The ball’s in our court

first_imgThree games into its debut season, Alab has been drawing packed crowds from Biñan, Laguna, to the Olivarez College Gym in Parañaque, where only last Sunday former two-time UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr. exploded for a record 41 points in a 93-87 victory over the Kaohsiung Truth. Alab will also hold stops in Davao and Sta. Rosa, Laguna, for future home games as they continue to bring the team closer to the fans.Philippine teams have won the ABL twice, but the league has gone under the radar in what was supposed to be the hotbed of basketball in the region, following a forgettable season by the MX3 Kings last year. The Philippine Patriots ruled the inaugural season of the league in 2009, while the Beermen matched the feat in 2013. There was no Philippine team in the ABL in 2014.“We’ve been amazed by the turnout,” said Alab Pilipinas co-owner Charlie Dy. “The ABL has been around for seven years, but the turnout for Philippine [representative] teams wasn’t always like this.”Alab attracted 5,000 fans to its home opener at Alonte Gym in Biñan that ended with a 66-71 loss to the Singapore Slingers, before luring 3,000 at Baliwag Star Arena in Baliuag, Bulacan, for the second game—a 91-82 win over the Kaohsiung Truth.“We had to call in additional security because some fans destroyed the barriers outside the arena in Baliuag just to get in,” says Dy. “We are very happy with the support.”ADVERTISEMENT PH among economies most vulnerable to virus Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town MOST READ Parks has been the star of the show for Alab, averaging 30 points an outing in his first three games, a year after playing for the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League. “He’s helped us get the fans because a lot of people are interested in how much he has improved since his UAAP playing days,” Dy says of Parks.Dy admits getting sponsors to back the team is still a tough task, but they take solace in the fact that they’ve been able to establish strong links with the local government units where they play their games. Alab holds basketball clinics a day before each game for children in the community where they play. In return, the LGU allows the team to use the gym for free for their games.All of the Alab games are also shown live on ABS Sports and Action. “It’s a huge factor,” Dy says of the television aspect.While the league’s main thrust is to make basketball grow in the region, Ilagan says the presence of Alab as the Philippines’ representative has been a boost to the league. “The Philippines is always the barometer in terms of basketball in Southeast Asia,” says Ilagan, who is fresh off his first full season running the league.As the players of Alab obliged fans with selfies and autographs last Sunday, Ilagan can’t help but feel a sense of pride as the league finally made strides in his own country, after witnessing how it has impacted other teams in the region.“A turnout like this in the Philippines is really heartwarming,” says Ilagan. “A lot of credit goes to Alab and their approach [in getting fans].”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports LOOK: The first half Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine Tropang TNT’s Mo Tautuaa, GlobalPort’s Stanley Pringle and Alaska’s Chris Banchero boosted their stock in the ABL, before joining the PBA, while Kris Rosales parlayed an impressive stint with the Singapore Slingers last season to make the Tropang Texters squad.Leo Avenido never really fulfilled his potential in the PBA, but the former Far Eastern U gunner was a regular fixture in the ABL, winning the Most Valuable Player award in 2012 with the Beermen and playing as an import for several teams, the last for the Saigon Heat two years ago. It was also in the Vietnamese capital where former Ateneo star Jai Reyes made a name for himself as the “Saigon Mamba” for his explosive game, in reference to retired NBA legend Kobe Bryant.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSFreddie Roach: Manny Pacquiao is my Muhammad Ali“The ABL is always about opportunities,” says ABL CEO Jericho Ilagan. “Countless players in the PBA either started or revived their careers in the ABL.”This season, however, the league has become more than just a springboard to careers for Filipino players. Following the entry of Alab Pilipinas, the league is slowly but surely gaining a solid fan base—even outside Metro Manila. Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PHcenter_img We are young Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. EDITORS’ PICK Senators to proceed with review of VFA As fate of VFA hangs, PH and US forces take to the skies for exercise Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND Ginebra teammates show love for Slaughter Photo from ASEAN Basketball League Facebook/Onvisa ThewphaingarmIt was always known as a league where players kickstart or revive their careers in a bid to get bigger and better opportunities.Long before June Mar Fajardo became a dominant force in the PBA, he toiled as a raw, back-up center for the San Miguel Beermen in the Asean Basketball League (ABL). The same league also gave center Asi Taulava a new lease on his career after his stint in the PBA was stalled.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more


Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao Setting PayPerView Cost Records

When they said the Floyd Mayweather long-awaited bout against Manny Pacquaio would be the richest in boxing history, not everyone knew you’d practically have to be rich to afford to order it on pay-per-view.Having to be rich to have the fight beamed into your home may be an overstatement, but not by much.HBO and Showtime confirmed to ESPN.com that the suggested retail price for the May 2 fight is $89.95—the most expensive in history.On top of that, if you really want clarity there could be another $10 added to it to see it in high definition. That would make it $100 to watch a fight that could be an all-time great. . . but also could be a dance contest.Neither fighter is at his peak as they were five years ago when this fight was first discussed as a super fight. Now, it’s super legacies, with flashes of the greatness they embodied.The suggested retail price is not only a new record for a boxing pay-per-view event, it is nearly 40 percent above the previous high. The previous high of $64.95 (some providers have charged an extra $10 for HD) was established by Mayweather in his fight against Canelo Alvarez in Sept. 2013. Mayweather’s subsequent fights against Marcos Maidana also hit that number.The fight is expected to break the record for pay-per-view revenue of $152 million, which was for Mayweather’s fight against Alvarez, and most buys (2.5 million), which was for Mayweather’s fight against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.Those who can’t afford to buy the fight in the comfort of their own home might plan to go to a bar, but there’s a question as to whether some bars will want to make the investment to bring the fight in. Why? Because bars are charged based on their legal occupancy.The owner of a high-end New York City sports bar said that the fight will cost him $21 a person that night, which he’ll happily absorb, but he can see how other establishments that generate less revenue might take a pass. For that rate, so will many people at home. read more


Fresh areas flooded in Sirajganj

first_imgThe flood situation in Sirajganj has worsened. Photo: Prothom AloThe flood situation in Sirajganj has worsened following a rise in the Jamuna water level on Wednesday morning, reports UNB.“The Jamuna River was flowing 146 centimetres above the danger level at Sirajganj point at 6:00am,” said executive engineer of Water Development Board (WDB) in Sirajganj Syed Hasan Imam.Fresh areas were inundated as water level of the Jamuna River had risen by 19 centimetres in the last 24 hours, he added.Low-lying areas of Sadar, Kajipur, Belkuchi, Chouhali and Shahjadpur upazilas remained submerged by Jamuna water since Tuesday.last_img read more


How safe are online dating apps

first_imgEven as more and more youngsters use dating apps for fun or to find the love of their life, new research warns that these apps are vulnerable to hacks, putting the users at risk of getting their locations and real names revealed. The study by global cyber security company Kaspersky Lab showed that many dating apps do not handle users’ sensitive data with sufficient care.”That’s no reason not to use such services. You simply need to understand the issues and, where possible, minimise the risks,” Kaspersky Lab said in a statement. In a survey conducted by Kaspersky Lab found that people turn to online dating for a variety of reasons. People share information with others too easily when they are dating online, with a quarter admitting they share their full name publicly on their dating profile.The experts studied nine popular mobile online dating apps – Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, Badoo, Mamba, Zoosk, Happn, WeChat, Paktor – and identified the main threats for users.The researchers discovered that four of the nine apps allow potential criminals to figure out who is hiding behind a nickname based on data provided by users themselves.last_img read more


Hopping Over UC Hurdles

first_img 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. By Rivka LittleThere’s a moment in the adoption process of most technologies when employees stop looking upon it as a burden and begin wondering how they ever lived without it. For smaller business users, it’s this “aha moment” that seems to pull them past their initial apathy toward unified communications (UC) — the integration of multiple modes of communications (voice, e-mail, instant messaging, etc.) with business processes. But user resistance is only one piece of the UC rollout puzzle: There’s also setting user access policy and security. The catch is that security and access guidelines often differ by industry, which makes setting hard-and-fast rules challenging, but these policies are vital to driving user acceptance toward that aha moment and keeping the momentum going beyond it.The experience of Ohio-based Celina Insurance Group, a 168-employee firm, illustrates how initially disinterested, even resistant, employees come to value UC. The company rolled out IBM’s Lotus Sametime offering in 2000 and immediately met employee indifference. “The average age in the company was 56 years old — not your ideal group to roll out instant chat — so it presented some challenges,” says Robert Shoenfelt, Celina’s CIO.Celina works with a large pool of independent agents, who sell policies from dozens of insurance companies. To be competitive, the company must act as swiftly as its much larger rivals. IBM’s Sametime provided Celina with multiuser meetings, instant chat, and integration of data for presence awareness among other applications via a Web interface. Agents in the field could use instant chat to contact Celina underwriters about customer problems or new policies. Celina employees could also IM each other internally to solve problems while they had an agent in a separate chat. “At first, our underwriters were not happy when we put it online for agents” because they felt continually interrupted, Shoenfelt says. The CIO quashed their annoyance. “When you can tell me when the phone is going to ring, I’ll tell you when you’re going to get a message,” he told them.Then there was the top-down acceptance at Celina when employees realized that the company CEO had learned the technology. “There was a picture of him in his leather jacket and sunglasses [with his identity on the site]. People said, ‘If he’s going to use it, I guess I’m going to do it, too,'” Shoenfelt laughs.Ultimately, acceptance came once incoming requests were handled more easily, eliminating backlog, and people could suddenly work at home as efficiently as at the office. “Everybody latched on,” Shoenfelt says, adding that Sametime changed the culture of the company.Akiba Saeedi, IBM’s program director of unified communications and collaboration, calls it the “stickiness factor.” UC is more likely to be accepted when you “inject it into the [existing] business process” to simplify employees’ lives.Cisco VP of SMB solutions marketing Rick Moran says vendors must spend time with clients assessing their actual needs and then fitting the solution to their business model. “You have to go in and ask customers the exact problems that they’re trying to deal with.” Cisco offers an answer to the immediate problem and then tries to make the solution scalable to deal with expected growth over the next few years, Moran says.If convenience isn’t enough, economic incentive tends to inspire acceptance pretty quickly, says Christian Chase, managing partner of Florida-based Everything Tradeshows, which implemented Cisco’s Unified Communications 500 Series for Small Business. Cisco’s solution converged voice and data, voice mail and automated attendant, and implemented VoIP. Immediately, Everything Tradeshows’ telemarketer increased her speed and productivity. When she was able to dial calls straight from Outlook, it made a difference, considering she generally makes upward of 200 calls a day, Chase says. “As soon as employees realize they can make more money, they know they need this,” he adds.Gartner analyst and research VP Bern Elliot says real user acceptance comes from solid training and the understanding that some user groups will have a longer adoption period. “If you force it, it will create stress,” says Elliot. “Prolonged training reduces stress.” Training updates are also crucial “because people forget,” he adds.But before companies can convince users to be comfortable with the technology, they have to deal with security issues and user access policy. Elliot says security policy should come from the IT side of a company even if there is telephony involved. “Telecom is often already protected, but data is more flexible and more challenging to protect,” he says.Celina Insurance’s Shoenfelt says the company feels safe with Sametime’s built-in security for data, but chat does concern him. The company is concerned about “what’s discoverable from a legal standpoint.” Though Celina is comparatively small, it’s impossible to monitor all 168 employees in addition to outside agents in every chat session. “We don’t save chats,” Shoenfelt says. “It’s become our way of doing business. We worry about what’s appropriate and what’s not.”Moran says Cisco’s firewall offers protection, but human error is always a threat. He offers up two tips for SMBs. “Don’t have things hanging open. Turn on the firewall and wireless security,” he says. Then he stresses, “Don’t underestimate backup.” When companies have tons of data living on a laptop, that laptop “can get dropped” and then, regardless of your UC solution and security, it’s lost.Though most out-of-the-box UC solutions now marketed to SMBs have built-in security, some industries have extra data security needs. Saeedi notes that health care companies must follow legal regulations for keeping customer information safe. Government agencies and banks have unique protection needs as well. These companies should hire consultants or attorneys that specialize in setting data security policy and strategy for their particular industry. Often these consultants work with channel partners that offer ongoing IT maintenance for UC applications.Security also comes into question when companies decide how much data should be exposed to various groups of employees. Chase says his company carefully determined what kinds of data access each employee needed. Then users were given passwords that allowed access only to their specific data needs.Saeedi points out that deciding user access can also be about how much bandwidth the company wants utilized. She says IT staff should ask themselves, “Do you want to turn video on? In some cases, maybe only some users will be enabled for video.” Sametime enables IT staff to offer different users individualized groups of applications.Despite the initial challenges, Chase and Shoenfelt agree that implementing UC enabled their companies to compete efficiently against much larger competitors. More importantly, their newfound efficiency has given customers in both instances the experience of having worked with a major company with lots of support resources despite the small size of each firm. This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. April 2, 2008 Enroll Now for Free Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Nowlast_img read more