Sports

Unity for PBA fans

The discord remains in the PBA as the Board of Governors continues to be split on how to deal with the tenure of commissioner Chito Narvasa. But in the spirit of unity, the Board got together to announce the other day that no matter what, the 43rd season of the country’s top sports entertainment show will open at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.

Every franchise was represented in the press conference at the Golden Ballroom of the Okada Manila to disclose the details of the opening. TNT KaTropa governor Ricky Vargas and Meralco governor Al Panlilio couldn’t make it as they were out of the country on business. TNT assistant team manager Magnum Membrere filled in for Vargas while Meralco alternate governor Ryan Gregorio came for Panlilio. Every governor, including Membrere and Gregorio, showed up in handsome, uniform Barong Tagalogs, a sign of family getting together for a major occasion.

The show of togetherness was a positive step towards finding the inevitable solution to the impasse where five governors are on Narvasa’s side and seven aren’t. The path to solving the problem is tricky because the PBA’s By-Laws aren’t clear on how to deal with this situation. It got to a point where someone suggested to bring in an arbitrator to settle the dispute.

Under the terms of the 2010 By-Laws, a 2/3 vote from the Board is required to expel the commissioner and a similar 2/3 vote is needed to appoint one. It is silent on the matter of a renewal or extension of an existing contract. Under the terms of the 2015 By-Laws, the positions of chief executive officer and chief operating officer were given a tenure of one year with the Board’s option to renew. The intention was for Chito Salud, then commissioner, to act as CEO and Narvasa as COO but the plan was scuttled to retain the commissioner as the man in charge. Salud eventually resigned and Narvasa was designated commissioner.

In Narvasa’s case, he has an existing contract. To expel him, a 2/3 vote is necessary. If expulsion is the intention of the seven governors against Narvasa, then they are one short of a 2/3 vote under the terms of the 2010 By-Laws. As for Narvasa’s renewal, there is no provision for a vote and that’s why the impasse has dragged on for over a month.

If there is a lesson to be learned from this unhappy experience, it’s that the PBA Constitution and By-Laws must be revisited at once to avoid varying interpretations because of unclear provisions. If the provisions were clear in the first place, the disagreement could’ve been settled immediately according to the By-Laws.

The display of unity in Okada augurs well for the future. It appears a solution is in sight. Obviously, there will be some kind of sacrifice to be made, a compromise to be agreed on to resolve the issue. Feelings were hurt and harsh words exchanged. Sensitivities were disturbed. Ruffled feathers must be unruffled. Handshakes must be made. If there is to be forgiveness, there has to be an apology. Life is too short to bear grudges. Everyone in the Board and in the PBA’s management team is a professional with a heart for sports. What brought about the PBA was a love for the game. The PBA was created to give the fans what they want, a showcase for the sport that is a passion or even a religion for millions of Filipinos.

On Sunday, the new season will begin. Defending champion San Miguel Beer takes on Phoenix in the only game set at the Big Dome. Then, doubleheaders will unravel starting next Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Arena as Kia faces NLEX and Magnolia battles Alaska. On Dec. 22, the venue shifts to the Cuneta Astrodome with Blackwater confronting Meralco and Rain Or Shine meeting TNT KaTropa. On Christmas Day, GlobalPort and NLEX will start hostilities before Barangay Ginebra makes its season debut against Magnolia in another edition of the Manila Clasico at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue.

The Smart Araneta Coliseum will once more host on Dec. 17 with Phoenix tackling Kia and Meralco engaging San Miguel. The year will end with Blackwater facing Rain Or Shine and TNT KaTropa meeting Alaska at the Cuneta Astrodome. So it’s business as usual in the PBA and fans can’t wait to storm the starting gates. As the Board said, the PBA is for the fans and it’s for them that they’re committed to put an end to the leadership crisis.

Dramatic turn of events spices up FIBA World Cup hosting

The Philippine delegation that batted for the country's successful 2023 FIBA World Cup hosting bid.
MANILA, Philippines — A major tweak in the presentation bid. A change of scenery. A different kind of ending.

When the Philippines’ lost the bid for the hosting of the 2019 FIBA World Cup to China during a presentation in Tokyo last August 7, 2015, the Filipinos retreated to their hotel feeling sad and distraught.

“We felt we had won the bid,” recounted Alfredo S. Panlilio; president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas of that day. “In fact, we still feel that way.”
The Philippine delegation returned to its hotel in Tokyo, and the atmosphere was one of sadness.

“At that time, we all thought that the next shot we could get at hosting was 2027,” added Panlilio. “MVP (SBP Chairman Emeritus Manuel V. Pangilinan) joked, ‘ang tatanda na natin niyan? Kaya pa ba natin?’”

As the story goes, like a phoenix from the ashes…

Sportshub ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

The next opportunity to bid presented itself and the SBP leaped at the opportunity.

“We just needed to learn from our mistakes,” added federation executive director Renauld “Sonny” Barrios. “We looked at how China won it and it was from a technical standpoint. So how do we adjust and compensate for that? We studied a lot of things and asked how to make everything better this second time around.”

The inspiration for the renewed bid came from the world’s most popular sport — football. The 2002 FIFA World Cup in particular wherein Japan and South Korea jointly hosted the sport’s premier event.

“It was MVP who thought about the joint hosting,” revealed Panlilio. “We were in a meeting in Hong Kong and initially it was with Indonesia and Singapore. But we received some advice from FIBA to maybe look into including Japan. And they were only too happy to participate.”

The result was a bid that was infinitely more compelling — to make a mark in what is considered as a region dominated by football with the promise of growth for basketball, the potential to smash attendance records, the varying cultures and the opportunity to put on the best show for the sport.

After Russia and Turkey pulled out of the bid due to other concerns, the bid came down to the Philippines-Indonesia-Japan bloc and the Argentina-Uruguay partnership.

The compelling bid?

Undoubtedly a winner.

“We liked our chances in 2015,” shared Panlilio of the presentation bid in Geneva last Saturday, December 9. “We liked it even better now. But we were optimistically cautious. Mahirap na.”

This time, when FIBA President Horacio Muratore announced that the winner was the Philippines-Indonesia-Japan bloc it was of elation. An understatement actually.

“We were very happy but within minutes, our minds began to work — what’s next?” added Panlilio. “In fact, Sonny Barrios immediately began to talk to FIBA’s technical person about what’s next. He told us to relax and enjoy our Christmas.”

“It was a good win,” added Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who was represented by his sister, Congresswoman Pia Cayetano. “But the word that popped into my mind was ‘expensive’. This was going to be very expensive. But when this is too good an opportunity to pass up. With every peso that you spend is a peso for an opportunity for our country.”

The Filipino delegation repaired to an Italian restaurant to celebrate along with their Japanese counterparts and Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland Evan P. Garcia. “We had a simple Italian dinner and some wine to celebrate,” related the SBP president. “But the feeling was great. Just great. We were all smiles even days after. Winning the bid made the long flight back home even better.”

“By the next year 2018, we are going to sit down with FIBA and begin to plan. And we do need to put together the local organizing committee (LOC). We would like to form a team to learn from what is going to happen in China. We need to send a team over to learn from hosting this event so we can apply that here.”

“Right now, yes, we’ll celebrate. Looking back at it — this is a great gift to the Filipino people.”

AMA to select 1st in 2017 PBA D-League Draft

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.net
Alvin Pasaol, the super scorer out of University of the East, is tipped to be the top selection in the 2017 PBA D-League Rookie Draft set on Tuesday at PBA Cafe in Metrowalk, Pasig.

AMA Online Education holds the rights to the No. 1 overall pick.

Titans coach Mark Herrera will have the luxury of picking his guy from the 201-man pool as he seeks beef up his roster bannered by hard-nosed big man Andre Paras.

This will be the second consecutive year that AMA will be selecting first, after nabbing Jeron Teng in the 2016 draft.
Aside from Pasaol, some of the highly-touted players this year include Arvin Tolentino of Far Eastern U, Abu Tratter of La Salle, Javi Gomez de Liaño of University of the Philippines, and Robbie Manalang of Adamson.
Wangs Basketball-Letran will pick at number two, while Batangas-EAC is at third.
Thirteen teams are set to participate in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup, which tips off on January 18.
Eleven of the 13 squads participating this year will be school-based teams as they make early preparations for their respective mother leagues, namely CEU, Zark’s Burgers-Lyceum, Gamboa Coffee-St. Clare, and JRU, and debuting teams Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian, Powerball-St. Benilde, Perpetual, and Akari-Adamson.
Only returning Marinerong Pilipino and newcomer Mila’s Lechon are the teams that won’t be featuring varsity crews.

Ateneo honors its UAAP Season 80 champions with bonfire party

ONE BIG FIGHT. The Ateneo community comes together to celebrate with their champion teams. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

 

MANILA, Philippines – Katipunan Avenue was on party mode as the Ateneo de Manila University held a bonfire party in celebration of its UAAP Season 80 first semester champion teams on Saturday, December 9.

Although the bonfire is done yearly to commemorate Ateneo’s champion student-athletes, the university held an extra special first semester-ending bonfire as hundreds of students, faculty, administrators and alumni flocked the university's Grade School grounds to celebrate the Blue Eagles men’s basketball team’s first title in 5 years.

The Men’s Judo Team and the dominant men and women of the Swimming Team were also honored at the event. But as expected from a basketball country, the men’s ballers were the focus of the celebrations.

After a highlight reel featuring every player’s best moments in Season 80, the new champs were then introduced one after the other by Ateneo alum and resident UAAP barker Rolly Manlapaz. Some were cheered louder than the rest, including clutch machine Isaac Go, sharpshooting point guard Matt Nieto and the Finals Most Valuable Player and Mythical Five member, Thirdy Ravena.

Through interviews onstage, the Blue Eagles amused the crowd with stories of their hardships and triumphs, including Matt and Mike Nieto’s own lifelong journey as twins through Ateneo.

“Sobrang sarap ng journey,” said Matt. “Pero pinakamasarap yung bonfire ngayon kasi dream come true sa amin ni Mike ‘to. Kasi nung bata pa kami, pinapangarap lang naming umakyat dito sa stage kaharap ng buong Ateneo community, and now, it’s really happening.”

(The journey is really sweet, but this year’s bonfire is the sweetest because it’s a dream come true for Mike and I. When we were kids, we only dreamed of coming up the stage facing the entire Ateneo community and now, it’s really happening.)

Others like Ravena used their time to shower thanks upon the fans and coaches.

“Marami po talagang pinagdaanan, pero ‘pag iniisip mo na gustung-gusto mo talagang ilaro para sa Ateneo community, ibibigay mo talaga para sa kanila. Gagawin mo lahat,” he said.

(There were really a lot of struggles, but if you think that you really want to play for the Ateneo community, you’d really give it all and do it all for them.)

There were also a lot of lighthearted moments, like the time Gian Mamuyac was asked whether he preferred his block on an NBA MVP (Steph Curry during a Taiwan exhibition) or a UAAP MVP (Ben Mbala during Game 3 of the Finals). Quivering in front of the massive crowd, the 18-year old rookie said, “UAAP.”

After the interviews, graduating team captain Vince Tolentino finally lit up the bonfire before the singing of the school hymn "Song For Mary". The night ended with fireworks across the sky as loud Atenean chants boomed into the night. – Rappler.com

IOC 'confident' Tokyo 2020 venues will be ready on time

TOKYO, Japan – Tokyo organizers are back on track and will complete their 2020 Olympic venues on schedule, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Monday, December 11, at the start of a 3-day visit.

After bungling the rollout of the showpiece Olympic stadium two years ago, local organizers have come under scrutiny but last month unveiled their first new permanent venue for the 2020 Olympics in a welcome public relations boost.

 

The new national stadium is set to be completed by November 2019 after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tore up the original blueprints over its eye-watering $2 billion price tag.

But the IOC's Games coordination commission chairman John Coates backed Tokyo 2020 to deliver the venue on time.

"It was a significant accomplishment to complete the first permanent venue," he said before a meeting with key Japanese officials, including Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike and Olympics Minister Shunichi Suzuki.

"There are 6 other venues under way and with the progress of the national stadium, we are very confident of meeting the delivery dates you've set."

Other items on the agenda in Tokyo this week are security, efforts to further reduce the $12 billion Games budget and anti-doping protocols, officials said.

Coates noted further progress with last week's shortlist of 3 Tokyo 2020 mascot candidates.

Schoolchildren from across Japan will vote on the winner by the end of February and Coates said the new sports approved for Tokyo 2020 – including skateboarding, sports climbing and BMX freestyle cycling – would bring some street cred to the Games.

"That youth focus and gender balance will be one of the greatest legacies of Tokyo 2020," he added, pointing to the record 48.8% of women set to compete in the Games.

Koike, who has often been at loggerheads with local organizers over the prickly issue of costs, revealed the IOC president had "praised Tokyo's progress" during a recent meeting in Paris as both sides painted a rosy picture before getting down to business.

Suzuki, meanwhile, underlined the role of the Japanese government in guaranteeing a safe Olympics.

"Of course security will be of paramount importance," he said. "To that end, the government's cooperation will be crucial, in particular in terms of counter-terrorism measures and identifying potential risks and threats to the Olympics."

Tokyo won hosting rights in 2013, beating bids from Istanbul and Madrid, but preparations have been far from smooth.

After the fiasco of the Olympic stadium, designs for the official Games logo were ditched following accusations of plagiarism.

There was more bad news in October when organizers admitted that prolonged summer rain had brought high levels of bacteria to a venue earmarked for triathlon and open water swimming. – Rappler.com

 

 
 

Boels-Dolmans extend sponsorship of women's team to 2020

The Boels-Dolmans team has secured deals with both of its title sponsors until the end of 2020. The Dolmans landscaping company has sponsored the team since its inception in 2010 with Boels Rentals coming on board for the 2012 season.

Following the arrival of Boels as a sponsor, the team has quickly risen to the top ranks of women’s cycling. It has finished top of the team rankings for the past two season with Megan Guarnier winning the inaugural Women’s WorldTour for them.

“There wasn’t much to discuss when contracts were renegotiated,” said Boels Rental’s Corporate Marketing & Communications Manager, Yvo Hoppers. “It’s clear from everything that the team does that its management and riders have the right attitude towards professional cycling, which includes respect, sportsmanship and commitment. Boels Rental is pleased that the team will carry its name for another two years.”

Boels Dolmans dominated the Women’s WorldTour once again this season with Anna van der Breggen winning the individual rankings while the team ended the year over 1,000 points ahead of the next best, Sunweb, in the team rankings. A large part of that was down to Van der Breggen’s domination of the Ardennes Classics, where she won all three races, along with the second place finishes of Lizzie Deignan.

The team ended the season with 29 victories, which included, in addition to all three Ardennes races, the Giro Rosa, the Tour of California and the Crescent Vargarda team time trial. Chantal Blaak also ensured that the rainbow jersey would remain within the team for a third season when she won the world road race title in Bergen.

“Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team is the number one UCI women’s team in the world. Team spirit, passion and commitment from everyone involved in the team have led to our successes,” said Erwin Janssen, owner of Dolmans Landscaping Group. “We celebrate all of our achievements together and I think that’s exemplary of the atmosphere within the team. I’m thrilled that our partnership with the team will be continued for another two years. We are still eager for more success.”

There has been little change to the team’s line-up for the forthcoming season with Skylar Schneider and Anna Plichta their only signings, while Nikki Brammeier and Katarzyna Pawlowska leave at the end of 2017.

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