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Basketball

Louie Alas shoulders blame after Phoenix loss: ‘Next time I’ll be sharper’

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Louie Alas may have found his groove at the right time on Sunday, but his head coaching debut with the Phoenix Fuel Masters did not go as planned, as his return to being the chief tactician was spoiled by the San Miguel Beermen. And it was not close.

In fact, Alas even blamed himself for their opening day loss, saying that he had not been able to make the necessary adjustments that allowed the Beermen to pull an 18-4 run late in the game that eventually led to the 96-104 loss.

“It’s my fault,” said the soft-spoken mentor moments after the match at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. “Sabi ko, basta next time, I’ll be sharper. Yung mga ganoong situation, magkamali ka… lalo na at you’re trailing? Patay ka. Patay nga kami.

“Part of that loss, sa akin ‘yung balik.”

But the game was not just a one-sided affair. The Fuel Masters actually gave the Beermen a legitimate threat, as they were able to shrink a gargantuan 17-point deficit to just five, 85-80, with 6:30 remaining in the final frame.

Phoenix achieved this with a full court press, something that Alas is very familiar with all thanks to his time with Alaska Aces. But more than the scheme per se, Alas was glad to see that kind of fight that the Fuel Masters displayed.

“I saw some positive things. Kasi, easily, pwede na kaming mag-give up eh. Pero nung nag palit kami ng tao dahil pagod na, from seventeen, na-pull sa five,” said Alas, who last did a head coaching gig in the PBA back in 2001 with Mobiline.

“So I’ve said nga, if I did good things in rotation or handling the doubling scheme, baka iba ‘yung naging resulta. Baka na-stop namin.”

But despite the positives, Alas reminded that the Fuel Masters still have plenty to work on for them to be able to compete strongly in the 2018 Philippine Cup.

“Yung consistency lang pare. Kasi didikit kami, tapos pag nagpalit kami ng tao, magbabago yung laro,” he assessed. “So hindi lang nangyayari sa isa or sa limang tao. ‘Pag ginamit ko yung starter ko, ‘pag masama yung starter ko, maganda yung ilalaro ng second five. Pag maganda naman yung starter ko, yung second five, magkakaroon ng problema.

“We just have to find the right combinations. Kahit na magpalit kami ng tao, consistent ka. And that’s my job.”

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Basketball

Troy Rosario’s birthday wish: ‘I hope ma-sustain ko yung game na ganito’

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Photo from PBA Images

Troy Rosario had just turned 26 years old on Saturday. So when he suited up for TNT Katropa’s match versus Meralco Bolts the next day, he made sure to churn out a performance that is a perfect birthday present for him and the team.

The six-foot-seven forward turned to a conference-best outing of 22 points on an excellent 8-of-13 shooting along with 10 rebounds to power the Texters to a masterful 99-81 victory over the Meralco Bolts at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

“Parang na-extend yung birthday ko,” the third-year pro quipped. “Para sa’kin good year ito eh. Simula pa lang ng taon marami na kong blessings na natatanggap.

“Continue ko lang yung hard work na ginagawa ko kasi alam ko it will pay off anytime.”

“It’s just a product of Troy’s hard work,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela. “He takes a lot of shots before practice, and then even after practice, naiiwan talaga siya to take more shots.

“Not really surprised with the way he shot today.”

Rosario was averaging 13.25 points on 41.5 percent shooting prior to Sunday. But twice in their last four games, he only scored in single digits, and that is why the former NU Bulldog aims to be consistent for TNT in their next games.

“I hope ma-sustain ko yung game na ganito,” said the second overall pick of the 2015 PBA Rookie Draft. “Yun din yung hinahanap sa’min ng coaches eh, yung consistency sa laro.

“‘Di yung akyat-baba, akyat-baba.”

“It’s nice that he shot well while celebrating his birthday, but he also needs to shoot well during other days. That’s how you become consistent,” seconded Racela. “We just have to look for consistency.”

It was a Sunday full of celebrations indeed for Rosario. Aside from his birthday, the Katropa had also earned their second straight win — their first winning streak in the 2018 Philippine Cup after a 1-2 start.

For the Gilas Pilipinas veteran, this mini streak of theirs is a result of him and the Katropa regaining their groove as a collective.

“Nakukuha na namin yung laro namin,” said the second overall pick in the 2015 Rookie Draft.

“Nagkakaamuyan na. Sa tingin ko malaki yung tsansa namin ngayong all-Filipino at iangat pa namin yung level ng laro namin.”

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Troy Rosario, TNT can’t miss, keep Meralco struggling

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FILE Photo from PBA Images

After a sluggish start in the 20-1718 Philippine Cup, TNT Katropa have seemingly found their groove as they cruised to their second straight win at the expense of Meralco Bolts, 99-81, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

This is now TNT’s first win streak in the tourney as they improve to 3-2. The Bolts, on the other hand, had suffered their third straight loss and are now 1-3.

“We knew that Meralco was undermanned. We knew that they lacked the people going to this game today so ang mentality namin was to take advantage of that, ‘yung pagkukulang ng Meralco,” said TNT coach Nash Racela.

“Today from start to end, we were able to do that. The intensity level was consistent. Siguro medyo bumababa ng kaunti but kaunting-kaunti lang. That’s our goal as a team, maging consistent on both ends,” he added.

Troy Rosario, who had just turned 26 years old yesterday, led TNT with 22 points — 12 coming from the opening frame where he powered a 16-3 run — on 8-of-13 shooting from the field on top of a game high 10 rebounds.

“It won’t be his birthday every day. It’s nice that he shot well while celebrating his birthday, but we also need him to shoot well during other days,” said Racela of Rosario. “That’s how you become consistent.”

Shades of a comeback flashed come the game’s third chapter, when the Orangemen chopped down a 16-point lead to just five, 52-47, thanks to back-to-back triples by KG Cañaleta and Jared Dillinger with 8:32 remaining.

But it proved to be the last time that Meralco will knock that close. After Roger Pogoy’s triple went in to help TNT regain the double-digit lead, 57-47, with 6:07 in the third, the Katropa then never looked back and ran roughshod.

The Texters even led by as much as 22 points, 92-70, after RR Garcia’s three-pointer with 4:27 left to play.

Garcia supplied 18 points and eight assists for the Katropa, who shot a conference-high 18 treys in the win. Pogoy made 15 points despite shooting 6-of-16, while Jayson Castro had 12 points, four boards, and three dimes.

Ryan Reyes and Anthony Semerad each chipped in 10 markers.

The Bolts, who shot just 39 percent in the loss, were led by Baser Amer’s 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Dillinger scored 14 and grabbed five caroms, while Cañalata had 11 markers, five boards, and three assists.

TNT will try to sustain momentum versus Magnolia on January 27, Saturday at 6:45 PM, while Meralco will aim to end their skid versus Kia on Wednesday, January 24, at 4:30 PM. Both games are at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

TNT 99 — Rosario 22, Garcia 18, Pogoy 15, Castro 12, Reyes 10, Semerad 10, Carey 3, Hernandez 3, Tautuaa 2, Torres 2, Williams 2, Golla 0, Onwubere 0.

Meralco 81 — Amer 20, Dillinger 14, Canaleta 11, Tolomia 8, Newsome 6, Lanete 5, Bono 4, Hugnatan 4, Ballesteros 3, Faundo 3, Baracael 2, , Sedurifa 1, Caram 0, Salva 0.

Quarterscores: 27-18, 46-36, 73-62, 99-81.

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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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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.

“Never been prouder as Team Manager of the Red Lions than tonight when we almost beat the second best club team in Tunisia,” team manager Jude Roque said in a Facebook post.

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.

“If not for a last second bum call from the refs that gave them two free throws, we would have won the game,” rued Roque.

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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