2017-2018 NBA season just around the corner
With nine days remaining until the start of the 2017-2018 NBA season, Las Vegas odds makers are installing the Golden State Warriors favorites to repeat as champions for the third time in four years.
The prediction will be tested since the contenders have made strides to make competition tougher for the Warriors, one of the four California franchises with immense following among Filipino-American sports fans in and beyond America’s most populous state.
The Oklahoma Thunder have improved their odds in the tough Western Division by trading for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to join reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook in their quest for a title.
The Cleveland Cavaliers reunited LeBron James and Dwayne Wade and acquired Isaiah Thomas to solidify their status as top dogs in the East.
But their road to the championship became tougher with the Celtics trading for the hot-shooting Kyrie Irving in exchange for Thomas, the Boston spark plug.
With Irving, Boston emerges as the biggest threat to prevent a fourth straight series between the Warriors and Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
The Houston Rockets have slightly worse title chances than Oklahoma City or San Antonio in the West although they traded for Chris Paul before the start of free agency.
While the league has zeroed in on the top six teams, the rest of the NBA franchises are hoping that new draft selections will produce stunning games to make any kind of a title run.
And to highlight its young guns, the league will televise their teams’ games.
The old rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings in the early 2000s will be rekindled. With top five picks Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox, all four of both teams’ meetings will be on national TV.
Critics want Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. to come down from sky to ground immediately.
Detractors are not shunning the ex-solon on social media. They are ramping up attacks that Cojuangco has been in orbit for his fearless forecast that the country’s top athletes will not only break our gold medal drought in the Olympics a little over two years from now.
Unabashedly, Peping is saying local Olympic hopefuls are capable of winning not two as he earlier predicted, but five golds at the Tokyo Games in 2020.
But training venues are the key success, according to Peping. With the dearth of funds from indifferent private and corporate sponsors, the onus is on the Philippine Sports Commission to carry the torch for a modern training center.
The PSC is currently preoccupied identifying facilities to rehabilitate in time for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019, a year before the Olympiad.
Right now, the government’s sports funding agency probably has neither the time nor adequate funds to plan and build a new training site with a shelf life longer than the two weeks of the Olympics, Asian Games or even the lowly SEA Games.