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LA Tenorio, Ginebra complete comeback for commanding 2-0 Finals lead

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LA Tenorio’s end-game heroics were more than enough to lift the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel past the Meralco Bolts, 76-86, in Game Two of the 2017 Governors’ Cup Finals, Sunday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

Ginebra now own a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, and will have a chance to move to a win away from defending their crown on Game Three on Wednesday, October 18, 7:00 PM, still at the Big Dome.

“We took a big punch from them early in the game and kind of survived that and we were able to/make it into a possession-by-possession game,” said coach Tim Cone. “No one really got up in front, then we had a real good closing kick.”

Tenorio finished with 14 points, with 10 coming in the fourth quarter. But it was import Justin Brownlee who captained the Barangay with 19 points on 44 percent shooting, alongside 13 rebounds and seven assists.

The Barangay were down, 69-75, past the midway mark of the final frame, until a Brownlee-led 10-0 scoring spree — capped by Scottie Thompson’s freebies — wiped out the deficit and put them ahead, 79-75, with 1:44 to go.

Ranidel De Ocampo’s split freebies stopped Meralco’s bleeding. They had chances to cut the Gin Kings’ lead further, but Jared Dillinger missed his own charities barely a second after De Ocampo’s trip to the foul line.

As a result, Ginebra took advantage on the other end, and Tenorio nailed a cold-blooded three-pointer from the top of the key — with the shot clock winding down — to widen their lead to six, 82-76, with 1:07 remaining.

“It’s an amazing shot and that was the thing that turned the whole game around right there,” lauded Cone of that booming trey. “It was anybody’s game until he hit that shot… That was the biggest shot of the game, really the biggest shot.

The Bolts tried to convert immediately after regaining possession, but Tenorio stripped the leather away from Baser Amer. Tenorio was then sent to the line to freeze the clock, and he calmly sank his foul shots, 84-76, with 55 ticks left.

Freebies by Brownlee in the closing seconds sealed the much-needed win for Ginebra.

“It’s always nice to get an early lead in the series. It’s always nice to do that,” added Cone on the victory, “But doesn’t guarantee you anything.”

Japeth Aguilar provided significant contributions for Ginebra with 16 points, eight rebounds, a steal, and a block. Joe Devance chipped in 10 markers, while Thompson flirted with a double-double of nine points and nine boards.

Allen Durham did it all for the Orangemen, who shot a dismal 37 percent in the loss, with 25 points, 22 rebounds, and seven dimes. De Ocampo and Amer comprised his supporting cast with 10 points apiece.

The Scores:

Ginebra 86 – Brownlee 19, Aguilar 16, Tenorio 14, Devance 10, Thompson 9, Mercado 6, Caguioa 6, Ferrer 3, Slaughter 3.

Meralco 76 – Durham 25, Amer 10, De Ocampo 10, Hodge 9, Newsome 8, Lanete 6, Dillinger 5, Tolomia 3, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0.

Quarterscores: 18-24, 40-37, 57-62, 86-76.

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Gilas still sticking with Andray Blatche, says team manager Butch Antonio

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It will still be Andray Blatche

Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio made it clear that naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche will be back for the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in February.

Blatche has yet to attend Gilas practices due to his commitment with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association, but Antonio said that they have already reached out to the said league for his temporary release.

“We have already made communication. We sent a letter already,” said the executive after Gilas’ practice Monday. “Kasi that’s the protocol now eh… You have to write a letter to the team through the CBA and you will just have to wait for their reply.”

It is still uncertain if and when the Flying Tigers will lend the naturalized center to Gilas, who will face Australia and Japan on February 22 and 25, respectively. But Antonio is confident that the ball club will let the former NBA cager go.

“More ofte

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Jong Uichico calls for pool players to be complete as Gilas brace for Aussies

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Cause for concern?

In their second session for the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, only nine of the 15 Gilas pool players actively participated.

June Mar Fajardo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, Troy Rosario, Jiovani Jalalon, Carl Cruz, Gabe Norwood, Allein Maliksi, and Japeth Aguilar were in uniform while Roger Pogoy watched on the sidelines. Jayson Castro and Mac Belo were not present while Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend a session. 23 for 2023 cadets CJ Perez and Abu Tratter were called to duty to give the team added bodies.

The session ended earlier than usual, only practicing for around 45 minutes.

“Light lang naman. Some players had games last night,” said assistant coach Uichico, who together with Josh Reyes handled the night’s session. “Light lang pero we emphasized on some things in today’s practice, it’s more mental and a little bit of execution. “

With Gilas’ game against the 10th ranked Australia just 34 days away, Uichico expressed his concern that the Nationals won’t be as cohesive as they want it to be.

“It’s always a concern naman. We prefer once a week na lang naman, di pa tayo makumpleto,” expressed Uichico,

“We prefer really na makumpleto whether they practice or not, at least nandyan sila nanonood kung anong nangyayari.

“So mas mabilis yung pagtuto, especially if we put something new, at least nakikita nila kahit hindi nila naeexecute. We prefer and it’s really mandatory na nandito sila every Monday,” the mentor of the 2017 SEA Games team furthered.

Due to this, the staff of the team has yet to formulate a gameplan for the Aussies. A win against either the Boomers or Japan will automatically qualify Gilas to the next stage of the qualifiers.

“I don’t know. Our first plan is to practice everyday and then see if we can get the team complete as soon as possible.”

But as Gilas has proven time and time again, the multi-time PBA champion coach believes that they will overcome once more.

“There’s always challenges naman, especially the situation that we’re in. The PBA’s ongoing and we try to practice,” the soft-spoken tactician shared.

“There will always be challenges but every problem or challenge can be solved naman.”

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Willie Marcial hints at possibility of PBA lending unlimited players to Gilas

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Current PBA officer-in-charge Willie Marcial was a surprise spectator Monday night at the Meralco Gym, as Gilas Pilipinas resumed its’ preparations for the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Sabi ko sa kanila, hindi ako bisita.

“Magkakasama tayo nung araw pa,” quipped the amiable official.

Marcial’s visit speaks volumes of the PBA’s commitment to the Gilas program even if the pro league is in the midst of recovering from a lengthy impasse late in 2017, where a power struggle in the PBA’s board room took place.

“Ang PBA 100 percent susuportahan yung Gilas. Maniwala kayo. Talagang all out ang PBA diyan,” said the league’s former media bureau chief.

And coming along with that all-out support he had affirmed is the possibility of abolishing the one-player-per-team rule in loaning players to the National Team. That ruling has seemingly limited Gilas in building the best team possible.

“Baka magulat kayo biglang mag-propose sila wala nang limit ang players ‘pag kumuha. Puwedeng mangyari yun.”

When asked if he will be a regular fixture in Gilas practices in the coming weeks, Marcial said that it would be strongly possible, barring any meetings in the league’s office that require his full attention.

“Nako, sinabi ko sa kanila pipilitin ko every Monday nandito ako,” said Marcial, a favorite to become the next PBA commissioner. “Pupunta ako rito every Monday, basta wala lang mga meeting talagang pupuntahan ko sila.

“Tingnan niyo, masaya kami, parang magkakabarkada diba? Sabi ko sa kanila walang problema.”

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June Mar Fajardo returns to Gilas practice

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With just 37 days left before the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, four-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo suited up during the second session of SMART Gilas Pilipinas.

Fajardo was absent during the team’s first practice as he battled the classic case of a flu.

Joining Fajardo were Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, Troy Rosario, Jiovani Jalalon, Carl Cruz, Gabe Norwood, Allein Maliksi, and Japeth Aguilar. Roger Pogoy was also in attendance, but was in street clothes.

Not present were Mac Belo and Jayson Castro. Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan were also absent for the second straight week.

For the 23 for 2023 cadets, only two were invited for the night’s session.

Reigning NCAA Seniors Basketball MVP CJ Perez was present together with Marinerong Pilipino big man Abu Tratter.

The practice was supervised by assistant coaches Jong Uichico and Josh Reyes. Coach Chot Reyes is currently in Japan.

The PBA’s officer-in-charge Willie Marcial watched on the sidelines.

The Philippines will face Australia at the Margaret Court Arena on February 22. Three days later, the country will host Japan at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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