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Never Say Die is back! Ginebra eliminates Star in a ‘Clasico’ overtime



Who said Never Say Die was dead?

In front of 21,808 fans – the biggest for the PBA at the SM Mall of Asia Arena -, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel were down by as much as 18 points with eight minutes left in regulation. In a display of amazing determination and great shooting, the “Never Say Die” team rallied back behind Sol Mercado and a buzzer-beater by LA Tenorio to eliminate rivals Star Hotshots 92-89 in overtime Christmas evening.

From the get go, Star tried to deny Ginebra’s bigs touches underneath. In less than five minutes, they already established a 9-2 lead, while also fishing for Japeth Aguilar’s second quick foul. Star’s trapping defense surprised Ginebra, as the Kings struggled to get their scoring game going with early turnovers. The Kings, however, were able to erase a 15-8 deficit in the latter stretch of the opening frame as they ended the first on a strong 13-3 run capped by a triple by rookie Scottie Thompson to take the lead.

The enegetic second unit of the two teams showed up both offensively and defensively in the start of the next quarter. An exchange of frantic possessions yielded a 26-all with 5:45 left in the first half. Afterwards, eleven lead changes ensued in the back-and-forth play sealed by a Greg Slaughter putback and give his team a 38-37 lead at the break.

The seesaw-action continued in the opening part of the second half. However, Star suddenly took charge, building an 8-2 mini-run including three-point plays by Taha and Yap. The game got heated after a series of loose ball scrambles. In addition, the game slowed down with the number of fouls committed by the two teams. Maliksi, Mallari and Melton combined for Star’s last nine points of the quarter in the final minute to increase their lead to 11, that was cut to eight at the buzzer, as LA Tenorio banked in a three to end the third.

In a span of two minutes into the fourth, an 8-0 blitz by Star broke the game wide open and cruise to a 16-point advantage. As things threatened to look bleak for the Kings, their comeback hopes slightly opened with Star committing fouls wherein Pingris exhausted all of his six available. James Yap converted on a fallaway jumper that restored a 15 point lead with four minutes left, while thwarting Ginebra’s chances.

In a blink of an eye and with less than two minutes remaining, Sol Mercado completed a three point play, then followed it up with a huge triple to cut the lead down to five with half a minute remaining. Afterwards, Yap split his free throws that was answered by a crucial three by Aguilar. Barroca, who was seemingly trying to call for timeout, was taken to the foul stripe after a controversial foul called on Scottie Thompson. After two made free throws, Mercado sinked in another triple to make it an 80-78 game in favor of Star with 7.6 ticks left. Star failed to inbound the ball properly, while Thompson tied the game at 80 with an uncontested fastbreak layup. In a stunning sequence, the Hotshots once again muffed a pass but Mercado came up short in a potential game-winning shot.

All three triples made by Star were answered by Ginebra in a wild shootout to commence overtime. As clock melted quickly, things were tied at 89 with 31 second to go. Star went blank in their next possession, while Ginebra had a shot in the last play. After a timeout, Tenorio then knocked down the cold-blooded game-winning three at the buzzer to finish their Christmas day advancing to the next round.

“This was one of the most amazing games I’ve been involved in,” said 26 year PBA head coach Tim Cone. “It’s like we got a second Christmas gift tonight.”

Five Kings ended up in double-figures led by Mercado’s 17 off the bench. Slaughter and Caguioa added 12 and 11 respectively. For the eliminated Hotshots, Simon finished with 17 markers but shot 6/16 from the field.

The two teams combined for 21 triples, but Ginebra outscored Star in the paint, 42-32. Lastly, they outrebounded the Hotshots, 64-50.

Ginebra will face the GlobalPort Batang Pier on Sunday, 5:00pm in a knockout match. Game will be played at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores:
Ginebra (92) – Mercado 17, Slaughter 12, Tenorio 11, Caguioa 10, Devance 10, Aguilar 9, Ellis 9, Thompson 9, Helterbrand 3, Cruz 2, Marcelo 0.
Star (89) – Simon 17, Sangalang 13, Barroca 11, Yap 10, Maliksi 9, Mallari 9, Melton 7, Reavis 4, Taha 4, Cruz 3, Pingris 2, Pascual J. 0, Torres 0.
Quarterscores: 21-18, 38-37, 54-62, 80-80, 92-89.

1 Comment
  • Darius Puzz

    Grabe, naiiyak na ako kasi matatalo Ginebra, 18-point lead 8 minutes na lang yata nun. One of the most amazing comeback wins by Ginebra, sabi nga ni Coach Tim Cone isa din ito sa kanya. Ilang games pa lang siya sa Ginebra. Hehe.


Impervious Lady Chiefs stay perfect after sweep of Lady Pirates



The Arellano University Lady Chiefs extended their winning streak to 17 dating back to last season, after clobbering the Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The defending champions were unrelenting with four Lady Chiefs scoring in double-digits with rookie Necole Ebuen powering in 11 points. Third-year open hitter Regine Arocha and Arellano’s middle blockers Mary Anne Esguerra and Andrea Marzan each provided 10 markers.

Conversely, no Lady Pirate managed to score in double-figures.

“Maganda naman talaga ang nilalaro ng mga bata. Lahat kasi kami determinado na makakuha ulet ng championship. Alam nila (Lady Chiefs) na kailangan pataas nang pataas ang ginagalaw namin,” said Arellano head coach Obet Javier.

The Lady Chiefs also limited their errors to a season-best 16 while the Lady Pirates surrendered 24 miscues.

The Lady Chiefs look for their sixth win of the season when they face the red-hot University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (4-1) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Christine Miralles and Monica Sevilla each supplied the struggling Lyceum with eight point apiece.

The Lady Pirates (1-4) take on the undefeated San Beda College (4-0) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

AU (3) – Ebuen 11, Arocha 10, Esguerra 10, Marzan 10, Prado 3, Ramirez 3, Liu 2, Balanoba 1, Donato 1, Verutiao 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)

LPU (0) – Miralles 8, Sevilla 8, Juanilla 7, Patio 4, Genova 1, Romanban 0, Bongabong 0, Marcella (L)

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Late whistle costs San Beda against Sousse to fall to 0-2



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.

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 had 27 points. Fellow 23 for 2023 cadet Javee Mocon added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Sousse, the second-best club team in Tunisia and 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.

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 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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Perpetual overpowers JRU to keep pace of Final Four



Strutting their decisive height and power advantage, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas slammed the Jose Rizal University Lady Bombers, 25-21, 22-25, 25-14, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Altas were still heavy-handed with their errors, surrendering 35 miscues, including 12 in the second set, the only frame they lost.

The Las Piñas-based program, however, kept a scorching offensive pace, bombarding the Lady Bombers with six blocks and 12 aces. JRU had just five points combined crom those categories.

“Mataas pa talaga ‘yung tendency ng mga bata mamigay ng mga puntos. Sabi ko nga hindi kami mananalo kung tutulungan pa namin ‘yung kalaban maka-score,” rued Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño.

“Pero, unti-unte namang gumaganda ‘yung galaw ng mga bata. Lahat naman ng pagkukulang nila, tinatrabaho namin para maayos sa ensayo,” the champion mentor added.

Perpetual’s six-foot-three middle blocker Lourdes Clemente towered over the Lady Bombers with a season-high 19 points which included 14 attacks, two blocks, and three aces. Winger Cindy Imbo added 15 points.

The Lady Altas (4-1) take on the undefeated defending champs Arellano University (5-0) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Rookie Dolly Versoza paced the Lady Bombers with a game-high 21 points while captain Shola Alvarez managed 15.

The Lady Bombers (2-3) face the College of Saint Benilde (3-1) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Clemente 19, Imbo 15, Sangalang 8, Llorente 7, Tripoli 7, Gual 6, Versoza 2, Umandal 1, Estanislao 0, Medalla (L)

JRU (1) – Versoza 21, Alvarez 15, Ebuenga 5, Montojo 2, Rivera 2, Sibangan 1, Bodiongan 0, Macaraya (L)

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Marc Pingris wants Rafi Reavis to break Robert Jaworski’s record



Marc Pingris was all praises for veteran Rafi Reavis Saturday night, as the 40-year-old center made his presence felt in the Magnolia Hotshots’ 97-91 victory — their third straight win — over Phoenix Fuel Masters at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The six-foot-nine Reavis finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks — a performance perfectly punctuated by a follow-up of a Paul Lee miss with 12.5 seconds left to play that knocked out the Fuel Masters for good.

“Papasalamat ako kay Rafi na talagang kababalik lang niya pero binigay niya talaga lahat,” said Pingris after the bout, as Saturday night was just Reavis’ second outing in the 2018 Philippine Cup after recovering from a hip injury.

“Nag-usap nga kami kanina e, hindi pa siya 100 percent. So bukas, ang sabi niya babalik daw siya sa gym dahil gusto niya ibalik yung lakas ng legs dahil wala pa daw,” added the 36-year-old, who also suffered a hip injury last season.

Reavis has been playing in the league for 16 years. Seeing the work he has put in, Pingris, who finished the game with 17 rebounds, four assists, four points and two blocks, believes that the 10-time PBA champion can play for 10 more years — at least.

“You know naman Rafi eh, katulad ko rin yan eh – rebound and depensa. At tsaka sobrang vocal siya sa team eh,” beamed Pingris, who himself is a 14-year veteran. “Walang siyang inaano, talagang sinasabihan niya kung sino yung mga nagmi-mistake, kung paano kami mag-adjust, so nakikinig naman lahat sa kanya.

“Talagang nandun yung respeto namin kay Rafi.”

And if Reavis stays healthy for the next decade, Pingris wants Reavis to exceed Jaworki’s 958 games played — third most all time.

“Nasa kanya yun, basta kaya mo ba eh. As a player, kung masipag ka naman at may disiplina sa sarili mo, kaya niya yun.”

Still, Reavis has a lot of catching up to do.

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