Denden Lazaro believes streaking Bali Pure can be better

Bali Pure has been on a tear in their past 2 games, and veteran libero Denden Lazaro believes this is just the beginning of a deep run in the Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference.

After getting flattened by UST in their debut, the Purest Water Defenders have shackled both Bureau of Customs and Open Conference runners-up Air Force to hike their record to 2-1.

“I think we can do better pa. Hopefully, as the league progresses, we’ll get our A-game eventually,” she told FOX Sprots after theyir 25-22, 25-19, 25-21 romp over the Jet Spikers.

“We trained more on everything,” she added. “We tried improving every aspect of our game, especially yung teamwork namin.”

Lazaro said their imports, Katie Morrell and Kaylee Manns, have been the major factors in their meteoric rise.

Morrell had a game-high 19 points in their last outing while Manns had 41 excellent sets.

“Alam mong gustong nilang maglaro, alam mong gusto nilang matuto ka rin from them and they want also to learn from us,” she said. “We’re doing really good with them, they’re really good. Yung leadership nila and the energy that they bring it really helps boost the team. Yung mga knowledge that they have they impart to us.” — By John Chester Fajardo

Melissa Gohing assures fans she’s safe after collision with Gumabao

Fans of Melissa Gohing can breathe a sigh of relief as she assured there were no broken bones sustained after her collision with Michele Gumabao in their win over UP last Saturday. 

Gohing did not return to the court after the opening-set mishap, but stressed the initial assessment was only a bruise.

“Medyo sore lang kaya hindi ako makagalaw,” she told FOX Sports as the Lady Warriors improved to a 2-1 card.

Gohing said she would have played through the pain, but it was just unbearable at the moment.

“This happened to me before. Pero ito talaga masakit lang kasi tuhod talaga deretso tapos hindi ako makahinga pagkatama sa akin parang nag-black out ako,” she said. “Usually pag ganito tumutuloy pa ko e. Intense lang talaga yung today.”

Gohing said she will “recover for sure” as Pocari Sweat faces a week-long rest before going against title favorites Customs Transformers on Saturday.

“Siguro tomorrow mararamdaman ko to lalo pero magiging ok ako for sure,” she shared. “Papacheck up ako just to make sure baka may nafracture na hindi ko alam.” — By John Chester Fajardo

Let’s ‘volt in: Meralco fan renders song to fire up Bolts in KO game

If a Finals win could inspire a die-hard Ginebra fan to revive a classic song, an electrifying season from Meralco could also push a fan of its own to sing his heart out. 

Using his guitar, Phes Flores, an employee of a Meralco subsidiary company for five years, rendered a song to the tune of the popular 1970s Japanese anime TV series “Voltes V” for the Bolts in the eve of Game 6 of the PBA Governors Cup Finals.

Flores sang the song as part of a short “pep rally” program for the Bolts, shortly after the team’s Tuesday afternoon practice. 

The emcee said Flores’ song was the Bolts’ response to the updated version of “Kapag Nanalo ang Ginebra,” which was performed by die-hard Kings fan Maria Gracia Gonzales-Cadiz at the halftime of Game 5.

The chorus of Flores’ composition goes like this:

 “Let’s Bolt In Meralco Bolts, one big fight tayo.

Haharapin kahit sino, walang atrasan ‘to.

Tara na, sumigaw na.

Let’s cheer for Meralco!” 

Flores said his lyrics were done when the Bolts were still new in the pro league. Meralco began its PBA participation in the 2011 season.

“Dati ko pa yun ginawa, nung bago pa yung Meralco, binago ko lang yung lyrics,” said Flores, who earlier declined to be interviewed by FOX Sports.

But the Meralco fan said he sang that song as his way of supporting the Bolts and not merely try to attract attention from people.

Asked if he used to be a Ginebra fan prior to Meralco’s participation in the PBA, he said, “no.”

“Dito (sa Meralco) ako naghahanap-buhay, kaya dito rin ang suporta ko.”

Meanwhile, team manager Paolo Trillo clarified that the program was a last-minute set-up as some Meralco employees wanted to meet and greet the Bolts before their crucial do-or-die match against the Barangay Ginebra Kings. – Jason Mercene

Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH

Tim Cone believes Jaworski’s mere presence can fire up Ginebra in Game 6

Just like its legion of fans, Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone wished PBA legend and former Kings playing coach Robert “Sonny” Jaworski will make a special appearance in Game 6 as they try to close out the PBA Governors Cup title series Wednesday against Meralco.

The Kings took a 3-2 lead on Sunday following their 92-81 win over the Bolts before over 22,000 cheering fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

And now that Ginebra has a strong chance of ending its eight-year championship drought, there’s a strong clamor among the Kings’ legion of fans to see the former long-time playing coach show up at the Big Dome in Game 6.

Ginebra fans used the Twitter hashtag #JawosaGame6, in the hopes of getting a much-needed boost from the man largely credited for the popularity of the franchise.

Still, Cone said there’s no assurance that the Philippines’ only “Living Legend” will show up on Wednesday.

“I was hoping that he (Jaworski) would be invited to come and I was hoping he would be able to come,” Cone told FOX Sports, shortly after Ginebra concluded its Tuesday morning practice at the Upper Deck gym in Pasig.

Cone said Jaworski is more than welcome to give a pep talk to the Kings, before they march to the court and hopefully, put an emphatic end to their long, long title drought.

“If indeed he is coming, I hope he can drop by in the locker room and talk to the players a little bit,” he said with a smile.

PBA media bureau chief Willy Marcial said there is a possibility for Jaworski to show up in Game 6 after being invited by Ginebra assistant manager Reyboy Rodriguez.

Meantime, while Cone expects another nip-and-tuck battle with the Bolts, the league’s winningest mentor believes the mere presence of Jaworski could get the whole squad pumped up in their bid to finally put a fitting end to the series.

“It’s (Jaworski’s presence) gonna fire me up. I know him so well. Big J, he is a legend, and that’s gonna fire me up that’s for sure and I’m sure its gonna fire up this guys,” said Cone.

The 58-year-old Ginebra mentor said with his arrival at the Kings camp, he also hopes he could do justice by keeping the never-say-die spirit that Jaworski first instilled into the organization in the mid-1980s.

“I hope the Big J is happy and proud of what we’re doing.  But yeah, what we’re doing right now is to honor him and what he brought to this organization,” he said. “This is just the start.” – Jason Mercene

Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH

Where are the tickets? Ginebra fans voice out anger on social media

Ginebra fans expressed their anger via Twitter on Tuesday after being told by personnel managing the Smart Araneta Coliseum booth that tickets for Game 6 of the PBA Governors Cup Finals were already sold out.

As early as 6 a.m. Tuesday, Ginebra die-hard fans, who wanted to watch Game 6 already lined up outside the Big Dome’s ticket booth, wanting to buy tickets and hoping they could witness the Kings put an end to their eight-year PBA championship drought.

Ginebra has won the last two games of the title series to grab a 3-2 lead against Meralco.

A Ginebra fan who goes by her Twitter account @daphnELLIS34 tagged this writer with a brief tweet that fans failed to buy a single ticket.

Another Ginebra fan was advised by Ticketnet that no tickets will be sold anymore as off 11:30 on Tuesday morning.

And still another die-hard Kings fan said scalpers are making a killing in what could be the final game of the season, saying an upper box ticket fetches P900 already. Published rates from Ticketnet shows a UB (Upper Box B) costs just P350.

PBA media bureau chief Willy Marcial apologized to the fans for the inconvenience, saying they were surprised by the huge turnout of people, who bought majority of the upper box and general admission tickets on Monday.

“Ngayon (Tuesday) dapat maglalabas kami ng tickets para sa upper box A and B saka general admission, pero di naman akalain ng Araneta na magiging ganun kahaba ang pila. Hindi na nila pinaalis yung mga tao at binenta na nila ang mga tickets,” Marcial told FOX Sports on Tuesday.

“Talagang pasensya na talaga sa mga fans.”

Nonetheless, Marcial said the PBA is putting up a giant 9×14 feet LED screen just outside the venue so PBA fans who won’t be able to watch the game live, can still catch the action at the Big Dome.

However, Marcial mentioned that Araneta Coliseum has the option of selling SRO (standing-room-only) tickets on Wednesday.

“Ewan ko sa ngayon kung magbe-benta pa ang Araneta ng SRO pero kung di nila pipigilan (the long queue of fans on Wednesday), baka mag-benta pa sila,” he added.

“Pero gaya nga nung sabi ko, ili-limit din nila to 22,000 kasi ayaw na nila maulit yung nangyari sa MOA (Mall of Asia Arena) sa Close Up,” he said, referring to the “CloseUp Forever Summer” concert in the Pasay City venue’s open parking grounds last May that claimed the lives of five people.

On Sunday, fans braved the rains brought by Typhoon ‘Karen’ as 22,196 fans came to witness Ginebra snatch Game 5, 92-81 to take a 3-2 series lead against Meralco.

The pro league registered its highest gate attendance of 24,883 fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Game 7 of the 2014 Philippine Cup semifinals between San Mig (now Star) and Ginebra. – Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava