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Meralco nips San Miguel to live another day and force winner-take-all match



Notwithstanding the twice-to-beat disadvantage prior to this game, the Meralco Bolts scored the game’s last seven points to keep their tournament alive with a 106-99 win over the second-seed San Miguel Beermen on Saturday at Araneta.

The Beermen went loose in the opening quarter and jumped to a 10-2 lead capped by three pointers from Arizona Reid and Arwind Santos. The hot start propelled SMB to build a double-digit lead which they had for majority of the first quarter while the Bolts’ offense was carried by inside points as their perimeter jumpers went wide early. Meralco only hit one out of six attempts from downtown in the period as the Beermen cruised to a dozen point lead after 12 minutes of action.

Off the bench, Jarred Dillinger contributed with three straight jumpers in the first minutes of the second period while Sean Anthony drilled in a jumper to cap a 16-3 spurt and slice SMB’s lead down to 3 at 31-28. Afterwards, the game got close and intensely-played with all the offensive exchanges by both sides. There were five lead changes and three deadlocks in the last seven minutes of the quarter but Meralco played it better than the way they showed up in the first quarter. They used a 34-21 quarter to take the lead by a point heading into the locker rooms.

The slim lead was maintained by the Bolts but SMB took it for a brief moment a couple of times in the third quarter. Despite Marcio Lassiter and JuneMar Fajardo providing the baskets from the perimeter and inside, a balanced scoring output was put up by the Bolts with multiple players contributing. With the score tied at 70 with over four minutes to play in the third, Meralco unleashed a 13-5 run and eventually end the quarter on top against SMB who was struggling with their perimeter shots.

Meralco went wire-to-wire in terms of maintaining the lead they got in the fourth period as a good stretch of points gave them a 99-90 lead with half of the quarter passing by. Kelly Nabong, Andre Emmett and Mike Cortez were responsible for providing the distance against SMB who kept on shooting from distance and blanking most of it. However, the second-seed Beermen fought back with a 9-0 run and tie the game including five crucial free-throws made. Fortunately for Meralco, they forced SMB to be scoreless in the game’s last 3:10 and score seven points including a big trifecta by Reynel Hugnatan to shatter the deadlock.

Meralco dominated the points in the paint battle, 50-36 and committed less turnovers, 9-16. They also shot better with 51.9% compared to SMB’s 45%.

Emmett tallied 28 points, 10 rebounds and two steals. Dillinger added 21 markers on an efficient 8-of-10 shooting and four triples. Fajardo also had a good outing with 30 points in just 12 shots from the inside.

The winner-take-all game will be played on Monday, 7pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The winner of the game will face the waiting Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the semifinals.

The scores:

Meralco (106) – Emmett 28, Dillinger 21, Nabong 15, Anthony 9, Hugnatan 9, David 9, Hodge 6, Cortez 4, Ildefonso 0, Ferriols 0

San Miguel(99) – Fajardo 30, Reid 21, Lassiter 17, Tubid 15, Ross 6, Santos 5, Lutz 3, Cabagnot 2, Reyes 0, Espinas 0

Quarterscores: 16-28, 50-49, 83-78, 106-99



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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