View Full Version : PBA All Filipino Cup Championship: PUREFOODS TJ Giants vs. STA LUCIA REALTY

02-13-2008, 07:26 AM
Any discussion regarding the finals here :)

Mateen Cleaves
02-16-2008, 09:13 AM
I don't really follow the PBA much. But I got the chance to watch the Game One live -- the power of compli tickets!

Whatever Marlou Aquino had for lunch, I want that! Sama mo na si Dennis Espino. Both were very inspired and motivated yesterday. And if they play like that the whole series, it's a bad matchup for Purefoods. They didn't have anybody who could stop either of the veteran bigs inside. Plus, Sta. Lucia had just enough youth and athleticism to keep in step with Pingris, Raymundo, Lanete, and the two Yaps.

Purefoods got off to a hot start (10-2), I think. But when Sta. Lucia started going to Marlou against Salvador. Then later, Espino against Adducul, the momentum changed. Purefoods couldn't solve the side pick-and-roll with Marlou/Espino and Dennis Miranda either. By the third quarter, Sta. Lucia had gotten the lead. Then, it was the turn of Kelly Williams to play Mortal Kombat... Finish him! A killer three from the corner, then a two-handed jam off a floor-burning, hustle play by Dennis Espino (gasp!).

'Di pa ba obvious na galing Sta. Lucia yung libre kong ticket? ;)

Finally, ito lang ang masasabi ko about the PBA crowd. It's definitely a knowledgeable audience.

Probably the loudest oohs and ahhs (at least, in my section) in the game were elicited by one subtle sequence by James Yap to create space for himself. Just a subtle spin move, dribble between the legs and step-back to give him about six feet of separation Denok Miranda. Somebody in the back commented that it was like Michael Jordan against Russell. But then his friend retorted that in this case, Yap didn't need to push off at all. :)

02-17-2008, 09:19 PM
The Realtors are now up 2-0 over the Giants.

The biggest upset in recent PBA memory?

It takes 4 to get the ultimate prize. SLR is just 2 wins away from its 2nd PBA title since joining the league in 1993.

Meanwhile, Coach Boyet and Roger Yap engaged in some post-valentine talk after the game.* ;D


02-18-2008, 12:13 AM
Sta. Lucia now up 2-0 in All-Filipino tourney
02/17/2008 | 10:05 PM

Email this | Email the Editor | Print | Digg this | Add to del.icio.us The Sta. Lucia Realtors used their vaunted stifling defense to zap the offense of the Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants in the fourth quarter to score Sunday night a convincing 112-101 victory in Game 2 of their best-of-seven All-Filipino Cup title duel before a huge crowd at the Araneta Coliseum.

2007 Rookie of the Year Kelly Williams had another explosive game for the Realtors after he scored 23 big points, grabbed 11 rebounds and sank 8/13 free throws from the line.

Incidentally, Williams' 23 markers and 11 boards was his 18th double-double this conference, the league’s best so far.

The victory was a big one for the Realtors as this gave the team a 2-0 edge in the Finals of 2007-08 Smart-PBA Philippine Cup. - GMANews.TV

02-18-2008, 12:18 AM
I like what I'm seeing with Sta. Lucia this conference. Ang ganda ng teamwork nila at hanep ang defense. Si Marlou at Dennis - two of the league's best centers in the 90s - are somewhat rejuvenated and playing like the kind of players they were when they were the cornerstones of the Realtor's franchise.

Hirap ang Purefoods sa Realtors. Kahit sila ang may championship experience. what is carrying Sta. Lucia is their desire to win their first All Filipino crown and first title since the 2001 season. Hopefully, with Boyet Fernandez as their coach, eh mabaon nila ang Purefoods at makuha ang kampeonato.


02-19-2008, 05:29 AM

Fernandez is making a lot of enemies -- Gregorio *
By: Zean Macamay*
Game Tomorrow: (Araneta Coliseum)
7:00 p.m. �" Purefoods vs Sta. Lucia

COACH Boyet Fernandez’s road to the Finals in the Smart-PBA Philippine Cup has gone through rough, tough, and unfriendly times.
* *
He was tagged as a non-pro when he called time-out against Welcoat when the game was already settled in an elimination round match, and was abhorred by Tim Cone during the semifinals for defending Kelly Williams for his ‘lack of class’ when the Fil-Am slam-dunked when the match was out of reach in Sta. Lucia’s favor.
* *
Now comes another chapter.
* *
“He (Fernandez) is making a lot of enemies, in and out of the court,” said Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio.
* *
The latest episode of Fernandez being the ‘bad guy’ happened shortly after Game Two Sunday, when the former PBA guard approached ex-teammate Roger Yap during the traditional congratulatory gestures to condemn his acts against Kelly Williams, the Realtors’ main man both on offense and defense.* *
* *
Fernandez was angry, very angry, at the way Yap guarded Williams, saying that the Purefoods point guard crossed the line when he provoked his Fil-Am ace to play dirty in the dying minutes of the contest.
* *
“What does he (Yap) want to do?,” asked Fernandez. “Parang gusto niyang suntukin si Williams, get Williams to retaliate and be suspended. Williams is a good guy. He doesn’t hurt players. I have to protect my players.”
* *
Fernandez was cooled down by his coaching staff and management officials during the incident, them realizing that there was no point fighting after the Realtors had just defeated the Giants 112-101 to snatch a commanding 2-0 in the best-of-seven championship series.
* *
But Fernandez just couldn’t let the moment slip away, let alone allow Yap to get away with his antics.
* *
Fernandez said that he approached Yap to question his motives. Gregorio said Yap was ‘cursed’ by Fernandez.
* *
“Who would I believe? Definitely my player,” said Gregorio. “We will not take this sitting down.”
* *
That was the latest stage of a championship series that has turned into a nightmare for Purefoods, and certainly, a dream nearing completion for Sta. Lucia.
* *
The team that wasn’t projected to win twice in a row against a ball club with so much experience in the big stage and seeking a piece of PBA history suddenly has come to within two wins of finally winning its first-ever Philippine Cup crown and its only second title in 15 years.
* *
Suddenly, Fernandez and his Realtors are the ones looking more like the championship-calibered team, and the Giants the newcomers.
* *
Fernandez said that Game Three would be very much different from Games One and Two. He expects Purefoods to adjust, get much more physical, and perhaps come up with a new game plan to offset whatever defensive gems they have been exerting with success in the first two games of the series.
* *
Purefoods and Sta. Lucia have a two-day rest before Game Three Wednesday, when the Realtors would hope to bury the Giants in a hole that’s very difficult to claw back from.
* *
“It’s going to be physical, tough, rugged,” said Fernandez about Game Three. “But we will be prepared for that.”
* *
For Gregorio, on the other hand, it’s just another game.
* *
“At this point, 0-2, I think the pressure is no longer on us,” he said. “But we have been in this situation before, twice. But I still have faith in my players.”
* *
Indeed, Purefoods owns the two occasions of the five times that a team has managed to come back from a 0-2 deficit in best-of-seven series. The Giants did it both against Alaska, the first in the 2002 Governors’ Cup Finals and then in the 2006 Philippine Cup semifinals on the way to winning the championship.
* *
But this breed of Realtors appears to be seeking a sweep. Not only have they defied odds, they look like all set to upstaging the Giants in a theater they have always been known to be the lead stars.
* *
Fernandez, for all his notoriety building up, is the only man drifting away from the idea.
* *
“In a best-of-seven series, 2-0 is nothing. We still have to get things done on Wednesday. We just have to keep our focus and maintain our fire.”

02-19-2008, 05:33 AM

Boyet, Realtors brace for psychological battle

STA. Lucia Realty coach Boyet Fernandez knows some players will go to great lengths just to get under an opposing player’s skin. He used to just take such moves in stride.

But he will not let this one pass, especially because the ploy is being utilized on his star player.

This explains why Fernandez was in Purefoods guard Roger Yap’s face right after the Realtors pulled off a 112-101 win over the Giants last Sunday to go up 2-0 in their Smart PBA Philippine Cup championship at the packed Araneta Coliseum.

The two former teammates engaged in a fierce shouting match, the incident stemming from a hard foul given by Yap on Sta. Lucia’s Kelly Williams in the dying seconds of the game when the Realtors were well on the way to victory.

"I was asking him kung bakit tapos na ang game kailangan pa niyan suntukin o saktan si Kelly," related Fernandez, who once played alongside Yap with Purefoods in the early 2000s in the course of his PBA career that started in 1993 and ended in 2005.

"We’re protecting Kelly. He’s one of the top players in the PBA. Kung gaganuunin nila ang player, para namang wala silang respeto sa player," he added.

"Medyo mainit dahil championship. But I have to protect my players. Ang sabi niya (Yap) sa akin, ‘Eh bakit hinahamon mo ako?’ Ang sabi ko, hindi kita hinahamon. Huwag mo nang saktan ang player ko. He’s running for the MVP. Kapag sinaktan mo iyan, na-technical ‘yan, na-thrown out iyan, negative sa kanya iyun.

"I know it’s a psychological type of game at hindi mainit ang ulo ko kay Roger. Kaya lang…."

Things are much different in the way Yap narrated his own version to Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio.

"Ang sabi sa akin ni Roger, coach Boyet cursed him," offered Gregorio."We’re not going to take that sitting down."

The youthful mentor did not specify what steps they are taking. He already has enough on his mind.

In league history, 24 of 29 teams that have taken a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series went on to wrap it up.

Inarguably, Williams is a big factor, stressing once again why he is the prime candidate for the Best Player of the Conference award and the Realtors now on the threshold of taking full control of the series.

The Fil-American, who like Yap traces his roots to Cebu, scattered 19 of his 23 points in the second half of Game 2 and added 11 rebounds for his 18th double-double of the season.

"That’s the kind of an MVP player who steps up, especially in a championship series like this," said Fernandez.

Williams had a lot of help.

Purefoods’ James Yap and Kerby Raymundo had 20-point games and so did Peter June Simon, but their efforts went down the drain when Sta. Luca cranked up its defensive pressure as the teams went into the fourth period and the count tied at 81.

While Williams was sparking a telling 12-2 run to give the Realtors the lead for good, Ryan Reyes anchored the defense on "Big Game" James, limiting the latter to 0-of-6 from the floor and just two free throws.

The Realtors’ other young Turks, Denok Miranda, Nelbert Omolon and Joseph Yeo also did their defensive share and so did veteran team captain Dennis Espino, who held Raymundo to just three attempts and one field goal in the quarter.

Fernandez said he expects Gregorio to put some of the blame on some spotty officiating and he rather encourages that to catch the PBA’s attention.

"I hope the PBA and commissioner (Sonny) Barrios will look at this game. There’re so many calls that went our way but there are also many calls that went theirs. Kaya I’m really hoping they will review this para magawan ng paraan," he said.

"Basta kami, we’re playing by the rules and hopefully there’d be some consistency in that."

Indirectly, he also wants the league and game officials to take a closer look at the way Roger Yap guards Williams in ways that–after the heat of last Sunday’s incident has passed–he can even understand.

"Now it’s a psychological type of game," he said.

02-19-2008, 05:52 AM

Ryan at kasaysayan
Tsamp ni: Al Mendoza

Medyo masama ang mga senyales.

Habang nagdiriwang si Boyet Fernandez, nag*luluksa naman si Ryan Gregorio.

‘Di kasi, nakakadalawa na si Boyet (coach ng Sta. Lucia Realty) samantalang bokya pa si Ryan (coach ng Purefoods).
OK, masasabing patas na lang ngayon sina Bo*yet at Ryan kasi dalawang beses din namang tinuhog ni Ryan si Boyet sa elimination round.

Pero iba itong hu*ling dalawang laro nila.* Ba*hagi ang mga ito ng championship series ng best-of-seven Smart PBA Philippine Cup.

Ang 2-0 lead ng Sta. Lucia Realty ay nanga*ngahulugang dalawa na lamang ang kailangan ni Boyet para kanyang maibulsa ang kanyang unang korona sa kanyang ikalawang kumperensiya pa lamang sa PBA.

Bakit biglang hirap ang Purefoods sa Sta. Lucia?

Dahil ba sa basado ni Boyet ang laro ng Purefoods mula ulo hanggang paa, wika nga?

Posible nga.* Kasi, da*ting player ng Purefoods si Boyet.

Sinasabing taal na mahusay mag-coach ang mga dating point-guards.*

Pinatutunayan ngayon iyan ni Boyet, na naging point-guard sa tanang buhay niya sa PBA.

May kakaibang mata ang point-guard, unang-una na ay siya ang direktor ng laro pag siya’y nasa loob ng hardcourt.
Kung baga, meron siyang “third eye.”

Idagdag natin diyan ay ang nagsusumigaw na katotohanan na dahil sa rookie sa championship coaching si Boyet, merong “beginner’s luck” na nakasiksik sa kanyang bulsa ngayon.

Pero hindi pa naman katapusan ng mundo para kay Ryan.

Hindi ba’t dalawang beses na rin siyang humandusay kaharap ang malagim na 0-2 , pero buong giting siyang bumalikwas?*

At sa parehong pagkakataon, nagawa pa niyang kampeon ang Purefoods noong 2002 and 2006?
Kaya’t sakaling ulitin man ni Ryan ang kasaysayan, hindi ako magtataka.

Kung may kaakibat na swerte ang pagiging rookie ni Boyet, meron din namang bertud si Ryan na bigla na lamang sumusulpot sa tuwing siya’y na*lulugmok sa kumunoy ng pagkaunsiyami.*

Kaya’t* bagama’t matibay na ang 2-0 lead ni Boyet, hindi pa rin siya nakakasiguro.

Huwag kalimutan ang 2002 at 2006.

Sabi nga ni Ryan pagkatapos ng Game 2: “Apat ang kailangan para ma*ging kampeon ka!”

Wanakosey diyan.

02-19-2008, 07:16 AM
Post-game verbal tiff fuels title duel

The Philippine Star

The post Game Two altercation between Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez and Purefoods’ cager Roger Yap is likely to further fire up the already intense Smart PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven finals.

Fernandez confronted Yap after the Realtors sealed a 2-0 series lead with a 112-101 victory Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum in a commotion after the game.

"I just asked him (Yap) why he’s hurting Kelly (Williams) when the game was all (but) over," said Fernandez.

Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio came to his charge’s defense and stressed his Sta. Lucia counterpart has no right to accost Yap after the game.

"He (Fernandez) charged into my player, he cursed my player. We’ll not take that sitting down," said Gregorio.

"I have not seen a coach charged into a player after a won ball game. That’s not a class act. He’s been making a lot of enemies inside and outside the court. He’s offended a lot and that’s a matter of fact," Gregorio said, alluding to Fernandez’ earlier spats with coaches Leo Austria and Tim Cone.

Fernandez, however, said he’s taking things in stride after the post Game Two incident.

"I have no quarrel with Roger. In fact, he’s my kumpare. I’m a godfather to one of his kids. It so happened that Kelly Williams is my player and I will stand by his side. " said Fernandez.

"I know coach Ryan (Gregorio) is a good motivator. I’m sure he’ll use this as a motivational tool for the rest of the series but we’ll be ready," Fernandez added.

Gregorio also stood by his player, saying Fernandez made false accusation.

"He said Roger punched Kelly Williams. I’ve reviewed the tape but I didn’t see Roger throw a single swing. It was just body-up which they’ve been doing to James Yap and Kerby Raymundo for the longest time," Gregorio said.

Gregorio said they’re focused to pull a win in Game Three Wednesday although he has admitted that Sta. Lucia now has the psychological edge.

"Our team has so much pride we’ll sure to start winning Wednesday," said Gregorio.

"The incident is a thing of the past. I will not dwell on it. If they will, then that’s their problem," said Fernandez. "I’ll not go into some sort of psy-war, that’s not my game. I’d rather have the series decided on the hard court."

Sta. Lucia has established control of the series tipped to be dominated by Purefoods, winning Game One, 109-97, and repeating in Game Two, 112-101.

Williams has been Purefoods’ biggest problem as the Fil-Am forward averaged 23.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in the series.

Other Realtors playing key roles in the series are Dennis Espino, Nelbert Omolon, Joseph Yeo, Denok Miranda, Ryan Reyes and Marlou Aquino.

For Purefoods, it’s been all James Yap and Raymundo in the first two games. But the Giants prized cagers had a hard time pacing themselves and have the tendency to slow down at the finish.

02-19-2008, 07:22 AM
A thriller of a series

By Ed Picson

The basketball community is in shock. Even Buddy Encarnado and Sta. Lucia head coach Boyet Fernandez themselves had admitted that no one really expected their team to even be in the Finals, much less to lead the Purefoods TJ Giants 2-0 in a best-of-seven.

Encarnado and his band of rahrah boys were conspicuous in their blazing shirts which proclaimed "We Believe". Characteristically, he was observed in his usual place behind the Sta. Lucia bench, cheering, cajoling and encouraging their team as they crawled out from being led by the Giants in Game 1.

Team owner Exequiel Robles was also his usual stoic self up in the stands, trying to look inconspicuous except for some applause here and there.

It took the Realtors three quarters before they could overhaul the Purefoods lead which fluctuated between four and ten points behind a sizzling 12-2 start by Ryan Gregorio’s boys.

Covering the game for ABC-5 in Game 1, I took special notice of something that Gregorio had said in a radio interview I had with the two coaches before the start of the series. The Purefoods mentor, in an answer to my question on what was different with the present Sta. Lucia team that got them to the Finals, had said that it is to the credit of coach Fernandez who had somehow motivated his players to be more intense and focused on the objective of winning a game.

Gregorio made specific mention of the way the Sta. Lucia players had been diving for lose balls and playing tough defense.

In Game 1, it was evident that indeed, the Realtors were hell-bent on making so many so-called "basketball experts" wrong.

And while most observers see the infusion of young blood into the team as the reason for their new-found energy, the way veterans Dennis Espino and Marlou Aquino performed proved that the merry mix of experience and youthful fervor could be achieved.

It used to be that the relationship between seniors and neophytes were tenuous because veterans always protected their turf and looked with askance on the new guys on the block. But the way Aquino, Espino et al have been playing good music with Williams, Reyes and the rest of the guys have given Sta. Lucia the unprecedented confidence that has brought them to the enviable position they are in now.

Certainly, the 2-game edge does not a championship make. And facing a powerhouse team like Purefoods is bound to give them more headaches in the following games. But it was amazing to watch a transformation in a team that has long wallowed in the dubious distinction of being a good team on paper but did not know how to win a championship (except the one they got in 2002 with Norman Black).

In Game 1, the inexperience was evident as they played tentatively and with seeming awe at the entire exercise. But something happened after the half-time break, and the players, veterans and newbies alike, buckled down and started believing in themselves.

Now it looks as if it has snowballed and Purefoods will have to make the adjustment in order not to dig a deeper hole for themselves. And as shown in their semifinals series against Red Bull, the Giants can make the necessary adjustment when needed.

This championship is far from over and I’m sure both camps realize it. This will definitely make for a thriller of a series in the games to come.

02-20-2008, 05:35 AM

SLR tries to go 3-0*

Game Today:
(Araneta Coliseum)
* * 7:00 p.m. – Sta. Lucia vs Purefoods

COACH Boyet Fernandez doesn’t want to talk about the confrontation he and Purefoods’ Roger Yap had after Game Two anymore, nor Ryan Gregorio’s statements about him making a lot of enemies.
* *
“It’s water under the bridge,” he said.
* *
The Sta. Lucia mentor would rather choose to talk about the Realtors’ approaching date with history, the defense that had worked flawlessly in the series, and the toughness his team has put up against a squad that’s supposed to be in command.
* *
Leading 2-0 in the best-of-seven showdown, Fernandez and the Realtors also feel the Giants are far from done. They’ve been able to climb back from such deficits not only once, but twice. And he expects Purefoods to do something they are not known to – play physical.
* *
“It’s going to be physical,” said Fernandez as he and his mixture of* young and old players prepare for Game Three in the Smart-PBA Philippine Cup tonight at the Araneta Coliseum.
* *
In a championship series where surprises have been aplenty, Purefoods’ inability to keep Sta. Lucia at bay is the most puzzling. Even with James Yap performing way above average-level, and Kerby Raymundo trying his best to dominate, the Giants always lose steam in the end.
* *
And Gregorio knows it.
* *
“I’m over extending their (Yap and Raymundo) minutes,” said Greogorio. “I have to dig deep into my bag of tricks especially in the roster, and try to put in players to give James and Kerby a little more rest.”
* *
Or else, the series will be over just like that.
* *
Sta. Lucia has beaten Purefoods by an average margin of 11.5 points in the series’ two games, outscored the Giants by 11 points in the fourth quarter in Game Two and almost pushed Yap and Raymundo as non-factor in the second half because of choking defense.
* *
Experience, the thing Gregorio said would be his primary weapon in the championships, wasn’t a factor at all for the Giants. They’ve been outplayed and outhustled in the second half, putting to waste all their brilliant efforts in the opening two quarters.
* *
Gregorio admits that Purefoods’ mission to become the second team after Crispa to win five All-Filipino titles -- an all-time high -- in its 20th championship appearance is not looking good. Now, his best ally is to hope.
* *
“Yes, it looks bleak at this point,” said Gregorio. “But it takes four wins to win a series. We’re not done yet.”
* *
The young mentor has bragging rights to believe that it can be accomplished. In the 2002 Governors’ Cup, the franchise came back from a 0-2 and 1-3 deficit in the Finals* * to beat Alaska in seven games. Then, in the 2006 semifinals against Alaska again, the Giants once more clawed their way back from a 0-2 gap to advance into the Finals in seven games.
* *
“If there’s one team that can come out from the rut that we’re experiencing right now, it’s us,” said Gregorio. “We’ve been in this situation before. We just have to think of happy thoughts right now.”
* *
Gregorio says that being down 0-2, the pressure is no longer on Purefoods. To them, the thing that matters is not to think of the daunting series deficit but to think about today’s game.
* *
“I can’t do something about our start (in the series), but definitely we can do something about the game tomorrow,” he said.
* *
For their part, the Realtors will just have to make it sure that their defense is polished once more after the two-day rest. One more brilliant performance against Purefods in Game Three is virtually a title, their first since winning the 2001 Governors’ Cup.* *

02-20-2008, 05:42 AM

Giants out to stem tide

STA. Lucia Realty guard Ryan Reyes may just be in his first PBA conference, but he sure has picked up a lot of experience–in a hurry.

"I knew it was going to be intense, but never like this," said Reyes, 24, wincing from a sore back and hurting knees borne of the rough-and-tumble Smart PBA Philippine Cup championship series’ first two games.

"I guess I just have to grin and bear it," he added. "The physicality is sure to continue to rise and we just have to be ready for it."

He could well be right.

The Realtors collectively know the Purefoods Giants are determined to rise out of their 0-2 deficit in the best-of-seven duel and are bracing themselves for more physical matches starting in today’s Game 3 at the Araneta Coliseum.

"Our mind-set is to survive and stay alive," said Giants coach Ryan Gregorio yesterday, two days after absorbing a second straight numbing loss to a Sta.

Lucia team few really expected to be in the finals.

"The pressure is on them to finish us off," Gregorio added. "This remains to be a great character test for us, but we will enjoy the ride."

That was the same relaxed attitude Purefoods used in overcoming two such daunting deficits in two of the last six years. The first was against Alaska in the 2002 Governors Cup finals and again against the Aces in the 2006 Philippine Cup semis, where the Giants actually trailed 1-3.

The respite was a very welcome one for Gregorio’s charges, looking every bit as tired and weary in the endgame of the two previous games in the face of the Realtors’ defensive pressure.

Realtors coach Boyet Fernandez knows the Giants will tinker with their game plan and will come prepared.

"Ryan is a very good coach and their coaching staff has a lot of championship background under their hats," noted Fernandez. "I know they’ll make some adjustments, but I also know my own staff will be there to make adjustments when the need arise."

Fernandez maintains his team will still take it one game at a time, but what should give them enough confidence is the fact his team has yet to fully display the defensive prowess they are known for.

"We’re still not in our kind of game right now. We’re allowing Purefoods to score more than 90 points. Maybe it’s because they’re really a good offensive team," Fernandez explained.

The way his boys stifled the Giants when it mattered most pleases him no end, however.

"That’s why I really appreciate my guys playing defense they way they’ve been doing, but we should do it the whole game long," he said. "Kahit mababa lang ang scoring, basta kami ang panalo, okey sa akin."

The knowledge he and Dennis Miranda, whom Fernandez dubbed as Sta. Lucia’s "Dynamic Duo," have the main task of harassing their Purefoods counterparts and quickly doubling up on the posts does not faze Reyes one bit.

"It’s part of the job and I just want to do my share for the team… whatever I can," said Reyes with a shrug.

It may be a cliché, but spoken like a true veteran.

02-20-2008, 05:49 AM

Hunger versus desire
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sta. Lucia Realty, hungry for only its second PBA title in 14 years, is out to open a commanding 3-0 lead over Purefoods in Game 3 of the best-of-seven Philippine Cup finals at the Araneta Coliseum tonight.

The Tender Juicy Giants can’t afford to lose another one because the probability of recovering from a 0-3 deficit to sweep the next four games is near zero. That means it’s a must-win situation for coach Ryan Gregorio whose consolation is he’s survived two similar predicaments before.

If there’s a team that can come back from a 0-2 hole, it’s Purefoods because the Giants have done it twice with Gregorio.

The first Lazarus act came in the 2002 Governors Cup finals where Purefoods squared off with Alaska. The Aces broke out to a 2-0 lead after winning Game 1, 79-73, and Game 2, 106-102, in OT. Then, the Giants rebounded to win three in a row, 80-66, 82-76 and 84-72, before Alaska evened the tie, 85-78, in Game 6. Purefoods went on to clinch the title, 91-76, in Game 7.

Rey Evangelista, Kerby Raymundo, Richard Yee and Roger Yap played on the 2002 championship squad and they’re still with the team. Their experience in surviving a pressure cooker will come in handy tonight.

The second rise from the grave was in the 2006 Philippine Cup semifinals, once again pitting Purefoods against Alaska. The Aces opened a 2-0 advantage after taking Game 1, 94-92, and Game 2, 86-71. The Giants barely won Game 3, 92-89, and lost a 91-77 decision in Game 4 to fall behind, 1-3. But in a miraculous comeback, Purefoods defied the odds by winning the next three outings, 85-74, 99-96 and 90-89, to advance to the finals.

The Giants rode on the momentum to trounce Red Bull in six games to bag the crown.

Eight players from that team remain in Gregorio’s roster – James Yap, Raymundo, Marc Pingris, Yee, Noy Castillo, Roger Yap, Evangelista and P. J. Simon. The conference is difficult for Purefoods to forget because that was when Eugene Tejada suffered a career-ending injury on his vertebrae during a game against Red Bull in the elimination round.

To this day, the Giants wear a No. 33 patch on their uniforms to honor Tejada who is slowly making progress in trying to walk on his own again.

Gregorio is hoping Tejada’s remarkable recovery from waist-down paralysis will inspire the Giants to notch their first victory of the series tonight.

But it won’t be easy turning back Sta. Lucia. Realtors coach Boyet Fernandez used a deep rotation to take the starch out of Purefoods in the homestretch of the first two games. Because James Yap and Raymundo play major minutes for the Giants, they usually tire out in the late going when Fernandez’ pit-bull defenders are at their fiercest.

In Game 1, the Realtors outscored the Giants in the fourth period, 30-23. In Game 2, it was the same story as Sta. Lucia took the last quarter, 31-20, with James scoring only two of his 28 points and Raymundo six of his 22 in the final 12 minutes.

James and Raymundo took 39 of Purefoods’ 74 field goal attempts – 52.7 percent – in the series opener. They threw up 41 of 78 – 52.6 percent – in Game 2 where the pair played a combined 87 minutes and attempted 22 of the team’s 38 free throws – 57.9 percent. No doubt, Gregorio’s supporting cast must wake up if only to prevent the Realtors from overly concentrating on James and Raymundo from start to finish.

In Game 2, Jondan Salvador logged only eight minutes and Romel Adducul, nine, as Gregorio went to shorter and quicker players to throw off Sta. Lucia. The ploy backfired as the Realtors won the battle of the boards, 51-44, and used the advantage to create tempo, scoring 12 fastbreak points compared to Purefoods’ six.

Clearly, both the Giants and Realtors are defense-oriented. In its 16 wins before the finals, Purefoods held opponents to an average of 85.1 but in its nine losses, the average ballooned to 101.7. The Giants are at their best when holding opponents down to less than 90. Sta. Lucia limited opponents to an average of 84.9 in its 16 wins and 98.2 in its nine defeats.

In Game 1, Sta. Lucia did a good job of distributing the wealth, collecting 19 assists (to Purefoods’ nine) and generating 36 bench points to the Giants’ 21. The Realtors’ pressure defense, anchored on Denok Miranda delaying the advance in the backcourt, led to eight steals (compared to Purefoods’ three), 20 Purefoods turnovers (against Sta. Lucia’s 13) and 25 Sta. Lucia turnover points (the Giants had only 13).

Sta. Lucia’s outside gunners were on target whenever Purefoods played the zone, burying 8-of-18 triples to the Giants’ 6-of-17.

Fernandez also brought the Twin Towers back to life, playing veterans Dennis Espino and Marlou Aquino together in stretches where Purefoods couldn’t decide whether to double the post or not.

In Game 2, Purefoods started Evangelista, Castillo and Omanzie Rodriguez – all of whom didn’t play in the opener – and for a while, it looked like the Realtors were goners and trailed by nine at the half. But in the end, a late spurt propelled Sta. Lucia to victory.

Purefoods had less turnovers but Sta. Lucia had a lot more assists, 22-15, with Miranda and Ryan Reyes collecting 10 together. The key was in rebounding which the Realtors dominated.

If Purefoods fails to win tonight, expect the broom to make an appearance on Friday.

02-20-2008, 05:50 AM

Realtors wary of slumbering Giants
By Nelson Beltran
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Game today (Araneta Coliseum)

7 p.m. – Purefoods vs Sta. Lucia

Sta. Lucia is expecting Purefoods to come out strong tonight but the Realtors are ready to face up to the challenge as they try to zero in on the Smart PBA Philippine Cup crown at the Araneta Coliseum today.

“I’m sure they will try hard to avoid falling in a deep 0-3 hole. They’re already kind of fighting for their lives but we’re ready for anything they can come up with,” said Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez.

Taking Game One at 109-97 and repeating in Game Two at 112-101, the Realtors are now two wins away from a scoring a sort of Cinderella finish in the tourney.

Gametime is at 7 p.m.

Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio said Game 3 serves as a character test for the team following two straight numbing defeats.

“We’re now facing a great character test but we will enjoy the ride,” said Gregorio, who remained confident of repeating the Giants’ epic comebacks in the past.

Gregorio and his troops fought from two-game deficits on the way to winning crowns in 2001 and 2006.

“Our mind-set is to survive and stay alive. The pressure is on them to finish us off,” said Gregorio.

The Realtors, however, are also hopeful of their chances, believing they’ve prepared themselves for more physical matches.

In fact, the Sta. Lucia mentor thinks the Realtors have yet to fully display the kind of defense they are noted for.

“We’re still not in our kind of game right now. We’re allowing Purefoods to score more than 90 points. Maybe it’s because they’re really a good offensive team,” Fernandez said.

The two teams figured in high-scoring battles in the first two games but the Realtors stifled the Giants in the payoff period in both contests.

Gregorio knows by now that among their problems is staying power.

The youthful Purefoods mentor admits that he has been playing James Yap and Kerby Raymundo extended minutes, probably the reason why they’re tapering off at the finish.

“I think I have to give James and Kerby a little more rest,” Gregorio said.

But Fernandez is expecting Gregorio to tinker with his gameplan.

“Ryan (Gregorio) is a very good coach and their coaching staff has a lot of championship background. I know they’ll make some adjustments, but I also know my own staff will be there to help me make adjustments when the need arise,” said Fernandez.

02-20-2008, 05:51 AM

Purefoods upbeat, confident to stay alive
By Joaquin Henson
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Worry is not in Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio’s vocabulary. Neither is sourgraping.

Although the Tender Juicy Giants are behind 0-2 to Sta. Lucia Realty in the PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven finals, Gregorio said he’s optimistic the sun will shine in Game 3 at the Araneta Coliseum tonight.

“I’m a survivor,” said Gregorio. “If this turns out to be a long series, I told the guys that only means we’ll practice longer. It’s all about staying alive. We’re not thinking Game 6 or 7 yet. Our mood is upbeat because we’ve been in this predicament before and we’ve survived to win. We’re in a must-win situation and yes, we can.’”

Gregorio said playing James Yap and Kerby Raymundo long minutes isn’t a problem even as he conceded in Games 1 and 2, they sputtered down the stretch.

“James and Kerby are used to playing long minutes,” he said. “We’ve reviewed how they played during the conference and they don’t usually slow down in the fourth quarter. But against Sta. Lucia, it’s different because of all the banging, shoving, pulling and pushing that’s allowed by the referees. We try to use our quickness to advantage but the grabbing and holding impede our progress.”

Gregorio said he’s not sourgraping because that’s not his style but he’s appealing for a better appreciation of fouls and interpretation of calls.

“I’m confused about how fouls are being* called,” he went on. “We played Romel (Adducul) only nine minutes in Game 2 because of foul trouble. He gets called for a foul just when he’s positioning on defense while the other team’s big guys get away with a lot of physical play.”

Gregorio said adjusting to Sta. Lucia’s post offense is critical because in the Red Bull semifinal series, the Giants faced big men who shot from outside.

“Against Red Bull, we played big guys like Mike Hrabak and Mick Pennisi who fired threes and hardly posted up,” explained Gregorio. “Now, we’re playing Dennis (Espino) and Marlou (Aquino) who like to back in. I’m not surprised Dennis and Marlou are playing well. Anytime you’ve got a 6-7 and a 6-9 player, you have an advantage. But their advantage is correctible. We’re not dwelling on the past and our weaknesses. We’re looking to maximize our strengths, one of which is our quickness. So we’ll just use our quickness to offset their advantage in size.”

Playing zone to neutralize Sta. Lucia’s post offense is a key tactic but Gregorio said the defense must be careful not to give open looks for the Realtors outside shooters like Kelly Williams, Joseph Yeo, Norman Gonzales, Paolo Mendoza and Bitoy Omolon.

“Our offense isn’t a problem,” said Gregorio. “It’s our defense where we need to be tougher. We got to the finals because of defense. But giving up 109 points in Game 1 and 112 in Game 2 won’t get it done. It’s impossible for us to win if we give up those many points.”

Gregorio said Purefoods hasn’t been big in assists because the Giants are potent one-on-one players.

“If you check the statistics, you’ll see we’re near the bottom in assists but that’s because we generate a lot of points from James and Kerby going one-on-one,” said Gregorio. “We don’t usually run because we like our chances in the halfcourt. But the way guys like Ryan Reyes and Denok Miranda are allowed to play defense, it’s been tough for us to get shots. They’re not playing normal defense and that’s something we’d like the referees to look at.”

Gregorio said bouncing back from a 0-2 or even a 1-3 deficit is nothing new.

“For us, history is nothing,” said Gregorio. “When we were down 0-2 in 2002, no team had been able to come back to win the series in 20 years. When we were down 1-3 in 2006, no team had been able to come back to win the series in 15 years. But we did it. In our situation now, we know we can come back to win.”

Gregorio said adjustments will be made in Game 3.

“P. J. Simon gave us a big lift in Game 2 with 21 points,” he said. “We’re looking for more guys to step up and help out James and Kerby. But more than offense, it’s our defense that will keep us alive in the series.”

02-20-2008, 05:55 AM

Time for Giants rebound is now
By Arman Carandang

With Sta. Lucia Realty’s morale soaring high after taking the first two games in the best-of-seven series, Purefoods fans ask: “When will the Giants wake up?”

Everyone expected a battle royale between the two teams touted as having deep bench. But the Realtors, showing great resolve on both ends, beat the Giants convincingly, 109-97 in Game One Friday and 112-101 in Game Two Sunday.

And why were the Giants struck by lightning a second time? Obviously, because they have not solved the Realtors’ defense, which, SLR coach Teodorico Fernandez said would be the key to winning the championship.

Purefoods’ coach Ryan Gregorio admitted that big trouble — although indirectly — when he said there’s no way the Giants can win the Smart-PBA Philippine Cup title if the Realtors continue to play their no-nonsense defense while scoring beyond 100.

“We give credit where credit is due. Sta. Lucia really played so well tonight. We just can’t let them (Realtors) score over 100 points a game. We can’t win if this continues,” said Gregorio.

All is not lost though for Purefoods, although that would take more than a gargantuan task of cutting short the Realtors’ advance, and the Giants need to start their turnaround not later than today when they clash with the Realtors in Game Three at 7 p.m. at the Araneta Coliseum.

Sta. Lucia, meanwhile, is hoping its commanding 2-0 lead would not make the Realtors a bit complacent, especially since they’re into a long, uncertain series, and up against a team that’s not new to championship battles.

And Fernandez, in only his second year as head coach of the Realtors, is aware of that.

“We may be up 2-0, but nothing is certain in a seven game series. We’ll just take it one game at a time. We respect the Purefoods organization and I know they’ll make the adjustments in the next game,” said Fernandez.

Kelly Williams, for all his splendid show, is fast becoming a big headache for the Giants. The high-leaping Williams put together his second straight double-double in Game Two, scoring 23 points and hauling down 11 rebounds. Williams is just one of the many talents in the Sta. Lucia bench that is becoming deeper.

“Definitely, we’re not yet done. Yes, it looks bleak at this point, but it takes four wins to win the series,” said Gregorio, who is bidding to give the Purefoods franchise its eighth title in the league.

02-20-2008, 11:53 PM
after J.Yap hacked Yeo in his nose, will J.Yap be suspended? (this is like what Sharma did to Salvador resulting to 2game suspension on Sharma). masusupend kaya si Yap kahit game4 na ng finals? ::)

02-21-2008, 12:23 PM

The student is now the teacher
By Reuel Vidal

After beating his former coach, Alaska Aces mentor Tim Cone, in a best-of-seven duel, which went the distance in the semi-finals of the 2008 Smart-Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup, Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez is on the verge of doing the same to another one of his former coaches—Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants mentor Ryan Gregorio.

The 36-year-old Fernandez, a registered nurse, who couldn’t quite give up basketball even for a lucrative career abroad as a nurse, played 12 seasons in the PBA from 1993 to 2005.

He played in three PBA finals, with Alaska in the 1997 Commissioner’s Cup won by Gordon’s Gin and with Purefoods in the 2004 All-Filipino won by Alaska and in the 2004 Governors’ Cup won by San Miguel Beer.

Boyet was coached by Cone, who said that Fernandez was a very physical player. Fernandez was the type of player that a coach loved to have on his team, but who a coach absolutely detested if he played for the other team.

Fernandez showed that he had learned enough from Cone to beat his former mentor, four games to three, in a heated and emotional best-of-seven semi-final matchup.

The question is: Can Fernandez do the same to Gregorio who coached him when he played for Purefoods in 2003?

Fernandez is hoping to follow the footsteps of Fort Acuña, Robert Jaworski, Turo Valenzona, Ely Capacio, Rino Salazar, Eric Altamirano, Joel Banal and Siot Tanquincen as the 10th local PBA player to win a championship as a coach.

Fernandez has also led the Realtors to many firsts this conference. The Realtors tallied their longest winning streak of eight games. They got their first-ever outright semi-finals berth. They tallied a franchise-best 12 wins in the eliminations. And they also grabbed a berth in the finals of an All-Filipino conference for the first time in franchise history.

Will Fernandez also beat his former coach Gregorio?

As we went to press, the Game 3 of the best-of-seven was about to start at the Araneta Coliseum with the Realtors enjoying a commanding 2-0 advantage. It looks like Fernandez learned as many lessons from Gregorio as he did from Cone. Fernandez looks capable of teaching his former coach at Purefoods some new tricks and win his first-ever PBA crown, this time as a coach.

02-21-2008, 01:16 PM
after J.Yap hacked Yeo in his nose, will J.Yap be suspended? (this is like what Sharma did to Salvador resulting to 2game suspension on Sharma). masusupend kaya si Yap kahit game4 na ng finals? ::)

dapat suspended yan IMO

02-21-2008, 02:48 PM
ako tingin ko dapat 2game suspension si J.Yap, at 1game suspension naman si J.Yeo.

02-21-2008, 07:31 PM
The series has been heating up and that "nose swipe to hell" by Yap will have something that the fans will look further in this championship.

Its nice to see the second unit delivering for Purefoods, that Simon buzzer-beater before the fourth turn was a big momentum breaker for the Giants plus Pingris showed up for his team that compliment Yap and Kerby.

Interesting note on Marlou Aquino last night when he was doing those low posts move, that was vintage Marlou Aquino right there with those yoyo-type semi-jolens up-and-under shots.

02-21-2008, 08:01 PM
just got word that James Yap has been suspended for tomorrow's game 4.

02-22-2008, 05:49 AM
Ryan: ‘Confidence back’ (http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/0222&232008/sports04.html)
By Dave Coros
RYAN GREGORIO believes he has found the antidote that would enable his troops to endure the physicality of the championship series.

The outspoken Purefoods coach confessed he went through sleepless nights the past few days trying to figure out how to beat the Sta. Lucia Realtors, who had looked invincible in Games One and Two.

But he was bold and daring when he spoke at a news conference Wednesday night, visibly relieved in the aftermath of the Giants’ 118-107 victory in Game Three of the Smart-Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup Finals.* * *

“Now, we can say we can win. I think that’s the most important thing,” declared Gregorio. And the way he figured it, he likes their chances of tying the series.*

Game Four of the best-of-seven series is scheduled at 7 o’clock tonight at Araneta Coliseum.

“I think we found the formula [to beat Sta. Lucia]. And that’s to play tough,” said Gregorio, admitting the past few days were stressful as he tried to outline a master plan that will work against the Realtors.*

Looks like he had discovered the right game plan.*

After being smothered in Games One and Two, the Giants finally managed to stand its ground Wednesday night and didn’t back off when the push came to shove.

It was also a great move on the part of Gregorio to reduce the playing minutes of James Yap and Kerby Raymundo—enabling the two stars to stay fresh in the crucial stretch of the game—and allowed the bench to get involved in offense.

Although he struggled with his shooting, Yap led all scorers in Game Three with 29 points, while Raymundo, who picked up his fifth foul late in the third quarter, added 26 points that went with his eight rebounds and six assists.

Reserve guard Jun Simon contributed 26 points, including 12 in the third period, to carry the fight for the Giants while their two stars were taking a breather and led a remarkable support by Purefoods bench which outscored Sta. Lucia’s, 58-44.*

“We showed great survival instinct. We played tougher and didn’t back down from all the physicality that we’ve been doing the past games.

“We were also able to stop their import…I’m referring to Kelly Williams, whose playing like an import in Games One and Two,” said Gregorio, who is aspiring to win for the franchise its eighth championship and fifth All-Filipino title.

Williams, who led the Realtors’ offense in the first two games of the series with 24 and 23 points, respectively, was held to just 10 points in Game Three that saw him also cornering14 rebounds for his third double-double effort in the series.

“We didn’t back down. My players played with their hearts out. I thought we deserve to win. But Purefoods came out strong and played really well tonight,” said Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez.

Although the momentum is on the side of Purefoods, the pressure to win Game Four rests evenly on the shoulders of both protagonists.

Another victory by Purefoods to even the series at 2-2 will provide the Giants with a big psychological edge and possibly crush the Realtors’ confidence.

But Fernandez knows well that should Sta. Lucia recovers to take a 3-1 lead, it will be tough for the Giants to prevent his victory ride.

“This is definitely a well-matched game,” said Gregorio, baffled by the ability of both teams to score more than 100 points a game.

“I just don’t know why we’re both scoring over 100. We scored over a 100 [Game Three] and they scored over a 100 the last three games. And we’re bragging this series will be won on defense. We have to see the tape and find out what’s happening along the way.”

02-22-2008, 06:01 AM
Yap sacked! (http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php?issue=2008-02-22&sec=7&aid=50289)
February 22, 2008 07:26 PM Friday

PUREFOODS will go into Game 4 of the PBA-Smart Philippine Cup Finals minus its leading scorer.
* *
Giants superstar James Yap was meted a one-game suspension and fined P20,000 for the flagrant foul he committed against Sta. Lucia’s Joseph Yeo in the waning minutes of Wednesday night’s Game 3 at the Araneta Coliseum.
* *
Yap, the former league Most Valuable Player (MVP), had been assessed a flagrant foul 1 by game officials for hacking Yeo hard with 52 seconds left in the game and the outcome of the match already beyond reach in favor of the Giants.
* *
The incident left Yeo with a bloody and swollen nose.
* *
Upon reviewing the tape yesterday at the PBA Commissioner’s Office, technical officials of the league agreed to upgrade the call to flagrant foul 2, rendering an automatic one-game suspension against the Purefoods stalwart.
* *
The move by Yap apparently was triggered by the hard foul committed by Yeo on him in a previous play by the Giants just as the Purefoods guard was making his move to the basket.
* *
Yap’s absence is a big blow to the Giants’ cause going to tonight’s 7 p.m. encounter at the Big Dome when they try to equalize the best-of-seven series Sta. Lucia currently leads at 2-1.
* *
The former University of the East stalwart scored 27 points in Purefoods’ 118-107 win in Game 3. Currently, the league’s top scorer, the 26-year-old Yap averages 25. 6 points for the Giants in the first three games of the Finals.* *

02-22-2008, 06:06 AM
Giants fo for equalizer (http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php?issue=2008-02-22&sec=7&aid=50235)
February 22, 2008 05:53 PM Friday* *
By: Zean Macamay*

Game Today:
(Araneta Coliseum)
7:00 p.m. – Sta. Lucia vs Purefoods

STOP Kelly Williams, crack that vaunted Sta. Lucia defense, and get everyone involved on offense.
* *
For one game, Purefoods played like it was very much in control. For one game, the Giants’ experience surfaced, and for one game, they performed with plenty of poise, fire and confidence.
* *
All of a sudden, the team that was practically written off has come alive.
* *
“We’re back, we’re still alive,” said Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio Wednesday night, his tone bragging with so much faith after the Giants had just defeated Sta. Lucia 118-107 in Game Three to cut the series lead of the Smart-PBA Philippine Cup Finals at 1-2.
* * *
It was the highest output Purefoods has ever had in this season-opening conference, and the timing could never have been perfect for a team that was pushed to the wall after a pair of bitter defeats in the first two games.
* *
As Purefoods tries to level the best-of-seven championship showdown at 2-2 tonight at the Araneta Coliseum and render the affair as a mere best-of-three, it would have to be consistent.
* *
The Giants would have to make sure that Williams gets grounded, penetrate that Realtors’ defense that was too difficult to split before and make sure that James Yap and Kerby Raymundo still have the fresh legs in the fourth quarter.
* * *
“We finally did it. We grounded Sta. Lucia’s import (Williams),” said Gregorio.
* * *
Williams, who averaged 23.5 points in Games One and Two, was totally out of sync in Game Three, only coming out with 10 points, his lowest output in his last 27 games or since Sta. Lucia battled Air21 last Nov. 7.
* * *
The Fil-Am and leading contender for the Best Player of the Conference Award shot an awful 2-of-12 from the field and missed four free throws out of his 10 attempts, pulling the Realtors’ performance down in the process and allowing the Giants to once more see a ray of hope.
* *
Coach Boyet Fernandez, though, is playing a different tune.
* *
“They (Giants) could’ve not stopped Kelly if…,” said Fernandez.
* *
The young and tough mentor apparently was referring to the kind of officiating called in Game Three, where the referees had it tight, obviously not the philosophy the league had in mind when the season began.
* *
Still, Sta. Lucia got away with 50 free throw attempts and muffed 15 in a match they lost by 11, with Purefoods being awarded with 39 free throws.
* *
For Gregorio, however, the officiating was perfect.
* *
“I knew it,” he said. “I knew all along that if they (referees) call it right, we could win the game.”
* *
No one among the Purefoods players benefited from the tight calls other than James Yap, who scored 12 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 27 on 9-of-18 shooting. It was his best offensive performance in the final period in the series, even two more than what he produced in Games One and Two.
* *
Kerby Raymundo, hit with his fifth foul with still 5:02 left in the third quarter, managed to finish the game and collect 26 points and eight rebounds, while Peter June Simon provided a huge lift off the bench with 26 points, 12 coming in the third period.
* *
With momentum clearly on their side, the Giants are now hoping to equalize the series and perhaps accomplish a rare feat of winning the title from 0-2, an achievement they had already done twice against Alaska.
* *
“We’re very confident now,” said Gregorio. “Our win in Game Three provided us with a big boost.”
* *
For the Realtors, it’s a matter of adjustment.
* *
“Definitely, we will look at the tapes and see what needs to be done,” said Fernandez. “We have to make the necessary adjustments. I knew all along that Purefoods will come back. And we should be prepared for them in Game Four.”* *

02-22-2008, 06:12 AM
Giants to miss Yap (http://www.malaya.com.ph/feb22/spor1.htm)

WINNING one battle in its Smart PBA Philippine Cup championship series with Sta. Lucia Realty may prove too costly for Purefoods.

The Giants try to level the best-of-seven series at two games apiece, but will have to do so without star James Yap, who yesterday was meted a one-game suspension and P20,000 fine for committing a very flagrant foul last Wednesday.

That should swing the tide back in favor of the Realtors and make attainable their goal of going two games up anew.

"That certainly is a big boost," simply said SLR coach Boyet Fernandez when informed of the news.

"This is my worst nightmare. It was a damning decision," said Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio, who received the news late in the evening.

"I’m still in shock. I could not believe a player like James, who is not easily piqued, would be suspended for one game. I am not questioning the flagrant, but I really do believe it did not merit a suspension."

The Giants won 118-107 in Game 3, but not after Yap’s stiff arm that bloodied SLR’s Joseph Yeo’s nose in the last 52 seconds of the game.

Yap, who scored a gamehigh 27 points, was initially assessed a flagrant foul-penalty one, but after a review of the game tapes yesterday, it was agreed by league officials that the former MVP should have been assessed a flagrant foul-2 that has the aforementioned automatic penalties.

"Finals kasi, pero mabigat," said Yap, who met with league commissioner Sonny Barrios yesterday. "Hindi naman galit, dahil kaibigan ko naman si Joseph. Siguro heat of the moment lang."

Prior to that, Yeo committed two hard fouls on the former MVP, one a second motion that hit Yap on the right ear in the third quarter and then in the fourth, a karate chop-like blow while the latter was driving to the basket.

"’Binalanse ‘yung ulo ko, coach,’" was how Gregorio related Yap’s reaction.

The absence of Yap will surely take a big toll on the Giants’ bid. "They’ve taken away 25 points off our offense. That could prove to be material to the series," said Gregorio, referring to Yap’s series average.

It was not immediately known if there’s any penalty to be slapped on Yeo for provoking Yap and Gregorio said there should be.

"This thing should make us stronger, but as of now I’m truly disappointed," he added.

The latest twist in what has been shaping up as both a physical and mental series comes after Gregorio lauded the way the referees called it tight in Game 3, in direct contrast to Fernandez’s view.

In all, the referees called a total 77 fouls in Game 3, compared to the 60 and 66 in the first two games, respectively.

"Sa akin is, if they (Realtors) have an advantage, it’s because of one instrument, and that is the whistle," said Gregorio, while admitting to being baffled by the way the referees failed to call certain infractions committed by SLR.

Aside from that, he was beside himself in lauding his players, for not backing down "from all the physicalities that we’ve endured in the first two games," and the referees, for calling the game "the right way."

Fernandez, on the other hand, preferred to let those who watched the game be the judge, his unforthcoming manner borne by his "Marami nang nagagalit sa akin" declaration.

In-between "No comments," Fernandez did vow to bounce back big from the loss.

"They only won one game and we’re still up," Fernandez said. "The way I see it, they still have to beat us three times and that won’t happen."

Easier said than done.

In thwarting the Realtors’ bid to erect a virtually unassailable 3-0 lead, the Giants repeatedly found holes in their opponents’ vaunted defense, got everyone involved in offense and also played their own brand of defense.

Bearing the most brunt of Purefoods’ stifling antics was SLR star player Kelly Williams, who was limited to 10 points, the Fil-Am’s lowest output in their last 23 games.

The leading contender for the Best Player of the Conference Award shot an awful 2-of-12 from the field and missed four free throws out of his 10 attempts, pulling the Realtors’ performance down in the process and allowing the Giants to be confident.

"We’ve been treating him like an import in the first two games and we were able to ground him tonight," stated Gregorio.

Fernandez expressed a different–albeit implied–view. "They (Giants) could not have stopped Kelly if…," said Fernandez.

Still, Sta. Lucia got away with 50 free throw attempts and muffed 15 in a match it lost by 11, with Purefoods being awarded with 39 free throws.

02-22-2008, 06:19 AM
Giants out to thwart Realtors again (http://www.mb.com.ph/SPRT20080222117619.html)
By Waylon Galvez
Friday, February 22, 2008

After convincingly winning Game 3 of the Smart-PBA Philippine Cup Finals, Purefoods TJ Hotdogs mentor Ryan Gregorio is convinced he has found the formula to beat Sta. Lucia Realty.

"We’ve been trying to figure out how to win against Sta. Lucia, and now I think we found the formula. And that is to play tough," the 35-year-old Gregorio said.

The Giants, motivated by their 118-107 win over the Realtors last Wednesday, go for the equalizer today in Game 4 of the best-of-seven playoffs at the Araneta Coliseum starting at 7 p.m.

But the Giants’ bid has been placed in jeopardy following the one-game suspension of their star player James Yap for a flagrant foul on Joseph Yeo near the end of Game 3 last Wednesday.

Yap was also fined P20,000.

The Realtors won Games 1 and 2 (109-97 and 112-107) and lead the series, 2-1.

In Game 3, ace gunner Yap scored 27 points while Kerby Raymundo, despite getting into foul trouble early, had 26 and eight rebounds. Peter June Simon came off the bench to add 26 points.

However, it was the Giants’ defense that made the big difference, a defense which Gregorio expects his team will display anew tonight.

"We expect another tough game," he said. "We showed our survival instinct in Game 3. But we played tougher, we didn’t back down from all the physicality that we’ve endured in the first two games."

Giving Sta. Lucia forward Kelly Williams different looks with Raymundo and Marc Pingris guarding him, Purefoods was able to limit the production of the prolific sophomore to 10 points. The 6-foot-5 Williams, who, reportedly, will be named as the Best Player of the Conference (BPC), averaged 22.5 points in the first two games of the series.

However, even with the setback that foiled his team’s bid for an insurmountable 3-0 advantage, Sta. Lucia head coach Boyet Fernandez is confident his team has what it takes to bounce back in Game 4.

"We know Purefoods will get back (in Game 3). They have the tradition, they have a good team," Fernandez, only in his second conference as SLR coach, said.

"They deserved to win Game 3. I do give credit to them for the win. (But) they just won one game. They have to beat us three more times. We’re still up by one. We’ll get back," he added.

In Game 3, Fernandez got his usual numbers from Dennis Espino (20 points) and Denok Miranda (17 points), as well as from back-up guard Joseph Yeo (22 points). But the likes of Ryan Reyes and Nelbert Omolon struggled.

For them to win Game 4, Fernandez expects Williams, Reyes and Omolon to combine efforts with Espino, Miranda, Yeo, Paolo Mendoza, Norman Gonzales and Marlou Aquino.

As for Purefoods, crucial for them again is for Gregorio to give Yap and Raymundo enough time to rest in the first three quarters and get them ready for the crucial final frame.

In Game 3, it was Simon and rookie Robert Sanz who took turns giving Yap a breather while Raymundo was backed by newcomer Ardy Larong and Pingris.

Gregorio admitted that he "overextended the minutes" of Yap and Raymundo in Games 1 and 2.

"As things turned out to be, this is not at all a boring contest. This is definitely a well-matched game," he said.

Of the five teams that were able to bounce back from 0-2, Purefoods did the trick twice both against Alaska, during the 2002 Governors’ Cup Finals and in the semifinals of this same conference two seasons back.

A win by the Realtors will push them a win away from winning their second title since joining the league in 1993.

In the PBA, only two teams came back from 1-3 to win a best-of-seven series – Ginebra against Shell in the 1991 First Conference Finals and Purefoods versus Alaska in 2006 when the Giants won three straight games to barge into the Finals where they beat Red Bull in six games.

02-22-2008, 06:21 AM
Yap suspended one game, fined 20K for flagrant foul (http://www.mb.com.ph/SPRT20080222117620.html)
Friday, February 22, 2008

Sta. Lucia Realty’s Joseph Yeo said he does not harbor any ill feelings against Purefoods’ James Yap who nearly broke his nose in an apparent retaliation to a hard foul Yeo inflicted on Yap seconds before the third game of their best-of-seven series ended Wednesday.

But Yap and his team will pay a heavy price for this infraction after PBA Commissioner Sonny Barrios yesterday suspended the Purefoods star for one game and fined him P20,000.

The suspension will take effect on Sunday during the 5th game of the championship series after Purefoods appealed the immediate implementation of the suspension because the decision was made late last night.

Upon reviewing the tape yesterday at the PBA Commissioner’s Office, technical officials of the league agreed to upgrade the call to flagrant foul 2, rendering an automatic one-game suspension against the Purefoods stalwart.

Yeo was left bloodied by the incident and the Sta. Lucia bench appeared agitated as the game was halted while doctors examined Yeo’s nose.

Both teams eventually pulled out their top stars and the remaining 50 seconds of the game ended without any more incident.

Yeo appeared to give Yap a karate chop as the Purefoods star drove to the basket and it drew a foul.

On the return play, it was Yap’s turn to return the favor. But his retaliation on Yeo, who was not handling the ball, caught the referee’s eye and he was slapped with a Flagrant 1 technical foul that awarded two foul throws to Sta. Lucia and ball possession.

Yeo felt that Yap was upset with what he did prior to the incident but dismissed Yap’s reaction as part of the game.

"Siguro nga medyo napikon s’ya sa nangyari," Yeo said when contacted yesterday. "Medyo naging physical ‘yung laro. Part lang talaga ng game na minsan nagiging physical."

"Pero I’m sure hindi naman n’ya sinasadya ‘yung nangyari. Sa akin din naman hindi ko sinadya ‘yung nangyari," added Yeo, who also took an elbow from veteran guard Roger Yap in the first half.

Yeo said he and James Yap are good friends.

He likewise dismissed the notion that he or his teammates might get back at Yap in today’s fourth game.

—Waylon GALVEZ

02-22-2008, 06:29 AM
Purefoods tries to level series (http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/feb/22/yehey/sports/20080222spo1.html)
Friday, February 22, 2008

PUREFOODS shoots for its second straight win against Sta. Lucia Realty and level their best-of-seven Finals series for the Smart-PBA Philippine Cup Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Coach Ryan Gregorio said the Giants have found the right formula and have proven it by winning Game 3, 118-107, on Wednesday.

“At least by this victory, we have proven that we can beat Sta. Lucia,“ said the 35-year-old Gregorio, who is aiming to become the first Purefoods coach to win two All-Filipino title.

The Giants and the Realtors, who are seeking for their second conference crown and first All-Filipino title, face each other at 7 p.m.

A win by the Realtors, who won Game 1 (109-97) and Game 2 (112-101), will move them closer to clinching their second title after the 2001 Governor’s Cup.

“That is what we are going to avoid. So, we have to tie the series on Friday,” added Gregorio, whose Giants already won eight PBA crowns, four were All-Filipino titles since 1988.

For his part, coach Boyet Fernandez said he was really expecting the Giants would make a strong comeback. “That what I told my wards, but we have to give credit in the way Purefoods played in Game 3. So, now we knew the 2-1 advantage may be far from over,” said Fernandez, who steered the Realtors to the championship in only his second conference as a coach.

Purefoods outscored the Realtors in the fourth quarter, 32-27, which was the key to their victory,* thanks to James Yap’s 12 points and Kerby Raymundo’s 5. The duo also for the first time played less than 40 minutes in the game.

For the first time in the series, Kelly Williams could only score 10 points but still played 42 minutes. The leading “Player of the Conference” candidate finished 24 points in the Game 1 and 28 in the Game 2.

Williams’ low-scoring output was a big factor that likewise slowed down the Realtors in the last quarter.

Gregorio said that it’s going to be a long and tough series, which Fernandez said that the Realtors will try to avoid because of the Giants’ championship experience. -- Frank Calapre

02-22-2008, 06:32 AM
Giants hope to keep winning form (http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/feb/22/yehey/sports/20080222spo3.html)
Friday, February 22, 2008
By Eddie G. Alinea, Contributor

WHERE Kelly Williams goes, Sta. Lucia Realty goes.

This is what both the Realtors and the Purefoods Giants realized in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series for the Smart-PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Williams, hero of the Realtors’ Games 1 and 2 victories, was finally contained to a measly 10 points— his lowest output in 23 games—by the combined defense of Ardy Larong, Marc Pingris, Robert Sanz and Roger Yap and the Giants won, 118-107, to escape falling to a dangerous 0-3 situation where no other team has surmounted in the 33-year history of the league.

Coach Ryan Gregorio and his Giants’ hard-earned triumph, likewise, moved them into the threshold of preserving their reputation of one of only five teams to bounce back from a 0-2 deficit in a best-of-seven series.

Besides limiting Williams to that lowest output, Gregorio also found a way to pacing scoring machine James Yap well, preventing the former UE Red Warrior from tiring out like what happened in the first two games of the series.

Despite thwarting his bid for a more comfortable 3-0 advantage, Sta. Lucia rookie coach Boyet Fernandez remained undaunted saying his loss just came in time for him and his boys to learn in what department they will have to make necessary adjustments to prepare them from what is fast becoming a long, winding series.

“It’s okay. That loss means we have to make some minor adjustments in both our defensive and offensive rotations in Game 4,” Fernandez, a former Purefoods campaigner himself, said a day after the setback.

“Kelly has to re-adjust to the defense put up by his defenders in Game 3 after successfully eluding them in the opening two games. That also means we have to focus our defense also on [Jun] Simon, who effectively spelled James [Yap] in the shooting department when James was resting on the bench,” he assessed.

“I think we also have to watch out the others who are capable of stepping up. As you probably noticed, we surrendered 118 points against them from an average 89 or something in our previous outings. We have to solve that,” he added.

The Realtors spent the whole day Thursday viewing the tape of Game 3 after which they went into a light skirmish.

The same goes for the Giants who also spent the eve of match to, according to Gregorio “freshen our legs and prepare our mind for another big game ahead.”

“We’ll definitely go to tie the series on Friday by using the same formula we employed in Game 3, that is limit to Williams in his production by alternating anew Larong, Marc, Sanz and Roger against him,” he said.

“Kerby [Raymundo] and James [Yap] will again be the first offensive options, but others like Jun [Simon], Jondan [Salvador], Marc [Pingris], and Rommel [Adducul] will be given longer playing times, “ he said.

02-22-2008, 10:29 PM
Where in the world can you implement the suspension 2 games after the incident? the referees are so afraid to call a flagrant 2 on yap because that would mean automatic suspension, while they easily do it on yeo. PBA=Purefoods Basketball "Association". Kung matinong liga yan, Yap should have ben suspended for todays game and the poorest man on earth will bet his last toenail that SLR would have won the game earlier. This is just plain stupid and clearly absurd. Now PF has the luxury to go into game 5 tied if not for the postponement of the suspension.

02-22-2008, 11:19 PM
obviously, PBA wants profit. kung wala si James kanina, talo ang PF. ibig sabihin, 3-1 na. SLR can end the series in 5 games. ngayon, series is tied 2-2. ibig sabihin, there will be a game 6 and a possible game7.

ergo, more and more profit for P(urefoods) Basketball Association.

02-23-2008, 09:29 AM
Purefoods appeals Yap’s suspension

The Philippine Star

Purefoods Tender Juicy appealed to the PBA board of governors Friday the Commissioner’s Office’s stiff sanction on James Yap for his flagrant foul on Joseph Yeo in Game Three of the Smart PBA Philippine Cup finals Friday.

The Purefoods management was hoping the board would reverse commissioner Sonny Barrios’ decision suspending Yap for Game Five Wednesday.

The team questioned in particular Barrios’ upgrading of the "flagrant foul 1" infraction called by the referees to "flagrant foul 2" in a meeting with his staff Friday. A flagrant foul 1 would only mean an outright fine.

"We’re perplexed with the decision to upgrade the verdict as flagrant foul 2 a day after the game. We find this decision harsh regardless whether or not we are in the midst of the current PBA finals, in which fans have watched religiously for the benefit of the league," said Purefoods governor Rene Pardo in a letter to board chairman Tony Chua. – Nelson Beltran

02-23-2008, 09:31 AM
Giants level series at 2-2

The Philippine Star

James Yap made sure he still had a series to play after serving a one-game suspension, carrying the Purefoods Giants Friday night to a 106-98 victory that forced a 2-2 standoff with the Sta. Lucia Realtors in their Smart PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven title duel.

Before a roaring crowd of over 9,000 at the Araneta Coliseum, Yap scattered a personal conference-high 32 points, including four crucial free throws at endgame, as the Giants made it two in a row over the Realtors, reducing their showdown to a best-of-three affair.

The two teams battle for the pivotal 3-2 lead in the series Sunday with Joseph Yeo likely to join Yap on the sidelines.

Yeo was thrown out of Game Four with a flagrant foul on Noy Castillo in the closing seconds.

"Since James joined the league, I have not coached a single game without him. Definitely, it will be something new to us. We’re gonna miss his points and his defense," said Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio.

The two teams figured in another physical battle that again netted several fouls.

The Giants cashed in heavily from the foul line as they beat the Realtors in a tight finish. Purefoods scored 41 free throws as against Sta. Lucia’s 25.

Yap and Peter June Simon combined for six straight charities as the Giants shattered a 95-all deadlock for the crucial victory.

"We’ve been here before. We’ve tied the series and things are slowly coming down. Fans are enjoying what good basketball is all about. This is what they deserve. They want everybody playing," said Gregorio.

"Game should be won on the basketball court, not in the boardroom," he added.

Kerby Raymundo, Simon, Roger Yap and Rommel Adducul helped Yap made things happen.

02-24-2008, 06:04 AM
Pivotal game 5 (http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php?issue=2008-02-24&sec=7&aid=50481)
February 24, 2008 06:03 PM Sunday* *
By: Gerry Ramos*

The results:

* * Game 1 -- Sta. Lucia 109, Purefoods 97.
* * Game 2 -- Sta. Lucia 112, Purefoods 101.
* * Game 3 --* Purefoods 118, Sta. Lucia 107.
* * Game 4 -- Purefoods 106, Sta. Lucia 98.
* *
* * Game today:
* * (Arantea Colisuem)
* * 6:30 p.m. -- Purefoods vs. Sta. Lucia

EVERYTHING will be battled on even terms when Sta. Lucia and Purefoods clash* in* *Game 5 of the PBA-Smart Philippine Cup Finals tonight at the Araneta Coliseum.

With the* best-of-seven series tied at two-games apiece, the Realtors and Giants are likewise just about equal man-for-man come the lone 6:30 p.m. encounter.

As Purefoods will be playing minus leading scorer James Yap, so* does Sta. Lucia, which won’t* have scoring guard Joseph Yeo around.

In the latest twist to transpire in a series that hasn’t failed to stir up controversies game after game, Yeo found himself the recipient of a huge P30,000 fine and an automatic one-game suspension he’ll be serving for Sunday’s game.

The harsh decision meted by the PBA Commissioner’s Office stemmed on the unnecessary flagrant foul 2 committed by the Sta. Lucia sophomore on veteran Noy Castillo in the waning seconds of the Giants’ 106-98 win in Game 4 Friday night.

The former De La Salle standout whacked Castillo in the face under the Sta. Lucia basket just as he was trying to retrieve possession in the final 17.4 seconds of a game already in the bag for Purefoods.

Yeo was automatically ejected out of the game.

Less than 24 hours later, league commissioner Sonny Barrios personally met him and relayed about the bad news.

“I think he’s ready to serve the suspension and face the consequence of his action. But then again, paano naman `yung team niya?” Barrios said.

Suddenly, a series that appeared to be going Sta. Lucia’s way is slowly slipping out of its tight grip.

After taking a commanding 2-0 Finals lead, the Realtors crumbled and lost the next two games, allowing the Giants to have the needed momemtum going into tonight’s game notwithstanding the absence of the 6-foot-2 Yap.

The former league Most Valuable Player (MVP) will sit out his first PBA suspension for a similar flagrant foul 2 called on him in a 118-107 Purefoods win in Game 3.

“We will definitely missed James because of his offense and clutch baskets at crunch time, not to mention his aggressiveness on defense,” said Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio of his prized guard, averaging 27.25 points in the series, including a conference high 32 in Game 4.

“The shoes are hard to fill. It will require a gigantic effort from everybody for us to overcome Sta. Lucia,” explained Gregorio.

Originally, Yap was whistled for flagrant foul 1 for hacking Yeo hard that left the Sta. Lucia stalwart with a bloody and swollen nose.

But a further review of the game tape had the PBA technical officials upgrading it to flagrant foul 2 for an automatic suspension.

Until* now,* Gregorio appears perplexed about* the decision.* * * * * *

“I still can’t believe the upgrading from flagrant foul 1 to flagrant foul 2,” said the young mentor.

“James has a greater value for us than Yeo for Sta. Lucia. Yeo was assessed with a flagrant foul 2, so that only serves him well.”

02-24-2008, 06:11 AM
Purefoods, Sta. Lucia to meet in Game 5 without top shooters (http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/feb/24/yehey/sports/20080224spo2.html)
Sunday, February 24, 2008

BOTH Purefoods and Sta. Lucia Realty will face each other without their respective top shooters in Game 5 of their best-of-seven Finals series for the Smart-PBA Philippine Cup crown Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

James Yap, who together with Kerby Raymundo combined for 58 points in lifting the Giants to a pulsating 106-98 win over the Realtors last Friday and tied the series to 2-2, was slapped a one-game suspension and P20,000 fine for hitting Joseph Yeo in the face in the closing minutes of Wednesday’s game.* *

“There is nothing to celebrate in our victory in Game 4. We have to focus on our next game without James,” said Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio, who is seeking to give the Giants their eighth conference title and fifth All-Filipino crown since joining the league in 1988.

The Commissioner’s Office said the decision came late already so they have to implement the suspension order on Yap only in Game 5, which according to Gregorio is not fair because they may lose the momentum of their victory in Game 4.

“Winning two straight games means we have the momentum already on our side. It’s really hard to turn the series to our favor, but now that we have it, we are going to lose it because without James Yap it’s like digging a deep hole in our offense,” said the 35-year-old Gregorio, who has already two conference titles tucked under his belt as a coach.

Purefoods management made an appeal on Friday and asked league commissioner Sonny Barrios for reconsideration, but to no avail.

Yeo will also miss Game 5 because of the automatic one-game suspension for committing a very grave flagrant foul against Noy Castillo in Game 4 on Friday. But Gregorio said James Yap is James Yap already while the sophomore Yeo has just started building his own career with the Realtors.* *

“Well, that’s it. We have to play without Joseph [Yeo]. We told him after the game that it’s not Sta. Lucia style. We have to be very careful because of incident, which is not really intentional but are very clear in the book. I’m sure he has no intention of hurting Noy Castillo. But because it happened, so we have to accept it,” said Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez, who is hoping to steer the Realtors to their second title after winning the Governor’s Cup in 2001.

Fernandez said they have to make a major adjustment particularly in their defense in Game 5. He noticed it was already different from where they started in the long series.

“Yes, I noticed it’s different already. That’s why we need to do something if we have to win the series,” added Fernandez, who brought the Realtors to the finals for the third time since joining the league in 1993 in only his second conference as a coach.
-- Frank Calapre

02-24-2008, 06:14 AM
Barrios clarifies Yap penalty (http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/feb/24/yehey/sports/20080224spo3.html)
Sunday, February 24, 2008
By Eddie G. Alinea, Contributor

WHEN Purefoods and Sta. Lucia Realty play on Sunday, both will be a man short each—prolific scorer James Yap for the Giants and Joseph Yeo for the Realtors.

The Giants seemed at the losing end though in the offshoots of penalties meted out by commissioner Sonny Barrios on the flagrant foul each committed by the duo—Yap in Game 3 on a flagrant foul against Yeo himself and the latter in Game 4 against Noy Castillo.

Both Yap and Yeo are able defenders as well as scorers, but the Giants scoring machine has been averaging in the vicinity of 26 points a game, contribution coach Ryan Gregorio and his charges will surely be missing in today’s all-important meeting the winner of which gains a tremendous 3-2 edge in the series reduced to a mere best-of-three affair.

So much so that no one should take it against Gregorio when he surmised that Yap should not have merited being slapped with a suspension especially because the referees who worked on that match thought the Purefoods forward only committed flagrant foul 1, which under the rules, Yeo should only be given a pair of free throws plus Sta. Lucia possession.

Barrios, in an interview with the Manila Times, defended his decision to upgrade the penalty as within his power on the strength of a ruling imposed by the late commissioner Mariano Yenko in 1986 that if the penalty is deficient the commissioner can elevate it to one rank stiffer.

“We reviewed the tape over and over again and, indeed, the foul fell under flagrant 2 category and should be penalized with at least a game suspension and a fine of P20,000, which Yap gets,” Barrios explained.

The PBA commissioner belied rumors circulating around that he elevated the penalty after meeting with Sta. Lucia owner Exequiel Robles and team manager Buddy Encarnado although admitting that he had lunch with the two officials a day after the game.

“That lunch meeting was part of a listening ear and positive communications policy I imposed on myself upon assuming permanent commissionership at the start of the conference,” he reasoned out. “When I started practicing that self-imposed policy on myself, I talked to all team owners with the exception of Mr. Robles who could not fiend time for the purpose.”* *

“So when Mr. Robles called saying he is already available, I consented meeting him in a neutral public place at the coffee shop of the Edsa Shangrila. He was with Buddy [Encarnado] and I was with Willie [Marcial, the league media relations man].

“The meeting was not tainted with impropriety. In fact, we were joined by some of his business associates and they talked about, what else but business,” Barrios attested.*

“So, kung may mga nag-i-isip man ng masama, I can guarantee them na walang bahid na masama ang aming usapan and everything was above board,” he assured.

02-24-2008, 06:18 AM
Purefoods, Sta. Lucia eye 3-2 lead in PBA (http://sports.inquirer.net/breakingnews/breakingnews/view/20080223-120781/Purefoods-Sta-Lucia-eye-3-2-lead-in-PBA)
By Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:01:00 02/23/2008

(Araneta Coliseum)
6:30 p.m. -- Sta. Lucia vs Purefoods

IT WON’T BE SURPRISING IF OBSERVERS HAVE SENT for a priest to administer the last rites to Purefoods’ Game 5 hopes Sunday, even before the opening tip is tossed.

After all, Purefoods should have been declared goners the moment the decision came down to strip Purefoods of at least 25 points for Game 5, known in the best-of-seven universe as the key game when the two protagonists are deadlocked.

But in the last few seconds of the TJ Giants victory over the Sta. Lucia Realtors in the series-squaring Game 4, Purefoods mathematically retrieved some of those 25 points.

The Giants and the Realtors face off anew at 6:30 p.m. tonight, both gunning for a victory that will put them within a game of the leagues most coveted championship.

And they will both do it minus key gunslingers.

James Yap, the leading Purefoods scorer, will serve out his one-game suspension today, and so will Sta. Lucia’s Joseph Yeo, who caught the last trip to the detention room when he struck Noy Castillo in the face with a closed fist just minutes before the final bell in Game 4.

In Yap, Purefoods lost a former MVP in whose hands the team usually puts the ball in when the going gets tough. In Yeo, Sta. Lucia lost a hustling slasher of best fits the phrase the tough get going.

Yeo was also fined P30,000 for his infraction. And Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez said that he will call on Paolo Mendoza to step up in place of Yeo.

“Purefoods did a good job [in Game 4],” Fernandez said after a 106-98 loss that put the best-of-seven series to level again. “We will adjust to this. At least, they only tied us (in the series) and that is what I am using to motivate my players.”

The league’s board, meanwhile, affirmed the decision of commissioner Sonny Barrios to suspend Yap for Game 5, one that went with a P20,000 fine for drilling Yeo with a clothesline to the nose in the final 52.2 seconds of Game 3.

With Yap out, Sta. Lucia could play straight up defense all night and only think of clamping down on Kerby Raymundo, who has been Purefoods’ first offensive option since the start.

With Yeo in the sidelines, Purefoods has one less offensive weapon to worry about and the Giants could very well train its sights on shutting down Kelly Williams, who won the Best Player of the Conference trophy and Nelbert Omolon.

Purefoods’ Ryan Gregorio admitted that he would have a huge vacuum to fill with Yap out, but stressed that he has players who could step up.

“It’s tough to even think about [Yap not playing in Game 5] right now,” Gregorio said also Friday. “We’ll just have to find ways to make up for James’ absence and I am pretty confident that there will be people who will step up.”

This title series has proven to be one of the most physical seen in recent memory and both coaches swear that there have been so many inconsistencies in the refereeing.

In Game 4, there were a total of 70 fouls whistled that resulted in 92 free throws awarded.

“I don’t want to complain about the calls right now,” Fernandez said.

The Realtors, who are playing in their first all-Filipino Final since joining the league in 1993, took a 2-0 lead by using a bruising style of defense that almost choked Purefoods to death.

But Sta. Lucia lost that commanding lead after Giants got some of the calls to go their way which saw a key Sta. Lucia player leave because of fouls in each of the last two games.

02-24-2008, 06:30 AM
P’foods, SLR eye 3-2 lead (http://www.philstar.com/index.php?Sports&p=49&type=2&sec=30&aid=20080223145)
By Nelson Beltran
Sunday, February 24, 2008

Purefoods Tender Juicy will be playing minus James Yap while Sta. Lucia Realty will be without Joseph Yeo as they dispute the pivotal 3-2 lead in their Smart PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven title showdown today at the Araneta Coliseum.

The PBA board of governors affirmed commissioner Sonny Barrios’ decision to suspend Yap for a game for his flagrant foul on Yeo in Game Three Wednesday.

Yeo is joining Yap on the sidelines tonight as he drew his own suspension also for a flagrant infraction in the closing seconds in Game Four Friday.

The Giants will be missing the 27.2-point average of Yap and the Realtors the 16.7-point norm of Yeo.

“We’re not condoning the act of Joseph. In fact, the management has talked to him, and I understand Joseph has called the Purefoods coach to apologize,” said Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez.

Fernandez, at the same time, took exception to Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio’s pronouncement during the post-game interview Friday that “the game should be won on the hard court, not on the boardroom.”

“It gives a bad impression that we’re the ones who called for Yap’s suspension. It’s between Purefoods and the Commissioner’s Office. We’re surprised with coach Ryan’s statement when in fact they’re the ones who brought the issue to the board,” Fernandez said.

The board upheld Yap’s suspension, and board chairman Tony Chua personally relayed the information to Purefoods governor Rene Pardo. “There’s no formal letter since the office was closed. I just called Rene (Pardo) on the phone,” said Chua.

Minus Yap and Yeo, both teams are likely to make major adjustments in their rotation since both players play long minutes.

Expected to gain more exposure in the absence of Yap and Yeo are Noy Castillo and Paolo Mendoza.

With or without Yap, Gregorio promised they would come out and put up a tough fight.

Fernandez, meanwhile, vowed they would come back after losing the last two games of the series.

“We’ve made some adjustments in our offense. We couldn’t execute at endgame in the last two games,” said Fernandez. “Defensively, we’ll stick with what we’ve been doing since the elimination round although we’ve noticed the refs have dramatically changed their appreciation of fouls in the finals.”

True enough, the referees appear to have been too strict on fouls, especially in the last two games.

The Giants cashed in heavily from the foul line as they beat the Realtors, 106-98, in a tight finish in Game Four.

Purefoods scored 41 free throws as against Sta. Lucia’s 25. Yap and Peter June Simon combined for six straight charities as the Giants shattered a 95-all deadlock in the last two minutes.

Simon, Kerby Raymundo, Roger Yap and Romel Adducul helped Yap make things happen.

Collectively, the Giants worked on an efficient defense, neutralizing Sta. Lucia ace Kelly Williams for a second straight night.

02-24-2008, 06:32 AM
Fourth quarter storm (http://www.philstar.com/index.php?Sports&p=49&type=2&sec=30&aid=20080223151)
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson
Sunday, February 24, 2008

The trend is clear in the PBA All-Filipino finals. From Games 1 to 4, the team that took the fourth quarter wound up winning. And it stands to reason. Every contest has been nip-and-tuck so far with the outcome settled only down the stretch. That only means the outfit with the fresher legs, the bigger heart and stronger resolve emerges victorious in the end.

In Game 4 last Friday, Sta. Lucia Realty sat on an 88-83 lead entering the payoff period. The Realtors came back from a 10-point halftime deficit to seize the advantage behind a stifling 1-2-2 pressure trap defense that settled into a 2-3 zone. The surge sent Purefoods reeling as the Tender Juicy Giants failed to notch a single assist and committed eight turnovers, to the Realtors’ four, in a resounding collapse. Sta. Lucia punctuated the assault with 10 fastbreak points to Purefoods’ zero.

But the Giants were far from finished. In the fourth quarter, coach Ryan Gregorio tightened the screws on Sta. Lucia. Kelly Williams was held to 1-of-7 from the floor and missed two charities in a forgettable tailspin. As a team, Sta. Lucia shot only 3-of-17 and produced just 10 points in the homestretch. Purefoods, on the other hand, scored 23 points to put the game on ice.

Dennis Espino’s early foul trouble took a heavy toll on Sta. Lucia whose rotation suffered because of his extended minutes on the bench. In all, Espino logged only 12 minutes, just one in the final period before fouling out. Sta. Lucia finished with five players seeing action at least 30 minutes, compared to Purefoods’ four, meaning the Realtors rotated less with Espino out of the equation.

Joseph Yeo’s smack on Noy Castillo’s left cheek with less than 20 seconds to go was a stunner. The replay showed Yeo swung with a half-closed hand, sending Castillo tumbling on his behind. It wasn’t quite a closed fist but the blow above the neck was enough to merit a flagrant-2, ejection and automatic suspension in Game 5 tonight.

“It happened so fast that I don’t really know what hit me,” said Castillo after the game. “I couldn’t tell whether it was a closed fist or what. All I know is he swung and I got hit.”

James Yap took a similar swing at Yeo in the closing seconds of Game 3, was slapped a flagrant-1 and later got a one-game suspension after the call was changed to a flagrant-2 by Commissioner Sonny Barrios. Because the suspension wasn’t automatic and the change to flagrant-2 came late, Barrios deferred Yap’s sit-out to Game 5. Yeo’s suspension, however, takes immediate effect because he was ejected unlike Yap.

So Game 5 will miss both Yap and Yeo.

Gregorio said coming back from 0-2 to win two in a row is a testament to Purefoods’ heart. King James was Alvin (Captain Lionheart) Patrimonio’s second coming as he outdid himself in Game 4, scoring a conference-high 32 points, including 10 in the last quarter despite his tank nearly out of gas.

“I’m still confused by the calls,” said Gregorio. “And James’ suspension is still a mystery to me. We never got an official letter from the PBA ordering the suspension. I just heard the news from reporters who called me for a reaction. I can’t understand how a flagrant-1 can be changed to a flagrant-2 after the game.”

Gregorio hinted that the change appeared to undermine the referees’ authority to call the game, leaving him as confused as ever.

The mood in Sta. Lucia’s locker room was somber after Purefoods leveled the series, 2-2.

But Williams vowed to bounce back. “The calls didn’t go our way this time,” he said. “We just have to play our game, play our kind of defense and we’ll be fine.” Ryan Reyes agreed. “We’re not down,” he said. “We’ll practice hard before Game 5 and we’ll be all fired up.”

A Purefoods spectator itching to play is Brandon Cablay, recovering from a torn meniscus. He was traded to the Giants in a three-team trade involving Kiko Adriano and Larry Fonacier in the offseason. Cablay played 11 games for Purefoods in the elims before going down.

“I can’t stand to watch in the coliseum,” said Cablay, the finals MVP when Alaska won the 2003 invitationals. “That’s because I’d rather play. I so badly want to contribute. Sometimes, I feel like just watching TV at home but I’ve got to show up. I knew Sta. Lucia would be tough because of the way they beat Alaska in the semis with their physical defense. I knew it would be a hard finals but our team is something else. We just don’t give up.”

Cablay said he’ll be ready to suit up for the Giants when the Fiesta Conference begins March 30.

Postscript: The best photographs of black-and-white and color since the PBA’s inception in 1975 will be on the roadshow exhibit during the four-city US tour of the PBA Legends from March 8 to 16. According to PBA Photographers Club founder Mon Vecina, it’s the group’s modest contribution to the tour “for our kababayan’s visual memories and nostalgia depicting in pictures, the ecstasy of winning and the agony of defeat, the brawls, the emotions of fans, coaches and team owners, the provincial games, the battle of team streamers (sometimes, sarcastic and personal) and the Asian Games participation.” Vecina will accompany the Legends in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego. The photographs in the exhibit were taken by Vecina, Ernie Sarmiento, August de la Cruz, Romy Homillada, Ed Alfonso, Eric Arazas, Bob Dungo, Ali Vicoy, Albert Garcia, Lino Santos, Bobby Cabrera, Ey Acasio, Sonny Espiritu, Jun Mendoza, Joey Mendoza, Romy Florante, Roy Domingo, Nonoy Lacsa, Andy Valle, Manolet Santiago, Rolly Salvador, Philip Duquiatan, Art Son, Tunying Penaredondo, Andy Labor, Joseph Ventura, Rene Dilan, Ruy Martinez, Rey Nillama, Mike Santos, Jeff Venancio, Henry Vargas, Tony Nepomuceno, Max Ferrer and Noli de la Cruz… Emerald Headway, the leading distributor of nearly 1,000 book and magazine titles including National Geographic Adventures, Famous, Elle Décor, Bead and Button, In Style, Harper’s Bazaar and Teen Vogue, invites you to join its subscription promo. Get as much as a 15 percent discount for a one-year subscription to any foreign magazine title. Aside from that, you can get an Emerald gift certificate worth P500 for free. For details, call 647-4744 or 647-5631 to 34 or visit the Emerald showroom at 218 Katipunan Ave., Blue Ridge, Q. C.

02-24-2008, 06:36 AM
SLR, Purefoods in crucial tiff today (http://www.tribune.net.ph/sports/20080224spo1.html)

Game today (Araneta Coliseum)

6:30 p.m. — Purefoods vs.

Sta. Lucia Realty

Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio was a picture of a man in utter disgust as he faced the sports scribes Friday night after his Giants levelled the best-of-seven series with the Sta. Lucia Realty in the 2008 Smart-PBA Philippine Cup.

No, not that he was not happy with the 106-98 win the Giants pulled off in Game Four in a game rich in drama and action.

Instead, Gregorio spoke a little bit sad because of the one-game suspension on James Yap which takes effect in today’s Game Five set at 6:30 p.m at the Araneta Coliseum.

“We’ve been here (in this situation of going back from 0-2) before, how we trailed in the series, and the fans are now enjoying what the game of basketball is all about,” said Gregorio, whose Giants drew loud cheers after Purefoods got the better of its duel with the Sta. Lucia Realty team that self-destructed in the final quarter.

“Yes, we tied the series, but there’s not much to celebrate today because of James Yap’s suspension. I think that’s the bigger story today. It will be something that’s new to us, something that I have to find out whether we can come out with the win without James,” said Gregorio.

“But we will live by the decision. We’ll play on Sunday (today) without him,” he said.

The Purefoods managamen tried to appeal the commisioner’s decision to suspend Yap on flagrant foul 2, but the board of governors affirmed the commissioner’s decision.

Yap scored 27 points in Game Three and 32 in Game Four, and this means that Gregorio will have to find ways to fill up the big void left by Yap when the Giants gun for the lead for the first time in the series that’s turning out to be as exciting and as dramatic, not to mention the whistling spree by the referees.

A total of 70 fouls were slapped on both teams during Game Four, which took longer than usual to finish.

The Realtors will somehow find it a little bit easier today tackling the Giants without Yap, but they themselves will play without Joseph Yeo, who was meted automatic one-game suspension for commiting flagrant foul 2 on Purefoods’ Noy Castillo during the — would you believe? — last 17 seconds of Game Four.

Yeo also has bigger role in the team with his timely drives and orchestration, and because of that unwise move to commit a useless foul, the fleet-footed forward will not play today.

Sta. Lucia is gunning for its first ever title in seven years since winning its only title — the Governor’s Cup — in 2001 under coach Norman Black and with a team backstopped by Dennis Espino and Marlou Aquino.

Kelly Williams, the league’s best player of the conference awardee, failed to make the difference in Games Three and Four. In Game Four alone, he scored only three points in the last quarter when Sta. Lucia’s offense went in tatters. The whole SLR team managed only 10 points in the last quarter.

02-24-2008, 06:40 AM
King James factor (http://www.abante-tonite.com/issue/feb2408/sports_tsamp.htm)
ni Al S. Mendoza

Paano mo nga naman tatalunin ang Purefoods e meron siyang dalawang bertud noong Biyernes?

Una, nasa panig niya ang kasaysayan.
Pangalawa, kanyang-kanya si King James Yap.

Kasaysayan: Dalawang beses nang bumalikwas sa 0-2 deficit ang Purefoods.
Noong Biyernes ng gabi, ginawa niya itong tatlo nang tumbahin muli ng Purefoods ang Sta. Lucia, 106-98.

Sa panalong iyan, itinabla ng Purefoods ang serye, 2-2, sa best-of-seven finals nila ng Sta. Lucia.

At sa isang iglap, naging best-of-three big*la ang salpukang Purefoods-Sta. Lucia para sa kampeonato ng Smart PBA Philippine Cup.

Tila nagbabadya ang pagkaulit ng kasaysayan?
Noong 2002, bagsak din sa 0-2 ang Purefoods sa finals pero rumatsada ito at naibulsa nito ang Governors Cup laban sa Alaska, 4-3.

Naulit ito noong 2006, nang muling bumangon mula sa 0-2 hole ang Purefoods at itakbo nito ang Philippine Cup laban sa Red Bull, 4-2.

Ngayon, hayan at bukas muli ang pintuan para sa Purefoods. Nanganganib ang Sta. Lucia sa wari’y pakay ng Purefoods na kalkalin ang nakalipas.
At si King James?

Aba’y nag-alab ang kanyang mga kamay mula umpisa hanggang dulo ng laro noong Biyernes at wari’y muntik nang magsiklab ang Araneta Coliseum.

Umiskor siya ng conference-high 32 points. Tila baga ay yaon na ang huling laro ni King James sa balat ng lupa. ‘Di kasi, sinumang bantay ang ibato sa kanya ni coach Boyet Fernandez ng Sta. Lucia ay mistulang kawawang paslit.

Maging sa free-throw line ay sumingasing si King James. Sa 15 charities, isa lang ang mintis niya.

Hindi ko masisisi si King James kung ibuhos niya ang lahat noong Biyernes. Kasi, absent nga*yong gabi si King James dahil suspendido siya matapos niyang sapukin sa ilong si Joseph Yeo noong Miyerkules.

Pero, wari’y gumanti ang tadhana para sa Purefoods. Si Yeo naman ang sinuspindi nang tinawagan siya ng flagrant foul laban kay Noy Castillo noong Game 4.

Ang tanong: Makakatatlong sunod na panalo kaya ang Purefoods nga*yong gabi?
Mahirap. Wala si King James. At kung wala ang kanyang kamahalan, ma*ngangamote wari ang buong kaharian.

Sta. Lucia ngayong gabi?
Posible. Pero sabi nga, bilog ang bola.

02-24-2008, 10:23 PM
Realtors now take a 3-2 lead over the Giants.

Sta Lucia's outside shooting was tremendous in the second half and Paolo Mendoza shook off the loss of Joseph Yeo with a good showing off the bench while Marlou showed up in the fourth quarter. Kelly Williams brought his game back and had his medium range shots going in.

The loss of James Yap really was a factor for Purefoods, sure Kerby was doing well but he was struggling against the SLR frontline and the bench went silent in the second half.

02-25-2008, 02:01 PM
Realtors dwarf hapless, Yap-less Giants

The Philippine Star

A Sta. Lucia team without Joseph Yeo outperformed a Purefoods side minus James Yap Sunday, pulling off an 88-76 victory that sent the Realtors to the threshold of a possible first-ever PBA All-Filipino crown.

The Realtors engaged the Giants in a tough defensive battle early on before going on a rampage in the final half en route to the pivotal 3-2 lead in the Smart Philippine Cup best-of-seven finals series.

A near sellout crowd at the Araneta Coliseum stood as witness as the Realtors dwarfed the Yap-less Giants to move within a win of a first championship for the franchise in seven years.

"We’re beaten the last two games and fell behind at the start of this game but the players kept their fighting spirit," said Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez.

"Playing without James Yap is like running the marathon with one leg. We did everything humanly possible but we came up short," said Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio.

After a slow start, Kelly Williams and Dennis Espino got things done for the Realtors in the second period, Nelbert Omolon took over in the third, and Paolo Mendoza and Marlou Aquino finished them off in the fourth.

Mendoza and Ryan Reyes did a good job playing extended minutes minus Yeo.

Peter June Simon, meanwhile, struggled when the Giants expected him to step up minus Yap. Averaging 18.8 points per game in the series, Simon scored only three points Sunday.

The Realtors recalled their old defensive form, holding the Giants to their lowest output in the series. Seventy-six was Purefoods’ second lowest output in the tourney.

"We’re really a defensive team. For as long as we’re able to play our defense, we’ll be doing good in this series," said Fernandez.

While boldly predicting the series was over when they took a 3-2 lead over the Alaska Milk Aces in the semis, Fernandez couldn’t say the same against the Giants.

"Purefoods is a strong team and we have to work hard again. We’ll make our preparations and we’ll see," said Fernandez.

Williams broke out of a two-game slump, coming through with a huge double-double game with 20 points and 16 rebounds.

Espino made 15 points with eight in the second period, Omolon chipped in 14 also with eight in the third while Aquino poured all of his 12 in the payoff quarter.

Mendoza, playing on borrowed time, had timely hits and finished with nine, all in the final half.

The former UP Maroon rattled in seven straight points early in the fourth.

02-25-2008, 03:00 PM
Purefoods should stop questioning the validity of the decision. They were estopped from doing so from the moment their request was granted.

And now, Gregorio is blowing things out of proportion. He went as far as saying that J. Yap is a role model for the youth. What is the connection of this to the foul he gave to Yeo? Assuming arguendo that Yap is a role model as insisted by Gregorio, it doesn't follow that a person with the most endearing personality cannot be a culprit in his lifetime.

To argue that a person did or did not commit an act simply because he did not or did commit a similar thing in the past is non sequitor.


02-25-2008, 03:29 PM
so really ... did james yap's foul necessitate an upgrade from flagrant 1 to flagrant 2?

i didn't catch the game nor have i seen any videos of it, but i am getting curious about the publicity this is getting. comparisons to quite famous horry hip check on nash keeps getting brought back up in forums.

"Playing without James Yap is like running the marathon with one leg. We did everything humanly possible but we came up short," said Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio.

oh and i find that quote a bit disheartening coming from a coach. although i am biased because i never did like his coaching and i don't watch much pba anymore.

02-26-2008, 08:30 AM
Returning Yap out to bridge gap

The Philippine Star

Purefoods top gun James Yap is confident the Giants can still salvage the Smart Philippine Cup championship as he looks forward to dishing out his A-game in his return from a one-game suspension.

"We can still do it. We just have to play tough and hold our ground against the very physical game of Sta. Lucia," Yap told The STAR in Filipino.

"For sure, I’m going all out but we should help each other. One player can’t do it alone. We should work as a team," Yap added.

The 2006 MVP winner said he’s still disappointed with his suspension in Game Five but he’s ready to concentrate on their bid to survive Game Six.

Falling behind in the best-of-seven, 2-3, after a loss Sunday, the Giants need to get back at the Realtors Wednesday to force a rubber match.

"We need to concentrate on our task since we can’t afford to commit mistakes anymore. One miss and we die. I’ll be focused on the game," said Yap.

With the management taking care of their battle in the "James Yap issue," Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio said he himself intends to focus on his job now.

"We need two straight wins. I think it’s doable," said Gregorio.

"We’ve been in a deeper hole of 1-3. If we can comeout of that hole and survive, no reason for us not to come up with effort and energy to salvage this series," said Gregorio.

Gregorio, whose team was already able to rally from a 0-2 deficit to tie Sta. Lucia at 2-2, expects to get tremendous boost from Yap in Game Six.

"James is a wounded warrior. I expect him to really give us a huge lift in his return," said Gregorio.

Yap exploded for a personal conference-high of 32 points the next day after the Commissioner’s Office announced he has to sit out Game Five for his flagrant foul on Joseph Yeo in Game Three.

The former UAAP star from UE has been the leading scorer in the title series, averaging 27.3 points per game despite being one of the main focuses of Sta. Lucia’s defense.

Yap and his coach have been complaining his defenders are holding, grabbing and pushing him on defense.

Yap, however, said his spat with Yeo is over. The two players traded hard fouls in Game Three with Yap’s infraction resulting in his suspension.

"It’s a thing of the past for me. Actually, I didn’t take it personally. We’re friends outside the court," said Yap.

Yap spent the day of his suspension joining wife Kris Aquino and mother-in-law former President Cory Aquino in a prayer rally at the Adamson Church.

For Yap, a side prayer means survival in the series.

Sam Miguel
02-26-2008, 10:51 AM
Joseph Yeo being less than likable has been known since this boy was in Xavier School. His antics and attitude even towards teammates are quite an unfolding story. What's up with James Yap though? Yap has always been unassuming and lets his game speak for him. He isn't a rookie anymore and should expect all of the dirty tricks to come out especially since he is the Giants' top gun. It is high time he settle down and not let this silly "wounded warrior" talk from his coach affect him or his game. He plays his best when he is the cold-blooded shooter/scorer, so that is what he should stick to.

02-27-2008, 07:12 AM
Realtors move in for kill

The Philippine Star

If Purefoods Tender Juicy doesn’t make the right move, this could go down in history as the day Sta. Lucia Realty finally nailed the most coveted PBA championship after over a decade.

With the odds now stacked on their side leading three-games-to-two, the Realtors go for the kill against the embattled Giants Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

The elegant Emilio Bernardino Jr. Trophy will already be on display on the sidelines as the two teams play in Game Six of their Smart Philippine Cup best-of-seven championship showdown at 7 p.m.

Having given a mouthful in questioning commissioner Sonny Barrios’ decision to suspend James Yap in Game Five, Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio said he’s now concentrating on his immediate job of salvaging the series.

But the Realtors seem more focused, what with skipper Dennis Espino and his teammates no longer answering calls on the eve of the match.

They have two cracks at winning the crown but coach Boyet Fernandez said they’ll do their best to finish it in Game Six.

The Realtors took a rest Monday before spending their practice Tuesday just doing the shootaround and walking through their plays, hoping to pour it all out when they take to the court Wednesday.

Fernandez prepared his team for a big comeback by Purefoods star James Yap from a one-game suspension.

"With or without James Yap, Purefoods is a strong team. Good thing we’ll also be back with a complete lineup on the return of Joseph Yeo (also from a game suspension)," said Fernandez.

"For sure, James will come back strong. James and their other major star Kerby Raymundo will be the focus of our defense. We’ll stick on our No. 1 weapon which is defense," Fernandez added.

The Giants have to find ways to overcome the Realtors tonight or their bid for a record-tying fifth All-Filipino championship goes to waste.

If ever, Sta. Lucia will be the 13th team to win an All-Filipino crown.

Red Bull has won two championships but not the All-Filipino. U-Tex also won two crowns – both in a reinforced tourney. Disbanding without winning a championship were Manila Beer, Seven-Up, Filmanbank, Carrier, Manhattan/Sunkist/Winston/Countryfair, Tefilin and Galleon/CDCP.

The Realtors are actually looking for their second championship after ruling the 2001 Governors Cup. Only Espino, Marlou Aquino and Paolo Mendoza are the remnants of that champion squad.

If Purefoods wins Game Six, the deciding Game Seven will be played Sunday in the same venue. The Big Dome is booked for another event Friday.

However, the Realtors aren’t looking beyond Game Six. Confident of playing a Game Seven are Gregorio and his troops.

"We need two straight wins. I think it’s doable," said Gregorio.

"We’ve been in a deeper hole of 1-3," said Gregorio.

02-27-2008, 07:14 AM
Will James come to the rescue?
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

With its back against the wall, Purefoods battles to survive Game 6 of the PBA All-Filipino finals at the Araneta Coliseum tonight and force a winner-take-all Game 7 against Sta. Lucia Realty on Sunday.

Surprisingly, the Tender Juicy Giants could’ve won Game 5 last Friday despite James Yap’s absence. The tempo was perfect for coach Ryan Gregorio as the Giants dictated the pace on the strength of their dominance off the boards. They walked the ball, executed in the halfcourt and took away Sta. Lucia’s rhythm in a low-scoring first half.

It didn’t help that the Realtors were without Joseph Yeo who’s their sparkplug. Like King James, the Ninja served a one-game suspension. Yeo is Sta. Lucia’s firestarter and gets the Realtors into the running mode.

At the half of Game 5, Purefoods was up by two. Then came the third quarter collapse. The Giants just couldn’t buy a basket and the Realtors were on fire from the outside. That’s the wonder recipe for a reversal of fortunes. Quickly, Sta. Lucia seized the advantage and stayed with the zone defense that took away Kerby Raymundo’s post-up. It made sense for coach Boyet Fernandez to stick with the zone because the Giants struggled from the perimeter without King James.

In Game 4, Fernandez went to the zone only in the second period, which the Realtors dominated, then abandoned it for a man-to-man starting the third quarter. Purefoods ravaged Sta. Lucia’s man-to-man and won pulling away in the homestretch, 106-98.

“I took a gamble in the second half when I didn’t play zone even if it worked so well for us in the second quarter,” said Fernandez. “That’s because Purefoods used three guards in their lineup, all of them deadly from outside. It makes a difference when James is playing. So I stuck to the man-to-man because I figured they would just shoot over our zone.”

But in Game 5, Fernandez went almost exclusively to the zone with Yap out of the line-up.

Raymundo courageously took up the cudgels for Purefoods in the fourth period after going scoreless in the second and third. He poured in 11 of his 20 points in the last 12 minutes but the explosion wasn’t enough to stave off Sta. Lucia.

Peter Jun Simon was counted on to step up for Yap but contributed only three points after averaging 18.8 points in the series. If Simon only scored his average, Purefoods would’ve won because Sta. Lucia wound up with a 12-point margin. Roger Yap also failed to deliver and finished with only eight points after hitting 15 in Game 1, 14 in Game 3 and 12 in Game 4.

Only Raymundo and Chico Lanete were in twin digits for Purefoods at the final buzzer. It was easier for Sta. Lucia to limit the Giants scorers because Yap wasn’t around to attract the defense.

Purefoods’ meltdown in the third period proved to be the telling factor because both teams scored 26 points apiece in the fourth. Sta. Lucia outpointed the Giants, 25-11, in the third quarter as Purefoods shot only 29.4 percent from the floor and was zero from the line.

Curiously, not too many fouls were called in Game 5 – 19 against Sta. Lucia and 23 against Purefoods. In the first four games, Sta. Lucia averaged 33.8 fouls and Purefoods, 34.5. The Realtors got the lion’s share of free throws in Game 5, knocking down 23-of-27 compared to Purefoods’ 12-of-15.

The Giants had more rebounds, 52-42 and more bench points, 34-25 but shot poorly from the field, .368 to Sta. Lucia’s .414.

No doubt, Game 6 will be action-packed and emotional. Yap and Yeo will be back so expect another eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation. Sta. Lucia is just a win away from clinching the series and isn’t looking forward to a Sunday duel.

The resurrection of Sta. Lucia’s Twin Towers – Dennis Espino and Marlou Aquino – has been huge for the Realtors. Fernandez usually brings them in for each other but sometimes, plays them together to underscore Sta. Lucia’s size advantage. When the Twin Towers are on the floor with Kelly Williams, Gregorio has serious matchup problems.

In Game 5, Espino delivered 15 points in 30 minutes and Aquino, 12 in 21 minutes. All of the Skyscraper’s points came in the fourth period when Purefoods made its last stand. If they’re in form tonight, it’ll be difficult for the Giants to stand tall.

Sta. Lucia’s outside shooters staked the Realtors to a big cushion in the breakway third period. Bitoy Omolon hit two triples and Denok Miranda and Ryan Reyes one each to bury 4-of-7 in the period while the Giants went 1-of-6 from beyond the arc. In Game 6, perimeter points will be a critical barometer.

With Yap back in the fray, Purefoods will be in full force once more. Gregorio will need every ounce of energy from his players to live until Sunday. Sta. Lucia now has a twice-to-beat advantage and Fernandez said he’s going for the jugular tonight.

Postscript. San Beda College High School Batch 1975 (SBCHS75) will hold the second SBCHS75 Invitational Golf Tournament dubbed “Paluan sa Southwoods” on Friday, Feb. 29 at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club in Carmona, Cavite. Tee-off is at 7:00 A.M. SBCHS75 members through a foundation they established have supported several projects to give their share to San Beda and other social development organizations. Proceeds of the tournament will go to the Ricardo Liwanag Foundation, an educational foundation named after the beloved former San Beda Grade School principal and the NCAA champion San Beda senior football team whose chaplain is a High School ’75 graduate Fr. Lucas Centeno, OSB. For inquiries call 523-72-69 or 522-73-18.

02-27-2008, 07:19 AM
Bare Eye
Lord, let this PBA crown be holy

By Recah Trinidad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:21:00 02/27/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- Will they come up with a most memorable shot, a truly outstanding hero in the current PBA Finals?

This question has to be asked following the ugly turn of events in the current Philippine Basketball Association Finals.

Sta. Lucia Realty is definitely looming large under the patronage of its saint but, the way it looks, the team has come closest to winning the Philippine Cup under unholy circumstances.

It’s an ugly war the Realtors have been waging at this time in the PBA when events are expected to be both memorable and superlative.

* * *

Ok, there may be no repeat of Rudy Distrito’s meteor shot as he flashed through a phalanx of baseline defenders to score the hesitation basket that won for Ginebra, which had been buried 3-1 in the Finals, the 1991 PBA First Conference crown.

It would be impossible to relive the incredible come-from-behind magic authored by coach Tommy Manotoc’s U-Tex Wranglers who, down by four points in the final 16 seconds and the Toyota team in possession, stole, scored, stole and scored again to capture 1980 PBA Open Conference, in the most suspenseful finish in league history.

* * *

Sorry to report this, but the most memorable shots in the current championship series between Sta. Lucia and Purefoods have already been taken by two prolific scorers from the competing clubs.

James Yap of Purefoods and Joseph Yeo of Sta. Lucia resorted to ugly punches which could be legit only in the arena where Manny Pacquiao has earned the rights to boxing heroics.

Yap did it from behind on Yeo, who retaliated in the next game by hitting the driving Noy Castillo in the face.

Yap and Yeo, both scheduled to return from suspension on Wednesday, may have not realized it but they have also made the title series extremely saleable.

* * *

Dirty, ugly, unholy, utterly foul but, whether you like it or not, this is the stuff that sends eager fans running to the coliseum.

Of course, Sta. Lucia has already succeeded in selling something great and memorable by giving live credence to the tenet that defense is great offense.

The Realtors did look like goners in Game 4 when they suffered an abominable meltdown in the closing quarter, panicking and hurrying their shots, then leaving the scoring lanes open.

But finally settling down in Game 5, the Realtors put up a sustained choking defense, punctuated by smashing shot blocks in the fourth quarter, to move a win within clinching the crown.

* * *

Anyway, the prayer for Wednesday is for both teams to finally play healthy, beautiful basketball.

Team owners, league officials should, in fact, make sacrifices and pray for the series to finish in clean, decent athletic fashion.

Sorry, but it’s too late now to strike from the records the resignation of the Purefoods representative to the PBA Board Rene Bardo over perceived impropriety on the part of the league commissioner.

Commissioner Sonny Barrios has made it clear that there was nothing untoward in his meeting with Sta. Lucia team officials last Thursday.

It could be poor timing, but Barrios has readily assured he was open to meet with anybody involved in the league everyday of the year.

* * *

Oh, forget now that Yap of Purefoods, in hitting from behind, had actually committed the graver offense.

What really soured up the series was the insinuation that Sta. Lucia team officials, headed by the shy and retiring Exequiel Robles, could have proposed something foul over the conference table.

Robles, a tested gentleman, in fact, did not whimper when Commissioner Barrios next slapped a one-game suspension on Sta. Lucia’s Yeo.

They asked for a no-nonsense commissioner, they should be prepared to be hit hard if they erred.

This is the only way to save the league from turning loose and unholy.

02-28-2008, 01:05 AM
I am questioning the extened minutes given to Paolo Mendoza and the benching of Joseph Yeo who prior to game5 was averaging 16 per ballgame in the finals. Is he trying to prove how good a coach he is trying to win the ballgame with yap playing on the other end and letting the fans know he can win without making use of yeo? He seems to be bothered by the common notion that they won game 5 because yap didnt play.

02-28-2008, 08:00 AM
The defense should have shifted to man-to-man when Yap started to hit those threes.

Kid Cubao
02-28-2008, 09:26 AM
coach boyet, i'm sure you've heard of the box-and-1, and i'm sure you know what it's used for, don't you? ;D

02-28-2008, 10:16 AM
Giants force Game 7

The Philippine Star

James Yap returned with vengeance in his eyes after a one-game suspension and engineered Purefoods’ 89-81 victory over Sta. Lucia Realty Wednesday night to force a winner-take all match in the championship showdown.

Yap groped for form early on but caught fire in the final period as he led the Giants to the victory that forged a three-game deadlock in the Smart Philippine Cup best-of-seven title series.

Marc Pingris and Kerby Raymundo pulled off career-high numbers as they also played key roles in helping the Giants keep alive their bid for a record-tying fifth All-Filipino crown to the delight of their cheering supporters in the jampacked Araneta Coliseum.

The two teams take a three-day rest before clashing in a do-or-die tiff Sunday at the same venue.

"We wanted to survive against all odds and that’s what we did tonight," said coach Ryan Gregorio as his troops stayed in the hunt for the coveted crown they last won in 2006.

"It’s just great to have your MVP present on the court if it’s survival time. He showed and led us the way. He carried us to victory in this crucial game. That’s why he’s the best player in the league right now," said Gregorio of Yap’s performance.

"My mindset each game is to help the team. This game is special since we’re playing with our back against the wall," said Yap.

The former UAAP star from UE erupted for 20 points in the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 30. Curiously, the 2006 MVP winner was 3-of-18 from the field in the first three quarters of play.

Pingris provided tremendous energy, hauling down a career-high 21 rebounds while Raymundo played unselfishly, dishing out a career-best 11 assists.

Sta. Lucia top man Kelly Williams grabbed 17 rebounds but was limited to nine points – the first time he finished in single digit in their last 26 games.

"I think they’re (the Realtors) destructed. I saw the balloons in the ceiling. My prayer was for the balloons not to fall down. Probably they thought we’re just gonna roll over and die, but we have a solid heart and we don’t back down from challenges," said Gregorio.

"Game Six is like Game Seven. We’ll be fighting for survival. We showed our survival instinct tonight and we intend to do the same Sunday. We want to end this tourney on top," Gregorio added.

Yap made another promise to again come out strong in the do-or-die set.

The Negrense fired five treys in the payoff period with two highlighting an eight-to-nothing run that moved the Giants in front to stay at 65-61.

From a 71-69 count, Yap rattled in eight straight points as Purefoods gained a commanding 79-70 spread with time down to three minutes.

Non factor the last game, Pingris went to work right in the first half, hauling down 13 rebounds and tossing in nine points as the Giants took a 40-30 lead at the turn.

The Giants established control early, enjoying three 10-point spreads in the first two quarters of play.

The Realtors played the catch-up basketball most of the first half while shooting only 28.6 percent from the field.

02-28-2008, 01:17 PM
All SMC advertising have been pulled out of the PBA. The first company to pull out was Purefoods and was followed by other SMC companies.

This reeks of bad politics and bullying tactics of a former dictator crony. So what if James Yap was suspended? So what if they think the punishment for Yap's actions were unfair? All three SMC teams namely Purefoods, San Miguel and Ginebra have been getting the most favorable calls from the PBA refs for years. They have won championships through sneaky trades using third parties and have won games because of the referees almost abusive calls that favor all SMC teams. Now that they get one unfavorable decision compared to the millions that favored them in the past, the SMC group acts like a kid who was spoiled rotten by its parents.

The funny things is this, they got the best players to play for San Miguel, they did the same for Ginebra, even Purefoods, but only Purefoods made it to the Finals. I cant blame the owners, they got used to monopolizing business in the past.

It is bad enough that the league has been branded as an SMC tournament by coaches, team owners and fans. Now they do something as shallow as this, that just takes the cloak on what the PBA is about.

02-29-2008, 11:13 AM
Will to win forced rubber match – Gregorio

Waylon Galvez

It was the will to win that kept Purefoods alive in the Smart-PBA Philippine Cup Finals against Sta. Lucia Realty.

That will to win and determination are key factors for both teams when the Giants and the Realtors collide for all the marbles in the sudden-death Game 7 of the championship series on Sunday.

"Playing Game 6 is similar to playing a Game 7," Purefoods mentor Ryan Gregorio, who gave his team a day to rest yesterday, said. "It’s all about surviving, and I hope we can come out strong and finish strong again."

Purefoods carved out an 89-81 win Sunday night at the Big Dome to level the best-of-seven playoffs at 3-3 and force the do-or-die match.

Aside from winning Game 6, the Giants also won Games 3 and 4, 118-107 and (106-98, while the Realtors came out victorious in Games 1 (109-97), 2 (112-101) and 5 (88-76).

Ace guard James Yap returned from a one-game suspension in Game 6 and torched the Realtors with 30 points, 20 of which came in the fourth quarter where he buried five three-pointers.

Power forward Marc Pingris finished with 19 points and a career-best 21 rebounds while wingman Kerby Raymundo was limited to nine points but had six boards and career-high 11 assists. Jondan Salvador came off the bench to add 10 markers.

Roger Yap contributed six points and 11 rebounds while Romel Adducul had five and 13.

The Giants also came up big on the defensive end as Roger Yap and Pingris took turns in limiting the Realtors’ 6-foot-7 sophomore forward Kelly Williams to eight points — the first time the Fil-American failed to score in double digit in this series.

Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez said his players were a bit tight in Game 6 with the prospect of winning the team’s only second title and first since the 2001 Governors’ Cup.

"It’s a learning experience for us, hopefully we can correct that and come out strong in game 7," Fernandez, who also gave his players a day-off yesterday, said.

Fernandez, who is only in his second conference as the Realtors’ bench tactician after replacing Alfrancis Chua prior to last season’s Fiesta Cup, said they can use as motivation their semifinal win against Alaska.

In that series, the Realtors also dropped Game 6 but defeated the Aces in Game 7, 92-84, to enter the Finals.

However, Sta. Lucia is up against a team that has an impressive history of coming back from a 0-2 deficit.

Five teams won a seven-game showdown after dropping the first two games and Purefoods did it twice against Alaska in the 2002 Governors’ Cup Finals and 2006 Philippine Cup semifinals, both under Gregorio.

Only 10 teams that won a Game 6 went on to win the series, nine of which were in the Finals.

The last team to win a title with victories in Games 6 and 7 was Alaska versus Talk ’N Text in last season’s Fiesta Cup.

Purefoods, which is celebrating its 20th year in the PBA, is gunning for its fifth all-Filipino title and eighth overall.

03-01-2008, 10:45 AM
Game 7 lures record crowd; tickets sold out

The Philippine Star

Purefoods Tender Juicy and Sta. Lucia Realty end in climactic fashion their battle for the Smart PBA Philippine Cup championship Sunday – a deciding Game Seven that is likely to attract a record crowd.

While the Giants and the Realtors are gearing up for a total war, the league is bracing for a heavy turnout with tickets for patron, lower box and upper box A sections sold out as early as Thursday noon.

Both the Purefoods and Sta. Lucia camps themselves have run out of tickets for their supporters, and all these hints at a possible record-breaking gate attendance to watch the do-or-die showdown between the Giants and the Realtors.

Since the renovation of the Big Dome, the biggest crowd attendance recorded in the venue was 18,077 on Feb. 7, 2007 during the Fiesta Cup Final Four featuring Barangay Ginebra against Talk n Text and San Miguel Beer versus Red Bull.

Just the Game Six last Wednesday attracted a crowd of more than 15,000.

The Giants and the Realtors fight for all the marbles at 6:30 p.m. At 1 p.m., the La Salle Archers and the Ateneo Eagles play in a benefit match in the same venue. The La Salle-Ateneo crowd will be cleared right after the match.

The Giants denied the Realtors a date with destiny on Wednesday, riding on the explosive comeback by James Yap from a one-game suspension in hacking out an 89-81 win.

"It’s all about survival for us. We’ve survived Game Six and we intend to do the same in Game Seven. We want to end this tourney on top," said Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio.

"As I’ve said before we don’t care if it’s a short or long series as long we win it in the end. We’re stalled in Game Six but we’ll be back in Game Seven," said Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez.

Both coaches believe the series will boil down to a question of desire and determination.

The Giants are the more experienced team but Fernandez said his youth brigade has shown they can handle the pressure of a sudden death in beating Alaska Milk in Game Seven of their Final Four showdown.

To Fernandez, it’s about the will to win.

– Nelson Beltran

03-02-2008, 08:12 AM
Sta. Lucia, Purefoods confident of win

The Philippine Star

It’s the moment of truth as Purefoods Tender Juicy and Sta. Lucia Realty end their classic Smart PBA Philippine Cup final duel in a winner-take-all Sunday before an expected sellout crowd at the Araneta Coliseum.

It’s a potential torrid duel as the Giants and the Realtors battle for one final game to decide which team takes home the coveted Emilio Bernardino Jr. Trophy.

With the three-day break, both teams are coming out rejuvenated for the 6:30 p.m. contest. Both took a rest Thursday and prepared for Game Seven with practice Friday and Saturday.

Coaches Ryan Gregorio of Purefoods and Boyet Fernandez of Sta. Lucia said their troops are excited to go to battle and claim top honors in the all-Filipino tourney.

"We’re upbeat and we’re all excited. We really wanted to survive Game Six and have a crack at Game Seven. Now that we’re still alive, we’ll do our best not to let this slip away," said Gregorio, whose team forced the rubber match with an 89-81 win Wednesday.

"The boys are in high spirits. I’m seeing good aura in them making me really believe that we have a good chance of pulling this off," said Fernandez.

The series has actually become a virtual one-on-one showdown between James Yap and Kelly Williams with Purefoods emerging triumphant on games ruled by "King James" and Sta. Lucia pulling through on contests taken over by "Machine Gun Kelly."

Yap returned from a one-game suspension with fire in his eyes, exploding for 30 points in Game Six. Williams was limited to only nine in that contest – the first time he finished in single-digit output in their last 26 games.

Yap promised to once again dish out his A-game in Game Seven.

Experience is on the Giants’ side since the core of their lineup is composed of seasoned warriors. But Gregorio is the first to say it doesn’t guarantee them of victory.

"Sta. Lucia is highly motivated like us," said Gregorio, believing desire and determination will spell the difference in the end.

Fernandez said his boys have shown they can handle the pressure of a do-or-die game in beating the Alaska Milk Aces in Game Seven in the Final Four.

"Maganda ang nakikita ko sa team. My players were loose in practice. I know my players, kapag ganyan ang sitwasyon alam ko maganda ang ilalaro nila," said Fernandez.

Going into the deciding setto, the two teams are curiously dead even in the tourney with identical 19-12 win-loss records.

The Giants are out to tie the Crispa Redmanizers’ record of five all-Filipino championships while the Realtors are seeking their first championship in seven years.

03-02-2008, 09:40 PM
Dennis Espino proved how good a player he can be if he wants to. Same with Marlou. You just cant leave them in the post with single coverage or they will just take you to school.

Congrats to SLR and for their outstanding job of recruiting Williams, Reyes and Yeo to supply the much needed energy for the team.

03-02-2008, 09:56 PM
I thought it was a timely substitution made by Boyet Fernandez when he put back Reyes in the fold and it sure did, the tempo changed and the Realtors were on their way to the title.

Big game by Espino, he was really motivated to win along with Marlou Aquino, boy I know some say they are doing well as leaders of the team but they should show on the floor as well and they got it in Game 7.

A big shocker by the Sta Lucia Realtors in the Philippine Cup.

03-02-2008, 10:10 PM
After all has been said and done, I wonder why nobody is questioning the presence of Bayani Fernando during the awarding of the trophy to Sta. Lucia. :bop: Is he connected in any way to the team or the league itself? His presence there can be compared to Chavit Singson and the cohort of politicians trying to outbox each other to get a better position inside the ring whenever Pacquiao wins a fight.

Now back to the topic at hand:

It was nice to see Former King Tiger Dennis Espino showing to everyone that he has a lot of gas left in his tank and that he is still a force to reckon with in the PBA. He made a mockery of the defense of the likes of Adducul, Pingris and Salvador. Credit should be given also to Bitoy Omolon for playing great defense on Kerby Raymundo.

If not for PJ Simon's explosion, game 7 would have been a rout.

I can't wait to hear and read Coach Gregorio's post-game interview. :naughty:

Congrats to both the Realtors and the Giants for giving us a great series.


03-02-2008, 10:14 PM
Sta. Lucia wins 1st All Filipino crown in 7 yrs

Sta. Lucia Realty etched a hard fought win over Purefoods Tender Juicy to clinch the Smart PBA Philippine crown before the sell out crowd at the Araneta Coliseum Sunday night.

It was a sweet win for the Realtors, which edged the Giants 100-88 at Game Seven for their first championship in seven years.

Dennis Espino led Sta. Lucia with 29 points, pouring 22 at the second half.

The Giants were agressive at the first quarter, getting the upper hand against the Realtors with 21-18. Sta. Lucia, however, gained momentum at the second quarter to cut the lead down to one with 45-44.

The Realtors continued their charge to overtake the Giants 68-65 with two minutes remaining at the third canto. The quarter ended at 75-70 in favor of Sta. Lucia.

The series has actually become a virtual showdown between 2006 most valuable player James Yap and Fil-Am Kelly Williams with Purefoods emerging triumphant on games ruled by “King James” and Sta. Lucia pulling through on contests taken over by “Machine Gun Kelly.”

A dejected Yap, however, walked off the court after the regulation ended at 100-88 for the Realtors.

03-03-2008, 06:39 AM
Realtors now for real

The Philippine Star

Sta. Lucia Realty completed Sunday one of the most improbable championship runs in PBA history, ending a seven-year title drought with a conquest of the more fancied Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants in their Smart Philippine Cup finals showdown.

Never among the title favorites before the start of the tourney, the Realtors emerged the surprise champions as they upended the Giants, 100-88, in a classic Game Seven watched by a sellout crowd at the Araneta Coliseum.

Coach Boyet Fernandez and his gallant troops overcame Purefoods in a gripping battle, denying the Giants what could have been a record-tying fifth All-Filipino championship.

It was a historic moment for the Realtors who won only their second title in franchise history. Their previous championship came in the 2001 Governors Cup.

Skipper Dennis Espino took charge in a decisive romp in the fourth quarter, leading the Realtors to the victory. The former UST King Tiger edged out Kelly Williams for the Finals MVP award.

When the smoke of battle cleared, the Realtors themselves couldn’t believe everything they accomplished in the tourney.

Their biggest accomplishment was, of course, handing the franchise its first All-Filipino crown since joining the league in 1993. Along the way, the Realtors recorded many other firsts for the ball club – an eight-game streak, 12 wins in all in the eliminations and automatic entry into the semifinals.

The Realtors posted a 20-12 win-loss record in the entire run of the tourney. Curiously, the ball club finished only sixth in last year’s Philippine Cup and won only 18 games throughout the campaign last season.

Engineering the team’s big turnaround was Fernandez, a 36-year-old licensed nurse who was never part of any champion team in his playing career from 1993-05.

His biggest achievements as a pro player were winning the league’s three-point shootout for two consecutive years (2000-01) and being an alternate in the all-pro RP team to the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

A former RP Youth player and member of the star-studded RP team in the 1991 SEA Games, Fernandez credited much of their success on the all-out support of the management, guidance of governor Buddy Encarnado, valuable help of his coaching staff and the hard work and dedication of his players.

The two teams engaged in a nip-and-tuck battle before Espino presided over a lethal 11-to-nothing run that moved Sta. Lucia in front to stay at 90-80.

The Purefoods, threatening to score yet another epic comeback after trailing 0-2 and 2-3 in the series, had its last taste of the lead at 80-79 on back-to-back three-pointers by James Yap.

The Realtors finished the Giants off on a 20-9 closing run, ending their seven-year championship itch.

"It’s beyond expectation and this All-Filipino championship means a lot to us," said Buddy Encarnado, the team’s board representative since their entry in the league in 1993.

"We’re not here on sheer luck. We worked hard for this since day one. I take pride that we’re the league’ best defensive team and this carried us to victory," Encarnado added.

"Finally, we’ve got an All-Filipino championship. We worked hard for this. And hopefully, masundan pa ng marami," said Espino.

The 6-foot-6 veteran went 9-of-12 from the field and finished with a game-high 29 points that went with five rebounds, one steal and one block in 31 minutes of action.

Kelly Williams, the Best Player of the Conference awardee, helped a lot as he came back strong from a mediocre nine-point showing in Game Six, putting in 17 points and 15 rebounds.

Williams logged 14 points and nine rebounds just in the first half.

Peter June Simon, Kerby Raymundo, James Yap and Marc Pingris carried the cudgels for the Giants as they took the first quarter at 21-18 and the half at 45-44.

The Realtors actually started the game with a 6-1 run but couldn’t sustain the fire while shooting only 36.6 percent from the field in the first 24 minutes of play. The Giants converted 43.2 percent of their 37 shots.

Purefoods also lorded it over the boards with Pingris accounting 10 of their 29 rebounds as against the Realtors’ 18.

03-03-2008, 10:54 AM
Dennis and Marlou can still play, the problem with them before as is the problem generally with veterans was motivation. For guys who are in their mid 30s, it is really harder to play with their hearts out each and every game unless they are playing for the championship. That is why I salute coach Boyet for his master motivation of these two players.

03-03-2008, 03:45 PM
Naunahan pa ni Yeo manalo ng PBA championship yung mga teammates niya sa DLSU (RenRen and MacMac). Congratulations to SLR!

Espino may have led the headlines due to his heads up play but you have to commend as well the intangibles of Ryan Reyes, Kelly Williams, Bitoy Omolon, Denok and Yeo for being crazy dogs out there playing one hell of a defensive game against the Giants. One thing that I'm wondering though is that ang init ni Simon nung 3rd quarter and then all of a sudden he played at the latter part of the 4th wherein it's too late to catch up already.

I have to agree with you guys with coach Boyet's masterful task of motivating his two vets in the team.

03-03-2008, 09:43 PM
Ano kaya ang sinabi ni Coach Boyet kay Marlou?

Expiring contract na daw si Marlou. . . .Extension pa ba?

03-04-2008, 06:48 AM
Right mix cements Realtors claim to fame

The Philippine Star

Right blending, right formula.

After 15 long years, Sta. Lucia Realty has got all these, spelling the difference as the giant land-developing franchise ended its hunt for a first ever All-Filipino championship in the pro league.

The Realtors outfought the Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants, 100-88, in a pulsating Game Seven duel Sunday to win the 2007-08 Smart PBA Philippine Cup crown before a virtual sea of humanity at the Araneta Coliseum.

A special bunch of players and a feisty young coach delivered the victory, ending the team’s long search for another championship after its lone title conquest in the 2001 Governors Cup.

Only three players in Dennis Espino, Marlou Aquino and Paolo Mendoza are part of the two championships. They agree the All-Filipino title is far sweeter than the team’s triumph in the import-reinforced tourney.

It was meaningful, too, for Espino, 34, and Aquino, 35, who are nearing the end of their playing career.

They’re the first to admit they couldn’t have achieved the feat if not for the drastic moves taken by the ball club to form the lineup it has got right now.

The management effected a massive overhaul that included a coaching change with Boyet Fernandez taking over from Alfrancis Chua before the Fiesta Cup last year. Then there’s the departure of Kenneth Duremdes, Ricky Calimag and Alex Cabagnot in exchange for Denok Miranda and Manny Ramos then Cesar Catli and Mark Isip for Joseph Yeo.

Kelly Williams, Nelbert Omolon and Ryan Reyes are the team’s prized acquisitions from the rookie draft.

"To be able to form this winning team, I can now say we may really be destined to be champions," said Buddy Encarnado, the team’s representative to the PBA board since its entry in the league in 1993.

"It’s about timing and right combination. After tinkering with the team, we found the right formula. We got the right mix and right coach," Encarnado added.

Encarnado and Fernandez said the team’s training in the US during the off-season and the best-of-seven semifinal series against Alaska Milk helped the team in its championship drive.

"The Boston training was a wake-up call for the boys. We realized there that we still have a lot to learn. Si Marlou at Dennis napatakbo noong training," said Fernandez of his two veterans, among eight Realtors trained by renowned American coach Kevin Barbosa.

"A lot questioned my wisdom to include in the US trip veterans who are about to retire. It turned out my decision was right. Kevin Barbosa was able to get the best from Marlou and Dennis," said Encarnado.

Curiously, the Realtors lost their first two games in the tourney coming from their US training. Their first loss was dealt by no other than their eventual title playoff rivals.

But the Realtors would get into the groove of things and gain automatic entry into the semis on a stirring ride highlighted by a streak of eight straight wins.

"Actually, I don’t give much importance on the eight-game streak. To me, what’s more important was for us to have survived Alaska Milk in the semis. That Alaska series was character-building that helped prepare us in the finals. I don’t think we can make it all the way without going through Alaska," said Encarnado.

The Realtors went through a total of 32 games to win the top prize in the tourney.

03-07-2008, 03:54 PM
this series reminds me of the phoenix-san antonio series where horry hipchecked steve nash to the deck which caused the suspension of horry ans also amare and diaw.

purefoods lost yap while sta lucia lost yeo. it ultimately decided the series

03-08-2008, 12:54 AM
well purefoods had its chances in game 7. besides james yap did commit a foul worthy of F2, unlike amare and diaw who merely left the bench and never made any untoward activity. purefoods lost games 1 , 2 and 7 all with yap, so i guess so much for saying james was the difference.

03-09-2008, 08:47 AM
Later today, ABC will show a special tribute to the Realtors as PBA champs. It will be shown at 6:30 pm on the regular PBA timeslot.