Japeth eager to suit up for the Hilltoppers

A Hilltopper teammate flies straight into Japeth Aguilar during one of the school’s scrimmages but the 6-9 Filipino simply doesn’t budge, maintains his ground and assumes the full impact of the 200+ pound body coming into him. A year ago, the same scenario would have played out differently. He was weak, couldn’t keep pace with his highly physical teammates, and couldn’t make plays without visiting the floor. He has now gained an additional 10 pounds of strength and looks to have fully adjusted to basketball life in the US. He will play college ball for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers this fall (the Hilltoppers is a division I team in the US NCAA competing in the Sunbelt conference that has produced the likes of ex-NBA players Chris Marcus, Johnny Givens, Tellis Frank and Chris Robinson).

Japeth sat out last year due to transfer rules. He has two years of varsity eligibility and hopes to make an impact to be able to make an impression on NBA scouts.

Not used to the physical brand of play in the US, Japeth locked himself up in the weight room and made earnest goals to improve on his strength. He’s still a few pounds away from his target of 220 lbs. but he has gained considerable strength which will be necessary when he faces the conference’s top big men.

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Who is the PBA’s most improved player?

apr232007_pj_simon.jpgWhat do [tag]Carlo Sharma[/tag], [tag]Denver Lopez[/tag], [tag]Gary David[/tag], [tag]PJ Simon[/tag] have in common? Well, all of them are in the running for the yearend most improved player plum. It’s not simply a jump in scoring, rebounding or in any statistical average. The award is given to a player who has made the most improvement in terms of overall game and has contributed to his team’s success the current season.

apr232007_denver_lopez.jpgLast year, it was [tag]Marc Pingris[/tag] (2005-06 PBA Philippine Cup finals MVP and 2005-06 Defensive Player of the Year) who won the award. Pingris saw his averages in points, rebounds and block shots jump from 4.63ppg, 3.1rppg, 0.38bpg to 8.9ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.63bpg. More importantly, he played a pivotal part in the Giants’ two finals stint in the 2005-06 season. This year, Sharma, Lopez, Baguio, David and PJ Simon have equal chances of winning the same award. Denver Lopez went from a draft bust (a highly-hyped rookie out of Colorado) to a starter at the point for the Welcoat Dragons.

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'Brazilian Blur' wins 6th Man Award

[tag]Leandro Barbosa[/tag], nicknamed the ‘[tag]Brazilian Blur[/tag]’, or ‘Leandrino’ at his native Brazil and no. 10 of the NBA’s [tag]Phoenix Suns[/tag], has won the NBA’s 6th Man of the Year Award. In his fourth NBA season, the 24 – year – old Barbosa averaged a career-high 18.1 points, shooting 43 percent from 3-point range. San Antonio guard [tag]Manu Ginobili[/tag] was second with 269 points and Dallas guard [tag]Jerry Stackhouse[/tag] was third with 210.

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Yet Another Chinese Giant

Yesterday, the most sought after person on Yahoo was Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, which is no surprise given her great talent and the fact she has finished writing the last book in the series, exciting millions of fans around the globe. The second most searched item on Yahoo is Sun Ming Ming.

Which begs the question, who the hell is Sun Ming Ming?

It’s very possible that you’re going to joke that, quite possibly, it’s yet another monster basketball player from China, out to try his hand at playing in the NBA, just like his more famous countryman Yao Ming, well, you’re right.

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For the love of God, get rid of this guy.

Ok, maybe not for the love of God. How about, for the love of all that is great and sacred about the game of basketball. Or for the love of the hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden, the mecca of the game. Or for the love of the values and maturity you can learn from sports. Or maybe it’s as simple as, for the love of all the fans of the New York Knicks.

Isiah Thomas has got to go. Never have I encountered a sports superstar so determined to make people forget how great he was. There was a time I like many others idolized him, a deserving Hall of Famer, perennial All Star and example of a great athlete and player of the sport.

But what he has done until recently is nothing less than unforgivable. He has transformed the mighty Knickerbockers, once an unyielding force and the source of great and memorable contests of the game to a mere laughing stock, a dumping ground for has – beens, inflated egos and their even more inflated salaries.

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