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The fight is far from over for Talk ‘N Text



Four hundred thirty-six days ago, San Mig Coffee dethroned then Philippine Cup champion Talk ‘N Text to end the latter’s three-year reign as All-Filipino Cup title-holders. They went on to win the Philippine Cup trophy and then embarked on a journey that would end in greatness.

The Mixers emerged as Grand Slam champions after two conferences and part of the tiring route was edging the Tropang Texters in separate series in the Commissioner’s and Governors’ Cup conferences of the 2014 season.

The Tropang Texters seemed to have a hard time overcoming the hump when pitted against San Mig Coffee, and for some, their reign as one of the elite teams in the league is slowly coming to a halt.

But everything is now a fraction of the past, and Talk ‘N Text has reloaded with more weapons to boost the team’s arsenal at the start of the 2015 season.

The Tropang Texters and Star Hotshots once again crossed paths, this time in the semi-finals of the current season’s Commissioner’s Cup.

Purefoods overwhelmed Talk ‘N Text in the opener and left Tropang Texters head coach Jong Uichico looking for answers. On paper, it surely appeared the Star Hotshots have the momentum and the advantage in the series, but in Game 2 the Tropang Texters showed the battle is far from being won and they have just about the right tools to get ahead of the road block.

Tim Cone goes big to start ball games, and Uichico avoided a bad start like in Game 1 when he countered Cone’s unit with a big combination of his own without sacrificing much space.

Ivan Johnson, Ranidel de Ocampo, Jay Washington, Jayson Castro, and Larry Fonacier started for Talk ‘N Text and the team would go on a strong start, taking a 21-13 lead by the end of the first period. It was a season-low for Purefoods in first quarter scoring, and defense played a big part in allowing Talk ‘N Text gain cushion.

The Tropang Texters put Washington on Denzel Bowles, while de Ocampo defended Joe Devance. Johnson shut down Marc Pingris and took care of the boards, leading to fastbreak opportunities for the squad.

From there it was toe to toe but overall, Talk ‘N Text displayed more tenacity on both ends of the floor, and made sure observers would notice they aren’t out of the competition yet. The effort especially on defense was noteworthy, and they limited Purefoods to only 15 assists compared to 26 in Game 1 after bothering passing lanes and exerting more energy on defense.

Key points:


– Jayson Castro is the reigning Commissioner’s Cup Best Player and reminded everyone he is still one of the best players in the league. He finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a block, and was 56 percent from the field. In addition, he was a plus-16 on the floor. He is averaging 20 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 5 APG in the series, and 17-4-5 in the conference.

Photo courtesy of Nuki Sabio of PBA Images

Photo courtesy of Nuki Sabio of PBA Images

– Denzel Bowles scored 35 points but the entire team only added 42. Cone have stressed the overreliance throughout the conference, and Bowles’ usage rate (USG%) is a whopping 42.2 percent. Russell Westbrook’s USG% is 38.1 even without much support. LeBron James is 32, James Harden 30.6, and Steph Curry 28.5.

It was opposite of how Talk ‘N Text performed. Johnson was a measly six-for-23 from the field and missed all of his seven three-point attempts, but the locals provided ample support. Five others finished in double digits (Castro 21, De Ocampo 14, Washington 12, Kevin Alas 12, Fonacier 10) in what was a total team effort from the Tropang Texters.

– In many facets of the game, Talk ‘N Text just dominated Purefoods. They posted a commanding 52-22 edge in points in the paint, outrebounded their opponents 56-41 (17-8 offensive boards, and 18 second chance points compared to only four for the Star Hotshots, and had a 15-6 lead in fastbreak points.

Here’s how Purefoods fared in the series opener and in the game last Monday.

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Game 27782.839.4%33/8/4115


Talk ‘N Text showed in Game 2 that like Purefoods, they are one of the elite franchises in the league, despite not winning a title since 2013.

The Tropang Texters have responded to the challenge and it is obvious that the series is far from over and so is Talk ‘N Text’s reign as one of the teams to beat in the league.

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Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory



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2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.

The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.

“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.

Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.

Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.

Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.

Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.

While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.

It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.

The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.

As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.

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Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’



Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup



Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win



Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.

So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”

After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.

Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.

The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.

The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.

Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.

The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

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