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Rain or Shine survives late NLEX surge



Looking comfortable in settling the game early, Rain or Shine built a 29-point lead, lost it in the fourth but managed to hang on and clinch their third straight win in dominating the NLEX Road Warriors, 106-102 held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

From the get-go, Rain or Shine was finding their mark early and putting up the lead in the opening quarter. Paul Lee and Beau Belga’s triples gave the a quick 21-14 distance against NLEX, who struggled finding their rhythm from the field. A good start for the Painters gave them a 25-16 lead at the end of 12 minutes.

Raymond Almazan started to make his presence felt in the second quarter as his rebounds and paint presence maintained the lead his squad had. He scored six of the Painters’ first eight points of the quarter including a dunk to make it a 33-21 game. Michael Madanly struggled to find his shot, but Alexander was there for needed put-backs. However, Rain or Shine established the lead for good for the remainder of the half. Baskets by Asi Taulava and Jonas Villanueva at the middle of the quarter were quickly countered by perimeter shots by the Painters. Rain or Shine eventually ended the half up by nine.

The second half opened on two triples by Wendell McKines and Jeric Teng to once again put up a double-digit separation against the Road Warriors. This hot shooting propelled the Painters to pour on the points with all momentum gathered at that point. In addition, they limited the Road Warriors to nine quiet points in the first seven minutes. The rattled NLEX squad got stunned on the fast offensive showcase by Rain or Shine that ballooned the lead to as high as 29 during the period at 84-55. NLEX put up some free throws to salvage some points but it was all Rain or Shine during the period as the Painters ended the third frame up by 20.

After making some headway during the late stretch of the third quarter, the pick and roll plays started to work for NLEX. Their furious run quickly erased the 29-point deficit and sliced it down to 10 at 86-76, with over nine minutes to go in regulation. After a timeout called by Rain or Shine, the two imports added on the rally for NLEX via fast break scores to claw back within single digits. Two charities by McKines stopped the six minute scoring drought in the third quarter, but was quickly responded by KG Canaleta’s trifecta.

With under five minutes to go, Kwame Alexander slammed in one in the face of Almazan then John Wilson tied the game at 91 with a booming corner triple. After a series of stops, Jeff Chan and Chris Tiu accounted for their teams’ next five points to help their team reinstall the advantage. Two big late triples by Madanly opened the door for NLEX and made it a 104-102 game with 9 ticks left. Paul Lee then scored the game-sealing free throws that made it a two-possession lead.

Both teams combined for 25 made threes the entire game but NLEX shot a better 47% clip compared to Rain or Shine’s 41%. The Road Warriors also got haunted from their free throw game as they missed nine attempts in the close game. McKines led all scorers with 33 points, shot 9-of-11 from the charity stripe while also grabbing 20 rebounds.

Rain or Shine slowly regains its stride as they improved to a .500 standing at 4-4. Meanwhile, NLEX slides to a 2-6 record, only a win ahead against cellar-dealing Blackwater Elites

NLEX will next face GlobalPort on Friday, 7pm while Rain or Shine battles with the Star Hotshots, 5:15pm the next day. Both games will be played at the Big Dome.

The Scores:

Rain or Shine(106) – McKines 33, Lee 20, Teng 8, Almazan 8, Chan 6, Cruz 5, Tang 5, Belga 5, Araña 4, Uyloan 4, Norwood 3, Tiu 3, Cruz 2, Ibañes 0, Quiñahan 0

NLEX(102) – Madanly 20, Taulava 16, Canaleta 14, Cardona 14, Villanueva E.14, Wilson 12, Alexander 8, Raymundo 2, Ramos 2, Villanueva J.0, Borboran 0

Quarters: 25-16, 50-41, 86-66, 106-102

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Kent Salado re-injures MCL, out for Go for Gold campaign



Photo by PBA Images

Kent Salado suffers a setback

The worst fear of the Go for Gold Scratchers came true Monday evening as all-around combo guard Kent Salado re-injured the medial cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The injury was confirmed by Kent Salado and the officials of Go for Gold and he will miss the entire 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.

With under three minutes left in the third quarter of Go for Gold’s opening game against the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers Monday afternoon, the 5-foot-9 guard went for a drive but could not get the proper lift. He tried to walk it off but limped towards the audience section of the Pasig Sports Center.

“Parang may narinig nga siya na may tumunog daw,” shared Scratchers head coach Charles Tiu after their 75-68 win.

“We’re very worried.

“I think our PT said baka MCL ‘yun, so that might be a month or two, so that’s a big problem for us,” the youthful mentor added.

Salado finished the game with nine points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. He was immediately rushed to the Makati Medical Center afterwards. At around nine in the evening, the MRI showed that he tore his ACL as was initially reported by Tiebreaker Times. A second opinion, however, contradicted the initial diagnosis, showing only an MCL tear.

Prior to this, the native of Cagayan de Oro suffered a partial tear on medial collateral damage on the same knee last October 10, 2017 during Arellano’s 85-79 win over the San Sebastian Golden Stags.

With this setback, Salado was also advised to not play in the summer leagues to fully recover in time for the NCAA Season 94 Seniors Basketball tournament.

“Okay lang para NCAA na ko makapaglaro,” he said.

“Mas importante naman yun.”

The 23-year-old averaged 19.1 points, 5.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 steals last season. He is eligible to enter the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.

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Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool



SMART Gilas Pilipinas’ third session for the second leg of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers ended early on Monday evening.

Prior to the end of the practice, head coach Chot Reyes talked to team veterans Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo. The outspoken mentor told the seniors of the team that he is cutting Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan from the pool.

“The reason why we’re dropping Abueva and Almazan for the second window is because they haven’t showed up,” lamented Reyes.

“It’s already our third practice at hindi pa sila nagpapakita. It’s simply a matter of disinterest.

“I guess they’re not interested so we have to move on we can’t wait for those guys,” he pointed out.

Both Abueva and Almazan were part of the teams that competed in the 2017 SEABA Championship, the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, and the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Only 10 players from the pool showed up for the team’s third session. And with the second leg exactly one month away, Gilas cannot let a slip up happen especially against Australia.

“Aside from those two we don’t know where Matt Wright is, while Allein [Maliksi] is attending a wedding in Australia. Other than that it’s really just an issue of Calvin and Raymond if they don’t want to be a part of the pool.” expressed Reyes.

“That’s the reason we’re dropping them for the second window.”

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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

23 for 2023 cadets fill up Gilas practice



With just 31 days until the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, only 10 players from the pool attended the team’s third session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.

Suiting up in the session presided over by Coach Chot Reyes were June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, and Roger Pogoy. Carl Cruz and Jayson Castro were in attendance but were in street clothes.

Not present were Matthew Wright, Japeth Aguilar, and Allein Maliksi. Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend practice.

Joining the seniors team to prep them up for the World Cup Qualifiers were 10 players from the 23 for 2023 pool.

Ateneo Blue Eagle Matt Nieto attended his first Gilas practice. Joining him were teammates Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.

Completing the night’s cast were CJ Perez, Abu Tratter, Will Gozum, J-jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, and Juan Gomez de Liano. Joshua Sinclair watched from the sidelines as he is still recovering from an ACL injury.

Gilas will take on Australia in Melbourne on February 22. The Philippine will then host Japan three days later at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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San Beda fends off Letran for back-to-back wins



With seasoned setter John Carlo Desuyo steering the wheel to near perfection, the San Beda College romped to their second straight win.

The Red Spikers pulled double-digit outings from four players to upend archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-22, and register their fourth win of the season, Monday early evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

It was the Knights, however, who started on the right foot, overhauling a 4-10 deficit to snag the first set. Better passing from liberos Aljune Centeno and Johnsen Timbreza resulted in kills from captain Bobby Gatdula.

Nonetheless, San Beda picked up the service game in the next three sets to ultimately finish off the blue-shirts.

Despite the win-loss record they currently sport, the Red Spiker playmaker admitted that t

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