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Sarr, Nalos take over late as Adamson upsets La Salle

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Pape Sarr and the Adamson University Soaring Falcons have been falling short in their past few games. They have been working on their end-game execution according to their mentor, Mike Fermin.

Saturday afternoon, all their hardwork paid off as senior Joseph Nalos and Cameroonian student-athlete Pape Sarr took charge late in an to upset the De La Salle University Green Archers, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

In the first quarter, the Green Archers were able to start strong as Prince Rivero and Jeron Teng muscled their way against the frontline of Adamson. The duo combined for 14 first quarter points that gave DLSU an early lead. Returning from a one-game suspension, Joseph Las paced his team in the early-goings to keep close with their opponents. After an Adamson timeout midway through the first, Pape Sarr entered the game and was able to power his way through. The foreign student-athlete scored five points late in the first quarter to end the quarter with La Salle just up three points, 19-16.

Jeron Teng continued to power through the paint as he scored nine points in the second stanza. La Salle rookie Andrew Langston, who has been seeing limited time for La Salle, was also able to contribute off the bench as he waxed hot from the field. The Filipino-American converted on long-range jumpers en route to a seven point quarter. However, the San Marcelino cagers matched them shot for shot with Nalos spreading the floor well. He was able to find Sarr in the paint while opening things up as well for Jerome Garcia. Entering halftime, La Salle still retained their three-point cushion, 37-34.

The Taft-based squad went out of their locker room with guns blazing in the third quarter. Rivero, after getting some rest, scored four quick points for La Salle while Teng scored on an and-one to extend the La Salle lead to seven, 44-37. Not even a Mike Fermin timeout could stop the La Salle rampage as Rivero continued to punish the interior defense of Adamson. After another putback by Rivero, his eighth point in the quarter, rookie Andrei Caracut was able to score on a triple to give La Salle the biggest lead of the game, 57-41. In the ensuing play however, Teng fouled Gerald Fernandez that sent the Green-and-White squad into the penalty. The Falcons took advantage of this in attempting 11 free throws to end the quarter but were only able to convert on just five to go into the final quarter with La Salle up 11, 59-48.

After a triple by Thomas Torres and a layup by Teng to open the fourth, the Adamson Soaring Falcons switched their defense from a press to a 2-3 zone. The switch in defense forced the Archers to shoot from the outside, which delved away from their usual game. Nalos then sparked his team in scoring eight points in a 14-1 run that cut the lead to just a solitary point, 65-64, with 5:23 to go. The young Falcons were able to tie the game at the 3:36 mark with a Nalos floater. After a three-pointer by Torres was answered by a Capote triple, a turnover by a rusty Caracut led to a wide-open layup by Sarr that gave Adamson the lead. A dish by Teng to Rivero tied the game once more at 73-all with 1:59 remaining. After a flurry of turnovers by both teams and with the possession in favor of Adamson, Sarr posted Rivero on the block but just as Teng went in for the double team, Rivero fouled Sarr. The Cameroonian was able to convert on both free throws to give Adamson the lead once more with 15 ticks remaining. In the next play, Jeron Teng went for a drive but his layup was short but Rivero was their for the rebound and was fouled by Cristian Garcia. Rivero though would split the free throws but Adamson was called for a double-lane violation to give La Salle another shot. After an inbound, Caracut threw a line three-pointer but was set-off by a Nalos contest. The shot fell short as the time expired to give Adamson a 75-74 win, their second for the season.

“Again, as always, pag nananalo kami credit to the boys,” an enthusiastic Adamson head coach Mike Fermin said after the game. “The last game was a tough loss and the challenge was how to bring back their confidence and determination.” Fermin was grateful that the team’s managers gave the Falcons a pep talk to bring back the team’s confidence.

Joseph Nalos, who scored 12 points in the final quarter – 20 in the game, was repentant about what occurred during their tilt against Ateneo. “Hindi ko intention na saktan si Vince at gusto ko bumawi sa team dahil hindi ako nakatulong sa kanila,” the former SWU floor general said. Fermin also added that Nalos apologized to him, “bawi ka na lang next game,” he said to Nalos prior to this game. In dishing out six assists and successfully stealing the ball twice, Nalos more than made up for what he did with this monumental win.

Pape Sarr also had a monstrous outing for the San Mercilino cagers in scoring a game-high 23 points, on 8/14 shooting from the field and 7/11 from the foul stripe, and was able to grab 14 big boards.

For the Green Archers, Smart Elite ambassador Prince Rivero was able to score a season-high 23 points. He was 69% from the field and 71% from the stripe. He added 11 rebounds in the losing effort. Jeron Teng added 22 points, 15 coming from the first half, and dished out seven dimes. However, the fourth-year bruiser was a horrible 8/22 from the field.

As a team, the Falcons shot 40.63% from the field compared to the dismal 34.21% for the Taft-based squad. This shooting clip made up for the rebounding advantage La Salle had, 52-42.

The Adamson Soaring Falcons (2-9) are looking to build on this win as they face the FEU Tamaraws next on Wednesday, October 28 at 2:00pm while the DLSU Green Archers (5-5) look to bounce back against the NU Bulldogs on the same day at 4:00pm.

The Scores:
ADU (75)– Sarr 23, Nalos 20, Garcia J 13, Capote 6, Fernandez 5, Bernardo 2, Garcia C 2, Polican 2, Villanueva 2, Camacho 0, Escalambre 0, Miranda 0, Ochea 0, Tungcab 0.
DLSU (74) – Rivero 23, Teng 22, Langston 8, Torres 7, Torralba 4, Caracut 3, Muyang 3, Perkins 3, Tratter 1, Go 0, Sargent 0.
Quarterscores: 16-19, 34-37, 48-59, 75-74.

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Calvin Abueva rejuvenated with return of physical play: ‘Masarap maglaro’

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Photo by PBA Images

For Calvin Abueva, it feels great to play in the PBA nowadays.

The Beast, who has always been known as one of the league’s most physical players since entering in 2012, was all praises for the way the officiating has changed this 43rd season — by just letting all the players play.

“Mas gumanda yung tawagan ngayon, naging physical nga. Naging exciting para sa mga tao, mas marami na nanonood ngayon eh,” said Abueva moments after their 97-83 victory over the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Sunday night.

As has been said many times, physicality had become something controlled over the last two years. Abueva knows it too well, having been a casualty, as he has paid a bevy of penalties during that time.

And now that it is a thing of the past, the 6-foot-2 bruiser feels much better, knowing that he can display his brand of basketball once more.

“Masarap maglaro, talagang pisikalan,” said the 29-year-old forward from Angeles, Pampanga. “Siyempre makikita naman natin kung sinasadya o hindi, basta katawan lang.

“Pisikal. Yun yung magandang laro di ba?”

Aside from the comeback of physicality, what makes Abueva beam even more is the way the Aces have been playing in the 2018 Philippine Cup. After a 0-2 start in the tourney, they have now booked their third straight win.

“Nung 2017 parang nilubog na namin yung losing streak namin doon. Ito 2018 na at panibagong destination na naman yung ina-ano namin,” said Abueva, who had nine points, nine rebounds, and five assists against Ginebra.

“Sustain muna namin ‘to… Sana magtuloy-tuloy ‘tong winning streak namin.”

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Alaska takes advantage of Greg Slaughter’s absence

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For the streaking Alaska Aces, their stunning 97-83 victory over the favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday night was partly made possible by the absence of one key player: seven-foot behemoth Greg Slaughter.

The 28-year-old center, who was averaging 20.67 points and 10.3 rebounds prior to Sunday, did not play against the Aces due to a hamstring injury. How he incurred the injury has yet to be determined.

“There’s a small person named Greg Slaughter who didn’t play; I think he has an impact on the game,” quipped coach Alex Compton after the match.

“[They missed] a guy who I think is gonna win an MVP soon in Greg Slaughter.

“Sometimes dito sa liga natin, you have to take advantage when opportunities come your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt [though],” added Compton.

With Slaughter out of the way, the Aces’ big men feasted.

Vic Manuel top-billed with 18 points and five rebounds, and elder statesman Sonny Thoss turned back the clock with a 17-point, four-rebound outing.

“Malaking bonus na rin sa amin, kasi wala nga si Greg kaya nakuha namin yung panalo,” said Manuel.

“Yeah it definitely helped,” added the six-foot-seven Thoss, who shot 6-of-12 from the floor and made four of his freebies.

“He’s a big guy, he’s a big presence inside so it took one big guy off our shoulder.”

Slaughter was approached and asked by scribes regarding his injury, but he was not in the mood to comment. No one can blame him, though, since the Barangay have slipped to their second straight defeat after a 2-0 start.

“I’m always there in practice, going over our gameplans. But it’s better if you ask our PT,” he said.

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Alaska completes turnaround at Greg Slaughter-less Ginebra’s expense

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Photo by PBA Images

A strong second half surge was all the Alaska Aces needed to turn back the heavily-favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 97-83, and book their third straight victory, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The Aces, who have yet to lose this 2018, have now improved to 3-2. Meanwhile, the Barangay absorbed their second straight loss and have dropped to 2-2.

“I was telling the guys na parang ang dami nating iniisip, hindi natin ginagawa yung ginagawa natin noong nakaraang dalawang linggo. Sabi ko relax lang tayo,” said coach Alex Compton, sharing what he told his wards that sparked the win.

Vic Manuel led the Milkmen with 18 points and five rebounds. Sonny Thoss turned back the clock as he made 17 markers on 6-of-12 shooting, while Chris Banchero supplied 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds.

The Aces were trailing by eight, 36-44 at the half, but it became a different ball game come the third chapter as they outscored the Gin Kings, 37 to 19, to erect a favorable 73-63 cushion heading into the game’s final 12 minutes.

From there, Alaska kept their foot on the gas to sustain their lead, which grew to as much as 18, 85-67, after their 6-0 spree — punctuated by Banchero’s lay-up plus a foul — with 6:14 remaining in the final frame.

Ginebra still tried to make one last push as they inched within 10, 75-85, but baskets by Thoss and Kevin Racal propelled Alaska to an 89-75 lead with 3:42 left to play — more than enough to knock out their counterparts.

“I was glad to come away with the win,” added Compton. “Sometimes, we have to take advantage of opportunities coming your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt but when two number one picks on the other team aren’t playing… There.”

Jvee Casio had 13 markers for Alaska, while Calvin Abueva nearly had a double-double of nine points and nine boards along with five assists in 20 minutes.

Aljon Mariano had 15 points, nine rebounds, and three dimes for Ginebra, who — despite having Sol Mercado back in the fold after ankle issues — missed the services of Joe Devance and Greg Slaughter due to injuries.

Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and Kevin Ferrer each scored 12 for the Barangay, with Thompson adding five assists. The trio combined for 15 of Ginebra’s 43 rebounds.

Alaska will aim to extend their streak versus the Blackwater Elite on Saturday, January 27 at 4:30 PM, while Ginebra will look to end their slump against the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Friday, January 26 at 7:00 PM. Both games are at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Alaska 97 — Manuel 18, Thoss 17, Banchero 14, Casio 13, Abueva 9, Teng 9, Cruz 5, Enciso 3, Potts 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2, Racal 2, J. Pascual 0.

Ginebra 83 — Mariano 15, J. Aguilar 12, Ferrer 12, Thompson 12, Caguioa 8, Cruz 8, R. Aguilar 5, Tenorio 5, Mercado 2, Taha 2, Wilson 2, Jamito 0.

Quarterscores: 26-23, 36-44, 73-63, 97-83.

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Frustrated Jared Dillinger admits ‘he’s getting sick’ of Meralco’s bad PH Cup runs

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It’s no secret that the Meralco Bolts have struggled in the Philippine Cup for the last three years. During the last two seasons, the eight-year-old franchise’s win-loss tally is four wins and 18 losses.

And in the 2018 edition, the narrative has been the same, with little to no hope of it turning the other way around.

The Bolts bowed to the TNT Katropa, 99-81, Sunday night — their third straight defeat after winning over Blackwater Elite in their opener last December. If things continue as they are, it looks like another poor all-Filipino tilt run is looming.

“We’re 1-3 and there’s nothing to be happy about,” said Jared Dillinger, who had 14 points and five caroms in the match at Ynares Center in Antipolo. “It’s a long season though… We [shouldn’t] panic but it’s not fun right now.

“The Philippine Cup has been our Achilles heel and every damn Philippine Cup we get our ass kicked. I’m getting sick of it.”

In this game, Meralco missed the services of top forwards Ranidel De Ocampo and Cliff Hodge due to injuries. But for Dillinger, those issues shouldn’t be excuses.

“When you get two guys like Ranidel and Cliff out, as a team, that’s the opportunity for the guys below them to step up,” asserted Dillinger, who has been with the franchise since 2013.

“It doesn’t have to mean scoring, getting the assists or rebound, it’s just making the right play, being smart.”

Asked what went wrong in this particular loss versus their sister team, where they shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and had committed 17 turnovers, the 10-year veteran lamented the poor effort that the Bolts put up.

“TNT didn’t do anything much, given that they played well. But they didn’t have any secret schemes against us. They just passed the ball around, and they got open shots,” added the 10-year pro, as TNT made 23 assists and shot 18 triples.

“Our effort wasn’t there. We got to put up the intensity cause it sucks right now.”

Meralco have a chance to end their slump against the Kia Picanto this Wednesday. Dillinger sees it as a do-or-die affair, warning that it will be a grind-out affair knowing that the Picanto is coming off a skid-ending win over Rain or Shine.

Do-or-die ’cause that’s gonna be a playoff game. Thank God they beat Rain or Shine ’cause you don’t want to be that one team that gives the win to a 0-16 [team]. You don’t want to play teams like that,” stressed the all-around forward.

“Nothing to take away from Kia though. It’s gonna be tough.”

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