Caguioa leads Ginebra to big win over Talk ‘N Text

Updated 18 March 2013
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Caguioa leads Ginebra to big win over Talk ‘N Text

Mark Caguioa didn’t stay more than 10 minutes in the Philippine Sportswriters Association awards night on Saturday where he needed to pick up a very important trophy.
It seemed like he came and went to the Manila Hotel Ballroom, claiming he needed to rest to get ready for a big game against Talk ‘N Text the next night.
Caguioa seemed to have rested well, for he played his biggest game in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations last night and anchored Barangay Ginebra’s finest performance here in bringing down Talk ‘N Text, 107-100, in front of more than 16,000 fans at the Araneta Coliseum.
The reigning MVP, who was also named as the PSA’s pro cager of 2012, scored 13 of his total in the third period and had four clutch points in the payoff frame as Ginebra won back-to-back games for the first time to improve to 3-5.
It was the first loss in the last three games for the Tropang Texters in a 4-4 card as Talk ‘N Text yielded the most points to a foe against the Gin Kings.
“I just told the players to play defense, I didn’t ask them to win,” Barangay Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua told reporters. “I just told them to never give up and we can get this. What we did on defense confused them.”
The loss was also the first for Talk ‘N Text since import Donnell Harvey came back to replace the ineffective Keith Benson and the Texters — after just eight games here —have now lost as many games as they did when they won the Philippine Cup this season.
Talk ‘N Text was the second straight powerhouse that Ginebra took down, with the Gin Kings also scoring an upset against San Mig Coffee last Friday.
“Being 3-5, we have to keep on winning (in the race to the playoffs),” Chua said. “At least we’re out of the cellar. The players are just proving that we can still win, bringing down those two powerhouses.”
Import Vernon Macklin scored 24 points and was an intimidating presence inside the paint and LA Tenorio finished with 20, engaging Talk ‘N Text point guard and former MVP Jimmy Alapag in an interesting offensive battle.
Alapag wound up with 23 points, shooting 13 in the fourth period as he tried gallantly to bring the Texters to victory almost by himself.
The last of Alapag’s five triples came at the 1:27 mark that had the Texters coming within 102-98, but Larry Fonacier, who finished with 16 points, took an ill-advised trey attempt in their next offensive and effectively doomed the Texters.
That Fonacier miscue eventually allowed Macklin to complete a three-point play off Ranidel De Ocampo with 35.4 ticks to go, sealing Talk ‘N Text’s loss.
The exciting Ginebra victory took all of the luster away from Alaska’s 93-85 domination of Globalport earlier in the night.
Alaska got 26 points and 18 rebounds from import Robert Dozier and double figures in scoring from two locals as the Aces didn’t show signs of missing star guard JV Casio and improved their league-leading record to 7-2.
Globalport took a sixth straight tumble and because of Ginebra and Air21 both winning their last two games, the Batang Pier are all alone in the cellar with a 2-7 card, needing to sweep their final five games to have a shot at advancing.
Former two-time MVP Willie Miller led the Batang Pier with 22 points and Gary David added 20, but Globalport trailed big early because import Walter Sharpe was hobbled with four personal fouls just 15 minutes into the game.
Sharpe would finish with just two points and five rebounds in 20 minutes.


Saudi Arabia handball team in confident mood as Asian Games gets ready for the starter's gun

Updated 16 August 2018
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Saudi Arabia handball team in confident mood as Asian Games gets ready for the starter's gun

  • Continental festival of sport to officially start tomorrow in Jakarta.
  • Saudi Arabia handball team face hosts Indonesia today.

JAKARTA: The Saudi Arabian handball team are getting cold feet at the Asian Games, but it has nothing to do with today’s match with hosts Indonesia for a place in the knock-out round — it is because their legs hang off the end of the bed in the athlete village. 

The Kingdom has brought 169 athletes to Jakarta and Palembang for the world’s second-largest multi-sport event, which officially starts tomorrow and runs until Sept. 2. Some sports, such as handball and football, start several days ahead of the opening ceremony because of the number of participating nations and the need for adequate recovery days.

The athlete village, built on 10 hectares of land, has 7,424 apartments spread across 10 towers and accommodates more than 22,000 athletes and staff. Yesterday, as each of the 45 member countries of the Olympic Council of Asia were officially welcomed into the $238 million complex, flags from countries such as North Korea and Jordan, Chinese Taipei and Iran, hung from various windows and balconies.  

Following a brief traditional dance by costume-laden Indonesian women, the Saudi Arabian delegation was invited into the central plaza alongside representatives of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the UAE and Brunei. As each country’s national anthem played from the sound system, the Indonesian military raised the flags. A drone, operated by one of seven Saudi in-house photographers, buzzed overhead.

“It is very exciting to be here; a highlight in our careers, not only for the athletes, but us coaches too,” said Muhanna Al-Qamous, the team manager of the Saudi handball team, shortly before Prince Fahad bin Jalawi Al-Saud exchanged gifts with the Indonesian organizers. 

“When you see your country’s flag, it is something very different. I feel proud, but it also makes you realize you are representing your country. The athletes here will leave with a different perspective, I think. From the outside you can sense it, but from being here inside the village and among the other countries, it is different. Very special.”

The village boasts table tennis and pool tables, a laundry service, WiFi, high-spec gymnasium and various shops and stalls selling everything from ramen noodles to baseball caps and wood-carved souvenirs. Indonesia’s first beauty truck, painted bright pink, sits near to the plaza offering hair and makeup services to the female athletes, of which Saudi Arabia has brought eight.

“The village is very nice, really. Indonesians are very small, so the accommodation is a little small — the athletes feet hang out the bed and if they use the blanket to cover their feet, their shoulders stay bare,” Al-Qamous added, laughing. “But in general, it’s a very good atmosphere and we have enjoyed a very hospitable welcome from the Indonesian people.”

At the London Olympics in 2012, beds were only 1.72 meters but by Rio four years later they were two meters, extendable to 2.3m. Here in Jakarta, the beds are closer to London sizes, deemed “too small” and “not in good condition” by Ali Alibrahim, a member of the handball team.

“The village is nice, but not very nice,” added Mohammed Al-Nassfan, a teammate of Alibrahim. “There is not much to do here. There are no TVs in the bedrooms, but I have just bought a local sim card with data, so now I am happy.”

Alibrahim scored four points as Saudi Arabia won their opening game 42-24 against Hong Kong on Wednesday. Against Indonesia today, they will hope for more of the same in their quest to take home a gold medal. 

“We have a team here that can win when the moment comes,” said Al-Qamous, who has already helped his country qualify for the Men’s Handball World Championships next January in Germany and Denmark. “We did well against Hong Kong, so we know now that if we beat Indonesia, we can qualify for the second round. Our immediate target is to get the semifinals, but of course we intend to leave with medals.”

Anybody who watched the opening game of this summer’s World Cup will be aware that playing the hosts brings it own challenges. Saudi Arabia lost 5-0 to hosts Russia in Moscow, but Al-Qamous does not expect a repeat of such a capitulation of character.

“Indonesia lost their first match so they will be determined to win,” said coach Al-Qamous. “But our team has great experience and will not be fazed by the atmosphere of playing the hosts. For sure Indonesia will have strong support, but our players are used to playing in front of big crowds. In Saudi Arabia, handball is the second most popular sport after football and we have qualified for the World Cup nine times, so this is nothing new to us. When the big clubs play league games back home, we can see more than 6,000 spectators in the arena.”
Al-Nassfan, with data-filled mobile phone in hand, simply added: “We feel no pressure. We will have an easy win, inshallah.”