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Alaska defuses late Ginebra surge in elimination round finale

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The Alaska Aces ended the elimination round on a high note, fending off a late resurgence from the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, en route to the 104-98 victory on Wednesday night, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Baskets from import Michael Dunigan gave Ginebra a 6-1 start, but Calvin Abueva and Dondon Hontiveros answered back on the other end to force a 6-all deadlock. Following a back-and-forth affair in the next few minutes, Ginebra pulled away with a 16-11 lead halfway through the quarter. the Aces, however, responded in spirited fashion, completing a 13-2 run to lead 24-18 just two minutes later. A flurry of outside shots extended the lead to ten, 29-19, with around two minutes left on the clock. Ginebra retorted with four unanswered points, and at the end of the quarter, Alaska led 29-23.

Dunigan and Josh Urbiztondo led Ginebra in reestablishing their foothold, collaborating for five unanswered points that brought the Gin Kings within striking distance, 32-33, early in the second. Alaska’s Chris Banchero, however, stymied the brewing rally with a layup on the other end. Powered by Damion James and Calvin Abueva, Alaska’s lead would only continue to blow up in the succeeding minutes. Furthermore, with around four minutes left on the clock, the Aces led by double digits once more, 48-37. The Aces allowed the Gin Kings to only seven more points in the last six minutes of the quarter, and entered halftime with a 52-39 lead.

Powered by frontcourt enforcers, Dunigan and Japeth Aguilar, Ginebra was able to cut the deficit of double digits, 49-56, three minutes into the third half. Though the Gin Kings had their offensive flow back intact, the Aces stayed ahead of the chase thanks to their import James, who continued to dominate in the painted area. Unable to find a way to stop the Aces from sinking shots where they please, the Gin Kings could only watch as the opposing side stayed one step ahead. Moreover, Alaska needed only to up the physicality to slow Ginebra down and prevent them from kicking off any more big runs. At the end of the quarter, the Aces led 78-69.

Alaska continued to pace the contest heading into the fourth, extending the lead to twelve early into the quarter. LA Tenorio rose to the occasion around the halfway mark, exploding for his first 10 points of the game, and helping the Gin Kings cut the lead to four, 85-89. In addition, a three-point play from Dunigan brought Ginebra within striking distance a minute later, 88-89. Ginebra, unfortunately, suffered a major blow to their campaign when Japeth Aguilar had to be taken out of the game after a bad fall after being fouled on the attack. Mac Baracael took the free throws that were supposed to be Aguilar’s, going to sink both to give Ginebra the lead, 90-89, with five minutes left on the clock.

The Aces, however, continued to outgun the Gin Kings in the ensuing back-and-forth affair, and later entered the last two minutes of the game with a 97-93 edge. A triple from Ginebra’s Baracael cut the lead to a single digit with a minute and a half left, 96-97. Two free throws and a fastbreak layup off a steal care of Calvin Abueva in the next two possessions extended Alaska lead to four, 100-96. With 29 ticks left on the clock, Baracael had the chance to give Ginebra a lease on life, but ended up wasting the shot. After drawing the foul from Ginebra, Alaska’s Damion James sank two free throws to pad the lead. With time on their side, the Aces later escaped with the victory.

Cyrus Baguio was named Best Player of the Game with 17 points from 7/8 field goal shooting along with 5 assists all off the bench. Damion James led the scoring with 29 points and 14 rebounds. Dunigan led the scoring for Ginebra with 32 points. Both Alaska and Ginebra finish at 5-6, with Alaska settling for the no.6 seed, and Ginebra settling for the no.8 seed, just enough to make the quarter finals.

The Scores:

Alaska (102) – James 29, Baguio 17, Abueva 16, Jazul 10, Hontiveros 9, Casio 5, Banchero 4, Exciminiano 4, Thoss 4, Manuel 2, Menk 2

BGSM (98) – Dunigan 32, Baracael 18, Aguilar 17, Tenorio 10, Urbiztondo 8, Slaughter 7, Caguioa 4, Monfort 2

Quarters: 29-23, 52-39, 78-69, 104-98

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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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