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Basketball

Mike Tolomia shines as Meralco gives RDO fitting welcome with Alaska drubbing

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Rookie Mike Tolomia was the spark 3that the Meralco Bolts needed off the bench to lord over the Alaska Aces, 106-78, and to give new acquisition Ranidel De Ocampo a perfect welcome, Friday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Bolts have now improved to 7-2, tied with Barangay Ginebra at the top of the 2017 Governor’s Cup standings. The Aces, meanwhile, saw the end of their three-game streak and are now 3-7, making their playoff chances slimmer.

The 24-year-old Gilas Cadet, who had been acquired by Meralco early in the season-ending conference from a trade with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, sizzled for a career-high 24 points — 17 coming from the first half that saw him nail five triples.

“Mike Tolomia was great today,” lauded Meralco coach Norman Black of his point guard, who shot 8-of-9 from the field. “He’s gonna get an opportunity with us, since he didn’t get that much in Rain or Shine since they have a lot of guards.”

But on top of Tolomia and the win that brought them closer to the twice-to-beat edge, it was the debut of the 35-year-old De Ocampo that highlighted Meralco’s Friday night. The six-time champ scored 10 in his first game as a Bolt.

“It was an interesting week, getting Ranidel in the middle of the week and teaching him the system for three days,” said Black of the veteran forward. “He’ll bring a lot of talent and experience, and that will help us down the stretch.”

From a slow start that saw them trail 10-16 in the opening frame, the Bolts clicked and started to pull away come the second quarter. Allen Durham’s perfect charities gave Meralco a 26-point edge, 58-32, with 37 seconds left.

The Aces rallied strong in the third canto and closed within 12, 71-59, after Calvin Abueva’s split, but Meralco was just too much to handle. Tolomia’s step-back trey gave them a 100-75 lead with 3:18 in the final period.

The Orangemen posted the game’s biggest lead at 31, 106-75, after Kelly Nabong’s triple with less than 57 seconds left to play.

Durham top-billed for Meralco with 26 points, 18 rebounds, and six assists. Baser Amer supplied 17 markers on 60 percent shooting from the floor.

LaDontae Henton paced the Milkmen with 23 points and 10 rebounds. JVee Casio produced 18 on 14 shots, while forward Vic Manuel chipped in 10. Abueva nearly had a double-double with eight points and 10 caroms.

Meralco will look to clinch the win-once incentive versus the Globalport Batang Pier next Friday, September 22, 7:00 PM at the Mall of Asia Arena. Alaska, meanwhile, will aim to bounce back versus Rain or Shine on September 20, Wednesday, 4:15 PM at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

The Scores:

Meralco 106 – Durham 26, Tolomia 24, Amer 17, Newsome 10, De Ocampo 10, Hodge 8, Lanete 5, Nabong 3, Caram 2, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Sedurifa 0, Hugnatan 0, Faundo 0.

Alaska 78 – Henton 23, Casio 18, Manuel 10, Abueva 8, Racal 8, Enciso 3, Banchero 3, Exciminiano 2, Pascual 2, Mendoza 1, Thoss 0, Baclao 0, Galliguez 0.

Quarterscores: 28-22, 58-35, 78-59, 106-78.

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After getting first D-League experience, Zark’s-Lyceum ready to get loose

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After a hesitant performance in their PBA D-League debut last Thursday that resulted in a loss to the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers seemingly caught up with the league’s style of play on Tuesday.

Zark’s-Lyceum displayed their true form and stamped their class all over the Batangas-EAC Generals with a 37-point destruction, 112-75 — so far the biggest winning margin the franchise has ever had in its D-League history.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams we’re playing against with,” said Zark’s-Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson after the match at Pasig Sports Center. “But the things we want to mind are those things we control.

“We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways.”

Robinson’s claim was strongly backed up by the numbers that the Jawbreakers produced.

CJ Perez had 21 points and 10 rebounds. MJ Ayaay produced 15 points and 10 boards, and Mike Nzeusseu delivered 14 markers and 11 boards.

Even the bench made their presence felt in the victory. With guard Jaycee Marcelino spearheading the supporting cast’s charge with 12 markers, the bench contributed a remarkable 56 points to their total output.

Photo by PBA Images

“Ano lang, cinontrol lang namin yung pace kasi yun naman talaga yung laro namin, yung mabilisan,” said the 24-year-old do-it-all forward, who also collected three steals.

“Kailangan talaga mabilisan para ma-execute namin yung mga ginagawa namin.”

This week will be a rough one for the Pirates, as they will play right away this Thursday against the AMA Online Education. And for Perez, he strongly believes that they will be able to carry over their momentum.

“Oo. Nandun pa. Energy talaga yung puhunan namin para makalaro ng maayos.”

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Bonbon Batiller shows what he can bring to Letran in D-League debut

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Photo by PBA Images

Tuesday proved to be a double debut for Bonbon Batiller. Aside from beginning his first foray in the PBA D-League, it also marked his debut for the Letran Knights, who are carrying the Wang’s Basketball Couriers franchise.

And the 5-foot-11 guard showed what he can bring to the table. Batiller collected 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists to help the Knights raise the curtains of their campaign with a 93-75 rout of the Batangas-EAC Generals.

“Nagworkout yung pinagpraktisan namin,” said Batiller. “Nagbunga rin yung tinuro samin ni Coach Jeff (Napa) lalo sa depensa. Tsaka siguro sa rebounds — laking lamang namin sa rebound. Nagsipag mga bigs namin.”

But what has him even more satisfied is the warm reception and trust he’s had from the Knights, even if he has spent barely a year with them after transferring from University of the East last 2017.

“Masaya po kasi tinanggap nila ako sa Letran ng buong-buo,” said Batiller, who normed 10.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 steals with UE in two years. “Tsaka yung tiwala nila na makakatulong ako sa team nandoon.

“Kaya masaya ako sa pinakita nila sa akin.”

That is why the General Santos native is hard-pressed to prove himself to Letran, saying that he’s all about giving back to the school that gave him another opportunity to resume his young, up-and-coming basketball career.

“Kailangan kong may mapatunayan na deserving ako sa binigay na second chance sa akin ni Letran,” said Batiller, who decided to switch schools partly due to academic reasons.

“Malaki ang utang ko sa Letran.”

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Tireless J-Jay Alejandro heads from D-League game to Gilas training

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Former National University Bulldogs captain J-Jay Alejandro was at the Pasig Sports Center on Monday afternoon, making his debut for the Go for Gold Scratchers. After their 75-68 win over the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers, he immediately packed his bags and headed for the exit.

Why was he in a rush? He did not want to be late for Gilas practice later on.

PHOTO by PBA Images

“Sayang, malapit na ako eh. Pasig lang. Walang showbiz-showbiz, malapit lang talaga,” shared Alejandro, who had five points, five rebounds, seven assists, and two steals for Go for Gold. “Wala rin akong gagawin kasi.

“Tsaka minsan lang magpa-tawag ng practice, every Monday lang, so sayang ‘yung chance makapag-practice.”

The 6-foot-2 combo guard was a much-needed body by the Gilas pool, as only eight players suited up for Monday’s session. Besides helping out the seniors team, the 22-year-old is looking at the sessions as a way to both improve and get in touch with his former collegiate foes.

“Well, ganoon talaga eh. Player, mapapagod at mapapagod ka talaga,” said the All-UAAP team member.

“Pero nakakasama ko sila Arvin Tolentino, sila CJ Perez, tsaka ‘yung ibang mga PBA players, siyempre experience ‘yun eh, tsaka learning process din sa akin.”

Moreover, he knows that being under the tutelage of coach Chot Reyes will only do wonders for him, especially with the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft just months away.

“Mas pisikal talaga sa PBA. ‘Yun, kung paano mo gagamitin ang utak mo pati ‘yung katawan mo sa tamang posisyon sa laro, makukuha ko yun rito,” he said.

“Well sa akin kasi, ‘yung mapabilang ka sa Gilas, mapabilang lang ang pangalan mo sa Gilas, sobrang fortunate na ako, sobrang blessed na ako,” Alejandro added.

“And siguro sa akin, may opportunity na nag-open, so iga-grab ko na lang — either PBA or Gilas.”

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Loaded Wangs-Letran wallops AMA in debut

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Armed with new recruits, the Wangs Basketball-Letran Knights embarked on their new chapter with a rousing 93-75 rout of the AMA Online Education Titans, Tuesday afternoon at the Pasig Sports Center.

Everyone clicked for the Couriers with Bong Quinto spearheading the blowout with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists.

Newcomer Bonbon Batiller added 15 markers, five boards, and three dimes in his debut. Starting point guard JP Calvo chipped in 12 points, eight rebounds, and two assists.

Christian Fajarito also registered 11 markers and nine boards, while Alex Mandreza had 10 points for Wangs-Letran.

Despite the promising showing, coach Jeff Napa said that he still wants to see more from his players moving forward.

“Masaya kami syempre dahil nanalo. Pero marami pa rin kaming kailangang gawin,” he said as he wanted more from the Knights after outrebounding the Titans, 57-44.

Quinto and Calvo triggered Wangs-Letran’s second quarter pull-away to establish the 38-26, lead which grew to as high as 22 points, 81-59 in the payoff period.

Michael Cañete topscored AMA with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Kris Porter had 13 in the defeat.

Wangs-Letran will have vengeance on their minds on Monday, January 29, when they take on NCAA tormentors Che’lu-San Sebastian Revellers. AMA, on the other hand, will have a tough assignment when they take on the Zark’s-Lyceum Jawbreakers on Thursday, January 25.

The Scores:

Wangs-Letran 93 — Quinto 19, Batiller 15, Calvo 12, Fajarito 11, Mandreza 10, Trinidad 8, Publico 6, Vacaro 4, Balagasay 3, Ambohot 3, Muyang 2.

AMA Online Education 75 — Cañete 20, Porter 13, Escalambre 11, Casiño 10, Antonares 6, Manalang 6, Garcia 4, Ng 3, Parcero 2, Bragais 0, Carpio 0, Paras 0, Raflores 0, Salonga 0.

Quarterscores: 16-13, 44-35, 67-52, 93-75.

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