Lee, Dillinger, Blatche named to Gilas Asian Games team

Updated 13 August 2014
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Lee, Dillinger, Blatche named to Gilas Asian Games team

MANILA: Paul Lee, the most impressive player for Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba-Asia Cup in Wuhan, China, last month, pierced the national team lineup that will be shooting for the gold medal in the Asian Games next month.
No less than Gilas coach Chot Reyes made the announcement through his twitter account @coachot on Wednesday afternoon, as he dropped the 36-year-old Jimmy Alapag from the lineup together with Marcus Douthit and Larry Fonacier.
Jared Dillinger, the defensive-minded Meralco off-guard, will take the place of Fonacier in the team, while Andray Blatche, the Brooklyn Net in the National Basketball Association, will be the Philippines’ naturalized player in Inchon, South Korea.
Blatche, who can more or less offset Iranian center Hamed Haddadi in Korea, was naturalized less than two months ago and has, in fact, been with the Philippine team for the last three weeks, counting their rigorous two-week training stint in Miami.
While he declared the inclusion of the trio to the Asian Games roster, Reyes did not divulge the names that will play for the Philippines in the World Cup in Spain before the end of this month.
The World Cup comes almost a full month before the Asian Games, and the way Reyes divulged the lineup for the Games only fuelled speculations that he will be sticking with the group that punched the World Cup ticket for the Philippines.
Team Philippines won over South Korea in the Final Four of the World Qualifying joust in Manila a year ago, ending close to three decades of heartache against the Koreans.
The Filipinos eventually lost the gold medal match against Haddadi and the Iranians, but the silver medal they won in front of a boisterous hometown crowd glittered more like gold for this basketball-crazy nation.
And the hard work put in by those 12 intrepid men — including Douthit who sat out most of the title game against the Iranians because of a leg injury — could be what Reyes is considering why he hasn’t released the World Cup lineup until now.
Lee, though, is expected to play in Spain to take the place of Fonacier, who begged off from further national team duty, citing the need to recover from several injuries after playing non-stop in the PBA and internationally for the last four years.
The 6-foot wingman made a grand impression in his first international stint in Wuhan, hitting three free throws with no time left against the host Chinese in an 80-79 victory in their bronze medal match.
Meanwhile, Kevin Alas, Matt Ganuelas and Jake Pascual, members of the Gilas cadet program, declared themselves available for the coming PBA Draft set for Aug 24.
Their inclusion has more or less assured that guards will dominate selections in the proceedings with Fil-Ams Stanley Pringle and Chris Banchero likely to dispute No. 1 and Alas tipped to be tabbed as high as third overall.
Of those who were expected to declare — and are believed to be ripe for the pros — only Garvo Lanete and Bobby Ray Parks have held out, with Lanete, the sweet-shooting San Beda guard, opting to stay in the amateur ranks for another year.
Lanete is one of the stalwarts of the NLEX Road Warriors team that won six of the first seven conferences played in the D-League, but he declared that he will hold out just a few hours before the Wednesday deadline to “further hone my game.”
Parks, son of the late, great seven-time PBA Best Import Bobby Parks, is reportedly in the United States and will try his luck to make it to the NBA.
The younger Parks won a UAAP MVP with the National University Bulldogs and had several stints as a national player, counting one which won the gold medal in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.


PSG chief Al-Khelaifi charged with corruption over Qatar worlds athletics champs

Updated 1 min 59 sec ago
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PSG chief Al-Khelaifi charged with corruption over Qatar worlds athletics champs

  • BeIN Sports boss Nasser Al-Khelaifi has been under investigation since March
  • Another BeIN executive is also under investigation in France

PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi was on Thursday charged with corruption in connection with the bidding process for this year’s world athletics championships in Doha, judicial sources said.
Al-Khelaifi, who is also the boss of Qatari television channel BeIN Sports, has been under investigation since March in a probe of the bidding process for the 2017 and the 2019 world championships.
Doha lost out to London to stage the 2017 worlds but beat off opposition to host the 2019 event from Eugene in the United States and Barcelona.
Al-Khelaifi was informed by letter of his “mis en examen,” a French legal term that has no direct equivalent in the American or British legal systems but roughly translates as being charged.
The French term does not automatically trigger a trial but means that prosecutors believe there is strong or corroborated evidence of wrongdoing.
Al-Khelaifi was unable to attend questioning by investigators scheduled for May 16 as he was in Qatar for the domestic cup final.
French prosecutors are looking specifically at two payments of $3.5 million in 2011 by Oryx Qatar Sports Investment, a company jointly owned by Al-Khelaifi and his brother Khalid, to a sports marketing firm run by Papa Massata Diack.
Diack’s father Lamine Diack was president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 1999 to 2015 and a member of the International Olympic Committee.
As well as probing the world athletics championships the French investigation is also examining circumstances in which the Olympic Games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro for 2016 and Tokyo for 2020.
Prior to the decision to charge him, Al-Khelaifi had been questioned in March as “person of interest” in the case revolving around the 2011 payments by Oryx which were made at a time when Doha was seeking to host the 2017 world athletics championship and the 2020 Olympics.
Investigators were seeking to determine whether, in return for the payments, Lamine Diack used his influence to gain votes for Doha among IAAF members and also to obtain a date change for the competitions to avoid the heat of the Qatar summer.
The world championships take place at the Khalifa International Stadium between September 27 and October 6.
Al-Khelaifi’s lawyer Francis Szpiner denied all wrongdoing on the part of his client saying the Oryx payments were fully transparent and the facts of the case “do not concern him (Al-Khalaifi).”
The head of BeIN Sports “authorized no payment of any kind in relation to the allegations made,” he told AFP.
“Nasser Al-Khelaifi was neither a shareholder, nor a director of Oryx en 2011. He did not intervene either directly or indirectly in the candidature of Doha...”
Another BeIN executive, Yousef Al-Obaidly, a PSG board member and close associate of Al-Khelaifi, is also under investigation in France which claims jurisiction because the IAAF is based in Monaco.
Al-Obaidly has also denied all wrongdoing, saying the allegations were “utterly baseless and unsubstantiated.”
Lamine Diack, meanwhile, was charged with corruption in March in relation to the case while an arrest warrant has been issued for his Senegal-based son, also wanted for corruption and money laundering, according to a source close to the probe.
French prosecutors this week recommended that Diack and his son stand trial in a separate matter, for allegedly obstructing sanctions against Russia for doping in return for payments when he was IAAF president.