It is already Friday, June 22 as I am writing this. Today is the beginning of the weekend, the huge weekend for all sporting fanatics in the Philippines. Whether it will be basketball or football or whatever, it's going to be a great great day to be either a couch potato or an avid venue-hopper.
Here goes nothing...
Friday, June 22: (all times denoted in local time)
NCAA Season 87: (10am-6ish pm, televised portion begins at 2pm) The Arena in San Juan
(Jrs and Srs) Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers vs Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals. Talk about the most disappointing performance so far in the early season, and you would instantly look at the winless Cardinals. Many tipped them as the team to fight for scraps for the two remaining Final Four berths (provided someone stops San Beda). Chito Victolero is in the hottest seat as of the moment not named Dindo Pumaren.On the other hand, the Heavy Bombers just got their first win against the EAC Generals. Considering that the Lyceum Pirates already already made a huge headway with a 4-2 record, both teams cannot afford to be far behind, especially since the Letran Knights are at 3-1.
Update: JRU keeps Mapua winless.
(Jrs and Srs) San Beda College Red Lions vs College of Saint Benilde Blazers. Who can stop San Beda right now? They're on a major roll, blowing teams out of the water by an average of 25 points. Looks like the Blazers are the next prey for the Red Lions. Safe to say, we'll see another slaughtering in our midst.
Update: Boy was I wrong on this one, the defending champs barely escaped with a solitary point being the difference.
PBA Semi-finals: (530pm - 10ish pm) The SMART-Araneta Coliseum
Alaska Aces vs Talk N' Text Tropang Texters - The Tropang Texters finished with the best record amongst the semifinalists with a 6-2 record, thanks to the likes of a local juggernaut, from the three-headed backcourt combo of Jimmy Alapag, Jason Castro and Ryan Reyes, to its frontcourt of Ranidel de Ocampo, Harvey Carey and Ali Peek. In their quest for the Grand Slam, they made an interesting decision to replace Maurice Baker with Scottie Reynolds. Yes, the Scottie Reynolds from Villanova:
As for the Aces, they still have Joseph Forte to take care of manning the boards and doing the dirty work with Sonny Thoss while LA Tenorio and Cyrus Baguio does the scoring. In their previous meeting, they got blown out of the water 101-75, something Coach Tim Cone would like to change this time around.
Update: Nice debut for Scottie Reynolds.
Rain or Shine Elastopainters vs. B-Meg Llamados - Arizona Reid has been a beast of a reinforcement for the Elastopainters, rocking his Brian Grant / Etan Thomas-style hair down low. 6 guys average between eight and eleven points so far, including George Mason alum Gabe Norwood and dead-eye shooter Jeff Chan. On the other hand, B-Meg is pretty much similar to Miami with James Yap, Peter June Simon and Joe Devance (53 ppg 18 rpg 5apg combined) reprising the Miami troika. The difference is that Marc Pingris (10 ppg 11 rpg) is an evolutionary Pinoy version of Udonis Haslem and Roger Yap (6 ppg 4 rpg 4 apg 1 spg) doing his Mario Chalmers impression. Just like the Heat, they managed to sign a free agent for the playoff run (a la Mike Bibby), in Josh Urbitztondo who could light it up like this anytime:
Update: Thrilling finish in favor of B-Meg.
Saturday, July 23:
UAAP Season 74: (1pm to 5ish pm) The SMART-Araneta Coliseum
De La Salle University Green Archers vs University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons - The pitchforks are out for Dindo Pumaren and his coaching staff as the fabled Archers lost to their archrivals. The way they have lost on both games have been a cause of major concern, although in their defense, they got dealt with facing teams that were in the UAAP Finals last year (FEU and Ateneo). They ought to be beating UP, a team with a new coach and a new pressing and uptempo system being installed that would be in the favor of La Salle's preferred tempo. However, the Maroons have the combination of Mike & Mike (Gamboa and Silungan) and the M&Ms (Jett Manuel and Jelo Montecastro) to keep pace and Alinko Mbah to basically swat anything that comes close to the paint. If the Archers lose this one, what is currently sizzling might just get toasty. Besides, it is kind of embarrasing when someone manages to put up a top ten like this out of just one half of action.
THE Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles vs University of the East Red Warriors - The three-time defending champions are just rolling along just fine with a 3-0 record. They just finished off dismantling the National University Bulldogs of former Georgia Tech recruit Bobby Ray Parks, jr.. We might just see a blowout far worse as a Red Warrior team that is pretty much relying on guile and will given the huge dropoff in skill compared to previous years, then add to that a new coach that was an assistant to a team that went winless the previous year. Besides, this only serves as an appetize to what is about to transpire at this venue a couple of hours later.
SMART Ultimate All-Star Weekend: (7pm to 930ish pm) The SMART-Araneta Coliseum
All-Stars vs PBA selection - It has been ages since a legitimate selection of NBA players came to Manila to play ball. The lockout has been a godsend apparently, as people have been searching far and wide for tickets for this event, which is sold at these prices:
Patron: P5500 - $129.07
Lower Box: P3800 - $89.18
Upper A: P1500 - $35.20
Upper B: P800 - $18.78
GA: P350 - $8.22
Since this is a hot ticket, obviously, resellers are having a field day. Saw a Upper B ticket being sold for thrice the amount. Saw an General Admission ticket being sold at EIGHT times the cost. A bidding war for a Lower Box ticket was already at P21,000 (almost $500) last time I checked. Another one bid almost $1000 each for a pair of Lower Box seats.
The PBA selection are as follows:
James Yap and Marc Pingris of B-MEG
Mark Caguioa and JC Intal of Ginebra
Arwin Santos and Rabeh Al-Hussaini of Petron Blaze
Ryan Reyes, Jason Castro and Larry Fonacier of Talk N’ Text
Sonny Thoss and LA Tenorio of Alaska
Sol Mercado of Meralco
Gary David of Powerade
Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine
Danny Seigle of Air21
Talk and Text Head Coach and concurrent head of the MVP Sports Foundation Chot Reyes is the bench tactician for local ballers.
2014 World Cup - Asian Qualifiers: (1130pm Pregame, 1230am kickoff)
Philippines vs Kuwait - The Azkals vs Al-Azraq. Latest reports have noted that FIFA have denied the request of the Philippine Football Federation to allow skipper Aly Borromeo and Stephan Schrock to play in the first leg due to their accumulation of yellow cards. Kuwait has been a competitive team amongst the Gulf States. In fact, they did manage to barge into the World Cup, albeit it was in 1982. On the other hand, the Philippines is reaping the benefits and positivity from their efforts over the past few months.
The game will be broadcast on local television (ABS-CBN), but this is best watched with friends and having a good time. So the place to be would be the different sports bars and pubs all across the metro.
Sunday, July 25
UAAP Season 74: (1pm to 5ish pm) Philsports Arena
National University Bulldogs vs Far Eastern University Tamaraws - Smarting from the blowout handed to them by Ateneo, the Bulldogs get the losing finalists from last year. The Tamaraws are fresh from dispatching the Red Warriors of UE, so they are definitely in the groove after the loss against Adamson. Reigning MVP RR Garcia is still a scoring spitfire while Aldrech Ramos and Emmanuel Mbe can go toe-to-toe against each other. Terence Romeo can light it up off the bench, too. As for Coach Eric Altamirano, he'll have to find a way to diversify the offense. He was effectively muzzled on offense until it was too late.
University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers vs Adamson University Soaring Falcons - UST is celebrating their quadricentennial right now with a bang with two straight wins, while Coach Leo Austria's crew is feeling good even with the opening loss against Ateneo with the bounce back smashing of FEU. Jeric Fortuna was named the Player of the Week for Week 1, and freshman Kevin Ferrer has been as good as advertised. Looks as though Karim Abdul and Austin Manyara would cancel each other out, so can the gangly Tigers keep up the winning form with their SSOL prowess?
SMART Ultimate All-Star Weekend: (1pm to 330ish pm, to be shown at 530pm) The SMART-Araneta Coliseum
All-Stars vs SMART Gilas - SMART Gilas was created specifically for one mission; to get the Philippines to make it to the London 2012 Games. This is part of their preparations for the FIBA-Asia Championships, which will be in China later this year. Handled by Rajko Toroman, these guys are primed and ready to go.
- Ababou, Dylan Simon
- Aguilar, Japeth Paul
- Ballesteros, Jason
- Baracael, Marnel (Mac)
- Barroca, Andy Mark
- Casio, Joseph Evans (JV)
- Douthit, Marcus Eugene
- Lassiter, Marcio Tsongo
- Lutz, Christopher Ryan
- Ramos, Aldrech
- Slaughter, Gregory
- Tiu, Christopher John
PBA players Jimmy Alapag, Kelly Williams, Ranidel de Ocampo of Talk N' Text, Asi Taulava of Meralco and Dondon Hontiveros of Air 21 will join them, as they will also be a part of the team that will be playing in China for the FIBA-Asia tournament.
PBA Semi-finals: (530pm - 10ish pm) The SMART-Araneta Coliseum
Alaska Aces vs Petron Blaze Boosters - Alaska was just fresh from being manhandled by Talk N' Text and they will go against a team that is just playing their first game in the semifinals. Anthony Grundy filled in well in his debut replacing Jeremy Wise, and Arwind Santos is leading the race for Best Player of the Conference Race.
B-Meg Llamados vs Barangay Ginebra Kings - Sure, B-Meg barely escaped with the win against Rain or Shine, but the last team to debut in the semifinals also has momentum from a great performance by Donald Sloan, the former Texas A&M Aggie in their last game. The crowd favorites also added size by acquiring KG Canaleta from winless Air21 in exchange for former MVP Willie Miller. They have not had much depth in the bigs with Rudy Hatfield unavailable and Enrico Villanueva injured.