PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games PLAY LIST 03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:50Trending Articles03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. However, it doesn’t mean that the other countries will just roll over and hand the country the gold as they themselves want to show that true to the critics’ observations, the rest of region has indeed closed in on the Philippines.With the task laid out, INQUIRER listed seven players who we feel the fans should keep tabs on this August.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars1. Kiefer Ravena – G, PhilippinesPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netArguably one of the best amateur players in the Philippines right now, Ravena is gunning for a record-setting fourth gold medal in the biennial meet. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul The Philippines against Indonesia during the 28th SEA Games Men’s Basketball final game held at the OCBC Arena Hall 1, Singapore Sports Hub. INQUIRER PHOTO/RAFFY LERMADespite tougher competition in the region, the Philippines remains the team-to-beat for the gold in the upcoming 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.And deservedly so, as the cadet-laden Gilas Pilipinas is bringing in a young but feisty squad aching to claim the country’s 18th pole finish in the meet.ADVERTISEMENT DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games View comments 7. Christian Standhardinger – F/C, PhilippinesLargely a mystery man a few months back, Standhardinger has undoubtedly shot up the ranks thanks to his solid play with the national team.The Fil-German has provided the national team a viable option in the paint, as evidenced by his performances in the 2017 Jones Cup and the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup.However, one thing going against Standhardinger will be his tiring schedule as he and Carl Bryan Cruz are set to fly to Malaysia for the SEA Games after the tournament in Beirut.It’s a mystery how coach Jong Uichico will utilize the 28-year-old given this exhausting challenge, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Standhardinger imposes his will down low and help the Philippines shun the opposition.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters MOST READ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Expect more from the Thai-American in this tourney as he will fortify an already dangerous Thailand crew bannered by scorer Chitchai Ananti.3. Tam Dinh – G, VietnamPhoto from Vietnamese Basketball AssocationVietnam is leaving no stones unturned as it parade possibly its strongest squad headed by Tam Dinh for the regional tilt.The Vietnamese-American guard was the leading scorer in the inaugural Vietnamese Basketball Association season last year, where he averaged 19.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.8 steals for the Can Tho Catfish.Dinh’s inclusion, together with the additions of Horace Nguyen and Stefan Nguyen, could only mean positivesfor Vietnam as it aspires to contend in this upcoming SEA Games, this time under coach Todd Purves.4. Sandy Kurniawan, G/F – IndonesiaSandy Febrianysah Kurniawan of Indonesia (R) attempts to block against Kiefer Ravena of the Philippines (L) during the men’s basketball gold medal match at the 28th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Singapore on June 15, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MOHD FYROL / AFP PHOTO / MOHD FYROLKurniawan didn’t shy away from the spotlight when Indonesia competed in the 2017 Seaba Championship, proving that he can hang with the best in the region.The 31-year-old swingman showed that he’s a reliable three-and-D guy for his side, averaging 11.5 points on a 47-percent shooting from threes on top of 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.8 steals.Spotlight may be on his heralded teammates like Mario Wuysang, Arki Wisnu, and Biboy Enguio, but don’t sleep on Kurniawan making his impact in Kuala Lumpur.5. Leon Kwek – F, Singapore Though one of the youngest in the crew, the 23-year-old guard is one of the veterans in this level of competition in another go-round in the SEA Games.As the vocal leader for this PH squad, Ravena is expected to play a key role in another attempt for Philippines to stay at the top.2. Tyler Lamb – G/F, ThailandTyler Lamb. Photo from Asean Basketball League websiteThe reigning ABL Heritage MVP takes his act to the SEA Games as he finally makes his debut for the Thai national team.Averaging 18.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.8 steals this past ABL season with the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions, Lamb has been a household name in the region thanks to his outstanding play that almost earned him a spot in GlobalPort as the team’s Asian reinforcement last season.ADVERTISEMENT NGCP on security risk: Chinese just technical advisers Photo from Asean Basketball League websiteOne of the fastest rising stars for his country, the 20-year-old Kwek has proven that he’s a solid commodity for the Singaporean national team.However, the 6-foot-2 forward couldn’t sustain his good showing from his time with the Singapore Slingers in the ABL as he only posted pedestrian numbers in the 2017 Seaba Championship with his 9.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.0 steals.One thing going his way, though, has been his efficiency as his presence has been a stabilizing force for a largely disappointing outing.Kwek would love to bounce back from that experience, and he has to, especially with the tough field awaiting for Singapore in the SEA Games.6. Kuek Tian Yuan, F, MalaysiaKuek Tian Yuan. Photo from ASEAN Basketball LeagueHosting the SEA Games also means bringing in the big guns for Malaysia.And with the hosts hell-bent to upend the Philippines from its throne, the Malaysians welcome back majority of their star players from the Westports Malaysia Dragons in the ABL and Kuek Tian Yuan is one of those.The 26-year-old, who has been the team’s top performer when they were welcomed as a guest squad in the PBA D-League last season, returns to national team duty ready to slug it out for national pride.Tasked to hold the paint for Malaysia, Kuek will have his hands full against the bevy of guards aching to challenge his length.And if he passes the test? It’s not far-flung that a podium finish is on the horizon for the hosts. ‘Chess god’ Kasparov returns to compete 12 years later
Kuldeep Kumar, 46, a businessman in Batala, worries that Punjab could slip back into the dark days of terrorism and violence. He clearly remembers those days nearly two decades ago when blasts, shootouts, abductions and extortions were everyday affairs. “These were routine. Whether it killed 10 or 20, we were,Kuldeep Kumar, 46, a businessman in Batala, worries that Punjab could slip back into the dark days of terrorism and violence. He clearly remembers those days nearly two decades ago when blasts, shootouts, abductions and extortions were everyday affairs. “These were routine. Whether it killed 10 or 20, we were too scared to talk because anyone could be a sympathiser (of terrorists) or a police informer.” A hard working dyed-in-the-wood Punjabi, he shifted to Haryana in 1991 but never felt at home there and came back when peace returned in 2000, after nearly two decades of sectarian violence.Bhindranwale merchandise is selling briskly throughout the state.Anyone who has lived through those terrible times which claimed 36,000 lives will shudder at the depressing thought of their lives going topsy-turvy if terrorism were to make a comeback. But it’s disquieting when Intelligence Bureau Director Rajiv Mathur says that inimical agencies abroad are attempting to “reactivate Sikh terrorist elements, forge a nexus between Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and terror groups like Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), and mobilise their resources for planning terrorist violence in Punjab and elsewhere in the country”.Or when Union Minister Ajay Maken, whose uncle Lalit Maken, a budding Congress leader, fell to terrorist bullets in 1985, says that Khalistani groups are trying to regroup and revive terrorism. Recently, Punjab’s Director-General of Police P.S. Gill wrote to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), listing the increasing activities of terrorists and said that they have now set up a new base in Malaysia and are sending arms and men to carry out terror strikes. He told India Today: “Attempts are being made to revive terrorism in the state. As long as there’s unrest in neighbouring Pakistan, militants from across the border will keep coming here to spread terror.”advertisementBhindranwale merchandiseThere is not a hint of exaggeration in Gill’s statement. The last three months have seen the recovery of 30 kg of RDX and other explosives in the state. Terrorists owing allegiance to several Khalistani outfits have been arrested in the state and elsewhere, and even as far away in Frankfurt, Germany. Police investigations show more are in hiding and waiting for the right opportunity to strike. Intelligence inputs suggest that a major strike can take place any time, violent incidents can happen, and cities and towns could be a terror target.If terrorism thrived in the 80s and till the early 90s, it was largely because of the support and sympathy that the movement and its masters enjoyed in the state. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s venom-spewing speeches impacted impressionable minds. For several years, his followers refused to believe that he had died during Operation Bluestar in 1984. Now, 26 years after his death, the militant leader is staging a comeback of sorts.From Chandigarh to Amritsar, youngsters are beginning to sport T-shirts that have his pictures emblazoned across the chest; his posters and stickers are pasted on the windscreens of hundreds of humble Maruti 800s and even SUVs throughout the state. In campuses across the state, his posters adorn the walls of hostel rooms. “These T-shirts are selling like hotcakes and books and CDs are vanishing fast off the shelves,” says Dilbagh Singh, who is raking in the moolah selling Bhindranwale merchandise outside the Golden Temple in Amritsar.”Attempts are on to revive terrorism in the state. As long as there is unrest in Pakistan, militants from across the border will keep coming here to spread terror.”P.S. Gill, DGP, Punjab Is it just a style statement, as optimists would like to believe, or is it something more serious? “It’s a fashion statement rather than a political statement, and it’s a trivialisation of Bhindranwale,” avers Pramod Kumar, director of Chandigarh-based Institute of Development and Communication. “There is no ideological grooming, no political nurturing and no social acceptability of terrorism. A revival is ruled out.” A senior police official argues, “These youngsters are too young to know what the state went through during terrorism days. They are just wearing his t-shirts for style’s sake.”Talk about the revival of the violent movement and you are promptly dismissed whether you are in town or a village, whether you are chatting to an educated or a semi-literate person, a moderate or a fundamentalist. Talk of revival of violence and the radicals surely don’t stay unprovoked. Yes, they are unhappy and there is unrest even if their numbers are not much. Many in the community feel that justice has been denied to the victims of the 1984 riots. But most of them don’t seek Khalistan or violent means to any end.advertisementThe issue has sparked a tussle between the Centre and the state government with Punjab’s Akali regime pressing for deletion of names of people from the Centre’s “black list”, which includes former militants. Many of them were blacklisted and denied Indian visas for their involvement in the pro-Khalistan activities while being foreign citizens.While the Centre has named 169 people in its latest list, the Punjab Government argues that only 28 out of them had any case registered against them and others could not be classified as militants and thus deserved to be removed from the list. A senior police official says they are open to this idea as this would only allow the state to try them according to the law for being involved in unlawful activities, even though the MHA is believed to be not very keen on this proposal. The black list was prepared by the Government during the days of terrorism to identify Khalistan activists in foreign lands.”If the Government stops certain Dera chiefs from preaching against Sikhism, Punjab can be saved from another period of turmoil,” says Navkiran Singh, human rights advocate. “Punjab’s political machinery was overheated in those days. Terrorism would not find same kind of acceptance in same quarters,” says Dipankar Gupta, sociologist and member of the Punjab Governance Reforms Commission.One of Bhindranwale’s oft quoted statement was “jehra Sikh hai, oh darda nahi; jehra darda, oh Sikh nahi” (the Sikh is not scared; if he is scared, he is not a Sikh). But as more and more people are arrested from places far and wide, the people of Punjab worry on a dark chapter being reopened again in the state.Arms and the MenThree Babbar Khalsa international members who were arrested at Patiala on March 26.Recent arrests of militants and seizures of explosives and arms underline the attempt to revive terrorism in the stateAugust 29: A police party recovers 18 hand grenades near Rampura village in Fazilka, Ferozepur district. No arrests made so far in this case.August 17: Two Punjab- based terrorists of the Khalistan Zindabad Force, Gurmeet Singh alias Bagga of Jalandhar and Bhupinder Singh alias Bhinda from Hoshiarpur, are arrested in Frankfurt by German authorities for hatching a conspiracy to eliminate Baba Gurinder Singh, head of the Radha Soami Satsang Beas Dera, on July 28 in Vienna.July 28: Amritsar Police arrest five Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorists who are alleged to have links with terrorists-Narain Singh alias Chaura and Sukhdev Singh Chira. Pal Singh, Kulwant Singh, Gurmukh Singh, Jagtar Singh and Darshan Singh Dhadi are held with two AK-47 rifles, five magazines and 420 live cartridges.July 24: The Khanna Police arrest two suspected terrorists-Gurmail Singh and Kulbir Singh-and seize 250g of RDX and two detonators from their possession. The duo are believed to be aides of dreaded militant and mastermind of Ludhiana Shingar cinema bomb blast, Harminder Singh.June 10: Twenty detonators, 6 kg of RDX, 10 timer devices and 60 metres of fuse wire, besides 2 kg of heroin, smuggled in from Pakistan a few days ago, are seized on the Attari bypass in Amritsar. Sher Singh, Malkiat Singh, Paramjit Singh, Nirmal Singh and Balwinder Singh arrested.advertisementMay 30: Amritsar Police arrest hardcore terrorist Bakhshish Singh alias Baba associated with the Khalistan Liberation Force from Amritsar. Baba was carrying a reward of Rs 6 lakh on his head.May 8: The police recovered 1.8 kg of explosive material fitted with detonator from an abandoned car parked outside an eating joint at Railway Link Road, near Circuit House in Amritsar.March 26: Three members of the banned terrorist outfit BKI-Kulwant Singh, Variyan Singh and Bhupinder Singh-arrested from Patiala district. These three terrorists are found with two pistols and cartridges.
Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants MOST READ View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss NLEX Road Warriors. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netNLEX broke loose in the middle quarters then, held off Blackwater in the fourth to win, 122-101, in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.Sweet-shooting guard Philip Paniamogan scored 17 in the third quarter and equaled his career-high 25 points that went with nine assists and three steals to lead the Road Warriors, who climbed to seventh place in the standings with a 4-5 record.ADVERTISEMENT “We’ve been hitting our stride lately. We had a good game against Alaska then, another good game today. We’ve been playing good defense. At least the last two games, we’ve been consistent with our defense,” said NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao.NLEX big man Poy Erram posted a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds with two blocks to boot in his first game against his former team while Bong Galanza also had the hot hand with all of his 18 points coming from the outside.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsThe Road Warriors took a 29-point lead in the third before the Elite cut it to single digits, 95-86, after a basket by Diego Dario with still 8:15 remaining.NLEX recovered with its outside shooting with Kenneth Ighalo and Galanza hitting timely shots from long distance to put away Blackwater. Iron Man: LA Tenorio sets PBA record with 597 consecutive games played Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon event Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Miguel Romero Polo: Bamboo technology like no other Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag Galanza hit back-to-back 3-pointers to extend his team’s lead back to 20, 110-90, with only 3:20 left.The Road Warriors made a total of 21 triples and had 32 assists with only 12 turnovers.Allein Maliksi had 20 points while Abu Tratter added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Elite, who dropped to 2-8.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving Google Philippines names new country director LATEST STORIES