SPORTS NEWS THE WEEK AFTER
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

WIMBLEDON 2015: DJOKOVIC, SERENA, SHARAPOVA STAR ON DAY 1


JUNE 29 ---LONDON,
Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova take center stage as Wimbledon gets underway on Monday (today in Manila) while Lleyton Hewitt hopes for a long goodbye on his 17th and final appearance at the All England Club. World No. 1, top seed and defending champion Djokovic plays his first tournament since Stan Wawrinka ended his latest bid to win a French Open and complete a career Grand Slam in Paris three weeks ago. The Serb, who was also Wimbledon champion in 2011, has never lost in the first round at the tournament but he faces a tough opener against world No. 33 Philipp Kohlschreiber who made the quarterfinals in 2012. Djokovic holds a 6-1 career advantage over the 31-year-old German. Kohlschreiber’s only victory against Djokovic came at the 2009 French Open and the Serb has won the last five on the spin, including a straight sets victory in the US Open fourth round last year. But the champion is wary of the potential pitfalls as he opens play on Center Court at 1200GMT. “When you see Kohlschreiber in the first round, you don’t look any further in the draw,” said eight-time major winner Djokovic. READ MORE...

ALSO: DJOKOVIC, SERENA,  BREEZE IN SWELTERING HEAT


JULY 3 ---Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova breezed through at a sweltering Wimbledon on Wednesday where temperatures soared to an all-time record high.
But Japanese star Kei Nishikori was forced to withdraw with a calf injury while Ana Ivanovic became the third woman in the top 10 to be knocked out in the first three days. Defending champion and top seed Djokovic reached the third round with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Jarkko Nieminen which brought the curtain down on the Finn’s Wimbledon career. Djokovic will take on Australian 27th seed Bernard Tomic for a place in the last 16 as the Serb continues his bid to win a third Wimbledon and ninth Grand Slam crown. It was Djokovic’s sixth career win in seven meetings against the 33-year-old Nieminen and the two men exchanged a warm embrace at the net once their 92-minute Centre Court duel had ended. “It was his last Wimbledon so I congratulated him on a great career,” said Djokovic. Tomic made the third round by defeating Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 7-6 (7/5). READ MORE...

ALSO PBA Semis:  James Yap says Abueva has mellowed down


JUNE 30 ---Star's James Yap and Calvin Abueva of Alaska. | PBA Images/Nuki Sabio
A bruising semifinal series between Star and Alaska is in the offing starting Wednesday, with the Aces’ flamboyant forward Calvin Abueva expected to be at the middle of it all.
But Hotshots superstar James Yap believes the “Beast” has mellowed down in his third season a pro. “Di ko na iniitindi si Calvin, mabait naman iyan. Actually si Abueva, mas mabait na ngayon,” Yap told Philstar.com just before the team’s practice at Ronac gym in San Juan. The 6-foot-1 Abueva has been at the center of controversies in past conferences, with the undersized Alaska banger getting fined in many instances. In fact, just this season, hard-playing Abueva was slapped a P20,000 fine by the Office of the Commissioner for hitting Rain or Shine guard Jonathan Uyloan in the stomach during Alaska’s 91-98 Christmas Day loss at the Mall of Asia Arena. But Yap dismissed Abueva’s past on-court incidents, saying the former San Sebastian Stag’s intensity was simply borne out of his desire to win. READ MORE...

ALSO: PBA suspends, fines Coach Lim P50K for hitting Abueva


JUNE 30 --Ginebra coach Frankie Lim
Ginebra coach Frankie Lim drew a severe sanction of a game suspension and a fine of P50,000 for his involvement in the fracas that marred their quarterfinal match against Alaska Milk Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The PBA Commissioner’s Office announced it was a penalty “for hitting a fallen player” without elaborating. Earlier, a PBA official said Lim was caught on a video striking Calvin Abueva with a swing and a nudge, prompting a summon from PBA commissioner Chito Salud. The Aces went roaring at the resumption of play following the commotion, fighting back from 16 points down to knock out Ginebra, 104-108, in their quarters matchup. The commotion was triggered by an exchange of head-butts between Abueva and Orlando Johnson in front of the Ginebra bench late in the third period. From nowhere, LA Tenorio rushed and pushed Abueva hard, causing the Alaska player to fall in front of the Ginebra mentor. READ MORE...

ALSO: Yap fades in 2nd half as Aces trap Hotshots into complacency


JULY 2 ---Star Hotshots' James Yap fades in second half of Game One as the Alaska Aces steals the win. PBA Images 
James Yap was on his way to another big game and lead the Star Hotshots to a sixth straight win until the Alaska Aces came out blazing after halftime to steal Game One with a 97-91 win on Wednesday.
Yap had 10 points in the opening half scoring from all angles and at one point, the Star Hotshots led by as many as 18. The Aces, however, essentially put Yap out of his comfort zone with their signature trapping defense. "Wala lang chance [maka-iskor]. Kasi nung third quarter naka-isang tira lang ako. Medyo nagkaniya-kaniya kami 'nung nag-trap sila tapos lamang kami," Yap told Philstar.com after the game. READ MORE...

ALSO: Beermen survive E-Painters in opener


JULY 3 --San Miguel clamped down on defense to stymie Rain or Shine’s torrid shooting, and went to Marcio Lassiter, AZ Reid, Junemar Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot for the scoring sock that wiped out deficits as big as 24 at 43-19 and 45-21. File photo Game today (Smart Araneta Coliseum) Twenty-four hours after Alaska Milk’s stirring come-from-behind 97-91 win over Star, San Miguel Beer fashioned out a bigger comeback feat, charging back from 24 points down to beat Rain or Shine, 101-95, in the opener of their own PBA Governors Cup best-of-five semifinal playoff at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night. A shift to zone defense worked wonders for San Miguel, sparking a turnaround that had the Beermen overhauling a 46-60 halftime deficit then completely flattening the stunned Rain or Shine side at the finish. As they made the stops, the Beermen also hit their stride on the offensive end, pummeling the Elasto Painters, 34-19, in the third period and, 21-16, in the final canto. “We’re down by 24, and we’re able to catch up, take the lead and win it in the end. It’s unbelievable,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria. “It reminds us of the game (the previous night). There are so many similarities. Alaska was down by 18 and they were also able to make a turnaround,” Austria also said. San Miguel clamped down on defense to stymie Rain or Shine’s torrid shooting, and went to Marcio Lassiter, AZ Reid, Junemar Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot for the scoring sock that wiped out deficits as big as 24 at 43-19 and 45-21. Austria made special mention of Cabagnot who broke out of his personal slump and pumped in huge baskets in the second half to highlight a 15-point game. READ MORE...

ALSO SPORTING CHANCE: Intriguing storylines


JULY 2-- By Joaquin Henson The two duels in the PBA Governors Cup semifinals feature 10 dramatic and intriguing storylines. First, Star Hotshots coach Tim Cone is up against his former team Alaska. Second, San Miguel Beer import Arizona Reid faces his former team Rain Or Shine. Third, it’s Cone’s last window to retain one of three titles that he won with San Mig Coffee in a Grand Slam last season. Fourth, Alaska coach Alex Compton is the only mentor in the semifinals without a title under his belt – will he finally join the winners’ circle? Fifth, Rain Or Shine is out to end an eight-conference championship drought and crush a bridesmaid’s curse – the Painters have finished second in four of their last eight conferences since winning the 2011-12 Governors Cup. Sixth, the Aces were a win shy of claiming the Philippine Cup crown this season, losing to San Miguel Beer in Game 7 of the Finals. Now, Compton hopes that luck will be on his side. Seventh, San Miguel Beer is the only team with the chance of bagging two titles this season. Coach Leo Austria intends to prove his first PBA title was no fluke. Eighth, if Star and San Miguel Beer make it to the Finals, it will be a rematch between the Hotshots’ Marqus Blakely and Reid. Ninth, none of the four semifinalists is parading an import of unlimited height or an Asian reinforcement, meaning the playing field is level. And lastly, Gilas coach Tab Baldwin will be watching the games closely as he zeroes in on the players to nominate for the national pool so everyone is on notice to give it their all. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Djokovic, Serena, Sharapova star on Wimbledon first day

LONDON, JULY 6, 2015 (MANILA TIMES) June 29, 2015 8:46 pm - Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova take center stage as Wimbledon gets underway on Monday (today in Manila) while Lleyton Hewitt hopes for a long goodbye on his 17th and final appearance at the All England Club.

World No. 1, top seed and defending champion Djokovic plays his first tournament since Stan Wawrinka ended his latest bid to win a French Open and complete a career Grand Slam in Paris three weeks ago.

The Serb, who was also Wimbledon champion in 2011, has never lost in the first round at the tournament but he faces a tough opener against world No. 33 Philipp Kohlschreiber who made the quarterfinals in 2012.

Djokovic holds a 6-1 career advantage over the 31-year-old German.

Kohlschreiber’s only victory against Djokovic came at the 2009 French Open and the Serb has won the last five on the spin, including a straight sets victory in the US Open fourth round last year.

But the champion is wary of the potential pitfalls as he opens play on Center Court at 1200GMT.

“When you see Kohlschreiber in the first round, you don’t look any further in the draw,” said eight-time major winner Djokovic.

READ MORE...

A victory for the Serb could give him a second round match-up against 2002 champion Hewitt, the last man outside of the big four of Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray to win the Wimbledon title.

Hewitt, 34, will be playing the All England Club for the final time before retirement after next year’s Australian Open.

The former world No. 1, who made his All England Club debut back in 1998, starts against 33-year-old Finn Jarkko Nieminen, a quarterfinalist nine years ago.

Women’s top seed Serena Williams, the five time champion and bidding for a calendar Grand Slam, gets her 16th Wimbledon started on Court One against Russia’s Magarita Gasparyan, the world No. 113.

Moscow native Gasparyan has only appeared in the main draw of a Grand Slam once—losing in the first round at the French Open this year. She has also yet to win a match on the main WTA Tour in four years as a professional.

Williams has swept to Australian and French Open triumphs over the last six months and the world number one returns to the All England Club within two major titles of becoming the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to claim the four top titles in one year.

The 33-year-old American also won the US Open to end 2014 on a high and is heavy favourite to continue that dominant run by taking the Wimbledon title for the sixth time.

“Personally it doesn’t make it feel any different, which I think is a good thing because I don’t feel any pressure to win all four,” said Williams.

Sharapova, the 2004 champion, has only got beyond the fourth round once in the last eight years.

The fourth seeded Russian is second-up on Center Court against Britain’s Australian-born Johanna Konta, the world number 146.

The 24-year-old Konta, who showed her grass-court credentials with a run to the quarter-finals in Eastbourne last week, has played three first rounds at Wimbledon, losing on all three occasions.

Wawrinka, fresh from his French Open win, completes play on Center Court by facing Portugal’s Joao Sousa.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the fifth seed, plays Italy’s Simone Bolelli while Australian 26th seed Nick Kyrgios, who knocked out Nadal 12 months ago, opens play on Court Two against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.


PHILSTAR

Djokovic, Sharapova, Serena breeze in heat

LONDON, JULY 6, 2015 (MANILA STANDARD) By AFP | Jul. 03, 2015 - Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova breezed through at a sweltering Wimbledon on Wednesday where temperatures soared to an all-time record high.

But Japanese star Kei Nishikori was forced to withdraw with a calf injury while Ana Ivanovic became the third woman in the top 10 to be knocked out in the first three days.

Defending champion and top seed Djokovic reached the third round with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Jarkko Nieminen which brought the curtain down on the Finn’s Wimbledon career.

Djokovic will take on Australian 27th seed Bernard Tomic for a place in the last 16 as the Serb continues his bid to win a third Wimbledon and ninth Grand Slam crown.

It was Djokovic’s sixth career win in seven meetings against the 33-year-old Nieminen and the two men exchanged a warm embrace at the net once their 92-minute Centre Court duel had ended.

“It was his last Wimbledon so I congratulated him on a great career,” said Djokovic.

Tomic made the third round by defeating Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).

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Women’s top seed and five-time champion Serena Williams cruised into the third round with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Hungary’s Timea Babos with 12 aces and 23 winners in just 59 minutes on Centre Court.

The 33-year-old, bidding for a third Grand Slam title of the year, will play Britain’s Heather Watson for a place in the last 16.

“I’m definitely playing well, which I never say, but I had two really tough matches straight off the bat so I had to pick up my game,” Serena said.

Sister Venus, also a five-time Wimbledon winner and a potential fourth round opponent, went through, beating Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.

Djokovic plays it cool

Fourth-seeded Sharapova, the 2004 champion, downed Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp 6-3, 6-1 and next faces Romanian 29th seed Irina-Camelia Begu.

Temperatures at Wimbledon hit at a record high of 35.7 degrees Celsius (96.3 degrees Fahrenheit) —beating the previous mark of 34.6C in 1976.

However, Djokovic, who has played in 40C at the Australian Open, said: “It wasn’t as bad as I thought. People were talking about it and predicting really difficult conditions. But I didn’t find it as difficult as I thought it might be.”

Fifth-seeded Nishikori had been scheduled to face Colombian world number 60 Santiago Giraldo on Centre Court for a place in the last 32.

But the 25-year-old admitted that the left calf injury he suffered last month in Halle, which had forced him to retire in the semi-finals, was still a factor during his gruelling win over Simone Bolelli in the first round at Wimbledon on Monday.

“It got worse in the fifth set of that match, it hurt so much,” said Nishikori. “It hurt to walk and run today so I decided not to play.”

Giraldo goes on to face US wildcard Denis Kudla for a third round spot.


PHILSTAR

James Yap says Abueva has mellowed down By Richard Dy, contributor (philstar.com) | Updated June 30, 2015 - 5:55pm 48 425 googleplus0


Star's James Yap and Calvin Abueva of Alaska. | PBA Images/Nuki Sabio

MANILA, Philippines – A bruising semifinal series between Star and Alaska is in the offing starting Wednesday, with the Aces’ flamboyant forward Calvin Abueva expected to be at the middle of it all.

But Hotshots superstar James Yap believes the “Beast” has mellowed down in his third season a pro.

“Di ko na iniitindi si Calvin, mabait naman iyan. Actually si Abueva, mas mabait na ngayon,” Yap told Philstar.com just before the team’s practice at Ronac gym in San Juan.

The 6-foot-1 Abueva has been at the center of controversies in past conferences, with the undersized Alaska banger getting fined in many instances.

In fact, just this season, hard-playing Abueva was slapped a P20,000 fine by the Office of the Commissioner for hitting Rain or Shine guard Jonathan Uyloan in the stomach during Alaska’s 91-98 Christmas Day loss at the Mall of Asia Arena.

But Yap dismissed Abueva’s past on-court incidents, saying the former San Sebastian Stag’s intensity was simply borne out of his desire to win.

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“Kaibigan ko naman siya (Abueva). Ganun lang talaga siya, kasi ma-hustle siya sa laro. Eh nag-mature na naman siya,” added the two-time league MVP.

Star will be meeting Alaska for the fifth time in the playoffs since Tim Cone assumed the coaching post for the Purefoods franchise.

Since beating Star (then known as San Mig) in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup on the way to winning its only PBA title in the post-Tim Cone era, Alaska has been beaten by the Hotshots in their last three playoff battles.

But Yap isn’t expecting an easy semifinal series at all.

“Ang Alaska, magaling sa depensa iyan saka nagpe-press. Very aggressive sila right from the start aya bawal kumurap,” said Yap, who averaged 16.0 points in Star’s quarterfinal victories over fourth seed GlobalPort last week.


PHILSTAR

PBA suspends, fines Lim P50K for hitting Abueva By Nelson Beltran (philstar.com) | Updated June 30, 2015 - 4:29pm 40 788 googleplus0 0


Ginebra coach Frankie Lim

MANILA, Philippines – Ginebra coach Frankie Lim drew a severe sanction of a game suspension and a fine of P50,000 for his involvement in the fracas that marred their quarterfinal match against Alaska Milk Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The PBA Commissioner’s Office announced it was a penalty “for hitting a fallen player” without elaborating.

Earlier, a PBA official said Lim was caught on a video striking Calvin Abueva with a swing and a nudge, prompting a summon from PBA commissioner Chito Salud.

The Aces went roaring at the resumption of play following the commotion, fighting back from 16 points down to knock out Ginebra, 104-108, in their quarters matchup.

The commotion was triggered by an exchange of head-butts between Abueva and Orlando Johnson in front of the Ginebra bench late in the third period.

From nowhere, LA Tenorio rushed and pushed Abueva hard, causing the Alaska player to fall in front of the Ginebra mentor.

READ MORE...

After the protagonists were separated, Abueva, Johnson, Tenorio and Lim were called technical fouls.

Abueva, Johnson and Tenorio drew corresponding fines for their technical infractions.

Lim serves his suspension in Ginebra’s first game in PBA Season 41. He had his long suspension in the NCAA for his involvement in an ugly brawl between his then San Beda Lions team and San Sebastian volleyball coach Roger Gorayeb.

SMC officials Robert Non and Alfrancis Chua said the Gin Kings and the coaching staff will undergo assessment in the next few days.

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RELATED

Hotshots, Aces begin PBA semis joust By Nelson Beltran (philstar.com) | Updated June 30, 2015 - 2:44pm 8 0 googleplus0 0 Game Wednesday

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

7 p.m. – Star vs Alaska

MANILA, Philippines – Titleholder Star and playoff top seed Alaska Milk break the ice in their PBA Governors Cup best-of-five semifinal showdown Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum – a topnotch duel of grand slam-winning franchises with no love lost between them.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. with no hype needed since both are well disciplined and determined ball clubs that play hard each game.

They are only expected to play harder as they fight for a shot at the crown against the winner of the San Miguel Beer-Rain or Shine semifinal pairing.

The Hotshots are out to keep the lone remaining jewel from their Triple Crown feat last season while the Aces ache for another final stint after narrowly missing the ultimate glory in the Philippine Cup versus the San Miguel Beermen.

Alaska now looks well capable to go all the way to win a championship in its fourth conference under coach Alex Compton while Star appears to be in its best form since the end of its four-peat run.

“Alaska is the number one seed this conference for a reason: They have played the best and most consistent basketball, without a doubt,” said Star coach Tim Cone.

“Coach Alex has really developed a deep bench that can maintain their pressure throughout the game. We’ll have to be careful with tempo and make sure we play our game, not theirs,” Cone also said.

Compton is not a student of the longtime Alaska champion coach. Under Compton, the Aces have evolved from a Triangle Offense team to a pressing, running and gunning, rah-rah-rah squad.

They’re the league’s new never-say-die team, living up to this mantra in a stirring come-from-behind conquest of Barangay Ginebra in their quarterfinals showdown.

But the Hotshots have their own morale-boosting triumph in a two-game reversal of the fourth ranked Globalport Batang Pier in their own quarters faceoff.

The Hotshots enjoyed some breather from their two-game grind as the tourney took a break from a daily schedule Tuesday.

Cone and his former team figure in a fifth playoff collision since their breakup after the 2010-11 season, and it’s likely to be very competitive, physical and emotional just like their previous battles.

After severing their ties, the Aces humbled Cone and his team in their first playoff duel in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup where the Uytengsu ball club went all the way to rule the tourney.

It’s their first and only title so far in their post-Cone era.

But Cone has had his revenge, not just once but thrice in their quarterfinals pairings in the 2013 Governors Cup, 2014 Commissioner’s Cup and the most recent Commissioner’s Cup.

Cone and the Hotshots went all the way to win the crowns in two of those three tournaments, forming part of the five title runs the brilliant American tactician has achieved with the Purefoods/SMC Food franchise.

Marqus Blakely and his teammates set out for the semis riding the crest of a five-game streak.

James Yap is a key player who’s back in the groove averaging 14.75 after being limited to a total of 18 in three previous games. Same with PJ Simon, norming 12.6 markers in their last five outings in a big improvement from his 4.5 points average in their first eight games.

Other players to watch out for from the Star side are Alex Mallari, Joe Devance, Mark Barroca, Marc Pingris and Justin Melton.

Alaska also has a solid core group including Romeo Travis, Chris Banchero, Jvee Casio, Cyrus Baguio, Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, RJ Jazul, Dondon Hontiveros, Sonny Thoss, Rome dela Rosa, Chis Exciminiano and Eric Menk.

Romeo averages 24.5 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals for Alaska while Blakely norms 22.5 points, 13.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.6 blocks for Star.


PHILSTAR

Yap fades in 2nd half as Aces trap Hotshots into complacency By Alder Almo (philstar.com) | Updated July 2, 2015 - 3:20pm 2 2 googleplus0 0


Star Hotshots' James Yap fades in second half of Game One as the Alaska Aces steals the win. PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- James Yap was on his way to another big game and lead the Star Hotshots to a sixth straight win until the Alaska Aces came out blazing after halftime to steal Game One with a 97-91 win on Wednesday.

Yap had 10 points in the opening half scoring from all angles and at one point, the Star Hotshots led by as many as 18. The Aces, however, essentially put Yap out of his comfort zone with their signature trapping defense.

"Wala lang chance [maka-iskor]. Kasi nung third quarter naka-isang tira lang ako. Medyo nagkaniya-kaniya kami 'nung nag-trap sila tapos lamang kami," Yap told Philstar.com after the game.

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The Hotshots' gunner wound up with 13 points, only three in the second half, as the Aces completed their comeback from a big 18-point deficit. Yap said they prepared for Alaska's pressure defense but just could not weather the storm as complacency also kicked in.

"Actually, pinag-aralan namin yung pagta-trap nila going into this game pero at least ngayon alam na namin [mga errors namin]. Kalimutan namin 'tong game na 'to pero bago namin kalimutan kailangan pag-aralan namin bakit kami natalo," Yap said.

The Hotshots fell to 17 turnovers in the face of the Aces' unforgiving defense. Yap and the rest of the Hotshots were disappointed at themselves for squandering an 18-point lead in the first half, 41-23, but they intend to learn from this loss to get back on track in their bid to defend the last gem of their Grandslam last season.

"Ganito naman talaga pag series, kailangan alam mo kung ano ang ibinabato nila sa'yo so bounce back na lang kami [sa Game 2]," Yap said.


PHILSTAR

Beermen survive E-Painters in opener By Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 3, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


San Miguel clamped down on defense to stymie Rain or Shine’s torrid shooting, and went to Marcio Lassiter, AZ Reid, Junemar Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot for the scoring sock that wiped out deficits as big as 24 at 43-19 and 45-21. File photo Game today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)

MANILA, Philippines - Twenty-four hours after Alaska Milk’s stirring come-from-behind 97-91 win over Star, San Miguel Beer fashioned out a bigger comeback feat, charging back from 24 points down to beat Rain or Shine, 101-95, in the opener of their own PBA Governors Cup best-of-five semifinal playoff at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

A shift to zone defense worked wonders for San Miguel, sparking a turnaround that had the Beermen overhauling a 46-60 halftime deficit then completely flattening the stunned Rain or Shine side at the finish.

As they made the stops, the Beermen also hit their stride on the offensive end, pummeling the Elasto Painters, 34-19, in the third period and, 21-16, in the final canto.

“We’re down by 24, and we’re able to catch up, take the lead and win it in the end. It’s unbelievable,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.

“It reminds us of the game (the previous night). There are so many similarities. Alaska was down by 18 and they were also able to make a turnaround,” Austria also said.

San Miguel clamped down on defense to stymie Rain or Shine’s torrid shooting, and went to Marcio Lassiter, AZ Reid, Junemar Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot for the scoring sock that wiped out deficits as big as 24 at 43-19 and 45-21.

Austria made special mention of Cabagnot who broke out of his personal slump and pumped in huge baskets in the second half to highlight a 15-point game.

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“After a string of so-so games, Alex came out and showed his true worth,” said Austria.

Reid (22 points and 13 rebounds), Fajardo (20 markers and 10 boards) and Santos (13 points and 12 rebounds) all collected double-double numbers while Lassiter rifled in four three-pointers and finished with 22 markers.

“Our shooters made their shots and that’s a key since Rain or Shine looked to be well prepared against Junemar. We have to be ready for that in Game Two,” said Austria.

Meanwhile, Alaska guns for a 2-0 lead against Star at the resumption of their semis duel starting at 7 tonight, also at the Big Dome.

Lassiter, Cabagnot and Ronald Tubid knocked in five three-pointers to fuel a big run that pushed San Miguel ahead, 80-79, at the end of the third.

The two teams engaged in a battle from there with the Beermen emerging victorious on lethal baskets by Lassiter and Reid at the finish.

The E-Painters shot almost at will at the start, unloading a mammoth 26-5 salvo in a seven-minute stretch bridging the first two quarters to open their first 24-point margin at 43-19.

Wendell McKines started everything for the E-Painters, scoring the game’s first two baskets on hustle plays.

And curiously he had a near double-double numbers with 14 points and eight rebounds right in the opening frame and had piled up 22 points and 13 rebounds at the half.

Jeff Chan, Chris Tiu and Beau Belga helped give RoS a strong start while Paul Lee, Jireh Ibanes and Raymond Almazan provided instant firepower coming off the bench.

That was before their downfall.

The scores:

San Miguel Beer 101 – Lassiter 22, Reid 22, Fajardo 20, Cabagnot 15, Santos 13, Tubid 5, Lutz 2, Espinas 2, Ross 0.

Rain of Shine 95 – McKines 33, Lee 19, Belga 12, Almazan 10, Ibañes 7, Chan 7, Uyloan 5, Tiu 2, Norwood 0, Cruz Jericho 0, Araña 0, Quiñahan 0.

Quarterscores: 19-34, 46-60, 80-79, 101-95


PHILSTAR

Intriguing storylines SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 2, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


By Joaquin Henson

The two duels in the PBA Governors Cup semifinals feature 10 dramatic and intriguing storylines.

First, Star Hotshots coach Tim Cone is up against his former team Alaska.

Second, San Miguel Beer import Arizona Reid faces his former team Rain Or Shine.

Third, it’s Cone’s last window to retain one of three titles that he won with San Mig Coffee in a Grand Slam last season.

Fourth, Alaska coach Alex Compton is the only mentor in the semifinals without a title under his belt – will he finally join the winners’ circle?

Fifth, Rain Or Shine is out to end an eight-conference championship drought and crush a bridesmaid’s curse – the Painters have finished second in four of their last eight conferences since winning the 2011-12 Governors Cup.

Sixth, the Aces were a win shy of claiming the Philippine Cup crown this season, losing to San Miguel Beer in Game 7 of the Finals. Now, Compton hopes that luck will be on his side.

Seventh, San Miguel Beer is the only team with the chance of bagging two titles this season. Coach Leo Austria intends to prove his first PBA title was no fluke.

Eighth, if Star and San Miguel Beer make it to the Finals, it will be a rematch between the Hotshots’ Marqus Blakely and Reid.

Ninth, none of the four semifinalists is parading an import of unlimited height or an Asian reinforcement, meaning the playing field is level.

And lastly, Gilas coach Tab Baldwin will be watching the games closely as he zeroes in on the players to nominate for the national pool so everyone is on notice to give it their all.

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Of the teams allowed to bring in an import of unlimited height, only Globalport and Barako Bull advanced to the playoffs. The Batang Pier frittered away a twice-to-beat advantage and lost two in a row to the Hotshots. Globalport was bolstered by 6-10 Jarrid Famous and Asian import Omar Krayem. Barako Bull had a twice-to-win disadvantage and was booted out by Rain Or Shine, 134-132, in double overtime in the quarters despite 6-11 3/4 Liam McMorrow.

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Three of the eight teams that qualified for the quarters were reinforced by Asian imports but none made it to the semis. Krayem was Globalport’s Asian import. Barangay Ginebra had Korean Kim Ji Wan and Meralco, Japanese Seiya Ando.

A team that was beefed up by an Asian reinforcement and an import of unlimited height but finished in the last four was Kia although the Carnival wound up in a four-way tie for seventh, getting the pink slip due to a low quotient.

NLEX’ Michael Madanly was clearly the most effective Asian import, averaging 19.7 points and 30.2 minutes in 10 games, including nine starts. Kia’s Jet Chang was another major contributor, averaging 12.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 28.8 minutes in 11 outings with 10 starts.

A third Asian import who made waves was Talk ‘N’ Text’s Sam Daghles, averaging 10.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 33.5 minutes in 11 contests with eight starts. Unfortunately, all three didn’t make it to the playoffs.

Kim averaged 11.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 30.8 minutes strictly as a sub in the eliminations but was hurt in Ginebra’s playoff loss to Alaska, chipping in only five points in 11:49 minutes.

Ando was a disappointment in the quarters. He averaged 9.2 points and 31.2 minutes in the eliminations but only 2.5 points and 13:20 minutes in the playoffs. Krayem, a Palestinian now living in Sweden, delivered 14.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 25.1 minutes a game in the eliminations but in the quarters, shot only four points in 17 minutes in Globalport’s 126-73 loss to Star and nine points in 41:07 in the 101-94 closer to the Hotshots.

Tailending Blackwater had an opportunity to bring in Asian import Imad Qahwash but the former Central Arkansas guard couldn’t get his FIBA release in time due to a question about his nationality. Qahwash is listed as a Jordanian-Canadian. Blackwater opened the Governors Cup with Marcus Douthit and ended it with Marcus Cousin.

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Of the teams with a twice-to-win disadvantage, only Star and Meralco were able to force a second game. The Hotshots ended up eliminating Globalport while the Bolts fell a win short of ousting San Miguel Beer. Meralco beat the Beermen, 106-99, in the front end of their series but lost, 102-86, in the rematch.

Austria said defense was the key to the turnaround. In the front end last Saturday, Meralco hit 52 percent from the field and scored 52 points in the paint. San Miguel was baited into repeatedly feeding JuneMar Fajardo, a trick that kept the ball away from Reid.

Fajardo got his 30 points but San Miguel lost by seven. San Miguel’s key players were fagged out down the stretch as Meralco dropped a 7-0 bomb in the last 2:47 to ice it. Last Monday, Austria made critical defensive adjustments, paced his players and varied his options on offense.

“Our problem was in switching,” said Austria. “Last Saturday, we kept switching and Meralco got away with mismatches especially (Jared) Dillinger. We studied the tape and made the adjustments. We stuck to our men. Arwind (Santos) defended (Andre) Emmett at the start then Ronald (Tubid) took him in the end. I told the guys to stand their ground.”

Tubid said Emmett complained to the referees that he was being punched. “I never punched him,” said Tubid who took over the defensive chores after Santos picked up his fifth foul. “I just stuck to him so he couldn’t move. When he started complaining, I told him to stop crying like a baby.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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