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Road Warriors eye series lead

Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:00 Published in Sports

By John Bryan Ulanday

NLEX seeks to move closer to its first-ever finals appearance when it clashes with Magnolia in Game 5 of their Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinals series today at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.
Crucial encounter starts at 6:30 pm with the Road Warriors tipped to go all out against the Hotshots, who are missing the services of Marc Pingris and Justin Melton.
Pingris was assessed with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury while Melton suffered a pulled hamstring following a grueling Game 4 where the Road Warriors equalized the series with a 91-79 victory.
“That was a big game for us, parang do-or-die na nga,” said NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao, who towed the franchise to the semifinals for the first time since joining the league in 2014.
“So just to tie the series at 2-2 is already a moral victory.”
Prior to the series, Guiao emphasized that there were just in for a ride as they consider themselves as “gatecrashers” in this semifinal affair dominated by San Miguel Corp. squads.
He said any result would just be a bonus.
“Our objective here is to just stretch the series for as long as we can,” he said. “If this series reaches Game 7, who knows, we might get lucky. We’ll definitely take that chance.”
On the contrary, the pressure is on Magnolia.
With the series tied at 2-2 and two of their best players out of commission, the Hotshots have to work doubly hard to turn things around.
“This is going to be a long series and our bench must contribute,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.
“It’s now down to a best-of-three. It’s anybody’s ballgame. We just have to play and stay together.”
After torching the Hotshots with 20 points and five assists, rookie Kiefer Ravena will lead NLEX's attack anew alongside Kevin Alas, JR Quiñahan and Larry Fonacier.
Standing on their way are Jio Jalalon, Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang and Mark Barroca for the Hotshots, who are eyeing their first Finals appearance since hoisting the grand slam in 2014.

UE downs Ateneo, claims UAAP lawn tennis title

Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:00 Published in Sports

University of the East overpowered Ateneo, 3-0, in the men's finals to win its second straight crown yesterday in the UAAP Season 80 lawn tennis tournament at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
AJ Lim, the Philippine team veteran, scored a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Blue Eagles skipper Ino Canlas in the second singles as the Red Warriors completed a perfect season.
University of Santo Tomas ended a four-year title drought in women's division following a 3-1 win over Ateneo, tying National University as the league's second winningest team with four titles.
Lim, who has never lost a single match in collegiate play, was named the MVP for the second straight season.
UE was simply dominant as ever, winning all nine ties this season.
"Masayang-masaya ako dahil nag-step up ang mga teammates ko," said Lim, who missed the opener last month due to his Davis Cup commitments.
Josshua Kinaadman drew first blood for UE with a 6-3, 6-2 win over AJ Rivero in the first singles.
Rogelio Estaño and RJ Saga overcame an opening set loss to beat Luke Flores and Erj Gatdula, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, in the first doubles, setting up for the Warriors coronation.
Danica Bautista and Genevieve Caorte produced the clincher for the Tigresses with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Jana Pages and Carmen So in the second doubles.
Undefeated in seven ties, UST still emerged victorious despite missing its ace Ingrid Gonzales due to knee injury.
Khrizelle Sampaton put the Lady Eagles ahead following a 6-4, 7-5 conquest of Kendies Malinis in the opening doubles before the Tigresses leveled the tie, with Precian Rivera and season MVP Erika Manduriao besting Jana Hernandez and Nicole Amistad, 6-4, 6-3.
UST then grabbed the upperhand after Monica Cruz then topped Martina Bautista, 6-2, 6-0, in the second singles.

Warriors fall to Kings with Durant out, Casspi hurt

Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:00 Published in Sports


Defending champion Golden State saw Kevin Durant sidelined for two weeks, Israeli forward Omri Casspi hurt and their bid to overtake Houston for the NBA's best record falter Friday with a 98-93 loss to Sacramento.
Buddy Hield came off the Sacramento bench to score 22 points to lead the Kings against a struggling Warriors squad without Durant and star guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Before the game, Durant was put onto the injured list with a rib cartilage fracture and set for re-evaluation in two weeks.
The reigning NBA Most Valuable Player ranks sixth among all NBA scorers this season with 26.6 points a game. Durant also averages 6.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.9 blocked shots a game.
Golden State was also without Curry, out with a sore right ankle, and Thompson, sidelined by a broken right thumb. Both will be evaluated next week.
Joining the injury list was reserve Casspi, who sprained his right ankle landing on a rival's foot in the second quarter after playing only six minutes.
Golden State's Quinn Cook scored a career-best 25 points in 40 minutes on the court and Draymond Green added 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
But the Kings (23-47) closed the game on an 11-3 run to capture their first back-to-back wins since late January.
That dropped Golden State to 52-17 and 2 1/2 games behind Western Conference leader Houston for the best record in the NBA.
With injuries nagging them and the Rockets showing no sign of misfiring, the Warriors might not be able to overtake Houston for the overall playoff home-court edge.
"It's a harrowing experience -- I'm just trying to process it all," joked Warriors coach Steve Kerr. "Second in the conference would just be devastating."
Then he turned serious, trying to put the injuries and best-record chase into perspective.
"We're not really paying too much attention to the standings. We are just playing," Kerr said.
"We're in a good position big picture no matter what happens because our injuries are all relatively minor. We're very hopeful and confident that we'll have everybody back when it counts."
That means when the playoffs start April 14.
The Warriors' loss left the level for second overall in the NBA with the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors, who matched the all-time best team win streak by winning their 11th game in a row, downing Dallas 122-115 in overtime.
The Raptors, who own the NBA's best home record at 29-5, had 29 points from DeMar DeRozan, including a short jump shot with 53.1 seconds left in overtime that put the Raptors up 117-115.
Jonas Valanciunas then made five of six free throws in the waning seconds to seal the victory, finishing with 21 points and 12 rebounds for Raptors.
"I'm not completely happy, because I see the big picture, but I like the fight," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "I like the way the guys competed."
The Boston Celtics, second to Toronto in the East, downed host Orlando 92-83.
The Magic connected on just 39.1 percent of their shots from the floor and were out-rebounded 55-40. Boston pulled down 16 offensive rebounds and out-scored the Magic in second-chance points 20-8.
Guard Terry Rozier, starting in place of injured Kyrie Irving, and reserve Greg Monroe scored 17 points apiece for the Celtics.


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