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In quotes: Chance to win PBA crown as close as it gets for RoS; TNT ready to reclaim its lost glory

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Armed with a roster composed of tested veterans and talented youngsters, Rain or Shine has become one of the forces in the PBA; and by far, has the chance to win a championship that will never be as close as the opportunity presented to the Elasto Painters in the 2015 Commissioners’ Cup.

However, the final obstacle in that chase for a new piece of silverware is a team also regarded as one of the top squads in the league: Talk ‘N Text.

On the other corner, with a well-organized roster consisting of the best players in the current generation, the Tropang Texters are back in the hunt for the crown. Like Rain or Shine, Talk ‘N Text holds a vital key to unlock championship no. 7.

Here is a collection of the best quotes from the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals press conference held Monday in Eastwood City, Quezon City.

Teams were calm and low-key and the exchange of words was fun-filled. However, expect the atmosphere to change, starting on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena, when both teams square off for Game 1.

PBA Commissioner Atty. Chito Salud: “I always look forward to a Talk ‘N Text-Rain or Shine series. They have the same styles – run and gun, three-point (shooting), physical if you have to be physical – and this will be a quality series.”

Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao

On three-point shots and defending Jayson Castro: “It will be a vital factor for both teams in winning games. We are shooting 32 attempts. That’s a lot but they are shooting a better percentage. Jayson Castro is shooting well. Lahat na ata ng defenders nilagay ng Purefoods sa kanya. Yung security guard na lang ng Araneta ang hindi. It’s going to be a big problem.”

On having a healthy team: Getting to the finals is tiring physically and mentally. We are lucky. That is the biggest change. We were not healthy in the past finals appearances compared to now. We are comfortable being the underdogs.”

On Talk ‘N Text without Jimmy Alapag: “TNT is in a transition from the Alapag era to the Castro era. Once that is complete, TNT is almost invincible.”

On the chess match against Uichico: “Coach Jong Uichico knows how to handle talent. He can beat you in many ways. We have to prepare because he knows how to manage talent.”

Talk ‘N Text head coach Jong Uichico

On coaching battle against Guiao: “It is hard to read him. He is a great coach and we have to be alert on that one. It is hard to read his game plan.”

Talk ‘N Text import Ivan Johnson

On playing a physical team: “Not a big talker but we want to win the championship. They’re a good team but we’re a good team too. If I can get through Purefoods with the ref’s help, I can get through this finals.”

Rain or Shine import Wayne Chism

On what has changed from his first stint to now: “I’m glad to be here. There’s a lot of pressure when you have coach Yeng but it is a good thing. He pushes you to another level. I am so familiar with the (PBA) game.”

Rain or Shine forward Beau Belga

On trying to get over the hump: “Hindi pa kami nananalo ng series sa Talk ‘N Text. Baka sakali… natapat (Talk ‘N Text ngayon). Bahala na. Nagsasawa na kami sa runner-up. Baka sakali makasundot.”

Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee

On runner-up finishes: “Excited ako dahil nasa finals ulit kami. Sana makuha namin dahil nagsasawa na kami sa runner-up. This is the best chance (dahil) 100 percent ang (health ng) players. Dapat samantalahin na namin.”

On defending Jayson Castro: “Bahala na ibang teammates ko sa kanya. Siguro matatapat naman. Hindi sumasablay si Jayson, so bahala na.”

On the Best Player of the Conference race: “We want to enter the championship every conference. Blessing na lang maging candidate sa BPC.”

Talk ‘N Text wing man Larry Fonacier

On Rain or Shine’s depth: “Rain or Shine is a good mix of new and talented guys. Sustained for 48 minutes yung energy nila. Gutom na gutom na sila manalo.”

Talk ‘N Text guard Jayson Castro

On individual awards: “Yung mga award di namin iniisip e. Main goal namin win a championship. Lahat masaya. Pag award, ikaw lang masaya.”

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Basketball

After getting first D-League experience, Zark’s-Lyceum ready to get loose

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After a hesitant performance in their PBA D-League debut last Thursday that resulted in a loss to the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers seemingly caught up with the league’s style of play on Tuesday.

Zark’s-Lyceum displayed their true form and stamped their class all over the Batangas-EAC Generals with a 37-point destruction, 112-75 — so far the biggest winning margin the franchise has ever had in its D-League history.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams we’re playing against with,” said Zark’s-Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson after the match at Pasig Sports Center. “But the things we want to mind are those things we control.

“We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways.”

Robinson’s claim was strongly backed up by the numbers that the Jawbreakers produced.

CJ Perez had 21 points and 10 rebounds. MJ Ayaay produced 15 points and 10 boards, and Mike Nzeusseu delivered 14 markers and 11 boards.

Even the bench made their presence felt in the victory. With guard Jaycee Marcelino spearheading the supporting cast’s charge with 12 markers, the bench contributed a remarkable 56 points to their total output.

Photo by PBA Images

“Ano lang, cinontrol lang namin yung pace kasi yun naman talaga yung laro namin, yung mabilisan,” said the 24-year-old do-it-all forward, who also collected three steals.

“Kailangan talaga mabilisan para ma-execute namin yung mga ginagawa namin.”

This week will be a rough one for the Pirates, as they will play right away this Thursday against the AMA Online Education. And for Perez, he strongly believes that they will be able to carry over their momentum.

“Oo. Nandun pa. Energy talaga yung puhunan namin para makalaro ng maayos.”

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Basketball

Bonbon Batiller shows what he can bring to Letran in D-League debut

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Photo by PBA Images

Tuesday proved to be a double debut for Bonbon Batiller. Aside from beginning his first foray in the PBA D-League, it also marked his debut for the Letran Knights, who are carrying the Wang’s Basketball Couriers franchise.

And the 5-foot-11 guard showed what he can bring to the table. Batiller collected 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists to help the Knights raise the curtains of their campaign with a 93-75 rout of the Batangas-EAC Generals.

“Nagworkout yung pinagpraktisan namin,” said Batiller. “Nagbunga rin yung tinuro samin ni Coach Jeff (Napa) lalo sa depensa. Tsaka siguro sa rebounds — laking lamang namin sa rebound. Nagsipag mga bigs namin.”

But what has him even more satisfied is the warm reception and trust he’s had from the Knights, even if he has spent barely a year with them after transferring from University of the East last 2017.

“Masaya po kasi tinanggap nila ako sa Letran ng buong-buo,” said Batiller, who normed 10.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 steals with UE in two years. “Tsaka yung tiwala nila na makakatulong ako sa team nandoon.

“Kaya masaya ako sa pinakita nila sa akin.”

That is why the General Santos native is hard-pressed to prove himself to Letran, saying that he’s all about giving back to the school that gave him another opportunity to resume his young, up-and-coming basketball career.

“Kailangan kong may mapatunayan na deserving ako sa binigay na second chance sa akin ni Letran,” said Batiller, who decided to switch schools partly due to academic reasons.

“Malaki ang utang ko sa Letran.”

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Football

Bienvenido Maranon scores brace as Ceres-Negros eliminates Brisbane Roar

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Photo from the-AFC.com

Philippine club football just achieved its biggest continental result yet

The inaugural Philippines Football League champions Ceres-Negros Football Club eliminated three-time Australian champions Brisbane Roar in the 2018 AFC Champions League’s second preliminary round with a 3-2 stunner, away at the QSAC Stadium in Brisbane.

With the win, the 2017 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Champions are set to face Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian next January 30, 2018 at the Haihe Educational Football Stadium in Tianjin, China, to book a seat in the group stages.

Brisbane were the favorites for this tie and it showed, as Ceres started the contest on the back foot. Italian striker Massimo Maccarone handed the home side the lead in the 35th minute when he turned in Brett Holman’s pass.

Maccarone’s goal could have lowered the Busmen’s moral, but Risto Vidakovic’s men took it as a motivation rather than a downer. In fact, Ceres replied in the best way possible when Bienvenido Maranon scored his first goal of the match two minutes from halftime, thanks to a scramble in the Brisbane box.

By all accounts, Ceres had already made Philippine football proud at halftime. By this stage last year, Brisbane had accrued a 4-0 halftime cushion against Global Cebu en route to a 6-0 rout.

Today, though, Brisbane faced tougher resistance at Ceres’ hands. That resistance turned into a full-fledged revolt in the 65th minute when Maranon directed the ball past a helpless Jamie Young to give the Busmen their first taste of the lead.

Maranon’s goal well and truly turned the tide in Ceres’ favor. Brisbane were stunned. The home side are the defending A-League champions, but are currently eighth in the table this season and would soon face elimination from Asia’s premier club competition.

Already up 2-1, the Busmen finally achieved some breathing room in the 75th minute when Omid Nazari scored from close range to give Ceres a two-goal cushion over Brisbane.

Nazari’s goal not only sealed the win for Ceres, it also propelled Philippine football into the big leagues. Not even a late goal from French midfielder Éric Bauthéac could prevent the Busmen’s victory.

After five minutes of stoppage time, Ceres emerged 3-2 winners against Brisbane Roar. Come what may against Tianjin seven days from now, the Busmen have already achieved Philippine football’s biggest result since their own achievement in last season’s AFC Cup.

Who knows? Maybe Ceres can pull off another upset?

Ceres-Negros XI: Doblas (GK), Super, Mike Ott, Ingreso, Maranon, Porteria, Schrock, De Murga (C), Munoz, Nazari, Christaens.

Brisbane Roar XI: Ingham, Bowles, Papadopoulos, Maccarone, Holman, Khalfallah, Oxborrow, McKay (C), Hingert, Young (GK), Franjic.

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EAC

CJ Perez, Zark’s-Lyceum vent ire on Batangas-EAC with 37-point romp

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Photo by PBA Images

CJ Perez and the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers finally lived up to their hype, as they clobbered the Batangas-EAC Generals to score a 37-point beatdown, 112-75 for their first win, Tuesday at the Pasig Sports Center.

It was an all-out attack from the Jawbreakers, as they beat the Generals to the bite and took control of the game early, with Mike Nzeusseu and Jaycee Marcelino guiding their side to the 48-33 lead at halftime which they would never surrender.

Perez paced Zark’s Burger-Lyceum with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while MJ Ayaay tallied a double-double with his 15 markers, 10 boards, and three assists.

Cameroonian student-athlete Nzeusseu also delivered 14 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists. Marcelino had eight first half points and wound up with 12 off the bench, as the reserves chipped in 56 huge points in the tussle.

Coach Topex Robinson lauded the Jawbreakers for quickly adjusting to the style of the PBA D-League just days after falling to the Marinerong Pilipino, 92-94, back in opening day.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams were playing against with. But the things we want to mind are those things we control. We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways,” he said.

Earvin Mendoza and Cedric de Joya both had 16 points for the Generals in the losing effort.

Zark’s-Lyceum look to continue to roll when they face the AMA Online Education Titans on Thursday, January 25. EAC-Batangas, on the other hand, take on the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers on Monday, January 29.

The Scores:

Zark’s-Lyceum 112 — Perez 21, Ayaay 15, Nzeusseu 14, Jc. Marcelino 12, Serrano 10, Baltazar 8, Santos 8, Jv. Marcelino 6, Tansingco 6, Marata 4, Liwag 4, Ibañez 2, Cinco 2, Pretta 0.

Batangas-EAC 75 — E. Mendoza 16, De Joya 16, Tampoc 12, Laude 9, Pate 8, Maguliano 6, Altamirano 5, Diego 3, Garcia 0, Dela Peña 0, Martin 0, J. Mendoza 0, Neri 0.

Quarterscores: 19-14, 48-33, 84-47, 112-75.

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