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Black blames sluggish import…Guiao asks RoS to prove him wrong…The beast ain’t hurt



Meralco took home a consolation of sorts on Monday night when the Bolts shot an impeccable 56 percent from the field—their season-best—during a 94-97 setback dealt by the Alaska Aces in the opener of their best-of-five PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals showdown at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. That, however, proved to be the least of coach Norman Black’s concerns, saying the Bolts primarily shot themselves on the foot by accounting for 22 errors that the Aces turned into 28 precious points. “We shot 56 percent? I didn’t look at the stats sheet yet,” Black, 58, told sports scribes after emerging from their dug-out, trying his best to tone down the Bolts’ red-hot shooting. “We also turned the ball over 22 times which I believe led to 28 turnovers points for Alaska. That probably was the biggest difference in the game—the fact that we couldn’t take care of the basketball,” he added. Fox Sports Asia


The last—and probably the most crucial—of those miscues came inside the last 10 seconds when the Bolts were behind 94-97 as veteran playmaker Jimmy Alapag’s kick out pass went through the hands of teammate Cliff Hodge before sailing out of bounds, giving the ball back to the Aces with 5.1 ticks left. “I really can’t look past the turnovers,” said Black, an 11-time pro league champion as a coach. “Some of them were really unforced. And we just made careless plays which we cannot do against an Alaska team because they turn those turnovers into points. “That’s something we need to correct before Wednesday,” he said, referring to their Game 2 battle also at the Big Dome. Fox Sports Asia


Move the ball quicker and read the defense better. While Onuaku refused to grant an interview from sports scribes, Meralco coach Norman Black and veteran Bolts big man Reynel Hugnatan were one in saying the former Syracuse Orange standout should make the necessary adjustments that could serve them well in Game 2 on Wednesday also at the Big Dome. “Arinze has to move the ball quicker and he has to do a better job in terms of reading where the double-team is coming from early, get rid of it early and not wait so late to pass the basketball. That way, we’ll be able to take advantage of the weak side,” said Black, 58. Fox Sports Asia


REYNEL Hugnatan is hoping Arinze Onuaku would be more aggressive on offense for Meralco starting in Game Two of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals against Alaska “Ang ganda ng depensa nila kaya ‘di kami nakapag-adjust, (pero) dapat si Arinze, mag-adjust din siya at maging agresibo sa offense,” Hugnatan said. “Dino-double kasi agad siya kaya dapat gumawa siya ng paraan para maka-score.”


Nevertheless, Hugnatan vowed to continue his resurgence whether or not Onuaku gets back to his dominant ways. “Sayang kasi nandito na kami,” the 37-year-old Hugnatan said. “Dapat ibuhos na namin yung dapat naming gawin. Sana maka-adjust kami sa Game Two.” Onuaku, who did have 18 rebounds, two assists, and one steal against four turnovers and four fouls in 25 minutes, refused to grant an interview after the game.


Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao is hoping that the saying – third time’s a charm – will finally work for them as they go for a 2-0 lead against San Miguel Beer today in the Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup  at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. “I don’t know if it’s going to push us winning the series,” said Guiao. “But the good sign is… ang ganda ganda ng nilalaro ni Wilkerson, ni June Mar but we were able to pull a win.” “I almost gave up on the guys but the guys did not give up on me. They proved their coach wrong. As great as their import was playing, as great as June Mar was playing, we pulled out a win.” “We’re looking forward to a series, which we might win this time,” said Guiao. Manila Bulletin


DETOUR DE FORCE. Rain or Shine is as confident as always that they could ruin San Miguel’s plans for a Grand Slam. San Miguel has a problem in its search for a Grand Slam – a big problem in the form of a confident as always and deeper than ever Rain or Shine. The Elasto Painters go for back-to-back wins and a commanding 2-0 lead in their race-to-three semifinals series against the Beermen on Tuesday at the Araneta Coliseum. ABS – CBN Sports


IT’S more mental than technical for San Miguel Beer, says its coach, as they seek to level the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series against Rain or Shine on Tuesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. “We need a little bit of discipline and sense of urgency,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “There’s no big adjustment needed.”


While Fajardo has regained top form and Wilkerson high scoring as usual, the Beermen missed the outside shooting of Marcio Lassiter, who missed all but one of his nine shots to contribute just three points in 32 minutes in the series opener. Arwind Santos was also a pale shadow of his true self with just three points on five attempts, although he had seven boards and four assists in 25 minutes. “Arwind is not on his usual game offensively dahil sa matagal nyang layoff for what happened with his family,” Austria said. “We have to play as a unit and trust is needed.”


Calvin Abueva assured Alaska fans he won’t miss Game 2, just moments after limping out of their series-opening match, which the Aces won, 97-94 against the Meralco Bolts Monday night in their Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Alaska players had to help him up as he slowly walked back to the bench before applying a pack of ice cubes on his left leg. “Na-stretch lang ito, konting pahinga lang then puwede na mag-ensayo bukas,” Abueva told media men, assuring Alaska fans that he’ll come out with the same intensity in Game 2 set on Wednesday. Fox Sports Asia


Abueva said he doesn’t expect the best-of-5 semifinal series to be easy, especially against a Meralco side that defeated them, 107-101 just 2 weeks ago in the elimination round. He reasoned that the Aces weren’t able to prepare their game plan against the Bolts, who for much of the conference, has rode on the broad shoulders of wide-bodied import Arizne Onuaku. “Nung time na eliminiations, talagang talo kami. Hindi namin napaghandaan yung game na yun,” admitted Abueva. “Pero ngayon sa semis nagawa naming manalo ng Game 1 though di naman basta basta aatras ang mga iyan kaya depende pa din iyan sa mga adjustments na gagawin namin,” he added. Fox Sports Asia


THROUGH THE WIRE. Thanks to the efforts of RJ Jazul, Alaska proved to be just a bit better than Meralco in a great Game 1 between the two teams. Four Aces finished in double-digit scoring fronted by RJ Jazul with 18 points. Abueva added 15 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals before leaving the court with an apparent groin injury. “I told our guys I thought this will be a tough series. We gotta be tough physically and mentally to win this series,” a satisfied coach Alex Compton said in his post-game conference. ABS – CBN Sports


Alaska Aces banked on hot-shooting RJ Jazul to escape with a thrilling 97-94 victory against the Meralco Bolts in the series opener of their 5-game semifinals match-up Monday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. With JVee Casio absent due to a bruised right knee injury, Jazul stepped up big time chipping in 18 points on 66% shooting with 2 dimes and 3 steals while it was just another day at the office for the Best Player of the Conference contender Calvin ‘The Beast’ Abueva as he scored 15 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Though Rob Dozier was just limited to 7 markers and 8 boards, Alaska’s scoring balance was on full display with two other Aces scoring  in double figures. Cyrus Baguio chipped in 13 and Chris Banchero added 10 in another “We-not-me” effort. Fox Sports Asia


RJ Jazul is making sure that the absence of JVee Casio is hardly felt as he has been running Alaska’s offense with aplomb in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. Syempre sobrang halaga nun,” Jazul said on stepping up in Casio’s absence. “Kahit naman sino – ako, si Ping (Exciminiano), si Chris (Banchero), kami yung nagtutulungan sa point.” “Ang mahalaga lang, wala kaming turnover masyado at i-set up yung teammates namin ng maigi. Basta tulong-tulong lang kami hanggang matapos.”


The Alaska Aces used a 26-15 fourth quarter to come back and stun the Meralco Bolts, 97-94 in Game 1 of their best-of-five PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series Monday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. Rob Dozier, however, missed two free throws which left the door open for the Bolts with three seconds left, but Ronjay Buenafe failed to hit a long range shot in the final play which allowed Alaska to escape. “They (Meralco) made some big shots. I am just proud of our guys we weathered it. This is one of the toughest teams in the league. We have to be tough physically and mentally to win this series. We eked it out. Glad to come away with the win,” Aces head coach Alex Compton said. “We are one step closer but they are going to come back tough.” Jazul led four Aces in double-digits with 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting, while Abueva contributed 13 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Tiebreakertimes


ALASKA validated its status as favorite over Meralco as it hacked out a 97-94 win to take Game One of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series on Monday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. RJ Jazul led the Aces’ usual balanced attack with 18 points, including three on a three-point play that gave his team the lead for good halfway through the fourth, while Calvin Abueva delivered anew with 15 points and six boards. “I thought this was going to be a tough series,” Aces coach Alex Compton said. “With the skillset and heart that coach Norman has, it’s like that team’s taken on that character of hard-nosed, tough, and working.” “I’m just proud of my guys that we weathered it,” he added.