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Friday, September 30, 2011

Paulasi Taulava: A Tribute

Philippine basketball produced unique players that defined a generation. I’m talking about players that made a marked in Philippine basketball for Flag and Country. There was Jovito Gonzales who was a member of the first ever national team and went on to lead the country to six consecutive Far Eastern Games, the master-breeder Lou Salvador in the 1920s, Ambrosio Padilla in the 1930s, the world class Carlos Loyzaga in the 1950s and the 1960s, and Robert Jaworski in the 1970s. Then there were the NCC trio of Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim, and Hector Calma in the 1980s onwards to the 1990s, and there was Alvin Patrimonio. Then came Romel Adducul and most recently, we have the Filipino-Tongan Paulasi Taulava. Sure, there are many other Filipino players that I should have mention but I am only talking about long-time serving "national team" players.

Last year, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) approved the inclusion of national team veteran Paulasi Taulava, the most experienced of the active (non-retired) internationals, and four other PBA reinforcements to the national team bound for the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship in Wuhan, China. In fact, Taulava volunteered as early as the 2010 FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup to help the undermanned Smart Gilas Pilipinas, coached by Rajko Toroman (Serbia). He went on to play in his second Asian Games campaign and helped the national team to a 6th place finished. Most recently, Taulava won his third bronze medal in the William Jones Cup and may have represented the country for the final time in his third Asian Championships after helping the national team to a fourth place finished.

After years of being racistly denied the right of being a Filipino, Taulava turned out to be the most patriotic of our so-called professional basketball players. Even in those years when he fought for his citizenship, when he tried to prove to everyone that he is a Filipino or at least part Filipino, he never left the Philippines while other so-called Fil-Shams just jump on the plane and left the country. Taulava fought for his right to be a Filipino and beat the "racist" system that tried to earn a buck from Filipino-foreign players. Heck, one of his first assignments after he was allowed to play again in 2005 was to play for Chot Reyes' San Miguel-backed Philippine national team that went on to captured the William Jones Cup bronze medal and the minor Brunei Cup.

Taulava's place in the national team, and I'm talking about as a long-time serving member of the national team just like those before him, will be taken over by one of the Smart Gilas Pilipinas core members, possibly by the undrafted Chris Tiu and naturalized player Marcus Douthit.

Anyway, here is a list of Taulava's international experience. 

Tournaments with International Caps (vs. National Teams):
  • 2002 Philippines-Chinese Taipei Basketball Series
  • 2002 Philippines-Qatar Basketball Series
  • 2002 Four Nations Euro Challenge Invitational Tournament (Italy), 3rd place
  • 2002 Asian Games, 4th place (semi-finalists)
  • 2005 William Jones Cup, 3rd place (bronze)
  • 2006 Philippines-Lebanon Basketball Series
  • 2007 Southeast Asia Basketball Association (SEABA) champions
  • 2007 William Jones Cup, 3rd place (bronze)
  • 2007 Four Nations Manila Invitational Tournament champions
  • 2007 Philippines-Kuwait Basketball Series
  • 2007 FIBA Asia Championship, 9th place
  • 2009 Southeast Asia Basketball Association (SEABA) champions
  • 2009 William Jones Cup, 6th place
  • 2009 FIBA Asia Championship, 8th place (quarter-finalists)
  • 2010 FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup, 4th place (semi-finalists)
  • 2010 Asian Games (Guangzhou, China), 6th place 
  • 2011 William Jones Cup (Taipei, Taiwan), 3rd place (bronze)
  • 2011 FIBA Asia Championship (Wuhan, China), 4th place (semi-finalists)

Other Tournaments/Exhibitions (vs. Non-National Teams):
  • 2002 Philippines-Melbourne Tigers Basketball Series
  • 2005 Brunei Cup champions
  • 2006 Brunei Cup champions
  • 2006 Philippines-USA Legends
  • 2007 FIBA Asia Champions Cup, 5th place (quarter-finalists)
  • 2009 Philippines-Australian Great White Sharks Series
  • 2009 Philippines-PBA All-Star Exhibition Series
  • 2009 Ondoy Charity Games (Team Pilipinas vs. Smart Gilas)
  • 2011 Philippine Tour of Bahrain
  • 2011 Dubai Invitational Tournament, 2nd place (finalists)
  • 2011 FIBA Asia Champions Cup [also known as FIBA Asia Clubs Championship] (Manila, Philippines), 4th place (semi-finalists)
  • 2011 Ultimate All-Star Weekend: Smart Gilas Pilipinas vs. NBA/USA All-Stars Selection (Manila, Philippines)


    Taulava now holds the record for the most number of participation in major Asian tournaments by a PBA player (or by a Filipino professional player) - 6 (2002 Asian Games, 2007 FIBA Asia Championship, 2009 FIBA Asia Championship, 2010 FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup, the 2010 Asian Games, and the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship).

    Allan Caidic and Alvin Patrimonio previously held the record - 3 (1990 Asian Games, 1994 Asian Games, and 1998 Asian Games). In the 1986 Asian Games, Caidic and Patrimonio were amateurs at that time so it doesn't really count as their participation as PBA players (although, that 1986 national squad played as a guest team in the PBA prior to the Asiad meet in Korea). Same thing applies for their separate participation in the FIBA Asia Championship in 1985 (Caidic) and 1987 (Patrimonio).

    Just recently, Taulava played his fourth William Jones Cup breaking Allan Caidic's record (3 - 1984, 1985, 1998) as the most number of Jones Cup participation (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011) by a Filipino player. He also captured his third bronze medal in the competition making him the holder of most number of medals by Filipino player in William Jones Cup. Caidic still holds the record for the most Jones Cup title by a Filipino player.


    [UPDATED: As of 30 September 2011]
    P.S. Photos courtesy of Art Garcia, The 11th Rock, and struggle4ward. Also check out cod3breaker's Taulava wallpaper

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    Philippines in the 2011 Long Teng Cup

    The Philippine national football team, a mixed of senior and under-23 representatives, competed for the second time in the Long Teng Cup held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The Azkals finished third in last year's inaugural tournament with Ian Araneta as the tournament's leading scorer. This time around, the national team improved their standings and finished second with Emilio Caligdong as the tournament's leading scorer (Caligong is also Long Teng Cup's all-time leading scorer with five goals on his name).

    Philippine head coach Michael Weiss used the tournament to prepare the under-23 for the upcoming 2011 Southeast Asian Games. I hope that Filipino bandwagon fans did not put so much expectation on these games. Since the end of last year's AFF Suzuki Cup, stupid bandwagon fans distracted the players from team practices and assumed that the team can beat even the likes of Asian powerhouse Japan.

    Anyway, if the Long Teng Cup continues for the years to come, it will be the William Jones Cup version of association football and will perhaps establish a healthy regional rivalry with Hong Kong and Taiwan.


    Azkals squad for the 2011 Long Teng Cup (Courtesy of Filipino Football):
    1. Aly Borromeo, Defender, Kaya FC, Captain
    2. Emelio Caligdong, Midfielder, Philippine Air Force FC, Vice-Captain
    3. Phil Younghusband, Forward, Loyola Meralco Sparks FC
    4. James Younghusband, Midfielder/Defender, Loyola Meralco Sparks FC
    5. Mark Hartmann, Forward, Loyola Meralco Spraks FC
    6. Matthew Hartmann, Midfielder, Loyola Meralco Sparks FC
    7. Jeff Christiaens, Midfielder, Torhout KM, Belgium
    8. Carlos De Murga, Defender, Racing Club Portuense , Spain 
    9. Roland Muller, Goalkeeper, MSV Duisburg, Germany
    10. Lemuel Unabia, Defender, Green Archers United FC
    11. Raymark Fernandez, Defender, University of the Philippines
    12. Neckson Leonora, Defender, Pachanga FC
    13. Oliver Poetschke, Midfielder, BFC Preussen Berlin, Germany
    14. Angel Guirado, Forward, Global FC 
    15. Jason De Jong, Midfielder, FC Dordrecht, Netherlands
    16. Misagh Bahadoran, Forward, Global FC
    17. Roel Gener, Defender, Philippine Army FC 
    18. Eduard Sacapaño, Goalkeeper, Philippine Army FC
    19. Lexton Moy, Midfielder, Kaya FC
    20. Ian Araneta, Forward, Philippine Air Force FC
    Head Coach: Michael Weiss (Germany)


    Philippines schedule:
    • Hong Kong 3 vs. 3 Philippines (September 30)
    • Chinese Taipei 0 vs. 0 Philippines (October 2)
    • Philippines 2 vs. 0 Macau (October 4)

    Win-Loss Record: 1-2-0


    Philippines at the Long Teng Cup:
    2010: 3rd place
    2011: 2nd place


    See Also: 

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    The Philippines in the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship (Olympic Qualifier)

    This month, September 2011, the Philippine national basketball team (commercially known as Smart Gilas Pilipinas) ranked 45th in the world finished fourth in the Olympic-qualifying FIBA Asia Championship. The national squad failed to qualify for next year's Olympic Games but achieved its highest finished in 24 years after reaching the semi-finals of the regional qualifier.

    The current squad has been together for about three years now and look forward to emulate their NCC counterpart. Though, they did not get their objective this time but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of Philippine basketball. The NCC team did not win their first Asian Championship attempt in 1983 but won the next edition in 1985 and the Smart Gilas program can do that as well. Anyway, after years of failure (thanks to Filipino wannabe Graham Lim and his BAP), Philippine national basketball team is becoming like England’s national football team whose fans expect the team to fail all the time and a win by the team is not good enough.  Some Filipinos today would rather watch the ever-boring unpatriotic Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) where the door to represent the country is shut while ticket sales are the number one priority of the greedy corporate owners. We also have the "crab mentality" of unpatriotic idiots who hasn't done anything for their country and has pure hatred to their own national teams.

    Here are the national team squad for the 2011 Asian Championship:
    • Mac Baracael
    • Mark Barroca
    • JV Casio
    • Marcus Douthit
    • Marcio Lassiter
    • Christopher Lutz
    • Chris Tiu
    • Japeth Aguilar (Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters)
    • Pauliasi Taulava (Meralco Bolts)
    • Kelly Williams (Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters)
    • Jimmy Alapag (Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters)
    • Ranidel De Ocampo (Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters)

    Coach: Rajko Toroman (Serbia)


    2011 FIBA Asia Championship
    Host City: Wuhan, China

    Preliminary Rounds

    Group D - Philippines, U.A.E, Bahrain, China

    Group D matches:
    • Philippines 92 vs. 52 United Arabs Emirates (September 15) W [highlights]
    • Philippines 60 vs. 75 China (September 16) L [highlights]
    • Bahrain 71 vs. 113 Philippines (September 17) W [highlights]

    Second Rounds

    Group F - China, Japan, Philippines, Jordan, Syria, United Arabs Emirates

    Group F matches:
    • Jordan 64 vs. 72 Philippines (September 19) W [highlights]
    • Philippines 83 vs. 76 Japan (September 20) W [highlights]
    • Syria 52 vs. 75 Philippines (September 21) W [highlights]

    Quarter-Finals: Philippines 95 vs. 78 Taiwan/Chinese Taipei (September 23) W [highlights]
    Semi-Finals: Philippines 61 vs. 75 Jordan (September 24) L [highlights]
    Bronze Medal Game: Philippines 68 vs. 70 South Korea (September 25) L [highlights]

    Philippines Win-Loss Record: 6-2


    Philippine Basketball Record in the Asian Championship:

    1960: 1st place (gold)
    1963: 1st place (gold)
    1965: 2nd place (silver)
    1967: 1st place (gold)
    1969: 3rd place (bronze)
    1971: 2nd place (silver)
    1973: 1st place (gold)
    1975: 5th place
    1977: 5th place
    1979: 4th place
    1981: 4th place
    1983: 9th place
    1985: 1st place (gold)
    1987: 4th place
    1989: 8th place
    1991: 7th place
    1993: 11th place
    1995: 12th place
    1997: 9th place
    1999: 11th place
    2001: suspended
    2003: 15th place
    2005: suspended
    2007: 9th place
    2009: 8th place
    2011:4th place


    Check Out:




    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    New Zealand in the 2011 Rugby World Cup

    For more than a month (starting September 9), New Zealand will host the Rugby World Cup for the first time in the professional era and for the second time in history since 1987. New Zealand will also try to win it for the first time since the first Rugby World Cup in 1987. The New Zealand All Blacks have the biggest expectation to deliver in this tournament just like England in football. I fear that if the All Blacks failed to lift the trophy, New Zealand will become like that of England where fans expect their national football team to fail all the time and a victory is not good enough.

    Anyway, the last Rugby World Cup was disappointing; thanks to a rotation policy and a stupid referee name Wayne Barnes. The team was eliminated in the quarterfinals and was their worst finished the quadrennial competition.

    This year, the All Blacks are once again one of the favourites to win the Web Ellis Cup and even though they failed to win this year’s Tri-Nations. The fans should take comfort to the fact that history says that no reigning Tri-Nations champions has ever won the Rugby World Cup. 


    2011 Rugby World Cup


    The All Blacks cruised through the pool games undefeated scoring over four tries a game. The team's biggest challenge so far was their hard-fought victory over the Argentinians in the quarterfinals. The All Blacks lost three players in five games, including the world's best fly half Dan Carter, to injuries.

    Semi-finals
    The All Blacks faced their traditional Trans-Tasman rival Australia in the semi-finals with history against both of them. Australia defeated defending champions South Africa in their quarterfinal match (history says that teams that defeated the defending champions eventually won the World Cup) and New Zealand has never beaten the Wallabies in the quadrennial tournament. Of course, no reigning Tri-Nations champions ever won the Rugby World Cup at the same year.

    Anyway, the All Blacks played their best rugby in years and steamrolled the Aussies to 20-6 victory reaching the finals for the first time in 16 years. In an almost perfect performance, the All Blacks countered everything what the Wallabies thrown at them, shutting down the Aussies while fighting for the ball whether if it’s in the air or in the ground.

    Finals

    The All Blacks faced another long-time rival France in a fitting replay of 1987 Rugby World Cup final. The finals was a close match, the French's intimidating defense limited the All Blacks to just one try by Tony Woodcock but in the end, New Zealand won 8-7 over France. To sum it up: Stephen Donald came on.. Nek Minnit.. New Zealand won the Rugby World Cup!



    New Zealand Rugby World Cup Squad:

    Forwards:

    Hookers
    Corey Flynn (Canterbury)
    Andrew Hore (Taranaki)
    Keven Mealamu (Auckland)

    Props
    John Afoa (Auckland)
    Ben Franks (Tasman)
    Owen Franks (Canterbury)
    Tony Woodcock (North Harbour)

    Locks
    Anthony Boric (North Harbour)
    Brad Thorn (Canterbury)*
    Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury)
    Ali Williams (Auckland)

    Loose forwards
    Jerome Kaino (Auckland)*
    Richie McCaw (Canterbury)*
    Kieran Read (Canterbury)*
    Adam Thomson (Otago)
    Victor Vito (Wellington)


    Backs:

    Halfbacks
    Jimmy Cowan (Southland)
    Andy Ellis (Canterbury)
    Piri Weepu (Wellington)*

    First five–eighths
    Daniel Carter (Canterbury)*
    Colin Slade (Canterbury)
    Aaron Cruden (Manawatu)
    Stephen Donald (Waikato)

    Midfielders
    Richard Kahui (Waikato)*
    Ma’a Nonu (Wellington)
    Conrad Smith (Wellington)*
    Sonny Bill Williams (Canterbury)

    Outside backs
    Israel Dagg (Hawke’s Bay)*
    Zac Guildford (Hawke’s Bay)
    Cory Jane (Wellington)*
    Mils Muliaina (Waikato)
    Isaia Toeava (Auckland)
    Hosea Gear (Wellington)


    Head Coach: Graham Henry
    Assistant Coaches: Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith


    New Zealand Schedule:

    Pool A - Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Tonga
    • New Zealand 41 vs. 10 Tonga (September 9, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand)
    • New Zealand 83 vs. 7 Japan (September 16, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand)
    • New Zealand 37 vs. 17 France (September 24, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand)
    • New Zealand 79 vs. 15 Canada (October 2, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand)

    Quarter-finals: New Zealand 33 vs. 10 Argentina (October 9, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand)
    Semi-finals: New Zealand 20 vs. 6 Australia (October 16, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand)
    Finals: New Zealand 8 vs. 7 France (October 23, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand)

      New Zealand Win-Loss Record: 7-0


      New Zealand World Cup Record:

      1987: Champions (gold)
      1991: 3rd place (bronze)
      1995: Finalists (silver)
      1999: 4th place (semi-finalists)
      2003: 3rd place (bronze)
      2007: Quarter-finalists
      2011: Champions



      Rugby World Cup Holders:
      1987: New Zealand
      1991: Australia
      1995: South Africa
      1999: Australia
      2003: England
      2007: South Africa
      2011: New Zealand


      Check Out:

      Sunday, September 4, 2011

      Christchurch Earthquake: One Year Since...

      Pre-Quake: Old Christchurch at night (source)
      One year ago (September 4, 2010), a 7.1 earthquake hit the city of Christchurch and the Canterbury region. The Quake was followed by several huge aftershocks. It calm down about eight hours later but since then aftershocks just keep coming back. There were some huge ones after September 4, there was the Boxing Day (December 26) Quake and of course, the fatal February 22 Big Quake that killed almost 200 people. The most recent big one was the June the 13th Quake and between these big quakes, aftershocks just keep coming back. There were 8529 quakes and aftershocks since September 4 last year and the latest was just this morning at 05:09 AM.

      Anyway, half of the city is back to normal though ever since that day last year, the most English city in the southern hemisphere will never be the same. 
       
      [Today is also Father's Day in New Zealand and my late father's 68th birthday]


      When you are in danger - Psalm 91

      Psalm 91 (The Bible, King James Version)

      The security of the godly

      [1] He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
      [2] I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
      [3] Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
      [4] He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
      [5] Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
      [6] Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
      [7] A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
      [8] Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
      [9] Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
      [10] There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
      [11] For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
      [12] They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
      [13] Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
      [14] Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
      [15] He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
      [16] With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

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