Is Jason Brickman Alab Pilipinas’ next star?

As San Miguel Alab Pilipinas tries to make amends for their underwhelming campaign last season, the team has retooled by bringing in some new faces. 

One of them is a familiar face in Jason Brickman, who will be making a homecoming of sorts after being a thorn on their side last season playing for the Mono Vampire club.

The diminutive floor general didn’t waste any time making his presence felt for Alab, as he went toe-to-toe with some of the best guards that Gilas Pilipinas has to offer with the likes of LA Tenorio, Stanley Pringle, Scottie Thompson, Chris Ross, and Kiefer Ravena.

With him facilitating on offense, Alab managed to split their two tuneup games against the national team. They lost a close one in their November 4 meeting, 98-95, while they bounced back a week later with a 93-89 score.

Brickman was up to his old tricks by using his speed and craftiness to carve out opportunities for his teammates while making his own shots as well — whether it is in the paint or from the perimeter.

A player like Brickman might be what the doctor ordered especially with Ethan Alvano and Josh Urbiztondo no longer listed in the roster.

He was cited as one of the tournament’s greatest players of all time with a double-double career average of 12.4 points and 10.0 assists per game. The Long Island University standout won his first ABL title and Finals MVP back in 2016 by leading the way for the Westport Malaysia Dragons.

His mix of skills, experience, and winning pedigree should bode well for the squad as they gear up for a much-tougher competition ahead.

With him on board under the tutelage of none other than Jimmy Alapag himself, expect a rejigged Alab Pilipinas club to re-emerge as one of the title contending teams in the upcoming ABL season.

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Philam Life 7s Football League S4 Match Day 9: BSC takes down Real Amigos, Ghana FC, Super Eagles, Matu Deportivo win via shootout

The Philam 7s Football League took a short break last week and is back for Match Day 9 at the McKinley Stadium.

Gershon Awukudey immediately got to work and scored Ghana FC’s first goal in two minutes. After the first half, Hassan Mohammed followed it up with another goal as Futbol Fanatics failed to score and lost, 0-2, to the defending champions who had no substitutes for this game. Ghana remains on top of the standings at 8-1.

“Today, coach told us that we should prepare for this game because we’re not enough. We were only seven. We should focus on defending because they have goal possession,” said Evans Odoi of Ghana FC.

Yohan Fofana scored the first goal to put the Super Eagles up 1-0 by halftime. Laro FC had a hard time cracking the former champions’ defense while Christopher Olisa Anene and Charles Ujam added two more goals with the Super Eagles taking the victory, 3-0.

“We did a little bit of training and a bit of analysis about that game. Actually, we don’t know who’s going to come up but we know who plays behind,” said Super Eagles Coach Danny Cross on their preparation against Laro FC.

“We just do our normal thing, pass the ball around and have the chance to play around. Those are the right things to score when you have the opportunity to score,” he adds.

A hat-trick and a shootout happened as Deportivo Matu defeats Tondo FC. Fran Moran scored all the goals in the game as the defense of Matu was clicking and didn’t allow their opponents to score any goal. With this win, Matu is back on the winning column, 5-4.

“I think we have been playing quite well, quite compact, quite organized and we’re finding our style,” said BSC’s Captain Nico Bolzico who sees the team’s consistency.

“We have been playing pretty much every game with the same player so we know each other a lot. I think that’s the key. We don’t have a big star, we have a strong team.”

After Monte Manila scored the first goal, Superbad rained their opponents with four goals as halftime ends, 4-1. It was the same story in the second half with Monte scoring the first goal and four more goals added for Superbad. Monte managed to score three more goals before full time as Superbad prevails, 8-4. Alou was the top goal scorer for Superbad with two. This victory moves up Superbad into 8th place in the standings.

“We basically told everyone to not relax, still push, still keep on fighting ’cause Monte is known for a comeback win. We didn’t want them to repeat that against us,” said Superbad playing coach Iggy Halil who expressed that they much needed a win after falling to 9th place.

With the game tied, Enzo Omgba scored a goal nearly in the last two minutes of the match as Bohemian Sporting Club prevails in a very heated match against the Real Amigos, 2-1. BSC is tied with the Super Eagles at second place in the standings.

“We already have the hopes that of course, we’re gonna win because we trained hard for this so we had the high spirit and we’re gonna win,” said BSC’s goalkeeper Kele Ogbonna. “There was no change in our mindsets or my mindset. We kept the same strategy and it walked out at the end of the day.”

DMatsunaga came off on a good start with Azoz scoring at the 19-minute mark. In the second half, Mondo International’s Romeo Cooper equalized the score as the match went to a shootout. Hector of DMatsunaga scored the winning goal as their record improves to 5-4.

 

7s Football League: Premier Division

DMatsunaga FA 2 – Mondo International 1

Superbad 8 – Monte Manila 4

Bohemian Sporting Club 3 – Tondo FC 0

Super Eagles 3 – Laro FC 0

Ghana FC 2 – Futbol Funatics 0

Bohemian Sporting Club 2 – Real Amigos 1

 

7s Football League: Men’s Division

Komrads 6 – Laro B 1

Spoly 5 – Socceroo 1

Mendiola FC 6 – Manila Kings 2

DNO 3 – Manhur 1

Coast Guard 4 – Paha FC 2

 

7s Football League: Women’s Division

Stallions 3 – Nomads 1

Payatas 5 – Futbol Funatics 1

Superbad 1 – Beach Hut 0

Bohemian Sporting Club 3 – Azzuri (G) 2

Outkast 11 – Sims United 0

Kaya FC 5 – Azzuri (L) 1

 

7s Football League: U15 Division

Tuloy sa Don Bosco 8 – AFS 0 

Carribean 4 – Tondo FC 1

Tuloy sa Don Bosco 4 – Nomads 0

Tondo FC 2 – BSM 0 

Tuloy sa Don Bosco (B) 2 – Nomads 0

BSM 0 – Loyola FC 0

Tuloy sa Don Bosco (B) 6 – AFC 0

Carribean 1 – Loyola FC 1

 

7s Football League: U13 Division

BSM 4 – Socceroo 0

Nomads 2 – Tondo FC 0

Bannister 2 – Socceroo 1

Nomads 0 Loyola 0 

Tuloy sa Don Bosco 9 – Bannister 0

Loyola FC 1 – AFS 0 

Tuiloy sa Don Bosco 2 – BSM 1

AFS 2 – Tondo FC 1

 

7s Football League: U11 Division

AFS 2 – Socceroo 0

Southridge (B) 3 – Mondo International 0

Southridge (A) 3 – Socceroo 0

Southridge (B) 0 – Tuloy sa Don Bosco 0 

Loyola FC – Southridge (A) 2

Tuloy sa Don Bosco 1 – British School Manila 1 

Loyola FC 2 – AFS 1

BSM 1 – Mondo International 0

 

7s Football League: U9 Division 

Bannister 6 – Socceroo 0 

Mondo International 2 –  Loyola FC 0 

El Lutador 2 – Bannister 0 

Mondo International 2 – Aspire 0 

El Lutador 1 – AFS 1

G8 Academy1 – Aspire 0

AFS 3 – Socceroo 0

G8 Academy 1 – Loyola FC 0

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By the numbers: A quick look at Meralco, NLEX’s resurgence in Governors’ Cup

The Meralco Bolts and the NLEX Road Warriors have been pleasant surprises in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup as they currently hold the top two records in the standings.

Both of the said teams have won eight games already, and they are primed to go very deep into the playoffs with the way that they are playing.

After having a lackluster outing in the same tournament just last year, they have hit their stride as their locals and imports have meshed well to produce on both ends of the floor, making them a handful to deal with.

Allow FOX Sports Philippines to take a quick look as to what’s working so far between these two teams.

High-octane offense fueling their success

It’s no secret that these two teams have found success in this ongoing tournament, as their offense has been clicking for the most part. Meralco (104.9) and NLEX (110.0) are currently fourth and second overall in total points per game.

Raymond Almazan has been a revelation for the Bolts since they acquired him last May. He is their double-double threat on a nightly basis with averages of 14.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per contest.

On the other hand, Kiefer Ravena continues to carry the Road Warriors’ cudgels on offense by posting norms of 15.4 points and 8.9 assists per game.

Getting the job done on the boards

MVP-bankrolled teams are usually undersized compared to their counterparts, which is why it’s great to see them being some of the leading rebounding teams in the Association. The Bolts are currently second in that regard with 49.2 rebounds per game, while NLEX isn’t far behind with a healthy average of 45.3 rebounds per game.

It’s their imports who are leading the way in gaining possession for their clubs. Allen Durham is the Bolts’ top rebounder with 14.5 per game, while Manny Harris contributes 8.0 per game for the Road Warriors.

Their do-it-all imports doing a lot of damage

Getting strong imports has always been the difference between winning and losing in the Governors’ Cup, and this one is no exception.

With a strong field of reinforcements this time around, Meralco and NLEX made sure to get theirs as well by tapping the services of Allen Durham and Manny Harris.

Durham has been the Bolts’ old reliable, as his versatile skillset makes him the focal point of their offense. The 31-year-old Swiss army knife is posting norms of 30.3 points, 14.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game.

Meanwhile, Manny Harris was brought in to replace Olu Ashaolu to beef up their scoring. And the former Cleveland Cavaliers guard performed beyond expectations by flaunting his superb shotmaking ability and activity on the defensive end. Harris tallies averages of 34.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 3.3 steals per contest.

(Images from PBA)

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Mark Nonoy relishes UST’s statement win against UP

Even with odds stacked against them, the fourth-seeded UST Growling Tigers defeated the second-seeded UP Fighting Maroons, 89-69, in the ongoing UAAP stepladder semifinals held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

The Aldin Ayo-mentored team have notched their third straight win against UP this season, with Soulemane Chabi Yo and Rhenz Abando leading the team in scoring with 17 points apiece.

One of the main catalysts in this game as well was Mark Nonoy as he tallied 16 points. The reigning Rookie of the Year provided stability and quality at the backcourt along with some highlight plays as well.

Nonoy’s speed and heady playmaking helped a lot for UST as he dished out four assists to get his teammates going. He also knocked down some outside shots as well to keep defenses honest, including his dagger three with 50 seconds left to put his team up by 20 points.

“Sa training, goal ko kasi is to be a point guard talaga, so sa practice lagi may extra pass. Willing ako to accept kung ano pinapagawa ni Coach. Sinusunod lang namin roles namin,” said Nonoy postgame.

Nonoy has been playing really well for the Growling Tigers this season, and he may need to do more if they’ll want to advance to the Finals against the Blue Eagles. He’s more than willing to take on the challenge, especially since he knows that his coaches are always there to guide and support him.

“Nagpapasalamat kami, kasi yung mga coaches ginagabayan kami sa tamang pamamaraan na paglaro ng basketball,” shared Nonoy.

“Di pa kami dito titigil kasi alam namin na di pa ito yung goal namin as a team,” he added.

The rubber match between UST and UP will be on Wednesday, 4pm, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

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One Sports Philippines: Bratpack, En Route, Jekasa Named as Champions

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

by Yves Santos

Bratpack was named champions of the recently-concluded Metro East Hoops Gold Edition. They were able to win the title after their finals opponent Access Hatchway was unable to play on the proposed schedule.

This capped off Bratpack’s exemplary performance for this season, as they were coming in to the finals undefeated. Bratpack has solidified their reputation as one of the most dominant recreational basketball teams in the eastern side of Metro Manila.

Joey Arenillo of Zone XII All-Stars won the season’s Most Valuable Player award, while the Mythical Five of the tournament is composed of Joey Arenillo, Christian Baarde, Noel Baltazar, Redgie Malinao, and Cid Castillo. Josef Carlo Pusta of Bratpack was named as the coach of the season.

En Route 2.0 overcame the odds to become the first-ever champions of Hoops Army Manila as they were able to bring home the title by upsetting the undefeated Foggoat Vape Shop, 91-89.

Mark Balag stood out as he produced 23 points, six rebounds, and five assists while winning the Most Valuable Soldier award.

Kenneth Pablo of Pines Royale was named as the season’s Most Valuable Soldier after a dominant season where he led the league in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots.

He joined Neil Manlavi, JP Bantique, Ralf Dimaala, Aisiah Zambrano in the Mythical Five. James Garcia of Foggoat Vape Shop, on the other hand, was named as the coach of the season.

In the Metro East Hoops Offseason, it was Jekasa Sportswear who emerged as the champions after a hard-fought victory over Jornacion Sports Apparel, 95-92. They were led by Finals MVP Onyok Esteban, who scored 28 points while his teammate Jan-J Baltazar added 19 points and 19 rebounds.

Karlo Cabading of Prodigy was named as the Offseason tournament’s Most Valuable Player after amassing 275 statistical points and leading them to as far as the semis. He was joined in the Mythical Five by Aries Mortalla, Jerick Datu, Marc Plamenco, and JP Bantique.

One Sports Philippines aims to continue to provide the best sporting events for recreational players everywhere, as they will open the 3rd Metropolitan Basketball League Division 2 and Metro East Hoops Overtime Season 4 soon.

For more information, you can follow One Sports Philippines’ Facebook page or visit their website at onesports.ml.

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Aldin Ayo plans to take it ‘one step at a time’ in their matchup against UP

Fresh from eliminating the FEU Tamaraws the other day, the UST Growling Tigers will have the daunting task in trying to beat the UP Fighting Maroons in the ongoing UAAP Season 82 stepladder semifinals.

With UP sitting at the second seed, UST will have to beat them two consecutive times in order to set up a finals date with the undefeated Ateneo Blue Eagles.

The Espana-based squad have swept their season series against the Fighting Maroons by beating them twice in the eliminations which should give them a bit of a mental edge. But Aldin Ayo, who is no stranger to these kinds of situations, insisted that his team will focus on the task at hand by taking it one step at a time.

He also mentioned that facing UP this time around will be a different animal altogether given of what they’ve gone through this season.

“We’re going to take it one game at a time. Hindi mo dapat iisipin yung pangalawa, kung ano nasa harapan mo yun yung dapat isipin mo eh,” said Ayo during their postgame press conference after eliminating the FEU Tamaraws.

“Some of you will say that we are 2-0 against UP, but they are a different team right now. Yung mga nangyari doon sa elimination, it won’t matter anymore,” he reiterated.

Their much-awaited game will take place this Sunday, 4 pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. If UST wins on that game, they will force a rubber match that will happen on next week Wednesday, same time, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The first game of the UAAP Season 82 Finals will start on November 16, 4 pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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Individual match-ups to watch out for in UP vs. UST semifinals clash

(UPDATED)

The UST Growling Tigers defeated the twice-to-beat UP Fighting Maroons in their face game of ongoing UAAP Season 82 stepladder semifinals, setting up a winner-take-all affair on Wednesday. 

The Espana-based squad will get to face a formidable UP team who emerged as one of the league’s top contenders especially after finishing as the runner-ups the last time around.

With both teams fielding in deep lineups, expect a full-blown chess match between renowned coaches in Aldin Ayo and Bo Perasol.

But first, FOX Sports Philippines gives you a quick preview on matchups to look out for in this epic tiff.

Kobe Paras vs. Rhenz Abando

Two of the tournament’s most explosive players will be tasked to carry their teams on their backs as they vie for a spot in the Finals against Ateneo. Kobe Paras and Rhenz Abando have similar playing styles despite having contrasting personal backgrounds.

Both of these wings possess a high vertical leap and can make a lot of things happen on both ends which usually spell trouble for their counterparts. While Abando has the edge in terms of outside shooting, Paras has a bigger frame and he can operate in the post where he can draw double teams.

Nonetheless, it will be exciting on how these two would match up and for sure we can expect a lot of highlight reel plays from them whenever they’re out in transition.

Ricci Rivero vs. Mark Nonoy

This should be an exciting matchup that will be the x-factor come Sunday, as Ricci Rivero and Mark Nonoy have proven to be versatile players for coaches Aldin Ayo and Bo Perasol. Both of these cagers are very athletic, plus they have the basketball IQ to complement that too.

Rivero and Nonoy are also exciting to watch in the fast break as both guards can really push the tempo for quick and easy scores. Ricci Rivero may have the edge in terms of experience and outside shooting, Nonoy is no slouch himself as he’s an underrated passer and defender.

Both are expected to be the spark plugs for their respective teams and pundits should monitor the production of these two guards.

Bright Akhuetie vs. Soulemane Chabi Yo

Perhaps this will be the match up that will determine who’s the winner come Sunday as these two UAAP MVPs are set to face off in what will be a gargantuan matchup.

Both of these big men have been instrumental to their squad’s campaign as they would be their vital pieces in the interior where they made their most impact. Along with their impeccable finishing ability down the block, Akhuetie and Chabi Yo can put the ball on the floor in order to keep defenses honest.

Their respective productions should cancel each other out, but whoever gets the edge over the other should give their team a better chance of winning.

(Images from UAAP)

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Khapri Alston’s herculean effort brings Columbian in the thick of the playoff hunt

(UPDATED)

While most PBA teams have changed their imports for various reasons, Khapri Alston still remains a constant — and a force to be reckoned with – for the Columbian Dyip in this Governors’ Cup.

Even with the likes of more popular imports such as KJ McDaniels, Dez Wells, Manny Harris, and Alonzo Gee, one should not overlook the Herculean efforts of Alson, as he continues to produce consistently for Columbian.

Alston is the team’s current leading scorer, rebounder, and playmaker with gaudy norms of 28.0 points, 17.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game while playing at an astounding average of 44.4 minutes per game. But more importantly, his team is still in the playoff mix with a 4-5 win-loss card.

Prior to the PBA, Alston has had international stints playing in London, Uruguay, and Chile and he is more than capable of keeping up against the best of them out there.

He plays way bigger than his size, as his head coach Johnedel Cardel was once quoted saying that “he plays like 6-10” despite just standing at 6-foot-3. Alston is an explosive reinforcement that can bang bodies in the interior and he can knock down the perimeter jumper to keep defenses honest.

The Chicago native is a defensive menace too, as he tallies averages of 2.5 steals and 1.4 blocks per contest. He provides size to their undersized frontcourt and he complements well to the likes of Jackson Corpuz, Glenn Khobuntin, and Andreas Cahilig.

With a retooled roster under his leadership, expect the Dyip to be very competitive as they try to book their second playoff appearance in franchise history. However, he may need a lot of help if they plan on making some noise come the postseason.

While most fans would watch the performances of Justin Brownlee and Allen Durham in the Dyip’s remaining games against Ginebra and Meralco, perhaps this would be another chance for Alston to stamp his class in this import-laden conference.

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What can Chris Banchero bring to the table for Magnolia Hotshots?

The Magnolia Hotshots’ backcourt rotation just got a lot more loaded with their newest acquisition in Chris Banchero.

After five years playing for the Alaska Aces, Banchero will now bring his talents to the Magnolia Hotshots in a deal that was officially approved already by the PBA Commissioner’s Office.

The trade has sent him to the Chito Victolero-coached squad in exchange for the likes of Robbie Herndon and Rodney Brondial, just as we are approaching the playoffs of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup.

Now holding a 4-4 win-loss record, the Hotshots would definitely like to close out the regular season on a good note as they gear up for the playoffs, and having a guy like Banchero should help the team one way or another.

Today, FOX Sports Philippines takes a look at how he can contribute to the squad.

Heady playmaking

If there’s one thing that Chris Banchero is known for, it’s his ability to dictate the tempo on the offensive end. The 30-year-old guard is a steady ball-handler and he can pass really well to create opportunities for an easy score.

Banchero may not be one of the fastest guards out there, but he makes up for it with his basketball IQ and great body control to go toe-to-toe against the best out there.

He is currently one of the league’s leading playmakers with 4.4 assists per contest in the Governors’ Cup. Banchero can also score with the best of them as he tallies a healthy scoring average of 10.1 points per contest.

Toughness and grit

Don’t let his good looks fool you as he plays with a lot of heart and grit every time he steps on the hardwood.

Banchero is an underrated defender and he will always pursue the ball whenever it’s on the loose. In this Governors’ Cup, Banchero is one of the leading rebounders at the guard position with 4.9 rebounds per contest.

He is expected to fit in well for Coach Chito Victolero who demands toughness out from his guards. And with guys like Jio Jalalon, Paul Lee, and Mark Barroca around, for sure that his resolve will be further strengthened on their everyday practices.

Winning pedigree

With him around for the last few seasons, Alaska has been a constant playoff contender, which includes some notable trips to the PBA Finals.

But even before in the PBA, Banchero was already a proven winner with his championship stint back in 2013 playing for Alab Pilipinas. With his superb performance at the time, Banchero won Finals MVP in their series against the Indonesia Warriors.

Chris Banchero will no doubt bring in a whole new dimension for the Magnolia Hotshots. Add along to the fact that they got him in exchange for a couple of role players, the SMC-owned squad did get a steal on this one.

(Images from PBA)

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What’s next for the Blackwater Elite after Ray Parks trade?

Up to this day, the Blackwater Elite still fails to live up to their moniker and their constant retooling of their roster doesn’t help either. 

The Dioceldo Sy-bankrolled club recently pulled off a series of moves that would put them back to where they were before, which is back to square one.

Over these past few weeks, they shipped away their key cogs in Abu Tratter, Mike DiGregorio, Allein Maliksi and Raymar Jose to different teams, while Ray Parks Jr. is set to go to TNT KaTropa once it is formally approved by the PBA Commissioner’s Office. Those players will be sorely missed as they have been very helpful in the Elite’s cause over these past two conferences.

Blackwater finished last with a 2-9 slate in the All-Filipino Cup, but it was mostly without Ray Parks Jr., who had just finished his season with Alab Pilipinas. At the same time, they were still recovering from losing the likes of Nard Pinto, Paul Zamar, and Poy Erram who were their vital pieces in their short renaissance in last year’s Governors’ Cup.

In the Commissioner’s Cup, the Aris Dimaunahan-mentored squad made it to as far as the quarterfinals with an impressive 7-4 card good for third in the standings, only to be defeated by the grizzled Rain or Shine Elastopainters. The team was in it for the most part since they only lost by an average margin of 2.5 points per game in that series. Nonetheless, it was considered an encouraging conference overall for the Elite.

Fast forward to the ongoing Governors’ Cup, they are now at the bottom of the standings at 2-7 and they are looking to miss the playoffs once again given their current form.

In return, the Elite will now have the likes of Mike Tolomia, Carl Bryan Cruz, KG Canaleta, Brian Heruela, Anthony Semerad, Don Trollano, and a couple of picks in the next few drafts. While those key pieces can help one way or another, losing a budding star like Parks should sting more for the team in the long-run.

New coach Aris Dimaunahan has done an admirable job in the sidelines trying to lead this team, but for sure he would fare much better if he has the necessary tools at his disposal.

Since joining the league back in 2014, Blackwater has been mired with mediocrity which leaves their fans understandably frustrated. While there may be some bright spots here and there, they only come few and far between.

But the time is now for Blackwater to look themselves in the mirror on what are their plans for the long-term. And if they plan on being a competitive PBA team soon, they would need to dig deep and start from somewhere for them to consider themselves worthy of their team moniker.

(Image from PBA)

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Takeaways from Meralco’s statement win vs San Miguel

The Meralco Bolts have scored their fifth win in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup as they annihilated the San Miguel Beermen, 125-99, last Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Scoring dynamo Dez Wells was carted out of the game due to an ankle injury in the second half, which opened the floodgates for the Bolts and they never looked back.

Meralco had a sizeable advantage in almost all categories, and it helped too when six of their players scored in double digits.

Today, FOX Sports Philippines takes a look on some notable numbers in this game.

Meralco dominated the shaded area

Even if they’re undersized compared to the Beermen, the Bolts managed to out-rebound one of the tallest teams in the PBA. The Norman Black-coached squad corraled 55 rebounds compared to SMB’s 38.

It was Allen Durham who set the tone for Meralco on that regard as he collected 15 rebounds, while Raymond Almazan and Baser Amer got nine and seven, respectively.

San Miguel overwhelmed by Meralco’s torrid shooting

One of the main factors that helped Meralco’s cause is their shooting percentages across the board. All in all, the Bolts knocked down 51-percent of their shots and made 86-percent of their attempts from the charity stripe.

All Meralco players shot above 40-percent from the field except Reynel Hugnatan and Almazan. Meanwhile, Bong Quinto and Anjo Caram only missed once en route to shooting 75-percent.

Balanced scoring for the Bolts

The game featured multiple scorers for the Bolts and it was a testament to their offense humming along buoyed by their crisp passing. They have dished out 33 assists compared to SMB’s 13.

Allen Durham led the way in terms of scoring and playmaking with 29 points and 11 assists and he was backstopped by the backcourt duo of Baser Amer and Chris Newsome who poured in 26 and 14 markers, respectively.

(Images from PBA Media Group)

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Bo Perasol credits UP community’s support as they seal twice-to-beat advantage in Final 4

The UP Fighting Maroons have sealed their place in the Final Four as they defeated the DLSU Green Archers, 71-68, on Saturday afternoon at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

After trailing by four points in less than two minutes to go, UP came up big on both ends down the stretch — including a one-handed dunk by Kobe Paras via a backdoor play that gave them the lead for good.

La Salle missed its chance to tie or to retake the lead when Aljun Melecio came up short with his three-point attempt and Encho Serrano missed wildly on his transition floater.

“There were ups and downs when we were playing but the Lord has sustained us. How could we disappoint our community who came here in throngs, kept on supporting us all through the season?” said Perasol postgame.

“I mentioned to the guys that we were not just fighting for the position but we were fighting for our survival as well. The character of our team showed now and that is [very] important,” he added.

The victory ensured the Diliman-based squad the second seed in the standings, giving them a twice-to-beat advantage. At the same time, they have eliminated La Salle from the Final Four contention as well.

Even with the Final Four cast all set, there are still some things left for consideration.

UP’s final elimination will be against the undefeated Ateneo Blue Eagles, who will go straight to the finals should they win their 14th straight. That will force a stepladder format where the Fighting Maroons will hold a twice-to-beat advantage against the winner between FEU and UST.

A victory by UP, however, will set up the Final Four duels between Ateneo-UST and UP-FEU.

 

 

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Tab Baldwin insists nothing changes for Ateneo even at cusp of sweep

The Ateneo Blue Eagles have inched closer to a sweep at the elimination round by manhandling the NU Bulldogs, 88-51, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo last Saturday afternoon.

Now at 13-0, the Katipunan-based squad not only are on their way to achieve a historic feat, but they can clinch their spot at the finals as well.

The last time a team completed a 14-0 sweep was the UE Red Warriors led by Mark Borboran and Paul Lee back in Season 70. However, they subsequently lost to the DLSU Green Archers in their best-of-three finals matchup.

The defending champions have been dominant as they managed to cruise past all challengers so far this season. However, head coach Tab Baldwin would rather look at the whole process and the journey of his team rather than the wins and losses.

Which is why during the postgame press conference, Baldwin continued to wax philosophical as usual while commending his wards for a job well done.

“Satisfying. I think for two weeks in a row or two games in a row, we’ve come out with a great attitude and it’s been reflected in the way they played,” said Baldwin.

“I think in the last couple of weeks we’ve seen our team really transfer our work ethic from practice onto the court into the game. That’s very gratifying as a coach. And I think they’re enjoying it a lot too,” he added.

Completing their 14th win won’t be easy as it looks as they’ll get to face the gritty UP Fighting Maroons in their next assignment. The runner-ups of last season are currently second in the standings with a 8-4 win-loss slate.

For Tab Baldwin and the rest of the crew, their approach and preparation to the next game won’t change as they’ll focus on the task at hand.

“Nothing changes. I understand that that is a sweep or not a sweep but again, those are just minor issues for us. the major issue for us is how we play against UP,” shared Baldwin.

“We do the best of our ability to tune all that [outside noise] out and just stay focused on the job,” he further insisted.

 

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Alonzo Gee lights up the scoreboard in PBA debut

Alonzo Gee made his scintillating debut for the Phoenix Fuel Masters, even though his team came up short by losing with a 106-104 score against the Columbian Dyip on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

After being down to as low as 14 points in the third period, the former Denver Nuggets forward helped Phoenix go on to an 8-0 run to take the lead, 73-69. However, the trio of Khapri Alston, Rashawn McCarthy, and CJ Perez regained control of the game and never looked back.

While the loss further sank the Fuel Masters to the standings with a 1-6 card, it’s hard to overlook Gee’s performance in this game, and for sure we can expect more of these in the next few games.

Today, FOX Sports Philippines takes a quick look at Alonzo Gee’s superb PBA debut in the 2019 Governors’ Cup.

Stat-line: 45 points, nine rebounds, one assist, six steals, two blocks, 52-percent shooting from the field

Replacing Eugene Phelps at first was a head-scratcher at first, but seeing Alonzo Gee’s all-around effort on both ends firsthand gave their fans a better idea of why they did so in the first place.

The high-flying forward was scoring all over the place for Phoenix. For a guy that’s not really known for his shot-creating ability, Gee showcased his mid-range game and handles when he pulled out some nifty dribbling moves to create separation for his jumper.

With his strength and high jumping ability, of course, he is expected to finish well inside the paint. For the most part, Gee would take on multiple defenders and brush them off for an easy layup.

His versatility and presence on the court have helped the Louie Alas-mentored squad a whole lot, but there are still a few things that he needs to improve more if he’ll help the team get more wins.

Gee may have to focus on working a bit on his outside shooting and creating opportunities for his teammates. In their game against the Dyip, Gee turned the ball over six times and only made one trey in four times. He also managed to dish out only one assist as well.

But overall, it’s good to see him do well in his first PBA game. I’m pretty sure that he’ll get even better as we go along in this import-laden conference.

(Image from PBA)