By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Welcome to another edition of The Layup Drill. In this month’s edition, we check on CT Pan, Jordan Clarkson, a couple huge wins for Japan, and a new venture for Alibaba.
Pan wins 2nd pro tournament
Former UW Husky men’s golf standout C.T. Pan won his second professional tournament this month as he won the Canadian Cape Breton Celtic Classic in Nova Scotia, Canada. Pan won a two-hole playoff to win the tournament. After graduating from the University of Washington this past June, Pan turned pro and started on the MacKenzie Tour/PGA Tour Canada this summer.
With the win, Pan earned $31,500 and moved into second place on the tour’s order of merit with the win. Over the summer, Pan has earned $78,448. He also has earned status on the Web.com Tour for 2016. The Web.com Tour is the developmental tour for the PGA Tour. The tour gives golfer’s the opportunity to earn their PGA “tour card.” The card allows golfers to regularly play in all of the big golf tournaments organized by the PGA tour. Good luck to Pan as he continues to rise up the ranks in the world of golf.
Japan Rugby team upsets South Africa in World Cup
In what the BBC called “the biggest upset in rugby union history,” Japan stunned South Africa in the first game of round robin play at the Rugby World Cup in England on September 15th. While Japan is a dominant force in the sport against other Asian nations, it has not done well against non-Asian nations. Rugby is a popular sport in South Africa and won the World Cup on two occasions. Japan had only one once in seven World Cup. It was clear that they were considered a heavy favorite against Japan.
The Japanese team is coached by Eddie Jones, the former coach of the national team for Australia. Jones took the helm in 2012 and vowed to take Team Japan to the top 10 on the international rankings. The upset moves the team in that direction. After the win against South Africa, Japan moved up to 11th in World Rankings. Notably, South Africa was the 3rd ranked Rugby team in the world at the time they played Japan. For those wondering, Team USA is ranked 16th.
The sport of Rugby isn’t foreign to Japan as it was introduced to the country at the turn of the 20th century.
However, it has not gained the notoriety or popularity as other sports in Japan.
Notably, Japan will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Japan wins 2015 Little League World Series
In addition to a great upset in rugby, the Japanese little league team defeated the U.S. team 18-11 in the annual late August Little League World Series from Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The kids from Tokyo, Japan were down 10-2 in the game before a flurry of home runs helped the team surge back and right past the team from the U.S.
The teams combined to set a record for most runs in a championship game. The team from Japan defeated a team from Mexico to make it to the final.
The loss had to be a heartbreaker for the kids from Lewisberry as many of the 42,000 in attendance came to cheer on the team that lived a short-distance from Williamsport. In the end, they could not hold off the offensive display put on by Japan.
Team Japan has won 5 out of the last 7 Little League World Series.
Clarkson off of Team Philippines for FIBA Asia Championships
Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson had thoughts of representing the Philippines in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship starting September 23rd. Clarkson, whose mother is Filipino, visited the Philippines in the off season and was impressed by the immense and intense following by fans. The Lakers were fine with Clarkson playing in early tournament games but the Philippine Basketball Association indicated that they were not able to “beat the deadline to secure the necessary clearance on time.”
Clarkson wanted to play for the Philippines in early tournament games but would have to leave early for Lakers training camp in Hawaii as the NBA season is set to begin next month. Former NBA player Andray Blatche will play for the Philippines once again this year. You might recall (if you follow international basketball) that Blatche was granted Filipino citizenship last year so that he could play in the FIBA championships last year. It paid off as Blatche was the star player for the national team.
The winner of the FIBA Asia Championships gets an automatic berth into the Olympic Games. The last time the Philippines national team made it to the Olympic Games was 1972.
Alibaba opens sports division
The Chinese ecommerce company, Alibaba, has set up a new sports business this past month. Details are vague as the company, which has an office in Seattle, continues to expand into areas beyond e-commerce.
According to a press release, Alibaba Sports Group “expects to integrate e-commerce, media, marketing, video, home entertainment, cloud computing and other Internet-enabled technologies to form a sports platform that will participate in different aspects of the professional sports industry, including sports copyrights, sports media, events, ticketing, etc.”
Is that a broad enough statement?
It was originally thought that Alibaba would set up its U.S. headquarters in Seattle. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case. With the economic growth concerns ongoing in China, the opening of a new division could be a risky move or a wise decision. We shall see what they decide to do. (end)
Jason Cruz can be reached at email@example.com.