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Enter Noah’s Ark (NBA.com/Philippines Exclusive)

April 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Joakim Noah leads his team in rebounds, assists, and blocks. Instagram: @hankpymcom

Below is an except of my article from NBA.com/Philippines.

An emerging leader

With the seemingly innocuous play in late November that prematurely ended the season of former MVP Derrick Rose and the mid-season trade of Chicago Bulls co-captain Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers, I was curious to see where this would leave the 2013’-2014’ Bulls and their continuing quest to not only make the NBA playoffs but to also put together a deep run.

But with the loss of D Rose (15.9 points per game (ppg)/10 games) and the subsequent departure of Deng (19.0 ppg/23 games), how would these transitioning Bulls make up the void in their offense? Their leadership? Who among their remaining players would be the one to step up?

It was a train of thought that I am sure Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has been inundated with throughout Chicago’s injury-plagued season. But to his credit, Thibodeau has not offered any excuses and has even been quoted saying, “We have enough to win.”

Enough seems to have come in the form of 7th year center Joakim Noah whom Thibodeau has decided to run his half-court offense through following the loss of Rose and Deng.

Since the Deng trade, the Chicago Bulls (14-18) have gone 26-14 (as of March 28, 2014) led by the 6’11’’ Noah who’s game has not only risen by several notches but has also garnered some MVP consideration in the process.

For more on this article, click here.


[i]  The NBA’s all-time assist leaders are John Stockton (15,806 | 1st), Jason Kidd (12,091 | 2nd), Mark Jackson (10,334 | 3rd), Steve Nash (10,296 | 4th), Earvin “Magic” Johnson (10,141 | 5th), Oscar Robertson (9,887 | 6th), Isiah Thomas (9,061 | 7th), “The Glove” Gary Payton (8,966 | 8th), and Andre Miller (8,070 | 9th place).

The Pain of a Steve Nash Fan (NBA.com/Philippines Exclusive)

March 7, 2014 Leave a comment
Gary Payton (Issue #67) and Shawn Kemp (Issue #14) defined the term "lob city" from 1990-1997. Instagram: @hankpymcom

With 39 more dimes, Steve Nash will pass Mark Jackson for 3rd all-time in career assists. Instagram: @hankpymcom

Below is an except of my article from NBA.com/Philippines.

Unlike some of my past pieces here in NBA.com/Philippines, I have found this one on the Los Angeles Lakers’ Steve Nash one of the hardest to write. Difficult—because he has always been one of the players that I have looked up to and now, at the twilight of his career, a litany of past and present injuries have slowly robbed the former back-to-back MVP of his health and—indirectly—an opportunity for us all to continue on watching him play in basketball biggest stage.

Currently ranked fourth all-time in the NBA’s career assist ladder,[i] he is in my opinion, my generation’s last true pass-first point guard. Like Earvin “Magic” Johnson, John Stockton, and Jason Kidd before him, Nash has that special ability to make his teammates better (and potentially wealthy come contract negotiations).

Today’s point guards—outside of Rajon Rondo, Ricky Rubio, and to a certain extent Kendall Marshall—are built a little more in the mold of a Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, and Derrick Rose: Scoring point guards who are relied upon to be their team’s primary or secondary scorer rather than their main facilitator.

For more on this article, click here.


[i]  The NBA’s all-time assist leaders are John Stockton (15,806 | 1st), Jason Kidd (12,091 | 2nd), Mark Jackson (10,334 | 3rd), Steve Nash (10,296 | 4th), Earvin “Magic” Johnson (10,141 | 5th), Oscar Robertson (9,887 | 6th), Isiah Thomas (9,061 | 7th), “The Glove” Gary Payton (8,966 | 8th), and Andre Miller (8,070 | 9th place).

Review: Ant-Man (2006 | Wal-Mart Exclusive | Toy Biz)

February 24, 2014 Leave a comment
With the mask on, Scott Lang could easily be mistaken for Hank Pym. | Ant-Man with Flying Ant from the Marvel Universe Classic Avengers Box Set

With the mask on, Scott Lang could easily be mistaken for Hank Pym. Just the way I like it! | Cameo: Ant-Man with his flying ant from the Marvel Universe Classic Avengers Box Set (2011). Instagram: @hankpymcom

Manila, Philippines – Whenever I attend local toy conventions, the one question I manage to ask in any booth selling Marvel Legends is, “Miss/Sir (depending on who I am addressing at that very moment) may Ant-Man ba kayo?” (“Miss/Sir, do you happen to have Ant-Man?”).  It is an unusual question—often met with disappointing responses such as, “Sorry, wala” (“Sorry, none”), “Ano yan?” (What is that?), or the dreaded and equally rare, “Ay, kakabenta lang” (“Oh, we just sold it”)—but people who are really into the business know that I am referring to the Scott Edward Harris Lang Ant-Man figure from the Marvel Legends Wal-Mart exclusive Giant Man Series (May 2006).

The set, a treasure trove in the Marvel Legends collector community, is comprised of 11 figures that “fans really wanted to have made” but were not popular enough for mainstream consumption.  Coupled with other cost saving agendas such as limited distribution (insert Wal-Mart here) and recycled molds with new paint jobs and head sculpts—what you end up with is a VERY limited and equally pricey set once it hit the secondary market.

Nine characters and two variants were featured in this Build-A-Figure (BAF) set.  They are the aforementioned Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Captain Britain (Brian Braddock), Havok (Alex Summers), Age of Apocalypse Sabertooth, Sentry (Robert Reynolds), Shadowcat with Lockheed (Kitty Pryde), Thor, Warbird (Carol Danvers), and Age of Apocalypse Wolverine (Logan).  Among them, Sentry (with facial hair) and the Age of Apocalypse Wolverine (burnt face) had variants.  Each of the nine basic figures (plus one variant) also came with a unique part to form the BAF Giant-Man (Hank Pym) [Which I will discuss in depth in a future post].

So, back to Ant-Man. Read more…

Hank Pym is Michael Douglas (Marvel’s Ant-Man)

January 17, 2014 Leave a comment
Michael Douglas is Gordon Gekko. Michael Douglas is Hank Pym. How awesome is that!

Michael Douglas is Gordon Gekko. Michael Douglas is Hank Pym. How awesome is that!

Got wind of the astonishing news yesterday evening that Michael Douglas (Wall Street, The Game) was cast as Dr. Henry “Hank” Jonathan Pym in the upcoming Marvel’s Ant-Man movie!

Needless to say, I was late to this particular party but nevertheless elated as Hank Pym finally has a face!

Synchronicity

After Paul Rudd (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, I Love You, Man) was officially cast in the Ant-Man movie last December 19, I was relieved and at the same time indifferent.  Relieved because the signing of Rudd signaled that writer and director Edgar Wright’s vision would have taken another step towards beginning production and indifference because I could not see Rudd as Pym.

But when my brother informed me yesterday that Douglas had come onboard to play Hank Pym, I was grinning from ear-to-ear.  The 69 year-old academy award winning actor and director is one of my favorite actors—highlighted by his role as Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street (1987).

It was synchronicity: One of my all-time favorite actors will play one of my all-time favorite superheroes.

It certainly doesn’t get any better than that.

Possible Plot Theories

With the principal actors in place as well as reports that director Edgar Wright would want to see an Ant-Man in the 1960’s, several possible plot points come to mind starting with: Read more…

Adidas solidifies their basketball roster with the signing of Jeremy Lin

January 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Linsanity Rocks Manila: The popularity of Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin is felt halfway around the world as reporters swarm around him during a break in his team’s practice at the Mall of Asia Arena. | NBA Global Games: Philippines (October 8, 2013)

Adidas connects with Jeremy Lin

Starting 2014 on a high note, Adidas International has announced that they have signed the Houston Rockets Jeremy Shu-How Lin to an endorsement deal.

The addition of the 6’3’’ point guard—to an already impressive international basketball roster that includes Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets), former NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls), John Wall (Washington Wizards), Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves), Joachim Noah (Chicago Bulls), and last year’s Rookie of the Year (ROY) Damian Lillard (Portland Trailblazers)—augments the shoe company’s presence, especially among Asian and Asian American consumers.

“Jeremy’s relentless drive, passion for the game, and background of leading winning teams throughout his career makes him a perfect fit for the adidas brand,” said Chris Grancio, Adidas head of global basketball sports marketing.

Lin is scheduled to appear in a variety of upcoming Adidas marketing initiatives and will likewise play a role in the development of basketball footwear and apparel.

For more, visit the Adidas Philippines Facebook Page.

Classic Battles: The Action gamer versus the Statistical oriented player (NBA.com/Philippines Exclusive)

January 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Gary Payton (Issue #67) and Shawn Kemp (Issue #14) defined the term “lob city” from 1990-1997. Instagram: @hankpymcom

Below is an except of my article from NBA.com/Philippines.

Classic Battles

Roger and I have played every conceivable computer/console basketball game for as far back as I can remember.  Name it, we probably played it: Konami’s Double Dribble (1986), Lakers vs. Celtics (1989), the NBA Live video game series (1995-2010), and most recently the NBA 2k series.  Game play—I’m sure you will agree—has moved from the simplistic, comedic, and impossible to a more dynamic, serious, and realistic tone.  Gone are the proficient half-court “I’m-facing-my-opponents-basket-and-my-shot-will-still-go-in,” heaves of Double Dribble and the peculiarly successful NBA Live Steve Nash 93-foot lobs to either a streaking Amar’e Stoudemire or Shawn Marion.  Today’s game attempts to mirror their real life basketball counterparts, rewards team play, and takes the entire gaming experience to a different level.

The Action gamer versus the Statistical oriented player

In sports games such as these, two gamer types emerge: the ‘action gamer’ (AG) and the ‘statistical oriented player’ (SOP).  My definition of an action gamer is one who is in it purely for the entertainment value. More often than not, you will see them always go for a highlight play such as a fancy assist, killer crossover, or a rim-rattling dunk.  They are unconventional and willing to risk everything at any given moment—especially for the buzz that comes with that winning last-second highlight play.[i]

For more on this article, click here.


[i] Remember that early 90’s Seattle Supersonics game wherein “The Glove” Gary Payton threw an ill-advised lob to the “Reign Man” Shawn Kemp?  A lob, which ultimately cost them the game in the dying seconds of regulation?  That my friends, in its purest form, is an action gamer play.

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: Color Manila Run 2 (10km)

January 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Clockwise: Picking up my running kit at the SM Aura Premier Convention Center (January 3, 2014) | Different shades to choose from. | Color Manila Run 2 Finishers Medal. | Color Manila Run was held in Bonifacio Global City on January 5, 2014 | Hash tags for my Color Manila Run 2 event: #ColorManila2014 #Determination #31RiseAbove #NoExcuses. For more, click on the photo – Instagram: @hankpymcom

Ringing in the New Year

I love the Christmas holidays and the Christmas holidays love me.  I know this because despite what other people say: Love is measurable…well, at least in terms of our waistlines.

But seriously, December is a time for celebration and BOY–do we ever celebrate.  I am not exempt.  But despite one too many Yuletide cheat days on my end, I am happy to report that I only had a gain of about 2-3 pounds.  I say only because I gained over 10 pounds around the same time the year before.

So what better way to start 2014?  A road run!

Color Manila Run 2

Through SMS, I was able to get wind (pun intended) of the first road run slated for 2014: Color Manila Run 2.  To be honest, I knew next to nothing about the history of this event with the exception that some form of paint would be involved and that we would need to wear some really cool shades.

Claiming the Race Kit (January 3, 2014)

Looking beyond the event’s history, I felt that the organizers did a really good job preparing for the event.  They provided their consumers with several payment methods (e.g., pre-paid cards, credit card, and PayPal), informed them promptly (via SMS) of where they could collect their racing kits (SM Aura Premier), and had a structured system of distribution.

Race Day (January 5, 2014 | Bonifacio Global City | 5:00 AM)

For those of you who have been following my road running posts, one of my keys to any race is being among the first wave of runners.  When my running group reached a spot that we were comfortable with, I begin to go about my stretching routine when I looked up at the big board that read:

42…41…40…

Read more…

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