SPORTS KEN: EJ Obiena, high scoring PBA games, etc

Pinoy pole vaulter EJ Obiena gave us something good to cheer about, copping the gold in the Perche En Or indoor tournament in Roubaix, France Sunday.

The Tokyo Olympian, touted to be the next Olympic gold medalist in the 2024 Paris Olympics, cleared 5.82 meters to beat China’s Yan Jie who leaped to a distance of 5.75m.

It is the second tournament for Obiena who settled for the silver a week earlier in a meet in Germany.
Obiena is ranked third in the world after snatching the bronze last year in the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

High scoring games in the Govs’ Cup do not leave me impressed because opposing teams appear to be less concerned about defense.

Ask Tim Cone and this multi-titled coach will agree.

The imports are concerned about their own individual performances and they need to produce big points for themselves to impress management who will seek their services anew when the next season comes.

The All-Filipino conference (Philippine Cup) is truly the most prestigious of the three tournaments in the PBA calendar. Without imports to help their cause, each ball club and their respective coach will want to prove their mettle.

That victory of Terrafirma over Meralco was a shocking loss for coach Norman Black and his boys.
Converge, by far, is getting the fans’ attention, narrowly edging an unsuspecting Magnolia, 111 -109 even as our favorite point guard of yesteryears, Johnny Abarientos, faces a hefty fine for sticking a dirty finger at the Converge import.

Offside reactions like this make for intriguing expectations in Asia’s first pay for play league although there’s nothing much to watch during the preliminaries.

I like to see the locals standout or play at par with the imports so that the integrity of the league – as its name implies – is truly about Philippine basketball at its best.

But you see, each ballclub is depending on its import to produce the points and the win.

Justin Brownless is still very much the most outstanding among the present crop of foreign cagers. He scores, rebounds, issues assists and defends to ensure there is complete teamwork.

Elsewhere, Fil-Am super GM Wesley So scored 7.5 pts, good for solo third in the just-concluded Tata Steel Chess Masters at Wijk Aan Zee, Netherlands. WS was undefeated and registered two wins in the 13 round robin tournament won by Dutch number one GM Anish Giri who garnered 8.5 pts after beating Richard Rapport in the 13th and final round.

World champ Magnus Carlsen and erstwhile leader Uzbek teenager Nodirbek Abdusattorov shared second with identical 8 pts. (Email your feedback to GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!

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