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Blackwater ends three-game skid with crushing over Pacquiao-less Carnival



Losing their last three games, the Blackwater Elite ended their woes with a win over the Kia Carnival, 115-104 to notch their second victory of the conference, earlier at the Filoil Arena in San Juan.

The PBA championship-seeking player-coach, Manny Pacquiao, suited up as the coach for Kia as he was cautious in preparation for his awaited fight against Floyd Mayweather.

Pacquiao’s troop started with a seven point lead as PJ Ramos and LA Revilla made early inside baskets off of quick possessions, while also making stops on the other end to open up the match. Blackwater had a hard time making their baskets inside the paint due to the clogging defense of Kia at the early stages of the quarter with the help of their mammoth reinforcement Ramos.

As shots started to miss for Kia, the Elites settled for perimeter jumpers. Providing instant offense off the bench was Sunday Salvacion, who hit on a tough fadeaway jumper. Ballesteros and Douthit added two more jumpers to come within one. After a stop on the other end, Salvacion drove along the baseline and hit on a contested floater plus a foul to cap a 9-0 run, while also giving the Elites their first lead of the game.

Off a timeout by Carnival, Ramos scored on a quick basket inside, but the long-ranged shots continued to find the bottom of the rim. Despite successive possessions of good ball movement for Kia that ended up in the hands of a wide-open shooter, the three point shots did not find the mark for three consecutive attempts. This enabled Blackwater to widen the gap with a 7-2 finish in the period, cemented by an Eddie Laure triple, which bounced in the rim as the first quarter buzzer sounded.

A flurry of misses for Carnival slowed down their scoring in the second period. With JP Erram, Salvacion, and Douthit making their free throws early on, the Elites cruised to a double-digit lead, while making stops on the other end. Reil Cervantes missed two freebies for Kia that did not stop the scoring drought of the Carnival. As Ramos re-entered the game with about eight minutes to play left in the first half, Kia scored their first points of the period with his free throws.

However, Douthit anchored and dominated the offense for Blackwater, scoring five quick points to counter Kia’s behemoth. Douthit also had blocks, which intimidated the locals from Kia to make their penetration attempts. Elites led by as high as 16 during the second canto with their defense standing tall against Kia.

The stops made by Ramos with his blocks against Blackwater were not capitalized by Kia, unfortunately, as their quick offense made them launch long-heaved attempts that missed. Kia sliced the lead down to ten with seconds remaining in the first half, but Douthit and Heruela scored to silence the rally just before the quarter ended.

Back-to-back triples from Cervantes during the 12-2 stretch helped Kia trim the deficit to as little as six. The locals for the Elites were unable to make their shots in the opening minutes of the second half that did not help Blackwater during the rampage from Carnival. With Douthit doubled in the post, he found Salvacion for two straight treys that helped Blackwater re-establish another wide gap against Kia.

With enough stops, the Elites hung on with their double-digit cushion against the struggling Carnival, who committed multiple turnovers. Kia had several isolation plays that did not work, while the 50-50 balls went the way of the Elites. Raffy Reyes found a loose ball, and scored on a gimme to reinstall an 18-point lead for Blackwater at 81-63. They eventually entered the last frame up by fourteen.

Kia’s defense helped slice the lead to single digits in the opening minutes of the fourth. After the locals delivered for their respective squads, the import showdown finished off the game. Ramos made two straight baskets inside to make it a six-point game. Douthit, on the other hand, countered with a huge triple to extinguish the rally, knowing the defense would clamp on him inside.

Battling fatigue, Kia’s comeback came up short, with the Elites playing magnificent defense. Although their lead evaporated into single digits, Laure delivered on two jumpers to seal the deal for Blackwater.

Byran Heruela delivered his career-high in scoring, finishing with 27 big points on 64% shooting, while also dishing out seven assists. Douthit and Salvacion also had a good outing with 24 and 22 markers respectively.

Ramos had 49 points for Kia, on 19/35 shooting, while grabbing 14 boards and three assists. Leo Avenido topped the locals for the Carnival with 10.

As the escape in the bottom four of the standings tighten up, Kia looks to bounce back on Tuesday against Alaska, while Blackwater will next face Ginebra after the all star break on Mar. 11.

The scores:

Blackwater (115) – Heruela 27, Douthit 24, Salvacion 22, Gamalinda 10, Laure 7, Reyes 6, Erram 6, Bulawan 6, Ballesteros 4, Faundo 2, Celiz 1.

KIA (104)- Ramos 49, Avenido 10, Cervantes 9, Bagatsing 9, Thiele 8, Revilla 8, Buensuceso 3, Cawaling 2, Dehesa 2, Pascual 2, Yee 2, Poligrates 0, Alvarez 0.

Quarterscores: 29-21, 56-42, 83-69, 115-104

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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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