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QPascal Siakam (No. 43) of the Toronto Raptors shoots the ball as Jimmy Butler (No. 23) and Greg Monroe (No. 55) of the Philadelphia 76ers defend during Game 2 of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday in Toronto, Canada. AFP PHOTO

OS ANGELES: Jimmy Butler scored 30 points as the Philadelphia 76ers turned the tables on the Raptors in Toronto on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) with a 94-89 victory that knotted their NBA playoff series at one game each. The 76ers, beaten 108-95 in the Eastern Conference second-round series opener, thwarted the Raptors’ second-half comeback bid, NOTCHINGTHEIRkRSTWININ4ORONTO since November 2012 to head home for game three on Thursday all square. Butler added 11 rebounds and handed out five assists for the Sixers, who led 51-38 at halftime DESPITEkRST HALFTURNOVERS The Raptors, who trailed by as MANYASINTHEkRSTHALF CLOSED the deficit to 61-60 late in the third quarter. "UTTHEYMISSEDSIXOFTHEIRkRST SEVENSHOTSINTHEkNALPERIODAND the 76ers held on for the win. Butler scored 12 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter. That included a three-pointer off an assist from center Joel Embiid that put the Sixers up 88-81 with 2:14 to play. “My team had a lot of faith in me tonight,� said Butler, who scored just 10 points in game one. “I told them I had to come out and redeem myself. “More than anything we got back, we guarded,� Butler added, saying defense would be key going forward in the series. “When we let our defense dictate our offense we’re such a great team,� he said. “We can’t let it be the other way around.� Sixers coach Brett Brown praised Butler as the team’s “rock.� “That was James Butler,� Brown said. “That was the adult in the gym.� Embiid, battling a stomach ailment as well as the nagging knee PAINTHATTROUBLEDHIMINTHEkRST round, scored just two baskets. The second couldn’t have been better timed as he drove to bank in a shot that put the 76ers up 9289 with 24.3 seconds remaining. Toronto’s Danny Green then

Sixers down Raptors to level series, Nuggets beat Blazers missed a potential game-tying threepointer and Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris grabbed the rebound. Harris was fouled and sealed the win with two free throws. Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 35 points. Pascal Siakam added 21 and Kyle Lowry scored 20. "UTTHEkVETOTALPOINTSFOR4Oronto’s reserves were dwarfed by the production of Philadelphia’s bench: 13 points from James Ennis, 10 from Greg Monroe and three from Jonah Bolden.

Trail Blazers connecting on 63.6 PERCENTOFTHEIRkRST QUARTERSHOTS The Denver Nuggets, two days and Denver making 61.9 percent REMOVED FROM THEIR kRST ROUND  OF THEIR SHOTS AS THE kRST PERIOD game-seven victory over the San ended tied 32-32. Denver, up 58-55 at halftime, Antonio Spurs, opened their Westpulled away after the break, ern Conference second-round taking a 93-84 lead into the series with a 121-113 home victory final period. over the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland, led by 39 points from Serbian center Nikola Jokic All-Star guard Damian Lillard, scored 37 points, pulled down TRIMMEDA POINTDEkCITTO nine rebounds, handed out six as96 with 8:02 left in the game. sists and blocked two shots. Denver responded with an 8-0 "OTHTEAMSCAMEOUTkRING THE

Jokic leads Nuggets

scoring run, ignited by Mason Plumlee’s dunk. Portland’s CJ McCollum was THEN WHISTLED FOR A lAGRANT FOUL when he caught a driving Jokic in the face, and the Serbian made both free throws. Plumlee then slammed home a miss by teammate Malik Beasley and Beasley rebounded another miss and made a layup as the Nuggets seized a 109-96 lead with 6:11 left to play. Denver were in control from

there, although Jokic and coach Mike Malone said they had plenty of room for improvement before they host game two on Wednesday. “We kind of went into the game a little sloppy, slow, we didn’t play a lot of defense,� Jokic said. Malone also felt the Nuggets were lacking defensively, especially in the early going. “We got the win, and when you know you haven’t played your best basketball that’s a good feeling,� Malone said. AFP

PBA PHILIPPINE CUP FINAL UNFOLDS TODAY Blu Girls plunge THE best-of-seven Season 44 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup Finals between defending champion San Miguel Beer and Magnolia starts at 7 p.m. tonight at the Araneta Coliseum. SMB survived TNT KaTropa in the QUARTERkNALS AND 0HOENIX 0ULSE IN the semis. The Beermen are on their quest for AkFTHSTRAIGHT0HILIPPINE#UPCROWN (they won the conference for a total of eight times) and 26th overall title since joining the league in 1975 as one of the founding members. “They gained a lot of things since this is their third time in the Finals. Their skills have improved and gained more experiences,� said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria of their rivals. “In every series, Game 1 is so important because you’ll be able to dictate the game’s tempo.� Austria stressed everything is unsure at the start of any series. “We’re in a 50-50 situation. It is going to be a long series, but our team becomes sharper and stronger as the series gets longer,� added Aus-

into Olympic qualifying Asia Cup action

QDefending champion San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria (left) and Magnolia coach Chito Victolero (right) with their wards pose for a photo beside the Philippine Cup trophy during the PBA Philippine Cup Finals news conference on Monday at the Sambokojin Restaurant in Eastwood, Libis, Quezon City. PBA MEDIA BUREAU PHOTO tria, who will counting on June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos. Marcio Lassiter, who was sidelined BYBACKSPASMINTHESEMIkNALS ISSET to return in Game 1 . Meanwhile, Magnolia coach Chito Victolero is also keen to win Game 1. The Hotshots are coming from a 63-60

overtime win over the Elasto Painters INATHRILLING'AMEOFTHESEMIkNALS “Even if you are ahead 1-0, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to win the series. But it’s always good that you’re leading to dictate the series, so we have to prepare our best. Just like when we WON THE kRST

TWOGAMESOFTHELASTCONFERENCEkNALS before winning the title all the way against Alaska,� he said. Magnolia, who won the Governors’ Cup title against Alaska in six games last year, is hoping to bank on that experience against the Beermen. JOSEF T. RAMOS

Fajardo looms to win 6th straight BPC plum FIVE-TIME Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer is poised to win his record sixth straight and eighth overall Best Player of the Conference plum in Season 44 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup. The 6’10 Cebuano center is enjoying a hefty lead against his challengers with 41.4 statistical points (SPs) average. Behind Fajardo are Northport’s Sean Anthony (37.1) and Stanley Pringle (34.8), TNT KaTropa’s Roger Pogoy (33.6) and Moala Tautuaa

(33.1) also of Northport. Fajardo is the only player in the TOPkVEOFSTATISTICALLEADERS WHOIS playing in the best-of-seven Philippine #UPkNALSBETWEENDEFENDINGCHAMpion San Miguel Beer and Magnolia. He averaged 20.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.7 BLOCKSAFTERTHESEMIkNALS The stats have a 40 percent value, media votes 30 percent, players’ votes 25 percent while THE#OMMISSIONERS/FkCESVOTE EQUATESTOkVEPERCENT JOSEF T. RAMOS

QJune Mar Fajardo battles NLEX center Paul Asi Taulava (No. 88) and Arnett Moultrie during last year’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup. PBA MEDIA BUREAU PHOTO

THE Philippine Blu Girls, representing one team sport that has the biggest chance of carrying the country’s colors in the Olympics, open campaign toward attaining that goal when they play a doubleheader on today raising the curtains of the Asia Cup women’s softball tournament at the Senayan Stadium in Jakarta. The PH Blu Girls, reinforced by six Filipino-American players, take on on the Singaporean national team at 1:30 a.m. in a Group B encounter in Field 2 of the arena, venue of the 2018 Asian Games softball competition. They are heavily favored to hurdle their initial assignment in the hope of making it to the top six and advance to the Asia-Pacific Olympic qualifier in September in Shanghai. The Philippines, once ranked third in the world, then battles Hong Kong at 6 p.m. to complete its two-game schedule for the day. The arrival of their Fil-American reinforcements, one of whom is reportedly a former member of the US national team, enabled the girls to get familiar with each other again in few practice sessions the past week. The last time they played together was during the 2017 Asian championship when they ended up runner up to eventual champion Japan. The Blu Girls meet Indonesia next on Thursday before winding up their elimination round campaign against Chinese-Taipei on Friday. Ending up in the Top 6 in this tourney won’t be that hard as only four world-ranked teams — Japan, China and Korea, all playing in Group A, and Taiwan are entered. The Philippines, hence, must only beat Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong, which it can handily, in Group B and one of whichever will advance to the playoff of Group A to assure a seat in the AsiaOceania Olympic qualifying proper. Team lineup is made up of UAAP MVP Arianne Vallestero, Best Pitcher Lyca Basa, Angelie Ursabia, Ezra Jalandoni and Riezel Calumbres, all of UAAP champion Adamson Lady Falcons; Cheska Almonte of Ateneo (team captain); Mary Ann Antolihao and Cristy Joy Roa of University of Santo Tomas; Reyovel Palma of Tanauan, Batangas; and Shaira Damasing of National University. Beefing up the Blu Girls are Fil-Ams Garie Blando, Chelsea Suitos, Sky Ellazar, Hailey Decker, Aber Freeman andGabriella Elvina. Blando, Suitos, Ellazar and Decker ere the team’s reinforcements in its Asian championship runner up finish two years ago in Taichung, Taiwan. Freeman, reportedly a former USA national team member, and Elvina are new recruits. Multi-titled coach Ana Santiago of Adamson, Anthony Santos and Ronilo Pagkaliwagan will assist head coach Randy Dizer in calling the shots on the bench. EDDIE G. ALINEA

Profile for The Manila Times


The Manila Times is one of the leading national broadsheets in the Philippines. It is also one of the oldest, having been founded in 1898.


The Manila Times is one of the leading national broadsheets in the Philippines. It is also one of the oldest, having been founded in 1898.