Powerade snaps Rain or Shine run
Powerade snaps Rain or Shine run
What’s more gratifying is which team the Tigers have just humbled.
“We defeated the unbeaten team,” Perasol said Friday night, moments after a down-the-wire battle with Rain or Shine resulted in a 104-98 victory that stopped the Elasto Painters’ magical PBA Governors’ Cup run at four games at the Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s definitely doubly satisfying,” Perasol said after getting 30 points from superstar gunslinger Gary David and 24 markers from hard-working import Omar Sneed that helped the Tigers rise to 3-2 overall.
Powerade wrested control in the second quarter and drained some critical shots and got some crucial stops in the stretch to hold off the Painters, who came into the game looking to extend their franchise-best start to a fifth game.
But it wasn’t to be as the Tigers played with poise and maturity to pound out the win in a close endgame.
Despite the loss, the Painters still remained in the lead at 4-1 and could go back to the drawing board, lick their wounds, and plan their next plan of attack with the playoff slot possibly just two victories away.
David hit 20 or more points for the 19th straight game after making 9-of-24 field goal attempts and hitting all of 10 free throws awarded him. And for the leading local scorer of the year, those stats don’t really matter much.
“The important thing for me right now is that I am able to help the team win,” David said in Filipino. “We work hard each and every night and it gives you satisfaction to be able to win in the end.” Jamelle Cornley led the Painters with 31 points and Paul Lee and Jervy Cruz added 15 each, but Rain or Shine lost a grip of the game in the second quarter by trailing by as many as 13 and evidently ran out of steam in the end.
Powerade actually caught powerhouse Petron Blaze in a third place tie at 3-2 after the Boosters, who blew a 14-point lead in the first half, fell to Barako Bull and new import Leroy Hickeron, 111-107, earlier in the night. Hickerson finished with 33 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, great, great numbers especially if one would consider the things he went through hours before his first game back in the PBA since playing for Air21 in 2010.
After a 36-hour flight from Louisville, Kentucky and arriving at 6 in the morning, Hickerson went straight to the Barako Bull practice to see some plays, shot the ball for a few minutes before heading straight to the Games and Amusements Board for his playing license and then to the league offices to have his height measured.
And with literally no rest, he went straight to the Big Dome to suit up and deliver those astonishing numbers.
What’s even more impressive is that he hadn’t touched a basketball for more than a month after finishing his commitment in the Venezuelan pro league.
“I’m tired, but it’s good to play for a team that showed a lot of heart,” said Hickerson.
Willie Miller and Ronald Tubid were also big, combining for 20 points in the fourth period with Tubid connecting on a breakaway layup with 33 seconds left that gave the Energy the lead to stay, 109-107.
Miller, the former two-time MVP, forged the first deadlock since early in the first period when he scored on a reverse lay-up with 58 seconds to go for 107-all.
“We were lucky,” said coach Junnel Baculi, whose squad rose to 2-2, now tied with idle crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra.
“It’s good that Leroy has played here before and he knows some of the local players on the team,” Baculi said. “He was like a coach on the court. There was a point in the game when he let the locals take over.” B-Meg, meanwhile, got the golden chance to shoot for a share of the lead as a result of the Rain or Shine loss when the Llamados battle Air21 Saturday night in a road game in Digos, Davao del Sur.
The Llamados have a three-game winning streak going and could catch the Painters at the top with a victory in the 6:45 p.m. contest.
Heart and courage needed as Liverpool and Roma prepare for Champions League semifinal
- Both sides shocked more-fancied opposition to reach last four.
- Tremendous atmosphere expected in first leg at Anfield.
If football is about guts and glory, about matches that linger in the mind long after the final whistle has blown, the Champions League fulfils a curious role. On the one hand it is both symbol and agent of much that is wrong in modern football, the corporate culture, the ludicrous inequality of resources that have rendered many domestic leagues processions. But on the other it does offer more chances for those immortal nights than any other competition — and perhaps particularly so when the teams involved are Liverpool and Roma.
Roma have not won Serie A since 2001; Liverpool have not won the English top flight since 1990. These are not sides who will take success for granted. Whatever happens in the remainder of this season, fans of both teams will remember their quarterfinals with fondness: Liverpool for the way their side twice beat the runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City, a 20-minute blast in the first-half of the first leg in which they scored three times proving decisive; and Roma for their remarkable comeback from 4-1 down after the first leg to go through on away goals.
Roma again have the second leg at home, where they are yet to concede in the Champions League this season, having shut out sides of the calibre of not only Barcelona but also Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. That is, theoretically, an advantage but equally it is hard to conceive of this Liverpool side failing to score anywhere, which in turn means that Roma probably need a goal at Anfield. Liverpool themselves, for all their reputation for defensive fallibility, have kept clean sheets in each of their last four home Champions League games, and have generally been much improved at the back since the arrival of Virgil van Dijk in January.
That development is part of an overall sense of progress at Liverpool. In that regard, Jurgen Klopp is in a similar position to Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham. It is evident that there has been an improvement in each year he has been at the club but there is a growing sense that it would be nice for that to be validated by a trophy. And if that trophy can be the Champions League, so much the better.
Perhaps there are still concerns that the midfield does not offer the central defenders quite the protection it could, particularly when the full-backs are as attacking as they are, but Liverpool now have options in that area — and will probably perm three from Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Georgino Wijnaldum — and have a unit that is quick, powerful and combative.
Given how Juventus wilted in the last 16 against Tottenham’s press, that physical advantage Premier League teams perhaps have over Italian sides, could be a major factor — particularly given the likelihood that Roma will start with the 34-year-old Daniele De Rossi as a fairly static playmaker behind Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan.
Against Barcelona, Eusebio Di Francesco opted for a back three for only the second time this season. That was probably a specific ploy to overman Barca’s 4-4-2 in the center. A return to the more familiar 4-3-3 seems likely here but one of the beauties of games at this stage, particularly in cauldrons like Anfield and the Olimpico, is that at least as important as the tactics are more visceral factors, like heart and courage.
MOHAMED SALAH v FEDERICO FAZIO
The first question any opposition manager has to answer when facing Liverpool is how to deal with Mohamed Salah who has scored 41 goals this season, cutting from the right into the space created when Roberto Firmino drops deep. One way to counter him might be to use a right-footed left-back to deal with those incursions inside, much as Rafa Benitez once switched Alvaro Arbeloa to the ‘wrong’ flank to deal with Lionel Messi. More likely here, though, is that the left-sided center-back Federico Fazio will be asked to guard against him, even if that means stepping out from the back-line. That, in turn, increases the defensive responsibility on Daniele De Rossi. There may even be a case for bringing in Juan Jesus, who did such a good job against Messi, either instead of Fazio or at left-back in place of the injury doubt Aleksandar Kolarov.