Monday 31 May 2004
Last Update 31 May 2004 12:00 am
MANILA, 31 May 2004 — FedEx snapped a four-game skid and flattened Purefoods, 116-102, on Saturday night to finish at ninth place in the Gran Matador PBA Fiesta Conference eliminations at the PhilSports Arena.
Mike Maddox scored 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds and issued four assists and got plenty of help from the locals in the Express' wire-to-wire win.
Sharing the burden with Maddox were Roger Yap and Vergel Meneses, who notched 22 and 16 markers, respectively.
Renren Ritualo drew nine of his 11 points from beyond the arc while Jerry Codi?era harvested 10 markers and hauled down 11 rebounds.
"A win is a win, anyway you look at it. We just played better than them (Purefoods) tonight and we didn't want to end up in the cellar," said FedEx coach Joe Lipa after enhancing his record to 3-8 since replacing Boni Garcia in the early goings of the conference.
The Hotdogs had none of the fire they exhibited in their earlier games and dropped to a 4-14 slate.
Import Joseph Zalatel top scored with 31 points and registered 17 rebounds while rookie James Yap added 20 points and seven rebounds. Jun Limpot and Kerby Raymundo turned in double figures but Noy Castillo, who averages 11 points per game, was unproductive offensively in 22 minutes of action.
With the ego-boosting triumph, the wards of Lipa will now focus on beating twice the team that finishes at fourth to earn a ticket to the quarterfinals.
The Hotdogs will also carry the same disadvantage when they collide with the squad, which lands at No.3.
In the second game, Galen Young came to the rescue again as Alaska Milk turned back crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra, 87-81, to ensure itself of at least a playoff for the automatic quarterfinal round berth.
Young led all scorers with 29 points including 12 in the fourth quarter that gave the Aces an 11th victory in 18 outings to jump onto a share of second spot with the idle Talk N' Text Phone Pals in team standings.
Torraye Braggs, who played for the Houston Rockets in last year's NBA season, paced his team with 25 markers on top of 19 rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks but the Kings turned the ball 30 times against the Aces' 13 which hastened their downfall.
Ginebra thus finished the eliminations with a 7-11 card and will most likely place at No. 7 should Shell lose to Coca-Cola at the Araneta Coliseum for the right to take on Sta. Lucia Realty (8-10) in the wild card phase in a knockout game for a place in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Yeng Guiao's Red Bull Barako shoot for a playoff for an outright quarterfinals berth in the Gran Matador-Philippine Basketball Association Fiesta Cup as it meet an import-less San Miguel five at the Araneta Coliseum this afternoon.
In a fitting end to the three-month long eliminations, the Barakos and Beermen tangle in the main game that has a lot more bearing for Red Bull than San Miguel.
Whereas the league-leading Beermen (15-2) have already clinched the first quarterfinals berth, the Barakos (10-7) are looking for a win that would assure them of a playoff for the remaining quarters berth.
The Tigers are also looking for a victory against Formula Shell (7-10) in the other game of the weekend doubleheader today in the hope of likewise keeping its bid for an outright quarterfinals slot alive.