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Justin Melton gets it done for Magnolia on both ends in crucial win

first_imgMANILA, Philippines–With a crucial game slipping away, Magnolia turned to its winning staple and shut down NorthPort when it mattered most.The Hotshots’ have always been one of the premiere defensive teams in the PBA since Chito Victolero took over the team in 2016 and they showed it on Wednesday night.ADVERTISEMENT Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title “It was all about our defense in the second half,” Victolero, whose squad trailed by as much as 11 points, told reporters after his team’s 103-90 win. “We allowed them to score 59 points in the first half and I think this conference that was already the most points that we allowed in the first half.”READ: PBA: Magnolia boosts playoff bid, holds down NorthPortFEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubs“I told my players inside the locker room at halftime that if you don’t play defense in the second half you will lose this game and I am very proud of my players, very happy. They really did everything to stop NorthPort in the second half,” he said.Magnolia held NorthPort to only 31 points in the last two quarters, including just eight points in the final frame. Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award MOST READ LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Rogue cops marked as Gamboa’s targets in his appointment as PNP chief Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history Ichiro Suzuki gets the start in what could be his last MLB game That suffocating defense started from its backcourt led by Justin Melton, who played a key role in slowing down Batang Pier’s crack guard Stanley Pringle.“We knew we couldn’t let him (Pringle) get going because he’s the one that can take over a game so we just tried to keep the pressure on him, keep the ball out of his hands if we could. It’s still hard but we did it as a team,” said Melton.The 32-year-old Melton was all over the floor finishing with 11 points, nine coming in the second half, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.Melton said he wasn’t expecting the kind of game he had. He also owed his performance to assistant coach Juno Sauler and teammate Paul Lee, who encouraged him to be aggressive.“I was surprised myself. I have been struggling lately. Coach Juno was talking to me the whole time and Paul Lee was in my head during the game saying don’t hesitate just shoot it so that’s what I did. I stayed aggressive on offense.”ADVERTISEMENT Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Eugenie Bouchard’s bid for Australian Open spot ends in qualifying Phivolcs: Slim probability of Taal Volcano caldera eruption With Melton hounding him, Pringle had a subpar offensive night with just 15 points, 11 of which came in the first half, after coming into the game averaging 22.5 points. He also turned the ball over five times.The win put the Hotshots (4-5) in a three-way tie for sixth place with the NLEX Road Warriors and Alaska Aces.“This win is huge for us. Our conference right now has had a lot of ups and downs,” Melton said. “We had a few games that went down to the last possession and a game like this definitely give us momentum heading into our two games and hopefully into the playoffs.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? View commentslast_img read more

All-Williams final set at Australian Open; Venus, Serena win

first_imgMELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams is one win away from a record 23rd Grand Slam title after setting up an all-Williams final at the Australian Open. The only person standing in her way is her older sister, Venus.No. 2-ranked Serena Williams, a six-time Australian Open winner, overwhelmed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2, 6-1 in just 50 minutes in the second of women’s semifinals on Thursday after Venus Williams beat fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3.“She’s my toughest opponent — nobody has ever beaten me as much as Venus has,” Serena Williams said. “I just feel like no matter what happens, we’ve won.“She’s been through a lot, I’ve been through a lot. To see her do so well it’s great. I look forward to it. A Williams is going to win this tournament.”The 36-year-old Venus Williams is back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since Wimbledon in 2009 and her first in Australia since 2003, when she lost the only previous all-Williams final at Melbourne Park.She tossed her racket after clinching the 2-hour, 26-minute semifinal on her fourth match point and put her hands up to her face, almost in disbelief, before crossing her arms over her heart. She then did a stylish pirouette on the court, smiling broadly, as the crowd gave her a standing ovation.Venus Williams has overcome an energy-sapping illness and is playing her best tennis since being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011.“Everyone has their moment in the sun,” Venus Williams said. “Maybe mine has gone on a while. I’d like to keep that going. I’ve got nothing else to do so let’s keep it going.”Serena Williams’ celebration was more subdued after her 50-minute, one-sided win over 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni, who was playing her first semifinal at a major since Wimbledon in 1999. Lucic-Baroni took a selfie with her cell phone on the court before waving and leaving Rod Laver Arena.Serena didn’t get to watch much of her sister’s match, but she knew the result before she went out to play.“Obviously I was really proud of Venus — a total inspiration, my big sister,” Serena said. “She’s basically my world and my life. She means everything to me. I was so happy for her. For us both to be in the final is the biggest dream come true for us.”Venus Williams has won seven major titles, but none since Wimbledon in 2008. Her gap between major finals is the longest for any player in the Open era. She’s also lost six of the eight Grand Slam finals she’s played against her younger sister, and is 11-16 in career meetings.Venus Williams is the oldest player to reach a women’s major final since Martina Navratilova, then 37 and 258 days, at Wimbledon in 1994.The 25-year-old Vandeweghe was playing in the last four at a major for the first time and was the only semifinalist younger than 34. She’d advanced with back-to-back wins over top-ranked Angelique Kerber and French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and took charge against Venus Williams in the first-set tiebreaker.But Venus Williams rallied after dropping a set for the first time in the tournament, breaking Vandeweghe four times over the final two sets and putting pressure back on her fellow American.Vandeweghe said earlier in the tournament she’d admired the Williams sisters as an up-and-coming player, and once asked for Venus’ autograph. Venus Williams said one of the best things about her longevity in the game was having an influence on other players.“Growing up, all I wanted was to have an opportunity to play these tournaments. But then you get here and then you have an opportunity to inspire other people,” she said. “It’s more than a cherry on top. It’s more than I dreamed of.”Earlier, Bob and Mike Bryan earned a shot at a seventh Australian Open doubles title after a rain-interrupted 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 semifinal win Friday over Pablo Carreno Busta and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more