AIR21 head coach Franz Pumaren said they will try their best to simulate the FIBA brand of play when they face the Gilas Pilipinas squad in a tune-up game next week.
Once the Gilas squad returns from their New Zealand training, the Nationals will play two tune-up games. They will play the PBA selection on July 24 before facing the Kazakhstan national squad on July 26.
According to Pumaren, the only thing going in their mind right now is how to give the Nationals the kind of opposition they badly need.
“We’re not doing this for us or for the fans. We’re doing this for the Gilas team so I guess the players being professionals, I think they will try to really play well and push the Gilas.”
Pumaren believes they can, in some ways, play the FIBA style of play even though they will be having only two practice sessions before the game.
“FIBA is not the typical American or PBA style. We will try to spread the floor move around, quick movements and everything. We will try and make the most out of it,” said Pumaren.
APOLINARIO UPRISING Two-time world title challenger John Mark Apolinario left for Japan Wednesday afternoon where he will get another shot at a world crown.
The 23-year-old Apolinario will meet Japan’s most popular fighter Koki Kameda in a 12-round title fight on July 23 in Tokyo.
Apolinario said he is able to prepare well-enough for this fight as compared to his two previous title attempts which ended in controversial draws.
For his last two fights, Apolinario settled for even scores opposite Panamanian Roberto Vazquez in November 2012 and March 2013 both in Panama.
For his twin bouts against Vazquez, Apolinario said he was able to train for only one month while against Kameda, he has logged two months of training.
“Kulang talaga ako sa ensayo noon kasi kailangang kong umuwi sa probinsiya. Pero ngayon talagang wala nang putol ensayo ko ngayon,” said Apolinario.
Apolinario adds Kameda is a much easier target as compared to Vazquez.
“Si Vazquez kasi pasok ng pasok kaya nahirapan din ako nun. Si Kameda kasi, tumatakbo tapos nagpapahinga din minsan. Ganun gusto kong kalaban,” said Apolinario.
Should he win, Apolinario will become the country’s fourth world champion.
The three current kingpins are WBO minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo, WBO lightflyweight ruler Donnie Nietes and IBF 108-lb king Johnriel Casimero.
BERNABE STALLED The return of former world title challenger Bernabe Concepcion hit a snag after the Bicolano fighter suffered a shoulder injury while in training.
After a forgettable last few fights in the United States, Concepcion returned to the country and fought twice, winning on both instances.
“I have been receiving numerous offers from International promoters but I took my time and made sure my next deal will be very ideal for me and my potential promoter,” said Concepcion.
The 25-year-old Concepcion was set to take an acid test in WBC Asian Boxing Council superbantamweight champion Richard Betos in supposed 10-round non-title fight on July 27 at the Barangay San Dionisio Covered Court in Parañaque City.
However, promoter Anson Co disclosed that Concepcion hurt his right shoulder while sparring at the Alliance Boxing Club in Pasay City.
“The doctor won’t let him fight on the 27th but we are still waiting to see the x-ray result before confirming his diagnosis,” said Co.
Late last year, Concepcion hooked up with Co, owner of Baguio City’s most popular sweatshop, the Shape Up boxing gym where Pacquiao sets up his camp when training up North.
Co however said the card will still push through with the women’s Philippine minimumweight championship between titleholder Jessebelle Pagaduan and challenger Carleans Rivas taking center stage.
“Although there is that compassion among viewers when they see them hurt, women’s boxing are as engaging as men’s,” said Co.
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