Grand slam-seeking Beermen ‘have all the tools’

Champion coach Yeng Guiao sees Ginebra as the biggest hurdle to San Miguel’s Commissioner’s Cup title bid

By: Musong R. Castillo - Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

 

Yeng Guiao and his NLEX Road Warriors have been at the bottom of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup totem pole right from the start.With a nine-game losing streak in the import-spiced conference and a 13-game spell dating back to the Philippine Cup, they know what it feels like looking at everything from below.

But the mercurial champion coach has an idea how the skirmishes at the top will end.“I think it’s San Miguel Beer,” says Guiao, whose squad notched its first win in the tournament on Wednesday night. “They have the tools and the experience. They (Beermen) are a solid contender.”

The only thing that Guiao doesn’t have a quick answer to? Who would likely be the Beermen’s foes in the Finals.

“Every team has to prepare itself in stopping San Miguel,” Guiao says, noting that the Beermen look invincible in their quest for the second jewel of an anticipated Triple Crown sweep. “They would have to know how to beat San Miguel.”

The Beermen don’t actually have the best record as of this writing. Star leads the pack with an 8-2 record but the Hotshots are not yet sure of nailing one of the two twice-to-beat privileges in the first round of the playoffs.

That is because San Miguel defeated Star in the eliminations. And with Barangay Ginebra also in the running for a top-two finish, the Hotshots could ultimately be denied the bonus.

“I am seeding San Miguel in the Finals,” Guiao says. “What we want to know is who the Beermen would be playing, unless something drastic happens to them. But with the way they are playing, their confidence is truly high.”

There’s no doubt that the firebrand mentor envies the fact that his Road Warriors won’t be among the eight teams that will continue playing past this round. He terribly wants another shot at the Beermen with the revamped nucleus that he now has.

The former Pampanga representative says that Rain or Shine—which he guided to the championship of this tournament last season with the lowest-scoring import to ever win a title in the PBA—has suddenly looked good with the arrival of import Duke Crews.

“I don’t discount upsets,” Guiao explains. “Rain or Shine is picking up again; they just played a great game (in beating Ginebra). The other finalist will be a toss-up among Ginebra, Meralco and Star.”

Blessed with the finest local crew in the league, San Miguel strengthened its tag as the favorite here with the improved play of Charles Rhodes, who came over early minus the fanfare but has turned out to be a solid Best Import candidate, if not the overwhelming pick at this time.

Rhodes plays both ends well and has shown the attitude that complements the play of the local Beermen, as well as the chemistry the team needs to go deep in the playoffs.

San Miguel was also the title favorite of the Commissioner’s Cup last season, only for import Tyler Wilkerson to blow his top during the most crucial phase of the playoffs and cause a ruckus the Beermen weren’t able to recover from.

Coach Leo Austria believes that he won’t have a problem of that sort with Rhodes. “He’s very coachable,” he said in a recent interview.

And that’s a crucial aspect that makes San Miguel even more dangerous.

Guiao believes that the lack of championship experience of the Meralco and Star rosters could ultimately tell on the Bolts and the Hotshots. But he concedes that both are capable of pulling out an upset.

Pressed as to which team could ultimately scuttle the talented Beermen in a championship series, the firebrand Guiao, uncharacteristically, searched for an answer.

“Someone with a chance [of beating San Miguel]?” Guiao repeats the question, obviously considering a judicious reply.

“Ginebra, because they have the size and the experience,” he says. “In terms of experience and manpower, I really think it’s Ginebra.”

If Guiao is proven right, that would make for a great box-office draw for a tournament that needs one.

And that would definitely make for a perfect footnote to the Beermen’s quest for the Grand Slam.

  • Published in Sports

Apple opens first official store in Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE—Apple opened its first Southeast Asia store in Singapore on Saturday, drawing hundreds of excited fans to the swanky two-story site in the city’s upmarket shopping district.

Located on the affluent Orchard Road, the new shop — easily distinguished by its iconic glass facade — is expected to be one of the most popular Apple stores in the world according to the US tech giant.

Merchandise such as the iPhone and MacBook were strategically placed on display across the spacious first floor, while the upper level acted as a classroom for customers to participate in hands-on sessions.

Hundreds of shoppers camped out in anticipation of the launch, while more than a thousand thronged the store soon after the doors opened, an AFP reporter observed.

First in the queue was Xiang Jiaxin, a twenty-five-year-old Chinese national working in Macau who had queued for more than 12 hours overnight and planned a holiday to Singapore specially to coincide with the opening.

“I am very happy and excited to be part of this. I have participated in the official store openings in Macau, Guangzhou and Nanjing,” he told Agence France-Presse.

Apple, which has a staggering $256.8 billion cash stockpile, celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. The Silicon Valley legend sprang out of Steve Jobs’ garage to reshape modern life with trend-setting gadgets.

Most of its earnings come from the iPhone, which faces increasingly tough competition in a saturated market.

The tech behemoth has almost 500 stores globally with more than a million visitors daily. Aside from Singapore, its Asia shops are located in Hong Kong, China and Japan.

A regional transport, business and financial hub, Singapore attracted 16.4 million visitors last year.

-AFP

 

  • Published in Tech

Explosions, gunfire mar first day of Ramadan

MARAWI — The deafening sound of exploding artillery shells and the occasional rapid fire from assault rifles drowned out  the Islamic call to prayer called Adhan on Saturday for the Fajr—the dawn prayer.

 

About an hour earlier, Aminola Mitmug had just had Suhur, or the predawn meal, for the Ramadan, which came five days after troops and police launched deadly fighting against a combined force of Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf and Maute group fighters.

Some of the food he cooked for Suhur came from the relief pack—which consisted of canned goods and noodles—that the local government had given them a few days earlier.

What’s important, he said, was that he performed one of the main practices of Islam and that was to fast—whenever and wherever a Muslim could during Ramadan. In this case, it was inside a cramped evacuation camp inside the provincial capitol compound.

“On the first day of Ramadan, our main problems were water and electricity. But we need to sacrifice. As Muslims, we accept all the trials with patience and we don’t blame anyone for our situation today,” Mitmug told the Inquirer.

About a stone’s throw away from Mitmug’s tiny spot, Moshmerah Dipatuan, 44, cooked some of the food that her family managed to bring when they evacuated as the city came under heavy fire.

Dipatuan said it was a painful Ramadan because aside from lack of food, her family’s home had been torched by rampaging gunmen.

“Our house was burned by Maute men. Now I heard officials are planning to transfer us to another evacuation center in Iligan City,” she said.

“It’s so painful because we do not feel the spirit of Ramadan. The fasting month here was normally festive, particularly at night,” Lanao del Sur Vice Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. said.

Adiong explained that Ramadan is the holiest month for Muslims and not observing it properly was more than just disheartening. For the devout, it would be a disaster to miss sawm, or fasting.

It was during Ramadan when the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad happened, according to Islamic beliefs.

“We should be happy but how can you celebrate with the current situation?” Adiong said.

Despite the situation, Muslims displaced by the fighting here continued to perform their religious obligations no matter how difficult it had become, Sambu Datu Dirampatan said.

What’s important, he said, was that they were still alive and able to fast.

“We have to make sacrifices,” he said.

The military has deployed bombers and helicopters for what it called “surgical airstrikes” meant to dislodge the enemy from hiding, and for ground troops to recover parts of Marawi still under terrorist control.

Muslim soldiers, who would otherwise be granted a Ramadan break, were also under instructions to continue with the fight. —WITH DJ YAP IN MANILA

 

Nigerian nabbed for online scam

MANILA  — The National Bureau of Investigation- Cyber Crime Division (NBI-CCD) operatives arrested an Nigerian national for allegedly perpetrating an online scam.
NBI identified the suspect as Joseph Kamano, who was arrested in an entrapment operation in a mall in Manila on Tuesday.
According to the NBI cybercrime division, Kamano's arrest stemmed from a complaint of a victim who requested anonymity.
Kamano and the complainant met through social media wherein the suspect offered a business deal.
Kamano informed the complainant that they will send the latter a package full of money as capital in their business. The complainant was also instructed to open a new e-mail address so they can monitor the package. A photo package was likewise sent to prove that it is real.
Moreover, Kamano told the complainant that she will receive the package after paying the processing fees of the documents for the package such as certification of ownership, payment of taxes for three years, signing of documents and for the delivery of the package at the complainant’s house.
The complainant then paid P949,619 to the suspect through bank and and money transfer. The complainant however did not receive the package.
When Kamano called the complainant and asked to pay another P240,000 for the delivery charge, the complainant already sought help from the NBI.
Under strict orders from NBI Director Dante A. Gierran to promptly act on the matter, NBI-CCD operatives together with the Complainant, conducted the entrapment operation resulting in the arrest of Kamano.
The Nigerian national already presented for inquest proceedings before the Office of the Prosecutor of Manila for violation of R.A. 315 otherwise known as Estafa. -- PNA
 
 
 
 

 
 
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