Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ricky Vision, not a 20/20

We all thought that Ricky Rubio, since his first preseason game, would be the next big thing. We're talking like a young Jason Kidd or the next John Stockton. I mean, let's be honest, the guy has some resemblance.

Even after suffering an injury on his knee, we still saw glimpse of this guy's play making ability. Watching him making a living on floor spacing, dishing out fancy passes to hype up the energy, no look passes here and there, and his bounce passes are sick men. Just the way he sets up his teammates for easy basket is what separates him from most of the guards.

Judging Rubio by his impact on the floor makes him a worthy contender to be inserted for the best point guard in the league talk.

A true and classic point guard which has a pass first mentality with the capability to convert himself into a scorer or a shooter when the need arises is a mark we all have witnessed from great PG's. Rubio has them all, however, there's one big aspect of his game that is a remarkable letdown. Defense. I saw it this season against Chris Paul and recently against Tony Parker on a disappointing road loss at San Antonio. The unwillingness to fight over the screens, the reluctance to get it physical, and above all, his poor decisions in a one-on-one situation which makes him, in my honest opinion, the soft spot of the T'Wolves during clutch times especially on guarding scoring guards.  But he is not a bad defensive player at all. Talk about off-ball defending, reading the passing lanes, or crafty pick-pocketing, this kid's got it.
There were great guards who have come before Ricky who were also paired to great bigs, played great in pick and rolls, shined on an up-tempo game, and were highly praised by not just analysts and fans. John Stockton and Gary Payton for example, the former never won a ring and the latter won one but no longer on his prime but at least they have proven their 'A' game in the strongest era of basketball - 90's. And the aforementioned guard, Jason Kidd, though no longer on a jersey but on a suite, showed how sneaky he STILL is for spilling that soda to get the timeout they need. All these three gentlemen are in the circle of top 10 in assists - all time, and top 5 in steals - all time. And Payton, whose also called "The Gloves", was the only Point Guard in the history of the NBA to ever win an award of Defensive Player of the Year proving even guards can be an anchor in the defensive standpoint.

 We all might remember that one international point guard sensation was playing same direction like Ricky Rubio's. The one that was paired with a powerful 4, surrounded by legit role players, and was the one in charged to lead his team running and gunning. We all know what happened to that Canadian who could score and could allow his teammates to score easily thanks to his play making skills as he now hopes to win his first ring playing alongside an ailing Superstar there at Staples.

That former Phoenix Suns star guard couldn't play defense, too.

One thing's for sure in this point in time; despite the sharpness of those Spanish eyes looking for holes to thread a pass, Ricky Vision has yet to see the importance of a guard who plays defense.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Team RP to aspire at FIBA ASIA 2013

Two days to go, Filipino basketball fans are sure excited as the players of the team Gilas Pilipinas to test the waters of Asian hoops. I, personally can't wait for another two nights of sleep for FIBA ASIA to kick off, it's leaving me restless. The tournament will start at August 1 and is pegged to culminate at the 11th, with the bracket ready, Lebanon suspended, and the RP basketball squad in good shape, I think our guys are destined to bring home the bacon this time.

Saw their tune-up bout about against Kazakhstan with obviously taller players; Gilas Pilipinas showed how Filipinos would fight despite being vertically challenged. Half the size, twice the heart. The equation our athletes have always shown. 

As the opening of the tournament draws close, however, two of the vital piece of the puzzle is still recovering from the aftermath of that bloody tune-up match, versatile forward Ranidel de Ocampo and spitfire guard Jayson Castro respectively. An update on their status here.

Catch the Gilas Pilipinas on their/our rise to the top of the Asian basketball supremacy on the following schedules:

FIBA Asia Championship – First Round
Philippines versus Saudi Arabia
– August 1, 2013 – SM Mall of Asia Arena
– 8:15 p.m. 
– Replay on HYPER: August 2, 12 noon
Philippines versus Jordan
– August 2, 2013 – SM Mall of Asia Arena
– 8:15 p.m. 
– Replay on HYPER: August 3, 10 a.m.
Philippines versus Chinese Taipei
– August 3, 2013 – SM Mall of Asia Arena
– 8:15 p.m. 
– Replay on HYPER: August 4, 10 a.m.

Let's show the patriotism during these dates. Laban Pilipinas!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Senate Scrutiny, Educational Background

A month prior the inauguration of the newly elected senators of the Republic of the Philippines, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) released another laudable research  which tackles all our honorable senators' highest educational attainment. For my personal viewpoint, the findings were quite comforting as majority of the members of the senate have degrees that are advantageous for legislative purposes. However, the findings of the research itself can't put us to ease and ask "is this the best of what our country could offer?"

Let me share to you the summary of the report from PCIJ:

Senators Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Joseph ‘Chiz’ Escudero, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Grace Poe-Llamanzares, and Joseph Victor ‘JV’ Ejercito were all political science majors.

Senators Gregorio ‘Gringo’ Honasan II, Juan Edgardo ‘Sonny’ Angara, Pilar Juliana ‘Pia’ Cayetano, Teofisto ‘TG’ Guingona III, and Jose ‘Jinggoy’ Estrada took up economics.

Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Franklin Drilon earned degrees in the arts, while Senators Cynthia Villar, Ralph Recto, and Paolo Benigno ‘Bam’ Aquino IV studied business administration, commerce, and management engineering, respectively.

Senator Lorna Regina ‘Loren’ Legarda took up broadcast communication while Senator Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III majored in English.

Senators Antonio ‘Sonny’ Trillanes IV and Ma. Lourdes Nancy Binay-Angeles, meanwhile, earned degrees in engineering and tourism, respectively.

Senators Sergio ‘Serge’ Osmena III took up various courses, but did not finish. Senators Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. and Manuel ‘Lito’ Lapid did not obtain college degrees as well.

Nearly half or 10 of the 24 senators were Iskolar ng Bayan, or graduates of the University of the Philippines with a bachelor’s degree. They are Binay, Alan and Pia Cayetano, Drilon, Escudero, Estrada, Honasan, Legarda, Villar, and Santiago. Poe also took up Development Studies for two years at UP Manila.
Four senators — Aquino, Enrile, Guingona, and Pimentel — earned their undergraduate degrees from the Ateneo de Manila University.
Ejercito and Recto earned their college degree from De La Salle University (DLSU).
Trillanes also studied at DLSU but obtained his engineering degree at the Philippine Military Academy. Sotto, meanwhile, studied at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila.
Angara, Marcos, and Poe studied abroad at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Oxford University, and Boston College, respectively.

We all know the executive-legislative relationship aids the development of the country, that the laws  enacted and enforced determines the fate of the nation, and that the congress composed of the House of the Representatives and the Senate acts as lawmakers that provide guidelines to our state. 

In your own sentiment, are you satisfied with the line-up of our 16th congress? Will this phenomena be considered a normalcy in our country? Can this, call it whatever, end or change? 

Source: PCIJ's Got degrees, no degrees?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Flu, The Flash, and The Worse Way to get 'ROB'bed

Game 5's all about momentum shift. On a  2-3-2 format, this is the game the either sends you home via 4-1 or prolonging the anxiety via 3-2. Game five is the last home game of the lower seeded team in the NBA finals so this game is a deciding one for the series and for the past few NBA championships we, basketball fans, have witnessed game five is as good as advertised.

Let's take a look back at game 5 performances of the ages.

1. Michael Jordan (1997)

"That was probably the most difficult thing I've ever done" - Michael Jordan
In front of a 19, 911 anxious crowd, being diagnosed with stomach virus, and Utah winning two straight games, his airness gave the basketball world a performance with no excuse.  Tim Grover, Jordan's athletic trainer, claimed that MJ's sickness was brought by a food poisoning because of the pizza he ate a night before the game. You can read the story here. MJ was told by his trainer that there is no way he can play for game 5 due to the fact that he can even barely sit up. With the series tied at 2-2 and the Bulls' fate unclear as their leader's presence remains questionable hours before tip-off, Jordan, visibly weak and pale carried the Bulls to win the game putting them in command of the series 3-2.  Forever remembered as "the flu game", Michael Jordan, just gave the Utah Jazz' fans one more reason to hate him. Playing with flu-like symptoms or, we should say being food poisoned, yet providing 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block all in a jam packed 44 minutes of action add insults to injury. Witness the flu game here.

2. Dwayne Wade (2006)
Wade torched the Mavs with 43 points and setting an NBA Finals record of 21 free throws made in a single game.

Before the Big 3, "the flash" was already a force to be reckoned with in the NBA. His first NBA Finals appearance was, up to date, the most highly adored performance of all-time. Topping the ESPN's Greatest Finals Performance defeating Michael Jordan on the race; 2006' NBA Finals was a series to remember because of this man and game 5 of that series out-shined all his other games. He was clearly very unstoppable at that time that the only way to minimize his damage was to send to him to the stripe - Wade then attempted 25 free throws on that game alone. Mark Cuban, Mavs' team owner, was fined with a head shaking 250,000 dollars for "acts of misconduct" on this game due to controversial fouls and questionable officiating he violently questioned. Judge it for yourself, watch as "the flash" rolled his way to his first championship ring here.

3. Robert Horry (2005)

'Big Shot Rob' does it again!
12 lead changes and 18 ties, Spur-Pistons series came down to the wire. Game was so close that even 48 minutes of basketball isn't enough so they proceeded to overtime. Disregarding Duncan and Manu's stats because we are always expecting them to deliver big numbers, Robert Horry was more like the story of the game. Providing 21 points off the bench with a 5-out-6 shooting beyond the arc, and more importantly, the late game winning jumper were Horry's contributions. Watch as the Pistons got robbed here. How's that for a Horry's scale, eh?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Nightmare Memories of Games 3 and 4

16 3-pointers made is the story of the game as the Spurs behind Green and Neal set an NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers made causing a 36 point lead deficit over the Heat. You think that's too much to handle for the Heat? If you say yes, think again! That blowout may have come so close but still so far for this historical game I'm about to feature.

Bulls vs Jazz, Game 3 (1998)

The look on the Jazz's bench tells it all. 42-point  blowout on game 3 of the 1998 NBA Finals,  ouch!
Nothing like the game when all your players scored at least a point and the visiting just team can't buy a bucket at all cost. Karl Malone can't do it by his own scoring as the high point man for the Jazz and the only Utah player in double digits while the Bulls are hitting on all cylinders. Started with the stifling defense then shocking the Jazz with an offensive barrage they've never seen before, the greatest NBA Finals blowout just cemented its place in history. They say a picture is worth a thousand words but a video is worth a thousand pictures; watch the onslaught here.

Now to game 4 we go, Miami stunned the Spurs with their Big 3 providing 85 points all combined tying the series 2-2. Speaking of Big 3's, 10 years after the biggest blowout in NBA Finals history came the biggest comeback win in NBA Finals history featuring the Boston's super trio (KG, Pierce, Allen). 

Lakers vs Celtics, Game 4 (2008)
Down by as big as 24, the Celtics climbed their way back to the top and finishing the game as the winners.
This, up to date, is a complete shocker. As the old saying goes "offense wins games but defense wins championships." But the victory can't be solely credited to the Celtics' lock down defense but also to its execution of championship caliber offense. Even if you're to check the box score everyone was doing their part but only the more determined team showed more of its heart - Celtics. It is deemed non debatable that all Celtics-Lakers game are worthy of watching because of the rich history this two have. Game 3 of 2008 NBA finals is one of my favorite and my favorite individual performance was when Ray Allen blows past Vujacic scoring the nail on the coffin. Ready to relive a rivalry and this epic match? Here you go. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Shooting explosion in Game 2 of NBA Finals

I know it's kind'a late right now for another review of a memorable game 2 now that 2013 NBA Finals is already done with it, but trust me with this one as the next game I'm about to feature has gone beyond the unthinkable.

Ray Allen gives a shooting clinic to the Lakers (2010)

Humiliated on game 1, the C's look to steal a road victory against their arch rival Los Angeles Lakers. Determined to make a push, Coach Doc Rivers calls a timeout and during the huddle he instructs his boys that someone should step up. He got what he was looking for as Ray Allen, the greatest shooter of all time, answered the call and performed the greatest shooting display in NBA finals history torching the Lakers with a record shattering 8 swishes beyond the arc breaking the previous record of 7. The C's were successful on winning a game on road as they head back to Boston tying the series at one a piece thanks to Allen's magnificent shooting who finished with 32. Watch the Allen's memorable shooting night here.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Forty years later or  after six presidents, Philippines is once again hosting the most prestigious basketball league in the continent. The host should have been Beirut, Lebanon but with security issues that are yet to be stable as of the moment, Filipinos will enjoy the home court advantage then. The draw was held at Manila Hotel on June 6 with Team Pilipinas being the 13th and the privilege to select which group to join, also, 2 teams from the SEABA region are yet to be determined as they will still battle their way for their respective slots in a qualifying match.

On the side of the globe, Smart Gilas boys are busy on a training camp at Lithuania to sharpen those weapons.  Group A, you think we can smoothly make it to the next round? And, more importantly, can we end the drought for a taste of a gold medal? Your support can make a difference; support our campaign for Asian Basketball Supremacy. Like Smart Gilas' facebook page for update. FIBA Asia Championship commences on August 1 and ends on August 11. Mabuhay ka Pilipinas!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Remembering Two of The Most Memorable NBA Finals Game 1 Performance

Teams winning game 1 have more chances of wining the series in the NBA Playoffs, at least that advanced statistics would enlighten you how crucial a series opener is. It puts your team ahead of the series and could serve as a stepping stone to clinch a 2-0 lead. You steal a game on road or you \protect the home court advantage, it doesn't matter, giving your all is  what matters in the grandest stage of NBA playoffs - the Championship. In this article, we take a look back on NBA Finals Game 1 performances that totally deserves a distinction.

1. Allen "The Answer" Iverson (2001)

After draining a deadly step-back jumpshot over Tyrone Lue, AI walks past his defender .
The Lakers were 12-0 prior to this game as they swept all of their opponents from the Western Conference and many predicted that the Sixers-Lakers series would also end up the same. Iverson says "no-no" to that as he carried the load to win a game on road by chipping in a magnificent 48 points(30 of those were produced on the 1st half), 5 steals, and 6 assists giving the Lakers their only loss in that championship run. The Iverson-led Sixers won 107-101, imagine how Iverson singlehandedly carried his team with 48 points yet only winning by six. Watch the epic performance here

2. Michael "Air" Jordan (1992)

Jordan lit up the scoreboard on the game 1 of 1992 finals by scoring 35 points in the first half.
Before the memorable game winner by his airness at Utah called "the shot" there was this thing they called "the shrug" which transpired on a championship series against Portland. Analysts thought that Bird-Johnson rivalry would be relived as two elite guards on their prime battled it out, Jordan and Drexler respectively, but it would turned out that MJ would own the series. Game 1 was a taste of MJ's unparalleled greatness setting an NBA Finals records for most points scored in the first half and shot six three pointers to set another record which then was broken years later. Jordan dominated the game in his fashion finishing 39 points and 11 assists in a game 1 blowout against a future team mate for the Barcelona Olympics, Clyde "the glide" Drexler. Watch "the shrug" game here.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Triple Dose of the Wild Wild West

Feeling nostalgic without a WCF (Western Conference Finals) match-up to watch now that Spurs swept the grit n' grid Grizzlies? Don't worry I got yah covered. Let's take a quick trip down the memory lane to witness wild buzzer beaters that transpired during the NBA playoffs. 

1. John Stockton game 6 game winning triple at Houston (1997)

Stockton shooting over Charles Barkley providing a late second heroics to seal the series 4-2.

Stockton, the last man who wore short shorts in NBA, scored 11 of Utah's 14 during the 4th Quarter on a road game against the Rockets during the game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference Finals.  This reminded me of Kevin Love's game winner against the Clippers when he popped out on a series of screens and gave a dagger, on this play it was Stockton who was given the shot to give a punch to the mouth. Thanks to Malone's wide body providing a solid screen on Stockton's defender; Drexler, Barkley, and Olajuwon - Houston's version of Big 3 - fell short to reach the NBA finals to face the Bulls. Watch the video here.

2. Robert Horry game winning triple against Sacramento Kings (2002)

Chris Webber closing out a desperation shot from Robert Horry on a game winning triple to put the series at 2-2. 
Game 4 at LA, Kings leading the series 2-1. Sacramento had the chance to take a commanding lead but when they surprisingly missed those free throws and put the purple and gold back on striking distance, they got rob by "Big Shot Rob". One of Horry's crazy game winners, Kings on the other hand, never recovered after this awful loss. Watch the video here.

3. Derek Fisher game winner against the Spurs (2004)

Fisher sinks an impossible shot to put the Lakers ahead on the series 3-2 with just 0.4 seconds left on the clock.

After Duncan made an unbelievable shot to put the Spurs ahead 73-72, Fisher made his own miraculous fade away over Manu Ginobili. With 0.4 seconds left, Derek Fisher stunned the crowd, the Spurs themselves, and the basketball world. Ever wondered why Fisher gets heavily booed by fans when at San Antonio? This shot is the reason, watch the video here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Duel to Remember

Now that Miami advances to the Eastern Conference Finals waiting for Indiana versus New York series winner same with Memphis as they anxiously wait for the winners of Spurs versus Warriors, we all could agree that only the Spurs-Warriors series is exciting to watch. With D-Rose out for the Bulls, with Westbrook also out for the Thunder, and the Knicks being unable to knock down their shots, this is clearly a bad second round playoffs.

We flashback to time when Kenyon Martin was the first overall draft pick, Mike Miller was the rookie of the year, the East won the all-star game, Canada still has two teams in the NBA namely Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies, Shaq was still very dominant and NBA  at that time was still filled with talented big men, and AI was still the scoring champion. That's right gentlemen, the 2000-2001 season. We all know that the Lakers dominated the playoffs at that time with a 15-1 win-loss record in the playoffs, which up to now is still the best winning percentage in playoffs history, and the man to watch during that time was NBA's shortest and lightest player ever to win an MVP award - Allen Iverson. 

00'-01' season was filled with dramas; coaching changes, injuries, tears, achievements, upsets, and promises. Among the headlines of the news: Rick Pitino resigning as the Celtics coach, Heat star center Alonzo Mourning's announcement of kidney disorder, a come from behind victory by the East all-stars over the west, but it was a second round confrontation in the Eastern Conference Playoffs between the Carter-led Raptors and Iverson's Sixers that made the season memorable. It highlighted two of the league's elite players, on their prime, going at each other with an epic 7-game nail biting series that is claimed by many as the greatest duel in playoffs history. 

With coach Larry Brown earning the coach of the year award, Dikembe Mutombo for Defensive Player of the Year Award, Aaron Mckie for Sixth Man of the Year Award, and Allen Iverson as the all-star MVP, scoring champion for the second time, and season MVP,  the Sixers look to finish their season bagging home the championship trophy. After finally getting past Indiana in the first round, they are set to be face the Toronto Raptors which had no plan of being eliminated in the playoffs after moving on to the second round for the first time in franchise history. 

On this legendary series, Allen "The Answer" Iverson proved to the world that on a sport normally dominated by big men, listed as 6 feet,  his heart could fill the stadium.
Iverson and Carter Stats
And for Carter, known to be a high flyer, he dazzled the Sixers defense and made jaw dropping finishes inside the painted area without regard for Dikembe Mutombo. Carter also displayed on the series how he had fallen in love with jumpshot.

The Raptors stole the opener in Philly; AI evened the series with 54 points in game 2. Carter answers with a 50 of his own to come along with an NBA record-tying nine shots beyond the arc in a game 3 blowout. Iverson then outscored Carter 82-41 on victories in games 4 and 5. 

Though Toronto would force a game seven in Philly, Carter made one of the most questionable moves in playoffs history resulting them to lose the game and made himself criticized for a last minute travel. Carter attended his graduation ceremony in North Carolina that same morning. Carter arrived in Philadelphia afternoon, five hours before game time. It doesn't matter if it's the jet lag, the distraction, or the lack of focus; what's done is done, Carter missed a potential game winning buzzer beater and Iverson won the battle (232 points to 216) and the war.

Vince Carter (left) and Allen Iverson (right)
"It was incredible. (Carter) had great games at home and I had some great games at home, but both of us were trying to put our teams on our back and win basketball games. It is great just having those memories and being part of something like that" - Allen Iverson

We all remember that it was the Sixers and the Lakers collided in the NBA Finals, that moment when Iverson stepped over Tyrone Lue was an instant classic. They eventually lost to the Lakers 4-1 but it doesn't matter. I don't wanna sound like the Laker-hater I used to be now. The 2001 match-up between the Sixers and the Raptors is one of my favorites with 2 of my favorite players in their prime trying to top each other's performance game after game. 

It would be interesting how much things would've changed if VC made that shot. Toronto never got back to its winning ways after this loss and Carter was never the same when he got that jumper's knee and got traded to New Jersey. For Iverson, though he made personal achievements like adding more scoring titles and MVP's, he didn't have another chance to compete on the higher stage after being bothered by personal problems. Now both of this  men are just couple of somebody's in the sport today but for what they have done, they shaped the game we know today by this one of a kind duel to remember.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

One for Mindanao

Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri
The much awaited May 13, 2013 elections is just one day to go and most of you might already have a complete list of the senatoriables to vote. If you don't mind, do you have in your list two distinguished gentlemen hailing from Mindanao?  Fomer Senator Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri of Bukidnon and Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III respectively, two different faces coming from two different parties yet one common goal, public service, one running as an re-electionist and one running for a convincing  and an uncontested seat in the upper house. We could hardly distinguish who on the two is running as a re-electionist and who is looking for a victory with no irregularities, you know what I mean.  With the bitter past that both of this exemplary gentlemen had shared, the fate of Mindanao has also been affected due to the process of they've been through. Mindanao, already tainted with security threats from rebel groups that has insisted attempts of cessation and partition, complaints from various sectors of the community of alleged forsaking by the national government for basic services,  now  faces another predicament. Already lacking on representatives in the senate for its 90 million plus residents; Mindanao senatoriable candidates (Migz and Koko) are still getting into each other because of the bittersweet of the 2007 elections.

With just Guingona and Pimentel hailing from Mindanao as our representatives in the senate, we can't help but think that we Mindanaons would feel like belittled for attention. The never ending debate on how to end the power outage/shortage issue, the peace and order concerns, unattended agricultural capability, and many more are just few of the insecurities that we have as a Filipino citizen. Making matters worse is when both senatoriable bets are in a political rift exchanging blows at each other forgetting they were both sons of Northern Mindanao. What saddens me more is when a father and son political figure here in Misamis Oriental expressed on air via local radio station that they will not campaign for Koko because a politically related dispute from the past, and a local columnist on a local newspaper emphatically saying that he isn't moved with Migz' projects like multicabs because those vehicles won't change how greedy he [Zubiri] was for the position that he even tampered the 2007 elections. 

For us people of Mindanao to enjoy an ample support from the government, it is practical and crucial for us to elect senator from Mindanao too. I'm not saying other senators don't have the vision to help us but it's going to be easier for us to tap national legislators who were from the same place as ours. Therefore, I am personally campaigning for Migz and Koko for you the betterment of Mindanao. Koko's one of a kind track record matched to his resounding achievements is surely a big boost to the senate, while Migz' own stand out personal profile as dedicated public servant paired with a great advocacy is surely missed on the congress. Let's set aside politics this time, let's think of the future of this promising land - Mindanao - for we, our parents, and the next generation are the ones who will benefit most from it.

A lesson from history, every administration provided a milestone of governance for Mindano; Former President Corazon Aquino issued EO 512 paving way to the creation of Mindanao Economic Development Council or MEDCO, it was Former President Fidel V. Ramos who operationalized it, Former President Joseph Estrada  made remarkable efforts on eradicating security threats in Mindanao despite a short lived presidency, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed a bill converting MEDCO to MinDA or Mindanao Development Authority, and current President Benigno Aquino's Bangsamoro framework, we could write history by our own too by giving Mindanao additional representatives in the senate. Who knows what Zubiri and Pimentel could bring if given the chance. In the midst of an election with a high criminal rate, breaches in election laws, and rumored PCOS machine malfunctions; the biggest election related incident (ERI) would be forgetting to vote for our fellow Mindanaoan. 

5 things the Knicks should address before packing thy bags to Indiana

With the series even at once a piece, the New York Knicks will venture to troubled waters once more. This is the first time for the Knicks this playoffs to be on the road and not enjoying the lead on the series. We all remember how they went to Boston with an emotionally charged up crowd yet they still managed to take a commanding 3-0 lead on the series until the Celtics refused to give up and forced the series to game 6.  It is important to remember when Indiana nabbed game 1 in MSG with a dominant performance limiting 'Melo and JR to take the home court advantage out of the hands of the second seeded Knicks, they weren't the same team we saw on game 2, however, when the Knicks, behind Carmelo Anthony, trounced them with an outstanding spurt starting from the 3 minute mark of the 3rd Q down to the end of regulation resulting to a 105-79 blowout. Should we still expect another see-saw type battle now that Indiana will have to dress white jersey, will Knicks get fired up and pull an upset in front of 24,000 fans or, will the Pacers take the comfort of playing at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and protect their home turf?

With the season series split 2-2, we could hardly predict who will the series and proceed to the Eastern Conference Finals. For the Knicks to proceed they need to look at this blog post and insert it on there game plan.

1. Losing Composure

They say, an angry mind is an empty mind and anger reduces IQ making you act foolishly without the thought of regretting it afterwards. Certainly true! The inability to control one's emotion could result to a technical foul, 2 shots and a ball possession, worse comes to worst when Paul George sinks in a triple or David West mauls you deep in the paint and gets a bucket and-1, then you get a five point swing. Now the Pacers' fans gets involved energizing the home team and your rhythm  has gone discombobulated causing Coach Woodson calling a 20 sec timeout, if not a full, then you just cost an untimely timeout. Imagine how costly it would be to go out uncontrollably addressing your feelings during Playoffs; it could cause you the lead, the momentum, and even the series. So the next time you get a 'no call', keep your head up and dash back to other side of the court to defend because the last thing you want is you not getting the right call, causing a 4 against 5 defensive possession, and getting a technical foul for excessive complaining. You will have all the time talking to the official on the next dead ball. 

Known to have hot heads on their revamped roster, NYK has the reputation to end a game with at least one player with a technical foul. 'Melo, JR, Chandler, and even coach Mike; now that Stat is said to suit up this game 3, add another man on the list. 

Expect the Pacers to come out more than the expected physicality now that they're back on their home floor, expect questionable calls, expect big runs if not blowouts, and please New York, show us you now have matured. 

"The best fighter is never angry," says Lao Tzu so it is imperative to stay on the floor poised, emotionally stable, and mentally prepared. This is the reason why staying composed is number 1 on the list.

2. 'Melo on 2!

The first one was to contain themselves, outdoing there perceived limitations, and stay focused to come away victorious. Second thing to address is the team's most valuable player. 

Two is the magic number for Carmelo Anthony. The league's scoring champion has got to play the type of basketball the way he did on game 2 and not like the 'Melo on the past two years. Typical 'Melo stats  would give us 29.3 points per game, roughly a 39% shooting, 20% beyond the arch, 1 assist, 7 rebounds, and  3 turnovers.  Anthony adjusted with accuracy on game 2, delivering a statement... 50% shooting, went 40% beyond the arc, 3 assists, 9 rebounds and zero turnovers. Did I forgot to mention he chipped in 32?

Melo has got to be involved in 2 man games too, whether be it on and off the ball because with his ability to shoot when open or bully his way inside on the open floor could create problems for the defensive team. It would be interesting to see if the Knicks would run 1-4 pick-and-roll with 'Melo and Felton specially when the slower David West is guarding Anthony. And if Indiana opts to put George on Carmelo, 'Melo should run a pick-and-roll with whoever Hibbert is guarding; exposing a hole in the paint is when Hibbert needs to help and when the 7'3 center will be more concern of the paint than Anthony's shooting touch and decides not to help on the screen, 'Melo would most likely hit jumpers that are uncontested. More importantly, 'Melo must never forget that there are more ways to win the game than just plain individual scoring. He is the man where his team mates draw their will to win, he has to show leadership by example especially on the road against a very determined team. Two departments where he needs to shine for them to have a better chance of winning: rebounding and assists. 

That explains it, 'Melo on 2!

3. BIG numbers

Whoever gets an edge on rebounds wins the game that is the story so far. On a heartbreaking home loss on game 1 Indiana were +14 and on the bounce back victory on game 2 Knicks were +2 on the same department. It is obvious that how you clear the glass and providing your team extra possessions could clearly affect the flow of the ball game. Furthermore, the Knicks' so called 'anchor in the defense’ Tyson Chandler has got to match Roy Hibbert's activity on the floor for he has been outplayed by Hibbert for two consecutive games already. Last year’s defensive player of the year awardee had a terrible series thus far, only averaging 3.5 rebounds per game and has been plagued with foul troubles on battling Roy Hibbert.  Good thing K-Mart picked up the slack providing solid numbers off the bench despite the fact of being clearly undersized over the taller Hibbert with an impressive 11.0 points per game and 2.0 blocks per game.

Now the Amar'e is back, he would surely bring upheaval for the Knicks in the battle of big men but it should be emphasized that Lance Stephenson was a guard yet monster on the boards so rebounding has got to be everybody's concern. 

4. The back courts

Statistically and schematically the Knicks plays better when they have two point guards on the floor that means on this part Felton, Prigioni, and Kidd are to be scrutinized on their effectiveness.  

Raymond Felton: Being the second man next to Carmelo on scoring is the Raymond Felton we expect. The veteran guard who could score, convert himself into a playmaker, and sometimes a defensive hasn't been a problem for the Knicks since the start of the playoffs. If the same Felton would show up in their game against Indiana, win or lose, we could live with that.

Jason Kidd: This crafty very experienced guard is currently not a big factor in the game. With zero contribution on scoring and not finding his range, JKidd could only provide his leadership to the team. Not forgetting his ability to find open team mates and some nifty stops on the floor, New York still needs him on the floor, and what my friend once told me, JKidd rises up in the occasion when you least expect. With all being said, this 40 year old athlete might be the X-factor of the series.

Pablo Prigioni: Make no mistake on this Argentinian for he had displayed a very eye catching old school type of basketball on game 2. After being cold on game 1, Pablo Prigioni showed why he belonged to the league of the stars; providing 10 points on a perfect shooting night, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and no turnover all that on a productive 21 minute exposure. Not only he captured Mike Woodson's attention but of the vigilant sports writers on his style of play to come along with his unique basketball journey being the oldest rookie ever to play the league. Pair him with either Felton or Kidd, you get a double dose of lethal guards.

Now we shift our attention to the 2's. Disregarding Quentin Richardson since only played five minutes for this series, JR Smith and Iman Shumpert we go.

JR Smith: The sixth man of the year has yet to find his old self, not the brawny version, since suffering a one-day suspension on the first round of the playoffs. Shooting with a mind blowing 23% on the floor on the series, JR Swish hasn't been a problem on this series but to his team mates. With the reputation of shooting 'what the f**k' kind of shot selections Smith has given the Knicks another problem adding to Carmelo Anthony's shooting drought. If only Smith could read my blog and focus on reading the #1 on the list, he might be enlightened and thank me afterwards. If he could manage the hump and keep his focus aligned to the team’s mission, good things might roll.

Iman Shumpert: Iman Shumpert has been superb. While the inconsistent Smith is still looking for answers Shumpert on the other hand is enjoying his first trip to the second round of the playoffs. His numbers have increased on the series, with regards to his performance scoring above his average and passing the ball well, just like K-Mart, we're thankful to have him around while Smith is more of an enemy than of a friend to us. With his unquestionable defensive skills, as of the moment, Shumpert is better choice for the modified 3 spot for the Knicks. 

Looking at how the back court affects the series.

Game 1: New York had 10 turnovers while Indiana had 16. New York had 4 steals while Indiana had 3. Knicks lost the game.

Game 2: New York had 7 turnovers, Indiana had 21. New York had 11 steals, Indiana had 4. Knicks won the game.

It is obvious if the Knicks' back court could keep the pressure they could reclaim the series. On my special note, the full court press of the Knicks flattens the Pacers offensive scheme. Most of the time, they forced turnovers like 8 second violation, steals, and even if they crossed the half court line, offensive flow would most likely evaporate when guards are pressured because the bigs would have to play outside the comfort zone just to save possession.

5. Stick to your identity!

Last but not probably the least, sticking with the team's identity with an exclamation point. It is conceivably difficult to play with a difference face heading to the upper ladder of the Playoffs. This isn't the Knicks we were used to see during their dramatic 82 game campaign with due respect. I understand Thomas, Brewer, and Wallace are already ghosts of the past but they were only with the Knicks for a short span. I don't care if the real identity is being branded as one of the teams that produced vast technical fouls, what we are missing is the winning ways this NYK team showed us throughout the season.

Stat-wise, all shooting statistics are down coming in with 8 games in the post season. The team's scoring average has decreased by 14 going in the playoffs, though retaining one of the lowest turnovers per game the assists per ball game has decreased on the other hand making us conclude that this Knicks are still taking good care of the ball though they aren't sharing the load as much as they've done all season long. 

Solution to revive the lethal offense: Inside-outside game. Felton is good on this, JR Smith needs this whether be it he driving to the rack or he waiting on the corner then shoot, and 'Melo same as JR's. Put 'Melo on a high post at the elbow. Said to be the toughest spot to defend for a post up player, the elbow area is the position where 'Melo could exploit almost any defender in the league and could easily spot up who's open or where the double is coming. Both suggested plays could warm those cold shooters on the roster and when they do that they're almost impossible to stop.

Defense: Double, Switch, and Swarm NYK signature defensive setup. This one's tough to explain, but here it is anyway. With two point guards in it's no surprise that this Knicks line-up is small. It is tempting to post up a point guard matched up to a natural shooting guard or even bigger so opposing teams would think of doing so. NYK would then double team the post up player forcing that guy to pass the ball, Knicks so good on reading the passing lane would most likely steal the ball or if not, they force shooters to drive and then they swarm and  collapse too making it look very easy. Before they know it, shot clock has already neared zero or worse, already sounded.

On my special note to coach Woodson: Use all weapons, I mean players. To keep the defense adjusting and guessing give time to all your players. Chris Copeland for example, he could play multiple positions for your team, could play as the small forward, as a power forward, and could be a center at some point. The boy could run, he could shoot long bombs, he's got length, and more importantly he is a student of the game. Steve Novak, hot or cold he is a shooter. He is partly the reason why NYK was branded one of the best shooting teams. Now back on the line-up after being bothered an injury, I know he's ready to put on a fireworks display. Quentin Richardson, we hired him for no reason - experience and expertise. a deadly shooter who has been to the playoffs for so many times with different teams sure could a difference on the floor.

Go get 'em, New York!