2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup Roundup: January 22-24, 2014

The 2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup turned up the heat in the quarterfinals this past week. It was great seeing Rain or Shine and Petron Blaze secure tickets to the semifinals after disposing of their respective opponents. It was also very interesting to see Alaska force a decider against top-seeded Ginebra, while the Texters had to buckle down to force their own rubber match against the dangerous Mixers.

This past Wednesday, Rain or Shine beat GlobalPort, 106-96, behind its undersized but undaunted frontline. In this game, the trio of Jervy Cruz, Beau Belga, and Larry Rodriguez triumphantly led the Painters into the semifinals, combining for a total of 51 points and 22 rebounds. Belga, in particular, came up big, scoring 6 of his team’s last 8 points to ensure the Painters’ entry into the next round.

Coach Yeng Guiao looks on as the Painters became the
first team to advance to the semifinals.

The Batang Pier turned the ball over 7 more times than ROS. This resulted in a +9 advantage for the Painters in terms of points-off-turnovers. The trio of Terrence Romeo, Kelly Nabong, and Sol Mercado were the chief culprits here, combining for 14 of GlobalPort’s 17 errors. Oh well, at least they’ll have some down time to practice and minimize those TOs for the future.

After his hum-drum elimination round production, Gabe Norwood stepped up at a critical time, scoring 14 points on 4/9 FG shooting on top of 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. Gilas Pilipinas’s prime defensive stopper was practically everywhere in this one, and coach Yeng Guiao will definitely need the George Mason University alum to be at his best moving forward.

After that match, Alaska upset Ginebra, 104-97, as three Alaska Aces finished with double-doubles. Against a team with Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar patrolling the interior, that’s pretty spectacular. Calvin Abueva had 16 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals in arguably his most impressive outing of the season yet. Sonny Thoss added 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Gabby Espinas registered 12 markers and 11 boards.

At times, this game featured Ginebra at its worst — leaving people too open, having too many creases in the defense, and not boxing out tough enough. Sure, losing by just 7 points implies the Gin Kings could’ve done much worse, but the flipside is, especially knowing how well they’ve played so far, they also could’ve done much much better.

The Aces not only outworked the Kings, they also outshot them, and how! Super snipers Cyrus Baguio, Dondon Hontiveros, and JV Casio continuously hit the mark here, combining for 10/17 shooting from beyond the arc. All three guys totaled 52 points for coach Luigi Trillo, whose team won its third straight win-or-go-home affair. Should the Aces pull off another stunner in Game Two, then they will march on to the semifinals and send Ginebra’s promising campaign to a tragic end.

Just last night, Talk N Text overcame San Mig Super Coffee, 82-77. Ryan Reyes buried a big triple in the clutch to preserve TNT’s lead and secure for the Texters a crucial win that forced their best-of-three quarterfinal series to a rubber match. Reyes hit 2/3 overall from rainbow country on his way to 13 points on top of 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. His backcourt mate, Jayson Castro, was also very impressive here, hitting 8/11 field goals for 20 points. The Blur also grabbed 4 boards, handed out 4 dimes, and stole the ball once.

Unlike the previous game, this time it looked like the Mixers were the ones outworked on both ends of the floor. Rafi Reavis was great, anchoring the middle with a 12-point, 15-rebound double-double, but coach Tim Cone’s other bigs — Marc Pingris, Ian Sangalang, and Yancy De Ocampo underplayed. That trio combined for just 10 points and 8 caroms.

After a so-so initial outing with his new club, it seems like KG Cañaleta may have settled into a groove already. The former Air 21 swingman connected thrice from beyond the arc on his way to 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 steal. This was his first win as a member of the Tropang Texters, and it certainly stands to reason that coach Norman Black expects even more from the versatile forward.

In Friday’s main game, Petron Blaze won over Barako Bull, 107-100. The Boosters punched the second semis ticket in the conference after disposing of the pesky Barako Bull Energy Cola. Alex Cabagnot came up big here, showing fine shooting and playmaking to lead Petron Blaze to the next round. Cabaggie finished with 22 points, 12 assists, 2 steals, and 3 triples in what is arguably his best performance of the season yet. If he continues with this kind of production, then maybe he might be worth considering for Gilas’s next national pool, too.

It’s tough when a team lets six of its foes to score in double-figures, but that’s exactly what happened to Barako Bull in this one. The Energy Cola wasted their huge advantage on the glass, 59-46, by letting six Boosters score 10 points or more. Also, Barako missed TWENTY free throws, with Willie Miller, Dorian Peña, and Carlo Lastimosa accounting for 15 of those bricks. And don’t even get me started on Barako’s coughing the ball up 6 more times than Petron. Ugh. Sayang.

Both Arwind Santos and June Mar Fajardo registered double-doubles here, further underscoring the fact that the Boosters have maybe the second-best frontline in the season at this point (Ginebra, wazzup?). Santos scored 17 points, collared 12 rebounds, dished out 4 assists, and blocked 2 shots, while Fajardo added 14 markers, 17 boards, 1 steal, and 4 rejections. Dominating doesn’t even begin to describe this duo.

Game Recaps:
Beau Belga came through with some late game heroics, scoring six of his team’s last eight points, to help carry Rain or Shine to a 106-96 triumph over a hard-fighting GlobalPort team and into the semifinals of the PLDT Home DSL PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Jervy Cruz scored 18 points and Belga added 17 to lead six players in double figures for Rain or Shine, which closed out their quarterfinal series in one game.

Belga’s exploits came at a perfect time for the Elasto Painters, which was on the brink of an endgame collapse.

Rain or Shine built a 15-point lead in the second quarter, 48-33, on a hook shot by Raymond Almazan.

But GlobalPort, led by rookie Terrence Romeo and Kelly Nabong, refused to quit. They charged back to within striking distance at 98-96.

But Belga presided over his team’s offense down the stretch. He nailed a crucial triple that pushed their lead up to five points, 101-96, with 40.5 second remaining.

Belga was fouled on their next offensive possession but could only salvage a split from the line. He followed it up with a crucial defensive stop, though, stealing the ball from Romeo.

He completed his heroics by making two more free throws, ensuring the team’s victory, which was Rain or Shine’s eighth in a row.

There was a bigger reason to celebrate – the Elasto Painters’ entry into the final four – and Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao made sure to take note.

“Credit goes to the guys. We kept our win streak, but we really don’t want to focus on that. We want to focus on preparations for the semifinals for now,” Guiao said during the postgame interview.

“Everybody’s making a contribution. That’s the nice thing about our team. I played all of them, give them enough time to prove themselves and they’ve proven themselves and they got us to where we are right now.”

Guiao added that GlobalPort surprised him with their fighting spirit.

“I thought third quarter they were ready to give up but I was wrong. They kept coming back at us,” he said. “It’s going to be a good solid team with more experience.”

ROS 106 – Cruz 18, Belga 17, Rodriguez 16, Norwood 14, Arana 10, Lee 10, Quinahan 5, Tang 5, Almazan 4, Tiu 3, Nuyles 2, Teng 2, Ibanes 0.
GLO 96 – Romeo 23, Nabong 18, Mercado 16, Yee 7, Menk 7, Hayes 6, Salvador 6, Lingganay 5, Chua 4, Ponferada 4, Belencion 0, Salva 0, Garcia 0.
QS: 35-29; 60-52; 86-77; 106-96.

Sol Mercado and the rest of the Batang Pier just got booted out.

ALASKA over GINEBRA, 104-97
Despite playing in their third straight knockout game, the Alaska Aces still found enough energy as they outdueled top seed Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to live and fight for at least another game.

The Aces forged a winner-take-all showdown for a semifinals berth by outplaying the Kings, 104-97, in the quarterfinals of the PLDT Home DSL PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Calvin Abueva played with his usual energy and a renewed focus, posting 16 points, 11 rebounds and three steals in the game. He managed to do much of the dirty work for his team while staying away from foul trouble in the contest.

The rest of his Alaska teammates chipped in with a little bit of everything. Seven Aces scored in double figures, led by veterans Dondon Hontiveros and Cyrus Baguio, who finished with 18 points apiece.

JVee Casio posted 16 points, Sonny Thoss added 13 markers while Gabby Espinas and RJ Jazul scored 12 and 10, respectively, in a display of balanced firepower by the Aces.

The Aces shot the ball well from the three-point region, sinking 12-of-20 shots for a 60 percent clip. They also outrebounded their taller counterparts from the Gin Kings, 48-46.

“It’s just nice to see him play well. He’s had a very tough conference,” Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said about Abueva.

“I didn’t think he could play because of his sprain (ankle), but he’s motivated. Right now, I don’t want him feel satisfied. It’s one game. We’re gonna need him to do the same thing again on Saturday.”

The Aces dominated the game from start to finish, but they started to pull away for good early in the fourth.

A fastbreak basket by Baguio gave the Aces their biggest lead, 92-76, and although the Gin Kings tried to make a rally, the Commissioner’s Cup champions showed their poise to stay on top.

ALA 104 - Hontioveros 18, Baguio 18, Casio 16, Abueva 16, Thoss 13, Espinas 12, Jazul 10, Eman 1, Belasco 0, Dela Cruz 0, Eximiniano 0.
GIN 97 - Aguilar 22, Tenorio 16, Caguioa 15, Urbiztondo 13, Slaughter 12, Helterbrand 9, Ellis 4, Reyes 4, Baracael 2, Ababou 0, Monfort 0.
QS: 23-20; 55-51; 80-71; 104-97.

Chris Ellis rises for the stuff!

Dondon Hontiveros uncorks from long range!

With two days of practice before this game, Talk ‘N Text was able to come out with more energy and more cohesion as they got back at San Mig Coffee, 82-77, in Game Two of their PLDT Home DSL PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal series Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Jayson Castro and Ryan Reyes scored seven points each in the fourth quarter as they kept the rallying Mixers at bay to force a deciding Game Three in their quarters series.

The three-time defending champion Tropang Texters came out with a lot of energy, but it was their preparation – buoyed by back-to-back practices with their new acquisition and returning players – that spelled the difference.

“The biggest difference today was we had two days of practice with KG Canaleta and the returning players from sick leave – Ryan (Reyes), Noy (Baclao) and Kelly (Williams),” Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black said during the postgame interview.

“Actually, when we played San Mig in the first game, KG just had a day of practice and we weren’t able to do much in that practice because we played Ginebra the day before and then the doctor only allowed Ryan, Noy and Kelly to practice only on Monday.”

“I think the two days of practice helped us a great deal as far as our execution responsibilities, especially on defense. We figured it out already that we cannot beat San Mig Coffee if we don’t play defense.”

The Tropang Texters excelled on the defensive end, holding James Yap to only five points and hounding Marc Pingris to a subpar six-point, five-rebound performance.

Despite the struggles of their big guns, the Mixers made a gallant stand, battling back from an early double-digit deficit, 15-2, and take control in the second quarter.

The Tropang Texters turned things around in the third as a big Talk ‘N Text run capped by a basket from Castro gave the team its biggest lead, 52-38.

San Mig Coffee tried to come back in the fourth, coming to within six, 76-70, and had a chance to move closer but Peter June Simon, another key player that struggled, missed a short jumper.

On the next play, Ryan Reyes buried a triple to make it 79-70 with still more than a minute left.

The Tropang Texters held on to force the series into a winner-take-all match to be played on Sunday.

TNT 82 – Castro 20, Reyes R. 13, Canaleta 13, Seigle 11, De Ocampo 9, Williams 8, Peek 4, Fonacier 2, Carey 2, Aban 0, Baclao 0, Alapag 0.
SMC 77 – Devance 13, Barroca 12, Simon 12, Reavis 12, Mallari 7, Pingris 6, Melton 6, Yap 5, Sangalang 4, De Ocampo 0.
QS: 19-21, 38-34, 62-52, 82-77.

Jayson Castro fights for the rebound.

Noy Baclao receives an elbow from Joe Devance.

Alex Cabagnot shook off a cold start with a sizzling second-half performance, finishing with 22 points and 12 assists as the Petron Blaze Boosters formalized their entry into the semifinal round of the PLDT Home DSL PBA Philippine Cup with a 107-100 victory over a tough Barako Bull squad in Game Two of their quarterfinal series Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Cabagnot, who finished with one of his most productive games of the conference, knocked down a key three-pointer that gave the Boosters a 96-90 lead and help hold off the Energy Colas’ uprising in the fourth.

Petron joined Rain or Shine, which qualified to the final four two days after beating GlobalPort.

Although the Boosters swept their rivals in two games in the quarterfinal round, Petron coach Gee Abanilla admitted the series was not as easy as it may have appeared.

“It was really a tough win for us, Barako Bull pushed us to the limit,” Abanilla said during the post-game interview.

“Right now, we’re very, very happy about our situation. We managed to enter the semifinals.”

Chris Lutz contributed 18 points, Arwind Santos added 17 points and 12 rebounds and June Mar Fajardo contributed 14 points and 17 boards for Petron, which beat Barako Bull despite being outrebounded by its counterpart, 46-59.

Marcio Lassiter had 11 markers and Ronald Tubid chipped in with 10.

Rico Maierhofer made all of his nine attempts from the field to end up finishing with his career-high 21 points and 11 rebounds.

PET 107 – Cabagnot 22, Lutz 18, Santos 17, Fajardo 14, Lassiter 11, Tubid 10, Ross 8, Kramer 7, Lanete 0.
BAR 100 – Maierhofer 21, Intal 20, Miranda 15, Miller 11, Pena 11, Pennisi 8, Lastimosa 6, Jensen 4, Wilson 2, Buenafe 2, Isip 0.
QS: 25-18, 52-52, 79-72, 107-100.

Alex Cabagnot caught fire against Barako Bull.

JC Intal tries a wrap-around pass against June Mar Fajardo.

Source: Unless otherwise specified, game recaps were compressed and compiled from InterAKTV. (Writing credit to Rey Joble)

Images: Unless otherwise specified, images are from the PBA and Sports 5. (Photo credit to Paul Ryan Tan)

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