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McKay’s monster outing helps Phoenix stun Alaska

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After suffering back-to-back defeats into the hands of San Miguel Beermen and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, the Phoenix Fuel Masters knew they have to get their act together Friday night as they go up against a tough Alaska Aces.

That is exactly what they did, yielding the upset axe on the Aces by scoring a decisive 94-86 victory — also their first-ever win against them — to barge into the win column once more at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“Nakakapagod talunin Alaska,” quipped Phoenix head coach Ariel Vanguardia in the win, which improves their record to 3-4.

And they have reinforcement Jameel McKay to thank for in the morale-boosting triumph.

The 6-foot-9 American single-handedly did most of the damage, finishing the game with a rousing statline of 42 points on 16-of-25 shooting along with 22 boards, two steals, and two blocks in 44 minutes of action.

“Jameel is getting better every time,” Vanguardia raved about his import. “He’s not the typical go-to guy, but he plays defense and does everything.”

“He was trying to prove a point when he knew na he wasn’t included in the Top 5 Imports in an article I showed him,” furthered the first-year coach.

Friday night was clearly for McKay, and it was evident right from the get. He already scored 17 markers and grabbed seven rebounds at the end of the first frame, and his output became a double-double already as the first half ended, having 24 and 17 already.

The Iowa State product was also the one who whammed the nail in the coffin of Alaska, scoring off an alley-oop dish from Mark Borboran to erect a 12-point advantage, 88-76, with 2:54 left. The said dunk was also his 42nd point.

It was time to call it a night for McKay, as he left the game with 1:22 to go due to cramps. But as he left, the Aces still never had any serious threat of mounting a comeback, paving the way for the Fuel Masters to post the victory.

Aside from McKay, Vanguardia had Cyrus Baguio and RJ Jazul — former players and teammates in Alaska — to thank for also.

“I met Cyrus and RJ Wednesday. It was really Cyrus and RJ kasi I felt na yes, that’s your family before, but I haven’t felt that you’ve been with us,” shared Vanguardia.

“Alam naman natin na its all business but there will come a time we have to beat them. Today they stepped up,” added Vanguardia of Baguio and Jazul, who had 12 and 10 points, respectively, with the latter adding eight dimes.

Cory Jefferson served as Alaska’s anchor with 31 points on 22 shots along with 13 rebounds in their second straight defeat, dragging their card to 4-2. JVee Casio proved to be his only support with 14 points, five assists, and five caroms.

Alaska managed to score better off Phoenix’s turnovers though, converting the latter’s 14 miscues to 19 points. Their bench players also played stellar by adding 30 points to their total output. However, Phoenix had more boards, 47-39.

Phoenix will try to spark a streak as they face Meralco on May 3, Wednesday, 7:00 PM, while Alaska will aim to halt their skid against Ginebra on May 7, Sunday, at 6:45 PM. Both games will be played still at the Big Dome.

The Scores:

Phoenix (94) – McKay 42, Baguio 12, Jazul 10, Wright 7, Borboran 7, Kramer 6, Alolino 5, Miranda 5, Torres 0, Dehesa 0.

Alaska (86) – Jefferson 31, Casio 14, Thoss 8, Exciminiano 6, Racal 6, Mendoza 6, Enciso 5, Cruz 3, Dela Cruz 3, Hontiveros 2, Andrada 2, Pascual 0.

Quarterscores: 25-19, 42-36, 66-62, 94-86.

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PBA tweaks format for 2017-18 Philippine Cup playoffs

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From 10 teams in the past, only eight teams will advance into the 2018 Philippine Cup playoffs as the PBA made a few changes in its’ format for the 43rd season’s Philippine Cup, making every single game important for all teams.

The way the playoffs will be played out though remains the same. The top two teams will have a twice-to-beat edge over teams ranked seventh and eight, while the ones in the middle (3 vs 6, 4 vs 5) will figure in best-of-three contests.

Both the semifinals and finals will still be best-of-seven affairs.

Meanwhile, the league has also released the full schedule of the Philippine Cup Friday, eight days after publicizing a partial sked that only showed games from December 17 to 29.

SMART-Araneta Coliseum, SM Mall of Asia Arena, and Ynares Center in Antipolo will serve the main venues of PBA games. The FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan and the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay will also hold a few matches.

This season’s Christmas Games, which features GlobalPort Batang Pier-NLEX Road Warriors and Barangay Ginebra-Magnolia Hotshots, will be staged at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

And just like in the past seasons, the league will also hold playdates in out-of-town venues such as Ilo-ilo City, Legazpi in Albay, Calasiao in Pangasinan, Dumaguete City, and Cagayan de Oro City. All of these are set on Saturdays.

The PBA will raise the curtains of its’ 43rd year this Sunday, December 17, at the Big Dome, with defending champions San Miguel Beermen starting their four-peat bid against a revamped Phoenix Fuel Masters at 6:45 PM.

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SBP, Robbie Puno still looking for ‘right player’ to naturalize for 2023 World Cup

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Though a lot of foreign cagers have presented themselves as willing to play for SMART Gilas Pilipinas and become naturalized Filipino, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has yet to pick on who will be the heir apparent to Andray Blatche come the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

“At this point in time, we do not have any particular player yet. My understanding is we’re still looking for the best possible candidate,” shared SBP vice chairman Robbie Puno during the celebration of the 2023 World Cup hosting held at Crowne Plaza in Pasig City.

Blatche, who last played for Gilas during the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, will be 37 years old when the 2023 edition rolls around. Names that have been thrown out during the calendar year were former Blackwater Elite import Greg Smith, who will be 33 years old in 2023, and Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas reinforcement Isaiah Austin, who will turn 30 by that time.

Still, Puno and his group are taking their time, carefully filtering the candidates as to not hamper the process of the legislative body of the Philippines.

“If our target is 2023, there will be probably enough time for us to make sure we have the right player in terms of his basketball skills, but also his age as well as his attitude,” said Puno, a former congressman representing the first district of Antipolo City.

Moreover, the 55-year-old politician has already planted the seeds for this long process by already talking to the members of the Lower House who will author the bill.

“Right now, we’re ready to spearhead that process. We’ve spoken with a couple of congressmen who will author the bill,” Puno disclosed.

“What we’re waiting for is the imprimatur as to who we will really make the effort to naturalize, because when you start that process, it becomes really difficult.”

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SOURCES: Perpetual Help taps Frankie Lim as consultant

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Frankie Lim looks to bring a championship to a school that is hungry for it/PBA Images

Frankie Lim will steer a once-heated rival to the promised land

The multi-titled mentor has been appointed as a team consultant of the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas as the 57-year-old tactician will be tasked to reboot the team after a lackluster run in the NCAA Season 93 Seniors’ Basketball tournament.

Sources closely monitoring the situation bared that Lim is now running practice for the Altas as he works side-by-side with coach Jimwell Gican.

“Consultant na siya sa Perpetual, pero siya rin ang nagpapatakbo sa practice,” the source said.

Another source confirmed the development and also shared that Lim is looking to bring in two of his assistants in the coaching staff, further proving his seriousness for the job. The names of the assistants, however, were not disclosed.

The Altas went 4-14 last season with Gican at the helm as he relied on Prince Eze, Gab Dagangon, and AJ Coronel to lead the squad.

According to a third source, it was either Lim or NCAA Season 93 commissioner Bai Cristobal who was being picked by Perpetual Help to serve as the team’s consultant. However, Cristobal still wanted to assume his role as league commissioner for one more year, especially since Perpetual Help is hosting the 94th season of the Grand Old League.

Perpetual is looking for an early preparation for NCAA Season 94 as it joins the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup in January.

Lim was last seen in the sidelines in the PBA when he coached Ginebra in 2015. He won four titles with his alma mater San Beda from 2007 to 2011 Before briefly going to Indonesia to coach Stadium Jakarta.

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Cost of hosting FIBA World Cup is ‘expensive’, says MVP

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The officials of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas were in a celebratory mood on Thursday afternoon as the federation celebrated the Philippines’ hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup. And this was a real victory for the country after it suffered heartbreak back in 2015 during the announcement of the 2019 FIBA World Cup hosting.

“When we lost to China in Tokyo, there were two parts in that presentation. The first is the emotional part, we won hands down,” recalled SBP Chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan. “Yao Ming came over and said you won that one.

“We just lost in the infrastructure bid.”

That was why the Philippines needed to alter its pitch for the 2023 tourney. Instead of focusing on emotion, the country tapped the assistance of Japan and Indonesia for its new bid.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

But with this, many wondered how much will it cost for the country to host this tournament that will feature 32 teams from all across the world. The officials of the national sports association were mum about it, only saying that it’s “expensive”.

“The first word that came to my mind was expensive.

“I don’t think it’s right to be precise about numbers,” Pangilinan shared.

“Sa amin na lang yun. We really can’t disclose it eh,” admitted Foreign Affairs secretary Alan Cayetano

Despite the high costs, the SBP is gunning to break the all-time FIBA attendance record.

The record was set back in the 1954 edition of the tournament in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, that attracted 35,000 fans. The Philippine Arena, which will host the semifinals and final of the tournament, has a capacity of 55,000.

“We think we will surpass the FIBA-record for attendance. Imagine a Team USA vs. Gilas Finals,” quipped SBP president Al Panlilio.

Still, Pangilinan — who said that hosting the tournament will be his lasting legacy to Philippine sports — expressed that the cost does not matter if it will give joy to the Filipino people.

“You cannot put a price on this thing.”

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