The way things are going, itll be pretty foolish to pick any team NOT named Talk N Text to romp through the competition and lift the Philippine Cup trophy. The Texters lost just two games in the elims, and they are one of only two teams with 3 or more players in the Top 15 of the Player Efficiency ladder (the other team is Alaska). And none of those players is even Jimmy Alapag.
Their opponents in the quarterfinals are the Air 21 Express, who lumbered into the Final 8 after beating the Batang Pier last Wednesday and after the Energy Colas lost to Rain or Shine two days later. Nio Caaleta exploded for 40 points in the Expresss win over Global Port, and coach Franz Pumaren will need him to be just as sharp against the deep roster of coach Norman Black.
In the next bracket, the 4-5 match-up pits the Meralco Bolts against the Alaska Aces, with both teams carrying identical 8-6 slates. They split their season series, with the average winning margin standing at just 5 points. With arguably the two top rookies (Meralcos Cliff Hodge versus Alaskas Calvin Abueva) going head-to-head, this should be one of the most exciting series to watch. Both teams are entering the Playoffs on winning streaks, but I think the Bolts should have a bit of an edge after beating the Mixers. This should be fun, and it should go the distance.
The other best-of-three series will pit Rain or Shine against Ginebra. Ginebra has the edge in depth, but RoS has more grit. One interesting thing here is the chemistry between Mark Caguioa and LA Tenorio. Their combination hasnt performed as strongly as, in theory, it should, but that may change when the stakes get higher. Right now, the Painters arent exactly doing well, too. They lost to the Kings and the Mixers before romping over the lowly Colas. Like the previous match-up, this, too, should go all the way to a third game. Im picking the Caguioa-Tenorio combo to finally kick into high gear and the Kings to move on.
Whoever moves on in that match-up will have a tough time in the semis, since theyre bound to face either the Mixers or the Boosters. In their only match-up in the elims, the Mixers practically dominated the Boosters until Petron made a rally in the fourth period. June Mar Fajardo put up a huge double-double, but his effort was pretty much negated by the great game of Yance De Ocampo. That will be a key match-up here along with those of Arwind Santos against Marc Pingris and the duo of Chris Lutz and Marcio Lassiter, who didnt play in the first meeting, versus San Migs James Yap and PJ Simon. I think the Mixers are going to be a little too tough for Petron, even if Im expecting Santos to have another big game. The Mixers need only one game to advance.
Game Recaps: RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO-PAINTERS over BARAKO BULL ENERGY COLAS, 116-101
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao was caught in heavy Friday traffic, failing to make it in time for the start of the Elasto Painters match against Barako Bull at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
But Guiao had specific instructions for chief deputy Caloy Garcia starting the game with seldom-used Jonathan Uyloan before bringing in the returning Paul Lee at the six minute mark in the first quarter and the tactical moves worked to perfection in an easy 116-101 victory.
Uyloan played the game of his career, finishing with 18 points, three steals, and two blocks, while Lee played as if he hadnt missed Rain or Shines past 18 games dating back to last season, contributing 16 points, six assists, and four rebounds.
They led six players who scored in double-figures as Rain or Shine finished the elimination round with a 9-5 record.
Unexpected naming ma-le-late si Coach Yeng, but when he called up, we thought na baka hindi na siya umabot, said Caloy Garcia, who took over the reins of the squad. His first instruction when he called up is to field in Paul Lee after six minutes, then have Jonathan starting for us.
The nice thing about this win was everybody stepped up.
Jervy Cruz also scored a career-high 23 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the field.
Jeff Chan and JR Quinahan each had 11 points while Beau Belga chipped in 10 for the Elasto Painters.
The loss eliminated Barako Bull (4-10) from playoff contention, giving the Air 21 Express (5-9) the last ticket to the quarterfinals.
SAN MIG COFFEE MIXERS over GLOBAL PORT BATANG PIER, 107-96
Needing to win one win to secure the twice-to-beat prize for the Philippine Cup quarterfinals, San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone knew his team would to struggle for it.
The Coffee Mixers did it the hard way, hacking out a 107-96 win against a GlobalPort squad that fought hard despite playing merely for pride Friday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Peter June Simon came up big, picking up the slack for the hurting James Yap with 27 points to lead the way for the Mixers, who formalized their hold of the No. 2 spot in the quarterfinal round.
I know it wasnt pretty, but its a lot harder than what people see from the outside, said Cone.
Theres the other team which has gotten loose and another team looked stressed. Looking at each other, you know theres going to be a real battle. Certainly, theres no easy games in the PBA.
San Mig Coffee did not get its rhythm going until the early part of the fourth quarter, when the Mixers outscored the Batang Pier, 34-18, to secure their 10th win in 13 games.
We just took care of business tonight. I told my players that all we have to do is walk out there and win. Lets not misunderstand our expectations. We dont have to win by 25 points, but we only need to win by one and win, said Cone.
The Mixers still have one game left on their elimination round schedule against the Meralco Bolts, but are locked into a playoff duel against the underachieving but dangerous Petron Blaze Boosters.
Anybody could pick a harder opponent, but Petron. Theres a saying that you dont choose who to play in the playoffs because you need to go through everyone of them, said Cone.
GlobalPort ended its campaign with just a lone win to show in 14 games.
SMC 107- Simon 27, De Ocampo 18, Pingris 14, Barroca 12, Ramos 8, Yap 8, Reavis 7, Devance 5, Intal 4, Villanueva 4, Gonzales 0. GLO 96- David 22, Al-Hussaini 20, Deutchman 13, Miller 13, Mandani 10, Salvador 6, Guevarra 4, Raymundo 2, Manuel 2, Lingganay 2, Yee 2, Vanlandingham 0. QS: 20-27; 47-49; 73-78; 107-96
MERALCO BOLTS over SAN MIG COFFEE MIXERS, 87-77
The Meralco Bolts took care of business Sunday, defeating the San Mig Coffee Mixer 87-77 at the SM Mall of Asia Coliseum to set up a quarterfinals showdown against the Alaska Aces.
With the Mixers already safely ensconced in the quarterfinals San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone opted to rest hurting superstar James Yap it was the Bolts who dominated the game for their eighth win in 14 contests.
Veteran forward Reynel Hugnatan led the way with 15 points and nine rebounds for Meralco, which finished with the eliminations with the same record as the Aces. The two teams will start their best-of-three playoff encounter on Wednesday.
We really put our spirit to a test. We wanted to come up with our best finish for our young franchise and break some barriers. True enough, we finished No. 4, said Gregorio.
But unlike San Mig Coffee, which has the luxury of resting its key players, including James Yap, we had to find ways to win.
The smaller Bolts had to outwork the bigger Mixers. Meralco outrebounded San Mig Coffee, 57-43.
Were a small team, so we have the mindset of rebounding by committee and thats exactly what we did tonight. In fact, we had six offensive rebounds to end the game, said Gregorio.
It was Hugnatan who hurt the Mixers more with his hustle plays and timely baskets. He had eight points in the fourth period, including an inside stab off a pass from Mercado that gave the Bolts an 83-71 lead, 4:11 left.
Meralcos victory means Rain or Shine will face Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the quarterfinals in another best-of-three series.
Both of those pairings will kick off Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
San Mig Coffee, meanwhile, will have twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals against Petron in the series that begins Thursday, also at the Big Dome.
TALK N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERS over BGY. GINEBRA GIN KINGS, 87-80
The Talk N Text Tropang Texters rallied to beat Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 87-80, Sunday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena to ride into the Philippine Cup quarterfinals with a victory under their belt.
Ali Peek had 16 points, 18 rebounds, and three blocks to lead Talk N Text, which came back from a 17-point third quarter deficit to book the victory.
The game held little meaning for either team, as both were locked into their respective quarterfinal matchups. But the two squads didnt play like it was a no-bearing game, with the action getting heated at several junctures.
Theres no such thing as a non-bearing game. The objective is to always give the paying customers their moneys worth. Ive been long enough in the league and I know our priority is the customers and win basketball games for them. We all owe it to the fans, said Talk N Text coach Norman Black.
The win was more about pride. Were the No. 1 team no matter what, but we may see this team down the road.
The Tropang Texters worked double time on defense in the fourth period, when they held their rivals to just two field goals.
Barangay Ginebras seven-point output in the final period is the teams lowest scored this conference. The Gin Kings last field goal came at the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter courtesy of Rico Maierhofer.
Talk N Text finished with just two defeats in 14 elimination round games, while Ginebras win-loss record fell to 7-7 to wrap up its campaign.
The Tropang Texters will play Air 21 in the quarterfinals, with the Tropang Texter enjoying twice-to-beat advantage. The series starts on Thursday.
You cant take any team for granted. I believe theyre better than their record, said Peek.
Ginebra will take on Rain or Shine in a best-of-three series that kicks off Wednesday. It marks the second straight year the two teams face each other in the Philippine Cup quarterfinals. The Elasto Painters swept the Gin Kings in two games last season in the final eight of the same tournament.
Arizona Reid (ex SM Beermen) joins Urartu Yerevan - 23 hours ago
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BC Urartu Yerevan (Superleague 1) agreed terms with 30-year old American forward Arizona Reid (196-86, college: High Point). He played last summer at SM Beermen in Filipino PBA league. In 6 games he had very impressive stats: 34.7ppg, 11.2rpg, 4.5apg and 1.7spg. The last season he played at Pilipinas Agilas in Filipino league. In 15 ASEAN League games he was the best scorer with high stats: 24.3ppg and averaged 10.0rpg, 3.3apg (top 5) and 1.2spg. Quite impressive season as he was named to... [read more]
BC Urartu Yerevan (Superleague 1) agreed terms with 30-year old American forward Arizona Reid (196-86, college: High Point). He played last summer at SM Beermen in Filipino PBA league. In 6 games he had very impressive stats: 34.7ppg, 11.2rpg, 4.5apg and 1.7spg. The last season he played at Pilipinas Agilas in Filipino league. In 15 ASEAN League games he was the best scorer with high stats: 24.3ppg and averaged 10.0rpg, 3.3apg (top 5) and 1.2spg. Quite impressive season as he was named to Asia-Basket.com All-ASEAN League 2nd Team. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Reid won PBA Governor's Cup championship title in 2015. He was also voted Eurobasket.com All-Belgian League Import Player of the Year in 2015. Reid is quite experienced player. His career allowed him to visit three different continents, while he played in ten different countries. Reid tasted the life as pro basketball player in Europe, Asia and of course North America. He has played previously professionally also in Australia, Finland, Germany (Mitteldeutscher BC), Italy (Openjobmetis VA), Lebanon (Al Riyadi and Antranik), Saudi Arabia (Al Nahda), Switzerland (Fribourg and Monthey), Ukraine (Cherkasy) and Belgium (VOO Verviers-Pepinster). Reid attended High Point University until 2008 and it will be his ninth season as a professional player. On Reid:
A very versatile player, who can spend time in the 2, 3 and even the 4 position. He' s very athletic and can score from outside and inside. Thanks to his timing and leaping ability, he is also a very good rebounder for his size.
Fredette breaks Mighty Sports-PH's hearts in Merlion Cup final - 2 days ago
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Former NBA player Fredette Jimmer (188-PG-89, college: BYU) broke the hearts of Mighty Sports-Philippines in the Merlion Cup as he engineered a 78-77 victory for the Shanghai Sharks in the gold medal game of the tournament Sunday night at the OCBC Arena in Singapore. Fredette torched Mighty Sports-Philippines with 43 points, and hit three free throws with no time left to lift the Sharks to a come-from-behind victory. Mighty Sports, led by Al Thornton (203-F-83, college: Florida St.) and K... [read more]
Former NBA player Fredette Jimmer (188-PG-89, college: BYU) broke the hearts of Mighty Sports-Philippines in the Merlion Cup as he engineered a 78-77 victory for the Shanghai Sharks in the gold medal game of the tournament Sunday night at the OCBC Arena in Singapore. Fredette torched Mighty Sports-Philippines with 43 points, and hit three free throws with no time left to lift the Sharks to a come-from-behind victory. Mighty Sports, led by Al Thornton (203-F-83, college: Florida St.) and Kiefer Isaac Ravena (181-G/F-93), led by as much as 14 points, 69-55, in the fourth quarter before Fredette anchored Shanghai's comeback. Fredette sparked an 18-4 run, and assisted on the three-pointer that tied the game at 73 with still 3:52 left to play. Ravena handed Mighty Sports back the lead when he drained a three-pointer with 3:31 left while also drawing a foul from Fredette. He completed the four-point play to make it 77-73. Fredette cut the lead to two points with a lay-up in transition with 1:21 to go, and Ravena badly misfired on a triple that could have iced the game with still 40 seconds left. Needing to make one stop to seal the championship, Mighty Sports instead fouled Fredette as he was launching a three-pointer at the buzzer. The former Sacramento King coolly made all free throws to secure the victory. "We just wanted to get a good shot off, we wanted to get the last shot," said Fredette after the game. "My teammates did a great job of fighting hard tonight." "I had three (shots) to make two, that's the way I thought about it," he added. "Two puts us in overtime. My mentality was to go in there and that I had to make two." Thornton finished the game with 36 points for Mighty Sports. Courtesy of: abs-cbn.com
PH-Mighty Sports through to Merlion Cup finals after escaping Singapore Slingers - 3 days ago
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Philippines-Mighty Sports pulled off a tough 72-70 semifinal victory over hometown team Singapore Slingers to advance to the Merlion Cup finals on Saturday at the OCBC Arena in the city-state. Dewarick Spencer (193-G-82, college: Arkansas St., agency: Higher Vision Sports) fired 17 of his 29 points in the third quarter to pump life into Mighty Sports which, after a strong start, trailed by nine points in the third quarter. Filipino guards Kiefer Isaac Ravena (181-G/F-93) and Joseph Yeo (1... [read more]
Philippines-Mighty Sports pulled off a tough 72-70 semifinal victory over hometown team Singapore Slingers to advance to the Merlion Cup finals on Saturday at the OCBC Arena in the city-state. Dewarick Spencer (193-G-82, college: Arkansas St., agency: Higher Vision Sports) fired 17 of his 29 points in the third quarter to pump life into Mighty Sports which, after a strong start, trailed by nine points in the third quarter. Filipino guards Kiefer Isaac Ravena (181-G/F-93) and Joseph Yeo (183-G-83) also combined for five crucial points down the stretch that gave the Philippine club the lead for good. PH-Mighty Sports will take on the Shanghai Sharks led by former NBA player Fredette Jimmer (188-PG-89, college: BYU) for the title on Sunday in a matchup between the tournament's two unbeaten teams. PH-Mighty Sports started the game on a hot 7-0 run powered by slam dunks from Hamady N'diaye (212-C-87, college: Rutgers).. They finished the first quarter with a 21-15 lead. But the Slingers put the clamps on PH-Mighty Sports, limiting the Filipino club to just 12 points in the second quarter. The Slingers took a 36-33 at the break which they expanded to nine points, 44-35, in the early goings of the third frame. But just as the Slingers were about to pull away, Spencer woke PH-Mighty Sports up. He suddenly waxed hot on the floor, burying three triples and converting tough baskets to score 17 of the team's first 18 points in the third quarter. Yeo then scored a layup to complete the turnaround for PH-Mighty Sports which took a 53-46 lead. But the Slingers made their way back and trimmed their deficit to just two, 56-54, heading into the last quarter. It was a nip-and-tuck affair in the fourth period, with the teams exchanging leads. Big man Justin Howard gave the Slingers a 68-67 lead with just a minute left after shooting a surprise three-pointer off an awkward release. But Ravena countered it with a reverse layup. After a miss by the Slingers, Yeo then pulled up for a triple to push PH-Mighty Sports' lead to four, 72-68, with 36 seconds left. But the Slingers converted two free throws in the next play. Spencer then made a huge blunder in the inbound for a huge turnover that gave the Slingers a chance to take the last shot with just nine ticks left. However, the Slingers' Filipino import Jeff Viernes was called for steps in his drive to the basket, allowing PH-Mighty Sports to escape with the victory. Courtesy of: interaksyon.com
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