Slovenian, and Spanish.

From a marketing perspective, the "Whole New Game" campaign will feature a series of three spots, kicking it off with "It's A Whole New Game." The spot will run throughout the seeding games on the league's live broadcasts, social media channels, and digital platforms worldwide. In addition, the spot is translated in over ten languages, including Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Thai, as well as Japanese subtitles.

The media campaign also brought together 22 international celebrities across the film, fashion, and sports genres, all of which shared their own "3 Reasons to Watch" the remainder of the season. These will then be shown on the different social media channels the NBA has globally.

In their effort to help address the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA has also conducted over 45 PSAs in nine different languages as part of the NBA Together campaign. Involving some of the league's players, coaches, and legends, the PSAs remind its audience about the core essences of preventing the spread of COVID-19, from proper handwashing and establishing hygiene habits, to wearing a facemask and conducting physical and social distancing. The league has gotten over 65 million views globally through its digital and social platforms from these PSAs.

The venue of the restart also happens to be the home of the Jr. NBA Global Championship, which serves as the global tournament for outstanding 13-14 year-old boys and girls. As a result of the pandemic, the event will take the virtual stage, capping it off with the Jr. NBA Day of Celebration that will take place within the restart. Over three thousand kids worldwide will take part in the proceedings.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

NBA enters into partnership with CIGNAL, SMART for broadcast rights in the Philippines

NBA + Cignal + SMART = 2019-2020 NBA season on Philippine TV

Top-quality basketball will make its return to Philippine television.

The National Basketball Association on Monday unveiled a multi-year partnerships with Cignal TV, Inc., as well as SMART Communications, Inc, letting the latter two entities deliver NBA games and programming to Filipino fans, whether it is through free-to-air or satellite television or over-the-top streaming.

The partnership begins this Friday, July 31, with the seeding games, as the NBA restarts its 2019-20 season inside the Disney complex in Florida. Select seeding games and playoff games from the first and second rounds will be shown on TV5 and ONE Sports, with both channels also showing the Conference Finals in their entirety. TV5 also becomes the exclusive home of the NBA Finals.

Cignal is also set to launch a new channel as a result of their partnership with the NBA. Called NBA TV Philippines, it serves as a localized version of NBA TV, which is the NBA's dedicated 24/7 channel. NBA TV Philippines will feature live games and original programming in high definition.

Already in partnership with the NBA with regards to the distribution of League Pass, the NBA's premium live game subscription service, SMART expands on that partnership to also enable NBA TV Philippines to be streamed through its new over-the-top service that is exclusive to its paid subscribers. SMART is also set to revive later this year. The site is considered as the league's official digital destination in the country, and aside from providing highlights, schedules, scores, and stats, as well as features and analysis from its roster of sports journalists.

NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy shares, "The NBA restart is set against a uniquely challenging moment in time for our fans in the Philippines, who are among the most passionate and dedicated NBA supporters in the world. We are excited to partner with Cignal and Smart to bring NBA games to a nationwide audience, and we hope to play a role in lifting the spirits of Filipinos by bringing our fans together through their shared love of the game."

Cignal TV President and CEO Robert Galang adds, "We at Cignal TV are extremely thrilled to bring the world’s biggest basketball league back to every Filipino home. Our partnership with the NBA is a huge milestone in our mission to bring the best content to our viewers and subscribers.  With three channels broadcasting the games, Filipinos now have the chance to experience the NBA live on free TV channels TV5 and ONE Sports, and on Cignal TV’s NBA TV Philippines in high definition.  The game we all love is now truly home."

SMART President and CEO Alfredo Panlilio says, "As some of the world’s biggest basketball fans, the hunger for live basketball action is in our DNA. This is why we at Smart could not contain our excitement as we partner with the NBA to bring the world’s premier basketball league to the fingertips of Filipinos.  This reinforces our commitment to bring amazing experiences through technology made simple by Smart."

Aligned with the upcoming NBA restart and to celebrate the new partnership, Cignal is set to launch "The Game You Love is Home" campaign, highlighting the availability of NBA TV Philippines on select prepaid and postpaid plans.

For updates about the new partnership in their respective perspectives, one can check out (Cignal) and (SMART), as well as in their respective social media platforms.

As for broadcast schedules, make sure to check out the social media platforms of TV5, ONE Sports, and Cignal TV, as well as NBA Philippines.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Chico Lanete joins Chooks Pilipinas 3x3

The newest member of the Chooks Pilipinas 3x3 community.

A veteran guard is making the transition.

Late last week, long-time PBA veteran Chico Lanete entered into the world of 3x3 basketball, becoming a playing assistant in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 program.

His input will be greatly valued by the different pro teams under the Chooks Pilipinas banner, especially since he will not only work with Eric Altamirano and his staff for the upcoming FIBA 3x3 World Tour campaign, but also will assist in the preparations for the Philippine men's 3x3 team in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualifying Tournament next year.

According league owner Ronald Mascariñas, "Having Chico around will be of great help to our players as 3x3 is a game of court awareness." He adds, "Being an undrafted player but still playing 12 years in the PBA should serve as an inspiration to our players as well as Chico proved that hard work trumps all.

The three time champion shares, "I've been wanting to be a coach nung padulo na ng career ko. Nagpapasalamat ako sa Chooks-to-Go for this opportunity na mag-give back sa new generation ng players at sa bagong sport na 3x3." The Ormoc native adds, "Gusto ko rin siyempre ma-try 'tong 3x3, kumbaga nasa bucket list ko ito. Alam ko kaya ko pa rin makipagsabayan kahit papano sa mga bata nating players."

Aside from his 3x3 duties both as a coach and as a player, he will still do 5x5 duties with the Sarangani franchise of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

On how Real Madrid clinched LaLiga

Real Madrid celebrating another title. Photo c/o LaLiga

Earlier this week, Real Madrid clinched their 34th league title, doing so with a 2-1 victory over Villarreal. But the road to clinching #34Ligas can be distilled to about five things.
  • Zidane’s positivity
They say it starts with the manager. Zinedine Zidane is now a double LaLiga winner as well as three-time Champions League trophy-holder. The former French international not only is an excellent tactician and man-manager, but also has a knack to generate and maintain a positive mindset in the locker room.

Fresh from a season where they finished nineteen points behind FC Barcelona, and an imperfect summer transfer window, Zizou remained optimistic for the season ahead, keeping it in place even with the campaign being interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The focus after the COVID-19 break
Since the restart, Real Madrid has yet to lose a game, winning all ten matches with one more matchup remaining in the schedule.

Against SD Eibar to re-open their season, German international Toni Kroos kicked off scoring a couple of minutes in, highlighting a focus which would reflect in their subsequent games.

Real Madrid never trailed at any point during the restart, with Zidane maintaining a quality rotation of players in this frenetic pace to finish the season before the UEFA-mandated deadline for the conclusion of leagues across Europe. On-field lapses of judgement from the players were kept at a minimum, and came during situations that they could have afforded to. According to Zizou, the restart is akin to a format like that of a World Cup.

With the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu already underway with its upgrades, matches were played at the Alfredo di Stefano training ground, and with fans not being allowed during the resumption of the season,  there was not much of a transition necessary.
  • Defensive strength with the ‘Fantastic Four’: Courtois-Ramos-Varane-Casemiro
Defense wins championships, a motto that holds true not just on the basketball court, but on the football field as well.

Real Madrid allowed just 23 goals with one game remaining, the fewest in La Liga Santander, which can be attributed to two stretches, one back in autumn where they pulled off seven clean sheets in eight games, and this current stretch, where they only conceded four goals and Belgian international Thibaut Courtois going over a season-best five hundred minutes without conceding a goal. Courtois is the last line of defense of a rock-solid spine, with the centre-back duo of team captain Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, as well as holding midfielder Casemiro forming a so-called "Fantastic Four."

In addition, an emphasis on effort, whether on and off the ball, also helped with the improvement on the defensive end. Zidane has even benched certain players whom he feels fell short on that particular instance.
  • Benzema’s oustanding 21 goals, along with a record 21 different goalscorers
The sport of football is basically distilled into how a team will be able to score. Real Madrid managed a two-pronged approach to that objective, netting themselves 68 goals in 37 matches, second-best in the league behind FC Barcelona's 81 matches.

First, they have a multitude of players with the ability of putting the ball at the back of the net. Out of the 26 players who managed to get pitch time this season, 21 of those managed to get themselves on the scoresheet, which is a record. Among those who have netted a goal this season are Marco Asensio, who would have missed the season if not for the pandemic-caused break, as well as Ferland Mendy, who scored his first-ever LaLiga goal against Granada CF earlier this week.

Second, the team rides on Karim Benzema's offensive coattails. The Frenchman scored a team-high 21 goals this season, and has a good shot to claim the Pichichi on the final day of the season. Karim is just two goals behind Lionel Messi and there is an indication that the team will try to get him that particular award.
  • A victory in El Clásico to overcome FC Barcelona
Compared to most leagues, LaLiga utilizes a different tiebreaker, using head-to-head matchups as the main factor instead of goal difference.

Before the league went on the pandemic-caused break, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona faced off for their second meeting of the season, with the former securing a 2-0 victory over the latter. Vinicius Junior and Mariano Diaz scored the goals.

Combine that with a goalless draw in their first meeting back in December and it allowed Zidane's side to have a psychological advantage of having the head-to-head tiebreaker in their favor.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Messi reaches 700 goals... and counting

The 700 Club's latest member.

Lionel Messi made history in FC Barcelona's 2-2 draw against Atletico de Madrid, scoring his 700th goal of his career.

It was his 630th goal in 724 games for FC Barcelona, with his first coming against Albacete back in May 1, 2005. 441 of those goals came in 480 games in league play. 114 came in 141 appearances in the UEFA Champions League. 53 came in 75 games in the Copa del Rey. Fourteen came in nineteen games under the Spanish Super Cup, while tacking on five in his five appearances at the FIFA Club World Cup. Lastly, he scored thrice in four European Super Cup finals.

The remaining 70 comes from his 138 caps for Argentina's in international duties. He first scored for the Albiceleste back in March 2006 against Croatia in a friendly. Messi last scored internationally back in November 2019 against Uruguay, also in a friendly.

In compiling seven hundred goals, he also managed to secure 54 hat tricks, and once scored five goals in a single game, against Bayer Leverkusen back in 2011-12. He also lashed a total of 91 goals during 2012, a personal record.

Arguably the best football player of his generation with his ten championships in LaLiga, four Champions League trophies, and six Ballon d'Ors, he already was the all-time leading goalscorer in the Spanish top-flight, surpassing Athletic Club legend Telmo Zarra back in October 2014 with his 252nd goal.

His rival for that designation, Portuguese international and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo, is the only other member of that exclusive "700 goals" club that is still active. Ronaldo had scored 728 goals in senior football at the time Messi scored his 700th, which includes 99 goals in 164 appearances for Portugal. In addition, 311 of CR7's goals came during his 292 games for Real Madrid in league play.

The other members of the "700 club" are:

Czech-Austrian forward Josef Bican, who scored 805 goals between 1930s-50s.

Brazilian forward Romario, who reportedly scored 772 goals.

Brazilian icon Pelé, who scored 767 goals.

Hungarian forward Ferenc Puskás, who retired with 746 goals in 1966.

German icon Gerd "Der Bomber" Müller, who finished with 735 goals when he retired in 1981.

Having just turned 33 last month, Messi still has enough time to even carve more history and raise his storied accolades even higher.