Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Julius Randle named as Most Improved Player

The NBA announced earlier today that Julius Randle as its 2020-21 Kia NBA Most Improved Player.

Randle becomes the first member of the New York Knicks to win the award, which is presented to honor an up-and-coming player who made a dramatic improvement from the previous season to the current one. Julius signed with the Knicks on July 9, 2019 after spending his first four seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and a season with the New Orleans Pelicans.

He earned a total of 493 points from a global panel of a hundred members of the media, most of which came from securing 98 first place votes. The remaining two first-place votes went to Jerami Grant of the Detroit Pistons, who finished in second place with 140 points. Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter, Jr. took third place with 138 points.

Players receive five points for a first-place vote, with three points for a second-place vote and a point for third place.

Coming into the season, Randle had been averaging 16.1 points, nine rebounds, and 2.8 assists. He then raised it to 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and six assists in 71 games at league-high 37.6 minutes for the Knicks this season, one that got him named to his first-ever NBA All-Star selection as a reserve. He ranked in the top twenty in the league this season on points, rebounds, and assists, setting career-highs in average for points and assists and matching it on rebounds. In addition, his 41 double-doubles ranked eighth in the league, while his six triple-doubles are tied for seventh.

In the process, Julius becomes the sixth player in NBA history to average 24-10-6 in a season, following Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Nikola Jokić (who also did it this season), Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook.

Julius also showed improved marksmanship from long distance, converting a career-high 160 three-pointers this season at 40.1 percent, having made only 168 in his previous five seasons combined at 29.5 percent. It also extended to his foul shooting, nailing a career-best 81.1 percent there.

During the campaign, Randle was named as the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for Week 17, and was April's Kia NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month.

As a result, New York rode his improvement to a 41-31 record, securing the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference and allowing the Knicks to earn their spot in the postseason for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

Below is the voting results for the award, which was first given out during the 1985-86 season.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Jordan Clarkson named as Sixth Man of the Year

History was made on Monday, as the NBA honored Jordan Clarkson as its latest Sixth Man of the Year winner.

He became the first player from the Utah Jazz to claim the award, beating out teammate Joe Ingles and Derrick Rose of the New York Knicks.

The guard of Filipino descent earned 407 points from a global panel of a hundred members of the media, including 65 first-place votes. Ingles would net 272 points with 34 first-place votes. Rose netted the remaining first place vote to finish third with 77 points.  Clarkson and Ingles would be the first set of teammates to finish 1-2 in voting for this honor.

First-place votes are worth five points, second place nets three points, and third-place votes are one point. To be eligible for this award, the NBA denotes that a player needs to come off the bench in more games than as a starter.  

Clarkson came off the bench for 67 of 68 games this season, averaging a career-high 18.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 26.7 minutes. He led all reserves in scoring with 18.3 points and converted 203 triples, the fourth-highest total from a reserve in NBA history. His career-high 208 total three-pointers made is seventh in the NBA this season.

To add, his 89.6% shooting from the free throw line is ninth in the league.

Clarkson produced 23 games scoring at least twenty points off the bench for the Jazz, with five of those scoring at least thirty points. With his 40-point performance against Philadelphia in February and 41 against Golden State in May, he has two of the five 40-point games from a player off the Utah Jazz bench.

In his first full season for Utah after being traded from Cleveland in exchange for Dante Exum and two second round picks (2022 San Antonio and 2023 Golden State), the Mizzou alumnus helped secure the top-seed and homecourt advantage for the entire postseason for the Jazz at 52-20.

The breakdown of voting can be seen below, with individual ballots to be revealed once all season awards have been revealed.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

"That's Game" sets up the 2021 NBA Playoffs campaign

With the imminent start of the NBA playoffs on early Sunday morning (Manila time), the league has unveiled a new global brand campaign that would set the stage for the league's upcoming 75th season.

Called "That's Game," and developed in conjunction with creative agency Translation, it is set to demonstrate how the league in all of its years has not only advanced the sport of basketball, but also helped grow and impact the culture and community it is a part of, doing so by highlighting the pivotal moments both on and off the court.

The campaign will start off with a series of four television spots, narrated by Golden Globe and SAG winning actor, filmmaker, musician and activist Idris Elba and set to an original composition by Academy Award-winning producer Jon Batiste. Directed by Emmanuel Adjei ("Black is King," "Dark Ballet"), these will be aired globally in fifteen languages, with select markets having local celebrities serve as its voices.

NBA Chief Marketing Officer Kate Jhaveri shares, ""That’s Game" demonstrates more than just the culmination of play – it’s about the moments that have kept fans connected to the game throughout history and will continue to engage them long into the future. We are excited to celebrate the incredible plays that leave us in awe and the impactful community work from players and teams, and we look forward to continuing this storytelling into the 75th anniversary season."

Translation Executive Creative Director Jason Campbell adds, "We are thrilled to partner with the NBA to create ‘That’s Game’ and help tell the story of this game's impact in culture and around the world both on and off the court. Every hand that contributed to this work understood that truth, and we are excited to continue unpacking its meaning long into the future."

The first spot lasts a minute and revisits transcendent moments inspiring communities of fans worldwide, whether it is a team raising a championship trophy, a draft prospect getting his name called and achieving his dream of playing professional basketball, setting a fashion statement heading into an arena, and elevating a social justice movement, among others. You can see said spot below.

In addition, a thirty-second clip has been tailored for the upcoming NBA postseason, serving as a reminder of why these specific moments are THAT special. You can see this spot below.

In addition to this clip, the league is also conducting separate fan engagement activations, which includes:

NBA House: select social media content creators and influencers will be based together in Los Angeles and will be tasked during the postseason to create exciting social media moments, providing custom content and programming to get fans into the game's cultural epicenter.

Fortnite: the NBA has forged a partnership with the game to not only provide outfits from all thirty teams available on sale at the Item Shop, but also starting on May 25, players can head to the "Creative Mode" and have the opportunity to check out the NBA Welcome Hub, which will host NBA-related experiences and content. In addition, All-Stars and Fortnite players Donovan Mitchell and Trae Young will share their player "locker bundles," revealing their favorite items to wear while playing.

UnitedMasters: the NBA also tied up with UnitedMasters, which would allow the latter's roster of artists to craft unique content that supports and helps define the campaign.

Social Justice: the "That's Game" campaign will also share stories across the NBA's platforms reflecting the league's commitment towards social justice. The NBA recently announced a new award tailored towards that kind of commitment with the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion, and through the NBA Foundation made investments in black communities and with the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition, established their advocacy for policy change.

United City Football Club forms kit partnership with CHRONOS, reveals design for upcoming AFC Champions League

CHRONOS unveiled as the official kit supplier of United City Football Club (UCFC) ahead of the 2021 AFC Champions League campaign

Reigning Philippines Football League champions United City Football Club revealed this week their kits that they will use in the upcoming AFC Champions League season, where they make their Group Stage debut.

Chronos Athletics helped with the design of these kits. They are also set to serve as the team's kit supplier for this season. This is different from the fan-designed kit commissioned by the UCFC, which is set to be used for the upcoming PFL season.

UCFC co-founder Eric Gottschalk shares, "I'm very excited to announce that Chronos Athletics will be the official kit supplier of UCFC for the 2021 season.  We continue to stay true to our mission of supporting local businesses involved in football in the Philippines while not compromising on the quality required for our professional players." According to him, "We believe this historic event for Philippine football deserves a special jersey. Thank you to our new partners from Chronos Athletics to make this possible."

He adds, "We are also excited to have found a dynamic partner who shares our vision of how football can be promoted, and we are thrilled that we were able to develop a limited-edition jersey just ahead of the AFC Champions League campaign..."

Eric also says, "Chronos not only involved us in the development of the AFC Champions League design, but it also ensured that we have a complete distribution and marketing channel behind our merchandise range..."

Chronos Athletics founder Lloyd Yniguez had this to say about their new partnership, "Chronos Athletics is proud to be chosen to become the official kit supplier and merchandiser of UCFC, undoubtedly currently the most dominant Club in the Philippines. The aim is to promote the brand of UCFC and to make the merchandise products available to fans in the Philippines as well as abroad..."

The announcement is the latest development of UCFC with regards to making their merchandise available to the public, one that has integrated both marketing and logistical solutions. Gottschalk concludes, "It all goes back to make sure we are as close as possible to our fans and the community; without them, we are nothing. We need to be able to communicate to and through our fans, and having our team jerseys available for purchase is just one of the vehicles we are exploring."

Pre-orders of the new kit and other merchandise can already be conducted through the team's official website, Inquiries to Chronos Athletics can be coursed through their online shopping platform in Shopee, as well as through their Instagram and Facebook page (

Among the options potentially available for fans to purchase are customized replicas of the AFC Champions League kit, both in home yellow and away black, with "Premium," "Cheer," and "Fan" versions. Training kits are also available, and with the current pandemic ongoing, branded face masks.

The squad is already preparing for their camp in Dubai, which is slated from May 30 to June 20, with the Group I matches against Beijing FC (June 26 and July 8), Kawasaki Frontale (July 2 and 5), and either Daegu FC or Chiangrai FC (June 29 and July 11) taking place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Jordan Clarkson, Jalen Green, Ticha Penicheiro highlight upcoming Jr. NBA Philippines Virtual Clinics

Ticha Penicheiro coaching a participant in the Jr. NBA Clinic back in 2019

The pandemic cannot stop grassroots development of basketball, as the NBA revealed this week its plan to revive the Jr. NBA program in the Philippines through Jr. NBA Philippines Clinics Online, a series of free virtual basketball clinics tailored for both boys and girls aged 13-17.

The Jr. NBA is the NBA's flagship global youth basketball program, aimed to promote a healthy and active lifestyle for its participants.

The 2021 edition will have two sessions. The first clinic on May 29 will feature Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz and Jalen Green of the G-League Ignite. Aside from the customary basketball drills with assistance by Jr. NBA coaches, both players will also participate in a life session and discuss the importance of fundamental skills training in their respective careers.

The second clinic on June 12 is tailored for girls, with WNBA legend Ticha Penicheiro serving as the guest.

NBA Philippines Managing Director Scott Levy shares, "We’re excited to bring together players from across the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League to inspire our young athletes participating in the first ever Jr. NBA Philippines Clinics Online. Shifting the Jr. NBA program to a virtual event will allow us to safely engage young boys and girls through basketball while continuing to promote the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle."

Aside from the clinics, Jr. NBA Philippines will also publish a series of videos featuring Clarkson, Penicheiro, former NBA coaches, local Jr. NBA coaches, and sports science resource speakers on a variety of topics, including nutrition, psychology, diversity and inclusion. These videos will be found on the Jr. NBA Philippines' page on Facebook.

Aside from the virtual clinics, the program is conducting a search to identify ten boys and ten girls that would be participating in the Jr. NBA Asia-Pacific Camp online, a one-day virtual event on July 31 that features advanced basketball instruction, skills challenges, and interactive sessions involving select NBA and WNBA players. To be conducted via social media, the twenty lucky participants will join their counterparts across the region

Interested participants can register on One can also check the site for more details about the program.