Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blog Outsourcing - 8/30

Welcome to the latest edition of Sparty and Friends.

Interesting tidbit about this particular month, there are 5 Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.

In the Motherland, today is National Heroes Day. A holiday to commemorate the Cry of Pugad Lawin more than a century ago.

Last week at the time of writing last week's post, the Motherland was gripped in a hostage crisis involving tourists from Hong Kong. Unfortunately, things did not end well and as such, we deservedly are getting flak for it. I am just annoyed with the excessive nature of the repercussions. Admittedly, our handling situation more looked like Keystone Cops instead of CSI / Criminal Minds, but still, don't blame the ordinary person for something that he or she did not do, just because of his or her nationality. It reeks of racism.

The next day, it was all about the major major way. Fetch called it when he watched.

Tough week, but time to shake it off and on to the next one.

Hereforth are what you want to click on and weep.

Dan Johnson deja vu'd the Red Sox. And they are 6 games out with 31 left.

Manny Ramirez to the South Side. Imagine if Jay Mariotti did not have any issues to worry about.

Yovani Gallardo had a really bad day.

Well-deserved. One day will be in the Hall.

Can he save the rotation for now? Or do we need to wait for him to come back?

How do you make the Yankees hip and trendy? A simple touch of Jigga.

This story will be the white elephant in the room for as long as New York is around. I still think he is not the right fit for that job, yet.

The Reds have a hidden ace in the deck.

One more to 600.

The chase continues for San Francisco and Colorado.

Replay works.

Sure, it is not the levels of manager histrionics, but not bad.

Get well soon, Bob Feller.

And so the repercussions of USC and Reggie Bush continue.

UGA wins the Fulmer Cup.

Los Angeles Vikings, anyone?

Bill Polian is a genius of a GM.

$8 million training camp invitation.

Minor setbacks for Oakland?

Details, it is all about the details. That is always good lawyer advice.

Now we know why his stock dropped back then.

Is this the anti-no huddle rule?

Favre in mid-season form. Yup.

That's just bad football. At least it can still be corrected at that age.

Can he handle the pressure of both being in New York and being Patrick Ewing?

Day 1 highlight? France beating Spain. Day 2 Highlight? Germany beating Serbia by 1 pt.

Is Jurgen Klinsmann the next step?

James Toney was definitely Lights Out.

RIP Luna Vachon.

Mr. Nicole Scherzinger wins the Belgian GP.

Pearl Harbor again? Not exactly, but close.

Finally. 2nd win for Wie!

Flushing Meadows time. Means more of this, hopefully.

13 year-old kid dies in a race. Way way way too young.

I hate this match. I know Floyd is a chicken, but this reeks of Top Rank selfishness to the nth degree. Money talks, nowadays.

Because I like how they dance...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The World Basketball Championships 2010 Preview - Group D

The World Basketball Championships are coming to Turkey next week. As such, here is a simple basic layman's check on each team participating.

Canada - Neither Steve Nash and Samuel Dalembert are available for the neighbors up north, but recent Knicks draft pick and Syracuse alumnus Andy Rautins (also known as Canada coach Leo Rautins' son) will be manning the playmaking and shooting chores. UConn alum (and someone who played in the Motherland recently) Denham Brown as well as two current Gonzaga Bulldogs in Robert Sacre and Kelly Olynyk join in the cause. Joel Anthony is also around to be the resident veteran big guy. It shows you how bad Jamaal Magloire has been when his lesser known teammate makes the team.

France - Tony Parker (and Eva Longoria), as well as Roddy Beaubois and Ronny Turiaf will be skipping the tournament. Led by the ballooning Boris Diaw, French basketball will revolve on whether Nicolas Batum will take the scoring cudgels and act like his teammate in Portland, Brandon Roy. Air France's brother Florent Pietrus is also playing, as well as a couple of San Antonio draft picks in Nando De Colo and Ian Mahinmi (who has moved on to Dallas). And, no, Frederic Weis is not on the team, so we will not be seeing this highlight again.

Lebanon - The other major thorn in the quest for the Motherland's Olympic qualification. Best player is Fadi el-Khatib, a scoring machine. They have a couple of Americans in Matt Freije and Jackson Vroman to bolster the ranks.

Lithuania - Only one NBA player is on their roster in Linas Kleiza, but they have a few NBA-caliber players on it. They will be hosting the upcoming Eurobasket next year, so this will be a good preparation for them. It will be wishful thinking if they would wear this, too.

New Zealand - The Tall Blacks' most well known asset is veteran benchwarmer Sean Marks. But he is not playing this time. They will be relying on veteran guard (and former Wisconsin Badger) Kirk Penney and Pero Cameron (who was an all-Tourney team in the ill-fated World Basketball Championships in Indianapolis)

Spain - Best team in Europe. No Pau for the Euro champs? They have his brother, Marc, in. No Jose Calderon? They brought it former Jazz PG Raul Lopez (once thought to be John Stockton's successor) to replace him and then hand the keys off to Ricky Rubio (you may proceed with your Kaaaaahhhhhnnnnnn! right now). They also have the most expensive second round pick ever (Sergio Llull), two guy who had a cup of tea with the NBA (and should be back there) in Jorge Garbajosa and Juan Carlos Navarro, and the guy who should consider this to be his try out for all other NBA teams (Rudy Fernandez).

Top 4: Spain, France, Lithuania, Lebanon

The World Basketball Championships 2010 Preview - Group C

The World Basketball Championships are coming to Turkey next week. As such, here is a simple basic layman's check on each team participating.

China - Still no Yao Ming, so it will be up to Yi Jianlian, the prodigal son Wang Zhizhi and Sun Yue to carry the cudgels. But admittedly, Yao makes this team go and he will be missed terribly. Unless they have something good in the pipeline, the Middle Eastern teams might end the Chinese reign in Asia.

Cote d'Ivoire - They shocked the continent by finishing 2nd in FIBA-Africa. If they pull off a win in this division, that would definitely be a shocker.

Greece - FIBA has made their decision. However, the Greeks are still in contention with the talent they have from top to bottom. Former Jeff Van Gundy benchwarmer Vassilis Spanoulis is the playmaker, with their bigs providing size. Their shortest player is just 6'4". They also have former Gator Nick Calathes. They are the San Antonio Spurs of Euroball.

Russia - No Andrei Kirilenko, but they still have their American PG and Russian passport holder JR Holden. They also have Viktor Khryapa and Sergei Monia who have had NBA experience. And Knick fans, here is your shot of getting to figure out Timofey Mozgov. Jayhawk fans would also want to know that Sasha Kaun is also on the team.

Puerto Rico - If they are getting on track, they will need as much as they can from their two NBA guards in JJ Barea and Carlos Arroyo. They also have former Cane and Clipper draft pick Guillermo Diaz who can light it up. Peter John Ramos and Daniel Santiago make up their size and Nuggets forward Renaldo Balkman can defend. Unfortunately, Arroyo bromance buddy Larry Ayuso was bumped off the team for Diaz.

Turkey - The hosts won't be having Mehmet Okur and former Wolfpack guard Engin Atsur, but the home crowd would be pumped up to know Hidayet Turkoglu will be leading the team. He could surely need a redeeming effort after that horrible year in Toronto for the newest Phoenix Sun. Omer Asik and Semi Erden will tag team the minutes Memo will vacate. Ersan Ilyasova is an emerging star for the Turks after his breakout season with Milwaukee.

Top 4: Greece, Russia, Puerto Rico, Turkey

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The World Basketball Championships 2010 Preview - Group B

The World Basketball Championships are coming to Turkey next week. As such, here is a simple basic layman's check on each team participating.

Brazil - Nene will not be participating, but the 14th-ranked team by FIBA will be led by the Brazillian Greyhound, Leandrinho Barbosa. Barbosa will be the latest finding for the Nash Effect in Toronto. To compensate for Nene's absence will be a tag team of Sideshow Bob (Anderson Varejao) and Tiago Splitter, who's finally making his NBA debut this season with San Antonio.

Croatia - Led by former NBA guards Roko Ukic (formerly Toronto, now with Fenerbahce) and the once dubbed as the J-Kidd successor Zoran Planinic (formerly New Jersey, now with Khimki Moscow), the Croats might not be the best former Yugo republic in this division

Iran - They still have the core of the team that beat China for the FIBA-Asia title (granted they beat a home team without Yao Ming), the Motherland has hired away their then-coach Rajko Toroman (who led Iran to their first Olympics) to pull off the same magic, this time in our quest to qualify for London 2012. Obviously, they will be led by their NBA player, Hamed Haddadi.

Slovenia - The sleeper team in this division. No Beno Udrih, but Goran Dragic, ostensibly either as Steve Nash's successor or future Euro stud, will be quarterbacking this core group. Bostjan Nachbar (former of Houston and currently with Efes Pilsen) as well as Primoz Brezec will be around to chip in. Why sleeper? They finished 4th in the last Eurobasket.

Tunisia - FIBA World Championship debutantes and we really have no idea who they are really. They finished third in the FIBA-Africa last year.

United States - Most of the key cogs from the Redeem Team are not participating. With the exit of Rajon Rondo, the roster of the final 12 is set as follows:

G - Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook.

F - Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, Andre Iguodala, Lamar Odom,

C - Tyson Chandler, Kevin Love,

Considering the nature of rosters out there, they should have gone with a 25-and-under team (as suggested by Bill Simmons) with the core of the Redeem team (Kobe, Lebron, Wade, Melo, Dwight) + the young studs of the league (Rose, Curry, Durant, Lopez twins) instead.

Speaking of which, my ideal US lineup should be:

C - Dwight Howard, Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez

F - Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Josh Smith

G - Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade

Starting 5: Paul, Bryant, James, Anthony, Howard.

Top 4: United States, Brazil, Slovenia, Croatia

The World Basketball Championships 2010 Preview - Group A

The World Basketball Championships are coming to Turkey next week. As such, here is a simple basic layman's check on each team participating.

Angola - Honestly, the only thing about Angolan basketball I remember is what Charles Barkley said. However, they are the basketball superpower in Africa, with a FIBA ranking of 12. Yup, even better than Nigeria.

Argentina - We all know there is no Manu (who really needs a break from year-round ballin' at this point), but they have a solid team still with a revitalized Carlos Delfino, Luis Scola, Fabricio Oberto and Andres Nocioni (although he is hurt) leading their NBA contingent. Oh, and they are the top-ranked team in FIBA.

Australia - Known as the Boomers, they are the dominant team in FIBA Oceania. Their best player is also their youngest player, Patrick "Patty" Mills. He and David Andersen (recently traded to Toronto from Houston) are the only NBA players on the roster, because Andrew Bogut has not yet recovered from the injury he suffered. Ranked 11th in FIBA.

Germany - No Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman for this tourney. But the 7th-ranked team in FIBA have Tibor Pleiss (the OKC draft pick this year) and Gonzaga's Elias Harris.

Jordan - ranked 38th in FIBA, the team has a naturalized American in Rasheim Wright. They are one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the Philippines' quest to return to basketball glory.

Serbia - Fifth in the FIBA rankings. By now you have seen the clip. Ironically, Nenad is their only NBA player.

Top Four teams: Argentina, Australia, Germany, Serbia

Blog Outsourcing - 8/23

Welcome to the to the latest edition of Sparty and Friends.

Right now, I am annoyed because some idiot decided to hold Chinese tourists hostage. Not only because he endangered their lives, but also the fact that the Motherland will be getting bad PR and a bad image, something we really do not need right now. The odd thing about it was that the night before, HBO here was showing The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3. Life imitates art, perhaps.

End rant. Need a positive thought.

Weird stats being normal is the in vogue thing, nowadays. This year, baseball has had lots of impressive pitching performances as of late. Perfect games, no hitters, one hitters, a pseudo-perfecto, the works.

The same thing, sort of, is going on in the English Premier League.

Chelsea has had two straight 6-0 scores. Arsenal just pulled off one feat like that. Shows you how impressive the top football franchises have been in England. Also helps they have financial capability and an ownership group willing to spend for it.

Time for the links:

Geekery in pitching.

Philadelphia is already getting returns on the Cliff Lee deal. Not what they had in mind, though.

The St. Louis Cardinals are fading for him, that must be the reason, right?

At least it was silly string and not a bucket of water.

Maybe the best news to come out of Oakland.

These homers were amazing, but did not exist in real life.

When he comes back or not, it does not really matter, for them anyway. But another team with a similar injury does.

Strasburg is done. He'll be back by spring training.

Mike Hampton is not the answer for the problem that is Arizona pitching.

Interesting factoid on Lou Pinella: He's 0-5 in all of his final games with teams.

One more year for Vin Scully. Hopefully, the Dodgers have a better product by then. Starting with Rod Barajas.

Haynesworth messed with the wrong guy. He's screwed.

Apparently, they are still bitter with the defeat in the Superdome. Meanwhile, here is a sick throw that a guy like Favre would do.

And the sad case of Jayson Williams continues.

Kevin Durant saves the day, but a lot of work to do for USA basketball.

Delonte gets suspended. No word regarding Nenad's, though. But he's sorry.

They have been dangling him for trade offers since forever.

The true AL contenders won yesterday. Yankees, Rays, Twins, Rangers.

Why the Pittsburgh Pirates like the way they are.

Typical J. Edgar Hoover stuff for them to do. Not surprised.

The AP Poll came out.

HuskerDawg must approve this means of maximizing opportunity.

I'll believe this news when I see it, Michigan.

Bristol weekend sweep by Kyle Busch.

I thought this only happens on Cougartown.

Is this like the legitimate version of the Overtrained Athlete's Syndrome a.k.a Brian Cushing excuse?

You think we would be in the all-Unathletic-looking team?

This would be the last thing Jay Mariotti could be writing or talking about for a while. Very ominous, too.

If you thought Lebron's one hour madness was too much, what about the three-hour spectacle by Jason Whitlock?

Why slow and easy is the better approach.

I know you'll try this in the future.

At least we know someone is watching the LPGA Tour.

Is Roger Federer ready to put some space between him and Tiger?

Oh, and here are the 6-0 romps:

Here's some positive vibe to start the week.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Blog Outsourcing - 8/16

Welcome to today's edition for Sparty and Friends.

I hope we all have a great week ahead. Yesterday was the Feast of the Assumption as well as my younger brother's birthday. I thought to myself that I would have a great day today.

Unfortunately, that may not be the case.

It was around 230 in the morning when I suddenly woke up due to the power going out. I thought to myself that it might be due to maintenance from the Electricity Provider. I tried to go back to sleep, but obviously, it is not easy to rest when there is no fan to keep you cool.

A few hours later, I woke up and there was still no power. I had my breakfast and word got out that there was another reason why we had a power outage. So I decided to go out of the house and see for myself what exactly happened. I brought out my camera and took pictures of the scene.

Not yet done. Here is another one.

So some truck somehow dragged 7 posts down early this morning. Not a good way to start the work week. So I had to go to the office 7-8 hours early to fix the post for today.

End rant. Now onto the links, because that is what we all love to see. Plus, we all need some positivity around here.

Hellboy gets the Rays closer to the Yankees, whose lead is trimmed to now a single game.

Rangers also take advantage, by bringing the heat on the Red Sox. But given the control they have on the AL West, they can afford to be cautious with any injury concerns, like Rich Harden and Nelson Cruz.

Giants add a bat, but the Padre bats take advantage of the Freak.

And another no-hitter nipped in the bud, but not of his own doing.

Strasburg giving Harper advice on something that he went through the wringer for.

Reds back on top again with a little assistance from the Cubbies.

This is not the year of the Tiger(s). We all know about Le Tigre, Now, there is implosion in the Motor City even BEFORE T-Mac is in town.

Speaking of Le Tigre, controversy in the Whistling Straits. Check this email discourse.

I think Corey Pavin has made his decision on this already. He's keeping the world and especially Jim Gray in the dark. Celebrity Death Match in the making.

Week 1 is in Jax. Odds for Friar Tim to start look good now that Brady Quinn is who he really is. Maybe he should go the Glenn Coffee route.

Looks like the end is finally near for the final piece of the Greatest Show on Turf.

We're all rooting for you, Stafon Johnson. Tweet him your get-well-soon wishes @stafon13. While we're at it, get well soon to Jerry Jones.

Things are already getting ugly in upstate New York.

Madden '11 was just released. The Madden curse finally caught up with Larry Fitzgerald. As for this year, well...

Just when you thought Larry Bird made the right choice in taking a risk, this happens.

The first bad press in Miami that did not involve LeBron. Probably involved Ricky Williams.

Post-script from the 2010 Basketball Hall of Fame induction.

Melo's indecision simply means he will be out next year.

Team USA down to 13. World Basketball Championships in 2 weeks. Worth noting that there are missing elements up and down the roster. Watch out for the preview when it comes.

What's new on the Kovalchuk to the Devils front...

If you want to know the early season college basketball tourneys...

Possible Greek poaching of the Buckeyes.

If you win races, sponsors will come.

The English Premier League is now in full swing. Chelsea with an awesome start, Liverpool stumbling and Manchester United raring to go again. More details can be found here.

Could the tie be yesterday's news?

Kurt Warner screwed Trent Green again.

You still remember The Boz?

Cycledan is a MAMIL.

Because some people have too much time on their hands.

At least, it was only beer.

Care to get inked like they do?

Erik Spoelstra's back in the Motherland, but did not really speak much about the King and Chris joining his crew. Instead, he focused on teaching the locals how they do it in South Beach, and revisiting his roots.

(On a side note, one of those collegiate players who participated in the drills played an integral role 24 hours later in beating the top team in our conference, knocking them off the unbeaten ranks. If he owes it to Coach Spo, we owe it to him as well.)

Because the Phanatic has nothing on this guy:

And I miss watching this show:

Friday, August 13, 2010

TWTWTNBA: Roster-Fillers

Well, another week has passed: here are some more FA transactions...

Carlos Arroyo stays with the Miami Heat: Because they merely need another stopgap cheap guard at this point. With Wade and Lebron having point guard capability, all they need from their guards are their shooting and their defense.

Eddie House to the Miami Heat: Great. Another shooter who will feast on open opportunities with Wade, Bosh and James getting the focus and attention. The Heat have somehow developed the lineup of shooters that will always have the license when open as well as bigs who just need to defend, score garbage points and block shots.

Jason Williams stays with the Orlando Magic: He decided to take demotion as a third-string point guard instead of the possible minutes in South Beach. He must enjoy his home, then.

Matt Barnes to the Los Angeles Lakers: Because you can never really have enough defensive players around for the good of the team. We all remember the antics Barnes had against Kobe last year, but having him guard your opponent would surely take the pressure off Kobe, off Lamar and off Ron.

Raja Bell to the Utah Jazz: After the dalliance with the Lakers, Raja Bell is merely staying true as a nemesis to Kobe Bryant by signing with Jerry Sloan and leaving Kobe on a lurch. He replaces Wesley Matthews in the rotation.

Shannon Brown stays with the Los Angeles Lakers: With this signing, the roster of the defending champs is pretty much set in stone. He will not get as many minutes as before, given the new Laker acquisitions,

Von Wafer to the Boston Celtics: He would be immediately be plugged in to where Tony Allen used to be. All I remember about him was that he can go off when he gets the minutes. Remains to be seen if he can defend the way Tony did against Kobe (which was one of the most underrated things that happened in the Finals)

Quentin Richardson to the Orlando Magic: He is not Matt Barnes, but he can surely try on the defensive end. However, he fits the shooter's profile that Stan Van Gundy likes, so it is a probable upgrade. In addition, at the time, it was insurance in case JJ Redick exits.

Tracy McGrady to the Detroit Pistons: A broken-down T-Mac in need of fine-tuning. Will the Motor City refurbish him?

Linas Kleiza to the Toronto Raptors: Will be asked to step in to the minutes that Hedo used to log in with the Raptors. He sort of fits the international profile the team currently has.

Dorell Wright to the Golden State Warriors: Because the Warriors need to have a small forward on the team, and with how their salary looks right now, he's probably their top FA option at that point.

Rasual Butler stays with the Los Angeles Clippers: As a Clipper fan, was pleased with the deal as he was their best shooter and stepped up when the situation needed (i.e. Baron and or Eric was not playing well)

Brian Cook to the Los Angeles Clippers: A big man who can shoot from the outside. He's just a filler at this point, considering Kaman and Jordan will hog the minutes at pivot.

Ryan Gomes to the Los Angeles Clippers: He puts less pressure on Blake Griffin to immediately contribute.

Richard Jefferson stays with the San Antonio Spurs: After the bizarre opt-out he exercised, he wisely re-signed with the Spurs. Hopefully, he would be able to bounce back after near career lows last season. He will still remain as the fourth option in the Spurs offense.

Tyrus Thomas stays with the Charlotte Bobcats: will be the effective third wheel after Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace. He sort of fits what the Bobcats want from their frontcourt.

Matt Bonner stays with the San Antonio Spurs: Before there was a Brian Scalabrine, there was a Matt Bonner. Pop likes what he can do, so he is sticking around.

Al Harrington to the Denver Nuggets: Because they needed a big man with some oomph offensively. Now with Chris Andersen needing surgery, they need depth at the position.

Luis Scola stays with the Houston Rockets: He's the lunch-bucket style hardworking player the Rockets personify after Carl Landry got traded. Very smart and heady, too.

Kurt Thomas to the Chicago Bulls: He'll be the chief back-up to Joakim Noah. Nice physical low post defender that Thibs would use against the likes of Dwight and the O'Neals.

Josh Powell to the Atlanta Hawks: He's serviceable as a big man, considering he was the third big option. Unfortunately for the Hawks, that could have been Shaq.

Shelden Williams to the Denver Nuggets: Basically will be doing what Johan Petro did in his stay in Denver. Then again, Candace Parker would be a better fit for them.

Theo Ratliff to the Los Angeles Lakers: Will simply replace Josh Powell in the big man rotation. You may say he is Andrew Bynum insurance, but at least, he isn't called the expiring contract anymore.

Shaquille O'Neal to the Boston Celtics: If signing Jermaine O'Neal was not enough for Perkins insurance, this does. Now Doc has a lot of tools to work with in the front court. He may be able to keep KG fresh. Shaq might be able to help develop Kendrick Perkins' game. You can bet with all the veterans out there, they can keep each other's egos in check.

Rasho Nesterovic to Olympiacos: Stephen A. Smith's favorite player has decided to go back to Europe, replacing Josh Childress, who's now at Phoenix. In all likelihood, he will finish his career in the continent.

UAAP Season 73 1st Round post-script

After 1 round robin, let's look into each UAAP team:

EDIT: Records indicate are as of end of 1st round, even though FEU already lost to Adamson and UE beat UST to kick off the second round.

1. Far Eastern University (7-0) - They are showing why they are the prohibitive favorites for this season. And so far, no off-the-court shenanigans

Surprise: How RR Garcia is the top MVP candidate after the 1st round. I thought it would be Aldrech, but he is not that far behind.

Disappointment: Hard to find flaws in an unbeaten team, but I did expect more from Cawaling, Cervantes and Sanga, especially since they are the veterans of the team.

End of eliminations prediction: 12-2

Wish: A Pipo Noundou jersey

2. Ateneo de Manila University (5-2) - The defending champs are still alright. They lose their three key cogs of their championship runs, and they still among the top teams. Speaks well of how good Coach Norman Black is.

Surprise: Juami Tiongson is already showing that he has the chops to start at the point next season. Frank Golla developing into a quality big. Justin Chua making the next step.

Disappointment: The loss to La Salle really hurt. Inconsistencies with Nico Salva & Ryan Buenafe. Still having slow starts.

End of eliminations prediction: 11-3

Wish: That Nike gets it right with the uniform design.

3. Adamson University (5-2) - Last year's heartbreak team is now everyone's trendy sleeper. And their record shows it.

Surprise: Lester Alvarez is arguably the best PG in the UAAP right now. We saw him come off the bench last year. Now, he is the engine that keeps Coach Leo Austria's offense going.

Disappointment: That they still have not yet beaten Ateneo since their return from the Marlou Aquino-induced suspension

End of eliminations prediction: 10-4

Wish: That it is already Mike Galinato's final year. Hard to believe he and Japeth Aguilar were teammates in high school.

 4. De La Salle University (4-3) - The surprise of the season so far. The team is composed of mostly newcomers and second-year players with a new head coach was supposed to be good next season. Had they beat the Falcons in their final 1st round assignment, they would be sitting pretty at second place.

Surprise: How this squad has not been as annoying as the previous incarnations of the squad over the past few years. No Arana antics, etc... Even Joshua Webb.

Disappointment: That there is no cure to Tayshaun Andrada in HD.

End of eliminations prediction: 8-6

Wish: More minutes for Ferdinand.

5. National University (3-4) - If not La Salle, they are the surprise team this season.

Surprise: How Eric Gonzales somewhat kept this NU team from reverting to its past tendencies. Their depth at the bigs is a little underrated.

Disappointment: That in 2011, the much hyped-recruit named Norman Penola will be wearing Bulldog colors instead of the Blue and the White

End of eliminations prediction: 8-6

Wish: More monickers like Jerome "the Umbrella Man" Tungcul

6. University of Santo Tomas (3-4) - They were pegged to finish 8th this season, but their hustle and aggressive Pidoffense keeping them in 6th place.

Surprise: That they can still score in bunches even in losing the MVP. You can thank their firecracking PG duo of Jeric Fortuna and Clark Bautista for that.

Disappointment: Jeric Teng was expected to make huge offensive contirbutions, but has not really done that yet. Then again, he has a huge workload on his plate.

End of eliminations prediction: 7-7

Wish: That we appreciate what Chris Camus does. You'd love him as a teammate.

7. University of the East (1-6) - Stumbled early, but ended okay with a win against UP and a close loss to Ateneo.

Surprise: Ken Acibar stepping to try to fill the huge shoes left by Elmer Espiritu and Pari Llagas. Paul Lee quickly recovering from a injury to be the marked man all season long.

Disappointment: Lucas Tagarda's attempts to be annoying.

End of eliminations prediction: 4-10

Wish: Lawrence Chiongson to suddenly transform into Alfrancis Chua

8. University of the Philippines (0-7) - Quite easily the most disappointing team right now. Supposed to be pegged to figure in the Final Four race, they are halfway from being 0-14 again.

Surprise: How UP decided to suddenly pull the plug on the Aboy Castro experience.

Disappointment: Where do we start? No fluidity from the guards. The regression / plateauing of Woody Co. UP fan apathy.

End of eliminations prediction: 1-13

Wish: To see UP win a game starting next week.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

UAAP Season 73 2nd round Schedule

Thanks to the powers that be who released the 2nd round schedule for Ateneo this season. And here it is:

UAAP Season 73 Basketball  Tournament 2010-2011 SCHEDULE OF GAMES MEN'S DIVISION 
Second Round
Saturday, 14 August  2010 - Araneta Coliseum  2:00 pm        
Ateneo            vs        UP 

Thursday, 19 August  2010 - Araneta Coliseum 4:00 pm     
Ateneo          vs        NU  

Sunday, 22 August 2010 - Araneta Coliseum 4:00 pm       
Ateneo            vs        DLSU 

Thursday, 26 August  2010 - Araneta Coliseum
4:00 pm       UE          vs        Ateneo
Sunday, 29 August 2010 - Araneta Coliseum 4:00 pm      
Adu            vs        Ateneo

Sunday, 5 September 2010 - Araneta Coliseum 4:00 pm       
UST          vs        Ateneo
Saturday, 11 September  2010 - Araneta Coliseum 4:00 pm       
Ateneo          vs        FEU

UAAP Season 73 Basketball  Tournament 2010-2011 SCHEDULE OF GAMES JUNIORS DIVISION 
Second Round
Tuesday, 10 August  2010 - Filoil Arena (San Juan Arena) 5:00 pm       
Ateneo       vs        UST 

Saturday, 14 August  2010 -  Filoil Arena (San Juan Arena) 2:45 pm       
UE            vs        Ateneo 

Tuesday, 17 August  2010 - Filoil Arena (San Juan Arena) 5:00 pm    
Ateneo           vs        AdU 

Saturday, 21 August  2010 - Filoil Arena (San Juan Arena) 11:30 am      
UPIS            vs        Ateneo
Tuesday, 24 August  2010 - Filoil Arena (San Juan Arena) 5:00 pm       
DLSZ         vs        Ateneo
Saturday, 28 August  2010 - Filoil Arena (San Juan Arena) 1:30 pm      
FEU            vs        Ateneo
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 - Filoil Arena (San Juan Arena) 2:45 pm        
Ateneo          vs      NU

UAAP Season 73 Basketball  Tournament 2010-2011 SCHEDULE OF GAMES WOMEN'S DIVISION 
Second Round
To Follow

Monday, August 9, 2010

Blog Outsourcing 8/9

Hello! Welcome to the latest edition of Sparty and Friends!

Today is August 9, 2010. In numeric terms, it is 8/9/10. That of course, is numerically cute.

First, I have been advised to fix my posting schedule. After all, there is supposed to be a proper time to be posting TMAs and obviously, I have been slacking off a little bit. As such, with the usual prodding, I will do my best to approximate said deadline. (EDIT note: Looks like I am slightly late again. A glitch happened on my laptop.)

Second, since I am on the "Floyd Mayweather is a chicken" bandwagon, I just want to inform people that the PacMan has decided to call out Floyd. It is not the norm for Manny to call out people. He lets his fists do the talking on his behalf, while the power brokers (like Top Rank's Bob Arum) do the negotiating for the nitty gritty. Since the self-styled pound-for-pound icon has decided to prioritize frivolous things instead of choosing his next probable opponent, Top Rank decided to set up a farce of a match on November against the guy named Marga-cheato. Goes to show how selfish some people are instead of focusing on what the sport exactly needs. Meanwhile, to keep himself busy, the Congressman is currently doing political work.

So there. End rant.

Hereforth are the links:

The Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays had a bad weekend. First, they got Arencibia'd. Then, they got Morrow'd. Rays with a losing streak just after they retook 1st place from those damn Yankees. Speaking of J.P., he surely treasured that day.

Boston could not really take advantage and gain ground as they faced off against the Evil Empire. They missed a chance when A-Ro(i)d missed a game. They missed another chance when AJ Burnett was suddenly scratched. Good job by the Yankee pitching staff, especially to Dustin Moseley. One more game to play for both squads before the final series (second-to-the-last-weekend of the regular season) between the two rivals.

One Yankee legend passes another, while another milestone set by A-Ro(i)d. Speaking of Alex, here are some tidbits regarding the 600 long balls.

The Buck stops here. Orioles now 5-1 under the new manager.

Enough with the AL (B)East, the AL Central features a chase by the plucky Twins, who won wearing the Jedi-like Negro League uniforms as well as the Pavano pornstache. In addition, Thome could still be chasing 600, as he has 578 now.

On the AL West, things are getting worse in Griffey-land, where bathrooms are hazardous.

How the Greenberg-Ryan Express was able to survive the Mark Cuban aggression.

Surprise stat: Why are the Oakland Athletics so good during day games?

Torii Hunter has a dark side beneath the good-guy image.

Get well soon, Chris Coghlan.

Domo Arigato, Mr. Joey Votto!

Here are your 50 greatest Cubs!

For Pittsburgh fans, they cannot wait until football season already.

It's not about who finished first, it is about who finished 79th. I think Corey Pavin would be served best if he did not select Tiger with his captain's picks. Tiger needs to fix his mess before he can really be back to form.

Finally, a fake football game.

And on the tenth day, Albert Haynesworth finally passed his test. And you know it has become ridiculous when minor league teams use it as a promotion. And the moral of the story is...

He still wants to be a Cowboy, baby!

Apparently, the success of Houston next season is on Brian Cushing.

It's never too late to apologize. Unfortunately, that does not come with a Lombardi trophy.

Where does Friar Tim rank among the bad hair days?

Here are some nice excerpts from the HoF Enshrinement Ceremony. But we are waiting for Primetime's turn next year. Which makes me wonder if the bust's design will include the trademark bandanna.

Keith Olbermann has been DQ'd from the pregame show.

Do you really really want T-Mac?

The First Baller can hold down the fort, y'all. And he's bringing in the Who Dat later.

Interesting read about a what could have been alternate reality where Pau Gasol is deftly handling the scalpel instead of a basketball.

The Community Shield means that the Premier League is close.

Because this is a tribute to Littlefoot and Cerah after this news shocked all dinosaur fans.

Friday, August 6, 2010

TWTWTNBA: Christmas Day is NBA Day

We interrupt the usual Free Agent one-liners from me to take advantage of what happened earlier in the week.

The NBA released a partial schedule for next season, and once again, they cornered the Holiday season with goodies that we all love.

Let's look at the bite size of each of game on the initial release.

October 26 (October 27 in the Philippines): NBA Opening Night on TNT

Rajon Rondo gets his wish, to test the Miami Heat this early in the season. The Grown-Ups (with probably now includes Shaq) against the Dwayne and the Wades. And yes, you can bet your bottom dollar Marv Albert is covering all Miami games on TNT.

The other half features Championship Ring Night at Staples with Trevor Ariza looking at a what-could-have-been season as he sees Ron Artest receive his ring. Oh, and reports say that Yao Ming might be ready to go for this one. Here's hoping that he's fully healthy.

October 27 (October 28 in the Philippines) Opening Night for ESPN NBA Wednesdays

1st half of the doubleheader features probably the two studs of the World Basketball Championship team that will be playing in Istanbul (not Constantinople) later this month, Derrick Rose of the Bulls and Kevin Durant for the Thunder. This also features the head coaching debut of Thibs.

2nd half of the doubleheader also features a debut as well. Finally, Blake Griffin will get to play his 1st ever NBA game. Hopefully, he won't be experiencing an injury plagued career like the other rookie who missed the season he was drafted in due to injury, Greg Oden. This also is the Clipper coaching debut of Vinny Del Negro, who managed to poach one of his current assistants from Nate McMillan's old staff.

October 28 (October 29 in the Philippines): Opening Night for Thursdays on TNT

The first game features the debut of the new Amway Center. And oddly enough, it's John Wall and the Wizards against the Orlando Magic. I am sure someone can conjure up stories from the first game there. Whether Gilbert will be playing on either side is a question in itself.

The second game features two teams with a new refurbished look. Jazz lose Boozer and gain Jefferson. Suns lose Amar'e and gain Hedo. The interesting subplot will be whether Steve Kerr will be handling broadcasting duties for this one. Hopefully it includes an interview with Sarver.

October 29 (October 30 in the Philippines) Opening Night for ESPN NBA Fridays

The debut of ESPN NBA Fridays begins with the inter-state rivalry with Orlando and Miami. Orlando's depth will be up against the might of the Wades' studs. You can also consider this as the Jason Williams' Bowl. Hopefully, we can see the fruits of Hakeem on Dwight.

The other game features the Western Conference Finals rematch between the Lakers and the Suns. Hopefully, the three-man booth is still alive and kicking. Meanwhile, Cleveland lost another one. Still unknown if Dan Gilbert will do another Comic Sans. Then again, they are all subject to the Sarver's whims.

December 25 (December 26 in the Philippines): the Christmas Day bonanza on ESPN and ABC

You think about how different sports corner particular days of the year for their own. For basketball, it has been Christmas Day. It also serves the launching pad for ABC's national coverage of the NBA every season. This year, 5 delicious games stretching for 12 hours will captivate the baller in you.

Day kicks off with the Bulls against the Knicks on ESPN. The expert on D (Thibodeaux) against the SSOL mastermind (D'Antoni). Speaking of the Knicks' head coach, he has some free time on his hands. Hope he can figure out a way for the Knicks to exert effort on defense. Or even get any kind of return from Eddy Curry.

ABC kicks off their coverage with the rematch from the Eastern Conference Finals, Boston and Orlando. Sure, Kendrick Perkins will not be around, but wasn't Cleveland's reasoning to get the Big Aristotle was specifically for their rematch against the Magic that never happened because someone allegedly decided that he wanted to go to South Beach?

The highlight of the day follows, the team people are already talking dynasty with when they haven't played a minute together yet (Miami Heat), goes up against the defending champs (Los Angeles Lakers), who are quietly assembling a roster that is set up for a dynastic run.

After the ABC doubleheader, ESPN continues with their own doubleheader. First game features a tantalizing duel between Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. Melo's decision not to sign the extension yet seems very very famillar. It will not be as headline grabbing like someone did, but it will be something worth monitoring. Amar'e must be on to something.

And the last game of the day is a throwback to the 70s, Portland and Golden State will be facing off. Interestingly, all games were won by the Blazers back then. We know what's good in Rip City, but other than Stephen Curry, chaos reigns and we really have no idea what the new owner (Joe Lacob) wants to do yet.

January 17 (January 18 in the Philippines): Martin Luther King, Jr. Day special on ESPN and TNT

The ESPN matinee features the Bulls against a young and talented Memphis team that is really lacking on maturity and veteran mettle. With this matchup, by then, we would have figured out who they really are. Someone needs to take over and turn into the alpha dog. Enter OJ Mayo.

The first part of the TNT prime time doubleheader has the Christmas Day rematch between Boston and Orlando. Nope, Kendrick will still be unavailable for the Grown-Ups. The other part of the doubleheader has the rematch of the 1st round matchup between the Lakers and the Thunder. They had a wonderful and captivated the nation, showcasing the Thunder for the world to admire and enjoy. Could be said that they provided the toughest test other than Boston for the champs. And of course, Jedi Master Kobe showing the new Padawan Kevin how it's done after the old padawan turned into the dark side.

Speaking of the new Sith Lord, everyone's favorite Lebron / Cleveland stalker, Brian Windhorst, has secured the Cleveland-Miami playdates, considering that the complete schedule will not be released until August 10, and that no Cleveland games were among those that the NBA partially released. December 2 is supposed to be on TNT, as it will be the Rude Homecoming. Now that is must-see TV, if only for what could possibly happen, good or bad.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Blog Outsourcing 8/2

Welcome to today's edition of Sparty & Friends.

The past two days have some weird special significance that are very interesting and weird.

First, July 31 not only serves as the end of the month, but also serves a special day for all Jesuits and its institutions. That day is St. Ignatius Day. Saint Ignatius of Loyola was after all, the founder of the Society of Jesus. He died on that day in 1556. Known for the Spiritual Exercises, he is also the patron saint of the Basque region and spritual retreats.

In the midst of the collegiate season, we normally win those games. And we did last Saturday against National University.

Yesterday, August 1, is a special day for all Simpsons fans. Specifically, yesterday was the day Lisa Simpson was to be married. Yup, Lisa Simpson was to be married to Hugh St. John Alastair Parkfield. That occurred during Season 6.

Interesting tidbits from the wedding include:

- The networks have merged into ABCNNBCBS; FOX is now a hardcore sex channel

- Brits can brag about saving America's ass in WWIII.

- The Rolling Stones have embarked on their "Steel Wheelchair" tour (and are lauded for their "tireless efforts to preserve historic buildings").

And this is the invitation:

Hereforth are the links:

So, the Yankees got Berkman, Wood & Kearns, but lost to the Rays, who only added Chad Qualls. But these additions are for the long haul, with October in mind. Veterans hungry for a ring of their own.

The Dodgers added arms in Ted Lilly (and Ryan Theriot) and Octavio Dotel, but they sorely needed bats, who were MIA in their loss to the Giants, who also needed bats but only secured Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez.

Cardinals trying to chase the Reds for both division and wildcard, acquire Jake Westbrook. They sent Ryan Ludwick to the Padres, which sorely needed bats at pitcher-friendly Petco and already made an immediate impact against the Marlins.

Braves needed a shot in the arm, but they still lost to the Reds.

Wilson Ramos will be catching Strasburg fastballs next season, who is looking good in rehab right now.

Whether Drayton McLane likes it or not, he is now rebuilding. So are the D-backs.

The Rangers lost today, but all eyes on the auction on Wednesday.

As if the Cubs' ugly season is not bad news already, it already got worse.

Ozzie being Ozzie. Oi! Oi! Oi!

Canadian baseball in flames.

As if people do not really know why this year has been awesome for pitchers.

CarGo with a nice way to secure a cycle.

Only in Philly. More reasons for that now that Ryan Howard is sidelined.

Dennis the Menace is alright, his twitter tell us.

Tyreke Evans obviously never heard of Bobby Phills.

More updates on Lorenzen Wright.

So, where will the House of Bron be?

Brian Scalabrine news. Unfortunately, Celtics already have his successor in Luke Harangody.

This would be awesome if it was 10 years ago.

Shaq's new nickname: The Big Belieber.

Whoever you put there, he still would be subject to the whims of Sarver.

STAT in his quest to determine if he is the Messiah for the Knicks, or merely another lost prophet.

Chris Paul in the Hall of Fame?

This is how you leave Cleveland. I actually think his jersey will be in the rafters of the Q someday.

What exactly is the Albert Haynesworth conditioning test? And he still is not partaking of it.

I am sure Roy Williams is really saying, "Sucks to be you, brotha."

Figuring out what could T.O. be in Cincy.

Is Antrel Rolle the Giant solution? Or is it be Keith Bulluck?

Nice to know he is back on the field.

Ndamukong Suh: all-around good guy. Unfortunately, he still cannot help the Lions right now.

This guy will not be the 3rd string QB.

Revis Island currently on vacation. Hopefully, Kyle Wilson will maximize the opportunity.

New era in San Diego. Welcome to life after LdT.

Derek Dooley denies an exit strategy for Bryce Brown.

Take a chance. Take a chance. Take a chance, chance, chance.

Stuart Appleby ties a record David Duval held by himself.

Hopefully by then, he would be back to his normal tournament-winning self.

This one is for the Roush.

Just because I love saying the name of the racetrack, the Hungaroring.

Juan Manuel Marquez deserves a third shot at the PacMan. I'd rather see that match instead of Margacheato.

Floyd Mayweather is a Chicken. Floyd is a sissy. Floyd is a coward.

Kaka to Chelsea, no mas. Ditto for Ashley Cole to Madrid.

Doubtful that Landon Donovan returns to England.

Thanks to my friend, Sarah for finding this gem.