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Alaska ends Star’s season; heads to Governor’s Cup Finals

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As they have the entire series, the Alaska Aces surged in the second half and completed their sweep of the defending Governor’s Cup Champions, Star Hotshots, 82-77 in Game Three of their semifinals series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Using a big lineup with no point guard, the Hotshots flustered the Alaska defense in the first half. “Big Game” James Yap scored 15 of his game-high 20 points in the opening half and led the Hotshots to a 46-37 advantage. Alaska’s offense also suffered with the tall Star lineup forcing a slow, deliberate pace with plenty of contested Alaska jumpers. The Aces had a solitary assist, while Star had 11 at the halftime break.

The Aces flipped the switch right away in the third period, rattling off a 12-2 run, highlighted by two Jvee Casio triples, and hijacking the lead, 49-48. Yusef Taha stumbled and bumbled on back-to-back layups, quickly giving momentum and the lead back to Alaska, 52-49, but Romeo Travis forced another tie, 52-52, after an and-1 putback play. From there, both teams traded share of the lead, until Star broke out in the last two minutes of the third canto. Alex Mallari notched seven points in a 9-0 Star run, which supplanted the Hotshots on top with a 65-58 lead heading into the payoff period.

The teams traded big play after big play to start off the final period with both defenses forcing each other into the dark corners of their offense. The Hotshots scored their last basket with 2:59 left on the clock after Marquis Blakely fished a basket, and a foul on a post-up play against Vic Manuel. Blakely missed the charity, but put Star ahead, 77-74. The Alaska defense, then, buckled down and coaxed contested shot after contested shot from the Hotshots, while also getting huge plays from Romeo Travis on the offensive end. Travis scored off a layup then drilled a triple in the following play that pulled Alaska ahead, 79-77, with 2:00 remaining. After both threw up bricks on multiple possesions, Travis found an open Vic Manuel on the right baseline for the game clinching jumper, 81-77, with 20 ticks left on the game clock, and forced Star into their final timeout. Blakely missed on a last ditch drive attempt, then Jvee Casio split his free throws, securing the win for the Aces.

Ohio native, Romeo Travis led the Aces with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists while rookie Rome Dela Rosa scored six points in the opening qurter and finished with 11 points, three steals.

The Aces clinched their second finals appearance this season, after losing to San Miguel in the All-Filipino Cup Finals in seven games. They await the winner of the Rain or Shine – San Miguel series, who are currently locked in a 1-1 tie in their own Best-of-Five series.

The Scores

Alaska (82) – Travis 19, Manuel 14, Baguio 11, Dela Rosa 11, Casio 9, Banchero 5, Abueva 5, Thoss 4, Hontiveros 4

SMB (77) – Yap 20, Blakely 15, Mallari 9, Pingris 8, Devance 8, Taha 6, Barroca 5, Reavis 4, Simon 2

Quarters: 16-23, 37-46, 60-65, 82-77

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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Basketball

Defense has been key for Globalport to even slate, beams Sean Anthony

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GlobalPort’s horrid start is now a thing of the past

Sean Anthony was all praises for the way GlobalPort Batang Pier has been executing their defensive schemes, following he and his team’s 101-76 demolition of the Blackwater Elite for their second straight victory.

“[It was] Defense again. We held them under 80 points. Our offense just flowed and we stayed aggressive on defense,” said the 31-year-old forward.

“Coach [Pido Jarencio] wants us to keep teams under 80, so another great defensive win for us.”

“We again met our target of limiting our points to below 80 points,” beamed Jarencio.

After a 0-2 start into the 2018 Philippine Cup and allowing their opponents to score at an average of 109.5 points per game, the Batang Pier have gone on a roll and have improved to 2-2. In this mini streak of theirs, with Rain or Shine and Blackwater as casualties, they have limited their opponents to just 73 points.

For the eight-year pro, it’s mostly because of the team’s growing chemistry, considering that they are running a new system under Jarencio, who took the coaching reins from Franz Pumaren in the offseason.

“A lot of it is the chemistry – we have a lot of new guys, so many young guys, a new coach, too, so our chemistry’s building,” said Anthony, who paced the Batang Pier with 22 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.

“It’s getting better every day.”

GlobalPort though has a tall order infront of them on January 24 as they are set to face reigning three-time all-Filipino champs San Miguel Beermen. But Anthony believes that they have ample time to prepare against the giants.

“San Miguel is three-time defending champs, so they’re going to be the team to beat, and definitely a barometer,” said the Filipino-American, who is currently averaging 18.25 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.75 assists.

“We’ve got some time to get better, so we’ve got to keep working on our weaknesses and continue to get better every day.”

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Basketball

After second straight loss, Poy Erram laments: ‘Nagkanya-kanya kami’

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For Blackwater Elite’s top big man Poy Erram, their 76-101 defeat into the hands of GlobalPort Batang Pier Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome was a result of the players resorting to play as individuals rather than as a single unit.

Erram himself nearly finished with a triple double of eight points, seven rebounds, and seven blocks, but his efforts were put in vain as the Elite never had a chance to show their brand of basketball right from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

“‘Di namin sinunod si coach. Nagkanya-kanya kami. Simula pa lang, nakita naman talaga na nagkanya-kanya kami,” lamented the 28-year-old moments after the lopsided affair.

“Di namin ginawa yung sistema ni coach.”

And it also didn’t help that Erram failed to display his best form no thanks to an ankle sprain, which he incurred late in the opening frame.

“Nilalaro ko lang buong game. Actually masakit talaga, namamaga talaga siya,” added the 6-foot-7 big man.

“Kasi kung di ako maglalaro, walang ibang maglalaro (center spot), so pinilit ko na lang talaga.”

The Elite have now fallen to their second straight loss after their huge 94-77 triumph over Ginebra last week. And this skid is something they regret, for they feel like they failed to prove that their win against the Gin Kings was no fluke.

“May chance na kami eh, pinakawalan pa namin. Sobrang sayang,” said the four-year pro out of Ateneo de Manila. “Yung mga players sobrang down (tonight) kasi inexpect namin lalaban kami, tapos tinambakan kami ng sobra.”

Blackwater played their second game in three days after asking for a schedule revision to give way to their Hope for Lupus Run this Sunday. But Erram does not want to make the exhausting string of games as an excuse.

“Medyo naging factor din na in one week tatlong games kami. Tapos puro malalakas pa kalaban namin. Pero di yun excuse for us,” said Erram, who is averaging 13.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks this conference.

“Dapat ready kami kahit sino kalaban namin.”

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Basketball

GlobalPort thrashes tired Blackwater for second straight win

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With their opponents playing their second game in three days, GlobalPort Batang Pier easily handled a tired Blackwater Elite side, 101-76, en route to their second straight victory, Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.

The Batang Pier, who had posted their second most lopsided win in franchise history, improved their card to 2-2, while the Elite lost their second straight match and had dropped to 2-3.

“We hit our target of 80 points below. They scored 76 points. We just played good defense all the way, and that’s the result,” said Batang Pier head coach Pido Jarencio. “Everybody contributed, even the rookies, that’s why we pulled away.”

Sean Anthony top-billed for GlobalPort with 22 points on six triples, on top of seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Stanley Pringle finished with 17 points and 11 boards with five dimes, while Kelly Nabong scored 16.

The one-sided affair in favor of the Batang Pier started as early as the opening frame, when Anthony’s three-pointer met the bottom of the net and gave them a 24-13 cushion with 3:21 left in the said quarter.

With almost everything going their way and Blackwater failing to find ways to respond, GlobalPort was able to lead by as much as 31 points, 87-56, after Pringle swished in a jumper with exactly 9:20 remaining in the final frame.

“Actually simple lang naman ang instruction ko sa team eh. Blackwater naglaro ng back-to-back, siyempre mapapagod din yan. So takbuhan,” added Jarencio on the win, where they scored 23 off fastbreaks.

Sophomore Mac Belo and Michael Di Gregorio were the only bright spots for Blackwater in the loss, as they scored 17 and 15 points, respectively, with the former adding seven rebounds and two assists to his name.

Poy Erram, who was remarkable in their last four games, was silent with eight points and seven rebounds. Raymar Jose added 12 boards and eight points for the Elite, who played without Allein Maliksi as he is currently in Australia.

Globalport will next face San Miguel Beermen on January 24, Wednesday at 7:00 PM, while Blackwater will take on Alaska on January 27, Saturday at 4:30 PM. Both games will be at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Globalport 101 – Anthony 22, Pringle 17, Nabong 16, Grey 8, Taha 7, Gabayni 6, Juico 6, Araña 4, Elorde 4, Flores 4, Guinto 4, Sargent 3.

Blackwater 76 – Belo 17, DiGregorio 15, Sena 9, Erram 8, Jose 8, Pinto 8, Palma 6, Javier 3, Cruz 2, Banal 0, Cortez 0, Marcelo 0, Neypes 0, Sumang 0.

Quarterscores: 28-23, 61-37, 79-54, 101-76.

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CSB

Saint Benilde regains winning form, sweeps San Sebastian

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Following a shocking defeat to San Beda College, the defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers rolled back into the NCAA Season 93 win column with a quick triumph over the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Stags, 25-20, 25-19, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Blazers outclassed the Stags in every scoring category, recording twice as many spikes (40-20), and blocks (10-5).

Saint Benilde head coach Arnold Laniog wanted to see high-level play from his team after, what he deemed, a lackadaisical effort in their last outing.

“Marami kaming naging struggles last game na alam namin na kaya naman sana namin iwasan. Sabi ko sa kanila na one game at a time tayo, kailangan bawat game kami nagi-improve,” said Laniog

“Kung may maganda mang naidulot ‘yung talo, nakita namin doon ‘yung weakness namin. Nasa sa amin na talaga kung paano kami magre-respond. Maganda naman ‘yung pinakita nila kanina,” the champion tactician added.

Team captain Isaah Arda topped the Blazers with 14 points while his fellow winger Owen Bacani added 12 markers off 10 attacks, one block, and one ace.

The Blazers (3-1) take on Emilio Aguinaldo College (2-2) on Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Jahir Ebrahim continued to tow the Stags’ offense, notching 12 points but was again the only Stag in double-digits.

The Golden Stags (1-3) try to snap their losing streak on Tuesday when they face Mapua University (2-2).

The Scores

CSB (3) – Arda 14, Bacani 12, Orian 8, Basilan 7, Magsino 4, Rojas 3, De Sequena 2, Martinez 2, Garcia 0, Saldavia 0, Dy (L)

SSC-R (0) – Ebrahim 12, Ronato 6, Eugenio 5, Lana 5, Eusebio 2, Lazaro 2, Onque 0, Enano (L), Toledo (L)

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