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Bolts electrify Painters late, surge to fourth straight win

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Coming alive late in the match, the Meralco Bolts notched an unprecedented 4-0 start with a 92-87 win over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at the Araneta Coliseum.

After being down for much of the game and entering the final period at the wrong end of an 11-point deficit, the Bolts stymied the Painters’ attack and forced them into contested outside jumpers. Meralco wound up outscoring the Painters 30-14 in fourth quarter. Meralco import Josh Davis dominated the import matchup, leading all scorers with 31 points- 13 in the final period- while also inhaling 14 boards and nabbing four blocks.

Meralco kept the game close to start the second quarter, trailing the Painters by two points, 27-29. The pride of Tondo, Paul Lee unloaded back-to-back unanswered treys to kick off the second frame before colliding knees with Cliff Hodge and sitting out the rest of the quarter. Meralco remained scoreless in the quarter until Mike Cortez found a cutting Hodge for an easy layup to trim the Painters’ lead to six, 35-29. Lee’s replacement, Ryan Araña played marvelously in the period, scoring 10 of the Painters’ next 12 points, including a whirling drive at the end of the period. Two jumpers from Hodge kept the Bolts’ within two possessions, 41-47.

The Lee-thal weapon came into the game and drilled another trey to kick off the second half. A 6-0 Meralco run, capped by a Jared Dillinger fastbreak lay-in, trimmed the RoS lead to three, 50-47. Two Gabe Norwood free throws followed by a Raymond Alamazan top of the key jumper extended the Painters’ lead, 55-49. The Bolts’ import, Josh Davis began to attack the basket, plugging away at their opponents’ lead but the Painters answered each run with a long trey. Rain or Shine import Rick Jackson nailed six points late in the period to extend their lead to 11, 73-62.

The fourth quarter saw a furious comeback from the Bolts spearheaded by a bum-rushing Davis. Following a J.R. Quinahan trey, the Bolts went on a 17-2 run, powered by Davis who kept producing points off each drive either via layup or free throws, taking the lead at 80-78 with 7:15 remaining in the game. A long two from Ryan Araña knotted the game at 80 but the Painters just didn’t have an answer for the Bolts’ long and agile import. Davis went on to score seven more points, going 9-of-10 from the charity stripe in the final period. Physical defense from Meralco veteran Reynel Hugnatan frustrated Jackson, limiting him to four points- all off free throws- in the period while Rain or Shine’s shooters went cold from deep, with Norwood drilling the sole trey for the Painters.

Coming into the game leading the league in three-point shooting, the Bolts shot a paltry 4-0f-19 from downtown while the Painters drained 11 of their 26 attempts. Meralco made up for their anemic outside shooting by capitalizing on Rain or Shine’s 16 turnovers, scoring 20 points off of them while also dominating the paint with 42 points in the paint to RoS’ 32.

Jackson finished the game with 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting and 17 rebounds. Paul Lee hopped off the bench and contributed 12 points- all off treys- 10 boards and an assist. The Painters’ trio of local big men- Belga, Quinahan, and Cruz – had only a combined six points on 2-of-7 shooting and five rebounds.

The win marks Meralco’s fourth straight with no losses, the team’s best start since the franchise’s inception. The Painters drop to 2-2.

The scores:

Meralco – Davis 31, Cortez 13, David 11, Hodge 10, Anthony 8, Wilson 7, Dillinger 6, Hugnatan 4, Ferriols 2, Reyes 0, Atkins 0, Macapagal 0, Ildefonso 0,

RoS – Jackson 22, Lee 12, Chan 11, Araña 10, Norwood 9, Tang 7, Almazan 4, Uyloan 4, Quinahan 3, Belga 2, Ibañes 2, Cruz 2, Belga 1, Tiu 0

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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ABL

Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa

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After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Marcus Elliott grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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Basketball

CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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