Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tim Cone will Coach PBA Selection Versus Yao Ming's Team

When the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks face a crack selection of PBA stars next month, they will also be up against two of the brightest basketball minds to grace Philippine sidelines.

B-MEG coach Tim Cone, who has been tasked to lead the PBA selection, told InterAKTV that he is planning to tap former SMART-Gilas Pilipinas coach Rajko Toroman to assist him for the special goodwill game.

Toroman currently serves as a consultant for basketball teams owned by San Miguel Corporation, which includes B-MEG, making him a natural fit.

“He’s got a lot of international experience,” said Cone of the Serbian Toroman, who piloted Iran to the Olympics in 2008. Cone added that because the Llamados would still be in the midst of competition in the Governors’ Cup, he wouldn’t be able to devote full attention to the preparations for the friendly match, necessitating Toroman’s help.

Cone himself is no stranger to international competition. He coached the last Philippine team to win a medal in a high-level international competition during the 1998 Asian Games. He also has experience leading an all-star team of PBA players in a goodwill game against players from Asia.

“The last time I did this was PBA all-stars versus Asian all-stars,” said Cone, referring to the 2000 FIBA All-Star Extravaganza, where he coached a selection that included Alvin Patrimonio, Johnny Abarrientos, Kenneth Duremdes, Eric Menk, and Asi Taulava against their counterparts from around the region.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Bmeg Will Try to Stop Rain or Shine Shoots For Early Governors Cup Lead

Rain or Shine guns for the early lead as it takes on Commissioner’s Cup champion B-MEG in the main game of the PBA Governors’ Cup Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Elasto Painters, coming off a 107-100 demolition of Alaska last Sunday, shoot for a 2-0 start with a win in their 7:30 p.m. encounter against the Llamados.

Barako Bull battles Powerade at 5:15 p.m. in the opener.

“I know B-MEG is short on preparation so this would be the best time to play them,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.

“There is no guarantee, of course. B-MEG is still formidable even with the lack of preparation but I would rather play them early than later. It’s very important to win early in a short conference like this,” he added.

The Elasto Painters drew a solid game from import Jamelle Cornley, who had 27 points and 11 rebounds in his debut against the Aces.

They will be facing a B-MEG quintet that had little time to prepare for the season-ending conference after winning the title of the previous tournament against Talk ‘N Text in seven games.

The Llamados will be led by Marqus Blakely, a former Vermont player who had a solid NBA D-League campaign with the Iowa Energy last season where he averaged 15.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.

In the opener, the Tigers hope to bounce back from a 97-83 loss to Petron Blaze as they face debuting Barako Bull.

“It is important to understand that we need to battle each game,” said Powerade mentor Bo Perasol.

“One game will have a significant effect on how we will finish this season. That fact should give us a do-or-die attitude all the time,” he added.

Rashad McCants and Gary David combined for 53 points in their first game but the others failed to deliver for the Tigers.

Barako Bull will be parading Jamine Peterson, a one-time standout from Providence.

“JP Peterson is blending well with the locals plus the veterans are in shape,” said Energy coach Junel Baculi whose team was unbeaten in three pre-tournament games.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

PBA Will Support Smart Gilas 2 Program

To show its commitment to the national cause, the PBA has adjusted its 2012-13 schedule this early to accomodate the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national program.

“We have already calendared our events for next year,” PBA commissioner Chito Salud told InterAKTV. “The league will start September 30, 2012 and will end July 28, 2013.”

According to Salud, that will give enough time for PBA players who are part of the national pool to practice with the team, which is scheduled to compete in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship. At stake in the biennial cage meet are three spots to the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2014.

The schedule for the FIBA Asia tournament has not been finalized. Last year, the competition was held from September 15-25 in Wuhan, China.

Salud added that pool players from squads that have already been eliminated would be free to join practice.

Incoming SMART-Gilas coach Chot Reyes named 16 PBA players to be part of the pool. Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, Ryan Reyes, and Kelly Williams of Talk ‘N Text, LA Tenorio and Sonny Thoss of Alaska, Enrico Villanueva of Barangay Ginebra, Gary David of Powerade and Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine have signed a letter of intent to join the squad. Other players named to the pool are James Yap and Marc Pingris of B-MEG, and Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter of Petron.

Reyes will also name a cadet squad of top amateur players to be part of the pool.

In an earlier interview, former SMART-Gilas coach Rajko Toroman told InterAKTV that PBA players joining the national team would need shorter time to prepare for a high-level cage competition.

“Even in Europe, players are also playing for their respective club teams and would only prepare for three months, so I think it would be enough time as well for the PBA players,” he said.

Yao Ming Will Play in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines - A planned exhibition match between a PBA selection and a Chinese team owned by NBA star Yao Ming has Manila and Beijing hoping to build up some goodwill after weeks of tension over the Scarborough Shoal.

The Philippine government welcomed the announcement of the upcoming exhibition - brokered by the two countries' respective sports authorities - as "a gesture of goodwill".

The Palace was reacting to news that a selection of PBA stars will welcome the Chinese Basketball Association's Shanghai Sharks, a team co-owned by former NBA superstar Yao Ming, in a friendly game at the newly-built SM Mall of Asia Arena on June 28.

The announcement of the game also came on the heels of a directive by Malacanang to ward off a "protest sail" planned by a former rebel soldier to Scarborough Shoal. China and the Philippines have been locked in standoff in the waters west of the Philippines' Zambales province for weeks after Philippine authorities confronted Chinese vessels plying the area.

Official diplomatic channels have had fits of starts and complications over the past weeks, with conflicting signals on either side of the standoff. China has sent some formidable armed coast guard vessels to Scarborough and has displayed its overwhelming advantage come to military hardware, even as it has insisted that it is not gearing up for battle.

The Philippine side, on the other hand, says that it has no choice but to deal with China on diplomatic levels. But China perceives Manila to be dealing in bad faith on that front, clearly bristling at an international protest and media campaign carried out by Filipino citizens, but which Beijing suggests is in fact backed - at the least tolerated - by Philippine officials.

China has also warned the Philippines and its allies against any attempt to internationalize the standoff. Amidst the Scarborough tensions, Manila has turned to Washington both for long-term plans to upgrade the Philippine military, as well as to get some immediate reasssurance over a mutual defense treaty that some Filipino politicians want to invoke. President Aquino has also portrayed Beijing's behaviour as reason for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to be alarmed, and to take a collective position all other related disputes over the South China Sea.

A nuclear-powered US submarine is in Subic on what is touted as a "routine" visit, further spurring suspicion that Manila was escalating the conflict.

Against all these complexities, news of Yao Ming coming to Manila provided a clear area of comfort for China and the Philippines, two countries that share a common and popular passion for basketball. Coming as it did on the same day that President Aquino personally intervened to call off a private flotilla of fishermen and private citizens that were being organized by a former military rebel to Scarborough Shoal, the development made for a rare day of goodwill between the two countries.

The use of sports to help bridge tensions inevitably recalls China's vaunted "ping-pong diplomacy" with the United States at the start of the 1970s. Back then, at the height of the Cold War between Communist states led by the Soviet Union and China on the one hand, and capitalist democracies led by the US on the other, a surprise initiative for a friendly exchange of Chinese and American table tennis players actually built up to a rare visit by an American president to Beijing.

Whether or not a basketball game can help to heal the growing rift between Manila and Beijing remains to be seen. But basketball no doubt provides a more comfortable common language between Chinese and Filipinos. A football friendly between the two countries has already been scuttled, to very little disapppointment or notice in Manila. Yao Ming's arrival, on the other hand, will arguably be bigger news among basketball-crazy Filipinos, and something that will give them a China reference other than Scarborough, the South China Sea, and China's overwhelming impact - and stick - in the general realm of Philippine economic interests.

The standoff that began on April 8 is seen to have already impacted on tourism, with cancellations of Chinese tourist bookings; agriculture, with Philippine banana exports held up in Chinese piers, among others.

President Benigno Aquino III has said both countries continue to talk and seek a 'win-win' solution. That includes on Thursday suggesting that Manila would be open to joint explorations and exploitation of resources in disputed areas in the South China Sea.


Kamukamo News Update