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02-28-2014, 09:06 AM
Time to get this ball rolling in earnest ___

PBA: Agent announces imports of Alaska, Talk 'N Text, and Air21

by Rodneil Quiteles

Posted on 02/10/2014 4:43 PM | Updated 02/10/2014 5:49 PM

MANILA, Philippines – With the PBA PLDT MyDSL Philippine Cup nearly coming to a close, expectations are building up as to who will be the reinforcement for each team in the coming Commissioner's Cup.

Unlike last year's tournament which did not have a height limit on imports, this year, the league puts a handicap on teams that finished in the top 8 in the Philippine Cup standings.

The top 8 teams may only acquire imports that are no taller than 6-foot-9, while the cellar dwelling teams, Air21 and Meralco Bolts, will have the luxury of bringing in imports as tall as 6-foot-11.

Agent Sheryl Reyes revealed on Twitter on Monday afternoon the imports tabbed by the Alaska Aces, Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters, and the Air21 Express.

Reyes also hinted she will be bringing in two more imports.

#teamreyes imports .. 2014 stay tuned #pba pic.twitter.com/0Bl3sRLI0f
— Sheryl Sanchez Reyes (@FemaleAgentSR) February 10, 2014

Defending champion Alaska is bringing back 6-foot-9 Rob Dozier who led the team to the Commissioner's Cup title after a sweep of a Vernon Macklin-powered Ginebra in a best-of-5 finals series.

Dozier, last year's best import of the conference, arrived in the Philippines on Saturday, February 8 and is already practicing with the Aces.

Air21, who finished last in the 2014 All-Filipino conference, is getting the services of 6-foot-10 Hervé Lamizana.

In 2013, Lamizana, 33, played in Taiwan's Super Basketball League and was named MVP after averaging 20.7 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks.

Lamizana primarily plays the power forward or center spot but Reyes told Rappler in a text message that the Chinese Basketball Association mainstay is versatile enough to play small forward and likes to get his teammates involved.

Reyes added Lamizana could form a formidable frontline with Express veteran center Asi Taulava.

Talk 'N Text, meanwhile, tabbed the services of NBA D-League player Richard Howell. Howell, listed at 6-foot-8, plays the 4-spot for the Idaho Stampede. He is currently averaging 18 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 34.6 minutes of action per game.

Howell, 23, will start practicing with the Tropang Texters on Wednesday, February 12.

The PBA Commissioner's Cup is set to begin on March 7 and will end in May 2014.

The league recently agreed to shorten the Commissioner's Cup and the Governor's Cup conferences to give Philippine National Basketball team Gilas Pilipinas, composed of today's PBA stars, enough time to prepare for the 2014 FIBA World Cup happening in Spain on August 2014. READ: Chot Reyes on FIBA Group B: 'It is a tough group' – Rappler.com

02-28-2014, 09:07 AM
PBA: Agent reveals Barangay Ginebra's Comm's Cup import

by Jane Bracher

Posted on 02/14/2014 12:54 PM | Updated 02/14/2014 2:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines – As other teams bring in their imports for the upcoming mid-season Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner's Cup, popular ball club Barangay Ginebra San Miguel has also secured their own import.

Basketball agent Sheryl Reyes announced via her Twitter account that Ginebra's Commissioner's Cup import will be 6-foot-7 forward Leon Rodgers.

— Sheryl Sanchez Reyes (@FemaleAgentSR) February 13, 2014

Rodgers, 33, is a 3-time Dutch League Most Valuable Player (MVP) and is currently ranked as the 6th scorer in the Chinese Basketball Association, for which he is still currently playing.

The American cager out of Northern Illinois University joined the National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft in 2002 but went undrafted. Since then, he has travelled all over the world participating in various basketball leagues, offering his offensive prowess to teams in countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, China and Puerto Rico, among others.

According to Reyes, who has scouted him for years, Rodgers' "scoring ability and workhorse never-say-never attitude will be a big factor for Ginebra."

She added: "He will be a very great addition to that team and will be able to contribute a lot since his basketball IQ is high and his experience will bring a lot of motivation to that team."

Known to be a prolific scorer wherever he went, Rodgers has normed double digit figures in the leagues he particiapted in.

He averaged 19.9 points per game (PPG) for the Eiffel Towers Nijmegen in Holland in 2005, and 21.8 PPG for the Eiffel Towers Den Bosch in 2006. But one of his biggest achievements was norming 35.0 PPG, 8.5 rebounds per game and 3.3 assists per game for Jilin in China. He was known to have scored more than 60 in two consecutive games and made 15 3-pointers in a game.

Reyes says Rodgers is still very much an offensive juggernaut, which is why he is a regular import for the Chinese league.

Rodgers will finish his stint in China on February 16 and will return to the US before arriving in Manila on February 24.

He will be backing up a Ginebra squad who just lost to rivals San Mig Super Coffee Mixers in a gruelling semifinal series that went the distance. – Rappler.com

02-28-2014, 09:08 AM
San Mig Coffee secures James Mays as import for Commissioner's Cup

by Jane Bracher

Posted on 01/23/2014 10:39 PM | Updated 01/24/2014 3:44 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The San Mig Super Coffee Mixers, who are still in the thick of their late conference run in the season opening Philippine Cup, are also looking ahead at the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup conference by already securing an import.

Head coach Tim Cone confirmed to Rappler that their import will be James Mays, a 6-foot-9 forward from Garner, North Carolina. Cone said they signed him on the morning of January 21 and is set to arrive on Friday, January 24.

Mays graduated from Clemson University in 2008 and proceeded to joining the 2008 NBA Draft but went undrafted. He then played for the Colorado 14ers in the NBA D-League.

Cone said he would have preferred having the Mixers’ reliable import Denzel Bowles to return. But the 6-9 height limit disqualifies the 6-foot-11 Bowles who won the 2012 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Best Import award.

He may not get Bowles, but Cone seems quite excited at his new prospect nonetheless.

“[He’s a] 6-foot-9 guy that I scouted in the D-League. Plays the 4, 5 (power forward, center) position,” Cone said. “He’s a good post up player, a good passer out of the post and strong guy.”

Following a luckless NBA Draft, Mays, 27, played in the international hoops circuit for teams in countries like China, Puerto Rico, and Turkey. He also represented his home country of Central African Republic at the 2013 FIBA Africa Championship.

According to Cone, the Petron Blaze Boosters wanted to get Mays last year. But Mays wanted to try his luck in the NBA.

“My understanding is he almost came in for Petron last year. But he decided to stick around and see if he can make the NBA, he didn’t want to come over.”

Mays returned to the D-League for the 2012-2013 season where he played for 3 teams—Springfield Armor, Maine Red Claws, and the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

For Springfield he averaged 16.4 points in 26 games and 36 minutes per game, according to usbasket.com. With his short 5-game stint with the Maine Red Claws he averaged 12.4 points in 31.6 minutes of playing time. Finally, with Sioux Falls, he normed 14.4 points in 16 games where he was on the floor for an average of 29.4 minutes.

“We were fortunate because he didn’t play in the D-League this year so we didn’t have to buy him out. Last year he played the D-League."

Securing their import early is also of utmost importance for the multi-titled coach.

“He’ll be here the morning of our next game. So at least we’ll have a lot of time to work with him.”

On Twitter, Mays appeared to be warming up to San Mig Coffee fans as he retweeted welcome messages from them. He's also gearing up for his trip to the Philippines as he inquired of the local weather.

What's the weather like in Manila?
— James Mays (@J_Maze) January 22, 2014

Unlike an all-Filipino Philippine Cup, the Commissioner’s Cup allows teams to bring in imports for reinforcement. For the top 8 teams of the Philippine Cup, they are allowed imports of up to 6-foot-9 in height. While the bottom two teams are allowed up to 6-foot-11. – Rappler.com

02-28-2014, 09:10 AM
Athletic import Dollard vows to provide the 'extra punch' for Barako Bull

From: Richard Dy

February 27, 2014, 07:30 pm

IMPORT James Dollard hopes he could bring in the “extra punch” Barako Bull needs in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup set to kick off next Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The 6-7 Dollard planed in on Monday afternoon straight from Finland as a last-minute replacement for Dwayne Chism, who had a contractual foul-up with his former team in Hungary last weekend.

The former Auburn Tiger forward gave a good account of himself in his first tuneup game, firing 18 of his 30 points in the second half as Barako Bull's match against GlobalPort ended in a draw, 89-all, on Thursday.

The athletic and high-leaping Dollard missed his last shot, a tough drive against GlobalPort import Evan Brock’s defense to end the game in a deadlock.

“I have a good feel on who can do what. A lot of guys here (in Barako Bull) have the talent so I just give them the extra punch and do something good here,” Dollard told Spin.ph after the tuneup match.

The 28-year-old Dollard, who also had extensive basketball experience overseas, said he’ll simply have to plug the holes in the team has especially since the conference will have teams playing only nine games each in the eliminations.

“That’s pretty much the import’s job to do is, whether scoring, rebounding, making play for somebody else to score, stopping other team’s import from scoring and do everything to lead team to victory,” added the Hemingway, South Carolina native.

Dollard said he’s been good friends with Brock, a former Barako Bull import with whom he had a chance to play against during their college days as well as in their stint in the Dominican Republic.

“Yeah, I played against Evan at the Dominican Republic and I played against him also in college,” shared Dollard, who averaged 20.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals for Korihait in Finland this past season.

“Our colleges are the biggest rivals in college basketball. He (Brock) attended Alabama and I attended the Auburn Tigers, but we’re good friends because in basketball, it’s like a fraternity, you kind of get in touch with people there.”

Sam Miguel
03-03-2014, 09:20 AM
PBA commissioner’s cup fires off Wednesday, Aces see crowded room at the top

By Nelson Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated March 2, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Despite the return of Best Import winner Rob Dozier, Alaska coach Luigi Trillo doesn’t expect things to be easy in their title defense in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup which fires off Wednesday.

Trillo sees a tough road ahead for his troops as he considers San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra and Petron Blaze as the heavy favorites to contend for the coveted crown that the Aces won over the Kings last year via a 3-0 sweep in their best-of-five title showdown.

The youthful Alaska mentor also points to Rain or Shine and Talk n Text as the other major contenders.

“The playing field is different this conference,” Trillo told The STAR.

“Tough teams have found ways to even get stronger by adding depth through the draft and player movements. Big men this year are changing the game,” Trillo pointed out.

“Asi’s back, and the additions of Slaughter, Aguilar, Fajardo, Sangalang, Al-Hussaini and Almazan have strengthened teams,” Trillo added.

Taulava, Slaughter, Aguilar, Fajardo, Sangalang and Almazan have particularly improved the sizes and ceilings of Air21, Ginebra, San Miguel Beer, San Mig Coffee and Rain or Shine, respectively.

Alaska, meanwhile, has only become older – and perhaps wiser -- in retaining the nucleus of its 2012-13 roster.

Two new additions seeing minimal action with the Aces in the Philippine Cup are Ryan Buenafe and Christopher Exciminiano.

Still composing Trillo’s core group are Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio, Jayvee Casio, Calvin Abueva, Gabby Espinas, Dondon Hontiveros, RJ Jazul, Tony dela Cruz and Sam Eman.

What could be Alaska’s key advantage over the others is the tested chemistry of the Alaska locals with import Dozier.

“Rob is getting back to shape,” said Trillo of his prized import, who’s taken a long rest after his PBA stint last year.

But Dozier himself could well be tested.

Quality imports are to slug it out in the mid-season tourney that unwraps at the Big Dome with a double-header pitting Air21 vs Globalport at 5:45 p.m. then Alaska against Talk n Text at 8 p.m.

In the cast are Josh Boone (San Miguel Beer), Joshua Dollar (Barako Bull), Leon Rodgers (Barangay Ginebra), Herve Lamizana (Air21), Evan Brock (GlobalPort), Alexander McLean (Rain or Shine), James Mays (San Mig Super Coffee), Richard Howell (Talk n Text) and Brian Butch (Meralco).

03-05-2014, 03:22 PM
Aces, Dozier start title defense

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:26 am | Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — The hardworking and selfless Rob Dozier returns for a second tour of duty with Alaska as the Aces open defense of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup title against rock-solid Talk ‘N Text Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Dozier, who also won the tournament’s Best Import award last season, will try to rescue Alaska from a rather disappointing start to the season where the Aces failed to make it past the quarterfinals of the MyDSL Philippine Cup.

They slug it out with the Tropang Texters and North Carolina State alumnus Rochard Howell in the 8 p.m. game after Globalport—with a new head coach and a new all-star guard— battles Air21 in the 5:45 p.m. opener.

Pido Jarencio will coach in the league for the first time after being signed by the Batang Pier more than a month ago, and the Globalport offense will also have a new look with Alex Cabagnot, formerly of Petron Blaze/San Miguel Beer, suiting up for the franchise for the first time.

“We’re excited about the conference,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo, who won the PBA Press Corps’ Coach of the Year award last season as a rookie on the strength of the Aces’ 3-0 conquest of Barangay Ginebra in the Finals.

“Robert is coming in fresh and the team is healthy and excited,” he added. “There’s obviously a lot of work ahead for us, but just seeing how [hard] the guys are working is a good sign.”

Talk ‘N Text will be without a familiar fixture in Ali Peek, who retired some two weeks ago.

Norman Black has signed a center in Howell, whom he described as simple yet effective, and possibly what the doctor had ordered to make the Texters go all the way this time.

Talk ‘N Text also bowed out in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Cup, losing in three games to eventual champion San Mig Coffee.

That long break has given the Texters a chance to recuperate and be sharp for this tournament.

“Our import will also play center, so I don’t think it (Peek’s retirement) will affect the team very much. I think we’ll be OK,” Black said.

“Howell is not a spectacular player, he’s pretty solid, strong kid,” added the multi-titled coach.

“But we’re not sure how he’ll fare with Dozier, though we’re hoping he’ll do well.” Evan Brock will suit up for the Batang Pier while Herve Lamizana will reinforce the Express.

03-10-2014, 09:47 AM
PBA: Beermen rip Kings; Boone shines anew

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:52 am | Monday, March 10th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — Thirty-two points, 21 rebounds, three assists, two blocks, a ton of effort, and San Miguel Beer is now having second thoughts of replacing the man responsible for those numbers.

Josh Boone, with someone already set to take his job, gave San Miguel Beer the lift it needed for the second straight game as the Beermen remained perfect in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup with a 112-96 plastering of Barangay Ginebra Sunday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“We have a big problem ahead of us; it’s a good problem anyway,” San Miguel coach Biboy Ravanes told reporters when pressed if Kevin Jones would still replace Boone as scheduled in their next outing. “Josh has been very professional and we will deliberate (on his status).”

A legitimate NBA veteran, Boone, scattered 25 of his total in the first three quarters and towed the Beermen to several imposing leads before resting briefly early in the fourth and coming back to totally blow the Gin Kings away and deal Ginebra its first loss in two games.

“I can’t say enough about his (Boone’s) professionalism, knowing that he is in an adverse situation,” active assistant Todd Purves said, though he was very cautious in answering queries from scribes and not pre-empting management.

“He had a good game tonight and he is professional beyond belief,” Purves said.

“I will speak with management tonight and everyone (in the media) will be informed of the direction we will take.”

Kinks in Rodgers’ armor

Arwind Santos scattered 18 points and Marcio Lassiter and Sol Mercado combined for another 29 as San Miguel played with command practically all night and exposed all the kinks in the armor of Ginebra’s Leon Rodgers.

Rodgers made most of his 33 points from the free-throw line, going 9-of-27 from the field including zilch-for-seven from three-point land as Ginebra crashed back to earth after a rousing overtime victory over Barako Bull last Friday. “I’m happy with the final score,” said Purves.

“It’s just the second game. We can’t go too high or too low. They (players) are showing me that they are willing to work hard, and that is inspiring.”

The Energy, after that heart-rending defeat to the Kings, bounced back in a big way by rallying from 16 points down in the second quarter to nip Rain or Shine, 110-106.

Key for Energy Josh Dollard proved the key for the Energy, finishing with 44 points that went with 18 boards in another strong display of brilliance that carried Barako Bull past the Elasto Painters.

“I told him that when you get the ball and there’s no one to pass to, then just attack the basket,” said Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos of Dollard, who fired 45 points against the Kings but had a crucial endgame blunder that helped Ginebra forge overtime.

Willie Miller, a former two-time MVP, fired 19 points and Dennis Miranda and Ronjay Buenafe contributed 13 and 11, respectively, to Barako Bull’s cause.

Import Alexander McLean led Rain or Shine with 21 points and 16 rebounds and four locals had at least 10 points each.

The scores:

First Game

BARAKO 110—Dollard 44, Miller 19, Miranda 13, Buenafe 11, Pennisi 9, Intal 7, Lastimosa 2, Wilson 2, Marcelo 2, Isip 1, Jensen 0, Fortuna 0, Pena 0.

RAIN OR SHINE 106—McLean 21, Lee 15, Chan 14, Belga 11, Norwood 10, Uyloan 9, Almazan 9, Tiu 5, Arana 4, Rodriguez 4, Cruz 2, Nuyles 2, Tang 0, Teng 0, Ibanes 0.

Quarters: 22-24, 46-53, 79-79, 110-106

Second Game

SAN MIGUEL BEER 112—Boone 32, Santos 18, Lassiter 15, Mercado 14, Hubalde 9, Ross 7, Kramer 5, Maierhofer 4, Lutz 4, Tubid 3, Duncil 1, Marata 0, Taha 0.

GINEBRA 96—Rodgers 33, Caguioa 15, Slaughter 13, Ellis 10, Tenorio 8, Helterbrand 5, Aguilar 4, Baracael 2, Reyes 2, Urbiztondo 2, Mamaril 2, Ababou 0. Quarters: 37-23, 58-44, 78-68, 112-96

03-18-2014, 09:50 AM
Alaska whips Air21, stops 2-game slide

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:40 am | Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Rob Dozier and Sonny Thoss did the most damage on Air21 in the fourth period last night as Alaska scored an 88-78 decision of the Express to stop its bleeding in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The duo, the heart and soul of Alaska’s inside game, took turns in hurting the Express as Alaska broke away from a 70-all count to snap a two-game slide and close out a hectic 12-day schedule with a 2-3 record.

“We have a lot of time to get better,” Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said. “We did a better job playing defense today. That was a tough stretch for us, five games in 12 days.”

Air21 went down to 2-2 overall after getting just 16 points and 10 rebounds from import Herve Lamizana.

Dozier, the Best Import awardee last year, had 23 points and nine rebounds, while Thoss contributed 14 and 12. They also combined for nine blocks.

Thoss hit a basket that made it 80-72 heading into the final 2:49, before Dozier put the game away with an inside stab for 82-74 with just 70 seconds left.

Meanwhile, reports on Gabe Freeman coming in to replace Leon Rodgers at Barangay Ginebra is completely false.

An option that Ginebra is looking at is to lure Darnell Jackson out of Meralco, which enlisted him as a backup to Brian Butch.

Signing Freeman would make Ginebra give away a lot of height and heft in a conference where 6-foot-8 imports are allowed. He was measured previously at 6-5.

The Rookie of the Year race this season has a new contender in Ian Sangalang of San Mig Coffee.

Dismissed in the early part of the season as someone too raw for the award, the 6-foot-7 Sangalang has been making a strong case for himself in the past games for the Mixers.

A one-time NCAA MVP with the San Sebastian College Stags, the 22-year-old Sangalang chalked up averages of 13 points and six rebounds for the period March 9 to 16 to earn his very first Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week citation.


ALASKA 88—Dozier 23, Thoss 14, Abueva 13, Casio 10, Jazul 10, Hontiveros 6, Baguio 6, Dela Cruz 2, Espinas 2, Manuel 2, Reyes 0.

AIR21 78—Yeo 19, Lamizana 16, Taulava 11, Cardona 10, Borboran 9, Villanueva 5, Ramos 4, Burtscher 2, Atkins 2, Jaime 0, Poligrates 0.

Quarters: 19-16, 38-41, 61-62, 88-78

03-22-2014, 08:14 AM
PBA: Texters pull plug on Bolts, Kings keep Batang Pier winless

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:48 am | Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — Ranidel de Ocampo led Talk ‘N Text in shutting down Brian Butch and Meralco Friday night as the Tropang Texters cruised to a 91-68 victory to remain unscathed in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Cuneta Astrodome.

The 6-foot-7 national team mainstay was also brilliant on the other end, leading the balanced Talk ‘N Text offensive machine with 15 points as the Texters broke away in the second period on the way to their fifth straight win.

That guaranteed their march into the quarterfinals, but coach Norman Black has a bigger target in sight: Bag one of two twice-to-beat incentives in the first round of the playoffs.

“Whatever success we have right now, we want to continue and get one of the top two slots,” Black told reporters. “If there’s one thing I am really happy about (with the streak) is that we’re not shooting really well but we’re still winning games.”

So effective was the Texters’ defense that those 68 points by the Bolts were the franchise’s lowest in an import-spiced conference.

Jason Castro added 14 points like Larry Fonacier, and Richard Howell and Harvey Carey combined for another 24 as Talk ‘N Text posted its most impressive win to date.

De Ocampo had Butch’s number right in the second quarter and the Meralco import struggled to finish with 16 points.

“Going into this game, our defensive game plan was complicated because of the talent of Brian Butch,” said Black, referring to the ability of Meralco’s import to take the game to the perimeter. “Ranidel established our defensive intensity by playing good defense on Butch.”

The loss was the second for the Bolts in four games.

Barangay Ginebra snapped a two-game slide later in the night and added to Globalport’s woes, scoring a 113-107 win that put the Gin Kings back at .500 at 2-2 and into the middle of the 10-team pack.

Mark Caguioa was the spark yet again for the Kings, scoring 15 points that went with 14 rebounds as Ginebra kept the Batang Pier winless in five games.

The scores:

First Game

TALK ‘N TEXT 91—De Ocampo 15, Castro 14, Fonacier 14, Howell 13, Carey 11, Canaleta 9, Williams 7, Salamat 2, Baclao 2, Alapag 2, Reyes Ro. 1, Reyes Ry. 1, Aban 0, Reyes J. 0.

MERALCO 68—Butch 16, Wilson 11, David 8, Caram 5, Hugnatan 5, Mandani 5, Ildefonso 4, Hodge 4, Salvacion 3, Dillinger 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Guevarra 2, Bringas 0.

Second Game

BRGY. GINEBRA 113—Rodgers 33, Caguioa 15, Helterbrand 14, Tenorio 11, Aguilar 10, Baracael 9, Mamaril 7, Ellis 6, Slaughter 5, Urbiztondo 2, Reyes 1.

GLOBALPORT 107—Brock 36, Cabagnot 16, Macapagal 14, Matias 10, Romeo 10, Washington 7, Nabong 4, Ponferrada 4, Chua 2, Garcia 2, Custodio 2, Salva 0, Salvador 0.

Quarters: 25-28, 53-52, 87-78, 113-107

03-23-2014, 07:43 AM
Mixers, Beermen scuttle PBA foes

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:51 am | Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — San Mig Coffee rolled to a third consecutive win Saturday night, dealing Rain or Shine its worst beating in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations with a 91-74 rout at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

The Mixers peeled away from the Elasto Painters late in the opening frame with fluid ball movement and no-nonsense defense as they stayed well within striking distance of league-leader Talk ‘N Text in the race for a twice-to-beat slot.

James Mays scored 18 points and had 15 rebounds, Peter June Simon tossed in 16 and Marc Pingris was good for 10 as the Mixers, who also mastered Rain or Shine in the Philippine Cup Finals, won this one with plenty to spare.

“We had a little bit of everything going for us tonight,” said San Mig coach Tim Cone, who is looking for a third straight title. “Everyone was contributing for us out there. We played hard and muscled them inside.”

Alexander McLean paced the Painters with 18 points with Paul Lee shooting 12.

Talk ‘N Text is on top of the heap with a 5-0 record, while San Miguel Beer, which won a second straight game earlier after holding off Barako Bull, 106-100, is third at 4-1.

Kevin Jones drained 28 points, Marcio Lassiter added 19 and June Mar Fajardo showed that he’s nearing top form again after shooting 15 points and collaring 11 rebounds for the Beermen.

Barako Bull lost for the ninth straight game against the Beermen whenever the 6-foot-10 Fajardo is in the lineup and the Energy, who fought it out tooth-and-nail all game, dropped to 1-4.

Josh Dollard fired a PBA career-best 46 points and Mick Pennisi contributed 16 for the Energy, who need to string wins in their last four assignments to make it past this round.

The scores:

First Game

SAN MIGUEL BEER 106—Jones 28, Lassiter 19, Santos 16, Fajardo 15, Hubalde 13, Mercado 7, Ross 3, Kramer 2, Maierhofer 0, Tubid 0.

BARAKO BULL 100—Dollard 46, Pennisi 16, Fortuna 11, Buenafe 11, Wilson 6, Lastimosa 4, Isip 2, Pena 2, Miranda 2, Jensen 0, Miller 0, Marcelo 0, Intal 0.

Quarters: 29-19, 51-43, 81-74, 106-100

Second Game

SAN MIG COFFEE 91—Mays 18, Simon 16, Pingris 10, Sanggalang 9, Yap 9, Devance 7, Mallari 7, Barroca 5, Reavis 3,

Melton 3, Gaco 2, Holstein 2, Acuna 0, Cawaling 0.

RAIN OR SHINE 74—McLean 18, Lee 12, Norwood 9, Chan 7, Teng 7, Uyloan 6, Almazan 5, Rodriguez 4, Belga 2, Cruz 2, Tiu 2, Tang 0, Nuyles 0, Ibañes 0.

Quarters: 28-19, 45-37, 70-51, 91-74.

Sam Miguel
03-24-2014, 10:34 AM
Texters blast Kings; Bolts score

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

2:46 am | Monday, March 24th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — Talk ‘N Text leaning on a balanced offense, brought down another heavyweight in Barangay Ginebra Sunday night and capped a busy 18-day stint in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup unscathed.

Ranidel de Ocampo scored 28 points to lead four others in twin digits and the Talk ‘N Text defense shut down Leon Rodgers’ local support at Ginebra to score a 94-87 decision that gave the Tropang Texters a sixth straight win at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

With his Tropang Texters now at 6-0 and closer to the No. 1 spot in the playoffs, coach Norman Black relished the prospect of taking a well-deserved rest.

“We have seven days off, and I am happy to take that,” said Black, adding that he would be giving his boys today and Thursday off.

Black also smiled at the huge break they got with 2:16 left when the Gin Kings had momentum.

Game officials awarded possession to the Texters even if it was clear that Ryan Reyes touched the ball at least twice before going out of bounds.

That incident that happened in front of the baseline official led to two Talk ‘N Text possessions, which De Ocampo did not waste by making a layup with 1:32 left that made it 89-81. “That was one [good] call [for us] the entire game,” Black said.

“Breaks happen like that. We’ve been on the other end [of bum calls] so many times.”

Rodgers scored 32 points but had just two locals contributing in twin digits as Ginebra lost for the third time in five games. Mark Caguioa scored 14 points but was scoreless in the fourth, while LA Tenorio wasn’t as effective and finished with just nine points and seven assists.

Rookie Greg Slaughter had just eight points and Japeth Aguilar was a bigger disappointment by hitting just five after making 1 of 6 field goal tries and plucking down two rebounds in 20 minutes.

Earlier, Brian Butch scored 40 points and grabbed a tournament-high 31 rebounds as Meralco came from 20 points down in the third quarter to nip Air21, 109-98.

That performance by Butch could have also prolonged his stint for the Bolts, who were set on tapping Darnell Jackson as his replacement.

Jared Dillinger scored five key points inside the final minute that completed the Bolts’ rise from a 61-81 third-quarter deficit as Meralco rose to 3-2 while dealing the Express their third loss in five games.

Dillinger also had eight assists, while John Wilson was the second Bolt with a double-double effort with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

New Air21 import Wesley Witherspoon scored 44 points.

The scores:

First Game MERALCO 109—Butch 40, Dillinger 20, Wilson 12, David 11, Hodge 9, Caram 6, Mandani 4, Hugnatan 3, Guevarra 2, Artadi 2, Ildefonso 0, Al-Hussaini 0.

AIR21 98—Witherspoon 44, Cardona 22, Taulava 11, Yeo 7, Borboran 4, Villanueva 4, Camson 4, Atkins 2, Poligrates 0, Ramos 0, Burtscher 0. Quarters: 25-18, 42-53, 68-86, 109-98

Second Game

TALK ‘N TEXT 94—De Ocampo 28, Howell 19, Castro 11, Reyes Ry. 11, Fonacier 10, Williams 8, Canaleta 4, Alapag 3, Reyes Ro. 0, Baclao 0, Carey 0.

GINEBRA 87—Rodgers 32, Caguioa 14, Baracael 13, Tenorio 9, Slaughter 8, Aguilar 5, Ellis 2, Reyes 2, Helterbrand 2.

Quarters: 28-26, 52-40, 76-65, 94-87

03-26-2014, 11:32 AM
Barako flaunts grit, stuns San Mig Coffee

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

3:08 am | Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Barako Bull got a much-needed lift from Willie Miller in the fourth period and the marginal free throws from Ronjay Buenafe in a 92-90 upset of San Mig Coffee that got the Energy back in the playoff hunt in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Energy overhauled a 16-point deficit at the start of the fourth period, holding the Mixers scoreless in the first six minutes of the quarter before outsteadying their foes in a wild endgame to win for just the second time in six games.

Miller scored 13 of his 19 points in the payoff frame, and Buenafe canned two charities off Peter June Simon with 7.2 ticks remaining that shattered the game’s last tie.

Mark Barroca, the Philippine Cup Finals MVP, couldn’t save the Mixers from absorbing their first loss in four matches after muffing a wide-open running jumper off the glass as Mick Pennisi sealed San Mig’s doom by grabbing the most important defensive rebound as time expired.

Barako Bull’s only two victories, interestingly enough, have come at the expense of the two finalists of the Philippine Cup after the Energy also upset Rain or Shine two weeks ago.

Josh Dollard finished with 32 points, but the big difference why the Energy were able to pull this one off was because of the support he got. JC Intal scored 10 points and Miller also had 10 assists and two steals in his best game of the conference.

Miller, the two-time MVP, saw almost no relief in the second half and coach Bong Ramos was quick to point out that it was the only thing he could have done with the 6-foot dynamo.

“He was playing so well that I had to keep him in the game,” Ramos said of Miller, whose only triple of the night, which came in the third period, was the 800th of his career.

James Mays paced the Mixers with 20 points, but only four of them came in the final three quarters.

Meanwhile, Meralco battles struggling powerhouse Rain or Shine tonight at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Brian Butch will still suit up for the Bolts, who earned an extended stay last Sunday after he erupted for 40 points and 31 rebounds in a 109-98 whipping of Air21.

The game is slated at 5:45 p.m., before the Express try to bounce back from that meltdown against Barangay Ginebra at 8 p.m.

A replacement for Butch—Darnell Jackson—is already in town but that gem of a game against the Express gave the coaching staff no choice but to retain him.


BARAKO BULL 92—Dollard 32, Miller 19, Intal 10, Marcelo 7, Deutchman 6, Pennisi 6, Fortuna 5, Buenafe 5, Wilson 2, Lastimosa 0, Peña 0, Miranda 0.

SAN MIG COFFEE 90—Mays 20, Devance 17, Simon 16, Yap 12, Barroca 10, Pingris 8, Melton 3, Sangalang 2, Reavis 2, Mallari 0.

Quarters: 18-26, 49-47, 62-78, 92-90

Sam Miguel
04-01-2014, 10:36 AM
Texters beat Mixers, clinch playoffs edge

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

3:32 am | Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Talk ‘N Text came back from a weeklong break not skipping a beat at all.

Sharp as ever, the Tropang Texters on Monday night won a seventh straight game and booked top spot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs after subduing San Mig Coffee, 81-75, at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Breaking away in the second quarter using unforgiving defense and deadly outside sniping, the Tropang Texters never looked back and can now take it easy in the last two weeks of the elimination round after grabbing a twice-to-beat edge this early.

“I like where we are now—No. 1—the only thing is that it’s too early,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black. “Now it’s the hard part. We need to keep momentum. It’s never something you look forward to—having a long break—especially if you’re winning.”

Richard Howell scored 25 points and had 21 rebounds and Ranidel de Ocampo and Jason Castro tossed in 13 apiece for TNT.

It was the defense of the Texters—especially in the second quarter—that propelled them to several 21-point spreads, dooming the Mixers to their second straight loss and into third place in the standings with a 3-2 card.

Talk ‘N Text held San Mig scoreless for more than six minutes in the second quarter to build a 42-21 lead with 2:42 left before the halftime break.

The Texters actually allowed just 11 San Mig points in that period and yielded just 26 points at the half as no local Mixers scored more than three points.

“We knew we had to play defense if we wanted to beat San Mig,” Black, who could lose his last two games and still grab No. 1 because his Texters have won against both idle San Miguel Beer and the Mixers, continued. “Our defense held up for most of the game.”

Solid on both ends even with an import that was just feeling his way through, Rain or Shine ripped Globalport, 99-75, in the opener.

Although Wayne Chism got saddled with fouls early, the Elasto Painters still proved too much for the Batang Pier to handle as Rain or Shine rose to a level 3-3 card to enhance its playoff chances.

The loss was the seventh straight for the Batang Pier, who still couldn’t get their local crew to come up with spirited support to their hardworking import, Evan Brock.

Paul Lee led the torrid local assault for the Painters, shooting 11 of his 21 points in the first quarter.


RAIN OR SHINE 99—Lee 21, Chism 17, Almazan 13, Tiu 10, Belga 9, Norwood 9, Arana 6, Cruz 4, Uyloan 2, Chan 2, Nuyles 2, Ibanes 2, Rodriguez 2, Tang 0, Teng 0.

GLOBALPORT 75—Brock 25, Washington 14, Matias 10, Cabagnot 7, Garcia 6, Chua 4, Salva 4, Sharma 4, Romeo 1, Yee 0, Ponferrada 0, Salvador 0, Macapagal 0.

Quarters: 29-26, 51-38, 75-62, 99-75

Second game:

TALK N’ TEXT 81—Howell 25, De Ocampo 13, Castro 13, Fonacier 8, Canaleta 6, Reyes 5, Alapag 5, Williams 4, Carey 2, Baclao 0.

SAN MIG SUPER COFFEE 75—Mays 27, Sangalang 15, Mallari 9, Simon 9, Yap 5, Barroca 4, Pingris 3, Melton 3, De Ocampo 0, Devance 0.

Quarters: 19-15, 44-26, 59-46, 81-75

04-01-2014, 12:40 PM
Rivals from Talk 'N Text surprised to see 'sparkplug' Ian Sangalang not finish the game for San Mig

Magandang topic sa inuman pero make this your banner news? Questioning the winningest PBA coach right after winning the last conference? And putting it in that manner? There's a reason why Tim Cone is paid to coach and we're not...

Trigger-happy na nang iintriga pa sheesh

#makikihastag #walangmaisulat

04-03-2014, 03:23 PM
Kings arrest skid, tie Bolts Aces take power off Energy Cola

By Nelson Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated April 3, 2014 - 12:00am

Games tomorrow (MOA Arena)

5:30 – Skills Challenge

8 p.m. – Gilas Pilipinas vs PBA All Stars

Standings W L

Talk n Text 7 0

San Miguel Beer 5 2

Alaska 4 3

San Mig Coffee 3 2

Air21 3 3

Rain or Shine 3 3

Meralco 3 4

Ginebra 3 4

Barako Bull 2 5

Globalport 0 7

MANILA, Philippines - Alaska Milk pulled a first three-game run since sweeping Barangay Ginebra in the last second conference finale as the Aces outfought the Barako Bull Energy Cola, 78-71, in a rugged, low-scoring game last night to move up to third place in the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

Later in the night, new Barangay Ginebra import Josh Powell focused on the role he’s supposed to play and, with more local involvement, the Gin Kings checked a two-game slide with an 88-78 win over the Meralco Bolts.

With Powell playing in place of Leon Rodgers, the Gin Kings rotated the ball a lot more as evidenced by their balanced scoring and improved number in assists.

Powell debuted with 16 points and 15 rebounds while Chris Ellis, Greg Slaughter, Mark Caguioa, LA Tenorio and Josh Urbiztondo contributed double-digit outputs as the Kings caught up with the Bolts at seventh place at 3-4. The Aces continued to thrive on a tough, physical halfcourt game, making it three in a row following an 88-78 whipping of the Air21 Express and an 89-78 drubbing of the San Miguel Beermen.

Rob Dozier and his teammates played even tougher in this game, holding the Energy Cola – the league’s second best scoring team – way below their average of 97.8 points a game.

“We forced them to a run-and-gun, ugly, physical, defensive, halfcourt type of game. That’s our game,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.

“We put up another good defensive job. I’m just so proud of Gabby (Espinas) and Calvin (Abueva). They played a sort of Mr. Wilfred Uytensu kind of work ethic. Kinuha talaga nila sa tyaga,” Trillo also said.

Espinas and Abueva stood out with their gang-ho performance, limiting in particular the effectiveness of Barako Bull import Joshua Dollard.

Alaska held Dollard to 26 points on 7-of-19 field shooting and the entire Barako team to 35.7-percent clip as the Aces handed the Energy Cola a fifth loss against two wins.

“It’s almost a moment-of-truth game. Had we lost, we would’ve dropped to seventh. We won and we moved up in the top four,” said Trillo.

Dozier once again worked silently but effectively, logging 18 points, 15 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block.

As he waited for things to happen, he helped his teammates play better.

Espinas and Jvee Casio delivered 14 and 10 points, respectively.

, while Abueva put up nine makers and the same number of rebounds.

The three took charge as Dozier sat out precious minutes after picking up a fifth foul with 6:32 left to play.

Trailing by four, 26-30, at the half, the Aces seized control midway through the third quarter and hung tough to the end, overcoming Dollard’s 11-point binge late in the game.

Meanwhile, the 2014 PBA All Stars activities start today with the event’s official launch at the MOA Arena at 12 noon followed by a basketball clinic and a hospital visit under Alagang PBA program.

The All-Star Friday features the skills challenge and the Legends Game. The mid-season spectacle culminates Sunday with the highlight PBA All Star Game pitting Gilas Pilipinas versus a PBA selection.

NOTES: PBA Hall of Fame coach Tommy Manotoc watched last night’s Ginebra-Meralco game as he’s intrigued by Juno Sauler’s coaching. “I was impressed. He has the guts and the know-how. You combine the two, and you have something,” said Manotoc, particularly impressed by Sauler’s move in their previous game where they rallied from a big deficit with main men Leon Rodgers, Mark Caguioa and LA Tenorio on the bench. “He sends a message. Sometimes, you have to do it,” said Manotoc, a champion coach with San Miguel Beer, U/Tex and Crispa. “I did it with Crispa,” said Manotoc, remembering a particular game where he sat down stars Atoy Co, Philip Cezar and Abet Guidaben for Yoyoy Villamin, Padim Israel and Bai Cristobal.

The Scores:

First Game

ALASKA 78 – Dozier 18, Espinas 14, Casio 10, Abueva 9, Hontiveros 8, Jazul 6, Thoss 6, Manuel 4, Baguio 3, Reyes 0, Dela Cruz 0.

BARAKO 71 – Dollard 26, Pennisi 12, Miller 7, Isip 6, Miranda 6, Lastimosa 5, Fortuna 2, Buenafe 2, Peña 2, Wilson 1, Marcelo 0.

Quarterscores: 13-17, 26-30, 53-50, 78-71

Second Game

Ginebra 88 – Powell 16, Ellis 16, Slaughter 15, Caguioa 13, Tenorio 10, Urbiztondo 10, Aguilar 3, Helterbrand 3, Baracael 2, Mamaril 0.

Meralco 78 – Jackson 25, David 18, Dillinger 11, Hugnatan 9, Hodge 9, Caram 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Artadi 12, Ildefonso 0, Sena 0, Guevarra 0, Wilson 0, Mandani 0.

Quarterscores: 27-21; 44-40; 63-60; 88-78

04-04-2014, 12:46 PM
Commish Salud has already approved the application of the three expansion teams. Will be up to the PBA Board to decide now


Sam Miguel
04-30-2014, 09:15 AM
Air21 Express seize series opener

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

3:54 am | Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — Franz Pumaren called his Air21 crew the “gatecrashers” of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup’s Final Four.
But that was before the Express played their first semifinal game and made it look like they deserve to be here more than anyone else.

Making it close before breaking away inside the final four minutes, the Express held on to pull out a 103-100 win over fancied San Mig Coffee at Mall of Asia Arena to draw first blood in their very first best-of-five series and continue their giant-killing ways.

Sean Anthony tied his career-high with 29 points, Wesley Witherspoon had 25 and Asi Taulava continued to turn back the hands of time by providing the hustle and leadership that kept the Express unbeaten in the playoffs thus far.

Game 2 is set Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum, and the Express will try to move within another win of the first title series for the Shopinas.com franchise.

“This (the feeling) is just temporary,” Pumaren said.

The Express trailed for most of the game, until Aldrech Ramos hit a triple and Joseph Yeo completed a three-point play that turned an 85-87 deficit into a 91-87 lead going into the final 3:35.

Air21 extended this to 98-88 with 1:17 left after two Wesley Witherspoon free throws that came after San Mig coach Tim Cone was ejected because of two technical fouls.

Cone was tossed out for vehemently protesting an obvious non-call on Taulava, who took three giant steps on a driving play before hitting a layup that made it 95-88.

That non-call was the second glaring mistake in these playoffs, with the first coming Monday night when Jimmy Alapag saved possession for Talk ‘N Text even if his entire left foot was already out of bounds.

The scores:

AIR21 103—Anthony 29, Witherspoon 25, Taulava 14, Yeo 11, Ramos 9, Poligrates 7, Cardona 4, Borboran 2, Villanueva 2, Burtscher 0, Camson 0.

SAN MIG COFFEE 100—Mays 27, Barroca 11, Simon 11, Devance 10, Sangalang 10, Melton 8, Pingris 7, Mallari 7, Reavis 6, Yap 3, De Ocampo 0.

Quarters: 23-24, 48-51, 66-74, 103-100

06-02-2014, 09:09 AM
Mixers humble Kings; Bolts up

By Musong R. Castillo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:56 am | Monday, June 2nd, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — It’s still our time.

Outspoken coach Tim Cone declared this Sunday night after San Mig Coffee chopped down hulking Barangay Ginebra in the final seven minutes for a 102-90 victory that gave the Grand Slam-seeking Mixers the solo lead in the Governors’ Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“They (Gin Kings) are an up-and-coming team, and I hope they stay that way for now,” Cone added in jest. “They can (win titles) in the next conference or next season. I just hope not this one.”

Marqus Blakely scored 15 fourth quarter points and the San Mig defense held the Gin Kings scoreless in a crucial four-minute span to turn what had been a nip-and-tuck game into a blowout as the Mixers rose to 4-1 overall with their third straight win.

In the first game, Meralco finally ended its victory drought by nipping Alaska, 88-87, and kept the Bolts mathematically in the hunt for a seat in the playoffs.

Cliff Hodge played all but two minutes and scored 20 points that went with 12 boards and Mike Cortez made his first appearance in more than four months to shoot 19 and provide the stability Meralco needed at the point guard spot.

Ginebra went into a drought after taking a 79-78 lead with a Mark Caguioa jumper off James Yap going into the final 7:29.

And the Kings would not score again until the final 3:24 to drop to 3-1 and fall into a tie with idle Air21 and Talk ‘N Text.

When LA Tenorio broke Ginebra’s silence, the Mixers had scooted away by 15 with a 16-0 run, thanks to a brilliant effort on both ends that saw San Mig score five straight points in a 17-second span to highlight the spurt.

Blakely, the winner of the Best Import award here last season who can give the Mixers a fourth straight title with another winning run here, finished with 34 points, 17 rebounds, six steals and three assists.

Peter June Simon contributed 19 and Marc Barroca finished with 11.

Ginebra had the upperhand for more than three quarters and it looked like the Mixers were just taking their time before breaking away.

Meanwhile, Air21 and Talk ‘N Text shoot for solo second place Monday when they collide in the lone game scheduled at 8 p.m. at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

The scores:

First Game

MERALCO 88—West 21, Hodge 20, Cortez 19, Hugnatan 16, Guevarra 9, David 3, Bringas 0, Caram 0, Sena 0.

ALASKA 87—Walker 25, Abueva 17, Casio 15, Espinas 13, Baguio 9, Jazul 3, Hontiveros 3, Manuel 2, Belasco 0, Dela Cruz 0, Thoss 0.

Quarters: 21-20, 44-38, 66-64, 88-87

Second Game

SAN MIG SUPER COFFEE 102—Blakely 34, Simon 19, Barroca 11, Maliksi 9, Devance 8, Pingris 8, Yap 8, Sangalang 4, Reavis 1, Mallari 0.

GINEBRA 90—Mason 18, Caguioa 18, Aguilar 12, Slaughter 11, Tenorio 11, Ellis 6, Helterbrand 5, Monfort 5, Reyes 2, Mamaril 2, Baracael 0, Ababou 0.

Quarters: 26-25, 47-50, 70-70, 102-90

06-02-2014, 10:50 AM
^ Maybe they don't need him after all...

Gregorio left to rue decision to let Rabeh Al-Hussaini go on leave as big man yet to come back

From: Richard Dy

May 27, 2014, 10:13 pm

Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio says he granted Rabeh Al-Hussaini's request for a 10-day trip to Kuwait. But the Bolts big man has yet to rejoin the team. Jerome Ascano

WITH the way his team has started the PBA Governors’ Cup, Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio is starting to regret his decision to let Bolts center Rabeh Al-Hussaini go on a leave of absence for a personal matter abroad just days before the start of the season-ending tournament.

What was initially agreed as a 10-day trip to Kuwait for Al-Hussaini has extended to 19 days and counting, leaving Gregorio and the Bolts without their big man as they sunk alarmingly to their fourth loss in a row.

The Meralco coach said he agreed to let Al-Hussaini travel to Kuwait for 10 days to take care of his papers. But the 6-foot-7 former PBA Rookie of the Year has yet to come back, leaving undersized forward Reynel Hugnatan and Cliff Hodge to man the paint for the team.

“I am responsible for that (Al-Hussaini’s absence this conference). I was in the US when he asked for permission if he can go to Kuwait for 10 days to fix his papers and just get his pension,” Gregorio said after his team's 90-108 loss at the hands of defending champion San Mig on Tuesday.

“I think, for humanitarian reasons, I told him, 'Rabs, you’re under contract, that’s gonna be hard. It’s a very short conference. But if you know my heart, I will agree to that (let Al-Hussaini leave for Kuwait) simply because I want a better future for you and your family,'” Gregorio said.

“'But please be back in ten days as what you’ve mentioned to me,' though it’s like nineteen days right now and it’s taking longer than expected,” lamented the Meralco coach.

07-07-2014, 01:40 PM
Fajardo thanks UC, Ildefonso for MVP award

By Alder Almo (philstar.com) |

Updated July 6, 2014 - 12:35am

MANILA, Philippines -- Last year, Danny Ildefonso predicted that June Mar Fajardo will become the league's Most Valuable Player this season.

On Saturday, Fajardo proved his mentor right as the 6-10 San Miguel center ran away with the league's top individual award along with the Most Improved Player, and spots in the All-Defensive team and Mythical Five.

While his alma mater University of Cebu laid down the foundation of Fajardo's game, it was Ildefonso who helped him adjust to the pros and polished his skills to become the most dominant big man in the PBA in just his sophomore season in the league.

"Malaki man o maliit, kailangan mo pa rin ng mga taong magga-guide sa'yo. Kasi once in your life maliligaw ka ng landas pero bibigyan ka ni God ng mga taong magga-guide sa'yo pabalik sa tamang landas," said Fajardo, who almost did not graduate in high school due to cutting classes.

Fajardo's loyalty with UC despite big offers from Manila schools during his CESAFI days paid off. The Pinamungahan, Cebu native thanked his former coaches led by former pro Roehl Gomez and his teammates at UC.

"Kung ang gamot may tatak BFAD, ako naman may tatak UC," Fajardo said during his speech.

"You can't spell success without UC," added the gentle giant, who became the first Cebuano player to win league MVP.

Fajardo amassed a total of 2614 points from statistical and votes from the league, players and media.

He missed out to thank Ildefonso during his acceptance speech because he was nervous and at the same time overwhelmed.

"Hindi ko siya nabanggit kanina. Kinabahan ako, andami kong hindi napasalamatan. Pero laking pasasalamat ko sa kaniya dahil sa tulong niya sa akin hindi lang sa loob ng court kundi pati rin sa buhay," Fajardo told Philstar.com after accepting his awards.

Ildefonso, now with Meralco Bolts after a bitter parting ways with the San Miguel franchise he has served since his rookie year in 1998, immediately sent a congratulatory text to his former teammate and student.

All throughout his rookie year last season, Fajardo did extra drills with the two-time MVP (2000-01) before and after practice which worked wonders on his game.

Next on Fajardo's sight is winning a PBA championship which he hopes would come true next season. Too bad, his mentor whom he fondly calls kuya D.I. won't be on his side when that time comes.

Fajardo's rise from Pinamungahan, Cebu will be the subject of the weekly documentary series Kuwentong Gilas on TV5 which airs on Thursday at 9:30 p.m.

Sam Miguel
07-10-2014, 10:01 AM
Rare 4-peat, rare grand slam: San Mig completes epic tale

By Nelson Beltran

(The Philippine Star) |

Updated July 10, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - In so short a time with their brilliant coach, the San Mig Coffee Mixers have got it all.

In three years together, coach Tim Cone and the Mixers wrote a great tale of PBA dominance leading to a historic grand slam following a dramatic 92-89 win over worthy challenger the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in a do-or-die game before a raucous crowd of over 23,234 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

The Mixers made a key run in the third quarter and played tough in the face of the E-Painters’ determined fightback in the fourth, coming through with a rare, rare achievement of stringing up four straight championships.

Under a rain of multi-colored balloons and confetti, the Mixers hugged one another as they celebrated an extra special championship – the first back-to-back Governors Cup conquests by any team in the league in 14 years, the first PBA “Four-Peat” in 17 years and the first PBA grand slam in 18 years.

San Mig Coffee eventually put its name beside Crispa, San Miguel Beer and Alaska as the league’s only grand slam champion teams.

Already the league’s winningest coach, Cone also distinguished himself as the first to engineer two grand slams. He carved out his first with Alaska Milk in 1996.

With their exploits together, Cone and the Mixers could well be remembered as the best team of their time and among the best of all time.

James Yap came out in his best form, erupting for 29 points and going on to win the Holcim Finals MVP award. It was his second straight Finals MVP plum and fourth in all, going with his two season MVP awards.

“Sobrang blessed. But I’m not the only one who worked for this,” said Yap. “Pinaghirapan namin ito lahat.”

Actually, the grand slam hung for some agonizing moment as the Mixers went scoreless after Yap nailed the last of his killer one-hand bank shots making it 92-89 with 1:38 left to play.

AZ Reid made it 89-92 on a drive with 1:32 left, and the E-Painters found no less than five opportunities to tie.

Alas, Reid, Paul Lee and Jeff Chan blew away those chances.

Reid missed their last attempt off Marcus Blakely and Mark Barroca at the buzzer, and the Mixers and the predominantly San Mig crowd erupted to an instant party, celebrating their 13 championships.

“It doesn’t hit me yet. I’m overwhelmed,” said Cone as he tucked under his belt a record 18th crown.

“I’m just so happy for the guys. It’s an honor to watch this guys do this incredible thing,” Cone also said. “I don’t know if it’s the hardest (grand slam). It should be one of the hardest.”

The Mixers pulled off the Triple Crown in winning the Philippine Cup diadem over the E-Painters, the Commissioner’s Cup championship over the Talk n Text Tropang Texters and the Governors Cup again over the E-Painters.

“We did it winning a do-or-die game again. We won the Commissioner’s Cup via sudden death and I thought it’s not gonna happen this time. But the guys again found a way,” said Cone.

Blakely delivered a near triple-double with 20 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists, Marc Pingris came up with a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds and Joe Devance and PJ Simon also played so well in this huge last game of the season.

“It’s just amazing to watch these guys play,” said Cone.

The scores:

San Mig Coffee 92 – Yap 29, Blakely 20, Devance 11, Pingris 10, Simon 10, Barroca 6, Maliksi 4, Sangalang 2, Mallari 0, Reavis 0, Melton 0.

Rain or Shine 89 – Reid 23, Lee 21, Almazan 11, Norwood 11, Belga 7, Chan 6, Araña 4, Uyloan 2, Cruz 2, Tiu 2, Ibañes 0, Rodriguez 0.

Quarterscores: 23-16, 43-38, 73-70, 92-89