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Late-game clutch shots elevate San Miguel to 2-0 series lead

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The San Miguel Beermen did not falter from pressure as they displayed championship poise in the closing minutes to carve out a 103-95 victory over the Alaska Aces in Game 2 of the 2015 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.

The Aces unfurled a 10-4 run behind Sonny Thoss, Romeo Travis, and Cyrus Baguio in 9:13 of the first frame. San Miguel gained momentum from the deficit as Arizona Reid, Alex Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter made shots to take the lead, 15-12, with 5:40 left. From there, the Beermen sustained rhythm, not allowing the Aces to taste the lead. SMB widened the gap to six, 24-18, with less than three minutes left, but Alaska scored six more off free throws and a lay-up to close the quarter behind by four, 28-24.

The Beermen continued shooting from beyond the arc in the following quarter, with Chris Ross, Chris Lutz, and Ronald Tubid sinking one apiece to enhance their lead to double digits, 41-31, with 9:03 to go. Point-blank shots from Reid and June Mar Fajardo kept their lead intact, 45-35, with less than six minutes remaining, but the Aces, with shots made from Vic Manuel, Thoss, Jvee Casio, and Travis, switched on a 9-2 run to end the first half lagging by just three, 47-44.

Alaska displayed their never-say-die attitude in the third canto, turning the slim deficit to a deadlock, 55-all, with baskets from Casio, Baguio, and Travis in the 7:10 mark. Both teams played stifling defense to each other, not allowing one to pull away with as much as five points. After exchanges of baskets, SMB gained the upper hand, 65-62, after a Lassiter trey, but the duo of Chris Banchero and Travis took over to give Alaska the lead, 72-69, with 1:35 left. A Reid triple and a Fajardo split concluded the quarter in a 73-all knot.

From the tie, Alaska opened the final frame with another 9-3 run to gain advantage, 85-76, with 9:08 to go. But the nine-point deficit did not seem to shackle SMB, relying on their fluid ball movement to find and convert scores either inside or outside. The Beermen closed within two, 89-87, with less than four minutes left. Alaska scored four points to lead further, 93-87, but SMB made an 8-2 spree to tie the game, 95-all, after a Reid and-one lay-up with 1:27 left in the game.

Aces shooter Dondon Hontiveros went to the charity stripe after being fouled, having the opportunity to give Alaska the lead. Unfortunately, Hontiveros muffed both of his free throws, giving SMB a chance to capitalize. San Miguel delivered, as Lassiter sank a corner triple to propel his team, 98-95, with exactly a minute to go. Alaska had good chances, but all their shots missed its target. SMB scored five more from foul shots by Fajardo and Reid to eke out the 103-95 victory.

Lassiter’s clutch play made him the game’s best player with 17 points, highlighted by five treys, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. Travis, this conference’s Best Import awardee, led Alaska with a double-double of 23 markers and 11 boards in a losing effort.

Game 3 of the Finals will be on Wednesday, July 15, 7 PM, also at the Big Dome.

The Scores: 

SMB (103) – Reid 37, Lassiter 17, Fajardo 16, Cabagnot 13, Ross 6, Lutz 5, Santos 4, Tubid 3, Semerad 2

ALASKA (95) – Travis 23, Thoss 14, Abueva 13, Casio 11, Banchero 10, Baguio 10, Dela Rosa 6, Jazul 6, Manuel 2

Quarterscores: 28-24, 47-44, 73-73, 103-95

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AJ Mandani sparks Singapore in win over Joshua Munzon-led Westsports

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Back to his role as the sixth man of the Slingers after two games, AJ Mandani provided the firepower needed by Singapore in a fourth quarter surge to stop the Westsports Malaysia Dragons, 93-85, Sunday afternoon at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia.

The win arrested the Slingers’ two-game losing streak, raising their slate to 6-6. Westsports, a team coming off a two-game winning streak that included a 91-87 win over Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat last January 18, fell to 3-5.

Struggling in the first three quarters, Mandani six of his eight points in the final frame. And those points were povital in fending off Westsports.

With Singapore clinging to a solitary point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Filipino-Canadian scored four straight points 8-0 run to gain a 74-67 lead with under seven minutes left. Another basket by Mandani followed it up with a breakaway layup with with 5:18 remaining to give Singapore an 81-72 cushion.

Filipino exports Joshua Munzon and Patrick Cabahug tried to rally the home team back as a triple by the latter cut the lead down to just three with 1:40 on the clock. Big buckets by Delvin Goh and Chris Charles sealed off the Malaysia-based club team.

Munzon went just 5-for-18 from the field to finish with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. Cabahug chipped in eight points on 3-for-4 shooting off the bench.

Xavier Alexander led Singapore with 33 points while Charles tallied a double-double with 25 points and 13 rebounds to go along with three swats. Singaporean Goh had 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

Marcus Marshall paced Westsports with 22 points, playing all 40 minutes as fellow World Import AJ West had a tough outing.

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AU

Impervious Lady Chiefs stay perfect after sweep of Lady Pirates

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The Arellano University Lady Chiefs extended their winning streak to 17, dating back to last season, after clobbering the Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The defending champions were unrelenting, with four Lady Chiefs scoring in double-digits. Rookie Necole Ebuen powered in 11 points. Third-year open hitter Regine Arocha and Arellano’s middle blockers Mary Anne Esguerra and Andrea Marzan each provided 10 markers.

Conversely, no Lady Pirate managed to score in double-figures.

“Maganda naman talaga ang nilalaro ng mga bata. Lahat kasi kami determinado na makakuha ulet ng championship. Alam nila (Lady Chiefs) na kailangan pataas nang pataas ang ginagalaw namin,” said Arellano head coach Obet Javier.

The Lady Chiefs also limited their errors to a season-best 16, while the Lady Pirates surrendered 24 miscues.

Christine Miralles and Monica Sevilla each supplied the struggling Lyceum with eight point apiece.

The Lady Chiefs will look for their sixth win of the season when they face the red-hot University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (4-1) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Pirates (1-4) take on the undefeated San Beda College (4-0) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

AU (3) – Ebuen 11, Arocha 10, Esguerra 10, Marzan 10, Prado 3, Ramirez 3, Liu 2, Balanoba 1, Donato 1, Verutiao 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)

LPU (0) – Miralles 8, Sevilla 8, Juanilla 7, Patio 4, Genova 1, Romanban 0, Bongabong 0, Marcella (L)

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Late whistle costs San Beda against Sousse, drops Red Lions to 0-2

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23 for 2023 cadet Robert Bolick is averaging 27.5 points per game in the tournament

After struggling to close out the UAE National Team in their opener last Friday, the San Beda College Red Lions figured in a late judgment call that did not fall into their favor, Saturday at the Shabab Al Ahli Club in Dubai. Due to this, the defending NCAA Champions lost to Tuniasian club team Sousse, 78-79.

With the loss, the Red Lions fell to a 0-2 hole in the 29th Dubai Basketball Championship. But the record does not reflect how the Filipinos played.

Robert Bolick, who scored 28 points against the UAE National Team, led the charge for San Beda in their second outing with 27 points. Fellow 23 for 2023 cadet Javee Mocon added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Sousse — the second-best club team in Tunisia, who boasts four national team players and an American import — led by as much as 10 points, 70-60 in the final frame.

Fired up by the Filipinos who stormed the venue, the Red Lions answered right back with an 18-8 run capped by a booming Bolick triple with six ticks left to gain a 78-76 lead.

However, a foul was called on a Red Lion on a three-point attempt by a Sousse player. He calmly sank all three free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Donald Tankoua had eight points and 13 rebounds as he was saddled with foul trouble all throughout the game.

The Tunisian club team was paced by Radzhouane Slimane with 18 points, while Ibrahim Nadarri and Joshua Cassady had 13 markers each.

San Beda will have a one-day break before taking on Moroccan club team Al Sale on Monday, January 22.

The Scores:

San Beda 78 – Bolick 27, Mocon 11, Tankoua 8, Noah 8, Toba 6, Soberano 6, Prebitero 4, Tongco 4, Bahio 2, Carino 2, Oftana 0, Adamos 0.

Sousse 79 – Slimane 18, Naddari 13, Cassady 13, Mouhli 11, Knioua 9, Toumi 8, Monastiri 4, Gaddour 3.

Quarterscores: 23-17, 36-39, 57-62, 78-79.

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JRU

Perpetual overpowers JRU to keep pace for Final Four

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Strutting their decisive height and power advantage, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas slammed the Jose Rizal University Lady Bombers, 25-21, 22-25, 25-14, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Altas were still heavy-handed with their errors, surrendering 35 miscues, including 12 in the second set — the only frame they lost.

The Las Piñas-based program, however, kept a scorching offensive pace, bombarding the Lady Bombers with six blocks and 12 aces. JRU had just five points combined from those categories.

“Mataas pa talaga ‘yung tendency ng mga bata mamigay ng mga puntos. Sabi ko nga hindi kami mananalo kung tutulungan pa namin ‘yung kalaban maka-score,” rued Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño.

“Pero, unti-unte namang gumaganda ‘yung galaw ng mga bata. Lahat naman ng pagkukulang nila, tinatrabaho namin para maayos sa ensayo,” the champion mentor added.

Perpetual’s six-foot-three middle blocker Lourdes Clemente towered over the Lady Bombers with a season-high 19 points which included 14 attacks, two blocks, and three aces. Winger Cindy Imbo added 15 points.

Rookie Dolly Versoza paced the Lady Bombers with a game-high 21 points, while captain Shola Alvarez managed 15.

The Lady Altas (4-1) take on the undefeated defending champs Arellano University (5-0) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Bombers (2-3) face the College of Saint Benilde (3-1) on Wednesday, also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Clemente 19, Imbo 15, Sangalang 8, Llorente 7, Tripoli 7, Gual 6, Versoza 2, Umandal 1, Estanislao 0, Medalla (L)

JRU (1) – Versoza 21, Alvarez 15, Ebuenga 5, Montojo 2, Rivera 2, Sibangan 1, Bodiongan 0, Macaraya (L)

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