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Team West keeps two-match advantage after Day 2

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The visiting Team West took the last two matches to restore a two-match lead after the deadlock and inched closer to the inaugural Kings Cup, Friday at the Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila.

Team West headed into Day 2 with a 4-2 advantage. Team Asia started the day with victories in the first two singles matches from youngster Ko Ping Chung and Team Captain Efren “Bata” Reyes. An exchange of wins ensued in the following triples and doubles matches. Team West regained the upper hand in the 3-on-3, while their opponents took the next to force another tie. From there, the visitors wrapped up the day with two straight wins to lead 7-5 going into the final day.

 

Ko Ping Chung whitewashes Ouschan

Ko PC (Team Asia)

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Ouschan (Team West)

         

 

In the first match of the day, Ko Ping Chung dominated Albin Ouschan in the battle of the youngest members of either team with a 5-0 blanking.

Ko started hot in the first rack after Ouschan failed on a safety attempt on the 1-ball. The Taiwanese missed the chance to pocket the 10-ball through the 1, but then ended the frame with a 2-10 combination. The following rack was not easy for Ko, as he was forced to make a safety after his break. Ouschan easily sank the balls before encountering a problem with the last three. Ko took advantage of the Austrian’s missed opportunity and cleaned up the table for a 2-0 lead.

Ko then ran out the following two frames to get into the hill. Needing to get the fifth rack to get into the scoreboard, Ouschan succeeded in getting a ball to drop on his break. However, he missed the 4-ball and, worse, he scratched to the side pocket. With cue ball on hand, Ko then pocketed the remaining balls to sweep the match and cut the deficit to one match.

 

Reyes steered Team Asia to deadlock

Reyes (Team Asia)

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Immonen (Team West)

    

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In the battle of Captains, hometown hero Efren Reyes weathered the rally of his counterpart Mika Immonen, 5-2, to force the tournament into a stalemate, in the second singles match of the day.

Immonen got the 8-ball to drop on his break in the first rack, but without a clear shot at the 1-ball. The situation forced him to push out, which Reyes declined and gave the turn back to his opponent. After an exchange of safety shots, Immonen missed the intended rail on a banked shot attempt on the 1-ball. That turned out to be crucial as Reyes cleaned up the frame for the early lead.

Errors plagued Immonen in the next three racks, and Reyes took advantage of them to build an insurmountable 4-0 lead. In the fifth frame, the Team West Captain’s woes continued with a dry break. However, in an ensuing shot, Reyes successfully sank the 5-ball but scratched. Immonen used the cue ball on hand to clean the table and pull one back. The same scenario happened in the following rack and the Finnish world champion cut the deficit to two, 2-4. In the crucial seventh frame, Reyes bucked two missed shots to close out the match and level the Cup at 5-match apiece.

 

Team West came from behind to reclaim lead

 

Bustamante/Ko PY/Ko PC 

(Team Asia)

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Immonen /Van Boening/Appleton

(Team West)

  

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The veteran trio of Immonen, Shane Van Boening, and Darren Appleton grabbed the lead once more after getting a comeback victory in the triples match, 5-2.

With Ko Pin Yi winning the lag, Filipino veteran Franciso “Django” Bustamante again used his patented powerful break shot in the first rack to pocket the 5- and 7-balls. With two balls down, Team Asia cleaned up the table to take the 1-0 lead. Their opponents almost tied the match, but Van Boening scratched on his shot on the 9-ball. Ko Pin Yi ended the rack and doubled the lead for Team Asia.

From there, Team West took over and used their experience to wrap up the match. The visitors bucked several errors and missed shots to take the remaining racks to seal the comeback. All of the players from the East had crucial mistakes scattered throughout the last five racks, which their opponents pounced on.

 

Ko, Reyes levels the Cup once more

 

Reyes/Ko PC 

(Team Asia)

 

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Van Boening/Appleton

(Team West)

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Picking up from where they left off at the start of the day, Ko Ping Chung and Efren Reyes brought the match into another stalemate after surviving the challenge of Shane Van Boening and Darren Appleton.

It was the Westerners who registered the first rack win after Reyes made two crucial errors, the worst of which was the failure to pocket the 10-ball. The Filipino veteran had a bad shot on his attempt to take down the 2-ball, but a miss from Van Boening on the 9 thereafter left the table open for the Asians to clean up. However, with that Reyes miss, Team West grabbed the lead.

Mistake after mistake happened in the following rack. Ultimately, Team Asia got an opportunity to take the match and Ko easily sank the money ball. The Asians doubled the lead after a dry break from Appleton in the third frame. In the fourth rack, however, Ko missed on the 8-ball and conceded the point to Team West.

In the crucial fifth frame, an exchange of defensive safety shots ensued before Reyes stopped the tussle and pocketed the 3-ball. With that shot, Team Asia was able to run out the table and regain the lead. The same scenario happened in the next rack and bore the same results as Ko got that 10-ball to drop and put his tandem on the hill.

Appleton almost made a crucial error by scratching on his break in the seventh frame. Nevertheless, after Ko sank the 8-ball off the 5, Reyes missed on the orange ball to leave the table open for the opposing pair to clean up. The West had cut the deficit to one, 3-4. Ko and Reyes made sure they will get the win in the following frame. Reyes made a wonderful safety shot on the 1-ball, which Van Boening missed completely. Team Asia took the frame and the match, and pushed the tournament back on even terms.

 

 

 

 

Team West remains unscathed in the quadruples

 

Reyes/Bustamante/Ko PY/Ko PC 

(Team Asia)

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Immonen/Van Boening/Appleton/Ouschan

(Team West)

 

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Just like in Day 1, Team West again upended Team Asia in the second quadruples match of the tournament, 5-3.

It was not an ideal start for the visitors, however, as Shane Van Boening had a dry break on the opening frame. In an ensuing play, Ko Ping Chung had a hard time deciding on where to put the cue ball on a safety shot at the 7-ball, but eventually succeeded to the delight of everyone at the venue, even his opponents. It was a good shot indeed as Darren Appleton missed on his attempt on the 7, as Efren Reyes claimed the first frame for his team.

Team West bounced back to take the next two frames to get the lead. Francisco Bustamante uncharacteristically had a dry break in the second frame, and the visitors used the cue ball on hand to run out. In the third, Albin Ouschan had a wonderful shot on the 2-ball en route to pocketing both the 2 and the 3-balls on opposite pockets. After Ko Pin Yi missed on the 5-ball, it was smooth sailing for Immonen and his squad.

The hosts then took the lead for themselves in the following two racks. In the fourth frame, the Asians took advantage of a miss from Appleton on the 8-ball to get tie the match. At the succeeding rack, Ko Ping Chung attempted to use the 1-ball to sink the 10 on the corner pocket but failed. However, the young Taiwanese left no clear shot on the yellow ball. Immonen missed on his attempt to get the 1 and left the table open for Team Asia to clean up.

From here, Team West scored three straight racks to reclaim the tournament lead. In the sixth frame, Bustamante missed on the 2-ball and Team West punished the error with a run out to tie the match. The following rack was a defensive battle, which ultimately ended in favor of the visitors, after Ko Ping Chung missed miserably on his attempt at a jump shot on the 3-ball. The Taiwanese hit the cue ball on the wrong side, and instead of going up, the white ball just slid to the side.

With the team on the hill, Van Boening bravely sank the 1-ball and, in the process, got the balls to scatter. Team Asia had a golden opportunity to get back in the match; however, Bustamante missed on a 2-10 combination attempt on the corner pocket. Appleton wasted no time and used the same combination to clinch the match and the lead back for Team West.

 

Van Boening dominatesKo, restores two-match lead

Ko PY (Team Asia)

         

Van Boening (Team West)

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Just as how the day started, Shane Van Boening closed the day with another blanking. The American stunned current World No. 1 Ko Pin Yi, 5-0, to reclaim the two-match cushion for Team West at the close of Day 2.

It was a hard day for the Taiwanese Ko, as his problems started as early as the first frame. Ko got the 3-ball on the break, but had no clear shot on the 1-ball. Ko attempted to get the yellow ball and sank it, but he hit the 10-ball first. Van Boening, however, had a hard time to clean up the table and missed on the 4-ball. Ko’s woes continued after missing an easy 4-10 combination. Van Boening then used this combo to get the first match.

From there, it was a smooth ride for the American and he took the next four frames. Van Boening forced Ko to make some bad shots. The otherwise strong top player, Ko, also made crucial misses throughout the match that proved to be crucial. On the other hand, Van Boening was completely in control of the match, especially in the fourth frame. The Taiwanese intentionally fouled on his shot at the 3-ball, but left the 5-ball hidden behind the 8. The American was able to weave through the spaces with some spectacular shots. Van Boening would not be denied of the victory and Team West was once again up by 2 at the day’s end.

 

The exciting conclusion to the first-ever Kings Cup happens on Saturday, 6pm at the same venue. Here is the schedule of matches:

  • Doubles (Losing team Captain’s pick. The losing team may select its own players as well as choose the opposing team’s players) (If score is tied, left out players of Day 2 will play)
  • Singles  (Captain’s pick)
  • 3-on-3 
  • 4-on-4  
  • Singles  – Any of the 3 remaining players
  • Singles – Captains will have 5 minutes to discuss with team. Losing team Captain’s pick. The losing team may select its own player as well as choose the opposing team’s player
  • 4-on-4 – All players Finale
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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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