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Manuel, Alaska escape gritty SMB to go up 2-0

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Composed and poised, the Alaska Aces survived another tough match against the defending champs.

With the defending Philippine Cup champs breathing in their necks for the entire match, the Alaska Aces hang on in a scintillating 83-80 finish, and more importantly notch a 2-0 lead in the finals series against the San Miguel Beermen, held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Tuesday evening.

Alaska controlled the pace of the game in the first quarter, as they clamped down early against San Miguel’s guards. Cyrus Baguio knocked down two triples that led them to a 16-7 start.

The Beermen were forced to tough isolation shots, while the Aces led by as much as 12 during the first. SMB responded with a 9-2 closeout to the quarter to trim the Aces’ lead, 23-18.

Coach Leo Austria continued the shuffling game in his frontcourt sans June Mar Fajardo, who is listed out still due to his knee injury. However, Yancy De Ocampo, JR Ryes and Gabby Espinas combined for a dud 0/5 shooting after two quarters.

On the other hand, Vic Manuel had 12 first half points that pushed the Aces in extending their lead to nine points during the second. Fortunately for the Beermen, they kept within striking distance after a good amount of defensive stops late, which led them to a 39-36 deficit at the break.

San Miguel kept it close, but Alaska maintained a minimal lead throughout the third quarter. Alex Cabagnot scored 10 points during the frame to keep his team afloat. By the 3:16 mark, the Beermen tied the game at 55 but the Aces took a 62-60 advantage heading into the final quarter.

Yancy De Ocampo came alive in the second half, making key baskets in the fourth quarter to make it a dogfight between the two teams. In addition, Alex Cabagnot continued his slendid outing as two bankshots gave his team their first lead since the opening minutes of the game at 73-71.

Afterwards, a 7-0 counter by the Aces created another gap to the game capped by a Dondon Hontiveros breakaway layup. Back-and-forth tense action ensued after, with Ronald Tubid draining two straight crucial hits to tie the game at 80 with over a minute to play.

Hontiveros then split his free throws, while De Ocampo missed two big free throws down the stretch. After a stop by SMB, they muffed two more attempts, a three-pointer by Ronald Tubid and Vic Manuel thwarting a De Ocampo putback with 2.4 ticks left. Manuel iced the game with two free throws, as SMB had a minimal amount of time to tie the game.

Alaska shot 44% from the field compared to SMB’s 36% clip. They had more points in the paint and had more second chance points, 48-28 and 16-9 respectively.

Once again, Vic Manuel was efficient for the second straight finals game, as he finished 18 points on 8/11 shooting, seven rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes off the bench. He also knocked down his only two shots from the free throw stripe which extended the Aces’ lead to three points.

After the game, he commended his team’s defense and said the game plan will be the same in the upcoming matches saying, “Concentrate lang talaga ako kasi importante yung free throws na yun. Yun yung pwede magpapanalo samin or makapag overtime nila.

“Yung execution namin at depensa usap usap kasi kami kailangan namin tong laban na to. May June Mar man sila o wala, same lang prepartion namin,” Manuel remarked about the improvements in his team compared to last season.

Cabagnot finished with 23 points for SMB, including 4/7 shooting from downtown. De Ocampo inked in 13, while Lassiter chipped 11 markers in the loss.

Game 3 of this series will be played on Fridayy January 22, at Lucena City.

The Scores:
Alaska (83) – Manuel 18, Hontiveros 12, Baguio 10, Abueva 9, Jazul 7, Menk 6, Banchero 6, Baclao 6, Casio 5, Thoss 4, Exciminiano 0, Dela Cruz 0.
San Miguel (80) – Cabagnot 23, De Ocampo 13, Lassiter 11, Santos 10, Ross 6, Lutz 6, Tubid 5, Espinas 4, Arana 0, Reyes 0.
Quarterscores: 23-18, 39-36, 62-60, 83-80.

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ABL

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 Marcus Elliott 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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Basketball

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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