NBA Punches First Ticket to the Big Dance

The National Basketball Association is joining in on the madness. Finally.

With the NCAA tourney down to its last 16 teams, the NBA with the help of ad agency Translation launched its latest series of playoff ads that signify the message: “The dance never ends.”

Drawing its inspiration from March Madness, the commercials depict current NBA players–including the three-headed MVP race monster of Steph Curry, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook–in some of their greatest moments with their respective college teams. As they celebrate, the video paints on the player an animation of their college jerseys that coincides with the transition from radio play-by-play announcer to the recognizable voice of color commentator Dick Vitale doing his thing.

What is great to point out about these ads (aside from the fact that it’s f*cking amazing) is the collaboration between the NBA and the NCAA. With recent developments on increasing the league’s age limit for draft eligibility, it is very evident how Adam Silver keeps on exploring opportunities to better the overall product.

Going back to the TVCs, the NBA always finds ways to exceed expectations, creatively executing marketing campaigns such as this year after year.  With that said, enjoy reliving the madness below!

Russell Westbrook, former UCLA Bruin


Steph Curry, former Davidson Wildcat


Dwyane Wade, former Marquette Golden Eagle


Kyle Lowry, former Villanova Wildcat


Al Horford, former Florida Gator


James Harden, former Arizona State Sun Devil


Paul Pierce, former Kansas Jayhawk


Klay Thompson (former Washington State Cougar), Al Horford and co.



NBA Trade Deadline 2015: PG Carousel

While you were asleep, the Trade Deadline woke up from its 2-year slumber, sending shockwaves to the competitive landscape of the NBA. With teams heading towards different directions, roster improvements and asset collection were two primary objectives meant to be achieved by involved parties. Before you log on to fantasy, get your facts straight and embrace the madness.

(Disclaimer: Exact picks will be updated once more details have been confirmed.)


Arron Afflalo-2

  • POR receives: Arron Afflalo & Alonzo Gee
    DEN receives: Will Barton, Victor Claver & Thomas Robinson
    lottery-protected 2016 first-round pick & 2016 second-round pick (both from Portland)

Back in a winning position, Arron Afflalo is primed to bring consistency to a Portland bench that GM Neil Olshey felt was inferior to its playoff peers. As for Denver, they’re finding pieces which they can start the rebuilding process with and aside from Thomas Robinson, these picks were a nice return for their proven scorer.


Reggie Jackson Michael Carter-Williams

  • MIA receives: Goran Dragic & Zoran Dragic
    PHX receives: Danny Granger, Norris Cole, Shawne Williams & Justin Hamilton, two first-round picks (from Miami)

Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh, and Hassan Whiteside. No team in its sane mind would be excited to face this starting lineup of former champions, All-Stars, and a wild X-Factor. Miami may have just set its course in the post-LeBron era. As for Phoenix, this was probably the best offer they had on the table given that the league knew their hands were tied with Dragic expressing publicly wanting out of the desert. Even with the trade, the Heat’s first-round pick will land in the 16-20 range most likely.

  • DET receives: Reggie Jackson
    OKC receives: DJ Augustin, Kyle Singler, Steve Novak & Enes Kanter
    2019 second-round pick 

    UTA receives: Kendrick Perkins, Grant Jerrett, two draft picks, rights to Tibor Pleiss

Addressing the need of bolstering their bench with Enes Kanter and replacing their unhappy backup point guard with DJ Augustin in just two transactions, Sam Presti made himself look like a genius once again with those shrewd moves. Pulling out of a deal that would have snatched Brook Lopez in the last minute and maneuvering their way to the best trade possible, bravo OKC. Bravo. With the recent re-jiggering of the Suns, it appears more and more likely that the Thunder will make it to the West’s elite eight.

Now a #freeman, Reggie Jackson has the platform to prove he is a starter in this league. If he can lead the Pistons to the playoffs, he will get that “market max contract,” joining Detroit’s promising future with Andre Drummond. As for Utah, not that I dislike Kendrick Perkins but it felt like a panic move to ship out Enes Kanter just for that.

  • MIL receives: Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis & Miles Plumlee
    PHX receives: Brandon Knight, Kendall Marshall 
    PHI receives: 2015 top-five protected first-round pick (from Phoenix, via Los Angeles Lakers)

After stocking their team with four point guards, Phoenix eventually shipped three of them to acquire one alongside Eric Bledsoe. In essence, Brandon Knight, who in my eyes is an All-Star, was acquired in exchange of Tyler Ennis (not part of the rotation), Miles Plumlee (see Alex Len), and a 2015 top-five protected first-round pick (the price to pay). His skill set of 3-point shooting and ball-handling complements the fast-paced style that Coach Jeff Hornacek likes to run, but the inexperience will show should they hold onto that 8th seed.

It was surprising to see Sixers GM Sam Hinkie let Michael Carter-Williams go just like that despite fans believing he was part of their so-called “Phuture.” The only reason that makes sense for me is that they’re eyeing Emmanuel Mudiay of the Guangdong Tigers with their own pick, and either Kevon Looney (PF, UCLA) or Stanley Johnson (SF, Arizona) to solidify their front court should the Lakers surrender their pick. Should the Lakers keep their pick this year, it becomes only top-three protected in the 2016 draft.

As for the Bucks, it’s obvious that Jason Kidd sees himself in MCW and at 6′ 6″, he will more than improve his coach’s philosophy of positionless basketball. With Larry Sander’s buyout in the fold, there is room for Plumlee to contribute.

  • BOS receives: Isaiah Thomas
    PHX receives: Marcus Thornton, 2016 first-round pick (from Boston via Cleveland)

Boston’s interest in I.T. has long been chronicled and given that the Celtics weren’t ready to hand over the reigns to Marcus Smart yet, the price to pay was just right. At the same time, this is not to say that Smart isn’t the future but he will be groomed first by the speedy devil. As for that 2016 first-round pick, it will most likely land in the mid to high 20s plus they’ve still got a trove of assets in their treasure chest.

  • SAC receives: Andre Miller
    WAS receives: Ramon Sessions

Can’t blame George Karl and his affinity with Andre Miller.


Kevin Garnett

  • MIN receives: Kevin Garnett & a full bag of nostalgia
    BKN receives: Thaddeus Young


After waiving his no trade clause, Kevin Garnett is reuniting with former head coach Flip Saunders, coming home to the team that drafted him. It’s finally gone full circle for KG, and apart from grooming the young’ns, it seems apparent that he will transition to a front office role thereafter. For the Nets, it wasn’t as splashy as those other trades but it quietly gets the job done in getting more offense from Thad Young.

  • BOS receives: Jonas Jerebko & Luigi Datome
    DET receives: Tayshaun Prince

I’m not sure what coach Stan Van Gundy told general manager Stan Van Gundy but probably wanted to reacquire the former Detroit Piston champion as a veteran who could guide the young team to the playoffs.


KJ McDaniels

  • HOU receives: KJ McDaniels
    PHI receives: Isaiah Canaan, second-round pick (from Houston)

Morey: “Hey Hinkie, you got a steal in Robert Covington!”
Hinkie: “Yeah, I know. Thanks for waiving him!”
Morey: “Would you be willing to trade him for…”
Hinkie: “He’s part of our future.”
Morey: “If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t be…”
Hinkie: “Fine. Someone else, instead.”
Morey: “That Clemson kid.”
Hinkie: “For?”
Morey: “Isaiah.”
Hinkie: “Our undersized point guard?”
Morey: *snickers* “And a second.”
Hinkie: “Done.”
Morey: “Done.”
Hinkie: “Don’t use that if-it-weren’t-for-you line again, Daryl.”
Morey: *dork laugh* “‘Til next time, Sam!”

In other words, a wink wink deal.

  • PHX receives: John Salmons
    NOP receives: Norris Cole

Jrue Holiday might still be out for another month after aggravating his leg injury. Norris Cole is an insurance policy for their point guard position as they hang tough in the race to the final playoff seed in the West.

  • PHX receives: Ish Smith, protected 2015 second-round pick, rights to forward Latavious Williams, cash considerations
    OKC receives: protected 2016 second-round pick

Norris Cole ain’t enough so we got Ish Smith as insurance to the insurance said the current Pelicans GM Dell Demps.

  • NYK receives: Alexey Shved, 2017 & 2019 second-round picks (from Houston)
    HOU receives: Pablo Prigioni

I don’t want to know what the guards up West will do to Pablo Prigioni and his dignity but I can assure you, it won’t be a sight to watch. As for the Knicks, I hope those picks turn into something.


NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Denver Nuggets

  • PHI receives: JaVale McGee, 2015 protected first-round pick (from Denver via Oklahoma City), rights to Chukwudiebere Maduabum
    DEN receives: rights to Turkish professional player Cenk Akyol

I decline for further comment.

Baron Davis produces own documentary about the Drew League

Baron Davis isn’t anywhere near an NBA comeback even as much he says so as evidenced by this and this. Though that’s been the case, the two-time All-Star hasn’t let his time off the league slow him down from pursuing other passions on the side such as film-making. His involvement in the industry is no surprise with collaborations with Steve Nash, Reebok and Emmanuelle Chriqui among others. Currently, he is producing a short film documenting the Drew League entitled “The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce,” sharing the story of how the hoops combine has meant more to the community than just recreation.

Here’s a few words from producer Baron Davis:

Now I know y’all wondering why didn’t I fund this myself? Well, I did… and I spent a lot of money and I had a lot of friends support me but it’s still not enough. We need your support. We need your help to bring this message and to bring this documentary to all around the country and be able to get into living rooms. So you know, it’s not about me. It’s just about being creative and try to creatively bring a voice to places that don’t really have a voice.

To get an idea of what’s in store for their fundraiser, here’s a few noteworthy items rather, basketball memorabilia gold on display. For more information, visit their page, donate and make B-Diddy fulfill his showtime dreams once more!

20150115112251-AMPLIFIER_PERKS_V2   20150115161507-INSTA_BARON   20150113231313-PEAK_JERSEY


…and probably catch UCLA-recruit Kobe Paras while you’re at it.


Davis last played for the New York Knicks in 2012 before tearing his ACL and MCL in their first round match against the Miami Heat. He became a free agent in the summer of 2012, but the injury kept him sidelined and unsigned through the next summer.

30 Quotes To Help You Get Through Tough Times

Ball is life.

Thought Catalog

”I get it now; I didn’t get it then. That life is about losing and about doing it as gracefully as possible… and enjoying everything in between.” – Mia Farrow
“Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think you’ve lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.” – Asha Tyson
“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.” – Kim McMillen
“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you…

View original post 1,121 more words

Rating the UAAP Season 77 Ad Placements

Before Game 2 of the National University-Far Eastern University Finals, the UAAP commenced its awarding ceremonies to acknowledge the achievements of its basketball players during Season 77. Most notable among the awardees was Kiefer Ravena, who bagged several special awards aside from the prestigious MVP trophy and Mythical Five selection. These included the following:

  1. Biogesic Fast Fizz Players of the Season
  2. Jollibee Champ of the Season
  3. Master Gameface Player of the Season
  4. RCBC Savings Bank Life-Changing Player of the Season
  5. PSBankable Player of the Season

That’s a whopping seven (!!!) awards by an individual player. Not that it wasn’t well-deserved but from all these special recognitions, have you ever bothered listing down the ad placements during the course of the game? From fastfood to cellphones to motorbikes to insurance interstitials, the UAAP sure looks like it is doing its best “We’ve got it all for you!” SM impersonation.

Looking at it from a business standpoint, it is safe to say that the UAAP seniors basketball is the golden goose of ABS-CBN Sports + Action shows, generating over millions of revenue per brand primarily because slots are sold in multiple game packages according to sources within the media buying industry.

From a fan’s perspective, the thing that gets me while watching the games is that there are numerous placements that highlight the same thing like scored baskets (Nissin Yaki-sobrang Move, Master Game Face Move, Mazda Skyactiv Play of the Game, etc.) and assisted baskets (PSBankable Assist of the Game, Tender Juicy Combo Play). At the same time, there are some ads that are forced into the game but then again, who is ABS-CBN to say no to sponsors?

Clearly we have no control over these things so instead, this committee of one will rate the 33 ad placements (in my count, crediting unique brands only) based on how each company’s marketing team did in packaging their brands in the basketball sphere. These were the factors considered in group rating  the placements during the game:

  • Basketball Sense – How relatable the brand is to basketball
  • Brand Savviness to Basketball – How good the brand’s grasp is of basketball knowledge
  • Relevance to Brand’s Target Market – How appropriate the brand is to the people who watch the games

Based on this, brands were grouped accordingly so let’s get down to business!

“Di talaga.” / Hard sell my friend.

1. Avida Halfway Point of the Quarter
2. DYSE ONE Move of the Game
3. Mazda Skyactiv Zoom Zoom Play/Move of the Game
4. Mitsubishi Mirage Great Play
5. Mogu Mogu Shake of the Game
6. PhilPlans Shot of the Game
7. Yamaha Big Move

  • Basketball Sense
    – There is no natural association between the brands listed above and basketball. Fine, maybe vehicles can pass but insurance and housing? Not going to cut it.
  • Brand Savviness to Basketball
    – The actions being highlighted by the brands are relatively understandable in the game’s context.
    – I don’t know what they were thinking with Mogu Mogu’s Shake of the Game but that has got to be one of the most useless 5 seconds spent from watching. Would you rather have a footage of a player crossing over someone during the game and associating that with “shake”?
    – Do you really have to brand even the halfway point of the quarter? I would stay away from “halfway” unless maybe the product’s halfway good as well. I mean you never know what associations your consumers can make with the terminologies you use.
  • Relevance to Brand’s Target Market
    – This will be most difficult to judge since the UAAP caters to such a wide audience but I don’t think people exposed to these placements are often converted to buying the products above aside from Mogu Mogu being a fast moving consumer good.

“Masabi lang na nagsponsor.” / No, seriously.

8. Bench Trendsetters
9. Biogesic Fastfizz Move
10. Crissa Campus Crush
11. Great Taste White Great 3-pt Shot
12. McDonald’s Instant Replay
13. Nescafe Creamy White Defender of the Day
14. Nissin Yakisobrang Move
15. O+ Android Phone Fan of the Day
16. Oishi O, Wow! Moment of the Game
17. RCBC Bankard Making the Game Better / Smart Investments Coach of the Game
18. Silverworks Fan of the Game
19. Team Bon Chon Team of the Game

  • Basketball Sense
    – Food passes the association test before fashion so we get why most of the FMCG and fast food companies are here. That much is given.
    – Though highly relatable and has a good recall with fans, I wish Bon Chon would highlight what would make their chicken unique instead of being too slapstick by always awarding the winning team of the game.
    – As for Bench, Crissa, O+ and Silverworks, I think there should just be one brand who should own that “fan of the game” phrase and it’s a coin flip between Bench Trendsetter and Crissa Campus Crush. The latter rolls off the tongue quite well and that just might be its slight edge over Bench.
  • Brand Savviness to Basketball
    – Similar to the previous group, it feels like that most brands just add the “move of the game” to its placements since “move” is the most generic basketball jargon. For example, Nissin Yakisobrang move? Yakisobrang? You’re better than that. If budget permitted, I would have gone hard at McDonald’s Instant Replay placement instead since you know, instant noodles.
    – With that said, McDo should have taken “delivery of the game.” It sounds natural, promotes their dial 8-6236 delivery number, and makes so much basketball sense.
    – If there’s a Great Taste White Great 3-pt Shot, there has to be a not great 3-pt Shot, right? I think it’s safe to assume that long distance jumpers to be featured will be good shots since it’s a made basket. It’s redundant too.
    – As for fellow coffee brand Nescafe, Defender of the Day seems forced given their #DotD (Drink of the Day) campaign and they had to find a basketball term that would start with the letter ‘D’. Had that not been the brief, it would have been better to see them take Great Taste’s spot and owned the shot from beyond the arc–Nescafe Creamy White Silky Smooth 3.
    – I have no problem with RCBC Smart Investments Coach of the Game but what the hell are you talking about in RCBC Bankard Making the Game Better? Are you talking about offense, defense, or trying to encompass everything by having a general phrase?
  • Relevance to Brand’s Target Market
    – These brands made the right decision to place ads during the UAAP. Definitely high relevance to their prospective consumers and most likely to be considered for purchase after a hard fought win by their team.

“Pwede na.” / Obvious from the get-go.

20. Booster C Energy Huddle
21. FUBU International Fearless Play/Shot/Spotlight Play
22. Jollibee Champ of the Quarter/Game
23. KFC sogood Stats
24. KitKat Break
25. Milo Energy Rebound
26. Red Bull Supreme Block

  • Basketball Sense
    – Just like the previous group, food can be better associated to the game since eating is an activity that you usually do while watching. FUBU not so much but it redeems itself in the other factors.
  • Brand Savviness to Basketball
    – Most of the brands above and what they were promoting (“sogood”, “Break”) could be associated with basketball especially if you put the right spin into it (Jollibee Champ of the Quarter/Game).
    – Booster C Energy Huddle, FUBU International Fearless Play, Milo Energy Rebound and Red Bull Supreme Block–it works. Right use of adjective, right choice of basketball action to highlight, and right brand association with the sport (basketball sense).
  • Relevance to Brand’s Target Market
    – I think it is safe to say that food and drinks have a place during sporting occasions.

“Swak.” / On the spot.

27. C2 Cool & Clean Steal of the Game
28. Chippy Barkada Team Moment
29. Gatorade Fuel Duel of the Game
30. Master Game Face Move
31. PSBankable Assist/Fan/Maasahan Player of the Game
32. Tender Juicy Combo Play
33. Walker Walk-through Play of the Game

  • Basketball Sense
    – Being a sports drink, Gatorade easily gets the nod for being ingrained already to basketball. Gatorade Fuel Duel is one of the placements with a design that is very aesthetically pleasing (not just a simple banner at the bottom.)  Even if the other brands don’t necessarily have that “relatability” with the sport, they found the perfect way to package their brands to suit the game (brand savviness to basketball).
  • Brand Savviness to Basketball
    – Enough wit and creativity to make you say: “Ang ganda naman nun!”
    – Master Game Face Move is obvious but it works because “game face” is a jargon frequently used when you need to step up your game, not to mention it rolls off the tongue pretty well.
    – Speaking of what sounds nice when you say it, that award has got to be for C2 Cool & Clean Steal of the Game. It’s crisp–nothing too fancy but gets the job done. Players love to argue that their defense is pure (clean) and associating that with steals makes it all the more sweet.
    – Tender Juicy Combo Play gives a nice recall to its Junior Master Chef ad showing how Tender Juicy hotdog can be mixed with all kinds of dishes. This combination extends to the basketball court when two players feed off from each other to make a play happen through an assist. Obviously works.
    – For body language doctors, they enjoy seeing how players react to good plays made by their teammates. It is a joy to watch the players on the floor or the bench celebrate when something goes their way whether a great defensive effort or a clutch basket is made. That is exactly what Chippy Barkada Team Moment captures. What sets it apart from Oishi’s O, Wow! Moment of the game is that Chippy establishes itself in that barkada group setting which makes it more natural.
    – Everyone wears underwear but to be able to pull off that Walker Walk-through Play of the Game was genius. “Walk-through” more than salvaged that ad placement but elevated the brand as they’re the only feature that breaks down the crucial plays of the game. Again, underwear.
    – PSBank is always saying how people have apprehensions on the process involving bank-related activities (house loans, auto loans, etc.), which is why you need a bank that makes it simple and that is reliable (“maaasahan mo”). This is why the PSBank Maaasahan Player of the Game is like a match made in heaven. Every team needs a player that is reliable–someone who can not only score but make a basket in clutch situations. It’s as simple as that. Whoever’s behind this should give themselves a pat in the back. I can honestly say that this has long been a favorite, and possibly UAAP Season 77’s best ad placement.
  • Relevance to Brand’s Target Market
    – Every brand above can say they know their target market but hands down for pushing their brands to another level. The creative presentation of brands communicated effectively what the brand stands for in consumers lives, which hopefully also translated to preference and of course, sales.

With that settled, the only question remains is who will win Game 3? From experience, defense trumps offense any day and with Aroga manning the middle, I think SM’s upcoming weekend sale might be the start of the year-long celebration. But ABS-CBN, you the real MVP! (Sorry, I just had to.)

The Scoop: Threads & Signings

With almost a month away from the NBA tip-off and a few weeks from pre-season, fans have been anxiously waiting for any dose of action. We’ll definitely get there soon enough so hang in there but here’s a scoop of today’s hoops-related news.

 New Jerseys for New Orleans and Dallas

Introducing alternate uniforms one year into a team’s introduction to the league usually serves as a red flag. There are only two reasons I can think off behind such immediate action, either the sales of their original home and away sets didn’t fly or they simply wanted to showcase the third color in their scheme and have a jersey dedicated to their team moniker. Either way, you won’t have to sit long to catch a glimpse of their new threads as the Pelicans are bound to wear this on Opening Night on Oct. 28 against the Orlando Magic at the Smoothie King Center. You can also pre-order the new merchandise here.

Heading further along the Southwest Division, the Dallas Mavericks kicked off their player introductions media conference by revealing their new alternate jerseys for the 2014-15 season. It reminds me of the old jersey of the Denver Nuggets, which was incorporated in their alternate yellow uniforms recently, and the retro logo of the Seattle Supersonics (we miss you).

Denver Nuggets Retro Jersey  Seattle Supersonics Retro

What’s cool about this is that Mark Cuban and company crowdsourced ideas from Mavs fans alike. Not only did that achieve a brilliant design but more importantly, it got their community involved as they embark on their quest to another championship.


Notable Signings

Kostas Papanikolaou signs 2-year deal with Houston Rockets

Kostas Papanikolaou FC Barcelona

Aside from the Trevor Ariza signing and the Jason Terry trade, it was a relatively quiet offseason for the Houston Rockets. They stubbornly refuse to admit that losing Chandler Parsons to their interstate rivals was a big loss (understandable), but looking at their roster, their bench has never looked this depleted. Adding FC Barcelona forward Kostas Papanikolaou provides another toy for Kevin McHale to tinker with especially with his 42.5% career average mark from long distance, and yet another coveted asset for Dork Elvis.

PG – Beverley, Smith, Canaan
SG – Harden, Terry, Daniels, Johnson
SF – Ariza, Papanikolaou, Garcia
PF – Jones, Adrien, Powell, Covington, Black*
C – Howard, Motiejunas, Dorsey, Capela

*Training Camp Contract

Looking at the depth chart for small forward, it remains to be seen if he’ll be given enough minutes to contribute on a nightly basis. Once he settles down and gets acclimated to the NBA lifestyle, I hope that he gets his opportunity to shine. If you were able to catch him with Greece against the Philippines, he blocked the 3-point attempts of Paul Lee and Jeff Chan, and showed his toughness throughout Hellas’ run in the FIBA World Cup.

Michael Beasley signs camp deal with Memphis Grizzlies

Michael Beasley Miami Heat

Despite being worked out by the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs, Michael Beasley knows that he’s running out of second chances. This recent stint with Memphis might just be the perfect opportunity to learn from the blue-collar people of the Grizz Nation.

After ranking in the league’s bottom five in points per game (96.1) last season, the Grizzlies could use a dash of reliable scorers from the bench, thus the signing of Vince Carter and drafting of Jordan Adams. If he pulls it together, I believe that Beasley will find his niche in this team and veterans who’ve had a similar history like Zach Randolph and Tony Allen will make sure that he makes the most out of this experience.

PG – Conley, Calathes, Udrih
SG – Lee, Carter, Adams
SF – Allen, Prince, Pondexter
PF – Randolph, Stokes, Leuer
C – Gasol, Koufos

Though there are notable training camp invites such as former Lakers forward Earl Clark and Louisville sharpshooting forward and former NCAA Champion Luke Hancock, it seems that last spot is destined for Beasley if he brings it on both ends of the floor, and none of his attitude to camp.

David Stockton Phoenix Suns Summer League

Speaking of camp invites, David Stockton, son of former NBA player John Stockton, has been invited by the Utah Jazz for a workout after playing with the Phoenix Suns summer league team. He also worked out earlier for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Take 5: Philippines vs Croatia

“Allow me to re-introduce myself / My name is Hov’, OH, H-to-the-O-V”

These were the first lines that entered my head after Gilas’ valiant effort against heavily favored Croatia (+23.5). Not that Jay Z needs any further introduction, but the World may have forgotten what the Filipinos can do on the court. After 36 years of not appearing on basketball’s biggest stage, last night became Philippines’ Public Service Announcement: We’re back.

With every inspirational piece written by our beloved media (special shoutout to YahooRappler, and SLAM Philippines), here are a few things I noticed (from the obvious, not-so obvious, and things to consider from here on out) from last night’s performance.

1. Kailangan ng bomba. (Translation: Three is the key.)


The only way to keep this close was to fire on all cylinders and boy, did our players get that memo–from Jimmy Alapag’s momentum-shifting-deep-three-turned-four-point-play to Andray Blatche’s “don’t take tha… YEAHHHH!!!” dueces to Jeff Chan’s four cold-EFFIN’-blooded threes.

That extra point will always go a long way for the height-mismatched Philippines. L.A. Tenorio, Jayson Castro, and Paul Lee will need to provide the guard production needed and chime in from distance to keep the opponent’s defense in-check (especially when Chan goes cold) and provide better spacing for the bigs.

2. Utak bago galaw. (Do everything with purpose.) 


Taking every advantage does not mean executing without reason. Yes, the team combats height with speed, but the players need to be decisive with their actions.

If the guards are going to drive, they need to assert themselves and know what they want to accomplish–A. drive to score, B. drive to kick out to open shooter, or C. drive to pass to big man. The frontline, in my opinion, played more decisive, especially with Blatche (who had the green light to shoot and do his thing–shaking, baking, and making plays).

I remember one sequence in particular when we were down four during the 3rd quarter and got a stop that led to a 3-on-2 fastbreak, with Marc Pingris dribbling the ball straight to the hoop. There was another player (a shooter if I remember correctly) spotting up on the side but it was clear that the intention of Pingris was to score. He hesitated and the defense recovered. By the time he knew he was not going to be able to shoot it, he got pressured and kicked it out to the opponent. That same possession saw a Croatian bucket that pushed the lead back to six, instead of getting it down to two. Not as momentum-breaking as the end of the 3rd quarter robbery (technical foul on Castro for flopping and lucky buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Damir Markota), but still big.

Every possession counts.

3. T@*#G!^& di lang si Blatche player ng team! (Play as a team.)

Blatche Guilty

The reason behind trailing early was that the locals felt like their NBA player was their savior. Although that is true, the team needs to go back on its system and offensive principles–multiple dribble-drives until a defensive breakdown, driving and kicking out to an open shooter, cutting backdoor baseline for easy baskets.

Wag mahiya di pasahan si Blatche at itakbo yung opensa muna sa ibang players. This is a team sport and the only way to win is to do this TOGETHER.

Though I am no Coach Chot, I also wonder if they can place Blatche in a better position to score. It seems like he falls in love being isolated either on the top of the key or on the wing areas. Maybe the team could explore giving him a downscreen and freeing him up in the free throw area to unlock his midrange gameface.

4. Hirap dumepensang tao. (Man-to-man defense is a challenge.)
5. Pakawalan si June Mar. (Release the Krakken!)


Man-to-man defense provides an immediate issue to the already vertically-challenged individuals of Gilas Pilipinas. There might be no way to match the athleticism of our opponents despite being equipped with speed and quickness. (Sidenote: It seems like only Jayson Castro can fight through the picks, but most of the time, our defender always gets stopped leaving the attacking player room to operate.) Therefore, schemes such as the 2-3 zone may help give a slight relief on defense, covering more ground and allowing our bigs to position themselves better for the rebound.

During the 2nd quarter, Gilas fielded a legitimate frontcourt pairing the two together for a quick stretch. I understand that June Mar Fajardo plays the primary back-up of the aforementioned naturalized center, but the coaching staff could explore extending their overlapping minutes to provide a formidable frontline against bigger opponents.


The current PBA All-Filipino Cup MVP has the size and strength to match up with those bad boys (see Ante Tomic above), and is capable of scoring inside the paint. Blatche can take the role of Ranidel De Ocampo as the stretch four on offense, while Fajardo can bang down low.


Quick tangent: Would Japeth Aguilar thrive as the small forward in this line-up? Clearly he is overmatched with his frail frame against other power forwards but I think his main contributions can come as the weak side cutter or the putback prince with Blatche and Fajardo taking all the attention on offense.


On a more personal note, as an NBA and Brooklyn Nets fan, I was thrilled to see my man Bojan Bogdanovic play well and make those clutch free throws. With Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston gone, I feel that there is an opportunity for him to contribute off the bench next season from the get go. At the same time, felt equally excited to see Philadelphia lottery pick (and Anton’s boy) Dario Saric play, highlighted with that beautiful bounce pass in between two Gilas defenders in the break.


With that said, I look forward to seeing Gilas Pilipinas build from this game and feel confident about themselves, that they can ball with the best. Catch the game between the Philippines and the Greek Freak and friends’ unbiased coverage at BTV and biased coverage at TV 5 at 2 am.

Laban Pilipinas! PUSO!

National Anthem


NBA JAM Gerald Green

Anytime you can get Gerald Green and NBA Jam in one sentence, you’ve got to get excited. Gifted with out-of-this-world athleticism and a penchant for knocking down trifectas, Green seems to have found a home in the valley of Suns, who created this video to his performance against the unsuspecting Thunder last week—setting a career high in dropping 41 points, 25 of which came in the third quarter. Now that’s a fitting tribute to Flashback Friday!

Source: J. E. Skeets

If the NBA could Dance…

No Dougies, Shimmies, or Cat Daddies but the Big Dance–that time of the year where collegiate hoops steals the spotlight from the NBA has finally arrived.

Cat Daddy KD & Harden

With March Madness a few days away, not to mention a chance to win $1,000,000,000 for predicting correctly the outcomes of all 63 matches, basketball fans are putting on their scouting hats for one of the most anticipated draft classes to date and looking forward to the most wide open races to the top.

As for the alumni playing at the professional level, this is also a time to show off their school pride by cheering for their alma mater.

But if these NBA players could relive their finest moments by representing their schools in a tournament, which roster would be deemed as title favourites? Welcome to the Big Dance Power Rankings: NBA Redux.

This is an attempt to measure the league’s best represented colleges and universities against each another through advanced metrics.

Inasmuch as the original plan was to use Kevin Pelton’s Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP), the information was not available for non-subscribers of Basketball Prospectus, stating that their core-writers Kevin Pelton, Bradford Doolittle, and John Gasaway have moved full-time to ESPN Insider.

Researching for an alternative statistic, I ended up using Win Shares  (WS) over Player Efficiency Rating (PER) because it gave a holistic assessment of a player’s offensive and defensive contributions on the court.

Win Shares uses Dean Oliver‘s offensive and defensive ratings to determine a player’s contribution in marginal points on offense and defense; these numbers are then linked to wins by dividing by the league’s marginal points per win. – Neil Paine,

Moreover, according to Paine, they reviewed all NBA teams since the 1977-78 season and found that the Win Shares of each player was pretty accurate–the average absolute error for WS vs. “real” wins is 2.72 wins.

Player Efficiency Rating was developed by John Hollinger as an all-in-one basketball rating but provides an incomplete analysis on defense through stats on the box score (steals and blocks), which is not enough to measure a player’s defensive acumen. On the other hand, Win Shares takes into consideration the overall defensive performance through Defensive Rating.

With this, I looked into the most represented NCAA teams in the association and identified the Win Shares of each player via To be considered in this rankings, there must be at least 8 alumni active in current rosters. Given that 1 of the 9 teams features exactly 8 players, only the top 8 players’ WS of each team were taken into consideration. In addition, the selection process for each roster is based on the highest 8 to 10 Player Efficiency Ratings while the starters are determined based on position and the personal disgression of this committee of one. (Win Shares and PER based through Mar. 15, 2014.)

Before getting down to business, this one team would have been included had it not been a few people short of the criteria:

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Top 8 WS Total: 22.8)
Starters: Chris Paul, Jeff Teague, Al-Farouq Aminu, James Johnson, Tim Duncan
Bench: Ish Smith

With CP3 and TD leading the way, the Demon Deacons would be ranked 8th just by their sheer talent and leadership. Jeff Teague was Paul’s successor in Wake Forest and clearly he has improved significantly ever since he was drafted by the Hawks. Swingmen Al-Farouq Aminu and James Johnson would hold their ground against the other teams on this list.

Arizona Wildcats Starting 5

9. Arizona Wildcats (19.2)
Starters: Jerryd Bayless, Andre Iguodala, Derrick Williams, Channing Frye, Jordan Hill
Bench: Will Bynum, Jason Terry, Chase Budinger, Richard Jefferson, Solomon Hill

Andre Iguodala, the lone All-Star and Olympian, highlights the Arizona squad that features key role players–Celtics’ combo guard Jerryd Bayless, former no. 2 pick Derrick Williams, Suns stretch forward-center Channing Frye and Lakers big man Jordan Hill. What the starters lack in scoring can be compensated by the Bynumite and the JET coming from the bench. Overall, these group of Wildcats are decent enough to put up a fight–but not the kind that former Arizona guard Gilbert Arenas is associated to.

Kansas Jayhawks - Starting 5

8. Kansas Jayhawks (22.5)
Starters: Mario Chalmers, Xavier Henry, Paul Pierce, Markieff Morris, Nick Collison
Bench: Kirk Hinrich, Ben McLemore, Marcus Morris, Thomas Robinson, Darrell Arthur

In spite of being ranked this low, the Jayhawks remain in select company sporting a starting five with two former NBA Champions in Paul Pierce and Mario Chalmers. They are joined by Markieff Morris who is currently having a breakout year in Phoenix, and Xavier Henry who was balling before his more recent injury. Manning the middle is Nick Collison, co-captain of the Glue Guy All-Stars, who takes care of the intangibles.

Current Jayhawk season leading scorer Ben McLemore, former lottery pick Thomas Robinson and the other half of the Morris twins lead the bench mob for this squad. This is a mix of veteran and upcoming individuals that will  need some time to grow into their own before challenging the other teams in this list.

UNC Tar Heels - Starting 5

7. North Carolina Tar Heels (25.1)
Starters: Ty Lawson, Vince Carter, Marvin Williams, Tyler Hansbrough, Brandan Wright
Bench: Kendall Marshall, Danny Green, Ed Davis, John Henson, Tyler Zeller

Running the high-octane offense for the Tar Heels will be speedster Ty Lawson and backed up by pass-first point guard Kendall Marshall. Vince “Half-man, half-amazing” Carter, though now a shade of his former self, still has some hops left to serve as the Tar Heels offensive punch. Edging out fellow alum Harrison Barnes at the small forward spot is former Hawks pick Marvin Williams who is quietly performing well in the lottery-bound Utah Jazz.

This team’s strength can be found in the length of their frontcourt players Brandan Wright and former NCAA Champion Psycho T who will tandem in a zone-oriented defense. Supporting the cause will be bench players Ed Davis, 2012 draftees John Henson and Tyler Zeller. As long as they have enough credibility from the 3-point line, the Tar Heels, led by Lawson, will need to control the tempo to grind out some wins.

UConn Huskies - Starting 5

6. UConn Huskies (27.9)
Starters: Kemba Walker, Ray Allen, Rudy Gay, Andre Drummond, Emeka Okafor*
Bench: A.J. Price, Jeremy Lamb, Caron Butler, Jeff Adrien, Hasheem Thabeet

*WS based last season 2012-13.

Assuming that 2004-05 Rookie of the Year Emeka Okafor is healthy, this is a team to be reckoned with. With Kemba Walker taking another leap this season and Andre Drummond scratching the surface of his immense potential, the UConn Huskies will be ready to create some havoc on both ends of the floor. Baltimore-native Rudy Gay will also fill in the scoring gaps of the starting lineup.

With rings under their resumé,  Ray Allen and Caron Butler will steady the ship by providing the team with veteran savvy. What the Huskies clearly lack is depth but if the bench namely Jeremy Lamb and Hasheem Thabeet can hold the fort, this team is the dark horse.

Duke Blue Devils - Starting 5 v3

5. Duke Blue Devils (29.7)
Starters: Kyrie Irving, J. J. Redick, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Miles Plumlee
Bench: Gerald Henderson, Mike Dunleavy, Josh McRoberts, Elton Brand, Mason Plumlee

Right smack at the middle of these rankings is Coach K’s crew of stars and specialists. Fresh from his first All-Star MVP Award, Kyrie Irving will be taking full charge of ball-handling duties with this roster bereft of point guards. Sharing the floor with him are fellow All-Stars Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, and Elton Brand who will take some pressure off from Irving carrying the offensive load.

Even without all-lifer Shane Battier, the team’s offensive repertoire will be complemented by Duke’s most prolific shooters in history, J. J. Redick together with Gerald Henderson and Mike Dunleavy, to chime in from beyond the arc. Not to be outdone are the Plumlee brothers who are both taking the league by surprise with their performance this season.

Though they may struggle to contain the other big men, the Duke Blue Devils have the right amount of talent and depth to challenge teams every night.

Florida Gators - Starting 5

4. Florida Gators (34.6)
Starters: Bradley Beal, Chandler Parsons, David Lee, Joakim Noah, Al Horford
Bench: Nick Calathes, Mike Miller, Corey Brewer, Udonis Haslem, Marreese Speights

Sporting the only line-up without a true point guard, the Florida Gators are loaded up front with David Lee, back-to-back NCAA Champions Corey Brewer, Al Horford and Joakim Noah. Bradley Beal and Chandler Parsons are currently on their way to breakout seasons, contributing heavily from distance to the Wizards and Rockets, and still with much room to grow.

Rebounding against David Lee, Al Horford, and Joakim Noah will be a tall order with these giants averaging 9.5, 8.4 and 11.3 rebounds respectively. What this team lacks in ball-handling, they make up with length and hustle especially with Stick Stickity executing Thibodeau-an principles. With Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem also in the fray, these embattled veterans will cast their Championship influence to the team and ensure they ingrain the “play hard” mentality in the games that matter the most.

UCLA Bruins - Starting 5

3. UCLA Bruins (36.6)
Starters: Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday, Arron Afflalo, Trevor Ariza, Kevin Love
Bench: Darren Collison, Jordan Farmar, Matt Barnes, Luc Mbah a Moute, Ryan Hollins

With arguably two of the top 10 players in the league and budding stars, the UCLA Bruins have a starting five featuring four guards and a shooting big that is tailor-made to today’s evolving game. Starring rebounding machine Kevin Love and blitzing guard Russell Westbrook, the pride of Los Angeles welcomes the likes of Jrue Holiday, Arron Afflalo, and Trevor Ariza to showcase a quick line-up that can take any of their men off the dribble or shoot from anywhere on the court.

At the same time, UCLA presents a hoist of floor generals with Darren Collison and Jordan Farmar backing up both guard positions. Aside from this, defensive aces Matt Barnes and Luc Mbah a Moute can come in to provide some length and toughness to the team. Opponents cannot take this bunch lightly because when the lights go on, the UCLA Bruins will be ready to put on a show.

Kentucky Wildcats - Starting 5

2. Kentucky Wildcats (37.3)
Starters: Rajon Rondo, John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins
Bench: Brandon Knight, Jodie Meeks, Terrence Jones, Patrick Patterson, Enes Kanter

Whatever John Callipari is feeding his players in Lexington, it seems to be working its magic. Year after year, he assembles a constellation of talent. From Stars-in-the-making (Nerlens Noel) to Rising Stars (Eric Bledsoe, Terrence Jones) to All-Stars (Rajon Rondo, John Wall, arguably DeMarcus Cousins) to Superstars (Anthony Davis), he’s got it.

Surprisingly, even with a heavily stacked roster, the Kentucky Wildcats finish second in this rankings primarily because one of their key players–Rajon Rondo–is still getting into his flow. Nevertheless, this is the only team in this list that can claim going 10-deep, rocking perhaps another starting unit off its bench.

With Rondo at the helm, he will demand the respect of his fellow starters, being the only one to have won the league’s most coveted crown. Wall and Bledsoe will easily break down defenses with their explosive first step but if that option is taken away, dumping it down low to either A. D. or Boogie does not seem as a bad alternative.

At this point, the bench has not yet even been mentioned but Brandon Knight, Jones and Enes Kanter can easily relieve their counterparts, and allow no compromise in output. The way this team is built, it definitely has the makings of a championship contender and if there was a team to wager on, without hesitation it would be these Wildcats.

Texas Longhorns - Starting 5

1. Texas Longhorns (38.5)
Starters: D. J. Augustin, Avery Bradley, Kevin Durant, Tristan Thompson, LaMarcus Aldridge
Bench: Cory Joseph, Jordan Hamilton, P. J. Tucker

Then again, that is betting against the second-best player in the league–Kevin Durant a.k.a. Durantula/ The Slim Reaper/ The Servant. Asserting himself even more after Westbrook’s injury, the Oklahoma City superstar is making his presence felt in the MVP race, averaging 31.8 ppg-7.6 rpg-5.6 apg this season on pace to 50-40-90 shooting splits at a ridiculous rate of 21 shots per game. With a remarkable 15 Win Shares, KD is the reason why the Longhorns are ranked first.

Playing Robin to Kevin Durant’s Batman is fellow All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge who, like Durant, has stepped up his game as of this season. Rounding up the starting five is the rejuvenated D. J. Augustin, defensive stalwart Avery Bradley, and the ambidextrous Tristan Thompson.

Their obvious weakness would be the bench (or the lack of players) but if their frontcourt players stay out of foul trouble, the aspiring MVP would make sure that his opponents remember one thing–he is not nice.



1 – Texas Longhorns
Top 8 PER Top 8 WS
Total 135.78 (4th) 38.5 (1st)
Average 16.97 4.81
D.J. Augustin 15.33 4
Avery Bradley 12.25 1.2
Kevin Durant 30.51 15
Tristan Thompson 14.81 4
LaMarcus Aldridge 21.99 6.6
Cory Joseph 14.1 2
Jordan Hamilton 13.57 1.3
P.J. Tucker 13.22 4.4
2 – Kentucky Wildcats
Top 8 PER Top 8 WS
Total 159.4 (1st) 37.3 (2nd)
Average 19.93 4.7
Rajon Rondo 15.82 0.6
John Wall 20.48 6.6
Eric Bledsoe 19.84 2.5
Anthony Davis 26.23 8.2
DeMarcus Cousins 25.78 5.9
Brandon Knight 16.91 2.3
Jodie Meeks 13.95 3
Terrence Jones 18.26 5.3
Patrick Patterson 15.24 3.5
Enes Kanter 16.08 2
3 – UCLA Bruins
Top 8 PER Top 8 WS
Total 148.77 (2nd) 36.6 (3rd)
Average 18.60 4.6
Russell Westbrook 23.78 3.6
Jrue Holiday 17.36 1.6
Arron Afflalo 17.48 4.8
Trevor Ariza 17.08 6.6
Kevin Love 28.17 12.1
Matt Barnes 11.72 2.3
Darren Collison 16.85 4.6
Jordan Farmar 16.33 1
Ryan Hollins 10.84 1
Luc Mbah a Moute 8.34 0.8
4 – Florida Gators
Top 8 PER Top 8 WS
Total 131.58 (5th) 34.6 (4th)
Average 16.45 4.3
Bradley Beal 14.34 2.6
Chandler Parsons 16.26 6.2
David Lee 19.65 6.9
Al Horford 22.14 2.8
Joakim Noah 19.65 7.9
Nick Calathes 11.83 0.9
Mike Miller 12.64 3
Corey Brewer 11.55 3.5
Udonis Haslem 6.98 0.2
Marreese Speights 15.07 1.7
5 – Duke Blue Devils
Top 8 PER Top 8 WS
Total 127.47 (7th) 29.7 (5th)
Average 15.93 3.7
Kyrie Irving 20.13 5.7
J.J. Redick 17.03 2.8
Luol Deng 15.53 3.7
Carlos Boozer 14.7 2.6
Miles Plumlee 14.35 2.8
Gerald Henderson 12.93 2.3
Mike Dunleavy 12.53 4.5
Josh McRoberts 13.88 4.9
Elton Brand 13.92 2.2
Mason Plumlee 17.93 2.7
6 – UConn Huskies
Top 8 PER Top 8 WS
Total 130.6 (6th) 27.9 (6th)
Average 16.33 3.5
Kemba Walker 17.11 3.7
Ray Allen 12.16 2.6
Rudy Gay 19.09 4.1
Andre Drummond 22.42 7.8
Emeka Okafor 15.88 4.5
A.J. Price 9.9 0
Jeremy Lamb 14.16 3.3
Caron Butler 12.21 0.4
Jeff Adrien 17.57 1.5
Hasheem Thabeet 8.14 0.1
7 – North Carolina Tar Heels
Top 8 PER Top 8 WS
Total 138.6 (3rd) 24.3 (7th)
Average 17.33 3.0
Ty Lawson 20.67 5.6
Vince Carter 16.58 3.5
Marvin Williams 14.76 2.7
Tyler Hansbrough 14.44 2.3
Brandan Wright 24.08 3.4
Kendall Marshall 13.82 1.2
Danny Green 12.49 2.4
Ed Davis 15.64 2
John Henson 17.8 2.4
Tyler Zeller 14.63 1.7
8 – Kansas Jayhawks
Top 8 PER Top 8 WS
Total 114.71 (8th) 22.5 (8th)
Average 14.34 2.8
Mario Chalmers 14.39 3.6
Xavier Henry 12.88 0.6
Paul Pierce 16.06 3.4
Markieff Morris 18.41 4.6
Nick Collison 12.27 3
Kirk Hinrich 10.57 2.6
Ben McLemore 7.38 0.2
Marcus Morris 15.84 3.5
Thomas Robinson 14.29 1.2
Darrell Arthur 8.12 0.3
Arizona Wildcats
Top 8 PER Top 8 WS
Total 105.85 (9th) 19.2 (9th)
Average 13.23 2.4
Jerryd Bayless 12.1 1.7
Andre Iguodala 13.31 4.5
Derrick Williams 12.12 2.1
Channing Frye 14.23 4.4
Jordan Hill 17.9 3
Will Bynum 14.89 1
Jason Terry 7.52 0.2
Chase Budinger 7.66 0.4
Richard Jefferson 12.03 2.1
Solomon Hill 9.27 0.3

Breaking ankles in fashion, hip-hop and culture one crossover at a time.