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Galanza leads Warriors in upset over Tamaraws



A career-high 26-point performance from Bong Galanza would come in handy for hosts University of the East Red Warriors, who stay in contention for a spot in the final four after trouncing rivals Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 94-71, Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Tamaraws ushered in the first quarter with a strong showing, with R.R Pogoy and Anthony Hargrove rising to give FEU the early lead. A 7-0 run by the Warriors led by Bong Galanza would bring UE to a 19-13 lead. The Warriors would get another push after star guard Roi Sumang was subbed in late in the quarter, returning to the court for the first time in two weeks having sat out last week’s victory over NU as punishment for missing practice.Though Sumang would miss his only attempt in the quarter, his presence was enough to motivate UE to close out the quarter with a 21-17 lead. Sumang eventually would go on to score all of his nine points in the second half.

An 8-0 run helmed by Achie Inigo and Mike Tolomia early in the second quarter would help the Tams close the gap to a single point, 25-26, but the run was immediately culled by a Dan Alberto teardrop. Galanza and Alberto would hold the fort for the Warriors for the remainder of the quarter. By the end of the first half, the Warriors would retain the lead, 44-37, while holding the Tamaraws to only two perimeter points and forcing them to 13 turnovers.

Back-to-back baskets from Charles Mammie would put the Warriors up by double digits, 48-37 in the opening minute of the third quarter. FEU’s Mark Belo however would once again rise up, leading a 7-0 rally that cut the lead to 48-44. The neighboring schools would continue to trade baskets for the rest of the quarter, with Mike Tolomia, Carl Cruz, and Achie Inigo leading the charge for the Tamaraws and Charles Mammie and Dan Alberto taking up the scoring reins for the resting Galanza. UE would hold on to the lead, 64-61, at the end of the quarter.

A Carl Cruz three-pointer would push the Tams to the deadlock, 64-all as soon as the fourth quarter opened. However, a basket from Galanza and five consecutive points from a returning Roi Sumang would suddenly put the Warriors back up in double digits, 76-65, in the next two minutes. The Warriors would then go on to dominate the Tamaraws in the next three minutes, completing a 14-0 run that would put the hosts up by 83-65 halfway through the quarter. Unable to stop the scorching hot shooting from Galanza and Charles Mammie’s domination in the paint, the Tamaraws could only watch as the Warriors started piling on the lead.  With the Warriors still up 90-65 entering the final two minutes, FEU coach Nash Racela, who had just returned from Spain as part of the Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff, would raise the white flag by sending in the FEU second stringers.

Galanza had four assists and three steals to go with his career high 26 points. Charles Mammie added 18 points and 7 rebounds, while Dan Alberto had 10 points. Mark Belo led the scoring for FEU with 16 points along with 8 rebounds, while Achie Inigo chipped in 10. Mike Tolomia was held to nine points. The Red Warriors’ last victory over FEU was on September 24, 2009, 78-72.


“It’s been a while since we last met FEU. Naghahabol pa rin kami. We have to be control our destiny. We have to be ready for La Salle,” said UE coach Derrick Pumaren at the post-game conference.

UE bigman Charles Mammie meanwhile is confident about their coming game against defending champions La Salle. “We’re coming for them. We aren’t scared of them. I’m not scared of them.”

UE needs to win their remaining games in order to qualify for a final four slot, while hoping NU, who are one game ahead of them, lose in their remaining assignments.

FEU and Ateneo are currently now tied at 10-3 for first, and the victor of their game next week will come out of the eliminations round as the first overall seed, while the loser will drop to third. If the defending champions La Salle are victorious against UE in their matchup on Wednesday, the defending champions will be awarded at least a twice-to-beat incentive. Should UE win both of their remaining games once and NU win at least one more, the two will have a play-off for the fourth seed.

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



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 since entering in 2012, was all praises for the way the officiating has changed this 43rd season — by 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 the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Sunday night.

As has been said many times, physicality had become something controlled over the last two years. Abueva knows it too well, having been a casualty, as he has paid a bevy of penalties during that time.

And now that it is a thing of the past, the 6-foot-2 bruiser feels much better, knowing that he can 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



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



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



It’s no secret that the Meralco Bolts have 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 as they are, it looks like 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 excuses.

“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,” asserted 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 that 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 have a chance to end their slump against the Kia Picanto 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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