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Mac Belo continues surge as Blackwater picks up monumental win against Rain or Shine



Wanting to end the calendar year with a bang, the Blackwater Elite exorcised its curse against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and in the Cuneta Astrodome, taking a 92-79 win, Friday evening.

Prior to this game, the three-year old franchise was 0-11 against Rain or Shine and 0-18 at the Astrodome. Both the Elite and the Elasto Painters are now even at 1-1 this conference.

“First time namin manalo against Rain or Shine and to win in Cuneta and we’re hoping that we can have a good new year with this win,” said Blackwater head coach Leo Isaac.

After scoring 13 points to start the season, sophomore stud Mac Belo was able to sustain his momentum, finishing with a game-high 25 points on five triples to go along with seven assists, fur rebounds, and three steals.

“We had to be patient with him, same with the players with the plays,” added Isaac about Belo. “That’s what we have been discussing, we need to be patient to execute more player.”

The product of Far Eastern University proved pivotal in the clutch moments. With the game knotted at 79-all the Elite were able to gain a four-point cushion after baskets by Allein Maliksi and Mike DiGregorio.

A split on the stripe by Chris Tiu led to a basket for Belo. It was just the beginning for Belo as he was able to answer a Daquioag basket and a three-point play by Raymond Almazan with a long jumper and a three-pointer — the latter with 1:39 left.

“Our defense needed to hold to contain the firepower of Rain or Shine. We needed to contain the shooters while we were able to convert on our side,” Isaac added as Rain or Shine only scored two points in the final moments of the game as Chris Tiu and Daquioag were heavily checked.

DiGregorio added 23 points, scoring seven in the final frame. Rookie Raymar Jose added 12 points and eight rebounds while Allein Maliksi chipped in 10 markers off the bench.

Rain or Shine led by as much as 10 points in the contest, 12-2 to start the game and 35-25 early in the second frame.

Tiu once again led the Elasto Painters with 14 points. Gabe Norwood and Daquioag had 13 markers each with the former filling up the stat sheet with four rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks. Towering Raymond Almazan tallied a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds with two swats.

Maverick Ahanmisi was not in the game as he had to go back to the States and join his family in grieving for his departed grandfather.

Blackwater will have a long off before facing the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Friday, January 12 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Rain or Shine takes on the Globalport Batang Pier on the same day at 7:00pm.

The Scores:

Blackwater (92) – Belo 25, DiGregorio 23, Jose 12, Maliksi 10, Erram 9, Pinto 7, Sumang 5, Sena 2, Cortez 0, Marcelo 0, Javier 0.

Rain or Shine (87) – Tiu 14, Norwood 13, Daquioag 13, Almazan 10, Maiquez 9, Belga 7, Borboran 6, Yap 5, Trollano 4, Ponferada 2, Nambatac 2.

Quarterscores: 28-25, 47-44, 65-64, 92-87.



Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’



Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup



Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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23 for 2023 cadet CJ Perez honored to help out Gilas



Having had the chance to represent the Philippines in FIBA-sanctioned cagefests such the Asia Challenge Cup and the 3X3 All-Stars back in 2016, Lyceum Pirates star CJ Perez is no stranger to the international stage.

But the 24-year-old do-it-all swingman admits that he still gets overwhelmed whenever he sees his seniors — the stars and pillars of the program — in the team. “Nasusurprise [pa rin] ako,” he said. “Mga professionals eh.

“Na-istarstruck pa rin ako sa kanila.”

Perez said so when he finally made his return within Gilas’ realms last Monday night. The last time he was with the National Team was in August 2016, when the SBP built an amateur-laden batch of Gilas cagers that served as the transition from the 2016 Olympic Qualifiers squad to the 2017 SEABA team.

“Sobrang grateful ako (sa invitation),” said the talented six-foot-two guard, after practice at the Meralco Gym.

The reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player is back in the fold for Gilas as his name, along with young, up-and-coming stars, was included in the 23 for 2023 pool — a list of cagers projected to be the contingent for the Manila-hosted World Cup.

“Iniisip ko yun (FIBA World Cup 2023) simula magtawag sila ng practice. Actually nandoon na yung utak ko eh,” the Lyceum Pirate ace bared. “Kailangan ko lang mag work hard pa para makapasok dun sa lineup na yun, kahit malayo pa.

“It’s an honor para ma-represent yung country.”

Unlike in 2016, Perez graced the court and took part in drills with the veterans such as Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, among others. With those type of players around him, he feels that the lessons he can get will be limitless.

“Oo sobra. Kahit kanino naman (matututo ka talaga),” Perez shared. “(At tsaka) Dito parang more on sa mental. ‘Di na iniisip yung conditioning kasi may ibang teams naman sila so about sa mental toughness [talaga].”

For now, the 23 for 2023 cadets are already working out not just for familiarity, but also to help the seniors in preparing for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers this February.

“Sobrang happy and grateful na nakakatulong ako sa kanila kahit sa simpleng practice lang.”

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Blistering Mikey Williams takes home Heritage Import of the Week honor



Photo from ASEAN Basketball League

The resurgent Saigon Heat have been the thorn to topflight clubs teams Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club and Nanhai Kung Fu, handing both squads their first losses in the eighth season of the ASEAN Basketball League. The Heat would not have done it without Filipino-American import Mikey Williams.

Williams, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Cal State Fullerton, dropped 39 points on 14-for-25 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and nine assists in Saigon’s 121-115 overtime win over Hong Kong.

The former NBA G-Leaguer followed it up with a sensational 24-point, five-rebound, and seven-assist outing in their 96-93 win over Kung Fu.

Overall, the 26-year-old guard averaged 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.0 steals to edge out fellow Filipino AJ Mandani of the Singapore Slingers for the weekly award.

For the Local Player of the Week, two Alab Pilipinas stalwarts were the runners-up for the crown.

Reigning local Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. and his floor general Josh Urbiztondo had stellar weeks that earned them honorable mentions.

Parks averaged 17.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists for the week that saw Alab lose to the Slingers at home last Wednesday before bouncing back on the road against the Mono Vampire last Sunday.

Urbiztondo, on the other hand, had norms of 14.5 points on a hot 9-for-17 clip from downtown.

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