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Solar Boys, Smileys book scary victories


The Capital1 Solar Boys and the Say Chiz Smileys picked up close wins to conclude the elimination round on a high note in the 2024 Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Cup at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium late Tuesday.

The Solar Boys claimed the No. 1 seed after fending off the Smart Sports Scribes in a battle of the top two squads, 69-66, while the Smileys escaped with a comeback 73-71 win over the Strong Group Athletics Press Row Bros.

Up by two, 68-66, Capital1 produced a defensive brilliance when it stripped the ball off a driving Julio Sampedro to spoil the equalizer.

Bryan Ulanday then split his free throws with a fraction of a second left to seal the deal for Capital1, which finished the eliminations with a 5-1 record in the tournament that serves as one of the projects of PSA president Nelson Beltran of the Philippine STAR.

Capital1, however, led by as many as nine, 66-57, midway through the closing quarter after Ulanday knocked down a wing triple.

However, Smart did not surrender easily, firing back with eight unanswered points capped off by Reuben Terrado’s three-point play to make it 66-65 with two minutes to go.

Aldo Aviñante paced the Solar Boys with 22 points, while Ulanday chipped in 15 for the squad backed by Mandy and Milka Romero, Bulakan Mayor Vergel Meneses, Uratex and Rebel Sports.

On the losing side, AJ Bolando had a 26-point performance, while Sampedro added 15 markers built on five triples as the Sports Scribes ended up second with a 4-2 record.

Terrado tallied a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double for the Danny Espiritu, Headstart Sports Academy and BaliPure-backed team.

Meanwhile, the Smileys leaned on an 11-3 run to pull the rug from under SGA, which was seeking its first win of the tournament.

Jeric Lopez drove from the left flank and nailed a tough floater with one second left to lift the Smileys to the victory and a 3-3 card to end up third in the standings.

He recorded a game-high 27 points, collared nine rebounds, dished out four assists, and committed five steals.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Jonas Terrado stuffed the stat sheet anew with 21 markers, 14 boards, three dimes, two steals, and four rejections.’s Lance Agcaoili missed a jumper that would have sent the game into the extension period, as Strong Group sat in fourth with a 0-6 tally.

Say Chiz lagged by six, 68-62 with about four minutes to go, with Cedelf Tupas and Terrado making some timely baskets to dig themselves out of the hole.

Tupas tied things up at 71-all, courtesy of a line drive triple, before Strong Group’s Diego de la Paz missed his go-ahead free throws with about 24 seconds left.

For SGA, De La Paz posted 15 points and hauled 20 rebounds, while Agcaoili had a defensive masterpiece of 12 boards and a league record eight blocks, which went along with four points.

Karlo Sacamos had all-around numbers of 19 markers, seven boards, and nine assists.

Action continues at the same venue on Tuesday, April 16, with the twice-to-beat Sports Scribes battling the Smileys in the semifinals at 8 p.m., while the Solar Boys, also with a twice-to-beat edge, will face off against the Press Row Bros at 9:30 p.m.

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