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PBA: Black lauds Almazan’s ‘best game’ since joining Meralco

Meralco head coach Norman Black had nothing but praise for big man Raymond Almazan’s game on Saturday. The mentor felt that Almazan delivered his breakout game since joining the Bolts back in May of this year with clutch plays in Meralco’s 98-92 opening day victory over defending champion Magnolia in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome.    ”This is probably the best game of Raymond Almazan since he joined our team,” said Black of his ward, whose fourth quarter explosion spelled the difference in the duel. Almazan broke a 92-92 deadlock with a trey in the last 2:27 of the match and added a split from the foul line to fuel Meralco’s late game barrage. He capped his night with a crucial defensive stop, swatting away Mark Barroca’s layup attempt with 17 ticks left that crushed the comeback hopes of the Hotshots.    “Kasi pinaghandaan ko din eh. 100% na (dapat) ready physically and mentally, so kailangan eh. Di na rin tayo pa-bata eh,” said Almazan, who is fresh from a tour of duty with Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. "May mga bagong batang pumapasok—mas malakas, mas bata, mas athletic. So kailangang i-rise up natin yung game natin." Almazan finished with 19 points -- 12 coming in the payoff period -- in 7-of-11 field goal shooting.   “I'm happy for Raymond, I'm happy that he came out and really came up with some big plays for us tonight,” said Black. Almazan also grabbed 13 boards, had two assists and a block for Meralco. Black just hopes that Almazan would stay healthy throughout the conference. “Last conference he joined us after he was out with an injury for 10 weeks. Everybody expected him to come back and play well immediately, but a lot of people didn't know that about a week after, he re-injured his calf in practice, which set him back,” said Black. “Then when he finally recovered from that, he got sick and was out for another four days. He really could not get his bearings in the last conference, but I wasn't really concerned about that 'cause I knew he was new to the team and he really didn't know the system that well,” added Black. “But we've had a chance now to get him comfortable with the team.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnSep 21st, 2019

PBA: Caram’s career game earns him Player of the Week

Anjo Caram’s career game in the PBA couldn’t have come at a better time for Meralco. The wily guard came through with a career-high 30 points in the Bolts’ 103-89 win over NorthPort Batang Pier that solidified their bid to finish as the no. 1 seeded team heading to the playoffs of the Governors Cup. Coach Norman Black described Caram’s performance as ‘awesome’ after going 11-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range. He scored 16 points in the fourth quarter alone to match his previous career-best of 16. “He really gave us a big lift and pretty much guided us to the victory,” said Black of his prized-guard out of San Beda. “So I gave him a lot of credit for leading the team. He knew going to the game that Baser (Amer) was not 100 percent and Anjo came and really stepped up and made big shots for us.” Not to be denied, Caram emerged as the PBA Press Corps-Cignal Player of the Week for the period (Nov. 4-10). The 28-year-old pride of Iloilo City did the feat by becoming the shortest PBA player at 5-foot-6 to score 30 points in a game as per league chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III. Caram’s offensive explosion helped the Bolts keep their winning streak at five and improved at 8-2 overall for a tie with NLEX on top of the standings with a week to go before the end of the eliminations. The Meralco guard won the weekly citation over NLEX’s Jericho Cruz, who also received a vote for scoring the game-winning basket as the Road Warriors rallied from 26-points down to nip defending champion Magnolia, 86-85. Other players considered for the honor were Caram’s Meralco teammates Raymond Almazan and Chris Newsome, Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra, Rain or Shine’s Javee Mocon, JR Quinahan of NLEX, the San Miguel Beer duo of June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos, along with Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang and Paul Lee......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 14th, 2019

PBA: Healthy Almazan a big blessing for Meralco

Raymond Almazan solves a lot of Meralco’s problems and with him finally healthy in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup, the Bolts are getting major return of investment from their big mid-season acquisition. In the win against Columbian Friday, Almazan was a beast with 18 points anda career-high 24 rebounds. Meralco is 7-2 for the conference with an inside track for a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals. “He’s been a blessing, there’s no doubt about that,” head coach Norman Black said of Almazan. “We got him in the second conference and we received him with an injury already. Took him a little while to recover from that injury. Now he's healthy and he knows the system already, and he's quite comfortable with his teammates. He's been doing a great job for us manning the paint,” he added. Almazan’s impact has been highlighted alongside import Allen Durham. Meralco has been a contender in the PBA everytime Durham is in town. And with Almazan, the Bolts have opened things up more for their two-time Best Import to dominate. “He [Almazan] makes a big difference as far as Allen Durham’s game in concerned,” Coach Norman said. “He [Raymond] takes a lot of pressure inside the paint,” Black added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 9th, 2019

PBA: Almazan plays clutch as Meralco downs Magnolia

Raymond Almazan delivered at crunch time to tow Meralco to a 98-92 win over reigning champion Magnolia on Saturday in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome. The Bolts forward played the hero’s role in the last two and a half minutes of the ballgame, sinking the go-ahead triple and pouring 12 of his 19 points in the fourth period. Almazan broke a 92-92 deadlock with a trey with 2:27 remaining and added a split from the foul line to spark Meralco’s closing 6-0 run.  “It's a good start to the conference for us. It's a very, very satisfying win because we know we're going up against the defending champions,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “We also knew they're a very good defensive team and we had to play good defense to be able to beat them.” Chris Newsome finished with a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds while import Allen Durham flirted with a triple-double with 21 markers, 14 boards and eight assists for Meralco. Almazan had 19 points, 13 rebounds and a crucial block on Mark Barroca’s layup in the last 17 seconds to crush the Hotshots’ desperate attempt to salvage the game. Meralco stated off slow and trailed, 33-49, in the second quarter before coming back in the second half. Ian Sangalang gave Magnolia its last taste of the lead 92-86, off a jumper with 4:40 left before Meralco answered with a 12-point swing. “I thought our defense really kicked in in the fourth quarter,” said Black. “We were able to slow them down and stop them on a lot of plays that made a lot of difference in the game.” Romeo Travis had 22 markers and nine rebounds while Paul Lee had 20 for the Hotshots. Barroca finished with 18 and Peter June Simon got 12 for Magnolia.   The scores:  Meralco (98) -- Newsome 22, Durham 11; Almazan 19, Pinto 9, Faundo 8, Amer 7, Salva 4, Quinto 3, Hugnatan 3, Caram 2. Magnolia (92) -- Travis 22, Lee 20, Barroca 18, Simon 12, Sangalang 11, Pingris 4, Melton 3, Jalalon 2, Reavis 0, Dela Rosa 0. Quarters: 27-30, 48-57, 73-75, 98-92.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2019

PBA: “Nakakainip” says Almazan as he waits for Meralco debut

Raymond Almazan’s on-court debut for Meralco is coming very soon. The Bolts acquired the star big man during the conference break in a trade with Rain or Shine, giving up two first round picks in the process. However, with Almazan bothered by ankle injuries that limited him in the All-Filipino, Meralco is letting him fully recover before making him suit up in an actual game. That and the Bolts just want to incorporate Almazan better in their system. “There’s no set time for him to come back yet. He had a realy strenuous workout two days ago, and I think he proved to the doctor that he could play already,” Meralco head coach Norman Black said. “So now it’s just a matter of getting him in shape and getting him used to our system. So it maybe another two games at least before he comes back. But he’ll be back soon,” he added. For Almazan, he’s just doing his due diligence and getting into game shape. He’s also working on being the anchor of the defense for Meralco once he actually plays. “Nakakainip. Nagpapa-kundisyon na ako for almost two weeks so sana next week, makasabay na ako sa kanila ng five-on-five,” Almazan said. “Defense-first ako bago shoot. I started with defense bago pa ako makarating sa liga, so sana madala ko yung intensity sa defense and then makatulong ako sa team, rebounding, blocking, at helping sa weak side,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

Meralco momentum for playoffs derailed, but Black unfazed

MANILA, Philippines – Losing is inevitable.  That's how Norman Black put things in perspective as Meralco saw its five-game win streak snapped in the PBA Governors' Cup following a sorry 81-83 defeat to Rain or Shine on Sunday, November 17.  "Basketball is a strange game. We just won 5 ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated News9 hr. 52 min. ago

ABL Season 10 Preview

With the 10th Season of the ABL officially underway, we’ve been witnesses to one of the more colorful and exciting off seasons in the past few years. This is a testament to the ever-growing level of competition the league has seen year in and year out, as teams are doing their best to make sure that they enter the season with as competitive a lineup as they can muster. After another banner season which saw the CLS Knights defeat perennial contender the Singapore Slingers, everything is up for grabs. Established teams have entered into rebuilding mode, former champions have gone the direction of youth, regular contenders have added more depth both among their imports and locals, while this year’s expansion club boasts of one of the more impressive lineups we’ve seen from an expansion club in recent memory. All of this just makes for an even more exciting tenth season as the ABL continues to rise to greatness. Here is a quick rundown of what to expect from each of the teams: San Miguel Alab Pilipinas  (Regular season record: 18-8, 2nd, lost to HK Eastern in the quarterfinals) Former ABL Champs San Miguel Alab Pilipinas will be fielding a virtually new squad this 2019-2020 season, with Lawrence Domingo and Brandon Rosser as the only holdovers from Coach Jimmy Alapag’s 2018-2019 campaign. Gone are 3-time local MVP Bobby Ray Parks, Jr, former Defensive Player of the Year Renaldo Balkman and PJ Ramos. Instead, Alab will be relying on Fil-American guards Jason Brickman and Jeremiah Gray to lead their cast of locals. Brickman is no stranger to winning, after having led the Westports Malaysia Dragons to an ABL championship in 2016, and Mono Vampire to a Finals appearance two seasons ago. He remains one of the league’s best passers and has a knack for making winning plays. Jeremiah Gray meanwhile, is arguably Alab’s most touted local addition, and the 6’4” scorer could be one of the most exciting locals to watch out for this season. Since joining the ABL three seasons ago, Alab has finished the regular season no lower than 3rd place, but after last season’s early post season exit against the Hong Kong Eastern, Coach Jimmy Alapag and the rest of the squad are looking to bring the franchise back to the ABL Finals. Formosa Dreamers (Regular season record: 19-7, First, lost to Mono Vampire in the quarterfinals) The Formosa Dreamers shocked the ABL last season when, after finishing with a dismal 1-19 record in their inaugural season, the Dreamers finished at the top of the heap after the regular season with a 19-7 record. It was short-lived however, as the team from Taiwan bowed out in the first round of the post-season to the 8th seeded Mono Vampire of Thailand.  None of the three imports (Will Artino, Malcolm Miller and Tevin Glass) who steered them to a first-place elimination round record will be back this season, and neither will Coach Dean Murray. Instead, the Dreamers will be tapping former Saigon Heat Head Coach Kyle Julius, who steered the Heat to the franchise’s first winning season and playoff victory, to call the shots from the sidelines. They’ve also added two explosive imports in Jerran Young and Marcus Keene. Young, the 6’6” wingman who averaged 19ppg, 7.1rpg, and 2.3 spg to help bring the Slingers back to the ABL Finals last season. Keene meanwhile, suited up for two games for Mono Vampire last season and averaged 32.5ppg before being cut. Look for these two imports to power the Dreamers fast paced offense together with Taiwanese National Team mainstay Jet Chang, and reliable locals Kenny Chien, Lee Hsueh-Lin, and Wu Sung-Wei.   Hong Kong Eastern (Regular Season record: 13-13, 7th, defeated Alab Pilipinas in the quarterfinals, lost to Singapore Slingers in the Semifinals) 2017 ABL Champion Hong Kong Eastern has reset their program, parting ways with 2017 Coach of the Year Edu Torres, as well as former world import MVP, Marcus Elliot. They’ve opted to go with younger imports in Trey Kell (23 years old) and TJ Price (26 years old), while retaining last season’s replacement to Sam Deguara, Michael Holyfield. They’ve also tapped former NBA G-League coach Jordan Brady as Torres’ replacement.  Trey Kell is a talented scorer, standing 6’4”, and averaged 21.6ppg, 7.9rpg, and 4.8apg at the Canadian National Basketball League where he was named Finals MVP. TJ Price meanwhile is another scoring guard who averaged 16.7ppg, 3.3rpg, and 3.2apg in the Hungarian League A Division. Talented as their imports may be however, the success of Eastern’s rebuild will still largely depend on the contributions from the locals.     Kuala Lumpur Dragons (Regular Season record: 8-18, 9th, did not advance to the post season) Key Players: Will Artino, Amir Bell, Cade Davis Now known as the Kuala Lumpur Dragons, the 2016 ABL Champs have long road ahead to retain their past glory. Having not made it to the last three postseasons, Head Coach Jamie Pearlman will be relying heavily on former Creighton Bluejay and Formosa Dreamers center, Will Artino. Artino averaged a double-double in his first season in the ABL, and led the Dreamers to first place at the end of last year’s regular season. He will be partnered up with a solid shooter in Cade Davis, and Amir Bell, a 6’4” guard from Princeton, who averaged 10.4ppg, 4.2rpg, and 3.9apg for Agrigento in the Italian League 2nd Division. It will be interesting to see how this new mix of imports will blend with their locals, especially in a tough bracket that includes San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, Mono Vampire, Singapore Slingers, and the Saigon Heat.   Macau Black Bears (Regular Season Record:14-12, 6th, lost to the Singapore Slingers in the quarterfinals) Key Players: Mikh McKinney, Kenny Manigault, Brandon Edwards, Lai Ka Tong, Jenning Leung When Anthony Tucker went down to injury last season, so did Macau’s hopes of really contending for the ABL crown. Granted, Mikh McKinney was the league’s best scorer and Ryan Watkins, the best rebounder, but without their former World Import MVP and best playmaker, the Black Bears simply could not advance.  This season, gone are Tucker and Watkins. McKinney will have the explosive and athletic Kenny Manigault as his backcourt mate. Manigault averaged 17.1ppg and 5.3rpg playing in Finland. Their third import is 6’6” Brandon Edwards, who will be tasked to mix it up inside with the best big men of the league. It will be tough for this guard-laden Macau squad, and they will rely mostly on a small-ball style, utilizing McKinney’s and Manigault’s athleticism to relentlessly attack defenses and create opportunities for themselves and the rest of their teammates.   Mono Vampire Basketball Club (Regular Season Record: 11-15, 8th, defeated Formosa Dreamers in the quarterfinals, lost to CLS Knights Indonesia in the Semifinals) Key Players: Mike Singletary, Ryan Watkins, Tyler Lamb, Freddie Lish, Moses Morgan Mono Vampire proved that they were dead serious on making it back to the Finals this upcoming ABL Season. Last year, after bucking a slow start, Mono Vampire added Romeo Travis, Malcolm White, and Freddie Lish midseason, and still ended up becoming the hottest team to close the regular season. They also surprised everyone by eliminating the top seeded Formosa Dreamers despite being the 8th seeded team in the post-season.  This year they brought back their solid core of Tyler Lamb, Mike Singletary, Freddie Lish, and Moses Morgan; while also adding the one of last year’s most efficient imports and rebounding leader Ryan Watkins from the Macau Black Bears. 6’1” Preston Knowles, the former Louisville Cardinal, will be manning the point guard spot, as former world import MVP Anthony Tucker, will miss the season due to another foot injury. Regardless of Tucker’s absence however, Mono Vampire looks to possess one of the league’s deepest rosters.    Saigon Heat (Regular Season record: 14-12, 5th, lost to CLS Knights Indonesia in the quarterfinals) Key Players: Chris Charles, Gary Forbes, Sam Thompson, Sang Dinh, Chris Dierker, Tam Dinh Coming from their most successful season thus far where they won their first ever playoff game, the Saigon Heat are poised to make waves this coming ABL season. Their local core of Khoa Tran, Sang Dinh and Chris Dierker, has been further bolstered by VBA MVP and Sang’s older brother, Tam Dinh (24.5ppg, 54.8% FG%), who will look to carry his scoring ways in the ABL. The Heat have also chosen to add length and experience, signing ABL All-time 10 Honoree Chris Charles, NBA veteran Gary Forbes, and former Ohio State Buckeye, Sam Thompson. However, the Heat will no longer be with head coach Kyle Julius -- architect of their playoff runs the past 2 seasons – as he is now with the Formosa Dreamers. In his place, the team has tapped 2-time Vietnam Basketball Association (VBA) Coach of the Year Kevin Yurkus, to lead the squad.    Singapore Slingers (Regular Season record: 16-10, 3rd, defeated the Macau Black Bears in the quarterfinals, defeated HK Eastern in the Semifinals, lost to the CLS Knights Indonesia in the Finals) Key Players: Xavier Alexander, Marcus Elliot, Anthony McClain, Delvin Goh, Leon Kwek Arguably the most talked about offseason transfer belonged to the Singapore Slingers with their signing of former World Import MVP Marcus Elliot. Elliot played the last 3 seasons with Hong Kong Eastern where he averaged 23ppg, 7.6rpg, and 6.5apg. He also ranks 3rd in the ABL’s all-time scoring list, and has the second most career triple-doubles next the Slingers’ Xavier Alexander, last season’s Import MVP. With Elliot and Alexander, Singapore would now possess the league’s most potent backcourt, although there will surely be a period of adjustment, as both players are used to having the ball in their hands for most of the game. Further bolstering Coach Neo Beng Siang’s lineup is the addition of 7-foot big man Anthony McClain, a walking double-double, who most recently normed 17.8ppg and 13.6rpg in Taiwan’s Super Basketball League. Providing local support as well are Delvin Goh, who has continuously improved every season, and the returning Leon Kwek, who’s scoring and heads up play was sorely missed last season when he had to sit out due to National Service commitments.   Macau Wolf Warriors  Regular Season record: 2-24, 10th, did not advance to the post season) Key Players: Steven Thomas, Julian Boyd, Douglas Herring, Cai Chen After a dismal inaugural season, record-wise, the Wolf Warriors are looking to follow in the footsteps of the Formosa Dreamers, who rebounded from their 1-19 debut season to top the elimination round of season 2018-2019. They’ve brought in former ABL Champion Coach Todd Purves to mastermind the team’s rebuild, as well as ABL import legend and All-time Ten Honoree Steven Thomas, and ABL Champion Douglas Herring, who led the CLS Knights to their first ever ABL Championship last season. Rounding out their import lineup is Julian Boyd, a prolific scorer who averaged 22.5ppg and 9.9rpg, in his most recent stint in Iceland’s domestic professional league. Cai Chen, their top local last season, will try to prove that his 19.7ppg and 7.4rpg was no fluke, as he will try to lead their cast of locals to a better finish this time around.  Taipei Fubon Braves (new) Key Players: OJ Mayo, Charles Garcia, Joseph Lin, Lin Chih-Chieh, Tseng Wen-Ting One of the most interesting and exciting expansion teams the ABL has seen in a long while, the Taipei Fubon Braves not only bring with them a winning tradition, but a star-studded lineup. Champions of the local Taiwan Super Basketball League, the Braves will be parading arguably the best ex-NBA player to play in the league in OJ Mayo, former NBA D-League player and double-double machine, Charles Garcia, as well as 7’4” behemoth Sim Bhullar, and Taiwanese National Team veterans Lin Chih-Chieh and Tseng Wen-Ting. Another notable name on their lineup is Joseph Lin, younger brother of former NBA star Jeremy Lin.  Coach Roger Hsu’s team will be coming into the ABL with a lot of hype surrounding them; but with their chemistry and championship pedigree, he hopes the transition from their domestic league to the higher level of competition in the ABL will be a smooth one......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 16th, 2019

Almazan a blessing for Meralco with career game

MANILA, Philippines – Raymond Almazan had a performance to remember as he set a career-high in rebounds in Meralco's  92-74 romp over Columbian in the PBA Governors' Cup on Friday, November 8. The 6-foot-8 big man collared a personal-best 24 rebounds to go with 18 points and 2 blocks to ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 8th, 2019

PBA: Almazan’s big game sparks Meralco’s win over Columbian

Meralco is closing in on that top-4 finish in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup. The Bolts continued their electrifying run Friday, zapping Columbian Dyip at the Big Dome, 92-74. Sparked by big games from import Allen Durham and Raymond Almazan, Meralco improved to 7-2 in the standings, keeping its hold of solo third place. Former two-time Best Import Durham finishing with 34 points and 14 rebounds for Meralco and the Bolts won a third straight game. Meanwhile, Almazan grabbed a career-high 24 rebounds to go along with 18 points and two blocks. Chris Newsome added another 10 points for Meralco. Columbian is slowly losing its place in the top-8, dropping to 4-5 in the team standings. CJ Perez led the way for the Dyip with 21 points while import Khapri Alston added 19.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 8th, 2019

PBA: Bolts dominant in 24-point beatdown of Ginebra

Meralco turned its highly-anticipated showdown against Barangay Ginebra into a blowout. The Bolts were sensational for a second straight week, dominating the Gin Kings for a 101-77 win in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome. A week after Meralco demolished San Miguel Beer by 26 points, the Bolts issued a 24-point beatdown to Ginebra, taking over solo third place in the team standings with a 6-2 mark, a full game back for first place. The Bolts led by as many as 28 points, controlling the game right from the start. Former two-time Best Import Allen Durham showed up, finishing with 39 points on top of 12 rebounds and seven assists. Rookie Bong Quinto led the local attack for Meralco, scoring 13 points. Chris Newsome and Raymond Almazan added 11 andd 10 points respectively. Ginebra’s four-game run ended with the loss and the Gin Kings dropped to 5-3, tied with idle San Miguel in the standings. Justin Brownlee was the high man for Ginebra with 18 points. LA Tenorio added 12 points for the Gin Kings.   The Scores: Meralco (101) -- Durham 39, Quinto 13, Newsome 11, Almazan 10, Amer 8, Pinto 5, Caram 5, Faundo 4, Hodge 2, Maliksi 2, Jackson 2, Jose 0, Salva 0. Barangay Ginebra (77) -- Brownlee 18, Tenorio 12, Pringle 8, Aguilar 8, Mariano 7, Dela Cruz 6, Thompson 6, Slaughter 5, Caguioa 4, Caperal 2, Sargent 1, Chan 0. Quarters: 26-15, 53-32, 77-53, 101-77.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2019

PBA: Bolts want a top-four finish and playoff bonus

ANTIPOLO — The Governors’ Cup is unique among the PBA conferences because it rewards four teams of a playoff bonus in the quarterfinals. The four best teams at the end of the elimination round get a twice-to-beat advantage in the first round, as opposed to the Philippine Cup and the Commissioner’s Cup where only the top-two teams get the incentive. The format certainly favors the Meralco Bolts now. The Bolts have not made the playoffs once this season but if the quarterfinals started tomorrow, they’re the no. 4 seed and are one win away from making the semifinals. “The goal is to try to take advantage of the format, where the top-four teams take twice-to-beat. We’re trying to stay in that top-four,” head coach Norman Black said as his Bolts improved to 4-2 with a win over Blackwater Friday here. “With Allen Durham here, we think we can always be competitive with all the teams. We wanna take advantage of the fact that he's back here in the Philippines playing for Meralco. We wanna be the best we can this conference,” he added. The Bolts have a history of doing well in the Governors’ Cup with Durham, who is a former two-time Best Import. Meralco plans to keep that streak going and a strong 4-2 start is a step in the right direction. The playoff race in the Governors’ Cup is usually the most compelling, and the Bolts are just trying to make sure they get the job done. “We just want to win the games we think we can go out and win,” Black said. “The focus to go out there and get it done was just there tonight. It didn't really matter whether it was pretty or not. We just wanted to go out and defend and win the game, and that was really the focus,” Coach Norman added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 18th, 2019

PBA: Almazan argues his crucial goaltend is “legal”

Meralco’s comeback attempt Friday was cut short by a crucial goaltending violation against Raymond Almazan. Down four in the final minute against NLEX in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup, the Bolts gave up another two points with 35 seconds to go because of the Almazan violation. Officials say Raymond touched the rim on a rebound play following a Kiefer Ravena attempt. Almazan argues he did nothing wrong. “Para sakin, legal yun. Ang daming beses ko na nakita sa World Cup na ginagawa ng players yun,” Almazan said. “Di ko naman nahawakan yung ring eh. At nakita kong nag-bounce siya tapos tinapik ko na siya agad. Akala ko nga tinawagan ng foul si Ighalo eh tapos magf-free throw ako. Nagulat na lang ako na goaltending. Break of the game din yun,” Raymond added. In the end though, Almazan says the Bolts can’t affort to stage comebacks every game. It’s on to the next one for Meralco now. “Hindi pwedeng every game ganun eh. Di pwedeng every game magha-habol ka ng ganun,” Almazan said. “Kailangan makadikit ang game kasi mas gusto ko yung ganing laro na dikit, na kahit endgame okay lang samin. Pero yung 18-plus tapos nag-20 pa ata, kahit sino mahihirapan doon. Good effort pa rin for the whole team. Siguro bawi na lang kami next game namin,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 27th, 2019

Almazan finally proves worth for success-hungry Meralco

MANILA, Philippines – Meralco traded a part of its future for Raymond Almazan – and that gamble finally paid off as it stunned reigning PBA Governors' Cup champions Magnolia.  Almazan delivered his finest game since getting acquired by the Bolts, registering 19 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 22nd, 2019

Aaron Black posts 45-18-12, AMA pounds on Hazchem

Aaron Black churned out another triple-double performance, leading AMA's 133-90 decimation of Hazchem to complete Group A's playoff picture in the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig. The son of PBA great and current Meralco coach Norman Black finished with 45 points, 18 assists, and 12 rebounds as he tied Jeron Teng for the most number of triple-double performances in the developmental ranks with three. That also marked the sixth-highest scoring game in PBA D-League history. Black also played a big factor behind the Titans' 21-2 start in the game, setting the tone for the one-sided affair. AMA would then lead by as many as 47 points, 130-83, after a Franz Asuncion bucket that came off a Black assist with 34 seconds left to play before cruising to the 43-point victory. "Si Aaron siguro hindi nabigyan ng chance noon pero kilala ko yang batang yan noon pa. Sinabi ko sa kanya na siya inaasahan ng team pero tinutulungan pa rin siya ng teammates niya, so team effort pa rin," said coach Mark Herrera. Dennis Santos had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Luke Parcero had 18 points, while Alvin Fuentes and Michael De Leon added 11 markers apiece in the victory that enabled the Titans to lock up the fourth seed in the group with their 3-3 card. "Pinaghandaan namin to kasi pag natalo kami may chance pa pumasok yung kalaban. Nagbigay din ng motivation yung may-ari ng AMA si Ambassador (Dr. Amable Aguiluz V), birthday niya so gift namin 'to sa kanya," Herrera said. Raymark Matias had 28 points and five rebounds to lead Hazchem, which ended its campaign with a 1-5 card. Alexander Mohammad made 13 points as Marvin Moraga added 10 points and 10 boards in the Green Warriors defeat. BOX SCORES AMA 133 -- Black 45, Santos 20, Parcero 18, Fuentes 11, De Leon 11, Paras 7, Asuncion 5, Rodriguez 5, Alina 3, Austria 3, Tolentino 2, Catorce 2, Saor 1, Estibar 0, Limpin 0. HAZCHEM 90 -- Matias 28, Mohammad 13, Moraga 10, Trinidad 8, Torrado 7, Elmejrab 5, Arellano 5, Adviento 4, Glorioso 3, Serrano 2, Acain 2, Caparida 2, Ynion 1, Daguplo 0, Mendez 0. QUARTER SCORES: 31-9, 54-30, 86-50, 133-90......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2019

FIBA: Near triple-double for Blatche as Gilas Pilipinas beats Adelaide 36ers

Gilas Pilipinas gets a huge boost in its preparations for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. The Philippine national team beat Australia’s Adelaide 36ers, 92 - 83, in a practice game Monday at the Meralco Gym. It’s the first of two games between the two teams and Gilas improved to 4-1 overall in its tune-ups ahead of the World Championships. Gilas was in control for most of the game until the 36ers’ strong fourth-quarter effort that gave them the lead, 81-80. Fortunately for the national team, Andray Blatche found RR Pogoy for a booming triple with 3:32 to go that sparked a 10-0 run for Gilas, regaining the lead that they’ll never lose until the final buzzer. Pogoy scored eight in that 10-0 run with Blatche assisting on all three baskets. Japeth Aguilar then dropped a two-hand power slam with 35 seconds left for a 92-83 lead that pretty much sealed the win. Blatche posted a near triple-double and finished with 19 points, 18 rebounds, and nine assists. Japeth Aguilar added 17 for Gilas while CJ Perez came off the bench and scored 12 points. RR Pogoy and Paul Lee were likewise in double figures with 10 points each.     The scores: GILAS PILIPINAS 92 - Blatche 19, Aguilar 17, Perez 12, Pogoy 10, Lee 10, Bolick 8, Almazan 7, Barroca 5, Fajardo 4, Norwood 0, Rosario 0. ADELAIDE 83 - Moore 16, Froling 11, Teys 10, Dillon 10, Taylor 9, Griffin 9, Kyei 8, Johnson 6, McVeigh 4, White 0. Quarterscores: 25-16, 50-49,73-68, 92-83.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2019

Aaron Black tallies second triple-double in as many games in PBA D-League

Aaron Black once again churned out a triple-double performance as AMA Online Education gave debutant iWalk a rude 110-92 blowout to register its first win in the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup, Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig. The son of PBA great and Meralco coach Norman Black registered 26 points, 16 rebounds, and 14 assists as he became only the third player in the developmental league's history to rack up multiple triple-doubles after Mike Tolomia (twice) and Jeron Teng (thrice). "Binibigyan ko na talaga siya ng kumpyansa eh, kasi kilala ko na siya simula bata pa lang dahil naging player ko na siya nung 13-under pa lang," said coach Mark Herrera of Black. Dennis Santos also uncorked 32 points and 10 rebounds as the Titans hiked their card to 1-1. AMA built a 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter, 81-67, but the veteran-laden iWalk fought back and knocked within just four, 83-87, after a Wowie Escosio lay-up with 5:45 remaining. The Titans did respond immediately, scoring eight straight points capped by Santos' three-pointer to make it a 95-83 advantage with 4:54 left to play and to cruise to the 19-point win. "Last game medyo bumitaw kami eh. Natalo kami ng one point. Sabi ko sa kanila makakapag-adjust tayo sa depensa. At medyo bata tayo so pwede natin takbuhan," Herrera said. Newcomer Vince Tolentino also made his presence felt for AMA with 14 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds. Ryusei Koga led the Chargers with 18 points in the loss. Bernie Bregondo provided 15 points and 20 rebounds, while Escosio chimed in 14 markers and eight boards off the bench. BOX SCORES AMA 110 -- Santos 32, Black 26, Tolentino 14, Parcero 12, De Mesa 8, Asuncion 7, De Leon 6, Estibar 3, Alina 2, Fuentes 0, Rodriguez 0, Saor 0, Catorce 0. IWALK 92 -- Koga 18, Bregondo 15, Escosio 14, Cruz 11, Inigo 11, Parker 8, Belencion 7, Gaco 6, Mangahas 3, Taguinod 0. QUARTER SCORES: 23-19, 51-46, 76-65, 110-92......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 1st, 2019

Black sizzles as AMA five dumps iWalk

Aaron Black registered a triple-double for the second straight game as AMA Online Education pulled away late for a 110-92 win over newcomer iWalk in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. The son of PBA great and current Meralco coach Norman Black had 26 points, 16 rebounds and […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsAug 1st, 2019

Kiefer Ravena returns to National Team practice for the first time since FIBA suspension

Kiefer Ravena takes another step towards his on-court comeback after re-joining the Philippine Men's National Team practice, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas.  Ravena has been serving an 18-month suspension imposed by FIBA for failing a random drug test back in 2018. The suspension began on February 25, 2018 and since then, Ravena has been barred from participating in basketball-related activities, including playing for his NLEX squad in the PBA.  The good news for Ravena is that the suspension is set to be lifted on August 24th, 2019, just in time for the upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup in China on August 31st.  Joining Ravena in Monday night's practice were June Mar Fajardo, Paul Lee, RR Pogoy, Poy Erram, and Japeth Aguilar, Mark Barroca, Marcio Lassiter and Troy Rosario. Also present are Robert Bolick, Stanley Pringle, and CJ Perez. Bigman Raymond Almazan is also present but is not participating in the practice proper.  Veteran Marc Pingris also dropped by to watch the National Team put in work. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2019

Kiefer Ravena’s return highlights Gilas’ ‘best practice so far’

The Philippine Men’s Senior National Basketball team continued their preparations for the upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup in China this August with another training session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas. While the highlight of the scrimmage was the return of playmaker Kiefer Ravena, who has been serving an 18-month suspension handed down by FIBA back in 2018, another positive was the number of players who participated in the practice. A total of 13 players were present in practice, and National Team head coach Yeng Guiao was happy to see enough bodies to be able to hold a proper 5-on-5 run. “We had enough people to go 5-on-5, this is our first complete actually, it’s our best practice so far,” Guiao told the media during a post-practice scrum. National Team vets such as Paul Lee, RR Pogoy, Marcio Lassiter, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Poy Erram, and Mark Barroca were on hand to participate in the drills and the 5-on-5 scrimmage, while Raymond Almazan was also in attendance but did not join the practice proper. Apart from Ravena, other new faces for this training camp included PBA rookies Robert Bolick and CJ Perez, and Guiao was delighted to see them come out. “We’re very very appreciative of the guys who came in, si CJ atsaka si Robert, and of course, Kiefer,” the long-time mentor said. “For the first time, he’s able to practice and witness kayo, for the first time after more than one year and six months. Siguro part of the excitement why we had a really good practice today, we’re just excited to play with each other.” Guiao explained that Bolick and Perez, former NCAA stars, were invited because of their initiative to try their luck with the National Team pool. “Actually, in the case of Robert and CJ, sila yung nag-initiate na makapag-practice sila, that’s why we invited them, so nagparamdam sila na gusto nilang mag-try ng luck nila to be in the to be in the pool.” As for Ravena, Guiao was pleased to see that his NLEX playmaker was in tip-top shape, even after the time off. “Si Kiefer, nakakausap ko naman yun, so he’s really excited to be part of the National Team, at least pool, although sabi ko naman his chances of making it are really good,” Guiao stated. “You saw him in practice today, it’s just like he did not miss the last, or he was not suspended, for the last one and a half years. His sharpness is there, his stamina is there, he does not look like he’s heavy, that’s his natural body, so things are looking good at this point.” Guiao also expressed his appreciation for Stanley Pringle, who joined the practice. Pringle and the Gin Kings took on Guiao’s NLEX Road Warriors in Batangas the night before Gilas practice. “Si Stanley, again, he’s one of the guys that volunteered himself, just in case we need an extra body. Galing yan sa Batangas, kalaban namin kahapon, so he’s just offering his services just so we have people who can play roles in practices so mas maganda yung practice natin.” Being designated as a naturalized citizen by FIBA, The newly-acquired Ginebra Gin King is unlikely to crack the lineup with big man Andray Blatche expected to suit up for the National Team. Guiao is, however, looking to add Pringle to the training pool for their training camp in Spain this August. “I’m also thinking of bringing Stanley to Spain, if Ginebra is not playing in the Finals, kasi may dalawang team na maglalaro ng Finals, siguradong may member ng National Team, so when we go to Spain, we can only take the players of the ten teams that are not involved, so may mawawala talaga, so kailangan pag-isipan kung sino ang isasama.” The 2019 FIBA World Cup kicks off on August 31st in China, with the Philippines joining Angola, Italy, and Serbia in Group D. Guiao hopes to be able to release a final lineup by next month. “Pag-dating ni Blatche, I think July 8, siguro by July 15 mayroon nang final lineup.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2019

Black on Meralco Bolts: We overachieved

MANILA, Philippines – The instruction was to foul in the fateful last 5.5 seconds in Game Six Wednesday night but the Meralco Bolts failed to give one and Ju.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 20th, 2016

Meralco insists Mercado commit traveling violation in final minute

MERALCO head coach Norman Black, in his own words, &'8220;went ballistic&'8221; after seeing Ginebra guard Sol Mercado get away with what he felt was a traveling violation in the final minute of Game 5 of the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup Finals on Sunday. Mera.....»»

Category: newsSource:  remateRelated NewsOct 17th, 2016