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Kia holds off San Miguel in Governor’s Cup debut



For the second straight conference, expansion team Kia Carnival prevails over the league’s most storied franchise. Powered by the crunch time composure of Alex Nuyles and a late explosion from their two imports, the league newcomers escaped the fiery San Miguel Beermen to take the 83-78 victory, Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Marcio Lassiter opened the ballgame with a triple to give the Beermen the early lead, but it was the Carnival who led all the way from that point. An 8-0 rally spurred by Alex Nuyles paved the way for Kia to take control of the ball game, 13-9. The Carnival held the Beermen to only a single point in the last three minutes to take a 17-10 lead at the end of the first.

Senegalese reinforcement Hamady N’Diaye came alive in the second quarter, helping the Carnival take a 28-21 lead halfway through the quarter and pull away from a resurgent SMB led by returning import Arizona Reid. Baskets from June Mar Fajardo and a triple from Marcio Lassiter towed San Miguel in knotting the game with just around two minutes left in the quarter, 30-all. The lone basket in the last stretch of the quarter came from JR Cawaling, whose trey gave Kia the 33-30 lead at the half. The Beermen were held to meager 9-out-of 39 from the field in the first half.

Kia led 35-30 early in the third quarter, but back-to-back triples from Reid and Lassiter put San Miguel back on top for the first time since the early first quarter, 36-35. Chang Tsung-hsien, the import from Chinese-Taipei, produced his first four points of the game halfway through the quarter to help Kia take back control of the game, 47-42. The Carnival led by as many as twelve in the next few minutes before a late San Miguel rally trimmed the lead to seven points at the end of the quarter, 58-51.

Kia would manage to hold on to the steady lead in the fourth quarter care of their two imports, who made up for their slow start by sinking the right shots to protect the lead. A triple by Arizona Reid cut the lead to a single digit, 73-72 late in the quarter, but Kia’s Alex Nuyles responded on their end of the court with a hug three of his own to make it a four-point game with just two minutes left to play. Two free throws care of Chang extended the lead to six with just 1:44 left on the clock.

Just as the final minute clocked in, Alex Cabagnot injected some life in the San Miguel cause, nailing three straight free throws after getting fouled on the three-point line, making it a three-point game, 78-75. The Beermen sealed another chance at keeping the game alive after Ronald Tubid managed to swipe the ball during the inbound before calling for another timeout.

Marcio Lassiter however ended up bricking what could have been the game-tying triple, with the Carnival corralling the rebound. Alex Nuyles once again played hero for the expansion team, nailing two straight free throws and later on making a massive steal en route to a fastbreak lay in. Nuyles’ four-point burst gave the Carnival the 81-75 lead with just 34.9 left on the clock.

Former MVP Arwind Santos kept the flame alive for San Miguel in the next play, sinking the quick triple to come within three once more, 78-81, with just two more seconds elapsed since the previous play.

N’Diaye, the debutant reinforcement managed to sink two more free throws with 21 seconds left to extend the lead to five. No Beerman could manage to convert in the final possession of the ball game, and at the buzzer it was Kia who walked away with the win.

Nuyles was named Player of the Game with 18 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. Imports N’Diyae and Chang had 21 points and 6 rebounds and 14 points respectively, coming alive in the second half after a forgettable first two quarters. Arizona Reid led San Miguel with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

The Scores:
KIA 83  – N’Diyae 21, Nuyles 18, Chang 14, Dehesa 8, Yee 7, Revilla 6, Thiele 4, Cawaling 3, Deutchman 2, Ighalo 0, Webb 0, Alvarez 0, Buensuceso 0, Pascual 0, Bagatsing 0.

SAN MIGUEL 78 – Cabagnot 18, Reid 17, Lassiter 12, Fajardo 11, Santos 5, Reyes 4, Espinas 4, Lutz 3, Tubid 3, Ross 1, Semerad 0.

Quarters: 17-10, 33-30, 58-51, 83-78

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PBA slaps fines on Yeng Guiao, Chris Ross



Yeng Guiao and Chris Ross opt to move on

The much-talked about tilt that pitted the San Miguel Beermen and the NLEX Road Warriors last January 18 featured numerous confrontations and exchanges. But none was more heated than what happened between fiery head coach Yeng Guiao and emotional defensive cog Chris Ross.

With 1:46 remaining in that game, Guiao and Ross figured in a verbal altercation that resulted to the latter being slapped with his second technical foul of the contest.

San Miguel head coach Leo Austria alledged that Guiao threw a racial slur at Ross that triggered the Filipino-American.

The league though could not find any hard evidence that this occurred.

“Upon review of the incident, consulting possible witnesses to the event and discussing the matter with both parties, the alleged racist remark attributed to Coach Guiao could not be established,” the league said in a statement. “Coach Guiao has denied such allegation while Chris Ross has opted to move forward and said that he would not want to discuss the matter further. However, Coach Guiao and Chris Ross will be subject to appropriate fines for their respective misconduct.

“As a result, the Office of the Commissioner finds no sufficient basis to discuss the matter of an alleged racist remark uttered by Coach Guiao. It may be recalled that in a previous incident, a heavy penalty was imposed for a racist remark that was clearly proven.

“Rest assured that any act that is racially derogatory and pejorative in nature will be dealt with sternly by the league,” the statement ended.

As a result, Guiao is fined PHP 11,000 for obscene gesture, use of profane language and engaging in a verbal altercation while Ross is fined the amount of PHP 2,600 for incurring two technical fouls, both for verbal altercation.

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MPBL aims to give local talent biggest exposure




After months of planning, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League will finally raise its curtains on Thursday, January 25 at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. Unlike the other leagues in the country, the MPBL wants to give Filipino aspirants from local communities a chance to shine on national TV.

“I would like to say, this is the noble project of our founder and chairman, Senator Manny Pacquiao, Talagang dream niya ito, matulungan ‘yung mga grassroots,” said MPBL head of marketing Arnold Vegafria during the league’s press conference. “And from the grassroots, to the collegiate players and also professionals na gusto niyang tulungan, mabigyan ng chances, makalaro at ma-expose ang skills nila para matulungan ang mga basketbolista not only sa Metro Manila but this is gonna be all over the Philippines.

“Simula muna sa Metro Manila and key cities in Luzon. Soon it will go to Visayas and Mindanao.”

The first conference for the league is the Anta Raja Cup. 10 teams from Luzon will compose the league, namely Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Caloocan, Imus, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Paranaque, Quezon City, and Valenzuela.

Though it may be ambitious, the league wants to continue the dream started by the Metropolitan Basketball Association which is to create a league that has a home and away format.

“For the longest time, after ng MBA, I think it’s 20 years ago na ‘yun, I think it’s due na rin for our basketball fans around the country, ‘yung mga sa provinces, ‘cause ‘yung advantage nito is ‘yung games mismo, dadalhin mo sa kanila. Unlike before sa mga liga natin, naka-stay lang sila sa isang venue,” said league commissioner Kenneth Duremdes.

“Maraming factors ngayon, traffic and time-consuming. Pero itong liga natin, tayo ang magdadala mismo sa mga tao, sa mga basketball fans. Sa tagal-tagal ng walang organized, or high-level na basketball tournament, ito na ‘yung time na makikita ng mga basketball fans natin na up close and personal ang mga ini-idolo nila, lalo na ang mga hometown hero nila,” the PBA legend furthered.

Armed with this vision, the league plans to be the country’s premier amateur league, helping build the dreams of the Filipino youth.

“It’s an amateur league. Kaya nga natin siya tinatawag na liga para sa lahat ng Pilipino, kasi lahat dito as long as Filipino ka, kasali ka,” shared Duremdes.

“Kagaya ng sinasabi ni Sen. Manny, matutulungan natin ang mga players ng grumaduate sa college na walang mapaglaruan, mga ex-pro na hindi masyado nabigyan ng exposure sa PBA, may exposure sila dito. Tapos yung mga grassroots player natin, malay mo springboard nila ang MPBL and who knows they will represent the country in the national team.

“Ito ang nakikita ni Sen Manny, mga players na out of school or the big leagues, ma-expose sila sa MPBL at mapansin sila ng national team or pro team,” he furthered.

The league’s first game will feature Caloocan taking on Paranaque at the Big Dome. Tickets are priced at P300, P200, P150, P100 while the Gen Ad will be open for all.

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Lady Blazers evade upset-hungry Lady Generals



The College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers avoided a major upset, slipping past the winless Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals, 25-17, 18-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-7, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

After winning the opening set, the Lady Blazers collapsed in the following frames, surrendering errors and fumbling passes. The Lady Generals took full advantage and grabbed all the momentum, rued Saint Benilde head coach Arnold Laniog.

“Nabigyan nga namin ‘yung kalaban ng confidence, kaya tuloy-tuloy na sila kanina. Mataas pa rin ‘yung tendency ng team ko mag-relax,” Laniog said. “Kung tutuusin, may advantage talaga ‘yung team namin. Nahihirapan lang talaga kami makabangon kapag nauunahan kami. Mabuti na lang kanina nakabawi kami noong huling dalawang sets.”

The Lady Generals took their turn making errant plays, allowing the Lady Blazers to grab a 15-7 lead in the fourth set and force a decider. Anchored by the imposing presence of their middle blockers Ranya Musa and Rachel Austero, the Lady Blazers raced to a 10-2 in the final set and sealed the win.

Austero finished with 17 points while Musa added 15. The pair also combined for seven of CSB’s 13 blocksm Austero also provided five aces.

The Lady Blazers (3-2) take on fellow Final Four aspirant Jose Rizal University (2-3) on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Generals had no player score in double-digits as they pulled 48 points from Benilde’s errors. Yvette Tongco and Arina Reyes, nonetheless, provided nine points apiece.

The Lady Generals (0-5) get their best chance at their first of the season when they face also-ran Mapua University (0-4) also on Wednesday.

The Scores

CSB (3) – Austero 17, Musa 15, Cui 8, Ventura 8, Abriam 5, Daguil 5, Enginco 5, Cardiente 1, Pablo 1, Dolorito 0, Lim (L), Torres (L)

EAC (2) – Reyes 9, Tongco 9, Binondo 8, Lumbo 8, Tasis 4, Pablo 3, Magbanua 2, Chan 0, Yongco 0, Medina (L)

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Blazers rally from 0-2 deficit, fend off Generals for fourth win



Defending NCAA men’s volleyball champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers completed a huge comeback from an 0-2 hole and upended the gritty Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, 19-25, 20-25, 25-7, 25-14, 15-11, Monday morning at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Generals stormed through the first two sets, leaning on better transition and their service game. Joshua Mina and Chris Ilano poured in most of their combined 27 points in these frames.

Nonetheless, when the Blazers realized that they needed to turn up its aggressiveness, it was cruise control from there.

“Nung first two sets, nag-relaxed kami, ‘di kami aggressive sa atake, sa blocking,” Benilde senior middle blocker Jethro Orian lamented. “Eh yung kalaban, masipag sila.”

EAC imploded in the next two sets, coughing up most of its 41 miscues during the frame. The reigning champions capitalized on the situation with heightened aggression.

Halfway into the eliminations, Orian shared that the Blazers needed to continue their hard work.

“Kailangan pa naming mas maging aggressive. Mas tumrabaho sa dapat naming again,” he said.

Captain Isaah Arda registered a 19-point outing, 17 coming off attacks. Orian’s fellow center attacker Francis Basilan finished with 12 markers.

The Blazers (4-1) will battle the Jose Rizal University (0-5) on Wednesday.

Mina starred for the Generals with 16 points.

The Generals (2-3) will lock horns with Mapua University (2-2) on Thursday, in a tussle for survival.

The Scores:

CSB 3 – Arda 19, Basilan 12, Orian 9, Bacani 9, Bautista 9, Magsino 4, Rojas 1, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

EAC 2 – Mina 16, Ilano 11, Rasing 11, Castellano 8, Lim 6, Garcia 2, Guinto 1, Panoy 0, Lumbar 0, Magadan L, Bagdoc L.

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