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‘Pride’ drives SanMig to 2-1 lead over T‘NT

Monday, 26 June 2017 00:00 Published in Sports

IT WAS MORE THAN HUNGER

San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria spoke of pride that drove his Beermen to a 102-88 rout of T‘NT in Game Two of their Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner's Cup Best-if-Seven Championship Series on Friday.
That same pride was more pronounced on Sunday night as the Beermen crushed the KaTropa, 109-97, once again to claim a 2-1 lead and come nearer the only crown Austria has yet to win with them.
"It's pride, more than hunger," Austria claimed even before he started Game Three with the Beermen who have given him two Philippine Cup and one Governor's Cup championships.
Charles Rhodes gave San Miguel the numbers expected of him, scoring 25 points, 25 rebound and two assists, but it was small man Alex Cabagnot who spelled the difference in the game by topscoring for 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Cabagnot's big game was his birthday gift to Rhodes, who needn't need to carry the Beermen by his lonesome.
Chris Ross had 17 points, Marcio Lassiter had 16 and Arwind Santos scored 10, but it was also the Beermen's defense which troubled the KaTropa even early in the game.
The KaTropa surrendered 26 turnover points. But it was the silence of RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, and the lack of an inspiring presence from Smith contributed to the collapse of T‘NT.
RR Garcia topscored for the KaTropa with 19 points, with Smith contributing 18, Jason Castro 17, and Anthony Semerad with 12.
The KaTropa's early sign of surrender was felt with more than two minutes left when T‘NT Coach Nash Racela pulled import Joshua Smith out of the game for good.
Racela still weaved Smith in and out of the court as he was still nursing a ligament tear on his right foot.
The Beermen already had posted their biggest lead in the game at 101-88 at that point, following a trey from Ross and twinner from Cabagnot, with only 3:19 left.
Castro and Garcia tried to rally T‘NT with back-to-back baskets but Ross nailed another trey that was answered by Castro with another long howitzer.
Cabagnot, however, was not yet finished with his job, scoring another easy basket and three charities off a foul by Castro with 11 second left.
And with the game tucked under their belts, the Beermen allowed Castro to have the final but losing say with a basket with five seconds on the clock.
The Beermen opened the third quarter with their big men on a rampage, with Rhodes inspiring his team with an early big dunk  that set off a 16-5 SMB blast that gave them a 62-52 lead-- their biggest in the stretch — still seven minutes before the final canto.
A Ranidel de Ocampo trey broke that run, however, Smith used his minutes to the hilt with six points mostly from the stripe to keep the KaTropa within distance, 70-74, with bare a minute left before the payoff period.
But with Smith pulled out after splitting his charities off a Ronald Tubid foul, TNT was left with a big hole in the middle, allowing San Miguel to frolic with big court-to-court runs to end the period on top, 79-72.
The scores:
San Miguel 109 — Cabagnot 28, Rhodes 25, Ross 17, Lassiter 16, Santos 10, Fajardo 6, Heruela 5, Semerad 2, Tubid 0, Espinas 0.
T‘NT 97 — Garcia 19Smith 18, Castro 17, Semerad 12, De Ocampo 9, Williams 8, Tautuaa 7, Reyes 7, Pogoy 0, Rosario 0.
Quarterscores: 23-23, 46-47, 79-72, 109-97.

With its top two local players unsure of starting for Blackwater when the Governors Cup rolls on July 19, the Elite will have not much choice but to rely on import Trevis Simpson in its bid to realize a second playoff appearance in three seasons in the Philippine Basketball Association.
Simpson, standing at 6-3, will be called in for the season-ending tournament featuring reinforcements no taller than 6-foot-5 as top players Art de la Cruz and Mac Belo remain as big question marks if they could play.
De la Cruz was kept out of Blackwater for the Commissioner's Cup by a raptured achilles tendon and he is expected to recover fully only after the next season.
Belo, meanwhile, has had surgery on his torn left meniscus and it is also likely that he would be called to serve the country as part of the Gilas team.
"Nagpapalakas na siya (Belo)," said Isaac. “Pero ipinatawag siya sa Gilas. Di pa siya nag-e-ensayo. Di pa naman siya 100 percent, pero baka masama siya sa Jones Cup. Pero kung Gilas siya wala kaming magagawa dahil for the country iyon."
The annual Jones Cup is set July 15 to 23.
That leaves Simpson, who once starred at University of North Carolina Greensboro and is coming off a stint in France, with the tough task of taking the cudgels for the Elite.
"Scorer siya, inilalaro niya small forward or shooting guard," said Isaac of the 25-year-old player. "Inaasahan kasi namin makakabalik na si Erram. May malaki na kami, kaya kailangan naman namin isang wing, 2-guard and he fits the bill."
Blackwater engages Nlex in a tuneup game on Wednesday and this could be the chance for Simpson to be gauged by his coach and teammates.
"Du'n makikita kung paano ang import namin, kung totoo ang sinasabi ng mga agents tungkol sa kanya," said Isaac.
"Ang goal, maka-break into the playoffs," added Isaac. "Iyun naman lagi ang target. "
Blackwater won only two out of 11 games in the Commissioner's Cup with JP Erram also out with an injury. Erram rejoined Elite practices since two weeks ago.
Simpson will be joining fellow newcomers Aaron Fuller of Nlex, GlobalPort's Jabril Trawick, James Weatherspoon of Rain or Shine and T'NT's Michael Craig, , as well as balik-imports LaDontae Henton of Alaska, Justin Brownlee of Ginebra, Állen Durham of Meralco, San Miguel Beer's Wendell McKines and Phoenix's Eugene Phelps.
Mahindra and Star have yet to name their respective reinforcements.

Marinero attempts to taint Flying V

Monday, 26 June 2017 00:00 Published in Sports

Flying V stakes its unblemished record against Marinerong Pilipino when the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup returns on Monday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Coming off a 13-day break, the Thunder will try to shake off the rust and continue their winning ways as they remain as the lone unbeaten team in the tournament at 3-0.
And for coach Eric Altamirano, he believes that the game against the Skippers is just the first of a tough stretch for Flying V midway through the competitions.
“The next three games will be very tough for us. We’ll face Marinero, Racal and Tanduay, so we’ll use this time to prepare and continue being sharp. Hopefully, di kami maging rusty,” he said.
The game also posts an interesting subplot as Thunder forward Gab Banal goes up against his family with father Joel and uncle Koy at the helm for Marinerong Pilipino.
But for the younger Banal, he doesn’t want to put much focus on the familiar faces on the opposing sidelines as he’d rather contribute to his team’s cause.
“I’ll just treat them as a normal team. If I take it personally, I’ll lose focus. So, I might as well treat them as a normal team and get that fourth win. They know what I can do, so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and from there I’ll adjust,” Banal said.
Game time is at 5 p.m., following the 3 p.m. tiff between Racal (2-1) and Wangs Basketball (2-2).
The Alibaba are seeking to get back to the winning side after absorbing a 93-75 defeat at the hands of Cignal, their first loss of the tournament.
But the Couriers also want the same, especially after nabbing a huge 88-86 win over Gamboa Coffee Mix last week.

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