Meralco’s Baser Amer continues to elevate his game in Commissioner’s Cup

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Photo from PBA Media Bureau

In just his second season as a pro, Baser Amer has showed the maturity of a veteran as evidenced by his latest performance last Wednesday.

The former San Beda star fired 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting, to go along with 3 assists, leading the Bolts to an 81-66 thumping of Phoenix.

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Ginebra stays hot as LA Tenorio earns second PBA Player of the Week nod

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LA Tenorio captured his second Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of Week citation following another stellar performance for the red-hot Barangay Ginebra.

The Ginebra top playmaker played a significant role in the Kings’ current four-game winning streak after rapping winless NLEX Road Warriors, 101-92, last Wednesday, before humbling powerhouse TNT, 101-82, in the battle of streaking squads on Sunday.

PBA: Fajardo at forefront of PH Cup BPC race, Wright leads rookies

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Reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo of the San Miguel Beermen leads the race for the PBA Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference award.

After the eliminations, Fajardo is at the top of the rankings with 45 statistical points (SP).

Fajardo averaged 19.9 points, 16.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in the elimination round to lead the Beermen to the number one seed (10-1) heading into the quarterfinals.

Trailing in second with 41.5 SPs is GlobalPort star Terrence Romeo, who is averaging a league-best 28.7 points per outing.

Fajardo’s teammates Arwind Santos (34.2 SPs) and Alex Cabagnot (33.4) ranked third and fourth, respectively. Rounding out the top five is Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra with 32 SPs.

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Meanwhile, the top rookie in the Philippine Cup has been Phoenix gunner Matthew Wright with 31.7 SPs. He leads all rookies in scoring with 17.9 points per game. He also averages 7.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists.

Blackwater’s prized rookie Mac Belo is second among the freshmen with 27.7 SPs. Belo is posting 14.3 points and 7.3 boards per night this conference.

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PBA Player of the Week: Allein Maliksi is Star’s newest hotshot

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Press Release

The departure of James Yap in the offseason gave athletic wingman Allein Maliksi an opportunity to blossom into a legitimate superstar under new Star coach Chito Victolero.

Getting the green light to shoot, the 6-foot-3 Maliksi didn’t disappoint, delivering for a Star quintet that has learned to win big games in the post-James Yap era.

In fact, Maliksi stood at the forefront of Star’s two-game win streak this past week after averaging 25.5 points and 5.0 rebounds to help his team secure a quarterfinal spot in the Philippine Cup.

Maliksi’s leadership and growing confidence earned him his first Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week award for the period of Jan. 22-28. He beat former Star teammate and now Mahindra’s go-to-guy Alex Mallari, Alaska’s young forward Kevin Racal, three-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo, GlobalPort gunner Terrence Romeo and TNT’s rookie Roger Pogoy.

The former University of Santo Tomas went scoreless during the first period, before finding his stroke in the last three quarters in Star’s 111-95 rout of Blackwater last Wednesday.

He went on to finish with a personal season-high 26 points, built around five triples.

Three days later, the eighth overall pick of Barako Bull in the 2011 PBA Draft, presided over Star’s merciless 120-73 annihilation of Meralco.

The 29-year-old Maliksi knocked in 17 of his 25 points in the Hotshots’ whirlwind first-half scoring attack on the way to the Star’s second lopsided victory for the conference.

With the all-Filipino conference heading to the final week of the single-round eliminations phase, Star has a chance to snare the no. 2 seed and the twice-to-beat incentive if it beats Mahindra coupled by a Rain or Shine victory over Alaska on Wednesday.

PBA Capsule: Mallari with near triple double; Alaska secures QFs berth

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Mahindra notched its third victory in the PBA Philippine Cup after defeating NLEX, 106-96, at the Cuneta Astrodome on Friday (January 27).

The Flood Buster, who now stand at 3-7 in the standings, were led by Alex Mallari who finished with a career-high 30 points. He also added 10 rebounds and nine assists.

In the second game, Alaska improved to 6-4 after a 106-85 rout of Phoenix. The Aces, who are currently tied in second place with TNT KaTropa, secured a quarterfinals berth with the win.

Phoenix, meanwhile, slid down to 6-5.

Friday’s stud

Alex Mallari: 30 points (12/20 FG), 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals

Friday’s dud

NLEX — With the loss today, the Road Warriors slid down further to a 2-8 record and will end up at the bottom of the team standings, the first in franchise history.

What’s in a number?

16 — According to PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon, it is the first time in 16 years a team coached by Yeng Guiao finished last in the standings. The last time it happened was with Red Bull in the 2000 Commissioner’s Cup.

Highlight reel

Photo from PBA Media Bureau

The Wright guy: Phoenix rookie produces big games, gets PBA Player of the Week nod

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Rookie Matthew Wright is playing like a veteran in his initial conference in the PBA.

Flashing his all-around game, the 6-foot-4 Wright stepped up big-time to help Phoenix beat NLEX and Barangay Ginebra, respectively last week to clinch at least a playoff berth for a quarterfinal seat in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup.

The Fil-Canadian wingman averaged all-around numbers of 15.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists for Phoenix to earn the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of January 16-22.

The former St. Bonaventure U standout missed just one assist of registering his first triple-double as a pro, tallying 12 points, 12 rebounds and 9 dimes to steer Phoenix past NLEX, 102-91 last Wednesday.

Four days later, the sweet-shooting Wright banged in eight of his team-high 18 points as Phoenix completed a 79-73 escape act against a Japeth Aguilar-less Barangay Ginebra side.

The 25-year-old Wright, who won an Asean Basketball League title with the KL Dragons last year, before joining the PBA, beat his Phoenix teammates JC Intal, Simon Enciso and Willy Wilson for the weekly citation, along with San Miguel Beer’s Arwind Santos, Meralco’s Cliff Hodge, Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy of TNT, Alaska’s Vic Manuel and Calvin Abueva as well as Scottie Thompson of Ginebra.

Phoenix looks to close out its elimination round campaign against Alaska on Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Photo from PBA Media Bureau

PBA Capsule: Alaska eliminates Mahindra, Phoenix takes solo second

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After a see-saw battle until the third quarter, Alaska pulled away in the final period to take a 107-91 win over Mahindra in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday.

Alaska improved to 5-4 in the standings, still with a shot at the top 2 spot. With the loss, Mahindra is no longer in the running for a quarterfinals berth. Meralco and NLEX were also eliminated.

Meanwhile, Ginebra’s hopes for a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarters took a minor hit after losing to Phoenix, 79-73, in the second game.

The Fuel Masters, who led wire-to-wire, moved one step closer in clinching a quarterfinals berth and climbed up to second place in the standings at 6-4. The Gin Kings slid down to 5-5.

Sunday’s stud

Matthew Wright: 18 points (7/11 FG), 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal

The rookie was held scoreless in the first half but exploded in the last two quarters, holding the fort down for Phoenix when Ginebra tried to make a comeback.

Sunday’s dud

Sol Mercado (Ginebra): 3 points (1/5 FG), 6 rebounds, 3 turnovers

On a night where Ginebra was playing without Japeth Aguilar, I was expecting Mercado (or at least someone else) to step up and provide some offense. But in 25 minutes of action, he only contributed 3 points.

What’s in a number?

26 – That’s how many points Ginebra scored in the first two quarters. You can’t expect to win with just 26 points at halftime, can you?

Highlight reel

Mahindra may have lost the game, but Alex Mallari gets the highlight of the night. Midway in the second period, Mallari drove between two defenders, got bumped and flipped the ball in for the and-1 play. He finished with 23 points, 8 assists and 3 steals.

Photo from PBA Media Bureau

Gilas Pilipinas 24-man pool revealed

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SBP president Al Panlilio officially announced the 24-man Gilas Pilipinas pool for 2017 on Sunday.

The Gilas pool is comprised of 12 PBA players and 12 cadets:

Gilas Cadets

  • Carl Bryan Cruz (Alaska)
  • Mac Belo (Blackwater)
  • Kevin Ferrer (Ginebra)
  • Von Pessumal (GlobalPort)
  • Russel Escoto (Mahidra)
  • Ed Daquioag (Meralco)
  • Alfonso Gotladera (NLEX)
  • Matthew Wright (Phoenix)
  • Mike Tolomia (Rain or Shine)
  • Arnold Van Opstal (SMB)
  • Jio Jalalon (Star)
  • Roger Pogoy (TNT KaTropa)

PBA players

  • Calvin Abueva (Alaska)
  • Art dela Cruz (Blackwater)
  • Japeth Aguilar (Ginebra)
  • Terrence Romeo (GlobalPort)
  • LA Revilla (Mahindra)
  • Jonathan Grey (Meralco)
  • Bradwyn Guinto (NLEX)
  • Norbert Torres (Phoenix)
  • Raymond Almazan (Rain or Shine)
  • June Mar Fajardo (SMB)
  • Paul Lee (Star)
  • Jayson Castro (TNT KaTropa)

The Gilas pool will be used for this year’s SEABA Championship, FIBA Asia Cup in Beirut, SEA Games in Jakarta, and for the first window of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers.

Gilas head coach Chot Reyes gave a brief explanation behind the choices for the pool, mentioned it was formed with the 2019 FIBA World Cup and 2020 Olympics in mind.

That’s why the oldest guy they selected was 30 years old, he reasoned. They wanted players who’d be at their peak of their careers in three years.

The core of Reyes’ coaching staff will be Josh Reyes, Jimmy Alapag, and Jong Uichico.

Reyes also announced that TV5 and Sports5 signed a 5-year agreement with FIBA to show all the games of Gilas Pilipinas on their platforms.

Present also at the announcement were Sen. Sonny Angara, SBP executive Sonny Barrios and Gilas team manager Butch Antonio.

PBA Capsule: San Miguel Beer tightens grip on no. 1 spot

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While the second spot in the PBA Philippine Cup is up for grabs, San Miguel Beer continues to stay at the top after beating GlobalPort, 106-100, on Saturday in Cebu.

The Beermen, who are riding an eight-game winning streak, now sport a 9-1 win-loss card.  GlobalPort was relegated to 5-4, tied with Ginebra, Phoenix, TNT KaTropa and Rain or Shine.

Saturday’s stud

Arwind Santos (SMB): 31 points, 5-of-9 3s, 10 rebounds, 2 assists

Santos exploded in this game, knocking down five triples en route to 31 points. It was his highest point total since he set a career-high 34 points in the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup against Rain or Shine.

Honorable mention: June Mar Fajardo (19 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks)

Wednesday’s dud

GlobalPort’s (in)ability to score off turnovers

The Batang Pier forced SMB to 12 turnovers but only translated those into 6 points. GlobalPort committed 15 turnovers which resulted into 20 points for the Beermen. That was difference-maker right there.

What’s in a number?

45 — Despite shooting woes, Terrence Romeo finished with 16 points. According to PBA head statistician Fidel Mangonon, Romeo has now scored at least 10 points in 45 straight games.

Highlight reel

Best Player of the Game Arwind Santos made two crucial baskets down the stretch to seal the Beermen’s eight straight victory.

Photo from PBA Media Bureau