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Purefoods completes sweep against Aces; books semifinals seat



Squandering a 20-point lead against a furious rally set up by Alaska in the last ten minutes of the game, Purefoods survived and came up with a 96-89 victory to eliminate the Aces and set a date with the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in the next round of the PBA Playoffs held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Way different from their start compared to Game 1, Alaska weathered the early 6-0 start by Denzel Bowles in the ball game. The Aces made it a close encounter in the first period as Calvin Abueva and Damion James started to hit their mid range jumpers while also playing the passing lanes on the other end. Purefoods led by the majority of the first but their turnovers haunted them early from pulling away in this match.

The Aces settled for a full-court press during the last half of the opening frame that made the Star Hotshots get their offense from the perimeter. James, however, kept charging into the Purefoods defense to get himself to the foul stripe. He gave Alaska their first lead at 21-20, but Purefoods countered with a 10-0 finishing kick in the first to give the Star Hotshots the lead.

In the second, Devance continued his tremendous start in the game as he knocked down his fourth shot from downtown while Alex Mallari also converted on layups. Triples from RJ Jazul and Dondon Hontiveros tried to salvage some points for Alaska but Purefoods retained the lead all throughout. The Aces tried to deny Bowles from imposing his inside game as he became a jump shooter in the second.

This paid dividends for Alaska as not all shots would fall late in the period for Purefoods while all the rebounds for the Aces were a starting point for their running transition game that inched them closer to the match 44-43. Just before the first half buzzer sounded, Bowles drained in an isolation pull-up jumper to stop the scoring drought.

Alaska entered the penalty situation with 7:23 left in the third that helped Purefoods extend their gap. With Bowles seemingly present everywhere in both defense and offense, the scoring became easier for his local teammates as James Yap banked in a triple to give the Star Hotshots a double-digit edge, 57-46.

The Aces sliced the gap to four with Abueva’s freethrows at 59-53 but Purefoods quickly countered with a 9-2 run including a triple from Allain Maliksi and inside stabs from Bowles. Purefoods’ defense also stood tall as they limited Alaska’s offensive production to a only two points in the last 4:49 of the quarter to enter the final period up by 15 points.

The bench players continued to score for the Star Hotshots as Mark Barroca drained in a triple to make it a 20-point spread. But this huge lead was sliced by the starters of the Aces with Abueva and James anchoring the last run for Alaska. Purefoods offense became stagnant as Jazul drilled in another triple to pull within single digits, 88-80 with about three minutes to go.

Down by four, James drove to the rim but lost the ball that led to a Marc Pingris under goal stab on the other end to stop the three-minute scoreless stretch for Purefoods. The Star Hotshots made the necessary stops on the other end while Barroca drained the clinching freethrows for the victory.

Despite the Aces having more assists 26-20, Purefoods drained in 23 out of their 28 free throws compared to 12 for Alaska.

Bowles had a game high 32 points, 11 rebounds and four rejections. While Alaska’s leading contributor was Jazul with 22 markers off the bench including 6 out of 8 from downtown.

The scores:

Purefoods (96) – Bowles 32, Devance 16, Barroca 14, Yap 11, Mallari 7, Pingris 6, Maliksi 6, Simon 3, Melton 1, Reavis 0, Pennisi 0

Alaska (89) – Jazul 22, James 21, Abueva 14, Casio 10, Thoss 8, Baguio 7, Banchero 3, Manuel 2, Hontiveros 2, Exciminiano 0, Menk 0, Dela Cruz 0, Baclao 0

Quarters: 30-21,46-43, 70-55, 96-89

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Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa



After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Ryan Moss grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record



Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Ilocos United takes leave from PFL



Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level



After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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