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Lee, Belga save the day for Rain or Shine, deny NLEX comeback win

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After blowing a 15 point lead in the third quarter and trailing by seven points late in the fourth quarter, the clutch heroics of top gunner Paul Lee and the suffocating defense of Beau Belga once again came in handy for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, who improve to 6-2 after denying the NLEX Road Warriors the comeback win, 94-93, Tuesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

Lee, whose late game explosion erased the Road Warriors’ seven-point lead shortly before the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, had 27 points and 8 rebounds. Belga, the Elasto Painters’ hero on the defensive end, had 11 points.

Both teams opened the game with hot shooting, trading basket after basket, leading to numerous deadlocks throughout the quarter. An 8-3 rally kicked off by rookie Jericho Cruz late in the quarter gave the Elasto Painters the means to close out the period with a 25-19 lead.

A series of big baskets from Lee helped the Elasto Painters extend the lead to double digits halfway through the quarter. Lee and gunner Jonathan Uyloan collaborated late in the period to help the Elasto Painters lead by as many as 15 points, 57-42, before a triple from NLEX’s KG Canaleta trimmed the lead to 12, 57-45, shortly before the halftime buzzer.

The Road Warriors opened the second half on a high note, keeping the Elasto Painters scoreless for the first three minutes of the quarter to come within seven points of Rain or Shine. Things got physical halfway through the third, after NLEX’s Canaleta was called for an unsportsmanlike foul for an accidental clothesline trying to snatch the ball from Rain or Shine’s TY Tang. NLEX big man Asi Taulava was immediately slapped a technical foul for using profane language during the ensuing commotion. A minute of play later, NLEX’s Mac Cardona suffered a bad fall after being fouled by Rain or Shine enforcer Belga while driving to the basket. At the end of the third, Rain or Shine led by only nine points, 74-65.

Back-to-back treys from NLEX’s Canaleta and Wynne Arboleda and a stealthy lay-up from Jonas Villanueva to cap off an 11-3 run early in the quarter saw the Elasto Painters’ lead shredded to a single point, 77-76, with eight and half minutes left on the clock. A corner triple from Mark Borboran a minute later gave the Road Warriors their first lead since the first quarter, 79-77. Proving to be the quicker draw in the ensuing shootout, the Road Warriors entered the final two minutes with a sizeable 91-84 edge. The Elasto Painters were able to come within a manageable four points, 89-93, and forced Taulava to a turnover with 40 seconds left on the clock. A stealthy triple from national team standout Lee with 28.3 left on the clock suddenly saw the lead trimmed to a single digit, 92-93.

After forcing NLEX to miss what could have been another game-deciding shot, two successful free-throws from Lee with 21 seconds to go put the Elasto Painters back in the driver’s seat at 94-93. Belga denied NLEX the opportunity to steal the lead, and later split the free-throws awarded after corralling the miss to widen the gap by one more point, 95-93. Taulava once again got into position for the game-saver, but the ball was swatted by Belga, handing the Elasto Painters the win.

Villanueva led the Road Warriors with 22 points. The Elasto Painters hold on to the solo second spot, improving to 6-2, while NLEX slides to 3-5.

Photo by Nuki Sabio of PBA Images

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Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa

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After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Ryan Moss grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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