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Barako Bull makes it three straight, spoils return of Pacquiao to lineup



The Barako Bull Energy improved to a 3-0 slate and a share of the top spot in the current conference with a victory over the Kia Carnival, 95-86, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Energy started the ball game with successive defensive stops and scored on five quick points completed by an and-one play by JC Intal. Scoring became stagnant for the Carnival as their first points came off free throws by import PJ Ramos at the 8:10 mark of the opening period. With Barako Bull’s smothering defense on the huge import, Kia settled for outside jumpers that were not nearly effective enough compared to those in their previous win against San Miguel.
Barako Bull quickly doubled Kia’s output at 14-7 with a gorgeous find by Carlo Lastimosa to Willie Wilson, who completed a three-point play off a one-handed floater. In the last two minutes, the Energy outscored the Carnival by two more baskets to give them an early nine-point lead at the end of one.
With both teams fielding in their bench players in the second period, Kia started on a 5-0 run capped by a Karl Dehasa triple. Sensing a run, Barako Bull responded by putting in their 7’2” reinforcement Sol Alabi. Alabi made his presence felt by grabbing the majority of the boards with Ramos sitting on the bench. He also played solid defense for the Energy.
Intal was the first player for the Energy to enter double-digit scoring as he drained in a triple to give them a 33-22 lead. Four more free throws extended the Energy’s lead to their largest at 15. However, LA Revilla led the charge for a late quarter run by Kia including an impressive side-step layup using the off-hand to chop the lead down to single digits entering the break.
Despite a quiet output in terms of points for Alabi, they outscored Kia 22-14 in the paint and scored more in transition, 7-0,  in the first 24 minutes.
Revilla scored on a floater in the midst of a 6-2 run early to help Kia claw back into the ballgame during the third. The Energy countered with transition offense that highlighted a thunderous one-handed slam by Intal to regain momentum. Despite short bursts of baskets from Kia both from the field and from the free throw stripe, the Carnival had a hard time closing the gap with the locals stepping up for Barako Bull.
As things got chippy and physical in the second half, Barako Bull managed to retain their composure and hang on to a comfortable lead throughout the third period. The catching up theme continued for the Carnival as they went almost exclusively to Ramos to anchor their offense in the paint. Ramos scored on multiple baskets to help Kia slice the deficit to 71-74 with a over six minutes left to play in the game.
In the ensuing play, Leo Avenido and Intal exchanged perimeter buckets to make it a close encounter. Barako Bull once again threatened to pull away with baskets coming from Alabi and even making the important freebies. The 15-foot charity shots became the sealing weapon that the Energy used to secure the victory especially in the dying moments of the game.
Barako Bull, who did not have the services of Sol Mercado due to a sprained ankle suffered last game, managed to notch their third straight win. On the other hand, Manny Pacquiao was present for coaching duties but failed to help Kia gain another win after defeating the Philippine Cup champions San Miguel in their previous assignment. The Carnival fell to a 1-3 record.
Alabi played a stellar game with 26 points, 20 rebounds and was two rejections away from a triple double. Intal chipped in 18 markers and four steals. Ramos was the lone bright spot offensively for Kia with 34 huge points while also grabbing 20 rebounds.
*Photo by Nuki Sabio of PBA Images 

The scores:
Barako Bull (95) – Alabi 26, Intal 18, Lanete 10, Hubalde 9, Garcia 8, Lastimosa 6, Marcelo 4, Pascual 4, Chua 2, Salvador 2, Salva 0, Paredes 0, Sorongon 0
Kia (86) – Ramos 34, Buensuceso 14, Revilla 10, Cawaling 8, Avenido 7, Burtscher 6, Pascual 4, Dehesa 3, Poligrates 0, Iglaho 0, Alvarez 0, Yee 0
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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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