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Meralco escapes feisty Talk ‘N Text to go 3-0



The Meralco Bolts get to keep their hot start in the Commissioner’s Cup going, pulling away from a Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters squad that came close to stealing the lead in the fourth quarter, and eventually walking away with the 91-83 victory Wednesday evening at the Araneta Coliseum.

The first quarter opened to a veritable trade of baskets between the two squads, Meralco proving to be the quicker draw and taking the early lead. Up until the last three minutes of the period, the Tropang Texters were able to keep pace, closing in on the Bolts 17-19, but were promptly left in the dust when import Josh Davis and veteran sharpshooter Gary David collaborated to help Meralco pull away by as many as seven points. At the end of the first, the Bolts led 28-21.

A series of fruitful free throw charities by Jared Sullinger gave Meralco the ten-point lead two minutes into the second period, 31-21. Talk ‘N Text, who struggled from both the three-point line and the free throw line, found themselves unable to answer back to the Meralco salvo. Jayson Castro and Richard Howell’s combined 23 points proved insufficient, as at the end of the first half it was the Bolts who had the lead, 46-41.

The Tropang Texters entered the third period looking geared to finally come within striking distance, trimming the lead to three, 45-48, after a minute of play. A 7-2 flurry by the Bolts, however, extended the lead to as many as eight in the next few minutes, pulling away just as the Texters were looking to snatch the lead. With little more than four minutes left in the quarter, a bucket by Larry Fonacier off the lob pass put the Tropang Texters within striking distance, 58-60. But once again the Bolts pulled away just as the Texters closed in, extending the lead to seven in the last two minutes of the quarter to take a 72-65 lead to end the period.

Talk ‘N Text found the boost they needed in rookie Kevin Alas collaborating with import Howell to score six straight points and come within striking distance, 76-77, four minutes into the fourth. Meralco’s Willy Wilson, however, responded with a trey on the other end to make it 80-76. But with their outside touch back, the Texters were able to keep pace this time, biting at the lead and staying close enough to steal the lead for the next few minutes of play. But approaching the last two minutes, a big layup by Mike Cortez after slashing inside gave Meralco a crucial 87-81 lead that they held on to for around a minute of play. Two free throws at the 1:18 mark by Davis pushed the lead to 89-81, hammering down the nail in the coffin.

David led the Bolts with 17 points off the bench. Import Howell led Talk ‘N Text with 24 points and 9 rebounds. Meralco improves to 3-0, while Talk ‘N Text slides to 2-1 after the loss.

Meralco- 91
David- 17, Wilson-12, Hodge-11, Cortez-11, Davis-8, Hugnatan-8, Anthony-6, Ferriols-6, Reyes-5, Dillinger-5, Ildefonso-2

Talk ‘N Text- 83
Howell- 24, Castro- 18, R. de Ocampo- 11, Alas- 8, Miller- 7, Fonacier- 6, Washington- 3, Ganuelas-Rosser-3, Carey-3

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Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool



SMART Gilas Pilipinas’ third session for the second leg of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers ended early on Monday evening.

Prior to the end of the practice, head coach Chot Reyes talked to team veterans Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo. The outspoken mentor told the seniors of the team that he is cutting Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan from the pool.

“The reason why we’re dropping Abueva and Almazan for the second window is because they haven’t showed up,” lamented Reyes.

“It’s already our third practice at hindi pa sila nagpapakita. It’s simply a matter of disinterest.

“I guess they’re not interested so we have to move on we can’t wait for those guys,” he pointed out.

Both Abueva and Almazan were part of the teams that competed in the 2017 SEABA Championship, the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, and the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Only 10 players from the pool showed up for the team’s third session. And with the second leg exactly one month away, Gilas cannot let a slip up happen especially against Australia.

“Aside from those two we don’t know where Matt Wright is, while Allein [Maliksi] is attending a wedding in Australia. Other than that it’s really just an issue of Calvin and Raymond if they don’t want to be a part of the pool.” expressed Reyes.

“That’s the reason we’re dropping them for the second window.”

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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

23 for 2023 cadets fill up Gilas practice



With just 31 days until the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, only 10 players from the pool attended the team’s third session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.

Suiting up in the session presided over by Coach Chot Reyes were June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, and Roger Pogoy. Carl Cruz and Jayson Castro were in attendance but were in street clothes.

Not present were Matthew Wright, Japeth Aguilar, and Allein Maliksi. Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend practice.

Joining the seniors team to prep them up for the World Cup Qualifiers were 10 players from the 23 for 2023 pool.

Ateneo Blue Eagle Matt Nieto attended his first Gilas practice. Joining him were teammates Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.

Completing the night’s cast were CJ Perez, Abu Tratter, Will Gozum, J-jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, and Juan Gomez de Liano. Joshua Sinclair watched from the sidelines as he is still recovering from an ACL injury.

Gilas will take on Australia in Melbourne on February 22. The Philippine will then host Japan three days later at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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San Beda fends off Letran for back-to-back wins



With seasoned setter John Carlo Desuyo steering the wheel to near perfection, the San Beda College romped to their second straight win.

The Red Spikers pulled double-digit outings from four players to upend archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-22, and register their fourth win of the season, Monday early evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

It was the Knights, however, who started on the right foot, overhauling a 4-10 deficit to snag the first set. Better passing from liberos Aljune Centeno and Johnsen Timbreza resulted in kills from captain Bobby Gatdula.

Nonetheless, San Beda picked up the service game in the next three sets to ultimately finish off the blue-shirts.

Despite the win-loss record they currently sport, the Red Spiker playmaker admitted that t

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Michael Calisaan tows Che’lu-San Sebastian past Perpetual



Photo by PBA Images

Michael Calisaan poured 20 points as he captained newcomer Che’Lu-San Sebastian Revellers to a decisive 83-70 win over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas to start their voyage, Monday evening at the Pasig City Sports Center.

Doing it all for the Revellers, the veteran forward provided the stability for his side as he shot 8-of-15 from the field while also hauling down nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the conference-opening win.

But it wasn’t all Calisaan as Che’Lu got contributions from all over its roster.

Samboy de Leon chimed in 16 markers and nine boards. RK Ilagan went 2-of-5 from threes to collect 13 points, eight dimes, and three rebounds, while big men Alfred Batino and Jeepy Faundo combined for 20 in the victory.

Despite the triumph, coach Stevenson Tiu gave all the praise to his players, noting the team’s lack of time preparing for the tourney.

“Nanalo kami dahil sa talent ng players. Medyo mali ko rin kasi nahirapan pa ako mag-adjust sa players. Hopefully, we play much better in the coming games,” he said.

The Revellers used a 16-4 run to finally break away from the Altas, taking a 77-60 lead with 4:03 to play as they punished their foes for their turnovers, turning Perpetual’s 30 miscues to 28 points in their favor.

Prince Eze anchored the Altas with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and seven blocks in their first game under new head coach Frankie Lim.

Che’lu-San Sebastian look to make it two in a row when they take on the Wangs-Letran Couriers on Monday, January 29 at 5:00pm. Perpetual, on the other hand, hope they can notch their first win when they take on Mila’s Lechon Mighty Roasters.

The Scores:

Che’lu-SSCR 83 — Calisaan 20, De Leon 16, Ilagan 13, Batino 10, Faundo 10, Bulanadi 6, Costelo 6, Calma 2, David 0, Lao 0, Santos 0, Valdez 0.

UPHSD 70 — Eze 15, Coronel 13, Villanueva 13, Jimenez 9, Charcos 7, Peralta 7, Gallardo 5, Pido 1, Antonio 0, Aurin 0, Tamayo 0, Tongco 0.

Quarterscores: 17-22, 34-38, 59-53, 83-70.

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