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San Miguel escapes Talk ‘N Text to go 3-0 in series



One more win and the San Miguel Beermen are back in the PBA finals. The Beermen are 3-0 in their best-of-seven series with the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters, following a 96-95 victory in a thrilling shootout on Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Beermen enjoyed a hot start early in the first quarter, building an 8-0 lead in the just the first two minutes. The Tropang Texters however easily caught up, finishing an 8-0 run of their own to catch up and force the deadlock. They remained within striking distance for the following minutes of play. They finally overtook San Miguel for their first taste of the lead with around four minutes left on the clock, following split free throws from Jay Washington. They proved to be the quicker draw in the ensuing shootout, exiting the quarter with a narrow 28-26 lead.

The shootout continued well into the second quarter, with the two sides exchanging basket after basket throughout the period, the lead changing hands numerous times. With around a minute left in the quarter, the score was tied at 49-49, but two breakaway threes care of Larry Fonacier and Jayson Castro gave the Tropang Texters the 55-49 lead at halftime. The Beermen shot an incredible 52.6% from the field in the first half, while the Tropang Texters shot 46.5% and went 45.8% from the three-point line.

Though Talk ‘N Text held on to the narrow lead for most of the early third quarter, San Miguel managed to steal back the lead, 66-65, with around four minutes left on the clock. Powered by a series of treys from Marcio Lassiter, the Beermen had their biggest lead since the opening minutes of the first quarter, 75-68, with three minutes left in the period. The Tropang Texters responded by bagging eight straight points to overtake once more just before the end of the period, 76-75.

Another shootout ensued in the early fourth quarter, but the Beermen had the hotter hand and led by as many as eight, 88-80, four minutes into the final period. The Tropang Texters however immediately recovered, keeping pace for the remainder of the quarter and trimming the lead down to a single digit, 92-91, entering the final two minutes. The lead was extended at the 1:24 mark, after Arwind Santos managed to pull up on the attack to sink a triple and give San Miguel a 95-91 lead. Ranidel de Ocampo however responded in kind on the other end of the court, sinking a triple from the wing to cut the lead to 95-94, with little over a minute left to play.

After recovering a loose ball set up by a swipe from teammate Jimmy Alapag, Castro was able to draw the foul from Lassiter, and later split two free throws to force a deadlock at 95-all, 50.3 ticks left on the clock. Later, with just 9.2 seconds left, Alex Cabagnot was fouled on the attack by TNT’s Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, and sank one of the two charities to give San Miguel the narrow 96-95 lead. The final possession saw De Ocampo go for what could have been the game winner, but he was covered by Santos just near the post, and could not sink the fadeaway jumper.

Santos led the Beermen with 23 points, 15 from the three-point line. De Ocampo led the Tropang Texters with 21 points. The series will resume on December 26, Friday evening. A victory will mean a spot in the finals for San Miguel.

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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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Michael Calisaan tows Che’lu-San Sebastian past Perpetual



Photo by PBA Images

Michael Calisaan poured 20 points as he captained newcomer Che’Lu-San Sebastian Revellers to a decisive 83-70 win over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas to start their voyage, Monday evening at the Pasig City Sports Center.

Doing it all for the Revellers, the veteran forward provided the stability for his side as he shot 8-of-15 from the field while also hauling down nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the conference-opening win.

But it wasn’t all Calisaan as Che’Lu got contributions from all over its roster.

Samboy de Leon chimed in 16 markers and nine boards. RK Ilagan went 2-of-5 from threes to collect 13 points, eight dimes, and three rebounds, while big men Alfred Batino and Jeepy Faundo combined for 20 in the victory.

Despite the triumph, coach Stevenson Tiu gave all the praise to his players, noting the team’s lack of time preparing for the tourney.

“Nanalo kami dahil sa talent ng players. Medyo mali ko rin kasi nahirapan pa ako mag-adjust sa players. Hopefully, we play much better in the coming games,” he said.

The Revellers used a 16-4 run to finally break away from the Altas, taking a 77-60 lead with 4:03 to play as they punished their foes for their turnovers, turning Perpetual’s 30 miscues to 28 points in their favor.

Prince Eze anchored the Altas with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and seven blocks in their first game under new head coach Frankie Lim.

Che’lu-San Sebastian look to make it two in a row when they take on the Wangs-Letran Couriers on Monday, January 29 at 5:00pm. Perpetual, on the other hand, hope they can notch their first win when they take on Mila’s Lechon Mighty Roasters.

The Scores:

Che’lu-SSCR 83 — Calisaan 20, De Leon 16, Ilagan 13, Batino 10, Faundo 10, Bulanadi 6, Costelo 6, Calma 2, David 0, Lao 0, Santos 0, Valdez 0.

UPHSD 70 — Eze 15, Coronel 13, Villanueva 13, Jimenez 9, Charcos 7, Peralta 7, Gallardo 5, Pido 1, Antonio 0, Aurin 0, Tamayo 0, Tongco 0.

Quarterscores: 17-22, 34-38, 59-53, 83-70.

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