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Alaska prevails in heated rematch with San Miguel



Revenge is sweet. The Alaska Aces avenged their loss in the Philippine Cup finals against the San Miguel Beermen, edging out the previous conference’s champions 107-100 Tuesday evening at the Araneta Coliseum.

Ronald Roberts’ six early points powered San Miguel to a 13-3 lead halfway through the first quarter, but the Aces responded with a flurry initiated by DJ Covington and Cyrus Baguio to come within three, 15-18, with just two minutes left on the clock. The sweet-shooting Beermen however pulled away just before the Aces could strike, riding on a 9-4 run to exit the quarter on top, 27-19.

Though the Beermen were able to extend the lead to nine, 30-21, in the opening minutes of the second period, a flashy bucket from Chris Banchero sparked the Aces to a 9-0 run, forcing a 30-30 deadlock with nine minutes left on the clock. Consecutive fastbreak layups off nifty assists care of Calvin Abueva pushed the run to 16-0 to give the Aces the 36-30 lead just a minute later. Amid rising tensions on the court, the Aces held on to the lead for the next few minutes of play. The last two minutes of the quarter however saw the Beermen mount a brief run to retake the lead, 47-46, after free throws by Marcio Lassiter. They led by a thread at the half, 50-49.

The second half opened to a trade of baskets between the two squads, with the bigmen and imports showcasing their talents and taking charge for their respective squads. Putting on the right defensive stops and dominating at the rim, the Beermen held on to the lead for most of the period. At the end of an intense and physical twelve minutes, the lead was still with San Miguel, 78-76, despite a fiery display by Alaska’s Abueva.

A trey by Dondon Hontiveros and a hook shot by Vic Manuel to open the fourth gave Alaska the lead, 81-78, early in the period. Though they managed to protect the steady lead for the next minutes of play, import Covington’s foul troubles forced them to go with smaller personnel in the paint. But a couple of big misses and turnovers kept the Beermen from trimming the gap, and with two minutes left on the clock, the Aces still led 98-91.

With 1:43 left in regulation, a nifty floater from Banchero- who led the scoring for Alaska in the fourth quarter- pushed the lead to nine, 100-91, the Aces’ biggest lead in the game thus far. Looking to protect the lead, the Aces put on another tough defensive display, contesting every San Miguel possession.

Alaska and San Miguel faced each other in the Philippine Cup finals last month, which ended in a nailbiting seventh game where San Miguel emerged as the victor. The Beermen however kept their composure and trimmed the lead to four, 97-101, with less than a minute remaining. Two free throws by Hontiveros extended the lead to six, but with 27 ticks left on the clock, Chris Lutz gave San Miguel a lease on life with an open trey to cut the lead to three, 100-103. Free throws from Hontiveros extended the Alaska lead anew, with San Miguel missing every on every opportunity to close the gap. At the buzzer, the Aces’ revenge was complete.

Banchero was named Best Player of the Game with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Roberts led SMB with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Alaska, who lost to San Miguel in the Philippine Cup finals last month, improves to 2-2. San Miguel meanwhile remains at the bottom of the standings at a dismal 0-4.

Covington 20, Hontiveros 17, Banchero 14, Abueva 12, Baguio 10, Espinas 8, Menk 8, Exciminiano 7, Manuel 6, Jazul 5

Roberts 24, Fajardo 21, Lassiter 18, Lutz 15, Ross 9, Tubid 6, Santos 4, Fortuna 3

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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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