Team Pilipinas-Panino’s clinches title in Intercultural Basketball Tournament

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Team Pilipinas-Panino's manager Ernie Cabauatan, flashing thumbs-up sign, receives the champion trophy from Consul Jonas Rodney Sumague.
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Best Coach Francis Magat with Mohammed Shobain, Mohammed Khamis Musalam, Consul Rodney Jonas Sumague, Ahmed Helmi and Saudi coach Abdulrahman Shahin.
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Mohamed Bayoumi with MVP Joseph Ubalde, second left, and the mythical five awardees. (AN photos)
Updated 19 May 2016
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Team Pilipinas-Panino’s clinches title in Intercultural Basketball Tournament

JEDDAH: Make no mistake, Filipinos are arguably the best this side of hoops town.
Playing smart basketball, Team Pilipinas-Panino’s on Saturday ran roughshod over the KIA Al-Jabr Lebanese community basketball team with a taller and bigger lineup, 83-61, in the final in the Intercultural Basketball Tournament at the Al-Kaki court (Orca) on Tahlia street.
The victory before a predominantly raucous Lebanese crowd capped consecutive nights of high quality basketball from the gritty Pilipinas team of manager Ernie Cabauatan and coach Francis Magat.
They needed to win their final game of eliminations Friday against the Lebanese, and they did just that, allowing the opponent to lead only briefly at 30-29 before rolling to a 95-76 victory in a game where Mursie Akad scored the first 11 points for Team Pilipinas before eventual MVP Joseph Ubalde and JR Piedra took charge to sow the seeds of the rout.
The result left finalists Panino’s and Lebanese tied on 3-1 in the round robin five-team tournament, a community event with international flavor sponsored by SAGE (Saudi Alumni Grant Enterprise) under the auspices of United States Consulate General in Jeddah.
In the first game Friday, Egypt avoided a winless finish when it beat Syriana-IKK 74-71, and both teams wound up with identical 1-3 card. KAU-Saudi Arabia, the only team to beat the Filipinos, had an even 2-2 record.
Saturday, the championship game atmosphere was palpable with the Lebanese making a big deal of the match by bringing along an army of supporters and making live streaming on Facebook.
As it turned out, the Lebanese for all the drumbeating by their coach Hassan Zeineddein were simply no match for the inspired Filipinos.
Ubalde, putting on a performance worthy of an MVP award, scored 19 points, Rey Razon added 15 and Piedra had 10 as Team Pilipinas broke free from a close first quarter to dominate the game and lead by as large as 26 points at one stage.
An 11-4 run to start the second quarter courtesy of Piedra, Akad, Ubalde and Ziyad Pascual put the Filipinos to their first double-digit lead of 11 points, 34-23, from 23-19 at the end of the first quarter.
The lead grew to 20 points, 55-35, with 4:43 left in the third period that ended 65-41 when peppery guard Rino Berrido, the scourge of the Lebanese side, hit a shot clock-beating basket before Jimboy Pascual made it 67-41.
Berrido finished the night with 9 points as did Ziyad and Guimpatan while Akad tallied 8 points.
Big Fadi Kheyami led the Lebanese with 18 points, Shadi Faraj added 10, Malek Masry 8 points while Tarek Al Eter and Zakarya El Baba each had 7 points.
Consul Jonas Rodney Sumague of the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah attended the awarding ceremony as chief guest. Teng Laguialam and Jimmy Abdullah Beltran representing the Filipino basketball community graced the final match.
Also present were Commissioner Mohammed Khamis Musalam, head referee Ahmed Helmi of Saudi Basketball Federation, Obaid Madani and Lina Almaeena from sponsor Jeddah United, and Global Activene’s Indira Kaljo, among other VIP guests. Filsama Basketball League Event Manager Mohammed Shobain expressed his thanks to all who helped make the event a big success in particular Consultant-adviser Mohamed Bayoumi, who is widely considered the bridge in the ties between Filipino and Arab basketball communities.
The mythical five awardees are Best Point Guard Berrido (Team Pilipinas, Best Guard Ahmed Kheir (Lebanon), Best Forward Mustafa Fattal (Lebanon), and Best Center Piedra (Team Pilipinas).
Magat, now 2-0 in his head-to-head with Zeineddein, is the Best Coach awardee. Special award of appreciation was presented to Jun Lansang and his BOG referees group, which did a good job in the tournament. Willy Cartagena did the play-by-play of the games and color commentary.


Bert Van Marwijk only has one thing on his mind: getting the UAE to the 2022 World Cup

Updated 21 March 2019
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Bert Van Marwijk only has one thing on his mind: getting the UAE to the 2022 World Cup

  • Former Saudi Arabia coach wants to guide the Whites to their first World Cup since 1990.
  • "If I didn’t see the potential, I wouldn’t sit here," Dutchman says of his new job.

LONDON: Bert van Marwijk has told the UAE he only has one thing on his mind: Getting the side to the 2022 World Cup. 

The former Saudi Arabia boss was unveiled as the new coach of the Whites before watching his new team beat his former team 2-1 in a friendly in Dubai (see right). While he was in the stand rather than the dugout — interim boss Saleem Abdelrahman took charge — he would have liked what he saw as he set himself the challenge of leading the UAE to their first showpiece since 1990. 

“I’m here for only one thing, and that’s to qualify for the World Cup,” the Dutchman said.  

“It takes a long time and the first thing we have to deal with is the first qualification round. That’s why I’m here.”

Van Marwijk was celebrated after he led the Green Falcons to last year's World Cup before calling it quits. (AFP) 

Van Marwijk guided Saudi Arabia to last year’s World Cup — the Green Falcons’ first appearance at the showpiece for 12 years — during a two-year stint which ended in September 2017.

That was one of the key reasons the UAE fought hard for the 66-year-old and while it is never easy getting through Asian qualifying — 46 teams going for just four direct slots at Qatar 2022 — the Dutchman claimed his experience, combined with his knowledge of the UAE, will stand him in good stead. 

“The Saudis and the UAE are about the same level. With the Saudis we qualified for Russia, so we will do really everything to go to Qatar in 2022,” Van Marwijk said. 

While he is fondly remembered in the Kingdom — only a contractual dispute regarding backroom staff meant he did not stay on as Green Falcons coach for the Russia tournament — it is his time as the Netherlands coach that really stands out on his managerial resume. Van Marwijk coached the Oranje to within minutes of the World Cup trophy, with only an Andres Iniesta extra-time winner preventing him from tasting ultimate glory against Spain in 2010. 

So why did he return to the Gulf for another crack at World Cup qualification in a tough, crowded race? 

“One of the reasons is the feeling. I have to have the right feeling when I sign a contract,” Van Marwijk said. “We analyzed the UAE, we played four times against each other with Saudi, so I can see the potential.

“I have had the experience to go to the World Cup twice. The first time we were second in the world, the second time was with Australia (which he coached last summer) and we were a little bit unlucky — we played very well. 

“So to go to the World Cup for the third time is the goal.”

Van Marwijk is all too aware his task will be difficult. The “Golden Generation” of Emirati footballers, spearheaded by Omar Abdulrahman, tried and failed to make it to football’s biggest tournament, and a lot of the next three years’ work will likely depend on a new generation.

“I heard there were some young talents, so I’m anxious to know how good they are,” the Dutchman said. “I know the team has a few very good players — the UAE has a few weapons. 

“That’s the most important thing. If I didn’t see the potential, I wouldn’t sit here.”