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Bolts rout Road Warriors in Playoffs opener, jump to a 1-0 lead

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Fifth-seeded Meralco Bolts used a total team effort scoring-wise, anchored by hot shooting from their guards as they defeated the NLEX Road Warriors, 97-82 in the opening game of the Commissioner’s Cup playoff games held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday afternoon.

Baskets did not find the bottom of the rim early for NLEX, as they struggled to execute their half court sets against Meralco’s defense. Gary David started the game for the Bolts by providing early buckets to give them a 9-2 gap to start the game. Furthermore, the Road Warriors first field goal of the playoffs came at the 7:32 mark of the first with a triple coming from Al Thornton, after missing their first five attempts. However, the pace was clearly dictated by Meralco with the back court tandem of David and Mike Cortez providing the needed stability at the start.

With Meralco playing zone, NLEX tried to score on perimeter baskets. A triple by Aldrich Ramos for the Road Warriors was quickly countered with a 6-0 run by the Bolts to build a 22-10 separation. After a ceasefire, Mac Cardona and Mark Macapagal exchanged baskets from downtown, but the local contribution for Meralco continued as they finished the first canto up by a commanding 15-point spread.

Thornton was still in the playing court to jump-start the second period. He ferociously tried to anchor an NLEX rally to keep the ball game close. A 9-0 burst to start was enough to slice the deficit down to six was capped by a Jonas Villanueva triple. As they got the stop in the ensuing play, Villanueva turned the ball over with a bad pass that triggered another scoring outburst by the locals of Meralco. The Bolts reinstalled a double-digit lead quickly with hoops coming from Gary David and Cliff Hodge.

The locals delivered tremendously for Meralco in the first half as they scored 41 points out of the 47 they established. Davis took care of the rebounding with 13 boards in the first 24 minutes of play.

Coming off the break, NLEX poured in a 9-2 rally to once again cut the deficit down to six. Meralco’s offense became stagnant with the Road Warriors defense coming in full display during the opening stretch of the second half. As NLEX clawed their way to a 45-51 game, Mike Cortez provided the drought-breaking baskets for Meralco added by a huge triple by Macapagal plus a foul, and suddenly the Bolts were up by 16 points.

With momentum gathered by the side of Meralco, NLEX responded with their own rally in the last four minutes of the period as Villanueva punched in a triple to keep the scoreboard running for the Road Warriors, and Thornton adding to it with his free throws. A rally-filled quarter ended with NLEX slicing the deficit again to single digits, but Cardona provided the counter basket with a floater to enter the last period up by eight.

Macapagal’s hot shooting continued during the fourth period, as they once again erected a double-digit separation. This time, however, the lead was for good. They cruised over the Road Warriors squad, who struggled to find their shots in the pivotal fourth period. Furthermore, with a 19-point spread with about six minutes to play, Meralco was poised down the stretch to bag home the game. Minimal scoring came in late for NLEX, and was obviously not enough as the Bolts jumped out on them to take care of the series opener.

Macapagal was on fire coming off the bench, as he finished the match with a team-high 22 point outing including five triples in 19 minutes of play. Thornton topped all scorers with 23, including 17 out of 23 from the charity stripe.

Meralco looks to finish the series off on Sunday, 5:15pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum as they try to break their winless slump in their franchise in a best-of-three affair. The winner of this series will face the victor between the matchup of Ginebra and Rain or Shine with the Painters holding a twice-to-beat incentive.

The scores:

Meralco(97) – Macapagal 22, Davis 16, Anthony 14, David 13, Hugnatan 10, Cortez 10, Hodge 7, Reyes 2, Ildefonso 2, Sena 0, Caram 0, Dillinger 0, Ferriols 0

NLEX(82) – Thornton 23, Cardona 17, Villanueva J. 13, Villanueva E. 6, Canaleta 8, Taulava 5, Ramos 4, Raymundo 2, Baloria 2, Lingganay 2, Camson 0, Arboleda 0

Quarters: 34-19, 47-36, 69-61, 97-82

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Basketball

Renzo Subido to bring Marinerong Pilipino experience to UST

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When Renzo Subido decided to skip out the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers’ UAAP Season 80 campaign, he had only one thing in mind: to improve on his craft. And he was able to do so under coach Koy Banal in the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers.

After the AMA Online Education Titans had a quick end to their campaign during the 2017 Foundation Cup, the 5-foot-9 floor general was immediately picked up by Marinerong Pilipino for the playoffs. Liking his style of play, he was again tapped for the 2018 Aspirants Cup.

And he showed a lot of growth from then, leading the Skippers to a 94-92 victory over fellow contenders Zark’s Jawbreakers. The 21-year-old tallied 20 points, three rebounds, and five assists while knocking down the crucial free throws to seal off the Lyceum-backed team.

“It was a good win for us. We’re happy that we won the game because it’s a good way to start the conference,” beamed Subido. “I’ve played against Lyceum in the past so I had familiarity with how they play.

“It was a good experience for us.”

Expectations are high for Marinerong Pilipino this conference as they are pegged as their blend of veterans and young guns are seen too overwhelming for the rest of the field. Still, Subido knows that it will be a tough climb as the other teams, especially the collegiate-based squads, have familiarity on their side.

“We’re taking it one game at a time but the goal is to win the championship,” he said. “But we know that it’s not going to be easy since we are going up against the top collegiate teams.

“So we’re just going to go all out every game.”

Besides winning the championship, Subido is on a personal mission. Being one of the seniors for the Growling Tigers next season, he hopes to learn to become a better leader for next season.

“I want to become a better leader. I know that everything I can learn this conference, I can bring to UST,” Subido expressed.

“For all I can see, coach Aldin [Ayo] is a guard-oriented coach. So I’m using all the experience I get here in Marinero, I’ll bring it to UST.”

For sure, Subido wants to make up for lost time.

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KIA signs Carlo Lastimosa

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After being released by the NLEX Road Warriors during the off-season, gunner Carlo Lastimosa has found a new home.

KIA Picanto team governor Bobby Rosales confirmed to Tiebreaker Times Thursday evening that they have tapped Carlo Lastimosa for the rest of the PBA Philippine Cup campaign.

“Yes,” Rosales confirmed in a text message.

Lastimosa, a two-time All-Star, averaged 8.8 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in his one-year stay with the Road Warriors. Coach Yeng Guiao cited that NLEX already had too many guards that resulted to Lastimosa’s release.

The product of College of Saint Benilde was drafted as the 20th overall pick in the 2013 Rookie Draft by Barako Bull. A year later, he was traded to the Blackwater Elite for Brian Heruala.

The 27-year-old is set to make his debut on Saturday when the Picanto take on the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

The Kia Picanto are in the midst of a 16-game losing streak.

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Marinerong Pilipino withstands furious Zark’s rally to open season on high note

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The Marinerong Pilipino Skippers averted a collapse and held off the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers to come away with the 94-92 thriller to open the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Losing hold of a 17-point edge, 56-39 with 7:57 left in the third frame, the Skippers survived the furious rally from the Jawbreakers in the clutch as Mike Nzeusseu and CJ Perez missed their three-pointers in the final minute before Rian Ayonayon and Renzo Subido sealed off the win for their side at the charity stripe

Subido topscored for Marinerong Pilipino with 20 points, five assists, and three rebounds, while Ayonayon unleashed 15 markers, three boards, and two dimes in the early battle between the two contenders.

Gab Banal also registered a double-double of 14 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, and four steals against his 10 turnovers in the win, while Papot Paredes got 12 of his 14 markers in the first half to help the Skippers establish control at halftime.

Victorious as Marinerong Pilipino maybe in the marquee matchup, coach Koy Banal refused to brand his side as the undisputed team-to-beat, noting: “This win means nothing. We need to keep on working get better every day because everybody will now prepare for us.”

Banal also lauded top rookie picks Alvin Pasaol and Abu Tratter, who were both fielded in the second half and stepped up to help the Skippers’ cause.

“Those guys have been with us since January 2 lang, and pretty much, medyo nangangapa pa sila sa sistema. But good thing is that they were able to deliver especially when their number were called,” he said.

The Skippers used a huge 12-0 run to end the second quarter to grab a 47-35 halftime lead, which further ballooned to 17, 56-39 in the third quarter.

Jaycee Marcelino paced Zark’s Burger-Lyceum with 20 points, four rebounds, and three assists in the loss, while Perez had 19 markers and five assists.

Earlier, PBA officer-in-charge Willie Marcial and PBA vice chairman Dickie Bachmann of Alaska graced the opening ceremonies, which was made special thanks to league newcomer Mila’s Lechon.

Marinerong Pilipino looks to sustain the momentum it gained in this game when it faces the Akari-Adamson Falcons on Thursday, January 25 at 5:00pm. Zark’s Burgers, on the other hand, takes on the Batangas-EAC Generals on Tuesday, January 23 at 4:00pm.

The Scores:

Marinerong Pilipino 94 – Subido 20, Ayonayon 15, Paredes 14, Banal 14, Robles 10, Tolentino 4, Tratter 4, Pasaol 4, Terso 3, Lopez 2, Inigo 2, Babilonia 2, Toth 0.

Zark’s 92 – Marcelino JC 20, Perez 19, Nzeusseu 18, Ayaay 11, Ibanez 6, Marcelino JV 6, Cinco 5, Tansingco 3, Santos 2, Pretta 2, Marata 0, Liwag 0

Quarterscores: 17-19, 47-34, 69-58, 94-92

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CSJL

Pirates notch first win at struggling Knights’ expense

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After floundering in their first three games, the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates broke into the win column after trouncing the Colegio San Juan de Letran Knights, 20-25, 27-25, 25-20, 25-22, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Pirates, after a sluggish start, got the best of their Intramuros neighbors by limiting their miscues in the latter three sets. According to head coach Emil Lontoc, Lyceum needed every bit of momentum they gained in their rousing win in the second set.

“Nabuhayan sila (Pirates) ng loob noong makalusot kami noong second set,” Lontoc said. “Mababa ‘yung nilaro namin nung simula tapos medyo struggle pa din noong sumunod na set. Pero nakabangon din. Crucial ‘yun kasi baka hindi na kami naka-angat kung natalo pa kami noong second set.”

The Pirates delivered three of their four aces in the final set to close the match. They also shored up their reception, finishing at 38 percent, after an atrocious start.

Jhonel Badua topped the Pirates with 19 points while Joeward Presnede added 14.

Lyceum (1-3) takes on the undefeated Arellano University (4-0) on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Paul John Alilio and Bobby Gatdula each provided Letran with 19 points. Christopher Cistina managed 11 markers.

Letran (0-4) aims for their first win against rivals San Beda College (3-1) on Monday.

The Scores

LPU (3) – Badua 19, Presnede 14, Lajara 9, Ilano 7, Samonte 5, Uy 5, Rubio (L)

CSJL (1) – Alilio 19, Gatdula 19, Cistina 11, Almoguerra 3, Ladeon 3, Dizon 2, Domingo 2, Brioso 0, Tumbali 0, Centeno (L), Timbreza (L)

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