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Locals shine as Talk ‘N Text ends losing skid against Blackwater



In a battle featuring colliding losing streaks, the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters prevailed and halted their four-game skid and defeat the Blackwater Elites, 98-91 held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Elites started the game out on a good note by drilling in three of their first four shots including five quick points by Robby Celiz to pull their team up by 7-0. The good start propelled the Elites to play well on ball defense that forced the Texters to tough shots in the opening quarter. Despite Steffphon Pettigrew scoring the initial basket for his squad after three minutes, Blackwater cruised to an early double-digit separation thanks to their good ball movement and constant defense.

The Texters broke into double-digit scoring in nearly nine minutes of action with Larry Fonacier’s free throws. By that point, Blackwater was still in control, up by 12 with their defensive scheme still in tact. TNT managed to cut the lead down to eight with a 7-2 mini-rally during the last two minutes of the quarter but majority of the pace was dictated by Blackwater in the opening frame.

Carrying on the good start to the match, the Elites were still sizzling from the field to start the second quarter of action. An 8-0 start including two triples from Val Acuña and Bryan Heruela doubled the scoring of the match at 32-16. For the next three minutes, Talk ‘N Text rallied anew and slice the lead down to single digits with Sam Daghles and Danny Siegle combining for the run.

The rally was intensified with the Texters’ defensive zone coming into work as jumpers started to cool down for the Elites. By the three-minute mark of the first half, Blackwater’s lead was evaporated down to a single point at 41-40. Fortunately for the Elites, they closed out the second quarter strong and erected a 9-1 close by limiting the Texters to only score a free throw during the stretch while Reil Cervantes caught fire at the tail-end of the half.

In the first six minutes of the third quarter, the Blackwater Elites managed to hold to their 10-point cushion with Gilbert Bulawan and Bryan Heruela still knocking down their jumpers. With locals finally getting the stops, they started to take over for the Texters. After a slow start to the game, TNT’s defense was finally felt as they limited the Elites to 10 points in the last five minutes of the third quarter. In addition, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser played huge during the stretch as he piled on the points including a jumper to tie the game at 66. Despite the Elites still clinging to a one-point lead after the end of the third, the tables have turned as TNT was in clear grip of the momentum at that point.

Armed with momentum, Fonacier inked in a triple to give his squad the lead at the start of the fourth at 75-73. On the other hand, Marcus Cousin struggled for Blackwater as he committed turnovers and missed his attempts in the threshold of the fourth period. This enabled the non-import crew of the Texters to bolster their lead and grip to the game. They also grabbed the lion’s share of the rebounds during the period to keep Blackwater at bay. A triple by Ranidel De Ocampo gave TNT a 90-83 lead and the next minutes until the final buzzer featured an offensive exchange which favored the Texters. Comeback hopes for Blackwater were thwarted as the Texters also made the necessary baskets and free throws down the stretch.

TNT shot 13-of-26 from downtown for a good 50% clip compared to Blackwater’s 6-of-14 shooting. Ganuelas-Rosser led the Texters with 21 points, and nine rebounds in an efficient 7/9 shooting from the field. Fonacier chipped in 20 including four triples.

The Tropang Texters improve to a 4-5 standing while the cellar-dealing Elites have now seven defeats in their eight games so far.

Blackwater will next face the San Miguel Beermen on June 16, 4:15 while Talk ‘N Text’s next assignment will be up against the Star Hotshots on 7pm, same day at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Talk ‘N Text(98) – Ganuelas-Rosser 21, Fonacier 20, Daghles 15, De Ocampo 14, Seigle 10, Pettigrew 7, Castro 7, Williams 4, Carey 0, Miller 0, Aban 0

Blackwater(91) – Heruela 21, Cousin 16, Faundo 14, Gamalinda 10, Cervantes 9, Celiz 7, Bulawan 5, Ballesteros 5, Acuña 3, Erram 1, Reyes 0, Laure 0

Quarters: 16-24, 41-50, 70-71, 98-91

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Calvin Abueva rejuvenated with return of physical play: ‘Masarap maglaro’



Photo by PBA Images

For Calvin Abueva, it feels great to play in the PBA nowadays.

The Beast, who has always been known as one of the league’s most physical players since entering in 2012, was all praises for the way the officiating has changed this 43rd season — by just letting all the players play.

“Mas gumanda yung tawagan ngayon, naging physical nga. Naging exciting para sa mga tao, mas marami na nanonood ngayon eh,” said Abueva moments after their 97-83 victory over the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Sunday night.

As has been said many times, physicality had become something controlled over the last two years. Abueva knows it too well, having been a casualty, as he has paid a bevy of penalties during that time.

And now that it is a thing of the past, the 6-foot-2 bruiser feels much better, knowing that he can display his brand of basketball once more.

“Masarap maglaro, talagang pisikalan,” said the 29-year-old forward from Angeles, Pampanga. “Siyempre makikita naman natin kung sinasadya o hindi, basta katawan lang.

“Pisikal. Yun yung magandang laro di ba?”

Aside from the comeback of physicality, what makes Abueva beam even more is the way the Aces have been playing in the 2018 Philippine Cup. After a 0-2 start in the tourney, they have now booked their third straight win.

“Nung 2017 parang nilubog na namin yung losing streak namin doon. Ito 2018 na at panibagong destination na naman yung ina-ano namin,” said Abueva, who had nine points, nine rebounds, and five assists against Ginebra.

“Sustain muna namin ‘to… Sana magtuloy-tuloy ‘tong winning streak namin.”

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Alaska takes advantage of Greg Slaughter’s absence



For the streaking Alaska Aces, their stunning 97-83 victory over the favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday night was partly made possible by the absence of one key player: seven-foot behemoth Greg Slaughter.

The 28-year-old center, who was averaging 20.67 points and 10.3 rebounds prior to Sunday, did not play against the Aces due to a hamstring injury. How he incurred the injury has yet to be determined.

“There’s a small person named Greg Slaughter who didn’t play; I think he has an impact on the game,” quipped coach Alex Compton after the match.

“[They missed] a guy who I think is gonna win an MVP soon in Greg Slaughter.

“Sometimes dito sa liga natin, you have to take advantage when opportunities come your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt [though],” added Compton.

With Slaughter out of the way, the Aces’ big men feasted.

Vic Manuel top-billed with 18 points and five rebounds, and elder statesman Sonny Thoss turned back the clock with a 17-point, four-rebound outing.

“Malaking bonus na rin sa amin, kasi wala nga si Greg kaya nakuha namin yung panalo,” said Manuel.

“Yeah it definitely helped,” added the six-foot-seven Thoss, who shot 6-of-12 from the floor and made four of his freebies.

“He’s a big guy, he’s a big presence inside so it took one big guy off our shoulder.”

Slaughter was approached and asked by scribes regarding his injury, but he was not in the mood to comment. No one can blame him, though, since the Barangay have slipped to their second straight defeat after a 2-0 start.

“I’m always there in practice, going over our gameplans. But it’s better if you ask our PT,” he said.

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Alaska completes turnaround at Greg Slaughter-less Ginebra’s expense



Photo by PBA Images

A strong second half surge was all the Alaska Aces needed to turn back the heavily-favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 97-83, and book their third straight victory, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The Aces, who have yet to lose this 2018, have now improved to 3-2. Meanwhile, the Barangay absorbed their second straight loss and have dropped to 2-2.

“I was telling the guys na parang ang dami nating iniisip, hindi natin ginagawa yung ginagawa natin noong nakaraang dalawang linggo. Sabi ko relax lang tayo,” said coach Alex Compton, sharing what he told his wards that sparked the win.

Vic Manuel led the Milkmen with 18 points and five rebounds. Sonny Thoss turned back the clock as he made 17 markers on 6-of-12 shooting, while Chris Banchero supplied 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds.

The Aces were trailing by eight, 36-44 at the half, but it became a different ball game come the third chapter as they outscored the Gin Kings, 37 to 19, to erect a favorable 73-63 cushion heading into the game’s final 12 minutes.

From there, Alaska kept their foot on the gas to sustain their lead, which grew to as much as 18, 85-67, after their 6-0 spree — punctuated by Banchero’s lay-up plus a foul — with 6:14 remaining in the final frame.

Ginebra still tried to make one last push as they inched within 10, 75-85, but baskets by Thoss and Kevin Racal propelled Alaska to an 89-75 lead with 3:42 left to play — more than enough to knock out their counterparts.

“I was glad to come away with the win,” added Compton. “Sometimes, we have to take advantage of opportunities coming your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt but when two number one picks on the other team aren’t playing… There.”

Jvee Casio had 13 markers for Alaska, while Calvin Abueva nearly had a double-double of nine points and nine boards along with five assists in 20 minutes.

Aljon Mariano had 15 points, nine rebounds, and three dimes for Ginebra, who — despite having Sol Mercado back in the fold after ankle issues — missed the services of Joe Devance and Greg Slaughter due to injuries.

Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and Kevin Ferrer each scored 12 for the Barangay, with Thompson adding five assists. The trio combined for 15 of Ginebra’s 43 rebounds.

Alaska will aim to extend their streak versus the Blackwater Elite on Saturday, January 27 at 4:30 PM, while Ginebra will look to end their slump against the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Friday, January 26 at 7:00 PM. Both games are at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Alaska 97 — Manuel 18, Thoss 17, Banchero 14, Casio 13, Abueva 9, Teng 9, Cruz 5, Enciso 3, Potts 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2, Racal 2, J. Pascual 0.

Ginebra 83 — Mariano 15, J. Aguilar 12, Ferrer 12, Thompson 12, Caguioa 8, Cruz 8, R. Aguilar 5, Tenorio 5, Mercado 2, Taha 2, Wilson 2, Jamito 0.

Quarterscores: 26-23, 36-44, 73-63, 97-83.

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Frustrated Jared Dillinger admits ‘he’s getting sick’ of Meralco’s bad PH Cup runs



It’s no secret that the Meralco Bolts have struggled in the Philippine Cup for the last three years. During the last two seasons, the eight-year-old franchise’s win-loss tally is four wins and 18 losses.

And in the 2018 edition, the narrative has been the same, with little to no hope of it turning the other way around.

The Bolts bowed to the TNT Katropa, 99-81, Sunday night — their third straight defeat after winning over Blackwater Elite in their opener last December. If things continue as they are, it looks like another poor all-Filipino tilt run is looming.

“We’re 1-3 and there’s nothing to be happy about,” said Jared Dillinger, who had 14 points and five caroms in the match at Ynares Center in Antipolo. “It’s a long season though… We [shouldn’t] panic but it’s not fun right now.

“The Philippine Cup has been our Achilles heel and every damn Philippine Cup we get our ass kicked. I’m getting sick of it.”

In this game, Meralco missed the services of top forwards Ranidel De Ocampo and Cliff Hodge due to injuries. But for Dillinger, those issues shouldn’t be excuses.

“When you get two guys like Ranidel and Cliff out, as a team, that’s the opportunity for the guys below them to step up,” asserted Dillinger, who has been with the franchise since 2013.

“It doesn’t have to mean scoring, getting the assists or rebound, it’s just making the right play, being smart.”

Asked what went wrong in this particular loss versus their sister team, where they shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and had committed 17 turnovers, the 10-year veteran lamented the poor effort that the Bolts put up.

“TNT didn’t do anything much, given that they played well. But they didn’t have any secret schemes against us. They just passed the ball around, and they got open shots,” added the 10-year pro, as TNT made 23 assists and shot 18 triples.

“Our effort wasn’t there. We got to put up the intensity cause it sucks right now.”

Meralco have a chance to end their slump against the Kia Picanto this Wednesday. Dillinger sees it as a do-or-die affair, warning that it will be a grind-out affair knowing that the Picanto is coming off a skid-ending win over Rain or Shine.

Do-or-die ’cause that’s gonna be a playoff game. Thank God they beat Rain or Shine ’cause you don’t want to be that one team that gives the win to a 0-16 [team]. You don’t want to play teams like that,” stressed the all-around forward.

“Nothing to take away from Kia though. It’s gonna be tough.”

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