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Sam Miguel
02-08-2013, 08:13 AM
It is opening day today and finally the great Japeth Aguilar will once again try to remind everyone that he really is all flash and no substance...

Petron tests souped-up Globalport

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:42 pm | Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Globalport will put its souped-up lineup to the test against powerhouse Petron Blaze today in a match that pulls the curtains up on the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

Japeth Aguilar and Sol Mercado, who found their way to Globalport following blockbuster deals, will lead the Batang Pier against the Boosters in the 5:15 p.m. contest.

Defending champion San Mig Coffee battles Barako Bull at 7:30 p.m., with both squads also trying to see how their newly tweaked rosters will fare.

Globalport also has a new coach in Junnel Baculi, whom team owner Mikee Romero happily picked up after being fired by Barako Bull. Justin Williams will be the Batang Pier import and will form a twin tower combination with the 6-foot-9 Aguilar.

“With the players we got in the trades, we look competitive on paper,” Baculi said. “We still have to build chemistry, though. The good thing is that our players are veterans.”

Mercado, Aguilar and Williams will join Willie Miller and scoring champion Gary David in forming the nucleus of the Batang Pier, which also picked up hardworking rookie center Kelly Nabong and JP Belencion and Josh Vanlandingham from Meralco as part of the Mercado deal.

Renaldo Balkman, who had stints with Denver and New York in the NBA, will be the Petron Blaze import.

With Denzel Bowles still playing as an import in the Chinese Basketball Association, coach Tim Cone is pinning his hopes on 6-foot-11 Matt Rogers and old reliable James Yap, Marc Pingris and Peter June Simon.

The Mixers will also parade new recruits Alex Mallari, Leo Najorda and rookie point guard Lester Alvarez.

Sam Miguel
02-11-2013, 08:46 AM
Abueva, Baguio nail clutch shots as Alaska escapes Rain or Shine

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

9:33 pm | Saturday, February 9th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Alaska drew clutch plays in the last 10 seconds and the Aces salvaged an 83-81 win over Rain or Shine Saturday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Cyrus Baguio scooped it up and in for the game-winner at the buzzer, giving Alaska its first win over Rain or Shine in the last three meetings under head coach Luigi Trillo.

“We haven’t beaten two teams, Rain or Shine and San Mig Coffee, in quite a while,” said Trillo after the game.

Rookie Calvin Abueva nailed a hasty triple from way out with 10.1 seconds left to tie the game at 81, saving a broken play after JVee Casio nearly lost the leather.

The Elastopainters turned to import Bruno Sundov, who threw his weight in the paint, for the game winner, but couldn’t deliver down low.

Abueva grabbed the rebound and set up the fastbreak that led to the final shot as the clock wound down.

“At this point, we just had to expose Sundov a bit. It was a scratch and claw for us,” added Trillo.

The Aces reinforcement Robert Dozier poured 21 points and 16 rebounds, but misfired on two crucial freethrows with 43 seconds left.

Sundov, meanwhile, showcased brilliance with 30 points and 15 rebounds on an efficient 11-of-18 shooting clip and 8-of-10 from the stripe.

The towering import gave Rain or Shine a 79-74 lead midway the fourth quarter, his squad’s biggest lead in the fourth.

The Elastopainters, though, were outrebounded by the Aces, 44-52, as Sundov was the only one cleaning the glass.

Sam Miguel
02-11-2013, 08:47 AM
Dawson puts up monster stats to carry Meralco past Talk N’ Text

By Celest R. Flores

10:57 pm | Saturday, February 9th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Eric Dawson put up monster numbers and Meralco held off powerhouse Talk N’ Text, 99-92, Saturday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Dawson sizzled with 37 points, and registered 14 rebounds, two assists, two steals and four blocks for the Bolts, who squandered an 18-point lead but still hung on to win.

“He understands he needs to do for our team to be successful,” said head coach Ryan Gregoio of the versatile Dawson.

Ronjay Buenafe came in second best in scoring with 19 points for Meralco, which recently underwent changes in its roster and lost top scorer Sol Mercado.

Chris Ross had two points but hauled down nine board and dished out eight dimes.

Mark Cardona, who added 16 points, made it a 42-24 lead in the second quarter—their biggest lead—as the Bolts banked on a blistering 27-point opening period.

But the Texters, after drawing all but two points from Keith Benson in the first quarter, quickly went back in the game before halftime.

Talk N’ Text tied the game twice in the third quarter, but never got the taste of the lead as Meralco always found a way to keep its distance.

Benson finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, Jimmy Alapag added 18 points and five assists and Jayson Castro had 17 points but did not play in the second half.

Sam Miguel
02-11-2013, 08:48 AM
Abueva, Baguio nail clutch shots as Alaska escapes Rain or Shine

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

9:33 pm | Saturday, February 9th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Alaska drew clutch plays in the last 10 seconds and the Aces salvaged an 83-81 win over Rain or Shine Saturday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Cyrus Baguio scooped it up and in for the game-winner at the buzzer, giving Alaska its first win over Rain or Shine in the last three meetings under head coach Luigi Trillo.

“We haven’t beaten two teams, Rain or Shine and San Mig Coffee, in quite a while,” said Trillo after the game.

Rookie Calvin Abueva nailed a hasty triple from way out with 10.1 seconds left to tie the game at 81, saving a broken play after JVee Casio nearly lost the leather.

The Elastopainters turned to import Bruno Sundov, who threw his weight in the paint, for the game winner, but couldn’t deliver down low.

Abueva grabbed the rebound and set up the fastbreak that led to the final shot as the clock wound down.

“At this point, we just had to expose Sundov a bit. It was a scratch and claw for us,” added Trillo.

The Aces reinforcement Robert Dozier poured 21 points and 16 rebounds, but misfired on two crucial freethrows with 43 seconds left.

Sundov, meanwhile, showcased brilliance with 30 points and 15 rebounds on an efficient 11-of-18 shooting clip and 8-of-10 from the stripe.

The towering import gave Rain or Shine a 79-74 lead midway the fourth quarter, his squad’s biggest lead in the fourth.

The Elastopainters, though, were outrebounded by the Aces, 44-52, as Sundov was the only one cleaning the glass.

Guiao blames referees’ non-call in final play for Rain or Shine loss

By Celest R. Flores

9:59 pm | Saturday, February 9th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao blasted the referees on a perceived non-call down the stretch in his squad’s 81-83 loss to Alaska Saturday night.

Guiao was convinced that a foul should’ve been called in the Elastopainters’ final attempt as import Bruno Sundov went for the game winner with under 10 ticks left.

“I feel we deserve a call in the last play. Bruno Sundov drove to the basket, he got hit in the arm at least twice,” said Guiao, speaking to the media after the game.

“It was an obvious foul. And the referees let it go, and it cost us the game,” Guiao added.

After Sundov’s attempt, Calvin Abueva secured the leather and set up the fast break that paved the way to Cyrus Baguio’s buzzer-beating game clincher.

Guiao urged the PBA to look into his concern and the officiating in general and said his squad was going to write a formal letter to Commisioner Chito Salud.

“I just feel that the league needs to take a serious look at what happened, the referees are deciding the outcome of the game already,” Guiao said.

“I’m sure it’s going to be on the vidoes and the tapes, we’re expecting they do something,” Guiao also added.

Sam Miguel
02-11-2013, 08:49 AM
Barako Bull rampage zaps Globalport in OT

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:46 pm | Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Barako Bull came charging back from 10 points down in the last two minutes of regulation and sustained the rampage in overtime for a 98-88 win that installed the Energy as the unlikely early leaders in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Josh Urbiztondo and Danny Seigle presided over the dizzying closing run as the Energy forced overtime at 86-all before pummeling the Batang Pier in the extension for their second straight win.

Urbiztondo scored 24 points, 11 of them in the fourth period, and Seigle opened the extra period with five straight points that took the fight out of the Batang Pier.

The loss was the first in two games for Globalport, which led, 86-76 after a Gary David layup with two minutes left in regulation.

But the Batang Pier would not score again until the 3:08 mark of the extension, which actually proved to be their only basket in the final seven minutes of the game.

Japeth Aguilar scattered 23 points and had 10 rebounds, Sol Mercado scored 19 that went with a career-high 16 assists and David also had 19 for Globalport.

But the Barako Bull defense shut down the rest of the Batang Pier with import Justin Williams shooting just 12 points while grabbing 27 rebounds, the most by anyone thus far this season.

“It was a miracle that we won this game,” Serbian consultant Rajko Toroman, who celebrated his 58th birthday yesterday, told reporters. Toroman also downplayed Aguilar’s offensive explosion, saying that, in effect, the Energy allowed him to score.

“Our plan before the game was not to give penetrations to Sol Mercado and outside shots to Gary David and Willie Miller,” Toroman said. “We let Japeth shoot the ball. That was part of our strategy before the game.

“For us, it was more important to contain (David, Miller and Mercado).”

Mark Macapagal, already the winner of the All-Star Three-Point shootout title a record three times, forged overtime with his only triple, time down to nine-tenths of a second.

Globalport missed the chance to win it when David missed a triple try.

Seigle shot 16 points, and Toroman was particularly proud of the effort the former Mythical Team member has been turning in.

The scores:

First Game

BARAKO 98—Brock 25, Urbiztondo 24, Villanueva 18, Seigle 16, Maliksi 9, Macapagal 6, Kramer 0, Pennisi 0, Allado 0.

GLOBALPORT 88—Aguilar 23, Mercado 19, David 19, Williams 12, Miller 7, Yee 5, Salvador 3, Deutchman 0, Juntilla 0.

Quarters: 21-19, 35-38, 60-58, 86-86, 98-88

Sam Miguel
02-11-2013, 08:50 AM
Dawson puts up monster stats to carry Meralco past Talk N’ Text

By Celest R. Flores

10:57 pm | Saturday, February 9th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Eric Dawson put up monster numbers and Meralco held off powerhouse Talk N’ Text, 99-92, Saturday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Dawson sizzled with 37 points, and registered 14 rebounds, two assists, two steals and four blocks for the Bolts, who squandered an 18-point lead but still hung on to win.

“He understands he needs to do for our team to be successful,” said head coach Ryan Gregoio of the versatile Dawson.

Ronjay Buenafe came in second best in scoring with 19 points for Meralco, which recently underwent changes in its roster and lost top scorer Sol Mercado.

Chris Ross had two points but hauled down nine board and dished out eight dimes.

Mark Cardona, who added 16 points, made it a 42-24 lead in the second quarter—their biggest lead—as the Bolts banked on a blistering 27-point opening period.

But the Texters, after drawing all but two points from Keith Benson in the first quarter, quickly went back in the game before halftime.

Talk N’ Text tied the game twice in the third quarter, but never got the taste of the lead as Meralco always found a way to keep its distance.

Benson finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, Jimmy Alapag added 18 points and five assists and Jayson Castro had 17 points but did not play in the second half.

Castro hobbled by bruised rib in TNT’s defeat to Meralco

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

9:54 pm | Sunday, February 10th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — After a tremendous first half performance, guard Jayson Castro was unable to return to finish the job for Talk N’ Text on Saturday night, suffering a bruised rib.

Castro scattered 17 points in just as many minutes to keep the Texters in the game, but left early the second half as coach Norman Black opted to have him sit out the rest of the game.

“Walang contact (nung sobrang sumakit) yung ribs ko. Ako lang mag-isa. Pinahinga na lang ako ni Coach,” Castro told INQUIRER.net.

“Long season naman daw (sabi ni Coach Norman), kaya pinahinga na lang para makabalik pa ako,” added Castro.

The Texters eventually succumb to a 92-99 setback to Meralco.

Castro said he first felt the pain during a practice game last week just before the PBA Commissioner’s Cup opened on Friday.

But the Best Player Awardee of the PBA Philippine Cup didn’t have it extensively checked since the pain eventually went away.

Sam Miguel
02-11-2013, 08:51 AM
Dunigan powers Air21 past Ginebra

By Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

9:30 pm | Sunday, February 10th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Import Michael Dunigan made his presence felt on both ends of the floor to help Air21 turn back Barangay Ginebra San Miguel 74-70 Sunday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Dunigan unleashed 18 of his 26 points in the second half while also collecting game-highs 19 rebounds and five blocks.

“Michael (Dunigan) was a big factor, he gave us intimidation and when we needed to score he was there,” said Air21 head coach Franz Pumaren.

The Express led by 12, 35-23, early in the third period but needed to hold off the Kings in the final frame.

Dunigan scored on a tough hook on a back to the basket move over counterpart Herbert Hill that gave his team a five-point cushion 72-67 with 42.7 seconds remaining.

Ginebra, which tied an all-time franchise low with only 21 points by halftime, moved to within a possession 70-73 on a quick three by reigning MVP Mark Caguioa off the timeout with 26.8 ticks left after Mike Cortez’ free throw made it 73-67.

But the Kings weren’t able to convert on their next trip with Caguioa missing on a three as he was chased by Nino Canaleta.

“It’s always a nice feeling beating Ginebra with their star-studded team,” said Pumaren. “I’m not trying to be humble but man-for-man, I think we’re the weakest. We didn’t have any upgrades on our lineup.”

For Sunday night though, Air21′s mainstays proved to be enough with Cortez killing his former team Ginebra in the fourth quarter with nine points. Cortez wound up with 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Caguioa matched Williams’ output with 26 points while Hill overcame a horrendous start to finish with 17 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks.

The Kings were lucky enough to be down by just 10, 21-31, at the half after they shot just 7.7 percent from the field (1/13) to go along with six turnovers in the second quarter alone.

Sam Miguel
02-11-2013, 08:54 AM
Dunigan powers Air21 past Ginebra

By Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

9:30 pm | Sunday, February 10th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Import Michael Dunigan made his presence felt on both ends of the floor to help Air21 turn back Barangay Ginebra San Miguel 74-70 Sunday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Dunigan unleashed 18 of his 26 points in the second half while also collecting game-highs 19 rebounds and five blocks.

“Michael (Dunigan) was a big factor, he gave us intimidation and when we needed to score he was there,” said Air21 head coach Franz Pumaren.

The Express led by 12, 35-23, early in the third period but needed to hold off the Kings in the final frame.

Dunigan scored on a tough hook on a back to the basket move over counterpart Herbert Hill that gave his team a five-point cushion 72-67 with 42.7 seconds remaining.

Ginebra, which tied an all-time franchise low with only 21 points by halftime, moved to within a possession 70-73 on a quick three by reigning MVP Mark Caguioa off the timeout with 26.8 ticks left after Mike Cortez’ free throw made it 73-67.

But the Kings weren’t able to convert on their next trip with Caguioa missing on a three as he was chased by Nino Canaleta.

“It’s always a nice feeling beating Ginebra with their star-studded team,” said Pumaren. “I’m not trying to be humble but man-for-man, I think we’re the weakest. We didn’t have any upgrades on our lineup.”

For Sunday night though, Air21′s mainstays proved to be enough with Cortez killing his former team Ginebra in the fourth quarter with nine points. Cortez wound up with 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Caguioa matched Williams’ output with 26 points while Hill overcame a horrendous start to finish with 17 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks.

The Kings were lucky enough to be down by just 10, 21-31, at the half after they shot just 7.7 percent from the field (1/13) to go along with six turnovers in the second quarter alone.

Helterbrand longing for a Dunigan-type of import

Richard Dy

February 10, 2013, 09:44 pm

“Maybe we need an import that’s more dominating. And he’s (Dunigan) probably one of the top imports right now because he did it all for his team. He carried them (Express) to victory,” says Ginebra guard Jayjay Helterbrand.

SEEING Air21 Michael Dunigan dominate his team in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup game Sunday night only made Ginebra mainstay JayJay Helterbrand long to have a far more assertive import for the Kings.

As Dunigan tore down to shreds the Kings’ defense, Helterbrand is more than convinced Ginebra needs exactly that kind of personnel if it wants to get its season untracked.

“Maybe we need an import that’s more dominating. And he’s (Dunigan) probably one of the top imports right now because he did it all for his team. He carried them (Express) to victory,” the outspoken former league MVP said after the Express’ 74-70 victory over the Kings at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Dunigan was powerful force inside for the Express, finishing with 26 points, 19 rebounds, three assists, and five blocks shots in 47 minutes of intimidating presence.

Asked if Ginebra’s import Herbert Hill might be on the way out after a rather forgettable debut, Helterbrand just responded, “you’ll never know.”

The 6-foot-9 Hill went 0-of-10 from the field in the first half, that saw the Kings trail, 21-31.

Hill managed to score 17 points the rest of the way and grab a total of 18 rebounds, but was just 7-of-24 overall from the field, leaving the door open for a possible early exit.

“We were very timid on offense in the first half. The things we worked on in the first half, we weren’t able to do in the game. I think we would have been in a better situation if we started well,” added the veteran Ginebra playmaker, who finished the game with 10 points, four rebounds, and four assists in 24 minutes of action.

Sam Miguel
02-11-2013, 08:55 AM
Barako Bull rampage zaps Globalport in OT

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:46 pm | Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Barako Bull came charging back from 10 points down in the last two minutes of regulation and sustained the rampage in overtime for a 98-88 win that installed the Energy as the unlikely early leaders in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Josh Urbiztondo and Danny Seigle presided over the dizzying closing run as the Energy forced overtime at 86-all before pummeling the Batang Pier in the extension for their second straight win.

Urbiztondo scored 24 points, 11 of them in the fourth period, and Seigle opened the extra period with five straight points that took the fight out of the Batang Pier.

The loss was the first in two games for Globalport, which led, 86-76 after a Gary David layup with two minutes left in regulation.

But the Batang Pier would not score again until the 3:08 mark of the extension, which actually proved to be their only basket in the final seven minutes of the game.

Japeth Aguilar scattered 23 points and had 10 rebounds, Sol Mercado scored 19 that went with a career-high 16 assists and David also had 19 for Globalport.

But the Barako Bull defense shut down the rest of the Batang Pier with import Justin Williams shooting just 12 points while grabbing 27 rebounds, the most by anyone thus far this season.

“It was a miracle that we won this game,” Serbian consultant Rajko Toroman, who celebrated his 58th birthday yesterday, told reporters. Toroman also downplayed Aguilar’s offensive explosion, saying that, in effect, the Energy allowed him to score.

“Our plan before the game was not to give penetrations to Sol Mercado and outside shots to Gary David and Willie Miller,” Toroman said. “We let Japeth shoot the ball. That was part of our strategy before the game.

“For us, it was more important to contain (David, Miller and Mercado).”

Mark Macapagal, already the winner of the All-Star Three-Point shootout title a record three times, forged overtime with his only triple, time down to nine-tenths of a second.

Globalport missed the chance to win it when David missed a triple try.

Seigle shot 16 points, and Toroman was particularly proud of the effort the former Mythical Team member has been turning in.

The scores:

First Game

BARAKO 98—Brock 25, Urbiztondo 24, Villanueva 18, Seigle 16, Maliksi 9, Macapagal 6, Kramer 0, Pennisi 0, Allado 0.

GLOBALPORT 88—Aguilar 23, Mercado 19, David 19, Williams 12, Miller 7, Yee 5, Salvador 3, Deutchman 0, Juntilla 0.

Quarters: 21-19, 35-38, 60-58, 86-86, 98-88

Fit-again Seigle enjoys resurgence under Toroman system

By Richard Dy

February 10, 2013, 08:52 pm

DANNY Seigle knows his best days are probably behind him, but the way he contributed in Barako Bull’s early 2-0 lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup speaks a lot about his value to the newly-retooled franchise.

Seigle, who spent his best years with San Miguel Beer from 1999 to the 2010-2011 season, has been instrumental in the Energy Cola’s two straight victories to start the Commissioner’s Cup.

He scored five of his eight points in the crucial stretches of their game against San Mig Coffee to lead Barako Bull to an upset win over the defending Commissioner’s Cup champion, 79-75 on Friday.

Then on Sunday, Seigle rattled off five straight points to start the overtime period, just enough momentum to galvanize the confidence of Barako Bull on the way to a huge 98-88 come-from-behind victory against Globalport.

“The point there is being healthy,” Seigle told Spin.ph after the game. “I’ve been playing through aches and pains in the past, but then I started off this conference by just letting my injuries heal.”

He looks in good shape, a good sign for the 36-year-old, four-time Finals MVP, which allowed him to even elevate for a highlight-reel dunk against Globalport’s shot-blocking import Justin Williams.

“I just felt I needed to go stronger since he’s (Williams) a shot blocker. So I just need to go strong to the hole. Now if it’s there (opportunity to dunk), it’s there,” he added.

Barako Bull’a active team consultant Rajko Toroman said there had been a lot of questions about his working relationship with Seigle when he joined the team early last January. But he said he’s proud of how his veteran forward has been responding to his system.

“You saw how Danny Seigle has stepped up in two games. There had been a lot of questions on how me and Danny Seigle will work together because of my style of practice and his age. But you see, he’s looking good,” Toroman said of the man they call “Dynamite Danny."

Sam Miguel
02-11-2013, 08:56 AM
Sol expects Batang Pier to come out a better team after sorry loss

Richard Dy

February 10, 2013, 07:37 pm

Sol Mercado's 19-point, 16-assist effort went for naught as Globalport loses in overtime against Barako Bull.

NEWLY-acquired guard Solomon Mercado admitted blowing a 10-point lead in the final two minutes of regulation in Globalport’s stunning 88-98 loss to Barako Bull Sunday night was, indeed, a humbling experience for him and the rest of the team.

Mercado finished the game with 19 points and a career-high 16 assists, but just couldn’t save the day for Globalport, which found no answer against the 11 three-point shots made by Barako Bull in the second half.

“Coach got pissed (after the game),” Mercado revealed to Spin.ph after emerging from the gloomy Batang Pier dugout.

“It’s a humbling loss for us, but a good loss too, because we definitely need to learn from it. We’ve got to learn to close out games because that’s what separates champion teams from mediocre teams,” added Mercado, traded to Globalport by former team Meralco just two weeks before the start of the second conference.

The 28-year-old Mercado said on the positive side, splitting their first two games in three days is a good sign nonetheless for the team, which he said, still struggles as far as chemistry issues are concerned.

“I just practiced with the team three days (before Globalport’s first game) and Japeth (Aguilar) about five days. It would have been a good weekend for us,” explained Mercado as Globalport now sports an even 1-1 card.

Globalport’s new-look roster pulled the rug from under tournament favorite Petron during the Commissioner’s Cup’s kick-off game Friday, 94-92 as Aguilar exploded for 16 points, nine rebounds, and four block shots in his debut game for the Batang Pier.

Mercado added 17 and 11 assists for his new team, which missed import Justin Williams nearly the entire second half after being ejected for a flagrant foul two he committed for elbowing Petron rookie center June Mar Fajardo.

Sam Miguel
02-12-2013, 08:57 AM
Urbiztondo snags weekly title

Cebu Daily News

7:34 am | Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

JOSH URBITZTONDO continued to shine for Barako Bull in the face of unrelenting injuries to several of their key players.

For that, he received the first Player of the Week citation in the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Urbitztondo was the lynchpin in the Energy Colas’ 2-0 (win-loss) start with resounding wins over the defending champion and his former team San Mig Coffee and GlobalPort. He averaged 20.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in those games, becoming the runaway choice for the award.

Undrafted out of class 2009, the man nicknamed “Fireball” has since went on to have a successful career with stints in Air21 and B-Meg. He underlined his reliability as he had 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists in their 79-75 win over the Mixers during opening day.

He upped the ante on their next game, wherein he registered 24 points, five boards and four dimes last Sunday that helped the Energy Colas carve a 98-88 overtime win over GlobalPort that gave them the solo lead despite the continued absence of the injured Enrico Villanueva, Celino Cruz, Roger Yap, Sean Anthony, JC Intal and Emman Monfort. /Correspondent Jonas Panerio

Sam Miguel
02-13-2013, 08:29 AM
Source: Determined Ginebra makes offer to hulking former LA Laker

By Snow Badua

February 12, 2013, 08:22 pm

THE continuing saga in search for the next Ginebra import has just gotten a new twist.

The most popular team in the PBA is bent on getting the services of former Los Angeles Laker back-up DJ Mbenga, who had already been sent a formal offer sheet, according to popular import agent Sheryl Reyes.

“Nakapag-pasa na ng offer sheet yung Kings, hinihintay na lang ang response ni Mbenga,” Reyes shared to Spin.ph.

Early indications showed the 7-foot Congolese-Belgian will likely accept the Ginebra offer as his bid to land a spot in the current Lakers’ roster turned dim as Los Angeles reportedly tendered Jerome Jordan a 10-day contract.

Ironically, Jordan is also another import prospect for Ginebra.

If and when he agrees to take on the job, Mbenga is definitely going to be a big addition to the Ginebra roster of coach Alfrancis Chua, who is certainly on the look for a dominant big man as likely replacement for Herbert Hill.

“The fact that we told DJ that Ginebra is the most popular team in the PBA makes it more appealing to him to try his luck in the Philippines,” said Reyes, the same agent responsible for bringing current Commissioner’s Cup imports Renaldo Balkman (Petron), Justin Williams (Global Port), and Robert Dozier (Alaska).

Should Mbenga sign the contract by Wednesday, he’ll be sent his plane ticket right away, and hopefully, suit up for the Kings when they play the Globalport Batang Pier this Friday.

An eight-year NBA veteran, Mbenga was part of the Lakers’ back-to-back championship teams in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, playing alongside star players Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

He was originally considered as import of Alaska this conference.

Sam Miguel
02-13-2013, 08:30 AM
Dawson-led Bolts facing tricky test against Aces

By Richard Dy

February 12, 2013, 07:59 pm

WHILE prolific import Eric Dawson undoubtedly carried Meralco to an opening-night shocker over Talk 'N Text, coach Ryan Gregorio feels his team has a well-rounded offensive game that has become even more flexible and efficient since a surprise trade two weeks ago.

The Bolts go for a share of the early lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup when they take on Alaska on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum, with Gregorio hoping his locals will step up offensively to keep the Aces from focusing their defense solely on Dawson.

“I think more than anything else, it’s really the unpredictability of our game right now that makes us efficient. We can go to the post and go off screen,” said Gregorio, who is now without star point guard Sol Mercado but is so far satisfied with the performance of former backup Chris Ross.

“It also shows that if we play defense, we can beat the best team in the league.”

The game starts at 5:15 p.m. with Dawson, who had 37 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, two steals and four block shots in 37 minutes in his PBA debut, expected to again take the lead for Meralco.

Focus will also be on Ronjay Buenafe and Mark Cardona, who combined for 35 points, and former backup playmaker Ross, who came up with eight assists and nine rebounds in the 99-92 win against Talk ’N Text.

The Aces also won their opening match, and Alaska coach Luigi Trillo hopes they can sustain the good start by playing solid as a team.

“We know we’re not yet 100 percent. And realizing our import is not the most dominating, yet, he’s more versatile. We just need to box out collectively,” said Trillo, whose team dominated the boards, 52-44 against Rain or Shine on Saturday in a pulsating 83-81 win.

Import Robert Dozier had a quiet 21 points to lead the Aces, while adding 16 rebounds and three blocks in his first PBA game.

Sam Miguel
02-14-2013, 08:44 AM
Aces repulse Bolts, grab share of lead

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:43 pm | Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

With a lot of hard work, Alaska made sure that it wouldn’t regret failing to land Eric Dawson.

The Aces clamped down hard on the Meralco import last night and were rewarded with an 85-81 victory that gave them a piece of the early lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

After debuting with 37 points and 14 rebounds in a 99-92 upset of powerhouse Talk ‘N Text on Saturday, Dawson was held to a paltry 15 points and 13 boards by the Alaska defense.

The Aces then got the usual contributions from Calvin Abueva and Cyrus Baguio even as import Robert Dozier sealed his spot in the team for good with 27 points and 14 rebounds that went with a night-high six blocks.

“We had to put focus on Dawson,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo, who admitted chasing the former NBA D-League star. “Give credit to Sonny Thoss. What a performance he had defensively.”

Petron Blaze held San Mig Coffee to an eight-point second quarter and a 22-point first half to run away with a 98-73 victory in the second game.

Renaldo Balkman scored 28 points and had 15 rebounds and paced the Boosters to an ego-regaining victory after they had come into the contest nursing the wounds of a 94-92 loss to Globalport in the inaugurals.

The win was the first in two games for the Boosters, while the loss was the second straight for the defending champion Mixers, who finally played with import Matt Rogers but were in far worse form.

The Aces, meanwhile, took their second straight win and were actually in command practically the whole night before holding off the Bolts (1-1) in the endgame.

Rookie Vic Manuel, acquired in a trade with Globalport, paced the Bolts with 18 points.

The scores:

First Game

ALASKA 85—Dozier 27, Abueva 20, Baguio 16, Casio 8, Espinas 6, Thoss 6, Dela Cruz 2, Ramos 0, Jazul 0, Eman 0, Hontiveros 0, Belasco 0.

MERALCO 81—Manuel 18, Dawson 15, Buenafe 14, Cardona 11, Ross 6, Hugnatan 5, Hodge 4, Artadi 4, Guevarra 2, Borboran 2, Timberlake 0, Reyes 0.

Quarters: 26-21, 47-39, 63-62, 85-81

Second Game

PETRON 98—Balkman 28, Wahington 17, Cabagnot 15, Lassiter 9, Fajardo 8, Miranda 8, Santos 7, Tubid 4, Faundo 2, Lanete 0, Pena 0.

SAN MIG COFFEE 73—Yap 25, Rogers 20, Simon 8, Devance 7, Pingris 7, Najorda 3, Barroca 2, Mallari 1, Alvarez 0, Reavis 0, De Ocampo 0

Quarters: 20-14, 48-22, 70-49, 98-73

Sam Miguel
02-14-2013, 10:07 AM
Balkman provides hustle, inspiration as Petron finally steps on the gas

By Richard Dy

February 13, 2013, 09:54 pm

PETRON Blaze finally lived up to its high tournament billing as it blasted defending champion San Mig Coffee, 98-73, in the main game of Wednesday night’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup double-header at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Drawing the energy and hustle from import Renaldo Balkman, the Boosters turned a six-point advantage into a sizeable 26-point halftime bubble as their defense held the Mixers to just 22 points on 29.4 percent shooting in the first 24 minutes of play.

There was no let-up from there for the Boosters, who tore apart San Mig's defense both from inside and outside to hand the defending champions their second successive defeat.

Petron, which dropped a heartbreaking 92-94 loss to Globalport in the kick-off game of the mid-season conference, drew 28 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and two blocks from Balkman.

“It’s a good bounce-back win for us after that frustrating game against Globalport,” said Petyron rookie coach Olsen Racela.

“Actually, it’s (a win) more for Rey Balkman. He put up good numbers. But more than that, it was his energy, hustle and intensity. That was the big factor that led to this win,” added Racela.

Racela said he has been challenging his boys to have the defensive mind-set all the time this conference, knowing that defense wins championships.

“Depensa naman talaga. Iyan din ang hinahanap namin kay Rey Balkman. It’s his defense. Pati si Ronald Tubid, coming off the bench, plus the other guys,” said the 41-year-old Petron mentor.

"You saw Jay Washington chasing James Yap. Then, Arwind Santos had his turn. Yun ang sinasabi namin sa kanila eh, depensa muna bago ang opensa."

San Mig import Matt Rogers, who missed the Barako Bull game due to food poisoning, had a quiet game of 20 points on seven-of-19 shooting, along with nine rebounds in a forgettable debut.

James Yap led the struggling Mixers with 25 points.

The scores:

Petron 98 - Balkman 28, Wasington 17, Cabagnot 15, Lassiter 9, Fajardo 8, Miranda 8, Santos 7, Tubid 4, Faundo 2, Lanete 0, Pena 0

San Mig Coffee 73 - Yap 25, Rogers 20, Simon 8, Devance 7, Pingris 7, Najorda 3, Barroca 2, Mallari 1, Alvarez 0, Reavis 0, De Ocampo 0

Quarterscores: 20-14, 48-22, 70-49, 98-73

Sam Miguel
02-14-2013, 10:09 AM
^^^ Only as a PBA import can a guy get 20 points and nine boards in his first game and have "a forgettable debut."

Sam Miguel
02-14-2013, 10:10 AM
Devance calls embarrasing Mixers' 25-point blowout loss

Richard Dy

February 13, 2013, 11:17 pm

SAN Mig Coffee’s 25-point blowout at the hands of Petron certainly brought back recent Christmas memories for big man Joe Devance.

Referring to the Mixers’ 98-73 loss to the Boosters Wednesday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup as the worst under coach Tim Cone, Devance also can’t help but recalled how the defending champions were routed on Christmas Day by Rain or Shine, 98-72, in Game 3 of the Philippine Cup semifinals series.

“This might be the worst game of our lives under coach Tim Cone. It was just like the Christmas Day game against Rain or Shine. It’s pretty embarrassing,” said an obviously frustrated Devance when Spin.ph talked to him shortly after the match at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Mixers eventually lost the All-Filipino series to the Elasto Painters in six games.

Devance added, “We should have just stayed home. We just didn’t play hard and play together.”

The Fil-Am center said a lot of factors contributed to the team’s lackluster performance against an up-and-running Petron side, which drew 26 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks from import Renaldo Balkman.

“We’re still adjusting to him (import Matt Rogers). And he’s still adjusting to us and how the fouls are called. It may take a while for him to adjust,” explained Devance, who finished with seven points, six rebounds, and four assists in 29 minutes of play.

The reigning champions are also playing their second game with new recruits Alex Mallari, whom they acquired from the Boosters via a multiple team trade recently, along with rookie guard Lester Alvarez and veteran forward Leo Najorda.

“We’ve got four or five new players in the team who are trying to learn the triangle (offense). So it’s hard. They need to learn fast,” he said.

San Mig will have an opportunity to regroup as the team leaves for Subic for a two-day team building.

The Mixers get back to action on Feb 22 at the Mall of Asia Arena when they play the Elasto Painters.

Sam Miguel
02-14-2013, 10:11 AM
^^^ That's what happens when you wait on an import instead of getting someone right away. Since Denzel Bowles is unavailable, instead of waiting for him, San Mig should have just gone ahead and gotten some other good import.

Sam Miguel
02-15-2013, 08:16 AM
Air21 guns for piece of lead vs Talk ‘N Text today

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:54 pm | Thursday, February 14th, 2013

AIR21, bannered by the most impressive import on paper, guns for a share of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup lead against Talk ‘N Text today even as Barangay Ginebra, forced to use original import Herbert Hill, clashes with dangerous Globalport at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Express and the Tropang Texters lock horns in the 5:15 p.m. curtain raiser with Michael Dunigan, the envy of many teams in the field and the most impressive in the preseason, hoping to lead Air21 to a second straight victory.

Talk ‘N Text absorbed a 92-99 upset loss from Meralco last Saturday and coach Norman Black said they cannot take it easy against the Express, who conquered the Gin Kings convincingly in their tournament-opening assignment.

“It’s a game we need to win to keep pace with the early leaders,” Black said. “I’m hoping that our defense will be better, and that our import stays out of foul trouble. We have to try and control their import, who is very good.”

Dunigan is a massive presence underneath and has provided Air21 with the inside force that it missed in the Philippine Cup.

Ginebra, meanwhile, looks likely to be stuck with Hill going into the weekend with import-agents promising management of a prospective replacement in the middle of next week at the latest.

Hill was a disappointment against the Express, going 0-for-10 in the first half and finishing with just 17 points.

A Ginebra team official said Hill confessed to being unnecessarily nervous, especially since his last competitive game was almost a year ago.

Mark Caguioa, the reigning MVP, paced the Kings with 26 points in that game and is again expected to be the first offensive option of Ginebra, which plays powerhouse Petron Blaze and Renaldo Balkman on Sunday.

Globalport will be seeking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Barako Bull last Sunday, when the Batang Pier bungled a 10-point fourth-quarter lead to lose by 10 in overtime.

Japeth Aguilar, Gary David, Sol Mercado and import Justin Williams form a formidable quartet for the Batang Pier, who underwent a massive facelift in the offseason by tabbing the rejuvenated 6-foot-9 Aguilar and the hard-working Mercado.

Mercado is turning in eye-popping numbers for Globalport, shooting 18 points and dishing out a career-high 16 assists against the Energy.

The streak-shooting David, on the other hand, has remained his old deadly self and will definitely be a marked man for the Ginebra defense.

Sam Miguel
02-18-2013, 08:54 AM
PSA fetes cagers Caguioa, Parks

Two hardcourt stars among major recipients in Annual Awards Night

By Jasmine W. Payo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:42 pm | Sunday, February 17th, 2013 A 12-YEAR pro who bagged his first Most Valuable Player plum and an amateur star who copped his second straight MVP award share the spotlight as basketball awardees when the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) honors the top Filipino athletes of 2012 next month.

Mark Caguioa of Barangay Ginebra and National University star Bobby Ray Parks will be honored as “Mr Basketball” in the professional and amateur ranks, respectively, during the PSA-Milo Annual Awards Night on March 16 at Manila Hotel.

Caguioa—who has only played for crowd-darling Ginebra since getting drafted in the PBA in 2001—finally picked up the only missing prize in his illustrious career when the ace guard won the PBA Season 37 MVP last year.

Parks, the son of seven-time PBA Best Import Bobby Parks, also had a phenomenal run as he bagged back-to-back MVPs while powering the Bulldogs to the UAAP Final Four for the first time in 11 years.

Both cagers will join the four co-winners of the Athlete of the Year award—WBO super bantamweight king Nonito Donaire Jr., world boxing gold medalist Josie Gabuco, softball World Series champion Team Manila and five-time UAAP basketball titlist Ateneo—in the awards night hosted by the country’s oldest media organization.

Also receiving major awards are horse Hagdang Bato and champion jockey Jonathan Hernandez in the event presented by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Basketball Association, Rain or Shine, LBC, ICTSI, Philippine Golf Tour, Harbour Centre, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Smart.

Caguioa, nicknamed “The Spark,” earned his second PSA award in six years since winning the top pro player citation in 2007.

Parks received his first best amateur player plum last year which he shared with San Sebastian’s Calvin Abueva.

Sam Miguel
02-18-2013, 08:54 AM
Rain or Shine uses fiery 4th quarter run to beat Meralco

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

9:12 pm | Saturday, February 16th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — Rain or Shine unleashed 17 unanswered points in the bottom half of the fourth to stun Meralco, 91-82, Saturday night in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup road match in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

All it needed were three point buckets from Paul Lee, Ronnie Matias and Beau Belga to crack the game wide open, turning a five-point deficit to a 91-79 lead — the biggest of the game.

Ryan Araña, who led all locals from Rain or Shine, capped the blitz with a fastbreak lay-up with 59 ticks to go and put the outcome beyond doubt.

Lee, who struggled from the field most of the game and finished with just nine points, nailed the trey that Elastopainters the lead for good with 3:12 to play.

Import Bruno Sundov also pitched in 20 points.

Rain or Shine notched its first win of the conference after an opening game setback to Alaska, even sans gunner Jeff Chan, who is sidelined by injury.

The Bolts, meanwhile, have lost second straight since an impressive opening win over Talk N’ Text.

Eric Dawson finished with 23 points, but was scoreless in the final five minutes of the game just as Mac Cardona struggled in the fourth but still had 21.

Sam Miguel
02-18-2013, 08:55 AM
Aces survive another cliffhanger

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:50 pm | Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Alaska blew a 17-point first-half lead before pulling off a third successive close shave with a 77-73 decision of Barako Bull last night that kept the Aces in the lead of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Aces actually rallied from as many as six points down in the fourth period behind basically the same heroes in their first two victories before dealing the Energy a first loss in three games.

“We’re lucky,” Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said when asked if he expected to be leading the tournament this early.

Petron Blaze’s Renaldo Balkman put on a dunking show in the third quarter and towed the Boosters to a 105-90 destruction of sister squad Barangay Ginebra in the second game.

Balkman finished with 34 points and 10 rebounds, scoring 17 points in the third quarter where the Boosters broke away en route to a second straight game after debuting with a loss

Ginebra took a third consecutive defeat and the Gin Kings are looking at NBA veteran Vernon Macklin to take them out of the rut. Macklin will arrive early this morning to take the place of Herbert Hill.

“The team talked about consistency, that was our problem in the last conference,” Petron coach Olsen Racela said. “We want to come out with a lot of energy and intensity every game.”

Import Robert Dozier, Cyrus Baguio and Calvin Abueva provided the points in the stretch, and Sonny Thoss was again a solid force underneath for the Aces, whose two previous wins came over Rain or Shine by two and Meralco by four.

Baguio, as in the first two wins, had another critical play in the dying minutes, dispossessing Jonas Villanueva and going coast-to-coast for an unmolested layup that gave the Aces a 73-70 lead.

“Cy (Baguio) had a little bit of struggle at the start, but he busted out of it,” Trillo said of Baguio, who scored the game-winner in an 83-81 victory over Rain or Shine last week.

“He’s had a big play in all three of our wins.”

Abueva, who played just 13 minutes because of foul trouble, finished with just four points, but his only field goal of the night— a tear drop from about 12 feet out over the 6-foot-7 Mick Pennisi—lifted the Aces a 75-70 lead with 1:38 left.

Alaska had earlier erased a 61-67 deficit with an 8-0 run, and the Aces trailed for the last time at 69-70 after Barako Bull import Evan Brock completed a three-point play with 3:43 remaining.

Dozier then shoved the Aces ahead for good and finished with 19 points, 20 rebounds and two steals.

Baguio was the only other Alaska player in twin digits with 11 points, sealing the win with a free throw split in the final 3.3 seconds.

Abueva, this early the runaway leader in the Rookie of the Year race, came into the game averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds. He had eight rebounds last night.

Josh Urbiztondo finished with 15 points despite being pressured all game by Alaska, while Brock contributed 12 points and 15 rebounds.

The Energy methodically nibbled away at a 21-38 deficit in the second quarter using total team effort, with Urbiztondo and Danny Seigle striking hardest in two separate stretches in the second half to give Barako Bull that six-point lead.

JC Intal returned to the Barako Bull lineup but hardly made his presence felt, finishing with just a three-pointer in 19 minutes. Villanueva had 10 points and four assists.

Trillo, meanwhile, refused to comment on the decision of management to not let Sonny Thoss join Gilas Pilipinas’ Monday practices.

The scores:

First Game

ALASKA 77—Dozier 19, Baguio 11, Casio 9, Jazul 8, Espinas 8, Thoss 8, Abueva 4, Dela Cruz 4, Hontiveros 4, Reyes 2, Ramos 0.

BARAKO 73—Urbiztondo 15, Brock 12, Villanueva 10, Macapagal 9, Seigle 9, Maliksi 4, Kramer 4, Allado 4, Intal 3, Pennisi 3.

Quarters: 23-17, 42-36, 59-60, 77-73

Sam Miguel
02-18-2013, 08:56 AM
Balkman scores 17 in the third as Petron routs Ginebra

By Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

8:50 pm | Sunday, February 17th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Petron Blaze banked on a big third quarter to blast Barangay Ginebra San Miguel 105-90 Sunday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Renaldo Balkman scored half of his game-high 34 points in the pivotal third quarter, where the Boosters outscored the struggling Kings 35-19.

“The team talked about consistency to come out with a lot of energy and intensity in the game and it showed today,” said Petron head coach Olsen Racela.

“It’s still a long way. It’s a process, we’re getting there. We’re gaining confidence with the way we’re playing but it’s still a process,” added Racela on whether his team’s problems are behind.

Petron Blaze improved to 2-1 while also dealing Ginebra, which will bring in a new import Vernon Macklin to replace Herbert Hill, its third loss in as many games.

June Mar Fajardo had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Boosters while Mark Caguioa paced Ginebra with 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field.

Sam Miguel
02-18-2013, 08:57 AM
Black confident Talk N’ Text will regain championship form in PBA Commissioner’s Cup

By Celest R. Flores

8:12 pm | Saturday, February 16th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – As far as being in championship form is concerned, head coach Norman Black admits that Talk N’ Text is “not there yet.”

But any worry is far from Black’s mind this early even as the Texters opened the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup with a seven-point setback to Meralco, and a squeaker of a win over Air 21.

“At this point, it’s about getting back to that level we’re at during [the] All Filipino [Cup] — we’re not there yet,” Black told INQUIRER.net.

“But we’ll get there,” Black assured.

The powerhouse Texters had no answer to Air21′s hot shooting from downtown and although they squandered a 22-point lead, they managed to bag their first win, 86-83, of the conference.

“A win is a win, that’s all that really matters to me. Of course I’m not happy about losing a big lead,” said Black.

Import Keith Benson knocked down 30 points and notched 18 rebounds while Ranidel De Ocampo and Jared Dillinger led the locals with 19 and 14 markers, respectively.

Jayson Castro and Larry Fonacier offered five points apiece while Jimmy Alapag and Kelly Williams finished scoreless.

But even with the rough start, Black knows that the Texers’ reputation as a champion squad precedes them.

“At this point of the season, coming off a championship, I don’t think anyone could question whether we have a good team or not anymore, or whether we could play well or not,” said Black.

And most roads to improving in an import-laden conference such as this begins at one thing — the reinforcement on deck.

After showing how much damage he can do inside the paint, Benson will need to stay inside the court and out of foul trouble.

“It was better than the first game,” said Black of the 24-year-old Benson, who also had two steals, two blocks and four fouls in 36 minutes.

“I’m just worried about his ability to stay out of foul trouble. Everytime he gets into foul trouble, it hurts our defense. That’s something we need to work on. I’m still evaluating him,” added Black.

The Texters next face GlobalPort, which totes a 2-1 record, on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Sam Miguel
02-20-2013, 10:11 AM
Ginebra import Macklin quick to allay fears over constant tightening on legs

By Snow Badua

February 19, 2013, 10:00 pm

Vernon Macklin was impressive in practice but constantly suffered from tightening on his legs.

Ginebra’s new import Vernon Macklin looked very impressive in practice, flaunting deadly hooks, strong back-to-the-basket moves, shot-blocking skills, and tenacity in rebounding.

In fact, the jaws of the 6-10 power forward's new teammates almost dropped when he attempted, and barely missed, a daredevil follow-up dunk off his own miss against three defenders.

But nothing is perfect as they say.

In between hard drills, the former Florida Gator would call on the team’s masseur, Rafael Vicera, to tend to his aching legs as they time and again tightened.

Spin.ph even overheard Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua expressing concern over Macklin's health issues, saying, “Nakupo, kung kailan tayo nakakita ng liwanag ... huwag naman sana.”

But the Portsmouth, Virginia native was quick to allay fears.

“No, they shouldn’t worry. I’ll be a 100 percent on Saturday,” guaranteed Macklin, who blamed the constant tightening on his legs to almost 25 hours of air travel.

“We had a game in the D-League before the All-Star break, I’ve been doing a lot of flying," said Macklin.

Macklin was in Dallas on Friday before he flew to Maine on Saturday, then back to Dallas then to San Francisco to board his plane to Manila.

“Just like my legs are tight, my head feels like it hurts a bit. When I was sleeping last night, I felt some cramps on my legs,” bared Macklin. “But I’ll be fine in the next couple of days."

But here’s something to excite Ginebra fans: Macklin has vowed to give his best to excite the crowd and, more importantly, help Ginebra secure the first win in the one-and-a-half week old tournament.

“I just want everybody, my teammates to know that I'll keep playing hard. I’ll be the guy who will go out there and give my 110 percent. I’ll play hard for the fans," he said.

“Yeah definitely, I go for a lot of tip dunks, my legs are not just 100 percent today... That’s why I missed the tip dunk... But I'm gonna go for more dunks to get the crowd and my teammates up."

Sam Miguel
02-20-2013, 10:13 AM
Macklin and Bowles go a long way back

By Snow Badua

February 19, 2013, 03:40 pm

ONE familiar face awaits new Ginebra import Vernon Macklin right in his first foray in the PBA.

And he happens to be no less than reigning Commissioner’s Cup Best Import Denzel Bowles.

The 6-foot-10 native of Porstmouth, Virginia admitted having known the San Mig Coffee reinforcement, whom he refers to as an old friend who he grew up with in the same area in Chatham, Virginia.

“We actually have been playing on the same level. I know him … but haven’t seen him play lately,” Macklin bared to Spin.ph. “But yeah, we play about the same. Play hard. Give energy. Rebound.”

Asked if he can give Bowles, who’s returning for another tour of duty with the Mixers, a run for the Best Import award, Maclin smiled and said, “I could play harder and see what happens. I am not one of the guys who do a lot of talk. I just show mine on the court.”

Macklin, who’s taking over the spot of the ineffective Herbert Hill, and Bowles will have their initial on-court encounter on March 10 when the Kings battle the defending champion Mixers at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

On prospect of finally ending Ginebra’s five-year title drought, the 26-year-old former Georgetown and University of Florida stalwart said he’s definitely looking at it as `the main target.’

“That’s the aim, I came here to help them get that. Hopefully, we’d be successful.”

Although he’s coming over at a time the Kings are sporting a 0-3 (win-loss) card, Macklin claims he feels no pressure.

“I don’t feel no pressure, I know a lot of great fans would want to see a great team win ... They just want to get going and cheer on,” said Macklin, who once played a back-up role with current Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert during his two-year stint with the Hoyas.

Selected by the Detroit Pistons (52nd overall) during the 2011 NBA draft, Macklin is aware how huge the fan base of Ginebra in the country.

“It was great, actually a lot of my teammates in the NBA D-League team I was on has seen it (popularity of Ginebra). Actually, my girlfriend has seen a lot of people tweet me from the area (Philippines),” added Macklin, who last suited up for Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the D-League.

“I see the fans are pretty wild out here. They are great and lovable fans. The teammates (at Ginebra) are cool. The coaching staff ... Everybody wants to win,” he added.

Owing to this, Macklin said he intends to chat with fans through his Twitter account @vernon_macklin.

“In the last couple of hours and days, I got a lot of reply (from fans),” said the Ginebra import, who arrived Monday from San Francisco.

Sam Miguel
02-20-2013, 10:14 AM
Cabagnot out injured, left in crutches after collision with childhood pal Caguioa

By Snow Badua

February 19, 2013, 08:48 pm

“I don’t feel no grudges. Alam ko naman si Mark, go hard lagi yun. He’s a competitor,” said Petron guard Alex Cabagnot of childhood friend Mark Caguioa.

PETRON'S resurgence in the PBA Commissioner's Cup took a major blow when starting guard Alex Cabagnot was injured during the Boosters' win over sister team Barangay Ginebra on Sunday night.

The Boosters' wily point guard revealed to Spin.ph that he is currently in crutches after hurting his right foot when he was tackled by childhood friend Mark Caguioa as Petron launched a fastbreak.

Cabagnot's foot was pinned to the floor by the weight of Caguioa as the Ginebra star fell to the floor. An examination on Monday revealed Cabagnot had suffered an inverted sprained right ankle.

“It’s not just my foot, but I also tweaked the back part of my knee. It affected the whole leg," said the Fil-American sentinel. “But thank God, it's nothing serious. Walang fracture and walang torn tendon."

Cabagnot has been ruled out of Petron's match against Meralco on Wednesday and is listed as day-to-day. Doctors said he will be out for a maximum two weeks.

“I’m out tomorrow. I’m still in crutches ... It’s day-to-day,” said Cabagnot.

Cabagnot has been showing up in Petron’s practice the last two days but is left to hope that the injury heals quickly at a time when the underachieving Boosters are finally showing signs of life with the energetic Renaldo Balkman as import.

“I really want to play, but I don’t think my right ankle is gonna let me," he said. “God willing, mag-subside yung swelling.”

Still, the Petron guard believes the team is in good hands as fellow guards Denok Miranda and Chico Lanete, who has recovered from a bruised thigh, pick up the cudgels in his absence.

Cabagnot also said he doesn't harbor any grudges on Caguioa after the hard tackle that caused the injury.
“I don’t feel no grudges. Alam ko naman si Mark, go hard lagi yun. He’s a competitor,” said Cabagnot of Caguioa, who is a teammate of his older brother, Dino, at the Eagle Rock High School in Los Angeles.

“Pero hindi niya (Caguioa) yun sadya. Mark was very sorry when he saw me in this situation yesterday at the Fort”, revealed Cabagnot.

Sam Miguel
02-21-2013, 07:49 AM
Texters whip Batang Pier

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:46 pm | Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

With a conscious effort to play defense last night, Talk ‘N Text choked Globalport to submission in the second half and exposed all the chinks in

the armor of the Batang Pier in a 99-79 PBA Commissioner’s Cup victory at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Tropang Texters, who came into the game allowing 91 points a night, held the Batang Pier to a paltry 34 in the final two quarters to break free from a 49-45 halftime count and win a second straight outing for a 2-1 slate.

“We were able to accomplish some of the things we wanted to do in this game,” coach Norman Black said. “After our last game, we were dead-last in defense in the league and I reminded the team of that.”

Talk ‘N Text also showed everyone why they dealt away Japeth Aguilar before the start of the tournament, holding the 6-foot-9 beanpole to a measly four points, his lowest output of the tournament.

“They were making a big deal in this game against Japeth,” Black said after holding Aguilar to 1-of-8 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 free throws in 28 minutes.

The loss was the second in four games for the Batang Pier, whose cause wasn’t helped a bit by their atrocious free throw shooting.

Justin Williams, who has probably the best work ethic among imports in the lot, missed eight out of 17 attempts and the team as a whole shot just 27-of-42 from the stripe.

Talk ‘N Text answered the second half horn with all guns firing, as Jimmy Alapag finished a 1-on-3 break with a triple from left quarter court that made it 66-53.

It was all Talk ‘N Text from there as a lot got into the offensive flow and Black was actually able to clear his bench with still under four minutes to go to allow his reserves to complete the mop-up job.

“They played us pretty tough in the first half,” Black said when asked of the reasons of the game being close in the first two periods. “But we made adjustments by making our import (Keith Benson) as our last line of defense.”

Benson went on to pace the Texters with 20 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks and four locals scored at least 13.

Another man who was shut down by the Talk ‘N Text defense was Sol Mercado, who scored just four points in the second half after shooting 10 in the first two periods.

Mercado, who had double figures in points and assists in the Batang Pier’s first three games, was held down to just four feeds last night. The 6-foot point guard came into the match averaging a league-best 13.3 assists.

The scores:

First Game

TALK ‘N TEXT 99—Benson 20, Castro 19, Alapag 15, Dillinger 14, Fonacier 13, Al-Hussaini 6, De Ocampo 4, Carey 4, Gamalinda 2, Williams 2, Raymundo 0, Reyes 0, Alvarez 0.

GLOBALPORT 79—Williams 19, David 19, Mercado 14, Yee 7, Mandani 4, Aguilar 4, Salvador 4, Adducul 4, Deutchman 2, Miller 2, Aljamal 0.

Quarters: 22-27, 49-45, 71-61, 99-79

Sam Miguel
02-21-2013, 07:50 AM
Petron Blaze loses 22-point lead, escapes Meralco

By Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

12:56 am | Thursday, February 21st, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Renaldo Balkman atoned for his crucial error with a key defensive play as Petron Blaze escaped Meralco, 88-86, Wednesday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Balkman hounded Meralco guard Chris Ross in the waning seconds of the game leaving Ross with no choice but to give up the ball to rookie Vic Manuel, who missed a long three as time expired.

The six-foot-six Balkman turned the ball over with 10.2 seconds left in the previous play after the leather hit his right calf before going out of bounds that led to Manuel’s potential game winner.

Petron Blaze survived despite missing its first 12 shots from the field en route to a forgetful three-of-17 shooting in the final frame.

The Boosters, who led by as much as 22, 76-54, were scoreless for more than six minutes of the fourth period before Chico Lanete uncorked a much-needed trey for an 80-73 lead, with only 3:50 remaining-ending a 17-0 surge by the Bolts.

Ross unloaded nine of his 12 points in the final 2:45, including a quick three-pointer from the top of the key, which put Meralco to within a thread, 86-87, with 25.6 seconds left.

Petron failed to inbound the ball to a good free throw shooter in the ensuing play as Denok Miranda went one-of-two at the line with 23.9 ticks left.

Ross missed on a drive after blowing past Balkman, who got the defensive rebound before turning it over, with 10.2 seconds remaining.

June Mar Fajardo, who said they got complacent after building a commanding lead, notched a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds to go along with three blocks while Balkman topscored with 26 points for Petron, which chalked up its third straight win after losing its first game.

The Boosters played without starting point guard Alex Cabagnot due to sprained ankle.

The Bolts, who drew 24 points from import Eric Dawson, lost their third game in four starts.

THE SCORES:

Petron 88 – Balkman 26, Fajardo 16, Miranda 11, Lassiter 9, Santos 6, Lanete 5, Yeo 5, Washington 5, Tubid 5, Pena 0.

Meralco 86 – Dawson 24, Cardona 13, Ross 12, Hodge 10, Manuel 9, Guevarra 8, Hugnatan 5, Buenafe 3, Reyes 2, Timberlake 0, Artadi 0.

Quarters: 22-17, 51-34, 76-54, 88-86

Sam Miguel
02-22-2013, 09:14 AM
Bowles, Mixers battle Painters

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:12 pm | Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Denzel Bowles returns to the site of the biggest victories of his career starting Friday as he tries to rescue San Mig Coffee from a shaky start in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

With a 0-2 record despite a solid local crew, the Mixers will come into the 7:30 p.m. game with Rain or Shine and the 7-foot-3 Bruno Sundov at Mall of Asia Arena with a much higher confidence level.

San Mig sent Matt Rogers to its Asean Basketball League team and was just happy to get Bowles, last season’s Best Import, back earlier than expected.

Bowles came here as a 21-year-old last year and won the first championship of his career, forging overtime in Game 7 with two free throws in the dying seconds before leading the Mixers past Talk ‘N Text in a rubber match to remember.

His Best Import trophy was also his first major award.

Now with a solid inside presence anchored on Bowles, life could be easier for two-time MVP James Yap and Peter June Simon. Marc Pingris and Joe Devance will now have help inside, making the Mixers as dangerous as the other powerhouses in the tournament.

“It’s great to have Denzel back with us,” coach Tim Cone said. “We have a special chemistry with Denzel that all the players felt right away.”

Rain or Shine won’t be a pushover, though, with Sundov around and Gabe Norwood, Paul Lee and a host of unsung heroes ready to step up for coach Yeng Guiao.

Meanwhile, Barako Bull tries to bounce back from a defeat when it battles Air21 at 5:15 p.m.

Sam Miguel
02-25-2013, 09:29 AM
Sunday gifts Meralco with miracle victory

9:44 pm | Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Everybody knows Sunday Salvacion has the skill to hit three-pointers from all angles. Last night, he proved it in a big way again.

Salvacion banked in a buzzer-beating three and Meralco repulsed Globalport, 90-89, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The high-arching shot that trickled in just as time expired completed the rise of the Bolts from 12 points down midway in the fourth and turned in handsome dividends for coach Ryan Gregorio, who fielded in Salvacion in the game for the first time in the conference.

“He has not seen the floor the past three games, I made a gamble and it paid off,” said Gregorio, after the Bolts bounced back from a Petron setback and pulled even with Globalport with two victories and three losses. “It was a fantastic shot by Sunday and that’s what veterans do.

“If there’s anyone doubting that there’s a God, that shot just proved there is,” added Gregorio.

Salvacion, however, did more than just pulling off that freakish game-winner.

The 6-foot-2 streak shooter drilled in six of seven three-pointers and had 20 points while putting the cuffs on Gary David in the closing minutes.

Sizzling hot from long range, David flubbed his last two shots with Salvacion in his face and finished with 27 points in Globalport’s third defeat in five games.

“Sunday made life miserable for Gary by contesting his shots,” said Gregorio. “He’s the type of player not used to playing long minutes but determined to do something positive with his limited time on the floor.”

The Batang Pier opened an 80-68 lead after successive threes by David and Jaypee Belencion. Willie Miller also struck with another three after the Bolts came within eight halfway through the quarter and Globalport seemed headed for an easy win.

But the Bolts came charging back with Mac Cardona, Eric Dawson, Cliff Hodge and Salvacion doing the damage. Cardona sank his free throws on a foul by Sol Mercado, slicing down Globalport’s lead, 89-87, with 36.3 seconds left.

On the other end, Belencion muffed a open three and Hodge grabbed the rebound, allowing Gregorio to draw up one more play with 9.5 ticks remaining.

Chris Ross dribbled to the right flank and handed it off to Cardona, who found himself covered inside the paint and was forced to kick out to Salvacion for the buzzer-beater.

The scores:

First Game

MERALCO 90—Salvacion 20, Dawson 19, Hodge 16, Cardona 15, Hugnatan 7, Manuel 4, Buenafe 4, Guevarra 3, Ross 2, Reyes 0, Artadi 0.

GLOBALPORT 89—David 27, Miller 22, Belencion 15, Aguilar 12, Mercado 6, Williams 5, Mandani 2, Yee 0, Salvador 0, Crisano 0.

Quarters: 17-24, 43-48, 66-67, 90-89

Sam Miguel
02-28-2013, 10:24 AM
E-Painters halt Express in tight finish

By Nelson Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 28, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Bruno Sundov played limited minutes due to fouls but Rain or Shine proved steadier in a tight, scrambling finish, nipping Air21, 99-97, to boost its stock in the upper half of the chart in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ryan Araña sank a big trey, JR Quiñahan knocked in an equally important charity and the Elasto Painters pulled a key stop in the dying seconds to get away with their third win in four starts in the mid-season tourney.

“We got really lucky in this game. Our import was in foul-trouble most of the second half, played little minutes and fouled out. We’re really having a problem matching up with their import especially at low post, and at the same time their shooters hit their shots,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.

“It was a complicated situation for us. We’re fortunate they committed a turnover, making a bad pass in the last play,” Guiao added. “Had it gone to overtime, it’s difficult for us to win this game.”

Holding a shaky 99-97 lead, the Elasto Painters needed defensive gems to complete the win and send the Express reeling to their third loss against a lone win.

The E-Painters choked Michael Dunigan in Air21’s final play, forcing Mike Cortez to an errant in-bound pass.

Cortez’ overhead throw-in from the baseline went long, and Jireh Ibanes beat everybody for the loose ball as time expired.

Earlier, Wynne Arboleda missed a wide-open three-point attempt from the right quartercourt that would have given Air21 the lead.

Limited to playing only 27 minutes, Sundov finished the night with just 17 points and five rebounds.

The 7-foot-3 import picked up a fourth foul early in the second half, his fifth with six minutes to go and his sixth with 1:15 left to play.

“We just kept fighting back even with our import not helping us that much. It’s a big lesson for our import. He has to play smarter,” said Guiao.

Barangay Ginebra finally ended its chase for an elusive first win in the conference with a 93-72 whipping of Barako Bull in the nightcap.

Mark Caguioa topscored with 23 points while Vernon Macklin came through with 21 points and 14 rebounds as the Kings nailed their win under coach Alfrancis Chua and the club’s first since Game Two of their Philippine Cup best-of-three quarterfinals showdown with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

“You really can’t take any team in this league for granted. Air21 is strong and dangerous. We almost paid for our mistakes, especially our import getting into foul trouble,” Guiao added.

To make matters worse for RoS, Jervy Cruz twisted his right ankle and was helped to the bench in the second quarter.

Paul Lee, Araña, Quiñahan, Gabe Norwood, Larry Rodriguez and Ronnie Matias helped the E-Painters through in the tight game marked by 12 deadlocks and 11 lead changes.

Lee and Arana led the RoS local scorers, making 15 and 11 points, respectively. They combined for five triples.

Dunigan led the losing team with 22 markers, 10 boards and five assists in 42 minutes of action.

Sam Miguel
02-28-2013, 10:29 AM
Air21 must learn how to finish games, says coach

By Richard Dy

February 27, 2013, 08:27 pm

With the way Air21 has been losing games lately, head coach Franz Pumaren said he hopes his players will learn to rise and stand together, particularly in the endgame.

“When you look at our losses, they were all close games,” Pumaren told Spin.ph after his team dropped a heartbreaking 97-99 loss to Rain or Shine on Wednesday night at the Big Dome.

“Somebody has to assume responsibility for this team. At the same time, aside from Mike (Cortez), they all have to jive together,” he added.

Cortez, whom Air21 acquired in the middle of the All-Filipino conference, made a bad inbound pass that led to Jireh Ibanes’ crucial steal to preserve the Elasto Painters’ third straight win in four starts.

The Express have dropped to the lower half of the standings with their 1-3 record, in a tie with defending champion San Mig Coffee Mixers, with no relief in sight.

Import Michael Dunigan scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half as he dominated the paint with Rain or Shine’s 7-3 import Bruno Sundov fouling out late in the game.

But Pumaren said his team simply can't rely on the 6-9 former University of Oregon standout.

“What has been happening to us the past games has something to do with the mental aspect. We really need to have a strong finishing kick,” he said.

“But hopefully, we could weather the storm and finish well in the coming games.”

Air21 has one day to regroup and make adjustments before plunging back into action on Friday night against the surging Petron Blaze squad at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Sam Miguel
02-28-2013, 10:29 AM
Ginebra ends barren run at last with emphatic win over Barako Bull

By Richard Dy

February 27, 2013, 09:25 pm

BARANGAY Ginebra vented its wrath on an off-form Barako Bull side, 93-72, to finally end a barren run in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Unlike in their first four games where the Gin Kings’ lacked intensity, the boys of coach Alfrancis Chua went all out against the Energy Cola, attacking the basket ferociously and clamping down on defense.

So effective was the Gin Kings' defense that they held the Energy Cola to an abysmal 25.6 percent shooting in the first half (10-of-39) to take a 39-26 haltime lead that only swelled in the second half.

There was no let-up from there as Barangay Ginebra kept piling the points to erect an insurmountable 84-56 lead going into the final five-minute mark on the way to its first win under Chua, who took over from Siot Tanquingcen at the turn of the year.

“I told the players since we lost against Alaska, I never, even once, got mad at them. I just told them, I trust in you, I hope you trust yourself,” sad Chua after his team improved to 1-4.

The Kings' last victory happened in Game Two of the PBA Philippine Cup against Rain or Shine, 79-77, on December 14, 2012. But Barangay Ginebra went on to lose the best-of-three series, 1-2.

It was also the first victory of Chua as coach since his final head-coaching stint with Sta. Lucia Realty in 2007.

Reigning MVP Mark Caguioa led the Gin Kings with 23 points, four rebounds, two assists and four steals to earn best player of the game honors.

Import Vernon Macklin, playing only his second game in the PBA, added 21 points, 14 rebounds and four assists.

Evan Brock and Josh Urbiztondo had 16 points apiece for Barako Bull, which absorbed its second loss in five games as the team ended the game shooting just 33.8 percent overall (25-of-74).

The scores:

Barangay Ginebra 93 - Caguioa 23, Macklin 21, Baracael 14, Tenorio 10, Ellis 9, Raymundo 4, Taha 3, Labagala 2, Espiritu 2, Mamaril 2, Helterbrand 2, Maierhofer 1, Hatfield 0

Barako Bull 72 - Brock 16, Urbiztondo 16, Maliksi 10, Pennisi 8, Seigle 6, Kramer 4, Allado 4, Intal 3, Macapagal 3, Duncil 2, Villanueva 0, Anthony 0

Sam Miguel
02-28-2013, 10:30 AM
Out-of-sync point guards trigger Barako downfall

By Richard Dy

February 27, 2013, 10:03 pm

RAJKO Toroman offers just one reason for Barako Bull’s embarrassing 72-93 loss to Barangay Ginebra Wednesday night, and it has something to do with the way his two veteran point guards performed.

The usually stoic Serbian coach conceded that Josh Urbiztondo and Jonas Villanueva, who were supposed to lead the Energy Cola, were both completely out of sync against the Kings.

“It’s one bad game. Nobody from the beginning found the rhythm,” said Toroman after the 21-point blowout that gave Ginebra its first win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

“The problem was at the point guard position. Jonas and Josh weren’t able to organize the play well,” lamented the Barako Bull mentor.

With his team failing to get its rhythm, the 58-year-old Toroman could do nothing but sat down for the most part of the second half and watched the Energy Cola went through the motion, at one time even trailing by as many as 28 points in the fourth period.

Urbiztondo and Villanueva combined for nine of the team’s game-high 23 turnovers as the usually efficient Barako Bull combo guard were constantly hounded by Ginebra counterpart LA Tenorio and Jayjay Helterbrand.

“In the first half, we had 15 turnovers. Our three-pointers weren’t going in the game also. We gave them (Gin Kings) easy transition points. So from there, they got the confidence.

“At the end of the day, it was a very, very bad game for us,” added the Barako Bull active team consultant.

Toroman hopes to see a much better performance from his team when it faces Petron on Sunday followed by Talk ‘N Text on March 9 in Legazpi City, Albay.

Sam Miguel
02-28-2013, 10:49 AM
Globalport's Romero unhappy with Williams' performance, hints at import switch

By Snow Badua

February 27, 2013, 03:04 pm

ALARMED by the way Globalport’s campaign has spiraled in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, no less than team owner Mikee Romero has hinted that a change of import is in order for the ballclub.

After an encouraging start to the conference with Justin Williams, the Batang Pier have slipped to the lower half of the standings with a 2-3 (win-loss) slate after suffering back-to-back losses in just a week’s span.

Making things worse, two of their three losses, including a 90-89 heartbreaker against Meralco last Sunday, came in games where the Sultan 900 Incorporated franchise collapsed miserably in the endgame.

Making no effort to express his displeasure over Williams' performance, Romero said an import who could take charge in pressure situations could have bailed the Batang Pier out of trouble in those games.

“Di ako happy sa import. Tignan ko, pero magpapalit kami,” the youthful team owner revealed to Spin.ph in a message sent late Tuesday night.

“Mahina eh, kulang sa opensa.”

After exploding for 23 points, 23 rebounds, and eight blocked shots in Globalport’s 89-80 win over Barangay Ginebra, Williams’ numbers suddenly dipped.

His output against the Bolts was a new low among the imports this conference as he tallied only five points to go with 13 rebounds, eight blocks, and an assist.

Globalport head of basketball operations Erick Arejola told Spin.ph the team is carefully evaluating videos of possible prospects, but made it clear that “the team has not yet decided on (a change).”

Arejola hopes a final decision can be made at least until the weekend, which means the Batang Pier might still parade Williams in their road game against defending champion San Mig Coffee Mixers in Naga this Saturday.

Globalport star Gary David has mixed emotions about the looming import switch.

Speaking after the Batang Pier’s morning practice on Wednesday, the 34-year-old hotshot expressed surprise when Spin.ph informed him about the likely change.

“Para sa akin, may sakit si Justin noong nakaraang game (against Meralco). Pero siyempre management’s decision yan. Sila naman nakakaalam,” said David.

“Siyempre may nakikita siguro si Boss Mikee na kulang, siya ang nakakaramdam kung hanggang saan kami dadalhin nung import namin,” added the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart.

But at the same time, David stressed that in an import-laced conference, a team's reinforcement should serve as the go-to guy especially down the stretch - something which Williams is not.

“Kailangan talaga siya 'yung may threat, siya yung gumagawa ng sitwasyon para ma-open yung locals, hindi yung locals ang tutulong sa import,” David said.

“Si Justin kasi role player siya, depensa, rebound, tapos scoring niya hindi ganun ka-explosive. Kulang na lang kay Justin yung offensive threat niya eh, para ma-open up sa depensa yung mga local scorers.”

Sam Miguel
02-28-2013, 10:52 AM
^^^ Not being a stone scorer is a mortal sin for an import, unless he's getting at least 20 rebounds and five blocks per game. And even then he still needs to toss in at least 15-17 points per game. Ideally a PBA import would be scoring at least 30 points per game. In the modern age no one expects even 35-40 ppg out of an import, but 30 ppg should be a given, especially on a relatively weak team like Globalports. If the Batang Pier cannot even count on their import to score consistently in a big import conference patay na.

Sam Miguel
02-28-2013, 10:57 AM
Sunday gifts Meralco with miracle victory

9:44 pm | Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Everybody knows Sunday Salvacion has the skill to hit three-pointers from all angles. Last night, he proved it in a big way again.

Salvacion banked in a buzzer-beating three and Meralco repulsed Globalport, 90-89, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The high-arching shot that trickled in just as time expired completed the rise of the Bolts from 12 points down midway in the fourth and turned in handsome dividends for coach Ryan Gregorio, who fielded in Salvacion in the game for the first time in the conference.

“He has not seen the floor the past three games, I made a gamble and it paid off,” said Gregorio, after the Bolts bounced back from a Petron setback and pulled even with Globalport with two victories and three losses. “It was a fantastic shot by Sunday and that’s what veterans do.

“If there’s anyone doubting that there’s a God, that shot just proved there is,” added Gregorio.

Salvacion, however, did more than just pulling off that freakish game-winner.

The 6-foot-2 streak shooter drilled in six of seven three-pointers and had 20 points while putting the cuffs on Gary David in the closing minutes.

Sizzling hot from long range, David flubbed his last two shots with Salvacion in his face and finished with 27 points in Globalport’s third defeat in five games.

“Sunday made life miserable for Gary by contesting his shots,” said Gregorio. “He’s the type of player not used to playing long minutes but determined to do something positive with his limited time on the floor.”

The Batang Pier opened an 80-68 lead after successive threes by David and Jaypee Belencion. Willie Miller also struck with another three after the Bolts came within eight halfway through the quarter and Globalport seemed headed for an easy win.

But the Bolts came charging back with Mac Cardona, Eric Dawson, Cliff Hodge and Salvacion doing the damage. Cardona sank his free throws on a foul by Sol Mercado, slicing down Globalport’s lead, 89-87, with 36.3 seconds left.

On the other end, Belencion muffed a open three and Hodge grabbed the rebound, allowing Gregorio to draw up one more play with 9.5 ticks remaining.

Chris Ross dribbled to the right flank and handed it off to Cardona, who found himself covered inside the paint and was forced to kick out to Salvacion for the buzzer-beater.


Wife happy to see Meralco heroics cast new light on Salvacion career

By Snow Badua

February 27, 2013, 10:25 am

THE sagging playing career of Sunday Salvacion definitely got a new lease of life following his heroic, game-winning three-pointer in Meralco’s come-from-behind 90-89 victory over Globalport in their recent PBA Commissioner’s Cup game meeting.

But unknown to many, the 34-year-old gunner had already been bracing himself for the inevitable end of his playing career until fate intervened on that incredible Sunday night.

Resigned to the fact that her husband’s playing days are nearing its end, Sunday’s wife, Hazel Buerano-Salvacion, revealed to Spin.ph that there were moments when the two of them would already talk about planning for their post-basketball future.

“Minsan nag-uusap kami. Sabi namin baka nga malapit na (end of career),” Mrs Salvacion said. "Kasi hindi naman sa ano pa man, pero di ba ilang years na siyang hindi masyado nagagamit.”

For starters, the Salvacions own a thriving laundry shop in Antipolo called “SundayClean,” which among others services PBA teams Barangay Ginebra, San Mig Coffee, Meralco, and even PBA D-League squad NLEX with the washing of their uniforms.

“Talagang pina-plano na namin ang pagkukunan namin for our future, syempre iba na ang revenue nun di ba?” she added. “Pero everytime na mapapag-usapan namin yun (after PBA life) talagang hindi nawawalan ng loob si Sunday, lalo siyang nagsisikap sa ensayo.”

The cager’s wife, a charmer from Infanta, Quezon, disclosed how Salvacion would spend extra time shooting hoops in a makeshift basketball half-court in front of their house in Antipolo to keep his jumper sharp and at the same time keep himself in shape.

“Everyday, tinatawag niya `yung pamangkin namin para maging taga-abot ng bola. Binibigyan niya ng piso kada shoot, pero hindi siya titigil hangga’t hindi aabot ng sakto P200 yun,” Hazel said.

At Meralco, it’s already an open book how Salvacion, the 11th overall pick in the 2003 Draft, would be the earliest to arrive and the last to leave practice, making him the butt of jokes among his teammates.

“Minsan nga, kinakantyawan ako ng mga kakampi ko, kasi daw practice ako ng practice hindi naman ako nagagamit,” said Sunday in his usual jolly tone.

“Pero sabi ko nga sana naman magkaroon pa rin ako ng huli pang hirit sa career ko, kahit mga two years pa,” he added as he cites the case of late-blooming Globalport star Gary David as his motivation.

“Pag naiisip ko na may edad na ko, naiisip ko lang si Gary, di ba? Pareho kami ng edad nun, pero ang galing-galing pa rin niya,” disclosed Salvacion.

“Basta, hindi ako nawawalan ng loob, alam kong marami pa akong ipapakita. Maging ready lang ako pag ginamit anytime.”

His Sunday heroics adding yet another highlight reel to his 10-year pro career, Salvacion can only hope a 'second wind’ is forthcoming.

“Sana maibalik ko yung dating init ng career ko nung nasa Ginebra pa ako,” he said while recalling that glorious chapter of his PBA life where he won four championships while playing a crucial role in the Kings’ regular rotation.

His fifth and final league title came with Petron in the 2011 Governors’ Cup.

Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio was very vocal to members of the working press about his praises for the 6-foot-3 shooter following the bailout job he did for the Bolts.

“Sunday was a bunot, a huling bunot. Buti sinagot `yung gamble na yun ... He did not only lift our spirits but he made their lives (Batang Pier) miserable,” said Gregorio in his post-game interview.

As for Mrs. Salvacion, she could only borrow a line from the popular Meralco slogan pertaining to the latest development in his husband’s playing career.

She said, “Sana nga... kahit papano may liwanag ulit ang buhay ng kanyang career.”

Sam Miguel
02-28-2013, 11:00 AM
Ginebra ends barren run at last with emphatic win over Barako Bull

By Richard Dy

February 27, 2013, 09:25 pm

BARANGAY Ginebra vented its wrath on an off-form Barako Bull side, 93-72, to finally end a barren run in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Unlike in their first four games where the Gin Kings’ lacked intensity, the boys of coach Alfrancis Chua went all out against the Energy Cola, attacking the basket ferociously and clamping down on defense.

So effective was the Gin Kings' defense that they held the Energy Cola to an abysmal 25.6 percent shooting in the first half (10-of-39) to take a 39-26 haltime lead that only swelled in the second half.

There was no let-up from there as Barangay Ginebra kept piling the points to erect an insurmountable 84-56 lead going into the final five-minute mark on the way to its first win under Chua, who took over from Siot Tanquingcen at the turn of the year.

“I told the players since we lost against Alaska, I never, even once, got mad at them. I just told them, I trust in you, I hope you trust yourself,” sad Chua after his team improved to 1-4.

The Kings' last victory happened in Game Two of the PBA Philippine Cup against Rain or Shine, 79-77, on December 14, 2012. But Barangay Ginebra went on to lose the best-of-three series, 1-2.

It was also the first victory of Chua as coach since his final head-coaching stint with Sta. Lucia Realty in 2007.

Reigning MVP Mark Caguioa led the Gin Kings with 23 points, four rebounds, two assists and four steals to earn best player of the game honors.

Import Vernon Macklin, playing only his second game in the PBA, added 21 points, 14 rebounds and four assists.

Evan Brock and Josh Urbiztondo had 16 points apiece for Barako Bull, which absorbed its second loss in five games as the team ended the game shooting just 33.8 percent overall (25-of-74).


'Kabarangay' Locsin preaches patience to fans amid Ginebra struggles

By Snow Badua

February 27, 2013, 11:06 am

GINEBRA is going through a rough patch and this is not the time for fans to be divided.

So says Noli Locsin, the former Ginebra star who, in one of the rare interviews he has given about Ginebra since leaving the team, asked disillusioned fans to rally behind the league's most popular ballclub.

“Dapat magkaroon ng patience ang mga kabarangay, let’s give the team a chance,” said Locsin, adding an import switch and a change of coaches is an adjustment that is never easy for any team.

“Bago yung import nila, saka maraming bago sa team. Bigyan pa sana sila ng chance. Mahaba pa naman yung conference,” declared 'The Tank.'

Locsin stressed that Ginebra has always been known to come back from the deepest holes, being a team which takes pride in its popular slogan, 'never say die.'

The burly forward from Bacolod knows how it is to be down, remembering that Ginebra slipped to a 0-10 win-loss campaign in the 1995 Governors’ Cup during his sophomore year.

“Hindi naman talaga laging panalo. May time rin na matatalo ka. Kung ang gulong bilog at gumugulong, ganun din ang bola,” said Locsin, now the part owner of a yuppies bar in Greenhills called Chivz Lounge Bar.

“Basta sa ngayon siguro, mas manalangin pa ng todo ang mga fans, and good things will come."

The 6-2 wingman was one of the most popular players in the last batch of players handled by former Ginebra playing coach Robert Jaworski and Locsin said he will always be part of the team.

“Dyan tayo nakilala nang husto, kaya hindi puwedeng hindi magkaroon ng malaking parte sa puso ko ang Ginebra," he said.

Sam Miguel
02-28-2013, 11:02 AM
Globalport's Romero unhappy with Williams' performance, hints at import switch

By Snow Badua

February 27, 2013, 03:04 pm

ALARMED by the way Globalport’s campaign has spiraled in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, no less than team owner Mikee Romero has hinted that a change of import is in order for the ballclub.

After an encouraging start to the conference with Justin Williams, the Batang Pier have slipped to the lower half of the standings with a 2-3 (win-loss) slate after suffering back-to-back losses in just a week’s span.

Making things worse, two of their three losses, including a 90-89 heartbreaker against Meralco last Sunday, came in games where the Sultan 900 Incorporated franchise collapsed miserably in the endgame.

Making no effort to express his displeasure over Williams' performance, Romero said an import who could take charge in pressure situations could have bailed the Batang Pier out of trouble in those games.

“Di ako happy sa import. Tignan ko, pero magpapalit kami,” the youthful team owner revealed to Spin.ph in a message sent late Tuesday night.

“Mahina eh, kulang sa opensa.”

After exploding for 23 points, 23 rebounds, and eight blocked shots in Globalport’s 89-80 win over Barangay Ginebra, Williams’ numbers suddenly dipped.

His output against the Bolts was a new low among the imports this conference as he tallied only five points to go with 13 rebounds, eight blocks, and an assist.

Globalport head of basketball operations Erick Arejola told Spin.ph the team is carefully evaluating videos of possible prospects, but made it clear that “the team has not yet decided on (a change).”

Arejola hopes a final decision can be made at least until the weekend, which means the Batang Pier might still parade Williams in their road game against defending champion San Mig Coffee Mixers in Naga this Saturday.

Globalport star Gary David has mixed emotions about the looming import switch.

Speaking after the Batang Pier’s morning practice on Wednesday, the 34-year-old hotshot expressed surprise when Spin.ph informed him about the likely change.

“Para sa akin, may sakit si Justin noong nakaraang game (against Meralco). Pero siyempre management’s decision yan. Sila naman nakakaalam,” said David.

“Siyempre may nakikita siguro si Boss Mikee na kulang, siya ang nakakaramdam kung hanggang saan kami dadalhin nung import namin,” added the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart.

But at the same time, David stressed that in an import-laced conference, a team's reinforcement should serve as the go-to guy especially down the stretch - something which Williams is not.

“Kailangan talaga siya 'yung may threat, siya yung gumagawa ng sitwasyon para ma-open yung locals, hindi yung locals ang tutulong sa import,” David said.

“Si Justin kasi role player siya, depensa, rebound, tapos scoring niya hindi ganun ka-explosive. Kulang na lang kay Justin yung offensive threat niya eh, para ma-open up sa depensa yung mga local scorers.”

Fist of fury as Baculi hurt after smashing dugout board out of frustration over Bolts loss

By Snow Badua

February 26, 2013, 01:05 pm

“Learn from it, please don’t let it happen again," Globalport coach Junel Baculi tells his team after the heartbreaking loss to Meralco. "Bumawi kayo sa next games. Kawawa yung ibang nagpapakamatay sa team natin." Jerome Ascano

WHAT was supposed to be a night of jubilation turned bloody for Globalport Batang Pier coach Junel Baculi.

Frustrated after his team lost what was supposed to be another won game, no thanks to Meralco gunner Sunday Salvacion's three-pointer off the glass at the buzzer, the fiery mentor vented his ire on the white board inside their Smart-Araneta Coliseum dugout which he smashed with one big punch.

The Globalport coach with the sleek hair and tootbrush moustache suffered cuts and bruises on his right fist. Still, Baculi said the pain in his busted hand is no match to the pain and anguish he felt after Salvacion nailed the game-winning three-pointer that completed Globalport's utter collapse.

“Mas masakit namang di hamak yung pagkatalo namin sa naging sugat ko ... Malayo!” said Baculi when contacted by Spin.ph.

“I got so frustrated, nasuntok ko yung whiteboard. Nakakasama rin kasi talaga ng loob kasi pinaghirapan mo yung game plan mo ... Tapos panalo na, natalo pa,” he added.

It was not the first time in the PBA Commissioner's Cup the Batang Pier, now 2-3, lost a game where they held a big lead near the end. They also dropped a 88-98 overtime decision to Barako Bull on February 10 when Mark Macapagal hit a desperation trey at the buzzer to force extra time.

“We could have been 4-1, as of now. Except for the Talk 'N Text blowout (loss), okay kami di ba? We gave away two games,” rued Baculi.

Despite the anguish and the pain, Baculi has called on his players to turn the heartbreak into a positive.

“Syempre, sabi ko look at the positive na lang, bumawi kayo for me. We still have nine games. It’s not yet the end of the world,” bared Baculi. “Tignan natin kung ano ang next development."

“Sana mag-stick na kami sa game plan. Yung last defensive stand namin, I told everybody to man the shooters of Meralco especially the three-point shooters, pero nangyari pa rin yun (Salvacion three-pointer)," he added.

And his advice to his players sounded intriguing enough.

“Learn from it, go over it. Please don’t let it happen again," Baculi said. "Bumawi kayo sa next games. Kawawa yung ibang nagpapakamatay sa team natin.

“Unfair talaga sa ibang nagpapakahirap na players, yung iba sa kanila kinakausap ako."

Sam Miguel
02-28-2013, 11:04 AM
Former Lakers Mbenga, Cook eyed as possible Williams replacement

By Snow Badua

February 28, 2013, 11:03 am

Former LA Laker DJ Mbenga had attracted interest from both Ginebra and Alaska, but negotiations with the Kings bogged down because of Mbenga's unavailability on short notice.

NOT just one but two former Los Angeles Lakers are among the four prospects being eyed by Globalport as possible replacement for Justin Williams in the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Spin.ph learned that DJ Mbenga and Brian Cook have been at the top of the list being studied by Batang Pier management as it looks to give the team a fresh boost after a 2-3 (win-loss) start with Williams.

Officials have remained silent about the matter, but a source who declined to be identified confirmed the news that arrangements are now being made for negotiations with either of the two former Lakers.

Mbenga, a part of the Lakers’ back-to-back championship team in 2009 and 2010, had made noise early in the conference when both Alaska and Barangay Ginebra took interest in him.

The Kings actually came close to signing up Mbenga, but negotiations bogged down as the Congolese-Belgian seven-footer still had commitments in the US and was not available on short notice.

“Ngayon open na schedule ni DJ, so pwedeng-pwede na siya,” said the source.

Also being dangled to Globalport is the 6-foot-9 Cook.

Picked 24th overall in the 2003 NBA draft, Cook played chief back-up to NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal in his rookie year with the Lakers.

But Cook is best known for being part of Team USA under-21 unit that won the gold medal in the 2001 FIBA U21 World Championship in Saitama, Japan.

Aside from Cook and Mbenga, Globalport is still looking at videos of two more prospective imports likely to take over the spot of the 6-foot-10 Williams, a steady defensive presence in the middle with great shotblocking skills, but sorely lacking in offensive skills to take charge at crunch time.

“You know naman boss Mikee, he doesn’t want to lose,” said a team source, referring to Globalport owner Mikee Romero, whose passion for winning is unquestionable as proven by his stints in the defunct Philippine Basketball League, the Asian Basketball League, and even as basketball patron during the Southeast Asian Games in 2007.

“Importante kasi kay boss Mikee `yung gumawa ng lasting impression, not just winning a single conference, but to build a lasting legacy,” the source added.

Romero had earlier disclosed to Spin.ph that he’s seeking a replacement for Williams following the back-to-back losses suffered by the Batang Pier at the hands of Talk `N Text and Meralco.

The Globalport team owner didn’t mince any words that he’s looking for an import who can be the team’s go-to-guy at crunchtime.

Sam Miguel
03-01-2013, 08:22 AM
Spotless Aces battle Tropang Texters tonight

By June Navarro

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:57 am | Friday, March 1st, 2013

ALASKA, enjoying its best start in nearly four years, tries to sustain its surprising run when it tackles Talk ‘N Text today in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Unbeaten in four games, Alaska coach Luigi Trillo expects a tough game against Norman Black’s Tropang Texters, who have a 2-2 record going into the 7:30 p.m. encounter.

“They just lost to San Mig Coffee, so we know they’re going to come out with an extra sense of commitment and focus in this game,” said Trillo of the Tropang Texters, who eliminated the Aces in six games of their semifinal duel in the Philippine Cup last month.

The Petron Blaze Boosters, also on a hot start, aim to stretch their triumphant run to four against Air21 in the 5:15 p.m. opener.

The Boosters (3-1) nipped the Meralco Bolts, 88-86, last week while the Express (1-3) will try to snap out of a three-game losing spell, the last a 97-99 loss to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters last Wednesday.

“We do like our matchup with them (Talk ‘N Text),” said Trillo, whose squad is coming off a convincing 84-69 win over Alaska in an out-of-town game in Tubod, Lanao Del Norte, on Saturday. “We both seem to bring out the best in each other.”

The Aces, who went 6-0 in the 2009 Philippine Cup, boast import Robert Dozier and a solid local crew featuring Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio, JV Casio, Tony dela Cruz, Gabby Espinas, RJ Jazul and crack rookie Calvin Abueva.

The Tropang Texters lost to San Mig Coffee, 82-90, as former Best Import Denzel Bowles rediscovered his old form to fire 29 points and haul down 23 rebounds.

“It’s important that we start to find some consistency in our defense. So far, the effort has been up and down,” said Black. “It’s also important that our import stays out of foul trouble because it was crucial in our two losses.”

Bowles outmatched TNT’s Keith Benson, who had 16 points and 17 boards.

Sam Miguel
03-01-2013, 08:22 AM
Air21 forward Reyes tears right knee ACL, MCL

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

4:26 pm | Thursday, February 28th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — It looked bad the moment Air 21 forward Rob Reyes went down hard on the floor Wednesday night, and then it didn’t get any better for him after.

Reyes said on Twitter that he has torn both the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) on his right knee.

Reyes also suffered an ACL tear on his left on his first year in the PBA.

With less than a minute gone by in the third quarter in the Express’ 97-99 loss to Rain or Shine, Reyes soared high for the rebound but his right knee buckled as he landed.

He was rushed to St. Luke’s Medical Center immediately after, but Reyes already knew what he was looking at.

“Looks like I tore my other ACL,” Reyes tweeted one of his followers as he was waiting on the Emergency Room.

Reyes, though, has kept positive even if he could be out of action for at least six months.

“Pretty bummed, but I can get through this,” Reyes also tweeted. “At the end of the day, I can make it a positive lesson for my son [perseverance].”

Sam Miguel
03-04-2013, 09:44 AM
Petron on a roll, tames Barako Bull

By Nelson Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated March 4, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Petron Blaze played A-1 basketball on both ends on its return from a poor shooting night Friday and the Boosters sustained their winning streak with a 91-78 whipping of former coach Rajko Toroman and his new team Barako Bull in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

After making only 60 points (the team’s lowest in a game in 12 years) on 32 percent shooting against Air21, the Boosters came back on an attack mode, particularly import Renaldo Balkman who poured in 33 points to lead the team to a fifth straight win following a losing conference debut to Globalport.

Arwind Santos, Ronald Tubid and Junmar Fajardo also scored in double figures and Petron hit at a 41.4-percent clip in dominating the Barako Bull side that went down with its third loss against the same number of wins.

The Boosters set the pace throughout, leading by as many as 25 points at 66-41 on back-to-back three-pointers by Santos and Jay Washington late in the third quarter.

Barako Bull import Evan Brock scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter with Sean Anthony and Mark Macapagal combining for the same production as the Energy Cola made the game a little close in the end.

Despite their big lead, Petron coach Olsen Racela still pushed his team till the latter part of the lopsided game.

“I’m still not yet used to the feeling of coaching. When you’re a coach, a 20-point lead is not enough. As a player, there’s the tendency to relax a little. As a coach, you still want your team to defend properly and run smoothly,” said Racela.

Balkman was all business to the finish, collecting 14 points, four assists, four steals and one block on top of his 33 points – his second best output in the local pro league.

“He’s been our catalyst and leader especially on defense. His intensity and energy rub off on his teammates,” said Racela of the former New York Knick and Denver Nugget.

“That’s how I am. I play every game as if it’s the last,” said the prolific Puerto Rican player, the tourney’s leading scorer.

A crowd-pleaser, Balkman went 14-of-24 from the field, including couples of rim-rattling jams.

For the second straight game, Bruno Sundov sat out long minutes and failed to finish the game due to fouls but Rain or Shine squeezed through, this time nipping Barangay Ginebra, 96-93.

“It’s just a tribute and credit to the locals for stepping up and working hard to make up for the minutes our import wasn’t able to play,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.

The Elasto Painters stayed close behind the leaders at 4-1 while the Kings fell deeper down the leaderboard at 1-5.

Sam Miguel
03-04-2013, 09:45 AM
Unbeaten Aces notch win No. 5 over Texters

By Nelson Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated March 2, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Alaska Milk sizzled all night and crushed Talk n Text, 92-69, to stay unbeaten through five games in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

Raising the level of their game higher, the Aces overwhelmed the Philippine Cup three-peat champs, dealing the Texters the severest punishment in the third quarter to open a 73-44 bulge.

The Aces put the game away while holding the Texters to five points in the third quarter – the second lowest ever in a quarter for the Smart-PLDT franchise.

In the first game, Renaldo Balkman put in 25 points and 13 rebounds as Petron Blaze scrambled for a 60-53 win over Air21 in a low-scoring game to seize solo second place.

Arwind Santos came through with his own double-double performance with 11 markers and 10 boards as the Boosters survived a 32-percent field goal shooting and a big deficit on rebounding, notching a fourth straight victory in the low-scoring contest.

It was a defensive battle that saw both teams limit each other to franchise-low outputs.

Petron’s production was the all-time lowest winning score in franchise history and the sixth all-time lowest winning score in the league.

Air21, meanwhile, went down with its lowest score in franchise history, equaling the seventh all-time least in a game in the league record books.

“It was a defensive game and the score showed it,” said Petron Blaze coach Olsen Racela.

“At halftime, we told the guys we don’t care that we play a low-scoring game for as long as we make our defensive stops,” Racela added. “There were some stretches where we couldn’t get anything. It’s good Rey (Balkman) took charge in the fourth quarter. The leader that he is, he stepped up and gave us the cushion that we needed.”

After the Boosters bled for seven points in the third quarter, Balkman came out scoring the first three baskets in the payoff period and Petron gained some momentum propelling the team to a fourth win in five games.

Air21 dropped to the cellar in a tie with Barangay Ginebra with a fourth consecutive loss after a winning conference debut.

The Boosters, still minus injured key players Chris Lutz and Alex Cabagnot, struggled with 24-of-75 field shooting but the Express were worse with a 21-of-76 clip.

Sam Miguel
03-05-2013, 08:11 AM
Alaska will be a good test for Petron, says Racela

By Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

5:01 pm | Monday, March 4th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Riding on a five-game winning run, Petron Blaze head coach Olsen Racela knows his team has yet to face its toughest challenge yet.

And the Boosters’ next game which is against Alaska, a team on a hot streak of its own, would be it.

“Well, that’s going to be a good match up for us, a test for this team,” Racela said on facing the Aces next on Friday.

“We’ve accomplished something but we still haven’t done everything. That will be a gauge to see how far we’ve come as a team,” he added.

The Boosters’ anticipated clash with the Aces could also mark the return of their veteran playmaker Alex Cabagnot, who is recuperating from an ankle injury.

Meanwhile, swingman Chris Lutz, who injured his rib early in the conference, will miss three more games according to Racela.

Petron though, hardly seemed affected by the injuries to its key players as its sits in second place behind unbeaten Alaska, which is at 5-0, with a 5-1 slate.

“Every time players get injured it’s the time of other players to step up. We miss the scoring of our two injured guys and Alex’s leadership.”

Sam Miguel
03-07-2013, 10:45 AM
Bolts survive thriller anew

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:09 pm | Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Meralco pulled off another great escape last night, and this one was again through the brilliance of one man.

Chris Ross came up with two crucial steals and made the marginal free throws inside the final 11.9 seconds that lifted the Bolts to an 89-88 squeaker over Air21 for their first winning streak in the PBA Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Bolts actually survived the loss of an 18-point lead in the third quarter and a one-man wrecking crew named Michael Dunigan in the fourth, needing to come back from three points down in the final two minutes before improving to 3-3.

It was the fifth straight loss for the Express, who literally gave the game away with several ill-advised plays in the waning seconds.

Dunigan, who scored 30 of his 40 points in the second half and brought the Express on the verge of winning, also became the goat when he fired a telegraphed pass that Ross intercepted.

That led to two free throws by Ross off a Mark Isip foul with 11.9 to go that turned out to be the final score.

Left without a timeout, Mike Cortez couldn’t totally handle the inbounds pass and lost control to a harassing Ross. The Bolts then ran out the clock and sent the Express into a tie at the bottom with idle Barangay Ginebra.

The win was a fitting followup to Meralco’s 90-89 decision of Globalport last week when Sunday Salvacion—in his first game of the tournament—knocked in six three-pointers capped by the marginal triple at the buzzer.

Salvacion again had six against the Express, all inside the first three periods.

“All our games will be like this. But for as long as we end up winning, I wouldn’t mind it,” Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio said.

Eric Dawson was thoroughly outplayed by Dunigan in the second half and though he had a short stab that put the Bolts within 87-88, he also missed a wide open layup.

Dawson finished with 35 points and 17 rebounds to pace the Bolts.

Dunigan also had 16 rebounds, two assists and two blocks but his performance was marred by a team-high six turnovers.

The scores:

First Game

MERALCO 89—Dawson 35, Salvacion 18, Cardona 11, Hugnatan 8, Ross 6, Hodge 4, Buenafe 3, Manuel 2, Reyes 2, Artadi 0.

AIR21 88—Dunigan 40, Isip 13, Canaleta 7, Custodio 6, Omolon 6, Ritualo 5, Cortez 4, Arboleda 3, Sena 2, Menor 2, Atkins 0, Wilson 0, Baclao 0.

Quarters: 26-19, 49-35, 74-64, 89-88

Sam Miguel
03-07-2013, 10:46 AM
Mixers snap Aces’ unbeaten run

By Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

10:47 pm | Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—San Mig Coffee dealt Alaska its first loss following a 75-68 win Wednesday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Mixers pulled ahead in the third quarter to lead by as much as 24, 60-36, on a basket by PJ Simon.

The Aces went on a late push and moved into single digits, 65-73, on two free throws by RJ Jazul with 1:47 left.

Denzel Bowles stopped Alaska’s run with a putback slam to make it a 10-point lead.

Bowles collected 16 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.

San Mig Coffee held Alaska’s big three of Cyrus Baguio, JVee Casio and Calvin Abueva to just single digits.

The Aces absorbed their first defeat in six games while the Mixers evened its win-loss record at 3-3.

The scores:

SAN MIG COFFEE 75 – Bowles 16, Yap 11, Barroca 10, Devance 10, Simon 10, Najorda 6, Pingris 6, De Ocampo 5, Reavis 1, Mallari 0, Gaco 0, Gonzales 0.

ALASKA 68 – Dozier 16, Thoss 13, Jazul 10, Espinas 8, Baguio 7, Abueva 6, Hontiveros 5, Casio 3, Ramos 0, Dela Cruz 0.

Quarters: 12-18, 40-28, 62-39, 75-68

Joescoundrel
03-09-2013, 10:25 AM
E-Painters squeak past Batang Pier

Norwood, Tiu spark ROS’ fifth win

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:27 am | Saturday, March 9th, 2013

GABE Norwood and rookie Chris Tiu bailed out Rain or Shine from a huge collapse last night, keying a 103-95 decision of Globalport as the Elasto Painters nailed a fifth straight win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The duo hit big shot after big shot in the stretch as the Painters survived the loss of a 20-point third-quarter lead to rise to 5-1 and deal the Batang Pier a fourth straight loss in a 2-5 card.

“We really got a scare in the second half,” said coach Yeng Guiao, who again had a lot of things to say about officiating. “We kind of relaxed when we got a big lead. We’re lucky that their import didn’t really make that much of a contribution.”

Norwood scored 11 points and Tiu had 10 of his career-high 16 in the fourth quarter as the Painters found little use again for import Bruno Sundov, who sat most of the last period because of foul trouble.

From a 55-35 lead early in the third, the Painters found themselves in a nip-and-tuck game in the fourth, even trailing, 88-89 with just over four minutes left after a Gary David triple.

Norwood then hit a triple that came after a Jervy Cruz bucket and, after the Batang Pier came within one again courtesy of a Will Antonio trey, Globalport hastened its own demise with several ill-advised plays, the biggest of which was when David tried to finish a 1-on-3 break with a three-point shot.

Tiu, the seventh overall pick in the last Draft, then hit his third and last trey and Cruz had another jumper from deep left corner that sandwiched a key Sol Mercado error for 98-92 with 37.3 seconds to go.

Norwood and Tiu then polished off Globalport by hitting the Painters’ last five points.

There were six players, led by David’s 23 points, who scored in twin digits for Globalport, excluding import Justin Williams, whom coach Junel Baculi kept on the bench in the final 17 minutes.

Williams will be replaced by Walter Sharpe, a Chinese league veteran who saw action in a few games for Detroit in the NBA. He is set to arrive just in time for the Batang Pier’s game against Air21 tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Talk ‘N Text welcomes back Donnell Harvey today when the Tropang Texters, the losing finalists here last season, slug it out with slumping Barako Bull in a road game presented by Phoenix Fuels at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation in Legazpi City.

Sundov still finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds, but it was the all-Filipino crew that again pulled it out for the Painters.

The scores:

First Game

RAIN OR SHINE 103—Sundov 17, Tiu 16, Cruz 15, Norwood 13, Ibanes 9, Quinahan 7, Matias 6, Tang 6, Rodriguez 6, Lee 5, Belga 3, Arana 0.

GLOBALPORT 95—David 23, Mercado 18, Miller 13, Salvador 11, Aguilar 10, Antonio 10, Williams 6, Lingganay 2, Yee 2, Belencion 0, Crisano 0.

Quarters: 23-17, 52-35, 73-69, 103-95

Joescoundrel
03-10-2013, 08:21 AM
Castro’s heroics lift Talk N’ Text past Barako Bull in Albay

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

2:31 am | Sunday, March 10th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Jayson Castro’s late game heroics buoyed Talk N’ Text to a 101-98 squeaker of a win over Barako Bull Saturday night at Ibalong Centrum for Recreation in Legaspi, Albay.

Castro accounted for the Texters’ last seven points after a 94-all deadlock in the final two and half minutes, helping to arrest his squad’s two-game losing skid.

Castro finished with 18 points along with Larry Fonaciers, but Rabel Al-Hussain topscored with 19 after missing just two shots from the field.

Donnell Harvey finished with eight points on his return with the Texters, who improved to 3-3.

While Castro kept Talk N’ Text in the lead, the Energy took turns in trying to steal the game from the jaws of defeat.

Barako Bull’s last gasp was a triple from Mark Macapagal, which could’ve sent the game into overtime, did not count as he released it after the buzzer.

Veterans Mick Pennisi and Danny Seigle carried the scoring cudgles with 19 and 18 points, respectively, as Barako Bull dropped to 3-4.

The scores:

TALK N’ TEXT 101 – Al-Hussaini 19, Fonacier 18, Castro 18, Alapag 12, De Ocampo 11, Harvey 8, Williams 8, Reyes 3, Carey 2, Aban 2, Dillinger 0, Raymundo 0.

BARAKO 98 – Pennisi 19, Seigle 18, Urbiztondo 14, Brock 14, Anthony 12, Macapagal 9, Villanueva 7, Kramer 2, Intal 2, Maliksi 1, Duncil 0, Weinstein 0.

Quarters: 30-32, 61-51, 81-78, 101-98

Sam Miguel
03-11-2013, 09:05 AM
Balkman, Santos patch things up; Racela says import is staying

By Celest R. Flores

11:45 pm | Friday, March 8th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Arwind Santos was just trying to pacify an exasperated import Renaldo Balkman on Wednesday night in Petron’s 73-83 loss to Alaska.

Yet Balkman’s temper flared even more, shoving teammate Ronald Tubid and then shockingly wrapped his hand around the Santos’ neck.

In the end, though, the emotions were set aside for the benefit of the team as Santos was even the first one to reach out and apologize.

“Maikli lang (usapan kanina), nagsorry lang kami sa isa’t isa. Una na akong lumapit, di ko inisip kung sinong mali, para sa team (Our talk was quick. We just said sorry to each other. I was the first one who approached him, I didn’t mind who’s wrong, it’s for the team),” Santos told the reporters after the game.

“Mainit daw sya, di na daw nya control emotion nya (He said he’s hot-tempered, he said he can’t control his emotions),” Santos added.

Balkman, though, also apologized to each and everyone in the team, according to head coach Olsen Racela.

“It was better than a speech, inisa isa nya kami lahat,” Racela said. “Good thing was he knows his mistakes and he said sorry to us and his team mates.”

After averaging a little over 28 points, Balkman was held to just six on Friday night, missing all but three of his 16 shots and all four freethrow attempts.

And that’s what Racela thinks led to Balkman’s shocking show of frustration.

“That’s how much these players want to win. Yun ‘yung passion sa laro. Ayaw na ayaw nya (Balkman) kasing natatalo. Frustrated sya kasi di maganda laro n’ya tapos talo na kami,” said Racela.

When asked if Balkman is staying after the incident, Racela said “yes.” If there will be sanctions, though, he has yet to discuss it with the management.

Santos, though, is hopeful his won’t affect his team’s chemisty. The Boosters are at third place with a 5-2 record, their best start in recent history.

“Wala naman gustong makaapekto samin yun. Our team is like family,” Santos said. “Oo naman (andun parin yung trust).”

“I told them I know how much all of you guys want to win. The true character will come out the next game on how to bounce back,” said Racela.

Meanwhile, Balkman is set to appear before PBA Commissioner Chito Salud at his office for his actions.

Sam Miguel
03-11-2013, 09:06 AM
Gins hold off San Mig Mixers; Express up

By Musong R. Castillo

10:14 pm | Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Mark Caguioa sizzled in the clutch last night, leading Barangay Ginebra to a 96-88 victory over San Mig Coffee in a PBA Commissioner’s Cup elimination game that had the trimmings of a title match at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Before a boisterous crowd of close to 17,000, Caguioa hit two triples inside the final 1:16 as Ginebra won just its second game in seven matches to climb out of the cellar.

“It’s nice to beat the champion team,” Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua said after dealing the defending champion Mixers their first loss in four games and fourth in seven outings overall. “We caught a big fish tonight and the boys worked very hard for it.”

Caguioa finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and import Vernon Macklin added 20 and 16 boards for the Kings, who held several 15-point leads in the second half only to be threatened by the Mixers in the stretch.

The first of Caguioa’s crucial triples gave Ginebra an 85-77 lead and the second an 88-79 cushion heading into the final 36.8 seconds.

Earlier, Michael Dunigan, the goat the last time, was the big hero for Air21 this time as the Express snapped a five-game skid with a 106-94 decision of Globalport.

Dunigan shot 35 points that went with 20 rebounds as the Express ended weeks of heartaches to rise to 2-5 overall and climb out of the cellar.

Dunigan threw the crosscourt pass that Meralco intercepted and turned as the key basket in an 89-88 win last Wednesday.

The Batang Pier lost for the fifth straight game and dropped to 2-6 overall despite unveiling a new import in Walter Sharpe.

Meanwhile, Renaldo Balkman’s outburst last Friday in Petron Blaze’s losing game against Alaska will cost him not only a hefty fine from the Office of the Commissioner but also from his team. The amount of the fine was not disclosed, however.

League chair Robert Non, who is also the head of basketball operations of the San Miguel Group, yesterday confirmed this development.

Balkman cursed members of the coaching staff, shoved Ronald Tubid and grabbed Arwind Santos by the neck when they all tried to pacify him from confronting referees in the final 21 seconds of a loss to the Aces.

The scores:

First Game

AIR21 106—Dunigan 35, Isip 12, Cortez 12, Arboleda 12, Omolon 9, Wilson 8, Canaleta 8, Ritualo 6, Custodio 4, Atkins 0, Baclao 0.

GLOBALPORT 94—Sharpe 24, David 20, Mandani 13, Miller 12, Mercado 8, Aguilar 6, Aljamal 4, Salvador 4, Yee 3, Antonio 0.

Quarters: 23-15, 47-50, 78-71, 106-94

Second Game

GINEBRA 96—Caguioa 25, Macklin 20, Mamaril 13, Tenorio 12, Ellis 11, Raymundo 6, Labagala 4, Baracael 4, Maierhofer 1.

SAN MIG COFFEE 88—Bowles 25, Yap 21, Devance 13, Pingris 11, Mallari 4, Barroca 4, Simon 4, De Ocampo 4, Najorda 2, Gaco 0.

Quarters: 24-17, 48-35, 67-58, 96-88

Sam Miguel
03-11-2013, 04:33 PM
Balkman, Santos patch things up; Racela says import is staying

By Celest R. Flores

11:45 pm | Friday, March 8th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Arwind Santos was just trying to pacify an exasperated import Renaldo Balkman on Wednesday night in Petron’s 73-83 loss to Alaska.

Yet Balkman’s temper flared even more, shoving teammate Ronald Tubid and then shockingly wrapped his hand around the Santos’ neck.

In the end, though, the emotions were set aside for the benefit of the team as Santos was even the first one to reach out and apologize.

“Maikli lang (usapan kanina), nagsorry lang kami sa isa’t isa. Una na akong lumapit, di ko inisip kung sinong mali, para sa team (Our talk was quick. We just said sorry to each other. I was the first one who approached him, I didn’t mind who’s wrong, it’s for the team),” Santos told the reporters after the game.

“Mainit daw sya, di na daw nya control emotion nya (He said he’s hot-tempered, he said he can’t control his emotions),” Santos added.

Balkman, though, also apologized to each and everyone in the team, according to head coach Olsen Racela.

“It was better than a speech, inisa isa nya kami lahat,” Racela said. “Good thing was he knows his mistakes and he said sorry to us and his team mates.”

After averaging a little over 28 points, Balkman was held to just six on Friday night, missing all but three of his 16 shots and all four freethrow attempts.

And that’s what Racela thinks led to Balkman’s shocking show of frustration.

“That’s how much these players want to win. Yun ‘yung passion sa laro. Ayaw na ayaw nya (Balkman) kasing natatalo. Frustrated sya kasi di maganda laro n’ya tapos talo na kami,” said Racela.

When asked if Balkman is staying after the incident, Racela said “yes.” If there will be sanctions, though, he has yet to discuss it with the management.

Santos, though, is hopeful his won’t affect his team’s chemisty. The Boosters are at third place with a 5-2 record, their best start in recent history.

“Wala naman gustong makaapekto samin yun. Our team is like family,” Santos said. “Oo naman (andun parin yung trust).”

“I told them I know how much all of you guys want to win. The true character will come out the next game on how to bounce back,” said Racela.

Meanwhile, Balkman is set to appear before PBA Commissioner Chito Salud at his office for his actions.

Balkman banned from playing in PBA; fined P250,000

By Celest R. Flores, Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

3:39 pm | Monday, March 11th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – There is no second chance for Petron Blaze import Renaldo Balkman.

PBA Commissioner Chito Salud on Monday slapped a lifetime ban on Balkman from playing in the PBA following the import’s outrage in the Boosters’ 73-83 loss to Alaska last Friday.

Balkman was also fined P250,000 for his antics.

“For initiating threatening physical contact with a referee following a prolonged, offensive, belligerent if not aberrant on-court decorum directed toward game officials and his Petron teammates and his superiors including the head coach and assistant coaches amounting to a blatant and utter disrespect for the game, his own ball club, the League, the fans and his host country,” Salud said in a statement in explaining the rationale for the lifetime ban.

The six-foot-six Balkman choked his teammate Arwind Santos as Santos tried to pacify the frustrated import in an attempt to control the situation.

Salud also took into consideration ‘Balkman’s track record as a player including the head-butting incident during a FIBA-Americas game between Puerto Rico and Venezuela and his recent altercation with the bench of the Alaska Aces during a preseason game in Cebu City.’

“I also took into consideration Balkman’s evident disregard for local and the host country’s sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court incident in full public view of his own teammate who was trying to pacify him,” Salud added.

Balkman — even backed by the entire Petron squad — met with Salud on Monday to explain his side but it still wasn’t enough to make him stay in the league. With report by Celest R. Flores

Sam Miguel
03-12-2013, 09:42 AM
Balkman banned from playing in PBA; fined P250,000

By Celest R. Flores, Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

3:39 pm | Monday, March 11th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – There is no second chance for Petron Blaze import Renaldo Balkman.

PBA Commissioner Chito Salud on Monday slapped a lifetime ban on Balkman from playing in the PBA following the import’s outrage in the Boosters’ 73-83 loss to Alaska last Friday.

Balkman was also fined P250,000 for his antics.

“For initiating threatening physical contact with a referee following a prolonged, offensive, belligerent if not aberrant on-court decorum directed toward game officials and his Petron teammates and his superiors including the head coach and assistant coaches amounting to a blatant and utter disrespect for the game, his own ball club, the League, the fans and his host country,” Salud said in a statement in explaining the rationale for the lifetime ban.

The six-foot-six Balkman choked his teammate Arwind Santos as Santos tried to pacify the frustrated import in an attempt to control the situation.

Salud also took into consideration ‘Balkman’s track record as a player including the head-butting incident during a FIBA-Americas game between Puerto Rico and Venezuela and his recent altercation with the bench of the Alaska Aces during a preseason game in Cebu City.’

“I also took into consideration Balkman’s evident disregard for local and the host country’s sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court incident in full public view of his own teammate who was trying to pacify him,” Salud added.

Balkman — even backed by the entire Petron squad — met with Salud on Monday to explain his side but it still wasn’t enough to make him stay in the league. With report by Celest R. Flores

Banned Balkman vows incident ‘will never happen again’

By Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

12:07 am | Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines -

Lesson learned.

After getting slapped with a lifetime ban in the PBA by Commissioner Chito Salud, Renaldo Balkman vowed that the choking incident won’t happen again.

“I respect the Philippine Basketball Association and @PetronBlaze Organization, this situation will never happen again… it’s a lesson learned,” Balkman posted on his Twitter account.

Balkman added: “I accept all responsibilities for my actions while playing an intense game, I have truly enjoyed my time here playing in the Philippines.”

The six-foot-six do-it all forward again issued an apology to Petron Blaze teammate Arwind Santos for his actions.

“I would like to apologize to @arwindsotnas a person who I truly respect and would never intentionally harm, my actions were irresponsible.”

“I would personally like to thank my fans and teammates who have shown me so much support during this time.”

Dark Knight
03-12-2013, 09:55 AM
So to those who are planning something against Santos, do so or suffer the consequences.

Salgado - banned
Balkman - banned

lol

Sam Miguel
03-12-2013, 09:56 AM
^^^ Good one, Dark... :)

Sam Miguel
03-12-2013, 09:57 AM
Balkman verdict may trigger PBA crisis? Banned, fined

By Nelson Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated March 12, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Basketball Association, citing “a culture of accountability,” banned Petron import Renaldo Balkman for going ballistic during the Petron-Alaska clash last Friday that was watched live on TV and went viral on the internet.

The decision made by PBA commissioner Chito Salud could touch off a full-blown crisis as the food and beverage conglomerate decided later to re-evaluate its franchise in the pro league. (See related story)

Upholding the tenets of accountability and the overall interest of the league and the fans, Salud came down hard on Balkman while assessing the erring Petron reinforcement a fine of P250,000 for his grave misconduct that shocked the big crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and those who watched the game on TV.

“Stiff as it maybe, this decision upholds the tenets of contextual accountability and the overall interest of the league and the fans,” said Salud. “I do encourage passion for the game but I also want to firmly instill a culture of accountability among our players. If one does something that violates the rules and the norms of sportsmanship and decent behavior, he will be made accountable.”

Salud didn’t go easy on Balkman even as the former New York Knick and Denver Nugget issued a public apology in a meeting with the commissioner in the PBA office in Libis, Quezon City yesterday noon.

Balkman thus became the first import in 15 years to be barred for life from the country’s premier pro league.

The Petron coaching staff and players, straight from their practice at the nearby at the nearby Acropolis Gym, appeared in the PBA office in support of their beleaguered import.

Even Arwind Santos, grabbed in the neck by Balkman at the height of his rage, was present.

Salud dealt Balkman the PBA ban “for initiating threatening physical contact with a referee followed by a prolonged offensive, belligerent if not aberrant on-court decorum directed toward game officials and his Petron teammates and superiors, including the head coach and assistant coaches, amounting to blatant and utter disrespect for the game, his own ball club, the league, the fans and his host country.”

“In arriving at this decision, I took into consideration Balkman’s track record as a player, including a head-butting incident during a FIBA America’s game between Puerto Rico and Venezuela and his altercation with the bench of the Alaska Aces during a pre-season game in Cebu,” said Salud.

“I also took into consideration Balkman’s evident disregard for local and the host country’s sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court in full public view of his own teammate who was trying to pacify him,” Salud also said.

Frustrated over his worst game of the tournament against the Aces, where he struggled for just six points after averaging 28 in his first six outings, Balkman lost his cool after being called for a foul late in the game and confronted the referees.

Teammates and Petron coaches, including Melchor Ravanes, tried to calm him down to no avail. Balkman then got into a shoving match with Petron co-captain Arwind Santos, whom he tried to choke at the height of his rage. Thus, the Petron Blaze Boosters lost the import who powered them to a 5-2 (win-loss) record in the first half of their elimination-round schedule.

Petron, playing Rain or Shine in Panabo, Davao del Norte on Saturday, has got a list of possible import replacement, including former Barako Bull reinforcement Rodney White.

Until that fateful Friday game, Balkman was the tournament scoring leader.

Jojo English was the last import barred from returning to the PBA for reneging on a contractual obligation with Sta. Lucia Realty in 1998.

Others banned for life were Derrick Hamilton (Pepsi), Ronnie Thompkins (Swift), Kelvin Upshaw (Shell) and Andrew Moten (San Miguel Beer)). Hamilton, Thompkins and Upshaw were sacked for illegal drugs and Moten for utter disrespect to league officials and the league itself.

Dark Knight
03-12-2013, 12:43 PM
Did they forgot Shell's Dexter Shouse? I remember he was bannned also.

Sam Miguel
03-13-2013, 08:38 AM
^^^ Yes indeed. I think Shouse was banned for leaving Purefoods in the lurch to take a 10-day contract with Philadelphia in the Barkley-Mahorn years. And 10 days really was all Shouse got from the Sixers...

Sam Miguel
03-13-2013, 08:38 AM
SMC image, name solid – Salud

By Nelson Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated March 13, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - No amount of controversies, even as galling as the Renaldo Balkman caper, could compromise the image and reputation of Petron Blaze/San Miguel Beer ballclub, the only remaining pioneer member of the pro league.

PBA commissioner Chito Salud, reacting to San Miguel Corp.’s statement of re-evaluating its PBA participation after Balkman was banned for life, said the franchise’s reputation remains solid and unshakeable.

“The Petron/SMC franchise’s reputation is solid and unshakeable. I respectfully disagree with anyone who will say otherwise, much more on the basis of an import’s individual and singular act. It just isn’t the case,” said Salud in reaction to the statement released by San Miguel Corp. Monday afternoon on the Balkman controversy.

“The SMC group is a great franchise run by great leaders. I know many of them personally and I only have great respect for them. Mr. (Danding) Cojuangco and Mr. (Ramon) Ang are pillars of Philippine society who I have followed and admired ever since. The PBA and their franchise have been together for a long, long time and that’s valuable in every respect,” said Salud.

SMC had announced it is re-evaluating its participation in the PBA following the incident that it felt dragged the name and tainted the image of the giant food and beverage conglomerate.

“Our reputation is of utmost importance to us because we have worked hard to cultivate this good name through the decades. But it takes only one unfortunate incident like this to undo all our efforts,” said SMC in a statement.

“As such, given the possible long-term effect of this incident to the San Miguel organization’s image, and in consideration of our need to preserve our good reputation, management has decided to re-evaluate the company’s continuing participation in the PBA,” the statement added.

PBA officials hope SMC’s pronouncement doesn’t lead to pullout of its three ball clubs – Petron Blaze, San Mig Coffee and Barangay Ginebra – from the league.

“I hope it does not come to that point where SMC decides to leave the league they have been part of and helped built for many years,” said former PBA board chairman Ricky Vargas, representing Talk n Text.

Rain or Shine co-owner Terry Que expressed the same sentiments as quoted by a sports website.

“Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that. Their presence in the league is huge. For one, they’re the only remaining league pioneer,” said Que.

But whatever decision SMC makes, Vargas believes PBA will sail on.

“If they do finally decide to leave while it is always sad to have any team for that matter leave the PBA, the league as an institution will manage I am sure,” he said.

“Remember the time Crispa and Toyota – two of the most popular teams – left the PBA, the PBA managed to pick up the pieces,” he added.

Alaska team owner Wilfred Uytengsu, meanwhile, said it’s SMC’s prerogative to reevaluate its PBA participation.

“The league has it in its by-laws to abide by the commissioner’s decision. No player or team should be above such decisions and rules. If a team or teams feel such decisions are not acceptable, then they must come to their own decisions, including future participation,” said Uytengsu.

“As far as the Balkman incident is concerned, it seems the commissioner took all the facts and prior history into account. We must remember that player and fan safety is paramount and the PBA needs to set right example,” Uytengsu also said.

Sam Miguel
03-13-2013, 04:50 PM
Petron hopes to get a boost from former Cav

By Snow Badua

March 13, 2013, 11:28 am

PETRON looks to get right back on track days after prolific import Renaldo Balkman was banned by the PBA with the possible acquisition of former Cleveland Cavaliers center-forward Samardo Samuels.

The Boosters have tendered an offer to the 6-foot-9 Jamaican out of the University of Louisville who was a backup to Antawn Jamison with the Cavs and once scored a career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds against the San Antonio Spurs on March 2, 2011.

Balkman has been banned for life from the PBA and hit with a P250,000 fine for his attack on teammates and officials in an outburst late in a game against Alaska on Friday night.

Samuels last played for the Reno Big Horns in the NBA D-League, averaging 20.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 blocks in 21 games.

The Boosters next game is on Saturday in Panabo city against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

Before deciding on Samuels, Petron had an eye on Rodney White, but there were complications including rights owned by Barako Bull.

A source also informed Spin.ph that the Blaze Boosters tried to negotiate with former import Gabe Freeman to play at least one game for the team, but the cat-quick American wingman apparently is still recovering from an injury.

Other players considered for the post vacated by Balkman were Brian Butch and Brian Cook.

Sam Miguel
03-14-2013, 01:21 PM
Alapag, Dillinger slapped with tax evasion complaint

By Tetch Torres-Tupas

INQUIRER.net

12:01 pm | Thursday, March 14th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines–The Bureau of Internal Revenue on Thursday filed tax complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ) against two professional basketball players.

A complaint for violation of the Internal Revenue Code has been filed against Jim Olmedo Alapag and Jared Ryan Dillinger, both play professionally for Talk ‘N Text TropangTexters of Smart Communications.

Based on the complaint, Alapag earned close to P4 million from PLDT in 2007. His earnings from Smart amounted to P8.77 million in 2012 and the BIR placed his total income as a professional basketball player at P32.28 million.

The BIR said Alapag failed to file his income tax returns for taxable years 2007 to 2010 and that he also failed to file his value added tax returns from 2007 to 2012.

The BIR computed Alapag’s tax deficiency at P17.86 million for the seven-year period, inclusive of surcharge and interest.

Meanwhile, the BIR said Dillinger earned P694,000 from PLDT in 2008. His earnings from Smart amounted to P6.48 million in 2012. Records showed that his income as a ballplayer has totalled P22.19 million.

The complaint said Dillinger did not file his income tax returns from 2008 to 2011 and he also did not file his percentage tax return for 2008. The BIR said he also failed to file his value added tax returns from 2009 to 2012.

Dillinger’s tax deficiency, said BIR is at P13.37 million, including surcharge and interest.

Sam Miguel
03-14-2013, 01:22 PM
Buenafe lifts Meralco five over Barako

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:20 pm | Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Ronjay Buenafe shot all his 19 points in the fourth quarter and keyed a 112-104 Meralco victory over Barako Bull last night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 6-foot-1 off guard, who came into the game averaging 8.2 points a night, hit all his three triple attempts in a telling spurt early in the fourth as Bolts opened a 99-87 lead from 83-80 going into the final 4:30.

Buenafe then put the icing on the Bolts’ fourth victory in seven games by hitting the team’s final five points from the free throw line and inflicting a fourth straight loss on the Energy in a 3-5 card.

“You just don’t know who is going to light it up for our team,” coach Ryan Gregorio said. “Ronjay just answered the call.”

Buenafe’s fourth-quarter performance was the second biggest by anyone in the import-laced tournament, next only to Air21’s KG Canaleta’s 20-point last quarter outburst in a losing effort to Talk ‘N Text.

Eric Dawson paced the Bolts with 27 points and 20 rebounds, but Meralco couldn’t pull away despite his sizzling third quarter show as the Energy trailed by just a point going into the payoff frame.

Meralco’s total was its biggest in the tournament with the Bolts failing to breach the 100-point barrier in their first six games.

Evan Brock was a monster for the Energy, finishing with 37 points and 25 rebounds. The hard-working Barako Bull import fired 10 of his total in the fourth quarter.

Josh Urbiztondo was taken out of his sweet spot by the Meralco defense and shot a conference-low four points after going 0-of-5 from three-point range and 2-of-5 from two-point range.

Chris Ross missed his first career triple double by just two rebounds, finishing with 17 points and 11 assists with Reynel Hugnatan and Mac Cardona combining for another 25 points for Meralco.

The scores:

First Game

MERALCO 112—Dawson 27, Buenafe 19, Ross 17, Hugnatan 13, Cardona 12, Reyes 9, Salvacion 9, Hodge 4, Artadi 2, Manuel 0, Guevarra 0.

BARAKO 104—Brock 37, Villanueva 16, Macapagal 16, Pennisi 14, Seigle 11, Urbiztondo 4, Maliksi 3, Anthony 3, Weinstein 0, Intal 0.

Quarters: 32-19, 48-51, 78-77, 112-104

Sam Miguel
03-14-2013, 01:24 PM
‘Old’ Larry Fonacier nails 500th career triple

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

1:08 am | Thursday, March 14th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—With eight minutes left to play on Wednesday night, Larry Fonacier nailed his 500th career three-pointer in less than a decade’s stay in the PBA.

Fonacier, drafted in 2005, joined 22 others who also have achieved such feat in the league’s history, according to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon.

“I’m old,” Fonacier told INQUIRER.net with a laugh, when asked what the milestone meant.

“It’s just by God’s grace, after that’s all that happened. My injury, never thought I’d come this far,” Fonacier added.

But the 30-year-old marksman insisted that all the accolades are just second to helping his team bring home the titles.

Which, by the way, he has done repeatedly with Alaska and Talk ’N Text.

“Not really [aiming to making the list], I’ve always been about winning championships, and sacrificing for the team,” Fonacier said.

A triple from Fonacier was the turning point in the Talk ’N Text’s 86-76 win over Rain or Shine, as it gave them the lead, 68-66, which they never relinquished.

Fonacier, then, made his 500th basket from long distance—only becoming the second Texter to do so—to widen their gap, 79-70.

The other one is veteran point guard Jimmy Alapag, who has 1,052 treys and counting.

Whether he’ll be able enter that elite club of all-time leading three-point scorers: “I don’t think so, but I’ll try.”

“But like I said, I’m just after the championship and making teams better and if that milestone comes, then so be it,” Fonacier said.

And that’s making the Texters better is what he repeatedly does, giving them a big lift on Wednesday with 17 points—all but five coming in the second half.

“We really need this winning streak to give us some momentum. This gives us a little rhythm,” Fonacier shared. “I think we’re getting back in shape and improving our defense and it’s what we need to make a deep run this conference.”

Sam Miguel
03-15-2013, 08:01 AM
Petron’s import woes drag on as deal with new import falls through

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

6:11 pm | Thursday, March 14th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Petron’s import woes would have to continue until Saturday as the management failed to land a deal with a replacement prospect on Thursday.

San Miguel Corp. sports director Noli Eala disclosed on Twitter that the negotiations between the Boosters and Samardo Samuels “fell through” because the “terms were too much.”

“So close to signing Samardo Samuels but [negotations] just hit a snag. [He] could have been a good fit,” Eala said.
The 24-year-old Samuels suited up with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA on a three-year contract despite being undrafted, and was in and out of the NBA Developmental League.

The Boosters lost Renaldo Balkman, who averaged over 28 points a game, to a lifetime ban last Monday for his on-court outburst.

Eala admitted in a television interview last Tuesday that they “it’s not going to be easy” finding a replacement for Balkman.

“We did not prepare for his eventuality. We did not have any plan B because everything was going well with Balkman and the team,” Eala said.

Petron would have to double its effort as it goes against the 7-foot-3 Bruno Sundov and Rain or Shine sans an import in Panabo, Davao on Saturday.

Sam Miguel
03-15-2013, 08:02 AM
Alaska faces Air21 tonight

Aces go for seventh victory

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:32 pm | Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Alaska battles a dangerous Air21 side today, seeking to move farther away from the pack as the PBA Commissioner’s Cup enters the second half of its elimination-round schedule at Ynares Center in Antipolo.

The Aces will have to contain Michael Dunigan in the 7:30 p.m. game in their quest to rise to 7-1, even as Meralco guns for a second straight win against powerhouse San Mig Coffee in the 5:15 p.m. contest.

A win would give the Aces more breathing room from Rain or Shine and Petron, the two squads clashing tomorrow in a Phoenix Fuel-presented road game in Panabo City where the Boosters will likely play without an import.

The Aces actually scored their most recent win against the Boosters. In that stunning game, Petron’s import Renaldo Balkman degenerated into an uncontrollable monster in the waning seconds, went berserk and even choked a teammate.

Balkman’s unsportsmanlike conduct led to his lifetime ban from the league.

Alaska has been playing full throttle because of an energetic import in Robert Dozier and a fired-up local crew.

Dunigan, meanwhile, is wreaking havoc inside the paint for the Express, who scored a 106-94 win over Globalport in their last outing. The bull-strong import came away with 35 points and 20 rebounds.

He will be Alaska’s biggest worry tonight, but Air21 is also wary of the Aces’ form.

“They are playing at a very high level,” Air21 coach Franz Pumaren said of the Aces, who opened up with five straight wins before losing narrowly to Talk ‘N Text two weeks ago and barely failing to match their best start since 2009.

Cyrus Baguio, Dondon Hontiveros, Sonny Thoss, rookie Calvin Abueva and JV Casio are the Aces’ top locals.

Mike Cortez will quarterback for the Express as usual with Mark Isip and KG Canaleta expected to play key supporting roles to Dunigan. Dunigan averaged a hefty 37.5 points in his last two games.

San Mig, the defending champion, will be coming off an 88-96 loss to Barangay Ginebra.

Denzel Bowles and two-time MVP James Yap will be the focal points of the Mixers’ offense.

Sam Miguel
03-15-2013, 08:21 AM
San Mig game is true test for in-form Meralco

By Richard Dy

March 14, 2013, 04:32 pm

RYAN Gregorio hopes Meralco’s hard work combined with luck continue to pay off when the Bolts face their first acid test in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup against defending champion San Mig Coffee on Friday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

The Bolts are currently on a hot streak after winning their last three outings – back-to-back one-point victories against Globalport and Air21, before outlasting hard-luck Barako Bull, 112-104 in a high-scoring game on Wednesday.

The situation, though won’t be the same against the Mixers, Gregorio admitted.

“We’re No. 4 right now (in the team standings), but the tough climb is just about to begin,” said the 40-year-old coach.

Gregorio said one thing going for the Bolts (4-3) this conference is their unpredictability on offense.

“If there’s one thing so significant with our team right now is that you just don’t know who will light up in a game. We’re in a very good situation, but we’re not satisfied yet,” he added.

San Mig is coming off a tough 88-96 loss to crowd drawer Barangay Ginebra on Sunday after shooting a paltry 38.6 percent from the field.

Nevertheless, Mixers coach Tim Cone said they’ve realized a lot of things during their 3-1 (win-loss) campaign in the last two weeks.

“I have to admit it, it was a real horrible first three games … but we feel we’re getting our feet under us now. We kind of developed a blue print on how we want to play now. As long as we get better with our blue print, we feel we can be a force to reckon with,” Cone said, whose team is currently at solo fifth with a 3-4 record.

As always, Cone will have a lot of offensive arsenal at his disposal against Gregorio's rag-tag bunch, starting with reigning Best Import Denzel Bowles, two-time league MVP James Yap, Peter June Simon, and Joe Devance.

Sam Miguel
03-15-2013, 08:22 AM
Petron’s import woes drag on as deal with new import falls through

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

6:11 pm | Thursday, March 14th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Petron’s import woes would have to continue until Saturday as the management failed to land a deal with a replacement prospect on Thursday.

San Miguel Corp. sports director Noli Eala disclosed on Twitter that the negotiations between the Boosters and Samardo Samuels “fell through” because the “terms were too much.”

“So close to signing Samardo Samuels but [negotations] just hit a snag. [He] could have been a good fit,” Eala said.
The 24-year-old Samuels suited up with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA on a three-year contract despite being undrafted, and was in and out of the NBA Developmental League.

The Boosters lost Renaldo Balkman, who averaged over 28 points a game, to a lifetime ban last Monday for his on-court outburst.

Eala admitted in a television interview last Tuesday that they “it’s not going to be easy” finding a replacement for Balkman.

“We did not prepare for his eventuality. We did not have any plan B because everything was going well with Balkman and the team,” Eala said.

Petron would have to double its effort as it goes against the 7-foot-3 Bruno Sundov and Rain or Shine sans an import in Panabo, Davao on Saturday.

Petron turns to White again after failed Samuels negotiations

By Richard Dy

March 14, 2013, 04:29 pm

Former Cav Samardo Samuels' asking price was too stiff, according to Petron team manager Hector Calma.
PETRON Blaze’s hopes of landing former Cleveland Cavalier forward Samardo Samuels hit a snag on Thursday, leaving the Boosters with no choice but to play all-Filipino come Saturday when they play Rain or Shine in Panabo, Davao del Norte in a PBA Commissioner's Cup road game.

“Di na tuloy si Samuels. Mataas masyado ang presyo, parang doble babayaran, buyout ng (NBA D-League) contract tapos sweldo pa niya dito,” Calma told Spin.ph on Thursday.

The Boosters were hoping to sign Samuels on short notice after the departure of temperamental import Renaldo Balkman, who was banned for life from the pro league for his attack on teammate Arwind Santos near the end of Petron's loss to Alaska on Friday night.

Samuels played a total of 109 games for the Cavaliers from 2010-2011 to the 2012-2013 season, averaging 5.9 points and 3.4 rebounds. He recently played for the Reno Big Horns in the NBA D-League, averaging 20.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 blocks in 21 games.

Calma said they are now sending an offer to alternate choice Rodney White, who played five games for the Barako Bull in the Commissioner’s Cup last season in a stint that was cut short as he had to attend to his ailing father back home.

“Hopefully, bukas may balita na kami pero sure na all-Filipino kami sa Saturday,” Calma said.

Calma, a member of the league's 25 greatest players, said the team hopes to have an import in town as early as possible as it tackles its toughest stretch to date. After the Rain or Shine match, Petron will play Talk ‘N Text on March 22, followed by a rematch with Alaska on March 27.

Joescoundrel
03-16-2013, 09:13 AM
Defense helps SMC turn back Meralco

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:56 am | Saturday, March 16th, 2013

ANTIPOLO—San Mig Coffee held Meralco scoreless in the final 3:37 last night and completed a come-from-behind 76-71 victory that snapped the Bolts’ three-game winning streak in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Ynares Center here.

James Yap knocked in the go-ahead free throws that broke a 71-all tie and Denzel Bowles had a bucket after that as the defending champion Mixers got back to .500, tying their victims at 4-4.

“There are many things that didn’t go our way in this game but we kept battling and battling,” San Mig coach Tim Cone said. “The thing I like about our team is that even though we struggle, we do a good job on defense.”

Meralco threw up bricks after import Eric Dawson had tied the game at 71.

Bowles posted 23 points and 16 rebounds and Yap wound up with 19 on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, but the Mixers lost Joe Devance and point guard Alex Mallari to injuries.

Devance went down with a suspected ligament tear on his left knee, while Mallari suffered a right ankle sprain.

Dawson paced the Bolts with 20 points and 13 boards and Chris Ross, who fell two rebounds short of a triple-double Wednesday, finally accomplished the feat—his first—with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Meanwhile, Petron Blaze battles Rain or Shine for solo second place today in a Phoenix Fuel-presented road game in Panabo City.

After losing import Renaldo Balkman to a ban from the Commissioner’s Office last Monday, the Boosters will play all-Filipino against the Elasto Painters in the 6:30 p.m. game.

The scores:

SAN MIG COFFEE 76—Bowles 23, Yap 19, Simon 9, Pingris 7, Mallari 6, Devance 6, Barroca 2, Najorda 2, Reavis 2, De Ocampo 0.

MERALCO 71—Dawson 20, Hodge 14, Ross 10, Hugnatan 8, Artadi 6, Salvacion 6, Reyes 5, Buenafe 2, Manuel 0, Guevarra 0, Cardona 0, Sharma 0.

Quarters: 15-25, 34-38, 56-58, 76-71

Joescoundrel
03-17-2013, 08:14 PM
Petron stuns Rain or Shine

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:20 am | Sunday, March 17th, 2013

COACH Olsen Racela put everything in perspective.

“We haven’t really achieved anything yet in the overall context,” said the Petron Blaze coach.

But even he admitted that the import-less Boosters got a welcome dose of a positivity after they stunned Rain or Shine, 87-79, yesterday in a PBA Commissioner Cup out-of-town match in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

Junemar Fajardo carried the brunt of the post offense for the Boosters, finishing with 20 points and 13 rebounds as Petron pulled the rug from under a Rain or Shine squad parading the league’s tallest import in Bruno Sundov.

“It’s a great character-building win especially in the light of everything that has happened with the team,” said Racela, whose original import, Renaldo Balkman, was banned from the PBA for life for choking teammate Arwind Santos in a loss against Alaska recently. “But I reminded the players that we still have a long way to go. We have a new import coming in and we have to get him adjusted to our system.”

Fajardo, who made 9-of-11 shots from the field, highlighted his heroics with an emphatic putback that gave Petron a 78-69 spread midway through the final quarter.

Marcio Lassiter, who finished with 14 points, also had a hand in that breakaway, draining back-to-back baskets that allowed the Boosters to peel away from a tight 71-69 game.

Meanwhile, Alaska tries to get back on the winning track today, clashing with slumping Globalport with the solo lead at stake for the Aces at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Game time is 4:15 p.m. with Alaska seeking to bounce back from an upset 68-74 loss at the hands of Air21 Friday night.

Talk’N Text and Barangay Ginebra clash at 6:30 p.m. Musong R. Castillo

The scores:

PETRON 87—Fajardo 20, Lassiter 14, Cabagnot 14, Santos 13, Washington 9, Miranda 6, Lanete 6, Yeo 3, Tubid 2, Peña 0, Faundo 0.

RAIN OR SHINE 79—Sundov 21, Araña 16, Chan 9, Lee 6, Cruz 6, Rodriguez 6, Matias 4, Belga 3, Quiñahan 2, Norwood 2, Tiu 2, Tang 2, Ibañes 0.

Quarters: 21-26, 46-42, 64-61, 87-79

Joescoundrel
03-17-2013, 08:15 PM
Reyes stepping up for Alaska in Casio’s absence

By Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

7:52 pm | Sunday, March 17th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines —Not even JVee Casio’s absence could slow Alaska down.

The Aces, getting a boost from their rookies Calvin Abueva and Raffy Reyes, who started in place of Casio, kept the top spot following their 93-85 win over GlobalPort Sunday night.

“Credit Raffy, he’s a pro,” said Alaska head coach Luigi Trillo. “This is the time to step up for each other. I’m proud of the way he came out. He didn’t play like a rookie, both of them Calvin and Raffy.”

Abueva had 15 points and seven rebounds while Reyes, a second round pick, only had eight points but half of his points came at a crucial time.

Batang Pier closed in, 72-76, after falling behind by double-digits majority of the game including a 16-point hole in the second quarter.

Usually, Alaska would turn to Casio to get them out of harm’s way but this time, it was Reyes and Abueva, who delivered.

The former University of the East guard stopped the bleeding for the Aces to make it, 78-72, before Abueva provided the finishing touches- highlighted by a three-point play- that stretched their lead back to 10, 85-75.

“Maganda pinakita niya (Reyes) this game and actually last game pa lang nakita ko na maganda nilaro niya,” said Casio, who also said that his left knee is feeling better.

Sam Miguel
03-18-2013, 09:53 AM
Alaska regains top spot, rips Globalport

Barangay Ginebra rolls back Talk ‘N Text

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:21 pm | Sunday, March 17th, 2013

With its back-up point guards stepping up, Alaska dominated Globalport, 93-85, last night to reclaim top spot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Aces showed no signs of missing the injured JV Casio as the unheralded rookie Raffy Reyes and RJ Jazul took turns in quarterbacking Alaska, which rose to 7-2 with the win while dealing the Batang Pier a tournament-worst sixth straight loss.

Globalport was actually doomed as early as the second quarter when import Walter Sharpe, a legitimate scoring machine in the Chinese pro league, picked up his fourth foul on a lousy defensive play on Gabby Espinas.

He would go on to finish with just two points and five rebounds in 20 minutes before fouling out with 4:23 remaining when he gave up a foul on Calvin Abueva, who completed the three-point play that made it 85-75.

Barangay Ginebra chalked up its first winning streak by bringing down a second straight powerhouse in Talk ‘N Text later in the night, 107-100, behind Mark Caguioa’s 28 points and a sustained defensive effort.

Caguioa’s biggest production this conference allowed Ginebra to score the most points against Talk ‘N Text so far and rise to 3-5 overall while dealing the Tropang Texters a fourth loss in eight games.

“I just told the players to play defense, I didn’t ask them to win,” coach Alfrancis Chua said.

Import Vernon Macklin had 24 points and LA Tenorio finished with 20 against former MVP Jimmy Alapag, who had 13 fourth-quarter points and tried desperately to bring Talk ‘N Text back to life.

Robert Dozier had his way in the paint with Sharpe seeing action sporadically, finishing with 26 points and 18 rebounds.

Abueva produced his finest offensive showing in the last four Alaska games with 15 points and seven boards.

Willie Miller, the former two-time MVP, paced the Batang Pier with 22 points, 14 of them coming in the fourth quarter when Globalport managed to prune down what had been a 16-point second quarter deficit to 72-76.

Globalport clawed to within that four-point deficit on a spectacular drive by Miller off three defenders only to see the Aces come right back.

The loss was the seventh overall for Globalport, whose first import, Justin Williams, won the Slam Dunk title for San Miguel Beer in the Asean Basketball League in Saigon on Saturday (See related story on A32).

Casio has a patella injury in the left knee that could sideline him for the next two weeks.

The scores:

First Game

ALASKA 93—Dozier 26, Abueva 15, Baguio 10, Reyes 8, Espinas 8, Jazul 7, Thoss 6, Hontiveros 5, Ramos 4, Dela Cruz 4.

GLOBALPORT 85—Miller 22, David 20, Mercado 13, Aguilar 8, Yee 7, Aljamal 4, Antonio 4, Mandani 3, Sharpe 2, Adducul 2, Juntilla 0, Salvador 0.

Quarters: 22-13, 48-36, 71-61, 93-85

Second Game

GINEBRA 107—Caguioa 28, Macklin 24, Tenorio 20, Ellis 7, Raymundo 7, Labagala 6, Mamaril 6, Hatfield 6, Baracael 3, Jensen 0.

TALK ‘N TEXT 100—Harvey 23, Alapag 23, Castro 16, Fonacier 16, De Ocampo 11, Williams 4, Dillinger 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Carey 2, Raymundo 0, Aban 0.

Quarters: 26-24, 51-50, 78-77, 107-100

Sam Miguel
03-18-2013, 09:55 AM
^^^ Heck of a dunking display from both Vern Macklin and Chris Ellis of Ginebra last night.

Sam Miguel
03-20-2013, 08:57 AM
Playoff posturing heats up; Rain or Shine seeks end to slump

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:07 pm | Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Rain or Shine tries to snap a two-game losing streak and keep within sight of the lead today when the Elasto Painters battle Barako Bull in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.

The Painters will come into the 5:15 p.m. game still licking the wounds of an 87-79 loss to an import-less Petron Blaze side on Saturday that knocked them out of second place for the first time in close to a month.

Coupled with an Alaska win over the weekend, the Painters are now 2-1/2 games off the pace and are trailing the Boosters by a full game in the race for a 1-2 finish and a great incentive in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Air21 shoots for a third straight victory later in the night when it clashes with defending champion San Mig Coffee in the 7:30 p.m. contest where the Mixers will be without versatile big man Joe Devance.

Devance injured his left knee in a 76-71 victory over Meralco last Friday, leaving coach Tim Cone with one less big man as the Mixers try to stop the rampaging Michael Dunigan of the Express. Dunigan will be coming off back-to-back monster games and would surely be Cone’s biggest concern.

“We are looking forward to our game against San Mig, because that is very crucial for us (in our playoff drive),” Air21 coach Franz Pumaren said. Air21 is at 3-5, tied for seventh spot with a similarly streaking Barangay Ginebra crew and the Energy.

Bruno Sundov, the 7-foot-3 beanpole, and a formidable local nucleus will carry the fight for the Painters, who haven’t lost three straight game this season outside of the Philippine Cup finals, where they were swept by Talk ‘N Text.

Barako Bull, meanwhile, will be trying to snap a four-game losing streak and get back into the playoff hunt.

As things stand, the Energy, Express and Gin Kings are 1-1/2 games ahead of the idle Globalport Batang Pier, who are occupying the cellar. Globalport is having a meeting on what to do with import Walter Sharpe, who was seen sleeping in a parking lot while allegedly intoxicated after a loss to Alaska last Sunday.

“We are saddened by the reports of the incident the other night after our tough loss to Alaska,” team manager BJ Manalo said. “Rest assured that our organization will sanction the people involved because we believe that we have a responsibility to the PBA and fans.”

Sam Miguel
03-20-2013, 08:58 AM
From the Inquirer online - - -

Fajardo relishes presence of veteran teammates

8:46 pm | Monday, March 18th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—While some rookies yearned for guidance along the way, June Mar Fajardo hasn’t.

Fajardo’s steady climb is due to the big man’s extra effort during practice as well as relishing the presence of veteran teammates Danny Ildefonso and Dorian Peña.

And it showed in Petron Blaze’s big 87-79 win over Rain or Shine last Saturday as the six-foot-10 Fajardo, the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week (March 11 to 17), delivered with 20 points and 13 rebounds

“It’s a testament to how he works hard. Even after practice he spends extra hours para ma-hone game niya. Iba talaga drive ni June Mar,” said head coach Olsen Racela.

“June Mar admittedly looks up to Danny I and who better to teach him than Danny I?” said Racela.” “Talagang binibigyan siya ni Danny I ng oras during and after practice, working on his post moves, and it’s showing in his game. Before wala siyang jump hook, ngayon meron na, kay Danny I yon.”

Peña, the stocky center, on the other hand, teaches Fajardo the dirty work.

“Si Dorian ang tumutulong sa kanya on the defensive end, teaching him a few tricks here and there,” added Racela.

So far, the 23-year-old Fajardo is averaging 10 points on 53.7% shooting and 7.5 rebounds per game.

“There’s no rush,” said Racela on Fajardo’s progress as the Cebu native continues to improve. “But he is steadily getting there.”

Sam Miguel
03-21-2013, 09:58 AM
Painters halt skid, bring down Energy

By Musong R. Castillo

INQUIRER.net

1:44 am | Thursday, March 21st, 2013

RAIN OR SHINE turned to its old run-and-gun game to down Barako Bull, 103-93, last night and snap a two-game PBA Commissioner’s Cup slide at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.

Bruno Sundov scattered 27 points and plucked down 11 rebounds and Paul Lee led two other locals in twin digits with 20 as the Elasto Painters seized command at the start of the second period and eventually improved to 6-3 overall.

“We shot the ball a lot better today,” coach Yeng Guiao, who turned 54 on Tuesday, told reporters. “We were really looking to get (some of the team’s outside shooters) their usual percentages from the perimeter to make things easier for Bruno inside.

“[If] we’re shooting the ball pretty well, the inside gets pretty comfortable for Bruno to operate on,” he continued. “We were able to make it a high-scoring, up-tempo ball game. It worked for us. That’s the way we like it.”

Barako Bull lost for the fifth straight game in a 3-6 card after giving the Painters that many points. In the last two games that it lost, Rain or Shine averaged just 77.5 points against Petron Blaze and Talk ‘N Text.

Lee, last season’s top rookie, scored all his points in the final three quarters. He and Jeff Chan warmed up the potent outside guns for the Elasto Painters by shooting two triples each in the second period.

Chan, the southpaw who is still recuperating from a broken thumb in his shooting hand, finished with 10 points in his second game back to active duty, while Gabe Norwood contributed 11.

Lee also dished out six assists that went with four rebounds and two steals to win Player of the Game honors. No guard from the Barako Bull rotation was able to match up with him all night.

Meanwhile, Globalport import Walter Sharpe was fined P40,000 by the Office of the Commissioner for sleeping in the parking lot of a driving range in Ortigas in the wee hours of Monday. Batang Pier management also let go of the Chinese league veteran and has signed up Sylvester Morgan.

The scores:

First Game

RAIN OR SHINE 103—Sundov 27, Lee 20, Quinahan 11, Chan 10, Norwood 8, Rodriguez 6, Tiu 5, Belga 5, Cruz 4, Ibanes 4, Matias 2, Tang 1, Arana 0.

BARAKO BULL 93—Brock 23, Seigle 20, Intal 17, Maliksi 12, Pennisi 10, Urbiztondo 3, Macapagal 3, Kramer 2, Allado 2, Villanueva 1, Anthony 0, Cruz 0.

Quarters: 19-18, 46-39, 70-66, 103-93

Sam Miguel
03-21-2013, 10:06 AM
Air21 fends off San Mig Coffee for 3rd straight win

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

10:27 pm | Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Air21 fended off San Mig Coffee, 87-82, to book its third straight victory Wednesday night in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

The Express kept their cushion throughout the entire fourth, not letting the Mixers come closer than four points again after PJ Simon trimmed the lead down, 65-62, at the start of the quarter.

Head coach Franz Pumaren, who admitted he was elated defeating a champion squad and a multi-titled coach, credited their defense.

“Our guys played well and smart. We’re very underrated when it comes to playing defense. Tonight we showed that it’s a team effort,” said Pumaren.

Mike Dunigan, who got the better of his match up with Denzel Bowles, and Mark Isip quickly doused San Mig Coffee’s uprising with five straight from the stripe to make it 70-64.

Niño Canaleta and Wynne Arboleda, then, worked to keep Air21 on top and an easy lay-in from the veteran guard put the outcome beyond doubt, 83-72, with a minute to go.

Dunigan finished with 25 points, 20 rebounds, an assist, steal and two blocks.

Bowles, meanwhile, led the Mixers, who dropped to 4-5 and tied with the Express, with 24 points and 12 rebounds .

PJ Simon added 20 points, half of which from his squad’s gritty third quarter, while James Yap had 17 but on a 6-of-19 shooting from the field.

Sam Miguel
03-22-2013, 10:56 AM
^^^ San Mig Coffee superstar James Yap was not his usual self. I'm not talking about not being in the mood after a loss. No, I mean Yap, a league MVP and leader of the Mixers, is still reeling from a 6-19 shooting night, no doubt brought on by the protection order against him gotten by his ex-wife Kris Aquino from a Regional Trial Court Judge, quite apart from the defense of Air 21. Yap's bad game rubbed off on the rest of his teammates, with import Denzel Bowles the only one with good numbers at 24 points and 12 rebounds. Yap will probably be feeling this way for at least a couple more games as his ex-wife / Presidential Sister will likely have plenty to say about this latest shit storm to hit her personal-showbiz life.

Sam Miguel
03-22-2013, 01:00 PM
Barako Bull, San Mig, Rain or Shine have best shots at another rich freshman class

By Snow Badua

March 19, 2013, 06:53 pm

THE next PBA draft is still a good eight months away, yet fans can't seem to wait for the event to take place at the Robinsons Place in Ermita, Manila on November 3.

With top amateur stars like Greg Slaughter, Ian Sangalang, and Nico Salva expected to turn pro after this season, professional ballclubs are expected to have a shot at what should be another talented rookie class.

From the PBA teams, Barako Bull holds the edge in the race to sign Slaughter and Co. as the George Chua-owned franchise owns no less than four first-round picks, having acquired the rights of Barangay Ginebra, Petron, Meralco, and Talk 'N Text in past deals.

However, Barako’s original first-round pick, which could merit a higher draft place owing to its below-par showing this season, is owned by Rain or Shine owing to the four-team trade in 2011 that involved Sol Mercado, Ronjay Buenafe, Beau Belga and Ronnie Matias.

Aside from Rain or Shine and Barako, the other team that has a great shot at the top overall pick of the 2013 draft is San Mig Coffee, which owns Globalport's rights in the first round.

Both San Mig and Rain or Shine have to two first-round picks next year.

Other teams that have picks in the first round are Ginebra (acquired from Air 21) and the Alaska Aces.

The drafting positions will depend on the performances of the teams at the end of the Governors’ Cup in October, with the lower teams participating in a lottery to determine which gets the top three picks.

Aside from Sangalang, Salva and Slaughter, other marquee amateur and collegiate names set to be on the draft pool are Letran bigman Raymond Almazan, Adamson’s Alex Nuyles, San Sebastian’s Ronald Pascual, and Anthony Mark Brigas of FEU.

Former NCAA superstar Kevin Louie Alas of Letran has bared that he is not yet joining this year’s draft, opting to concentrate on his three-year commitment with Gilas Pilipinas.

Here now is a quick look at the picks owned by the teams in the first-two rounds (still not in order).

FIRST ROUND:

Alaska*

Barako Bull (from Ginebra)

San Mig Coffee (from Global Port)

Rain or Shine (from Barako Bull)

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (from Air 21)

San Mig Coffee*

Barako Bull (from petron)

Barako Bull (from Meralco)

Barako Bull (from Talk n Text)

Rain or Shine*

SECOND ROUND:

Alaska*

Petron (from Ginebra)

Globalport*

San Mig (from Barako Bull)

Rain or Shine (from Air 21)

Barako Bull (from San Mig)

Alaska (from Petron)

Air 21 (from Meralco)

Talk n’ Text*

Rain or Shine*

Sam Miguel
03-22-2013, 01:04 PM
So I guess TNT and Meralco will have to make deals to get Greg.

Joescoundrel
03-23-2013, 08:44 AM
Talk ‘N Text drops Petron

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:54 am | Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

THERE was a choking incident again in the Talk ‘N Text-Petron Blaze game last night, but this one had the Boosters’ hands on their own necks.

The Tropang Texters pounced on the choking Boosters and came charging back from six points down with 37.1 seconds left in regulation to eke out a 93-85 PBA Commissioner’s Cup victory before a big Smart Araneta Coliseum crowd.

Talk ‘N Text drilled in two triples in that span and then held the firepower-laden Boosters to a new league record in extension in points—or the lack of it—to rise above .500 again and make Norman Black declare the win as “the best in my career.”

“We needed a win, even if it was only half-a-point,” Black said. “It almost came down to that. It’s got to be one of the best wins I have ever had.”

Talk ‘N Text rose to 5-4 with the win and dealt the Boosters just their third loss in nine outings. And this one was particularly painful for Petron, which missed all of its six field goal attempts and had three miscues in overtime, two of them to start extension.

Later in the night, Barangay Ginebra tied Meralco at 4-5 with an 84-81 win.

No team in the 38-year-old history of the league has ever been held scoreless in an overtime period, and Petron—whose franchise has won an all-time-high 19 titles—now has that dubious distinction.

It wouldn’t have come down to that for Petron had it not missed three of its four free throws in the final 37.1, two of them from Arwind Santos with 24.3 remaining which could have bloated an 85-82 lead.

Joescoundrel
03-23-2013, 08:45 AM
Ginebra survives Meralco sans Caguioa down the stretch

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

10:45 pm | Friday, March 22nd, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Ginebra squandered a huge lead but hung tough down the stretch to slip past Meralco, 84-81, Friday in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Kings were leading by nine with a little over two minutes to play, but gave the Bolts enough space to execute a 9-2 run and trim their lead to two, 81-83.

Ginebra, which played sans Mark Caguioa in the last 3:24, got a lucky break when Meralco couldn’t knock down a game-tying triple in the final 25 seconds.

“It’s a scary win, it’s our fault because we relaxed on defense. Daming turnovers at simpleng tira na lang nilalandi pa,” said a disappointed head coach Alfrancis Chua.

The Kings were nearly doomed by 25 turnovers and 18 missed freethrows, 10 of which from import Vernon Macklin.

Down the stretch, Meralco started purposely fouling Macklin to make him go to the stripe.

But Chua said he had no plans of taking his import out despite the Bolts’ ‘Hack-a-Mack’ strategy.

“Pag inalis ko yung import ko dahil sa ginagawa nila, para ko rin tinatanggal yung kumpyansya nung import namin,” said Chua of Macklin who finished with 23 points and 22 rebounds.

Caguioa added 21 points but went to the Ginebra dugout with still a little under four minutes to go with what was initially ruled as a hyperextended knee.

Eric Dawson, meanwhile, paced the Bolts with 31 points and 21 rebounds, but his monster effort still wasn’t enough to help Meralco get over its flat start.

The Bolts constantly tried to make a run in the fourth, but they only came closest to taking over the lead with 25.6 seconds left on a triple by Chris Ross.

Joescoundrel
03-24-2013, 09:22 AM
Express sink Batang Pier

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:06 am | Sunday, March 24th, 2013

AFTER getting a dressing down from its coach at the half, Air21 went on a second half tear and tore Globalport to shreds, 87-72, for a franchise-best fourth straight victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

Trailing by as many as 14 points in the second period, the Express clamped down hard on defense and used the three-point shot to great effect, leading by as many as 21 early in the fourth before rising to 5-5 overall.

“I don’t understand why they want me to get mad at halftime before they pick up the defensive intensity,” Air21 coach Franz Pumaren told reporters.

The loss was the seventh straight in a tail-ending 2-8 card for the Batang Pier, who unveiled a new import in Sylvester Morgan. Of those four wins in the Air21 run, two have come at the expense of Globalport.

Michael Dunigan had 22 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists for the Express despite a long stint on the bench when he cramped up late in the third quarter.

But that didn’t stop the Express from breaking away as Wynne Arboleda and KG Canaleta connected with reckless abandon from afar that had Air21 taking leads of as many as 74-53 with less than five minutes gone in the fourth.

Sam Miguel
03-25-2013, 10:02 AM
San Mig Coffee survives Alaska; Aces putting the game under protest

By Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

11:33 pm | Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Head coach Tim Cone held his breath as Cyrus Baguio—uncontested—uncorked a three-pointer from the right wing with the game on the line.

Fortunately for San Mig Coffee, Baguio’s shot rimmed out as the Mixers survived Alaska, 84-83, Saturday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Cyrus hitting the shot in the end, I thought that was it,” Cone said in a sigh of relief. “I thought that was going to be the game winner.”

But instead, San Mig Coffee pulled out its eighth straight win over Alaska under Cone’s watch.

“Well it doesn’t get any exciting than that on a Saturday night… it was a great battle between two teams that played desperate (to win). They did because they want to keep the first place and they wanted to break the streak against us,” added Cone.

It appeared Cone’s winning run on his former team was about to end after prized rookie Calvin Abueva, who unleashed 20 of his career-high 27 points in the second half to go along with 11 rebounds and two blocks, completed a three-point play off a foul from Rafi Reavis that put the Aces on top, 83-82, with 44.4 ticks left.

Marc Pingris, who went on bruising battle with Abueva inside, answered back for the Mixers, who upped their mark to 5-5, on the low block with a power move inside over the rookie to give his team the lead, 84-83, with under 30 seconds left.

Alaska had another crack at the basket and a chance to retake the lead with Abueva drawing a shooting foul on Pingris with 12 seconds remaining.

But the game would end in controversial fashion with referee Jess Ferrer blowing the whistle and call a double lane violation just before Abueva, who missed his first freebie and made the second before it got waved off, attempted his second charity.

The game would have gone into overtime had Abueva’s second free throw was counted but instead the Aces, who battled back from 10 points down with 3:50 left, took their third loss in 10 games.

“The call was made before the shot and in a game like this there are some calls you don’t make. I mean it just decided the outcome of the game right there,” said an irate Alaska coach Luigi Trillo. “The thing is you have to wait for the shot to happen then you make the call, it’s a free throw so why make the call? Why blow the whistle before the shot?”

“It’s just hard. We came back from 10 points down, I hope commissioner can see that and we’re looking for justice tonight,” Trillo added. “We’re looking for justice for that. I think they tried to file a protest. We earned the right to play into overtime.”

Denzel Bowles led the way for the Mixers with 30 points, 23 rebounds, five assists and two blocks while Mark Barroca had half of his 16 points in the fourth period.

Sam Miguel
03-25-2013, 10:03 AM
Kings hardly miss Caguioa

E-Painters overwhelm Texters

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:59 pm | Sunday, March 24th, 2013

AFTER six failed tries this season, Rain or Shine finally conquered Talk ‘N Text.

The Elasto Painters dealt the powerhouse Tropang Texters a beating they’ve never had this year—a 116-85 rout at Smart Araneta Coliseum last night that lifted Rain or Shine to a share of the Commissioner’s Cup lead.

Earlier, Vernon Macklin and LA Tenorio plugged the scoring holes left by Barangay Ginebra’s foremost gunner and towed the Gin Kings to their fourth straight win with a 96-89 decision of Barako Bull.

“I was kind of aware of that,” Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said about their 0-6 record against the Texters this season, counting a sweep in the Philippine Cup Finals.

Bruno Sundov keyed a jackrabbit start for the Painters, who took the first quarter at 30-18 before eventually leading by as many as 36 points late in the third en route to a tie for the lead with idle Alaska at 7-3.

Talk ‘N Text dropped to 5-5 after being held to just 58 points in the first three periods.

Macklin scattered 33 points despite missing 14 free throws, and Tenorio added 27 as Ginebra took complete command in the second half in repeating over the Energy and hiking its record to 5-5.

Mark Caguioa, who averaged 22.8 points per game—the best among locals and fourth overall in the tournament—suffered a slight tear on his left MCL on Friday. But he was hardly missed by the Kings, who even had the luxury of missing 27 free throws—the most by any team in the last 10 seasons at least.

The scores:

First Game

GINEBRA 96—Macklin 33, Tenorio 27, Raymundo 10, Baracael 9, Ellis 7, Hatfield 7, Mamaril 2, Labagala 1, Jensen 0, Espiritu 0, Helterbrand 0.

BARAKO 89—Maliksi 22, Brock 20, Seigle 12, Urbiztondo 8, Villanueva 7, Macapagal 6, Anthony 5, Pennisi 5, Kramer 2, Allado 2, Duncil 0, Intal 0.

Quarters: 25-19, 46-43, 75-67, 96-89

Second Game

RAIN OR SHINE 116—Sundov 27, Norwood 19, Tiu 15, Lee 10, Cruz 9, Matias 6, Chan 6, Rodriguez 6, Arana 6, Quinahan 6, Uyloan 3, Belga 3, Jaime 0, Tang 0, Ibanes 0.

TALK N’ TEXT 85—Castro 19, Harvey 17, De Ocampo 13, Gamalinda 8, Al-Hussaini 7, Alapag 7, Fonacier 4, Raymundo 3, Reyes 3, Aban 2, Williams 2, Alvarez 0, Ferriols 0, Carey 0.

Quarters: 30-18, 59-42, 94-58, 116-85

Sam Miguel
03-27-2013, 09:03 AM
It’s James’ word vs Kris’

By Beth Celis

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:36 pm | Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

WELL-MEANING friends and associates of embattled San Mig Coffee superstar James Yap were right.

They were just being realistic when they counseled the cager not to engage his former spouse in a dispute of any kind, legal or otherwise.

“You won’t win,” a friend told James. “Kris is the most powerful woman in the country today. She is, after all, the sister of the most powerful man in the country.”

While James knew that his friends were correct, he said he couldn’t take it anymore. He was forced to react to Kris’ moves.

“Sobra na, hindi ko na kaya (Enough, I can’t take it anymore),” he told his friends.

In December last year, James was served the adoption papers for his son Bimby.

Kris is said to have explained that it was all for the sake of Bimby who became illegitimate after the Yap-Aquino marriage was annulled.

While James also wants Bimby’s status to be legitimized, he is wary that he will lose all his rights to the child, including the right to see him, if he signs the adoption papers.

* * *

He said; she said. James cried; Kris wept.

The issue now is who’s telling the truth. Who’s crying crocodile tears.

Kris accused James of trying to force himself on her.

James said, “Wala na akong pakialam kay Kris (I don’t care anymore about Kris)!”

Kris said on television that James had barged into her bedroom to confront her about what she was supposedly telling Bimby. It was James’ word against Kris’.

Claiming that James was bothering her and their son, Kris filed a temporary protection order, which was immediately granted by the courts. It prevents James from coming closer than 100 meters to Bimby.

James countered by filing a hold departure order on Kris, who was set to leave for a holiday in Europe with Bimby and older son Joshua (by Philip Salvador).

A few days after the HDO was filed, we all saw Kris and her boys on TV getting ready to board their flight to Paris.

* * *

“I was one of those who told James that this is one game he can’t win,” said a source very close to James. “You all saw him cry over his helplessness. James is not an actor, those were genuine tears. He was hurt at how Bimby has changed. He hated his father and this he shouted in James’ face.”

The source also disclosed that the cager is currently involved with someone.

“James is trying to keep her out of the public eye,” the same source added. “He actually wants a quiet life. She’s Italian and very beautiful. She’s not in showbiz.”

Whether James can win this game, only time will tell. This early, though, oddsmakers won’t put their money on him.

By the way, I wonder if James is aware of talks that Kris is planning to study at Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and take up a course in public governance.

Word has it that she will run for public office in the 2016 elections.

If this is true, she really has no choice but to give up her TV shows temporarily. For sure she would want to take her two sons with her to the US.

Sam Miguel
03-27-2013, 09:07 AM
^^^ I'm no lawyer but I am certain that the Family Code is always to be construed in favor of legitimacy in the case of children, i.e. once a child is deemed by law to be legitimate, such as in this case the minor child Bimby, because he was born to parents who at the time of his birth had a subsisting valid marriage, even annulment of said marriage cannot make Bimby illegitimate. Clearly a fast one was pulled by the oh so clever KSP Kris Aquino, and the ever brilliant James Yap bought it. As for being the most powerful woman in the country today, Kris may want to take that up with her amiga Korina Sanchez.

Back now to the Commissioners Cup.

Sam Miguel
03-27-2013, 09:08 AM
Cortez’ dual role vital to Air21

By Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

3:32 pm | Monday, March 25th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – It’s hard enough to effectively run the point and even tougher to switch from being a playmaker to a scorer.

But not for Mike Cortez, ‘the Cool Cat,’ who has smoothly played his niche for streaking Air21.

In the Express’ wins over defending PBA Commissioner’s Cup champion San Mig Coffee and GlobalPort, Cortez averaged 13.5 points and 6.0 assists per game while being asked to be a point guard and shooting guard from time to time.

“Right now we are not only asking him to run the team but to score also,” said head coach Franz Pumaren of the 32-year-old Cortez, the first overall pick by Alaska in the 2003 draft. “That’s why once in a while we are using him as a second guard.”

Cortez made a name for himself in the UAAP as a member of De La Salle University also under Pumaren’s watch and since being reunited with his college coach in a trade, Cortez has been on a tear.

His effectiveness was in full display after posting 13 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals in an 87-82 win over the Mixers before collecting 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists against GlobalPort last Saturday for Air21′s fourth straight win.

Cortez’ all-around game also earned him the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week (March 18 to 24), besting Barangay Ginebra’s LA Tenorio.

Sam Miguel
03-27-2013, 09:09 AM
Alaska clashes with Petron in crucial rematch

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:46 pm | Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

ALASKA and Petron Blaze try to bounce back from heart-rending losses when they clash today in a game that could influence the race for the top two berths in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Aces will actually be gunning for a repeat over the Boosters in the 7:30 p.m. contest. If they are successful, the Aces would take over solo leadership heading into the Holy Week break—just two games short of the hypothetical number of wins needed to clinch a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals.

A loss by Alaska would drop the Aces to solo third while giving Petron a share of the lead with Rain or Shine at 7-3.

Several coaches believe that the magic number for a top two berth—and the twice-to-beat bonus—would be 10 wins.

While Petron and Alaska are jockeying for prime positions in the playoffs, Globalport is looking to simply stay alive.

With seven straight losses in a tail-ending 2-8 card, the Batang Pier need a win over Meralco in the 5:15 p.m. game to avoid getting the curtains early. Another loss would drop the Batang Pier behind the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Alaska-Petron duel marks the first meeting between the two squads since the celebrated Renaldo Balkman meltdown.

The Aces defeated the Boosters, 83-73, the first time they met and held Balkman to just six points. Balkman lost his cool in the end after a non-call, chased referees and choked teammate Arwind Santos when the latter tried to pacify him.

Balkman was slapped a P250,000 fine and banned for life from the PBA. He was replaced by Rodney White, who had a poor debut in a loss to Talk ‘N Text, which held Petron scoreless in overtime in a 93-85 come-from-behind victory.

White had 12 points in 31 minutes of action

Robert Dozier, rookie Calvin Abueva and veteran Cyrus Baguio will lead Alaska in the expected absence of Sonny Thoss and JV Casio due to injuries.

Joescoundrel
03-29-2013, 11:00 AM
Ex-PBA import arrested for assaulting cop

By Reinir Padua and Nelson Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated March 28, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - After a night of “having fun” with three women, an American who played for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) reached for his billfold and allegedly found $1,400 missing.

Police said former Rain or Shine import Jamelle Cornley trashed computers and other equipment in a drunken fit at the Sir William’s Hotel on Timog Avenue in Quezon City yesterday.

When police, responding to a call for help from the hotel at around 5 a.m., arrived, Cornley reportedly punched Police Officer 2 Anselmo Lazatin.

Cornley ended up behind bars and could be barred for life from the PBA if the charges against him prove true.

Earlier this month, Petron Blaze import Renaldo Balkman was banned from the PBA for life and fined P250,000 for grabbing the neck of a teammate who tried to prevent him from going after the referees.

Several men had to subdue Cornley, who stands 6 feet 5 inches, and handcuff him. Cornley said in a television interview that he merely shoved Lazatin.

“I had fun with the girls,” Cornley said. “But when I was about to leave and get a taxi, I could not find my money. That was the time I went to the front desk to tell them that I lost my money after these girls left me.” He reportedly paid the girls $100.

Cornley faces charges of alarm and scandal, direct assault against a person in authority, resisting arrest, disrespect to police authorities and malicious mischief, according to Quezon City police director Senior Superintendent Richard Albano.

Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said they would provide legal assistance to Cornley, a 2012 Governors Cup Best Import awardee.

“We’re helping him as a friend because he’s not under contract with Rain or Shine,” Guiao said. “We want what is only right for him – due process.”

Superintendent Marcelino Pedrozo Jr., Quezon City police Station 10 commander, said Cornley was drunk when he knocked down Lazatin, who was accompanied by Police Officer 2 Reynaldo Daang.

Lazatin had to be taken to hospital and a brace had to be placed around his neck, according to Senior Superintendent Joel Pagdilao, Quezon City police deputy director for administration.

Pedrozo said Cornley was detained after he refused to be investigated.

“He berated everybody when he was brought to the police station in Kamuning,” Pedrozo said.

Albano wants Cornley to undergo a drug test.

The Quezon City police chief is thinking of providing policemen with stun guns to deal with unruly suspects in similar situations.

In a statement, PBA commissioner Chito Salud said he would come down hard on Cornley if the allegations against him turn out to be true.

“I understand that this is now a police matter where facts will continue to be established,” Salud said.

“Mr. Cornley is not currently associated with the PBA in any manner whatsoever,” Salud emphasized. “Be that as it may, I’d perhaps take the occasion to remind our players that playing in the PBA is imbued with public interest, and they are thus subject to close public scrutiny within the context of higher standards and expectations. If the allegations and charges in this incident are proven to be true, I see Mr. Cornley as having zero chance of playing in the PBA again, at least not under my watch.”

Joescoundrel
04-02-2013, 11:09 AM
Clinics set to teach PBA stars to stay away from trouble with taxman

By Snow Badua

April 01, 2013, 09:07 pm

TO educate players on the importance and schematics of paying taxes, Commissioner Chito Salud will introduce a tax clinic starting this year.

PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial told Spin.ph that all players from the 10 ballclubs will be mandated to attend the clinic at the Bureau of Internal Revenue complex in Quezon City on April 8 beginning at 10 a.m.

“Mandatory yan, lahat pinapapunta namin,” said Marcial, who likened the importance of the players’ appearance to the annual All Star activities.

“Obligado silang pumunta lahat dyan. Kasi ito ang way para malaman nila kung paano ang magbayad ng tax ng tama. Madalas kasi hindi alam nung players yung tamang sistema.”

The league has already planned the tax clinic since last year, even before Talk 'N Text stars Jimmy Alapag and Jared Dillinger were implicated in a tax evasion case by the BIR.

The two have since reportedly settled their obligation.

“Yun ang gusto naming maiwasan rito, kaso naunahan pa kami. Saka tulong na rin ito sa BIR at sa gobyerno ng PBA,” added the PBA official.

Sam Miguel
04-04-2013, 09:13 AM
Kings slip past Express

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:15 am | Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Barangay Ginebra made the most out of the good fortune that went its way down the stretch last night and repulsed Air21, 90-84, for a fifth straight win that practically assured the Gin Kings a slot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs.

Vernon Macklin got away with 32 points and 11 rebounds and the Kings pounced on the disqualification of Air21 import Michael Dunigan with 4:15 left to erase a 76-79 deficit and eventually rise to 6-5 before a big Smart Araneta Coliseum crowd.

Ginebra’s winning streak matched the tournament’s longest currently being held by idle Alaska and Petron Blaze while Air21, after also winning four straight games itself, took a second straight loss to drop to 5-7.

LA Tenorio scored 18 points on top of 11 rebounds and six assists and the Kings were able to pull this one out of the fire when coach Alfrancis Chua dug deep in the bench in the fourth quarter and got superlative contributions from Rob Labagala and Elmer Espiritu.

Ginebra came into the game without team leader and leading local scorer Mark Caguioa and big men Kerby Raymundo and Rico Maierhofer because of different injuries.

“I told the players before the game inside the locker room to look left and right and know that the guys you see are the ones who’ll help you win the game for us tonight,” Chua told reporters. “I told them to not look for the players who are not here.”

Niño Canaleta, the former five-time winner of the Slam Dunk competition turned lethal outside gun, paced the Express with 29 points capped by a three-point play off Espiritu with 90 seconds left that had Air21 creeping to within 84-86.

After Labagala missed a jumper on the other end, Air21 had a chance to tie the game or forge ahead. But Bonbon Custodio threw the ball away on the break by passing to a referee whom he thought was a teammate breaking away.

That error led to Macklin tipping a Billy Mamaril miss with 28 seconds left that iced it for Ginebra.

At 5-7, the Express are now just half-a-game ahead of ninth-running Barako Bull while Air21 has powerhouses Petron Blaze and San Mig Coffee as its last foes.

The scores:

First Game

GINEBRA 90—Macklin 32, Tenorio 18, Ellis 10, Espiritu 10, Helterbrand 6, Labagala 4, Mamaril 4, Baracael 3, Wilson 2, Taha 1, Hatfield 0.

AIR21 84—Canaleta 29, Dunigan 16, Cortez 12, Sena 8, Baclao 8, Custodio 6, Arboleda 3, Menor 2, Atkins 0, Wilson 0, Isip 0, Omolon 0, Ritualo 0.

Quarters: 28-17, 46-41, 70-61, 90-84

Sam Miguel
04-04-2013, 09:14 AM
Simon’s baseline jumper lifts San Mig Coffee past Talk N’ Text

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

10:22 pm | Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Peter Simon uncorked a baseline jumper with 40.2 ticks left to help San Mig Coffee survive Talk N’ Text, 83-82, Wednesday in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Mixers managed to claw back from six points down, 76-82, in the final three minutes, and Simon’s clutch bucket gave them their final lead of the game.

But San Mig Coffee also had immense luck on its side as two clean shots from the Texters, which could’ve won them the game, just rattled out in the last possession.

“Don’t ask me why how we did it, I honestly don’t know. I’m just happy we’re able to do it,” San Mig Coffee head coach Tim Cone said after the game.

The Mixers spent the entire game catching up and got a taste of the lead at the end of the third quarter. But it was a fleeting moment as Talk N’ Text surged anew.

After getting outworked, as Cone admitted, in the first 44 minutes of the game — the Mixers stepped it up where it mattered most.

“It’s a crucial must win game for us. We needed to win, not only for the standings, but for our confidence,” Cone said as his squad’s title retention bid reeks of inconsistency.

Denzel Bowles led the Mixers with 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks — including two in their comeback stretch.

San Mig Coffee improved to 6-6 while Talk N’ Text dropped to 5-6.

The Texters, though, were merely a basket away from victory — having enough time in their final possession to snatch the game.

Ryan Reyes uncorked two triple attempts from the elbow but both rattled out to the frustration of Talk N’ Text, which missed the services of Jared Dillinger and Kelly Williams.

Sam Miguel
04-04-2013, 09:17 AM
Petron reaches deal with new import as Sims is set to arrive Wednesday

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

4:07 pm | Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — Petron has finally sealed the deal with a new import, its third this 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, as Henry Sims is set to arrive here on Wednesday.

After a few kinks, the Boosters’ management and Sims’ NBA D-League squad Erie BayHawks have reached an agreement in time for Petron’s game on Friday against Meralco.

“It’s official, it’s Henry Sims,” said SMC sports director Noli Eala on his Twitter account (@nolieala) Tuesday. “[He] arrives tomorrow. Welcome to the SMC fam [Henry Sims].”

Sims was putting up 16.4 points per game for the Bayhawks in the NBA D-League, which went along with 8.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 blocks per game.

Before hopping on a plane to Manila, Sims even took the time to thank his former team where he played starting center.

“Thanks to the city of Erie for a great Rookie year! #philippineshereIcome,” tweeted Sims (@H_Sims14).

After Renaldo Balkman’s sudden exit in the league, Petron has struggled with its imports as even negotiations with Sims almost fell through.

But the only question that remains now is whether the Boosters’ coaching staff will opt to play Sims on Friday instead of Gabe Freeman, who has been practicing with them the past week.

“Who Petron will use on Friday is the coaches’ call. [Management] has supported them with the tools to win,” Eala said.

Sam Miguel
04-05-2013, 08:57 AM
Espiritu, Labagala step up as Macklin continues to inspire the Kings

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

9:37 pm | Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—In the absence of its three key guys, trust the other players — the “hugot” as coach Alfrancis Chua puts it — to step up for Ginebra.

That was exactly what Elmer Espiritu and Robert Labagala did on Wednesday against Air21, knocking down the crucial buckets that helped the Kings continue riding a five-game winning streak after a 90-84 win.

“Without Kerby [Raymundo], Mark [Caguioa] and Rico [Maierhofer], it’s hard. Air21 play well. Their zone [defense] was clicking and we couldn’t make a basket from the outside,” said Chua after the game.

“But finally yung mga “hugot” like Espiritu and Lagabala [nag-step-up], tapos lahat ng players namin nag-co-contibute. It’s a very good sign.”

Down 79-76, the Kings turned to import Vernon Macklin to exploit Air21′s depleted front court as Mike Dunigan was fouled out.

But they also drew a key triple from Espiritu, and it was a good thing he was ready to take that shot.

“Sa practice naman kasi di naman kami nagrerelax, nag-eextra work pa rin ako lagi after,” Espiritu told INQUIRER.net. “Titinitira ko rin naman [yung mga tres], nagkataon pumasok.

Espiritu provided quality numbers for Ginebra with 10 points and six rebounds in 28 minutes in the absence of Maierhoffer and Raymundo.

“Siyempre thankful ako kasi binigyan ako ng chance, at mas dadagdagan ko pa hardwork. Ngayon importante pag nakita ka na, yung trust ni coach andyan. Dapat anytime na bunutin ako o hindi, ready pa din ako,” he said.

Labagala, meanwhile, added four points — all in the payoff period. He admits that Macklin’s presence has done a lot when it came to his confidence.

“Gusto ko lang maging aggressive ngayon kasi si Vern kasi lahat ng locals binibigyan nya ng kumpyansa,” Labagala also told INQUIRER.net. “Kaya nilaro ko lang yung laro ko. Basta open, nagiging confident lang ako,”

Macklin, who had 32 points, then set up Labagala underneath for a short stab, giving the Kings an 86-81 lead with 1:45 left to play.

“Malaking bagay talaga si Macklin, ibang klase sya,” said Labagala. “Atsaka maganda chemisty namin ngayon, sana magtuloy-tuloy na.”

Espiritu had the same explanation for Ginebra’s five-game winning streak after starting off a 0-4 this PBA Commissioner’s Cup– and it goes beyond Macklin’s monster stats.

“Nag-ge-gel na kami. Andun na yung chemisty. Maganda yung samahan sa practice. Dati kasi laging seryoso, yung pagka-relax wala,” he said. “Nung dumating si Vern, nakakikipagkulitan pa samin. Magandang sign para sa team.

Sam Miguel
04-08-2013, 08:51 AM
Boosters repulse Energy; Gin Kings nose out Bolts

By June Navarro

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:48 pm | Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Henry Sims isn’t the same high-energy guy Petron Blaze once had but he can still deliver the goods.

Sims scored 23 points on top of 13 rebounds and Alex Cabagnot added 20 as Petron dumped Barako Bull, 88-77, to clinch a quarterfinal spot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Boosters bounced back from a forgettable outing that saw Meralco import Eric Dawson score a season-high 57 points as the Bolts won, 102-92, in Sims’ debut.

“It’s unfair for him to play back-to-back games right after he arrived. I know he will soon be comfortable and more involved in the scheme of things,” said Petron coach Olsen Racela. “Henry could get back his legs in time.”

Vernon Macklin dropped in a layup with 7.9 seconds left and gave Barangay Ginebra a thrilling 91-90 win over Meralco in the second game.

Dawson tried to save the night for the Bolts on the other end but his runner bounced high off the rim, allowing the Gin Kings to chalk up the longest win streak of the conference at six games.

“I told them that winning six straight games is not impossible. I don’t think the law of averages will catch up on us. It’s not in our character,” said Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua.

Macklin finished with 31 points and 12 boards while Mac Baracael pumped in 10 of his 17 points for the Kings, who moved up with seven victories in 12 outings in a tie with the Boosters.

The Bolts, who got 27 points and 14 rebounds from Dawson this time, fell to 6-6.

A low-post workhorse and stolid defender in the NBA Developmental League, Sims started to loosen up by forcing former LA Laker center DJ Mbenga out of his comfort zone.

“He’s definitely not (Renaldo) Balkman. But Sims is bigger and can give us a different dimension,” said Racela after the Boosters registered their seventh victory in 12 games.

The 6-foot-6 Balkman was banned from the league for his unsportsmanlike outburst against his teammates.

“I have to admit that it’s hard to replace Balkman’s energy. But we don’t want to dwell on the past,” added Racela.

The scores:

First Game

PETRON BLAZE 88—Sims 23, Cabagnot 20, Lassiter 14, Santos 11, Fajardo 6, Lutz 6, Miranda 6, Washington 2, Sison 0, Faundo 0, Lanete 0, Pena 0.

BARAKO BULL 77—Mbenga 14, Maliksi 13, Anthony 11, Pennisi 11, Monfort 8, Seigle 8, Urbiztondo 5, Macapagal 3, Duncil 2, Intal 2, Kramer 0.

Quarters: 22-17, 40-38, 67-55, 88-77

Second Game

GINEBRA 91—Macklin 31, Baracael 17, Tenorio 17, Labagala 10, Hatfield 10, Ellis 4, Jensen 2, Espiritu 0, Maierhofer 0, Mamaril 0, Helterbrand 0, Raymundo 0.

MERALCO 90—Dawson 27, Buenafe 19, Ross 11, Cardona 10, Salvacion 9, Hugnatan 6, Hodge 4, Timberlake 4, Vanlandingham 0, Reyes 0.

Quarters: 18-24, 44-43, 71-64, 91-90

Joescoundrel
04-21-2013, 05:53 PM
Helterbrand's vintage night sparks Ginebra comeback

By Alder Almo (philstar.com) |

Updated April 21, 2013 - 12:45am

MANILA, Philippines – The legion of die-hard fans were wishing Mark Caguioa could get on the floor when their team Ginebra San Miguel stared at a huge 15-point deficit early in the second half against Rain or Shine last night.

Caguioa could only watch from the bench and cheer on his teammates to continue fighting back.

The Mall of Asia Arena fell to eerie silence as the fans of the most popular PBA ballclub were starting to lose hope because the second seed Elasto Painters appeared headed on their way to the semifinals for the third straight conference.

But not so fast.

After all, Ginebra isn’t called never-say-die team for nothing.

With their conference on the line, a forgotten man, the better half of Caguioa in “The Fast and The Furious” chose the moment to step up for his injured partner.

Jayjay Helterbrand earlier misfired a couple of shots in the first half but at crunchtime, he was clutch.

The 36-year old guard found a way to turn back the hands of time. Suddenly, it was 2008-09 all over again. Mr. Fast, the MVP version, came in and knocked in 13 all in the fourth as the Kings essayed another classic comeback, pulling off a 90-83 victory to live to fight another day.

“Glory be to God,” were the first words that came out of Helterbrand’s mouth after the game. “We pulled off a miraculous victory because of Him.”

Helterbrand, a devout Christian, was a perfect three-for-three from beyond the arc in this vintage night. His biggest triple of the game stretched Ginebra’s lead to seven, 86-79, to kill any Rain or Shine momentum to steal the game back with just a minute to go.

“Coach [Al Chua] told us in the locker room that if we want to have a practice tomorrow, we got to come out there and play like there’s no tomorrow,” Helterbrand added. “And that’s exactly what happened. Thank God, our whole team was able to step up and play.”

It wasn’t only Helterbrand as there was also Kerby Raymundo, who muscled his way to 14 points that kept the Kings within striking distance in the third period to set up the stage for Mr. Fast’s heroics.

There was also LA Tenorio, who banged in 19 shifting to shooting guard in lieu of Caguioa leaving his point guard duties to new recruit Josh Urbiztondo.

And the newest King also had his own moments of brilliance as Urbiztondo ran the show with boundless energy in his debut with the squad finishing with five assists on top of five boards despite scoring only four points and missing all his six attempts from the three-point land. Their import Vernon Macklin also starred in this game bouncing back from his lackluster play the last time out, this time pacing the team with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field mostly from ferocious dunks and his patented semi-hook shots.

But clearly, the night belonged to Helterbrand.

The 36-year old guard, who is the only other MVP in the squad aside from Caguioa, bought some time for his ailing partner to join him and the Kings as they try to write a Cinderella story this conference.

Sam Miguel
04-22-2013, 10:50 AM
Red-hot Texters sweep Petron

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:49 pm | Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Talk ‘N Text again relied on its locals as the Tropang Texters ousted the Petron Blaze Boosters with a 96-86 victory to barge into the Final Four of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup yesterday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Jason Castro and Ryan Reyes exploded in the stretch and the Talk ‘N Text defense held the Boosters to seven points in the last nine minutes to complete a 2-0 sweep of their best-of-three quarterfinal series.

“Once again, you have to give a lot of credit to the local players,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black, who tried to put some comic relief in assessing the mediocre performance of import Jerome Jordan during the traditional winning coach’s interview.

“I must have told (him) the wrong things,” Black said with a wry frown when asked if he sat down with his 7-foot import, an NBA veteran with the New York Knicks to improve on a 11-point, five-rebound effort in Game 1.

What made it a laughing matter was that Jordan had the exact same output last night and yet the Texters were able to pull out the sweep mainly because four locals led by Ranidel de Ocampo scored in twin digits to back up their tough defense.

Defending champion San Mig Coffee took its best-of-three series opposite Meralco to the full route with a 100-92 win in the nightcap.

Denzel Bowles scored 35 points and had 14 rebounds and rookie Alex Mallari dropped a career-high 16 points coming off the bench as the Mixers forged a do-or-die Game 3 date with the Bolts on Wednesday at 6:45 p.m.

“We certainly haven’t won anything yet. There’s nothing to get excited about,” San Mig coach Tim Cone said.

San Mig also won Game 3 of its quarterfinal match with this same Meralco crew in this tournament last season.

The Texters trailed, 77-79, when Jordan took to the line six straight times and made it 83-79 heading into the final 6:39, igniting a 19-7 finishing kick that had the Boosters eating their dust and taking a quarterfinal exit for the second straight tournament.

Talk ‘N Text clamped down hard on the Boosters, holding them to 12 points in the fourth quarter to advance against either Barangay Ginebra or No. 2 Rain or Shine in a best-of-five Final Four series.

The No. 7 Gin Kings and the Elasto Painters play their KO match at 6:45 p.m. today also at the Big Dome in Cubao with Ginebra having the momentum after rallying in the fourth quarter Saturday night for a 90-83 decision.

Alaska, the elimination round topnotcher, booked the first semifinal slot on Saturday after turning back Air21, 87-81, and is awaiting the result of the San Mig Coffee-Meralco duel.

The scores:

First Game

TALK ‘N TEXT 96—De Ocampo 17, Castro16, Reyes 14, Alapag 12, Jordan 11, Dillinger 8, Al-Hussaini 7, Peek 7, Fonacier 4, Aban 0, Ferriols 0, Carey 0.

PETRON BLAZE 86—Lassiter 23, Sims 17, Fajardo 15, Santos 15, Miranda 10, Cabagnot 4, Washington 2, Lutz 0, Tubid 0, Pena.

Quarters: 28-32, 52-56, 73-74, 96-86

Sam Miguel
04-22-2013, 10:51 AM
Bowles stars with 35 as San Mig Coffee forges rubber match vs Meralco

By Celest R. Flores

INQUIRER.net

9:30 pm | Sunday, April 21st, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — Denzel Bowles unleashed 23 points in the second half and San Mig Coffee kept its semifinals bid kicking with a 100-92 trumph over Meralco Sunday in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Mixers took the lead, for good, on a basket by Marc Pingris with 7:21 left in the third quarter then just systematically fended of the Bolts from the on.

PJ Simon nailed a triple before Bowles completed an and-one play to give San Mig Coffee an 88-78 lead with over eight minutes left to play.

Though it was more than enough time for Meralco to stage a comeback, the Mixers had Simon and Bowles to make the buckets to frustrate the Bolts.

“We need to take more business-like approach in this series. I didn’t think we did that in game one and we did that better in game 2,” said head coach Tim Cone.

Bowles finished with a total of 35 points and 14 rebounds in the game but the locals also took charge as Alex Mallari posted a career-high 16 points with Pingris and Simon combining for 23.

Eric Dawson finished with 23 points along with 23 rebounds, eight assists and four steals but his monster numbers were not enough to lift Meralco.

The Bolts played catch up all game, finally experiencing the driver’s seat on a triple by Mark Cardona with a little over three minutes gone by in the third period — but it was short lived.

In the payoff period, the Bolts couldn’t knock down their shots, making a fight back impossible, as they went 7-of-20 from the field, making just one of their seven three-point attempts.

Second Game

SAN MIG COFFEE 100—Bowles 35, Mallari 16, Pingris 12, Simon 11, Barroca 9, Yap7, Devance 6, De Ocampo 3, Reavis 1.

MERALCO 92—Dawson 23, Cardona 14, Hodge 12, Ross 10, Hugnatan 9, Salvacion 9, Reyes 8, Buenafe 3, Manuel 2, Artadi 2.

Quarters: 24-28, 52-42, 75-68, 100-92

Sam Miguel
04-25-2013, 10:05 AM
Great escape for Gin Kings

Macklin unlikely hero

By Musong R. Castillo

10:55 pm | Monday, April 22nd, 2013

The weakest part of Vernon Macklin’s game has always been his free throw shooting.

Not last night. Not when Barangay Ginebra’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup stint was on the line, and not when the Gin Kings were on the verge of completing another playoff comeback for the ages.

A 47 percent free throw shooter, Macklin sank two charities with 11.1 seconds left then blocked a shot later before Rain or Shine flubbed three clear attempts that sealed an 81-79 Ginebra victory for a Final Four seat before close to 13,000 fans at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Macklin’s heroics allowed Ginebra to wipe out the twice-to-beat advantage the Elasto Painters had coming into the series. Only eight times out of 66 had the feat been achieved and the Kings pulled it off without their biggest star, the injured Mark Caguioa.

“People say that’s the weakness of his game, but he gave us this win,” Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua said of the key free throws. “I knew he could make it. I have been giving him that chance all conference long by not pulling him out of crucial moments of the game.”

Ginebra, which actually pulled off the caper for the third time, advanced against powerhouse Talk ‘N Text in a best-of-five semifinal series that could start as early as Friday.

“They underestimated us,” Chua said in an obvious jab at Rain or Shine and its coaching staff. “They didn’t anticipate the hearts of my players.”

Alaska, the tournament top seed which took care of its lower-ranked foe, Air21, right in its first outing last Friday, is awaiting the winner of the San Mig Coffee-Meralco best-of-three series.

The defending champion Mixers and the Bolts play their KO match tomorrow at 6:45 p.m. also at the Big Dome in Cubao.

The scores:

GINEBRA 81—Macklin 24, Ellis 13, Raymundo 13, Baracael 10, Helterbrand 9, Hatfield 6, Urbiztondo 3, Tenorio 2, Taha 1.

RAIN OR SHINE 79—Tiu 15, Lee 14, Sundov 12, Cruz 10, Chan 9, Belga 5, Norwood 4, Matias 3, Arana 3, Rodriguez 2, Quinahan 2, Ibanes 0.

Quarters: 22-23, 44-41, 63-61, 81-79

Sam Miguel
04-25-2013, 10:06 AM
^^^

Ginebra getting confidence in Game 1 comeback was ‘game changer,’ says Chris Tiu

11:17 pm | Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — Paul Lee had a great look on an open left corner triple, Jeff Chan had a “gimme” and so did Gabe Norwood on a third try — all those opportunities came for Rain or Shine in the waning seconds of the game.

All those chances blown as the Elasto Painters became part of history — at the wrong end of it — as the ninth team with twice-to-beat advantage to get booted out since the incentive was institutionalized in 1996.

“Hindi lang talaga para sa amin,” Lee told INQUIRER.net after their 79-81 loss to an injury-depleted Barangay Ginebra late Monday night. “Marami kaming chances, open three points ko malapitan ni Jeff ng putback hindi pumasok, tip in ni Gabe sablay pa rin.”

“Disappointing loss. I thought we had a great conference. We looked good all throughout the elimination round. I thought we could have gone to the Finals,” said guard Chris Tiu.

“It’s a disappointment how the conference ended for us because I felt this team doesn’t deserve to go out this early but then again we didn’t play up to par in our last two, three games that’s why we’re on vacation early,” added Tiu. “But that’s basketball.”

For a moment in Game 1, Rain or Shine lived up to its billing as the heavy favorite as it zoomed to a commanding lead in the third quarter with seven minutes left.

That though, became just part of the plot as the Kings, driven by their unwavering crowd and led by one of their veterans Jayjay Helterbrand turning back the clock, rallied to win.

“It was all in the first game when we sort of messed up our second half it gave them the confidence and it gave them the momentum that they needed and that’s really the game changer,” Tiu pointed out. “We could have put the game away in the third quarter of Game 1 but then we made some mistakes both ends on the court and it gave them energy, gave them new life.”

“And that’s Ginebra, they just need a spark and they can be really dangerous.”

Sam Miguel
04-25-2013, 10:12 AM
Mixers zap Bolts, complete Final 4

By Nelson Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated April 25, 2013 - 12:00am

Game tomorrow (Smart Araneta Coliseum)

6:45 p.m. – Talk n Text vs Ginebra

MANILA, Philippines - San Mig Coffee pounded Meralco as the latter lost steam and energy in a massive power outage at the finish, and the Mixers stayed in contention for a title repeat in blasting the Bolts, 90-82, in a do-or-die quarterfinals game in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

Denzel Bowles, forced to sit down for a long stretch after sustaining a cut below his right eye, returned fresh and rejuvenated in the final half, leading the Mixers’ juggernaut as they wore down the Bolts and went on to clinch the last slot in the Final Four.

Holding the Mixers scoreless in the last 8:03, Bowles and his teammates pulled through with the rousing eight-point win sending them to the best-of-five semifinals against elimination-round topnotcher Alaska Milk.

The other semis pairing pits Talk n Text and Barangay Ginebra. The Tropang Texters and the Gin Kings start their battle at 6:45 p.m. tomorrow at the same venue.

“It seems they (the Bolts) got tired in the end, especially Eric Dawson. Denzel going out after the cut proved to be a blessing in disguise,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone.

“Denzel got seven minutes of unnatural rest. He doesn’t usually get that rest. We played him the whole second half and we kept on telling him ‘you’re fresh,’” Cone added.

The reigning Best Import awardee did finish stronger than his Meralco counterpart who went scoreless in the fourth quarter, going 0-of-4 from the field and committing two turnovers.

Missing all their last 11 field attempts and turning the ball over six times in the last 8:03, the Bolts suffered the same fate they had in their quarters showdown with the Mixers last year.

And a Final Four stint remained elusive for Meralco.

San Mig Coffee, on the other hand, set up an interesting semis matchup with Alaska, taking a shot at a second finals stint in the mid-season tourney.

For the record, the Mixers, under Cone, are 8-0 against the Aces.

“We’re just happy to be in the semis playing the top seed. (Our 8-0 record against them) doesn’t mean anything going to the playoffs,” said Cone.

Bowles finished with a double-double game with 23 points and 11 rebounds though limited to 37 minutes after sustaining a cut on a wayward elbow by Reynel Hugnatan in the second quarter.

And there’s James Yap, still with a sore back, getting over the hump, coming through with 20 points, three rebounds and the same number of assists.

“I worked hard for it for two days,” said Yap of his good performance.

Despite the temporary ouster of Bowles, the Mixers finished strong in the second quarter with Yap, PJ Simon and Marc Pingris hitting clutch shots as San Mig Coffee sat on a 53-46 cushion at the turn.

Just after Bowles took the exit to have his cut stitched by their team doctor, Yap fired away a three-pointer then Simon rifled in a long twinner, capping a 13-2 tear that gave the Mixers a 15-point spread at 47-32.

But then Dawson ripped through San Mig’s defense with five straight markers and Mac Cardona and Josh Vanlandingham also put in key baskets as the Bolts made it a seven-point game at the half.

Bowles had made 15 points, six rebounds and one assist before needing to sit down the last 7:19 of the first half.

NOTES: Two-time MVP awardee Willie Miller and key players of Rain or Shine, Petron Blaze, Air21 and Barako Bull compose the PBA selection that will be pitted against the Shanghai Sharks in an exhibition match on May 7 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. It’s a guard-heavy PBA team that includes other backcourt players Paul Lee, Chris Tiu, Alex Cabagnot and Mike Cortez. Beau Belga, Arwind Santos, KG Canaleta, Doug Kramer and Marcio Lassiter make up the frontcourt of the local selection to be handled by coach Franz Pumaren. The Sharks and Gilas Pilipinas tangle in the first game on May 6 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay…Members of the PBA board meet TV5 executives today to discuss proposal to transfer the telecast of the Commissioner’s Cup finals from AKTV (IBC13) to TV5.

The scores:

San Mig Coffee 90 – Bowles 23, Yap 20, Pingris 14, Simon 11, Devance 9, Barroca 7, Mallari 6, Najorda 0, Reavis 0, De Ocampo 0.

Meralco 82 – Dawson 24, Cardona 19, Ross 13, Hugnatan 6, Salvacion 6, Hodge 5, Manuel 4, Vanlandingham 3, Reyes 2, Buenafe 0, Artadi 0.

Quarterscores: 28-27, 53-46, 75-75, 90-82

Sam Miguel
05-03-2013, 09:06 AM
Abueva gets 'fist bump' of approval from Caguioa

By Alder Almo

(philstar.com) | Updated May 2, 2013 - 8:00pm

MANILA, Philippines – Alaska rookie Calvin Abueva’s intensity and passion for the game earned him Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel superstar Mark Caguioa’s "fistbump" of approval.

Caguioa, who stormed to the league in 2001 with a “devil-may-care” swagger, sees a lot of himself in his younger years in the Aces’ rookie sensation.

“Nakikita ko ang sarili ko nung nagsisimula pa lang ako sa PBA kay Calvin [Abueva],” Caguioa told Philstar.com after their team practice last Wednesday. “Walang pakialam [sa sasabihin ng mga tao]. Laro lang ng laro.”

Abueva recently drew the ire of San Mig Coffee superstar James Yap for his rugged defense in their semifinal series that is currently tied at one game apiece. But Abueva, who possesses the same “no fear” swag like Caguioa, is unfazed of the challenge to shut down Yap, a two-time league MVP.

Caguioa, though, distanced himself from the “word war” between Abueva and Yap in the aftermath of their heated Game 2 where the San Mig Coffee superstar accused the Alaska rookie of too much flopping and playing dirty including hitting him on his injured back. But Caguioa, the reigning league MVP, likes the idea of having Abueva as a teammate.

“Ang mga gaya ni Calvin ang masarap na kakampi. Nagpapakamatay para manalo,” Caguioa said.

Sam Miguel
05-03-2013, 09:07 AM
^^^ That last statement is the most accurate sentiment regarding The Beast. If he's wearing your uniform he's the best thing to happen to you. If he's wearing a different uniform best be ready to catch every dirty trick and cheap shot in the world.

Sam Miguel
05-03-2013, 09:10 AM
Caguioa's past shapes him to become Mr. Furious

By Alder Almo (philstar.com) | Updated May 3, 2013 - 12:02am

MANILA, Philippines – Not many knew that Mark Caguioa almost became a Talk n Text Tropang Texter.

As the reigning MVP works hard for his comeback bid from an MCL injury, Caguioa bared to Philstar.com that he was a trade away from being drafted by their current semifinal opponent back in 2001.

But as fate would have it, Ginebra rejected Talk n Text’s offer then took Caguioa as the third overall pick in that year’s draft that drew the “who’s-this-dude?” reaction from the fans.

“Ang naka-scout talaga sa akin ay si coach Frankie (Lim). Talk n Text ang talagang kukuha sa akin nun kaso naintriga ang Ginebra nung nakikipag-trade ang TnT to move up from fourth to third pick,” Caguioa remembered.

In that year, Red Bull (now known as Barako Bull) went on to draft Willie Miller as the top overall pick followed by Mike Hrabak of the defunct Shell Turbochargers before Caguioa fell on Ginebra’s lap in what became the biggest steal of that batch.

After failing to secure the third pick, Talk n Text (still under the banner of Mobiline) went on to choose Gilbert Demape as the fourth overall pick followed by Fil-am shooter John Arigo that went to Alaska.

“Nakita kasi ako ni coach Frankie nun sa isang laro sa California na umiskor ng 60 points kalaban mga Amerikano. Sinabihan niya akong magpalista sa PBA rookie draft at sila (TnT) ang kukuha sa akin,” Caguioa recalled.

Caguioa went on prove himself worthy of the tug-of-war and worked his way to be mentioned in the same breath as the Living Legend Sonny Jaworski.

“I was truly honored when the Big J fist bumped me during his jersey retirement ceremony last year,” Caguioa said. “We share the same passion and we badly wanted to win for the fans. We owe it to them.”

In retrospect, Caguioa could not have enjoyed the adulation of the fans and instead, could have become Brgy. Ginebra’s public enemy no. 1 had the trade pushed through in the 2001 PBA Rookie Draft.

“Kung natuloy siguro ako sa Talk n Text nun, iba ang tinakbo ng career ko in the same way that Ginebra wouldn’t have been the same without me,” Caguioa said.

But the 33-year old veteran, who paced the league in scoring with 22 points per game before falling down to injury list with an MCL, said that he is happy he ended up with Ginebra. Had he become a Tropang Texter, Caguioa insisted that he would still be the Mr. Furious that he is now known for because of his past that motivated him to become the best.

“Hindi kasi ako pinapansin ng mga scouts noon. Sina Jimmy (Alapag), Tony (dela Cruz) at Don (Allado) ang pinapansin noon sa [United] States. There was this one time, may MBA (Metropolitan Basketball Association) scout na nagpunta doon at nagbasa lang ng dyaryo habang naglalaro ako. In that moment, I told myself na ‘ay grabe, pagpunta ko ng Manila, I’ll be the player who’ll bring in the biggest impact’,” Caguioa recalled.

It’s now a thing of the past for Caguioa but with Talk n Text standing on his team’s way to become the best, he is working double time to get back in shape and help Ginebra beat the franchise that he almost ended up playing for.

Sam Miguel
05-08-2013, 09:49 AM
PBA 5 completes two-game sweep of Phl-China series

By Nelson Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated May 8, 2013 - 12:00am

Games today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)

5:15 p.m. – San Mig Coffee vs Alaska Milk

7:30 p.m. – Talk n Text vs Ginebra

MANILA, Philippines - The PBA select team completed a two-game sweep for the hosts in the Philippine-China Friendship Games, banking on a strong finish to whip the Shanghai Sharks, 80-71, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

Beau Belga, Paul Lee, Arwind Santos and KG Canaleta worked on an amazing 17-2 closing run as they duplicated Smart Gilas’ 80-72 win over the visiting Chinese squad Monday.

Somehow, the PBA select squad and Gilas Pilipinas – featuring cadet players – proved that the Filipinos are still competitive in international play.

The PBA selection, from teams failing to make the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Final Four, somehow underscored that the Philippines has got a deep bench for the national team.

Consider Belga coming through with team-highs of 16 points and nine rebounds, Paul Lee getting away with nine points, four rebounds and three assists and Doug Kramer contributing eight markers, eight boards and one assist.

Belga has played for the Phl team only in Southeast Asian level while Lee and Kramer have never donned the national jersey.

Santos, a member of the Phl team in the 2009 Tianjin Asian meet, tallied 15 points and five rebounds while KG Canaleta, many times a Phl team alternate, knocked in three three-pointers, including the one that shattered the 71-all count with 1:36 left to play.

“We really have a lot of good players to be considered for the national team. Unfortunately, the national team needs just 12 players. In fact, players playing in the (PBA) semis are not here. There’s no question we have an abundance of talent,” noted national coach Chot Reyes, who watched the game on the sideline.

Reyes wasn’t surprised the PBA select team, without the benefit of a single practice, cut down to size the tall Shanghai Sharks team of former NBA star Yao Ming.

“I’ve said it many times before if it’s commercial team versus commercial team, we’ll be there fighting even if it’s China, Korea or whichever. It is tough when it comes to national team. They have the advantage because they have a big pool of players and they train together for a long time,” said Reyes.

“Tayo patche-patche lang lagi. That’s our drawback,” Reyes added.

Considering that they were together just for this match, Santos and company dished out a remarkable game under coach Franz Pumaren.

They made a big turnaround from an eight-point deficit early in the fourth quarter, holding the Chinese to a single field-goal basket in the last four minutes to pull off the win.

JayR Reyes and Belga alternated on 7-foot-3 Shanghai center Zhaoxu Zhang. With Kramer and Santos providing double, the PBA squad limited Zhang to 23 points in 32 minutes of action.

At endgame, Lee and Mike Cortez pressured the Shanghai guards, disallowing them from getting the ball to the post.

Lee pulled back-to-back steals, the second one setting up Santos for a breakaway layup to give the PBA a first taste of the lead for a long, long while at 71-69.

The PBA stars kept the defensive pressure on the Chinese to the finish, completing a feel-good win that somehow eased the disappointment of the crowd on the no-show of Yao, who left home yesterday morning.

The scores:

PBA 80 – Belga 16, Santos 15, Lee 9, Canaleta 9, Kramer 8, Cortez 7, Tiu 7, Reyes 5, Miller 2, Hodge 2, Cabagnot 0.

Shanghai 71 – Zhang 23, Meng 15, Wang S. 10, Yuan 7, Wang L. 6, Liang 6, Yi 4, Yang G. 0, Yang W. 0.

Quarterscores: 11-17, 36-38, 55-59, 80-71

Sam Miguel
05-08-2013, 10:06 AM
^^^

Belga’s shot fake steals show in PBA-Sharks game

By Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

11:23 pm | Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — Rain or Shine’s Beau Belga led the PBA Selection squad to a come-from-behind win over the Shanghai Sharks Tuesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Belga had team-highs 16 points and nine rebounds but apart from his near double-double performance, he also came up with perhaps the highlight of the night that had the crowd as well as his teammates nearly falling off their chairs.

Late in the fourth quarter, Belga, who had it going from downtown on two-of-three shooting, faked a three-pointer that fooled his defender Zhang Yuan, who literally turned his back before realizing the ball never left Belga’s hands.

“Nagulat ako sa kanya tumalikod siya. Di ko alam ire-react ko,” said Belga following their 80-71 win. Tapos nagtawanan yung mga tao so natawa na lang din ako.”

“I think that was the shot fake of the year, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Chris Tiu, whose back-to-back triples helped the PBA to come back within reach after falling behind by nine in the third quarter, with a laugh. “Pati yata yung big man tumalikod… It was a nice way to cap off the victory.”

“Hindi siya kilala nung kalaban eh. Yung shot fake na ‘yun it’s one of the most effective,” Tiu, who had seven points, added.

Sam Miguel
05-08-2013, 10:08 AM
Texters field shorter import

Explosive tie-breaker tiffs today

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:52 pm | Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

TALK ‘N Text will go for speed and scoring while sacrificing size today when it unveils a shorter import against Barangay Ginebra in the third game of their deadlocked PBA Commissioner’s Cup Final Four series at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Tony Mitchell replaces the 7-foot Jerome Jordan in the 7:30 p.m. clash with the Gin Kings, with coach Norman Black pointing to the loss of two guards to injuries in recent days as the reason for the change.

With former MVP Jimmy Alapag out of Game 3 and Jared Dillinger sidelined for the rest of the year, Black is hoping that Mitchell will be able to put numbers on the board which Jordan couldn’t do.

That leaves the Texters with the tough task, though, of handling Ginebra’s energetic Vernon Macklin on defense.

“How we defend Macklin will be our No. 1 concern,” Black said. “All of our bigs will have to step up and need to have solid team (effort in) defense and rebounding.

“On the other hand, we will have to find out quickly how we can use the offensive skills of Mitchell. He has a reputation of being an explosive scorer.”

Mitchell, who stands just 6 feet 5, was not supposed to arrive in the country until August for the third conference.

In the quarterfinal series with Petron Blaze, Jordan averaged just 11 points and five rebounds, but Black’s locals picked up the slack and Talk ‘N Text swept the Boosters, 2-0.

With Macklin giving his teammates all the confidence they needed against Talk ‘N Text, Ginebra blew the Texters away in Game 1.

Alapag will be out for at least one game after injuring his right calf in practice for Gilas-Pilipinas in Davao last Friday, while Dillinger has a broken pelvic bone sustained in a car accident more than two weeks ago.

Mark Caguioa, the reigning MVP, will also sit out today’s double-header because of a knee injury. His return will be decided on this Friday when his therapy and rehab are concluded.

Meanwhile, James Yap will play through the pain of a bulging disc when the defending champion San Mig Coffee mixes up with Alaska in the other series that is also tied at 1-all.

That game is slated at 5:15 p.m.

Sam Miguel
05-09-2013, 08:29 AM
^^^

Aces rally past Mixers; new import tows TnT

By Nelson Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated May 9, 2013 - 12:00am

Game tomorrow (Smart Araneta Coliseum)

6:45 p.m. – Talk n Text vs Ginebra

MANILA, Philippines - Buried in a 16-point third-quarter hole, Alaska Milk pulled off a great escape act, 89-82, over San Mig Coffee in overtime and moved a game closer to a return stint in the PBA Finals before a record crowd of 23,108 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

Calvin Abueva came alive in the third period then Jayvee Casio and RJ Jazul took over as the Aces fashioned out the dramatic come-from-behind victory over the stunned Coffee Mixers and took the crucial 2-1 lead in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five semifinal series.

The Aces, making it two in row after losing all their first eight face-offs with former coach Tim Cone, take the first of their two shots at the best-of-seven title playoff in Game Four Saturday, also at the Big Dome.

“I’ve been too long in the league as an assistant coach to know that a 2-1 lead is nothing. They still have at least one game to play, and we have to get it from them,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.

“The series is not yet over and we can’t be excited,” Trillo added.

Before an overflowing crowd surpassing the old league mark of 22,902 recorded during the Ginebra-Air21 finale in 2008, the Aces squeezed out the incredible win to move in the threshold of a first finals stint after their 2010 Fiesta Conference championship under Cone.

Abueva, Casio and Jazul all played a big part as the Aces followed up their 86-67 victory in Game Two.

Jazul muffed a game-tying layup at the buzzer in regulation but redeemed himself by scoring six of their nine points in the extra play of the highly emotional game.

The former Letran stalwart started the extension period with a three-point play off Mark Barroca then rifled in a triple as the Aces jumped the gun on the Mixers, who simply lost their focus and poise.

Abueva starred in their third-quarter rally with 11 points, three rebounds and one steal, then Casio took over as the Aces sustained their charge and forged the battle at endgame.

Abueva poured in 17 points from the halftime break and finished with a game-high 24 with Casio delivering 10 of his 12 in the fourth quarter and Jazul making all of his six markers in extra play.

Jazul played the point for Alaska in the crunch after Casio picked up his sixth and final foul on Denzel Bowles with 4.9 seconds left.

Bowles made one foul shot to tie the count at 80-all.

Obviously winded in regulation, the Mixers failed to keep up with the Aces in OT.

“We lost our focus and concentration, and they did a good job of hanging around,” rued Cone.

Both teams had a chance to win the game in regulation but blew it.

Bowles split crucial charities then Jazul missed a layup at the buzzer on a perfect drop by Abueva.

Meanwhile, Talk n Text’s gamble on a short import paid off, at least in this particular game.

Six-foot-5 Tony Mitchell lived up to his NBA D-League reputation as a scorer, debuting with Talk n Text with 29 points on top of 12 rebounds as the Texters gained the decisive 2-1 lead in their own series versus the Barangay Ginebra Kings with a 98-80 rout later in the night.

“We’re in a very interesting situation. We really didn’t know what to expect going to this game as we brought in Tony Mitchell. Fortunately, he played well,” said TnT coach Norman Black.

“But the series is far from over. They’d (the Kings had) not seen Tony before and had no idea how to prepare against him. But seen him once and they will surely be ready on Friday,” Black added.

Alaska battled back from a 16-point deficit, 36-52, early in the third quarter with Abueva and Casio fuelling the Aces rally.

Alaska finally pulled even after a long chase at 70 with 6:42 left.

Abueva grabbed a big offensive rebound over James Yap and Marc Pingris and scored on a reversed layup, pushing the Aces ahead at 75-73.

Joescoundrel
05-13-2013, 10:03 AM
Gin Kings gain finals

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:03 am | Monday, May 13th, 2013

GAME WEDNESDAY

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

7:30 p.m.—Alaska vs Barangay Ginebra

Barangay Ginebra didn’t need its trademark comeback on this one.

The Gin Kings posted a wire-to-wire 111-103 triumph over walking wounded Talk ‘N Text last night to book the second title series slot in the Cebuana Lhuillier-PBA Commissioner’s Cup before another overflow crowd at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ginebra opened up with seven unanswered points and then built a 22-point lead early in the second half before weathering several Talk ‘N Text rallies to secure its first Finals appearance in two years.

Rallying from a 1-2 deficit for a 3-2 series win, Ginebra advanced opposite Alaska in a best-of-five championship showdown that starts Wednesday, with the Kings having a chance for a first title since the 2008 Fiesta Conference with the 7-foot Chris Alexander.

LA Tenorio was the biggest man on the floor for the Kings, shooting 12 of his 28 points in the fourth period, including several clutch layups that helped put the Texters away and take the Kings to their 20th title series in the history of their popular franchise.

Vernon Macklin added 22 points that went with 20 rebounds and Mac Baracael played his finest game in a Ginebra uniform with 21 markers built around eight triples. Old hands Kerby Raymundo and Jay-Jay Helterbrand also finished with twin digits and combined for 28 more points.

Talk ‘N Text was led by the 42 points of Tony Mitchell and Jason Castro finished with 15 points before fouling out.

But the Texters were easier to handle last night because of several missing personnel.

Ranidel de Ocampo did not suit up for the Texters because of a swollen calf sustained late in Game 4 from a wayward knee from Rudy Hatfield.

His absence created a gaping hole in the middle for the Texters as far as defending Macklin was concerned.

Talk ‘N Text could have obviously used De Ocampo’s 13.8-point and 5.8-rebound averages in the series.

Jimmy Alapag, the 2008 MVP, played brief minutes for the Texters but was still clearly hobbled by a calf injury that kept him out of the last two games. Jared Dillinger and Kelly Williams were the other two injured Talk ‘N Text stars.

With a heavily bandaged left knee, reigning MVP Mark Caguioa—out for the last 11 Ginebra games—made his entry with 34.5 seconds left to a resounding roar from a crowd of more than 20,000 and contributed two free throws off Ali Peek that eventually rounded out scoring.

“I give it to Talk ‘N Text for fighting hard even though they were missing several men,” Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua said.

Alaska will obviously come in the championship as the fresher team after playing just five games in these playoffs. The Aces bundled out Air21 in one game in the quarterfinals before ending San Mig Coffee’s reign with a 3-1 Final Four win.

Ginebra took a 61-41 lead into the locker room after Helterbrand hit a triple with 1.8 seconds left in the second quarter, and the Kings actually took a 22-point lead after Rudy Hatfield converted on a layup in their first possession in the second half.

The scores:

GINEBRA 111—Tenorio 28, Macklin 22, Baracael 21, Helterbrand 15, Raymundo 13, Hatfield 6, Urbiztondo 3, Caguioa 2, Ellis 1, Mamaril 0.

TALK ‘N TEXT 103—Mitchell 42, Castro 15, Peek 11, Reyes 10, Ferriols 9, Aban 8, Fonacier 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Carey 2, Raymundo 1, Gamalinda 0, Alvarez 0, Alapag 0.

Quarters: 27-18, 61-41, 78-69, 111-103

Joescoundrel
05-13-2013, 10:04 AM
^ Sa dami ng kulang ng TNT mahiya naman mga Gin Kings ko kung nalaglag pa sila dito.

Sam Miguel
05-15-2013, 08:30 AM
Fiery Kings, relaxed Aces begin series

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:51 am | Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Barangay Ginebra, fiery and intense, likes to run at any given chance. Call the Gin Kings: Fire. Alaska, cool and composed, likes to set the tempo every game. Call the Aces: Ice.

That, more or less, will be how the best-of-five Finals of the Cebuana Lhuillier-PBA Commissioner’s Cup will be played: run-and-gun on one end and deliberate on the other as Game 1 gets off the ground today at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

The series provides a fresh flavor as both squads have not won a championship in the last three years.

The opposing coaches believe that the 7:30 p.m. game is crucial since it will establish the teams’ respective identities early in the short series with Alaska having a slight edge being the fresher team.

The Aces played five games to get to the Finals compared to the Gin Kings’ seven, but Ginebra went through a total of four KO matches with top-tier squads, Rain or Shine in the quarterfinals and Talk ‘N Text in the Final Four.

“We like to dictate the tempo, they like to run,” Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said yesterday during the press launch of the Finals. “They thrive in the open court, get their fire from transition.

“We’re No. 1 in limiting teams, forcing turnovers. Our identity is defense. It’s going to be fire and ice,” added Trillo, who is on his first title series as head coach.

Vernon Macklin of Ginebra and Robert Dozier of Alaska are also studies in contrast. Macklin plays with reckless abandon every night and Dozier steps up when needed the most.

Both imports have been the key to their respective teams’ campaigns and both are very excited to be in a stage neither of them had thought was this big.

“I didn’t realize that basketball is this big in the Philippines,” Dozier said. “We will give (fans) a great show. We have great chemistry, and that’s the most important thing to winning a championship.”

Chua will be making his second title series appearance in the PBA, with the first happening 14 years ago in a losing stand with Tanduay.

Ginebra will be chasing the ninth title for its popular franchise, while Alaska will be gunning for its 14th, and the first in the post-Tim Cone era.

“There’s no need to hype this series,” commissioner Chito Salud said. “The storylines are thick, the drama is dripping.”

Sam Miguel
05-16-2013, 08:24 AM
Fiery Aces rip listless Kings

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:13 am | Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Alaska couldn’t have started any better, Barangay Ginebra couldn’t have come out any worse and Game 1 of the much-hyped PBA Commissioner’s Cup title series ended emphatically in favor of the Aces at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

After choking the Gin Kings to an all-time Finals low six first quarter points last night, the Aces zoomed to leads of as many as 30 and had no trouble holding on for an 87-70 victory before a disappointed pro-Ginebra crowd of close to 20,000.

The Aces opened with 14 unanswered points and allowed the first Ginebra field goal only after the first 6:05 as Alaska turned what was tipped as a close opening game into its own party and will have clear momentum coming into tomorrow’s Game 2.

“Six points (for Ginebra) in the first quarter, that’s our identity: Defense,” Alaska coach Luigi Trillo told reporters. “When we get a lead, we understand the situation. It’s going to be physical, borderline hurt.

“Our guys have to understand that they are going to get hit. It’s the Finals, so they know that.”

RJ Jazul came off the bench to hit 16 points built around a 4-of-7 clip from beyond the arc, and Robert Dozier dominated with 14 points, 22 rebounds, two steals and three blocks.

“We took away their strengths,” Trillo continued as Ginebra got close to nothing from the veterans that helped take the Gin Kings this far.

Kerby Raymundo and Jay-Jay Helterbrand struggled big time, combining for just 16 points, and Josh Urbiztondo was good for just four markers in 25 minutes as the Ginebra bench couldn’t keep up with the production of its Alaska counterparts.

Alaska took away Ginebra’s biggest strength, the 6-foot-11 Vernon Macklin, whom the Aces held to just 16 points and 14 rebounds.

LA Tenorio was also starved to near-submission by the Alaska defense, as he missed his first eight tries from the field. The 5-foot-8 guard’s first basket came at the final 2:49 mark of the second period, but by then, Alaska was way ahead.

“LA will come out more aggressive and try to take over the game. He tried to pick up the tempo in the second half. We need to keep playing with our identity,” Trillo said.

The scores:

ALASKA 87—Jazul 16, Dozier 14, Thoss 12, Abueva 10, Casio 10, Baguio 10, Espinas 9, Dela Cruz 4, Hontiveros 2, Belasco 0.

GINEBRA 70—Macklin 16, Tenorio 14, Raymundo 9, Helterbrand 7, Espiritu 6, Labagala 4, Urbiztondo 4, Maierhofer 4, Mamaril 2, Caguioa 2, Ellis 1, Baracael 1, Wilson 0, Hatfield 0.

Quarters: 28-6, 46-24, 67-48, 87-70

Sam Miguel
05-16-2013, 08:25 AM
Abueva, LA lead BPC trophy race

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:08 am | Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Rookie Calvin Abueva of Alaska and veteran Barangay Ginebra playmaker LA Tenorio, the main cogs of the Aces and the Gin Kings battling for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title, will also be chasing personal glory as well.

The two are locked in a neck-and-neck race for the Best Player of the Conference award, with no more than two-tenths of a statistical point separating them in the standings after the Final Four.

Abueva, the 6-foot-1 former San Sebastian ace who has given Alaska the fire and energy it sorely lacked in the past, is leading the race with a statistical points-average of 28.5 after 19 games played.

Tenorio, the heady point guard who has assumed the mantle of leadership for the Gin Kings ever since Mark Caguioa got injured, has a 28.3 average even as another Alaska star, JV Casio, cracked the Top 5 and now stood at No. 4 with a 25.4 average.

Voting for the Best Player award started before Game 1 last night at Smart Araneta Coliseum as the league usually hands out the individual accolades before Game 3 on Sunday, including the Best Import award now named the Bobby Parks trophy.

Eric Dawson of ousted Meralco routed everyone in the statistical points race for the Bobby Parks award, finishing with 53.9 SP average after averaging a league-best 29.6 points, 16 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.1 steals and 1.9 shot blocks in 17 games for the Bolts.

But the ouster of Meralco by San Mig Coffee in the quarterfinals shut the door on the versatile Dawson, leaving the fight to Alaska’s Robert Dozier and Ginebra’s Vernon Macklin, who finished 2-3 in the SP race.

After shooting 20.4 points and grabbing an average of 17.1 rebounds in 19 games for the Aces, Dozier has a 47.5 SP average, while Macklin, who came in four games into the tournament for the Kings, has a 46.0 SP average on norms of 23.7 points and 14.8 rebounds.

Joescoundrel
05-20-2013, 08:43 AM
Aces pull off 3-game title sweep of Kings

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:30 pm | Sunday, May 19th, 2013

There was a semblance of a game this time, and it only made Alaska’s return to PBA glory all the more sweet.

Trailing three-fourths of the way, the Aces scooted away in the fourth quarter to dust off Barangay Ginebra with a 104-80 win and complete a sweep of the Commissioner’s Cup title series that a new record crowd witnessed at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Aces dropped a 20-3 bomb to break a 76-all tie and claim their franchise’s 14th title in front of 23,436 fans for the championship no one really thought would come this quick after Tim Cone—who won the team’s first 13 titles—left the squad to join a richer franchise in the league almost two seasons ago.

Game 3 was the hardest for the Aces to win as they labored hard for the first three periods with Ginebra coming up with its toughest stand in the best-of-five series after losing the first two games by an average of 15.5 points.

Vernon Macklin tied the game for the last time at 76 with 9:18 remaining after a tip of a Jay-Jay Helterbrand miss before the Aces came up with that telling blow that left the Gin Kings in tatters.

Alaska’s defense which had keyed the first two victories suddenly came alive after that as the Aces held the Kings to just a free throw from the final 6:14 to post the biggest winning margin of the championship.

Sonny Thoss, after averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds in the series, was named the Finals MVP, mainly because of the way he clamped down on Macklin. Thoss had nine points in the breakaway fourth quarter.

Robert Dozier, the Best Import, fired 27 points and rookie Calvin Abueva, who lost to LA Tenorio in the Player of the Conference derby, had 22, 11 of them in the fourth period. Dozier also had 20 rebounds, Abueva plucked down 10 and Thoss had 14 boards.

Tenorio paced the Kings with 18 points but was held scoreless in the fourth.

The fleet-footed 5-foot-8 Tenorio, playing just his second conference for the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings from Alaska, cornered all but two of 36 media votes and was the players’ choice over the red-hot Alaska rookie to finish with 1,125 points in the BPC race.

Abueva topped the statistical points race over Tenorio but lost by 180 points to the Ginebra guard in the media votes for 861 total points.

Dozier, the silent workhorse, topped all departments in the Best Import race and became the first Alaska reinforcement to bag the award since Diamon Simpson in the 2010 Fiesta Conference.

Joescoundrel
05-20-2013, 08:44 AM
Tenorio snares BPC award over Abueva

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:25 pm | Sunday, May 19th, 2013

LA Tenorio, on course toward a banner year, won the biggest individual achievement of his career in the PBA last night after he was named the Commissioner’s Cup’s Best Player over Alaska’s Calvin Abueva.

The fleet-footed 5-foot-8 point guard, playing just his second conference for the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, cornered all but two of 36 media votes and was the players’ choice over the red-hot Alaska rookie, tallying 1,125 points to win handily.

Abueva topped the statistical points race over Tenorio but lost by 180 points to the Ginebra guard in the media votes for 861 total points.

Rob Dozier of the Alaska Aces became the first recipient of the Bobby Parks Trophy, the new name for the conference’s Best Import award.

Dozier, the silent workhorse, topped all departments in the Best Import race and became the first Alaska reinforcement to bag the award since Diamon Simpson in the 2010 Fiesta Conference.

Incidentally, the Aces also won that tournament and are currently leading the Gin Kings, 2-0, in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals. Alaska was gunning for a series sweep at press time.

Casio is third best

JV Casio of Alaska was third with 514 points, followed by Talk ‘N Text point guard Jason Castro and Gary David of Globalport.

Tenorio’s win also made him an automatic candidate for the season Most Valuable Player award like Castro, who was the Philippine Cup Best Player for the champion Tropang Texters.

It was an award befitting Tenorio’s mammoth effort this conference, most especially since he took over the leader’s role for the Kings with reigning MVP Mark Caguioa missing 11 straight games in the eliminations and the playoffs because of a knee injury.

Shipped by Alaska to the Kings at the start of the season in a deal that eventually completed the Aces with the acquisition of Casio and Dondon Hontiveros, Tenorio had 34 media votes and the two that went with Abueva had them voting for Tenorio in second.
Casio, the former No. 1 pick in the Rookie Draft with defunct Powerade, was the overwhelming third choice by the media, getting 35 votes and one second-place vote.

Dozier, meanwhile, garnered 33 first-place votes from the media but tied with Macklin with 14 votes each as far as the players are concerned.

But he still won the players’ votes with four second-place votes.

Denzel Bowles, who engineered San Mig Coffee’s Game 7 win over Talk ‘N Text here last year, was third with 644 points followed by Talk ‘N Text’s Tony Mitchell, who was still able to get 515 points despite playing just three games—all in the semifinals.

Sam Miguel
05-21-2013, 08:45 AM
Tenorio holds head high despite Finals sweep

By Mark Giongco

INQUIRER.net

1:37 pm | Monday, May 20th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — Barangay Ginebra San Miguel point guard LA Tenorio was one of the last players to come out of the losing dugout Sunday night.

Following the Kings’ Game 3 defeat, Tenorio held his head high as he walked towards the Araneta Coliseum back exit before getting stopped by a few reporters. For him, getting swept doesn’t change anything about his team.

“I’m still proud of this team. I’m proud what we’re able to achieve this conference,” said a banged up Tenorio, whose bag wrapped around his left shoulder kind of like how he carried his ailing teammates throughout the Playoffs en route to an improbable Finals appearance.

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of,” he added. “Perhaps there’s a better plan for us.”

But perhaps no one could ever write an even better script for the Kings this conference.

Ginebra battled through elimination four times in the quarterfinals against Rain or Shine and in the semifinals vs Talk ‘N Text but just couldn’t muster enough strength against top seed Alaska as Tenorio and his teammates finally gave in to fatigue.

Tenorio backed up his Best Player of the Conference award with 18 points, three rebounds and three assists in 37 minutes.

The veteran playmaker also said that Ginebra would come back as an even better team.

“Definitely we will be stronger next conference, lahat ng mga injured players namin babalik.”

Sam Miguel
05-21-2013, 08:48 AM
Aces not one and done, says Uytengsu

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:26 pm | Monday, May 20th, 2013

Everyone thought Alaska owner Wilfred Uytengsu had gone nuts when he appointed Luigi Trillo—zero for 28 as a UAAP coach and winless in a short stint on the bench in the D-League—coach of the Aces in the PBA.

After two conferences of coaching duties in the pro league, everyone is now calling Trillo a champion and Uytengsu a genius.

“I made that decision based on merits and his potential,” Uytengsu told the Inquirer over the phone the morning after Alaska swept Barangay Ginebra in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals Sunday.

So what merits did Trillo have?

“Sometimes, you have to look at someone: ‘Are they willing to put on the effort and do they have the capability?’ said Uytengsu. “There’s something that told me he would be a good fit for the team. I just couldn’t point a finger at it.

“I understand that he (Trillo) didn’t have a stellar coaching career (before), but if you go back, when I hired Tim (Cone), Luigi had far more experience than Tim at the time,” Uytengsu continued. “Tim had only coached a high school team.”

Cone, who moved over to a more lucrative position at San Mig Coffee two seasons ago, has become one of the greatest coaches the PBA has ever seen, winning 13 championships with the Aces, including a Grand Slam in 1996.

Some members of that team were the logical picks of most experts to take over from Joel Banal when he resigned two conferences after Cone left the team. But Trillo proved a gem of a choice.

Trillo lost just four games this conference, including one in the playoffs that came against Cone and San Mig in the Final Four.

Assembling a complete team was another master stroke of Uytengsu, who admitted that he dealt away LA Tenorio because his former point guard had wanted to put national interest first.

“It was very tough letting LA go,” Uytengsu said. “LA is a great player but I wanted to make sure that as a developing team, we needed everyone’s attention to Team Alaska. We’ve given to the national team so many times and his position that national team was a priority didn’t fit with us.

“It was a win-win trade. LA went to the Finals and won (the) Best Player (of the Conference award),” he said. “And he’s the perfect gentleman. He came up to me in the stands and congratulated me. LA is a real stand-up guy.”

Uytengsu believes that he has a team that’s in it for the long haul.

“I look at the lineup—the veteran leadership and the young talent,” he said. “We want to win more. They (my players) should be happy, they should celebrate.

“But we’re not about one and done. It’s about continuous improvement. For us, good enough never is.”

Sam Miguel
05-21-2013, 08:50 AM
^^^ I'm sorry, Fred, but no, f--- Luigi Trillo, he lucked out on this one. You want to thank somebody on your coaching staff? Thank Louie Alas. As a colleague noted, your Alaska is now playing Letran basketball. If they had played Adamson or Cebuana basketball ala Trillo you'd be in the cellar.

bchoter
05-21-2013, 08:55 AM
^ Alaska killed the goose that laid the golden egg :-D

james_hunt
05-21-2013, 09:39 AM
^^^ I'm sorry, Fred, but no, f--- Luigi Trillo, he lucked out on this one. You want to thank somebody on your coaching staff? Thank Louie Alas. As a colleague noted, your Alaska is now playing Letran basketball. If they had played Adamson or Cebuana basketball ala Trillo you'd be in the cellar.

Sam, it's a collective effort. Louie Alas, Alex Compton and the other members of the coaching staff were all instrumental in bringing Alaska it's 14th championship, but it was still Luigi Trillo calling the shots as head coach.

Sam Miguel
05-21-2013, 02:50 PM
^^^ Pareng James, did Luigi Trillo merit consideration (serious or otherwise) to coach the Green Archers before Gee Abanilla eventually got the job?

james_hunt
05-21-2013, 09:04 PM
^^^ Pareng James, did Luigi Trillo merit consideration (serious or otherwise) to coach the Green Archers before Gee Abanilla eventually got the job?

SMC coaches had the upper hand for obvious reasons. Luigi wasn't even on the short list. Hehe

Sam Miguel
05-23-2013, 09:21 AM
^^^ Sayang. Looks like he's on his way to greatness already.