Connect with us
[adinserter block="13"] [adinserter block="3"]

Bulldogs send Tams packing; push series to game three



The NU Bulldogs’ first victory over the FEU Tamaraws this season couldn’t have come at a better time.

After beating back a second half comeback from the cagers from Morayta, the Bulldogs keep their hopes of ending a forty-four year title drought alive, routing the Tamaraws 62-47, forcing a third meeting in their UAAP men’s basketball finals series, Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum, in front of a crowd of almost 25,000.

The first quarter would open to a staggering display of power from the league’s best defensive team. The Bulldogs would manage to build a 16-3 lead in the first seven minutes of the quarter, denying the cagers from Morayta the easy look. A triple from Mac Belo would inject some life into the FEU crowd to trim the lead to ten points, 16-6, with two minutes left on the clock. Kyle Neypes however would manage to fire back for the Bulldogs in the final seconds, giving the Bulldogs the 18-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. Leading the Bulldogs in scoring was Troy Rosario, who outscored the entire FEU squad with 9 points in the first quarter. The Tamaraws’ six-point performance in the first quarter is their lowest scoring output in a quarter in the season thus far.

The opening minutes of the second quarter would see the Bulldogs extend the lead to 22-6 in the first three minutes. A floater from FEU’s Mike Tolomia would however kick the Tamaraws back to life. Giving the Bulldogs a taste of their own medicine, the cagers from Morayta would finally find their touch with the ball while denying the Bulldogs any easy shots. By the end of the second quarter, the NU lead would be cut to single digits, 26-18.

Finally finding his touch after a forgettable first half, Mac Belo would lead a resurgent FEU squad in the third quarter. The Boys in green and gold would manage to trim the deficit to as much as six points, 40-34, in the first four minutes of the quarter. However, the Bulldogs would continue dictating the pace of game, firing back at every shot put up by the Tams. After a five-point barrage from Jjay Alejandro and Rev Diputado late in the quarter, the Bulldogs would find themselves with the double digit lead once more, 43-30, at the end of the third.

A basket from Troy Rosario would give the Bulldogs a fifteen point lead, 45-30, at the start of the final period. The Tamaraws however would once again receive much needed help from Mac Belo. A six-point explosion from the Mythical Five member would signal the start of a 10-1 rally from the cagers from Morayta, trimming the lead to six, 46-40, with six minutes left on the clock.

The two squads would continue trading baskets in the next few minutes, with the margin unchanged entering the final two minutes of the ballgame. A triple from Gelo Alolino with little less than two minutes of the clock however would signal the start of the FEU collapse, giving the Bulldogs the 56-44 lead. Carl Cruz would go on to miss on the chance to fire back on the other end, and a basket from Gelo Alolino would put the Bulldogs back up by double digits, 56-44, with 1:14 left on the clock.

A trifecta from Mike Tolomia would inject some life into the FEU cause, trimming the lead to nine, 56-47. However, time was on the side of the boys in blue and gold. After another couple of missed FEU baskets and a few more successful free-throw charities from the Bulldogs, the final buzzer would sound off to coach Eric Altamirano’s boys celebrating as the first Bulldogs to register a victory in a finals series in a long, long time.

Troy Rosario, who was earlier awarded the Most Improved Player of the season, led NU with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Glenn Khobuntin had 17, while Gelo Alolino had 12. Mac Belo led the Tams with 17 points, while Mike Tolomia contributed 15. Both teams struggled offensively throughout the game with the Bulldogs shooting only 32% while the shootout-savvy Tamaraws shooting a dismal 27.87% from the field. The Bulldogs also dominated the boards, bringing down 58 rebounds while holding the Tams to 39.

“Yun lang naman ang pwede namin gawin talaga. We felt that in our last game we did not do a good job defensively. We allowed them to score in the 70s.” said NU head coach Eric Altamirano when asked about the Bulldogs’ defensive execution at the post-game conference. “(Today) we focused on going back to our fundamentals.”

“We missed a lot of shots because we forced shots,” said FEU coach Nash Racela. “It’s on us kung paano na mag-adjust.”

Game three between the Bulldogs and the Tamaraws will be held on October 15, next Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum. The Bulldogs are looking to end a forty-four year title drought while the Tamaraws are looking for their 20th men’s basketball title.



Calvin Abueva rejuvenated with return of physical play: ‘Masarap maglaro’



Photo by PBA Images

For Calvin Abueva, it feels great to play in the PBA nowadays.

The Beast, who has always been known as one of the league’s most physical players since entering in 2012, was all praises for the way the officiating has changed this 43rd season — by just letting all the players play.

“Mas gumanda yung tawagan ngayon, naging physical nga. Naging exciting para sa mga tao, mas marami na nanonood ngayon eh,” said Abueva moments after their 97-83 victory over the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Sunday night.

As has been said many times, physicality had become something controlled over the last two years. Abueva knows it too well, having been a casualty, as he has paid a bevy of penalties during that time.

And now that it is a thing of the past, the 6-foot-2 bruiser feels much better, knowing that he can display his brand of basketball once more.

“Masarap maglaro, talagang pisikalan,” said the 29-year-old forward from Angeles, Pampanga. “Siyempre makikita naman natin kung sinasadya o hindi, basta katawan lang.

“Pisikal. Yun yung magandang laro di ba?”

Aside from the comeback of physicality, what makes Abueva beam even more is the way the Aces have been playing in the 2018 Philippine Cup. After a 0-2 start in the tourney, they have now booked their third straight win.

“Nung 2017 parang nilubog na namin yung losing streak namin doon. Ito 2018 na at panibagong destination na naman yung ina-ano namin,” said Abueva, who had nine points, nine rebounds, and five assists against Ginebra.

“Sustain muna namin ‘to… Sana magtuloy-tuloy ‘tong winning streak namin.”

Continue Reading


Alaska takes advantage of Greg Slaughter’s absence



For the streaking Alaska Aces, their stunning 97-83 victory over the favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday night was partly made possible by the absence of one key player: seven-foot behemoth Greg Slaughter.

The 28-year-old center, who was averaging 20.67 points and 10.3 rebounds prior to Sunday, did not play against the Aces due to a hamstring injury. How he incurred the injury has yet to be determined.

“There’s a small person named Greg Slaughter who didn’t play; I think he has an impact on the game,” quipped coach Alex Compton after the match.

“[They missed] a guy who I think is gonna win an MVP soon in Greg Slaughter.

“Sometimes dito sa liga natin, you have to take advantage when opportunities come your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt [though],” added Compton.

With Slaughter out of the way, the Aces’ big men feasted.

Vic Manuel top-billed with 18 points and five rebounds, and elder statesman Sonny Thoss turned back the clock with a 17-point, four-rebound outing.

“Malaking bonus na rin sa amin, kasi wala nga si Greg kaya nakuha namin yung panalo,” said Manuel.

“Yeah it definitely helped,” added the six-foot-seven Thoss, who shot 6-of-12 from the floor and made four of his freebies.

“He’s a big guy, he’s a big presence inside so it took one big guy off our shoulder.”

Slaughter was approached and asked by scribes regarding his injury, but he was not in the mood to comment. No one can blame him, though, since the Barangay have slipped to their second straight defeat after a 2-0 start.

“I’m always there in practice, going over our gameplans. But it’s better if you ask our PT,” he said.

Continue Reading


Alaska completes turnaround at Greg Slaughter-less Ginebra’s expense



Photo by PBA Images

A strong second half surge was all the Alaska Aces needed to turn back the heavily-favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 97-83, and book their third straight victory, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The Aces, who have yet to lose this 2018, have now improved to 3-2. Meanwhile, the Barangay absorbed their second straight loss and have dropped to 2-2.

“I was telling the guys na parang ang dami nating iniisip, hindi natin ginagawa yung ginagawa natin noong nakaraang dalawang linggo. Sabi ko relax lang tayo,” said coach Alex Compton, sharing what he told his wards that sparked the win.

Vic Manuel led the Milkmen with 18 points and five rebounds. Sonny Thoss turned back the clock as he made 17 markers on 6-of-12 shooting, while Chris Banchero supplied 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds.

The Aces were trailing by eight, 36-44 at the half, but it became a different ball game come the third chapter as they outscored the Gin Kings, 37 to 19, to erect a favorable 73-63 cushion heading into the game’s final 12 minutes.

From there, Alaska kept their foot on the gas to sustain their lead, which grew to as much as 18, 85-67, after their 6-0 spree — punctuated by Banchero’s lay-up plus a foul — with 6:14 remaining in the final frame.

Ginebra still tried to make one last push as they inched within 10, 75-85, but baskets by Thoss and Kevin Racal propelled Alaska to an 89-75 lead with 3:42 left to play — more than enough to knock out their counterparts.

“I was glad to come away with the win,” added Compton. “Sometimes, we have to take advantage of opportunities coming your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt but when two number one picks on the other team aren’t playing… There.”

Jvee Casio had 13 markers for Alaska, while Calvin Abueva nearly had a double-double of nine points and nine boards along with five assists in 20 minutes.

Aljon Mariano had 15 points, nine rebounds, and three dimes for Ginebra, who — despite having Sol Mercado back in the fold after ankle issues — missed the services of Joe Devance and Greg Slaughter due to injuries.

Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and Kevin Ferrer each scored 12 for the Barangay, with Thompson adding five assists. The trio combined for 15 of Ginebra’s 43 rebounds.

Alaska will aim to extend their streak versus the Blackwater Elite on Saturday, January 27 at 4:30 PM, while Ginebra will look to end their slump against the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Friday, January 26 at 7:00 PM. Both games are at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Alaska 97 — Manuel 18, Thoss 17, Banchero 14, Casio 13, Abueva 9, Teng 9, Cruz 5, Enciso 3, Potts 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2, Racal 2, J. Pascual 0.

Ginebra 83 — Mariano 15, J. Aguilar 12, Ferrer 12, Thompson 12, Caguioa 8, Cruz 8, R. Aguilar 5, Tenorio 5, Mercado 2, Taha 2, Wilson 2, Jamito 0.

Quarterscores: 26-23, 36-44, 73-63, 97-83.

Continue Reading


Frustrated Jared Dillinger admits ‘he’s getting sick’ of Meralco’s bad PH Cup runs



It’s no secret that the Meralco Bolts have struggled in the Philippine Cup for the last three years. During the last two seasons, the eight-year-old franchise’s win-loss tally is four wins and 18 losses.

And in the 2018 edition, the narrative has been the same, with little to no hope of it turning the other way around.

The Bolts bowed to the TNT Katropa, 99-81, Sunday night — their third straight defeat after winning over Blackwater Elite in their opener last December. If things continue as they are, it looks like another poor all-Filipino tilt run is looming.

“We’re 1-3 and there’s nothing to be happy about,” said Jared Dillinger, who had 14 points and five caroms in the match at Ynares Center in Antipolo. “It’s a long season though… We [shouldn’t] panic but it’s not fun right now.

“The Philippine Cup has been our Achilles heel and every damn Philippine Cup we get our ass kicked. I’m getting sick of it.”

In this game, Meralco missed the services of top forwards Ranidel De Ocampo and Cliff Hodge due to injuries. But for Dillinger, those issues shouldn’t be excuses.

“When you get two guys like Ranidel and Cliff out, as a team, that’s the opportunity for the guys below them to step up,” asserted Dillinger, who has been with the franchise since 2013.

“It doesn’t have to mean scoring, getting the assists or rebound, it’s just making the right play, being smart.”

Asked what went wrong in this particular loss versus their sister team, where they shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and had committed 17 turnovers, the 10-year veteran lamented the poor effort that the Bolts put up.

“TNT didn’t do anything much, given that they played well. But they didn’t have any secret schemes against us. They just passed the ball around, and they got open shots,” added the 10-year pro, as TNT made 23 assists and shot 18 triples.

“Our effort wasn’t there. We got to put up the intensity cause it sucks right now.”

Meralco have a chance to end their slump against the Kia Picanto this Wednesday. Dillinger sees it as a do-or-die affair, warning that it will be a grind-out affair knowing that the Picanto is coming off a skid-ending win over Rain or Shine.

Do-or-die ’cause that’s gonna be a playoff game. Thank God they beat Rain or Shine ’cause you don’t want to be that one team that gives the win to a 0-16 [team]. You don’t want to play teams like that,” stressed the all-around forward.

“Nothing to take away from Kia though. It’s gonna be tough.”

Continue Reading