Tuesday, August 26, 2014

“Hot Sauce” is coming to the Philippines

[Streetball’s Finest –  8.26.14] – “Hot Sauce” is coming to the Philippines

Inks: FLASH aka g_sk1lls 
Images: "Hype Streetball" and "Hot Sauce" official Facebook fanpages

Great news, AND Juans!  The best streeetball player in the world – Phillip Champion a.k.a. “Hot Sauce” - is coming to Manila this month of August, made possible by Court Kingz and our very own Hype Streetball.

In his first-ever Philippine visit, the sensational streetball legend made famous via the AND1 Mixtape craze back in the early 2000’s will be playing an exhibition game with some of the best local ballers for a good cause.  The beneficiary of the event will be Philippine Basketball for Jesus (PBJ).

Recognize royalty.  
Check out Hot Sauce's craziest plays by clicking the YT link below.

The main game will happen on August 30, 2014, 8:00PM (gates open 7:00pm) at the Makati Coliseum, Makati City.  Tickets for this historic visit can be availed via the official Hype Streetball Facebook fanpage (click HERE), prices are Php 250 (Lower Box) and Php 100 (Upper Box).  Check their page regularly for more information regarding the official tour schedule.

Grab 'em while they're HOT!

For interested ballers, a series of open-run tryouts on the same day will happen by 2:00PM at the Brgy Poblacion court in Makati, facilitated by members of the Hype Streetball team.  Selected players will get to play against Hot Sauce in the main game.

Right after the main game, Hot Sauce will be having a short meet-and-greet session for his fans, so make sure you don’t miss out on one of the biggest streetball events to ever happen locally.  Practice your handles, pull out your AND1 Mixtape gear, lace up your AND1 kicks, and grab your tickets for the “Hot Sauce In Manila” game.

Limited edition shirts will be sold at the venue. 
Find out more via the Hype Streetball FB fanpage.

AND1 Philippines will be officially covering this event, in coordination with Hype Streetball.  Continue to follow us in Twitter (@and1ph) and LIKE us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/and1ph.  It’s about to go down, AND Juans!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

AND1 Philippines celebrates its 3rd anniversary online

[Shoe Session – 8.14.14] – AND1 Philippines celebrates its 3rd anniversary online

Inks and Images: FLASH aka g_sk1lls 

Quicker than a Hot Sauce cross-over dashed with a hint of The Professor’s hesitation move, the AND1 Philippines blog just turned THREE.  Without your unwavering support, the AND1 Ph social media presence would not be effective.  To date, we have more than 5,000 Facebook fans, more than 185 Twitter followers and more than 100K blogpage views!  Check out our very 1st blogpost by clicking HERE.

AND1 Philippines was the 1st to break the news 
about the signing of two new brand endorsers, 
Isaiah Canaan (pictured with Lance Stephenson below, right) and Jamaal Franklin.

Looking back at the last 12 months since August 2013, we’ve covered these key updates:

9.16.2013 - Fresh Faces! AND1 signs 2013 NBA rookies Isaiah Canaan and Jamaal Franklin as brand endorsers

10.3.2013 - AND1’s official press release on the signing of Isaiah Canaan and Jamaal Franklin

10.14.2013 - AND1 Ph's behind-the-scenes coverage during NBA Global Games Philippines 2013

11.20.2013 - AND1 US doles out a $5000-assist for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Philippines


Aside from those articles, we also featured international ballers such as Scalia (Malaysia), Smokin’ Aces (USA) and AND1’s brand endorsers – Lance Stephenson, Isaiah Canaan, and Jamaal Franklin.  This space also was one of the main sources of information about the latest shoe news both local and foreign.  Big thanks to Relzbach Ventures Inc  (the Bachmann family and their tireless Sales and Marketing team) for the constant updates on local shoe drops.

Scalia and Smokin' Aces got featured in AND1 Ph's Streetball's Finest.

Stronger than ever are our international linkages as well, as we’ve continued to ensure close ties with the AND1 brand teams and distributors from across the world, and 2014 onwards promises more and more surprises for AND1 fans and followers.

Flash of AND1 Philippines representing the brand during 
the 1st ever NBA pre-season game in the Philippines back in October 2013.

As in our very first article – “we’ll keep things fresh and relevant for the regular AND1 user, confused shopper, and the usual sneaker head.”  Continue to follow us in Twitter (@and1ph) and LIKE us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/and1ph.  And that’s the 411, AND Juans!

Monday, March 24, 2014

New AND1 footwear for 2014 Q1/Q2 have finally arrived!

[Shoe News – 3.24.14] – New AND1 footwear for 2014 Q1/Q2 have finally arrived!

Inks: FLASH aka g_sk1lls
Images: Flash and various online sources

As of this month, the latest AND1 footwear for the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2014 have arrived locally.  For adults, two (2) new styles are now out – the Master 2.0 Mid (three colorways), and the Backlash Mid (three colorways).  The previously released Rein Slides come out with three new color options, and for kids, three colorways of the Master 2.0 Mid are now also available.

Price point as follows :


  • Master 2.0 Mid = Php 3,695
    • Black/Black/Silver
    • White/Varsity Red/Black
    • White/Royal/Black

  • Backlash Mid = Php 4,195
    • Black/Black/White
    • Royal/Black/White
    • Varsity Red/Black/Varsity Red

  • Rein Slide = Php 895 (repriced from 1,295)
    • Black/Asphalt
    • Asphalt/Orange
    • Royal/Black


  • Master 2.0 Mid = Php 3,295
    • Black/Black/Silver
    • White/Varsity Red/Black
    • White/Royal/Black
In my honest opinion, the Backlash Mid is the highlight of this batch.  Shoe specifications include: Low-Sew construction that provides reduced weight and a seamless fit, ventilation windows and mesh tongue that allows comfort and great breathability, plus high quality EVA sockliner that gives excellent cushioning.  Its TPU shank provides arch support and stability while the L2G design ensures optimal court feel.

The Backlash Mid, in black and blue color options.

Both the Mens’ and Kids’ models of the Master 2.0 Mid offer the following: Synthetic leather upper that is 20% lighter than leather, quarter molding that gives lateral medial support, and a molded collar design that provides extra ankle support.  Its internal High Rebound EVA midsole provides superior cushioning, while the heel airbag design contributes additional heel cushioning.  Finally, the injected TPU heel clip provides extra stability and the non–marking, molded rubber with herringbone design provides multi–directional traction.

The Royal/White/Black and Black/Black/Silver colorways 
of the Master and Master 2.0 Mids.

Shout outs to Relzbach Ventures/AKT!V partners for the update on these new arrivals.  Follow us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news (@and1ph) on shoe sightings, and please LIKE us on Facebook (facebook.com/and1ph) so that our posts appear on your newsfeeds.  Check out the new models for yourselves, And Juans!

The Backlash Low and Backlash Mid.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Final batch of AND1 footwear for 2013 Q3/Q4 has already arrived!

[Shoe News – 12.29.13] – Final batch of AND1 footwear for 2013 Q3/Q4 has already arrived!

Inks and Images: FLASH aka g_sk1lls

We wrap up 2013’s 3rd and 4th quarter AND1 footwear releases with the latest drops that are now out in most AKT!V stores and AND1 outlets (Toby’s, Olympic Village/Olympic World, SM Department Store) – new colorways for these previously released models: Empire 2.0 Mid, Game Changer Hi, and kid’s size Rocket 3.0 Mids.

Price point as follows:

  • Empire 2.0 Mid = Php 5,295

  • Game Changer High = Php 3,295

  • Rocket 3.0 Mid = Php 2,195

Don’t forget to check out these three previously published AND1 Ph blog articles about the 2013 Q3/Q4 footwear releases. 
Thanks once more to Relzbach Ventures/AKT!V partners for keeping everyone abreast with the latest information on new arrivals and price points.  Check out the AND1 blog frequently for more updates.  Follow us on Twitter (@and1ph) and please LIKE us on Facebook (facebook.com/and1ph).  And that’s the 411, AND Juans!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Hot Seat with SMOKIN' ACES - Part 2 of 2

[Streetball’s Finest  – 12.11.13] – The Hot Seat with SMOKIN' ACES - Part 2 of 2

Inks: FLASH aka g_sk1lls 
Images: Brian Kortovich (via email and Facebook) / Various (Ben Draper Photography / Kevin Couliau)

Last week, we posted Part 1 (click HERE) of the blog feature about a professional basketball player with legit streetball credibility – 2012 EBC Rucker Park scoring champion Smokin’ Aces aka Brian Kortovich.  We continue his story in this week's blogpost.
Don’t let Brian’s boyish looks fool you, AND Juans.  At 190 pounds and standing at 6 feet, BK, as he is also known, can light it up from anywhere.  It’s actually a mystery why they don’t call him the Human Torch, since this guy can just flat out shoot the ball with the best of them.  

Chasing that coveted NBA roster spot, Kortovich has been part of both the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets preseason camps, and is on pace to have another major push this season for the fulfillment of his dream.  More of his replies and insights below:

Flash: If you actually had to pay to watch any baller play, who would that be?
Smokin’ Aces: “Right now, it would have to be Kevin Durant.  Not only is he the most skilled player in the League but humility and strength define who he is.  Since getting to know him a bit (after my recent injury this summer), it’s impossible not to root for KD!  After it’s all said and done, his impact off the court will trump anything he's done on it.  And that's saying a lot.  I have nothing but love for KD!”

                                                       (click to play)

Flash: Which NBA player have you already met and/or played against?  Tell us more about your NBA player experiences.
Smokin’ Aces: "Being in NBA preseason camps has allowed me to run elbows with both the New Jersey Nets and New Knicks rosters (2009 / 2010) - both starters / reserves day in and day for weeks upon weeks.  Going head to head with these players and holding your own gives you confidence to know you can play with anyone.  

(I’ve also met) Lebron James - growing up in Cleveland, Ohio…we've rubbed elbows a few times playing in the summers.  Other big names include Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Gilbert Arenas and more.

Ohio's finest - BK with LBJ. 

Rucker Park - Summer 2013
Although I was injured this summer and wasn’t able to defend my scoring title, I helped coach our team Hillsong - NYC Hustlers with one of my closest friends, Carl Lentz, who pastors this local Church in NYC.  We ended up winning the Finals and made a little history in the process, 1st team to ever bring 5 NBA starters to a game at the Rucker - having an all NBA starting lineup with Kevin Durant, David Lee, Kent Bazemore, Landry Fields, Jay Williams.  Other players included Chris Smith and Scott Machado.

EBC Rucker Park scoring champs 
Smokin' Aces (2012) with Kevin Durant (2013).

Flash: Tell us about the basketball scene in Cleveland and New York.  We do know it is crazy out there but if you can put it into words, do elaborate.  How does it feel to be part of the NY basketball scene?
Smokin’ Aces: “Cleveland is where I was born and raised.  There has been a pipeline of great players to come out of the city in Lebron James, Earl Boykins, Charles Oakley to name a few…BUT to ball in the “Mecca of NYC” and make a name for yourself, there's nothing like it!  It's something that I will never forget.  

Not being from NYC - it's very tough to not only get on the court of the best tournaments like the Rucker, Dyckman, Nike Pro City, etc but to do that and earn a nickname at the legendary Rucker is something very special and humbling feeling.  After starting from the bottom and networking to get on at all the top NYC tourneys was by no means easy and impossible at times - I just kept at it and kept at it.  Once I got my opportunity, well the rest is history.  It's been one humbling and incredible journey to say the least - something I will always cherish.

Like they say if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere!  Plus you are playing against the best of the best - day in and day out.  It's hard not to bring you’re A-game or trust me, you will get embarrassed.”

Flash: Please do tell us about your new AND1 shoe.  Was it a special model that was customized for you?
Smokin’ Aces: “Well the opportunity from the shoe became a possibility after winning the scoring title at EBC Rucker in the summer of 2012.  Later that winter I sat down with Rob and Dexter and we went to work with the process.  They respected my hustle and grind as I did the AND1 brand.  It's a great fit for both sides.”

Brian also has an existing foundation - Aces in Action - a "charity for change" that was launched in the summer of 2013.  AIA provides free basketball camps/clinics in the NYC to less-fortunate kids who may not be able to afford personal basketball training/ instruction but are aspiring young hoopers looking to take their games to the highest level possible.  

AIA also sells ACES gear to promote a worthy cause to continue the search for the cure of cancer.  Proceeds go to American Cancer Society and other charitable organizations.

You can catch BK online by following him in Twitter (@SmokinACES1) or thru his official website (www.briankortovich.com).  He also has an Instagram account (@smokinaces1).

Feel free to send an email to us at and1pinas@gmail.com for your suggestions on who you want to be seen here next.  Please check out and LIKE our Facebook fanpage (facebook.com/and1ph) and follow us on Twitter (@and1ph) for more news, spotlights, and the latest updates about the And1 brand in the Philippines.  For now, check out Smokin’ Aces’ parting message to his fans:

Don't ever be afraid to dream big, have goals and chase the things that are truly in your heart! Nothing comes easy - I'm a prime example of that.  BUT if you fight, work hard, believe in yourself you can accomplish things beyond your wildest imagination.  

Believe in yourself even when others don't…stay true to yourself and in due time you will have no regrets and accomplish the things you've set forth in life!  Enjoy the journey, the process ... it's not always about the end result but how you stay true to yourself and how you respond to tough situations – that’s what people will remember the most!  

Thanks to the AND1 Nation .. God Bless!”

More highlights of Smokin' Aces (click to play)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Hot Seat with SMOKIN' ACES - Part 1 of 2

[Streetball’s Finest  – 12.4.13] – The Hot Seat with SMOKIN' ACES - Part 1 of 2

Inks: FLASH aka g_sk1lls 
Images: Brian Kortovich (via email and Facebook) / Various (Ben Draper Photography / Kevin Couliau)

The spotlight shifts to a different kind of baller for this month’s  “Streetball’s Finest” feature.  A professional basketball player who has made his name known in one of streetball’s most sacred playgrounds, New York City’s Rucker Park – he is described as a sweet-shooting point guard with excellent playmaking skills.  He is no other than Brian Kortovich aka SMOKIN’ ACES.

Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, this dead-eye shooter not only caught the attention and adulation of many scouts, players, and coaches from the NBA and the NBA D-League, he was also EBC Rucker Park’s 2012 leading scorer.  Talk about street cred.

2012 EBC scoring champion Brian Kortovich running a play at Rucker Park.

Chasing the dream to make it to the NBA since graduating from college back in 2006, Brian has extensive international experience in play-for-pay hoops, making stops in Kuwait, France, Israel, and the Dominican Republic.  His efforts and work ethics have earned him spots in both the New York Knicks and then New Jersey Nets preseason camps, plus securing a draft selection from the NBA D-League.

Brian (or BK) was kind enough to answer my questions that I sent via his email despite his busy schedule.  Here’s what he has got to share:

Smokin’ Aces: First of all, I want to send my thoughts and prayers to all who have suffered (due to typhoon Yolanda / Haiyan) in any way from the recent events in the Philippines! God Bless the country in the efforts towards recovery!” 

Flash: Who is Smokin’ Aces as a baller / How did you get your nickname (Smokin' Aces)?
Smokin’ Aces: “BK as a Baller is fiery competitor who has a great understanding of the game and who doesn't back down from anybody - often having his best performances when it matters the most.  Can knock down the jumper with the best of them .. NBA or not.  What separates him from most is the fact that not only can he create shots for others but he can also get his shot off at any time.  He's a true leader from the PG position and is very effective in the pick n roll and can run a team at any level.  (see www.briankortovich.com >> NBA quotes).

I received the nickname playing at the legendary EBC Rucker Park a few years back.  Growing up in Cleveland it was always a dream of mine to play in a game there.  I knew the history and all the NBA greats and past NYC basketball legends who have graced the famous court in Harlem.  I was playing for a team called "Black Wall Street" and got the opportunity to let it fly.  After a few jump shots, some nice drives to the basket and pouring it in from NBA range and 35 points later...the Rucker Emcee's Hannibal "The Most Electrifying One" and EJ "The Major Johnson" dubbed me the nickname Smokin' Aces..From that day on the name has traveled with me wherever I go.”

Flash: What is your trademark/favorite move when you play?
Smokin’ Aces: “I have a couple moves I go to - my off-the-dribble jumper is one of them from both inside and outside the 3 point line, and a series of moves off-the-dribble (whether it be a crossover or between-the-legs crossover to create space/to create for my teammates) to get to the basket or knocking down the jumper.

Flash: Tell me more about your playing style – what sets you apart from the rest of the pack?
Smokin’ Aces: “What separates me from others is my overall court awareness and smarts about the game.  I can run a team, set others up or score when called upon.  I'm a knock-down shooter and can shoot with the best of them.  Often people look at me as just a shooter because of how efficient I shoot the rock, but in all actuality I'm a true PG.

Flash: Who are your influences in playing basketball?
Smokin’ Aces: “I've always tried to model my game after guys like Mark Price, Steve Nash.  A wiseman once told me “if you can shoot the ball and handle it well…it's going to take you places!”  So I always worked daily on my ball-handling skills, jump shot and defense - I didn't want to be labeled as one-dimensional.  That work ethic, grit, and determination has enabled me to get to this point in my career.

Smokin' Aces with AND1 Live players (Werm, Easy J, etc.)

Flash: How and when did you get to be associated with AND1?
Smokin’ Aces: “After leading the Rucker in scoring in summer 2012, later that fall/winter that's when I met Dexter (Gordon) and from there we sat down, had a few meetings with Rob (Purvy – AND1 President), and got to talking about being involved with the AND1 Live Tour and also got the talks going regarding the shoe with AND1.  I have a lot of respect for Rob, Dexter, and Linda (Hill) - they all believed in me as a basketball player but more importantly as a person.  They are family!

Sneak(er) preview of BK's exclusive AND1 player exclusives 
plus custom Rucker Park scoring champ socks.

Continuation of this article will be posted next week.  For now, check out his in-game highlights at the world-famous Rucker Park via the Youtube video posted below.  Smokin’ Aces will be talking about his NBA experiences, favorite AND1 pair, and more in Part 2.  Stay tuned, AND Juans!

(click to play)

Smokin' Aces racing upcourt while playing in the 
Entertainers Basketball Classic in Rucker Park.

BK being featured in Sports Illustrated China edition while wearing AND1 gear.