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San Miguel comes-from-behind against Rain or Shine to take Game 1



Two Game Ones down, two comebacks at hand.

Trailing by as much as 24 in the game, the second-seeded San Miguel Beermen rallied in a superb second half show as they take Game 1 of their semifinals series against Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 101-95 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

A good stretch of exchange that ended in a four-point play by Marcio Lassiter, gave RoS a slim 9-8 lead in the opening minutes of Game 1. Fortunately for the Painters, they fired a 13-6 run to pull away in the first period as a Paul Lee trey gave them the first double-digit lead at 25-14.

Wendell McKines also executed a fine start both from the offensive and defensive end as he scored 14 first quarter points while also defending well on SMB’s bigs. Just before the first quarter buzzer ended, Lee nailed another three to give them a 15-point advantage, while leaving their opponents stunned with the way they poorly shot the ball.

Playing without their respective imports to start the second quarter, Rain or Shine extended its lead to the 20-point mark at 39-19 within seconds as Paul Lee and Raymond Almazan scored five fast points. On the other hand, San Miguel’s locals went gunshy with their shots as they missed four outside attempts that halted their scoreboard to move. SMB’s first field goal of the second extinguished the 9-0 burst by Rain or Shine but the Painters evidently held to full momentum in the first half.

Fortunately for the Beermen, June Mar Fajardo went feasting underneath and anchored a quick 8-0 counter by San Miguel; while Rain or Shine’s were able to get offensive boards but missed to convert on second chances. AZ Reid also started to get some points going but the reinsertion of McKines restored Rain or Shine’s big lead as the Painters’ reinforcement continued to dominate against the Beermen’s defense. A mini 9-2 close by the Beermen, however, cut the Elasto Painters gap down to 14 at the break.

Carrying the momentum got from the tail-end of the second quarter, AZ Reid started to heat up and an elbow jumper sliced the lead down to single digits after trailing by as much as 24 in the first half. As Arwind Santos made an impeccable breakaway jam, Rain or Shine answered with five points off two SMB turnovers to restore a dozen-point lead.

Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos scored the fourth quarter’s first two baskets to extend the Beermen’s lead. On the defensive end, they played a 2-3 zone that paid dividends with the Painters missing three-balls. SMB led by a minimal advantage but free throws by ROS tied the game at 88 with seven minutes to go. Afterwards, four lead changes made the game played in a back-and-forth frantic pace down the stretch. Back-to-back shots by Lassiter and Reid made it a 99-95 game while Arwind Santos thwarted a three-pointer by Jeff Chan.

Wendell McKines missed two free throws that potentially could cut the lead to single possession. On the next play, Fajardo snatched a huge offensive rebound to give SMB a second possession that led to a Reid field goal on the dying seconds and extend the lead to six. With 14 ticks left, Reid missed a hoisted attempt but Fajardo blocked Lee’s triple in the last seconds.

The Beermen had more assists, 23-17 and ended the game shooting better with their 43.9% compared to Rain or Shine’s 37.4% clip. All five starters of SMB tallied double digits in scoring led by Lassiter and Reid’s 22. McKines scored 31 for Rain or Shine together with his 16 boards.

Game 2 of this series will be held on Saturday 7pm, still at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

San Miguel (106) – Reid 22, Lassiter 22, Fajardo 20, Cabagnot 15, Santos 13, Tubid 5, Lutz 2, Espinas 2, Ross 0
Rain or Shine (95) – McKines 33, Lee 19, Belga 12, Almazan 10, Chan 7, Ibañes 7, Uyloan 5, Tiu 2, Norwood 0, Cruz 0, Araña 0, Quiñahan 0
Quarterscores: 19-34, 46-60, 80-79, 101-95

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Yeng Guiao denies using racial slur against Chris Ross



During the post-game of the San Miguel Beermen’s victory over the NLEX Road Warriors, reigning Coach of the Year Leo Austria said that NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao called Chris Ross the “N” word that caused the commotion.

According to Chris, tinawagan siya ng nigger or ganiyan,” said Austria. “I don’t know but that’s what he explained to me because I confronted Chris Ross because he’s one of the most important players in my team.

“But that’s the thing he doesn’t want to hear so nagflare up yung bata so I cannot blame him.”

Guiao though denied that he blurted out racial slurs against San Miguel’s Chris Ross.

“Hindi. Hindi ko tinawag na N-word. Ewan ko kung may nakarinig. Pero hindi,” clarified the fiery tactician moments after their 98-109 defeat, their third straight after starting the 2018 Philippine Cup with two straight wins.

That tussle, according to Guiao, was just filled with trash talking against each other, as he felt the need to retaliate. In fact, Guiao was even caught by the TV camera saying “son of a bitch” towards the Filipino-American point guard.

“Daldal siya ng daldal eh. Eh sa akin naman kapag ganon, siguro respeto nalang. Lumayo ka nalang tutal mananalo naman na kayo,” he said. “I didn’t understand what he was saying, what he was talking about.

“Nakipagtrash-talking din ako sa kanya.”

Furthermore, the 58-year-old was also caught by the cameras flipping the bird — in one quick motion — also against Ross.

“Oo. Kasama na rin yun.

“Pero ano naman eh, it’s part of, siguro, psychological warfare. Malakas din siya mang-asar. Hindi lang naman sa amin. Everytime naman na mga ganoong skirmishes, he also knows what he’s capable of,” the seven-time champion coach furthered.

But more than this scuffle, it really has become a stressful time for Guiao and the Road Warriors. They have now went down to 2-3 in the team standings, and the mentor sees the great need to end this slump immediately.

“We have to arrest it very soon. Ang susunod na laro namin ay versus Rain or Shine sa Friday. So we need to go back to 50 percent win-loss level para at least may chance ka na maka-playoffs. That’s going to be a crucial game for us,” he stressed.

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Kiefer Ravena shocked with Von Pessumal’s shove: ‘I did not expect that at all’



Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal have been teammates ever since they were in high school, winning three UAAP juniors crowns together. They won two championships together in the seniors level and even played together in Gilas. They were inseparable.

Friday evening however, they were playing for separate camps.

Ravena admitted that he never expected a shove to come from Pessumal during the NLEX Road Warriors’ clash with San Miguel Beermen.

In an off-ball situation, Pessumal charged at Ravena, sending the rookie down to the floor with 9:50 remaining in the final frame. He was then whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul, and Ravena sank one from the line.

“I did not expect that at all,” admitted Ravena after the match in which they lost, 98-109 — their third straight defeat after a 2-0 start. “But hopefully Von doesn’t take it personal.

“I’m just doing my job. They won the game.”

Ravena insisted that there wasn’t any physicality between him and Pessumal prior to that, but he thinks that his former Gilas teammate may have gotten irked by his staredown after blocking him on a fastbreak play early in the fourth.

“When that fastbreak happened — the same exact possession na I challenged him, I looked at him, and after that yun na yung nangyari,” said the 23-year-old guard. “But I never instigated something to provoke Von to do that.

“Probably nung tinignan ko siya.”

Moreover, the second overall pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft felt that that incident “started all the commotions during the end game (laughs). Yun yung pinaka-una eh. And with that, the team got fired up and it worked for them.”

He may be right, for the game saw more skirmishes after that: from teammate Michael Miranda kicking Chris Ross to the groin, and with his head coach Yeng Guiao figuring in a heated verbal war also against Ross.

But then, Ravena made it clear that it was never a plan of his to put down somebody, especially someone like Pessumal who he sees as a brother for life.

“You know, Von and I, we go way back. Things like this hopefully don’t become too personal.

“I have no intention na ipapahiya yung tao or sasaktan mo yung tao. Wala namang ganun. Laro-laro lang,” said NLEX’s leading scorer.

It was somehow a night to remember for Ravena, but for all the wrong reasons. After Friday’s loss that sent their card to 2-3, the veteran internationalist now sees the need for him and the Road Warriors to push the panic button.

“‘Di na pwedeng sabihin palaging kailangan namin matuto eh. Pangatlong sunod na,” the second-generation cager expressed.

“Kailangan siguro naming umaksyon.”

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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 had 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 had 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 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 against Ross with 4:35 left.

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

Yeng Guiao and Ross figured in a heated word war that resulted in 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 coach Leo Austria alleged 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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Jason Brickman flirts with triple-double as Mono holds off Singapore



After playing his worst game of the season last Sunday against Tanduay Alab Pilipinas, Jason Brickman bounced back, steering the Mono Vampire to a 91-88 road victory over the Singapore Slingers, Friday evening at the OCBC Arena.

The 26-year-old, who finished with just seven points and three assists in their 71-104 loss to Alab, tallied 10 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. The league-leader in assists did not take a break, playing all 40 minutes.

But it was not a walk in the park for the Thailand-based squad.

Mono led by as much as 22 points, 60-48, with 7:46 left, 16 points entering the final frame. A furious fourth quarter rally by Singapore sliced the lead, turning the game into a single-possession contest with a minute left. The steady hands of Samuel Deguara and Mike Singletary from the stripe fended off Singapore.

Brickman’s compatriot Paul Zamar chipped in 13 markers for Mono.

Since torching Alab last January 3, Filipino-Canadian AJ Mandani has been on a slump, going just 3-for-11 from the field for nine points.

Mono’s World Imports Samuel Deguara and Mike Singletary both finished with 26 points with the former hauling down 18 rebounds. For Singapore, Xavier Alexander paced the Slingers with 29 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

With the win, the Vampire kept solo third with a 7-4 slate. On the other hand, the Slingers dropped its second straight game since winning against Alab, falling to 5-6.

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