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Filipino fans rally behind Gilas Pilipinas

/ 02:03 AM October 02, 2015

GILAS Pilipinas and Lebanon were still playing as of this writing but the entire Filipino nation is confident—after the stunning victory over Iran last Sunday—that Lebanon would be a breeze.

At this point, we’re all hanging on to Gilas coach Tab Baldwin’s word that his team has become an expert at plugging the holes.

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“We don’t just ride on one horse,” he said, citing the case of Andray Blatche, who played through a hurting ankle to help the team win against Iran and India.

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Nobody paid much attention when WBO light flyweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes mentioned, rather casually, during the recent press conference hosted by ALA for Pinoy Pride 33 “Philippines vs the World” that he will have a series of sparring sessions with Filipino-American Brian “Hawaiian Punch” Viloria.

Viloria is scheduled to take on the undefeated Nicaraguan Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez this month.

The reason no one paid attention to Nietes’ announcement was that nobody knew at that time knew who Viloria’s foe would be at Madison Square Garden in New York on Oct. 17, the same date Pinoy Pride 33 is scheduled.

But after Gonzalez was installed pound-for-pound king by Ring Magazine recently, boxing enthusiasts as well as the local boxing media eagerly searched the Internet for news on Nietes’ sparring plans in the United States.

Nietes left for the US only yesterday to train and acclimatize himself to California’s weather.

He had yet to have his first sparring session with Viloria. The two Filipinos will be sparring at Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles as soon as Nietes, the country’s longest reigning world champion, arrives. Viloria is being trained by Freddie Roach.

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Buddy Encarnado, the former overnor of Sta. Lucia in the PBA and now chair of the newly organized Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL), can’t contain his excitement after meeting with TV5 Sports head Chot Reyes.

First, he signed a contract with the network for the television coverage of the PCBL games, which will be played three times a week in as many venues in Metro Manila.

But what makes him even more excited, he said, is the fact that Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas has invited the PCBL to join SBP as a stakeholder.

“The plan is to appoint the PCBL to take charge of forming the national teams for the Southeast Asian Games and the SEABA (Southeast Asian Basketball Association). This should motivate the teams to recruit and develop really talented players who are Gilas materials,” Encarnado said.

Foton and EuroMed are also participating in the seven-team PCBL which will be launched this month.

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TAGS: Brian Hawaiian Punch Viloria, Buddy Encarnado, Gilas Pilipinas, Lebanon, Pinoy Pride 33, Southeast Asian Games and the SEABA
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