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Global fend off Manila Jeepney to score second UFL Cup win

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Global FC continued to rule Group D by hammering Manila Jeepney FC, 4-1, in the battle of two UFL Division I sides Sunday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

The first clear-cut chance in the match came care of Mark Hartmann, who opened the scoring by launching a sweet shot from outside the box to put his team ahead. Jeepney tried to erase the deficit as soon as possible and they thought they did just a minute later. Nicolas Ferrer Jr. thought he scored the equalizer but the linesman adjudged him offside, much to the relief of Global. Another chance for Jeepney arrived courtesy of Michael Amora, but his effort was dealt with by Global goalkeeper Patrick Deyto. Yet just right after that, Global orchestrated a brilliant sequence to split the Jeepney defense. Even if he had space to beat Manila Jeepney keeper Arjay Joyel, Mark Hartmann decided to feed the ball to Yu Hoshide who tapped the ball into the net to double Global’s lead.

At two-nil up, Global remained dominant in the match and seemed more likely to score the game’s next goal. Hartmann brothers, Matthew and Mark, spearheaded the charge. Both of them attempted to score from inside the box at the 20th minute, but the Jeepney defenders were able to get their bodies in between the shots and the goal. Three minutes later, Misagh Bahadoran set up Mark with a wonderful cross from the right wing. The ex-Loyola midfielder did get his ball onto the pass but it only struck the post before Khosro Safarian Siahmazgi managed to clear the ball off the line just before Norio Suzuki attempted to slot home the rebound. Mark was in the thick of things once more at the 25th minute when he tried to score off Bahadoran’s pass. Unfortunately for him, defender Rodrigue Nembot Talla was there to stifle his shot.

Amidst plenty of Global chances came one for Manila Jeepney. Ferrer had his shot initially blocked by Jahanbakhsh Zabihi Taher before his second attempt was almost spilled by Deyto, only for Daisuke Sato to clear the ball away from danger. Shortly, the UFL League Champions were on the attack again with Mark’s delivery to Bahadoran, who was unable to test Joyel inside the box. It may have been 3-0 at the hour mark had the Global captain made his chance count. Instead, it was the trailing side who soon found the back of the net. Manila Jeepney halved the deficit with 15 minutes to go in the first half when N’gan Koffi Desmos Arthur Kouassi robbed the ball from Zabihi Taher inside the Global box before clinically striking the ball into the onion bag.

After conceding, Global aimed to cushion their lead again before the break. Mark Hartmann squandered two chances, which on another day may have been goals for the seemingly omnipresent midfielder. Meanwhile, Jeepney, who found themselves down by just a goal, also had two good chances from Jamal Dalir Lord but neither of his opportunities altered the score as well. With a minute plus stoppage time left in the opening half, Global’s Matthew Hartmann sneaked in a well-timed through ball towards OJ Clarino’s path. The former Stallion talisman then gathered enough composure to slide the ball away from Joyel’s reach and into the goal to make it 3-1.

After the interval, Global used offense as their best tool to keep Manila Jeepney from finding gaps in the back line. It proved effective as the men in blue created wave after wave of opportunities, but nearly all of which were put to waste. Just like in the first half, Mark Hartmann pummelled the exhausted Manila Jeepney squad, who only had to play with one substitute throughout the match. The British-born Filipino came closest five minutes after halftime with a shot that was met by Joyel. The Global dominance yielded a solitary goal though, which came at the 75th minute. Bahadoran sent a low cross towards Izo Elhabib who scored Global’s fourth by smacking the woodwork and in. Afterwards, it was a quiet game with no big chances arriving for each side until full time.

I thought we’re a little bit sluggish,” Global coach Leigh Manson commented. “We don’t want to make excuses. Jeepney, since the last time we played them, were a little bit tighter, a little bit more disciplined but we still missed a lot of chances,” he added while citing heat as a factor that may bothered most of his players. “We were creating chances and we’re not putting them away. That reflects in the score line,” Manson furthered.

Sluggish as it may look for Manson, the win still puts Global ahead in Group D with six points and will stay there should Forza not lose to Laos, a game which is ongoing as of press time. Up next for Global is a match against former Division I fellows Nomads on Saturday, May 16, at 8:30 PM. Also on the same day, Manila Jeepney will aim for their first win when they collide with Forza at 6:15 in the evening.

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Raymond Almazan ejected in return

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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.

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

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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.”

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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 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.

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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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