MANILA, Philippines—Far Eastern University tries to shore up its frontcourt rotation as the Tamaraws start their buildup early for the next UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
Although his team boasted a formidable three-guard combo, FEU coach Bert Flores said the lack of a low-post threat did them in during the Finals series against Ateneo.
“We have to develop our big men,” said Flores. “We had Aldrech Ramos, but after him, we only had rookies. They’re still very raw.”
Ateneo swept the Tamaraws, 2-0, in the best-of-three series with Nico Salva, Kirk Long, Emman Monfort and rookie stars Greg Slaughter and Kiefer Ravena combining to give the Blue Eagles a fourth straight crown.
“They’re a very disciplined team, while we had problems with our ball movement,” said Flores, adding that the seven-foot Slaughter posed a real problem for the Tamaraws.
“We had all kinds of defense [on Slaughter]—double-team, single-coverage—but it was really hard. We needed at least one more post player.”
Flores said Pippo Noundou could have helped, but the Cameroonian big man got sidelined by a torn achilles tendon.
The Tamaraws will lose Ramos, Noundou, Chris Exciminiano, JR Cawaling and Jens Knuttel to graduation, but still boast a formidable backcourt next year with RR Garcia, Terrence Romeo and Chris Tolomia.
Flores said the Tamaraws are definitely beefing up their frontline with American Anthony Hargrove, former La Salle power forward Arvie Bringas and Mac Bello.




KAOHSIUNG—On the heels of two successive draws, Philippine Azkals skipper Aly Borromeo no longer sees their final match against Macau Tuesday as a mere stepping stone to the Long Teng Cup title.
Having been with the team through difficult times as well as their triumphant moments, Borromeo is still wary of the backlash if the Azkals play below expectations.
“Winning big tomorrow (Tuesday) will sustain the momentum of our run over the past year,” said Borromeo.
The Azkals’ title hopes are no longer in their hands, after a scoreless draw against Chinese Taipei Sunday night, when goalkeeper Roland Muller sparkled with three excellent first-half saves.
If it was any consolation, the Azkals, despite fielding five members of the Under-23 pool, kept up with a Chinese Taipei side that beat Suzuki Cup champion Malaysia, 3-2, two months ago.
“We played with five Under-23 players and I think they acquitted themselves well,” said Dan Palami, who also manages the squad to the Southeast Asian Games next month.
SEA Games pool members Muller, Jeff Christiaens, Neckson Leonora, Matthew Hartmann and Carli de Murga all played against Chinese Taipei.
“They all showed that at this level they can do something. It’s a good sign for the SEA Games,” said Borromeo, who was skipper of the last Philippine football team that saw action in the biennial meet in 2005.
The Azkals need to put at least five goals past Macau Tuesday night at the National Stadium here and hope that Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong play to a draw for the Filipinos to capture the crown.
A win by either Taiwan or Hong Kong will leave the Azkals fighting for second place— that is if they overcome Macau.
“We hope for a draw from both teams which is still possible because I see them at the same level,” said coach Michael Weiss. “As for us, we need to score a lot of goals.”
The Azkals will miss Angel Guirado against Macau, after the Fil-Spanish midfielder was issued a yellow card for the second straight game against Taiwan.
Jason de Jong will also return to the lineup after sitting out the previous game due to suspension, but Chieffy Caligdong remains doubtful because of a bruised leg he sustained against Chinese Taipei.
The Azkals were left wanting in quality on the final third as Phil Younghusband and Christiaens blew clear chances in the second half against Taiwan.
Caligdong, who scored twice in the 3-3 draw against Hong Kong, made way for Christiaens at halftime and the 19-year-old who grew up in Belgium made an impact, linking up with Younghusband to create the Azkals’ best chances.
But the teenager can only shoot wide from just inside the box. In the 75th minute, he also found Younghusband darting into the box, but the Fil-British striker’s left-footed shot was stopped by Pang Wei-chi.
The new-look defensive line of Borromeo, Oliver Poetschke, De Murga and Leonora proved solid in the last 45 minutes, after a nervy first half where they needed Muller to keep the Taiwanese scoreless.
The offside trap was the defensive weapon of choice by the Taiwanese, who forced the Azkals to nine offsides.
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones. Subscribe and get several chances to win tickets to the Black Eyed Peas concert in Manila as well as tickets to Stomp. Promo details. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.


Rising star Timothy Bradley, a possible future opponent of Manny Pacquiao, tangles with veteran Joel Casamayor in the undercard of the Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez trilogy on November 12 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The unbeaten Bradley (27-0 with 11 KOs) will be dangling his World Boxing Council super lightweight crown against the 40-year-old Casamayor (38-5-1 with 22 KOs), who is bidding to become the first three-division champion from Cuba.
An impressive victory would most likely line up Bradley among Pacquiao’s probable challengers next year, according to
The addition of Bradley-Casamayor bolstered the undercard ofWorld Boxing III, which is projected to draw about 17,000 spectators, generate gate sales of about $11.7 million and pay-per-view hits of 1.4 million.
Also on tap is the battle between junior welterweight prospects Mike Alvarado (31-0 with 22 KOs) of Denver and Colombian Bredis Prescott (24-3 with 19KOs).
Filipinos seeing action in the card are welterweight champion Dennis Laurente, WBO Oriental featherweight titlist Lorenzo Villanueva and junior bantamweight Fernando Lumacad of General Santos City.
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones. Subscribe and get several chances to win tickets to the Black Eyed Peas concert in Manila as well as tickets to Stomp. Promo details. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.


CEBU, Philippines – NETWORKSUnbeaten ALA Boxing Gym stalwart Milan “El Metodico” Melindo proved he is ripe and ready for a world title shot after he dished out a methodical TKO victory before the start of the 11th round over Mexican Francisco “Chiquita” Rosas to clinch the WBO Intercontinental flyweight title in the main event of the “Pinoy Pride 8: Philippines vs. Mexico” last Saturday night at the jampacked Pacific grand ballroom of Waterfront-Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

NETWORKSThough he failed to deliver a knockout, it was still a big and spectacular win for Melindo (25-0, 9 KOs) as he bloodied and beat the hapless Mexican visitor to the pulp to the delight of the hometown fans who were awed by the manner he systematically chop down Rosas (22-9-2, 13 KOs).

NETWORKSReferee Bruce McTavish intervened at the end of round 10 as Rosas’ trainer Hermino Vega Ramirez failed to stop the flowing of blood from the Mexican’s nose.

NETWORKSIn a display of superb boxing skills, the 23-year-old Melindo accurately landed a variation of punches to the head and body of Rosas, who came into the fight five pounds overweight.

NETWORKSIn the fourth, Melindo almost finished Rosas with a crushing left hook to the chin, but the Mexican immediately recovered.

NETWORKS“Lig-on gyud. Nakita gyud ang epekto sa iyang pagka-overweight maong wala natumba, pero kun nisunod pa to sa saktong timbang si Rosas, dugay rato nahayang,” said ALA chief trainer Edito Villamor.

NETWORKSMelindo admitted he wanted to finish the fight early but realized that he is in for a long fight as Rosas amazingly took all his vicious punches. “First round ta to nako tumbahon pero nakabantay ko nga dali ra man maka-recover bisan og ma-groggy,” he said.

NETWORKSFor his part, ALA Promotions CEO Michael Aldeguer was impressed with Melindo’s performance and revealed his plan to work on a posibble world title eliminator for the vastly-improved Cagayan de Oro fighter.
NETWORKS“There’s no question that Milan is ready for a title fight, but the problem here is his reputation as a very dangerous fighter in his division (flyweight) that makes difficult for us to get a world champion that is willing to risk his title,” said Aldeguer. “With this fight, Milan will go up in ranking and from there, we will look into maybe a title eliminator next year.”

NETWORKSWhile Melindo basked in the glow of a masterful triumph, it’s somehow back to the drawing board for the 19-year-old Jason “El Niño” Pagara (27-2, 16 KOs) as he failed to handle the superior strength and experience shown by Mexican Rosbel “Lobito” Montoya (35-4-1, 29 KOs) on the way to absorbing his only second career defeat.

NETWORKSAfter 10 rounds, the three judges scored 96-94, 99-91 and 97-93 all in favor of Montoya, who displayed a more fluid and dominant style over Pagara.

NETWORKS“We knew beforehand that this is a difficult fight for Pagara. This guy (Montoya) is a prospect in Mexico, but I know Pagara will bounce back. It’s boxing, sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some,” said Aldeguer.

NETWORKSUnlike Pagara, ALA newcomer Genesis “Azucal” Servania’s youth and power prevailed resulting into a convincing unanimous decision win over former world title challenger Gerson ‘El Nene” Guerrero (34-9, 26 KOs). NETWORKSNETWORKSSernavia, thus, strecthed his undefeated record to 15-0 spiked with 5KOs. (FREEMAN)



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MANILA, Philippines—Smart Gilas Pilipinas leaves Tuesday for the Fiba Asia Championship in Wuhan,China, needing to win the continental tournament to secure an outright berth in the 2012 London Olympics.

Coach Rajko Toroman admitted the national team hasn’t achieved peak form yet, and whipping it to form will be his primary goal during the early group stages of the 16-nation tournament firing off on Thursday.

Bunched in Group D with powerhouse China in the opening round, the Filipinos will start their campaign for the lone continental Olympic spot against United Arab Emirates on September 15.
They take on title favorite China the next day and Bahrain on Saturday before taking a one-day break.

Toroman said the three games plus possible matches with Japan, Jordan and Syria in the second round should help Smart Gilas attain fighting form going to the knockout phase.

“The most important thing is that the players understand the system,” said Toroman, who steered Iran to the 2007 Fiba Asia crown and an Olympic appearance in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Serbian mentor hopes to weave the same magic on the Philippine five, which last played in the 1972Olympics in Munich, Germany.

“I’m very optimistic. Like I’ve said, we’ll not be on the level that we wanted to achieve in the beginning of the tournament,” he said after the team’s final practice at the Meralco Gym Monday.

“But as the tournament progresses, our condition will certainly improve.”

Smart Gilas mainstays Japeth Aguilar, team captain Chris Tiu, JV Casio, co-captain Mark Barroca, Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter, Mac Baracael, Dylan Ababou, Jason Ballesteros and naturalized center Marcus Douthit remain upbeat about the team’s chances.

“It will not be easy but we surely are sending a better and stronger team,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas vice chair and Maynilad president Ricky Vargas. “This is the best SBP can put together under the circumstances.

“One thing I’m sure of, our players will give everything they’ve got for flag and country. We might spring a few surprises as underdogs against the perennial favorites with a bit of luck.”

Adding strength and stability to the team are PBA stars Asi Taulava of Meralco and Talk ‘N Text aces Jimmy Alapag, Kelly Williams and Ranidel De Ocampo.

“Our goal is to reach the semifinals,” said Toroman. “From there, we’re two steps away from the gold medal. Anything’s possible.”

Smart Gilas is looking to win at least four of its six games in the group stages to avoid getting paired with defending champion Iran in the quarterfinals.

Toroman said the Iranians, who ruled the past two editions of the Asian championship, will be fielding their strongest lineup ever.

Hamed Haddadi of the Memphis Grizzlies, forward Samad Nikkhah Bahrami, wingman Hamed Afagh, playmaker Mehdi Kamrani and prized recruit Arzalan Kazemi of Rice University, the first Iranian to play in NCAA Division I, form the Iranian core.

Smart Gilas, formed three years ago with the ultimate objective of qualifying for the Olympics, capped its preparation with a pair of tuneup games against Qatar and Jordan last week.

Also joining the team in Wuhan are team manager Frankie Lim, operations head Butch Antonio, assistant coaches Ryan Gregorio, Jude Roque, Charles Tiu, D’Jalma Arnedo, Oliver Bunyi and Chot Reyes, trainer Jimbo Saret, therapist Albert Rolle and consultant Andrew Teh.

“We have some minor injuries,” said Toroman. “JV is still not 100 percent (knee) and Marcus didn’t practice (inflammed stomach) together with Marcio (bruised knee).

“But I think it will be fixed come Wuhan. Game by game, we are improving and day by day, things are looking better.”



MANILA, Philippines—The rookie who created quite a stir even before the season opened proved he’s up to all the hype.

National University’s Ray Parks topped the statistical race at the end of the elimination round to virtually clinch the Most Valuable Player award in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
Parks, the son of seven-time PBA Best Import Bobby Parks, averaged a league-best 20 points on top of 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks.
Finishing in the top 10 of every statistical department, Parks is also set to be the first player to bag the top individual plum despite failing to lead his team to the Final Four.
The league MVP, solely based on statistical points, will be awarded during the championship round.
“It’s a privilege, definitely,” said Parks, a 6-foot-3 southpaw guard.
“During the season, I just concentrated on getting better. But I’d rather win a championship any day than an MVP [because] an MVP is about one man. A championship speaks about the whole team.”
Parks, whose mother Marifer Barbosa is a Filipino, returned to the country with his American father last year after spending only three years in the United States. His eligibility was questioned, but he got the go-signal to play a week before the league opening.
“He has gone through a lot this season,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano.
“What I like about him is his leadership. He doesn’t just provide scoring for us, but there are a lot of intangibles that he gives us. He dives for loose balls, he defends the best players. He’s very disciplined, he’s very religious in watching and studying the games. He’s really a student of the game.”
Ateneo’s own freshman standout, Kiefer Ravena, is also a cinch for the Rookie of the Year award after averaging 13.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.5 steals.
Parks isn’t eligible for the rookie plum since only players fresh off high school are qualified.
Other top performers are Ateneo’s Greg Slaughter (13.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.4 apg and 1.9 bpg), Adamson’s Alex Nuyles, (15.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.3 apg) and Far Eastern University’s Aldrech Ramos (11.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.5 apg).
Also in contention for the other special awards are last year’s MVP RR Garcia of FEU (16.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.7 apg), Ateneo’s Nico Salva (12.8 ppg, 6 rpg, 1.8 apg) and University of Santo Tomas’ Jeric Fortuna (13.6 ppg, 4 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.3 spg).



MANILA – Smart Gilas Pilipinas battles Qatar Thursday night hoping to get new players to familiarize themselves with the national team’s system.
Game time is 7 the Filoil Flying V Arena.
Head coach Rajko Toroman is using the friendlies against Qatar and later Jordan to get guard Jimmy Alapag and power forwards Kelly Williams and Ranidel De Ocampo into the Gilas groove.
It is the first stint for the three Talk ‘N Text stars in a competitive atmosphere with the national squad.
Jordan plays Qatar Friday while Smart Gilas takes a break before facing the Jordanians on Saturday and Qatar again on Sunday.
“These three international games with them [Alapag, Williams and De Ocampo] are not enough. But we cannot play if they don’t know the system,” said Toroman.
“Before, we were talking about seven or eight games with them, but it’s almost impossible now to do it,” Toroman added.
The Nationals leave for Wuhan, China on September 13 to compete in the Fiba Asia Championship, which stakes a continental spot for next year’s London Olympics.
Bracketed in Group D, the Filipinos open their bid on September 15 against UAE before facing host China and Bahrain the next two days.
“We won and lost against Qatar in previous games. But we lost in the important ones,” said team skipper Chris Tiu.
Smart Gilas brought the taller and more athletic Qatari to their knees in the group stages of last year’s Guangzhou Asian Games only to fall short in the battle for fifth against the same squad.



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