COurtVisionThis week’s Court Vision takes a break from the UAAP and continues its focus on Smart Gilas and their historic run towards a historic bearth in next year’s World Championships, with a few notable bits on the local professional league as well.

Fortunate enough to get tickets for the weekend’s games? Here’s all you need to know:

Smart Gilas Pilipinas

Rick Olivares of bleachers brew:  “Players I like in this FIBA Asia tournament. Note that this is not a ‘best of’ list. Just the players who I enjoy following for the reasons stated below.”

Gerry Ramos of ““I think I could run for the president of the Philippines right now,” he told his audience with a loud laugh while waiting for the post-game interview to start. “Might get a few votes. How many votes do you think I can get?” asked the 64-year-old Australian.”

Levi Virora of “Yasseen Ismail Musa struggled against Gilas and complained at times, hearing it badly from the huge crowd at the arena. The next day, though, he was the hero and led his team to the big win with 20 points and 19 rebounds. “I always love the Filipino fans,” Musa said. “Last night, they cheered for the Philippines, which is normal. But today, it was us. So that is what’s fun about basketball.” And with the knockout round starting Friday, August 9, Musa asks for another wave of support from the home crowd.”

Chuck Araneta of “Timmy Duncan Reid skies for a rebound over the outstretched arms of Marcus Douthit. Because the crowd is so silent in shock, you can hear 80 percent of the comments that people say. The person behind me says: “Sipag ni white boy ah.” I find myself nodding in agreement. Duncan Reid rules.”

Snow Badua of “David, billeted with the rest of the Gilas team at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati since last week, was allowed to go home and spend two hours with his wife Jenn and three kids including 11-moth-old daughter Jeylaa. A return to his old routine and some home cooking should work wonders for David, who is looking to recapture the shooting touch that made him one of the most feared gunners in the PBA heading into the tournament’s most crucial stretch.”

Lora Fonacier via “Difficult were the 16 days in June when they flew out to train in Lithuania, when our kids would look for their fathers everyday. Liam Fonacier, Santi Tenorio, Amara and Aerin Chan, Steph, Laine, Ranidel Jr. and Franceska de Ocampo, Maxine, Gariel and Jeylaa David, Cassius and Orion Norwood, Mic and Caela Pingris, and Zachary Belga that’s not 16 days of elevating the level of play of seven players to be at their best for the FIBA Asia Championship. To these little ones, it’s 16 days without playtime, hugs and kisses from their dads.”

Gary Mercado of “I feel I am one with the rest of the Philippine basketball loving populace to heave a sigh of relief upon seeing the one player we’ve hinged our high hopes upon to finally, FINALLY blossom from a mere slam dunking sideshow into a legitimate scoring, rebounding and shot blocking threat. And you can tell there’s a lot of angst in the guy, considering he still practices the time honored, almost comical ‘stare – down’ after each dunk.”

Richard Dy of ““This is it,” said the 35-year-old playmaker ahead of the knockout rounds of the tournament, where years of buildup and millions spent will be put on the line with every do-or-die game Gilas will play beginning with the quarterfinal against Kazakhstan on Friday. “We have the eight best teams in Fiba-Asia so it’s important really for us to come out with a strong start and play our best basketball.” Alapag has declared a few months back that this showpiece that cost the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas P70 million to host would be his final stint with the national team.”

Solar Sports Desk: “Despite the tough challenge ahead of them, Norwood thinks that with the Pinoy crowd on their side, they can compete with any other team in the league. “What makes you believe that you can compete with the elite teams in the tournament?” Norwood was asked. “Playing at home. As simple as that,” he responded.”

Mikkel Bolante of “Kazakhstan’s point guard Jerry Johnson has been one of the best guards of the tournament, scoring 15.4 points in five games. His shooting from long range hasn’t been stellar, but he’s been unbelievably efficient when he hasn’t settled for the outside shot, to the tune of 21-for-29 shooting (an impressive 72.4 percent). While he hass taken nearly as many three-pointers (7-for-26) as two-pointers, it’s inside the arc where he been doing his damage.He is also averaging six assists per game, which is second best in the tournament, just a shade under Iranian Mahdi Kamrany’s 6.2. Johnson’s scoring and playmaking is a big factor for Kazakhstan as he provides a nice counterpoint for the team’s strong, hefty frontline.”


Karlo Sacamos of ““There’s only one team I would want to play for and that’s Ginebra,” Taulava said on Wednesday before the press launch of the charity basketball game he headlined with former NBA star Stephon Marbury later in the day. With the PBA grind taking its toll on his aging body following 13 seasons in Asia’s first professional league, the Filipino-Tongan slotman decided to ply his trade in the ABL where he played with a youthful zest in leading San Miguel to its maiden title, dethroning Indonesia.”

Snow Badua of “HERE’S a video of the controversial play that triggered the bench-clearing scuffle between the Alaska Aces and the San Mig Coffee Mixers on Saturday afternoon, as well as the heated exchange of words between coaches Luigi Trillo and Tim Cone. The two camps have given contrasting versions of the events, with Joe DeVance claiming Calvin Abueva was out to hurt Alex Mallari with a foul late in the game.