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Basketball

Lack of effort puts Kiefer Ravena’s 31-point game down the drain

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Photo by PBA Images

After absorbing his first defeat in the pros last January 7, Kiefer Ravena went all-out a week later.

Even against the highly-regarded guard rotation of the Magnolia Hotshots, the second overall pick in the 2017 Rookie Draft dropped 31 points on 12-for-20 shooting from the field, five assists, four rebounds, and four steals against zero turnovers. But even with his huge outing, the NLEX Road Warriors succumbed to the Hotshots, 94-105.

The 24-year-old admitted that he was heartbroken that his big night had gone for naught. Making matters worse, he said, is that their two game skid should be a cause for alarm.

Down the drain.

“But yeah, we have to wake up. After 2-0 now we’re 2-2. We have to fight for survival. Grabe yung dikdikan ng standings ngayon eh. Lahat talaga naghahabol sa panalo,” lamented the 6-foot guard.

He and the Road Warriors battled back from 23 points down early in the fourth, cutting the lead to as low as eight points, 87-79, with 9:16 left. However, the Hotshots showed more effort, especially in the rebounding department, to regain their double-digit cushion.

“We have to triple our effort. Yung double effort, di na gumana eh. So triple pa. 19 rebounds, minus 19 kami sa rebounds? That’s too much,” rued the record-holder for most SEA Games medals in Men’s Basketball.

“That can’t happen again.”

Ravena did not pin all the blame on their lack of effort, admitting that he also has to do his work as the conference enters its toughest stage.

“Well, di naman siguro. Alam mo yun, with the first two games, kahit sino naman rookie, first two games, ‘di nila alam ano ie-expect sa ‘yo,” he shared. “Pero as nagpro-progress yung conference, yung season, they get to watch more of your games, the way you play, your decision-making so at the same time kailangan mong i-counter ‘yon eh, yung ginagawa sa ‘yo.

“So you know, it’s like coming to a test, doing your homework, doing the extra work, getting out of your way, studying the opponent.

“Hindi lang puwede na nagpa-practice lang kayo nang nagpa-practice and you expect to win every single game. Ginagawa nga namin ‘yon eh ‘di kami nananalo, so we have to do something else,” added Ravena, who is averaging 19.25 points and 7.25 assists so far.

The road does not get any easier for Ravena and NLEX. Up next are the San Miguel Beermen, a team that boasts the troika of Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, and Marcio Lassiter.

“Another tough game on Friday, San Miguel,” Ravena expressed with a sigh. “We have to forget this and we have to pick up the lessons we’ve learned, [know] what we did wrong, and to apply it [against] San Miguel. And you know, San Miguel is San Miguel.

“We have to just breakout and play together again.”

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Go for Gold survives Kent Salado injury to turn back Gamboa-St. Clare

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The Go for Gold Scratchers got their act together late as it slipped past Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers with a 75-68 win Monday afternoon at the Pasig City Sports Center.

It was a total team effort for the Scratchers with veterans Jerwin Gaco and J-Jay Alejandro stabilizing their camp as they closed the game out with a 23-point finishing salvo.

Senegalese center Clement Leutcheu proved to be a solid force for his side as he tallied 14 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks, while Gaco just missed out on a double-double with his 13 markers and nine boards.

Justin Gutang also corralled 10 points and 13 rebounds in the win, while Kent Salado had nine markers, five boards, four assists, and three steals before suffering an MCL sprain on his right knee with 2:48 to play in the third frame.

Despite Salado’s absence in the payoff period, Go for Gold coach Charles Tiu praised his wards for its defensive effort late.

“We cut down our turnovers and we rebounded well, and then we executed very well,” he said.

It was a complete turnaround from the Scratchers’ lackluster start, where they fell behind by as much as 10, 28-18 midway in the second quarter.

We’re a new team and hindi pa kami sanay sa isa’t isa. As you can see in the first half, ang dami naming turnovers because we’re not that familiar with each other,” said Tiu. “But I’m happy naman kasi the guys, we needed a test like this as a young team, to learn how to come from behind against a very good team like St. Clare.“

Aris Dionisio carried the load for the Coffee Lovers with 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Raymond Rubio had 11 markers and six boards in the defeat.

Go for Gold will face a familiar foe in the JRU Heavy Bombers on Tuesday, January 30 at the Ynares Sports Arena. Gamboa-St. Clare, on the other hand, will take on the Batangas-EAC Generals on Monday, January 29.

The Scores:

Go for Gold 75 — Leutcheu 14, Gaco 13, Gutang 10, Salado 9, Naboa 8, Salem 8, Alejandro 5, Dixon 3, Pili 2, San Juan 2, Domingo 1.

Gamboa-St. Clare 68 — Dionisio 19, Rubio 11, Pare 10, Ambuludto 8, Hallare 6, Rebugio 6, Jackson 4, Acuno 2, Bitoon 2, Alcober 0.

Quarterscores: 14-19, 30-33, 52-53, 75-68.

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PBA slaps fines on Yeng Guiao, Chris Ross

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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

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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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Vic Manuel says Alaska yet to return to contender status

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Even if they have won their third straight game coming from a 0-2 start in the 2018 Philippine Cup, Vic Manuel thinks that it’s still not enough to tell that the Alaska Aces should be considered as one of the topflight teams in the league.

“Hindi pa rin masabi, kasi lahat ng team ngayon, talagang malalakas na eh, hindi na basta-basta easy yung mga game eh,” said “The Muscleman” Sunday night, after he and the Aces took down Barangay Ginebra, 97-83, at the Ynares Center.

The way the Aces have been playing this 2018 is remarkably different from the way they did last 2017, where they raked in more losses than wins. For Manuel, it’s partly because of the team regaining their competitive fire.

“Sa practice pa lang, talagang nakikipag-compete eh. Walang easy kahit sa practice, talagang bigay-todo lahat,” said the 30-year-old, who has been with Alaska since 2014.

“Sobrang aggressive, kaya yun, nadadala namin sa game.”

It also helps that the Milkmen have been healthy so far this season, unlike last year where they couldn’t even field a complete line-up in almost every outing. Manuel knows it too well, as he had been injury-plagued last season.

“Yung injury ko talaga, hindi madali eh, kasi sa tuhod talaga, sa left knee,” said the six-foot-four forward from Nueva Ecija. “So pinu-push nila ako kung ano ang kailangan ko gawin. Ayun, nagbubunga naman lahat.”

Now, eyes are on the Aces if they can keep this streak of theirs going. And for Manuel, who led the Aces with 18 points and five rebounds against the Gin Kings, all they need to do is to sustain what they have right now in their next games.

“Kailangan every game, focused pa rin kami, mas maging aggressive kami,” he said.

“Kung anong mga ginagawa namin nitong mga last three games namin, kailangan dalhin pa namin sa mga susunod naming games.”

Apologies to LA Tenorio

After the bout, Manuel had actually planned to approach Ginebra’s star point guard LA Tenorio regarding the spat they figured into late in the third quarter, after the former undercut the much bigger Manuel near the rim.

But Manuel made it clear that he wasn’t going after Tenorio to get back at him. All that he wanted to do was to apologize, as he found out that Tenorio was just trying to help him get back up and not trying to instigate something.

“Sabi niya, ‘bakit mo ako binigyan? Itatayo na nga kita eh.’ Nahiya din ako sa kanya. Magso-sorry sana ako, eh wala eh, lumayo na siya eh,” Manuel shared with a chuckle.

“Lalapitan ko sana eh, pero umalis agad.”

That incident was just one of the many things that frustrated Tenorio. Aside from absorbing their second straight loss, he couldn’t get things going, as he only scored five on a dismal 1-of-13 shooting from the floor.

“Magandang bonus din sa’min yun kasi medyo masama yung nilaro niya,” said Manuel.

“Swerte na lang siguro kami.”

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