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Black slags Bolts’ defense… Guiao doesn’t like major lineup changes… Stags look forward to next year

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NORMAN Black is honored to reach the same level as Baby Dalupan as far as number of wins as a coach in the PBA is concerned. After becoming only the fourth coach to notch 600 wins in the league, the Meralco coach tied Dalupan with 601 wins for third spot in the all-time list after leading the Bolts to a 104-99 victory over Mahindra in their playoff for the fourth seed in the Governors’ Cup postseason on Wednesday night.  Spin.ph

THERE will still be no Chris Ellis for Barangay Ginebra once the PBA Governors Cup playoffs get underway on Friday. ‘Air Force’ Ellis remains grounded as he continues to recover from a groin injury that has bothered him since the start of the season-ending conference. Although he’s been re-activated by the Kings in lieu of another injured key player in Greg Slaughter, the high-flying forward won’t be available for the team’s playoffs clash against Alaska. The Kings and Aces square off on Friday beginning at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. As the third seed, the league’s most popular ballclub enjoys a twice-to-beat advantage against their six-seeded opponent. Pba.inquirer.net

KG Canaleta said his timing and conditioning are still off in his first game back for Mahindra on Wednesday after missing the past three games. Canaleta, who underwent appendectomy, last played on Aug. 26 when Mahindra beat the TNT in what still stands as the Enforcer’s last win. “Yung timing wala pa, yung hangin, yung stamina wala pa. Sa gym medyo binabawi ko sa treadmill,” said Canaleta.  Sports inquirer

Meralco held on to beat Mahindra, 104-99, and claim the last twice-to-beat edge in the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. Jared Dillinger made big shots down the stretch en route to a 22-point night while Allen Durham scored a game-high 34 points for the Bolts, who will face the Enforcer again on Saturday in the quarterfinals. “I thought it was a story of two halves. In the first half, we just really couldn’t get our game going. Defensively, we’re a step slow. We just came out flat and we really didn’t have the energy to start the basketball game,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black. Sports inquirer

In just a span of 10 days, Meralco beat Mahindra twice to claim the No. 4 spot and last twice-to-beat advantage. And though it may seem as if the Bolts have gained some sort of mastery over the Enforcer, veteran swingman Jared Dillinger still feels that doesn’t give Meralco any room for complacency when the two teams meet anew in the quarterfinals on Saturday. “They were both close games, so it wasn’t like we were completely dominating them,” said Dillinger when asked if Meralco has Mahindra’s number this conference after its 104-99 win Wednesday. Sports inquirer

FOR a long while, Meralco import Allen Durham was desperately looking for local support. Jared Dillinger was foremost among those who stepped up, scoring 12 of his 22 points in the fourth period as the Bolts survived another tough stance from Mahindra to win 104-99 and take the No. 4 ranking in the PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Durham led all scorers with 34 points, including 11 in the payoff period. But the contributions of Dillinger, Baser Amer and Chris Newsome proved indispensable as Meralco took the last twice-to-beat edge in the next round. Malaya

CHRIS Gavina has been earning raves with the job he has been doing with the Mahindra Enforcers in the PBA Governors’ Cup. With something really big at stake today, it’s time for the rookie coach to prove his stuff yet again. The last twice-to-beat privilege in the quarterfinals will be up for grabs in the 4:15 p.m. game between the Enforcers and Meralco, whose coach, the multi-titled Norman Black, was the latest to acknowledge the fine work of the hitherto unknown Gavina.“They are well-coached and they have played well this conference,” Black told the Inquirer via a text message after preparing for the last time for today’s crucial tiff at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao where the winner takes No. 4 ranking into the playoffs. Sports inquirer

MAHINDRA and Phoenix were given at least two chances each to end up with better rankings in the PBA Governors Cup, but stumbled each time. The Enforcer and Fuel Masters vow not to do so today when they tackle separate opponents equally bent on owning the more favored spots for the season-ending tournament’s quarterfinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Mahindra clashes with Meralco in the opener with the winner bagging No. 4 that carries with it a twice-to-beat advantage over the loser in their quarterfinals duel starting Friday. Just making it through, notwithstanding the No. 8 ranking and a twice-to-win handicap against top team TNT KaTropa, is foremost on Phoenix’s mind when it takes on Rain or Shine in the nightcap. Malaya

BEAU Belga said he refused to get affected by his and his teammates’ contract situation with Rain or Shine, insisting he played his best in their PBA Governors’ Cup campaign that came to an end on Wednesday night. The Elasto Painters enforcer is one of 10 players who have expiring contracts that have yet to be renewed following the team’s championship conquest in the Commissioner’s Cup. The E-Painters fell short of stretching their impressive streak of 12 postseason and nine semifinal appearances – and Belga couldn’t explain the perennial title contender’s sudden slide in form.  Spin.ph

Jared Dillinger came up with the biggest shots in the fourth quarter to help Meralco clinch the number four spot and the twice-to-beat bonus that goes with it, in the quarterfinal round of the PBA Governors’ Cup. Dillinger was Allen Durham’s main support in offense as they towed the Bolts past Mahindra, 104-99, on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum. Dillinger fired 12 of his 20 points in the pay-off period as Meralco claimed better placing than Mahindra prior to their best-of-three face-off in the playoffs starting this Saturday. ABS CBN Sports

FROM ‘El Destructor’ to ‘Mickey Mouse’, Eugene Phelps’ moniker transformation came on Wednesday night when he showed up for Phoenix’s playoff game against Rain or Shine with a double pony tail hairdo. The prolific Fuel Masters import said teammate Simon Enciso encouraged him to don the look, which seemed to bring good luck as they eliminated the Elasto Painters, 105-94, to clinch the last playoff berth in the PBA Governors Cup.  Spin.ph

Phoenix knocked off perennial semifinalist Rain or Shine, 105-94, and claimed the last quarterfinals berth in the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum. Eugene Phelps played with reckless abandon on his way to 40 points, 14 rebounds and six assists to lead the Fuel Masters to their first playoffs appearance. Veterans Josh Urbiztondo, Cyrus Baguio and Willie Wilson also rose to the occasion upon their head coach Ariel Vanguardia’s challenge Sports inquirer

Despite failing to make the PBA Governors Cup playoffs, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao would like to bring the same team to next season when the Elasto Painters shoot for the Philippine Cup championship. “That’s been our philosophy. We try to keep the team together with minor changes, because we try to build up on our chemistry, our camaraderie, and familiarity, so hindi talaga kami sanay na maraming bago, umaalis o pumapasok,” Guiao told the press, an hour after Rain or Shine’s 105-94 loss to Phoenix that denied the Asian Coating franchise a 13th straight playoff appearance. Guiao, though expressed satisfaction on how his team played this season, which included a championship in the Commissioner’s Cup. Fox Sports Asia

RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao urged his team to use this rare setback as motivation to strive for another impressive string of success in the PBA. The Elasto Painters lost to Phoenix, 105-94, in their playoff on Wednesday that signaled the end of their 12 straight postseason appearances, including a remarkable nine successive semifinal stints. “One thing I reminded the players is we have to carry the lessons of this season and we have to feel the pain and the hurt,” Guiao said as he emerged from the dugout after a long talk with his players and staff. “Pag nakakalimutan mo kasi yung hapdi ng pagkatalo, parang okay lang matalo eh.” “So sabi ko sa kanila na wag niyo kakalimutan na masakit ang matalo,” he added. “And we don’t want to be in the same situation in the future, so we have to derive motivation from that experience.” Spin.ph

CHRIS Tiu just found himself in a situation totally unfamiliar to him in a young PBA career. The Rain or Shine guard will not be in the playoffs for the very first time as the Elasto Painters’ season came to an abrupt end on Wednesday night when they were eliminated by the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 105-94, in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The multi-titled franchise last missed the playoffs during the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup, just a year before Tiu arrived in the team as Rain or Shine’s first round pick in the 2013 Draft. And so Tiu felt a bit weird that he’s off to an early vacation with the rest of the team.  Spin.ph

Cyrus Baguio said he was no longer surprised to see Rain or Shine fall short of its playoff bid in the PBA Governors Cup following the team’s 105-94 loss to Phoenix Wednesday night. Playing catch up for practically the entire game, Rain or Shine’s best effort was to cut Phoenix’s 18-point lead to just 83-87, before eventually allowing the Fuel Masters to make one blistering run in the end. And Baguio, acquired by Phoenix in a trade with Alaska at the start of the conference, felt Rain or Shine’s failure to make it to the playoffs for the first time in 13 conferences may have a lot to do with fatigue, along with the constant change of imports. Fox Sports Asia

Mighty Sports shrugged off a slow start to overcome a formidable Samsung Thunders side, 92-87, in the curtain-raiser of the Merlions Cup in Singapore on Wedneday night. With the game still hanging in the balance, 82-81, in favor of the Filipinos — former two-time UAAP MVP Kiefer Ravena proved clutch once again with a basket at the final 1:24 mark to create a 3-point cushion, 84-81. Former PBA imports Al Thornton and Hamady N’diaye took over for the finishing touches down the stretch to put the game away at 89-82. The Senegal national player and former KIA Sorento import N’diaye hammered an and-one slam to punctuate the game after a Thunder trey in the garbage time. Fox Sports Asia

SINGAPORE. – With a big number of Filipino expatriates expected to boost its title campaign, Mighty Sports Apparel Philippines will play with a “homecourt edge” in the 2016 Merlion Cup basketball tournament which reeled off Wednesday at the OCBC Arena here. Filipino expatriates who are volunteers in the Basketball Association of Singapore which organized the tournament said news of the participation of the Mighty Sports Apparel team from Manila has spread like wildfire among Filipinos in this city state. Coach Charles Tiu is cautiously optimistic about the team’s chances in the tournament, saying: “The challenge is to find the right combinations.” Mighty Sports was set to clash with the Seoul Samsung Thunder in the second of two games Wednesday night in the tourney which is making a comeback after a 20-year hiatus. Mighty Sports, supported by HC Technology Pte. Ltd., Huishi International Group Co. Ltd., Cebuana Lhuillier and Scratch It, is out to make it two in a row after ruling the 2016 William Jones Cup tournament in Taiwan last July. Malaya

SINGAPORE –– Mighty Sports Apparel opens its bid for back-to-back international titles when it squares off against the Seoul Samsung Thunder today at the 2016 Merlion Cup basketball tournament at the OCBC Arena in Singapore. Mighty Sports and Seoul Thunder are the early picks to dominate the short and grueling one-week Merlion Cup tournament, which is making a comeback after a 20-year hiatus. Head coach Charles Tiu is cautiously optimistic about the team’s chances in the tournament. “There’s no room for error. The challenge is to the find the right combinations,” he said. Mighty Sports bagged the 2016 William Jones Cup basketball tilt in Taiwan last July behind the strong showing of imports Antwain Spencer, Alford Thornton, and Hamady N’Dyiaye. Malaya

SAN SEBASTIAN will end NCAA Season 92 with a losing record, but that doesn’t mean the Stags are disappointed with the way their campaign has panned out. “We had the misfortune of seeing some of our top players getting injured at the start of the season,” said San Sebastian coach Egay Macaraya. “But we’re happy we made a big leap in the second round, which we could bring into the next season.” With the bulk of the squad still eligible next year, the future looks bright for the Stags, who are looking to cap a solid second round showing with a victory against the Jose Rizal U Heavy Bombers at 2 p.m. today at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Sports inquirer

San Sebastian gave itself a fitting farewell, hammering Jose Rizal University, 85-58, Thursday in the NCAA Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.The Golden Stags wrapped up their year with an 8-10 mark, losing only twice in the second round. “We jelled very late, but still ang maganda doon is everybody doesn’t want to lose anymore,” said coach Egay Macaraya. “Nakikita na ang hardwork and intensity ng mga bata. Hopefully, we bring it to Season 93.
Thank God, natututo na manalo ang San Sebastian.” Sports inquirer

MANILA, Philippines – Jose Rizal University and Letran will try to end their NCAA Season 92 campaign on a bright note as they take on San Sebastian and Emilio Aguinaldo, respectively, on Thursday at the Arena in San Juan. With all four squads already out of the Final Four picture, the Bombers and the Stags battle each other at 2 p.m., while the Knights and the Generals meet at 4 p.m. hoping to salvage a measure of pride. Jose Rizal is currently at fifth place with a 9-8 win-loss record, while dethroned champion Letran is at No. 6 with an 8-9 mark. ABS CBN Sports

JIO Jalalon came through with his season-best performance as Arellano U turned back Mapua 95-82 yesterday to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four of the 92nd NCAA basketball tournament in San Juan City. Jalalon unleashed 35, two shy of his career-high set last season, to power the Chiefs to their 14th victory against three defeats while booking the important Final Four bonus. The Gilas Pilipinas standout shone the brightest in the fourth quarter when he uncorked a 13-point barrage that transformed what was once a close contest to a runaway victory. Malaya

ADAMSON University seeks a follow-up to its huge win the last time while National U tries to bounce back from a sorry loss when they clash today in the 79th UAAP senior’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay. The Soaring Falcons battle the Bulldogs at 4 o’clock riding the crest of their 62-61 victory over Ateneo last Sept. 17 on Dawn Ochea’s last-gasp jumper with 1.9 ticks left that gave Adamson its second win against a loss. NU, toting a 2-1 record like the Falcons, is coming off a 75-66 defeat to La Salle last Sept. 18 where the Bulldogs squandered a nine-point third quarter lead and allowed Green Archers star JeronTeng to hit his stride in the clutch. NU coach Eric Altamirano wants his charges to concentrate on Adamson. Malaya

PROVING its victory over Ateneo last Saturday was no fluke, Adamson brought down another title contender in National University yesterday, stunning the Bulldogs 64-51 to seize solo second in the 79th UAAP Seniors basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena. Cameroon native Papi Sarr scattered a team-high 13 points and hauled down 17 rebounds while JD Tungcab chipped in 11 markers and two assists but it was Christian Bernardo who came up with the timely baskets in the payoff period as the Soaring Falcons improved to 3-1. Bernardo scored all of his seven points in the final quarter as he ably stepped up for Sarr, who was saddled with foul trouble, and helped Adamson score a big follow-up to its 62-61 decision over Ateneo last Sept. 17. Malaya

OUT TO prove his doubters wrong, Adamson’s Jerrick Ahanmisi has been taking the floor a lot more confident these days. And who wouldn’t be, now that Ahanmisi has surprisingly emerged as the league’s top scorer just months after getting snubbed by several high-profile schools. “I was a little bit nervous going into my first game but I was also excited,” said Ahanmisi, an 18-year-old Filipino-American rookie from Village Christian High School in California.  Sports inquirer

The Falcons have matched that total this early. The Falcons and the Maroons came up with notable upsets in what turned out to be a day of surprises in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday at Mall of Asia Arena. The long suffering Maroons do not share the Falcons’ lofty perch. But at least, they have a win to show finally this season. And coach Bo Perasol is understandably elated.  Sports inquirer

If Eric Altamirano’s title contenders National U intend to live up to expectations in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament, the Bulldogs have to play true to their form on a consistent basis. That’s precisely what the NU coach reminded to his wards after the Bulldogs suffered a shock 51-64 defeat to upstart Adamson Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena. The loss dealt them another reality check that the road back to the top remains steep and dangerous. Still smarting from a 66-75 loss to powerhouse La Salle over the weekend, NU ran out of steam anew in the stretch and was surprisingly outplayed by the younger Adamson side on both ends, leaving Altamirano no other choice but to ponder on what could have beens.  Fox Sports Asia

MANILA, Philippines – The young Adamson Falcons passed a tough early season test by defeating National University, 64-51, to climb to solo second place in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena. Kristian Bernardo, who did not play at all in the first half, gave the Falcons a huge lift in the final quarter when Papi Sarr was forced to sit due to foul trouble, as the veteran big man hit key buckets to hold off the Bulldogs. Adamson improved to 3-1, just behind the unbeaten De La Salle Green Archers (4-0). National U, for its part, suffered a second consecutive defeat and dropped to 2-2, tied with Ateneo, Far Eastern University, and University of Santo Tomas in the middle of the pack. ABS CBN Sports

National University head coach Eric Altamirano lamented his team’s lack of maturity in its collapse to Adamson Wednesday in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at Mall of Asia Arena. Altamirano said his team’s crucial turnovers in the final minutes of the fourth quarter turned a close game into a one-sided affair.“We committed a lot of turnovers and then it translated to free throws,” said Altamirano whose team slipped to 2-2 following their 64-51 loss to the Falcons.  Sports inquirer

damson University improved to second seed early UAAP Season 79 Seniors’ Basketball Tournament with a 64-51 triumph over National University Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena. The Soaring Falcons zoomed to 3-1, a half-a-game behind leaders La Salle, while the Bulldogs slipped to 2-2. Sean Manganti drained a long jumper with 45.5 seconds left to give Adamson a comfortable 59-51 lead in the middle of the Falcons’ 16-4 run to close the match. Head coach Franz Pumaren said he is finally seeing signs of maturity from his team, especially when the Falcons went on their game-clinching run. Sports inquirer

MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons finally got their first win of the Bo Perasol era after outlasting the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, 75-71, in a back-and-forth battle at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday. After losing their first three assignments of the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament, the Fighting Maroons displayed the composure and grit down the stretch to finish off the Red Warriors, a team that was also looking for its first win. A booming three-pointer by Jarrell Lim put UP ahead, 69-67, with 1:54 to go, only for UE to answer via a Nick Abanto lay-up that tied the game at 69. It proved to be the last deadlock of the contest, however, as Jett Manuel rose for the go-ahead jumper with 1:26 left that put UP ahead for good, 71-69.  ABS CBN Sports

UNIVERSITY of the Philippines scored its first win of UAAP Season 79, beating University of the East, 75-71, on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Fighting Maroons closed the game with a 12-4 run and recorded their first win after starting the season with three losses. The Red Warriors remain winless in four games.  Spin.ph

Frustrated with his team’s performance in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament, University of the East coach Derrick Pumaren has already questioned the Red Warriors’ collective confidence after ending up as the only winless team four games through the first round of eliminations. Tagged by many as this year’s darkhorse, UE has yet to go over the hump, dropping a sorry 71-75 loss to University of the Philippines last Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena that left Pumaren fuming no end.  Fox Sports Asia

University of the Philippines is winless no more as it dispatched University of the East, 75-71, for its first victory in the UAAP Season 79 Seniors’ Basketball Tournament Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena. The Fighting Maroons toiled for three straight losses to begin the season before they blasted the Red Warriors, who dropped to 0-4, for a 1-3 record. Fighting Maroons head coach Bo Perasol said their first win dispelled their fears of going 0-14 this season and gave them the confidence that they can compete in the league. With a 69-69 tie at the final minutes of the game, Manuel found himself open from the free throw line to pull up for the 71-69 lead.Bonbon Batiller had the chance to give UE the lead but his three-pointer missed as the Red Warriors turned the ball over after the scramble for the rebound with 30.7 seconds left. Sports inquirer