Philippines’ Jordan Clarkson chases after the ball during their men’s basketball game against China at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018.
AP Photo/Aaron Favila
6 shining moments in Philippine basketball for 2018
Rick Olivares ( - December 13, 2018 - 11:00am

MANILA, Philippines – It’s the holiday season, and there’s plenty of good cheer for Philippine basketball this 2018. We made a list of what was nice and we checked them twice!

Here are six shining moments in Philippine basketball for 2018 and in no particular order:

Janine Pontejos rules FIBA 3x3 World Cup 3-point shootout

The men’s and women’s 3x3 teams were not able to make the medal round in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, but tiny Janine Pontejos, the Perlas Pilipinas sparkplug, gave Filipinos one heck of a consolation.

Pontejos bagged the gold medal after winning the FIBA 3×3 World Cup Shoot-Out after torching the net with 14 points in only 41.86 seconds.

Pontejos bested three other finalists in Alexandra Stolyar of Russia, Marin Hrvoje of Croatia, and Maksim Dybovskii of Russia to claim the gold medal.

Region 4A wins third straight Pambansang Tatluhan title 

Region 4, representing the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon and Rizal, bagged their third consecutive Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Under-16 Pambansang Tatluhan at the Harrison Plaza last October 3.

Region 4A’s Ley Acosta hit the game-ending triple with 1:52 to play to dispatch a tough Region 11 side from Davao City, 21-16, for an incredible three-peat in the annual age-group 3x3 competition.

The balanced inside and outside game with twin towers Jan Rae Atienza and Jan Derick Villarez and the sweet-shooting of Ley Acosta was more than enough to hold off a Davao squad that was led by John Rey Pasaol, the younger brother of University of the East star, Alvin Pasaol and the undersized Wilfred Remollo. 

Batang Gilas books best-ever finish in the FIBA U17 World Cup

Batang Gilas dismantled New Zealand, 73-51, in their last game to finish 13th overall in the 16-nation FIBA Under-17 World Cup in Argentina last July. It was the Philippines’ all-time best record in the tournament since finishing 15th place in 2014.

Kai Sotto tallied 22 points and 10 boards in their last game of the tournament where Batang Gilas finished with a 2-5 record.

Gilas finishes fifth in the Asian Games

Not bad for a hastily assembled squad.

Gilas Pilipinas crushed Syria, 109-55, at the end of the classification round in the 2018 Asian Games men’s basketball competition last August 31 at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

In his Pilipinas debut, Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson showed what a huge pickup he is. And in Gilas’ final match, the NBA star erupted for 29 points to lead the Filipinos, who improved on their seventh-place finish in the 2014 Incheon Games and secured the country's best ranking in 16 years.

Ateneo’s stunning performance in the William Jones Cup

Not bad for a collegiate team. Everyone thought that a collegiate squad; a young one that is, would be blown out in the William Jones Cup. 

By the time the tournament ended, Ateneo not only shocked the Asian region, but gained the respect of many other teams. 

The Blue Eagles finished with a 5-3 record (they lost a close 70-63 match to Iran in their final game of the tournament) as they booked impressive victories over Chinese-Taipei's youth team as well as squads from Japan and Lithuania. 

The highlight of their stint was Matt Nieto’s game-winning triple against Chinese Taipei B.

Coaches Commission Clinic brings fundamental hoops to the countryside

The SBP brought coaching to the grassroots level by touring the country with its Coaches Commission Clinic. Led by veteran and bemedalled coach Jong Uichico (assisted by FEU’s Ryan Betia and SBP’s Mark Solano), they brought a back to the basics approach to coaches everywhere. 

“Many coaches look to YouTube and the internet for guidance and ideas,” said Uichico. “But that is an advanced level. You do not take shortcuts. So, we wanted to communicate the fundamentals of coaching to them. And we like the results and we look to be back next year.”

Thousands and thousands of coaches, including those aspiring to mentor squads, attended the clinics.

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