• It’s TNT vs. B-Meg

    Jarde Dillinger slices through the Barako Bull defense. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

    Defending champion Talk 'N Text, going all-Filipino in the last few minutes, finally put away the pesky  Barako Bull Energy, 101-90, in their winner-take-all Game 5 showdown to arrange a mouth-watering best-of-seven Commissioner's Cup finals showdown with the B-Meg Llamados.

    Donnell Harvey scored 29 points to lead the Texters, but had to sit down with 4:47 left and TNT up by just four, 88-84, after picking up his fifth foul. Chot Reyes found no need to put Harvey back into the game, though, as his locals led by Jimmy Alapag and Ranidel De Ocampo kept the Energy at bay with big plays down the stretch.

    De Ocampo split his free throws and then Alapag hit a long triple to give the Texters a 92-84 lead, but back-to-back baskets by Ronald Tubid kept the Energy within striking distance with barely three minutes left. On the next play, Alapag beat his man off the dribble, forcing Danny Seigle to help out and leave his man De Ocampo open in the corner. Alapag dished it to De Ocampo, who hit a

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  • Denzel Bowles and the Llamados are in the Commissioner's Cup finals. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

    The B-Meg Llamados are in the finals of the PBA Commissioner's Cup as Denzel Bowles once again dished out a sterling playoff performance, pouring in 34 points and grabbing 14 rebounds to power his team to a convincing 108-84 Game 4 victory over the Barangay Ginebra Kings.

    B-Meg clinched the best-of-five semifinal series, three games to one, and now awaits the winner of the Talk 'N Text-Barako Bull rubber match later tonight.

    "It's good to be back," said B-Meg coach Tim Cone, who will be coaching in his 24th PBA finals, and first with the Llamados. "I am just real tickled pink for the players, for Denzel for the management. I feel real good for them."

    The Kings, who were hoping to duplicate their 2009 Philippine Cup feat of overcoming a 0-2 best-of-five deficit, got off to a hot start and posted a 25-11 lead behind Jackson Vroman and Dylan Ababou. B-Meg came right back and tied it up at 35 on Joe Devance triple, before Ginebra inched ahead again at 44-38 midway through the second

    Read More »from Super Bowles tows B-Meg to finals
  • Kelly Williams and TNT totally outplayed Barako Bull in Game 4. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

    Defending champion Talk 'N Text won't go quietly into the night.

    Facing elimination and the specter of blowing their grand slam bid, the Tropang Texters clobbered a listless Barako Bull, 108-90, to force a deciding fifth game in their PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinal series at the Big Dome.

    It was the second time in the series that TNT bounced back with a resounding rout after a loss to the Energy. The emphatic win also sent a message of sorts that the Texters were not about to be intimidated by Barako Bull's physicality, something that Chot Reyes publicly called out following their Game 3 loss.

    But for Reyes, their margin of victory in Games 2 and 4 is of little consequence, since at the end of the day the series is still knotted up at 2-2.

    "All we did was tie the series. We can't celebrate, we can't be satisfied. We're just halfway there and we need to get one more game. One win is one win, doesn't matter the margin."

    Still, the manner by which TNT stepped up to win its fourth

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  • KG Canaleta soared high once again for Ginebra. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

    Their backs against the wall, the Barangay Ginebra Kings rose to the challenge and staved off elimination with a big 88-79 victory over the B-Meg Llamados in their PBA Commissioner's Cup best-of-five semifinal series at the Cuneta Astrodome.

    The Kings cut the Llamados' series lead to 2-1 as they took the first of three steps towards repeating their 2009 Philippine Cup feat of overcoming a 0-2 best-of-five semifinal deficit. Game 4 is set on Tuesday.

    Heroes weren't in short supply for Ginebra in this game.

    Nino Canaleta came up big once again in the very same venue where he buried the very same team for 25 points in their March 30 playoff for a semifinal berth, nearly duplicating that feat with 23, including four triples in the fourth period as he picked apart B-Meg's zone defense.

    Mike Cortez recorded the first triple double by a local in two-and-a-half years, registering 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and helped quell a B-Meg uprising with five straight points in a span of 22

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  • DLSU's Jarelan Tampus protects the ball against SBC's JP Mendoza. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    The summer collegiate hoops season officially got underway yesterday with the opening games of Filoil Flying V Preseason Hanes Cup at the San Juan Arena.

    The reigning champions of the two major collegiate leagues, the Ateneo Blue Eagles of the UAAP and the San Beda Red Lions of the NCAA, launched their respective campaigns on a bright note by downing separate rivals. The Blue Eagles, starring man-mountain Greg Slaughter, turned to their defense in the end game to repulse a gritty Letran side, 55-51, while the Red Lions ushered in the Ronnie Magsanoc era with a 69-63 victory over the De La Salle Green Archers.

    First game: Ateneo 55, Letran 51

    The Blue Eagles appeared to be on their way to an easy victory, posting a 31-21 halftime advantage and leading 39-28 midway through the third period. The Knights, though, cut the deficit to just three, 45-42, heading into the payoff period. During Letran's run, the comebacking Ryan Buenafe was on the court, and it was obvious he has some major

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  • Gabe Freeman and the Energy are a win away from the finals. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

    The Barako Bull Energy proved that their Game 1 win was no fluke, building a 21-point lead and holding off a spirited Talk 'N Text rally to prevail, 85-81, last night and move within a win of the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals.

    Gabe Freeman bounced back from a disappointing second-half Game 2 performance with 27 points and 14 rebounds, while Mick Pennisi finally broke out of a shooting slump by hitting four three-pointers and chipping in 14 points to help put the Energy on the threshold of the finals.

    Barako Bull had previously lost 16 of its last 17 meetings with the Tropang Texters dating back to the 2008-09 season, but they have shown poise and resiliency in this series. They shrugged off a 25-point loss in Game 2 and rediscovered the defensive intensity that helped them win Game 1, holding TNT to just 39% shooting.

    "During the second game I told our players we got blown off but TNT just got even," said Energy coach Junel Baculi. "It's one loss but it's up to us if we can bounce

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  • Josh Urbiztondo and Jay-jay Helterbrand dive for the loose ball. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

    Hindsight, they say, is 20/20. Unfortunately for Jackson Vroman, Barangay Ginebra fans will be speculating for a long time whether he should have taken a shot instead of passing off on two different occasions late in the Kings' 83-77 loss to B-Meg last night that gave the Llamados a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-five series.

    The scenario: PJ Simon had scored four in a row to give the Llamados a 79-75 lead with less than a minute left. On the next play, Vroman had a wide open lane to the basket with only the five-eleven Simon offering any form of resistance. Yet instead of laying it in, the naturalized Lebanese chose pass it off to Nino Canaleta, whose three-point attempt from the corner was off.

    The Kings forced a Simon miss on the other end, and Jay-Jay Helterbrand rushed downcourt and spotted an open Vroman under the basket. The Ginebra import didn't go back down on defense because of cramps, and as a result B-Meg failed to cover him. Vroman caught the pass and could have

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  • Ranidel De Ocampo scored 18 points in the 123-98 rout. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

    This was what Junel Baculi was afraid of. Unfortunately, there wasn't much his team could do about it.

    After beating Talk 'N Text, 84-77, in Game 1 last Tuesday, the Barako Bull mentor said he expected the defending champs to come back and make adjustments in Game 2.

    "We have to get ready for that," Baculi said.

    Whatever preparations the Energy did for the expected TNT response in Game 2, they obviously weren't enough. The Tropang Texters showed the full force of their offensive arsenal in a 123-98 rout that leveled their best-of-five semifinal series at one game apiece.

    "Last game we were completely blown out," TNT coach Chot Reyes said. "That's what the series is, they drew first blood, we made adjustments. We just gotta be prepared for their adjustments in Game 3."

    Donell Harvey rebounded from a mediocre Game 1 with 24 points, one of seven Texters who scored at least 10 points. They included point guard Jimmy Alapag, who hit 12 after going scoreless in Game 1, and power forward

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  • There will be no London Olympics for Charly Suarez after the Filipino boxer bowed to China's Qiang Liu, 11-15, in the finals of the lightweight division of the Asian Olympic Qualifying tournament in Astana, Kazakhstan.

    Suarez had trouble with Qiang's height and reach advantage and couldn't get untracked in the first two rounds as the Chinese used his left hand effectively to ward off his opponent and set up some quick combinations. Qiang won the first round, 3-1, and the second, 5-3, to post a commanding 8-4 lead heading into the third and final frame.

    Knowing he was behind on points, Suarez let it all hang out in the last round, rocking Qiang with some good jabs and combinations. The native of Davao and veteran of the World Series of Boxing was suddenly connecting with his shots with such ease that you had to wonder why he wasn't this aggressive in the first two rounds. Towards the end of the bout, Qiang had to take a medical break after blood began trickling out of his nose.


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  • B-Meg pounds Ginebra

    Denzel Bowles and the Llamados soared over Ginebra in Game 1. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

    The B-Meg Llamados overcame a sluggish start and clamped down on defense to rout Barangay Ginebra, 82-67, to take a 1-0 lead in their PBA Commissioner's Cup best-of-five semifinal series last night.

    Held to only eight points in the first period and down by 15 early in the second, the Llamados got their act together and returned the favor, holding the Kings to eight second-quarter points to grab a 33-29 lead at the half.

    "We didn't get off to a good start," said B-Meg coach Tim Cone. "They had a nice game plan, pick and rolling, and we were turnover-prone early. But we started playing better defense."

    B-Meg continued to roll in the third period with James Yap hitting back-to-back jumpers and Josh Urbiztondo burying two triples as part of a 15-2 run that pushed the Llamados ahead, 50-33. The Kings made a bit of a run, cutting the lead to 12 at 52-40, but B-Meg closed the period with an 8-2 run as Ginebra lapsed into numerous unforced turnovers. At the end of the third, the Kings had

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