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Alaska hangs on against Rain or Shine for third straight win

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The matchup of the first two conference’s bridesmaid finishers saw the Alaska Aces survive the late rampage put up by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and came up victorious with 94-93, while grabbing their third straight win on Friday evening at the Ynares Center in Antipolo city.

The first half was a battle of runs and exchanges as no team led by more than eight points. Alaska had the upper hand in the majority of the first 24 minutes but had no clear grip momentum-wise due to rallies put up by RoS. In the 7:15 mark of the first canto, Coach Yeng Guiao was assessed for a technical foul for resentment to a call. Two free throws by Calvin Abueva gave the Aces a small early edge.

The lead quickly shifted to the Elasto Painters at 14-12 with a Wendell McKines triple. However, the shot from downtown was responded by a long-ranged hoop by Dondon Hontiveros. The exchange of points by both team was the whole theme for the first half. Vic Manuel knocked down two shots from the paint that gave Alaska a three-point lead after the first period.

In the second period, the turnovers started to pile up and haunt the Commissioner’s Cup second placers as they let the transition game of the Aces come to full display. Hontiveros and Manuel scored quickly in transition that gave Alaska a 31-23 advantage. However, Rain or Shine countered with their own 11-3 run to tie things up at 34, thanks to their big men who made their presence felt. After the deadlock, the teams rushed to four lead changes on the next plays as Rain or Shine went to the locker rooms at the break, up only by a solitary point.

The defense on Alaska’s reinforcement Romeo Travis was superb during the first half that carried on until the start of the third. Travis struggled getting his groove in this game, unlike in his first two games wherein he shot a near 70% clip from the field. However, his and-one play jump started a fast 8-2 run to give Alaska the lead once again. The rally included a wide open triple by JVee Casio while the Elasto Painters shot horribly from the foul line. Two triples by RJ Jazul and a fast break completed by Chris Banchero made it a 74-61 game. Rain or Shine shot poorly from the foul stripe during that stretch that helped the Aces keep their lead.

A tremendous start to the fourth period was showcased by the Painters as Jericho Cruz and Raymond Almazan combined for an 8-0 run to slice the lead down to five. A dozen-point lead was quickly restored by Alaska with Travis anchoring the charge while Rain or Shine struggled making baskets.

After, it was the Painters turn to build on a rally of their own to stun the Alaska team with JR Quiñahan knocking down a huge triple to give Rain or Shine back the lead at 85-84 with six minutes to go in the game. The massive run was extended with a Paul Lee jumper to extend their gap.

Alaska responded, giving them the last laugh in the game as they outscored Rain or Shine 10-6 in the game’s last three minutes. The dying minutes featured two baskets by Sonny Thoss late to give them the lead and Alaska’s clobbering defense against the driving Paul Lee to thwart his potential game winner.

Despite the turnover disparity during the first half, Rain or Shine ended up committing less errors at the end of the game, 23-24. In addition, the Painters scored more on the break 20-8, but Alaska was flawless from the free throw area unlike RoS, who had 13 misses.

Travis ended up scoring 23 points to lead his team in scoring but needed 22 shots for it. He also had 13 boards and five assists. Jazul added 14 including three shots from downton. On the other hand, McKines tallied 24 markers and had 14 rebounds.

Alaska’s next game will be up against the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters on Monday, 7pm still at the Ynares Center. On the other hand, Rain or Shine will troop to Dubai as they play back-to-back games against GlobalPort and Ginebra on Thursday and Friday respectively.

The scores:

Alaska (94) – Travis 23, Jazul 14, Manuel 13, Casio 11, Hontiveros 10, Abueva 7, Thoss 4, Exciminiano 2, Menk 2, Dela Cruz 0, Baguio 0

Rain or Shine (93) – McKines 24, Cruz 16, Lee 13, Quiñahan 8, Almazan 8, Cruz 6, Norwood 6, Tang 5, Belga 3, Ibañes 2, Uyloan 2

Quarters: 24-21, 42-43, 77-64, 94-93

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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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Jason Brickman flirts with triple-double as Mono holds off Singapore

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After playing his worst game of the season last Sunday against Tanduay Alab Pilipinas, Jason Brickman bounced back, steering the Mono Vampire to a 91-88 road victory over the Singapore Slingers, Friday evening at the OCBC Arena.

The 26-year-old, who finished with just seven points and three assists in their 71-104 loss to Alab, tallied 10 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. The league-leader in assists did not take a break, playing all 40 minutes.

But it was not a walk in the park for the Thailand-based squad.

Mono led by as much as 22 points, 60-48, with 7:46 left, 16 points entering the final frame. A furious fourth quarter rally by Singapore sliced the lead, turning the game into a single-possession contest with a minute left. The steady hands of Samuel Deguara and Mike Singletary from the stripe fended off Singapore.

Brickman’s compatriot Paul Zamar chipped in 13 markers for Mono.

Since torching Alab last January 3, Filipino-Canadian AJ Mandani has been on a slump, going just 3-for-11 from the field for nine points.

Mono’s World Imports Samuel Deguara and Mike Singletary both finished with 26 points with the former hauling down 18 rebounds. For Singapore, Xavier Alexander paced the Slingers with 29 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

With the win, the Vampire kept solo third with a 7-4 slate. On the other hand, the Slingers dropped its second straight game since winning against Alab, falling to 5-6.

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