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Clutch over clutch as Pontejos, JRU escape Jalalon, Arellano



In an epic double overtime thriller that had great performances and dramatic sequences, the Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers escaped the Arellano University (AU) Chiefs, 114-112, after a fortunate break, to tie the Chiefs at fourth place Thursday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

Smart Elite ambassador Jio Jalalon had a forgetful first half as he was plagued with foul trouble. The Cagayan de Oro-native had already accumulated two personal fouls at the 5:11 mark of the first while getting penalized for his third foul at the 8:03 point of the second quarter. Fortunately for Season 90’s runners-up, Dioncee Holts and Zach Nicholls stepped up in scoring 10 and 7 points respectively in the first half to keep pace with JRU. For the yellow-and-blue squad, Abdoul Poutouchi played excellent in scoring nine first half points and grabbed nine rebounds while the backcourt duo of Tey Teodoro and Paolo Pontejos combined for 12 points. The Heavy Bombers held a 40-35 lead after the opening half.

The second half of action started on a blistering pace as both teams scorched the net from downtown with JRU holding a 47-43 lead. Jalalon, who was just limited to just three points and four assists in seven minutes of first half action, then made his imprint of the game in scoring eight straight points capped by back-to-back triples to put his team up 53-49 at the midway point of the third canto. Cameroonian big man Poutouchi then powered his way inside to tie the game at 55. The quarter closed with a showdown by gunslingers Jalalon and Pontejos. Pontejos was able to score six straight points, all from floaters, to put his team up four points but a three pointer by “the Bus Driver”, his fourth in the quarter, cut the lead to just one. The quarter, though, would end with the Heavy Bombers clinging on to a three point lead, 66-63, after a nice drop pass by Pontejos to his big man.

The two squads then exchanged bombs and leads to start the final quarter of regulation. However, at the 4:30 mark of the game, Jalalon hurt his left ankle after a nifty assist to Nichole Bangga to tie the game at 78. Pontejos then unleasheda 7-2 rally, all on his own, to put his team up 84-81. The Smart Elite ambassador, knowing that his team needs him, returned to the game after just 1:58 minutes of rest. He then powered his team once more but a backbreaking three pointer by Pontejos at the 1:34 mark gave the Vergel Meneses-mentored squad a four point cushion. With just 35.4 ticks to go, Jalalon converted on a floater and made a huge defensive stop as Pontejos was called for a travelling infraction with 32.6 remaining. At the ensuing play, the daredevil from Cagayan slashed to the lane to grab a foul from Poutouchi. Jalalon calmly sank the two free throws to send the game into overtime at 87-all.

The two squads continued to fight hard in overtime as both teams did not budge from their opponent’s short rallies. After a long jumper by Dioncee Holts at the 2:42 mark of extra time that gave Arellano a 97-92 lead, Jordan Dela Paz converted on a jumper while free throws by Teodoro cut the lead to just one with 1:20 to go. Jalalon splitted charities, after an Abdulwahab foul, to give his team a two point lead. However, a mishap on offense by the Chiefs resulted to a steal by Teodoro. Teodoro then threw an outlet pass to Dela Paz for a fastbreak layup to send the game into another five minutes of extra time at 98-all.

Fatigue was visible as both teams could not convert on free throws at the opening moments of the game. As the Chiefs clinged on to a one point lead after free throw conversions by Kristian Astilla, a tired Jalalon fell to his knees and cramped up. After a long jumper by Holts, Pontejos torched his defenders in scoring six points highlighted by a huge three pointer to give JRU a three point lead. Jalalon returned at the 1:22 mark. A three-pointer by Nicholls tied the game once more but free throws by Astilla and Gio Lasquety gave the Shaw Boulevard-based squad a 110-107 with 43.9 ticks to go. After a timeout, Jalalon found a way to hand-off the ball to Nicholls for another three pointer with 32.7 seconds remaining. Even in having a bad shooting night, Teodoro held the ball and threw a long jumper to give his team the lead. After a pull-up three pointer by Jalalon that “cut” the lead to just “one”, Jalalon immediately fouled Lasquety resulting to his ejection. In a crucial review, the referee’s decreed that the long jumper by Teodoro was just a two-pointer. The coaching staff of Arellano threw their hands in disappointment as they would not have fouled if they had knew that the three-pointer was just a two. Lasquety sank both free throws to give Jose Rizal University its sixth win of the season. 114-112.

After the game, coach Vergel Meneses was relieved to get the win. “It’s a big win for us,” an exhausted Meneses said. He also added that he was waiting for Pontejos to explode all season long. “Matagal ko ng hinihintay yun. Nung Fr. Martin’s Cup and Filoil ang ganda ng nilalaro niya. Consistency lang talaga.” Pontejos and Dela Paz shared the same sentiments that they should be consistent all throughout the second round.

The game though was put under protest by the management of Arellano University due to the final plays of the game.

Paolo Pontejos led the Heavy Bombers with 32 points on 14/23 shooting. He also dished out a season-high eight assists. Abdoul Poutouchi, who fouled out at the second overtime, put up a huge double-double with 21 points and 17 rebounds while Smart Elite ambassador Tey Teodoro scored 16 points (5/17 shooting, 5/5 free throws) and dished out five assists.

The Chiefs were led by Jio Jalalon’s 36 points, seven rebounds, 16 assists and two steals. Dioncee Holts and Zachary Nicholls combed for 41 points in the losing cause.

The Heavy Bombers next face the San Beda Red Lions on Thursday, September 3 at 4:00pm while the Chiefs face the Perpetual Altas on the same day at 2:00pm.

The Scores:
JRU (114) – Pontejos 32, Poutouochi 21, Teodoro 16, Astilla 10, Dela Paz 10, Cruz 9, Lasquety 8, Dela Virgen 3, Sanchez 2, Grospe 1, Abdul Wahab 1, Estrella 0.
AU (112) – Jalalon 36, Holts 21, Nicholls 20, Enriquez 10, Bangga 9, Cadavis 6, Meca 5, Salado 3, Ortega 2, Capara 0, Gumaru 0.
Quarterscores: 19-21, 40-35, 66-63, 87-87, 98-98, 114-112.

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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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