JANUARY 25, 2007
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Dondon Hontiveros went four-of-four from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter and the well-rested San Miguel Beer squad outsprinted Red Bull at the finish for a 114-109 victory in the opener of their Talk n Text PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal showdown at the Araneta Coliseum last night.

Hontiveros caught fire in the fourth quarter, fuelling a vicious 19-2 run that carried the Beermen to the stirring come-from-behind win.

Coming off a month-long rest, the Beermen took awhile to get their game going, but proved unstoppable when they finally hit their stride.

"We shook off the rust with a win to boot. The win was a bonus," said San Miguel coach Chot Reyes.

"We committing 26 turnovers is a testament how rusty we are. Red Bull, on the other hand, is so fired up. Naubusan lang sila sa dulo," Reyes added.

The Beermen outscored the Bulls, 32-21, in the payoff period with Hontiveros firing 13, Danny Ildefonso adding 10 and Danny Seigle chipping in four.

Everything just didnít work for San Miguel until Hontiveros hit his range in the last six minutes of play and Ildefonso took the cue from his Cebuano teammate.

The Beermen trailed most of the way but held on to the lead up to the finish after they darted ahead, 111-102, on the lethal 19-2 assault started and capped by Hontiveros with a triple.

The Bulls set the tempo early on with Enrico Villanueva, Junthy Valenzuela, Mick Pennisi and Larry Fonacier on the forefront of their attack.

After blowing away an 11-point margin, the Bulls, however, seemed to lose their poise and never recovered, seeing the end of their three-game streak in the playoffs.

Barangay Ginebra came out smoking and blasted Talk n Text, 115-100, in Game One of their own semifinal showdown.

"They had beaten us twice and theyíre coming off three straight wins in the quarters. They probably thought itís gonna be easy. We, on the other hand, thought it wonít be easy. So mas nagtrabaho kami," said Ginebra coach Jong Uichico.

"We dominated the game but itís definitely not the gauge of the series. Itís a long haul. Anything can happen," Uichico added.

Chessers protest officialís role in game-fixing probe The Philippine Star 01/25/2007

Chess players have protested the inclusion of Willie Abalos in the committe tasked by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines to investigate the game-fixing issue.

This after Abalos was found to have a personal grudge with International Master Ronald Dableo, one of the players he has implicated in the scandal that has rocked RP chess.

"Out of delicadeza, Abalos should resign as member of the group investigating the game-fixing scandal because he has a quarrel with Dableo," said a source close to Dableo in Filipino.

"Heíll definitely influence the investigation because he has a personal grudge with Dableo," added the same source.

Reports showed that Abalos had been at odds with Dableo for years but their quarrel reached its height during the 2006 Doha Asian Games.

Abalos accused Dableo, an Air Force man, of throwing a game to Vietnamese Grandmaster Dao Thien Hai in a foreign tournament last year. To-date the former failed to substantiate the charges.

"How can he (Dableo) throw that game when a win meant IM Oliver Dimakiling would end up champion and IM Darwin Laylo second place.

"You canít do that to friends and especially when youíre playing for flag and country, thatís completely preposterous," explained the same source.

The NCFP has tasked Abalos to spearhead the probe in the President Arroyo Cup in November and the Pichay Cup in December last year while NCFP executive director Sammy Estimo was assigned to the tournament in Tanauan, Batangas also last year.

Allegations of selling of points in Tanauan where IM Chito Garma won, games won quickly in the President Arroyo Cup and fishy final round games in the Pichay Cup were the issues raised that prompted the NCFP probe. ó Joey Villar

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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