Boy, when the Petron Blaze Boosters are on, they are ON.
They opened up a tight game in the third period, outscoring the Elasto-Painters, 33-12, and then cruised to an easy win only their fourth in ten games.
Former Smart-Gilas standout Chris Lutz was on fire here, hitting 7 of his 11 field goals, including 4 triples. He also grabbed 5 rebounds and dished out 5 assists to punctuate a good all-around performance. Arwind Santos had a monster double-double line consisting of 16 points and 15 boards while frontcourt mate Jay Washington, who has been the meat of recent trade rumors, had 14 markers and 6 caroms. Three other Boosters finished in double-digits.
Despite having a depleted frontline, the Boosters held their own against the vaunted Extra Rice Boys of Rain or Shine. Beau Belga, JR Quiahan, Jervy Cruz, and Larry Rodriguez all actually finished in double-figures, but this was offset by the Painters anemic outside shooting. They made good on just 18% of their threes and shot just 36% overall from the floor. This is only the third loss for the Painters, who are in solo third place behind Talk N Text and San Mig Coffee.
Game Recaps: AIR 21 EXPRESS over ALASKA ACES, 104-103
Mark Isip played an unfamiliar role Wednesday night, drilling in the game-winning basket and leading the Air 21 Express to their third straight victory of the season following a tense 104-103 squeaker over the hard-fighting Alaska Aces in the PBA Philippine Cup at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot-4 forward received a pass from Mike Cortez, who was double-teamed on his way to the basket. Isip unleashed a short jumper over the outstretched arms of Sonny Thoss and his shot bounced off the rim before going in, giving the Express the marginal basket.
Our play was for our guards to create something going to the basket. Good thing Mike had the presence of mind to pass it out to an open Mark Isip, said Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren, who posted the first three-game winning streak of his PBA coaching career.
More importantly, the Express victory put them into a tie for sixth to seventh spots of the team standings.
The Aces, on the other hand, absorbed their third straight loss after a string of five consecutive victories. They fell to an even 5-5 record.
Alaska, however, fought back from double-digit deficits in the second half and appeared to be headed to complete a come-from-behind behind the solid games of Mac Baracael and rookie Calvin Abueva, who had six straight points in the span of one minute.
Id like to give credit to Alaska. They refused to quit, but its a good thing we were able to keep our poise down the stretch, added Pumaren.
PETRON BLAZE BOOSTERS over RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO-PAINTERS, 96-86
Playing with a sense of urgency, Petron Blaze faced a real test against emerging contender Rain or Shine.
And the short-handed Boosters responded to the challenge.
The Boosters had six players that finished in double figures with Chris Lutz leading the way, but it was Petrons defense against one of the hottest teams in the tournament that proved to be the difference in their 96-86 triumph in the PBA Philippine Cup at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
Uso ang bull session sa mga teams na nag-struggle, said Petron coach Olsen Racela. We reminded each other to stop talking, but its time to start to play.
The key to this win is that we limit the No. 2 offensive team. We held them down tonight, he added.
The Boosters came out of the halftime break fresh and full of energy as they clamped down on the Elasto Painters big guns. Petron limited Rain or Shine to just 12 third-quarter points, while unloading 33 points at the other end to turn an expected tight struggle into a rout.
Rain or Shine trailed by 22 points, 57-79, entering the last quarter. They made a huge run in the fourth, but simply ran out of time.
We needed a win badly, not just for the team standings, but also to get our confidence back, said Racela. I was also having doubts myself after we lost three straight games, but the players helped me and I got my confidence back.
In snapping a three-game slide, the Boosters improved their record to 4-6.
Lutz finished with 19 points followed by Arwind Santos 16. Jay Washington contributed 14 markers while Marcio Lassiter chipped in 12.
Alex Cabagnot had 11 and Denok Miranda added 10 in a display of balanced firepower by the undermanned Petron squad.
Blatche Andray 211-F/C-86 Xinjiang FT Jayson Castro William 180-PG-86 Talk N Text Gabe Norwood 196-G/F-85 Rain or Shine June Mar Fajardo 210-C-89 San Miguel Beermen Japeth Aguilar 206-C-85 Barangay Ginebra Ranidel deOcampo 197-F-81 Talk N Text Terrence Bill Romeo 180-PG-92&... [read more]
TURKEY over PHILIPPINES, 103-68 Turkey got the more than easy 103-68 win over Philippines in their preparation game in Istanbul. The two teams may face each other in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila, Philippines, as they start their games in different groups and if this game can be considered a sample, Turkey is at least in much better condition. Center Semih Erden and forward Baris Hersek with 16 points each were the top scorers of the winners. Furkan Korkmaz who is expe... [read more]
TURKEY over PHILIPPINES, 103-68 Turkey got the more than easy 103-68 win over Philippines in their preparation game in Istanbul.
The two teams may face each other in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila, Philippines, as they start their games in different groups and if this game can be considered a sample, Turkey is at least in much better condition.
Center Semih Erden and forward Baris Hersek with 16 points each were the top scorers of the winners. Furkan Korkmaz who is expected to hear his name in the first round of the upcoming NBA draft, returned to Turkey and scored 5 points. Andray Blatche had 23 points for the losing side and Jayson Williams added 15 points.
ITALY over PHILIPPINES, 106-70 Italy got an easy win over Philippines in the first day of the preparation tournament in Bologna. The final score was 106-70 for the hosts and it was flattering for the guests who were trailing 62-15 before the half time.
The first 20 minutes of action ended with a 41 points advantage for Italy (64-23) which got 20 points by Danilo Gallinari in 15 minutes of action, 14 points by Pietro Aradori who came from the bench and 11 by Marco Bellineli.
Philippines was outplayed in every possible way and Andray Blatche with 21 points was as usual the only brightspot for them.
With the two conferences of the Philippine Basketball Association's (PBA) done with the San Miguel Beermen overcoming the odds from a 3-0 deficit in the finals to win the Philippine Cup title in seven games against the Alaska Aces and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters ruling the Commissioner's Cup against the same Aces, another conference is shaping to be one of the most competitive tournaments in recent memory. Returning imports showcases the upcoming Governor's Cup which will have its... [read more]
With the two conferences of the Philippine Basketball Association's (PBA) done with the San Miguel Beermen overcoming the odds from a 3-0 deficit in the finals to win the Philippine Cup title in seven games against the Alaska Aces and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters ruling the Commissioner's Cup against the same Aces, another conference is shaping to be one of the most competitive tournaments in recent memory.
Returning imports showcases the upcoming Governor's Cup which will have its tip-off on July 15.
Asian imports will also be featured in this conference led by the returning Michel Madanly (194-G-81) for the Texters. Phoenix had tapped the services of 6-foot-3 Korean Lee Kwan Hee to bolster its guard-forward rotation.
Here are the complete lineup of reinforcements for all contending teams:
Aris Ignacio is from the Philippines and has always been a big fan of Philippine basketball. Aris' follows the Philippine Basketball Association since the late 80's and has learned the history and personalities of the PBA. He also has interest with other basketball tournaments in the Philippines and beyond most specifically college basketball (UAAP, NCAA), the Asian Basketball League (ABL), FIBA Asia and World Cup tournaments. Follow Aris Ignacio on Twitter at aris_ignacio.
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