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San Miguel silences Alaska in OT, extends series anew

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For the second straight game, the defending champs proved they are not going anywhere.

With the league’s MVP June Mar Fajardo playing for the first time this series, the San Miguel Beermen once again survived a grind-it-out Game 5 against the Alaska Aces in overtime, 86-73, to save their title-retention bid and extend the series to a sixth game, to be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

An entertaining first quarter started the game, as the two teams went back-and-forth in a quick offensive exchange. SMB built an early 15-10 cushion just before Vic Manuel once again came off the bench, scoring two straight hoops for the Aces. In a surprise move by SMB Coach Leo Austria, June Mar Fajardo got his first finals appearance of the series in the final minute of the first quarter. The MVP made his presence felt right away, scoring the quarter’s last basket via a turnaround jumper to give the Beermen a 23-20 edge.

Fajardo’s minutes were limited, but he managed to pile up four more points early in the second period. SMB led by as much eight in the first half at 34-26, during a mini-run that was capped by an Arwind Santos triple. However, an efficient Vic Manuel powered the Aces to a 10-4 close-out that knotted the game at 36 at the break.

A more defensive-minded third quarter slowed the game’s pace, with the two teams committing a handful of turnovers. SMB led by a minimal margin with a couple of transition layups. On the other end, Alaska stopped the cold streak from downtown, as they finally knocked in back-to-back threes courtesy of RJ Jazul to snap SMB’s zone defense.

SMB tried to pull away, with Lassiter and Ross making the first push in the final quarter. Alaska erased a seven point lead with another late-game run cemented by a three by Jazul off a sloppy sequence. With a minute left in regulation and the score tied at 64, Cabagnot and Hontiveros exchanged big time triples. On the next play, Cabagnot muffed a bad top-of-the-key heave, while Abueva missed a banker at the buzzer to signal extension.

In overtime, San Miguel went on an 11-0 rampage to pull away from a stunned Alaska crew. Chris Ross, Arwind Santos, and June Mar Fajardo were all instrumental during the stretch. A layup by Abueva and a triple by Casio came up way too late to pull off Alaska’s run, as Alex Cabagnot iced the game with free throws.

Despite committing four more turnovers (24-20), San Miguel forced the Aces to a dismal 6/33 (18%) shooting from downtown. However, the glaring statline was SMB’s plus 20 from the free throw area, as they converted 23/35 compared to Alaska’s 3 made out of five attempts.

Santos played his best game of the series with 22 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 4 blocks, and four 3-pointers in a complete all-around game. The returning Fajardo had 13 points and 4 rebounds, including a productive defensive burst in overtime and a total of 16 minutes played.

After the game, Santos opened up about the relevance of Fajardo’s sudden return. “Basta tinandaan namin nung Game 4 kung paano kami nanalo,” “The Spiderman” said after the game. “Ngayon tumaas kumpiyansa namin kasi naglaro si June Mar. Nabuhayan yung bawat isa pero hindi pa kami dapat mag-relax dahil Game 6 pa.”

Manuel led all scorers with 25 markers and 18 rebounds. The “Muscle Man” was 11/18 from the field. Abueva finished with 12 in the loss.

Game 6 of the series will be played at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, 7:00pm on Friday.

The Scores:
San Miguel Beer (86) – Santos 22, Fajardo 13, Cabagnot 12, Lassiter 11, Ross 8, Espinas 8, Lutz 6, De Ocampo 4, Reyes 1, Tubid 1, Heruela 0, Arana 0.
Alaska (73) – Manuel 25, Abueva 12, Banchero 10, Jazul 9, Thoss 4, Exciminiano 3, Hontiveros 3, Casio 3, Baguio 2, Menk 2, Baclao 0, Eman 0.
Quarterscores: 23-20, 36-36, 52-55, 67-67, 86-73.

GIFs courtesy of Sports5

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Basketball

Defense has been key for Globalport to even slate, beams Sean Anthony

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GlobalPort’s horrid start is now a thing of the past

Sean Anthony was all praises for the way GlobalPort Batang Pier has been executing their defensive schemes, following he and his team’s 101-76 demolition of the Blackwater Elite for their second straight victory.

“[It was] Defense again. We held them under 80 points. Our offense just flowed and we stayed aggressive on defense,” said the 31-year-old forward.

“Coach [Pido Jarencio] wants us to keep teams under 80, so another great defensive win for us.”

“We again met our target of limiting our points to below 80 points,” beamed Jarencio.

After a 0-2 start into the 2018 Philippine Cup and allowing their opponents to score at an average of 109.5 points per game, the Batang Pier have gone on a roll and have improved to 2-2. In this mini streak of theirs, with Rain or Shine and Blackwater as casualties, they have limited their opponents to just 73 points.

For the eight-year pro, it’s mostly because of the team’s growing chemistry, considering that they are running a new system under Jarencio, who took the coaching reins from Franz Pumaren in the offseason.

“A lot of it is the chemistry – we have a lot of new guys, so many young guys, a new coach, too, so our chemistry’s building,” said Anthony, who paced the Batang Pier with 22 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.

“It’s getting better every day.”

GlobalPort though has a tall order infront of them on January 24 as they are set to face reigning three-time all-Filipino champs San Miguel Beermen. But Anthony believes that they have ample time to prepare against the giants.

“San Miguel is three-time defending champs, so they’re going to be the team to beat, and definitely a barometer,” said the Filipino-American, who is currently averaging 18.25 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.75 assists.

“We’ve got some time to get better, so we’ve got to keep working on our weaknesses and continue to get better every day.”

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After second straight loss, Poy Erram laments: ‘Nagkanya-kanya kami’

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For Blackwater Elite’s top big man Poy Erram, their 76-101 defeat into the hands of GlobalPort Batang Pier Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome was a result of the players resorting to play as individuals rather than as a single unit.

Erram himself nearly finished with a triple double of eight points, seven rebounds, and seven blocks, but his efforts were put in vain as the Elite never had a chance to show their brand of basketball right from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

“‘Di namin sinunod si coach. Nagkanya-kanya kami. Simula pa lang, nakita naman talaga na nagkanya-kanya kami,” lamented the 28-year-old moments after the lopsided affair.

“Di namin ginawa yung sistema ni coach.”

And it also didn’t help that Erram failed to display his best form no thanks to an ankle sprain, which he incurred late in the opening frame.

“Nilalaro ko lang buong game. Actually masakit talaga, namamaga talaga siya,” added the 6-foot-7 big man.

“Kasi kung di ako maglalaro, walang ibang maglalaro (center spot), so pinilit ko na lang talaga.”

The Elite have now fallen to their second straight loss after their huge 94-77 triumph over Ginebra last week. And this skid is something they regret, for they feel like they failed to prove that their win against the Gin Kings was no fluke.

“May chance na kami eh, pinakawalan pa namin. Sobrang sayang,” said the four-year pro out of Ateneo de Manila. “Yung mga players sobrang down (tonight) kasi inexpect namin lalaban kami, tapos tinambakan kami ng sobra.”

Blackwater played their second game in three days after asking for a schedule revision to give way to their Hope for Lupus Run this Sunday. But Erram does not want to make the exhausting string of games as an excuse.

“Medyo naging factor din na in one week tatlong games kami. Tapos puro malalakas pa kalaban namin. Pero di yun excuse for us,” said Erram, who is averaging 13.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks this conference.

“Dapat ready kami kahit sino kalaban namin.”

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GlobalPort thrashes tired Blackwater for second straight win

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With their opponents playing their second game in three days, GlobalPort Batang Pier easily handled a tired Blackwater Elite side, 101-76, en route to their second straight victory, Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.

The Batang Pier, who had posted their second most lopsided win in franchise history, improved their card to 2-2, while the Elite lost their second straight match and had dropped to 2-3.

“We hit our target of 80 points below. They scored 76 points. We just played good defense all the way, and that’s the result,” said Batang Pier head coach Pido Jarencio. “Everybody contributed, even the rookies, that’s why we pulled away.”

Sean Anthony top-billed for GlobalPort with 22 points on six triples, on top of seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Stanley Pringle finished with 17 points and 11 boards with five dimes, while Kelly Nabong scored 16.

The one-sided affair in favor of the Batang Pier started as early as the opening frame, when Anthony’s three-pointer met the bottom of the net and gave them a 24-13 cushion with 3:21 left in the said quarter.

With almost everything going their way and Blackwater failing to find ways to respond, GlobalPort was able to lead by as much as 31 points, 87-56, after Pringle swished in a jumper with exactly 9:20 remaining in the final frame.

“Actually simple lang naman ang instruction ko sa team eh. Blackwater naglaro ng back-to-back, siyempre mapapagod din yan. So takbuhan,” added Jarencio on the win, where they scored 23 off fastbreaks.

Sophomore Mac Belo and Michael Di Gregorio were the only bright spots for Blackwater in the loss, as they scored 17 and 15 points, respectively, with the former adding seven rebounds and two assists to his name.

Poy Erram, who was remarkable in their last four games, was silent with eight points and seven rebounds. Raymar Jose added 12 boards and eight points for the Elite, who played without Allein Maliksi as he is currently in Australia.

Globalport will next face San Miguel Beermen on January 24, Wednesday at 7:00 PM, while Blackwater will take on Alaska on January 27, Saturday at 4:30 PM. Both games will be at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Globalport 101 – Anthony 22, Pringle 17, Nabong 16, Grey 8, Taha 7, Gabayni 6, Juico 6, Araña 4, Elorde 4, Flores 4, Guinto 4, Sargent 3.

Blackwater 76 – Belo 17, DiGregorio 15, Sena 9, Erram 8, Jose 8, Pinto 8, Palma 6, Javier 3, Cruz 2, Banal 0, Cortez 0, Marcelo 0, Neypes 0, Sumang 0.

Quarterscores: 28-23, 61-37, 79-54, 101-76.

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CSB

Saint Benilde regains winning form, sweeps San Sebastian

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Following a shocking defeat to San Beda College, the defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers rolled back into the NCAA Season 93 win column with a quick triumph over the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Stags, 25-20, 25-19, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Blazers outclassed the Stags in every scoring category, recording twice as many spikes (40-20), and blocks (10-5).

Saint Benilde head coach Arnold Laniog wanted to see high-level play from his team after, what he deemed, a lackadaisical effort in their last outing.

“Marami kaming naging struggles last game na alam namin na kaya naman sana namin iwasan. Sabi ko sa kanila na one game at a time tayo, kailangan bawat game kami nagi-improve,” said Laniog

“Kung may maganda mang naidulot ‘yung talo, nakita namin doon ‘yung weakness namin. Nasa sa amin na talaga kung paano kami magre-respond. Maganda naman ‘yung pinakita nila kanina,” the champion tactician added.

Team captain Isaah Arda topped the Blazers with 14 points while his fellow winger Owen Bacani added 12 markers off 10 attacks, one block, and one ace.

The Blazers (3-1) take on Emilio Aguinaldo College (2-2) on Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Jahir Ebrahim continued to tow the Stags’ offense, notching 12 points but was again the only Stag in double-digits.

The Golden Stags (1-3) try to snap their losing streak on Tuesday when they face Mapua University (2-2).

The Scores

CSB (3) – Arda 14, Bacani 12, Orian 8, Basilan 7, Magsino 4, Rojas 3, De Sequena 2, Martinez 2, Garcia 0, Saldavia 0, Dy (L)

SSC-R (0) – Ebrahim 12, Ronato 6, Eugenio 5, Lana 5, Eusebio 2, Lazaro 2, Onque 0, Enano (L), Toledo (L)

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