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“El Niño” Pagara and “Azukal” Servania retain crowns; Villanueva edges Miranda in a classic

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ALA boxing wonder kid Jason “El Niño” Pagara continues to impress the boxing world as he successfully defended his WBO International Light Welterweight title with a second round demolition of Mexican challenger Cesar Chavez last Saturday night at the University of Southeastern Philippines Gymnasium in Davao City.

The fighting pride of Cagayan de Oro showed no mercy to his prey and looked to end the main event early as he sent Chavez to the canvas twice in the first round with powerful shots to the body. His challenger managed to finish the round and survive the onslaught but the inevitable seemed to happen anytime soon. In the second round, Pagara continued to punish his Mexican foe, a perfectly landed left hook to the body by the champion sent Chavez down for good and ended the bout at the 1:59 mark of the round.

This was Pagara’s 8th straight victory and 5th successful defense of his title that put himself in a great position to be a future contender for the currently vacant WBO Junior Welterweight title.

The victory also secures the 26-year-old champion’s spot in the ALA Promotions first show in the US on May 23 in San Diego, California which he was reportedly going to headline. The #4 ranked WBO Junior Welterweight Pagara improves his record to (35-2, 22 KO’s) after this victory.

In the co-main event of the evening, unbeaten Genesis Servania (25-0, 11 KO’s) outclassed Juan Luis Hernandez of Mexico over 12 one-sided rounds to retain his WBO Intercontinental Junior Featherweight belt.

The unbeaten ALA star put his challenger in all sorts of trouble throughout the fight but failed to score a KO victory, as his Mexican counterpart, who injured his wrist in the early stages of the fight, just focused on defending to endure Servania’s attack to survive each round.

The victory serves to be a big boost for the #1 ranked WBO Super Bantamweight Servania who improves his record to 26-0, 11 KO’s as he could fight for a title eliminator next or a title shot against WBO 122 pounds kingpin Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba.

In what could be the fight of the night, undefeated “King” Arthur Villanueva won a scintillating ten round unanimous decision over former WBO Flyweight champion Julio Cesar “Pingo” Miranda of Mexico.

The war was on from the opening bell for these two ring warriors. Villanueva managed to dominate the first two rounds as he hurt Miranda with solid blows to the body. The Mexican started to make his move in the third round trying to close the gap against the unbeaten Filipino. The middle rounds has been a toss up as both boxers landed with their powerful blows. The last four rounds has been dominated by Villanueva as he punished the Mexican visitor with his accurate combinations. Scores were 99-91, 98-92, 98-92.

With the victory a title shot could be looming around the corner for the hard hitting Villanueva who is starting to climb up the boxing rankings and is now ranked #6 by The Ring Magazine at 115.

The Negros Occidental native also improves his unblemished record to 27-0, 14 KO’s while Miranda drops to 38-12-2, 29 KO’s.

Pinoy Pride 29 results
February 8, 2015 – University of Southeastern Philippines Gymnasium, Davao City


WBO International Junior Welterweight Championship: Jason “El Nino” Pagara def. Cesar “El Dolar” Chavez by KO, Rd 2
WBO Intercontinental Junior Featherweight Championship: 
Genesis “Azukal”  Servania def. Juan Luis “Perla Negra” Hernandez by UD
Super Flyweight bout: “King” Arthur Villanueva def. Julio Cesar “Pingo” Miranda by UD (99-91, 98-92, 98-92)
Featherweight bout: Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo def. Sukkasem Kietyongyuth by TKO, Rd 5
Junior Welterweight bout: Arjan “Spartan” Canillas def. Stevi Ongen Ferdinandus by KO, Rd 4
Junior Flyweight bout: Vic “Vicious” Saludar def. Lester John Pronco by UD 79-73, 78-74, 79-73
Junior Flyweight bout: Arnold Garde def. Rafael Sueno by UD
Bantamweight bout: Brian “Buhawi” Lobitania def. Armando Yee by TKO, Rd 2

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

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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 ever since entering in 2012, was all praises with the way the officiating has become this 43rd season, which is 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 Barangay Ginebra, Sunday night.

Like what had been told many times, physicality was something that was controlled over the last two years. Abueva knows it too well, having been a casualty of such as he had paid a bevy of penalties during that time.

And now that it can already be called a thing of the past, the 6-foot-2 bruiser feels much better, knowing that he could 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.”

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Alaska takes advantage of Greg Slaughter’s absence

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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.

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

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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.

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

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It’s no secret that the Meralco Bolts have always 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 to stay as they are, it looks like it will be 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 an excuse.

“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,” expressed 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 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 though has a chance to end their slump against Kia 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.”

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