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PBA return pushed back again as Metro Manila under MECQ anew

Following another late-night announcement Sunday, Metro Manila is once again under a modified enhanced community quarantine. The new quarantine measures will take effect starting August 4 and will last until August 18. The PBA is directly affected, as sports gatherings are not allowed under MECQ, resulting in another speed bump to the league's planned return. "The government knows what is good for us, and we conform with their orders. We will follow the guidelines and will wait for the next word from them with regards to restrictions on whatever quarantine status we're in," PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said. "As for the 14-day return of Metro Manila to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), I look at it as a short detour that we'll pursue in the hope of getting our teams back in the gym at the right time," Marcial added. The PBA earlier received official government approval to start team practices by small batches. [Related: PBA hopeful for 2020 return after getting practice green light] Pending COVID-19 swab testing for all teams, which were scheduled later this week at Makati Med, teams were on track to return to the court by next week. Now, all plans have been pushed back, including the swab testing. "We have no recourse but to adjust the schedule of our activities. The supposed swab testing of the players at the Makati Med on Aug. 6-7 will be pushed back," Commissioner Marcial said. "Ngayon, we'll communicate with them [PBA teams] to inform them that we'll have to hear the next call of the government," he added. As of Sunday, August 2, hours before the MECQ announcement, the Philippines has recorded 103,185 positive COVID-19 cases.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnAug 3rd, 2020

Economic recovery takes ‘one step back’

The Philippine economic recovery is taking a step back to curb the surging coronavirus outbreak and fix the fragile health system waging a “losing battle” against the pandemic. Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said yesterday that the return of Metro Manila and nearly provinces to a stricter lockdown may take a toll on the drivers of economic rebound in the near-term. But Dominguez said that if the reimposed stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) is correctly implemented, it will have a favorable impact on the nation’s long-term economic prospects. “In the short run, the return to MECQ may negatively affect livelihoods, consumer demand and production. However, if the time is used to boost all our medical resources and prevent further spread of the virus, then the MECQ will be positive for the long haul,” Dominguez said. As this is a new virus, Dominguez explained that nations, including the Philippines, continuously learn to adapt to the challenges posed by the new and uncertain environment induced by coronavirus. “The whole world is learning how to dance with this virus: two steps forward and one step back,” Dominguez said.Earlier, the DOF chief pushed for a shift of Metro Manila and Calabarzon—accounting for about 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP)—“as quickly as possible” to the most lenient quarantine status to kickstart the economy. However, President Duterte ordered Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal back under the MECQ from August 4 to 18 following a surge of COVID-19 cases and the appeal of healthcare workers. The two week shift to MECQ for Metro Manila and its adjacent provinces starting today ceased some businesses and public transport, while work and quarantine passes are also reinforced to restrict non-essential movements. Reverting to MECQ is an unwelcome develop for the economic managers as it could derail hopes for a recovery in the third quarter of the year. Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua earlier said the economic impact of the quarantine measures in country was “more severe than expected.”  Days before Metro Maila reverted to MECQ, Dominguez said the local economy had already hit bottom and started to recover from the coronavirus-induced crisis, noting business activities have begun to pick up. The government had gradually eased the tough virus lockdown measures after the economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the first quarter......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2020

Nograles: MECQ pushed back class resumption; DepEd ready by October

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal were placed under the stricter MECQ from August 4 to 18 after healthcare workers called for a two-week "time-out" to allow the government to improve its pandemic response......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 16th, 2020

Public transport ready to return once MECQ is lifted

  BY BEN ROSARIO     All modes of public transportation are fully prepared to go back to operations in the event President Duterte decides to lift the modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and neighboring localities by Aug. 19. This assurance was made to the House Committee on Transportation in a virtual hearing conducted […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsAug 13th, 2020

Mass transport suspended, quarantine passes required under MECQ

Mass transport services will be prohibited and quarantine passes required anew in areas reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from general community quarantine, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año reminded Monday. Metro Manila, as well as the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, will shift back to MECQ starting […] The post Mass transport suspended, quarantine passes required under MECQ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2020

No al fresco, spa in NCR MECQ

Outdoor dining and personal care services remain prohibited in Metro Manila and the provinces of Laguna and Bataan even if it eased to modified enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), Malacañang announced Friday. The capital region and Laguna would shift modified ECQ starting Saturday, while Bataan would return to such a quarantine classification beginning Monday until the […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 20th, 2021

Metro Manila, Laguna, Bataan revert to MECQ

Metro Manila and the provinces of Laguna and Bataan would be downgraded to modified enhanced community quarantine in the second half of August, Malacañang announced Thursday. The capital region and Laguna would shift from ECQ to the less restrictive lockdown status starting Friday, while Bataan would return to such quarantine classification beginning Monday. “These latest […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 19th, 2021

DBCC to discuss possible growth target revisions

Economic managers may adjust the government’s growth targets during a Cabinet-level meeting today as they take into account the risks posed by the spread of the Delta variant that pushed Metro Manila back into lockdown......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 17th, 2021

PBA clubs eye return to old haunts

Metro Manila’s shift to general community quarantine level gave PBA teams hopes they can go back to their “home gyms” soon for their practices......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 14th, 2021

Reopening of cinemas pushed back to March, subject to LGU rules

The Palace made the announcement after mayors of Metro Manila, which is under general community quarantine the entire month, opposed the pandemic task force’s decision to allow the reopening of cinemas and other select establishments in GCQ areas......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2021

NEDA warns of P2.1b in daily wage losses in case of MECQ

The National Economic and Development Authority on Wednesday warned that reverting back to modified enhanced community quarantine could cost workers in Metro Manila and adjacent regions some P2.1 billion in daily wages......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2020

Over 10,000 motorcycle taxi riders back on road Wednesday

Commuters returning home from office work in Metro Manila may book a ride through either Angkas or Joyride starting today after the government allowed the return of motorcycle taxis subject to health precautions......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 24th, 2020

Maynilad, MWC shelve rate adjustments for 2021

Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad) and Manila Water Company, Inc. are forgoing some water rate increases they are qualified to implement in the coming year, including the next tranche of the rate rebasing adjustment as well as the mandated Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment.  This was announced separately by both companies on Tuesday. In a text message, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Chief Regulator Patrick Ty said the MWSS-Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO) has been discussing this matter with both Maynilad and Manila Water since the start of this year. “We just received the proposals of the two Concessionaires and we are currently evaluating them,” Ty said.  In a statement, Maynilad said that with this deferral, the company “hopes to alleviate the day-to-day struggles of its customers as they and the whole country strive to recover from adversity and rise stronger than before, ready to start anew”. “During these difficult times when no one is spared the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Maynilad is one with the government in finding ways to help our countrymen make the situation more manageable,” it also said. Manila Water, on the other hand, said “in the spirit of Bayanihan and to alleviate the plight of our customers due to the pandemic, Manila Water will not be implementing the rate adjustment in 2021 under the approved 2018 Rate Rebasing.” Done every five years, rate rebasing is review of water utilities’ past performance and the projection on their future cash flows.  It is supposed to set the water rates at a level that would allow both Maynilad and Manila Water to recover their expenditures and earn a rate of return. For 2020, Maynilad and Manila Water also volunteered to defer the implementation of the next tranche of annual rate hike approved under the current rate rebasing period, which started in 2018.  Their decision came as both companies were being scrutinized by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte for their allegedly onerous contracts with MWSS. To be implemented in tranches from 2018 to 2022, the approved increase in Maynilad’s rates under the fifth rate rebasing period would be P5.73 per cubic meter (/cu. m.). For this year, it was supposed to increase its rates by P1.95/cu.m, then another P1.95/cu.m in 2021.    As for Manila Water, the increase in its rates under rate rebasing would play around P6.22 to P6.55/cu.m.  This year, it was supposed to increase its rates by P2/cu.m, and another P2/cu.m by 2021.  By 2022, depending on the medium-term water sources project that the company will be allowed to pursue, the Ayala-led firm could charge its customers an increase of P0.76/cu.m up to P1.04/cu.m. The CPI adjustment, on the other hand, is the annual inflation adjustment and takes place every January. Maynilad is the largest private water concessionaire in the Philippines in terms of customer base.  It is the agent and contractor of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for the West Zone of the Greater Manila Area, which is composed of the cities of Manila (certain portions), Quezon City (certain portions), Makati (west of South Super Highway), Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon all in Metro Manila; the cities of Cavite, Bacoor and Imus, and the towns of Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario, all in Cavite Province.  Meanwhile, Manila Water caters to the East Zone concession area covering the Cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, Taguig and Marikina. It is also in charge of the southeastern parts of Quezon City, and Sta. Ana and San Andres in Manila. In the Province of Rizal, MWCI services the City of Antipolo and Municipalities of San Mateo, Rodriguez, Cainta, Taytay, Teresa, Angono, Baras, Binangonan, and Jala-jala......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2020

A change to better commuting behavior

The first two days of the return of provincial buses back on the roads of Metro Manila albeit on 12 routes only understandably turned out slow and low. It could hardly jumpstart back to life the moribund public transport business......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 2nd, 2020

Horse-racing back at Metro Turf Sunday

Philippine horce-racing makes its return this Sunday at the Metro Manila Turf Club in Malvar, Batangas after a six-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 3rd, 2020

`Busy’ Rody extends Davao stay

President Rodrigo Duterte is still up to his neck in work while in Davao City and is delaying his return to Manila, presidential spokesman Harry Roque disclosed Thursday. Roque made the remark in response to the query as to when the President is expected to be back in the Palace and address the public anew […] The post `Busy’ Rody extends Davao stay appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 20th, 2020

SMC gives meals anew to stranded passengers

San Miguel Corp. has provided free meals to 274 passengers who were stranded at the Manila North Harbor due to travel restrictions under the modified enhanced community quarantine or MECQ in Metro Manila and nearby provinces......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 16th, 2020

Gatchalian backs 2-week extension of MECQ in NCR

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian expressed support to the extension of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila noting that this is the “right balance” between health and economy in the country In an online interview with reporters, Gatchalian explained anew that the reason behind placing Metro Manila and other areas under MECQ is to enable […] The post Gatchalian backs 2-week extension of MECQ in NCR appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 13th, 2020

Chooks-to-Go 3x3 to observe strict protocol in bubble

Strict health protocols will be practiced and observed once the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 gets the green light to practice, and eventually, hold its actual tournament. This was assured by league commissioner Eric Altamirano on Tuesday during his appearance in the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum. Altamirano, who was joined by player Alvin Pasaol, said the league is taking all the necessary steps and precautions to assure the safety and welfare of players, officials, and staff from contracting the COVID-19. “We’re ensuring that we will cover everything from testing to contact tracing,” said Altamirano. All involved personnel will be required to undergo swab testing (PCR-testing) especially those who are going to enter the 3x3 bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna once competition in the newly-turned pro league gets going hopefully, by September. Practices among 12 participating teams are supposed to start within the month, but had to be pushed a little back when the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjacent provinces including Laguna, reverted back to a Modified Enhance Community Quarantine (MECQ) status. “Right after ma-lift ‘yang MECQ, we will resume our testing and training,” Altamirano said. The league official added he has been in close consultation with Dr. Tony Leachon, the former special adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, and other health experts about the protocols the league will have to observe before and during the tournament. The league is on the lookout for a centralized training facility where all teams would be able to workout under strict monitoring. “Pag isang venue lang ang pagpa-practisan, now we can have contact tracing, we can ensure the safety of the facility in terms of cleaning and disinfecting. May scheduled protocol when it comes to that. For every practice, may cleaning gap bago (mag-practice) yung next group,” he explained in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and powered by Smart with Upstream Media as webcast partner. In the league’s bubble, meanwhile, protocol is even stricter. A single person who just showed even a single symptom of the virus will be immediately isolated. A maximum of around 150 persons to be inside the Inspire Sports Academy in the entire duration of the meet......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2020

Month-long ECQ pushed

Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) on Monday recommended a month-long enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for Metro Manila—one level tougher than the curent two-week modified ECQ (MECQ)---to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 11th, 2020

FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World

This story was originally published on Feb. 24, 2019 It’s Saturday night at Mall of Asia and the arena is absolutely rocking. Eternal basketball rivals in the Philippines and South Korea are delivering another classic. Gilas Pilipinas is down to the final minute of regulation against its longtime tormentor in the second of two semifinal games. The national team is up by two, 81-79. The Philippines is hosting the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships where three tickets to the 2014 World Cup are at stake and the winner of this particular game gets one of those tickets. Given the rich history of both teams and what it would mean to the winner, this pivotal game has gone down the wire as everyone pretty much expected. Also knowing the history of both teams in international play, Gilas’ precarious two-point lead was not safe at all. A ghost was lurking in the background and a dreaded curse felt almost inevitable. Down to the final minute of the crucial grudge match between the Philippines and South Korea, guard Jimmy Alapag has the ball and a two-point lead. What he will do will help define not only his career but the legacy of the Gilas name as a national team.   WAKE-UP CALL Even before the Philippines-Korea game, Gilas Pilipinas already had to go through one emotional game early in its homestand for the Asian Championships. In a preliminary round showdown against Chinese Taipei, the Filipinos collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Taiwanese to steal a morale-boosting 84-79 win. In 2013, the relationship between the two countries hit a rough patch over the death of one Taiwanese fisherman. In an updated May 17 report by CNN’s Jethro Mullen, “Taiwan has reacted angrily after one of its fishermen was killed by a Philippine coast guard vessel.” Taiwan had frozen applications from OFWs seeking jobs in its territory and the government of then President Ma Ying-jeou demanded an apology, among other things, from the Philippines. While the national basketball teams of both countries never really had any prior animosity with each other, tension was naturally present as both teams squared off in Group A action. Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese-Taipei both entered the showdown with identical 2-0 records and the winner would take control of solo Group A lead heading into round 2. Taking a good lead into the fourth quarter, the Philippines was outscored by 18 in the last 10 minutes and the national team took its worst home loss in quite some time. “At the time, it was a huge game for us. We understood what was happening in Taipei during that particular time. We really wanted to win for what our kababayans were going through at that time,” guard Jimmy Alapag said on that first home loss in the 2013 Asian Championships. “We didn’t get the job done, and it was tough especially to lose a game like that, it was a very emotional and it was a game that we knew we needed,” he added. The crushing loss meant that the Philippines had little room for error in round 2. While Gilas didn’t have any world beaters lined up in the second round, anything less than a perfect run would have meant an early clash with Asia’s established powerhouse teams in the knockout stages. On the other side of the bracket, defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea were battling for position and were expected to finish in the top-3. That means if Gilas Pilipinas failed to finish no. 1 in its group, the national team would have faced one of those teams in the quarterfinals. Gilas picked up a crucial win over Qatar in the 6th of August and the day after, the Philippines got some help from those same Qataris as they beat Taipei in a close decision. At the end of round 2, all teams finished with identical win-loss records but Gilas Pilipinas would take over first place after all tiebreaks were considered, barely edging out Taipei. The Philippines ended up avoiding defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea and instead got Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Taipei drew China and the third-running Qataris were matched up with the South Koreans. “I think that was the moment we grew up and grew closer. I think that was the lowest of the lows, just because of the atmosphere and what was going on between both countries. It kind of felt that we let our end of the bargain down, you know what I mean? We’re on our home soil and we didn’t take care of business. I think that was one of those moments where we had to really check ourselves and find a way to make it right,” forward Gabe Norwood said of the Taipei loss. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In tournaments like FIBA-Asia it’s important that you have short-term memory whether it was a win or a loss. We needed to let go of that game and continue to stay the course, keep our focus in the tournament,” Alapag added. On August 7, four days after Gilas lost to Taipei, the rift between the Philippines and Taiwan would reach a resolution and the latter country lifted its freeze hiring and other sanctions on the former. The Philippines also did issue on official apology over the death of the Taiwanese fisherman a couple of months prior and the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila recommended the pressing of homicide charges to erring members of the Philippine Coast Guard.   DARK HISTORY If the word “rival” is to be defined as a, “person or group that tries to defeat or be more successful than another person or group” then sure, the Philippines and South Korea are rivals. Both countries are rivals in the Asian basketball scene and they have been going at it for a very long time. But if the word rival can also mean “equal” or “peer,” is the Philippines really a worthy basketball rival to South Korea? The Philippines’ history with South Korea in terms of basketball is dark. Very dark. Consider the most high-profile matches between the two countries and you’ll see that the Philippine national team is just not at the level of South Korea. Or at the very least, Koreans always seem to reach 120 percent of their potential when they play Filipinos and we barely bring out 80 percent of our abilities when matched up against our East Asian neighbors. The 1998 PBA Centennial team, arguably the greatest Philippine team ever assembled, was demolished by South Korea in the Asian Games. A national team set up for gold only settled for bronze. Speaking of a bronze medal game, the original Gilas Pilipinas team lost a podium finish to South Korea in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships. That team squandered a double-digit lead and collapsed late. Of course, who can forget the semifinals of the 2002 Asian Games in Busan when Olsen Racela had the chance to put the Philippines up four but missed two free throws. South Korea would win with a booming triple at the buzzer off a broken play and would later take down China to capture the gold medal. South Korea is the Philippines’ basketball nemesis for all intents and purposes. A worthy adversary that always seem to emerge victorious at our expense. Still, all that previous disappointment didn’t seem to bother Gilas Pilipinas six years ago. The team was not scared and instead, they were excited even. One factor to greatly consider was that fact that the game was in Manila. It makes all the difference to play at home. “We understood the bad history that we had with Korea. We haven’t been very successful with them in quite some time but we knew from Day 1 that if ever we got an opportunity to play them at home, then we have a great chance,” Alapag said. “Man, pre-game, it was just the focus. Everybody was up for the challenge, I don’t think anybody was really nervous, I think it was just the anxiety... we wanted to get out there and do it already,” Norwood added. Playing at home had its perks for sure, but it also had its drawbacks. For all the painful losses the Philippines suffered at the hands of South Korea, it would have been devastating if Gilas actually took a beating in Manila. Stakes were extra high in this particular chapter of this long, ongoing saga. “There was always pressure, it was something that we acknowledged early. Playing at home, it’s great having that support but at the same time, there is some added pressure because you wanna make sure that you make our home crowd proud of the team that they watch and ultimately, win games,” Alapag said, making sure to note that the national team knew of the disadvantages of playing at home even before the Korea game. “It was there but it was something that we acknowledged and we wanted to make sure that we took advantage of the opportunity playing at home,” he added.   ALL FILIPINO, ALL HEART Once it was go time, the Philippines-South Korea game went about pretty normal, as you would expect any game from these two national teams. But even before halftime, an injury to Gilas center Marcus Douthit changed the complexion of the semifinals showdown. All of a sudden, the Philippines was without its anchor, without its best player. Sure, there were players on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace Douthit’s size but there was simply no one on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace his talent, production, and just overall presence. June Mar Fajardo was in that Gilas bench but it 2013, the would-be five-time PBA Most Valuable Player was just not at that level yet. It would have been easy for Gilas Pilipinas to fold like cheap furniture and succumb to the overwhelming pressure of trying to overcome South Korea to reach a stage very few Filipinos have reached before. Gilas didn’t fold and instead, the Douthit injury rallied the team even further. “Alam mo sa totoo lang, puso na lang yun eh. Nung nawala si Marcus talaga, sabi ni coach kailangan doble kayod tayo. Dahil sobrang dehado tayo kumbaga, wala na tayong import, wala tayong malaki,” forward Marc Pingris said. With Douthit gone, Ping ate up all of his minutes and worked by committee with guys like Ranidel De Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar to fill in the gaps. “As a player naman, kami nagusap-usap kami na kahit anong mangyari, lalaban kami. Yung time na yun, talagang patay kung patay,” Ping added. Despite losing its best player to an untimely injury, Gilas Pilipinas’ confidence in winning never wavered. With their collective backs against the wall, the Philippine national team played even better. Unlike the later iterations of Gilas Pilipinas, the 2013 team, aptly called Gilas 2.0, had the luxury of having actual preparation before the FIBA-Asia Championships. The amount of work that came before the tournament and the Korea game, the bond built over countless hours of training, all of that helped the national team avoid a monumental meltdown in front of a rabid Manila crowd. “We were such a close-knit team in terms of our chemistry, in terms of the talent that we had, so we felt confident even when Marcus went down early in the game. If you looked at our huddle, you had 11 more very confident guys, not just in themselves but more importantly, in each other,” Alapag said. “That just boiled down to the chemistry that we had. I don’t think any of us panicked, we were all confident in each other. We’ve all been into that situation with our PBA teams, having the ball in our hands and making a play. Knowing that we had five weapons on the floor that could make the winning play, I think it made us very confident and we were able to sustain our composure,” the former Gilas captain added.   THE GHOST AND ITS CURSE Shin Dong Pa, Hur Jae, Lee Sang-min, Oh Se-Keun, TJ Moon, and Cho Sung-min are just some players from the South Korean national team that inflicted incredible damage to the Philippines over the course of decades. The dreaded Ghost of South Korea takes form in these players and its curse is to give Filipinos the most heart-crushing loss possible. In 2013, the Ghost was Kim Min-goo and his curse was to beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Despite losing Marcus Douthit and trailing by three points at the break, the Philippines started to turn the tables in the second half. Gilas Pilipinas unleashed Jayson Castro and the Blur led a blazing offense in the third quarter, finding a way to take a 10-point lead over South Korea, the Philippines’ largest of the night. But as the dust settled and Gilas holding a 65-56 lead entering the final period, an ominous figure would make his presence felt. The Korean Ghost has arrived and his name was Kim Min-goo. His curse? Beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Kim was 22 and a senior in college when he made the South Korean national basketball team as a backup shooter in 2013. In nine games in Manila, Kim would play well enough to make the tournament’s All-Star team, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He led Asian Championships with 25 three-point field goals, 10 came in the last two games and five came against Gilas Pilipinas. Kim drilled back-to-back triples to open the fourth quarter against the Philippines. Later, his fifth triple — a four-point play at that — pushed the Koreans to within a point, 72-73. South Korea would take over soon after as Lee Seung-jun dunked the basketball on a fastbreak. The Ghost has arrived and his curse is in effect. “Ako pumasok sa isip ko yun nung lumamang Korea, na putek ito na naman,” Pingris said. “Pero ang sabi ko, sayang yung opportunity, kaya naman eh. So sabi ni Jimmy samin, no matter what happens wag kami gi-give up. Pinaghirapan natin to at may goal tayo, this year aalis tayo,” he added, noting the team’s goal to get into Spain and compete with the world’s best national teams. Faced with the possibility of dealing with a devastating defeat, Gilas had enough mental fortitude to keep things going. Trust your system, trust your preparation, trust your crowd, trust your teammates, and more importantly, trust yourselves. “You’re never out of the game if you’re playing at home,” Norwood said as they stared a deficit late against their destined rivals. “I think that was our mindset, keep it close and just find a way,” he added. Jimmy Alapag found a way.   BORN READY Down 73-75, Jimmy Alapag was under heavy duress when he let go of a three-pointer from the left wing just in front of his bench. It was good to go. The Philippines was back on top by one as Alapag somehow managed to get his team to snap out of an initial shock following Korea’s strong fourth-quarter rally. The stage is now set for a wild finish and Jimmy will star in the final act of what has been an incredible show by Gilas and South Korea. “In situations like that, as an athlete and as a pro, that’s the situations that you dream about,” Alapag said.  “Those are shots that you practice when you were a kid. When the shot clock is winding down, to have an opportunity to knock down a shot. It’s a shot that I practiced thousands of times,” he added. After the Philippines and South Korea traded baskets for the lead, Alapag made perhaps the most underrated play in this crazy and emotional encounter between two basketball rivals. Tasked with inbounding the ball just near underneath his own basket, Alapag found his Talk ‘N Text teammate Ranidel De Ocampo for an open look at three. Swish. Gilas leads, 81-77, with 91 seconds to go. “Ranidel was my favorite target for a very, very long time in my career,” Alapag said on the play that most people probably don’t even remember. “Once I saw that he got open, I wanted to make sure that I gave him as great a pass as possible and Ranidel has been known for a long time to take care of the rest,” he added.   THE EXORCIST “Yeah, I was right under the basket,” Gabe Norwood says with a laugh when asked if he remembers the shot that changed the course of Gilas Pilipinas as a national team. Late in the fourth quarter of what was essentially a heavyweight bout, the Philippines just landed two strong haymakers but South Korea would refuse to go down without a fight, beating the count of 10 each time. Down to the final minute of a crucial grudge match with a World Cup berth on the line, Jimmy Alapag had his hands on the basketball as Gilas would go to its halfcourt set. Jimmy will never let go of said basketball. Up two, Jimmy did what Olsen wished he could 11 years prior. Up two against South Korea in a pivotal semifinal game, Alapag received a screen from Marc Pingris, which was enough to momentarily shake off Kim Tae-sul. With some room, Alapag drifted to his left and let a three-point shot fly. Boom. Gilas leads, 84-79, with 54 seconds to go. The shot would later be remembered as the one that ended the Korean Curse, the one that finally exorcised the Ghost. “The first thought that came to my mind was don’t miss,” Jimmy said of the clutch jumper. “That last one, Ping sets a good screen and I got a clean look. It’s a shot that myself, and Jayson [Castro], and Larry [Fonacier], and Gary [David], and Jeff [Chan], all of us, we practice that shot time and time again after practice. So you know, it was a shot that I was confident in but in that moment, all you’re thinking about was don’t miss,” he added. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself and to be confidednt in your preparation. It’s a different thing to actually perform under such pressure. As soon as Alapag managed to shoot his shot, Gabe Norwood did what any other good teammate would do and got in position to get the offensive rebound. You know, just in case. Gabe got the ball alright, but he got it after it swished through the rim. “When he put the shot up, I tried to crash for the rebound but I basically knew that it was going in,” he said. “I had probably the best view, I was right under the basket. I think caught it after it went through too,” Norwood added. Alapag checked out moments later as the Philippines went to its defensive lineup in order to stop another Korean comeback. South Korea turned to its most effective shooter in Kim and as he rose up to try and answer Alapag’s triple, Norwood met him at the apex for the game’s most dramatic stop. Gabe blocked Kim and Gilas would finish things off with a final Marc Pingris basket on the other end. A historic 86-79 win was complete. “I still get chills thinking about it, to look up and see grown men just breaking down. My wife was trying to hold my kids and she was holding back tears. It was just an awesome moment, the bond that we had on that team, the stuff that we did to get prepare, I think we poured it all out in that game,” Norwood said on the monumental victory. “I think it probably didn’t hit me until the final buzzer sounded. Not just for me but for the entire team, when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a special group of guys and the fact that we could share that moment with not just with each other but the entire country, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Alapag added, savoring the moment of a Philippine win over Korea 28 years in the making.   THE INTRODUCTION Gilas Pilipinas would lose to Iran the next day in the Finals of the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. The Philippines put up a fight but Hamed Haddadi would prove to be too powerful to stop. It would take another two years for Gilas to beat Iran but that didn’t really matter in the moment. The Philippines is headed to the World Championships for the first time in three decades. The Philippines has beaten South Korea and one singular shot has allowed the Gilas name to be known around the world. Jimmy wouldn’t say that though. At least not directly in that way. “For me, that shot was the biggest for my career. But really, it was our entire team. We’ve gone through so much and that was just one particular play that really culminated the entire game and all the contributions from other guys from Gabe’s defense, to Ping’s rebounding, to Japeth’s rim protecting, to Jayson and LA doing a lot of the legwork,” Alapag said. “Everybody had their part in contribution to the game. After the shot, after the buzzer sounded, it was just a very special moment for us as a team and for Philippine basketball to show that all of the sacrifices, all of the hard work, now it’s given an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world,” he added. Jimmy wouldn’t say it, but his teammates would. That shot of his that beat South Korea in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships introduced the Gilas name to the world. It announced that the Philippines has finally arrived. Gilas’ breakthrough overtime win a year later in Spain against Senegal — a game Jimmy pretty much decided late as well — made it known that Filipinos are here to stay on the World stage. “I would say so, it got us to where we wanted to be in the World Cup. I think we shocked some people there as well. But just the work that went in, I think it showed the country that we can get back to where we want to be as long as you work together,” Norwood said. “Yung puso ni Jimmy, grabe naman. Makikita mo maliit pero gusto lang niya talaga manalo. Ang liit pero parang lion pag nagalit eh, nandoon yung tiwala namin sa kanya. Ano pa ba masasabi mo, Jimmy is Jimmy Alapag,” Pingris would add.   [NOTES: At the time of original publishing, Gilas Pilipinas was fighting to make a return trip to the FIBA World Cup, this time in China in 2019. To secure its slot, the the Philippine national team needed to beat Kazakhstan in Astana plus a loss from Japan, Jordan, and/or Lebanon. One of the teams that can help Gilas is South Korea... ironically. Jimmy Alapag retired from national team play in 2014 and retired playing for good in 2016. He has since made himself a champion basketball coach in the ABL. Marc Pingris suffered an ACL injury in 2018 and is in the process of returning for his PBA team in the current 2019 season. Gabe Norwood is still in Gilas. He’s still an effective two-way weapon. He can still dunk and will stop your best player too.]   [Updated Notes: The Philippines beat Kazakhstan to make the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Gilas got help from... South Korea. The Koreans beat Lebanon on the road, allowing Gilas to advance to the World Championships outright with a victory over Kazakhstan.]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020