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Basilan coach uses long break to study other MPBL teams

The grind never stops for Basilan-Jumbo Plastic amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic......»»

Category: sportsSource: thestandard thestandardMar 26th, 2020

From Cellar-Dweller to Contender: Basilan s phenomenal rise in the MPBL

Coming off a rough 2018-19 MPBL Datu Cup campaign, Basilan Steel-Jumbo Plastic has no way to go but up, with the help of Phenom Sports, its new management team. Phenom, led by Jax Chua, took over Basilan late last season when the Steel have already spiraled down to the bottom of the MPBL and finished the tournament tied with Rizal for the last spot of the Southern division behind a dismal 7-18 win-loss record. From there, Phenom rebuilt the team, starting with the coaching staff that has what it takes to maneuver a losing team to a victorious one. “Coming in, ‘yung outlook naming sa team, we want to bring a winning culture ditto sa Basilan. We took the challenge kahit alam naming cellar-dweller noong Datu Cup,” said Chua, who also serves as the general manager of the Steel. Coach Jerson Cabiltes took the helm for Basilan, alongside deputies Noy Catalan, Florian Pineda, Arnold Oliveros, Jinino Manansala, Joseph Guion, Migs Montero, and Dands Javier. Then came the task to build a team that exhibits the same qualities of the Basileños: determined, full of perseverance, hardworking, and has something to prove. Phenom, who also ventured into player management aside from sportswear-making, then made the moves to improve Basilan’s lineup by taking players who are no big names but can contribute in a variety of ways. “To have a winning team, not necessary naman to get big name players. Ang hinanap namin ay mga hardworking players who will buy into the system at magsa-sacrifice talaga,” Chua said. The management retained veteran Dennis Daa for his leadership while activating Cris Dumapis, who has emerged as a reliable force in the paint. They then acquired the services of shifty playmaker Hesed Gabo and sharpshooting big man Jay Collado from Quezon City, marksman Jhapz Bautista from Makati, high-leaping Bobby Balucanag and Shaq Alanas from Pasay, sparkplug Gab Dagangon from Bataan, and Michole Sorela from Navotas. They also signed PBA veterans Jonathan Uyloan and Anthony Bringas alongside Irven Palencia, an integral cog for St. Clare in NAASCU, who is also managed by Phenom. Philip Manalang, Mark Trinidad, Ar Raouf Jilkipli, Junjie Hallare, Darwin Lunor, Jett Vidal, Melgar Murillo, Harold Ng, and Reiner Bazan completed the lineup of Basilan. The Turnaround When the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Cup opened, the retooled Basilan started on the right foot with two straight wins against Bicol and Pampanga. But when the adrenaline ran out, the Jumbo Plastic-backed squad saw its win-loss standing at 9-8 midway through the season. Then Basilan scorched the league in its remaining 13 games, tallying 11 victories while only losing two matches. The main reason for the brilliant playoff push? The arrival of Phenom-managed collegiate talents in Allyn Bulanadi, NCAA Season 95 leading scorer and San Sebastian College-Recoletos superstar, and Philip Manalang, lead floor general of University of the East. Bulanadi, a 6-foot-3 up-and-coming star, played in the Steel’s last seven games in the elimination round on an impressive 21.71 points on 46 percent clip and 4.5 rebounds averages. Meanwhile, Manalang is a sparkplug off the bench who brings the tenacity on the defense all while contributing on the other end in various ways. Basilan entered the playoffs with a 20-10 record, good for the third spot in the tough Southern division just behind top seed Davao Occidental and second-ranked Bacoor. “Our main goal was to for a competitive team and we want to redefine Basilan through basketball. In this way, I think we have garnered so many fans and inspired yung buong Basilan province that’s why I think we have already succeeded in redefining Basilan,” Chua said. But the grind did not stop for the Steel as they marched into the postseason with the whole Basilan province rallying behind their backs. In the quarterfinals, Basilan swept Iloilo advancing into the semifinals, with a daunting task of beating second seed powerhouse Bacoor City. The Steel survived a grueling three-game series against the Strikers, coming up on top despite having home-court disadvantage for Games Two and Three. In the division finals, Basilan faced the toughest team in the South, the Davao Occidental Tigers. But Basilan showed, again and again, its heart, escaping Game One with a 74-72 victory at the Davao Sports and Tourism Complex in Tagum City. And with a shot to glory and barging into the National Finals, Basilan looked to become South kings in front of their huge following at Lamitan City Gym in Game Two, but the Tigers have other plans, spoiling Basilan’s home court and surviving with an 81-76 win. Game Three was supposed to happen last March 14, but MPBL decided to suspend the Division Finals due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. “Nandito na rin kami eh, we are not here to participate lang. Given the chance and we will gladly take it. We will go all out to bring more pride to the Basileños and to repay the trust na binigay sa amin ng leaders ng Basilan especially Congressman Mujiv Hataman, Mayor Julz Hataman Governor Jim Hataman Salliman and Councilor Hegem Furigay,” added Chua. Will Basilan Steel continue their astounding playoff run to the National Finals or will Davao Occidental retain its crown in the South? No matter what, Basilan has already won the hearts of the Basileños and the whole MPBL fanbase with its tremendous turnaround from a lowly team in Datu Cup to a powerhouse in the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season. More than Basketball But “Redefining Basilan” is more than basketball. Phenom Sports not only wanted to turn around people’s perception of Basilan the basketball team but give Basilan the province the appreciation it deserves. Basilan has been a hotbed of misconceptions due to the armed conflicts that happened there, but those were the days and the province has moved on. “Right from the start na nakapunta ako sa Basilan, sobrang iba nito kasi akala natin magulo ang Basilan, ang mga tao iba ang ugali pero hindi. Basilan has been enjoying a long peace na. For more than 15 years now under the leadership ng mga Hataman, naging maayos, naging focused sila sa peace and progress,” Chua on Basilan province. And basketball has played a huge part in giving the young Basileños a dream to hold on. “Yung mga kabataan, nabibigyan ng chance na mangarap na maging katulad ng idols nila,” said Chua. “They want to be the next Allyn Bulanadi, the next Hesed Gabo, the next Irven Palencia. This is what basketball is giving to the Basilan people.” The Steel has built a cult following in Basilan and it is the best feeling a player could feel. “Paglapag pa lang ng pier, everybody knows the players. They follow them like rockstars, like celebrities. They send food to the hotels, they watch our practices. Ganoon kamahal ng Basilan yung mga players nila. They saw a hardworking team who really represents Basilan’s culture - the determination, the perseverance and the hard work of the Basileños,” Chua concluded. But how did Basilan Steel get popular in the province? Meet the team behind Phenom Sports. Phenom is all-in in redefining Basilan and that’s why they have a team to do so. They have photographers in Marl Castro, Thel Suliva, and Michael Ordoñez who captured in-game pictures and the team’s interaction with the fans. Rion Balin and Jeff Palaganas are the videographers who make the video highlights of the Basilan players for the fans. Juls Claudio and Dands Javier are graphic artists who create the posters and other publication materials to be posted on the team’s social media accounts. The latter also serves as the marketing man of Phenom. Emma Bueno and Joseph Guion complete the team as coordinator and director, respectively. In a span of just a year, Phenom Sports has reached its goal of redefining Basilan, turning it to #BasilanRedefined......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 19th, 2020

For these athletes, this is a spring break they don t want

By ERIC OLSON AP Sports Writer OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Creighton right-hander Ben Dotzler was supposed to be in the bullpen at TD Ameritrade Park this weekend, readying himself to pitch against Northern Colorado. Molly Little, who plays lacrosse for Denver, expected to be on the road for a much anticipated match against Michigan, the team the Pioneers beat to reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last year. Avrey Steiner thought she would be with her softball teammates for Illinois' first home games of the season against Bowling Green and Green Bay. Everything changed for thousands of college athletes when the NCAA announced Thursday it was canceling all spring sports championships, along with remaining winter championships, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Conferences followed, saying they were temporarily or permanently shutting down their regular seasons. Suddenly, athletes who put in long hours juggling commitments to their sports and academics had lots of free time. And they're miserable. “We didn't work a whole year,” Dotzler said, “to play 15 games.” Little said she woke up at 6:30 every morning to go to the training room to rehab an injury and stretch before lifting weights and running — all before going to a 2 1/2-hour practice and then her classes. “There's nothing that can prepare you for the feeling of your season being done, and it's not because you lost in NCAAs,” Little said. “I spent many hours crying with teammates. You work your whole life to get to this point, to play on this big stage, and to have it taken from you is devastating.” Steiner said she was doing fine emotionally until she started cleaning out her locker Friday. “That really got me,” she said. “A lot of people are going to say, 'Oh, yeah, this is like a week off or getting a couple days off. I guarantee you it's going to hit me and other people in the coming weeks.” Some good news arrived on Friday when the NCAA informed schools that spring athletes would be given another year of eligibility to make up for their lost season. Details must be worked out. States Fort, a senior on the Coastal Carolina men's golf team, hopes to return for another year even though he'll graduate in May. “I would try to make it work with grad courses,” he said. “I would do everything in my power as long as the finances are there. I would love to come back and play with these guys." Not all seniors will be able to take advantage of being granted an extra year. Some already have jobs lined up. Others have been accepted into graduate programs at other schools. There are athletes who currently are on partial scholarships, and they may not be able to afford paying the difference for another year. Though the eligibility extension offers some consolation, it will be impossible for athletes to duplicate the experiences of playing with their 2020 teams. The Richmond women's lacrosse team, for example, was off to a program-best 7-0 start and ranked in the top 20 nationally for the first time since 2008. “We just accelerated into the season and started off so hot,” senior goaltender Megan Gianforte said. "Personally, I thought I was peaking this year. I felt I was in the best condition for this season. That's why I was so excited for it. We brought in so much talent, which helps me defensively. “I'm leaving Richmond now with such unfinished business, knowing all the potential we could have had. I just know how much more we have to give.” Now the spring athletes are left to wonder what they'll do with themselves. “It is just heartbreaking to see these kids face this unfortunate situation,” longtime University of San Francisco baseball coach Nino Giarratano said. “They are too young.” Creighton sophomore Tommy Steier said he and Dotzler, his roommate, have been spending a lot of time hanging out with teammates, rehashing old stories and plotting their immediate futures. Creighton isn't allowing athletes to use the school's training facilities during the shutdown. Baseball players will work out on their own and prepare to join summer teams in a few months — if the summer leagues operate. Fort, the Coastal Carolina golfer, said a temporary sports stoppage would have been more appropriate, followed by a reassessment of the situation. He wishes the NCAA would have waited before canceling championships scheduled for months from now. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the virus. “Obviously I'm biased because I play a small outdoor sport where spectators aren't much of an issue,” Fort said. “It was kind of quick and a little rash and short-sighted on the NCAA's part, especially to blanket cancel all sports. "I can understand basketball. That's a spectator sport where you have a ton of people constantly rubbing shoulders. I can almost understand baseball. But sports like (men's) volleyball, softball, golf and lacrosse don't have as much of a pronounced fan base.” Creighton's baseball team was busing back to Omaha from Minnesota on Thursday when the players' Twitter feeds started showing conference basketball tournaments being canceled. An hour after the players got home they received a text telling them to return to campus for a meeting. Steier and Dotzler said everyone sensed what was coming. As coach Ed Servais broke the news, seniors, who wouldn't know for another 24 hours they would be allowed to come back next year, broke into tears. “It was hard to see all of them knowing they were losing what they love to do,” Steier said. Gianforte, the Richmond lacrosse goalie, said she and her teammates had a feeling as early as Wednesday afternoon their season might be in jeopardy. That's when the Ivy League announced it was closing down spring sports. “I think the other conferences were feeling some peer pressure,” she said. Then the NBA announced Wednesday night it was suspending its season. “That," Gianforte said, “is when we knew we were goners.” ___ AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 15th, 2020

MPBL: Bacoor s passion for their club keeps their title hopes alive

Even in the undercard of Thursday night's South Semifinals game 2 between Bacoor and Basilan, the STRIKE Gymnasium in Baccor City was already packed to the gills. While Davao Occidental was busy eliminating Zamboanga, there was already a crush of people trying to jam themselves into the arena through the corner entrance. At the final buzzer there was an awkward moment when some fans tried to squeeze out the door while many other Bacoorenos were forcing themselves in. A man who seemed to be in charge of the traffic tried to close the door and prevent others from streaming in. But it was useless. Bacoor has fallen hard for their Strikers, and nothing could stop them from catching their team in a do-or-die home playoff game against Basilan Steel Jumbo Plastic. Basilan took the first game, Bacoor had to have this one. The situation was a bit less chaotic from the VIP entrance, which leads to the stage behind one of the goals. From there the sight of so many Bacoor fans crammed into the arena could be properly beheld. The STRIKE Gym is a small arena, but on top of its first level of seating is a second tier. Both areas had every single square inch filled with humanity. Sure, the Strikers had their backs against the wall in this series, down 0-1 in this best-of-three, but some Bacoor fans literally had their backs against the wall as well. As in glued to the back windows and walls because there simply was no other place to be. On either side of the gym there are staircases with a view of the court. They were crammed as well, with Bacoor fans all looking to take a peek, no matter how obstructed, of their beloved team. The upper level of seating has a stainless steel railing in front. Fans were leaning on the railing, two or three deep, all around. Below them sat youngsters fixated on the action, clinging on to the lower bars of the railings. Many dangled legs over the edge. One wonders what would happen if one of them suddenly needed to go to the bathroom. These young urchins were pretty much trapped. In every MPBL game there is a DJ playing music and other sound effects to boost the atmosphere. Tonight his work can barely be heard, as the crowd itself makes an avalanche of noise. Bacoor fancies itself as the Marching Band Capital of the Philippines. There is a band in one corner, with a tuba sticking out into the air, playing lustily, even though this time there is nowhere to march. The home team races to a 20-6 first quarter lead, with the joint heaving with noise with every Bacoor basket. Bacoor fans choose passion over passiveness, roaring with every hustle play, and bombarding the Basilan coach with jeers of “EEE-YA-KIN” every time he complains to the referee. Mac Andaya is an obvious fan favorite. With his old testament beard paired with a messy man bun, the big man draws an extra-large helping of oohs and whenever he goes to the cup. The Strikers lead 43-21 at the half, with Basilan's offense in disarray. In the third quarter Striker King Destacamento executes a perfect putback jam, and underneath the din you can almost hear the rivets of the roof creak as they strain to hold the arena together in one piece. The Philippines has never really had a history of home-and-away sports. Basketball, volleyball and football have mostly been played in shared venues, where fan allegiance is split. Apart from a brave section of Basilan fans, everyone here tonight is cheering on the Strikers. Gilas games are home games, but they are mostly played in cavernous venues, with pricey tickets that only wealthy, “prawn sandwich” fans can afford. It seems that these fans would rather sit and watch than actively participate. The atmosphere is often wanting. But Bacoor fans, like many in MPBL communities, are blue collar, and the league is slaking their long-suppressed thirst for quality live hoops. And it happens in small, intimate bandboxes all over the country, where the cheering bounces off the walls and is amplified tenfold. This makes the MPBL playoff game is an experience unlike any other in Filipino hoops. There is a speedbump in the fourth quarter, as the visitors unleash a late run to cut the deficit to just seven with a minute and a half remaining. But when Bacoor marksman Michael Mabulac hauls down a crucial offensive board, the jugular is well and truly severed, and the party can begin. Final score: 80-69 Bacoor. What else is there left to do for the fans but stream out onto the court for selfies and hugs with the players. Bacoor is alive in the playoffs as the series goes 1-1. And best of all: as the higher seed, Bacoor fans get to do it all over again on Saturday in the deciding Game 3......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 6th, 2020

Kawhi Leonard has 25 points, Clippers rout Rockets 120-105

By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer HOUSTON (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the Los Angeles Clippers rolled over the Houston Rockets 120-105 on Thursday night for their sixth straight victory. The Rockets were done in by their shooting woes in a game that was billed as a matchup of two of the top teams in the Western Conference, but was a rout almost from the start. Houston had a chance to take the season series and secure the tiebreaker over the Clippers, but the loss left the teams tied 2-2. Houston made just 7 of 42 3-pointers to drop its second straight game in embarrassing fashion after losing to the lowly New York Knicks on Monday night. The Rockets ended their streak of 18 straight games with 10 or more 3-pointers dating to Jan. 20. Russell Westbrook led the Rockets with 29 points and 15 rebounds. James Harden was 4 of 17 and missed all eight 3-pointers he attempted to finish with 16 points. The two stars and most of the other starters on both teams didn't play for much of the fourth quarter with the game out of reach. The Clippers built a 67-44 lead by halftime after a first half where the Rockets made just 2 of 22 3-point attempts. Ivica Zubac added 17 points and 12 assists for Los Angeles and Montrezl Harrell added 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Houston’s shooting woes didn’t end after the break and the Rockets missed 11 of 12 3-pointers in the third quarter, including a couple of air balls. But the Rockets didn’t just struggle from long-range as they also missed several layups in the quarter to leave Los Angeles up 90-65 entering the fourth. TIP-INS Clippers: Patrick Beverley received a flagrant 1 foul for grabbing Harden with both arms from behind on a fast break in the third quarter. ... Paul George had 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Rockets: Eric Gordon left the game in the fourth quarter with knee soreness and did not return. ... Westbrook extended his career-best streak of games with 20 points or more to 32. ... Danuel House Jr. had 14 points. FACE-OFF The Clippers were unhappy early in the fourth quarter when Harrell received a foul on a dunk attempt by Westbrook. Replays showed that Westbrook pressed his left hand into Harrell’s face as he elevated for the shot. But a challenge by Clippers coach Doc Rivers was unsuccessful and the foul call stood. Harrell made a dunk soon after that and patted his head with both hands as he ran back down the court. UP NEXT Clippers: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. Rockets: At Charlotte on Saturday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 6th, 2020

An array of MPBL stars have been drafted in the PBA. Who will shine?

A passel of Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League ballers have been drafted into the PBA. These gifted young Pinoys prove that the MPBL is a worthy proving ground for the pro league. We asked a few observers of the league to give their two cents on who they think will fly in the pros, namely commentators Migs Gomez and Martin Antonio as well as league head of ops, Emmer Oreta. Both Gomez and Oreta think that Manila Frontrow Star Aris Dionisio will make the biggest splash in the pros. “Aris Dionisio is the best MPBL player in the (PBA) draft,” says Gomez. “I think his length and athleticism can translate his defensive abilities to the PBA easily. Offensively, he is also capable of running the floor and shooting threes, so converting him from center to small forward will not be a problem.” The 6 foot 5 Dionisio was nabbed by Magnolia with the 9th choice in the first round. “Aris Dionisio is a versatile player who can play a lot of positions, and can also can play off the ball,” notes Oreta. “And the most important thing is he can play defense, for sure.” “Dionisio is next in line to Marc Pingris,” adds Martin Antonio. Oreta and Gomez also agree that Mike Ayonayon will be an impact player immediately in the PBA. The 6-foot San Juan Knight is “a baller, a lengthy swingman who is very athletic and likes the open floor,” says Gomez. The former PCU Dolphin was selected third by NLEX and is etched in league lore because of his Reggie Miller-esque 12-point, two-minute outburst for San Juan that enabled the Knights to a close comeback win versus Bataan earlier in the season. Antonio believes that Ayonayon will thrive and develop under Road Warriors mentor Yeng Guiao. “Ayanayon + Guiao = Killer,” says Coach Hammer. “Yeng Guiao loves players like Mike,” adds Antonio. Gomez even gives the high-flying Antipoleno the ultimate compliment. “I came up with my signature line “Magic in the Air” because of him.” When it comes to sleeper picks and project players, the experts are split. Oreta and believes that Chris Bitoon, Dionisio's teammate in Manila, could be a surprise package. “A late pick, but for sure coach Nash Racela knows this guy well, and he can really play.” The former Manuel L. Quezon University Stallion had his number called in the third round by Blackwater Elite. Also getting drafted by Elite was Richard Escoto, who played for the Iloilo Royals, where Racela was an assistant before getting the Blackwater head coaching job. Gomez believes that Aaron Black is a worthy project for Meralco. The Zamboanga combo guard who also played for QC early in the season was corralled by the Bolts, who are coached by his father, Norman. “The pressure has always been there for Aaron to live up to his last name, but he has embraced it and blossomed in the MPBL,” explains Gomez. “He has a good relationship with his father, and with the skillset and body that he has now, I can only see him improving more and more. Aaron can play point guard and get triple-doubles.” Gomez also throws another name into the ring when it comes to project players: Yankie Haruna. The former CSB Blazer, currently with the Bacolod Master Sardines club, was drafted 9th in the second round by Magnolia. The 6 foot 2 New Jersey-native is an enticing prospect. “He’s tall enough, very athletic, and likes to penetrate with full authority. I think his body can translate into an explosive scorer in the PBA,” explains Gomez. Oreta on the other hand thinks Cris Dumapig can rise up from obscurity to become a PBA player. “He is a workhorse of a big man, for sure this kind of a player Coach Pido Jarencio really wants. I'm hoping he can sign with the team.” Dumapig was taken by NorthPort in the middle of the third round. The rebounding machine is a vital cog for a Basilan Steel Jumbo Plastic side that is third in the South Division as of the writing of this piece. Oreta also thinks another big man can make waves: Cebu Sharks – Casino Ethyl Alcohol's Will McAloney. “Coach Yeng really loves players from the south, playing physical and all-out every time,” said Oreta. The burly homegrown Cebuano was the first of NLEX's two second round selections. There are so many MPBL stalwarts who are testing the waters in the PBA, like Allyn Bulanadi, the stylish scorer taken by Alaska, and Rey Publico, the Iloilo big man also absorbed by the same PBA team. Rey Suerte of Batangas will don the colors of Blackwater after his early selection (Editor's note: Bulanadi and Suerte were selected as part of the special Gilas Draft and will focus on national team duties before suiting up in the PBA). Big names like Prince Rivero and Arvin Tolentino will also attempt to show their wares at the country's highest stage. Most if not all of these players will remain with their MPBL teams until April. Whether it's in the Liga ng Bawat Pilipino or at the PBA, we can expect tons of fireworks from this bumper crop of young Pinoy hoops talent......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2020

PBA Finals By the Numbers: Electrifying answer

You think “The Trilogy” is living up to expectations so far? Yes, the answer is yes. Meralco and Ginebra delivered another great game in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, this time in Lucena as both teams went all the way to Quezon province for Game 2. The series is now tied at one game each following the Bolts’ electrifying answer and here’s some numbers from that Game 2 win before a pivotal Game 3 tips off Sunday.   16 Total 3-pointers fired by the Meralco Bolts, a franchise-high for a Finals game. In a game that was pretty much dead even across all categories, Meralco’s three-point shooting, which was not present in the series opener, was the key difference in the Game 2 win.   7 Total Meralco players that scored at least one 3-point shot. Baser Amer led the way with five triples while John Pinto added four, all in the opening period. Even import Allen Durham had a good shooting night from deep, nailing three triples.   0 Number of assists for Justin Brownlee. All of a sudden, JB can’t drop dimes which is weird because he pretty much led the league in assists all conference long. Game 2 would have been a the second straight Finals game where Brownlee had zero assists but a stats error in Game 1 awarded one assist to Japeth Aguilar. That was it though. Brownlee, who averages almost seven assists per game in the Governors’ Cup, has one assist in two Finals games.   19 Largest lead of the night for Meralco in Game 2. Game 2 marked the second straight game that the Bolts held a double-digit lead against Ginebra in the second half. They also almost blew one for a second straight game. However, Meralco learned its lesson from Game 1 and they take a crucial win to make the series tied at 1-1.   29 Total bench points for Meralco in Game 2. The Bolts got big games from their starters but it was the bench that pushed them to victory with John Pinto sparking a first-quarter run with 12 points on four triples. With the Gin Kings coming back to start the second half, Nico Salva was a good pick for coach Norman Black from his bench as he dropped nine points in the quarter. Anjo Caram and Brian Faundo also had quality minutes from the Bolts as the Meralco bench outscored that of Ginebra, 29-12.   329 Total 3-point shots for Justin Brownlee in his PBA career, most for any import. Brownlee’s make 54 seconds into the first quarter put him at 326, which passed Lamont Strother’s mark of 325 to break the record. JB finished Game 2 with four triples for 35 points.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2020

Knicks hold Nets to NBA season-low 27% shooting, win 94-82

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Julius Randle had 33 points and eight rebounds, and the New York Knicks forced the Brooklyn Nets into the worst shooting performance in the NBA this season in a 94-82 victory Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Brooklyn finished 21 of 78 (26.9%) from the field. Chicago had the previous worst shooting game this season when it hit 29.9% against Toronto exactly two months earlier. Marcus Morris added 22 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Elfrid Payton scored 13 points as New York won for the first time in three meetings with Brooklyn this season. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 25 points but was only 5 for 15 for the Nets. The game was originally ticketed for a national television audience on TNT before it was recently pulled, which turned out to be a wise decision because it was anything but must-see TV. It even lacked the usual energy of a matchup between the city rivals, when there's almost always noise because both teams have plenty of fans in the building. The crowd was still big, but there were simply too many long spells when there was nothing to cheer. The Nets hadn't played since Saturday (last Sunday, PHL time) and couldn't shake off their holiday rust. Randle scored 12 points in the first quarter, when his five baskets were as many as the Nets. Brooklyn shot 21% for the period and the Knicks led 24-15. That wasn't the Nets' only bad quarter. After they had cut it to 46-41 at halftime, they came out for the third and took more than eight minutes to make a basket. That allowed the Knicks to break it open with an 18-4 burst that extended an eight-point lead to 71-49 on Payton's layup. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot finally gave the Nets their first basket with a 3-pointer with 3:52 to play in the period, and he hit another later in the quarter, finishing with half of Brooklyn's baskets in the period as it went 4 for 12. TIP-INS Knicks: F Morris and C Taj Gibson were back in the starting lineup after missing the loss to Washington on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Morris had a sore left Achilles tendon and Gibson was ill. G Dennis Smith Jr. was out with a strained left oblique. ... Mitchell Robinson had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Nets: Coach Kenny Atkinson reported no change for Kyrie Irving, who missed his 19th straight game with a right shoulder injury. He said the All-Star point guard continues to work out on the court but they haven't gotten to the point where they can add contact, which would be the next step. He added that the Nets aren't at the point where they're thinking Irving will need surgery on the shoulder. CARIS CLOSE Starting Nets guard Caris LeVert is moving closer to returning from right thumb surgery in November. Atkinson said LeVert just needs a little more work involving contact before he is ready to rejoin the lineup. He has missed the last 21 games. “He did a lot of contact today," Atkinson said. “Probably need a couple more of those sessions until he and our medical team, performance team feels like he’s ready to go, but obviously getting much closer." UP NEXT Knicks: Visit Washington on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Nets: Visit Houston on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2019

Leipzig top in Germany at halfway stage, but Bayern revived

By James Ellingworth, Associated Press Is this the season when Bayern Munich's seven-year hold on the German title ends? A poor start and a humiliating 5-1 loss to Frankfurt cost Niko Kovac his job as Bayern coach and gave teams like Leipzig and surprise title contender Borussia Mönchengladbach hope of victory. Bayern has bounced back under interim coach Hansi Flick, though, and is third in the table, four points behind leader Leipzig. That's earned Flick an extension until at least the end of the season. It's been a tale of dueling goalscorers, with Robert Lewandowski having scored 19 goals in 17 games for Bayern, and Timo Werner one goal behind for Leipzig. For Gladbach, goalkeeper Yann Sommer has been crucial to their title challenge. Borussia Dortmund has been powerful on its day, but the team is also inconsistent and brittle. Losing to Bayern 4-0 last month was a big dent to Dortmund's title belief. Last Sunday's games were the last of 2019 and the Bundesliga returns from its winter break on Jan. 17. PLAYER OF THE SEASON SO FAR He turned 31 in August and Lewandowski shows no sign of slowing down. The Polish forward scored in Bayern's first 11 Bundesliga games and has racked up 30 goals across all competitions. He's taking time off during the winter break to have groin surgery. Werner has been almost as prolific, including a remarkable performance with three goals and three assists in an 8-0 thrashing of Mainz last month. For Dortmund, Jadon Sancho's in hot form with eight goals in his last six Bundesliga games. But perhaps no one's been as vital to their team as Rouwen Hennings. The 32-year-old Hennings doesn't have the star status of Lewandowski or Sancho but his 11 goals for struggling Fortuna are four more than the rest of the team put together. SURPRISE OF THE SEASON Gladbach's golden age was the 1970s, when it won five Bundesligas in eight years. With its run to second, Gladbach has been a feelgood story for German fans of other clubs who dislike Bayern's wealth and see Leipzig as less a soccer club than an advertising board for energy drinks giant Red Bull. Gladbach has nothing like the budget of Bayern or Leipzig, but has built a solid team with attacking firepower from Marcus Thuram, son of former French defender Lilian Thuram, and Swiss forward Breel Embolo. A comeback 2-1 win over Bayern this month showed its a serious contender. Kai Havertz experienced the season's most unwelcome surprise when fans of his own team, Bayer Leverkusen, booed him this month. The attacking midfielder started the season rated as one of Germany's most promising young players, but he's looked listless in recent games and last scored in September. GOAL OF THE SEASON Bayern's 46 goals in the Bundesliga have included some gems. Philippe Coutinho scored with an outrageous flick from the outside of his foot against Werder Bremen last week. Lewandowski's hit some long-range free kicks and shrugged off four defenders to score against Frankfurt, the only bright spot in a heavy loss for Bayern. The highlight of Leipzig's title charge might just be Christopher Nkunku juggling the ball through the Bayer Leverkusen defense and past the goalkeeper in October. For sheer fireworks, no one beats Hertha Berlin's Javairo Dilrosun. The Dutch winger picked up the ball on the left wing and cut inside past four defenders — beating one of them twice — before scoring against Paderborn. WHO'LL BE CHAMPION? If Bayern's recovery under Flick continues, an eighth straight title is definitely possible, if only because of the depth in its squad. The Munich team was packed with individual talent, even if Kovac was defeated by the puzzle of how to make them all play well together. There's also a bench filled with hungry young players such as New Zealand midfielder Sarpreet Singh and the Dutch forward Joshua Zirkzee, who's scored in each of his first two Bundesliga appearances. Leipzig takes a four-point lead into 2020, but depends heavily on core players such as Werner and the in-form Marcel Sabitzer and Patrik Schick. Losing any of them to injury could be a fatal blow. Gladbach has less depth than either of them, but unlike them, it won't be balancing the Bundesliga with any European competitions in the spring. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFICATION The fight for the four Champions League spots is wide open, with at least eight teams making a strong claim. Behind the leading trio of Leipzig, Gladbach, and Bayern, there's a chasing pack of Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, Leverkusen, Hoffenheim, and Freiburg. All have played Champions League football in recent years, with the exception of Freiburg, but they have all been inconsistent this season. WHO'S GOING DOWN? The relegation fight is just as close as the scrap for European places. Promoted Paderborn is last but showed it has claws by beating Frankfurt 2-1 last weekend. The other automatic relegation spot is occupied by Werder Bremen, which is in danger of its first relegation since 1981. Werder ended 2019 with four straight defeats, two of them by five-goal margins, and with club management embroiled in conflict with fans over the sale of their stadium's naming rights. If Werder can climb out of danger, it would likely be at the expense of one of two Rhineland rivals, Cologne or Fortuna Düsseldorf, or else Mainz......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2019

MPBL: Cunanan scores 20 to lead Imus to impressive home win

TEAM STANDINGS NORTH San Juan 20-3 Makati 20-4 Manila 19-4 Pasig 14-8 Bulacan 14-8 Bataan 14-9 Pampanga 14-9 Caloocan 14-10 Pasay 13-10 Valenzuela 9-14 Quezon City 9-15 Parañaque 8-15 Navotas 6-18 Nueva Ecija 5-16 Rizal 4-17 Marikina 4-17 SOUTH Davao 19-3 Bacoor 18-5 GenSan 15-7 Basilan 15-8 Iloilo 15-8 Batangas 13-8 Zamboanga 14-10 Bicol 13-12 Cebu 9-12 Biñan 10-14 Bacolod 8-15 Mindoro 8-17 Muntinlupa 5-18 Imus 6-20 Sarangani 1-22 The Imus Bandera Luxxe Slim put an end to their six-game losing streak by outplaying Navotas Uni-Pak, 86-71, in Monday night's main game of the Chooks To Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season at the Imus City Sports Complex. The visitors were without forward Jhong Bondoc, who watched the game in street clothes from the bench. Imus exploited his absence brilliantly, out-assisting their foes 31-13 and never really looking like they would lose. "Sabi ni coach dumepensa lang kami ng maayos at yung opensa, darating," said Jojo Cunanan, who copped best player of the game honors with a 20-point night highlighted by six triples from nine attempts. Led by Jeric Nacpil's 12 points, Luxxe Slim carved out a 50-33 lead at the half. A variety of Navoteños got on the scoresheet in the third and fourth quarters but Cunanan dropped three triples, two in the fourth, as Imus skated to an easy win in front of their fans to go to 6-19. The Bandera played their second game in three days, losing to Biñan on Saturday. Navotas falls to 5-20 despite 11 points from Osama Abdurasad and 10 from Kojak Melegrito. Imus were also without their talisman, Gerald Anderson, who had prior commitments and missed a rare Imus home game in their newly-renovated arena. In the second game, Bacolod Master Sardines took down the Bicol Volcanoes LCC Stores, 76-72, in overtime. Bacolod homegrown star Pao Javelona sent the game into the extension with a daring driving lay-up down the throat of the Bicolano defense with ninr ticks left for 70-70. There was exactly one field goal in overtime, a driving lay-up off the glass from Edgar Charcos that gave Master Sardines a 74-72 lead with 40 seconds remaining. After Volcano Alwyn Alday muffed a fast break lay-up, Javelona iced the game with two free throws. Ramil Tansingco led Bacolod with 15 points as the Sardine men go to 8-15. Alday had a game-high 23 points for Bicol but LCC Stores shoots just 31% from the field and do themselves no favors in the playoff race, stumbling to 13-12. The day began with the Iloilo United Royals shrugging off a gritty Rizal Xentro Malls Golden Coolers team, 71-65. The Royals led by as much as 16 in the third but the Golden Coolers hacked their way back into the game with the steady play of Rommel Saliente. A three-pointer from Kelvin Gregorio pulled them to within six, 56-50, going into the final segment of the game. A Jordan Rios layup with just under four minutes meant Rizal had their nose in front, 63-62. But Jerson Prado scored four straight points and Al Tamsi converted a big triple for a 69-65 lead with a little over a minute to go. United ran out winners to improve to 15-8 despite the absence of center Jay Javelosa, who is out for four weeks with a broken hand. Tamsi led Iloilo with 16 points while Gregorio's 15 markers paced Xentro Malls, who drop to 6-17......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 17th, 2019

MPBL: Makati hopes team ethos and a balanced roster leads them to glory

The Makati Super Crunch have certainly established themselves as one of the elite squads in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League. They have consistently hung with the league's best. Not bad for a nomadic team that only played on their home court two weeks ago. According to Cholo Villanueva, the team's head coach, there is no one player who has contributed to this promising season. "In every game there would be different players pulling through. It's just evident anybody can step up any given night from our rookies to our veterans,” remarked the former DLSU Green Archer.  There's no particular player that stands out at this point but whoever can provide the good, better or best shot will shoot the open shot. Villanueva identifies Rudy Lingganay, Jeckster Apinan and Cedric Ablaza as his most consistent players this season. The last two were on point in crunch time a recent joust with San Juan but Super Crunch fell just short, 88-86. San Juan's former La Salle standout, Justin Baltazar, blocked Apinan's potential game-winner from behind in the last seconds. Despite that loss against the champs, Makati is still upbeat and hopeful that they can take anything dished out to them. Remember, this is the team that hacked out a wild triple overtime win against Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines two weeks ago. The side won 111-106 after three extensions. They bucked the absence in the end of Simon Atkins, who got thrown out of the game, and Apinan, who fouled out. If you listen to the coach, the backbone of the team can be found much deeper than the starters and the second unit. "People don't see the players who prepare our rotational players in practices for the game. Mostly these are composed of our homegrown and amateur players like Babap Sta. Maria, Ace Lacsamana, Rhoy Cayanan, Kako Morales, Edwin Asoro and Carlo Lloren. They simulate our opponents in practice to execute our game plans and adjustments for the game. They make it tough in practices for the guys who have many minutes during the game to create the right habits integrated in our game plans," shared Villanueva.  Makati hopes to lean on a strong home crowd. The team and its sponsor have also been clever about how to build an atmosphere. In their first home game against the Muntinlupa Cagers two weeks ago, fans had the choice of wearing white to watch for free at the newly-renovated Makati Coliseum, or buying a P20 bag of Super Crunch chips. Judging from the large crowd in white, most opted to support the team with their choice of attire. The scheme needs some work, though. In both of their first two home games, Makati fans wore white only to see their opponents wear that color. In the two games Makati sported dark jerseys. Whatever the color scheme, the newly spriced-up Makati Coliseum is a boon to the squad. "Definitely, having your own home court provides you a different kind of energy especially playing infront of the Makatizens who waited so long for the opportunity to cheer for their home team. Having a new floor, rims and comfortably big locker rooms for each teams provides us the space for pre-game talks, muscle activation and proper mind setting for the games," said Villanueva. The coach is also grateful for the brand's support. Super Crunch is a snack from Prifood Corporation, a Filipino snack food manufacturer based in Laguna that was founded in 1990. "Super Crunch has been a big boost for us. Stability in maintaining a semi-pro team is very financially taxing but they have been consistent in providing the needs of the team which provides our confidence in just thinking about playing and representing the brand," added Villanueva.  The sponsor could have splashed some cash for new cogs in the recent transfer period. But instead the team management expressed their confidence in the current squad by staying put. "I think we are one of the most boring teams during trading period," admitted Cholo. "We haven't acquired or traded for players since the start of the conference. That's how much confidence I have in this group to go all the way. They have good chemistry and treat each one like family. We have each others back and trust that why you don't want to disrupt the bond that these guys have formed throughout the course of the year." The camaraderie was evident last Thursday when Makati endured yet another triple overtime game, this time against the Batangas City Athletics - Tanduay. Makati watched in horror as the Batanguenos hit the last six points of regulation to force overtime. Then one more extension and then yet another. But in the end it was one of Villanueva's shock troopers, Joseph Sedurifa, who knocked in the dagger three with 30 seconds left in the third OT to finally secure the win. "It as all heart and collective competitiveness of each and every player on the team to not lose the game," said a frazzled coach Cholo afterwards. Makati are now sporting a gaudy 19-4 record and have the top teams like DavOcc, Manila, and San Juan in their crosshairs. Villanueva knows it's not the time to slack off. "We will take it one game at a time and learn from the mistakes along the way. Yes, I'm optimistic of going all the way with this group, but we are still far away. We need to put in more work to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the title.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 29th, 2019

No break for Baste s Bulanadi who is now headed to MPBL, PBA Draft

Allyn Bulanadi's time in San Sebastian College-Recoletos is over. Bulanadi's fifth and final season came to a close as the Golden Stags bowed to Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Tuesday at Cuneta Astrodome. Without a doubt, the long-limbed lefty gave his all in his last game in red and gold with 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and three blocks. Still, he is sure he has much left in the tank as he takes the next step in his young career - playing for Basilan in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League. In fact, Bulanadi will be practicing with the Steel for the first time on Wednesday. "Sa (November) 16, may home game kami against Nueva Ecija so siguro bukas, ensayo na ako. Wala nang pahi-pahinga, dire-diretso na," he said. While he will give his new team anything and everything he has, the 6-foot-2 forward also made it clear that he has another step in mind. As he put it, "Yung PBA, goal ko talaga yan so sinabihan ko na yung mga boss sa Basilan na baka ilang games lang ako sa kanila." He then continued, "Lulubusin ko pa rin naman lahat yun, yun ang promise ko, pero yung goal ko talaga, magpapa-draft. As he moves forward, Bulanadi is nothing but confident that his five-year career in Baste can speak for itself - especially his last season which has him very much in the running for a place in the Mythical Team. "Sana nasiyahan naman sila sa lahat ng ginawa ko. Unti-unti ko namang nakuha yung kumpyansa ko rito," he said. Nonetheless, he also knows full well all the weaknesses he needs to work on. "Siyempre, ibang level na yung competition nun. Puro malalaki na katawan dun so magpapalaki ako ng katawan konti tapos mental preparation din," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 5th, 2019

NCAA 95: Boyet Fernandez making sure Red Lions remain in shape ahead of Finals

For the second time in three seasons, the NCAA Men’s Basketball semifinals will be decided in a stepladder format. In Season 93, the breakout Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates rampaged through the elimination round, finishing with a perfect 18-0 record to earn an outright Finals spot. Defending champions San Beda University, then the second seed, ultimately defeated LPU in two games in the Finals to retain their titles. Two seasons later, the Red Lions are still the defending champions, but now they’ll be the ones waiting in the wings as San Sebastian, Letran, and Lyceum battle it out to determine who advances to the Finals. Those three schools represent a very tough pool of possible contenders, according to San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez. “Yung tatlong challengers namin going to the stepladder, medyo hindi ka pwede mamili doon sa tatlo dahil malakas din yung teams na yun,” Fernandez told ABS-CBN Sports. “They’re well-coached as well, they have good players na, if they step up the stepladder semis, and they will face us in the Finals, medyo mabigat yung laban na yun.” The more pressing issue for Coach Boyet however, is how to keep his players in game shape, given that they’ll be on the shelf as those three teams duke it out. The Red Lions’ last game was back in October 17th when they defeated Lyceum to complete the eliminations sweep. The next time that they see the court will be on November 12th for Game 1 of the Season 95 Finals. “Ang problema talaga namin is how to  make the team active kasi, that’s approximately 24 days before Game 1 on the 12th, so we’re really trying to prepare our team,” explained Fernandez. “Medyo mahirap dahil siyempre, they’re thinking it’s too long pa, mahirap mag-manage pero we’re trying to really prepare the team, we’re practicing the generic type lang, yung defensive schemes, yung offense namin, we’re more focused right now on conditioning and getting the players prepared well, especially sa weights, nagwe-weights kami. Heavy kami ng kaunti ngayon para naman ready kami sa finals.” To keep the team in condition, Fernandez shared that he hopes to be able to put the them through some practice games prior to the Finals. “It will be a tough one for us due to the fact that we haven’t played for about three weeks by that game, so sana hindi kami maging rusty. We’re looking for practice games next weekend and the following week para ready kami sa 12th.” While the extended break is definitely a breath of fresh air for the team, especially after a long season, not knowing who to prepare for remains a concern, says Fernandez. “We’re concerned about it, kasi mahirap mag-prepare na on the last day of semis, doon mo lang malalaman, and then we only have, if you consider it, three days to prepare for that, kung sino talaga [makakalaban namin]. It will be tough kaya yung ginagawa namin ngayon is we really practice our defensive schemes on a regular basis, [para] kung sino man talaga, at least pagdating namin on November 9th, sa 8th pa lang namin malalaman kung sino kalaban namin, on the 9th, we will just review the things that we have done during the weeks going into the Finals.” “We also have our gameplan for every team that we’re gonna face. We’ve already had that gameplan, it’s just a matter of finalizing it on the 8th, kung sino talaga kalaban namin. For now, we’re just making sure that we know what our adjustments are, we know what our defensive schemes are, we’ll try to practice it with we’re going to play in the practice games, para alam namin kung ano pa deperensiya, and at ano pang kailangan i-adjust namin,” he detailed further. Apart from being out of competition for nearly a month, one more thing that Fernandez needs to manage is his team’s confidence. The Red Lions swept the eliminations, meaning that whoever comes out of the stepladder semifinals, San Beda has already beaten that team twice this season. Fernandez says that he reminds his boys that the eliminations and the Finals are two very different beasts. “I’m just telling them that we’re only as good as our last game, and the other teams are really trying to prepare themselves in order to meet us in the Finals and beat us in the Finals, and you know that the Finals is a different situation than the eliminations, masiyadong mabigat yung pressure doon, masiyadong mataas yung achievement doon if you win a championship.” During the elimination round, the goal was to make it into the post-season and hopefully finish with a top-two seed for a twice-to-beat advantage. San Beda finished unbeaten and earned an outright trip to the Finals. Now that the first goal of the season is done, the focus for the Red Lions now is to capture the title again. San Beda is gunning for their fourth-consecutive crown and their 23rd overall. “Sabi ko ang pinag-lalabanan naman natin pagdating sa Finals is the championship, the NCAA crown, so kailangan hindi tayo magiging over-confident,” said Fernandez. “We’re not denying we won against those three teams that are behind us, but we consider them among the best teams in the league, among the strongest teams in the league.” “Alam naman ng players ko na hindi madali na kunin yung championship, and we always make it sure na yung players narerealize na every game is a very important game, kahit sino pa ang kalaban namin and we always make sure na my players also realize na every game is chance for them to improve and prove themselves that they’re capable of winning a championship,” he continued. As for who he sees coming out of the semifinals, Fernandez says he isn’t really sure who’s the favorite, but sees Lyceum having the edge as they also be waiting in the wings for the winner of the San Sebastian-Letran tussle. “Wala akong tulak-kabigin dun sa tatlo eh. The advantage will be with LPU since they’re waiting in the wings who will be the winner between San Sebastian and Letran, but if you look at it, Letran and San Sebastian are considered two of the top teams before the start of the NCAA.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 4th, 2019

MPBL: McAloney stars as Cebu hurdles Bacolod

In the battle for bragging rights across the Tanon Strait the Cebu Sharks - Casino Ethyl Alcohol withstood a late comeback to defeat Bacolod Master Sardines, 85-80, in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season on Thursday night. Cebu were the steadier team in front of a partisan crowd in the University of St. La Salle Coliseum in Bacolod. Cebu go to 7-10 and with new coach Noy Falcasantos at the helm, have the momentum for a playoff push. Center Will McAloney spearheaded the Sharks offense with 20 points, and they hung on despite careless play in the endgame. "Noong nag turnover ang mga teammate namin kinakausap namin, chine-cheer up namin, na di pa naman huli ang lahat, lamang pa rin kami, so kailangan pa rin stay composed inside (the court)," said the big man. Bacolod ended the first quarter with an 10-0 run to take a 22-14 lead. Marc Tallo, Pao Javelona and Mark de la Cruz provided the firepower. The second quarter was won by the Sharks, with Nichole Ubalde chipping in six points and homegrown player Ralph Dinolan hitting eight as the teams entered the locker room tied at 37. Cebu silenced the Negrense crowd with a stunning 32-point third quarter marshaled by Patrick Cabahug, Rhaffy Octubre and McAloney. The visitors led 69-57 going into the last 10 minutes. Mar Villahermosa found his scoring touch early in the fourth for Bacolod, but Cebu kept up the pressure and when McAloney laid the ball in for an 84-72 lead with 2:19 left, the game looked over and the Bacolod fans began filing out of the arena. That turned out to be a premature move as the home team produced a 6-0 run that included a steal-and-conversion from homegrown hero Javelona. But Bacolod's shooting touch deserted them in the final seconds and Cebu hung on for the win. Bacolod are now trailing the South Division playoff aspirants with a 6-11 slate despite 15 points from Marc Tallo, who failed in his attempt to defeat the team from his home province. In the undercard a hot-shooting Pampanga Giant Lanterns ADG Group of Companies ended the Bacoor Strikers' seven-game win streak with a stylish 76-69 win. Mark Cruz was adjudged best player of the game thanks to a 10-point, 7-assist game that included two crucial run-stopping baskets in the endgame. The Giant Lanterns turned the first half into a three-point party, scoring four of them in a row to begin the game, courtesy of Mark Cruz, Reil Cervantes, Travis Thompson and Jeric Fabian. In the second quarter Dan Alberto knocked in two triples in a row as Pampanga took a 45-30 lead at the half, hitting 11 of 18 three-point attempts or 61 percent at that point. Bacoor found offensive sparks in Michael Canete and Rocky Acidre, who pitched in two triples as the Kapampangan lead was trimmed to 60-55 at the end of the third. In the fourth the Bacoorenos rallied, and when Michael Mabulac converted a fast break off a steal, they found themselves in front, 63-62 with six minutes to go. At that instant Pampanga's once 17-point lead was a distant memory. But ADG Group of Companies unleashed a quick seven-point run off a Cruz triple for a 69-63 lead. The Strikers would not give up, and Ricky Acidre nailed a three-bomb to level the game. That only prompted Cruz to revert to fireman mode once again, pulling an and-1 off a driving lay-up. Mike Juico and Dexter Maiquez followed up with baskets to put the Cavitenos away for good. Worth noting was league MVP Gab Banal's off-night. The Bacoor ace could only muster three points as he missed all seven of his field goal attempts. The Strikers were without Oping Sumalinog and Rey Acuno who did not make the trip because of unspecified previous commitments. Bacoor slips to 15-4 while the Lanterns snap a two-game losing skid and improve to 11-7......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 18th, 2019

The NBA s new coach s challenge could be a timely tool for teams to wield

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Cleveland’s John Beilein, the only new-to-the-league coach this season, actually got a jump on his 29 rivals in one department. To better familiarize himself with the Cavaliers team he was taking over, Beilein broke from the tradition that has assistant coaches working the sideline at NBA Summer League. When the situation arose in a game in Las Vegas for Cleveland to invoke the experimental “coaches’ challenge” rule, Beilein was the one calling for it. And the one getting shot down. “It was an out-of-bounds play,” Beilein recalled during a break at the coaches’ meetings in Chicago last month. “My player came to the bench saying, ‘It’s definitely our ball.’ I thought, ‘Great, this is why we have it now.’ “We came back out. It was their ball.” There will be a lot of dashed hopes in 2019-20, as well as some pivotal reversals, with the NBA’s adoption of the latest replay wrinkle. As in MLB and the NFL, coaches will have the opportunity to appeal, in real time, certain referees’ decisions. All the “triggers” of the existing replay system remain, but now the teams will have a sense of control. One time each game. “I’ve been a proponent of it for many years, just as an additional layer of security,” said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, who also serves as president of the NBA Coaches Association. “If a call’s inaccurate for any reason, it’s just an extra chance -- particularly if the game’s on the line -- to get it right. “The question has always been, how to execute it. Where to start. Sounds like this is going to start with a high level of simplicity. Then we’ll see where it goes.” Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone thought back to 2017-18, when the Nuggets missed the postseason after a loss at Minnesota in the season’s final game. Like every game, there were a handful of what-if moments. “Think about it,” Malone said. “Two years ago, one play could have been the difference for us between the lottery and playoffs. That saves jobs, that gets home/road seeding, there are a lot of things that it can affect.” How the coach’s challenge works For this season, the challenge can be made in three situations: to question a foul called against that team’s player, to dispute an out-of-bounds decision or to question a goaltending/basket interference ruling against that team. The first type applies to the entire game; the others to the first 46 minutes (and first three minutes of overtime), after which the established triggers take over. Challenging a call requires the coach to first call a timeout and then inform the referees he wants a review. There are new court administrators at every game this season to help with the process. Also, fans will notice green “challenge lights” at the scorer’s table -- the one nearest the challenging bench will blink. Beilein said he sought redress a couple of times in Las Vegas, without satisfaction. “They never reversed their decisions,” he said, “but it’s really a good idea to do, to let us have this say in a game. You ask, they review it. If they don’t see it, you just move on with the game. It puts things away, so we’re not grinding away all night on that call. It’s over. It’s done.” If a call is reversed, the challenge is successful and the team’s timeout is restored. If the initial ruling stands, the challenge is deemed unsuccessful and that timeout is gone. Win or lose the appeal, the allotment stays the same: One challenge per team per game. The early chatter among coaches has been, when is the best time to use it? In Sunday’s Hornets-Celtics game, Brad Stevens and James Borrego waited until the final minute. Both challenges failed. “I’ll probably save it till the fourth quarter,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “I’m going to be really excited about it when it helps wins me some games. And I’m going to really hate it when it costs me.” Said Malone: “The funny thing is, we always say, ‘The game never comes down to just the last play. Something that happened in the first quarter was just as important.’ But the reality it, when you get to the last two minutes, if you have the coaches challenge in your pocket, that could come up with a really big play or give you momentum.” The refs’ crew chief will have the final determination of fouls. He or she also will be able to “clean up” the play in question if, for instance, they notice the foul was assessed incorrectly or if a different foul by either side occurred before the one being reviewed. Note: infractions such as 3-second violations or traveling, if uncalled initially, can’t be assessed in a challenge review. The league’s Replay Center in Secaucus, N.J., will adjudicate out-of-bounds and goaltending challenges. Confidence key in using challenge At the NBCA September meetings in Chicago, the feature -- also given a trial run in the G League in recent seasons -- was discussed in a ballroom session with referees and supervisors of the officials. The next day, they all spent time on a basketball court, walking through the particulars. Borrego took advantage of his proximity in Charlotte to talk with Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera about his strategy in using the NFL’s version. Those coaches physically throw a red flag to signal their challenge and have time to hear from assistant coaches in a stadium booth upstairs who have seen video to determine their chances of reversal. The NBA won’t have either flags to throw or helpers checking. The coaches will have to alert the refs by twirling their fingers in the air, the current universal symbol for “replay.” They’ll need to act before an opposing player is handed the ball to shoot free throws or toss it inbounds, or before a jump ball. “We haven’t had this conversation with them yet, but players never think they fouled,” Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said Monday. “It’s never out on them. We’re gonna have to say, ‘OK, did you really not foul?’ Somehow figure out, ‘OK, you have to tell the truth.’ “That kind of feedback from them is going to be important in a challenge situation.” The preseason was only a few days old but, in this era of analytics, Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen had his crew gather data on every early challenge. He’s working up a list of situations in which to use it. Late in games? Sure. But not so late that the existing triggers take over for a disputed out-of-bounds play. Then the coach might go home without using it. “You’re always concerned about [burning] the timeout,” Boylen said. “You’d better be sure. Your [viewing] angles better be good.” Not everyone is a fan of the experiment, which will be evaluated after the season by the NBA’s Competition Committee. Some skeptics fret that adding reviews will mean more delays in games that already have replay interruptions. Then there was Monty Williams, the Phoenix Suns’ new coach. Part of his dislike? Genuine empathy for the referees. “I’m not a fan of it at all,” Williams said. “Sometimes it’s to your detriment, but I think human error is part of our game. I know we’re trying to get it right, but sometimes [replay] causes referees to get second-guessed a lot. They already are. “And this is just one more thing for coaches to have to do. Now we’re all going to have to delegate a guy on our bench to monitor things.  “If we’re gonna challenge, I wish it was a segment -- say, the last three minutes of the game. I want to coach. I don’t want to be focused all night on, ‘Should I have challenged [a call made earlier]?’ ” Fans might notice other rules changes and priorities for officials this season: * Coaches will be required to submit their starting lineups earlier now, making them public at least 30 minutes before tipoff. This change is seen largely as a nod to the looming arrival of legal sports betting. Knowing the starters earlier -- and which regulars might be sitting out with injuries or for “load management” -- means more wagers can be made with the most updated information. (A change still can be made if a player gets hurt or aggravates an injury during warm-ups.) * The Replay Center will take over determinations of 2-pointers vs. 3-pointers, operating automatically. * There figures to be a spate of traveling calls early this season. The referees have made that infraction one of their “Points of Education” for 2019-20. That means a “more stringent enforcement” of the existing rule, according to Monty McCutchen, the NBA’s VP, head of referee development and training. The league has gone so far as to include the concept of “the gather” in its rule book now. That -- the moment when a player has full control of the ball and thus the point from which he can take two steps – has been used for years by game officials. But now it has been codified, which helps when discerning variations such as steps taken backward (rather than in forward progress) or in the “Euro-step.” McCutchen noted that, in years past, the NBA game was played through the post at a slower pace. Referees evaluated plays starting with the defenders. Now, with hand-checking long gone and 3-pointers pulling players farther out on the court, the refs’ sequence of viewing plays has shifted to feet, then release, then defender. Other Points of Education for the refs this year have focused on illegal contact initiated by offensive players, “freedom of movement” issues and “respect for the game” moments, which basically are emotional overreactions to calls that exceed allowable guidelines. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2019

MPBL: A late and-1 from Jason Melano is the difference as a weary Batangas holds back Imus in the UAE.

Playing their second game in as many days, the Batangas City Athletics - Tanduay gutted out a 86-85 overtime win over Imus Bandera Khaleb Shawarma in the Dubai Invasion of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season on Saturday night, early morning Philippine time. The large crowd of mostly overseas Filipino workers at the cavernous Hamdan Sports Complex in the Emirati capital saw Val Acuna pour in 19 points to lead Batangas. But the coup de grace was a late go-ahead and-1 from Jason Melano to seal the win. "Sabi lang ni coach, presence of mind lang, wag ma-dala sa pressure," said Melano, who finished with 18 points. Batangas led 43-38 at the half and opened up a 68-54 lead at the end of the third thanks largely to the efforts of Jeff Viernes and Jayson Grimaldo. Tanduay seemed to have the game in hand, up by 11 points, 75-64 with just under 5 minutes left off an Acuna triple. It was only then that the Bandera found their rhythm. Jeric Nacpil hit a jumper then Jayjay Helterbrand knocked in back-to-back triples followed by another pair of three-balls by Jojo Cunanan to give the Cavitenos a shocking 78-75 lead with 1:20 left. Acuna responded with a tying triple of his own to knot the contest at 78-78. Helterbrand and Melano missed late and the game went into an extension. Nacpil's long two from the corner with 34 seconds left in OT gave Imus an 84-83 lead that was padded further by a Helterbrand split with just 13 ticks remaining. But Justin Melano was the hero in the end with a putback with 3 seconds left. Kasim Mirza fouled him while he shot, and Melano fired in the charity for the lead. He finished with 18 points. Helterbrand's desperation underhand layup missed and Batangas had their win 24 hours after losing to the Davao Occidental Tigers - Cocolife 67-57. Batanguenos climb up to 10-5 in the standings while Imus drops to 3-12. Both teams deployed famous actors in their rosters. Athletics guard Derek Ramsay was scoreless in 10 minutes of action while Khaleb Shawarma's Gerald Anderson was good for 10 points and a rebound. Topscoring for Imus was Nacpil with 20 markers. In the curtain-raiser for this main game the MPBL Executives team avenged their loss to the Dubai All-Stars from the night before with a 107-101 victory. League founder senator Manny Pacquiao led all scorers with 42 points, featuring six triples......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2019

MPBL: Terrific Tayongtong leads QC to home win over Makati

Joco Tayongtong scored 13 of his 20 points in the final quarter as the Quezon City Capitals - WEMSAP roared back in the endgame to stun Makati Super Crunch 91-85 in Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball Lakan Cup action on Tuesday at the Ateneo Blue Eagle Gym. "Ang nasa isip ko lang ay manalo sa home court namin," said the former JRU Heavy Bomber after the game. Makati looked in command from the second quarter up until midway through the fourth after three straight JJ Manlangit baskets put them up by a dozen, 82-70. And then Joco Tayongtong happened. Tayongtong went berserk, leading an 11-0 run bouyed by a noisy crowd at the Blue Eagle Gym. Juneric Baloria's two free throws stopped the rot briefly for Makati, but Tayongtong went back to work with a three ball that keyed a 10-1 run to finish the game. Makati failed to score a field goal in the last five minutes of the contest to lose for the first time in five outings as only defending champion San Juan remains unbeaten in the Lakan Cup while QC improves to 3-2. Jeckster Apinan top scored for Cholo Villanueva's team with 21 points in a losing effort. The game brought back memories of the two teams' playoff series earlier this year in the Datu Cup, when seventh-seeded QC upset second-seeded Makati, sweeping them in two games. In the second game, Davao Occidental Cocolife upped their standing to 4-1 with a comfortable 86-55 romp over Rizal Golden Coolers Xentro Mall. Leading 36-31 at the half, the Tigers exploded with 27 points in the third quarter against only eight from Rizal to put a once-competitive game out of reach. Billy Robles, James Forrester and Mark Yee led the way with a barrage of points against a hapless Rizal defense. Yee claimed his 14th player of the game award with 21 points and 12 boards for a league-record 23rd MPBL double-double. Robles chipped in 15 for Davao. Only one player from Xentro Mall, Achie Iñigo, got into double figures with ten points. The Golden Coolers drop to 1-3. In the first match the Muntinlupa Cagers Angelis Resort won the Battle of BF Homes, defeating neighbors the Parañaque Patriots Yabo Sports 85-78. GJ Ylagan had a mammoth game with 22 points, including 6 out of 10 from three- point range, none bigger than a trey with 70 seconds to go in the game that gave Angelis Resort a 78-72 cushion. Matching Ylagan in scoring 22 was point guard Ryusei Koga, who skillfully outfoxed the Patriot pressing defense all day long with his ball-handling and passing. Completing the Munti big three was John Kevin Ortuoste, who poured in 19 markers. Parañaque shot a paltry 30.4 percent from the field, led by Vinny Begaso's 18 markers. Muntinlupa won despite seeing head coach Richie Melencio get tossed with 1:26 left in the game for a second technical after complaining about the officiating all game long. The Cagers climb to 2-4 in the standings with a second straight win. The Patriots are also now at 2-4......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 17th, 2019

EAC turning over a new leaf for NCAA 95

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 4-14, 9th YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: JP Maguliano, Jethro Mendoza WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Dom Dayrit, Marwin Taywan, Oliver Bunyi (coach) GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Juju Bautista, Maui Cruz, Jerome Garcia, Hamadou Laminou, Ariel Sison (coach) WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM EAC? The last remnants of the last EAC team to contend are no longer here – meaning Juju Bautista, Jerome Garcia, and Hamadou Laminou have all played their last games in red and white. The same goes for Ariel Sison, the Generals’ mentor for the last three seasons who has now handed over the reins to Oliver Bunyi, a coaching veteran who has valuable experience from his time as an assistant for the very first Gilas Pilipinas, the San Miguel Beermen in the ABL, and GlobalPort (now NorthPort) in the PBA. Without a doubt, EAC will be brand new for NCAA Season 95 – and that may very well be a good thing for a team that is yet to break through to the Final Four since joining the league in 2009. In this new era, coach Oliver will call on a couple of second-year contributors to take the next step and become the faces of San Marcelino. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but both JP Maguliano and Jethro Mendoza have long flashed glimpses they can be just that. WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM EAC? Maguliano memorably introduced himself with a 30-point, 17-rebound in EAC’s upset win against San Sebastian College-Recoletos last season. Since then, the 6-foot-3 forward has continued being a workhorse and opened even more eyes in the 2019 PBA D-League and then the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament. For his part, Mendoza was a seldom-used guard who nonetheless showed potential to be a scoring machine and in the developmental league and preseason, he top-scored for the Generals more than a few times. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR EAC? EAC has been seeing action in the NCAA for the last decade and has only sniffed the playoffs a couple of times. If there is a long-suffering team in the first and oldest collegiate league in the country, that is none other than the Generals. “I’m very positive, but we’re not satisfied. I know that if we work together, there’s a possibility for us to win big games. I just expect my players to always give perfect effort.” – head coach Oliver Bunyi As they set off into a new era, they remain hopeful for that elusive breakthrough – and we will all be right there celebrating with them if and when they break through, at long last. WHERE WOULD EAC BE AT THE END OF NCAA SEASON 95? That breakthrough, however, will not be in NCAA Season 95 as EAC is still in the first phase of its rebuild. “Our best might not be enough against the others’ best this season, but I believe we’ll eventually catch up with them.” – head coach Oliver Bunyi The hope for the Generals, as of this moment, is to have more players join Maguliano and Mendoza as their building blocks for future contention. WHEN IS EAC’S FIRST GAME IN NCAA SEASON 95? EAC plans to gift coach Oliver with his first win in just his first game calling the shots when they go up against College of St. Benilde on July 9 at Filoil Flying V Centre. As always, the latest season of the first and oldest collegiate league in the country will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and livestream. HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE NINE OTHER TEAMS IN NCAA SEASON 95: Young guns to be wind beneath JRU’s wings for NCAA 95 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2019

US defense will face greater challenges in knockout round

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press REIMS, France (AP) — Much of the attention on the United States rightly goes to its prolific offense, especially after that 13-goal game to open the Women's World Cup, but the team's defense has been predictably reliable so far in France. The defense has posted shutouts in the team's first three games, marking the first time the United States has not conceded a goal in the group stage at the tournament. The defending champions open the knockout round Monday against Spain. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher saw little action during the team's rout of Thailand in the opener, but matches against Chile and Sweden provided incrementally tougher tests. "To come away from group play with three shutouts, as a team defensively, I'm very proud of that," she said. "It's a goal that we have going into every game, especially as a back line, to keep clean sheets. We put a lot of time into team defending as well, all 11 players on the field are defending, and that cohesiveness is what helps bring that." The team's backline in France has shifted due to lineup changes and injuries. Veteran center back Becky Sauerbrunn was held out of the first game because of a minor injury, but came back against Chile when coach Jill Ellis rested players. Against Sweden, Ellis used the backline that is expected to start in the knockout phase, with Abby Dahlkemper alongside Sauerbrunn, Kelley O'Hara on the right and Crystal Dunn on the left. Dunn was especially effective against Sweden and in thwarting forward Sofia Jakobsson. The United States has seven clean sheets in its last eight World Cup matches — the exception being the two goals allowed in the team's 5-2 victory over Japan in the 2015 final. The United States went 540 minutes in Canada without conceding a goal, the longest streak in the tournament since Germany's record 679 scoreless minutes from 2003-11. Former goalkeeper Hope Solo allowed just three total goals and won her second straight Golden Glove as the tournament's top goalkeeper. The backline included Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg, Julie Johnston and Ali Krieger. Johnston, now Julie Ertz, has moved up into a role as a defensive midfielder in France. She sat out against Sweden because of a hip contusion but U.S. Soccer characterized the injury as minor. Krieger won a spot on the roster for this tournament because of her big-game experience after a long layoff from the team. Naeher has replaced Solo, considered one of the game's best goalkeepers ever. Solo was dismissed from the team following the 2016 Olympics. Brushing off the inevitable comparisons, Naeher has been steady in goal. "I've played with Alyssa since I was like 16 so I've known her for a really long time. It's awesome to see her step into this role because I've always known that she has the capacity and the talent to be the starting goalkeeper on this team. She's shown that," O'Hara said. "She, for me, provides a very calm consistency back there. She's also someone with steely nerves. I think she does a really good job of just putting on a game face." The United States is currently on a streak of 594 minutes since last conceding a goal. The last came in the 81st minute of a 5-3 victory over Australia in April. Echoing Naeher, Tobin Heath said the Americans have embraced team defense. "It's huge. It's a big part of what we're trying to do, both offensively and defensively. We always talk about this idea of 360 defending, where everybody's contributing," Heath said. "I think Alyssa's been fantastic. It's not easy, especially in the first two games to not face that many shots, and then to have a quality opponent like Sweden, to be on her game." If the top-ranked U.S. can get past No. 13 Spain, there's a possibility of a clash against hosts France in the quarterfinal in Paris. The fourth-ranked French, who scored seven goals in the group stage and conceded just one, face Brazil on Sunday. "I think this is the best team we've had, and we're so confident right now, we're so motivated to want to win and succeed," Krieger said. "We know what tools we have and what we need in order to break teams down and be successful in the final third. I think that's what we've showcased so far.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2019

Rodriguez leads Colombia to win over Argentina

By Debora Rey, Associated Press SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — James Rodriguez got the best of Lionel Messi in the Copa America, leading Colombia to a 2-0 win over Argentina in their opening game in the South American tournament on Saturday. Rodriguez set up Roger Martinez's opening goal in the second half with a high, diagonal pass across the field, and substitute Duván Zapata scored late to seal the victory that allowed Colombia to end a 12-year winless streak against the Argentines. Messi had missed a chance to put Argentina in front, sending a close-range header off target as his team opened the tournament with a loss for the first time since 1979. "Our best player was the entire team," Colombia coach Carlos Queiroz said. "The next match will certainly be more difficult, this is only the beginning." Both Argentina and Colombia are trying to end title droughts, with the Argentines winless since the 1993 Copa America and the Colombians without a trophy since the 2001 edition. Argentina lost the finals of the World Cup in 2014 and the Copa America in 2015 and 2016, where it lost both of the latter in penalty shootouts against Chile. Colombia's last win over Argentina was in South American qualifying for the World Cup in 2007. "It had been a long time (without beating Argentina)," Zapata said. "Everyone in Colombia is very happy, but there is still a long way to go in the Copa, we still have important matches ahead." Messi and Rodriguez had a mostly quiet match in Salvador, although Rodriguez provided the assist for Martinez's 71st-minute opener. The playmaker gained possession inside Colombia's own half before picking out Martinez with a long pass. The forward brought the ball down on the left flank before cutting into the penalty area and shooting into the far corner of the net. "We are disappointed because they scored a great goal when we were playing better," Messi said. "It will take some time to accept this defeat, but we have to take the positives from today and move on to try to win the next match. We still have plenty of chances." Argentina's first loss in a Copa America game in regulation time since 2007 was confirmed in the 86th minute. Five minutes after entering the match, Zapata converted from Jefferson Lerma's cross. Argentina striker Sergio Aguero and Colombia veteran Radamel Falcao also couldn't do much to help their teams break through their opponents' defense in a tense opening match in Group B. "We improved in the second half and created chances," said Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni, who complained of the bad field conditions at the Arena Fonte Nova. "We still have two matches left and if we win them we will certainly advance." Argentina will next play against Paraguay in Belo Horizonte, while Colombia will face Qatar in Sao Paulo. Paraguay and Qatar meet in the other Group B match on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro. Earlier Saturday, Peru was held by 10-man Venezuela to a 0-0 draw in Group A, a result that left both teams two points behind host Brazil, which opened with a 3-0 win over Bolivia on Friday in Sao Paulo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019

MPBL: Beefed Up Bacoor City Strikers looking to go further than Divisional Semis

Considering that they were the final expansion team to be formed for the 2018-2019 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, the Bacoor City Strikers did pretty good for themselves, finishing fifth in the Southern Division to clinch a spot in the playoffs, and even going as far as the Divisional Semifinals.  There, the Strikers would fall to eventuall National Finalists Davao Occidental. It may have not been the end to the season that they wanted, but Strikers main man Gab Banal was pretty pleased with what he saw from the team.  "It was an incredible season for me and for Bacoor City, knowing that we were the last team to be formed, and still we were able to reach the semifinals of the Southern Division," Banal told ABS-CBN Sports.  Aside from a playoff berth, Banal also earned MVP honors, finishing with 18.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 6.4 assists during the stellar season.  Now, however, Banal and the Strikers are targeting a deeper run in the post-season, and are expecting to do so, now that they've gotten more time to prepare, and they've gotten more talented.  "I guess this upcoming season, we’ve had more time to prepare. We got some new players and we have a new coach also, and the team management, the players, and the coaching staff are more determined to do better than what we did last year," Banal explained. "We had the coaching changes, the decision was made by the management, and we have some new players so that we could beef up and supplement me in terms of our system, offensively and defensively." "I know that all the other teams beefed up also, and there are additional teams in the Southern Division also. It’s going to be tough, but we will just focus on ourselves and we will just go with the flow and mind our own thing, and see how far we can go this time around," he added.  Joining Banal on the Strikers will be ABL veteran Oping Sumalinog as well as Michael Mabulac, Ian Melecio, Paolo Castro, and Matthew Aquino, among others.  "[We've got] Oping Sumalinog, who played for the ABL, is coming back, and we have Michael Mabulac, Paolo Castro, Ian Melencio, and we have other players that we can rely on off the bench, because last year we were the worst in points off the bench," Banal detailed. "This time, because it’s a long season, I think it’s going to last 10 to 12 months, and it’s gonna be tiring so we need some players who can help us give us that relief off the bench." Obviously, the goal for the Strikers, as with all the other teams in the MPBL, is to be able to bring home the championship at the end of the season. Banal however says that they will take the season a game at a time and the immediate goal is to improve on a daily basis.  "Of course, we’re aiming for the championship, but we’re focusing on one game at a time, and let the season flow and just take care of ourselves, we’re being specific rather than focusing right away on a task far ahead, we’re focusing on one game at a time, one quarter at a time, one possession at a time, and eventually that will build up to a win. We just have to be better every day and focus on our immediate goals and we’ll see how far it takes us."   The Bacoor Strikers open the 2019 MPBL Lakan Cup against reigning Datu Cup Champions San Juan Knights at home in Bacoor on Friday, June 14 at 9:00 PM. Catch it LIVE on S+A channel 23 and on iWant Sports    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2019