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Phoenix avoids collapse, hands Mahindra third straight loss



The Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters lost a seemingly comfortable 30-point cushion late, but managed to avert a surprising Mahindra surge late to pull off a 114-104 victory at the Mall of Asia Arena, Sunday evening.

JC Intal led Phoenix with 24 points, knocking down six triples, seven rebounds, and four assist. Rookie Matthew Wright added an efficient 21-point effort on only 13 shots, to go along with four rebounds and three assists.

The Fuel Masters troika of Matthew Wright, Cyrus Baguio and Prince Caperal ignited the first half offensive showcase en route to the blowout, wherein they were up by 17 by the break.

Phoenix quickly added sistance to an already comfortable lead by draining three triples as their first field goals in the second half. Mahindra, on the other hand, succumb in defending the perimeter shooting of the Fuel Masters, as they gave 17 triples to the Phoenix.

By the 9:17 mark of the fourth, Intal went for a breakaway fastbreak jam that seemed to put the nail in the coffin and made it a 105-75 separation. However, the Floodbusters continued to play and eventually found their shots falling late, as they suddenly erected a 29-6 run and surprise Phoenix by trimming the lead to as low as seven with under two minutes to go.

“It’s a scary fourth quarter,” admitted Intal. “Medyo nag-relax kami but thankfully we got the win.

Fortunately for Phoenix, Mark Yee’s layup with 42 seconds remaining was last of Mahindra’s try to fold the game in their favor, while they converted free throws late to extend the lead to multiple possessions.

Poenix ended up a plus-42 from downtown, despite getting outrebounded 61-51.

“It’s coach suggestion and my job really is to play. Mag start or hindi, walang problema sa akin,” claimed Intal after contributing on the team’s win off the bench.

Mahindra had 65 bench points, majority of which came from their short resurgence in the final quarter. Alex Mallari led the team in scoring with 19 markers and four rebounds. Philip Paniamogan added 15 points in his start for the Floodbuster.

Phoenix (2-1) looks to extend their winning streak to three games against the San Miguel Beermen (2-1) on Dec. 11, 4:15pm at the Big Dome. On the other hand, Mahindra (0-3) tries to barge into the win column against an also winless Star Hotshots (0-2) on Dec. 10 on an out of town game, wherein the venue has yet to be announced.

The Scores:

Phoenix (114) – Intal 24, Wright 21, Enciso 12, Caperal 12, Baguio 10, Alolino 10, Torres 8, Lanete 7, Borboran 4, W.Wilson 3, Miranda 2, Javillonar 1, J.Wilson 0, Hayes 0.

Mahindra (104) – Mallari 19, Paniamogan 15, Arana 12, Eriobu 12, Yee 11, Apinan 10, Celda 10, Nimes 6, Guevarra 5, Escoto 2, Revilla 2, Ballesteros 0, Deutchman 0, Salva 0.

Quarterscores: 32-23, 60-43, 95-68, 114-104



Downcast Chris Ross chooses to stay mum after heated altercation with Yeng Guiao



Through wins or losses, Chris Ross has always accommodated the members of the press asking for interviews and fans requesting for photo ops every after game. But Friday evening, the nine-year pro was despondent.

Visibly agitated with the events that transpired during the San Miguel Beermen’s tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors, Ross, with his hoodie covering his head, left the Cuneta Astrodome without saying a word.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year figured in physical play after physical play and verbal exchange after verbal exchange with the frustrated Road Warriors.

Ross and Alex Mallari were both slapped with technicals after figured in a confrontation with 9:06 left. This was just the start of many things to come for the Filipino-American defensive specialist

After knocking down a triple and receiving a taunt from Ross, Michael Miranda was assessed a disqualifying foul for an apparent kick to the groin he gave Ross with 4:35 left.

The tip of the iceberg game with 1:46 left to play and the game all but settled.

Yeng Guiao and Ross figured in a heated word war that resulted to Ross’ second technical foul for the game. Referees and players from both sides had to separate the two to prevent things from escalating.

San Miguel coaches alledged that the fiery NLEX mentor said the “N” word while some said Guiao called Ross a “bitch”.

Ross finished the game with four points, eight rebounds, and four steals in 37 minutes of action.

For sure, penalties and suspensions will come out of this game.

And it was better for Ross to stay silent.

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San Miguel hands NLEX third straight loss in highly-charged affair



San Miguel Beermen maintained their position at the top as they bagged their fourth straight victory at the expense of NLEX Road Warriors in a highly-physical encounter, 109-98, Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

The Beermen remain as the only unbeaten team in the 2018 Philippine Cup with a clean 4-0 card, while the Road Warriors lost their third straight outing and have dropped to 2-3.

“I know from the start that this will be an exciting game,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria. “With NLEX losing their last two games, we knew they will come out hard and it happened. They refused to lose because of their pride and experience.”

Arwind Santos led the Beermen with 26 points on five treys along with 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks. June Mar Fajardo backed him up with 25 markers on 10-of-16 shooting and 16 caroms.

It was a see-saw affair between San Miguel and NLEX, until the former unloaded an 8-0 run — ended by Marcio Lassiter’s bucket — as it widened their slim two-point lead to 10, 95-85, with 4:24 remaining in the payoff period.

The Road Warriors seemingly lost steam afterwards, and the Beermen took advantage as they expanded their lead to as much as 14, 103-89, after Santos’ three-pointer from the top of the key went in with just 2:21 left to play.

“I know na its not easy for us to beat NLEX. Before the game I know na last time we lost in this coliseum, we lost to NLEX,” said Austria, referring to their loss to the Road Warriors last 2015. “(Buti) Namarkahan na ng team namin.”

Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot scored 14 each for the Beermen, with the latter adding nine assists to his total. Von Pessumal, who was slapped with a flagrant foul for pushing Kiefer Ravena to the ground, chipped in 10 markers.

Even after receiving a groin kick from NLEX’s Michael Miranda and a tussle with Yeng Guiao after reportedly hearing a racist remark from the coach late in the game, Chris Ross still made eight boards, four points and four dimes for SMB.

Ravena led NLEX with 15 points on 4-of-10 shooting along with six assists. Alex Mallari, Raul Soyud, and JR Quiñahan all scored 12 points apiece, while Miranda finished with a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.

San Miguel will look to go 5-0 against GlobalPort on January 24, Wednesday at 7:00 PM, while NLEX will aim to bounce back versus Rain or Shine on January 26, Friday, at 4:30 PM. Both games are at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

San Miguel 109 — Santos 26, Fajardo 25, Cabagnot 14, Lassiter 14, Pessumal 10, Ganuelas-Rosser 6, De Ocampo 4, Ross 4, Heruela 2, Mamaril 2, Semerad 2.

NLEX 98 — Ravena 15, Mallari 12, Quiñahan 12, Soyud 12, Miranda 10, Tiongson 8, Fonacier 6, Uyloan 6, Al-Hussaini 5, Alas 5, Taulava 3, Baguio 2, Gotladera 2.

Quarterscores: 31-24, 49-58, 74-74, 109-98.

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Defense has been key for Globalport to even slate, beams Sean Anthony



GlobalPort’s horrid start is now a thing of the past

Sean Anthony was all praises for the way the GlobalPort Batang Pier have been executing their defensive schemes, following he and his team’s 101-76 demolition of the Blackwater Elite for their second straight victory.

“[It was] Defense again. We held them under 80 points. Our offense just flowed and we stayed aggressive on defense,” said the 31-year-old forward.

“Coach [Pido Jarencio] wants us to keep teams under 80, so another great defensive win for us.”

“We again met our target of limiting our points to below 80 points,” beamed Jarencio.

After a 0-2 start into the 2018 Philippine Cup, and after allowing their opponents to score an average of 109.5 points per game, the Batang Pier have gone on a roll and have improved to 2-2. In this mini streak of theirs, with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and Blackwater as casualties, they have limited their opponents to just 73 points.

For the eight-year pro, it’s mostly because of the team’s growing chemistry, considering that they are running a new system under Jarencio, who took the coaching reins from Franz Pumaren in the off-season.

“A lot of it is the chemistry – we have a lot of new guys, so many young guys, a new coach, too, so our chemistry’s building,” said Anthony, who paced the Batang Pier with 22 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.

“It’s getting better every day.”

But GlobalPort has a tall order ahead of them on January 24, as they are set to face reigning three-time all-Filipino champs San Miguel Beermen. But Anthony believes that they have ample time to prepare for the giants.

“San Miguel is three-time defending champs, so they’re going to be the team to beat, and definitely a barometer,” said the Filipino-American, who is currently averaging 18.25 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.75 assists.

“We’ve got some time to get better, so we’ve got to keep working on our weaknesses and continue to get better every day.”

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After second straight loss, Poy Erram laments: ‘Nagkanya-kanya kami’



For Blackwater Elite’s top big man Poy Erram, their 76-101 defeat into the hands of GlobalPort Batang Pier Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome was a result of the players resorting to play as individuals rather than as a single unit.

Erram himself nearly finished with a triple double of eight points, seven rebounds, and seven blocks, but his efforts were put in vain as the Elite never had a chance to show their brand of basketball right from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

“‘Di namin sinunod si coach. Nagkanya-kanya kami. Simula pa lang, nakita naman talaga na nagkanya-kanya kami,” lamented the 28-year-old moments after the lopsided affair.

“Di namin ginawa yung sistema ni coach.”

And it also didn’t help that Erram failed to display his best form no thanks to an ankle sprain, which he incurred late in the opening frame.

“Nilalaro ko lang buong game. Actually masakit talaga, namamaga talaga siya,” added the 6-foot-7 big man.

“Kasi kung di ako maglalaro, walang ibang maglalaro (center spot), so pinilit ko na lang talaga.”

The Elite have now fallen to their second straight loss after their huge 94-77 triumph over Ginebra last week. And this skid is something they regret, for they feel like they failed to prove that their win against the Gin Kings was no fluke.

“May chance na kami eh, pinakawalan pa namin. Sobrang sayang,” said the four-year pro out of Ateneo de Manila. “Yung mga players sobrang down (tonight) kasi inexpect namin lalaban kami, tapos tinambakan kami ng sobra.”

Blackwater played their second game in three days after asking for a schedule revision to give way to their Hope for Lupus Run this Sunday. But Erram does not want to make the exhausting string of games as an excuse.

“Medyo naging factor din na in one week tatlong games kami. Tapos puro malalakas pa kalaban namin. Pero di yun excuse for us,” said Erram, who is averaging 13.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks this conference.

“Dapat ready kami kahit sino kalaban namin.”

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