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Alaska depth too much for GlobalPort in wire-to-wire win

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In a battle of two top squads in the 2015-16 Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup, the Alaska Aces proved that they are in a class above the GlobalPort Batang Pier.

Alex Compton’s squad displayed great ball movement and hounding defense to coast through the Batang Pier in a 123-104 wire-to-wire victory early Friday evening at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Alaska Aces got off to a strong start as the Alaska defense limited the potent GlopalBort offense to just four points in the first five minutes of the game for an early 11-4 lead. Even after bringing in gunslinging guard Terrence Romeo to the game, the Alaska frontline of Sonny Thoss, Calvin Abueva, and Vic Manuel overpowered their Batang Pier counterparts. Veteran Cyrus Baguio poured it on to extend the Alaska lead to 21-8 midway through the opening quarter. Romeo and Pringle closed out the quarter with a run of their own, including two conversions from three-point country by Romeo, to cut the Alaska lead to nine, 34-25, to close out the opening salvo.

Recent GlobalPort acquisition Rico Maierhoffer started the second quarter aggressively on the offensive end, but he was quickly answered by a triple by Tony Dela Cruz that extended the Alaska lead to 12 once more, 44-32, five minutes into the quarter. Alaska’s grinding defense continued to be the story into the quarter as the Green and Black could not put spark runs. On the other end, Cyrus Baguio was firing all cylinders to increase the Alaska lead to 58-42 with a minute and 28 remaining until halftime. Romeo then went on an 8-2 run, including two booming three-pointers, to go into the break still down by ten, 60-50.

Globalport were only able to limit the hot-shooting of Alaska in the first five minutes of the second half to just seven points while scoring a plus-five on the other end. Romeo, Joseph Yeo, and Billy Mamaril were all able to contribute in the rally with Romeo scoring five straight points to close the gap to six, 67-61. But just as Pido Jarencio’s squad were about to close in further, the Aces intensified their pressing defense to force the Batang Pier to turnovers. Vic Manuel and Cyrus Baguio continued to punish the porous GlobalPort defense to extend the lead to 16 points, 94-78, to end the third canto.

Pido Jarencio and his troops simply had no answer for the defense and ball-movement of the Alaska Aces in the final frame. Even having brought in a combination of Romeo, Yeo, and rookie guard Roi Sumang to start the quarter, the Batang Pier only shot bricks from their forced jumpshots. In contrast, Calvin Abueva, RJ Jazul, and grizzled veteran Eric Menk were converting on their shots to extend the lead to a 21 points, 112-91, after a conversion by a Manuel jumpshot with 4:03 remaining. A booming three-pointer by Jazul extended the lead to a game-high 22 points, 121-99, with 1:20 left before settling for a 123-104 win to move Alaska to solo first in the standings.

The Aces had an outstanding eight players score in double-digits, with Cyrus Baguio’s 17 leading the way. Baguio shot 50% from the field that included two triples. Vic Manuel also continued his strong Philippine Cup campaign in putting up 16 markers and grabbing eight boards. RJ Jazul, Sonny Thoss, and Chris Banchero added 14 points each in the high-scoring affair.

Terrence Romeo’s 33 points on a 41% clip led the way for GlobalPort. He was able to knock down seven threes in the game and dish out five assists in 34 minutes of action. Stanley Pringle added 16 points while workhorse Doug Kramer was able to notch a double-double with 11 points and 12 boards.

As a team, Alaska shot an excellent 51% from the field compared just 40% from GlobalPort. The victors pouded their way in the paint for 62 inside points. Moreover, the Aces out-rebounded their opponents 57-49 that led to 23 second chance points.

The Alaska Aces (5-1) will next face the Star Hotshots on Tuesday, November 24 at the night’s main game to be held at the Smart Araneta Colisuem. On the other hand, the now 4-2 GlobalPort Batang Pier face crowd-darlings, the Barangay Ginebra Kings, the next day at 7:00pm also to be held at the Smart Araneta Colisuem.

The Scores:
Alaska (123) – Baguio 17, Manuel 16, Thoss 14, Banchero 14, Jazul 14, Menk 12, Abueva 11, Casio 10, Dela Rosa 4, Baclao 4, Hontiveros 4, Dela Cruz 3, Exciminiano 0, Racal 0.
GlobalPort (104) – Romeo 33, Pringle 16, Mamaril 13, Kramer 11, Maierhofer 10, Uyloan 6, Washington 6, Yeo 5, Sumang 2, Jensen 2, Taha 0, Pena 0, Semerad 0, Paniamongan 0.
Quarterscores: 34-25, 60-50, 94-78, 123-104.

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Fired-up Von Pessumal on Kiefer Ravena incident: ‘I’m not here to make any friends’

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Will bridges be burned?

Von Pessumal was heavily-scrutinized Friday evening after an incident with fellow Ateneo lifer Kiefer Ravena.

It took place with 9:50 left in the final frame of the San Miguel Beermen’s highly-charged tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors. After Marcio Lassiter launched a trey, Pessumal looked like he was aiming for the rebound. Instead, he simply charged towards Ravena and pushed him down.

Lassiter’s three-pointer counted, while Pessumal, who was blocked by Ravena in a fastbreak and then received a staredown moments prior, was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul.

It was a surprising sight to see considering the amount of time he and Ravena have spent together — a bond that started ever since they were in high school. Even the second-generation star admitted that he did not expect that from his former running body.

“I did not expect that at all,” said the NLEX rookie.

But Pessumal downplayed such incident despite attempts by scribes to make him elaborate what had really transpired during that moment.

“It’s part of the game. It’s part of the game,” the league sophomore said after the match which they won 109-98. “I don’t wanna say anything, I’m sorry.

“It’s part of the game. Whatever move on. Not a big deal.”

Asked if he was motivated to face Ravena, whom he had shared three UAAP juniors titles, two UAAP seniors crowns, and a SEA Games gold medal with, the 24-year-old shared that he approached Friday’s bout the way he usually does.

“I wouldn’t say motivated [versus Kiefer], I mean, it’s just like any other game. When I play, I don’t see who’s guarding me, I just play,” said the 6-foot-2 swingman.

“I play to win all the time.”

The incident he and Ravena figured in shadowed his performance of 10 points on 50 percent shooting off the bench — the second time he had scored in double figures this season. After Friday, Pessumal is averaging 8.25 points.

“We have to sustain the level of excellence that they (starters) have. Our job is — I wouldn’t say support, but — when we get in, we should bring the level higher so when they come back, the game is easier for them,” he said.

Pessumal was then asked if he and Ravena met each other after the buzzer sounded as the two did not even shake hands after the contest. But, through a short yet strong response, the 24-year-old said that they did not.

“I wouldn’t say anything. I don’t know, after the game?,” he expressed.

“I’m a professional basketball player, I’m not here to make any friends.”

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Yeng Guiao denies using racial slur against Chris Ross

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During the post-game of the San Miguel Beermen’s victory over the NLEX Road Warriors, reigning Coach of the Year Leo Austria said that NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao called Chris Ross the “N” word that caused the commotion.

According to Chris, tinawagan siya ng nigger or ganiyan,” said Austria. “I don’t know but that’s what he explained to me because I confronted Chris Ross because he’s one of the most important players in my team.

“But that’s the thing he doesn’t want to hear so nagflare up yung bata so I cannot blame him.”

Guiao though denied that he blurted out racial slurs against San Miguel’s Chris Ross.

“Hindi. Hindi ko tinawag na N-word. Ewan ko kung may nakarinig. Pero hindi,” clarified the fiery tactician moments after their 98-109 defeat, their third straight after starting the 2018 Philippine Cup with two straight wins.

That tussle, according to Guiao, was just filled with trash talking against each other, as he felt the need to retaliate. In fact, Guiao was even caught by the TV camera saying “son of a bitch” towards the Filipino-American point guard.

“Daldal siya ng daldal eh. Eh sa akin naman kapag ganon, siguro respeto nalang. Lumayo ka nalang tutal mananalo naman na kayo,” he said. “I didn’t understand what he was saying, what he was talking about.

“Nakipagtrash-talking din ako sa kanya.”

Furthermore, the 58-year-old was also caught by the cameras flipping the bird — in one quick motion — also against Ross.

“Oo. Kasama na rin yun.

“Pero ano naman eh, it’s part of, siguro, psychological warfare. Malakas din siya mang-asar. Hindi lang naman sa amin. Everytime naman na mga ganoong skirmishes, he also knows what he’s capable of,” the seven-time champion coach furthered.

But more than this scuffle, it really has become a stressful time for Guiao and the Road Warriors. They have now went down to 2-3 in the team standings, and the mentor sees the great need to end this slump immediately.

“We have to arrest it very soon. Ang susunod na laro namin ay versus Rain or Shine sa Friday. So we need to go back to 50 percent win-loss level para at least may chance ka na maka-playoffs. That’s going to be a crucial game for us,” he stressed.

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Kiefer Ravena shocked with Von Pessumal’s shove: ‘I did not expect that at all’

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Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal have been teammates ever since they were in high school, winning three UAAP juniors crowns together. They won two championships together in the seniors level and even played together in Gilas. They were inseparable.

Friday evening however, they were playing for separate camps.

Ravena admitted that he never expected a shove to come from Pessumal during the NLEX Road Warriors’ clash with San Miguel Beermen.

In an off-ball situation, Pessumal charged at Ravena, sending the rookie down to the floor with 9:50 remaining in the final frame. He was then whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul, and Ravena sank one from the line.

“I did not expect that at all,” admitted Ravena after the match in which they lost, 98-109 — their third straight defeat after a 2-0 start. “But hopefully Von doesn’t take it personal.

“I’m just doing my job. They won the game.”

Ravena insisted that there wasn’t any physicality between him and Pessumal prior to that, but he thinks that his former Gilas teammate may have gotten irked by his staredown after blocking him on a fastbreak play early in the fourth.

“When that fastbreak happened — the same exact possession na I challenged him, I looked at him, and after that yun na yung nangyari,” said the 23-year-old guard. “But I never instigated something to provoke Von to do that.

“Probably nung tinignan ko siya.”

Moreover, the second overall pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft felt that that incident “started all the commotions during the end game (laughs). Yun yung pinaka-una eh. And with that, the team got fired up and it worked for them.”

He may be right, for the game saw more skirmishes after that: from teammate Michael Miranda kicking Chris Ross to the groin, and with his head coach Yeng Guiao figuring in a heated verbal war also against Ross.

But then, Ravena made it clear that it was never a plan of his to put down somebody, especially someone like Pessumal who he sees as a brother for life.

“You know, Von and I, we go way back. Things like this hopefully don’t become too personal.

“I have no intention na ipapahiya yung tao or sasaktan mo yung tao. Wala namang ganun. Laro-laro lang,” said NLEX’s leading scorer.

It was somehow a night to remember for Ravena, but for all the wrong reasons. After Friday’s loss that sent their card to 2-3, the veteran internationalist now sees the need for him and the Road Warriors to push the panic button.

“‘Di na pwedeng sabihin palaging kailangan namin matuto eh. Pangatlong sunod na,” the second-generation cager expressed.

“Kailangan siguro naming umaksyon.”

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Downcast Chris Ross chooses to stay mum after heated altercation with Yeng Guiao

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Through wins or losses, Chris Ross has always accommodated the members of the press asking for interviews and fans requesting for photo ops every after game. But Friday evening, the nine-year pro was despondent.

Visibly agitated with the events that had transpired during the San Miguel Beermen’s tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors, Ross, with his hoodie covering his head, left the Cuneta Astrodome without saying a word.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year had figured in physical play after physical play and verbal exchange after verbal exchange with the frustrated Road Warriors.

Ross and Alex Mallari were both slapped with technicals after a confrontation with 9:06 left. This was just the start of many things to come for the Filipino-American defensive specialist

After knocking down a triple and receiving a taunt from Ross, Michael Miranda was assessed a disqualifying foul for an apparent kick to the groin against Ross with 4:35 left.

The tip of the iceberg came with 1:46 left to play and the game all but settled.

Yeng Guiao and Ross figured in a heated word war that resulted in Ross’ second technical foul for the game. Referees and players from both sides had to separate the two to prevent things from escalating.

San Miguel coach Leo Austria alleged that the fiery NLEX mentor said the “N” word, while some said Guiao called Ross a “bitch”.

Ross finished the game with four points, eight rebounds, and four steals in 37 minutes of action.

For sure, penalties and suspensions will come out of this game.

And it was better for Ross to stay silent.

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