Sunday, January 18, 2015

Alaska spoils San Miguel, forces do-or-die.

by: Christian Jasper Arenal

PHOTO BY: Aces' Sonny Thoss battled his way out against Beermen's Junemar Fajardo and Arwind Santos

Manila, Philippines-- The Alaska Aces keep their championship hopes alive as they even the series three apiece forcing a do-or-die game 7 after  an 87-76 win against the San Miguel Beermen on Sunday, January 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

            Trailing as much as 14 in the first quarter, the determined Aces battled back and turned the tables on the Beermen, holding on the lead from the second quarter towards the fourth behind the efforts of their bench players.

            Dondon Hontiveros, who played for San Miguel several years ago, came out big against his former team spoiling what seems to be the end of the Beermen's 14-year All-Filipino championship drought.

           The “Cebuano Hotshot” blasts for 18 points on 6 of 12 shooting, 9 points coming from downtown to lead all scorers for the Aces.

            The Aces bounced back after being down 4-18 through the pesky defense provided by their second unit, shooting up the energy to end the first quarter and cutting the deficit to just 6.

             The combined efforts of the veteran Hontiveros and Vic Manuel helped the Aces  mounted another comeback in the second period scoring 25 points while limiting their opponent to 13. Beermen's efforts to crawl back were denied, giving the Aces the chance to pull away with the win. 

             Manuel, another unsung hero for Alex Compton’s team, finished the game with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists, providing quality minutes after Abueva’s stint into early foul trouble.

             Starting playmaker Jvee Casio broke his silence on the scoring sheet after going scoreless through games four and five. He scored 9 points all in the second half with four rebounds and three assists.

             Arwind Santos led the Beermen with 22 points while Marcio Lassiter added 19 for the Beermen.

             Game Seven is on Wednesday, January 21 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Quarter scores: 17-23, 42-36, 63-56, 87-76


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Jimmy Alapag retires from the hardcourt

by: Christian Jasper Arenal

After six title wins, four Most Valuable Player awards, multiple international competition stints, and several doses of clutch baskets, Jimmy Alapag a.k.a the “Mighty Mouse” decided to hang up his jersey after 12 years in the Philippine Basketball Association.

Drafted 10th overall by the Talk n Text Phone Pals in 2003, Alapag easily nabbed attention by bagging the Rookie of the Year award, earning his spot as one of the elite point guards in the league. Alongside Asi Taulava, Alapag put in another recognition on his resume by leading the Phone Pals to an upset  win over the Coca-Cola Tigers in the All-Filipino Cup finals, overcoming a 0-2  deficit and winning the series in six games to capture their first ever title in his rookie year.

 Taulava was then traded by the team in 2007, breaking one of the most lethal  one-two punch in the league. But Asi's departure served as a stepping stone for the diminutive Alapag to emerge from Taulava's shadows, and managed to fill in the void remarkably as the captain of the Talk n' Text franchise. 

 With his excellent court vision, deadly shooting, and savvy leadership,  the Mighty Mouse was able to lead his team to historic heights ,bagging five titles in  six years and winning several awards 2011 PBA Commissioner's Cup Best Player of the Conference, and the 2011 Finals MVP
PHOTO BY: inquirer. net  Talk N Text celebrates back to back championship

 The illustrious career of Jimmy Alapag was not only celebrated in the country but also overseas. Alapag, a mainstay in the national team,  received much needed recognition for his herculean efforts after leading the country's national team "Gilas Pilipinas" back in the basketball map.
PHOTO BY:  Gilas' Jimmy Alapag featured on FIBA yearend cover photo

Alapag showcased a historic performance against South Korea, drilling a three-pointer that pushed Gilas' lead to five in the dying seconds to seal the win and solidifying his place in the annals of Philippine Basketball as one of the all-time greats.

PHOTO BY: Alapag shoots a crucial three in the Semifinals of
                the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships

Alapag then led Gilas to Spain into the World Cup and battled valiantly with the World's best. He highlighted his first (and last) stint in the tournament with another clutch performance against Argentina that kept the Philippines in the game, though they ultimately succumbed to the taller Argentines. Lacking height and experience, the team also fell behind the countries of Croatia, Puerto Rico, and Greece. Gilas finished the tourney with a 1-4 record, beating Senegal in their lone win

PHOTO BY: Alapag celebrates Gilas Pilipinas'  first win in the
                                          FIBA World Championship after 40 years 
On December 23, 2014, he surpassed Ronnie Magsanoc to move to No. 2 behind Allan Caidic in the all-time three-point list with 1,172 three point field goals made.

He announced his retirement on January 9, 2015, to the astonishment of millions of his fans in the country. Alapag will take over as Talk n Text team manager and will also be assuming assistant coaching duties behind newly-appointed Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin.

Friday, January 9, 2015

SMB rallies to beat Alaska, ties series 1-1

By: Christian Jasper Arenal

PHOTO BY:  Arwind Santos took a jumper over Alaska forward Calvin Abueva 

Manila, Philippines-- Led by the combined efforts of Arwind Santos and Chris Ross, the San Miguel Beermen drew the series against the Alaska Aces in a game featuring various altercations between the two teams on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

With good ball movement and some hot shooting from downtown, the Beermen held a 51-48 after two quarters. Alaska fought back at the start of the second half, showing the defense that enabled them to get to the Finals.

However, skirmishes between players on both teams marred the highly-anticipated game 2 in the best-of-seven series between the two teams. Such was the physicality of the game that three technical, and one flagrant, fouls were called in just the opening quarter. Santos was even forced to leave the game momentarily after sustaining a bloody scalp when he was elbowed in a rebound play by Abueva.

Santos shrugged off the injury and hit a three pointer in his return at the start of the fourth quarter, increasing the Beermen’s lead to 17. SMB managed to hold Alaska to only four fourth-quarter points while scoring nineteen of their own. All efforts to crawl back were denied as SMB held on for a 100-86 victory.

The win leveled the series to one apiece for the Beermen in a race to four series for the Philippine Cup crown. Arwind Santos topped all scorers with 22 points on a 9 of 16 shooting. Chris Lutz added 20 markers while reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Sonny Thoss led Alaska with 16 points.

Quarterscores: 32-28; 51-48; 72-70; 110-86