Sunday, November 29, 2020

Pilipinas seeking back-to-back wins in FIBA-Asia Cup Qualifying

Photo c/o FIBA / FIBA-Asia Cup

The Philippines seeks to make it two-for-two against Thailand to close out Group A play in the second window on Monday night at the Khalifa Sports City in Manama, Bahrain.

Gilas Pilipinas delivered a 93-61 victory over the Thais on Friday night, led by Dwight Ramos' 20 points on 7/7 shooting.

The coaching staff led by head coach Jong Uichico made a couple of changes from that group for the upcoming rematch, inserting Calvin Oftana and Jaydee Tungcab for Will Navarro and Mike Nieto.

The staff also made the decision to hold out Allyn Bulanadi after Uichico hinted at a possible call-up during the post-match press conference, basing his availability on the couple of practices Gilas still had before submitting their lineups. The former San Sebastian Golden Stag injured his right shoulder during the preparations for the window and was deactivated for Friday's game.

Even with the impressive victory, Gilas is still looking at finetuning its game. Nieto acknowledged it during the post-match press conference.

He shares, "... we’ll look at our mistakes so that we’ll be more prepared..."

Thailand has yet to secure a win in Group A after three games, and is fresh from a 90-76 defeat to Indonesia on Saturday night. The ten-man squad had no answer to Lester Prosper and Brandon Jawato, with the former notching a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds, and the latter nearly producing a triple-double with 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.

The win allows the 2023 FIBA World Cup co-hosts to secure third place Group A with a 1-2 record, behind the identical 2-0 records of the Philippines and Korea. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Philippines drubs Thailand in FIBA Asia Cup Qualifying

Juan Gomez de Liano sparked the burst that allowed Gilas to run away with this one. (Photo c/o FIBA)

Still undefeated in FIBA Asia Cup qualifying.

The Philippines drubbed Thailand in their first of two matches against each other late Friday, 93-61, at the Khalifa Sports City in Manama, Bahrain.

A 27-1 run that spanned almost seven minutes in the second quarter doomed the Thais against Gilas Pilipinas, as they had no answer to the Filipino onslaught.

A Juan Gomez de Liano triple with 6:40 remaining in the period broke a 26-all deadlock, with their team defense, it took the Thais seven minutes to finally convert a field goal, which they did with four seconds remaining in the quarter, with the Filipinos already establishing a 53-29 halftime lead.

Gilas then cruised for the final twenty minutes for the impressive 32-point blowout.

Dwight Ramos led all scorers with a flawless performance, netting twenty points on 7/7 shooting. Set to make his debut with the Ateneo de Manila University this coming UAAP Season 83, he also added seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals in just under twenty minutes of action. 

Thailand did have their moments in the first quarter, as Nakorn Jaisanuk kept the team afloat early on with his outside shooting. He would finish with twelve points off four triples. Montien Wongsawangtham led the all-pro unit with seventeen points.

This game was rescheduled from the previous FIBA window earlier this year, in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Philippines and Thailand will face off once again on Monday, November 30 to complete the Group A window in the Manama bubble. Before this, the Thais will face Indonesia on Saturday night, both teams seeking their first win in the group.

Friday, November 27, 2020

ONE Championship expands Facebook partnership

ONE Championship continues on securing partnerships for its brand, with the latest involving Facebook.

The alliance allows for ONE Championship to put together content that would be exclusively distributed on Facebook Watch, as well as IGTV. The customized content includes unique camera angles and behind-the-scenes footage, among others.

It also establishes a channel on Facebook Gaming for ONE Championship's top athletes to stream gameplay and provide gaming commentary. A separate channel will also be launched on Facebook Gaming for ONE eSports.

Aside from those, ONE Virtual Reality content will now be available on the Venues app in the Oculus platform, allowing martial arts fans worldwide to be virtually experience being in the best seat in the house.

These new ventures solidify an already impressive relationship ONE Championship has with the social media platform, as its page already has over 25 million followers, with over five billion platform video views in 2019.

On the new partnership, ONE Championship Group CCO Hari Vijayarajan shares, "ONE Championship is committed to finding new ways to connect authentically with our fans and allow them to experience the stories of hope, strength, dreams, and inspiration created by our athlete superheroes. Our long-term partnership with Facebook has been instrumental in allowing us to build reach and audiences around the world. We are excited to expand our partnership and leverage the power of the Facebook platform, be that VR with Oculus, the rapid growth of esports and community gaming with Facebook Gaming, or simply non-stop action clips for Facebook Watch you cannot find anywhere else."

For Facebook, Asia-Pacific Director for Sports Partnerships Joyee Biswas adds, "We’re thrilled to extend our partnership with ONE Championship as we grow our sports collaboration across our platform. Community is at the core of ONE Championship and we will continue to help them reach their audiences whether it is through premium content in Facebook Watch, or to our new engagement opportunities through Facebook Gaming. The announcement today to also bring content to the Oculus platform is testament to ONE Championship’s ability to anticipate where their community will engage and create a meaningful experience for fans."

3M, Nike collaborate on sneaker mashup

3M x Nike.

A couple of brands have decided to use their core competencies to produce new kicks.

Nike and 3M have joined forces to release a new collection of sneakers in time for the holiday season.

The collaboration allows 3M elements and technologies to be integrated onto a select group of Nike's franchises, providing them with additional durability.

3M brand and design vice president Brian Rice shares, "We are thrilled to partner with such a respected global brand and changemaker like Nike.” He adds, "The result of this collaboration highlights the value of design in bringing our world-leading 3M technologies to life in a way that improves the customer experience."

With sneaker culture very much on the rise in Southeast Asia, this is seen as an opportunity to take advantage of growing demand. According to Ox Street, as the region is to provide around 40 percent of the growth in the athletic footwear market, which is aided by the numerous sneaker-related events in the region, including the Philippines' Manila Sneaker Expo.

Interest in establishing a collaboration began when 3M crafted an art installation for Milan Design Week last year. Called "A Pinnacle of Reflection," it generated headlines using its technologies to produce a kaleidoscope effect.

Count Nike as those who were impressed with the display.

According to 3M UX creative director Robert Quintero, "Once Nike experienced our installation, they knew 3M was a company that thinks differently. They appreciated our ability to express the 3M brand emotionally through storytelling."

At the time, Nike was in the process of conceptualizing new kicks under the "protection" theme, so it was convenient for them to tap 3M for a collaboration. Robert invited select members of the Nike design team to the 3M global headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota, introducing them to certain technologies that help protect end-users.

He shares, "This was an opportunity for Nike to interact with technologies across many of 3M’s businesses. They wanted to enter the candy shop through one door."

The team took back some samples back to see what would work, eventually choosing 3M's Scotchlite Reflective Material to provide additional aesthetics and the Thinsulate Insulation to tack on an additional layer of warmth in a portion of the sneakers.

With the upcoming release, it will join a select group of items from top apparel brands sporting such tech. Last year, adidas integrated Scotchlite onto their Nite Jogger collection, while Brooks used the C790 Carbon Black Stretch Transfer Film for their Run Visible collection.

In addition, their recent collaboration with Askov Finalyson produced the first climate-positive parka, integrating Thinsulate 100% Recycled Featherless Insulation. This particular technology is made from recycled plastic bottles, which underscores 3M's commitment towards a circular economy.

"3M has earned the trust of brands because our materials are based on sound science." said Ryan Gallagher, a global marketing manager for 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material. "At the end of the day, we apply our technologies to make products more impactful, and this collaboration with Nike is a great example of that."

Fans in Southeast Asia will be able to have a crack of getting these on the Nike website, with prices varying between PhP 6-10,000.

Monday, November 23, 2020

ONE Championship Announces Two December Events Broadcast Live from Singapore Indoor Stadium


ONE Championship on Monday announced two more cards that will kick off December action at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Slated on December 4 is ONE: BIG BANG, which will feature Roman Kryklia defending his ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title against Murat Aygun in the main event.

The co-main event has a match-up of two Top-5 featherweights in third-ranked Koyomi Matsushima against fifth-ranked Gary Tonon.

The card also features a couple of Pinoys, with Danny Kingad against former ONE World Champion Kairat Akhmetov in a matchup of two Top-3 flyweight contenders, as well as Jomary Torres facing off against one of ONE Championship's rising stars in Ritu Phogat.

The rest of the card features some ONE Championship debutants, as Marat Grigorian and Ivan Kondratev face-off in a ONE Super Series featherweight kickboxing affair, whilst Amir Aliakbari also set to make his ONE debut in a heavyweight matchup against Islam Abasov.

The second confirmed ONE Championship event will be on December 18. Called ONE: COLLISION COURSE, its main event features a couple of Thais, as legend Nong-O Gaiyanghadao defends his ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Championship against 2nd-ranked Rodlek PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym, who also happens to be the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Tournament winner. 

Its co-main event features former ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat Gafurov moving up to the lightweight division against Lowen Tynanes.

The rest of the card features these mixed martial arts matchups:

A bantamweight duel between Yusup Saadulaev against Troy Worthen.

A lightweight face-off between hometown bet Amir Khan against ONE Warrior Series contract winner Dae Sung Park.

Xie Wie facing Kun Khmer striking stylis Chan Rothana in the flyweight division.

A welterweight matchup involving Raimond Magomedaliev against Edson Marques.

Both events are part of the partnership ONE Championship has with the Singapore government, as they continue in striving to get things as close to pre-pandemic levels. 

Fans will be permitted to attend the event in-person, through ticket packages worth SGD $188 (just over PhP 6700). These "Superfan" ticket packages, which are available via, come with socially distant seating and exclusive ONE merchandise. Buyers will need to undergo the Antigen Rapid Test on the day itself, and will need to secure valid negative ART certification before being granted entry.

Otherwise, these events will be shown via Cignal TV's ONE Sports (and on a delayed basis on TV5) as well as through the ONE Super App. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Manila Chooks TM falls short in Doha Masters

Manila Chooks TM's participation in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour ended prematurely, as they lost both of their games on Friday in the Doha Masters.

The Al-Gharafa Sports Complex bare witness to the Filipino quartet losing its first match against top-ranked Liman, 15-22, then followed that up with a 14-19 defeat to Lusail.

In the first matchup, Liman had to withstand a late comeback anchored by Joshua Munzon to secure its spot in the next round. Munzon whittled Manila's deficit from 5-12 to 13-14 with just over four minutes left, but Mihailo Vasic and Stefan Kojic did their part to close things out for the Serbian side. Both players finished with seven points each in the victory.

With Liman beating Lusail earlier in the day, 21-8, the matchup between the hosts and Manila turned into a virtual knockout affair.

The home side rode on the broad shoulders of Souley Ndour against the Pinoys, finishing with ten points and seven rebounds as he helped make things difficult down low.

Manila Chooks TM had difficulty dealing with Lusail's length, with the 6'10 Ndour complemented by 6'7" Ousseynou Mbow, 6'6" Kostas Vasileiadis, and 6'5 Hamza Maher.

Munzon finished with a total of 19 points in both matches, but the rest of the team struggled offensively.

Alvin Pasaol netted a total of six points, while Leonard Santillan finished with a combined total of four points and Troy Rike netted a couple of markers in both games.

The knockout playoffs of the event that has US$40,000 waiting for the champion begins at 9:15PM (Manila time). It will air on FIBA 3x3's Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Manila Chooks TM pooled with Liman, Lusail in Doha Masters

Manila Chooks TM's Alvin Pasaol, Santi Santillan, Troy Rike, and Joshua Munzon meet with FIBA 3x3 Competition Manager Nicolas Widmer and 3×3 Events and Partners Associate Valentina Mattioli during the technical meeting at Marriott Doha Tuesday evening.

The Doha Masters will feature a familiar matchup for Manila Chooks TM in pool play.

The Filipino quartet has been assigned to Pool A alongside Liman and Lusail.

Basketball fans will remember that Pasig Chooks defeated Liman in pool play in last year's edition of the Doha Masters, 19-16. That Pasig quartet featured current Manila Chooks TM's Joshua Munzon with Troy Rike listed as a reserve. Liman eventually made it to the knockout rounds, defeating Balanga Chooks in the quarterfinals, 21-9. That Balanga quartet featured current Manila Chooks TM's Alvin Pasaol and Leonard Santillan.

The two Chooks teams finished fifth and sixth place, respectively.

Munzon and Rike are ready for another crack against the top FIBA 3x3 club side when action takes place at the Al-Gharafa Sports Complex. The former shares, "It’s definitely going to be a test for us to square against those European teams but you know I think we’re ready mentally, physically. I think we’re ready as we can be and we’ll see how things go. I am confident with my team. We’re ready to get after it."

The latter adds, "We have played more recently than probably most of the other teams here. We’re kinda still in game mode and team mode heading right into that." Manila Chooks TM is fresh from participation in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup powered by TM in late October, where they won three out of four legs and the Grand Final.

Liman will feature 2017 3x3 World Tour MVP Stefan Stojacic, Stefan Kojic, Mihailo Vasic, and Aleksandar Ratkov. They will face off at 11:55pm Manila time.

Home side Lusail will field Vasileiadis Kostantinos, Ousseynou Mbow, Mame Ndour, and Hamza Radi. They will face off at 1:35am Manila time.

The top two teams in Pool A will face off against the top two of Pool C in the crossover quarterfinals the next day. Pool C is composed of NY Harlem, Lausanne, and Utena.

Manila Chooks TM is expected to hold its first in-venue practice on Wednesday, as they aspire for the $40,000 prize for the champion.

Manila Chooks TM hold first practice in Doha

Manila Chooks TM at the Al-Gharafa Sports Complex.

Manila Chooks TM finally got a chance to work on their game on court at the Al-Gharafa Sports Complex on Wednesday, where coronavirus protocols reigned supreme.

Strict measures were put into place by organizers, with the competition scheduled to take place in a couple of days. Among those is the inability to cross train with other teams, something Manila Chooks in its previous iterations as Pasig Chooks and Balanga Chooks were able to do last year.

Conditions were sizzling, as expected with the competition taking place in the Middle East. Skipper Alvin Pasaol shares, "Sobrang init," with the temperatures during their training session reaching a high of 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even with the conditions as they are, the team remains confident that will impress in Doha for the Masters event.

Pasaol says, "Siguro nasa eighty-percent kami ngayon. Maganda naman yung practice kanina kasi nagawa naman namin yung gusto namin."

He adds, "By Friday, ready na kami."

The team is grouped alongside top-ranked Liman and hosts Lusail and will face off late Friday.

NBA reveals schedule tweaks to 2020-21 season

With the NBA set to get things going officially next month, the league released on Wednesday an update on its schedule.

In contrast to its traditional format, the league will play just 72 games this season, ten fewer than the customary 82-game schedule. The breakdown goes as follows, based from their release:

Each team will play three games against each intraconference opponent (42 total games per team), with each pairing featuring either two home games and one road game or one home game and two road games.  Within each team’s division, the league office has randomly assigned which two opponents will be played twice at home and which two opponents will be played twice on the road.

All five teams from within a division will play all five teams from one other intraconference division twice at home, and all five teams from the remaining intraconference division twice on the road. 

Each team will play two games against each interconference opponent (30 total games per team), with each pairing featuring one home game and one road game.

The NBA has also integrated an "All-Star break" between March 5-10, 2021, which splits the regular season into two halves. The Second Half will integrate games potentially postponed that were slotted into the First Half schedule. The league will release the First Half schedule in early December during the start of training camp, with the Second Half to be announced later during the campaign.

Another tweak to the upcoming season is the return of the "Play-In Tournament." Introduced last season in the bubble, the upcoming edition has been altered to involved teams with the seventh to tenth-best winning percentages in each conference full stop. This is different from the previous instance, which needed an additional criteria to invoke the play-in. 

The 2020-21 Play-In Tournament format for each conference is as follows:

Teams with the seventh and eighth-best records will have a playoff to determine the seventh seed, which they will call the Seven-Eight Game. The ninth and tenth-best records will have their own matchup, called the Nine-Ten Game.

The winner of the Seven-Eight Game secures the seventh seed. The loser will face the winner of the Nine-Ten Game for the right to be the eighth seed.

Teams with the better record coming into the Play-In Tournament will be playing in their home venue during this short stretch. 

The full specifics on the league's 2020-21 schedule can be broken down as follows:

December 11-19, 2020: NBA Preseason

December 22, 2020 to March 4, 2021: First Half of the Regular Season

March 5-10, 2021: All-Star Break

March 11 - May 16, 2021: Second Half of Regular Season

May 18-21, 2021: Play-In Tournament

May 22 - July 22, 2021: NBA Playoffs

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Manila Chooks TM test negative in PCR test

They got the all-clear.

Manila Chooks TM underwent the RT-PCR testing that is needed before they can proceed in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Doha Masters.

The quartet of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Troy Rike, and Leonard Santillan, as well as photographer Jerome Ascano received the good news at 2pm local time via text.

All fourteen teams participating in the tournament will have to undergo such testing before they are cleared to participate.

Even with the negative result, protocols will only allow them to remain within the confines of their hotel as of Wednesday, based on Qatari legislation. They are allowed to have dinner at the hotel restaurant. Once cleared, the only place they can go outside of the hotel is the Al Gharafa Sports Complex, which is just over twelve kilometers away.

As such, Pasaol shares, "Hindi pa rin makalabas kaya review muna ng video at exercise muna rito sa kwarto."

Santillan adds, "Okay lang naman sa amin 'yun kasi business trip naman talaga ito."

US $40,000 is up for grabs for the champion of this tournament, with 30,000 for the runner-up, 20,000 for third, 12,000 for fourth and 6,000 for fifth.

Liman is expected to be the favorites to claim the title, with the likes of Riga, NY Harlem and Princeton, and Lausanne providing some competition.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Manila Chooks TM await PCR test results

Seeking to rekindle their success last year, Manila Chooks TM arrived in Doha on Monday morning for the upcoming FIBA 3x3 World Tour Doha Masters.

The quartet of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Troy Rike, and Leonard Santillan arrived at the Hamad International Airport at 423am local time. Joining them in the tournament is photographer Jerome Ascano.

Upon landing, they were all asked to download Qatar's contract-tracing app as well as take a RT-PCR test. They were then transported to their hotel to observe quarantine until the results are available.

Whilst waiting, the team will continue their preparations through video study.

Pasaol shares, "Review muna kami dito sa rooms namin. At least nakakapag-ready kami kahit hindi pa kami makapag-ensayo rito."

Scheduled to take place on November 20 and 21 at the Al Gharafa Sports Complex, the Doha Masters has a US$40,000 top prize, and will have fourteen teams vying for it.

Considered as the favorites for this tourney is Liman, with the likes of Riga, NY Harlem, Princeton being their biggest hurdles.

Manila Chooks TM leaves for Doha

Off to make history again. Manila Chooks TM.

Manila Chooks TM departed from Manila on Sunday night, hoping a return trip to Doha would allow them to make history once again.

The quartet of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Troy Rike, and Leonard Santillan left the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 1130pm aboard Qatar Airways flight QR929, with the team expected to arrive at the Hamad International Airport at around 430am on Monday.

The team did survive some minor hiccups to ensure their participation in the 2020 FIBA 3x3 World Tour Doha Masters, as the visas for the team only arrived hours before their departure.

Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 league owner Ronald Mascariñas expressed his appreciation for those who ensured that Manila Chooks TM's campaign will be smooth heading into the competition. "The spirit of bayanihan was truly alive," he bared, whilst adding, "FIBA 3X3's senior manager Ignacio Soriano and 3x3  Events and Partners Associate Valentina Mattioli -- both of whom are in Spain -- and the Qatar ministry moved heaven and earth just to get the visas for the players."

Upon the team's arrival in Doha, the team will be quarantined in their hotel room and will only be allowed to leave once their PCR test results are given.

US $40,000 are at stake for the Doha Masters champion, with the likes of Liman, NY Harlem, Princeton, Utana, and Lausanne serving as top opposition for the competition.

Team captain Pasaol, who during the 2019 edition of the tournament steered Balanga to the quarterfinals, believes that they are more mature now compared to then.

"Born-ready kami. We’re confident naman eh dahil doon sa pinakita namin doon sa Calambubble sobrang laki ng inimprove ng team namin lalo na sa tiyaga," said the Davao-native as the President's Cup powered by TM two weeks ago was the perfect training ground for this tournament.

"Hindi kami naiinip or nasisiraan man ng kumpyansa dahil malakas ang kalaban. Yun yung pinakamaganda sa amin ngayon kasi yun nga parang kalmado lang, hindi masyadong nagpapanic, yun yung good side doon."

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Manny Pacquiao sends off Manila Chooks

Manila Chooks TM with Manny Pacquiao

Before departing for Doha, Manila Chooks TM had the opportunity to meet with Senator Manny Pacquiao.

The fighting senator wished the quartet of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Troy Rike, and Leonard Santillan the best of luck in their journey on Friday night.

"Manila Chooks TM, good luck sa inyong lahat," expressed Pacquiao. He adds, "Ipaglaban niyo ang ating bansa. Dalhin niyo ang karangalan sa ating bansa. Proud kami at nakasuporta kami sa inyo."

Reacting to the message, Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. president and noted 3x3 patron Ronald Mascarinas shares, "Nagpapasalamat kami sa inyo, Sen. Pacquiao, for your support. Malaking bagay ito sa ating players, yung motivation na binigay ninyo."

Fresh from clinching the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup powered by TM as Family's Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City Chooks, Manila Chooks TM is looking to at least match the achievements of Pasig Chooks and Balanga Chooks at the same World Tour event last year. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

RunRio to hold virtual final leg of Trilogy Run

Even though the world is going through a pandemic, there are always opportunities for runners to be able to compete and complete their desired lengths, even as long as a marathon.

This is what is being proposed by the RunRio Trilogy Run Asia Virtual Run.

The RunRio Trilogy Run is considered as the country's premier running series. Established in 2010, it is designed for runners who want to complete a marathon via a progression running program. In progression running, participants run at a slower pace until their speed and distance gradually increase at each virtual leg. From 21K in the first leg, it becomes 32K on the second leg, and caps off with a 42K on the final leg.

For the final leg of this year's edition, it is scheduled between November 28 to December 12. Virtual runners can pick and choose their desired length to run, accomplish to do that whether via treadmill or by an actual run in a specific location. They just need to use a GPS-tracking app and a timing mechanism to monitor their run.

Once accomplished, they just need to take a photo of their race results and send them to within a couple of weeks of completion.

To help with one's preparations for the virtual run, there will be pre-recorded workout sessions on November 15 and 27 on SKY Community Channel 955 and on the social media platforms of RunRio. 

In addition, there will be a LIVE pre-run work-out on November 21 at 4pm. The "SKY Rise and Grind" workout will be shown on the FYE Channel on Kumu. On November 28, the pre-run warm-up program "Kick Off to T3" will be shown on the aforementioned channels. That event will also have the ceremonial gun start of the virtual marathon.

Meanwhile, Coach Rio will have a live Zoom session on December 5, called "Huddle with Coach Rio," where fifty lucky participants will have the chance to interact with him. They will also have the chance to win special prizes during that experience.

For further details about the Trilogy Run, one can check or on the official Facebook and Instagram profiles of RunRio Events, Inc. 

On December 6, there will be a special charity event involving SKY and ABS-CBN Foundation.

Called the 100 Steps Challenge, it calls on interested participants to upload an actual video of themselves completing a hundred steps, then attaching the hashtag #100Hakbang1Pamilya. The first three hundred runners to complete the challenge will receive a commemorative shirt.

SKY will also make a charitable donation to the ABS-CBN Foundation's "Pantawid ng Pag-ibig: Isang Daan. Isang Pamilya" campaign on behalf of the 100 Steps Challenge participants.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Philippines set for second FIBA Esports Open

Laban eGilas Pilipinas!

The Philippines is looking for more success in the eSports realm, as the country is set to participate again in the FIBA eSports Open this weekend.

The first edition of the FIBA eSports Open saw the Philippines winning its regional, defeating Indonesia in their five-match, two-nation Southeast Asia regional conference.

This time, however, it will be three-team conference, as Oceania champions Australia join the two to rename the conference as Southeast Asia-Oceania. The merged region joins five other conferences (Africa, North and Central America, South America, Europe, and the Middle East). The groupings were based on geography and server distributions, with the field expanding to 38 national teams.

In addition, game will be played on the PS4 version of the NBA 2K21, still using the Pro-Am mode, which allows for each member of the team to control an individual player character. Teams still retain the ability to fully customize avatars, uniforms, and arena designs. Each team will have the nominal five starters and two reserves.

Once again answering the call for the Philippines is Playbook Laus eSports. All players have had experience in the NBA 2K scene:

Angelico Cruzin (Shintarou)

Aminolah Polog Jr (Rial) - Two-time NBA 2K Asia champion

Custer Galas (Custer) - NBA 2K17 Asia champion

Philippe Alcaraz Herrero IV (IzzoIV) - NBA 2K18 Asia champion

Clark Banzon (Clark)

Arnie Sison (ELChapO)

Rocky Brana (Rak)

Nite Alparas has been named as the coach of this crack squad.

Team Manager Richard Brojan shares, "We are thrilled to once again represent the nation in the FIBA Esports Open II. Being invited back is both an honor and a challenge to Team Pilipinas, which we'll meet with passion and sportsmanship in the true spirit of Philippine Basketball."

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Al Panlilio adds, "The FIBA Esports Open II gives the nation another opportunity to celebrate our passion for basketball through friendly competition with our peers from around the world. I’m confident that Team Pilipinas will once again show the best of what our country has to offer in the sport that we Filipinos love - whether it's on the hardcourt or online."

The team has secured backing from telecom giants PLDT and SMART.

SMART SVP and Consumer Wireless Business Head Jane J. Basas shared the brand's commitment towards eSports, "Our support for Filipino esports athletes through the years is rooted in our firm belief that our players have the skills, talent, and dedication to be at par with the best players in the world. We hope Team Pilipinas can serve as an inspiration to all casual players and fans to aim high and pursue their passions."

eGilas Pilipinas' matches in the tournament will be shown on the Facebook page of the SBP, as well as on FIBA's YouTube and Twitch platforms.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Manila Chooks TM gets Moreno's seal of approval

Mascarinas and Moreno

Even before making their way to Qatar for the upcoming FIBA 3x3 World Tour Doha Masters, the quartet of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Troy Rike, and Leonard Santillan as Manila Chooks TM has already won the hearts of the residents of the City of Manila.

According to mayor Isko Moreno, "The mere fact that we are being represented is an honor for every 'Batang Maynila."

He adds, "By using Manila, you're bringing honor to us. Dun pa lang, nanalo na kami."

The quartet, along with new head coach Aldin Ayo and Chooks Pilipinas 3x3 owner Ronald Mascariñas, met with Moreno at his office inside City Hall on Monday.

Before becoming Manila Chooks TM, the quartet is fresh from a dominant performance at the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup powered by TM, doing so as Zamboanga City and repping Family's Brand Sardines.

Bearing such confidence, Chooks 3x3 believes that it is the right time that the club side has earned the right to be connected with nation's capital.

Mascariñas says, "This time, we believed the Philippines should carry Manila, the capital, in international competition. We're confident we've gathered the best players that will represent the ideals of every Manileño."

The man affectionately called Yorme expressed gratitude to the team, already sending his advanced congratulations on behalf of the city.

"Maraming-maraming salamat sa inyo. Of course, winning the competition will be better, but we are already grateful you are representing the City of Manila in an international setting," reiterated Moreno.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Aldin Ayo named as Chooks Pilipinas 3x3 head coach

Aldin Ayo with Ronald Mascarinas

3x3 basketball is in for some "mayhem."

Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas officially named Aldin Ayo as their head coach for their FIBA competitions, officially unveiling him on Monday afternoon at the Manila City Hall with members of Manila Chooks TM and Isko Moreno.

He shares, "I'm very grateful because, for me, this will bring another dimension to my coaching career."

Ayo adds, "Throughout my coaching career, it was the full-length of the court, but this time will be different. I can't wait to try out new schemes for half-court."

3x3 patron Ronald Mascariñas says the decision was a "personal choice," and adds, "He is the most decorated coach in college right now and we are excited that he is now here with us."

The 43-year-old replaces Eric Altamirano, who stepped down on November 1 after overseeing the ascent of the Philippines in the 3x3 scene.

When asked about the departure, Bounty Agro-Ventures Inc.'s Sports and Marketing Director Mel Macasaquit says, "Both parties are on good terms. We will still be working with Coach Eric in the future."

Even if this will be his first foray into 3x3 basketball, Ayo comes in with a proven track record of on-court success in 5x5 basketball, having led Letran and La Salle to championships in their respective leagues.

He spent last year rejuvenating a University of Santo Tomas side, bringing them back to the Finals for the first time in four seasons.

Ayo will not be with Manila Chooks TM when they participate in the Doha Masters later this month, but is expected to pencil in some training sessions before the year ends.

He already is familiar with the players comprising the team, having coached Leonard Santillan in DLSU, tried to recruit Alvin Pasaol and Troy Rike to join his program when they were still in college, and coached in the PBA D-League with Ironcon-UST when Joshua Munzon scored 46 points against them when he played for AMA.

Friday, November 6, 2020

FIBA set for second eSports Open

eSports time with NBA2K21

The success of the first FIBA eSports Open back in June yielded immediate dividends for the International Basketball Federation. As such, FIBA has decided to set up a second edition of the tournament, this time with an expanded global field.

Still to be produced at FIBA's eSports Studio in Riga, Latvia, the second eSports Open will have an expanded field of 38 national teams spread across seven regional conferences across three weekends. This is compared to the first one that involved seventeen sides encompassing one weekend.

The competition will be played remotely in the Pro-Am mode of NBA 2K21 on the PS4, with teams consisting of five starters and two substitutes. Squads have full customization at their disposal for player avatars, uniforms, and arena designs. A champion in each conference will be crowned via a best-of-three final.

The conference breakdown goes as follows (first edition champions in italics):

November 14-15

Africa: Cote d'Ivoire and Gabon 

Middle East: Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia

Southeast Asia: Australia, Indonesia, Pilipinas

December 12-13

Europe: Austria, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine

December 19-20

North and Central America: Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Puerto Rico, United States

South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela

FIBA Secretary-General Andreas Zagklis shares, "The first-ever FIBA Esports Open was an important milestone. The growing interest received from our National Federations is additional motivation for FIBA to further develop esports, and we are very enthusiastic for this second edition."

Fans who want to watch the FIBA eSports Open can do so through the federation's platforms on Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube. There will be 54 hours of live content available with English commentary, as well as a daily show that could feature up to twelve matches.

For the Philippines, the schedule of eGilas Pilipinas initially will be as follows:

November 14

530pm vs Indonesia

630pm vs Australia

7pm vs Indonesia

820pm vs Australia

November 15

530pm vs Indonesia

630pm Australia