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.


Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

Updated 22 February 2019
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Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

  • World No. 4 wins third three-setter of the week beat Hsieh Su-wei and claim place in the final.
  • Swiss star Bencic deals a forehand smash to Svitolina's chances of unprecedented hat-trick.

LONDON: If Petra Kvitova does get her hands on the Dubai trophy against Belinda Bencic on Saturday, she will be quick to admit she did it the hard way.
The two-time Wimbledon champion was once again made to toil at the Aviation Club as she finally overcame Hsieh Su-Wei 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. It was her third three-setter in four days and came about as much through sheer grit and determination as any superior groundstrokes or serves.
“Yeah, it was (tough),” the Czech said.
“It was a tough one, for sure. She really didn’t give me anything for free.
“It was a tough first set. I’m glad that I was able to came back in the second. Anyway I didn’t play great at the end of the first.”
Coming into the event the world No. 4 admitted she was undercooked and in need of some game time. While, in hindsight, the three-setters against Katerina Siniakova and Jennifer Brady in the first two rounds probably did her some good, another match that went the distance was probably not in the ideal script for the 2013 Dubai champion.
But Hsieh is a tricky opponent and she proved it once again on Centre Court. The world No. 31 hits two-handed shots off both sides and was trying to beat her fourth top-10 seed of the week. That included wins over Angelique Kerber in the third round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals.

Bencic will try to upset Kvitova in Saturday's final at the Aviation Club (AFP) 


She started off in much the same vein as she had finished against Kerber and Pliskova, hurrying Kvitova around the court and making life as uncomfortable as possible under the hot Dubai sun.
“She’s very tricky,” Kvitova said about Hsieh, who grabbed five games in a row to take the opening set and go up 1-0 in the second.
“I didn’t really play the best at the end of the first set. But I calmed down afterwards a little bit,” Kvitova said.
“With Hsieh, I need to be a little bit patient. ... It’s not really that easy to make those winners against her.”
While she has 
not consistently displayed her A-game this week it should come as no shock that Kvitova has made today’s final. It was the second seed’s 17th victory of 2019 — a feat bettered by no one — and it will be her third final of the season and 35th of her career. She revealed that her presence in the showdown is thanks to her mental toughness and she admitted that after a long week she will have to draw on that a lot today.
“I think I’m pleased with my kind of mental focus after losing the first set, that I was more calmer when I came back and played from the beginning of the second set,” Kvitova said.
“I still kind of felt that I can do that somehow — it was something weird.
“I’m a bit tired right now, to be honest. I have a final, so I don’t know how I going to recover. Hopefully I have a few hours to do something with me.”
Of her sparkling form so far this year she said: “It’s a bit weird, to be honest. I didn’t really expect anything like that. Well, to be honest, I didn’t expect anything, which I already achieved this year. For me, everything is just bonus.
“As I mentioned, the tennis, it’s a bit like escape this week. This is unbelievable to be in the final when I’m escaping from something. Yeah, very interesting.”
In the other semifinal Bencic once again upset the odds to overcome world No. 6 Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-3, 7-6. The Swiss went into the clash as the underdog, but from the off the world No. 45 was aggressive and deservedly won.
In doing so she ended Svitolina’s 12-match winning streak in Dubai and ended the two-time defending champion’s hopes of becoming the first woman to win three Dubai titles in a row.