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San Miguel outguns Alaska to take 3-2 lead in series



The San Miguel Beermen have the series lead for the first time in the Philippine Cup finals, after escaping a feisty showing from the Alaska Aces to take a crucial 93-88 Game 5 victory Friday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

Continuing a veritable trend in the series, it was San Miguel who once again dominated in the early first quarter, leading 13-5 halfway through the period. A late Alaska surge however culminated in an RJ Jazul trey that gave the Aces their first taste of the lead, 23-21, in the final minute. The score remained unchanged at the buzzer.

Powered by a reinvigorated performance from their big men, San Miguel took back the lead, 29-28, four minutes into the second period. Sonny Thoss immediately responded with a hook shot on the other end to give the lead back to the Aces, signalling the start of a trade of baskets between the two squads. At the half, the score was all tied up, 41-41.

Capitalizing on a 6-0 start in their second half campaign, the Aces managed to hold on to the lead in the early part the third quarter. A couple of big baskets from Marcio Lassiter brought the Beermen within striking distance once more around the halfway point, 57-58. David Semerad’s putback with 4:30 left on the clock gave San Miguel the lead, 59-58. After another late-quarter shootout, the score remained tied heading into the fourth, 71-71.

The two squads continued trading salvos to open the final period. Thanks to Semerad and later, a reinvigorated June Mar Fajardo, the Beermen managed to pull away at the halfway point, building an 86-79 lead.

The Beermen were able to hold the Aces scoreless for more than four minutes of play. A triple from Lassiter approaching the final two minutes kept the Beermen up by seven, 89-82. Capitalizing on a turnover by Alex Cabagnot, the Aces had the chance to save their game with a triple by Cyrus Baguio, but the veteran bricked the shot. Despite a valiant effort put up by the Aces to break the dry spell in the next few possessions, they found themselves unable to find success at the rim. Two made free throws by Calvin Abueva with 56 seconds left on the clock finally put an end to the drought, bringing the Aces within five, 84-89.

The Aces got their lease on life with just around 25 seconds left in the final quarter, when a stealthy layup from Abueva put the Aces within three, 86-89. After drawing the foul and burning down the clock, Arwind Santos sank two free throws to extend the San Miguel lead to five, 91-86, with 18.1 left on the clock. The last 18 seconds of action saw both squads miss in their respective ends of the court following big defensive stops. Two free throws from Ronald Tubid pushed the lead to 93-86 to cap off the win for the Beermen.

Player of the Game Santos had 19 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks for the Beermen. His frontcourt partner and recently-crowned Best Player of the Conference June Mar Fajardo had 19 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks. San Miguel now leads the best of five series at 3-2. A victory in Game 6 on Sunday will give the Beermen their first All-Filipino championship since 2001.

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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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