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Not tonight: Locals respond to challenge in Rain or Shine win to force Game 7



With their backs against the wall, the locals of Rain or Shine grabbed 84 points to hold on a 101-93 Game 6 win over the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in order to keep their season alive and more importantly; extend the finals series to a decisive seventh game.

In Game 6, the Tropang Texters went off to a good start as they had a fast 8-0 score, which included triples coming from Ivan Johnson and Ranidel De Ocampo. Rain or Shine struggled with their attempts due to early turnovers in their first possessions; thus led to their stagnant offense in the first period.

The Elasto Painters responded off a timeout with a 7-0 run to grab the lead for the first time in the match at 12-10. A wide open trey from Jireh Ibañes contributed to their lead. The RoS run did not only extend on the offensive end, but also spread out on defense, causing the Tropang Texters to force on tough attempts.

The frontline of Wayne Chism and Raymond Almazan provided the scoring punch in the interior to give them a seven-point separation at 19-12. Despite De Ocampo scoring on perimeter shots, Rain or Shine ended the first quarter on top by five.

In a surprising substitution made by RoS coach, Yeng Guiao, with their season on the line, Jeff Chan was entered into the ball game during the second quarter. Notwithstanding the pain, Chan scored on a layup and a three pointer to turn it into a 30-23 game, in favor of his squad.

Jason Castro and scrapper Harvey Carey combined for TNT’s next nine points, in order to claw their way back within one quickly at 33-32. As the score tied at 36, Paul Lee stopped the Painters’ mini drought with his first triple of the game, after missing his first four attempts. The said triple initiated an 18-6 run for the Painters in the last five minutes, which put them up by a dozen at end of halftime.

The second half displayed great defense by the Tropang Texters as they limited Rain or Shine to three quiet points at the start of the third period. They sliced the lead down to 57-54 with De Ocampo providing the offense for TNT. Showing their sense of urgency, Paul Lee and Raymond Almazan anchored the response in order to counter the Texters’ rally. The two combined for a fastbreak bucket and re-installed a 68-60 edge with four minutes to go in the third.

Chan and De Ocampo exchanged triples in the late moments of the third, but Rain or Shine managed to hang on to a five-point advantage heading into the payoff period.

Talk ‘N Text settled for a full-court pressure defense at the beginning of the fourth, which paid off when the Painters rushed their attempts to the rim. However, the Texters dealt with sorry misses from Carey and Johnson down-low that were potential points to trim the gap.

Only six minutes left on the clock, and Chris Tiu finished a 3-on-1 break to extend their lead at 87-79. Signs of frustration slowly sank in on Ivan Johnson, when he was called for his fifth foul on Paul Lee via a hard hit to the guard. TNT missed a long trey on the next play, leading to a wide open left-handed flush by Almazan on the other end, to make it a double-digit game.

Entering crunch time, Castro provided five points including a needed three pointer, but was countered by Rain or Shine’s crucial baskets and offensive boards. Up five with a minute to play, the Elasto Painters extended their lead to nine. In a sloppy ending to the match, Larry Fonacier drained in two triples. However, Rain or Shine’s second chance points hurt TNT’s chances of pulling off an impressive comeback late.

Almazan played a stellar outing with 18 points on 8 out of 10 shots, with 10 boards and a block. Rain or Shine outscored Talk ‘N Text on fastbreak points, 46-28, while also grabbing more boards 59-45.

Game 7 of the series and the last game of the Commissioner’s Cup will be played on Wednesday, 7pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Rain or Shine (101) – Almazan 18, Chism 18, Lee 16, Chan 11, Cruz 10, Tiu 7, Norwood 6, Ibañes 3, Araña 3, Uyloan 0, Belga 0, Quiñahan 0

Talk ‘N Text (93) – De Ocampo 21, Castro 17, Washington 14, Carey 13, Fonacier 11, Johnson 6, Alas 4, Williams 4, Ganuelas-Rosser 3, Aban 0

Quarters: 23-18, 54-42, 76-71, 101-93



Go for Gold survives Kent Salado injury to turn back Gamboa-St. Clare



Photo from PBA Images

The Go for Gold Scratchers got their act together late as it slipped past Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers with a 75-68 win Monday afternoon at the Pasig City Sports Center.

It was a total team effort for the Scratchers with veterans Jerwin Gaco and J-Jay Alejandro stabilizing their camp as they closed the game out with a 23-point finishing salvo.

Senegalese center Clement Leutcheu proved to be a solid force for his side as he tallied 14 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks, while Gaco just missed out on a double-double with his 13 markers and nine boards.

Justin Gutang also corralled 10 points and 13 rebounds in the win, while Kent Salado had nine markers, five boards, four assists, and three steals before suffering an MCL sprain on his right knee with 2:48 to play in the third frame.

Despite Salado’s absence in the payoff period, Go for Gold coach Charles Tiu praised his wards for its defensive effort late.

“We cut down our turnovers and we rebounded well, and then we executed very well,” he said.

It was a complete turnaround from the Scratchers’ lackluster start, where they fell behind by as much as 10, 28-18 midway in the second quarter.

We’re a new team and hindi pa kami sanay sa isa’t isa. As you can see in the first half, ang dami naming turnovers because we’re not that familiar with each other,” said Tiu. “But I’m happy naman kasi the guys, we needed a test like this as a young team, to learn how to come from behind against a very good team like St. Clare.“

Aris Dionisio carried the load for the Coffee Lovers with 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Raymond Rubio had 11 markers and six boards in the defeat.

Go for Gold will face a familiar foe in the JRU Heavy Bombers on Tuesday, January 30 at the Ynares Sports Arena. Gamboa-St. Clare, on the other hand, will take on the Batangas-EAC Generals on Monday, January 29.

The Scores:

Go for Gold 75 — Leutcheu 14, Gaco 13, Gutang 10, Salado 9, Naboa 8, Salem 8, Alejandro 5, Dixon 3, Pili 2, San Juan 2, Domingo 1.

Gamboa-St. Clare 68 — Dionisio 19, Rubio 11, Pare 10, Ambuludto 8, Hallare 6, Rebugio 6, Jackson 4, Acuno 2, Bitoon 2, Alcober 0.

Quarterscores: 14-19, 30-33, 52-53, 75-68.

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PBA slaps fines on Yeng Guiao, Chris Ross



Yeng Guiao and Chris Ross opt to move on

The much-talked about tilt that pitted the San Miguel Beermen and the NLEX Road Warriors last January 18 featured numerous confrontations and exchanges. But none was more heated than what happened between fiery head coach Yeng Guiao and emotional defensive cog Chris Ross.

With 1:46 remaining in that game, Guiao and Ross figured in a verbal altercation that resulted to the latter being slapped with his second technical foul of the contest.

San Miguel head coach Leo Austria alledged that Guiao threw a racial slur at Ross that triggered the Filipino-American.

The league though could not find any hard evidence that this occurred.

“Upon review of the incident, consulting possible witnesses to the event and discussing the matter with both parties, the alleged racist remark attributed to Coach Guiao could not be established,” the league said in a statement. “Coach Guiao has denied such allegation while Chris Ross has opted to move forward and said that he would not want to discuss the matter further. However, Coach Guiao and Chris Ross will be subject to appropriate fines for their respective misconduct.

“As a result, the Office of the Commissioner finds no sufficient basis to discuss the matter of an alleged racist remark uttered by Coach Guiao. It may be recalled that in a previous incident, a heavy penalty was imposed for a racist remark that was clearly proven.

“Rest assured that any act that is racially derogatory and pejorative in nature will be dealt with sternly by the league,” the statement ended.

As a result, Guiao is fined PHP 11,000 for obscene gesture, use of profane language and engaging in a verbal altercation while Ross is fined the amount of PHP 2,600 for incurring two technical fouls, both for verbal altercation.

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MPBL aims to give local talent biggest exposure




After months of planning, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League will finally raise its curtains on Thursday, January 25 at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. Unlike the other leagues in the country, the MPBL wants to give Filipino aspirants from local communities a chance to shine on national TV.

“I would like to say, this is the noble project of our founder and chairman, Senator Manny Pacquiao, Talagang dream niya ito, matulungan ‘yung mga grassroots,” said MPBL head of marketing Arnold Vegafria during the league’s press conference. “And from the grassroots, to the collegiate players and also professionals na gusto niyang tulungan, mabigyan ng chances, makalaro at ma-expose ang skills nila para matulungan ang mga basketbolista not only sa Metro Manila but this is gonna be all over the Philippines.

“Simula muna sa Metro Manila and key cities in Luzon. Soon it will go to Visayas and Mindanao.”

The first conference for the league is the Anta Raja Cup. 10 teams from Luzon will compose the league, namely Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Caloocan, Imus, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Paranaque, Quezon City, and Valenzuela.

Though it may be ambitious, the league wants to continue the dream started by the Metropolitan Basketball Association which is to create a league that has a home and away format.

“For the longest time, after ng MBA, I think it’s 20 years ago na ‘yun, I think it’s due na rin for our basketball fans around the country, ‘yung mga sa provinces, ‘cause ‘yung advantage nito is ‘yung games mismo, dadalhin mo sa kanila. Unlike before sa mga liga natin, naka-stay lang sila sa isang venue,” said league commissioner Kenneth Duremdes.

“Maraming factors ngayon, traffic and time-consuming. Pero itong liga natin, tayo ang magdadala mismo sa mga tao, sa mga basketball fans. Sa tagal-tagal ng walang organized, or high-level na basketball tournament, ito na ‘yung time na makikita ng mga basketball fans natin na up close and personal ang mga ini-idolo nila, lalo na ang mga hometown hero nila,” the PBA legend furthered.

Armed with this vision, the league plans to be the country’s premier amateur league, helping build the dreams of the Filipino youth.

“It’s an amateur league. Kaya nga natin siya tinatawag na liga para sa lahat ng Pilipino, kasi lahat dito as long as Filipino ka, kasali ka,” shared Duremdes.

“Kagaya ng sinasabi ni Sen. Manny, matutulungan natin ang mga players ng grumaduate sa college na walang mapaglaruan, mga ex-pro na hindi masyado nabigyan ng exposure sa PBA, may exposure sila dito. Tapos yung mga grassroots player natin, malay mo springboard nila ang MPBL and who knows they will represent the country in the national team.

“Ito ang nakikita ni Sen Manny, mga players na out of school or the big leagues, ma-expose sila sa MPBL at mapansin sila ng national team or pro team,” he furthered.

The league’s first game will feature Caloocan taking on Paranaque at the Big Dome. Tickets are priced at P300, P200, P150, P100 while the Gen Ad will be open for all.

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Lady Blazers evade upset-hungry Lady Generals



The College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers avoided a major upset, slipping past the winless Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals, 25-17, 18-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-7, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

After winning the opening set, the Lady Blazers collapsed in the following frames, surrendering errors and fumbling passes. The Lady Generals took full advantage and grabbed all the momentum, rued Saint Benilde head coach Arnold Laniog.

“Nabigyan nga namin ‘yung kalaban ng confidence, kaya tuloy-tuloy na sila kanina. Mataas pa rin ‘yung tendency ng team ko mag-relax,” Laniog said. “Kung tutuusin, may advantage talaga ‘yung team namin. Nahihirapan lang talaga kami makabangon kapag nauunahan kami. Mabuti na lang kanina nakabawi kami noong huling dalawang sets.”

The Lady Generals took their turn making errant plays, allowing the Lady Blazers to grab a 15-7 lead in the fourth set and force a decider. Anchored by the imposing presence of their middle blockers Ranya Musa and Rachel Austero, the Lady Blazers raced to a 10-2 in the final set and sealed the win.

Austero finished with 17 points while Musa added 15. The pair also combined for seven of CSB’s 13 blocksm Austero also provided five aces.

The Lady Blazers (3-2) take on fellow Final Four aspirant Jose Rizal University (2-3) on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Generals had no player score in double-digits as they pulled 48 points from Benilde’s errors. Yvette Tongco and Arina Reyes, nonetheless, provided nine points apiece.

The Lady Generals (0-5) get their best chance at their first of the season when they face also-ran Mapua University (0-4) also on Wednesday.

The Scores

CSB (3) – Austero 17, Musa 15, Cui 8, Ventura 8, Abriam 5, Daguil 5, Enginco 5, Cardiente 1, Pablo 1, Dolorito 0, Lim (L), Torres (L)

EAC (2) – Reyes 9, Tongco 9, Binondo 8, Lumbo 8, Tasis 4, Pablo 3, Magbanua 2, Chan 0, Yongco 0, Medina (L)

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