NBA Training Camps Open up
Collegiate season is also peaking in the South with the CESAFI games ongoing in Cebu City. Heavy favorites in this group are the University of sisayas reen Lancers, SouthWestern University and the University of Cebu.
‘ Tis the season, Palawan. The highest level of basketball in the world, “The League”, the National Basketball Association formally opened training camps this week. Media Day started Monday for most teams with first day of practice and training scheduled Tuesday.
Media day favorites include the souped up Golden State Warriors with new addition DeMarcus Cousins attending none-contact training. “Boogie” has undergone achilles surgery and is expected to work his way into the roster mid-way through the season. Once he gets cleared to play, expect a very solid starting line-up for the Warriors with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson manning the guard spots, Cousins in the middle, along with Draymond Green and Kevin Durant at the forward spots. All five players are capable of scoring lights out double digits every game. They remain season favorites to keep their championship streak going this year.
Over in Lala Land, the Lakers new franchise figure, Lebron James met the Los Angeles press for the first time as an official Laker on Monday. “The King” was modest in setting expectations for the new look Lakers which he branded as a young upcoming team, very eager to learn and develop. Asked about his stand on the continuous build-up of their state rival Golden State Warriors, LBJ was cool enough to admit that the Lakers cannot be compared to the Warriors who are already a “made” team running for their third straight NBA championship.
The Western Conference is still loaded with the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans, Denver Nuggets, and Portland Trailblazers looking to unseat the defending NBA champions. From the outside looking in, you have the Dallas Mavericks, LA Lakers and the Clippers, along with the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves all zeroing in for a playoff berth.
Speaking of the Timberwolves, all-star Jimmy Bulter made it public that he wants out of the organization. The Wolves are keen on getting something out of this request than losing Butler for nothing to free agency next season. This may put a dent on Coach Tom Thibodeau’s drive for another playoff finish but to counter this, they have invested heavily on their other all-star, upcoming big man Karl Anthony Towns. KAT will carry the Timberwolves on his broad shoulders this season.
Shifting focus to the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics are heavy favorites to advance to the NBA finals this year. They have a solid projected starting unit of Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Jason Tatum. A strong bench unit of Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes give head coach Brad Stevens a 9-man rotation that can compete well with the league’s elite teams this year. Up to challenge the Celtics are the young guns of Philadelphia. The 76ers behind the duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are expected to reach the Eastern Conference finals.
Watch out for opening day tip off on October 16, 2018!
Local College Hoops
The NCAA is starting to solidify final four contenders this time of year. We see the Lyceum Pirates, the San Beda Red Lions, the Letran Knights, the UPHR Altas and the College of St. Benilde Blazers fighting for semifinal positioning with the Pirates and the Red Lions looking like a solid lock at the no. 1 and no. 2 spots. I consider the Knights a darkhorse to reach the finals since I have seen them play dominantly against Mapua last week. They have a tall front court and a solid go to guy in Bong Quinto who can score points when Letran needs them. Of course Lyceum and San Beda are still favorites with their deep rosters but they cannot lower their guard in the playoffs.
Over at the UAAP, the University of the Philippines are at a losing streak with a 1-3 Win-Loss slate. Picked to have a solid season this year, the Maroons fell victim to other final four contenders early in the elimination round with losses to the Ateneo, FEU and just recently, the Adamson Falcons. These four teams along with the Dela Salle Green Archers and the NU Bulldogs are poised to battle for the cross over semifinals this season 81.
Collegiate season is also peaking in the South with the CESAFI games ongoing in Cebu City. Heavy favorites in this group are the University of Visayas Green Lancers, SouthWestern University and the University of Cebu.
All levels of basketball in full swing!
SUBARAW PPUR Festival Foun dation
Palawan, you may have noticed social media teasers and billboards highlighting this year’s November 2-11, 2018 PPUR “Subaraw” Festival already. Your Puerto Princesa city government, the Puerto Princesa Underground River administration and the PPUR Festival Foundation are heavily involved in making this a grander National event this year. Things are starting to pick up approaching the dates and yes we expect tourists from all over to head to our island on the first week of November. Mark the week! November 2-11. Happy Subaraw Festival!
(The writer is a senior leader of the only Business Process Outsourcing company in Puerto Princesa. He also is the current Puerto Princesa Underground River Festival Foundation President. Watch out for this year’s bigger and grander festivities promoting bio-diversity and our heritage sites)