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2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup QFs Survival Kit: Manila Clasico

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The Star Hotshots had caught Barangay Ginebra off guard during their elimination round encounter. Star had led by more than 30 points, dominating a Ginebra side that had still lacked identity early in its new era.

But a full elimination round schedule after, Barangay Ginebra have certainly looked like they are nowhere near what they’ve shown in the early parts of the conference. Ginebra have won three straight games and six of their last seven outings overall.

With a switch to the triangle, Ginebra play at the league’s lowest pace (89.1). They often go to their big man Greg Slaughter, who has posted league-best averages of 23.5 PPG and 15.1 RPG. Slaughter attempts 16.3 field goals/game, almost doubling his average from the last Philippine Cup. With such strength coming into play, Ginebra have posted their best elimination round record since the 2013-14 Philippine Cup.

Proper positioning in the triangle also allows Ginebra to get back on defense well. In the elimination round, they allowed the least fastbreak points. Ginebra are also the league’s best defensive team, allowing opponents only 93.4 points per 100 possessions.

With the departure of Tim Cone, the Star Hotshots, on the other hand, had adopted a system that is more loose and allows mostly their guards to take charge.

James Yap 2James Yap was one of the benefactors, as he has attempted 4.2 more shots per game than the last Philippine Cup. He has increased his scoring average to 15.7 PPG and also had a higher usage rate of 28.3 from a previous 22.2.

Mark Barroca has been having a more productive conference as far as his points and assists averages are concerned, becoming a more aggressive, shot-creating guard for the Hotshots.

But the new system also has its downsides. A team that had once built a reputation as one of the best defensive teams in the league, Star have seen their defense this conference plummet to 101 points per 100 possessions. Star also had a negative net rating (-2.7) for the first time in recent history.

Star are the second-worst rebounding team, and also allow opponents to shoot 45.1 percent from the field, the second-highest rate.

Now up against a better team that holds a twice-to-beat edge, it will be a different story for Star. They are battling for survival and they need to come up with a superb effort to extend their stay in the playoffs.

Four things


1) Which version of the scoring apostle will show up?
Simon-2
While Peter June Simon’s scoring average went down by 2 points/game, the wing man is shooting better from three-point area at 42.9 percent. He is coming off a 26-point explosion over Blackwater where he shot 57 percent. Showing the same form may pose problems for Ginebra.

2) Support for Slaughter
PBA41 PH CUP - GIN TNT - Aguilar
Aside from Slaughter, only Japeth Aguilar is averaging double-digits for Ginebra (17.7 PPG). The team will need contributions from more individuals to succeed.

3) Joe Devance against his former team
Joe Devance
With Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar as the main frontcourt weapons, Joe Devance’s production dipped (4.8 PPG in 17.6 minutes/game). But it doesn’t mean he should be just counted off. Devance can provide impact in certain stretches especially when Cone decides to go deeper to his bench.

4) Scottie x playoffs
PBA41 PH Cup - GIN GP - Scottie Thompson
It’s Scottie Thompson’s first career PBA playoff experience! Nothing much else to say; let’s hope people enjoy the show he’ll put up. After all, Cone said Thompson possesses unique skills and he is a special player.

X-Factors


Barangay Ginebra: Shooting

Photo by PBA Images

Photo by PBA Images


Ginebra do not take that many three-point shots (15.5) a game and shoot only 25.1 percent from beyond the arc. But any time they can get their shots to fall, it will help pull the defense out and create more space inside. Last game, Sol Mercado and Chris Ellis combined for 3-for-4 triples. Those little things help.

Star: Mark Barroca
Barroca
As mentioned above, Barroca has been a more aggressive version of himself in the new system. In his last four games, Barroca had 17.3 points/game and 4.5 assists/game. That kind of mentality will surely help the Hotshots.

Prognosis


PBA41 PH CUP - GIN TNT - Mercado Slaughter Aguilar
Barangay Ginebra in 1. This is a better Ginebra team in most aspects of the game, and they have the tools to control the game and stop Star’s main scorers.

Ginebra or Star? Sound-off in our comments section

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ABL

Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa

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After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Marcus Elliott grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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Basketball

CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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