Petron edges Meralco for third straight win

Updated 20 February 2013
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Petron edges Meralco for third straight win

Petron Blaze coach Olsen Racela talked about his team going through adversity the last time out.
He almost ended up getting what he wished for.
The Boosters almost lost a 22-point lead entering the fourth period last night and needed to dig deep in the stretch before nipping Meralco, 88-86, for their third straight win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at the Araneta Coliseum.
Playing without leading playmaker Alex Cabagnot, Petron went scoreless in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter and needed a huge break from the referees in the waning seconds to pull out the win and improve to 3-1 overall.
Marcio Lassiter was sent to the free throw line by a questionable foul called on Vic Manuel with 31 seconds remaining, making both free throws and giving the Boosters an 87-83 lead that effectively proved to be the clincher.
The Bolts would come within a whisker in their next offensive after Chris Ross nailed a triple, but Dennis Miranda rounded out scoring for Petron with a free throw also off Ross with 23.9 ticks left.
Meralco, which lost a third straight game to be at 1-3, then missed taking the game into an extension when Manuel threw up an airball at the buzzer.
“It was an ugly game for us, obviously, but I’ll take the win,” Racela said. “We will just charge it to experience, not just for me as a coach but the team.”
Ross was the anchor of a whirlwind Meralco finish, shooting 11 of his 12 points in the fourth period to give the Bolts a chance to steal the game coming from 54-76 down at the start of the quarter.
Renaldo Balkman led the Boosters with 26 points and 11 rebounds and rookie June Mar Fajardo also completed a double-double for Racela with 16 and 12, with nine of his rebounds coming off the offensive end.
Talk ‘N Text, another powerhouse on the rise, took an entirely different route in winning a second straight outing, blowing Globalport to smithereens in the second half for a 99-79 decision.
The Tropang Texters were connecting from almost everywhere in the final two quarters while playing top-notch defense, holding the Batang Pier to a measly 32 points that allowed them to break free from a 49-45 game at halftime.
“We were able to accomplish some of the things we wanted to do in this game,” Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black said. “After our last game (which was against Air21), we were dead-last in defense in the league and I reminded the team of that.”
Talk ‘N Text came into the game yielding an average of 91 points, and the Texters let the Batang Pier feel the brunt of their defense with Japeth Aguilar the hardest hit.
Aguilar, who played big in Globalport’s first three games, was held down to four markers in 28 minutes with a defensive rotation that he wasn’t able to solve.
Black assigned small defenders on the 6-foot-9 beanpole early in the game before switching import Keith Benson to shackle Aguilar in the second half. Aguilar made 1-of-8 field goals and was 2-of-4 from the free throw line.
Benson paced the Texters with 20 points, 19 boards and five blocks and Jason Castro fired 19 to lead three other locals in twin digits.
Justin Williams and Gary David both had 19 for the Batang Pier, with Williams pulling down 15 boards.
Sol Mercado, who came into the game norming 16 points and 13.3 assists, shot 14 but was held down to four feeds, the first time in four games that he failed to register a double-double.


Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Updated 22 May 2018
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Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs
  • Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million)

RIYADH: The General Sports Authority and Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) have announced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs.
According to reports, the Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million) that will not only clear monies owed but also enable clubs to invest ahead of the 2018-19 season.
The issue of debt had become a major issue in the country’s football scene.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs are currently experiencing financial problems that require immediate and urgent intervention,” the General Sports Authority, which oversees Saudi Arabian sport, said in a statement released on social media.
The body noted that there are a total of 107 cases under appeal at world governing body FIFA regarding unpaid salaries in Saudi Arabia.
“Failure to intervene urgently to rescue clubs may result in damage to the reputation of the Kingdom in general and Saudi Arabian sport in particular,” added the GSA.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs may face severe disciplinary sanctions because of the failure to meet financial obligations such as the
denial of the registration of players in general or the deduction of points.”
Unpaid salaries were also a factor in Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr being unable to appear in this year’s AFC Champions League after they were denied AFC club licenses.
Al-Ittihad were the club with the highest debt of 309 million riyals ($82 million) and welcomed the news.
“We are delighted by the generous initiative of His Royal Highness,” Al-Ittihad president Nawaf Al-Muqairn said in an official statement released by the two-time Asian champions.
“This contributes to creating solid ground for all clubs to move toward achieving their goals.”
Legendary Saudi striker Sami Al-Jaber, recently appointed president of champions Al-Hilal, announced his gratitude on social media.
“Great thanks to His Highness the Crown Prince for the great support that the clubs have enjoyed which enables sport in our country to keep pace with the aspirations of our leadership,” Al-Jaber wrote.
The Crown Prince’s move followed the SAFF announcing a new raft of regulations in April that will come into effect next season and are designed to take the league forward. These included restricting club spending on transfers and salaries to 70 percent of revenue. The size of first-team squads has been reduced from 33 to 28, of which five must be homegrown players of 23 or younger.