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Gilas' Final 12 revealed

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Calvin Abueva (8) is a surprise snub in Gilas' final lineup. Dennis Acosta/Dugout Philippines (file photo)
THE SBP officially named the 12 players who will represent the Philippines in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament on July 5-10 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

In a special lineup revealing event at the TV5 Media Center in Mandaluyong on Sunday night, former Gilas captain Jimmy Alapag, who formally made the announcement for Coach Tab Baldwin, named Andray Blatche, Jayson Castro, Junemar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, Ranidel De Ocampo, Terrence Romeo, Marc Pingris, Jeff Chan, Ray-Ray Parks, Ryan Reyes, and Troy Rosario as the "Gilas 12" to the OQT.

The announcement effectively named LA Tenorio and Calvin Abueva as the last cuts.

Baldwin and the said players are in Bologna for the culmination of their European training camp via a pocket tournament featuring Italy, China, and Canada.

Gilas mauled by Italy

Speaking of the said four-nation tilt, Gilas suffered an early beating from Italy before bowing, 70-106, earlier Sunday.

A 40-7 first quarter paved for the Italians to the smooth cruise against Gilas.

Italy will take on Canada in the championship on Monday (Philippine Time), while Gilas and China engage in a rematch of last year's FIBA Asia Championship final in the third place match.

Netizens react to Abueva snub

Meanwhile, many fans expressed surprise that Abueva missed the final cut.

"Yung Abueva makikipagpalitan ng mukha sa kalaban manalo lang e." Longtime DWLS FM DJ Dan Villanueva tweeted what he heard from a conversation on why "The Beast" deserves a Gilas spot.

Another Twitter user, on the other hand, believes Baldwin made the wrong snub.

"He's like the only guy besides Blatche to play rough. WTF [expletive] coach," tweeted the said fan.

Even some basketball players felt Abueva should be in the list.

"When you shout 'Puso', it's automatic 'Calvin Abueva'," said San Beda skipper Dan Sara.

However, for sports commentator Ronnie Nathanielsz, Baldwin made the right decision although the analyst also believes the gaffer had a hard time on whether to pass up on Abueva or not.

"He won't last long in a game with his style. He will foul out in a hurry. Too bad because Tab will miss his intensity," Nathanielsz tweeted.

Abueva trended worldwide on Twitter following the snub.


Bryant reveals what "Mamba Mentality" is

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Mike Romero/Dugout Philippines
EVEN before Kobe Bryant got the moniker "Black Mamba", he showcased what many call the "Mamba Mentality" to the NBA and even in the Olympics, eventually winning seven combined championships for his club, the Los Angeles Lakers, and for Team USA.

Despite him retiring from the game of basketball, many still wonder what the said mentality is.

It turns out, "Mamba Mentality" goes beyond the fadeaways, the game-winners, the hatred he got from the other teams' fans, and even the 4 a.m. training sessions he had.

"'Mamba Mentality' means to be on a constant quest to be the best version of yourself," Bryant told the media during the press conference of his weekend tour in the Philippines dubbed as the Mamba Mentality Tour at the Shangrila Hotel in Taguig on Saturday.

Meanwhile, he expressed gladness that some other athletes, like Kyrie Irving, want to take on the said quest.

"I feel great about it. It means that my legacy has been passed on to the next generation," Bryant reacted on Irving's statement that he also wants to have a "Mamba Mentality".

Irving could be on his way to fully attain it as he scored the eventual go-ahead triple to lift Cleveland to the NBA Finals Game 7 win against Golden State and claim their first NBA title.

Now, Bryant himself wants to share the Mamba Mentality to others.

Later Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Bryant introduced one of the shooting drills that helped him attain the "Mamba Mentality".

The "trainees", composed of UAAP and Gilas Cadets players, were divided into two groups where both teams tried to score four triples following a shuttle run from the baseline to the halfcourt line and to the three-point line. The losing side had to perform two rounds of suicide shuttle runs.

Afterward, Bryant tried to teach the amateur standouts the clutch facet of the "Mamba Mentality" as he himself coached the youngsters as they took on four players from the PBA's Meralco Bolts plus Ginebra's Chris Ellis.

The exhibition was a 12-minute "quarter" with the PBA selection given an 8-point handicap lead so that Bryant can motivate the amateurs as they start to find their best versions.

Bryant's team came close, "cutting" the lead down to two, but the pros eventually showed their experience advantage in the end, ending the scrimmage with a "15-point advantage" or technically a 7-point win.

On Sunday, Bryant will teach another set of amateur standouts, this time high schoolers who are part of the Kobe Academy to be held at closed doors. Like the qualifying pre-camp, the academy students will start their training by 4 a.m.


WATCH: Matos sprays pee on Geisler at URCC weigh-in

Friday, June 24, 2016

THE bar-brawl-turned-MMA-match between actors Baron Geisler and Kiko Matos has been the talk of the town for a month, especially when the Philippines' premier MMA promotion URCC announced they want both of them to settle their beef at the cage in URCC Fight Night on Saturday at the Valkyrie Club, which both actors said yes into.

However, the buildup to what is now tagged as a pro-am exhibition could even be more "fun" to watch than the incident that started it all (the brawl, that is), from Geisler telling Matos, "Mahal kita, pero bibigwasan kita", to Matos replying, "Mahal mo ako? Kiss nga" to Matos giving a cheap shot at Geisler when they met again and to Geisler giving that kiss to Matos at the face-off.

Now, they added this to their WWE-like feud storyline.

At Friday's official weigh-in at the SAMF Gym in Parañaque, just as the matchmaker prompted both celebrities to face off for the photographers and some other MMA junkies who came in after they stepped onto the scales, Matos sprayed what he claimed as his urine at Geisler, sparking one heckuva pre-match near-melee.

Gilbert Day was among those who videoed the weigh-in and shared it on his Facebook account, generating more than 12 thousand reactions and nearly 900 thousand shares as of press time.

Here's a video of the said weigh-in from Day.


Proud Filipina Hesser happy to finally bring WSOF to PH

Thursday, June 23, 2016

WSOF Global owner Dunesa Hesser (middle) poses with fellow promotion officers and some of the fighters. Aldrin Alejo/Dugout Philippines
WSOF, through its non-American arm WSOF Global, will finally stage an event in the Philippines, and no one is happier than the owner of WSOF Global, Dunesa Hesser, who is proud of her Filipino roots.

"It's overwhelming that I can bring a world-class MMA event here to my beloved country," Hesser, whose father hails from Escalante, told Sporty Guy during the press launch of WSOF-GC 3 at the Novotel Hotel  in Quezon City on Thursday.

The said MMA fight card will take place on July 30 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum at the said city, and it will be highlighted by the showdown between Evgeny Erokhin and Richard Odoms for the WSOF Global heavyweight title, only the second time ever that an international MMA promotion's heavyweight belt is at stake in the country or nearly eight months after Brandon Vera won the One heavyweight plum against Paul Cheng on Dec. 11, 2015 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

"We are bringing two of the best heavyweights. They are elite fighters," Hesser said of both fighters, who also work as cops in their respective home countries.

Also at stake is the WSOF Global featherweight belt, where Filipino Danilo Sarmiento tries to join Vera as Filipino world MMA champs with a match against Ahmed Mujtaba.

Also booked for an appearance in the said event is Jujeath Nagaowa, who last fought at One Championship.

"She's gonna be huge [for us]. If she's gonna win in her fight, I'm sure everybody will be expecting her to fight not just in the Philippines but internationally as well," Hesser thought of Nagaowa's WSOF debut against Malaysia's Audreylaura Boniface.

Nagaowa, a former champion boxer, is unbeaten in two matches, both at One, into her MMA career.

Also, to give MMA fans more reasons to watch WSOF-GC 3, WSOF Global cooked up a special promo to the ticketholders.

"One lucky fan is going to win PHP1 million. We're going to have a raffle. All you have to do is to buy a ticket to be eligible to win," Hesser bared the details of the promo.


Tolomia among early D-League MVP race leaders

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

PBA Media Bureau (file photo)
PHOENIX'S Mike Tolomia showed an impression four games into his team's PBA D-League Foundation Cup campaign, making him a prime candidate for the tournament MVP honor.

In a copy of the stats obtained by Sporty Guy on Wednesday, the former FEU Tamaraw is at the top 12 in three major stat categories.

Tolomia, who averaged 21 points a game so far in the tournament, is second to Blu-Malaysia's Juami Tiongson in scoring, while he is also eighth in rebounds (6.3) and fifth in assists (3.0).

Tolomia's fellow Accelerator Ed Daquioag is also making a statement as he is also at the top players in three categories as well.

The former UST Tiger is tied with Racal's Jonathan Grey at the top of the steals department with 2.0 swipes a game while being just behind Tolomia in points (20.3) and being ninth in assists (2.8).

Even Tiongson, who only played in the Dragons' last two outings, also has a strong statement as his league-leading 23.0 point average is coupled by 2.5 assists and 1.0 steal a game, good for 12th in the respective departments.

However, the turnovers could take a toll for the three players as they committed about as much errors as their total assists.

On the other hand, Phoenix's RR Pogoy is a surprise leader in blocks.

The 6-foot-2 wingman averages 1.3 blocks a game so far, slightly better than CafeFrance-CEU center Rod Ebondo, who has 1.2.

Although Ebondo had more blocks than Pogoy in total, the latter takes the lead owing to the fact that he made four swats in just three games compared to the former's six in five matches.

The similar case also happened in the rebounding department, where AMA's Jay-R Taganas, who played in three less games than Ebondo, leads the league in average rebounds with 18.5 against Ebondo's 10.6.

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