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Alaska hijacks Game One against Fajardo-less SMB



The comeback kids have done it again.

Down by 12 in the early moments of the final quarter, the frenetic Alaska Aces squad turned on the switch behind an almost-perfect fourth quarter to open up the 2015-2016 PBA Philippine Cup Finals against the defending champions, the San Miguel Beermen, 100-91 held on a thrilling Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Playing without their MVP June Mar Fajardo, San Miguel took advantage of Alaska’s slow start, tallying an early 9-2 cushion in the opening five minutes. However, Alaska’s bench players led by Calvin Abueva, were able to tie the game at 17 after a 13-4 run built in the middle of the period. Alex Cabagnot scored nine points, including a buzzer-beating triple in transition to halt Alaska’s rally, and tie the game at 23 after the first.

Alaska’s defense stepped up in a sloppy second quarter for both teams. In addition, the Aces led by as much as three for majority of the period. However, 12 first half turnovers by the Aces slowed their scoring down, while the Beermen kept knocking on the door, courtesy of a good shooting clip by their guards. By the 2:25 mark, SMB took back the lead at 38-35 with an and-one play off a fastbreak by Cabagnot. The Beermen eventually took a 42-38 edge at the break, despite being outrebounded by the Aces.

Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos anchored SMB’s third quarter offense, while they clamped down defensively on Alaska’s bigs. The Beermen led by 57-50 with 6:10 left in the quarter, but the Aces relied on back-to-back threes by Cyrus Baguio in the middle of the period. The offensive-filled quarter yielded 33 points by SMB, including a 9-2 closeout to the quarter, which gave the Beermen a nine-point cushion heading to the last frame.

The Beermen extended their cushion to a dozen-point spread in the early part of the fourth. Unfortunately, they succumbed to multiple turnovers in the ensuing possessions, in which the Aces used to their advantage. Furthermore, Arwind Santos fouled out for San Miguel in the middle of the furious Alaska run. Vic Manuel poured in 14 of his 24 points in the final frame for Alaska, who closed the game on an unmatched 9-0 run, including JVee Casio’s lone triple which served to be the dagger.

Alaska had more rebounds at the end of the match, 48-28, 20 of which came from the offensive end. They also had more points in the paint, 58-34, while maintaining a 51% clip of shooting from the floor.

Manuel’s 24 paced the Aces off the bench. After the match, he still gave credit for SMB’s tough play sans June Mar Fajardo, but was contented with the way they bounced back from their slow start.

“Yung start amin medyo masama. Pinaalalalsamin ni coach na i-limit turnovers kaya pinakita lang namin sa 2nd half yung sinasabi niya samin,” the Muscle Man shared. “Kahit wala si June Mar ang lakas pa rin ng San Miguel dapat yung sipag at focus namin andun pa rin.”

Manuel had help from his co-bench players as three other second unit guys finished in double figures. Cyrus Baguio had 16, Banchero had 15, and Abueva chipped in 12. The Alaska bench contributed a whopping total of 71 points, more than 70% of the team’s output.

Cabagnot finished the night for San Miguel with 20 points and four assists, including a 7/11 shooting. The playing centers Yancy De Ocampo and Gabby Espinas combined for 29 points and 15 rebounds. Arwind Santos tallied a dud statline in 33 minutes, with only four points, five rebounds and shot a poor 2/11 clip.

Game Two of the series will be played on Tuesday, 7pm still at the Big Dome. San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo still questionable as of press time.

The Scores:
Alaska (100) – Manuel 24, Baguio 16, Banchero 15, Abueva 12, Jazul 6, Exciminiano 6, Hontiveros 5, Casio 5, Menk 5, Thoss 4, Baclao 2.
San Miguel Beer (91) – Cabagnot 20, Lassiter 19, De Ocampo 18, Tubid 13, Espinas 11, Santos 4, Arana 4, Ross 2, Lutz 0, Semerad 0/
Quarterscores: 23-23, 38-42, 66-75, 100-91.

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After getting first D-League experience, Zark’s-Lyceum ready to get loose



After a hesitant performance in their PBA D-League debut last Thursday that resulted in a loss to the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers seemingly caught up with the league’s style of play on Tuesday.

Zark’s-Lyceum displayed their true form and stamped their class all over the Batangas-EAC Generals with a 37-point destruction, 112-75 — so far the biggest winning margin the franchise has ever had in its D-League history.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams we’re playing against with,” said Zark’s-Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson after the match at Pasig Sports Center. “But the things we want to mind are those things we control.

“We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways.”

Robinson’s claim was strongly backed up by the numbers that the Jawbreakers produced.

CJ Perez had 21 points and 10 rebounds. MJ Ayaay produced 15 points and 10 boards, and Mike Nzeusseu delivered 14 markers and 11 boards.

Even the bench made their presence felt in the victory. With guard Jaycee Marcelino spearheading the supporting cast’s charge with 12 markers, the bench contributed a remarkable 56 points to their total output.

Photo by PBA Images

“Ano lang, cinontrol lang namin yung pace kasi yun naman talaga yung laro namin, yung mabilisan,” said the 24-year-old do-it-all forward, who also collected three steals.

“Kailangan talaga mabilisan para ma-execute namin yung mga ginagawa namin.”

This week will be a rough one for the Pirates, as they will play right away this Thursday against the AMA Online Education. And for Perez, he strongly believes that they will be able to carry over their momentum.

“Oo. Nandun pa. Energy talaga yung puhunan namin para makalaro ng maayos.”

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Bonbon Batiller shows what he can bring to Letran in D-League debut



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Tuesday proved to be a double debut for Bonbon Batiller. Aside from beginning his first foray in the PBA D-League, it also marked his debut for the Letran Knights, who are carrying the Wang’s Basketball Couriers franchise.

And the 5-foot-11 guard showed what he can bring to the table. Batiller collected 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists to help the Knights raise the curtains of their campaign with a 93-75 rout of the Batangas-EAC Generals.

“Nagworkout yung pinagpraktisan namin,” said Batiller. “Nagbunga rin yung tinuro samin ni Coach Jeff (Napa) lalo sa depensa. Tsaka siguro sa rebounds — laking lamang namin sa rebound. Nagsipag mga bigs namin.”

But what has him even more satisfied is the warm reception and trust he’s had from the Knights, even if he has spent barely a year with them after transferring from University of the East last 2017.

“Masaya po kasi tinanggap nila ako sa Letran ng buong-buo,” said Batiller, who normed 10.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 steals with UE in two years. “Tsaka yung tiwala nila na makakatulong ako sa team nandoon.

“Kaya masaya ako sa pinakita nila sa akin.”

That is why the General Santos native is hard-pressed to prove himself to Letran, saying that he’s all about giving back to the school that gave him another opportunity to resume his young, up-and-coming basketball career.

“Kailangan kong may mapatunayan na deserving ako sa binigay na second chance sa akin ni Letran,” said Batiller, who decided to switch schools partly due to academic reasons.

“Malaki ang utang ko sa Letran.”

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Bienvenido Maranon scores brace as Ceres-Negros eliminates Brisbane Roar



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Philippine club football just achieved its biggest continental result yet

The inaugural Philippines Football League champions Ceres-Negros Football Club eliminated three-time Australian champions Brisbane Roar in the 2018 AFC Champions League’s second preliminary round with a 3-2 stunner, away at the QSAC Stadium in Brisbane.

With the win, the 2017 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Champions are set to face Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian next January 30, 2018 at the Haihe Educational Football Stadium in Tianjin, China, to book a seat in the group stages.

Brisbane were the favorites for this tie and it showed, as Ceres started the contest on the back foot. Italian striker Massimo Maccarone handed the home side the lead in the 35th minute when he turned in Brett Holman’s pass.

Maccarone’s goal could have lowered the Busmen’s moral, but Risto Vidakovic’s men took it as a motivation rather than a downer. In fact, Ceres replied in the best way possible when Bienvenido Maranon scored his first goal of the match two minutes from halftime, thanks to a scramble in the Brisbane box.

By all accounts, Ceres had already made Philippine football proud at halftime. By this stage last year, Brisbane had accrued a 4-0 halftime cushion against Global Cebu en route to a 6-0 rout.

Today, though, Brisbane faced tougher resistance at Ceres’ hands. That resistance turned into a full-fledged revolt in the 65th minute when Maranon directed the ball past a helpless Jamie Young to give the Busmen their first taste of the lead.

Maranon’s goal well and truly turned the tide in Ceres’ favor. Brisbane were stunned. The home side are the defending A-League champions, but are currently eighth in the table this season and would soon face elimination from Asia’s premier club competition.

Already up 2-1, the Busmen finally achieved some breathing room in the 75th minute when Omid Nazari scored from close range to give Ceres a two-goal cushion over Brisbane.

Nazari’s goal not only sealed the win for Ceres, it also propelled Philippine football into the big leagues. Not even a late goal from French midfielder Éric Bauthéac could prevent the Busmen’s victory.

After five minutes of stoppage time, Ceres emerged 3-2 winners against Brisbane Roar. Come what may against Tianjin seven days from now, the Busmen have already achieved Philippine football’s biggest result since their own achievement in last season’s AFC Cup.

Who knows? Maybe Ceres can pull off another upset?

Ceres-Negros XI: Doblas (GK), Super, Mike Ott, Ingreso, Maranon, Porteria, Schrock, De Murga (C), Munoz, Nazari, Christaens.

Brisbane Roar XI: Ingham, Bowles, Papadopoulos, Maccarone, Holman, Khalfallah, Oxborrow, McKay (C), Hingert, Young (GK), Franjic.

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CJ Perez, Zark’s-Lyceum vent ire on Batangas-EAC with 37-point romp



Photo by PBA Images

CJ Perez and the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers finally lived up to their hype, as they clobbered the Batangas-EAC Generals to score a 37-point beatdown, 112-75 for their first win, Tuesday at the Pasig Sports Center.

It was an all-out attack from the Jawbreakers, as they beat the Generals to the bite and took control of the game early, with Mike Nzeusseu and Jaycee Marcelino guiding their side to the 48-33 lead at halftime which they would never surrender.

Perez paced Zark’s Burger-Lyceum with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while MJ Ayaay tallied a double-double with his 15 markers, 10 boards, and three assists.

Cameroonian student-athlete Nzeusseu also delivered 14 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists. Marcelino had eight first half points and wound up with 12 off the bench, as the reserves chipped in 56 huge points in the tussle.

Coach Topex Robinson lauded the Jawbreakers for quickly adjusting to the style of the PBA D-League just days after falling to the Marinerong Pilipino, 92-94, back in opening day.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams were playing against with. But the things we want to mind are those things we control. We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways,” he said.

Earvin Mendoza and Cedric de Joya both had 16 points for the Generals in the losing effort.

Zark’s-Lyceum look to continue to roll when they face the AMA Online Education Titans on Thursday, January 25. EAC-Batangas, on the other hand, take on the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers on Monday, January 29.

The Scores:

Zark’s-Lyceum 112 — Perez 21, Ayaay 15, Nzeusseu 14, Jc. Marcelino 12, Serrano 10, Baltazar 8, Santos 8, Jv. Marcelino 6, Tansingco 6, Marata 4, Liwag 4, Ibañez 2, Cinco 2, Pretta 0.

Batangas-EAC 75 — E. Mendoza 16, De Joya 16, Tampoc 12, Laude 9, Pate 8, Maguliano 6, Altamirano 5, Diego 3, Garcia 0, Dela Peña 0, Martin 0, J. Mendoza 0, Neri 0.

Quarterscores: 19-14, 48-33, 84-47, 112-75.

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