Williams redemption as SMB edges San Mig
Williams redemption as SMB edges San Mig
That was the night for Reggie Williams of San Miguel Beer on Sunday, when he almost threw away what he and the Beermen worked so hard for, before sealing a 92-90 win over San Mig Coffee on the defensive end at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Williams broke up the potential game-tying play of San Mig after bungling two free throws — which could have earlier sealed the deal — as the Beermen won a second straight game in the PBA Governors’ Cup to continue breathing down the necks of the leaders.
Before that, Williams had given the Beermen an 88-83 lead heading into the final 1:42, when he connected from close to 30 feet out off the glass for the last of his five three-pointers for the night.
“He is showing himself to be the best shooter that I have ever coach,” Todd Purves, the active assistant of the Beermen, told reporters. “But those two (missed) free throws almost ruined it for us.
“It was probably fatigue,” Purves continued after playing Williams for all but four minutes and getting 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists from his National Basketball Association veteran. “He has been pushing himself minutes-wise for the team.”
After those two flubbed free throws taken by Williams with 5.6 ticks to go, the Mixers had one chance to forge overtime or even win the game when Marqus Blakely snared down the rebound.
With San Mig having no timeouts left, Blakely was forced to take it down the floor himself, only for Williams to meet him at centercourt and strip the San Mig import of possession.
Williams simply ran out the clock as the Beermen rose to 2-1 after taking a tournament-opening loss to Alaska.
June Mar Fajardo was also big, shooting 18 points that went with the same number of boards, with Chris Ross firing 13 markers and issuing eight assists in just a 24-minute stint coming off the bench.
Blakely, the winner of the Best Import award last season who could help the Mixers complete a Grand Slam with a repeat title romp here, scored 31 points and had 19 rebounds.
San Mig dropped to 1-1.
In the first game, Rain or Shine notched its first win after finally playing to its potential, walloping Globalport, 119-97, in the first game.
Arizona Reid scored 30 points, had 13 rebounds and eight assists, and Jeff Chan backed him up with 19 with Paul Lee shooting 17 as the Elasto Painters finally won one after losing two straight to get back in the mix.
The Batang Pier, who upset Alaska, 95-91 just two nights before, opened up the second half with a whimper and never recovered, dropping to the same record as the Painters.
Globalport management has pushed the panic button and is sending Leroy Hickerson home for former Ginebra import Dior Lowhorn, even as Meralco, with a 0-3 record, has also called it a day with Terrence Williams and has recalled Mario West to prop up its sagging campaign.
In what could be the biggest off-court news on Sunday, Alaska team owner Wilfred Steven Uytengsu has given Luigi Trillo his walking papers and has tapped Alex Compton as the Aces’ new head coach effective immediately.
The Aces have failed to make the Final Four of the last three conferences after winning the Commissioner’s Cup last year with Robert Dozier as their import.
Quarterfinal exits in the next three conferences, even after Dozier returned for another tour of duty with the Aces in the last tournament, apparently did Trillo in.
“We are appreciative of Luigi’s efforts during his tenure as head coach and piloting the Aces to our 14th PBA title,” Uytengsu wrote in the official statement e-mailed to members of the media.
“But it has been a challenging ride the past three conferences,” he continued. “The Trillo name will always be fondly associated with the Aces, owing to the fact that Joaqui Trillo (Luigi’s father who retired at the end of last season), served as team manager for 25 years.”
Compton gets his baptism of fire on Monday when the Aces battle formidable Talk ‘N Text at 8 p.m. also at the Big Dome.
Alaska has a formidable local lineup and one of the most sought after imports in the lot in Henry Walker, another legitimate NBA vet. Nasty rumors have surrounded Trillo’s tenure as coach after that championship win, prompting management to step in and try to fix the problem.
This will be Compton’s first shot at coaching a PBA team full time. He played several seasons with the defunct Metro Stars in the MBA (Metropolitan Basketball Association) and played as an import for Rain or Shine in the PBA several years back before being an assistant to Trillo.
Liverpool's Andrew Robertson ready for Roma Champions League test
- Young Scottish star was very impressive during Liverpool's 5-1 aggregate destruction of Man City in last-eight clash.
- Robertson refuses to take Roma lightly after their shock victory over Barcelona in the last round.
LIVERPOOL: With a desire stoked in the stands of Parkhead, Andrew Robertson is now fired up to fulfil a childhood dream.
While following the fortunes of Celtic, the defender’s first Champions League final memory was when Zinedine Zidane volleyed Real Madrid to success in 2002 as the contest was staged in Robertson’s home city of Glasgow. He was just eight years old.
While Robertson was deemed too small to play for his boyhood idols, released at 15 with a future uncertain, he has grown to prove his worth on Europe’s biggest club stage with Liverpool.
Now, with a semifinal encounter against AS Roma after beating Premier League champions Manchester City in the last eight, he wants to emulate those Reds heroes who lifted the trophy five times before.
“I was a big Celtic fan growing up and my heroes were Henrik Larsson and Co,” Robertson told Arab News ahead of tonight’s first-leg clash at Anfield.
“But these heroes who have won the European Cup and Champions League for Liverpool, you have to look up to them — and we want to emulate them and hopefully get a winner’s medal too.
“The club’s won it five times and the history of the club has always been this, the Champions League, where the fans create a special atmosphere and the club challenges for the trophy. It would be unbelievable to be a part of that history.
“This is the highlight for me so far and an incredible feeling, but it just makes you hungry for more. I don’t want it to end.
“As a kid, you sit back and watch how great it would be to play in this competition, let alone in the final.
“I always used to go to Celtic and we didn’t progress very far in the Champions League, but the occasions at Parkhead were always unbelievable.
“The fans at Celtic are incredible, world renowned, but Anfield was unbelievable against Man City and we have another chance for them to create that same atmosphere and hopefully we can put in another great performance.” Having beaten Pep Guardiola’s City so convincingly, 5-1 over two gripping games, Liverpool will start favorites against Roma.
That is despite the Italians upsetting Barcelona in the previous round with an epic 3-0 win in the second leg after a 4-1 loss at the Nou Camp.
But Robertson will take nothing for granted against a Roma side who last reached the final in 1984 where they were beaten by Liverpool in a penalty shootout at their Stadio Olimpico home.
“Barca are an unbelievable team,” added the Scotland left-back, 24. “But let’s not kid ourselves. For Roma to score three goals against Barcelona, that’s special.
“They’ve been unbelievable this season too in the Champions League and deserve to be in the semifinals. It will definitely not be an easy game.
“But once you get to the semis, the fear of who you are playing has gone because you know how good the teams are.
“It’s like you look forward to the possibility of playing in the final, that’s what drives you forward. We will have fire in our bellies because we are so close to getting there.”
Jurgen Klopp’s men will no doubt be looking to Mohamed Salah to conjure more magic against the club he left in the summer for £36.9 million ($51.5 million). But Robertson insisted Liverpool are no one-man team and the Egyptian, crowned PFA Player of the Year on Sunday night after scoring 41 goals in an unforgettable campaign, epitomizes a team united and ambitious in their quest for glory. “He’s just unbelievable,” said Robertson of the frontman.
“In the first half (of the second leg) against Man City we struggled to get him in the game and he wasn’t quite at it. But the second half he was different class and pops up with a goal to help us win it. That’s what he does.
“His goals have been incredible and long may that continue. He’s a great guy, so humble, and for someone who has done so much this season he’s so down to Earth.
“That’s credit to our squad because we don’t let anyone get ahead of themselves.
“Mo is no different, he’s a lovely person and stands for what we are as a team.”
HEART OF GOLD
Five years ago Andrew Robertson was playing in the fourth tier of Scottish football with Queen’s Park and earning extra money by selling concert tickets in the corporate offices at Hampden Park.
Last summer he suffered relegation from the Premier League with Hull City before Liverpool signed him for £10 million ($13.9 million).
In a career fraught with setbacks and hardships, he has been grateful, supporting foodbanks that help those in need.
“It’s all about giving something back to the less fortunate,” said Robertson.
“I’m in a fortunate position where I do a job I love and get paid well and it’s nice to give something back, especially in my hometown. I’ll always do that.
“It’s been a great journey for me in my career, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. But I don’t forget where I came from. Maybe it is rare, but a lot more people are doing it now and I hope even more will.”