July 24, 2017
Serving as the catalyst in NLEX\'s strong 2-0 start, young guard Kevin Alas emerged as the first PBA Press Corps Player of the Week behind his inspired plays in the opening week of the Governors\' Cup. The six-foot guard kicked off NLEX\'s campaign by banging in 20 points, hauling down 8 rebounds and issuing 4 assists to lead the Road Warriors past Alaska, 112-104 last Wednesday in the opening game of the season-ending conference. Curiously, Alas has gone up 3-0 in his head-to-head this season with his father Louie, who serves as the deputy coach of Alex Compton at Alaska. Alas then submitted another all-around stats line of 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block as NLEX hacked KIA, 100-93. The former Letran star easily beat out Phoenix guard RJ Jazul, Meralco\'s Chris Newsome, Rain or Shine\'s Maverick Ahanmisi and Star veteran PJ Simon for the weekly citation. The Road Warriors are determined to move forward following a woeful 4-win total in the first two conferences this season. Alas and the Road Warriors will be shooting for a 3-0 start, the franchise’s first if ever under coach Yeng Guiao when they take on Rain or Shine on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
July 23, 2017
MERALCO salvaged some measure of pride Sunday night when it whipped defending champion Barangay Ginebra, 90-78, in the first meeting between the two teams that tangled in last year’s PBA Governors Cup finals. The Bolts went on a huge third quarter tear to turn around a tight ballgame that saw the return from injury of Ginebra big man Greg Slaughter. Behind Jared Dillinger, Chris Newsom, and Cliff Hodge, the Bolts ran the Kings to the ground by outscoring the reigning champions, 10-0, to break a 46-all count for a 56-46 upperhand. The Bolts stretched the lead to its biggest, 72-53, just before the quarter ended, forcing Ginebra coach Tim Cone to finally sit on the bench and ponder what hit his team. Reigning Best Import Allen Durham scored 10 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter as he helped quell a comeback by the league’s most popular ballclub to the disappointment of pro-Ginebra crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Durham came an assist short of a triple double as he finished with 24 rebounds and nine assists. “I’m very happy with our effort tonight especially on the defensive end. I thought we played good defense the entire game,” acknowledged coach Norman Black afterwards. “Overall, it’s just a great start for us,” added the multi-titled mentor, whose team improved to 2-0 for a share of the early lead with Phoenix. Dillinger added 17 including 10 during that third quarter breakaway. Chris Newsome had 16 while Hodge contributed 10 despite walking away with a busted lip courtesy of a Slaughter elbow late in the final period. The 7-foot Slaughter heralded his comeback from an ACL injury by finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds in his first game since he hurt his knee against Mahindra (now KIA Picanto) last September in the Commissioner’s Cup. But the big man out of Ateneo struggled from the floor with his 6 of 14 shooting. “Obviously Greg is just getting back from an injury and they’re just getting him back in tune to their game,” said Black of Slaughter with whom he won a pair of UAAP championships while still calling the shots for Ateneo. LA Tenorio led the Kings with 16 points as import Justine Brownlee was held to just 5 of 15 shooting for 13 points overall.
July 23, 2017
TAIPEI – Gilas Pilipinas, preparing for two separate tourneys in the next few weeks, capped a solid fourth-place showing in the 2017 Jones Cup with a 90-82 win over Iran at the Taipei Peace Basketball Gymnasium here on Sunday. Except for a letdown in a stretch midway through the opening quarters, the Filipinos took the initiative all throughout, hardly facing major trouble in disposing of a team that has been among the Philippines’ biggest rivals in the last few years. But it’s only a battle between the Gilas cadets versus the Iran Team B. Nonetheless, it’s certainly a good way to finish Gilas’ stint here, boding well for its coming SEA Games campaign. Still, Gilas coach Chot Reyes had his disappointment, believing they could have finished way better. “I thought that’s the worst game we played the whole tournament. Versus Korea, we shot poorly but we defended very well and I thought we played a very good game even if we lost,” said Reyes. “Same thing in our games against Canada and Lithuania. I thought this is our worst. Maybe the players were tired, they’re kind of overlooked Iran or overconfident. I thought we played below our potential,” Reyes added. Overall, Reyes said they performed well and achieved their goal. “Overall, it’s a good tournament for us. Not only we’re leaving a good impression, I thought we represented the program very well with these guys who are a very young group,” said Reyes. “Considering we’re only in the third week together, I thought we put up a job that speaks well of the program,” added Reyes, who steered the team to wins over Taipei A, Taipei B, Japan, Iraq, India and Iran versus losses to Canada, Lithuania and Korea. With a 6-3 mark, Gilas placed fourth behind Canada (8-1), Lithuania (8-1) and South Korea (still playing at posting time with a 6-2 record). Mike Myers collected 21 points and 11 rebounds, Matthew Wright made three treys and total of 20 markers while Christian Standhardinger added 13 points and four rebounds in the game marked by a glimpse of NBA star Kyrie Irving when the Filipinos were already putting the final touch on the win. The scores: PHILIPPINES 90 – Myers 21, Wright 20, Standhardinger 13, Pogoy 9, Ravena 8, Cruz 5, Parks 5, Ferrer 3, Jose 2, Tolomia 2, Pessumal 2, Jalalon 0. IRAN 82 – Pazrofteh 21, Soleymani 21, Khajehzadeh 12, Mozafarivanani 11, Rezaeifar 11, Beigiharchegani 3, Falahat 2, Shaharian Nasl 1, Mohammadi 0, Rezaei 0, Reaei 0. Quarterscores: 26-22; 50-42; 70-62; 90-82
July 23, 2017
TRUST a veteran to rise to the occasion when needed. PJ Simon did just that, enabling Star to open up its PBA Governors Cup campaign with a 103-86 victory over hard-luck Blackwater Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Simon wound up with 20 points while Allein Maliksi, Ian Sangalang and another seasoned campaigner in Rafi Reavis did their share for the Hotshots in making up for import Cinmeon Bowers notching only 15 points and eight rebounds in his league debut. Still,Star coach Chito Victolero said he was still satisfied with Bowers’ performance. “Okay naman laro niya,” he said of Bowers, who saw action in just a little under 30 minutes, took just 11 shots and took time to issue five assists. “Siguro nag-a-adjust pa sa system ko,” added Victolero. “I’m happy sa inilaro ni CB. Kailangan lang siguro mag-adjust pa siya sa physicality, how to finish (strong to) the basket. Konting adjustments lang.” The 37-year-old Simon was foremost among those who readily picked up the cudgels and was mainly responsible for Star’s steady break from a 71-68 count. “Maaasahan naman lagi si PJ every time,” said Victolero of Simon, who came off the bench to shoot 8-of-10 from the field in just a little over 16 minutes of action. “Nag-step up siya ngayon, especially nu’ng naghahabol ‘yung Blackwater. iyung mga decision-making niya,” added Victolero. “Sana magtuloy-tuloy.” It was the second loss in as many games for Blackwater, and brought about in large part when Trevis Simpson had to leave the game with still 11:36 left in the game due to a suspected groin pull. Before the injury, Simpson was going great guns, already tallying 24 points and eight boards while repeatedly driving hard to the basket or pulling up for jumpers. “Nakatulong sa amin iyon, na nawala import nila,” admitted Victolero. “Nawalan sila ng extra scorer. He keeps on attacking the basket so naguguluhan din depensa naming sa kanya.” With the Elite having nobody else to turn to it didn’t take long for Star to pad a 70-75 lead to 101-80, in a stretch where Simon had eight of his points, Sangalang six of his 14 and Mark Barroca four of his six. After going 0-for-13 from beyond the arc in a 78-107 loss to Meralco last Friday Blackwater again missed its first 10 triple tries against Star. Despite that, the Elite kept within striking distance before Mike Digregorio boomed one in to make it 68-71. Then Simon scored four straight points to end the third quarter and give the Hotshots a seven-point lead.
July 23, 2017
Gilas Pilipinas couldn\'t have scripted their game against India better. Gilas started the game a little slow, but their outside shooting in the remaining 3 quarters helped them break the game wide open. Matthew Wright, Von Pessumal, Carl Cruz, and Almond Vosotros all made at least 3 triples each for Gilas, which pocketed win #5 and preserved a shot at finishing among the top three teams of the tournament. The last team in their way is old nemesis Iran, which has sent their own version of a cadets team but remain quite potent nonetheless. To end their campaign on a bright note, Gilas will have to pull out all the stops and make sure not to take Iran for granted. Sure they may not have any of the familiar names like Haddadi, Kamrani, or Bahrami, but this Iran squad is still mighty dangerous. - Speaking of Iran, they are fresh from handing hosts Taiwan Blue another loss last night. Iran pounced on the fact that Taiwan was playing without some key big men, and the West Asia kings utilized their size advantage to the hilt. Against Gilas, Iran will have to contend with the tournament\'s 3rd best rebounding team, which means the Iranians better bring their A-game lest they get blown out by the more experienced Filipinos. GILAS PILIPINAS roster & stats from Day 8 Ray Parks, Jr. - 6\'4 - DNP Kobe Paras - 6\'6 - DNP Mac Belo - 6\'3 - DNP Fonzo Gotladera - 6\'5 - 2pts, 2rebs Von Pessumal - 6\'2 - 14pts, 3rebs, 4 triples Almond Vosotros - 5\'11 - 11pts, 4rebs, 2asts, 3 triples Jio Jalalon - 5\'10 - 7pts, 2rebs, 5asts, 3stls Mike Tolomia - 5\'11 - 8pts, 2rebs, 3asts, 1stl Ed Daquioag - 6\'1 - 8pts, 2rebs, 1stl RR Pogoy - 6\'2 - DNP Matthew Wright - 6\'4 - 19pts, 1ast, 1stl, 5 triples Kevin Ferrer - 6\'5 - DNP Carl Cruz - 6\'5 - 9pts, 2rebs, 3 triples Christian Standhardinger - 6\'8 - 10pts, 4rebs, 2asts Raymar Jose - 6\'5 - 2pts, 4rebs, 2stls Kiefer Ravena - 6\'1 - 2pts, 2rebs, 2asts Michael Myers - 6\'9 - 4pts, 7rebs, 3asts IRAN roster & stats from Day 8 Mohammadreza Falahat - 6\'1 - G - 2pts, 3rebs, 3asts, 2stls, 1blk Rasoul Mozafarivanani - 6\'3 - G - 9pts, 5rebs, 1ast, 1stl, 1 triple Aliyar Najafi - 6\'4 - F - DNP Navid Rezaifar - 6\'5 - F - 22pts, 3rebs, 5asts, 1blk Saeid Mohammadi - 6\'3 - G - 1ast Mohammadreza Rezaei - 6\'7 - F - DNP Sajjad Pazrofteh - 6\'9 - C/F - 12pts, 8rebs Ebrahim Beihiharchegani - 6\'11 - C - 1pt, 2rebs Mohammad Shahrian - 6\'3 - G - 4pts, 2rebs, 1 triple Keyvan Reaei - 7\'1 - C - 14pts, 8rebs, 2blks Masoud Soleymani - 6\'9 - C/F - 6pts, 7rebs Navid Khajehzadeh - 6\'5 - F - 2rebs Game Notes: 1) PHI: RAIN THOSE THREES - Gilas is built for speed and shooting. Speed will always be a constant — they are nearly always pedal to the metal. Shooting, however, is a little harder to predict or project, but it is clearly a barometer for success. If Gilas rains triples on its foes, they tend to win, but if they struggle from long range, that usually means big trouble. In losses: 5.0 triples per game; 21.1 3pt% In wins: 11.6 triples per game; 38.4 3pt% 2) STORIED RIVALRY - There is a storied rivalry between these two teams when it comes to FIBA Asia play. They have met many times in what has turned out to be very exciting and physical contests. Even when it comes to tuneup contests in tournaments like the Jones Cup, when Gilas and Iran meet, fireworks are certain to follow. The same can be expected here even if these aren\'t the respective Team As of each country. Last five meetings (in any tournament): Gilas bt Iran, 87-73 in 2015 FIBA Asia Championship Iran bt Gilas, 74-65 in 2015 Jones Cup Iran bt Gilas, 76-55 in 2014 FIBA Asia Cup Iran bt Gilas, 85-71 in 2013 FIBA Asia Championship Iran bt Gilas, 77-60 in 2012 FIBA Asia Cup 3) PHI: THE WRIGHT MAN - With both teams probably going all out in this one, it should not be surprising to see Matthew Wright play a major role. The Fil-Canadian super shooter has blown hot and cold in this tournament but for the most part he has been a very reliable sniper for Gilas. His shooting touch from the perimeter will be crucial if Gilas is to stretch Iran\'s defense and make life troublesome for them. Stats: 12.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.3spg, 2.4 triples per game, 37.8 3pt% Last game vs IND: 19pts, 1ast, 1stl, 5 triples, 100.0 3pt% 4) PHI: THE MEYERS FACOR - Despite some early struggles in the tournament, import Michael Myers has become a huge contributor for the squad. His constant double-double production has helped the team shore up the middle, and he has been an imposing player on both ends. Needless to say, his production will be critical if they want to end their campaign here with a win over Iran. He is also coming off game where he played only 16 minutes, so he should pretty well rested against Iran. Stats: 13.6ppg, 13.3rpg, 50.8 FG% Last game vs IND: 4pts, 7rebs, 1stl, 1/1 Fgs 5) IRI: THE YOUNG GUN - The guy Gilas has to watch out for when it comes to facing this Iranian team is young gunner Navid Rezaeifar. Navid was a candidate to be on their Team A for the FIBA Asia Cup, and he is seen as one of the potential future stars of the Iranians. Already in this competition, the 6\'5 20-yr-old has shown some brilliant play, leading Iran in scoring and 3pt shooting. Needless to say, if he is left unchecked by Gilas, he will make them pay. Stats - 19.1ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.9apg, 2.1 triples per game, 34.1 3pt% Last game vs TPE Blue - 22pts, 3rebs, 5asts, 1blk, 1/10 3pts, 7/7 FTs 6) IRI: THE NEW HADDADI? - One guy who could also be in Iran\'s Team A in the near future is 7\'1 22-yr-old Keyvan Reaei. Given his size and length, Keyvan is seen by some Iranian fans as a possible heir to the spot of legendary center Hamed Haddadi, and why not? Keyvan has had some excellent games here in the Jones Cup, and he has shown some flashes of brilliance. He may have his hands full here against Myers and possibly Standhardinger, but look for this kid to play an important role. Stats: 14.0ppg, 8.3rpg, 1.0bpg, 69.8 FG% Last game vs TPE Blue: 14pts, 8rebs, 2blks, 4/8 FGs, 6/6 FTs (Photo: CTBA)