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Cone to figure out SMB in two games… Will Fajardo achieve MVP record?… Ravena, PH loses title ‘Lethal Weapon’ style


“No offense to Talk ‘N Text (TNT KaTropa, the No. 1 seed), but San Miguel is the team to beat,” Cone said on Friday night after his Gin Kings sealed a best-of-five clash with the rock-solid Beermen, starting at 7 p.m. Monday, at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao. “If we had Greg, we have the option to leave him one-on-one (with Fajardo),” Cone said. “But we obviously don’t have Greg and that is a problem. We need to be creative defensively to stop him.” “Japeth is just undersized compared to June Mar,” Cone said.

ALTHOUGH San Miguel Beer star June Mar Fajardo is trailing Jayson Castro of TNT KaTropa in the PBA Governors Cup Best Player of the Conference race, he may yet win the biggest individual plum this season. Through the end of the season-ending tournament’s quarterfinal round, Fajardo is the leading candidate for the season’s Most Valuable Player award with average statistical points of 39.5 overall. Castro leads all comers in the Governors Cup BPC race with 42.2 SPs but Fajardo may edge him out should the Beermen get to at least the finals and the KaTropa fail to make it past the semis. Malaya

June Mar Fajardo is poised to snare his third straight MVP award as he leads the statistical race through the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals. He can tie PBA great Bogs Adornado at second in the list if Fajardo goes on to come away with his third MVP award. Meanwhile, Castro sits at second with his 34.7 SPs, followed GlobalPort’s Terrence Romeo at third with 33.5 SPs.

After the quarterfinals dust were settled, TNT star guard Castro managed to create a little separation against San Miguel big man June Mar Fajardo in the Best Player of the Conference race after his quarterfinals explosion against Phoenix on Saturday. They recently figured in a neck-to-neck battle for the BPC plum at the end of eliminations with just 0.9 SPs difference.  Fox Sports Asia

Instead, Castro said he is pumped up to face former teammate and mentor Jimmy Alapag. “Sobrang excited ako, isa siya sa mga (nag-push) sa akin bakit ganito yung nilalaro ko tsaka yung mga advise niya sa akin,” he closed, adding he is relieved that one MVP team will move forward to the Finals.  Fox Sports Asia

“Gustong-gusto nilang mag-finals because matagal na nilang hindi natitikman iyon and they think now is the right time because they’ve been playing really well,” said Austria. “Based sa practices namin, lalo na kanina, gutom pa rin sila. They know they are the defending champions and they don’t want to give up that crown,” Austria said yesterday. “Game 1 for me is very important because sometimes ito ang nag-di-dictate ng tempo ng series,” said Austria, who has steered SMB to three titles and at least the semifinals in five of his first six conferences at the helm.  Malaya

“We know how good San Miguel Beer is and how tough they’ll be,” said Cone. “We just have to see if we can make them uncomfortable and drive them out of their comfort zones.” “They have a lot of weapons to account for so we’ll have our hands full,” said the 18-time champion coach. “Still, we have a couple of games to figure them out.” Malaya

“We know how good SMB is and how tough they’ll be. We just have to see if we can make them uncomfortable and drive them out of their comfort zones,” said Cone in a text message. “They have a lot of weapons to account for, so we’ll have our hands full,” continued the winningest coach in the league. “Still, we have a couple of games to figure them out,” he said.  Fox Sports Asia

Heartbreaking could even be an understatement. Mighty Sports Philippines yielded the championship game to Shanghai Sharks, 78-77, on three free throws by former NBA veteran Jimmer Fredette with no time left in the 2016 Merlion Cup Sunday before a packed crowd at OCBC Arena in Singapore. Mighty Sports, a professional sports team powered by imports, blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and was held scoreless for over three minutes as the Chinese club stole the game away after a wild windup.

But not one to disappoint, Fredette showed ice in his veins by nailing all three free throws for the win that gave the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) ballclub the first championship of the tournament after a 20-year absence. It was a heartbreaker of a loss for Mighty, which led by as many as 69-55 early in the fourth.

“They’re (Katropa) a good team. Honestly, I think they might win a championship. They got a complete team,” Phelps said after the game. “They got bigs, they got wings, they shoot the three, they play defense, so I think they’re the top team in the league. They’ll probably win it in my opinion.” “Everybody tried hard. They’re (TNT) just a pretty good team. It was close at halftime then they started breaking out,” said Phelps, who debuted with 52 points for Phoenix against GlobalPort. Fox Sports Asia

“We’ll definitely make line-up changes. I told the boys huwag sila magulat if may mga trades right before the draft,” said Vanguardia. “Right now, we have a core that we want to keep but di nila alam kung sino yun. Pero we’re open also to discuss with other teams yung mga marketable,” he added. “There are discussions right now with other teams na hopefully we will able to close,” he said.  Fox Sports Asia

“We expected an up-and-down season for us,” said FEU coach Nash Racela after the Tamaraws escaped University of the Philippines by just a bucket, 51-49, yesterday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “In every game, we always tell our players that it’s not going to be easy.” “It’s something we always talk about in our team—not giving up in every play,” said Racela.

“This was a struggle but we knew all along that this game will be difficult,” said coach Nash Racela, as the Tamaraws improved to a 3-2 slate. “We’re really struggling, learning the ropes at this point, but I think yung struggle namin today was brought by their coach focusing on defense. I’m happy that we limited them to less than 50 points. At least, that gave us a chance,” he said.

Dennison, the Tamaraws guard, got ejected at the 2:48 mark of the fourth quarter after video replay showed him tapping Desiderio in the midsection. “Hindi ko siya sinuntok. Wala, kahit tignan niyo pa. Kahit i-replay niyo pa ng sampung beses yun,” said Dennison. “Wala akong intensyon. Alam ni Desiderio, na sasaktan siya kaya willing siya mag-flop kaya ayun.”

“Natamaan talaga ako. Ang sakit ng tiyan ko eh,” Desiderio said as he pointed to his stomach. “Teammate ko siya before at captain ball ko si Dennison. Sports lang. Best friend ko yan so sports lang. Sabi ko, bibigyan namin sila ng good fight. Ang nangyari, good fight nga,” he said.

“Natamaan talaga ako. Masakit nga tiyan ko, dito o,” Desiderio said pointing to his abdomen. Dennision failed to finish FEU’s match against UP, getting sent off with still a little under three minutes to play for allegedly hitting Desiderio. Dennison insists he didn’t do anything to Desiderio.

“It didn’t help that we missed 13 free throws,” Perasol said, citing the Fighting Maroons’ 15-of-28 shooting from the charity stripe with Paul Desiderio alone going 8-of-15 from the free throw line. “Ironically, I think we built a lot of momentum. The way we played, I think we really played well. Sinabi ko nga sa kanila, it should have been capped off with a win. Yung tempo ng laro, medyo maganda for us,” he said. “It’s just that there were a lot of things that we were not able to do in the end.”

PROVING steadier down the stretch, defending champion Far Eastern U nipped gritty University of the Philippines 51-49 yesterday and forged a three-way tie for second in the 79th UAAP basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. Pushed against the wall by the resilient Fighting Maroons, the Tamaraws banked on the endgame heroics of guard Monbert Arong to dodge the upset axe wielded by UP. Malaya

RON Dennison is facing a one-game suspension after being slapped with a disqualifying foul on Sunday but UAAP commissioner Rebo Saguisag he will review videos of the incident. Far Eastern University’s Dennison was ejected following what seemed to be a hit to the abdomen of University of the Philippines’ Paul Desiderio.

COACH Jong Uichico urged J-Jay Alejandro and Rev Diputado to make up for dismal performances last week and did not disappoint. Held scoreless by Adamson in NU’s last outing, Alejandro had 16 points, six rebounds, and two assists, while Diputado had eight points, five rebounds, six assists, and two steals as the Bulldogs ended a two-game skid with victory over the University of Sto. Tomas Tigers.

“Kami ni Rev, wala kaming na-contribute last game kaya sabi ni coach, we need to bounce back. Pinakita lang talaga namin,” said the 21-year-old Alejandro. “Napaka-imporante ng game kanina kasi back-to-back losses na kami,” said the third-year Diputado. “Siguro natutunan namin in our past games, yung aggressiveness. Kaya ganun ang ginawa namin, umatake kami at more passes lang.”

“It was an ugly fourth quarter for us,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano as the Bulldogs only mustered six points in the payoff period. “For some reason, we lost our aggressiveness, we became tentative, and we started playing not to lose. We had a big lead and we looked like we didn’t know how to manage it. It’s a lesson for a young team like us, that we have to learn how to work on finishing games.”

NU led by as many as 25 points but saw it trimmed to single digit after scoring only six points in the fourth period. “It was an ugly fourth quarter for us. For some reason, we lost our aggressiveness and we became tentative. I thought we played like playing not to lose. We had a big lead and we didn’t know how to manage it. It’s a lesson for a young team like us,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano.

FORMER University of the East center Chris Javier says the Red Warriors should be able to score a win if they play together. “Wala naman ako nakikitang kulang, siguro ayun lang, they just have to play as a team din.”

“Lalaruin ko na ang final year ko. Decided na ako kasi ilang months ko na ring pinag-isipan,” he said. “Ang plano ko sana, kung naka-isa pang championship ngayon, balak ko na magpa-draft,” he said. “Kahit ako, hindi rin ako sure na makukuha for next year. Pero pag-iigihan ko talaga,” he said. “Hindi na magbabago ang isip ko.”

“Like I said before, them welcoming me with open arms as a 22-year-old, that right there said itself. It’s just a blessing that they gave me an opportunity to lead them on and off the court,” a spry White told reporters after Mahindra lost to Meralco, 105-82, in the quarterfinals Saturday. “And for me being a 22-year-old that means a lot to me. That they gave me the ball to lead this team, it’s just a blessing.”