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Spoiler alert! San Sebastian sends Perpetual to the brink

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Bradwyn Guinto continues to make the most out of his final games in the NCAA.

After defeating the San Beda Red Lions, 98-92, a week ago, Guinto played the entire game against the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas. The Smart Elite ambassador led the Stags charge in an upset win over the Altas, 91-87, Tuesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The Altas started the game on a blistering pace in gaining a 10-0 lead in the first 3:12 of the game. Thompson was all over the place in assisting on back-to-back three pointers by Gab Daganangon and scoring on a layup coming from Bright Akhuetie. The Perpetual-lead grew to a game-high 18-5 with 3:54 remaining in the opening stanza. The Golden Stags, behind Capobres and Guinto, slowly cut into the lead in penetrating the lane. A 10-4 Stags run to close the quarter had the score at 22-15 in favor of Perpetual.

The returning GJ Ylagan helped stave-off the surging Stags in the early parts of the second quarter to gain a 31-23 lead. However, the zone defense of the Rodney Santos-mentored squad forced the Altas to shoot from the outside. The shots were not falling for the Las Pinas cagers though as Akhuetie was the only one who was scoring for them. Guinto continued to pound the paint in the same span while Jamil Ortuoste was converting on his long jumpers. A Ric Gallardo foul on Ortuoste, while he was attempting a three-pointer, gave the Stags the lead for the first time 40-38 with 24 seconds to go in the second. However, the three free throws by the San Sebastian floor general was answered right back by a buzzer-beating three by Thompson to regain the lead 41-40 to end the half.

The two teams then exchanged leads and baskets to open the third canto. Dagangon was on fire in scoring the first seven points for the Altas but the Stags had answers for each basket to tie the game at 49-all. Ortuoste though continued to blitz the Perpetual defense in scoring on three jumpers in an 8-2 rally. The three-pointers continued to miss for the Altas while the breaks of the game went in favor for the Stags. An assist by Ortuoste to Ryan Costelo on the break and a jumper by him ended the quarter in favor of his team 61-57 to enter the final frame.

In the early parts of the fourth quarter, Smart Elite ambassador Bradwyn Guinto continued to pound the paint even against the towering Prince Eze to extend the Stags lead 68-64. After conversions by Eze, a huge rainbow three by Ortuoste gave the CM Recto cagers a 71-67 lead. Eze eventually tied the game but Fabian and Guinto went on an 8-4 run that maintained the lead to four. With 1:32 remaining, a putback by Thompson cut the lead to just a solitary point 83-8 but an alley-oop to Guinto and free throws by Calisaan extended the lead to four. Another putback by Thompson cut the lead back to three with 23.2 to go. After a Perpetual timeout though, Thompson missed a huge layup followed by another turnover by Dagangon. The Altas had no other recourse but to foul. Conversions by Guinto and Calisaan sealed the game for the Stags 91-87.

“As much as possible, I want to end the tournament on a winning note. Ginagamit namin tong mga last few games namin para madevelop yung good habit and mawala yung bad,” Stags head coach Rodney Santos said after the game. Santos also said that these final two games are for Guinto. “Yung last two practices namin ay para sa team and siyempre para kay Bradwyn.”

Guinto, who recorded a double-double with 25 points and 11 boards in 40 minutes of action, admitted that there is regret that they peaked this late but he’s hoping that this helps to get the team momentum for next year.

In addition to Guinto, Jamil Ortuoste also had an excellent outing as he scored 27 points on 10/15 shooting. He was 2/5 from downtown. Mike Calisaan also provided 15 points and 8 rebounds for the Stags.

For the Altas, Scottie Thompson had his eighth career triple-double with 15 points, 15 boards and 12 dimes. Thompson though shot a dismal 7/22 from the field. Akhuetie, who was nursing a left knee injury, had 21 points and 13 boards in the losing cause.

As a team, the Stags shot an outstanding 53% from the field including 55% from the inside. They were also to convert on 82% of their foul shots, 18/25, compared to just 4/6 from their opponents. Moreover, San Sebastian outran the Altas in scoring 24 transition points.

Both teams will play their final game of the regular season on Friday, October 12 as the San Sebastian Stags (6-11) face the JRU Heavy Bombers at 12:00nn while the Perpetual Altas (11-6) will have a do-or-die game against the Letran Knights at 4:00pm.

The Scores:
SSCR (91) – Ortuoste 27, Guinto 25, Calisaan 15, Fabian 9, Capobres 9, Costelo 4, Bulanadi 2, Bragais 0, Santos 0, Pretta 0.
UPHSD (87) – Dagangon 22, Akhuetie 21, Thompson 15, Eze 13, Ylagan 10, Dizon 4, Gallardo 2, Oliveria 0, Tamayo 0, Coronel 0, Elopre 0.
Quarterscores: 15-22, 40-41, 63-57, 91-87.

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Roger Pogoy churns best performance against former teammates

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Prior to Wednesday, all eyes were on the TNT Katropa-Blackwater Elite face-off, with many curious to see how last season’s Rookie of the Year Roger Pogoy would fare against his former FEU teammates Mac Belo and Raymar Jose.

And as the final buzzer sounded, the 25-year-old Pogoy had reigned triumphant over his close pals, getting away with a conference-best performance as a bonus.

The six-foot-two Cebuano sniper fired a game-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, along with eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals, to lead the Texters to a skid-ending, 92-83 victory at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

“Must-win talaga namin ‘to para makabawi kami, kasi 1-2 na yung standing namin (before the game) eh.

“Buti na lang maganda yung nilaro ko,” said Pogoy, who was just averaging 11.3 points in the past three games.

But Pogoy tipped his hat to the much taller Elite, who enjoyed plenty of time in the driver’s seat in the first half, until the Katropa found their groove in the third canto — highlighted by a 16-3 rally that put them ahead, 60-53.

“Malakas yung Blackwater eh, tapos ang lalaki nila kaya mahirap mag-drive, mahirap pumasa kasi naagaw nila,” said Pogoy. “Buti na lang naka-adjust kami nung second half. Hindi kami nagmadali, dinahan-dahan namin.”

Aside from his own outing, Pogoy is thankful that they were able to address their fourth quarter woes when facing the Elite — the issue that hounded them in their 76-88 loss to the San Miguel Beermen last Saturday in Iloilo.

TNT had actually been mere steps away from melting down — again — against Blackwater, no thanks to a 20-9 run that wiped out their 17-point lead to just six,

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With Nash Racela knowing his tendencies, Mac Belo limited to poor shooting

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Prior to Wednesday, Blackwater Elite’s young star Mac Belo was on a roll early in the 2018 Philippine Cup, averaging exactly 20 points on 42.6 percent shooting in their games against Meralco, Rain or Shine, and Ginebra.

But, as they say, good things must come to an end.

Belo, despite having 13 rebounds, was held to just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting as the Elite bowed to TNT Katropa, 92-83 — a sour loss knowing that they’re coming off huge 94-77 win against Ginebra last Friday.

“Bukol,” said Belo in jest of his poor outing after the match. “Big test para sa’min kasi yung TNT talagang isang de-kalibreng team dito sa PBA.

“Talagang pinaghandaan nila kami, at gustong-gusto nila manalo.”

It also did not help that the Katropa’s head coach, Nash Racela, was his coach in FEU Tamaraws for three years — a relationship brightly highlighted by a championship run in the UAAP Season 78 back in 2015.

“Siyempre alam niya yung mga tendencies ko. Matagal ko siyang coach sa FEU,” said the 6-foot-4 forward.

“Sa akin naman, kailangan ko pa matuto sa ganun, kung anong mga defense binabato niya sakin. Kailangan ko pang pag-aralan.”

But for Belo, the loss was more than his own showing. The 25-year-old lamented his and the Elite’s lapses on defense, which was encapsulated by the second half collapse they had that allowed TNT to come back and steal the win.

“Medyo marami lang kaming lapses especially sa defense namin,” said the sophomore forward, as they allowed TNT to shoot 41.6 percent from the floor. “Maraming mga miscommunication na kailangan pa namin i-work.”

Belo and the Elite are now set to move on from this bitter defeat, as they all shift their sights in their match this Friday versus GlobalPort Batang Pier. For the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart, it is already a must-win for them.

“Kailangan namin ng rest ngayon kasi back-to-back games kami. We need to win sa Friday para okay sa’min,” said Belo. “Kailangan din namin paghandaan kasi galing sila sa win.

“Kailangan namin i-double yung effort namin.”

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Jake Vicen performs under pressure as Blazers end eight-year title drought

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For the second straight match, the championship showdown between the College of Saint Benilde Blazers and the Arellano University Chiefs reached kicks from the penalty spot. And once more, goalkeeper Jake Vicen came up big.

The third-year custodian denied one of Arellano’s prolific scorers Roberto Corsame in the shootout and sealed the title after eight long years, 3-2, penalties, Wednesday evening at the historic Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The Blazers made its intentions clear from the get-go as they repeatedly pierced through the defense of the Chiefs.

Nonetheless, at the 38th minute, the white-shirts clinched the goal they much deserved. The Blazers pushed forward, and almost got a call in their favor. The referees, however, played advantage, and fortunately Benilde held on to the play.

Miguel Artillera found himself unmarked on the right flank and easily blasted the ball past opposing keeper Jericho Desalisa.

The Marlon Maro—mentored side continued to play aggressive in the following period and almost plucked a second one. This time, the Chiefs’ backline led by eventual Best Defender Patrick Bernarte held on.

Such stand was rewarded by their attacking force minutes later, and, as expected, the equalizer came from the counterattack.

Corsame received a pass from the middle and defeated two defenders, and seeing Vicen off his line, sent the ball into the onion bag at the 49th minute.

Both sides tried to break the deadlock, but fatigue slowly crept in the dying minutes of the second period and the whole of extra time, setting up another thrilling finish in the shootout.

Much like in Game 2, the two keepers came up big as Desalisa and Vicen denied their second kickers a clear shot. Arellano went to miss another shot, and it was then up to the Blazers to seal the deal.

Dean Ebarle stepped up and calmly and slotted the ball into the goal for the lead at 3-2. Afterwards, Corsame faced Vicen, but this time, the Cebuano keeper would not be denied. The latter went to his strong side, and, fortunately, guessed right for the huge save as pandemonium erupted from the Benilde crowd and squad.

The Finals series hero and season Best Goalkeeper Vicen was pleased that the new champions carved out the historic win despite early adversity. “Big loss ‘yun, si Val [Calvo], kasi may magagawa talaga siya kung nakalaro namin,” he said of losing their former captain.

Nonetheless, the squad stayed focused on getting it done this year.

“Binuhos lang namin every minute sa training. Luckily, hard work paid off,” closed Vicen.

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Kelly Williams rides Angkas to make it to TNT game

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The TNT Katropa almost played shorthanded when they took on the Blackwater Elite Wednesday evening at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Early in the afternoon, a fire broke out in C5 that caused major traffic in the area. One of the people that was stuck was TNT’s 12-year veteran Kelly Williams.

“Coming from the South, I got to Taguig in about two and a half hours and I heard there was a fire on C5 and I was like, ‘Oh my god what am I going to do?’,” recalled Williams.

“I considered running, I considered jogging. Whatever you got to do, crawl, walk or run.”

Panicking, the 6-foot-6 Filipino-American was adviced by his driver to download Philippine-based mobile app Angkas — a motorcycle service provider. And it was one heck of a ride for the big man.

“My driver said check Angkas, an Uber for motorcycles. Okay. Quickly got out of the car in the middle of the C5, the middle of traffic, found this guy under the overpass, he was surprised to see me,” narrated animatedly by Williams.

“I got my helmet on, jumped on the bicycle and we got here for about 40 minutes,” he furthered. “Every stoplight, the other motorcycles pull up, double take, ‘Oh, what are you doing here?’, ‘Hi guys!’ It was fun, it was actually pretty fun but never again, make sure you plan ahead guys if you possibly get stuck in traffic.

“But it was a good experience for me. You get to see Manila in a different light.”

Around midway through the first quarter of the game, Williams finally arrived. Though relieved to see him, coach Nash Racela and the rest of the Katropa made sure to let him know that he was late.

“Good experience, I apologized to the team, I owe them a team lunch or something and I told coach I won’t do it again,” the 35-year-old expressed.

“Let’s pray that it doesn’t happen again.”

Williams compensated for it by giving TNT quality minutes. During their 92-83 win against the Elite, he tallied six points, six rebounds, and four blocks in just 17 minutes of action.

“You got to come out there with extra effort after coming in late like that. But it’s always my intention to come out and do whatever I have to do,” he expressed.

“Luckily, I was in a good position to get some blocks and it worked out that way.”

And he owes a lot to his driver Richard, who got him to the venue just in time.

“It was a good experience though, thank you to the cyclist, I think his name is Richard or something like that, he’s a lifesaver.

“I tipped him very handsomely. It was about a hundred but I’m sure I paid with whatever was in my pocket because I was very grateful,” he quipped.

Still, he knows that he also owes a lot to his team. He plans on making it up by treating everyone to lunch during their next practice.

Lesson learned for Kelly.

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