Pilipinas Basketball 2014:

Croatia evades mighty Pilipinas scare, 81-78 OT

August 31, 2014 – Sevilla

by Rock Punzalan

Croatia evades mighty Pilipinas scare, 81-78 OT
photo courtesy of FIBA

FIBA World Cup 2014: Team Gilas Pilipinas failed to overcome the Croatian juggernaut in the FIBA World Cup 2014 opener with a stunning 78-81 overtime upset. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Croats with 26 markers, while Andray Blatche and Jeffrei “Negros Sniper” Chan dropped 28 and 17 points apiece.


➤ In what appeared to be a highly controversial ballgame between the Asian and European powerhouses, Croatia got the better calls in the crucial moments of the contest.

➤ Jayson “The Blur” Castro was called for a highly questionable flop in the third canto, and who unfortunately also got a bum no-call in the final seconds of the overtime while taking a critical clutch trey.

➤ In the fourth canto, Jeffrei Chan missed a contested trey in the dying seconds leading to a 71-All overtime. It was anybody’s ballgame as the spitfire RP five was trailing 78-79 until the final 5.6 seconds of extra time.

➤ All throughout, the Filipinos stunned a clueless Croatia as the Philippines continually dropped 10 rainbow bombs in the last three quarters.

➤ “We just kept on fighting. We knew Croatia was tough but the players fought all the way,” Coach Chot Reyes said of the Pinoy’s gallant stand.

➤ Filipino: Kinulang ang tikas ng Gilas Pilipinas upang pataubin ng tuluyan ang nahintatakutang higante na koponan ng Crotia sa FIBA World Cup 2014. Umabot ang pukpukan na labanan sa overtime sa iskor na 81-78. Pinangunahan ang Crotia ni Bojan Bogdanovic na nagtala ng 26 puntos, samantalang sina Andray Blatche at Jeffrei “Negros Sniper” Chan naman ay bumuslo ng 28 at 17 puntos bawat isa.
Game Scores:
Quarters: 1Q:23-9 CRO, 2Q:37-31 CRO, 3Q:57-49 CRO, 4Q:71-71 OT:81-78 CRO.


Blatche 28, Chan 17, Pingris 10, Castro 6, De Ocampo 5, Alapag 4, Tenorio 2, Norwood 2, Lee 2, Fajardo 2, Aguilar 0.


Bogdanovic 26, Simon 12, Saric 10, Tomic 8, Ukic 5, Lafayette 4, Rudez 4, Zoric 4, Babic 3.

Posted on August 31, 2014 - Sevilla, Spain

Written by Rock Punzalan for Philippine Basketball News Team


Philippines pulls-up to 12th in FIBA Asia rankings

August 18, 2010

by Rock Punzalan

Philippine Basketball, now spearheaded by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), proved that the pains of undertaking a national basketball program are worth all the effort in gaining back the respectability that the basketball-crazed country once commanded. After the recent staging of the 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championships, the latest FIBA World rankings has been released anew. RP Men’s Basketball now ranks 53rd in the World and 12th in Asia after climbing up three places in the rankings.

➤ It is a stark contrast from when the Philippines was stagnant and drowning in the rankings, as it was erstwhile managed by the controversial Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP). In 2005, the nation was ranked 65th in the World and 18th in Asia. Ridiculous, knowing that RP basketball is nowhere at that level.

➤ Though Philippines basketball has got a long uphill climb in the rankings, the current improvement in regional standings is commendable. SBP is ever present in all regional basketball tournaments, which includes not only the Men’s basketball but the Youth and Women’s as well. Even delegates of World basketball power Serbia is impressed in the current state of our national basketball program.

➤ Yes, we could all take this new development than allow an alien in Graham Lim and the BAP once again litter the national hoops scene. No more rag-tag teams and no-name players. No more to whipping boys and disrespect.

➤ BAP was like an ogre unleashed to devour anyone on its’ path. It was a nightmare for Philippine basketball.

➤ For the uninitiated, it is good to read a few BAP horror stories. Not too long ago, BAP formed a commercially sponsored team bound for SEA Games 2005 which horribly lost to former Parañaque Vice Mayor Anjo Yllana’s rag-tag team in the NBC pre-finals. Yllana even teased with gusto the national team in a noontime television program. His team was a concoction of politicians, former professional players, celebrities and ordinary weekend warriors assembled weeks before the tournament. It was so much of a viral news that it stirred the nation into a frenzy. This dilemma caught the attention of the Basketball stakeholders in the country and questioned the capability of BAP to form national teams.

➤ Months later, to show its unnerving defiance it installed Boysie Zamar as head coach of SEABA RP team after rejecting proposals by POC to make Chot Reyes coach of RP five. Zamar was the very same mentor of that infamous SEA Games team.

➤ It was an eye-opener for those who supported the BAP’s cause. Some said it was too late to regain respect for Philippine basketball. Left unchecked, BAP had already wreaked havoc for so many years. Yet, it was only the gist of the story.

➤ One bland caffeine shot by BAP was the 15th place finish of Cebuana Lhuiller in the prestigious 2003 FIBA-Asia Championships which featured 16 national teams. The catch was that RP must secure a top-two berth in the upcoming SEABA Championships to even qualify for the FIBA-Asia Championships 2005.

➤ Through BAP’s leadership, Lhuiller also manned the Philippine squad which figured in a terrible 8th place finish in 2004 William Jones Cup out of nine teams all-in-all. They lost their games with an average margin of 20 points or more.

➤ To add another stain, BAP changed shoes and let Cebuana Lhuiller team rest to pave the way to the international entry of Philippine College of Criminology (PCC) varsity team to the 2004 FIBA Stankovic Cup. The result: RP was massacred, finished 8th out of 8 teams and lost all the games with an average margin of fewer than 40 points. Hell, we even lost to India by 18.

➤ The list of horrific achievements goes on. The last stand of BAP was when it took hostage the nation as it created unscrupulous tales to discount the formation of another national basketball organization. It was in 2005 that the basketball stakeholders no longer wanted to tolerate BAP’s grandstanding. However, BAP never wanted to let go of its years of tyranny and shady deals. Still a recognized entity than to FIBA, the BAP caused the national team to be suspended in 2005. It effectively terminated any chances for the nation to join any FIBA sanctioned tournament.

➤ PBA had a ready All-Pro national team prepared for FIBA Asia Championships. The problem was, they were not allowed to play anywhere FIBA had authority. The PBA-formed RP Team then was a strong contender for at least the top five team slots in any Asian tournament. Because of the suspension, the nationals were not given the green light and seated out the FIBA Asia 2005 tilt and the Asian Games basketball the following year.

➤ This was when the call for the reinstatement for Philippine Basketball was heeded. This author, together with several Basketball online forums members and social communities of concerned Filipinos, started the Signature Campaign of 2005 so that FIBA will allow the Philippines to play basketball again in all its’ sanctioned tourneys. This campaign which included this website PhilippineBasketballTeam, and other sites like MyPBA, Interbasket, InTheZone, PinoyExchange and several notable personalities like Patricia Hizon and others, expressed their support for the Philippine basketball as a whole.

➤ In March 2007, FIBA reinstated the Philippines with the merger of BAP and SBP. It was a blessing in disguise that through the power struggles of the two organizations, the BAP was permanently ousted of its’ grip in Philippines basketball. This came in conjunction with the deportation of BAP kingpin Graham Lim, a Chinese national who manhandled and disfigured RP basketball for a very long time. BAP still tried to make a case for itself in the eyes of FIBA in 2009 but SBP eventually wrestled the decision. Like worms, BAP took the battle to the Philippine courts but to no avail. It was also only later of this year that the Supreme Court adjudged with finality the validity of SBP’s claim as the national basketball authority.

➤ With all the chaos that the Philippine basketball went through, one may wonder if it’s still possible to regain lost glory. Though the SBP is still laying down most of the groundwork, the result of its’ labor is already satisfactory if not outright exemplary.

➤ In 2007 Tokushima FIBA Asia, Team Pilipinas only lost by a few points against fated finalists Iran NT. The latest was a fourth place finish of Smart Gilas Pilipinas in the 2010 FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup. It could have been higher if not for the one-point loss against eventual champions Lebanon. Although the Philippines has yet to capture another medal either in FIBA Asia and the Asian Games basketball after 1998, all the other Asian contenders know that RP is now a team to beat. Even NBA legend Bill Walton once said that the Philippines is the darkhorse of Asia. The Philippine team is now earning back that respect from its’ perennial rivals, even though it has yet to achieve its’ ultimate goal of Worlds and Olympics appearance.

➤ The Women’s and the RP Youth basketball is also currently making waves. It was only early this year that RP youth placed ninth in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Though they were relegated to the classification phase, they did not bow out without scaring World superpowers Spain and Croatia by a losing margin of only two points average.

➤ Going back to the rankings, some points in the ranking itself is confusing. It’s funny how non-basketball countries like India and Kuwait are placed a notch higher than the Philippines. We should at least be placed in the fifth or sixth position though it would be subject to debate. But a 12th place rank below countries one which is known more for cricket is surprising. As explained in his twitter message, SBP President Noli Eala mentioned that the algorithm for rank calculation by FIBA is computed using two Olympics cycle. “So d fruits of our labor in all genders, ages and categories will come to fruition in 2012 when we complete another full cycle.”, stated Eala.

➤ The FIBA ranking itself is not the ultimate gauge of RP basketball. However, it is a testament to the continuing progress of Philippine basketball as a whole, both locally and internationally. With a new found stature SBP can stir the Philippines back into Asian supremacy. With power, it can uplift RP, and with the same power, it can bring the favorite national sport back to days of gloom. One can only hope that the current organization will not fall into the same trap that the BAP succumbed into. After all, if abused, power corrupts us all.

➤ Filipino: Ang Pilipinas Basketball, na ngayon ay pinamumunuan ng Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), ay pinatunayan na ang respeto na makukuha ng bansang maka-basketbol, ay sapat upang tumbasan ang anumang hirap sa pagpapatupad ng plataporma ng programang basketbol sa bansa. Inilabas na ang pinakabagong FIBA World rankings matapos ang 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championship. Ika-53 sa mundo at ika-12 sa Asya ang Pilipinas matapos umakyat ng tatlong baitang sa talaan ng FIBA.

Posted on August 18, 2010

Editorial by Rock Punzalan for Philippine Basketball News Team

Team Pilipinas 2009:

Team Pilipinas bows to arch-nemesis Korea, 69-56

October 6, 2009 – Tianjin

by Rock Punzalan

FIBA Asia Championships 2009: In what was thought to be a grudge rematch, South Korea proved too resilient to be defeated as they overwhelmed Powerade-RP Team Pilipinas, 69-56 in the showdown of top teams in Group A of FIBA Asia Championships 2009, Tianjin China.


➤ Yang Heejong led the SoKors campaign with 14-points. Oh Sekeun and Kim Minsoo logged in 11 points apiece. Cyrus Baguio, who’s razzle-dazzle plays wowed the crowd, was RP Team’s bright spot with a game-high 16 points. Supposed to be a game of redemption, all things fail to fall into the right place for RP Team at the end of the elimination phase of FIBA Asia.

➤ RP five faces Chinese Taipei next in the second round. Vital problems of the RP squad resurfaced with horrifying effect to their campaign. Although the Nationals held their own in the defensive side, limiting Korea to only 18 percent 3-point total output, blunder after blunder in key plays sealed their chance of chipping the lead off the East Asian champions.

➤ The rebound department was close with Korea only leading with 48 against the 44 of the Pinoys. However, Team Pilipinas recurring problems returned with only 38 percent two-point field goal in 19 of 50 shooting, 15 percent at the rainbow country in 4 out of 27 treys, and the dismal 6 of 11 total free throws.

➤ The battle couldn’t have gotten any closer if not for the momentum-stopper sniping of Mick Pennisi from beyond the arc. Cyrus Baguio also contributed heavily with his crucial one-on-one markers. The game was very close in the 2nd quarter until Korea’s Kim Min Soo waxed hot from the perimeter, to push Korea to their biggest lead of 35-22 with a 12-2 run.

➤ Filipino: Sa inaakalang mabigat na muling pagsasagupa, pinatunayan ng Timog Korea ang katatagan upang manalo at manaig laban sa Powerade-RP Team Pilipinas, 69-56, sa sagupaan ng mga nangungunang koponan sa Group A ng FIBA Asia Championships, Tianjin China.

Posted on October 6, 2009 - Tianjin

Written by Rock Punzalan for Philippine Basketball News Team


The long and winding road back to the elusive Asian Cage throne

July 19, 2006

by Rock Punzalan

The Philippines was once the basketball king of Asia. Thought to be merely invincible in Asia – untouchable as one would say. The class that past Philippine teams showed during the Pre and Post-World War 2 era was simply at par with the world’s best.

➤ Alas, from the glory days came the horrors of Philippine basketball.

➤ Here a national story begins. Pilipinas was once the most decorated of all Asian nations in the land of basketball. A mighty powerhouse in the Olympics and the World basketball from the 1930s to 1950s era. Unfortunately, due to extremely growing strong opposition from Asia and lack of a solid grassroots and training program, the Asian dark horse lost its’ glory.

➤ The famed NCC project was initiated to redeem good ground, but it was short-lived. The goal of regaining the great Philippine dream was soon lost after the NCC grassroots basketball program during the Marcos era was abandoned.

➤ The downfall of Marcos also served as a sure death sentence to NCC. It could have been rebuilt but nobody cared – then came the BAP era.

➤ For a national team to exceed expectations, a solid and continuous program must be implemented. Unfortunately, such a meticulous project was not an option in the political landscape of Philippine sports after the Marcos era. When the NCC was dissolved, BAP grabbed and hugged the spotlight with gusto.

➤ The BAP program was meant to represent the Philippines as a basketball darkhorse in Asia but to no avail. Since BAP stepped into the scene – rag-tag national teams were formed to be fed into lion’s den. Granted, there were times that they produced medals but these were against obscure teams in unknown leagues. It appeared that the BAP just wanted to represent the Philippines for the sake of participation and not to bring worth to national cage pride as a whole.

➤ With BAP horror stories igniting the headlines, the PBA finally stepped in to offer their manpower.

➤ Enter the PBA. The PBA sports the finest Pro talent in the realms of RP basketball – the best in Asia, yet the best they can offer was a short stint to the Asian games. The ABC and the Olympic qualifying tournaments were never represented by the PBA in the past. So to say, almost every team sent to the international meets other than the Asian games were a complete humiliation.

➤ Underrated college teams and ball clubs were regularly sent by BAP to represent the Philippine tri-colors against the best of Asia. The PBA never promised to represent the Philippines in any competition other than the Asian Games.

➤ A fuel was direly needed to spur the PBA to lease more of their arsenal.

➤ And what better fuel than nationwide humiliation. The infamous Busan Asiad stint saw the well-prepared and equipped PBA national Team fall into the lucky howitzer of Korea’s Lee Sang Min.

➤ The aftermath was a PBA organization hell-bent to regain lost Filipino glory – not only in the Asian scope – but the Olympics and World Basketball as a whole.

➤ Surely it was a great day for all Filipinos – until BAP again ruined everything the PBA has prepared for. FIBA suspended the Philippines because of the dispute between the POC (Philippine Olympic Committee – the superior sports body) and the BAP and directly shut down any chance by the RP team for the elusive Olympic dream.

➤ The conflict stemmed from the controversial loss of the BAP-formed national team bound for SEABA led by Boysie Zamar to the infamous Paranaque team. POC suspended BAP due to incompetency and stopped it from further representing the country internationally and bring more embarrassment to the nation.

➤ The BAP, however, shunned the directive and held the national cage community hostage to its’ power. BAP could have stepped aside for the benefit of the country, but pride and grip to power were too stiff a price to let go of. The result – an indefinite FIBA suspension, thereby rendering any RP National Teams unable to represent the country in any FIBA-sanctioned competitions.

➤ In hindsight, FIBA could have just accepted POC’s replacement of BAP which was either the PBFI or Team Pilipinas (both of which are highly credible organizations as supported by the major basketball stakeholders in the Philippines which include the UAAP, NCAA, PBL, and PBA). FIBA implemented the suspension nonetheless. No amount of pleading changed its’ stance.

➤ With the best talent around and the most well-prepared training for a team in the history of PBA, this is the biggest disappointment for all the Filipino fans around the world. Filipinos cannot let this continue. Whether the PBFI (the newly formed basketball body) or Team Pilipinas be approved or not, the BAP deserves to be suspended – not the PBA RP team.

➤ The Philippine PBA-RP Team is still at par with the best of Asia and deserves to be allowed to play internationally. In lieu of this, we urge Filipino fans around the world to converge and unite in support of the campaign of the PBA-Philippines to regain the lost glory of the basketball dynamo of Asia.

Posted on July 19, 2006

Editorial by Rock Punzalan for Philippine Basketball News Team


Philippines - once a Basketball Superpower?

July 19, 2006

by Rock Punzalan

» All Time World Basketball Championships Medal Tally «
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Serbia and Montenegroserbia200

The Philippines remains to be one of the only top Asian nations to have ever landed in the medal tally of the prestigious history of World Basketball Championships. This is such a great feat that the Philippines made it in the history of basketball in terms of world basketball competition (as part of the only top ten world medal achieving nations) and in the history of Asia to be the only country to ever make it to such a notable standing.

➤ Basketball was introduced to the Philippines in 1901, by members of the American YMCA. The Philippine Amateur Basketball League was established in 1910. After that, basketball became a nationally popular sport in the Pearl of the Orient Seas. What many people didn’t know or even heard of is that the Philippines was truly one of the global superpowers in international cage hoops in the past – during its’ prime.

➤ In the 1936 Berlin Olympiad where the RP Team placed fifth, Philippines defeated Mexico 32-30 in the second round and toppled Estonia 39-22 in the third round. In the classification round of the same tourney, the Filipinos defeated the highly touted powerhouse Italy 32-14 and romped past Uruguay 33-23. Curiously, the Philippine delegation never made it to the Medal round (due to a controversial ruling) although it had not lost to any team except to the United States with the score of 56-23.

➤ The Philippine Team was ably led by Ambrosio Padilla (team captain), who later became a senator; the 6’1″ Charles Borck, Jacinto Ciria Cruz, Primitivo Martinez, Jesus Marzan, Franco Marquicias, Fortunato Yambao, Amador Obondo, Bibjano Quano, and Johnny Worrel. Also, the same games were played in a lawn tennis court (which was terribly hampered by a bad rainy weather), and the awards were given by no less than Dr. James Naismith.

➤ During the 1948 London Olympics, the Philippines landed a 12th place finish. The RP team was bracketed to Group B in the eliminations and posted a win-loss record of 3-2. The Filipinos massacred Iraq 102-30, marched past Korea 35-33, and stomped down on China 51-32. It lost its’ elimination assignments to Chile 68-39 and was upset by Belgium 37-35. The Philippines figured in a five-way tie in the elimination round and was ejected from the medal-round because of the point system implemented. In the classification round (non-medal competition), Philippines defeated the recent Olympic champions Argentina with a 45-43 score but bowed down to Belgium 38-34 and Peru 40-29.

➤ The Philippines was tied for 9th place overall in the 1952 Olympiad. The Filipinos found themselves in Group B in the preliminary round with 2-0 win-loss record by blasting Israel 54-47 and Hungary 48-35. The Pinoys advanced to the main tournament and showed its’ might against Canada 81-65, but eventually lost to Argentina 85-59 and Brazil 71-52. The 1956 Melbourne Olympics saw the Philippines bracketed in Group A in the Elimination round and made a 2-1 win-loss performance to land in 7th place over-all. They defeated Thailand 55-44 and Japan 76-61 but horribly succumbed to the USA with a dismal 121-53. In the quarterfinals, the Philippines defeated France with a 65-58 beating but bowed again to the physically playing Uruguay 79-70 and Chile 88-69. In the non-medal round, the Philippines took a sweet revenge to Chile 75-68 but stumbled down to Bulgaria 80-70.

➤ An 11th place finish was the best the Philippines can offer in the 1960 Rome Olympics. In the eliminations, the Filipinos were bracketed to Group D and made a 1-2 win-loss record by defeating Spain 84-82, but lost to Poland 86-68 and Uruguay 80-76. In the classification round, the Pinoys posted a 2-1 win-loss slate by beating down Puerto Rico 82-80 and Bulgaria 2-0 (forfeited), and fell to Hungary 81-70. In the second classification round, the Philippines handily pounded their way through Mexico 65-64 but lost to France 122-75.

➤ In the 1954 World Basketball Championships in Brazil, the Philippines staged the greatest mark in the history of the basketball-crazed nation, by taking the Bronze Medal in a show of power. Overall, the Philippines posted a 5-2 win-loss record and fell behind eventual champions USA and silver medalists Brazil – the hometown favorite.

The USA had the biggest scare in the tournament when they faced squarely with the Filipinos. Opening play in the final round, the U.S. was given a run for its money by the Philippines. Trailing by just three points at the half, 25-22, the Philippines squad rallied at the start of the second half and took a 31-26 lead. However, the USA offense got rolling and with three minutes remaining the USA had control 49-30 before finally settling for a 56-43 victory. The 6-6 forward Kirby Minter led the USA offense with 15 points.

➤ Although the Americans managed to post a strong win-loss slate of 9-0, they will never forget their memorable encounter with the formidable Filipino squad. The Filipinos, on the other hand, was led by Carlos “The Big Difference” Loyzaga – the team captain who won the Mythical Five award in the same tourney – for being the third highest individual scorer over-all.

➤ Loyzaga was also the first basketball player to be inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame. Also present in the line-up were Lauro Mumar, Florentino Bautista, Francisco Rabat, Benjamin Francisco, and the 6’2 Mariano Tolentino. The Philippines beat the favored Uruguay team, 67-63, to clinch the Bronze Medal on November 5, 1954.

➤ This mighty feat until now, remains unsurpassed in the realms of Philippine Basketball and Asia as a whole.

Posted on July 19, 2006

Written by Rock Punzalan for Philippine Basketball News Team