USA Team Basketball Declassified

I watched the whole game between Germany and the USA, one word describes it. Boooooooooring.

The Americans shooting brick after brick and at one time, Melo shot a seven footer, wide open and missed it badly. He ran back court, he can't believe he missed the gimme, he was smiling. I was not.

You'd think, what the???, USA won over Deutschland by 20 points, isn't that enough? Well, if you saw the whole game, the score does not validate the American struggle especially in the first half. While watching, I wondered, with Dirk running on a Volkswagen fumes, why can't the US blow this team out. Greece, Argentina and Spain all have something to look forward to and believe in to. That is, this USA team is B-E-A-T-A-B-L-E.

Random Views:

1. Pressure Cooker.

Unlike Japanese meals, the US Team will go in pressure cooker before this Japan Games is over. So, when the going gets tougher (against Greece, Spain, Argentina), can they handle it? They are the USA-NBA selection, formed to win this tournament. With an overhauled selection process and coaching staff, an awful lot is at stake. Can they be cool with being down few minutes to go? Can they knock down shots when they need to during tight end games where timeouts doesn’t come like in the NBA? Should they loose this one, this will back fire to the NBA marketing. Imagine, NBA sending Wade, Lebron and Melo, then putting it all on them by naming them Co-Caps, then them coming back with another bronze medal.

2. Lebron Can't Get It Done in FIBA Ball

He's one player that is being exposed in these games. Out 7 games, he hasn't really taken one game in which he can say he own the victory. Hey, I know it's a team game but you know what I mean, he hasn’t dominated a single game. Lebron is dribbling too much, swinging his dribble left to right, right to left with no clear effect or intentions. And, when he attacks, oh-oh, the opposition is waiting for a charge-fest. Against Germany, he turned it over 5 to 7 times via combination of bad passes and offensive fouls. His outside shot is suspect too. Why Coack K doesn't play the dead shot Joe Johnson more? I say, play him rather than force the Lebron swinging and dealing outside.

3. Wade Acting Too Much

Wade just brought his acting skills in Japan but the refs aren't buying it. The whistles he's getting in the NBA are not being called here. Thus, see him complaining to the refs ever so often, see him just a little bit late back on defense as he keeps on giving the refs, the look and objections. Last night, he was in contact with a German player by a hairline, he does his patented, swinging, flailing, arm-swinging, falling routine, the referees ignored his Reggie Miller impression. Then he goes back to bench doing his limping-walk, checking in his nose, his eye, his cheek and elsewhere. Even him, he doesn't know where he was hit. One advice to Wade: This is not a marketing driven league where he is the product. This is not NBA.

4. The 3-Minute Revolution

Coach K is substituting players faster than J-Lo can change husbands. He's changing players a lot and in bunches. Thus, players can't get the rhythm. One minute they're in, one minute they are out. Are they in? Are they out? Result is, players won’t admit it, but they are looking over their shoulders rather focusing on court. Last I check, players need to warm up before they can get to that playing level or comfort. Coaching staff contends that they want fresh legs all the time but all these guys averaged 35 to 45 minutes per game in the NBA. Melo didn't look tired last season. Neither Wade, neither Paul, neither Johnson, neither Howard.

5. US Bricks

See item 2. Only Joe Johnson can shoot reliable threes. The rest depends on better shot opportunities to knock them down. The US hoisted tons of three point shots against the Germans and drilled in 10. The drill bit must be dull. 25% shooting is not quite enough against polished teams. Say 'sayonara' to Gold if they will shoot 25% threes. Expect more zoning against the US. And why not, against Germany, Wade was 0-for-5 and 1-for-11 the whole tournament, Melo shot 9 3-fgs just to get to 3 shots made, Shane Battier 0-for-3, Kirk Hinrich 1-for-5, James was 1-for-3.


Spain Versus Agentina Semi-Finals: Fuego!

Just what we all expected. It will be Spain and Argentina for the first semi-final pairing in FIBA Championships. The two teams are so much alike and match up pretty well. This will be basketball battle for the ages (ok, for a while).

Both won over young teams in the Quarter Finals. Both have NBA stars in Gasol, Nocioni and Ginobili. Both carry an unblemished record of 7 and 0. Both are winning via 20 point and above margins. Both dismantled their respective QF opponents. Both are well-coached and run plays to perfection. Both plays team game. Both are loaded with smart and talented players, from 1 to 5. Both are Spanish-speaking nation (OK, this is irrelevant).

Spain, powered by Gasol's25 and 9, didn't encounter much problem disposing the Lithuanians to the tune 89-67. Argentina meantime, toyed and played with a young Turkish team (sans Turkoglu and Okur), scoring a lopsided 83-58 victory. Argentina's tremendous defense and explosive offense coming at all angles and all players proved to be too much for Turkey. Nocioni, Delfino and a crew of Bigs K.O.'d Turkey.

Argentina dropped 9 straight against the Spaniards. Will this weigh in? Or, will the law of averages finally give them a victory and send Spain to another heartbreaking tournament?

As a basketball player you only get to play the World Championships, 2 to 3 times. For these guys, this is a rare chance to be basketball legends in their home turf and the world as well.

This Semi Final game is a toss up.


Best Point Guard Of The World

I wrote about Chris Paul as perhaps the best point guard in this World Championships when I picked him up in my All FUN Basketball Team. Well, I may be right. The Associated Press run a story about him being indeed the best.

Without Chris Paul, the US team would be so vulnerable because of the tremendous back court pressure applied in the international circuit. From Day 1 of this Worlds (or Day 1 in his NBA career), it was obvious that Chris Paul is a confident, steady, unselfish, reliable and solid point guard. Primarily a distributor but can also score. Read: A POINT GUARD.

Only now you can say, the US is lucky not having Allen Iverson in the team. Though Iverson in an explosive offensive player, his game just doesn’t fit. See 2004 Olympics disaster. US Ball even partnered Iverson with Marbury, what a move! And now, just like Iverson, the US Basketball Organization led by Colangelo did a cross-over. They got the services of Chris Paul for the 2006 FIBA World Championships.

He is tied with Argentina's Pepe Sanchez for a league leading 34 assists while turning it over about once a game. Only 1 per game under constant pressure from opponents. He is able to put about 9 ppg too in an offensive-player-loaded rotation. He is shooting 58% from the field and hit 4/9 in his 3 point shots. Just how important he is in the NEW Dream Team? He leads in the team in minutes played. More than Melo, more than Wade and more than James.

After those stats, I end this in saying, after John Stockton's era, it's Chris Paul's time to carry the pure point guard model.


Houston Rocket's Bizarre Rowdiest Fan Contest

Houston Rockets coach Van Gundy just bought 50 season tickets to be used as prizes for one of the most bizarre promos to get things rockin at Houston's home court, the Toyota Center. Forget the arena clowns and mascots, forget the free burgers, forget the sling-T-shirts. Here comes his idea, The Break Your Voice Box Contest. What the hell is he thinking?

The top 30 fans selected by the judges will receive season tickets near the court. The other 20 tickets will be distributed at each home game -- 10 at random outside the arena before the game and 10 during the game allowing fans to move from their seats into the "Red Rowdies" section. Ironically, Van Gundy will not be present during the contest. He is busy formulating a Houston Rocket play, or maybe, busy thinking of another bizarre promo.

This weekend, Van Gundy's brainchild, the Rowdiest Fan Contest will premiere. This is the only contest in the world in which I will pity the winner. Imagine, having to watch 40 games at home, and act up like you are having fun when in fact, Houston is 34-48 team heading to this season.

This is a desperate move to say the least. I can't blame Van Gundy though. If your two superstars happen to be McGrady and Yao, fans at the Toyota might indeed need some shoving to be noisy, to be rowdy. One is the back-aching and sleepy eyed Tracy Mc Grady. The other one is not so spectacular superstar and boundary boring, Yao Ming. Then coupled with the defensive minded coach like Van Gundy, Houston Rockets is quite a sleeper.

Van Gundy said he wants the arena to become a more intimidating place for opponents. Ei, Mr. Coach, it's your job to make opponents fear visiting your team. Not the fans. As fans, all we can really do is energize and fire up the team.

But from a man who hanged onto Miami Heat's Alonzo Mourning legs like a puppy during one New York-Miami melee, I am not surprised with Van Gundy's deal but rather amused.


Miami Heat and Pat Riley: One More Time

As I expected, Miami Heat coach Pat Riley will be back for more. This is a competitive 61 year old man. He found few reasons to drop the chance of getting his 2nd back to back titles. He won back to back in LA in the eighties. With still enough gas from the Diesel Shaq Fu and Wade surging, all roads point to another shot at the title.

Plus, all major players in his rotation will be returning. Only Gary Payton is still unsigned. Yes, the artist formerly known as the Glove. The fella who delivered 2 key baskets in 2 separate games that killed the Dallas Mavericks title dream.

The major players in the East are Detroit Pistons and the Ben Wallace powered-up Chicago Bulls. Adding, the Cavaliers making some noise and Indiana Pacers retooled with the re-acquisition of Harrington. Battle tested and battle scarred that Riley is, I do not think these teams will make him pee in fright.

Riley knows he's got nothing to loose even by losing this time. This coming season's effort is just an icing on the cake. The hell with quitting on top. Even if he sucks this year (which is a remote possibility), he already proved he can win again.

"After winning the championship, I realized there's always something meaningful that happens in your life that becomes the primary point of your destiny," Riley said in a statement. "Winning the championship showed me that I am definitely in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. I can't wait to get started."


Double Team: Kobe Bryant and SONY

Kobe Bryant’s marketing value is clearly back again. Big names brand are lining up once more. Proving that, in the Sports-Entertainment world, off court history won’t be much of a problem. The fans, consumers and the sports marketing world do not care. Complete entry here.

Remembering Wilt Chamberlain

ESPN ran an article about Wilt Chamberlain, in commemoration of his birthday. And so I am running one myself. A tribute to one of the Legends of basketball.

He would have been 70 yesterday. This basketball legend died on October 12 1999. Wilton Norman Chamberlain was listed 7 feet 1 1/16 inches and weighed between 270 and 320 most of his playing days. Those vital statistics are of mythic proportions. No other player his size, his strength, his speed and his dominance came before and after him.

Only the big daddy, Shaquille O'Neal can compare to The Stilt in terms of size. And, amongst big men, only Bill Russel can say he got Wilt's number. Bill Russel collected NBA rings year in and year out while Wilt was busy braking individual records.

What the Big Dipper accomplished statistically is mind boggling. Averaging over 50 points a game in a season is unprecendented. Almost impossible to accomplish again. In his 14 seasons, he at least led the NBA in one of these categories: scoring, rebounding, assists, and field-goal percentage.

At one point in time, he was giving up sure 2 points just so he can get his assists and lead the NBA in that category. Saying Wilt was one of a kind is an understatement but I will say it still. He is really one of a kind.

People would say he was taller than his listed site, some would claim as tall as 7 feet 4 inches. Maybe true. Just look how he dwarfed his rival, equally great, if not better, Bill Russel. Of course he never challenged the height listing, knowing that, in his case, claiming he is bigger would even make him much less rooted for. He said once, "Nobody loves Goliath".

Shaquille learned this lesson early on. Just see how Shaq turned or packaged himself into. A fun loving, dorky, charitable 7-1 basketball Goliath. Result is, Shaq had and is having easier time with the press and the fans.

Along the way, he won 2 championships, one in Philly in 67 and the other one was in LA, 1972. He once rebounded 55 in game and of course, he once scored 100 points in a game. Only Kobe 81 last season comes close. Arguably the dominant sports figure of his time. But one statistic that probably stands (pun intended) out the most, he once claimed that he had sex with 20000 women during the course of his adult life. Did I say he is one of kind?

What a player on and off the court! Scored 100 points in game then later claimed to have sex with 20,000 women. Beat that, MJ! Beat that Magic!


World's All-FUN Basketball Team

Point Guard: Chris Paul

I haven't really watched all games to say this, but my gut feel is Chris Paul is the best point guard in this FIBA Games. In fact, he's so good, during his rookie season, ESPN's Hollinger published an article, implying that CP was better than Magic in their rookie years. I questioned his outside shooting a bit but with the 3 point line 3 feet nearer, he's shooting well while getting everybody in sync. This steady reliable point guard might be the key player who will determine where the gold medals will go.

Shooting Guard: Manu Ginobili

You know he's going left. You know he will fake. You know he will flop. You know he will side-step. You know he will gamble on getting steals. You just know. You know what he will do but still, he will have his way. This is his peak, so enjoy his game folks.

Small Forward: Andres Nocioni

Nocioni can do it all. Can defend. Can rebound. Can attack the basket and can shoot outside. Mid range, short range, long range. A proto-type small forward, a reincarnation of Dan Marjerle who played for the Poenix Suns (Miami Heat) in the 90's. You know how good this guy is? Carlos Delfino, equally tough and equally good, an NBAer himself, spends much of his time in the bench cheering his team. He and Nocioni play the same position.

Power Forward: Dirk Nowitzki

His ball dominance or license to shoot for Germany is only surpassed by Hitler dominace of WW2 during its early years. And with sheer offensive fire power we end up watching pure basketball as it was invented. No complication, no science. That is, put the freakin ball in the hoop.

Center/Forward: Pau Gasol

Spain has Gasol playing alongside Juan Carlos Navarro and Jose Calderon. Result, Spain is looking stronger more than ever. Gasol is an automatic 20-10 guy every game. He can start his attack from the outside and beat his defenders off the dribble. Pau is now surrounded by quick-heady-sharp-shooting guards. That said, once he has the ball down low, the Spaniard just knows what to do. With array of moves, he's a tough cover. When double teamed, he as quick to pass as he is quick to do his sweeping hook shots, left or right handed. Defense, his game suits FIBA style of play as when they zone, he can cover vast area and do it ultra quick. That's why I see Spain going deeper in this tournament. Only unfavorable seeding will bump them off. Meaning early collision with equally tough teams during one and done games.


The Very First PBA Draft Diary

I accidentally caught the second round of the PBA draft earlier tonight. Watched it, read the news and now I give you a short (not that sweet though) PBA Draft Diary. Ala-Bill Simmons.

Sta Lucia broke its longtime self-imposed 'No-Fil-Am' policy by drafting Kelly Williams. But this doesn't come as a surprise. Days earlier it was widely believed that Sta. Lucia already made up their mind. Said to be capable of playing the 2, 3, 4, 5 positions, he just made any of the Sta. Lucia's pillars (Duremdes, Espino, Aquino) very much dispensable.

Williams mother is a native of Cebu and he honed his skills at Oakland University in Michigan Detroit. "I'm excited. Just to be a part of this draft makes me proud. I'm so thankful that this nation has embraced me." said Williams. Wait 'til he plays the Ginebra San Miguel, let's see the embracing part he's talking about. He will be joined Mark Isip at Sta. Lucia, a former PBL-Magnolia player too. Mark Isip was selected 6th.

"Now I have a team!" later proclaimed by long time Sta. Lucia team manager and board representative Buddy Encarnado. What? All along, during the times I was watching Sta Lucia these past years and I am not watching a team. I didn't all these years, I was watching a bunch of pogo sticks and not a team.

Another "No-Filam" team, the Air21 was dead-on set to pick 2-time UUAP MVP Arwind Santos, and they got what they wished for. Succeeding picks are: (3) Coca-Cola Tigers - Joseph Yeo, San Miguel Beer (4 and 5) - LA Tenorio and forward Gabby Espinas.

Purefoods knowingly that they lack depth at PG position, picked up Boyet Bautista (9th) in the first round and Ollan Omiping (20th) in the second round. Bad omen for the offensively ineffective Paul Artadi.

How excruciating for these PBA applicants to be there in the room, with bright lights, cameras on them, knowing that the draft is only 2 round deep. With 40 or so applicants, half of them will go home un-drafted.

If not for the Coca Cola rookie shopping binge, there would have been more broken hearted basketball players. Coke's Binky Favis drafted 7 applicants. You know not everyone will be signed. Teams have five days to tender their offer to their respective draftees.

With Commissioner Eala during a great impersonation of David Stern, PBA is starting to do this more like what it should be. A little flair in the proceedings. Alex Compton, taking a break from his staple, a Coffee Mate video shoot, did the announcing and analysis.

How difficult it is for Alex Compton to be still not eligible to play in the PBA. He himself could have been drafted in the PBA so many years ago. Consolation is, he's a passable TV commentator. Pretty good. In fact a little overly good, because during the course of the coverage, he did not say any negative comment about a player or a draft.

He went the whole night like this… “he is intelligent”, “this guy is a steal”, “he can shoot”, “this player can defend”, “he can do anything”, “this is great pick”, etc. Basically, all was good. Ahhhhh, isn't he nice.

FIBA Rules and Equipment

If you find the Rules and Equipment of FIBA Basketball a little confusing and if you have time, check this link to clear the air (ball) so to speak.

FIBA: First Day Punk

Can you believe this? After being shackled by Ren Ren Ritualo back-2-back, the Lebanon National Team opened up its World Championship with a victory over Venezuela.

Ronnie Turiaf is playing in this World Championships along with Phoenix Suns nemesis Boris Diaw. Both playing for France and are said to be buddies. How about that? After going thru a surgery to fix his heart, he returned to action in the NBA (playoffs included) and now at FIBA Championships.

As accomplished a player Manu Ginobili is, he hasn't won the World Basketball Championships yet. This is probably his last great chance as he will be around 34 years old the next time. This is the only title that has eluded him. After getting NBA ring twice and the 2004 Olympics. Thanks to the ref at 2002 Worlds, he could have gotten the FIBA crown in 2002. Having been injured during the cirtical part of that tournament didn't help either.

It is not a remote possibility that Vito Lazatin or a friend of his would catch this entry, but he needs to be corrected. During France-Argentina opener, he keeps on saying that on-hand are two European Basketball powers. Argetina, Europe?

Now we are seeing a level playing field for the premier Noli Me Tangere of the world, Dwyane Wade. He just can't get the calls he usually gets in the NBA. End result? He spend tons of time on the bench. He didn't get to the free throw line either. And, he keeps on throwing unbalanced and forced shots hoping to get the wistle.


Bruce Bowen: Team USA Final Cut

Bruce Bowen was the final cut. Earlier, Gilbert Areanas was sent home packing because of an injury. The 12 man USA team is now set. Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony are co-captains. The other 9 are: Shane Battier, Chris Bosh, Elton Brand, Kirk Hinrich, Dwight Howard, Antawn Jamison, Joe Johnson, Brad Miller, Chris Paul.

I thought Shane Battier would be the one in the sideline this coming Sunday at the World Championships in Japan. Some other thought so too. But my guess is, he was DUKED OUT by Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Coach K is the coach of Duke. And Shane, we all know is a Duke Blue Devil. Both these guys share same basketball principles and probably life principles as well. Just how blue Battier blood is? His number 31 jersey was retired by Duke. Coach K is bluer than blue. He was offered by the Los Angeles Lakers multi million dollar contract, he turned it down and preferred to lead Duke in the NCAA still.

It must be hard for the management to cut Bruce Bowen because he is such a solid citizen, team mate and defensive player. But his play (specially offensive play) during the tune-up games didn’t help his cause. Scoring only 4 points in 4 games. That's a ridiculous 1 point average. Coaching staff perhaps thinks that Shane can do the defensive chores and score better. More than what Bruce can give.

Real Slim Shady Philippine Basketball Gods

May I have your attention please?
May I have your attention please?
Will the real slim shady please stand up?
I repeat, will the real slim shady please stand up?
Were gonna have a problem here...

Had the Phillipines been not suspended by FIBA and qualified for the World Championships, it is possible that we will be bracketed in Group A. Group has Argentina, Nigeria, France, Serbia and Venezuela. From that, I Post these questions...

Who doesn't want to see the Philippines Basketball team play these elite teams? Please stand up! Please stand up!

Who doesn't want to see Tony Parker play Jay Jay Helterbrand? Please stand up! Please stand up!

Who doesn't want to see Manu Ginobili and Mark Caguioa guard each other? Please stand up! Please stand up!

Who doesn't want to see James Yap trying to score over Andres Nocioni off a pick coming from Asi Taulava? Please stand up! Please stand up!

Who doesn't want to see Kerby Raymundo guard Darko Milicic? Please stand up! Please stand up!

Who doesn't want to see how Coach Chot Reyes handles the pressure? Please stand up! Please stand up!

Who doesn't want to see Eric Menk battle taller and stronger world basketball frontliners? Please stand up! Please stand up!

Who doesn't want to see fun and pure basketball? Please stand up! Please stand up!

Gentlemen, the real slim minded and shady caharacters of Philippine BasketBall, you may now sit down.

*Sitting down is an option but stepping down is preferred.

Philippines: Out Of This Worlds

Not seeing Team Philippines compete in this coming World Championships in Saitama Japan makes me want to puke in disgust. Did anybody tell you that this coming World Basketball Championships is the World Cup of basketball? This is it. For some, no other tournament is more valuable than this. (Other would argue of course, Olympic Basketball Gold and NBA 'World' Championships would be cherished more.)

You see, Qatar and Lebanon (2 out of 4 Asian representatives), were defeated by the Philippines Team. The fact that, the teams we are fielding in these mini-tournaments and exhibition/tune-up games are hastily formed and still winning games tells us that SMC and Chot Reyes plan is turning out to be ok. Players and teams have other commitments too so the national team managers and coaches are juggling players for best results.

The fighting squad that faced Lebanon: Ritualo, Williams, Allado, De Ocampo, Alapag, Miller, Pennisi, Taulava, Reavis, Santos, Cortez, Mamaril and Miranda. No bullish Eric Menk, NO sparkin' Mark Caguioa, NO dazzlin Helterbrand, NO swatin' Pingris, No steady Kerby Raymundo, No explosive Danny Seigle and NO MVP James Yap. Yet, still mission accomplished.
Much of these weeks that the Middle East is in turmoil, the Lebanese National team left their country and currently on tour. Thus, this long visit in the Philippines. Though it was a tired and troubled Lebanon, the 2 Philippine national team victories can't be discounted. During the initial meet-up, the Lebanese were just tired as the game went along. But on Wednesday, the second game, they had a 3-day rest and still lost the game. No more excuses this time. Evidently, the Philippines can handle them and probably can handle some as well. A million sigh...

Now we are stuck in the mud. Suspended by the ALMIGHTY FIBA. Thanks to the Royal Rumble in Philippine Sports Politics.


FOOD TRIP: Mall Of Asia (Again)

Last night, we headed out to our favorite dining place, that is MAX's at Mall Of Asia. Don’t worry I am not a paid writer of MAX’s, I just prefer MAX’s over any other resto in MOA.

It is my understanding that Crispy Pata will make my BP go nuts, but we ordered it anyways. You see, I am under the influence of a medication called Neobloc. My BP is playing games with me now so I have to take precautionary medicine. Two times a day, everyday.

Crispy Pata, Fresh Lumpia (it's cold, it's from the ref, it was quickly served so you know it was not THAT fresh) and soup of the day was on the table.

Successive dining out at Mall Of Asia, for the first time, we cleaned up what we ordered. We were to order either ice cream or cake but pulled the plug and decided to score some yogurt instead.

Unfortunately, SM HyperMarket already closed past ten, so on our way home, 7-11 was the destination. Drove home and to counter the Crispy Pata I took earlier, I slurped the yogurt along with the Neobloc, bottoms up.

Unfortunately, PanDeManila was closed around 10.30pm, had it been otherwise, itinerary was to bring home Pandesal too. So sad, the food trip was not 100% accomplished.


Da Vinci Encoded 3D Slide Show Screensaver

The movie and the buzz and fuzz it created may be over but the its art significance is timeless. For all you Da vinci and Da Vinci Code fans out there, available for dowload is a free Da Vinci Encoded 3d Slide Show Screensaver. Download URL is here: http://uselesscreations.com/davinci/


Each moring I check about 5 email accounts (pop and web based included), and start to check on my homepaged websites. All of em, exactly 5 by now. (My.yahoo, the Gmail, ESPN, eBAY and Google Search)

After that, it's free for all surfing. Usually, I check my other accounts, community sites, social sites, pro sites, blog sites, selling sites, 'parasites' and then even some more browsing.

Which leads me to the PBA.ph site. Earlier this AM, though I was to leave for an executive check-up (yet again), I still took time to see what's up with the PBA.

And Walah!!! The best visit to the PBA.ph website of all-time. Why? Three great news came upon me. After the PBA board 3 day meeting at Macau, they have discussed some big plans up ahead. Most notably, the creation of a truly PBA owned coliseum.

The PBA is now more driven to build it's own home court. (Probably one that will not make you cringe in leaving your car in the parking lots and alleys in Pasay and Cubao areas.)

For the longest and oldest times, the PBA has been planning this but all went ZILCH. This time, backed by BIG NAMES and big corporations, 'HOME OF THE PBA' can be a reality.

This time, names like Manny Pangilinan, Danding Conjuangco, Robert Non (The SMC League Commissioner), PDLT, San Miguel Corporation are being used in the same sentence pertaining to a PBA court. So I smell the possibility of me watching the game live, 2 to 3 years down the road. As it is, I have grown tired of Cuneta and Araneta experience and their mustard-less hotdogs.

Upstart Welcoat formally and seriously announced that they will be donating all the paints to be used in the gym. Really, is that the way the board do the work. Just pitch in what you can do.

After Welcoat volunteered to give the paint supply, the following inputs occurred:

  • Ginebra Board Rep: "Ok, we'll give the construction workers all the Ginebras they need after 5pm."
  • San Miguel Beer Board Rep: "Us too, will send in truckloads of SMB. Sagot ni Manny."
  • Purefoods Board Rep: "We will take care of the Pulutan. We will also send in Ryan Gregorio if the project needs some motivational speeches."
  • CocaCola Board Rep: "We will be positioning numerous hack-proof Coca Cola vending machines in the construction vicinity."
  • Sta Lucia Realty Board Rep: "Hey, need some gravel and sand?"
  • RedBull Board Rep: "For those who will be doing OT, we'll send some energy drink."
  • Alaska Board Rep: "We will be sending in Tim Cone to train all engineers and foreman the concept of triangle offense as applied to construction. As a bonus, Cone's crew of long sleeved and neck tied assistants will all be there."
  • Air21 Board Rep: "So far, we can not think of any help we can give other than handling basic logistics requirement. But since we are not loaded with things to do, not that it matter to the PBA project, but we will be dumping our current web host and developer and start our website from ground up because our web site is so damn slow and it doesn’t work most of the time.
  • Talk and Text Board Rep: "Our Boss will handle bulk of the project cost so our team will not be doing much. We will not issue phones either. Coz last time I check, there are no Talk and Text users out there. Besides, our team will be busy trading players and looking and evaluating coaches from hereon end. So MVP will just sign the checks, that's our share."

If done, this would be the second biggest accomplishment of current board head Ricky Vargas and Noli Eala. First would be, the final ridding of non-Filipino blooded cagers in the league.

Unfortunately, it's all gentlemen talk at this time, no resolution was written, no MOAs, no nothing. Pure talk. But the talk includes the reported go signals from PLDT chairman Manny Pangilinan and SMC big boss Danding Cojuangco. So, as I like to say, THIS IS IT!

Currently, Quezon City is the location being considered by the PBA.

Great News No. 2 The PBA teams, instead of keeping their last year's earnings in their pocket, they are investing some 6M to give more to the fans by establishing PBA TV. Think NBA TV. Where, the PBA is to produce it's own shows. They'll be starting with a modest 30 min show initially. But this is not all show and entertainment, this is a profit driven initiative.

Great News No. 3, the San Miguel Beer backed Philippine team routed a tired Lebanon team, 94-75 last Sunday. The 2 game of their two-game goodwill series will be at San Juan's new gym.

It was Ren-Ren Ritualo 15 second quarter points that did the Lebanon. Ritualo almost shot 50% from behing the arc. Some help coming in from Ranidel De Ocampo, Mike Cortez and Jimmy Alapag too. (I wonder why Talk and Text Phone Pals, practically playing a national team caliber can't seem to do it in the PBA.)

Anyways, the true test will come this Wednesday. When, a rested Lebanon National Squad will show up. But of course, the current situation in the Middle East will dampen their energy and concentration. It's hard to think ball and play ball when your family is not quite out of danger.

Lebanon is en route to Japan having been ticketed for the World Basketball Championships this coming 19th or 20th here. The other 3 Asian teams are Japan, Qatar and of course, Yao Ming's China. The Philippines, we all know, was suspended by FIBA therefore was not allowed to compete in the Asian Qualifying meet. Thanks to the people in charge of Philippine Hoop Dreams, we will never get to see the Philippines trying their luck (lots of it) against top world teams.

The only thing negative about the article is the insensitive use of the word "BOMBING" in reference to the Philippine Team beating the Lebanon. The story reads, 'RITUALO SNIPING FUELS SMB-RP BOMBING OF LEBANON'.

Web2.0 Website Validator

If you doubt a site is truly a Web2.0 site try using the web validator: http://web2.0validator.com/ Ofcourse it's in hip beta.

The programmers are bloody genius, setting this message, "Do not taunt happy fun validator", if you try to validate the site itself.

The rules used to validate a site's web2ness were said be emanating from users.

All the rules of web 2.0 are provided by users of this site. The definition of web 2.0 changes on a daily basis. Now you can keep up with your web 2.0-ness since this site checks randomly against the most recent rules decreed by it's users.
Site is here: http://web2.0validator.com/

I tested quite a few websites and only 2 got good results.


Serbia-Montenegro - Chances are...

What's up with Cris Sheridan report? He said that Serbia-Montenegro team had slipped in terms of world basketball supremacy. Saying that the Serbs are displeased with their basketball program.

He may be right, because Vlade Divac is retired. Predrag Drobnjak, Zarko Cabarkapa and Marco Jaric getting bench in the NBA wherever they play, Stojacovic still not 100% injury free and may be headed for retirement in terms of international play. Things certainly are not looking good for them.

Sheridan added, that Radmanomic had problems with the National team last time out. In fact, 2004 and 2005 worlds meets have been marred by internal bickering. Chris Sheridan said this all in his report. Boldly saying, that the Serbian team is a train wreck.

Then after reading his column, I learned that Serbia Montenegro whipped Argentina in Worlds warm-up the tune of 83-64. Not a train wreck after all eh? Beating Argentina, considered to be top 3, top 5 team in the world is something for team with no marquee player. Only Darko Milicic rings a bell in the Serbian team. Yes, Darko, Detroit's former human victory cigar.

This what makes the Worlds so interesting, it is unpredictable. Anybody can beat anybody.


Who's Afraid of the USA Dream Team?

The upcoming FIBA World Championships gives us this question, 'Who's afraid of the USA Dream Team?'. Certainly not Manu Ginobili. The dare devil from the Latin world will lead the Argentina cause this august 19, 2006.

Manu boldly said that the days of Team USA's dominance are 'part of the past'. Saying, "I don't think you're ever going to see again a U.S. team that beats everyone else by a big margin. That was 15 years ago or whenever it was. Now basketball has changed and many of us are playing with them [in the NBA] every single day so we're getting closer." As if it's not closed.

Conceited as it may seem, Ginobili is actually being polite. World basketball is not getting closer, it already closed. In the NBA alone, top players are non-US players. Power forwards Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan, point guards Steve Nash and Parker and center Yao Ming. The list is long.

How close is the gap in planet basketball? For God's sake, Argentina won the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal. The 2002 world championships was taken by Serbia and Montenegro, beating the same Argentina team with a limping Ginobili. Last time a US team won a gold was way back in 2000. Barely winning the Sidney Olympics gold. Man, 2000! That was so long ago.

Today, everybody still consider the USA as the favorites. Even Manu Ginobili recognizes this but he knows too well that in the field, it's a different story. Names at the back of the jersey don't matter. It is what in front the matters. That is "ARGENTINA".

Quoting Manu. "Of course the United States will always be among the favorites because of the talent that they have like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. However, basketball is about the team, it's not only about the players."

Yes its about the team concept but team need players to do the job. That, Argentina has. Manu Ginobili will be ably supported by a personal favorite, the hard nosed, do-it-all small forward from the Bulls, Andres Nocioni. This guy was already a favorite even before he played in the NBA. Can defend, can shoot threes, can shoot mid-range, can attack the basket and certainly not afraid of big games and big names.

Practically the core of the Athens gold winning team will be back including the San Antonio Spurs back up big, Fabricio Oberto and another Spur prospect, Luis Scola. A team that has been playing for almost a decade together, since their teens versus a group of players assembled barely a month. I smell ‘some’ trouble brewing for the USA team. Do you?


The Re-Birth Of My Honda Civic

Earlier in the day, I left my Honda for a 35 point check of Engine, Aircon, Brake System, Etc. Etc. What are those 35 points? That I do not know.

For a licensed mechanical engineer like me, I do not know why I am so dumb about cars.

Maybe when they give the invoice tomorrow, the jobs done are all printed out. Then, I would know what my car went through.

Of all places, I sent the car at Hyundai. Remeber, my car is a Civic.

Anyways, my sister happens to work at Hyundai or HARI. 'Lil GM' she calls herself. Indeed, she may be one, as I'll be getting the works at dirt cheap cost thru her office.

Free buffing too will be done by the crew of JR, the chief of service dept.

Had I chosen to do the change oil at HARI too, I may have gotten discounted service too. As it is, I was charged a hefty P1500 at a Shell Gas Station last week. Around P1000 alone for the semi-synthetic lubricant.

Thru the Lil GM too, I might get a Disc/MP3 Player. My trusted flash mp3 player with all its Eraserheads Classics in it will now have some rest.

After this over-all check up and if the engine found to be not knocking on heavens door, I'll be upgrading the muffler and headers so that my car would kick ass.

It's now sucking air using a Simota Air Filter and the effect is huge. You could feel the acceleration when you put the pedal to the metal.

As soon as the headers/muffler are changed, I'll be racing down every Mazda 3 and 6 (which I envy) out there in South Luzon Expressway.

Alternative Website/Blog Promotions

Some alternative website promotion options:

* writing articles
* press releases
* affiliate programs
* other website advertising
* niche directories
* reciprocal linking
* viral marketing
* newsletters
* email marketing
* online classifieds
* joint ventures
* sponsorship & contests
* provide product reviews & testimonials
* forums / blogs / newsgroups
* email signatures
* add to favorites script
* solicit reviews from others
* magnetic vehicle door signs, hats, t-shirts, pens & giveaways
* local television & radio
* trade publications
* company collaterals (letterheads, business cards, shipping labels, etc.)

The thing is, to have a diversified marketing strategy - sort of an "insurance plan" that you put in place so your website receives a steady flow of visitors from a variety of sources.


Oh My Retainers! Oh My Dentist!

I remember back in the early days of this blog, I posted an entry regarding me getting braces at an advanced age. Advanced in sense that, typically braces are installed maybe during teen life.

Or, braces are installed for the purposes of cinematic effect, I once owned (or borrowed) a DVD collection entitled Braced Teens. You know what I mean?

Anyways, back to the topic. I no longer have braces and my lower teeth all bunched up. But as I write this letter, my lips kinda still feel like swelling from the multiple anesthesia shots I received, just to have my tooth filed away. But the effing retainer won't fit still. I have been back at the dreaded dentist clinic for the gazillion times. Finally, after going home broken toothed, err, hearted, I finally texted my dentist.

To the effect... 'that next time we'll fit the effing retainer and it won't load up correctly?... I am gonna be canceling this damn contract'...

And so the continuing saga of my teeth...


PBA Turning into a San Miguel Corp League

The PBA may soon turn into a San Miguel Corporation corporate league. That is, if SMC will do this year in and year out. Based from the statement of SMC basketball operations chief Robert Non, this will go on. Non said, "The coaches will be assessed every season or even on a per-conference basis".

Coach Jong Uichico will be in unfamiliar territory coaching the most popular club, the Ginebra San Miguel. But he will be with familiar faces as he will be reunited with old crew at Barangay Ginebra. Including the demoted, animated and whiteboard punching tactician, Tangquincen. Art Dela Cruz will be there too.

Coach Binky Favis will still handle Coca Cola but now has a new set of deputies. The point guard coaching duo of Boybits Victoria and Richie Ticzon is part of the coaching team. Include too, Johnny Abarientos soon to be joining the SMC coaching Academy.

Coach Chot Reyes will lead the Sam Miguel Beer this time. His staff includes, Biboy Ravanes, Nash Racela and Aboy Castro. Be sure to include the artist formerly known as Olsen Racela to later be in this coaching pool.

With Ryan Gregorio winning the last conference and his team looking organized and ready to kick some butt, he and his team eluded the semi-ax, so to speak.

From the looks of it, the San Miguel Corporation is having a league of their own. Maybe, San Miguel Corporation can do this because they own 44% of the PBA. Fielding in, not one, not two, not three but four sister teams.

The big sister, San Miguel Beer. The small sister, Ginebra San Miguel. The hot sister, Purefoods. The Youngest one, Coca Cola Tigers.

A precedent in SMC’s movement of personnel was the Allan Caidic move from San Miguel Beer to Ginebra. He later served a dual role, a player-assistant coach. He later took the head coaching job from Rino Salazar. Eventually 'promoted' and moved to being a GM. Yes, was replaced by a fellow from San Miguel Beer, Tanquingcen. And by Thursday, Siot was demoted to being an assistant again by Jong Uchuico. And Yes, we all know Jong was from San Miguel Beer. Coaching the SMB team for the longest time.

I wonder what the rest of the PBA Board and owners have to say about this carousel of team personnel. SMC's umbrella of teams can virtually and easily execute players and even coaches trade. No longer team managers (Hector Calma, Caidic, Lim, Loyzaga et al) control the direction of these teams. SMC basketball operations chief Robert Non does all these.

I remember being invited to join Fantasy NBA GM, where you get a chance to form a team and manage it and track their actual games and stats. You think it’s exciting? How about Mr. Non's job, getting to manage 4 teams in real life and can switch players and coaches in an instant. Some guys are blessed.

Definitely, SMC knows what they are doing and acting within the PBA guidelines but is this movement healthy for the PBA?

SMC team coaching staffssssss virtually know each other so how can there be an element of surprise in these games.

Players need time to acclimatize a coaches’ system, even years, moving personnel so much could just back fire.

We do not question the coaches' professionalism, but deep within, can these be coaches be truly committed on a team when in fact, in an instant, their phone could be ringing. SMC boss saying, 'Dude, coach the San Miguel Beer All-Star Tour next year'.

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World Blogosphere Report

If you have the time (and the patience too) to dig deeper regarding the blogosphere. This one is fine reading.

Some pick-ups below:

On July 31, 2006, Technorati tracked its 50 millionth blog.

Blogosphere is over 100 times bigger than it was just 3 years ago.

Today, the blogosphere is doubling in size every 200 days, or about once every 6 and a half months.

From January 2004 until July 2006, almost two and a half years later, the number of blogs that Technorati tracks has continued to double every 5-7 months.

About 175,000 new weblogs were created each day, which means that on average, there are more than 2 blogs created each second of each day.

About 70% of the pings Technorati receives are from known spam sources.

There are about 1.6 Million postings per day 9including ths one), or about 18.6 posts per second. This is about double the volume of about a year ago.

The most prevalent times for English-language posting is between the hours of 10AM and 2PM Pacific time, with an additional spike at around 5PM Pacific time.

Complete report here, http://www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/000436.html

Redfox Notebook Promo FREE MP3 Player

Just received a product offering. Red Fox laptop promo. Where, buying 2 units will get you a chance to get a freebie. The models in the offering are Red Fox Navigato and Red Fox Duranote

Red Fox Navigator - Thin and Light

Specs - AMD Turion 64 MT-30,64-bit,
1MB L2 Cache 1.6GHz FSB, 25 Watts
256mb Memory - 40.0 GB HDD
Dvd & Cd - R/Rw Combo Drive
Integrated High-Performance 128-bit Graphics
Integrated 56 Kbps v.90 fax/modem-
(33.6Kbps send/download up to 56Kbps/14.4Kbps fax)
Integrated 10/100 Base T network interface
(Broadband Ready)
Integrated Wireless LAN 802.11b/g
Integrated AC97 Audio
12.1' XGA TFT Screen - 1x Type ll PCMCIA Slots
Touch Pad
4-in-1 Media Card Reader
6 Cells 2200 MA Lithium lon Battery (Approx. 3.5 Hours)
1.95Kg (with battery)
1.75Kg (without battery)
1 Year Warranty

Red Fox Duranote - Spill Proof and Shock-Resistant

Specs - AMD Turion 64 MT-30, 64-bit,
1MB L2 Cache 1.6GHz FSB, 25 Watts
256mb Memory 40.0 GB Anti-Shock Mounted HDD
DVd & CD-R/RW Combo Drive
Integrated High-Performance 128-bit Graphics
Integrated 56Kbps v.90 fax/modem
(33.6Kbps send/download up to 56Kbps/14.4Kbps fax)
Integrated 10/100 Base T network interface (Broadband Ready)
Integrated Wireless LAN 802.11b/g
Integrated AC97 Audio, 14.1 XGA TFT Screen, 1x Type ll PCMCIA Slots
Touch Pad, 6 cell 2200 MA Lithium lon Battery ( Approx, 3.5 Hours)
2.5Kg (with battery), 2.3KG (without battery)
1 Year Warranty

Buy 2 units and get 1 freebie of your choice:

A. Philips MMS171 PC Speakers (P1800 Value)
B. Epraizer MP3 Player 256 MB (Said to be P3500 in value.)

Around 120 each is avaiable for give away. See you nearest Redfox Dealer.


Philippine Idol Answered Back

In respnse to this article http://www.yehey.com/entertainment/music/article.aspx?id=125919&c=136

I answered below. Apparently I need a Yehey! account to post my thoughts. Well I do not have an account so I am posting my answer here.

I just made an entry about this after watching it earlier tonight. I liked the show. Yeah, why do the judges need to be Simon or Paula. They are who they are and have their own style. If we wanted Simon, Randy and Paula, why do we need to bring the Idol here in the Philippines? Let's just watch the late feed of American Idol and hope that Fil-Americans can sneak in again.

Since the writer want to engage in comparisons... The?! It's Pilita, Pilita is miles away compare to Paula. And Francis is not patsy either. Ryan cayabyab, need I say more?

As for the show not breaking the ABS CBN and GMA7 dominance, this fall squarely on the shoulders of ABC5 marketing staff. Marketing juggernaut is needed to drum up interest. And, one show can not make an impact. I believe ABS CBN Pinoy Big Brother launch did not dominate its slot either.

So I say, easy on rushing making an article because of editor deadlines to meet. Give some time.

A Glimpse Of Philippine Idol

I saw a glimpse of Philippine Idol just a few minutes ago. And I must say, it is entertaining.

The inclusion of not-so-good contestants in the early stages auditions makes the franchise pretty interesting.

An observation though, the three just judges seems to be sooooooooooooo in sync. The three jusdges are.. the Legend, Pilita; true blue Philippine Idol, Francis and the Maestro Ryan Cayabyab. Never they disagreed who's in and who's out.

Nevertheless, the ABC 5 production isn't chippy as I think it could be possibly be.

Stay tuned!


Pinoydon at Magallanes Village

We dined at around 9:00PM yesterday at PinoyDon located at Magallanes Village, Makati City. Fronting the South Super Highway.

Pinoydon is a combo of Filipino-Japanese cuisine (or so I think {taste}). We ordered a heavy meal composed of Pork and Veggie Teriyakis, and a bowl of Batchoy Ramen. We were not able to consume the Pork BBQ Teriyaki. The Veggie Teriyaki which I ordered was barely touched. So we asked the waiter to pack ‘em up and brought it home.

The tab was about P450 inclusive of service charge. For a meal of two, it's a bit in the high side. But hey, if I need to shell out that amount to break free from the usual fastfood chains, so be it. Besides, I was able to feast on the Veggie Teriyaki earlier in my lunch so included in the P450 bill is my next day lunch. We were that full that we cancelled our dessert order, a Buko Pandan topped with ice cream.

The setting is acceptable. Matter of fact, we took pictures of the environment and plan to use the same color in the apartment we are planning to rent.

Summary, Pinoydon is ok. Will we be back again? Oh sure why not, but we'll be ordering moderately next time. It's a 5 minute drive, so it's a plus.

Amare Stoudamire is OUT

In my earlier post, I mentioned few players that may be out of the final USA 12. See excerpt below:

Who will be the three players that will be cut for the Japan Games? My gut feel is that, Bowen will initially take the defensive mantra over Shane Batier. This will be a learning curve for Shane. By the next tour, Batier will take the defensive guy slot. If Amare is not 85% to 90%, he'll probably have to sit it out too. Hinrich too is nursing hamstring injury, he might be cut. Antoine Jamison is candidate too. 3 out of these 4, will have to watch at side court.

Well, one guy down, Amare Stoudamire was dropped from the US Team. Citing, not surprisingly, that he still recuperating and will continue his rehab in the USA.

Jerry Colangelo, the US team manager also mentioned that Amare Stoudamire is expecting a child and this too a reason why he won't be joining the Asia trip. Incidentally, Jerry along with his son, Brian Colangelo drafted Amare Stoudamire.

Likely, Stoudamire will be playing for the US team in 2007 and 2008, the Olympics.

The team will be flying shortly here in Asia to compete for the World Championships to be held in Japan. The remaining 14 players will join the trip.

I expect 2 guys out of Hinrich, Jamison and Batier will be cut as well.


Domain Wiki.com sells for $3M

We also got wind of a potential blockbuster deal that is in the works. Dynamo.com has agreed to sell Wiki.com to John Gotts of Searching.com for $2,860,000. The contract (which we have seen) calls for Gotts to make six monthly payments of $10,000 each, followed by a huge balloon payment of $2.8 million before the domain is transferred. Gotts made the first 10K payment this week and Dynamo has pointed the nameservers to his host to allow Gotts to start using the domain. Gotts could walk away from the deal before making the balloon payment, but would forfeit all payments made if he does so before the deal is completed.

Clearly, there's money to be earned in registering a couple of domains then selling these in the future. Hopefully my registered domain names (I got couple of domains), would sell too for $3 million.

NBA Tweaked The Seeding

Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs met in the 2nd round of the Western Conference playoffs.

An erroneous encounter of the top 2 teams during the conference semifinals will never happen again. That's because the NBA listened. Post-season seeding was revisted and altered.

Simply, starting in the upcoming play-offs, the top four seeds, the three division winners and the second-place team with the best record, will be seeded according to their win-loss total. This set-up will guarantee that the top two teams in each conference can't meet until the conference finals.

Other than the controversial meeting of Spurs and the Dallas in 2nd round, the entry of the Denver Nuggets as top 3 seed impacted this decision. Remember how the Memphis Grizzlies were obliterated by Dallas in the first round. Supposedly, playing well throughout the season and finishing 5th in the west, they should be getting the weaker team.

Unfortunately, because of the glitch in the seeding, Memphis did not get the Denver for they stellar play all season long. They got the well-oiled Dallas seeded at 4. The 6th seeded Clippers, who obviously did some tanking during their last few games of the season, had an easier time finishing off an imploding Denver Nuggets team.

Does the NBA really have to go through this to find that there is something wrong in the system?


NBA's Opening Night Schedule

First Round Match-ups, rematched.

Chicago is now back in the NBA limelight. After giving Miami Heat a fight in the first round of the playoffs and now having acquired Big Bad Ben, they are raring to go but off to a very tough challenge. Facing the same Miami Heat come October 31, the Defending Champion no less.

Hard-nosed coach and a hard-nosed line-up. A front line powered by Ben Wallace and Andres Nocioni and with above average guards featuring Hinrich, I got a feeling the Chicago Bulls can compete with anyone in the league in the coming season. A sentence you can not write or say since old no.23 retired.

At opening night cap, it will be Raja Bell versus Kobe Bryant all over again. Phoenix Suns against Los Angeles Lakers, a rematch of the Western First Round series. With some added flava... the return of Amare is a must see... Steve Nash's new hair-do is must-see... Deveon Goerge absence... Radmanovic addition to the LA offense (Does he play defense?)... If Kwame Brown will continue his strong play... Will Kobe revert to a one-man scoring machine or do the passing-player-game he displayed during the 7-game series versus the Suns...


Mark Caguioa PBA Scoring Champion

You know it's coming, you just don't know when. That's how I see Mark Caguioa play. You know he'll attack the basket and do a tear drop shot, you just do not know when he'll go. Same way, that's how he got his Scoring Championship nod, 'you know it's coming, you just don't know when'. As agent Smith says so, it's inevitable. Is the MVP Trophy inevitable too? Well, he's thinking, if James Yap can snatch one, so too he can.

But he'll need help from his friends. To get the MVP in the PBA or any league for that matter, team success should come first. Therefore, he'll be needing strong season from Menk and a healthy one from Jay Jay, Adducul and the rest of the team.

Mark Caguioa barely got by Danny Seigle for the season scoring title as they engaged in a fierce scoring race in the last All-Filipino conference. For a while there, Caguioa was breaking his own high records while Danny Seigle was scoring beyond 20 points in successive games.

Caguioa averaged 20.6 over 48 games while erstwhile rival Danny Seigle had a 20.1 average in 44 games. PBA.ph points out that Asi Taulava of Talk ‘N Text was the scoring leader in the last four PBA seasons. This is the first time he did not get in 5 years. Are we seeing the decline of Asi Taulava?

Maybe offensively, yes, as he is losing the lift and explosiveness in and around the basket. But defensively, Taulava proved to be a dominant player still, getting 13 rebouns per. Fourth time he led the league in rebounding in the last 5 years. My guess is Eric Menk sneaked one in.

In a worst case scenario though, even if his game declines totally, Asi Taulava has seen his career fallback. What is this?, A Ballroom Dancing Dance Instructor. Unlucky you if you didn't see the 6-9 behemoth strutting on the dance floor of ABC 5's Shall We Dance. Yes, after the PBA games every Sundays. Unfortunately, he was eliminated in the second round of the contest.

Asi Taulavas pint sized partner, Jimmy Alapag is the PBA best assist man, averaging 8.1 assists per game in 41 games. Just how good is he? He averaged 3 assists more than the second player, Winnie Arboleda.

But let us not however belittle Arboleda as while dishing out about 5 assists per game, Arboleda was busy leading the PBA with 2.1 steals per game. Thus, the great Quinito Henson coined Arboleda's monicker, "the Snatcher".

Speaking of snatching, I'll put this entry to an end. Thanks to the PBA.ph, from there, I snatched all these stats.

Dirk Says Kobe, USA is the BEST

That's why I like Dirk. He understands the game. He knows the players. Pronouncing that, the USA Basketball Team is the team to beat in the coming FIBA World Championships.

"The Americans are the favorites," Nowitzki said following Germany's 95-75 win over Canada in a warmup game on Sunday. "They are really stacked. The only guy they don't have is Kobe. But they still have Dwyane Wade and LeBron [James] and plenty of other guys."

Acknowledging too that Kobe Bryant is big loss to the USA-NBA cause. And why not, Kobe plays both ends of the floor and can deftly play multiple positions. But he was quick to give some love to the guys on board. He doesn't need to slight Wade and Co. now that competition is near.

"It would have been a great show for basketball if Kobe could have come along," he said. "But [the Americans] still have a lot of great and talented players for the world to watch."

Wouldn't it be nice if it's Germany versus USA in the Finals. Wouldn't it be nice for Nowitzki to get back at Wade. Dirk, in his mind, is saying now... No more favorable call this time for Wade. (Not like in the NBA Dallas Miami series where he feasted in the free throw line.)

Referees at International Tournaments call the games a little 'differently'. USA should brace themselves with questionable calls throughout the games.