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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Basketball galore anew

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A HEAVY basketball schedule is on tap again Wednesday with the semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup blasting off and the University of the Philippines (UP) gunning for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s crown against Ateneo.

The Christmas rush shopping will have to be on hold as fans troop to their favorite games.

In the PBA, San Miguel Beer (SMB) will have its hands full containing the juggernaut that is Hong Kong’s Bay Area Dragons at 3 p.m., while Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia tangle in a sister-act confrontation at 6 o’clock kicking off the pair of best-of-five semifinal series.

Interestingly, all of SMC’s Ramon Ang teams Ginebra, Magnolia and SMB advanced.  Unfortunately, all of Manny V. Pangilinan’s teams TNT, NLEX and Meralco were eliminated—a first.

In the amateur backyard, UP can wrap it all up with its killer defense humming as Ateneo is under intense pressure to bounce back and send the Finals to a deciding Game 3.

And, with their chief guard Forthsky Padrigao hobbled by a leg injury, the Blue Eagles are suspect to soar again.  Well, let’s see.

Meanwhile, there’s another huge reason to celebrate as Team USA is playing in Manila for the Fiba World Cup next year. My tukayo, Al Panlilio, the president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, just couldn’t hide his unabashed joy.

“We are honored that the USA Team will play a minimum of five games or a maximum of eight games in our country,” Panlilio said.  “That will definitely be a big treat to our Filipino fans.  A once-in-a-lifetime chance.”

That would be an absolute thrill, indeed, as stars from the National Basketball Association (NBA) will strut their wares here in August, a result of the Fiba officials’ decision to allow us to choose a country that will play here next year.

Our co-hosts Japan and Indonesia have also made their choices.  Tokyo selected Slovenia that stars the multidimensional Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.  Indonesia chose Canada, which boasts of Andrew Wiggins, the prolific scorer from the reigning NBA champions Golden State Warriors.

The Fiba event here marks only the second time that we are hosting it since 1978, that forgettable year when we lost all our games using a second-rate, starless team because the country’s superstars were then playing in the PBA.  But that’s another story.

THAT’S IT With the Senate also finally giving its nod to the naturalization of Justin Brownlee, Gilas Pilipinas has become all the more upbeat in its aim to do well in the Fiba Worlds next year.  Why because Brownlee’s addition will add more ceiling to Gilas that has skyscrapers in 7-foot-3 Kai Sotto, 6-foot-10 June Mar Fajardo and 6-foot-9 Japeth Aguilar—not to mention that the 6-foot-6 Brownlee is an insatiable point-producer as well.  Sen. Bong Go’s counsel to Brownlee? “Cherish being a Filipino, Justin.”…Happy birthday, Ka Abel (Manliclic)!

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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