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Team Asia pads on the lead, moves closer to Queen’s Cup

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Defending champions Team Asia dominated Day 2 of the 2015 AM8.com Queen’s Cup taking four of the six matches to lead 7-4, and inched closer to a back-to-back championship, Friday, April 17 at the Newport Mall, Pasay City.

Asians win suspended triples match

Amit/S. Chen/ParkTeam Asia (4-2)1 x2 x34 – –4 (Winner)
Laurance/Corr/BarrettaTeam West (2-4) x1 x2 x x – –2

The three-woman team of Team Asia took the first triples match of the tournament, 4-2, and increased their lead, 4-2, in the overall tally.
After a see-saw battle between the two teams in the first two frames, the Asians got the upper hand when Team West Captain, Ewa Laurance, made a crucial error in the third frame. This allowed Team Asia to clear the table for the lead, 2-1. Moreover, the defending champions tried to add on their lead, but Park Eunji had missed her shot on the 6, and Team West tied it again at 2-apiece.

Unfortunately, it would be the last hurrah for Team West, as Jennifer Barretta scratched on her turn to break when the 2-ball bumped into the cue ball, sinking it. Furthermore, the World Number 1, Chen Siming, got to score off a 1-10 combo, 3-2.

On Chen’s break in the fourth, she pocketed the 3 and 4 balls. Both teams, however, had difficulty with the resulting setup. In turn, Barretta missed on a counter safety to the 2-ball, allowing Team Asia to run out and take the win in this match, 4-2.

Chen Siming continues Asian onslaught

S. ChenTeam Asia (5-2) x12 x34 – –4 (Winner)
BarrettaTeam West (2-5)1 x x2 x x – –2

The current top women’s player, Chen Siming, kept Team Asia’s winning streak, upending Jennifer Barretta, 4-2.

Barretta took the first frame when Chen missed on the 6-ball on a jump shot attempt, allowing the American the lead, 1-0. Chen, however, bounced back in the next two frames. Furthermore, the Chinese rising star had a break and run out in the second, and pounced on Barretta’s miscue in the third to take the advantange, 2-1.

Looking to seal the win, Chen had a good break in the fourth rack getting two balls to drop. Barretta missed on the 6-ball in the ensuing play. Chen, however, also missed on the same ball. This time Barretta made sure that her second chance would not be wasted, and tied the game, 2-apiece.

After a defensive sequence at the start of the fifth, Barretta is on the verge of taking the hill, almost clearing the table. The American, however, missed on the 8-ball allowing Chen to take the game, 3-2. It was a smooth final frame for Chen as she broke and ran out, getting the victory, 4-2.

Jennifer Chen takes another for Team Asia

J. ChenTeam Asia (6-2)123x4 – – –4 (Winner)
LauranceTeam West (2-6)x x x1 x – – –1

In a battle of a fan against her idol, the fan pulled through. Jennifer Chen bucked nerves to win 4-1 against Ewa Laurance in the second singles match of the day to further the lead of Team Asia.

Both players had several misses on their turn on the table, but it was Chen who made the most of her chances to race to the hill, 3-0. Leading by a wide margin, Chen took the risk in the fourth by attempting on a 2-10 combo. The Taiwanese got contact on the 2-ball, but it did not budge. In the end, a miss from Chen allowed Laurance to get one on the board, 3-1.

Laurance attempted a shot on the 4-ball in the final frame, but, unfortunately scratched. With ball in hand, Chen had set things up perfectly for her to run out the table and get the win, 4-1.

Team West trio finally wins in Day 2

Amit/S. Chen/J. ChenTeam Asia (6-3) x x1x x – – –1
Corr/Villareal/LauranceTeam West (3-6)12 x34 – – –4 (Winner)

The veteran tandem of Karen Corr, Vivian Villareal, and Ewa Laurance won the second triples match of the day, 4-1, to stop Team Asia’s winning streak.

Team West breezed through the match as they capitalized on several miscues of the otherwise solid squad of the defending queens. Laurance got Team West the first frame after getting the 10-ball to drop off from a contact on the 3-ball. In the third frame, Corr missed on the 6, and Team Asia cut the deficit to 1, 1-2.

In the following rack, Amit got 1-ball to drop, but scratched as well. This proved to be the turning point of the game as Team West coasted to the win, 4-2.

Amit and Chen take Asia’s seventh win

Amit/S. ChenTeam Asia (7-3)1 x2 x34 – –4 (Winner)
Barretta/CorrTeam West (3-7) x1 x2 x x – –2

The top-rated players of Team Asia did not disappoint. Captain Rubilen Amit and anchor Chen Siming took the next doubles match, 4-2, to regain the four-point cushion of their team in the tournament.

The tandems had a hard time getting balls to drop on their break. In addition, Team Asia and Team West traded wins in the first four frames with the resulting score at 2-apiece. In the following rack, Chen had a successful placement shot on the 1-ball that forced the Westeners to look for options. Unfortunately for Team West, Team Asia was able to run out this table, taking the lead, 3-1.

Karen Corr made a push shot, but the Asians did not try to shoot the 1-ball, giving it back to the Irish veteran. Corr completely missed on a bank shot to the 1-ball, having her own plan turn on her. With ball in hand, Amit took the 3-10 combo to walk away with another win for Team Asia, 4-1.

Team West wins crucial four-on-four

Team Asia (7-4)1 x x2 x x – –2
Team West (4-7) x12 x34 – –4 (Winner)

 
Team West took the pivotal second four-on-four match of the tournament, 4-2, against Team Asia as Day 2 closed.

The Asians took the early lead on the second day in a row in the all-squad battle, 1-0. Team West fought back when Jennifer Chen missed on the 8-ball in the second to tie it up at 1-all. Moreover, Siming Chen did not get the 6-ball to drop in the following frame, and the Westerners capitalized on Cheng’s error to take the frame, 2-1.

Afterwards, the Asians picked it up to take the fourth rack and tie the game yet again, Team West took the next two frames to win the last match of the day, 4-2.


The tournament goes into its final day on Saturday, April 18 at the same venue. Team Asia is looking to get its second Queen’s Cup in a row. Here is the schedule for the last day:

Singles: Karen Corr vs Eunji Park
Doubles – Corr/Barretta vs Park/J.Chen
Singles -Karen Corr vs Siming Chen (Captains pick)
3-on-3 – Laurance/Corr/Villarreal vs S.Chen/Amit/J.Chen
4-on-4 – All players
Singles – Vivian Villarreal vs Rubilen Amit
Singles – Captain’s pick
4-on-4 – All players

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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Yeng Guiao denies using racial slur against Chris Ross

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During the post-game of the San Miguel Beermen’s victory over the NLEX Road Warriors, reigning Coach of the Year Leo Austria said that NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao called Chris Ross the “N” word that caused the commotion.

According to Chris, tinawagan siya ng nigger or ganiyan,” said Austria. “I don’t know but that’s what he explained to me because I confronted Chris Ross because he’s one of the most important players in my team.

“But that’s the thing he doesn’t want to hear so nagflare up yung bata so I cannot blame him.”

Guiao though denied that he blurted out racial slurs against San Miguel’s Chris Ross.

“Hindi. Hindi ko tinawag na N-word. Ewan ko kung may nakarinig. Pero hindi,” clarified the fiery tactician moments after their 98-109 defeat, their third straight after starting the 2018 Philippine Cup with two straight wins.

That tussle, according to Guiao, was just filled with trash talking against each other, as he felt the need to retaliate. In fact, Guiao was even caught by the TV camera saying “son of a bitch” towards the Filipino-American point guard.

“Daldal siya ng daldal eh. Eh sa akin naman kapag ganon, siguro respeto nalang. Lumayo ka nalang tutal mananalo naman na kayo,” he said. “I didn’t understand what he was saying, what he was talking about.

“Nakipagtrash-talking din ako sa kanya.”

Furthermore, the 58-year-old was also caught by the cameras flipping the bird — in one quick motion — also against Ross.

“Oo. Kasama na rin yun.

“Pero ano naman eh, it’s part of, siguro, psychological warfare. Malakas din siya mang-asar. Hindi lang naman sa amin. Everytime naman na mga ganoong skirmishes, he also knows what he’s capable of,” the seven-time champion coach furthered.

But more than this scuffle, it really has become a stressful time for Guiao and the Road Warriors. They have now went down to 2-3 in the team standings, and the mentor sees the great need to end this slump immediately.

“We have to arrest it very soon. Ang susunod na laro namin ay versus Rain or Shine sa Friday. So we need to go back to 50 percent win-loss level para at least may chance ka na maka-playoffs. That’s going to be a crucial game for us,” he stressed.

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Kiefer Ravena shocked with Von Pessumal’s shove: ‘I did not expect that at all’

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Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal have been teammates ever since they were in high school, winning three UAAP juniors crowns together. They won two championships together in the seniors level and even played together in Gilas. They were inseparable.

Friday evening however, they were playing for separate camps.

Ravena admitted that he never expected a shove to come from Pessumal during the NLEX Road Warriors’ clash with San Miguel Beermen.

In an off-ball situation, Pessumal charged at Ravena, sending the rookie down to the floor with 9:50 remaining in the final frame. He was then whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul, and Ravena sank one from the line.

“I did not expect that at all,” admitted Ravena after the match in which they lost, 98-109 — their third straight defeat after a 2-0 start. “But hopefully Von doesn’t take it personal.

“I’m just doing my job. They won the game.”

Ravena insisted that there wasn’t any physicality between him and Pessumal prior to that, but he thinks that his former Gilas teammate may have gotten irked by his staredown after blocking him on a fastbreak play early in the fourth.

“When that fastbreak happened — the same exact possession na I challenged him, I looked at him, and after that yun na yung nangyari,” said the 23-year-old guard. “But I never instigated something to provoke Von to do that.

“Probably nung tinignan ko siya.”

Moreover, the second overall pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft felt that that incident “started all the commotions during the end game (laughs). Yun yung pinaka-una eh. And with that, the team got fired up and it worked for them.”

He may be right, for the game saw more skirmishes after that: from teammate Michael Miranda kicking Chris Ross to the groin, and with his head coach Yeng Guiao figuring in a heated verbal war also against Ross.

But then, Ravena made it clear that it was never a plan of his to put down somebody, especially someone like Pessumal who he sees as a brother for life.

“You know, Von and I, we go way back. Things like this hopefully don’t become too personal.

“I have no intention na ipapahiya yung tao or sasaktan mo yung tao. Wala namang ganun. Laro-laro lang,” said NLEX’s leading scorer.

It was somehow a night to remember for Ravena, but for all the wrong reasons. After Friday’s loss that sent their card to 2-3, the veteran internationalist now sees the need for him and the Road Warriors to push the panic button.

“‘Di na pwedeng sabihin palaging kailangan namin matuto eh. Pangatlong sunod na,” the second-generation cager expressed.

“Kailangan siguro naming umaksyon.”

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Downcast Chris Ross chooses to stay mum after heated altercation with Yeng Guiao

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Through wins or losses, Chris Ross has always accommodated the members of the press asking for interviews and fans requesting for photo ops every after game. But Friday evening, the nine-year pro was despondent.

Visibly agitated with the events that had transpired during the San Miguel Beermen’s tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors, Ross, with his hoodie covering his head, left the Cuneta Astrodome without saying a word.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year had figured in physical play after physical play and verbal exchange after verbal exchange with the frustrated Road Warriors.

Ross and Alex Mallari were both slapped with technicals after a confrontation with 9:06 left. This was just the start of many things to come for the Filipino-American defensive specialist

After knocking down a triple and receiving a taunt from Ross, Michael Miranda was assessed a disqualifying foul for an apparent kick to the groin against Ross with 4:35 left.

The tip of the iceberg came with 1:46 left to play and the game all but settled.

Yeng Guiao and Ross figured in a heated word war that resulted in Ross’ second technical foul for the game. Referees and players from both sides had to separate the two to prevent things from escalating.

San Miguel coach Leo Austria alleged that the fiery NLEX mentor said the “N” word, while some said Guiao called Ross a “bitch”.

Ross finished the game with four points, eight rebounds, and four steals in 37 minutes of action.

For sure, penalties and suspensions will come out of this game.

And it was better for Ross to stay silent.

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Jason Brickman flirts with triple-double as Mono holds off Singapore

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After playing his worst game of the season last Sunday against Tanduay Alab Pilipinas, Jason Brickman bounced back, steering the Mono Vampire to a 91-88 road victory over the Singapore Slingers, Friday evening at the OCBC Arena.

The 26-year-old, who finished with just seven points and three assists in their 71-104 loss to Alab, tallied 10 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. The league-leader in assists did not take a break, playing all 40 minutes.

But it was not a walk in the park for the Thailand-based squad.

Mono led by as much as 22 points, 60-48, with 7:46 left, 16 points entering the final frame. A furious fourth quarter rally by Singapore sliced the lead, turning the game into a single-possession contest with a minute left. The steady hands of Samuel Deguara and Mike Singletary from the stripe fended off Singapore.

Brickman’s compatriot Paul Zamar chipped in 13 markers for Mono.

Since torching Alab last January 3, Filipino-Canadian AJ Mandani has been on a slump, going just 3-for-11 from the field for nine points.

Mono’s World Imports Samuel Deguara and Mike Singletary both finished with 26 points with the former hauling down 18 rebounds. For Singapore, Xavier Alexander paced the Slingers with 29 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

With the win, the Vampire kept solo third with a 7-4 slate. On the other hand, the Slingers dropped its second straight game since winning against Alab, falling to 5-6.

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