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Lady Bulldogs drub Lady Bombers to stay unbeaten

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The National University Lady Bulldogs barely broke a sweat as they toppled the Jose Rizal University Lady Bombers in straight sets, 25-11, 25-15, 25-13, and remaining on top of Group A in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

National U had three players in double-digits, while JRU had none. Moreover, the Lady Bulldogs were unrelenting in each scoring skill, nabbing nine aces, five blocks and 40 spikes. JRU had just three aces, zero blocks, and 14 spikes.

Diminutive open hitter Jorelle Singh led National U with 13 points. National Team stalwart Jaja Santiago added 12 markers, while Fil-Japanese middle hitter Risa Sato finished with 11 points.

“I’m very close to being satisfied with our performance,” said NU head coach Babes Castillo.

“The players are slowly getting the system. They’re beginning to understand their roles better as we play more games. We’re looking to keep our improvement going,” the rookie head coach stated.

The Lady Bulldogs (4-0) have clinched a semis seat, but face a tough challenge to end the elimination round against the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles (3-1) on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

NU and Ateneo have clashed in the last three PVL Finals, with the Lady Bulldogs coming away with gold each time.

Taking on his first Ateneo assignment, Castillo welcomes the pressure.

“I like pressure. I think better when I’m under pressure,” expressed Castillo.

Captain Shola Alvarez topped the Lady Bombers with five markers.

JRU (0-4) end their PVL campaign against the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws (2-1) on Wednesday.

The Scores

NU (3) – Singh 13, Santiago 12, Sato 11, Urdas 8, Paran Doria 2, 7, Nabor 1, Doromal 0, Chavez (L), Valdez (L)

JRU (0) – Alvarez 5, Montojo 4, Ebuenga 3, Versoza 3, Bodiongan 0, Bondoc 0, Sibangan 0, Macaraya (L)

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball – from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado’s setting.

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AMA Online Education gets first pick in D-League draft

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The AMA Online Education will once again have the luxury of picking the best talent in the 201-man rookie pool at the 2017 PBA D-League Rookie Draft Tuesday at PBA Cafe in Metrowalk, Pasig.

Flanked by hardworking big man Andre Paras, the Mark Herrera-mentored Titans will have the chance to further fortify their school-based core as they prepare for the upcoming 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup, which will see 13 teams vying for the title.

This will be the second time AMA will pick at first overall after tapping Jeron Teng in the 2016 draft proceedings.

UE’s Alvin Pasaol and FEU’s Arvin Tolentino are expected to go high up the draft board, as they are set to make their debut in first conference of the eighth season of the developmental league, set to open on January 18, 2018.

Wangs Basketball-Letran and Batangas-EAC are set to pick second and third, respectively.

Eleven of the 13 squads participating this year will be school-based teams, as they make early preparations for their respective collegiate leagues. These include Zark’s Burgers-Lyceum, Gamboa Coffee-St. Clare, JRU, and CEU, and debuting teams Akari-Adamson, Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian, Perpetual, and Powerball-St. Benilde.

Only returning Marinerong Pilipino and newcomer Mila’s Lechon are the ones who will not feature varsity crews.

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Cignal-San Beda to defend Aspirants’ Cup title against 12 other teams

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Defending Aspirants Cup champions Cignal-San Beda Hawkeyes will return to make it three championships in a row in the PBA D-League, the league announced on Thursday evening.

Cignal, winners of both the Aspirants’ and Foundation Cup, will once again be backstopped by reigning NCAA champions San Beda College Red Lions.

Last year, the Hawkeyes were able to outlast the Racal Tile Masters in the Finals, pushing coach Boyet Fernandez’s D-League championships to eight.

Also returning for the first conference of the 2018 season are the Tanduay Rhum Masters, AMA Online Education Titans, Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, Wang’s Basketball Couriers, and Gamboa Coffee Lovers.

2017 Aspirants’ Cup runner-up Racal have yet to tell the league of their intention of joining. The deadline is on Tuesday, November 28.

Mila’s Lechon, on the other hand, is set to debut its first-ever club team.

Completing the record-tying 13 teams are six other schools-based squads out to give Cignal-San Beda a run for its money.

Foundation Cup runners-up Centro Escolar University Scorpions will have another go in the semi-pro league.

Seeing the run CEU had, the rest of the field will be filled with school-based teams.

The Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers will return after a successful 2017 campaign. Fellow NCAA schools Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas, Powerball-College of Saint Benilde Blazers, and the Zark’s Burger-backed Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates. Lyceum will be led by reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez, who is making his semi-pro debut.

The league will begin on Tuesday, December 12, with the D-League Draft at the PBA Cafe in Pasig City. The target date for opening day will be on January 18, 2017.

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CJ Perez bags NCAA Season 93 MVP

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For leading the Lyceum of the Philippine University Pirates to an immaculate 18-0 slate, CJ Perez bagged the NCAA Season 93 Seniors Basketball tournament Most Valuable Player crown.

Perez, 23, was heads above the rest with norms of 19.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.9 steals. He is the first local to win the crown since Scottie Thompson back in the 90th season of the league.

“Sobrang saya. Eto yung bunga ng hard work namin,” said Perez.

NCAA 93 Awarding Mythical Five-8283

Joining Perez in the All-NCAA team are fellow Lycean Mike Nzeusseu (11.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.2 blocks); San Beda’s Javee Mocon (13.0 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists); EAC’s Sidney Onwubere (16.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 blocks); and Perpetual’s Prince Eze (15.3 points, 16.4 rebounds, 2.6 blocks).

NCAA 93 Awarding - Eze-1800

Eze was also named as the Defensive Player of the Year. Joining him in the All-Defensive team are Mapua’s Christian Bunag (13.3 rebounds, 0.9 blocks); Nzeusseu (11.8 rebounds, 1.2 blocks); Onwubere (11.0 rebounds, 1.4 blocks); and JRU’s Abdulwahab Abdulrazak (10.8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks).

NCAA 93 Awarding - Jaycee Marcelino-1775

This year’s top rookie is Perez and Nzeusseu’s teammate Jaycee Marcelino. The former Adamson Falcon posted norms of 10.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.4 steals this season.

NCAA 93 Awarding - Mendoza-1778

Rounding up the awardees this season is Jed Mendoza, as he was named as the Most Improved Player. His averages of 13.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 0.9 steals were a huge improvement from his 2.5 points, 1.2 rebounds, 0.6 assists, and 0.2 steals norms back in Season 92.

NCAA 93 Awarding JRU Sportsmanship-1814

The Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers were named as this season’s Sportsmanship Awardees.

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Emotional Ervin Grospe hoped to have one more game with JRU after PBA Draft

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As Jose Rizal University’s alma mater hymn played second to the San Sebastian College-Recoletos’ that signaled the end of the season for the Heavy Bombers, graduating forward John Ervin Grospe — with his head so low and a towel to hide his tears — was heartbroken for not achieving his ideal college career ending.

“Basta malungkot ako eh. Gusto ko pa sana maglaro,” Grospe admitted to Tiebreaker Times while holding back tears.

“Kumbaga palagi na lang akong [hanggang] Final Four lang.”

Although JRU were at-par with San Sebastian in the first half, the third quarter saw a dominating offense built on fastbreaks from the Golden Stags. On the other hand, the Heavy Bombers struggled to keep up with them, missing basket after basket.

“Yung first quarter, lumalamang kami, sabi ko, ‘Amin na ito’ tapos nung nag third parang lumabas lang ako, mamaya nakikita ko na yung lamang palaki na ng palaki. Sabi ko, ‘Parang di yata sa amin ‘to,'” he regretfully recalled after JRU’s 73-85 season-ending loss, “Siyempre napanghinaan [ako] ng loob pero syempre para sa JRU, kailangan lumaban ka kasi ayaw mo silang [supporters] mapahiya kasi todo suporta sila sa amin.”

Tears were definitely shed during JRU’s last post-game huddle this season. But for the 6-foot-4 Bulacan native, even if his NCAA career is capped by a loss, Grospe, who averaged 10.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in his final year, hopes to progress in the next journey he will take which is the PBA.

NCAA 93 SSCR vs. JRU - Teodoro-6624

“Ginawa ko yung best ko [sa PBA Draft Combine] para kahit papaano gusto ko rin mapansin ng mga scouts kasi halos mga big names naman yung nandun kaya siyempre gusto ko mapansin kahit sa JRU lang ako,” Grospe shared.

His mood may have lightened up when he started talking about the draft, but he couldn’t help being emotional when thinking of the fresh loss.

“Siguro excited na ako sa [draft sa] Linggo kaso nalungkot ako kasi talo kami ngayon.

“Expected ko nga na sana after ng Sunday, magpapapractice pa ako sa JRU [kasi may game pa sana kami],” he shared as his eyes welled up .

When asked what has been his biggest contribution to the JRU team after years of service, he shared that it is his high level of competitiveness. This is something that he hopes to instill the younger players to break what seems to be a glass ceilng of only reaching the top four for JRU.

“Siguro ang maiiwan ko diyan yung pagiging competitive ko. Gusto ko yung mga rookie na sana sa susunod na season, laban lang sila ng laban,” the PBA prospect shared.

“Manalo o matalo bigay lang nila yung best nila palagi sa game.”

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