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MENAFN - Arab News - 15/03/2014
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(MENAFN -Arab News) richard howell certainly picked the perfect time to churn out a breakout game

The lightly-regarded talk ?n text import on friday night showed that he got game as well, carrying the tropang texters on his wide shoulders to key a 107-99 victory over san miguel beer in a battle of the pba commissioner's cup's unbeaten teams

Howell, who was unimpressive offensively in the texters' first two victories, finished with 38 points that went with 19 rebounds as he upstaged the much-ballyhooed kevin jones in his debut as the beermen went down for the first time in three matches

?richard howell delivered the goods, simple as that,? talk ?n text coach norman black, who was ejected near the middle of the fourth period after successive technical fouls, told reporters later

?it was lonely out there in the locker, watching the game by myself,? black chided. ?but the coaching staff and the players delivered. it was a really nice win because we all know how tough that (san miguel) team is.? tough could be an understatement, considering the form that the beermen took into the game and with jones and cornerstone june mar fajardo seeing action for the first time

But howell ran rings around fajardo as the texters built leads of as many as 19 points in the first half before holding off the beermen in the stretch mainly through their import and the indefatigable jimmy alapag

Alapag had a string of five crucial points when the beermen got within four as he finished with 18 points, counting four triples, that went with seven assists to win player of the game honors

Jones, who came in as a replacement for the hardworking nba veteran josh boone, finished with 35 points despite being saddled with early fouls to show his true worth

Meanwhile, an air21 side that has been pretty solid so far, notched its second win in three games earlier in the night after tearing josh dollard and baako bull apart, 103-85

Herve lamizana, the express' slow-starting import, tossed in all of his 24 points in the second half and played terrific defense on dollard all night, holding the barako bull import to pba career-lows of 12 points and nine rebounds

Coming into the game averaging 44.5 points and 18.5 boards, dollard got very little breathing room from the air21 defense the entire time and all the kinks in his armor have been exposed as the energy dropped to 1-2

?our primary concern going to this game was to hold down dollard. in my opinion, herve is the best defensive import right now and we saw how he limited dollard's production,? said air21 coach franz pumaren

?we really played terrific defense ? for us to hold down such a high-scoring barako bull team was a testament to our good dedication to play defense,? added pumaren

Aldrech ramos, less than three days after being dealt away by alaska for vic manuel, was impressive right in his first game in an air21 uniform, canning all four three-point attempts to finish with 17 points

?aldrech gave us additional scoring from the outside,? said pumaren of their new trade acquisition

Mac cardona and asi taulava also put in double-digit outputs to downplay a balanced effort by the express, a casualty in the last philippine cup together with meralco

Air21 was so dominant that it led by as large as 93-58 and made it look really ugly for the energy.

From a close game after the first 12 minutes, the express ? starring their reserves ? applied a defensive blanket that the energy weren't able to break as air21 zoomed to a 17-point lead and never looked back

Air21 had command after the first two periods, 45-32, even with lamizana going scoreless

In saturday's game, alaska milk and meralco both go for win no. 2 as they tangle with rain or shine and globalport, respectively, also at the big dome in cubao.


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