Smith scores the game-winning basket for TNT to grab Game One

Josh Smith pulled off a lay-up to help the TNT KaTropa Texters in a 104-102 win over the San Miguel Beermen in Game One of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Wednesday.

Playing with pay and at times hobbling, Smith finished with 21 points including the game-winning basket as the Texters surprised the Beermen. Smith was at the center of conversations in the past few days if KaTropa really needed to find a replacement but the team sticking to him paved the way to be ahead of the series.

Embroiled with injuries, TNT did not have Ryan Reyes and Ranidel Ocampo also but the team managed to stage a win. However, Smith saved the day with that hook shot against Beermen’s June Mar Fajardo. While the Texters captured the first game, the status of the Smith is day-to-day going on forward.

Jayson Castro played an all-around game with 14 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists to help the Texters in staying in the game. Also, Roger Pogoy scored 27 points and 5-for-9 three-pointers to lead in scoring for the Texters.

The Beermen played with tough through import Charles Rhodes with 31 points while Fajardo posted 18 points and 13 rebounds. Chris Ross also played well with 11 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.

“I screwed up in the last play. San Miguel did a good job denying Jayson (Castro) the ball. It’s really good Josh had that presence of mind to get the ball and attack June Mar. He had no choice but to create and he did,” said Racela.

“It’s always crucial to get the first win. Doing it without Ryan and Ranidel and with Josh not 100 percent, that’s something that’s very important. It means the other guys delivered well tonight,” Racela also said.

Game 2 will be on Friday at 7:00 PM at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Pocari overpowers  Bali Pure to Claim 3rd PVL Title

 

For the third straight time, Pocari Sweat captures the championship trophy of Premier Volleyball league.

The Lady Warriors grabbed a 4-set victory against top seed Water Defenders, 20-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-19 to claim the women’s division title in Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on Thursday, at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Krsytal Rivers led the team in their latest victory with 27 points, out of which 15 were dropped in first two frames to stop BaliPure. Krsytal had only played in the best-of-three finals due to delay in her International Transfer Certificate realises, still Rivers made up her delay by retaining the Reinforced Conference trophy for the 3rd time with Pocari Sweat.

Rivers said –

“All I want is to help my team win,” “And the team has a strong will to win.

Rivers was a last minute replacement for Edina Selimovic, had also gone through Lymphoma during American collegiate league.  

Pocari also took home last year’s Open Conference.

Michelle Strizal broke the barriers created by BaliPure’s defence team to push 13-23 to 19-24 score, just when Jessey de Leon smashed the title-winning point.

Gyselle Sy scored 24 sets and 12 digs on top of an ace resulted in 16-8 lead in the third frame for Pocari.

Pocari coach Rommel Abella, whose team entered the league during last season said –

“It was a fulfilling win for us because this team has been through a lot of adversities,”

The Lady Warriors stopped Water Defenders in the opener of the best-of-three series, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22, 26-24, but dropped a 15-25, 24-26, 26-24, 26-24, 13-15 decision in the next game.

Smith opt for day-to-day as heading for Finals against Beermen

 

After a sizzling hot performance against Kings on Saturday, Joshua Smith said he has opted for day-to-day basis as KaTropa are heading for finals facing San Miguel in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

6-foot-9, 330-pound Smith, tore off his ligament in his right big toe while playing TNT’s Game 3 Semifinals against Ginebra. But he was unshakable in Game 4 where he supported TNT with 18 points in the victory of 122-109 score.

When asked if he will be able to play the Finals against SMB on Wednesday, he said –

“I have no idea,” “We’ll go to practice on Monday, and we’ll see but right now we’ll take it day-by-day.”

In the Game 3, Smith played for only about 10 minutes where the TNT lost to Ginebra 125-101, however in Game 4 he smashed 8-of-11 from shooting in 21 minutes. He told his mates that he had two options when he injured his foot –

“It was either I just go home or try to play one more game with them.”

TNT head coach Nash Racela widely admired Smith for his efforts.

“I think he sacrificed a lot for this game, I know he’s hurting and I don’t really know what extent but knowing how important this game is, he decided to play,” said Racela. “He said ‘I was hurting, but it will hurt me more if I don’t play,’ and that’s the heart of a champion.”

The maven also appeared in Sunday’s practice giving hope to team that he’s ready to take on SMB on Wednesday in the championship round of PBA 2017.

TNT defeats Ginebra, punches  into the Finals

 

PBA Commissioner’s Cup is truly an event where the superstar thrives. Import Josh Smith was one such example that played hard with just one good foot on Saturday to blow out Barangay Ginebra Kings, 122-109 and faceoff San Miguel Beermen in the final showdown in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup 2017.    

Once again Jayson Castro scored game-high 38 points out of which 21 were dropped in final half to gain the victory against Kings at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay. Tolerating a slight muscle sprain, the 6-foot-9 Smith managed TNT to regain the lead midway for 21 minutes to contribute 18 points five rebounds and two assists, until Castro and Williams took charge in leading the way to move TNT to its first finals in six conferences.

Coach Nash Racela, who is also entering his first Finals believed Smith sacrificed a lot for the team and said –

“Knowing how important this game is, he showed the heart of a champion (by suiting up). He’s a warrior.”

It is yet not sure if Smith will be playing Game 1 against Beermen due to toe injury, still Racela said – “We’re ready for any eventuality”

Castro meanwhile gave its best in the Saturday’s game and he built a mind-set of winning-at-any-cost, known that entering Game 5 can be troublesome for the TNT.

Castro after the match said –

“I told myself that this is a do-or-die game,”

“We needed to win this game. I just told myself to keep shooting with confidence.”

Japeth Aguilar fired 31 points and Justin Brownlee scored 25 points for Kings in the loss.

Lassiter drills the game-winning three

Marcio Lassiter pulled off a last second three-pointer to put the San Miguel Beermen in a 111-101 squeaker over the Star Hotshots and take a 2-1 lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Lassiter delivered the needed triple against the tight defense of Justin Melton with 1.6 second left that stunned the Hotshots.

“We got lucky but luck comes when you are a good player and that’s Marcio,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria. With the victory, the Beermen are just a game away to punch a ticket to the Finals.

Charles Rhodes posted 36 points, seven rebound and three blocks to lead the way for San Miguel but nothing more memorable were the three points of Lassiter who finished 12 points and four rebounds. Moreover, Chris Ross had a big game with 27 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

The Beermen have won their last two games after dropping Game One. They will have an opportunity to close out on Friday at the Big Dome.

The Star Hotshots were able to bounce back from an eight-point deficit in the last five minutes through Ricardo Ratliffe who had 44 points, 19 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks. Ratliffe was so hto in the fourth quarter by scoring the final 10 points of the Hotshots.

TNT stops Meralco in OT, step towards semis

TNT stood strong until last moment to stop Meralco in an overtime victory 104-96 and booked a ticket to 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Semi-finals on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 30-year-old Jayson Castro dished out the game-tying freebie when just 5.1 seconds were left to push the game to overtime. The Blur made use of the extra period by dropping free throws to finish with 31 points and 27 boards for the KaTropa to earn the best-of-three quarterfinals series, 2-1. The Texters will clash against top seed Barangay Ginebra in best-of-five semi-finals, starting on Monday at Malls of Asia Arena.

Expressing his confidence in the team, Coach Nash Racela said –

“As a coach, you can’t really give up early. I know we were down but we said until it’s not over, we still have a chance,”

“We just wanted to force a turnover so the ball gets back to us and we’ll have a chance.”
“Good thing they fouled and we were able to force overtime,” He added.

Joshua Smith started badly in the opening minutes of overtime, however, notched good number with 31 points, 21 rebounds and four assists later. Castro finished with 31 points, three boards, two assists, three steals and one block in 38 minutes.

Baser Amer added 25 points along with 9 boards and 4 assists, while Roger Pogoy had 13 points and 3 blocks for TNT.

Bolts were lead by Alex Stephenson who dropped 13 points and 15 rebounds in the loss.

BaliPure beats Creamline, gears up for PVL Finals

BaliPure has fuelled expectation among fans after beating Creamline, 25-18, 25-13, 25-16, on Thursday to capture a berth in finals in Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at Philsports Arena in Pasig.

Creamline created a do-or-die situation for BaliPure after defeating them in Game 1 of Semi-Finals (best of three) 24-26, 25-18, 18-25, 25-16, 16-14. However, Jennifer Keddy and Gretchel Soltones lead BaliPure with 13 points each in the hot game to cement their first championship stretch in last two year.

Later that day, the Lady Warriors smartly smashed the Power Smashers at 25-19, 25-22, 25-21 in a tight rubber match. Now BaliPure will face off the Lady Warriors in the best-of-three title match starting at 6.30 p.m on Saturday at the Philsports Arena, also will be aired live over S+A 23.

Coach Roger Gorayeb never expected that the victory will be so easy to gain; he just shared a little motivational talk with players before the game –

“Actually I never expected this sweep, and I didn’t talk much during before the game,” said Gorayeb. “I just told them to treat this game as one in the championship round and that they should work as a team and not as individuals.”

Skipper Grethcel Soltones and Jennifer Keddy had 13 points each for Balipure, while Risa Sato and Jeng Bualee combined for 20. The Water Defender scored 41 spikes, while the Cool Smashers could manage only 30.

Creamline was lead by Kaewpin Kuttika with 14 points while skipper Alyssa Valdez dropped 13.

Castro scores 25 to lead TNT against Meralco

Jayson Castro scored 25 points to lead TNT in a 102-84 win over Meralco in the quarterfinal round of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Monday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

In an all-around performance, Castro also had six rebounds, seven assists and three steals for TNT Katropa Texters who are looking to close the best-of-three series in Game 2. Joshua Smith added 19 points and three rebounds coming from the bench.

Mo Tautuaa scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds While Troy Rosario and RR Garcia scored nine points each. Also, Kelly Williams added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Texters.

Chris Newsome had 21 points to lead the Meralco Bolts. Alex Stephenson had nine points and 16 rebounds. Meralco will try to bounce back in Game 2 which is set on Wednesday.

Hotshots overwhelm Elasto Painters

The Star Hotshots overpowered the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 118-82, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal game Monday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ricardo Ratliffe scored 29 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Hotshots. Allien Maliksi contributed 16 points while Aldrech Ramos added 15 points. Moreover, Ian Sangalang, Mark Barroca nd Jio Jalalon scored 11 points each to help the Hotshots in a one-sided game.

For the Elasto Painter, Duke Crews scored 19 points while Beau Belga added 1 points. Meanwhile, James Yap scored only five poitns in 2-for-10 shooting from the field.

“I think we have a proper mindset. We focused on our defense, we have a defensive scheme against their players, the important players like James (Yap) and their import (Duke Crews),” said Star head coach Chito Victolero. “The level of our game, that was our challenge to my players. This is the playoffs, let’s go to the next level.”

Star is just a game away to the semifinal round.

Durant, Curry dismantle Cavaliers defense

Stephen Curry finished with a triple-double with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists and Kevin Durant ended up with 33 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals and five blocks to help the Golden State Warriors en-route to a 132-113 win in the Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Curry masterfully scored 14-for-14 from the free-throw line and 4-for-11 from outside the arc. Curry was 7-for-17 from the field as he showed his all-around game as the Cavaliers were not able to check him throughout the game. Also, Durant displayed the best basketball by playing at the center position most of the times to take the shoe of Draymond Green, who was in foul trouble all throughout. Durant’s five blocks translated into complete overshadowing of the offense of the Cavaliers. Furthermore, Klay Thompson was on his arsenal with 22 points and 4-for-7 from outside the arc. Thompson was 8-for-12 in the game. Green managed to have 12 points, six rebounds and six assists by playing only 25 minutes. Shaun Livingston scored 10 points off the bench for the Warriors.

The Warriors led the first quarter with 40-34 despite having so many turnovers. Curry’s penetration at the early stage of the game was critical in maintaining their lead. In the second quarter, the Warriors allowed the Cavaliers to come back with a score of 67-64 at half time.

In the third quarter, the Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 35-24 to extend their lead going into the fourth quarter. With total managing of the game for the Warriors, the Cavaliers couldn’t respond.

LeBron James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists in a losing cause. Despite having a triple-double night for James, the Cavaliers couldn’t capitalize. James faltered midway the third quarter that he couldn’t match the intensity of the Warriors, especially Durant whom he was guarding almost the entire night. Kevin Love scored 27 points in 12-for-23 shooting while Kyrie Irving struggled with only 19 points in 8-for-23 shooting from the field.

The Warriors are leading the series 2-0 as it will shift to Cleveland in Game 3 and Game 4.