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Jalalon’s triple-double pushes Arellano past EAC to clinch playoff spot



In the midst of a huge Emilio Aguinaldo College rally and with half of the crowd against him, Jiovani Jalalon displayed uncanny composure to notch his fourth career triple-double and lead the Arellano University Chiefs to a 98-90 victory to clinch a playoff spot in the NCAA Season 91 Seniors’ Basketball tournament.

The Emilio Aguinaldo College defense was non existent in the first quarter as the small backcourt of the Generals could not match-up with the duo of Jio Jalalon and Zach Nicholls. The two Chiefs combined for 14 first quarter points. Moreover, Jalalon displayed great floor generalship in assisting in almost all of the made field goals of his teammates in the quarter. The frontline of Sidney Onwubere and Hamadou Laminou though would power their way in the paint resulting to foul trouble for American student athlete Dioncee Holts. Still, the Chiefs held a 26-16 lead to end the opening quarter.

The Arellano offense continued to punish their opponents defense in the first six minutes and 51 seconds of the second quarter. The lead grew to as high as 45-27 behind the outside sniping of Nicholls. Smart Elite ambassador Jalalon continued his dazzling display in accumulating nine assists by then. After a timeout by EAC head coach Andy de Guzman, team leaders Francis Munsayac and Sidney Onwubere then unleashed an 11-6 rally behind triples by Munsayac and aggressiveness by Onwubere in the paint. Even with Arellano shooting 54% from the field at the half, the General were able to slice the lead to 14, 52-38, entering the second half.

The Legarda-based squad were forced to shoot from the outside in the early parts of the third quarter. Unfortunately for them, their shots did not fall that resulted to easy fastbreak layups for the Chiefs. The lead grew to a game-high 20 points, 68-48, with 4:53 remaining in the quarter. After a timeout, Sidney Onwubere, playing for nothing but school pride, drove recklessly through the lanes to lead his team in a 13-6 blast. Onwubere scored seven in the rally, with three coming from the charity stripe, while Mejos knocked down a three-pointer and an and-one to cut the Arellano lead to a manageable 72-61 margin.

Absolutely no defense was played in the first five minutes of the final stanza as the two teams exchanged baskets with Arellano still maintaining a ten-point, 85-75, lead until the 5:46 mark. Jalalon’s offense was in full display during that span with him scoring five in that span and notching his tenth assist in an alley-oop play with Salado. The Arellano defense though stagnated afterwards as the playoff-chasers could not defend the three-point arc. Jozhua General exploited this in knocking down a three-pointer and was fouled beyond-the-arc for two free throws. Moreover, Onwubere continued his act while a pullup jumper by Munsayac cut the lead to just three, 89-86, with 3:36 remaining.

To stop the bleeding, Jalalon took the initiative to halt the EAC momentum in scoring from two Salado finds to him to extend the lead once more to seven. The San Beda crowd though continuously jeered the Arellano squad and cheer for their Mendiola neighbors that inspired the Generals. The Arellano frontline could not grab a rebound from misses as Laminou grabbed offensive rebounds with ease resulting to putbacks while a Munsayac find to Onwubere on the break cut the lead to just three once more, 93-90, with 53 ticks to go. After a rebound off an EAC miss notched Jalalon’s fourth triple-double, Munsayac fouled Jalalon that brought them to the penalty. Fortunately for the Chiefs, as Jalalon missed two crucial free throws, a double-lane violation was called that favored Arellano. A fadeaway by Jalalon extended the lead. On the defensive end, a steal from two inbound passes from EAC resulted to conversions for him as well. Jalalon scored the last nine points for his squad to lead them to a 98-90 win.

“Laking ginhawa na nanalo kami,” said Arellano head coach Jerry Condinera after the game. However, the team was rattled after knowing that they needed to win by 25 points to be ranked high in the playoff seeding according to the PBA legend. “Sabi ng isang AU staff sa amin, to avoid complications, we needed to win by 25. Na off-track kami dun. Nawala kami sa rhythm dahil may hinahabol pa pala na points.”

For Jalalon, he admitted that he was nervous as Emilio Aguinaldo was making their run. “Kinakabahan na ko. Pag natalo pa kami, mawala pa kami sa Final Four. Yun dumepensa kami ng maayos kaya nakabawi nung huli.”

Jio Jalalon notched his fourth triple-double of the season with 31 points, ten boards, and ten dimes. He also had an excellent shooting performance in shooting 12/17 from the field. Zach Nicholls complemented the Jalalon masterpiece with 15 points, 12 coming from downtown.

For the hapless Generals, Sidney Onwubere topscored with 24 points and added nine boards. Hamadou Laminou had a 20-20 outing as well with 20 points and 23 boards.

As a team, the Chiefs shot an outstanding 49% from the field compared to the Generals’ 38%. The Legarda cagers though outrebounded their opponents 53-46 resulting to 21 second chance points.

The Arellano Chiefs, with a 12-6 slate, are now locked for a playoff spot. The EAC Generals (2-15), who are in a midst of a ten-game losing streak, will try to spoil the party as they face the Mapua Cardinals on Friday, October 9 at 2:00pm.

The Scores:
AU (98) – Jalalon 31, Nicholls 15 , Enriquez 11, Salado 11, Gumaru 8, Meca 7, Holts 4, Cadavis 4, De Guzman 3, Bangga 2, Tano 2, Ongolo-ongolo 0, Ortega 0, Zamora 0.
EAC (90) – Onwubere 24, Laminou 20, Munsayac 15, Mejos 13, General 8, Bonleon 5, Diego 5, Pascual 0, Corilla 0, Estacio 0.
Quarterscores: 26-16, 52-38, 74-61, 98-90.

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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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