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Barako Bull breaks out of slump at expense of NLEX



The Barako Bull Energy finally put an end to their four game losing streak, withstanding a second half surge from the NLEX Road Warriors and climbing out of a six-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to escape with the 91-85 victory Tuesday afternoon at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Barako Bull opened their campaign with a 6-0 start, thanks to an emphatic burst from import Solomon Alabi. NLEX, on the other hand, saw themselves going to Aldrech Ramos to get their campaign going. The former FEU standout nailed five straight points in a flurry that helped the Road Warriors force a 15-15 deadlock halfway through the quarter. The ensuing trade of salvos saw numerous deadlocks, with Barako Bull sinking the right shots to stay one step ahead. At the end of the first twelve minutes, the Energy led 26-23.

There was no change in the complexion of the game as the second quarter unfolded. The Energy continued to outgun the Road Warriors, leading by as many as seven in the early minutes of the period. Furthermore, five straight points from Jonas Villanueva helped NLEX come within three points, 42-25, late in the quarter, but the run was halted by a Chico Lanete bucket on the other end. Lead by a resurgent Al Thornton, the Road Warriors were able to cut the lead to two at the end of the quarter, 51-49.

The second half was welcomed by big baskets from Solomon Mercado and JC Intal, who collaborated to lead Barako Bull to the first double-digit lead of the game, 62-51, just around the six-minute mark of the quarter. The Energy led by as many as thirteen points in the next few minutes of play, but NLEX import, Thornton, was able to respond to the brewing firestorm, and help the Road Warriors come within a five difference, 64-69, with just three minutes left on the clock. Furthermore, bolstered by big plays from Asi Taulava and KG Canaleta, NLEX were able to force a 70-all deadlock with just a minute left to play. In addition, a floater from Macmac Cardona later gave NLEX its first lead of the ballgame, 72-70. A late triple from Rudy Lingganay gave the Road Warriors the means to finish ahead at the end of the quarter, 75-72.

A heated exchange of baskets broke out at the start of the fourth quarter, with both teams scrambling to hold on to the lead, and the imports duking it out at the rim. With around four minutes left in the quarter, baskets from Cardona and Thornton helped NLEX get some leverage and pull away for an 85-79 lead. It was Carlo Lastimosa, however, that sparked the Energy in cutting the lead to two within the following minute, 83-85.

Chico Lanete ushered in the last two minutes with a trey that gave Barako Bull back the lead, 86-85. He extended the lead to four half a minute later, sinking back the step-back triple to push the lead to 89-85. The Energy needed only to force NLEX’s Thornton to miss on two straight possessions to keep the lead, and with 46.9 seconds left, Paolo Hubalde extended the lead to six with a jumper. A couple more stops later, it was the Energy who walked away with the victory.

Late game hero, Chico Lanete was named Best Player of the Game with 13 points and 2 steals. Solomon Alabi had 29 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 blocks for Barako Bull. Al Thornton led NLEX with 24 points and 9 rebounds. Barako Bull enters the playoffs with a 5-6 record. They started the Commissioners Cup 3-0, but managed to win only one of their next seven assignments. NLEX on the other hand ends the season at 6-5.

The Scores:

Barako Bull 91 – Alabi 29, Lanete 13, Mercado 12, Intal 10, Pascual 10, Garcia 7, Hubalde 6, Lastimosa 2, Marcelo 2, Matias 0, Salvador 0, Salva 0

NLEX 85 – Thornton 24, Cardona 15, Ramos 9, Taulava 9, Canaleta 8, Lingganay 7, J. Villanueva 5, E. Villanueva 4, Borboran 2, Baloria 0, Camson 0, H. Arboleda 0, W. Arboleda 0

Quarters: 26-23, 51-49, 72-75, 91-85

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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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