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Twin towers power Ginebra over Talk n Text

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The second game of the PBA opening featured a battle between Talk n Text and Ginebra in front of a crowd of 52,162 people.

Both teams kept the game close, and after the first half, TnT held onto a slim 19-18 lead. The second quarter was where things started to get interesting. Carey put his team up 3 points with a steal and a fast-break lay-up, 21-18. The sweet shooting Mac Baracael answered with a jumper, his first points of the game, 21-20. The next possession saw Williams fouled on an attempt and he made 1 of his 2 free throw shots, giving TnT a 22-20 lead. Former Adamsonian, Brondial was able to tie the game at 22, and a Helterbrand 3 gave Ginebra the lead that they did not give up for the rest of the game. TnT rookie Rosser was fouled as he made his basket, but was unable to convert on the freebie, closing the deficit to 1 at 24-25.

This is when Baracael started to heat up as he made a wide open 3-point shot. TnT was not able to answer back, and Baracael made another 3, this time with the defender right in his face, pushing the lead to 7, 24-31. Mamaril gave Ginebra their first double-digit lead of the game with an and-one, converting on the free throw, 34-34. Ginebra was on a 9-0 run during this time.

Seigle finally broke the TnT drought as he was fouled on his attempt. He made the bucket, but missed on the free throw. Gilas member Castro was able to steal the ball and make his fast-break attempt, cutting the deficit to 6, 28-34.

The lead ballooned to double-digits once again, but Carey was able to make a basket for his squad, bringing his team closer, 32-40. Slaughter kept his opponents at bay, going 1-2 from the FT line, answering Williams’ basket with his own, and scoring again to keep his team up 9, 36-45. Williams was able to counter with 2-points of his own, and his Gilas teammate was able to convert on a 3-point attempt to cut the deficit to 4, 41-45 to end the first half.

Midway through the third, a duel occurred between the wily veteran Mark Caguioa and the speedy Jayson Castro. Castro fired first, getting fouled on an attempt and making 1 out of 2 free throw attempts to bring the lead down to 5, 51-56. Caguioa countered with a sneaky inbound play, making his lay-up and getting fouled in the process. He was able to convert his free throw. Caguioa was able to push the lead to double digits once again with a layup over his defenders. Castro countered with a jumper over the tallest man in the court, Greg Slaughter, followed by a fastbreak lay-up to reduce the deficit to 6, 55-61. Later on, Castro would dash through two defenders for a lay-up to bring the lead down to 4 at 59-63. Rosser splitting his freebies after a foul cut the deficit to 3, but a big 3-pointer from Helterbrand, a Slaughter lay-up from a lob pass, and an Aguilar basket would crumble all the hard work TnT accomplished, bringing the lead back up to double-digits. A jumper from Fonacier before the end of the quarter would keep TnT in the game coming into the fourth canto, 62-70.

Ginebra went on an offensive blitz at the final quarter, outscoring Tnt 19-31. Down 13 halfway through the fourth, TnT would mount one last comeback attempt led by their guards Kevin Alas and Jayson Williams. Williams split 2 free throws, followed by a big 3 from Alas, and another layup by Castro, cutting the deficit to 7, 76-83.

This was when Ginebra would go on a scoring tear. Aguilar blocked Rosser on two consecutive layup attempts, while making 2 baskets of his own. A Castro jumper was the last field goal TnT made, as Caguioa scored on his basket attempt, and make a 3 on their next possession. By this time the shot clock was off as there was less than 24 seconds in the game, but consecutive steals and baskets by Baracael and Caguioa beefed up the Ginebra lead to 20, sealing the fate of TnT, 81-101.

Aguilar earned MVP honors for the game, finishing with 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 5 blocks. The other tower of power, Greg Slaughter finished with a double-double of his own, 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

GINEBRA 101 – Aguilar 18, Slaughter 16, Baracael 16, Caguioa 12,
Helterbrand 10, Mamaril 8, Yeo 7, Ellis 6, Tenorio 4, Brondial 4,
Monfort 0, Forrester 0, Urbiztondo 0, Reyes 0, Ababou 0.

TALK N’ TEXT 81 – Williams 20, Castro 19, Alas 10, Fonacier 9,
Ganuelas 9, Carey 4, Seigle 4, Reyes Ryan 3, Reyes Rob 3, Washington
0, Aban 0, Labagala 0, Espiritu 0, De Ocampo 0.

Quarterscores: 18-19, 45-41, 70-62, 101-81

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Boxing

Manny Pacquiao eyes bout against Vasyl Lomachenko

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Even if he has hinted at retirement numerous times, Senator Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38KO) continues to stress that the time is not yet now.

In an interview with ANC’s Headstart Wednesday morning, the 39-year-old sure hall of famer reiterated his stance that he and his camp are still looking for the best fights possible.

“I am not retired yet. Alam mo na-mimiss ko yun boxing e,” Pacquiao told Karen Davilla.

“I’m still okay.”

Pacquiao, who lost his last bout against Jeff Horn last July 2, is not afraid that another loss might affect his legacy.

Pressed on who he wants to fight next, boxing’s only eight-division world champion disclosed that he is currently under negotiations with the camp of WBO Super Featherweight Champion Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1, 8KO).

“Wala akong problema kung Amir Khan. May discussion din ngayon kay Lomachenko, he is the number one pound-for-pound fighter,” Pacquiao shared.

“Hindi pa na-finalize pero this year.”

Pacquiao is eyeing an April date for the bout as it will be the time the senate goes on a break.

“This year, by April. Pangako ko sa mga tao na hindi maapektuhan ang trabaho ko. April, magandang idea dahil off kami from March 23 to May 13. April wala kaming trabaho,” a confident Pacquiao added.

“Three months is more than enough time to prepare.”

However, there is still one hindrance to the bout, according to Pacquiao. The two camps have yet to agree on which weight class the bout will be held.

According to reports, Lomachenko wants the bout to be at lightweight — a division Pacquiao has not been in for the last 10 years.

“Hindi pa sure. Nag-uusap pa about sa timbang.”

One thing is for sure. Pacquiao is hungrier more than ever.

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Football

Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory

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Photo from the-AFC.com

2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.

The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.

“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.

Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.

Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.

Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.

Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.

While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.

It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.

The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.

As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.

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Basketball

Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’

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Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup

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Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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