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De Ocampo, Talk ‘N Text torch Rain or Shine, now one win away from championship

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Despite a slow start and facing an early deficit, the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters secure a pivotal Game 5 win with a 103-94 finish over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and once again take the series lead at 3-2 held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday.

An aggressive Rain or Shine squad showed up in the opening minutes of Game 5 as Paul Lee and Wayne Chism delivered the first baskets in favor of the Painters. RoS built a double-digit spread at 23-13 as TNT’s main duo of Jason Castro and Ivan Johnson struggled in finding their rhythm at the start. Stepping up in the first canto for the Texters were Ranidel de Ocampo who led a 14-3 counter to grab the lead for the first time.

Despite losing grip of their lead early, Jeric Teng knocked down a triple in the last possession for the Painters in the first quarter to take back the lead and take a two-point edge heading into the second.

An exchange of field goals for the two teams occurred in the second period that made the game a close one. However, the Elasto Painters entered the penalty situation with less than 9 minutes to play in the period that Castro and the rest of his team took advantage. Castro knocked down his first basket via a triple to give them a 38-34 lead.

The sizzling perimeter shooting continued for Talk ‘N Text as Larry Fonacier entered double digits in terms of his offensive output with basket from downtown to help TNT threaten to blow the game wide open. Down big, quick to respond was Chism who buried a wide-open triple to stop the bleeding for the Painters and make it a 47-42 game.

Defense was key in the furious rally of TNT late in the first half as they protected the interior that made the scoring slow for the Painters. In addition, the Tropang Texters outscored their opponents 9-0 to enter the break up by 14 huge points.

The outside sniping continued in the third quarter with Johnson and De Ocampo drilling their shots to increase their lead. With physicality starting to take place in the match, mini spurts for Rain or Shine were countered by TNT’s defense anew as the two teams both scored 22 in the period.

In the last period, the team’s second unit were fielded for both teams. Ryan Araña nailed a three pointer in the opening minutes to jumpstart Rain or Shine’s potential rally. However, they were limited by turnovers and 50-50 balls going the way of the Texters. The reinsertion of Ranidel de Ocampo reinstalled a double-digit spread that countered to the Elasto Painters’ 4th quarter buckets.

With less than five minutes to go, Paul Lee scored on a trey that finally breaks the double-digit barrier the Elasto Painters has been attempting to do for majority of the second half. RoS trimmed the lead to five but off a timeout, Kevin Alas made a tough floater while Chris Tiu missed a triple that sealed the victory for Talk ‘N Text.

The Texters shot the ball better at 49% compared to the Painters’ 43%. Talk ‘N Text also committed only seven turnovers while ROS had 15.

Talk ‘N Text looks to bag the Commissioner’s Cup title on Sunday while Rain or Shine seeks to extend it to a rubber match as Game 6 of the series will be played on Sunday, 5pm at the Big Dome.

The scores:

Talk ‘N Text(103) – De Ocampo 27, Johnson 27, Castro 15, Fonacier 12, Carey 7, Alas 7, Aban 4, Washington 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Williams 0

Rain or Shine(94) – Chism 25, Lee 19, Araña 10, Norwood 9, Belga 6, Teng 6, Cruz 6, Tiu 5, Cruz 4, Almazan 4, Uyloan 0, Ibañes 0

Quarters: 27-29, 56-42, 78-64, 103-94

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Yeng Guiao denies using racial slur against Chris Ross

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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’

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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

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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

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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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