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SLAM Rising Stars Classic: Five things we learned



Team Punks used a furious rally in the third quarter to defeat Team Hype, 103-95 Sunday night in the 2015 SLAM Rising Stars Classic at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.

Coached by De La Salle-Zobel’s Gian Nazario, Team Punks leaned on a fast-paced third frame anchored on aggressiveness to beat their counterparts.

JV Gallego of Chiang Kai Shek College spearheaded Team Punks’ onslaught and finished with an all-around game of 18 points on eight-for-12 shooting, four rebounds, and three assists. Reigning UAAP Juniors Finals MVP Jolo Mendoza of Ateneo de Manila University added 16 points, making all of his eight free throw attempts.

For Ateneo de Manila juniors head coach Joe Silva’s Team Hype, De La Salle University-commit Andrei Caracut had 19 points, four rebounds, and two assists while National University big Mark Dyke had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Although the sample is obviously small and it is an all-star game, here are five things we learned about the annual showcase of the best high school cagers in the country.

Andrei Caracut is your take-charge guyAndrei Caracut

The San Beda Red Cub showcased an all-around performance offensively to lead Team Hype. He hit a triple off the screen, moving from right to left before pulling up. In another play, he beat his defender off the dribble from top of the key, driving and pulling up for an elbow jumper. In one of Hype’s fastbreak attempts, Caracut ran full-speed from coast to coast, gathered the ball with his left hand, before finishing with a right-handed floater inside.

Caracut felt that with current De La Salle Green Archers Thomas Torres and Kib Montalbo leaving in two to three years time, he will have a chance to impress people; he already has a polished game and he can be the guy to score and take over for La Salle.

JV Gallego is your complete packageJV Gallego

If Caracut is the take-charge guy, Gallego is the complete package. He can hit from the outside or take it strong to the hole. He possesses upper body strength to finish against bigger opponents and his unselfishness is also a step above the rest. He can be a facilitator for his future team while also being a scorer.

Punks relied on his leadership in the third quarter to erase a double-digit deficit and eventually win the game. Gallego was named co-Most Valuable Player along with this next guy:

Jboy Gob may become one of the best inside operators we haveJBoy Gob

The La Salle Greenhills beanpole had 16 points on just seven shots and added seven boards in the win, showing a glimpse of how effective he was underneath.

Gob uses his size and footwork in the post to evade the defense and finish with high-percentage shots. There’s this one play where he backed down his defender then drop-stepped to his right for the layup.

Gob also hit all of his six free throw attempts, which is always a welcome sight for a big man. The next thing he should learn is how to operate from a face-up position; if he can work on his jumpers, then he would be an even more dangerous big man.

A lot of work needed for Mark DykeMark Dyke

National University standout Mark Dyke is one of the strongest forwards in juniors basketball. He uses that power to carve out some space and hit baskets. On defense, he is a workhorse too when it comes to crashing the boards.

However, he tends to get ahead of himself sometimes, as seen evidently in the all-star game. Dyke tried to force his way against double and triple-teams with power dribbles, but he would oftentimes end up turning it over or hoisting a forced shot.

Dyke was 3-out-10 from the field last Sunday, so he must work his way around the post using footwork and off-ball movement. Harvey Carey is one player who can be effective without having to demand possession. Perhaps if Dyke uses various types of basketball cuts, he will be better offensively.

Hitting big shots nothing new for Jolo MendozaJolo Mendoza

Not much explanation needed here. He can go 0-for-20 and still hit the winning shot, because when a team needs buckets, Mendoza needs only a little space to launch a dagger.

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Kent Salado re-injures MCL, out for Go for Gold campaign



Photo by PBA Images

Kent Salado suffers a setback

The worst fear of the Go for Gold Scratchers came true Monday evening as all-around combo guard Kent Salado re-injured the medial cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The injury was confirmed by Kent Salado and the officials of Go for Gold and he will miss the entire 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.

With under three minutes left in the third quarter of Go for Gold’s opening game against the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers Monday afternoon, the 5-foot-9 guard went for a drive but could not get the proper lift. He tried to walk it off but limped towards the audience section of the Pasig Sports Center.

“Parang may narinig nga siya na may tumunog daw,” shared Scratchers head coach Charles Tiu after their 75-68 win.

“We’re very worried.

“I think our PT said baka MCL ‘yun, so that might be a month or two, so that’s a big problem for us,” the youthful mentor added.

Salado finished the game with nine points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. He was immediately rushed to the Makati Medical Center afterwards. At around nine in the evening, the MRI showed that he tore his ACL as was initially reported by Tiebreaker Times. A second opinion, however, contradicted the initial diagnosis, showing only an MCL tear.

Prior to this, the native of Cagayan de Oro suffered a partial tear on medial collateral damage on the same knee last October 10, 2017 during Arellano’s 85-79 win over the San Sebastian Golden Stags.

With this setback, Salado was also advised to not play in the summer leagues to fully recover in time for the NCAA Season 94 Seniors Basketball tournament.

“Okay lang para NCAA na ko makapaglaro,” he said.

“Mas importante naman yun.”

The 23-year-old averaged 19.1 points, 5.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 steals last season. He is eligible to enter the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.

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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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