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Alaska hangs on late in Lucena, one win away from PH Cup



Last year’s bridesmaid finishers are now just one win away from getting their revenge.

With the game hanging in the balance in the last stretch, RJ Jazul knocked down two timely shots to lift the Alaska Aces late, 82-75, and more importantly, improve to a 3-0 finals series lead against the San Miguel Beermen at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena on Friday night.

Alaska looked to pound the Beermen early on with their 16-4 start in the first seven minutes of the match. Cyrus Baguio waxed hot in the opening frame with back-to-back threes to propel the Aces to their fast start. However, SMB responded with a 9-0 blast in the middle of the quarter, but they had seven turnovers that gave Alaska a slim 20-17 lead.

Notwithstanding the slow start, the bench unit of San Miguel finally broke out, continuing the run and tying the match at 27. They eventually took the lead with 7:30 to play in the second through a Ryan Araña triple. JR Reyes also contributed well, as the center poured 10 points in the half. The Beermen mounted a 24-11 rampage in the second period, giving them a 41-31 advantage at the break.

San Miguel opened the new half with a couple of bad passes that led to two quick layups for the Aces. The game also slowed down despite the frantic pace. Chris Banchero and Cyrus Baguio combined to power the Aces’ run, while a three-pointer by Cyrus Baguio tied things up at 53 with 1:12 to go. The Aces eventually outscored the Beermen 24-17, to trim the lead to three heading into the fourth.

Reyes was thrown out of the match at the 9:32 of the game after being assessed for a flagrant foul on a rebound play against Vic Manuel. Afterwards, Alaska kept in step and made it a back-and-forth affair against the defending champs. After a see-saw game that put the Beermen up 75-74 due to a gorgeous inbound backdoor play, Alaska countered with RJ Jazul’s clutch hits. The Beermen failed to score on the next plays, giving Alaska the needed stops. Sonny Thoss converted on the game-sealing free throws.

Alaska once again won the rebounding department, 49-44. They also had more points in the paint, 44-36, while maintaining a 40% clip throughout the match.

Manuel had another splendid outing for the third consecutive game, leading his Alaska squad with 17 points and seven rebounds. After the game, he pointed out their miscues in the early goings and how they got it together late.

“Medyo bad start kami. Na-rattle kami and di kami maka-execute at wala yung communication,” the Muscle Man said after the game. “So pinakinggan lang namin sabi ni coach nung second half kasi hindi daw kami naglaro nung first half. Parang nag ‘me not we kami’.”

In addition, the forward mentioned that it’s not yet over and they still have to grind it out. ”Sa Sunday, di pa rin kami naniniwala(champion already) pero pagtatrabahuhan namin yan,” Manuel said.

JR Reyes paced the Beermen, who now have their backs against the wall, with 13 points and seven rebounds. Arwind Santos remained cold with only nine points on 3/17 shooting and missing nine heaves from downtown.

Alaska will look to wrap this series up on Game Four. The game will be played at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City on Sunday, January 24.

The Scores:
Alaska (82) – Manuel 17, Abueva 13, Thoss 12, Baguio 11, Banchero 7, Baclao 6, Jazul 6, Menk 5, Casio 4, Dela Rosa 1, Hontiveros 0, Dela Cruz 0, Exciminiano 0.
San Miguel Beer (75) – Reyes 13, Tubid 10, Arana 9, Santos 9, Cabagnot 9, Lassiter 8, Espinas 8, Lutz 4, Ross 3, De Ocampo 2.
Quarterscores: 20-17, 31-41, 55-58, 82-75.

Videos courtesy of Sports5
Photo from PBA Images

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Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool



SMART Gilas Pilipinas’ third session for the second leg of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers ended early on Monday evening.

Prior to the end of the practice, head coach Chot Reyes talked to team veterans Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo. The outspoken mentor told the seniors of the team that he is cutting Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan from the pool.

“The reason why we’re dropping Abueva and Almazan for the second window is because they haven’t showed up,” lamented Reyes.

“It’s already our third practice at hindi pa sila nagpapakita. It’s simply a matter of disinterest.

“I guess they’re not interested so we have to move on we can’t wait for those guys,” he pointed out.

Both Abueva and Almazan were part of the teams that competed in the 2017 SEABA Championship, the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, and the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Only 10 players from the pool showed up for the team’s third session. And with the second leg exactly one month away, Gilas cannot let a slip up happen especially against Australia.

“Aside from those two we don’t know where Matt Wright is, while Allein [Maliksi] is attending a wedding in Australia. Other than that it’s really just an issue of Calvin and Raymond if they don’t want to be a part of the pool.” expressed Reyes.

“That’s the reason we’re dropping them for the second window.”

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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

23 for 2023 cadets fill up Gilas practice



With just 31 days until the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, only 10 players from the pool attended the team’s third session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.

Suiting up in the session presided over by Coach Chot Reyes were June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, and Roger Pogoy. Carl Cruz and Jayson Castro were in attendance but were in street clothes.

Not present were Matthew Wright, Japeth Aguilar, and Allein Maliksi. Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend practice.

Joining the seniors team to prep them up for the World Cup Qualifiers were 10 players from the 23 for 2023 pool.

Ateneo Blue Eagle Matt Nieto attended his first Gilas practice. Joining him were teammates Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.

Completing the night’s cast were CJ Perez, Abu Tratter, Will Gozum, J-jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, and Juan Gomez de Liano. Joshua Sinclair watched from the sidelines as he is still recovering from an ACL injury.

Gilas will take on Australia in Melbourne on February 22. The Philippine will then host Japan three days later at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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San Beda fends off Letran for back-to-back wins



With seasoned setter John Carlo Desuyo steering the wheel to near perfection, the San Beda College romped to their second straight win.

The Red Spikers pulled double-digit outings from four players to upend archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-22, and register their fourth win of the season, Monday early evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

It was the Knights, however, who started on the right foot, overhauling a 4-10 deficit to snag the first set. Better passing from liberos Aljune Centeno and Johnsen Timbreza resulted in kills from captain Bobby Gatdula.

Nonetheless, San Beda picked up the service game in the next three sets to ultimately finish off the blue-shirts.

Despite the win-loss record they currently sport, the Red Spiker playmaker admitted that t

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Michael Calisaan tows Che’lu-San Sebastian past Perpetual



Photo by PBA Images

Michael Calisaan poured 20 points as he captained newcomer Che’Lu-San Sebastian Revellers to a decisive 83-70 win over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas to start their voyage, Monday evening at the Pasig City Sports Center.

Doing it all for the Revellers, the veteran forward provided the stability for his side as he shot 8-of-15 from the field while also hauling down nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the conference-opening win.

But it wasn’t all Calisaan as Che’Lu got contributions from all over its roster.

Samboy de Leon chimed in 16 markers and nine boards. RK Ilagan went 2-of-5 from threes to collect 13 points, eight dimes, and three rebounds, while big men Alfred Batino and Jeepy Faundo combined for 20 in the victory.

Despite the triumph, coach Stevenson Tiu gave all the praise to his players, noting the team’s lack of time preparing for the tourney.

“Nanalo kami dahil sa talent ng players. Medyo mali ko rin kasi nahirapan pa ako mag-adjust sa players. Hopefully, we play much better in the coming games,” he said.

The Revellers used a 16-4 run to finally break away from the Altas, taking a 77-60 lead with 4:03 to play as they punished their foes for their turnovers, turning Perpetual’s 30 miscues to 28 points in their favor.

Prince Eze anchored the Altas with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and seven blocks in their first game under new head coach Frankie Lim.

Che’lu-San Sebastian look to make it two in a row when they take on the Wangs-Letran Couriers on Monday, January 29 at 5:00pm. Perpetual, on the other hand, hope they can notch their first win when they take on Mila’s Lechon Mighty Roasters.

The Scores:

Che’lu-SSCR 83 — Calisaan 20, De Leon 16, Ilagan 13, Batino 10, Faundo 10, Bulanadi 6, Costelo 6, Calma 2, David 0, Lao 0, Santos 0, Valdez 0.

UPHSD 70 — Eze 15, Coronel 13, Villanueva 13, Jimenez 9, Charcos 7, Peralta 7, Gallardo 5, Pido 1, Antonio 0, Aurin 0, Tamayo 0, Tongco 0.

Quarterscores: 17-22, 34-38, 59-53, 83-70.

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