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

Exciminiano, Jazul showcase Alaska’s continuity in dominant series win



After a strong third quarter that pushed the Alaska Aces’ lead to 87-73 entering the final period of Game 5, the Aces fans already begun their celebration by raising cardboard print-outs of the Alaska members’ faces.

After all, it only took a few signs to know the series would eventually be over. Alaska blasted Globalport by 24, 13, and again by 24 in the last three games, adjusting very well and taking control of the series. It was only a matter of time before they would do the same in Game 5.

The Aces though did not stop playing efficient basketball even with a comfortable lead, as they kept on pressuring Globalport up until the final buzzer.

Later, the Aces pulled out their starters one by one and went to their bench, but the team still wanted it more. The result was a 31-16 fourth quarter which turned the game to a 118-89 blowout in the end.

Ping Exciminiano was one of the Aces who found joy in the fourth quarter juggernaut, pouring nine of his career-high 19 points in the period.

PBA41PHCupSF - ALA GP - ExciminianoPicked 18th overall during the 2013 PBA draft by the Aces, Exciminiano had a hedge the team would be using him for a longer time on the floor, and he delivered well on both ends, shooting 8-for-11 and having a plus/minus of +16.

“Nung nag-practice kami, nagkaroon kami ng mga plays na para sa akin so doon pa lang nakuha ko na yung confidence ko. Kailangan ko siyang (Terrence Romeo) pagurin, and nag-sstart na akong mag-offense,” Exciminiano said.

Three years ago, the former FEU Tamaraw knew he would be playing only sparse minutes for the squad, but it did not matter as he knew just being there was the very essence of the Aces adding tools to the roster one by one.

Eventually, the Alaska Aces will need its other players to be productive, and the series against Globalport was a perfect example. Alex Compton definitely needed fresh legs on the floor at all times, especially on the defensive end as Globalport’s production stems from impressive guard play.

Exciminiano’s minutes increased from 8.4 in the eliminations to 15.3 in the first four games. In Game 5, he logged over 23 minutes to help the Aces.

“Nung Game 2, nagstart na akong mag-isip na hahaba ang playing time ko dahil kailangan naming ma-stop si Terrence at Stanley (Pringle). So naghanda ako sa practice pa lang. Naglalagay ako ng hangin sa katawan ko, hindi naman madali gagawin ko eh. Yung mga coaching staff namin, tinulungan ako magpa-kundisyon,” Exciminiano added.

RJ Jazul was another guard who saw a jump from his production in the elimination to the semi-finals. Averaging only 18 minutes a game, Jazul increased his minutes to 25.6 in the semi-finals, and from scoring only 7.3 points a game in the elimination round, Jazul dropped 14, 17, 12, 14, and nine in the series.

PBA41 PH CUP - ALA BB - Jazul (2)“Siyempre always ready lang kami. Heavy guards sila eh so yung guard rotation namin mabilis. Kailangan nagtutulungan kaming mga guards. Eventually, nagbunga yung pagpapahirap namin sa kanila,” Jazul shared.

Jazul joined the Aces in 2012 after brief stints with Rain or Shine and Shopinas. He was quickly oriented about his role to play behind the likes of JVee Casio, Dondon Hontiveros, and Cyrus Baguio, and he did not mind even if he was not one of the main guys of the Aces.

It was about being able to contribute whether it is a short stretch or heavy minutes, and the semi-finals series also gave him a break.

“Nakita ko na yung role ko since kay Coach Luigi (Trillo) pa lang. Basta ready lang lagi. Defensively kami nags-start lagi. Offensively naman, loaded kami,” Jazul added.

“Nakita namin yung style nila eh, may (Joseph) Yeo, (Keith) Jensen, and (Anthony) Semerad pa sila. So kami, andyan lang kami. Since (off-season) pa, nagpapakundisyon na kami at pinaghahandaan na namin yung mga playoffs,” he said.

The rise of Exciminiano and Jazul as the heroes of the 4-1 series win only showed the importance of Alaska’s continuous drive to build chemistry and develop a deeply-talented roster.

The Aces continue to keep young guns, like Chris Banchero, Nonoy Baclao, and recently Kevin Racal. Though these names will not be playing big minutes right off the bat, they will eventually be the ones to share the spotlight in the future.

It showed with Exciminiano and Jazul, and such continuity has been one of the key factors to Alaska’s success in the past half decade. Banchero has already cracked the regular rotation, and it shall only be a matter of time for the others to be given breaks in the Aces’ “We-Not-Me” system.

“Yung guards, it gave us depth and threat sa offense. More than that, yung defense din nila. Talagang grabe, ang ganda ng pinakita nila sa series na ito,” JVee Casio said.

“Again, hopefully ganoon ang performance although you cannot assure that. We have to work as a team. Continuity-wise, maganda meron from the starters, meron sa bench, and as long as the team is playing well, maganda yun para sa amin.”

Some photos from PBA Images

Click to comment


Raymond Almazan ejected in return



Photo by PBA Images

It was supposed to be a redemption game for Raymond Almazan after he was benched last Wednesday for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters against the Phoenix Fuel Masters, for disciplinary reasons. But unfortunately, it went the the other way around.

The six-foot-eight center was ejected in the Elasto Painters’ match versus Kia Picanto on Friday evening at the Cuneta Astrodome, following a near-brawl that took place between him and opposing big man Eric Camson.

The incident took place with 3:01 remaining in the second quarter, with the Picanto ahead 34-31. Almazan and Camson were both inside the paint looking for position to grab the missed three-pointer of Jeremy King.

Things then went chippy afterwards, as Camson elbowed Almazan. It did not sit well with the latter and he retaliated, leading to the near-brawl that saw both players swing their arms at each other.

Almazan and Camson had to be separated by their teammates and officials. Moments later, both of them were whistled for a flagrant foul penalty two and were ordered to leave the playing court for good.

Almazan finished with six points and three rebounds in six minutes and 10 seconds of action, while Camson exited the bout with 10 markers, five rebounds, and four assists in over 16 minutes of playing time.

Continue Reading


Fired-up Von Pessumal on Kiefer Ravena incident: ‘I’m not here to make any friends’



Will bridges be burned?

Von Pessumal was heavily-scrutinized Friday evening after an incident with fellow Ateneo lifer Kiefer Ravena.

It took place with 9:50 left in the final frame of the San Miguel Beermen’s highly-charged tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors. After Marcio Lassiter launched a trey, Pessumal looked like he was aiming for the rebound. Instead, he simply charged towards Ravena and pushed him down.

Lassiter’s three-pointer counted, while Pessumal, who was blocked by Ravena in a fastbreak and then received a staredown moments prior, was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul.

It was a surprising sight to see considering the amount of time he and Ravena have spent together — a bond that started ever since they were in high school. Even the second-generation star admitted that he did not expect that from his former running buddy.

“I did not expect that at all,” said the NLEX rookie.

But Pessumal downplayed such incident despite attempts by scribes to make him elaborate what had really transpired during that moment.

“It’s part of the game. It’s part of the game,” the league sophomore said after the match which they won 109-98. “I don’t wanna say anything, I’m sorry.

“It’s part of the game. Whatever move on. Not a big deal.”

Asked if he was motivated to face Ravena, whom he had shared three UAAP juniors titles, two UAAP seniors crowns, and a SEA Games gold medal with, the 24-year-old shared that he approached Friday’s bout the way he usually does.

“I wouldn’t say motivated [versus Kiefer], I mean, it’s just like any other game. When I play, I don’t see who’s guarding me, I just play,” said the 6-foot-2 swingman.

“I play to win all the time.”

The incident he and Ravena figured in shadowed his performance of 10 points on 50 percent shooting off the bench — the second time he had scored in double figures this season. After Friday, Pessumal is averaging 8.25 points.

“We have to sustain the level of excellence that they (starters) have. Our job is — I wouldn’t say support, but — when we get in, we should bring the level higher so when they come back, the game is easier for them,” he said.

Pessumal was then asked if he and Ravena met each other after the buzzer sounded as the two did not even shake hands after the contest. But, through a short yet strong response, the 24-year-old said that they did not.

“I wouldn’t say anything. I don’t know, after the game?,” he expressed.

“I’m a professional basketball player, I’m not here to make any friends.”

Continue Reading


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 had called Chris Ross the “N” word, which had 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 nag-flare up yung bata so I cannot blame him.”

However, Guiao 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 had 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 directed at 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 has been a stressful time for Guiao and the Road Warriors. They have now gone down to 2-3 in the team standings, and the mentor sees an urgent 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.

Continue Reading


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.”

Continue Reading