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San Miguel pulls off Beeracle Run to spoil Alaska’s sweep hopes



“Not tonight!”, say the defending champs.

In arguably the best game of the series, the seemingly-done San Miguel Beermen came alive in the final minutes of regulation, and eventually pulled off an impeccable 110-104, come-from-behind win to save their conference and extend the PBA Finals series on a thrilling Sunday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

An eventful first quarter in the free throw department ensued with a handful of fouls given out by both teams. As things got chippy early on, Ronald Tubid was assessed of a flagrant foul, which led to a 15-6 closeout by the Aces. Dondon Hontiveros was instrumental, with six points during the stretch, giving Alaska a 28-20 lead.

SMB managed to erase the early double-digit deficit installed by the Aces. Marcio Lassiter came off the bench and scored all of his 12 first half points in the second quarter, helping the Beermen tie things up at 36. However, JVee Casio inked seven straight points before the half expired, including four straight free throws and a Gabby Espinas technical. At the break, the Aces led by six.

Alaska paraded their most productive five on the floor to open the second half. In a blink of an eye, the Aces gathered another 10-point gap, with the Beermen missing from point-blank range. SMB tried to mount a comeback and chopped a 14-point lead down to six. Unfortunately, Alaska answered back with Sonny Thoss converting, and capped it with a swish from downtown by Chris Exciminiano to give the team a 77-69 lead.

Despite being down, a couple of times by more than ten, in the fourth, Marcio Lassiter pencilled in three key triples to make it a close affair late. The Beermen refused to give the game to the Aces, as they erased the lead with suffocating defense and pivotal baskets on their end.

With under two minutes to play, Gabby Espinas came up huge with an and-one play to make it a 93-92 affair, still in favor of Alaska. After a series of misses, Arwind Santos followed up his own to give SMB the lead they desperately coveted. Two more free throws extended San Miguel’s lead to three, but Cyrus Baguio stopped Alaska’s drought with a three-pointer at the buzzer of regulation to force overtime.

In extension, Alaska drew first blood courtesy of two buckets from Vic Manuel. San Miguel countered with the game-deciding 9-0 run, which included two layups by Chris Ross, a top-of-the-key triple by Alex Cabagnot, and a shot clock buzzer-beater by Yancy De Ocampo. The Aces had chances late, but failed to make attempts due to bad turnovers.

San Miguel only committed 11 turnovers compared to Alaska’s 22, leading to a 17-11 turnover points advantage for the Beermen. In addition, the victors had eight more points from the free throw area (34/46 from the foul stripe).

Marcio Lassiter led the Beermen with 26 points. Gabby Espinas had a grind-it-out game with 21 points and 14 rebounds despite fouling out late. Chris Ross stole the show in overtime, finishing with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and an assist shy of a triple double.

After the game, an emotional Ross commended the team’s heart down the stretch in order to pull off the comeback. “It’s pride. It’s just pride. We don’t want to go out on a sweep. We put all our cards out there and prayed for the best,” he said. “That’s the type of person I am for my teammates. I have complete trust for them and we just really hope for the best.”

Vic Manuel led the Aces with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Four other Aces tallied double figures. led by Calvin Abueva and Dondon Hontiveros who each scored 14.

As the teams go back to the drawing board, Alaska will try to close the series out for the second time while SMB hope to extend it anew. Game 5 is on Wednesday, January 27 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:
San Miguel Beer (110) – Lassiter 26, Espinas 21, Cabagnot 16, Ross 11, Santos 11, Tubid 8, De Ocampo 6, Reyes 4, Lutz 4, Heruela 3, Arana 0, Omolon 0, Semerad 0.
Alaska(104) – Manuel 20, Abueva 14, Hontiveros 14, Casio 13, Banchero 12, Baguio 11, Thoss 9, Exciminiano 5, Jazul 4, Baclao 2, Menk 0, Dela Rosa 0.
Quarterscores: 20-28, 43-49, 69-77, 98-98, 110-104.

Cover photo courtesy of PBA Images
GIFs courtesy of Sports5

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Impervious Lady Chiefs stay perfect after sweep of Lady Pirates



The Arellano University Lady Chiefs extended their winning streak to 17 dating back to last season, after clobbering the Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The defending champions were unrelenting with four Lady Chiefs scoring in double-digits with rookie Necole Ebuen powering in 11 points. Third-year open hitter Regine Arocha and Arellano’s middle blockers Mary Anne Esguerra and Andrea Marzan each provided 10 markers.

Conversely, no Lady Pirate managed to score in double-figures.

“Maganda naman talaga ang nilalaro ng mga bata. Lahat kasi kami determinado na makakuha ulet ng championship. Alam nila (Lady Chiefs) na kailangan pataas nang pataas ang ginagalaw namin,” said Arellano head coach Obet Javier.

The Lady Chiefs also limited their errors to a season-best 16 while the Lady Pirates surrendered 24 miscues.

The Lady Chiefs look for their sixth win of the season when they face the red-hot University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (4-1) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Christine Miralles and Monica Sevilla each supplied the struggling Lyceum with eight point apiece.

The Lady Pirates (1-4) take on the undefeated San Beda College (4-0) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

AU (3) – Ebuen 11, Arocha 10, Esguerra 10, Marzan 10, Prado 3, Ramirez 3, Liu 2, Balanoba 1, Donato 1, Verutiao 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)

LPU (0) – Miralles 8, Sevilla 8, Juanilla 7, Patio 4, Genova 1, Romanban 0, Bongabong 0, Marcella (L)

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Late whistle costs San Beda against Sousse to fall to 0-2



23 for 2023 cadet Robert Bolick is averaging 27.5 points per game in the tournament

After struggling to close out the UAE National Team in their opener last Friday, the San Beda College Red Lions figured in a late judgment call that did not fall into their favor, Saturday at the Shabab Al Ahli Club in Dubai. Due to this, the defending NCAA Champions lost to Tuniasian club team Sousse, 78-79.

With the loss, the Red Lions fell to a 0-2 hole in the 29th Dubai Basketball Championship. But the record does not reflect how the Filipinos played.

Robert Bolick, who scored 28 points against the UAE National Team, led the charge for San Beda in their second outing had 27 points. Fellow 23 for 2023 cadet Javee Mocon added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Sousse, the second-best club team in Tunisia and boasts four national team players and an American import, led by as much as 10 points, 70-60 in the final frame.

Fired-up by the Filipinos who stormed the venue, the Red Lions answered right back with an 18-8 run capped by a booming Bolick triple with six ticks left to gain a 78-76 lead.

However, a foul was called on a Red Lion on a three-point attempt by a Sousse player. He calmly sank all three free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Donald Tankoua had eight points and 13 rebounds as he was saddled with foul trouble all throughout the game.

The Tunisian club team was paced by Radzhouane Slimane with 18 points while Ibrahim Nadarri and Joshua Cassady had 13 markers each.

San Beda will have a day break before taking on Moroccan club team Al Sale on Monday, January 22.

The Scores:

San Beda 78 – Bolick 27, Mocon 11, Tankoua 8, Noah 8, Toba 6, Soberano 6, Prebitero 4, Tongco 4, Bahio 2, Carino 2, Oftana 0, Adamos 0.

Sousse 79 – Slimane 18, Naddari 13, Cassady 13, Mouhli 11, Knioua 9, Toumi 8, Monastiri 4, Gaddour 3.

Quarterscores: 23-17, 36-39, 57-62, 78-79.

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Perpetual overpowers JRU to keep pace of Final Four



Strutting their decisive height and power advantage, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas slammed the Jose Rizal University Lady Bombers, 25-21, 22-25, 25-14, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Altas were still heavy-handed with their errors, surrendering 35 miscues, including 12 in the second set, the only frame they lost.

The Las Piñas-based program, however, kept a scorching offensive pace, bombarding the Lady Bombers with six blocks and 12 aces. JRU had just five points combined crom those categories.

“Mataas pa talaga ‘yung tendency ng mga bata mamigay ng mga puntos. Sabi ko nga hindi kami mananalo kung tutulungan pa namin ‘yung kalaban maka-score,” rued Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño.

“Pero, unti-unte namang gumaganda ‘yung galaw ng mga bata. Lahat naman ng pagkukulang nila, tinatrabaho namin para maayos sa ensayo,” the champion mentor added.

Perpetual’s six-foot-three middle blocker Lourdes Clemente towered over the Lady Bombers with a season-high 19 points which included 14 attacks, two blocks, and three aces. Winger Cindy Imbo added 15 points.

The Lady Altas (4-1) take on the undefeated defending champs Arellano University (5-0) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Rookie Dolly Versoza paced the Lady Bombers with a game-high 21 points while captain Shola Alvarez managed 15.

The Lady Bombers (2-3) face the College of Saint Benilde (3-1) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Clemente 19, Imbo 15, Sangalang 8, Llorente 7, Tripoli 7, Gual 6, Versoza 2, Umandal 1, Estanislao 0, Medalla (L)

JRU (1) – Versoza 21, Alvarez 15, Ebuenga 5, Montojo 2, Rivera 2, Sibangan 1, Bodiongan 0, Macaraya (L)

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Marc Pingris wants Rafi Reavis to break Robert Jaworski’s record



Marc Pingris was all praises for veteran Rafi Reavis Saturday night, as the 40-year-old center made his presence felt in the Magnolia Hotshots’ 97-91 victory — their third straight win — over Phoenix Fuel Masters at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The six-foot-nine Reavis finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks — a performance perfectly punctuated by a follow-up of a Paul Lee miss with 12.5 seconds left to play that knocked out the Fuel Masters for good.

“Papasalamat ako kay Rafi na talagang kababalik lang niya pero binigay niya talaga lahat,” said Pingris after the bout, as Saturday night was just Reavis’ second outing in the 2018 Philippine Cup after recovering from a hip injury.

“Nag-usap nga kami kanina e, hindi pa siya 100 percent. So bukas, ang sabi niya babalik daw siya sa gym dahil gusto niya ibalik yung lakas ng legs dahil wala pa daw,” added the 36-year-old, who also suffered a hip injury last season.

Reavis has been playing in the league for 16 years. Seeing the work he has put in, Pingris, who finished the game with 17 rebounds, four assists, four points and two blocks, believes that the 10-time PBA champion can play for 10 more years — at least.

“You know naman Rafi eh, katulad ko rin yan eh – rebound and depensa. At tsaka sobrang vocal siya sa team eh,” beamed Pingris, who himself is a 14-year veteran. “Walang siyang inaano, talagang sinasabihan niya kung sino yung mga nagmi-mistake, kung paano kami mag-adjust, so nakikinig naman lahat sa kanya.

“Talagang nandun yung respeto namin kay Rafi.”

And if Reavis stays healthy for the next decade, Pingris wants Reavis to exceed Jaworki’s 958 games played — third most all time.

“Nasa kanya yun, basta kaya mo ba eh. As a player, kung masipag ka naman at may disiplina sa sarili mo, kaya niya yun.”

Still, Reavis has a lot of catching up to do.

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