Blog Posts by Sid Ventura

  • Just too many weapons for TNT

    Talk 'N Text spread the wealth in Game 1.

    Even with a complete lineup, the Powerade Tigers were the acknowledged underdogs against the might defending champion Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters in the PBA Philippine Cup finals. But take rookie JV Casio out of the equation, and the situation becomes even more one-sided.

    Without the injured Casio, who was nursing a hamstring injury, the Tropang Texters just had too many weapons for the Tigers and easily took Game 1 of the finals, 116-100. It seemed every quarter a different TNT player would step up for Chot Reyes to keep the Tigers at bay.

    In the first quarter, it was Ryan Reyes, who hit all his four three-point shots and helped spark a 13-0 TNT run that essentially broke the game wide open and laid the groundwork for the 16-point win. By the end of the first, TNT had dropped 38 points on the Tigers, with Reyes accounting for 12 of them.

    Larry Fonacier took over from Reyes in the second period, with the steady guard pumping in 10 points, including two triples that came just when

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  • Coaches Hans Michael Weiss and Hyun Chang Lee hold the Kia Rio Cup.

    Even though they will go into battle without some of their star players, the Azkals United selection will put on a good show for local football fans in their Kia Rio Cup charity game tomorrow against Icheon Citizen FC of Korea.

    With their club teams playing on Sunday, Phil and James Younghusband of the Loyola Meralco Sparks and Nate Burkey, Anton Del Rosario, James Sabio, Joshua Beloya and Lexton Moy of Kaya LBC FC will all miss the game after their respective clubs refused to release them.

    The final lineup for the Akzals side has not been released as of this writing, although Azkals players from Global FC like Angel Guirado and Misagh Bahadoran will reportedly suit up, along with Philippine Air Force mainstays Chieffy Caligdong and Ian Araneta, and Philippine Army's Roel Gener.

    Coach Hans Michael Weiss was naturally disappointed with this development, but he said the show must go on. This could also be the chance for other players to shine, he said, while adding the UFL league

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  • TNT completes comeback with 1-point win in Game 7

    Chot Reyes can stand up and applaud for his team, which rallied from a 1-3 series deficit.

    If this wasn't the best semifinal best-of seven series in PBA history, then it certainly ranks right up there.

    In a series where the largest winning margin of any game was a mere four points, it seemed appropriate that Game 7 between defending champion Talk 'N Text and archrival Petron Blaze would come down to the last possession with one team protecting a one-point lead.

    When the smoke had cleared, the Tropang Texters emerged victorious, holding off the Blaze Boosters, 92-91, to complete their historic comeback from a 1-3 series deficit. It was the kind of ending you'd expect from a series where the winning margins over the first six games were 4, 2, 2, 3, 2, and 3 points.

    "We won this series at the end of Game 4 when we told ourselves we're still in the series," winning coach Chot Reyes said. "After going down 1-3, we had no drama, no histrionics in the dugout. We just looked each other in the eye and told ourselves we still had a chance."

    Fittingly, this seventh game had the

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  • Magical ride continues for Tigers

    Gary David and coach Bo Perasol are headed for the finals.

    It has become a familiar sight by now: Powerade governor J.B. Baylon makes a surprise appearance at a do-or-die game, which the Tigers win, after which he joins coach Bo Perasol in the post-game press conference.

    If he can help it, Baylon rarely watches the Tigers' games because of his hypertension. But last December 18, he rushed over to the Araneta Coliseum to cheer on the Tigers, who were in the midst of a comeback from 17 points down against the B-Meg Llamados in their quarterfinal series knockout game. We all know how that ended.

    Exactly one month later, the Tigers found themselves in the same situation, playing in a do-or-die game, only this time the opponent was Rain or Shine, and what was at stake was a trip to the Philippine Cup finals. This time Baylon was at the venue before the start of the game, sporting a blue shirt that said "We Believe!"

    Baylon believed, and the Tigers achieved, turning back the Elasto Painters 107-98 to barge into the finals and continue their magic

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  • Getting a kick out of beach football

    The National Beach Football Championships in Boracay. (Photo courtesy of Boni Magallona)

    Last Saturday, as the United Football League kicked off hostilities at the Rizal Stadium, another type of football competition was taking place several hundred kilometers south of Manila on the island paradise of Boracay, as four teams battled it out for supremacy in the Beach Football Association of the Philippines (BFAP) National Beach Football Championships.

    With the pristine white sands of Boracay as their playing pitch, NCR champion Philippine Air Force, Luzon champion Mama Sita's-Manila Football Club, Visayas champion Visayas-Boracay and Mindanao champion Team Mindanao played each other in a round-robin format to determine the 2012 national beach football champion.

    When the dust (or sand) had settled, Mama Sita's of Luzon pulled off a stunning upset, beating favored defending champion Air Force to win the championship. I read about the event in limited news items on print and online, and it piqued my interest enough to make me get in touch with BFAP president Mike Athab, an old

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  • Chan’s scoring spree lifts Rain or Shine past Powerade

    Jeff Chan drives past JV Casio and WIll Antonio (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

    Somehow, you just knew this series was headed for a seventh game.

    Playing true to form, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters drubbed the Powerade Tigers, 112-98, to force a Game 7 in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series. The Elasto Painters, behind the hot shooting of Jeff Chan, used a big 12-0 at the start of the fourth period to break the game wide open and coast to victory.

    The result followed a pattern that has held since the start of the series. Powerade has won all its games by close margins, always coming up with the big plays at end game, while Rain or Shine has clinched its three wins by double-digit leads.

    For much of the third period, it looked like this would be another down-the-wire game as the lead swung back and forth. From the 7:37 mark, when JV Casio's two free throws gave Powerade a 63-62 lead, up to the 3:12 mark, when Ronnie Matias' three-point play conversion restored the lead to RoS at 71-69, there were eight consecutive lead changes.

    But as it turned out, Matias'

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  • TNT forces a Game 7 behind Alapag’s explosion

    Jimmy Alapag goes for a lay-up. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

    Two down, one to go.

    Given a reprieve in Game 5 through Jimmy Alapag's clutch triple, the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters again turned to their captain in the second of their three must-win games, and he came through with his best game of the series to lead the Tropa to a 111-108 win over the Petron Blaze Boosters that leveled their best-of-seven series at three wins apiece.

    Trailing 3-1 in the series at one point, the Tropa have a chance to become only the third team in PBA history to overhaul such a series deficit with a win on Wednesday. If they pull it off, they can thank Alapag for rescuing them in Game 5 and simply willing them to victory in Game 6. The Mighty Mouse came through with a conference-high 29 points and added 7 rebounds and 10 assists in a solid all-around game, and he personally finished off the Blaze Boosters by hitting four free throws in the last 33 seconds that gave the Tropa a 110-104 lead.

    By winning the last two games, conventional wisdom would dictate that TNT now

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  • UFL gets going with Kaya and Loyola winning openers

    A little over a month after its Cup competition ended with Philippine Air Force Phoenix drubbing Loyola Meralco Sparks, 2-0, in the finals, the UFL launched its League competition yesterday at the Rizal pitch, with the Cup finalists encountering contrasting results.

    Air Force looked sluggish and out of synch in a stunning 1-nil loss to Kaya FC, while Loyola Meralco fended off the late challenge of Green Archers United FC to hack out a 3-2 win.

    In the first match, Eric Dagroh scored the game's lone goal in the fourth minute, gathering a shot that caromed off the goal post to strike it home past Air Force keeper Tats Mercado. It would prove to be enough for Kaya to hold off the defending league champions, who were thwarted by the Kaya defense the rest of the way. The final score did not reflect how Kaya actually dominated possession and nearly scored a few other times if it weren't for some brilliant saves by the ageless Mercado.

    Air Force had two late chances to salvage a draw, but

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  • Alapag saves the day for TNT

    In Game 4 of the Petron Blaze-Talk 'N Text semifinal series, the Blaze Boosters turned to their two-time MVP Danny Ildefonso to fashion out a close 85-82 win that gave them a 3-1 series edge. In Game 5 last night, it was the Tropang Texters' turn to call on their resident and reigning league MVP to bail them out and stave off elimination.

    Jimmy Alapag, last season's MVP who has struggled so far in the semifinals, hit a huge triple with 44 seconds left to lift the Tropa to a 93-91 win that cut the Blaze Boosters' lead to 3-2, and breathed life into the defending champions' sagging title retention campaign.

    Prior to last night's win, TNT had lost three straight by a combined seven points as they just couldn't come up with the big shots or defensive stops. Game 5 looked headed down that road again as the Tropa blew an eight-point lead late in the game and the Blaze Boosters once again came charging back with huge three-point shots from Arwind Santos and Danny Ildefonso.

    After Ali Peek

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  • Powerade takes 3-2 series lead

    Marcio Lassiter and the Tigers are one win away from the finals. Photo by Sid Ventura.

    The curse of Friday the 13th struck the Araneta Coliseum after a freak accident at a nearby construction site knocked out power and forced the Powerade-Rain or Shine game to be played without air conditioning.

    By the end of the game, the Elasto Painters probably thought they were cursed as well.

    The Tigers overhauled a six-point deficit in the last 1:44, holding the E-Painters scoreless over the last 1:18 to essay another thrilling come-from-behind victory, winning 110-108 to grab a crucial 3-2 series lead and move within a game of an improbable stint in the PBA Philippine Cup finals.

    Continuing a pattern that's held throughout the first five games, Powerade has won all its games by a close margin, while Rain or Shine has won its two games by double digits. The Elasto Painters were in great position, though, to reverse this trend, seizing a six-point lead at 106-100 with a Gabe Norwood split with 1:44 left after Marcio Lassiter missed an open triple.

    Like he has done all throughout

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