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Ice cold: San Miguel dismantles Alaska comeback, takes home 20th title

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The San Miguel Beermen are champions once again.

The league’s most storied franchise took home their 20th conference title tonight, after surviving another massive comeback from the Alaska Aces, who climbed from a 23-point hole in the second quarter, and eventually exiting four heated quarters of basketball with an 80-78 Game 7 victory, Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

The first quarter was welcomed by a trade of salvos that led to a 7-7 deadlock at the halfway point of the quarter. Back-to-back treys care of Arwind Santos gave the Beermen the means to pull away by as many as eight, 15-7, in the next few minutes. Powered by their seamless outside shooting, San Miguel remained ahead of the chase at the end of the first quarter, 21-12. The Beermen drained five of their 10 three-point attempts in the quarter, Santos having found success from beyond the arc thrice in the period.

Still the better shooting team, the Beermen extended their lead by up to 16 early in the second quarter. For the upteenth time in the series, tempers flared between the two sides around the six-minute mark, when San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo pushed Alaska big man Sam Eman from the back. Eman in turn shoved Fajardo’s teammate Ronald Tubid, and coming to his teammate’s defense Fajardo went to Eman to give him a piece of his mind accompanied with a shove up front. The near-scuffle was immediately defused by personnel from both sides. Eman and Fajardo were each slapped with technical fouls for second motion. Still scoring as they pleased, the Beermen doubled the Aces’ output with just four minutes on the clock, 42-21, care of Santos’ fourth trey of the game. Following a dominant display on both ends by the frontcourt duo of Santos and Fajardo, the Beermen entered halftime with a 48-27 lead. Fajardo had 15 points and 12 rebounds to his name for the first half. Despite the 21-point deficit, the Aces shot 42.9% from the field, not far off from the Beermen’s 46.3%.

A flurry of big baskets care of Calvin Abueva to trim the lead to 13, 50-37, early in the third period gave Alaska their much-needed morale boost. Amidst flaring tempers anew, the Aces managed to come within 11 points later in the quarter. A three-point play by Abueva after powering his way to the rim put the Aces within single digits for the first time since the opening period, 48-56. The Aces’ renewed push brought them to as close as three, 57-60, in the final minute of the quarter. Two free throws from San Miguel’s Fajardo, who was previously scoreless in the quarter, extended the lead to five, 62-57, but a late basket by Dondon Hontiveros cut the lead to three shortly before the buzzer, 62-59.

Another basket by Hontiveros to open the fourth period put the Aces within striking distance, 63-64. The Aces finally found themselves with the deadlock at the six-minute mark, thanks to Chris Exciminiano. A fastbreak layup this time care of Cyrus Baguio gave Alaska their first taste of the lead since the first quarter, 70-68. Taking advantage of an exhausted Santos and Fajardo, the Aces managed to pull away by six, 74-68, in the following minutes of play. The Beermen however were able to keep up the pace, and entering the final two minutes, the Aces’ lead was at two, 76-74.

A big offensive rebound by Exciminiano paved the way for Sonny Thoss to extend the lead to four, 78-74, but two Chris Lutz free throws on the other end kept the Beermen within two, 78-76, with a minute and a half left on the clock. After forcing the Aces to throw the ball with just under a minute left in regulation, the Beermen found Santos lurking at the three-point line. The former MVP went on to sink the trey and give the Beermen back the lead, 79-78, with just 42 ticks remaining. After forcing Thoss to miss the layup in the following possession, the Beermen managed to retake possession of the ball with 24.8 left on the clock, thanks to a rebound by Santos. Santos later split two free throws at the 19-second mark to extend the lead to three, 81-78.

A missed Abueva floater with nine seconds left in the quarter ended up with Tubid. Tubid, unaware that San Miguel had no more timeouts left, was slapped with a technical foul for asking for a timeout after corralling the ball. Hontiveros however was unable to sink the technical free throw, and with 6.4 left on the clock and the ball returning to San Miguel, the score remained unchanged.

With 2.8 seconds left, Abueva managed to force a jump ball after causing Fajardo to fall down just by the baseline. Abueva won the ball and immediately flung it to JVee Casio who was waiting at the three-point line. His shot missed however, and it was the Beermen who exploded into the court celebrating.

Santos led the Beermen with 22 points and 11 rebounds. This is the first All-Filipino Conference championship won by the San Miguel franchise since 2001, when they defeated sister team Barangay Ginebra.

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Basketball

D-League to hold three-day showcase for players

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Seeking to further display the greatness of the Filipino basketball players, the PBA is giving more chances to the cagers as the league is set to hold the first-ever PBA D-League Showdown later this conference.

Opening the eighth season with this ground-breaking news, PBA officer-in-charge Willie Marcial is hopeful that this will serve as another motivation for the players to perform at their best this 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup.

“Ginagawa naman natin ito para mas galingan ng mga players natin para rin maipakita nila yung tunay nilang talento,” he said Thursday during the opening ceremonies at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Marcial bared that the plan is to hold a two-day summit for the players suiting up in the ongoing conference to allow them to showcase their talents in front of coaches and scouts, not just from the PBA but also from countries in the Southeast Asian region.

“Lahat ng mga players ay maglalaro dito at mapapanood hindi lang ng mga PBA coaches,” he said.

“Iimbitahin din namin ang mga coaches ng ibang bansa tulad ng Malaysia, Thailand, at Vietnam na kumukuha ng imports sa atin.”

Marcial acknowledged that as much as players seek to make the jump to the pro league, securing spots in the PBA teams have been hard to crack over the past few years, forcing the players to look elsewhere for opportunities.

That has made playing in overseas leagues an option for these less fortunate ballers, keeping them earning while also hoping to impress scouts while keeping their PBA dreams alive.

Some of the players who suited up in the D-League and are currently playing outside of the country are Paul Zamar and Almond Vosotros in Thailand, AJ Mandani in Singapore, and Reil Cervantes in Indonesia.

With this project, Marcial is hopeful that this would keep the players in line while also delivering the best competition the D-League could dream of.

“Iwasan natin ang bisyo at galingan ninyo.”

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CSJL

Letran overpowers Lyceum for second win

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After a string of losses, the Colegio San Juan de Letran Lady Knights returned to the NCAA Season 93 win column with a gritty win over the short-handed Lyceum of the Philippines University Lady Pirates, 28-26, 20-25, 26-24, 25-20, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Knights won out in a sloppy match which had both teams combine for 25 aces, 15 coming from Letran. According to assistant coach Ron Dulay, Letran needed to solve their reception problems on the fly.

“Weakness nga siguro namin ‘yung receive, pero inaayos namin siya ensayo. Kanina medyo shaky lang ‘yung mga bata. Mabuti noong dulo naka-adjust kami sa ginagawa ng kalaban,” said Dulay.

Both sides also had a whooping 34 errors apiece. Letran’s miscues, however, came early in the match and were lessened by the deciding fourth set which they won convincingly.

“Unti-unte tumataas ‘yung level ng team. Kailangan talaga namin mag-double time pa sa mga susunod na laban kung gusto namin umabot doon sa Top Four,” Dulay added.

Second-year Lady Knight Charm Simborio led the way with 17 points while Glayssa Torres added 15 which includes two blocks and three aces.

The Lady Knights (2-2) take on perennial rival San Beda College (4-0) on Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Christine Miralles topped the Lady Pirates with a career-high 21 points. Team captain Bien Juanillo added 17 markers.

The Lady Pirates (1-3) face the undefeated defending champs Arellano University (4-0) on Sunday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

CSJL (3) – Simborio 17, Torres 15, Abitan 11, Barrinuevo 8, Parin 8, Mendoza 3, Bangcola 2, Uriza 1, Perez 0, Larioque (L)

LPU (1) – Miralles 21, Juanillo 17, Sevilla 11, Bongabong 5, Patio 5, Genova 2, Marcella (L), Romanban (L)

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

FIBA 3×3 World Cup to be a huge boost for country’s Olympic bid

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All roads will lead to Bocaue, Bulacan as the 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will head to the Philippine Arena. The biggest tournament in 3×3 basketball will be played from June 8-12, 2018.

The announcement was made Thursday afternoon by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executives. The event was graced by Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas, SMART Sports’ Christopher Quimpo, and FIBA’s 3×3 Managing Director Alex Sanchez.

With 3×3 basketball being declared an Olympic event last 2017, the SBP is looking at this tournament as a way to prove to the world that we are capable of hosting and that we can compete with the world’s finest.

“As mentioned earlier, I think we’ve been very successful holding it in the malls, 3,000 to 4,000 people watching the games. We chose to move it to a bigger venue, I think we want to give an opportunity for more people to see the games,” said SBP president Al Panlilio.

“From a Philippine basketball point of view, that gives an opportunity for the youth to watch the game. From an SBP, FIBA perspective, we want bigger crowds in 3×3 and that’s something we want to deliver to FIBA,” he added.

There will be 40 teams split into two divisions that will compete in this annual tourney.

For the men’s side, the Philippines will take on teams from Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Ecuador, Estonia, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and Uruguaz.

In the women’s division, the hosts will face Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, United States, and Venezuela.

With this task of hosting a world class tournament, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help in the organization of it.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream,” said Mascariñas.

“Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance. I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times.”

FIBA, on the other hand, is looking forward to helping groom a possible Philippine team that will compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I’m sure the event this year, we’re starting the countdown, is going to be amazing,” Sanchez said. “I think this is going to be helpful for us in developing.

“I’m coming from Tokyo where we’re discussing the venue and layout of the Olympics. We should make an effort with Al and SBP to see if we have a Filipino team in Olympics. In my opinion Filipinos have a real chance to make it. Hopefully this can give us a nice push to get a PH team to the Olympics,” the Spanish executive added.

“See you in June.”

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EAC

Perpetual escapes upset-hungry EAC

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Fighting off a sluggish start, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas came alive late to slip past the Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals, 22-25, 25-19, 25-14, 23-25, 15-13, and remain on pace for a spot in the NCAA Season 93 Final Four at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Taking on a struggling EAC side, Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño knew that there was a possibility that his squad would relax. His team has had trouble starting and finishing off matches, as evidenced in their first set performance and lack of finishing push in the fourth frame.

“May tendency talaga ‘yung team ko na mag-relax. Sabihin na nating hindi kasi sobrang lakas ng kalaban. Pero alam naman natin sa volleyball na wala namang team na ibibigay sa’yo ‘yung panalo, kailangan kunin mo talaga,” Cariño lamented.

The fifth frame came down to late breaks. The Lady Altas broke a 13-all tie with back-to-back transition conversions from Cindy Imbo and Lourdes Clemente.

“Siyempre, nage-expect ako nang mas maganda pang performance sa team ko. Alam din naman nila na mas may ibubuga pa sila kaya kailangan mas maganda ang ipakita namin sa mga huli naming laro,” the NCAA champion mentor added.

Imbo tallied a game-high 17 points, while Clemente and Maria Aurora Tripoli added 15 points, apiece. The Lady Altas needed all of their 11 aces and 11 blocks to offset their season-high 42 errors.

Aira Binondo was the only Lady General in double-digits with 13 points.

The Lady Altas (3-1) next face the Jose Rizal University (2-2) on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. EAC (0-4) will look for their first win on Monday against the College of Saint Benilde (2-1).

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Imbo 17, Clemente 15, Tripoli 15, Sangalang 11, Llorente 10, Versoza 4, Estanislao 1, Gual 1, Umandal 0, Medalla (L)

EAC (2) – Binondo 13, Tongco 9, Pablo 8, Lumbao 7, Magbanua 7, Reyes A. 3, Reyes K. 3, Tasis 2, Yongco 1, Medina (L)

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