Oilers advance; Blazers, Vipers force deciders
Oilers advance; Blazers, Vipers force deciders
Experience prevailed over youth as the Oilers won Game 2 92-80 on Friday at the Al-Qadisia Sports Club stadium.
The Oilers, who won the series opener 91-86 the previous week, now await the winners of the series in the central and western regions that both went to a deciding third game to be played today.
From six teams the field will be cut by half to three for the double round robin home-and-away semifinals where the two teams with the best record to dispute the national title in a best-of-three series in November.
In Riyadh, Blazers edged Stars 78-77 on marginal points by Jun Perez and Richard Asay in a Game 2 thriller that leveled the series at 1-1 at the Al-Yamama Hotel court on Friday. The Fil-Am James Smith-led Stars took the first game by 89-67.
The western region series, as expected, was extended to a Game 3 but not after the Vipers even at full-strength were made to endure a big fourth quarter comeback by Friendster in a 96-90 victory before a banner crowd at the NAI-Juffali Compound court in Jeddah’s Bawadi District.
The Vipers stepped on the court with high hopes of avenging their 100-92 first game defeat at Sheraton Hotel Complex court. But their hopes were nearly dashed as the gritty Friendster doggedly climbed out of an 18-point hole in the third quarter and dragged veteran coach Boy “4GS” Corsega and the Vipers to an excruciating endgame battle.
In the end, breaks in the last 40 seconds decided the outcome with a steal by Ryan Aguam and key rebounds by Raymond Matias and Mursi Akad fueling a 6-0 Vipers windup.
The transition game worked well for the Vipers as they twice posted an 18-point lead, 73-55 and 75-57, with 2:41 in the third period.
But the Vipers’ troubles started when the hard-nosed Friendster defender AJ Junsay got the goat of premier point guard Robby David and forced him to foul out with still 8:32 to play in the fourth quarter.
With Corsega shouting himself hoarse and pacing up and down the sidelines, Cris Melebo’s Friendster squad used a 12-3 run to pull within two, 82-80, from 79-68 at the end of the third quarter.
Vipers had nursed an 85-84 lead when an uncontested basket in the lane by Yoyong Akmad and Chrisian Guimpatan free-throws sandwiched a pair of charities by Matias before Guimpatan added two more free throws to give Friendster a two-point lead 89-87. In the succeeding plays Vipers missed three of four free throws but Akad converted his to tie the game at 90 while Mark Basa on the other end earlier split his charities.
Freindster then missed three field goals before Aguam stole off Guimpatan, fed Akad on the break and put back Akad’s undergoal stab for the Vipers’ go-ahead basket. On the next trip Matias pulled a defensive rebound following successive misses by Akmad and Guimpatan and made one of two free throws off a foul by Guimpatan 93-90. Akad then rebounded a JR Piedra miss before another Akad free throw sealed the game for Vipers 94-90, with 16 ticks left.
Center Joseph Ubalde finished with 24 points for Vipers, Ron Magat added 18, Matias had 16 while big Mark Elamparo, who also enjoyed a good game, contributed 12.
Veterans Omar Asmad, Jessie Cabanayan and Wene Datuputi as well as former Sta. Lucia Realtor Melvin Mamaclay carried the game for the Oilers who led all the way against the young Dragons squad which got a big lift from Fil-Am Matthew Carney.
Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 to win Champions League
- adrid is the first team to achieve that feat since Bayern Munich in 1976. This is their fourth title in five years, and their 13th overall.
- Jurgen Klopp’s and Liverpool’s own evening was marred by the loss of a distraught Mohamed Salah to injury in the first half, the Egyptian coming off half an hour in having damaged his shoulder.
KIEV, Ukraine: Gareth Bale’s eye-catching scissor-kick helped Real Madrid to a third successive Champions League title on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over a Liverpool side thwarted by a pair of goalkeeping blunders and Mohamed Salah being forced off injured.
Bale’s jaw-dropping overhead kick put Real 2-1 up moments after his introduction, following a dramatic start to the second half in which Karim Benzema gave Real the lead as a result of a Loris Karius howler.
Sadio Mane had briefly restored parity, but Bale put Real in front again and then made it 3-1 late on with a long-range strike that the unfortunate Karius could only punch into the net.
Jurgen Klopp’s and Liverpool’s own evening was marred by the loss of a distraught Mohamed Salah to injury in the first half, the Egyptian coming off half an hour in having damaged his shoulder.
This was not to be Salah’s night, with Real allowing Zinedine Zidane to become the first coach ever to win the Champions League three years in a row.
Madrid is the first team to achieve that feat since Bayern Munich in 1976. This is their fourth title in five years, and their 13th overall.
Cristiano Ronaldo has now won five in his great career, but even he could not argue that this was Bale’s evening.
The Welshman had been tipped to feature in the Real starting line-up but in the end was left out for Isco — just as he had been in the final win over Juventus last year — before making an emphatic impact as a substitute.
For Liverpool, this game will be remembered for the disaster that befell goalkeeper Karius in the second half, and for Salah’s tears as he departed the pitch at the NSC Olympiyskyi.
The Egyptian hurt his left shoulder as he went down in a challenge with Sergio Ramos in the 25th minute. Five minutes later he made way for Adam Lallana.
His presence at the World Cup could now be in doubt, as could that of Dani Carvajal — the Real right-back came off with a hamstring injury before the interval.
Those injuries temporarily took the sting out of the game after an enthralling start, with Liverpool on top.
It had been uncomfortable for Real, but after Salah departed, they sensed their chance. They even had the ball in the net in the 43rd minute, only to be denied by a marginal offside call.
Ronaldo’s header from Isco’s cross was parried by Karius, and Benzema turned in the loose ball, but the Frenchman had come from a fraction ahead of the last defender and the flag came up.
If that was a let-off for Liverpool, they were their own worst enemies at the start of the second half.
Isco struck the bar after Lallana diverted the ball into his path, before Benzema opened the scoring in the 51st minute.
It was a moment of unbelievable carelessness from Karius, who attempted to roll the ball out to the nearest red shirt only for Benzema to stick out a leg and send it trickling into the net.
Klopp’s side really could have let their heads drop, and yet they were soon back level, Mane turning the ball in after Dejan Lovren headed down James Milner’s corner.
But their renewed hope was crushed upon the introduction of Bale.
The Welshman had been on the field barely two minutes when he met Marcelo’s cross from the left with an improbable leap, back to goal, 15 yards out, to send an overhead kick on his left foot arcing over Karius and in.
Such a strike deserved to be the winner, although it was his long-range shot that beat the embarrassed Karius in the 83rd minute that made sure of the victory.
Mane hit the post for Liverpool in between Bale’s strikes, but they will have to wait a while yet before winning their sixth European Cup.