John Bryan Ulanday

Pinays vow to stop Thais

LIPA, Batangas– Pauline del Rosario takes a break from her hectic China and Taiwan LPGA Tour campaigns as she, and former three-time Order of Merit winner Cyna Rodriguez, spearhead the local challenge against the crack Thailand side in The Women’s Championship beginning today at the Summit Point Golf and Country Club. The Thais have ruled four of the first eight legs of this year’s Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, including three winners – Yupaporn Kawinpakorn, Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang and Onkanok Soisuwan – who are in the huge 41-player roster slugging it out for top honors in the P1.5 million championship sponsored by ICTSI. But Del Rosario and Rodriguez vowed to dish out their best and stop the country’s perennial regional rivals’ domination of the circuit with the former coming into 54-hole event brimming with confidence, and the latter out to snap a string of heartbreaks in the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.-organized circuit she used to dominate. “It’s nice to be back here and hopefully I’d be able to get off to a good start,” said Del Rosario, who won four legs on her way to claiming the OOM crown last year. But she admits the field is strong and tough with 26-year-old Kawinpakorn, who won at Beverly Place last January, looming as a player to beat following her victory in the China LPGA Zhuhai Heritage in Guangdong last weekend. Del Rosario and Kawinpakorn actually get to size each other up early as they are paired with amateur Mafy Singson in the featured 7:40 a.m. flight with Rodriguez drawing Soisuwan, winner of the last LPGT stop at Mt. Malarayat last month, and another Thai Cristawan Rungruang at 8:30 a.m. “With many foreigners, I expect it to be a grind for us (Filipinas). But we won’t budge a bit. Nobody has an advantage at Summit and that makes it more exciting. I think anybody can win,” said Rodriguez. Pattaranakrueang, who nipped Rodriguez in a playoff to snare the Luisita leg crown last April, is paired with local bet Gretchen Villacencio and Japanese Natsuki Kishikawa at 7:30 a.m. Other local players tipped to contend in the event are Eagle Ridge leg winner Chihiro Ikeda, Alex Etter, Marvi Monsalve, Lucy Landicho and amateur LK Go. Also seeing action are Thais Tiranan Yoopan, Mookharin Ladgratok, Piyathida Chaiyapan, Chonlada Chayanun, Pannapa Polnamin and Saraporn Chamchoi along with amateurs Kelly Marutani of Japan, Koreans Hyun Ji Rho, Kim Hui Won, Kwon Tae Won and Jang Yunji and Sharon Park of Canada.

Swim or sink for Magnolia

Games today (Mall of Asia Arena) 4:30 pm – Globalport vs San Miguel 7pm – Magnolia vs Talk ‘N Text Free-falling Magnolia battles playoffs-bound Talk ‘N Text, aching to end a three-game losing skein to keep its quarterfinal hopes alive today in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena. Action kicks off at 7 p.m. with the Hotshots (3-4) eyeing to halt their slide against the quarterfinalists-KaTropa (6-1) before it gets too late heading into the last four games of the mid-season conference. Meanwhile, streaking San Miguel Beer (3-3) shoots for a fourth straight win against a dangerous Globalport (3-4) in the first game set at 4:30 pm. Reinforced by new import Justin Jackson, Magnolia failed to stop a losing spell as Jackson struggled in his PBA debut and absorbed a tough 99-103 loss to a red-hot Alaska side Sunday night. The 6’9 Jackson, who replaced Curtis Kelly last week, had 21 points in a 9-of-21 shooting from the field, including a forgettable 3-of-13 free throw clip. “We’re 51% as a team in free throws. We’ll try to improve, especially in Jackson’s percentage,” said head coach Chito Victolero after the Hotshots shot 14-of-27 from the stripe, compared to an astounding 24-of-30 clip of Alaska. Vastly-improved Vic Manuel feasted on the Hotshots with a career-high 35 points in their last outing. With Marc Pingris already out for the rest of the season due to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear injury, Ian Sangalang also missed his second straight game with a hand injury just before the All-Star break. “Medyo mabigat sa amin na wala sina Ian at Ping. Hirap yung guards ko,” added Victolero. “But we’ll try to find ways. Hindi pa naman kami out. Sana makuha na namin in this game.” To finally get back into the win column, Victolero will be banking on Jackson, with coverage from his steady backcourt led by Paul Lee, Justin Melton and Mark Barroca whose 21, 14 and 10 points, respectively, went for naught in yet another Magnolia meltdown. Fresh from a 10-day layoff after its 117-106 win over NLEX, TNT will be having a major boost with the return of Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy following their decent FIBA 3x3 World Cup stint. National team players Rosario and Pogoy rejoin Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro and import Joshua Smith in TNT’s bid to gain a share of lead with Rain or Shine entering the home stretch of the import-laden conference.

Alaska retires No. 35

Mr. Clean is now among the Alaska Aces’ immortals. The Aces on Sunday night retired Tony dela Cruz’s jersey number 35 in an emotional ceremony that marked the Aces 103-99 victory over the Magnolia Hotshots at the Araneta Coliseum. He became only the seventh player to have his number officially retired by the Alaska franchise after the legendary William ‘Bogs’ Adornado, whose No. 33 was honored following his retirement in 1988. While Adornado played for just a year for the franchise from 1987-1988, it took 12 years before another Filipino player was honored by the Alaska team, with many-time Milkmen import Sean Chambers filling the gap in 2001 when his No. 20 was hung in a ceremony. Jojo Lastimosa, one of the most recognizable Alaska guards, had his No. 6 retired in 2003, while his able partner Johnny Abarrientos had his No. 14 retired in 2010 during the Aces 25th reunion, alongside the No. 16 of Bong Hawkins. Jeffrey Cariaso’s No. 22 was retired by Alaska during the semifinals of 2010 PBA Fiesta Conference. Erik Menk’s No. 30 was retired by the Aces last year. What made Dela Cruz’s jersey retirement extra-special was his clean record. Alaska owner Fred Uytengsu spearheaded Dela Cruz’s emotional jersey retirement. “I was just super emotional. I was trying to contain it. But it’s cool to see the faces of Chris (Banchero), Rob (Wainwright), and Rich (Alvarez) and my other teammates. It was really moving,” said the 39-year old Dela Cruz. He was also honored by then Turbo Chargers governor Bobby Kanapi. A direct hire by Shell in 1999, the Filipino-American cager from California was then shipped to the Aces in 2006. Winner of the Sportsmanship Award in 2006, Dela Cruz looked back at his career as a scratch-free ride other than a lone flagrant foul infraction in 18 years. “I’m super proud of the way I carried myself each and every day on the court,” he said. “I am proud of how I played each and every day in practice.” Dela Cruz, a UC Irvine standout in the US, never incurred a technical foul in his PBA career, making him the nicest cager to ever to play in the league. “I had zero technical foul and just one flagrant foul. It was landing spot on Dennis Espino (of Sta. Lucia). I apologized to Dennis right after and said that there was no harm intended,” he added. “So, that is the thing I can look back at in my career. I am super proud of it,” he said. Dela Cruz retired last year and now serves as an assistant coach to Alaska. “I just want to continue to learn. That’s the biggest transition for me (as an assistant coach). I want to be more knowledgeable on basketball (from a coaching standpoint),” he said.

It’s over for Gilas 3×3

BOCAUE, Bulacan – Gilas Pilipinas kissed its quarterfinal chances goodbye as Roger Pogoy bungled a potential game-winner to surrender a 19-20 loss to Canada in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup last night at the Philippine Arena. With Gilas staring at a 19-20 deficit in the final 3.2 seconds, Christian Standhardinger delivered a quick pass to Pogoy, who failed to convert a buzzer-beating three-point attempt. The painful setback shoved Gilas Pilipinas out of contention with a 1-2 win-loss slate entering its final game of the eliminations against Russia. The Filipinos and the Russians are still clashing at press time. Canada, meanwhile, improved to 3-0 to gain momentum against Brazil later in the day. “We’re sorry, but we’ll go out and try to win this last game for our fellows,” said Gilas Pilipinas coach Ronnie Magsanoc. Gilas, actually, had a rough start as the Canadians imposed their will early, 2-9. But Pogoy nailed six straight points, including a back-to-back two-pointers to give the host team its first taste of the lead, 18-16, with only 1:16 left. Michael Linklater restored order as he roared with three straight points to put the Canadians ahead, 19-18, with only 30 seconds to go. Standhardinger tied the match at 19 with an undergoal stab, but Linklater crushed the Filipinos’ hearts with a tough layup over the Filipino-German banger for the final count before Pogoy muffed his game-winner.

Columbian stops bleeding

Columbian finally halted its three-game losing skid following a 115-107 victory over Phoenix to remain in the hunt of a playoff spot in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup last night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. Fresh from a five-day rest, the Dyip leaned on a strong 32-22 finishing kick to frustrate the exhausted Fuel Masters, who played their second game in three days. Still trailing by two, 73-75, entering the final canto, Dyip ran away from the Fuel Masters with a barrage of transition baskets to erect a 122-99 separation entering the final one-minute mark. Gunner Matthew Wright tried to push Phoenix back into the game with back-to-back triples to inch closer, 105-112, but time wasn’t on their side as Columbian chewed the clock en route to an impressive victory. With the win, the Dyip improved to 4-5 win-loss card to keep their flickering hope for a quarterfinal seat alive with still two games left on their elimination-round campaign. “This win is big especially coming off three straight losses,” said Columbian coach Ricky Dandan “This big win puts us in a better position to contend for a playoff berth.” Import John Bailey Fields grinded a huge double-double of 29 points and 26 rebounds with four assists and three steals for the Dyip, who also got ample contribution from the local crew led by Glenn Khobuntin. Khobuntin delivered 18 points, four rebounds and two assists while four more Dyip barged into twin digit in scoring. Meanwhile, fatigue just caught up on the Fuel Masters, who suffered their second straight defeat. Coming off a tough 100-103 overtime loss to Meralco on Friday night, Phoenix just couldn’t buy a basket in the fourth period to fall to a 3-5 slate. Before Wright’s back-to-back triples late in the game, Phoenix was shooting a forgettable 2-of-21 clip from beyond the arc. The Fuel Masters’ last three-point conversion prior to that came as early as the 3:44 mark of the first quarter courtesy of Wright, whose 32 points went for naught in Phoenix’s another loss. Phoenix import Eugene Phelps also racked up monster numbers of 34 points, 22 rebounds and three blocks.

Gilas Pilipinas chases QF berth

PERLAS BOMB OUT Games Today: 4:50 pm – Philippines vs Canada 7:00 pm – Philippines vs Russia BOCAUE, Bulacan – Gilas Pilipinas shoots for a sweep of its remaining pool play matches to salvage a quarterfinal berth in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup Monday at the Philippine Arena here. After booking an impressive victory over Brazil followed by a setback to Mongolia, the Filipino dribblers found themselves in a must-win position when they battle unbeaten Canada at 4:50 pm and Russia at 7 pm for a chance to march into the next round. Meanwhile, Perlas Pilipinas fell flat anew as it surrendered a 17-21 decision to Spain to bomb out of contention in the women’s division. Egged on by a massive home crowd, Perlas appeared headed for a gigantic upset behind Janine Pontejo, who erupted for eight straight points to put them ahead, 10-8, midway through the match. But Paula Palomares sparked a 5-1 blast to put Spain back on top, 13-11. It was all Spain from there as it hammered the smaller Perlas Pilipinas in the shaded lanes to capture a 20-14 lead in the final four minutes. Pontejos delivered 13 points, but it wasn’t enough as Miranda chipped in only three markers while three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Afril Bernardo had only a single point. Perlas Pilipinas is clashing with Hungary as of press time in a bid to finish its campaign on a sweet note. With Perlas Pilipinas already out, all eyes will now be on Gilas Pilipinas. Entering the tournament as the 19th seed out of 20 competing teams, the host team made heads turn when it shocked sixth-seed Brazil, 15-7, before succumbing to tough Mongolia, 17-21, in the first day of action. Head coach Ronnie Magsanoc stressed that their lack of experience in playing half-court game doomed their chances against the Mongolians. “We had our chances,” said Magsanoc, adding that they established an 8-3 advantage early before collapsing against the rugged Mongolian defense. “It’s about knowing how to win in the end. Their (Mongolians) experience was a major factor in this match.” Save for Troy Rosario, Gilas stalwarts Christian Standhardinger, Roger Pogoy and Stanley Pringle are all newbies in this booming event that will be played for the first time in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Fortunately for them, the setback to the Mongolians is not yet the end of the road as they can still book a slot in the next round should they emerge victorious over Canada and Russia. That mission, however, would not be a cakewalk as the Canadians tormented the Mongolians, 21-15, and the Russians, 20-17. Russia, on the other hand, sports a 1-1 card after losing to Canada and winless Brazil, 20-16. Magsanoc said for them to win, they must play competitively from start to finish. “One thing I learned from watching elite teams, when they’re already at 19 points, they’ll take the two-point shot no matter what,” he said. “It’s a learning curve. We have to be better. We have to play the 3x3 way.”

Teng comeback to take longer

Jeron Teng’s Philippine Basketball Association comeback is still a question as he recovers from the stab wounds he suffered during a night brawl last week at the posh Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. The 24-year old rookie was discharged from the St. Luke’s Medical Center after a week of confinement for three deep cuts he sustained in a melee that included former De La Salle University teammates Norbert Torres and Thomas Torres. Norbert, who plays for Rain or Shine, also received 11 stitches on his left arm while Thomas, playing for the Mandaluyong El Tigre in Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, had his triceps slit by the same bladed weapon used against his two companions. Their attackers, Edmar Lacanlale and Willard Basili, were nabbed by Police after the attack on the players. “As of present, I am now recovering at home and being closely monitored by my family and doctors,” reported the fifth overall draft pick through his official social media account Friday night. \"The time that I’m going to be back inside the court is still uncertain,” he claimed. “For now, I am focusing on my recovery with the help of family and friends.” Teng took time to thank his supporters, whom he said served as inspiration to him. “First of all, I would like to thank my family, friends and supporters for all the prayers.” he added. Norbert had checked in with Rain or Shine while still waiting for the doctor’s clearance to play again. “I’m still recovering. I’m still waiting for doctor’s clearance that I can stay playing and practicing with the team. They said it would take around 14 days before I play again,” Norbert said after the Elasto Painters’ 104-94 win over Blackwater Friday night.

Where in the world is Calvin?

ALASKA SUSPENDS ABUEVA Games Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum) 4:30 pm -- Phoenix vs Columbian Dyip 6:45 pm -- Alaska vs Magnolia Red-hot Alaska stakes its league-best five-game winning streak without prized forward Calvin Abueva today against Magnolia in a crucial battle of still contending teams in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Alaska forward was slapped an indefinite suspension yesterday by team owner Wilfred Uytengsu following his absence without notice the past week. Abueva went missing from the Alaska camp since the PBA All-Star Break reportedly due to a ‘personal’ reason. He also missed the Aces’ 109-106 win over Globalport last Saturday. “The Alaska Aces have placed Calvin Abueva on indefinite suspension following his more than a week’s absence from practice and failing to advise the coaching staff and management to his whereabouts,” said Uytengsu in an official statement released online. “While the team understands Calvin may be going through some troubling personal issues, it does not obviate his responsibility to his team. The suspension is effective immediately,” he added. Aside from the Alaska practice, Abueva also missed practice for the national team which is currently in the middle of its preparation for the third window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers slated at the end of the month. However, Alaska reiterated its willingness to still make him available for the national team if head coach Chot Reyes require his presence in the team. It was the second time Abueva missed Alaska and Gilas camps this year since January, when he skipped practice also due to a ‘personal’ reason. Head coach Alex Compton said earlier that Abueva was undergoing personal issues which he understood as ‘bigger than basketball’. “Calvin’s going through some personal issues and we’ll leave it at that. It’s our profession, we love it. But it’s not the meaning of life. Life is bigger than basketball. Life is bigger than the game,” Compton said. Without him, the Aces are to expect to have their hands full against the hungry Magnolia squad in the main game at 6:45 pm. Phoenix and Columbian Dyip both eye to get back into the win column after tough losses this week to bolster their quarterfinal  

Host PH stuns Brazil in 3×3

Games today (Philippine Arena, Bocaue, Bulacan) 4:20 pm -- Spain vs Philippines 7pm -- Philippines vs Hungary BOCAUE, BULACAN – Cheered on by a sizeable home crowd, host Philippines pulled the rug from under heavily-favored Brazil, 15-7, to fire off its 2018 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3x3 World Cup campaign Satursday at the Philippine Arena. Showing the visitors a glimpse of rugged Philippine basketball, the Christian Standhardinger-anchored Gilas feasted on the Brazilians inside and got them in early penalty after consuming seven quick fouls. As the Filipinos established their presence in the middle, Roger Pogoy made them pay with back-to-back two-point baskets, before Rosario converted an and-one to give the Philippines a commanding 8-1 lead. Shocked, the sixth-seeded Brazilians never recovered from that Gilas’ opening rally and the Filipinos stretched their lead to a huge 11-2 separation, capped by Stanley Pringle’s lay-up off a dazzling crossover. Marcellus Sarmento tried to push the Brazilians back in the game with a string of points to cut down the lead, 6-11, before Pringle put on the finishing touches with back-to-back ankle breakers for the 15-6 marginal score. “All we wanted was to be competitive and stay with our opponents so we’ll have a chance at the end. But our players were able to jump the gun on Brazil,” head coach Ronnie Magsanoc said. “I think it gave us a good buffer when everybody got tired. That’s a very good start for the team,” he added. Pogoy, Pringle and Rosario racked up four points apiece while Standhardinger contributed three points. With the win, Gilas momentarily seized the group lead in Pool C which also includes Russia, Canada and Mongolia. As of press time, Gilas is looking to stay flawless against Mongolia later yesterday. Meanwhile, the women’s national team Perlas Pilipinas looks to rebound today against Spain and Hungary to make it up for a winless outing on Friday. Bannered by Jack Animam, Janine Pontejos, Afril Bernardino and Gemma Miranda, Perlas suffered a tough 11-21 loss to Netherlands and a painful 10-12 loss to Germany. Scores: 15 — Pogoy 4, Pringle 4, Rosario 4, Standhardinger 3. 7 — Sarmento 4, Soriani 2, Evangelista 1, Silva 0.
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