Sunday, August 30, 2020

Kobe Paras renews Chooks-to-Go partnership

Kobe Paras renews his partnership with Chooks-to-Go Saturday.

A good partnership deserves to be extended.

Bounty Agro-Ventures, Inc. will continue to have Kobe Paras as one of its Chooks-to-Go ambassadors, formalizing the agreement with a signing ceremony on Saturday afternoon.

Kobe Paras inked a new deal with Chooks-to-Go to serve as its ambassador, Saturday afternoon.

The 22-year-old student-athlete had this to say about the new deal, "Chooks-to-Go has been there for me since the lowest point in my life. They're really a family to me. What we do here is not business. It's basically taking care of one another, and I'm just really grateful that Boss Ronald continues to help me and other people." He adds, "Right now I just feel really grateful."

It was not long ago that Kobe had his lows. After leaving Cal State-Northridge on March 2018, he needed help to return to the Philippines. BAVI President Ronald Mascariñas took care of the flight home and started the relationship that helped him build himself back towards the right direction. 

Mascariñas vouched for his inclusion in the Gilas Pilipinas cadet program that participated in the 2018 Chooks-to-Go Filoil Flying V Premier Cup, and also assisted in Kobe's decision to enroll in the University of the Philippines.

The amiable executive shares, "When he first arrived, Kobe was in what we say, a dark place. He was very guarded then. But as he stayed here with us, he was able to realize who he really is and more."

He adds, "I could definitely say, he has become a true Isko!"

Paras' life experiences have helped shaped his maturation process, and he sees the opportunities to be able to give back to the community, participating in various outreach activities.

"Being able to reach out to people in need in the provinces, and students as well, humbles me. It makes me realize that this is why I do what I do. It's not specifically for me, but to make other people happy and make other people believe in themselves," expressed Kobe.

He also did not rule a possible participation in the Philippines' first professional 3x3 basketball league, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3, once his final season in the UAAP with UP is completed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Testing, practices for Chooks 3x3 underway

The faces of 3x3 basketball in the Philippines: Troy, Alvin, Joshua, Santi.

The next step for the return of competitive 3x3 basketball in the Philippines took place this week, with eight teams having gone through the first round of polymerase chain reaction (PRC) testing at the Philippine Children's Medical Center in Quezon City.

Monday saw Zamboanga City-Family's Brand Sardines, Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes, Gapan-Chooks, and Bacolod-Master Sardines undergo testing, while Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors, Palayan City Capitols, and Porac-Big Boss Cement Green Gorillas had their tests on Wednesday.

The remaining teams: Bicol Volcanoes, Sarangani Marlins, Val City Classic, and an unidentified team, will have their respective tests either on Friday or Monday next week.

League commissioner Eric Altamirano shares, "Nagkaroon kami ng staggard testing. Yesterday, four teams tested then today we had another four teams. So staggard din 'yung pag-practice ng teams."

Zamboanga City, Gapan, and Bacolod all proceeded to have their first practices at the UP Epsilon Chi Gymnasium on Wednesday, with ZC's quartet of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Leonard Santillan, and Troy Rike opening theirs at 10am. Gapan's Franky Johnson, Chris de Chavez, Karl Dehesa, JR Alabanza, and Chico Lanete had theirs at noon, with Bacolod's Alfred Batino, Anton Asistio, Chris Lalata, Robin Rono, and Choi Ignacio capping things at 3pm.

Teams have to go through protocols before they commence with their respective practices. A rapid test was conducted first, and once a negative test was obtained, they then proceeded to sign up with GET Philippines' contact-tracing application.

League owner Ronald Mascarinas shared his appreciation to the University of the Philippines and GET Philippines for their role in getting the league off the ground during the pandemic. He shares, "It's during this first week where we will see if there are things that we can adjust with our system before we get back to the games itself."

The league hopes to secure an additional practice facility once all teams have been tested. In addition, they are hopeful to have the President's Cup start on October at the bubble inside the INSPIRE Academy in Calamba, provided the Inter-Agency Task Force gives the go-ahead.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

United City Football Club releases new kits

Monte’ Athletics will be the official kit supplier of United City Football Club (UCFC)

Tuesday marks another moment in the developing history of United City Football Club, as they unveiled their kits for the upcoming Philippines Football League season and the upcoming resumption of the AFC Cup, where they take the place of their predecessor Ceres-Negros FC.

The kit is in partnership with Monte Athletics, who will also take on the added responsibility of offering club merchandise, including replica jerseys and branded face masks.

On announcing the partnership, UCFC co-founder Eric Gottschalk shares, "I’m very happy to announce that Monte’ Athletics will be the official kit supplier of UCFC for the 2020 season.  We chose them as we want to stay true to our mission of supporting football in the Philippines; and this should also include its stakeholders, the local community.  We were right away convinced of the premium quality of the high-performance range of the Monte’ products, so it was an easy decision to partner with them for our inaugural season."

Fans can start purchasing the official UCFC replica kits at the Monte Athletics online store on Lazada starting September 1, with the club making future announcements for additional retail and online partners.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Nike honors Kobe with Mamba Week


As the world commemorates Kobe Bryant's birthday (August 23, 1978), Nike has devoted one whole week for the legend, who passed away earlier this year.

It released on a video Sunday night (in Manila) that features the vocal stylings of recording artist Kendrick Lamar. Called Better, it celebrates the universal relevance of progress and highlights Kobe’s prolific desire for improvement. While incremental change may feel small in the short term, those subtle shifts culminate to greater progress over time. This relentless drive for improvement is part of the legacy Kobe leaves.

It is an offshoot of the "Mamba Mentality," a philosophy that is rooted in getting better, every day, in everything we do. In his own words, Kobe described it as, “It’s to constantly try to be the best version of yourself. It's a constant quest to try to be better today than you were yesterday."

In the Philippines, Nike, through Nike Philippines has its own ways of celebrating "Mamba Week."

Nike Philippines Country Marketing Manager Jino Ferrer shares, "Kobe’s memory is very much alive in the hearts of Filipinos today, as we remember his energy and charisma when he visited Manila in 2016. His legacy lives on and Mamba Mentality truly channels puso as Filipino ballers can relate; to be better each day and continue to elevate themselves and their game. It’s truly empowering, coupled with the voice of local athletes as we stay committed to serving the community, especially young women and girls as Kobe was dedicated towards."

Appropriately on August 24 (8/24), there will be a "Mamba Mentality Live," a virtual gathering of athletes and Kobe fans will come together to discuss his impact on the next generation in pursuit of a better version of themselves. NLEX guard Kiefer Ravena, Alab Pilipinas head coach Jimmy Alapag, National University women's basketball standout Camille Clarin, and differently-abled inspiration Kat Tan are expected to share their thoughts, experiences, and wisdom both on and off the court.

Also present at "Mamba Mentality Live" to share their own thoughts and perspectives is the non-profit-organization Girls Got Game Philippines. Already a partner with Nike Philippines as it aligns with their goals of getting young women and girls active, GGG remains dedicated to empower young women and girls through a variety of sports – to bring to life programs highlighting mental, physical and emotional benefits sport can bring to enrich their lives. Their presence lends to Kobe's commitment later in life towards women's sports, something that he took on his final day, as he was about to head towards a tournament he was supposed to coach his daughter, Gianna, in. 

In addition, those who have the Nike Training Club app will have sessions highlighting Mamba Mentality pillars (i.e. Passion, Optimism, Fearless, Focus and Honesty).

Sneakerheads will rejoice with the upcoming release of specific colorways of the Kobe V Protro, while Lakers fans will definitely try to cop a limited edition Lakers jersey.

For more details about Mamba Week, you can check out the specifics here.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

United City Football picks Trevor Morgan as head coach


Trevor Morgan (Photo from Bhutan Football Twitter) 

The United City Football Club on Friday continued its build-up as a competitive side, naming Trevor Morgan as its inaugural head coach.

In making the announcement, co-founder Eric Gottschalk shares, "His exposure to various leagues: From the English Football League, the English Premiere League, the Indian Super League, Singapore S-League, Western Australian State League, Malaysia Super Liga, to name a few, has prepared him very well for his new role as the Head Coach of United City Football Club (UCFC), which suits very well the ambition that this club has.  We are excited and proud to have him on board, especially since the season is about to start. Trevor will bring the necessary experience onto the pitch to immediately get the team as best as possible competition ready, which considering the long COVID break is a key task in itself.  We have high ambitions for the local league and the AFC Cup and we believe, Trevor is the right coach especially since he is no stranger to Asian football."

Morgan will be coming in from a stint with the Bhutan national men's football team, and is rich in experience facing off against regional opposition, having had stints in places like Singapore and India.

A former footballer, he made over four hundred appearances for a variety of clubs in the English football pyramid, scoring over two hundred goals from 1980-94. In between, he also played in Australia, Ireland, and Hong Kong.

Afterwards, he then moved towards coaching and management, helping Sorrento Soccer Club achieve initial success in Western Australia to end the 20th century. Moving to Singapore, he then led Sengkang Punggol FC (now called Hougang United) to a runner-up finish in the Singtel League Cup in 2007.

A stint as an assistant in Hull City FC followed, becoming the first Australian coach in the English Premier League.

He is best known this decade for his stint as the manager of East Bengal, having won a total of eight trophies across three seasons in the Indian Super League, as well as taking them to the quarterfinals of the AFC Cup in 2013.

Morgan says about his appointment to UCFC, "I cannot wait to get onto the training field with the players and look forward to working with a group of high-quality players and staff. I have been given a wonderful opportunity to help take an already very successful team to the next level, and I will give everything I have to help improve our team and to further establish Philippine Football as a force to be reckoned within Asia."

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Cansino set to transfer to UP

From L-R: Bo Perasol, CJ Cansino, Atty. Ags Uvero
All eyes in the Philippine sporting world in the past couple of days centered on collegiate basketball, about a sudden departure and a quick commitment.

CJ Cansino formally made his decision to transfer from the University of Santo Tomas to the University of the Philippines on Friday, after making the shock move to depart from the Growling Tigers' lair the previous day.

The former HS Boys Basketball Most Valuable Player made that decision official after meeting with UP Men's Basketball Team head coach Bo Perasol and Team Manager and Nowhere to go but UP representative Atty. Agaton Uvero.

On his decision to depart from UST, CJ shares, "Unang-una sa lahat, UST is my dream school kaya nalulungkot talaga ako sa nangyari. Hinding-hindi ko makakalimutan ang UST and thankful ako sa kanila na binigyan nila ako ng opportunity, pero I need to move on."

He adds, "Noong natanggap ko na, na hindi na ako pwede sa UST, marami po akong kinausap and kinonsulta. Ang naging pakiramdam ko po ay mas bagay talaga ako sa UP, mas comfortable ako sa UP."

Perasol acknowledged the importance of landing someone of Cansino's caliber, noting UP's need to build on the future as well as the present. He says, "CJ will be a great addition to ensuring the sustainability of the program, especially with possibly just one player left from last season playing for Season 84. I will personally help him make the transition to being a Fighting Maroon. CJ will definitely enjoy his stay in UP."

Uvero expressed how lucky the Fighting Maroons are by having Cansino commit to their program. "We wanted him to play for UP when he graduated from UST high school two years ago, but his heart has always been with UST. We are happy and lucky that he chose to be part of the Fighting Maroons this time," he shares.

After his promising freshman stint was cut short due to injury, he was given team captaincy by UST head coach Aldin Ayo. CJ averaged 5.68 points. 5.21 rebounds, and just under a couple of assists in Season 82, where the Growling Tigers managed to take down the Maroons en route to the finals, losing to Ateneo in two games.

Monday, August 17, 2020

The NBA Playoffs Bracket Challenge returns

Ready for the challenge?

The NBA is bringing back one of its favorites in time for the postseason, as fans have the opportunity to put their thinking caps on and predict who they think will be the champions of the 2019-20 NBA Season through the NBA Playoffs Bracket Challenge.

Joining the competition is quite simple, as you can click this link to enter. Once you filled up the requirements, make your picks starting from the first round all the way to the NBA Finals. No need to worry, registration is free.

Points will be given for each correct prediction (100 for First Round, 200 for Conference Semifinals, 400 for Conference Finals, 800 for NBA Finals). An additional 100 points will be given for each time the correct length of a series was predicted. Scores will then be tabulated and prizes will be handed out to the top scorers.

The Grand Prize for the NBA Playoffs Bracket Challenge is a Vivo X50 Pro, which will be handed to the top 3 winners.

In addition, there is a First Prize of a Nintendo Switch with a NBA 2K21 game for the next three winners, as well as a Second Prize of NBA Store Philippines Gift Code worth almost PhP 2,500 for four winners.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Pinthus completes UCFC player signings

Anthony Pinthus

 The signing spree is over.

With the impending conclusion of the FIFA transfer window, United City Football Club have secured a loan deal from the Azkals Development Team (ADT) for Anthony Pinthus.

Serving as part of the Philippine men's football team at the Southeast Asian Games, the 22-year-old goalkeeper also had a stint with a few teams in Switzerland before making his way here.

UCFC co-founder Eric Gottschalk shares, "True to our mission of developing young players, we have signed Antony Pinthus, on loan from ADT.  This was also agreed on by both clubs and supported by Philippines National Head Coach Scott Cooper, to expose Pinthus to the AFC Cup competition."

He adds, "He is the most promising goalkeeper of the Philippines after Neil and Roland and we are happy that he decided to join us for this season, as we believe that UCFC is the right platform to expose him to top Asian football, while learning from our veterans such as Stephan Schroeck and Bienve Maranon.

Pinthus completes a stretch of signings highlighting UCFC's commitment towards youth, which included three signings with UAAP connections: former UAAP Men's Football champions Jordan Jarvis and Miggy Clarino, as well as current UAAP HS Boys Football Most Valuable Player and fellow SEA Games participant Pocholo Bugas. It also comes with the recent development of former Ceres-Negros FC head coach Risto Vidakovic opting to pass on taking a similar role with UCFC.

With Vidakovic declining the post, Gottschalk says, "we have prepared a shortlist of a number of highly qualified individuals and we will make an announcement in due time."

Completing the signings for UCFC are: OJ Porteria, Sean Kane, Ron Bayan, Jun Badelic, Angelo Marasigan, Robert Lopez Mendy, Arnie Pasinabo, Tristan Robles, Dennis Villanueva, Joshua Dutosme, Takashi Odawara, Hikaru Minegeshi, Mike and Manny Ott, and Jorrel Aristorenas.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

NBA set to honor outstanding players in Seeding Games

Bubble ballers will get their due.

The NBA announced on Tuesday that they are set to honor top performers during the Seeding Games with the Kia NBA All-Seeding Games Team, as well as the Kia NBA Player of the Seeding Games.

The league had recently revealed the finalists for the 2019-20 Kia NBA Performance Awards, as well as its NBA Coach of the Year, which were based on performances before the league suspended play back in March. As a result, performances that are currently taking place during the Seeding Games would not count.

A panel of sportswriters and broadcaster who are on-site inside the Walt Disney World Resort complex in Florida are tasked to pick both the Player of the Seeding Games and the All-Seeding Games team, the latter of which will have a First Team and a Second Team. Media members will pick five of each from any position from either conference to comprise each team.

The winners will be revealed on Saturday, August 15, before the lone play-in game scheduled at 230pm (August 16 at 230am in Manila). The 8th seed will have a twice-to-beat advantage over the 9th seed. Sunday (Monday in Manila) has been set aside if the 9th seed wins on Saturday.

The NBA playoffs is set to commence on Monday, August 17 (Tuesday, August 18 in Manila).

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Glen Rice, Brian Shaw set to join inaugural NBA Republikha Playoffs Party

In a season of firsts, we have another one coming to our shores.

The NBA, through NBA Philippines, will hold its first NBA Republika Playoffs Party on August 17, with a couple of familiar faces hopping in with Glen Rice and Brian Shaw.

Rice shares, "As the postseason nears, it’s terrific to see the amount of work done by the NBA to continue the tradition of awarding an NBA champion. I’m looking forward to the excitement of the playoffs and sharing this experience with Filipino fans by participating in the first-ever NBA Republika Playoffs Party."

Shaw adds, "Being a part of this event is a testament to how the league continues to innovate and redefine the NBA experience for fans around the world. I’m excited to enjoy this event virtually with Filipino fans and share some of my own personal experiences from competing in the playoffs, both as a player and a coach."

The virtual event, which will take place starting at 8pm on the NBA Philippines page on Facebook, features authentic NBA entertainment, interactive elements, and interviews with Rice, Shaw, and a slew of Philippine basketball personalities.

In addition, there will also be other activities during the party:

Game Plan, presented by AXA, allows Shaw to discuss a variety of topics, from coaching tactics and philosophies, in order to create an ideal game plan addressing adversity and developing resilience. AXA is the official insurance partner of the NBA in the country.

Path to Pro, presented by Gatorade, will feature a certain guest discussing his journey towards being a professional athlete.

Republika Dunk Off, also presented by Gatorade, is a dunk contest featuring three collegiate ballers. Fans will be able to vote for their favorite slam through a poll to be posted on the NBA Philippines Facebook page.

NBA 2K21, presented by Take-Two, will showcase its first official gameplay trailer during the event.

NBA Pick 'em Playoffs Bracket Challenge, presented by Vivo, will have Rice pick his bracket and analyze the various playoff series. Vivo is the official smartphone partner of the NBA in the Philippines. It is the presenter of the said challenge, a fantasy basketball game that will allow basketball fans in the Philippines the chance to win one of three Vivo X50 Pro smartphones as a major prize.

The party will also have videos from NBA mascot performances by Boomer of the Indiana Pacers, Bango of the Milwaukee Bucks, and Stuff of the Orlando Magic.

Aside from the party, NBA Philippines also has the "MVP Shopping Spree" contest done in conjunction with, as well as the NBA Republika Huddle, which features local influencers and sports personalities as they discuss the goings-on in the league.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

UCFC signs Ott siblings

United City Football Club secured a couple more players as they continue their efforts to field a competitive side once football resumes.

Having taken over Ceres-Negros FC of the Philippines Football League a month ago, they completed the acquisition of two more former Busmen late Thursday in the Ott brothers, Manny and Mike.

Co-founder Eric Gottschalk had this to say about the signings, "We are happy to announce that two (2) more former players have signed on to play for United City Football Club (UCFC) this season.  Both, Manny and Mike, bring a tremendous amount of experience on the club and international level to the team and this will be instrumental in our pursuit to defend the PFL title and to progress from the AFC Cup Group stages in September in Vietnam." He adds that the team are still looking to add a few more names before the start of the upcoming season.

The siblings and Philippines internationals rejoin their former teammates in Ceres-Negros, led by national team captain Stephan Schroeck.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Abadiano, Tamayo commit to the University of the Philippines

Old Maroons and soon-to-be new ones. From L-R: Bright Akhuetie, Ricci Rivero, Bo Perasol, Carl Tamayo, Gerry Abadiano, Agaton Uvero

From Sampaloc to Diliman.

The University of the Philippines continues to stockpile recruits with the commitment of two youth standouts on Friday.

Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano acknowledged that they will attend the Diliman-based campus on Friday, with UP Men's Basketball Team manager and Nowhere to go but UP's Atty. Agaton Uvero confirming the move.

With the commitments secured, Uvero shares, "Carl [Tamayo] and Gerry [Abadiano] will be a big part of our rebuilding efforts. We graduated six players last season and we have five more players who have just one playing year left. These two will help us secure our basketball future. We hope they will be model student-athletes of UP."

Bo Perasol personally met both players, happily welcoming them to the squad. The head coach adds, "We are very happy to have Carl and Gerry in our team. Coming straight out of high school, they have five full playing years with the team. They will really be a big boost for our young team which is again in the process of rebuilding."

Both Tamayo and Abadiano are set to graduate from Nazareth School of National University this year, and the decision to go to UP centered on their preference in valuing education and how the school takes care of its student-athletes academically.

Carl shares, "It’s one of my dreams na makapag-aral sa UP. Education is one of my reasons for picking the school and siyempre ‘yong basketball program din." The big man will take up Bachelor of Sports Science. He averaged 12.5 points, 10.38 rebounds, and almost a block per game in the eliminations.

Gerry adds, "Sobrang saya kasi siyempre tulad ng sinabi ni Carl, dream school ko rin ang UP. Hindi lang ito tungkol sa paglalaro. ‘Yong napili ko rin dito is education. Kapag natapos na [ang basketball], di natin masabi ano mangyayari. Ang importante ay maganda ang tinapos namin." The guard is set to take up BS Tourism. He averaged 11.27 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.33 assists, and just over a steal per game.

The incoming freshmen will join a bumper crop of recruits tasked to bring the Fighting Maroons back to the finals after falling short last season. Recent commits to UP include Miguel Tan of Xavier Tan, Canada-based Alonso Tan and Anton Eusebio, Australia-based Ethan Kirkness, graduate transfer Sam Dowd, and fellow youth standout RC Calimag.