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Compton, Austria gear for Governors Cup Finals

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The grand finale is set, and it is expected to be another heated battle until the last buzzer.

Alaska head coach Alex Compton was patiently scouting Game 4 of the San Miguel-Rain or Shine semi-final duel from the sidelines, and in less than 48 hours, it is his Aces’ time to take the floor against the Beermen, whose 117-110 win closed out the semis series, 3-1.

Beermen head coach Austria, meanwhile, exhausted from a grueling series against the never-back-down Elasto Painters, is happy to just have made it to the final stage again. Now, he is worried about the amount of gas left in his team’s tank.

But even if the two squads seem to be entering the finals in different directions, both mentors expect no less than a dogfight that may last for a long while.

The Beermen won the Philippine Cup months ago over the Aces, 4-3, but the upcoming series will be a lot different for both coaches with the presence of imports, the rise of new go-to guys, and a handful of other factors.

With just a day left before the league’s two best teams collide once more, here are what’s on the coaches’ minds.

Leo Austria

Photo from PBA Images

Photo by PBA Images

On how a brief break poses a disadvantage to the team: “They want to be in the championship. My worry is the energy of the players because we did not have a day-off since the start of the playoffs. For me it is a disadvantage because we rely on scouting. But we are focused on (RoS) and have only one day only to prepare. We don’t know yet what to do. Alaska keep on winning because of their defense and running. How can we sustain our running gsme against them? But there are many ways to win although Iam worried sa energy ng team.”

On how they plan to prepare within the short amount of time: “We will see the tape of the championship. They are playing really well. A very cohesive team on a roll. The problem is our preparation. We do not have ample time to trace the things that made us a winner (in the PH Cup).”

On what it takes to win: “This is a different ball game. Kung sino siguro ang may will to win ang magpe-prevail. More or less we know what we are doing. Naga-alala lang talaga ako sa energy. Baka ang tendency nila is to relax. This is a series that is best of 7.”

Alex Compton

Photo by PBA Images

Photo by PBA Images

On how to stop San Miguel’s stacked unit: “That’s what’s probably going to keep me up tonight. I know we are going to play hard. We have to come hard. We can’t be passive. We have to be aggressive. They are stacked and loaded. They have the most dominant local and the two-time best import. [But] we can play with them. This should be a good finals.”

On what should be expected in the finals: “We are going to play very hard. It’s just Alaska basketball. We cannot change that identity. Dalawang matigas ang ulo. That’s two rams battling on the mountain top for superiority. Let’s see who headbutts harder. They’re good, we’re good, it should be a good one. We wore each other out in the first finals and kung pwede lang nagvacation na lang kami noong second conference. Now we’re loaded, they are loaded.”

On how the imports change the outlook of the series: “That’s interesting. AZ [Reid] is a more prolific scorer. Romeo [Travis] is our all-around, do-it-all guy. I love Romeo’s intelligence but it is going to be everybody in Alaska bringing our best for us to win a chamoionship. It is not an individual match up for us. It’s our team stopping their team.”

On what plans he has for player match-ups: “I cannot pre-determine now. There are just stuff I am learning as a coach and you have to adjust. Part of it is the reaction and anticipation but right now I really have no idea.”

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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 Ryan Moss 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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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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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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