Cone lauds playoff-bound Ginebra for ‘playing the right way’ as stars’ minutes reduced

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

Barangay Ginebra didn’t really have any incentive to go hard against NorthPort in their final PBA Philippine Cup elimination game on Wednesday.

With the third-seed all locked up and a matchup with perennial rival Magnolia all set in the quarterfinals, head coach Tim Cone opted to reduce his main core’s minutes and give their supporting cast an extended run.

Of course, that still wasn’t an excuse for the Gin Kings to slack off.

“We were Ginebra. We never say die. Every game we’re out there, we owe it to our fans to go out there and play. We’re weren’t just going to walk with those emotions and let this game run away from us,” Cone said after the loss.

NorthPort eventually booked their ticket to the quarterfinals with Robert Bolick coming up huge in the clutch, but the league’s winningiest coach thought that how Ginebra played in a non-bearing game was a good show of character.

“The way we played was more important than winning the basketball game for us,” Cone continued. “Obviously it won’t be that way in the playoffs but for tonight, playing hard and playing the right way was the priority and the goal. So I think we achieved that goal.”

Tim Cone (Photo from the PBA Media Group)

Ginebra can now look forward to an early playoff clash against the Hotshots, who kicked them out of the 2018 Governors’ Cup semifinals in four games last year.

Magnolia clinched the No. 6 spot after clobbering NLEX earlier that night.

“They’re playing at a high level. They’ve recovered back from their championship hangover and they’re ready to move forward. Obviously they wanted to play us. They blew out their opponent so they could have an opportunity to play against us. We know that. We’re sister teams but we’re not friendly,” Cone noted.

The Hotshots, winners of three straight to end the elimination round, will be a dangerous draw for the Gin Kings, but Cone is confident that they can match up well with them seeing how in-form his squad looks heading into the playoffs.

“We’ve got two days now to prepare for Magnolia. Last series we played, they beat us up. They beat us three games out of four. We gotta come out and be ready for them. I thought this game prepared us. Let’s see what happens,” he said.

“We’ve won five in a row and lost tonight, we’ve won six of seven before lost tonight, and we played pretty well in a non-bearing game. I think we’re kind of in a roll too. That’s why I think it’s gonna be a great series.”


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Resurgent NorthPort stifles Ginebra comeback to barge into playoffs

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

NorthPort advanced to the PBA Philippune Cup playoffs as the seventh seed by edging Ginebra, 100-97, late in their clash on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Robert Bolick led the cavalry with 24 points, but none were bigger than a huge triple he drilled from the left arc to give the Batang Pier a 98-97 lead with 52 seconds left in the game.

Two free throws from Stanley Pringle and their second stop on Ginebra in the final minute later sealed the win.

Bolick, who made 8-of-14 shots and hit four threes, also tallied five assists and three rebounds.

Robert Bolick (Photo from the PBA Media Group)

The rookie put up 13 of his 24 points in a strong third frame, including a triple that put the Batang Pier ahead, 72-65, with about two minutes left in the quarter.

However, it took them a while to shake off a pesky Ginebra side that even went on an 11-3 run in the payoff period to take a 97-95 advantage with 1:12 on the clock.

Sean Anthony finished with 19 points, six rebounds and six steals, while Mo Tautuaa addedd 17 markers, seven dimes and five boards.

“We’re thankful na nalagpasan namin Ginebra. Alam naman natin na Ginebra is Ginebra—it’s a complete team, it’s well coached team, at saka maganda sistema. Yun lang breaks of the game nanalo sila. Tsamba nga, kung sabihin natin,” head coach Pido Jarencio said.

The win capped off an inspiring climb back from the bottom for NorthPort, who suffered two months of futility before stringing together three consecutive wins to finish with a 6-5 record and squirm its way into the playoff picture.

The Batang Pier will be facing second-seeded Rain or Shine in the playoffs with a twice-to-beat disadvantage.

Ginebra, on the other hand, ended the elimination round with a 7-4 record as the third-seeded squad.

Greg Slaughter paced the Gin Kigns with 14 points.

NorthPort’s win means Alaska and NLEX will be going up against each other in a playoff for the eighth and final playoff spot on Friday.

THE SCORES

NORTHPORT (100) – Bolick 24, Anthony 19, Tautuaa 17, Guinto 14, Pringle 9, Grey 9, Taha 6, Flores 2, Elorde 0, Lanete 0, Sollano 0.

GINEBRA (97) – Slaughter 14, Cruz 13, Mercado 10, Thompson 9, dela Cruz 8, Aguilar 8, Ferrer 7, Devance 7, CAperal 4, MAriano 4, Teodoro 4, Tenorio 3 Chan 3, Aguila 3, Caguioa 0.


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Sweet-shooting Paul Lee eyeing strong Magnolia start vs. Ginebra in quarterfinals

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

It appears Paul Lee still has the hot hand.

After setting a new PBA All-Star Game record by draining nine threes last Sunday, the 30-year-old guard sank six more triples in Magnolia’s playoff-clinching win against NLEX on Wednesday.

Lee finished with 26 points and went 9-for-16 from the field in just 23 minutes.

“Akala ko may wheelchair pa rin eh,” Lee joked in reference to the number of wheelchairs donated to the Alagang PBA Foundation by Double V Production, who pledged to donate a set amount for every trey and dunk made in the All-Star Game.

“Sana magtuluy-tuloy yung ganung shooting ko, kasi this conference medyo hindi rin consistent yung laro ko sa labas.”

Paul Lee (Photo credit: PBA Media Group)

It’s not just Lee who’s peaking at the right time. This win against NLEX gave Magnolia a 6-5 finish in the eliminations, a far cry from when they struggled out of the gates with a 0-3 start to the Philippine Cup.

“At least nakabawi kami sa bad start namin. Maganda naman yung after nung three games namin sa simula, yung break naka-tulong sa’min. Napa-ganda lang din yung schedule namin na sunud-sunod, nakuha namin yung timing namin. Medyo mahirap, pero alam mo yun, naka-tulong din samin,” Lee noted.

The key for Magnolia now will be sustaining momentum. That will be made tougher with an impending matchup against Ginebra, which is looking for redemption after the Hotshots gave them the boot in the 2018 Governors’ Cup semifinals.

To overcome that challenge, the task is pretty simple for Lee: win Game 1 of that three-game series.

“Medyo napa-aga [Manila Clasico]. Crucial ‘yung Game 1, ‘yun ‘yung sinasabi sa’min ni coach Chito (Victolero). Parang Game 7 na kasi kung sino talaga maka-una, ‘yun na mataas ang chance manalo sa series,” he said.

“Sobrang importante samin yun [best-of-3] kasi ayaw naman namin ma-eliminate ng maaga.”


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Outright playoff berth slips out of NLEX’s hands, but optimistic Guiao still likes their chances

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao was left to rue his team’s disappointing showing against Magnolia in a crucial PBA Philippine Cup eliminations assignment on Wednesday.

After a mid-conference surge saw them barge their way back into the playoff picture, the Road Warriors faltered and dropped their final two games to end up at 4-7 in the standings.

RELATED – PBA: Magnolia dismantles NLEX, sets up Manila Clasico quarterfinals with Ginebra

More importantly, this loss put them in an unfavorable position as they continue to jockey for playoff positioning.

“I’m disappointed, actually. I thought we would be playing a good game, competing today. We’ve had good practices. Tingin ko nakahanda kami pero for one reason or another, we just played badly,” lamented Guiao.

Only one player—Bong Galanza, who had 10 points—scored in double figures for NLEX, which shot just 31.5 percent from the field in the lopsided defeat.

They also allowed the Hotshots to shoot almost half of their threes (14-for-30 from downtwon) in a win that helped Magnolia lock up the sixth seed.

“I guess we need to give credit to Magnolia, who played a really good game offensively and defensively. There were just on rhythm. It was a good game for them and it was a bad night for us,” Guiao added.

Yeng Guiao (Photo from the PBA Media Group)

NLEX’s playoff hopes now hinges on the result of the NorthPort-Ginebra clash, which is being played as of press time.

Should the resurgent Batang Pier win against the Gin Kings, NLEX will have to figure in a do-or-die clash against Alaska for the eighth and final seed.

But if Ginebra finishes its elims on a high note with a win, the Road Warriors will be able to advance as the seventh seed, setting themselves up with a twice-to-beat disadvantage against Rain or Shine.

Regardless of the outcome of Wednesday’s second match, Guiao is staying optimistic. After all, the door for a playoff appearance is still open for them either way.

“We still have a chance. May pag-asa pa rin naman kami. It’s either we go straight to the playoffs or we go into a knockout match against Alaska,” Guiao noted.

“As long as we have a chance to make the next round, that’s okay with me. We’ll keep our hopes high and we’ll keep trying our best to make the next round.”


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Magnolia dismantles NLEX, sets up Manila Clasico quarterfinals with Ginebra

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

Magnolia set itself for an early collision course with Manila Clasico rival Ginebra in the playoffs after clobbering NLEX, 102-74, in their final PBA Philippine Cup assignment Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Hotshots, who simply needed a win to clinch the sixth seed, got a huge boost from Paul Lee, who finished with 26 points built around six threes.

Lee poured 10 of those in a pivotal second frame that turned a four-point lead midway through the quarter into a 16-point lead, 46-30, entering the break.

Magnolia kept the pressure up and continued to pile on NLEX’s woes in the second half to put away the game out of reach early on. A PJ Simon jumper with 6:14 left in the fourth quarter even pushed their lead up to 31, 94-63.

“We achieved our goal, and that is to get the #6 spot. Malaking factor ‘yung defense namin because our goal is to limit NLEX to under 90 points and na matapatan yung effort nila,” head coach Chito Victolero said.

Paul Lee (Photo from the PBA Media Group)

Aldrech Ramos also put up 15 points off the bench, while Mark Barroca pitched in 14 for the Hotshots.

Bong Galanza scored 10 points to be the only player to hit double-digits for the Road Warriors, who shot a dismal 31.5 percent from the field.

This will be the second straight conference that Magnolia will be facing the Gin Kings in the playoffs. They last faced each other last December in the 2018 Governors’ Cup, where the Hotshots dispatched Ginebra in four games.

Magnolia’s win over the Road Warriors also means that NLEX, NorthPort and Alaska will have to figure in a tricky fight for the last two playoff berths.

A win by the streaking Batang Pier against Ginebra later will mean that it’ll be the NLEX and the Aces duking it out for the eighth and final seed, while a loss will set up a NorthPort-Alaska playoff due to a superior quotient held by NLEX.

THE SCORES

MAGNOLIA (102) — Lee 26, Ramos 15, Barroca 14, Sangalang 10, Jalalon 8, Herndon 6, Melton 5, Simon 5, Brondial 5, Reavis 2, Gamalinda 2, Dela Rosa 2, Pascual 2, Calisaan 0, Abundo 0.

NLEX (74) — Galanza 10, Ighalo 9, Tallo 8, Quinahan 8, Erram 7, Rios 6, Paniamogan 6, Varilla 6, Magat 6, Soyud 4, Baguio 2, Lao 2, Tiongson 0, Taulava 0, Paredes 0.

Quarters: 20-16; 46-30; 77-54; 102-74.


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Not just a race: How Robert Schimek and FWD are running for a cause at the North Pole

Tsui, Annie & Andy – FWD 78° North Marathon

In 2003, a British man by the name of Martin Tighe ran the distance of over 40 kilometres in five hours.

Considering the average time taken by marathon runners around the world, one would dismiss Tighe’s attempt as unimpressive. However, to truly understand the significance of his achievement, one must learn where Tighe’s race was run – the North Pole.

16 years later, Robert Schimek will attempt to do what Tighe and a select few after him did – conquer one of the most perilous terrains on the face of this planet.

By day, Robert Schimek is the Group Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of FWD Insurance, the very organization sponsoring the northernmost marathon of the world. However, there is more to the man than many would notice at first sight.

Robert is also an athlete with a high level of perseverance. He has competed twice in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii and three times in the World’s Toughest Mudder, a 24-hour endurance test, in Nevada. He has also completed some of the world’s toughest city marathons in a myriad of weather conditions including London, Chicago and most recently, Hong Kong.

For now, the FWD Insurance Group COO and MD is enjoying his life in Singapore:

“I found that Singapore has two temperatures, hot and hotter,” says Robert, “I found that even in the short time since I’ve arrived here In August 2018, my body reacts differently to the heat. For the first time in my life my body is sweating more than ever; really adjusting to the idea of running in hot temperatures.”

“To be honest with you it makes me a little concerned about how my body is going to respond when I go to run out in the cold in the North Pole.”

Cold temperatures are usually not of concern to Robert, as he admits himself. However, even the strong-willed would think twice before going running in minus forty degrees.

“I like cold temperatures in general but I’m not so sure that I like 40 Degrees below zero. So the effect for me tends to be in the extremities. I am worried about my nose freezing off. I’d worry about my beard freezing except I can’t really grow my beard too well,” he jokes.

No Ice, no problem

Robert is well-and-truly immersed in his training at the moment and has used rather unique methods for the same. After all, extreme challenges require extreme preparations!

“What better way to prepare for the North Pole Marathon than working out in the back of an ice truck,” he says, “Doing all the exercises the way you’ll actually have to do them in the North Pole; in conditions as close to the North Pole as we can make in Singapore.”

The Singapore-based Group COO & MD has also been preparing in a slightly more professional surrounding of an ice lab, where he is getting acclimatized to the extreme temperatures.

However, despite all the training and preparation, Robert is still up against one of the harshest climates in the world. One which takes away from a runner the very first step of any race – the warm-up!

“In its very basic form when you begin any workout you begin by warming up. So almost by definition, the concept of warming up for the North Pole Marathon isn’t there – I guess I will warm up later on with a hot cup of cocoa!

“And as a result of that, I do think you have a higher degree of risk of injury. I had knee surgery. I’ve had shoulder surgery after some extreme events. And I do worry a little bit about how those injuries will respond to the cold weather.”

A ‘Special’ run

For the third straight time, the ‘coolest’ marathon in the world will be sponsored by FWD Insurance; an organization which delivers on its promise to celebrate living. The very motive of the institution is built around inspiring people to live their lives to the fullest and supporting them in the cause.

And for an organization which calls for a better living, what better way to live up to the standards than by having one of their own run the marathon!

“I am a person who really enjoys his life and because of that, I enjoy an adventure,” says Robert.

“I want to experience things that I have never experienced before. Things that the people haven’t really experienced before.”

“It’s not something most people will ever realistically have a chance to do. To me, that is extremely exciting.”

Running in such extreme conditions is not just about personal gain for the FWD man. Instead, it is his dedication towards a cause that makes it all the more special:

“I love the idea of running with a purpose. When you’re running for charity it reminds you of two things – number one you never quit on the charity. And number two, if you achieve your objective, that you would have earned all the money that you raised.”

Robert has been associated with several charities ever since his first event in Philadelphia. Since then, most of his charity work has been around two areas – Disabilities and Education.

“I’m really proud to have raised over a quarter of a million dollars for the Challenged Athletes Foundation in the two Ironman World Championships I’ve competed in. And it’s my big hope that my friends will help me step up and be big fundraisers for the Special Olympics in the North Pole Marathon,” says Robert.

It is for that very cause that Robert and the rest of the athletes will travel to the North Pole – to raise funds for the Special Olympics, the Hong Chi Association, breast cancer awareness and for prosthetic legs.

FWD have themselves joined hands with the Special Olympics, the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Special Olympics provide year-round training to over five million athletes; a cause which FWD and Robert Schimek will be supporting.

At his core, Robert Schimek does what he does for the love of running, something that makes him take his place on the starting line – no matter the place, no matter the distance.

“I like to be out there, by myself and think,” he says

Click here to read more about FWD Insurance

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2019 PBA All-Star: Mocon tip-in lifts Rookie/Sophomores over Juniors in wild finish

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

Javee Mocon’s tip-in at the buzzer pushed the Rookies/Sophomores to a thrilling 141-140 win over the Juniors in the PBA All-Star Weekend on Friday at the Calasiao Sports Complex in Pangasinan.

The Rain or Shine rookie was able to clean up a missed jumper by CJ Perez, who swooped in for an offensive rebound after Jason Perkins muffed three crucial free throws in the final three seconds.

Mocon finished wiht 18 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Rookies/Sophomores, who trailed by as much as 10 midway through the payoff period.

Perez, meanwhile, showed out in front of a hometown crowd and tallied a game-high 32 points on his way to being named the side event’s Most Valuable Player. His team will be taking home an P80,000 cash prize.

Javee Mocon (Photo from the PBA Media Group)

The Columbian Dyip rookie drilled a corner three off an extra swing by rookie batchmate Robert Bolick to momentarily give the Rookies/Sophomores a 139-138 lead with 1:18 to go in the game, but they conceded a reverse lay-in from Kevin Ferrer on the other end to trail by one in the final minute.

A wild scramble for the ball ensued in the final seconds before the rock ended up in the hands of Perkins, who was fouled by Jio Jalalon from the three-point line to set up the nail-biting finish.


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2019 PBA All-Star: Rey Guevarra grabs record-tying fifth dunk contest crown

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

Phoenix’s Rey Guevarra tied the all-time record for most Slam Dunk Contest titles ever after winning his fifth crown in the 2019 PBA All-Star Weekend Friday at the Calasiao Sports Complex in Pangasinan.

Guevarra tied Meralco forward KG Canaleta for the most in All-Star history, but he had to go through a dunk-off in a rematch of last year’s final against Blackwater’s Renz Palma in order to snatch the win.

Palma tied Guevarra with 50 points after dunking over six seated people, but he later faded as he failed to convert on any of the lobs of Beau Belga, who threw passes from the complex’s lower box.

Rey Guevarra (Photo from the PBA Media Group)

Guevarra then finished it off with an emphatic one-handed through his teammates, who all jumped in celebration as he went up for the slam.

Columbian Dyip’s CJ Perez and NorthPort Batang Pier’s Lervin Flores also joined the contest.


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2019 PBA All-Star: PJ Simon supplants longtime pal James Yap as three-point shootout champ

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

Magnolia veteran PJ Simon is now the league’s new Three-Point Shootout king after snatching the title in a close final during the 2019 PBA All-Star Weekend on Friday at the Calasiao Sports Complex in Pangasinan.

Simon scored 17 points to edge NLEX guard Philip Paniamogan and NorthPort rookie Robert Bolick, who missed the final money ball that would have given him the championship in the side event.

The 38-year-old guard succeeded James Yap, who failed to find his rhythm as he sough to defend his crown. He only scored 12 points.

Simon was able to crash the finals after putting up 20 points in the eliminations, tied for best in that round with Paniamogan.

PJ Simon (Photo from the PBA Media Group)

Other expected favorites failed to hit their stride in the shootout. Phoenix’s Matthew Wright, Blackwater’s Mike DiGregorio and Columbian’s Rashawn McCarthy all finished with 15 points, Meralco’s Baser Amer had 14 while TNT’s Roger Pogoy and Ginebra’s Kevin Ferrer scored 11 apiece.

San Miguel marksman Marcio Lassiter tallied a measly seven-point output.

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Compton rooting for Magnolia, Ginebra wins as playoff fate slips out of Alaska’s hands

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

With a loss to NorthPort on Wednesday putting their PBA Philippine Cup playoff hopes in more peril, Alaska now finds itself rooting for some of its rivals to have a shot at cracking the quarterfinals.

The Aces finished the elimination round at 4-7 in the standings, which means they’ll have to rely on NLEX and NorthPort—both sporting identical 4-6 cards—to drop their final assignments against Magnolia and Ginebra, respectively.

If one of the two loses, the Road Warriors or the Batang Pier will have to have to engage Alaska in a do-or-die matchup for the eighth and final slot, which is the only way the Aces can make the playoffs at this point.

“I tried to avoid these scenarios coming into this game and just think about this game because preparing for scenarios in case of a loss doesn’t help you focus in this game,” Alaska coach Alex Compton laughed. “I guess I’ll have to put on my Magnolia and Ginebra jerseys and hope that we get a chance.”

It didn’t have to be this way for Alaska only if they’d taken care of business against NorthPort, which only won its first game in two months three days ago. Unfortunately, they fell behind by as much as 13 in the third quarter after seeing the Batang Pier take advantage of their slow transition defense in the third quarter.

Alaska managed to keep it close early in the payoff period by coming up with a 14-0 start, but Sean Anthony and Stanley Pringle proved to be too much for them to handle in the end.

Another factor that might have doomed them was their ineffectiveness from the line, where they shot just 36.8 percent (7-for-19) for the night.

“They pulled away. It’s tough to say from Alaska’s side because we did some good things, we didn’t do well enough to win the game,” Compton lamented. “We were limiting them defensively, they were in the low 20s halfway through the second quarter. We had to battle tooth and nail for every possession.”

But 7-for-19 in the free throw line doesn’t help. We did some good things but not good enough.”

Alex Compton (Photo from the PBA Media Group)

Things certainly look bleak for the Aces, but Compton said they’re not about to fold just yet. There’s still that very tiny hope of setting up a showdown with Calvin Abueva and the Phoenix Fuel Masters, anyway, so there’s still reason to put in the work.

For now, though, they’ll just have to hope that things fall their way.

“I told the guys in the locker room afterwards that if we got a sliver of a thread of a hair of hope, we’re fighting. I know there’s the All-Star weekend and some guys will be gone, but we’re gonna be practicing and getting ready as we cheer for teams that we usually don’t cheer for,” Compton explained.

“It’s hard to cheer for another team in the PBA, you wanna beat them all. But right now I guess we’re huge Magnolia and Ginebra fans. We’ll be watching for those games.”


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In-form Ginebra locks up third seed after drubbing eliminated Meralco

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

Barangay Ginebra stepped on the gas in the second half and never looked back to drop Meralco, 86-76, and guarantee themselves a top-three finish in the elimination round of the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Ginebra led by just a solitary point, 35-34, at the half before unleashing torrid 12-0 burst midway through the third period behind LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar to erect a 51-39 lead.

They later had enough in their tank in the fourth quarter to deny any Meralco comeback. The Bolts pulled themselves to within six, 73-79, after Trevis Jackson converted on an and-1 opportunity, but a Scottie Thompson finish at the rim and a jumper by Slaughter officially shut the door on Meralco, who finished the eliminations with a 3-8 record.

Greg Slaughter (Photo from the PBA Media Group)

Slaughter led the Gin Kings with 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, while Japeth Aguilar tallied 12 markers and eight boards. Jeff Chan and Kevin Ferrer aded 11 apiece.

Ginebra improved to 7-3 and has one game left against NorthPort on April 3, but the team will still finish ahead of TNT and San Miguel, who both hold 7-4 cards in the standings, regardless of the result of its final elimination game.

Trevis Jackson drew the start and put up 18 points and four assists for the Bolts, whose dwindling playoff hopes already faded even before tip-off due to NorthPort’s win against Alaska earlier.


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Pringle, Anthony help NorthPort repel Alaska fightback as playoff quest continues

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

NorthPort blew a big third quarter lead but recovered just in time to stifle Alaska, 94-84, and continue to fight for a playoff spot in the PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Sean Anthony recorded a monster double-double of 24 points and 17 rebounds, while Stanley Pringle poured 12 of his 21 points in a pivotal fourth period that saw Batang Pier buck a strong push from an Aces side that’s also fighting for survival late in the conference.

NorthPort turned a three-point halftime lead into a 14-point advantage late in the third quarter, 71-57, but allowed Alaska to momentarily take a 74-71 lead early in the fourth as a Jake Pascual basket capped off a 14-0 start in the payoff period.

The Batang Pier later turned to Anthony and Pringle, who drained a triple and finished on a three-point play opportunity in the ensuing possessions, to help the team regain control.

The duo also scored the team’s next 16 points to pull away for good, with an Anthony jumper scoring the last of that run on a jumper to give NorthPort an 87-78 cushion with 3:54 left in the game.

Sean Anthony (Photo from the PBA Media Group)

Mo Tautuaa chipped in 14 points for NorthPort, which now sits at 4-5. The team will have to win its last matchup against Ginebra on April 3 to stay in the running for one of the last quarterfinal seats.

Jonathan Grey also finished with 13 points off the bench.

Carl Bryan Cruz knocked down six of his 11 attempts from downtown to wind up with 23 points and six assists. Sonny Thoss added 14 points and 10 boards for the Aces, who now find themselves sitting at 4-7 in the standings.

Per PBA statistician Fidel Magonon III, this win by NorthPort effectively puts Columbian and Meralco out of playoff contention.

THE SCORES

NORTHPORT (94)
– Anthony 24, Pringle 21, Tautaa 214, Grey 13, Taha 6, Flores 6, Bolick 3, Guinto 3, Elorde 2, Sollano 2, Lanete 0.

ALASKA (84)
– Cruz 23, Thoss 13, Enciso 11, Banchero 8, Pascual 8, Ayaay 6, Casio 5, Baclao 3, Teng 2, Galliguez 2, Exciminiano 0.

Quarterscores: 16-19, 40-37, 71-60, 94-84.

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PBA to launch official merchandise after sealing partnership with World Balance

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PBA fans can now wear their favorite team’s jerseys with pride as the league’s new partnership with World Balance allows high quality jersey replicas to be made available to the general public.

This was announced by the PBA during halftime of the Alaska-NorthPort clash on Wednesday, March 27.

The first collection features a replica of playing jerseys from San Miguel, Magnolia, Alaska and Ginebra. These will be available in select World balance stores and online via Lazada and Beebeelee.

The first wave of the PBA x World Balance jerseys will be available for sale today, while the second wave with the rest of the remaining eight teams will be ready later in the year.

For more info, like and follow World Balance’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/worldbalance, or their website at worldbalance.com.ph

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Kai Sotto to leave Philippines, train overseas to chase NBA dream

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It’s official: Kai Sotto will be leaving the Philippines to focus solely on pursuing his NBA dreams.

In an Instagram post on Monday, the 16-year-old wunderkind announced his decision to head overseas for training.

“Nakapag-decide na po ako at ang pamilya ko. I’ll be leaving soon to start training full-time. I want to devote the next two to three years to single-mindedly focus on my goal of joining the NBA by 2021 or 2022,” he wrote.

The 7-foot-2 Sotto played in Ateneo for two years and led the school to two Finals appearances, including a title run in Season 80 of the UAAP Juniors.

He also pushed the Blue Eaglets to a runner-up finish in this year’s tournament while nabbing the Juniors MVP award.

Kai Sotto (Photo from Chooks-to-Go)

Sotto has yet to reveal where he’ll go through Europe to get to the NBA, but he said that he and his family will continue striving to get to where they want to be in the end.

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“After a lot of effort by me and my dad to assess all the opportunities presented to me, I strongly feel, with his advice and the advice of other experienced mentors, that leaving immediately to start training and getting the right exposure will go a long way to help me realize my dream,” he said.

“Pinagisipan ko po ito ng mabuti. I will train very hard and sacrifice and focus in the next few years so that one day soon, you will be very proud of me,” Sotto added. “Para po ito sa future ko, ng pamilya ko, and especially po para sa Batang Gilas, Gilas Pilipinas at higit sa lahat, para sa bayan!”

Sotto played his last game for Ateneo last March 20, where the Blue Eaglets fell to the Jalen Green-led FilAm Sports USA, 67-90, in 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC League National Finals – Supreme 16. He posted 24 point and eight boards in the loss.

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