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Balanced offense leads Alaska in dismantling Blackwater in Governor’s Cup Opener

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With no player logging in more than 30 minutes during the match, the Alaska Aces started their 2015 Governor’s Cup stint with a blowout win over the Blackwater Elites, 106-80 held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Tuesday evening.

Despite the inevitable rust due to the conference layoff, a hot start offensively was displayed by both teams during the first quarter that also had multiple lead changes and deadlocks in the opening minutes. Alaska’s reinforcement Romeo Travis knocked down two good-looking mid range jumpers to counter Blackwater’s offense that relied heavily on their front court. JP Erram had four easy points in the game’s first six minutes to give the Elites a slight 12-10 edge in the match. RJ Jazul drained in a triple to bust the Elite’s zone defense and cap a huge scoring run late in the first that gave the Aces a 23-15 edge. Alaska continued to pour on the defensive side as they settled for full-court pressure defense in the last half of the opening quarter that helped them outscore Blackwater by eight, 16-5 in the last minutes.

With mostly the second unit fielded in the second quarter, the Aces continued their stellar 90-ft defense that led to two early stops on Blackwaters’ end. Chris Banchero and Eric Menk jumpstarted a 7-2 spree to extend Alaska’s lead to a baker’s dozen, 32-19. Blackwater rushed their offense on the ensuing plays to avoid being trapped by Alaska’s swarming defense but only few attempts dropped. On the other side, the Aces’ transition offense was helpful enough to extend their lead at 41-27. Blackwater managed to pull to within eight but Alaska unleashed a 9-0 run including a Cyrus Baguio triple to make it a 50-33 lead with 3:04 left in the first half.

At halftime, Alaska led by 14 in a one-sided affair after 24 minute of action. Despite Marcus Douthit’s 16 markers to lead Blackwater, 10 players from the Aces already entered the scoring column at the break as balanced-offense propelled Alaska to the early lead.

The Aces continued to pour on the scoring as they scored 12 points in the first 100 seconds of the third quarter to extend their lead to 26 capped by three free throws by Baguio. The pressure defense sucked the offensive air out of the Elites as Blackwater had a hard time finding their rhythm and getting good looks in the basket. Two more free throws by Travis made it a 73-43 game with still six minutes to play in the third.

Player rotation came freely for Alaska as whoever was put on in the playing five contributed both in the offensive and defensive end. The unfortunate Blackwater squad kept missing perimeter jumpers including wide-open ones that led to easy transition baskets on Alaska’s end. The Aces scored 30 points in the third compared to Blackwater’s silent 17 that somewhat already decided the match heading into the final canto.

Douthit continued to try and help Blackwater to overcome the insurmountable deficit with their good start in the fourth period. However, it was only good enough to a point of trading baskets with the game-long precise shooting by the Aces who shot over 55% during the fourth.

Alaska committed less turnovers, 14-21 while also dominating the offensive battle in the paint, 56-30. In addition, Alaska scored more on points off turnovers, 26-11.

Blackwater looks to bounce back against Globalport in their second game of the conference while Alaska looks for a 2-0 start against Ginebra. Both games will be played on Friday, May 8 still at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The scores:

Alaska (106) – Travis 18, Casio 13, Banchero 13, Baguio 12, Abueva 9, Jazul 7, Exciminiano 6, Manuel 6, Dela Rosa 6, Menk 6, Thoss 4, Baclao 2, Hontiveros 2, Eman 2, Dela Cruz 0

Blackwater (80) – Douthit 28, Gamalinda 10, Salvacion 9, Cervantes 7, Bulawan 5, Erram 4, Heruela 4, Timberlake 4, Reyes 4, Acuna 3, Faundo 2, Laure 0, Celis 0

Quarterscores: 26-17, 55-41, 85-58, 106-80

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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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