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In-form Foton dumps lowly Mane ‘n Tail in four sets

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The Foton Tornadoes started slowly but eventually gained steam to emerge victorious against the stiff Mane ‘n Tail Lady Stallions, 24-26, 25-19, 25-21, 25-15, in the Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference first round encounter earlier at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan City, Laguna.

Pam Lastimosa scored a team-high 16 points for Foton who also had starters Patty Orendain and Angeli Araneta feature in double digits with 15 and 13 respectively. Meanwhile, Honey Royse Tubino recorded a game-high 22 points, but it was in vain as her efforts were not enough to stop the Tornadoes from ripping them apart late in the game.

Foton dropped the first set but actually began the contest on top. Orendain scored three of the Tornadoes’ first eight points to put her team ahead 8-4 at the first technical timeout of the game. An exchange of runs took place afterwards, even extending Foton’s lead to five at 12-7. Facing a deficit, Mane ‘n Tail’s trio of Tubino, Danika Gendrauli and Lilet Mabbayad worked towards levelling the score and even grabbing the lead heading into the second technical timeout, 16-14. In response, Foton coach sent Kimberly Mendez and Dzi Gervacio into the game. The latter helped the Tornadoes build momentum with two emphatic spikes to gain back the advantage at 20-18. Not to be denied, the Lady Stallions knotted the score with Tubino leading the way. It was back and forth with both teams not letting their foes take the upper hand, although Foton may have seized the first set had Lastimosa not sent her spike wide. At 24-all, Tubino and Gendrauli came up big to finally bag the opening set for Mane ‘n Tail.

Eager to make up for their first set loss, the Tornadoes started the second set strongly. This time, it was Lastimosa who poured in four of her team’s eight points to put them ahead at 8-5. Unlike the previous set, this was one-sided as Foton’s defense only allowed three points heading into the next technical timeout, where they led by eight. Foton reduced the gap to as low as four courtesy of Tubino and team captain Jill Gustillo. Nonetheless, it was not enough as Foton blew by them with six of the set’s last 10 points going their way to close out the second set comfortably at 25-19.

There was hardly space between both teams early in the third set with the score close, heading into its first technical timeout, 8-6 in favor of Foton. After Gervacio’s long spike allowed Mane ‘n Tail to level the score at eight apiece, the Tornadoes renewed their ascendancy with Royce Estampa and Nicole Tiamzon stepping up and delivering the goods. Yet, the duo of Tubino and Gendrauli enabled Mane ‘n Tail to stay within touching distance and even take the lead courtesy of Christine Basco. Foton then took charge with Araneta scoring three points and guide her team to a 20-16 advantage. Although Mane ‘n Tail’s Samantha Dawson teamed up with Tubino to keep the Lady Stallions alive in the third set, Tiamzon and Ivy Remulla nailed points to overturn a 1-0 set deficit into a 2-1 lead moving onto the fourth frame.

With momentum on their side, Foton prevented their foes from mounting a comeback in the fourth set. Eight of the first 10 points in the set went to them with their solid net defense too firm for Mane ‘n Tail to break down. Collegiate volleyball stars Lastimosa, Tiamzon, and Araneta wrought havoc midway into the set, and as a result towed Foton into a seemingly unassailable 16-8 lead. Needing only nine points to win the match, the Tornadoes had to absorb a mini run spearheaded by Lady Stallion Gendrauli before Mendez’s ace finally shut the doors down en route to a comfortable four-set victory.

This is the effect ng matagal na pahinga, actually active rest kaya lang iba rin talaga ‘yung may training kayo together. Masyadong mahaba yung five days. Buti na lang towards the end na pick up na yung pace,” said Foton coach Vilet Ponce De Leon of the team’s unsteady start. Her team, a mixture of active collegiate players and veteran players familiar of multiple situations, have been enjoying their time together on the court. Hence, they now sport a 3-1 record in the league while their beaten foes Mane ‘n Tail Lady Stallions fell to their third loss in four games.

The Scores:

Foton (3) – Lastimosa 16, Orendain 15, Araneta 13, Tiamzon 8, Gervacio 6, Remulla 4, Macatuno 2, Estampa 2, Pantaleon (L)

Mane ‘n Tail (1) – Tubino 22, Gendrauli 15, Gustillo 7, Praca 6, Mabbayad 3, Dawson 3, Basco 1, Cotel (L)

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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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