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Alaska outplays Star Hotshots in fourth quarter to grab fourth win



Tied after three quarters in a closely-contested affair, Alaska outscored Star by six points in the final frame to push them for another win in a 92-86 score held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Hotshots came out sizzling with their perimeter shooting as their starters did the opening damage from the outside. James Yap and Marc Barroca made four straight jumpers during the initial run of their squad that easily gave them a 14-8 edge. On the other hand, Alaska had a tough time making successive attempts to fall as they were haunted by early turnovers that favored Star.

The back-and-forth exchange between the two teams occurred late in the period as the team’s bench players kept on firing in more points. The Hotshots eventually ended the opening frame up by six with seven players already entering the scoring column.

Vic Manuel and RJ Jazul of Alaska started the second quarter, making their long-ranged jumpers to trim the deficit down to a single possession. However, an 8-2 counter made by Star on three made shots off assists propelled them to build distance anew. Despite their top defensive anchor Marquis Blakely resting on the bench, the locals stepped up defensively and used good ball movement during the stretch.

From the low block, Pingris sank a bucket that made it 37-30 in favor of his team. However, Alaska rallied late with Romeo Travis re-entering the game as he initiated a 14-7 scoring run to tie the game before heading into the locker rooms. By the half, the Hotshots were shooting close to 52% compared to Alaska’s 43%.

Alaska opened up the second half on a 5-0 blitz with Cyrus Baguio knocking down a triple. The tied game continued the back-and-forth exchange between the two teams as no squad led by more than three points. Jumpers by Romeo Travis were responded by the bigs of the Hotshots hitting their shots. Alaska and Star both had 24 points on the closely-contested third frame and still was tied heading into the payoff period.

Star Hotshots seemed to be the first team to blink as Alaska jumped on them as they erected an 11-point cushion at 83-72 halfway through the fourth. During the stretch, Chris Banchero and Dondon Hontiveros buried long-ranged baskets to pull away from their opponent. However, the gritty Hotshots used a fast 7-0 run including three-point plays from James Yap and Marquis Blakely to make things interesting.

In addition, Barroca and Yap settled in a trapping defense that led to Blakely finishing a layup on the break to make it 86-81 still in favor of the Aces with three minutes to play. However in their next possessions, Mark Pingris and Blakely muffed their attempts down low that favored the Aces. Despite Barroca making a late triple, JVee Casio countered big time with his own shot from long-range that served as a dagger to win the game.

Travis ended up scoring 27 points, grabbed 14 boards, 7 assists, 5 steals and a block. Blakely tallied 22 points while also knocking down 10 out of 12 from the foul stripe.

Star Hotshots will next face Kia, 5pm at Angeles, Pampanga while Alaska’s next assignment will be up against NLEX on June 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores:

Alaska(92) – Travis 27, Manuel 10, Baguio 9, Thoss 6, Dela Rosa 6, Menk 6, Jazul 6, Exciminiano 5, Abueva 4, Casio 4, Hontiveros 3

Star Hotshots(86) – Blakely 22, Barroca 17, Yap 9, Pingris 8, Devance 8, Mallari 6, Maliksi 6, Reavis 4, Simon 4, Melton 2

Quarters: 27-21, 44-44, 68-68, 92-86

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Yeng Guiao denies using racial slur against Chris Ross



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’



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



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



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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