“Every game is another story.” – Adamson Head Coach Ana Santiago
The Adamson University (AdU) Lady Falcons started strong, and showed no sign of hesitation as they walloped University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons to walk away with their fifth consecutive UAAP softball title on Thursday, March 26, at the historic Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The defending four-time champions got on base early as UP rookie pitcher, Cochise Diolata, walked lead-off batter, Queeny Sabobo. Then, the Maroon defense retired the next two batters. It was, back-to-back MVP awardee, Annalie Benjamen, however, who hit it to deep left-center for a double to score Sabobo, and put Adamson on the scoreboard, 1-0.
Angelie Ursabia, then, made a solid hit to the right field that UP’s right fielder, Gabin Paz, could not retrieve, and the Adamson junior third baseman took first base. Benjamen crossed the plate, while the play was ongoing to double the lead, 2-0. Gelyn Lamata connected with a base hit to the center that led Ursabia to another run, 3-0. Diolata gave up two balls to graduating Clariz Palma, but three consecutive strikes sent the senior packing for the last out.
The Lady Falcons had a big defensive side on the first. Furtthermore, Maroons lead-off batter Gelai Penales’ pop fly was caught by Palma. Then, Benjamen dismissed the next batters with six straight strikes to register her 13th and 14th strikeouts of the series.
With a big 3-0 lead, Adamson threatened to blow the game open. In spite of this, UP outfield continued their impressive showing at the start as left fielder Chanty Bongat and Paz caught the fly balls of Riflayca Basa and Krisna Paguican, respectively. Sabobo, however, made sure she would get a base hit as she connected to right-center. Gonzales almost got to ball, but was unable to catch it, as she collided with Sabobo near the second base. Second batter, Lorna Adorable had a single as Sabobo added one more run to the tally, 4-0. Rookie of the Year, Florabelle Pabiana flyed out again to Gonzales for the final out of their side of the second inning.
Second-year player, Bongat picked up from where she left off from the last game. The substitute left fielder connected to deep center to register UP’s first hit of the game. Outgoing Maroons captain, Seiko Hashimoto, followed it up with another hit to the area, but Bongat was forced out on second by Adamson rightfielder Lamata off a throw to Edna Severino. The Falcons clamped down UP’s offense, dismissing the next two to end the second inning with a 4-0 lead.
The reigning queens added two more runs in the third inning. With Angie Palacol pitching for Diolata, Benjamen was able to connect to the infield, but Maroons newbie second baseman, MJ Abanes, failed to retrieve the ball. The UP defense bounced back when they forced out Benjamen on second. Furthermore, Lamata flyed out to centerfield for the second out. Palma, then, connected right-center for a double to score Ursabia, 5-0. Basa had a single, and Palma added another run, 6-0. Abanes caught the Paguican fly to end UP’s misery. Adamson countered and stopped UP from getting on base to end the third inning.
The challengers had a solid defensive inning at top of the fourth. After Sabobo was hit by pitch, Adorable’s bunt was retrieved by the first baseman, Dennise Cruz, to get the first out. In that same play, Sabobo stole second to move to a scoring position. With a runner on second, Pabiana hit a fly ball to third baseman, DC Cruz. Gonzales stepped on the third base, and forced a running Sabobo out off the throw from Cruz. Gonzales ended this side as she took care of a Benjamen fly. UP consolidated this defense with a promising offensive half-inning. Moreover, Junior player, Paz, connected to the center, which went past Adamson second baseman Severino. Another error by Adamson advanced Paz to third with her batchmate, DC Cruz, taking second base with no outs. Then, Adamson star pitcher, Benjamen, struck out Bongat. Lady Maroons’ Hashimoto connected near the right foul line, but Pabiana caught the fly for the second out. Dennise Cruz flyed out to center as the champions survived that scare.
Another solid defensive battle occurred in the next two innings as neither team was able to score. UP, led by substitute pitcher and rookie, Mary Bernabe, limited Adamson to two hits as the infield clipped the defending queens’ offense. The Falcons on their part just gave up a hit and a walk in that span.
Carrying only a 6-0 lead going into the final inning, Adamson cranked it up to open the floodgates. Lead-off batter, Ursabia, made a booming double to left-center to get the ball rolling. Lamata registered another double to the same spot to score Ursabia, 7-0. A fielding error by UP moved Lamata to third base. Palma then popped out to Diolata for the first out. Basa then connected to the center for a sacrifice fly as Lamata padded on the lead, 8-0.
With one more out to end the inning and Diolata back on the mound, Paguican connected to the right and almost got tagged by UP, but the last game’s best player was called safe. That set the stage for Most Homerun awardee, Queen Sabobo, to end the game in style. On a 2-1 pitch count, the Adamson veteran shortstop slapped the ball hard to deep center, which UP’s Penales dislodged the fence in the attempt to catch it, to score another homer bringing in two more runs to up the count to 10-0. Coach Ana Santiago fielded in graduating player, Glesyl Opjer. Opjer could not deliver though as Diolata registered her second strikeout of the game against the senior to end the top of the final inning.
The pressure may have been lifted off their shoulders, but UP tried to at least put something on the scoreboard. Graduating captain, Hashimoto made contact with the ball but was caught by third baseman Ursabia. Dennise Cruz was able to hit the ball as well, and Sabobo dropped the ball to advanced the UP first baseman. Two fly outs sealed the deal for the Falcons as they ended another perfect season.
This victory extends the AdU Lady Falcons’ winning streak to 62 games going back to UAAP Season 72. The UP Lady Maroons on the other hand duplicated their runner-up finish from Season 73 losing to the same team. AdU swept the eliminations and were outright champions in that season.
During postgame, winning Adamson head coach, Ana Santiago, was proud of her team’s accomplishments. “Wala na mga seniors natin na dapat asahan. Kahit for the past four years nanalo kayo kelangan pa rin mag work hard at nag step-up ang lahat mas lalo na ang bench players namin dati,” Coach Ana told us. Moreover, Coach Santiago commended the UP Lady Maroons squad. “Hanga ako sa kanila especially their pitcher. Maraming rookies sa kanila. Kita naman sa kanila na ‘di sila bumibitaw, lumalaban sila. Kaya sinabi ko sa kanila kagabi, na fighter ang kalaban natin. If you want to win, kung gusto niyo tapusin, kelangan kung anong lakas nila, higitan natin.”
This is the first five-peat in any sport in Adamson’s history.
Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory
2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.
The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.
The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.
The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.
“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.
Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.
Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.
Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.
Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.
While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.
It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.
The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.
As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.
Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’
Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.
After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.
The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.
“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.
“It’s just humbling, definitely.”
However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.
“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.
“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”
Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.
“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”
Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup
Stronger than ever
Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.
Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.
SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.
Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.
Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.
The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win
Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.
So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”
After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.
Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.
Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.
The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.
The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.
Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.
The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).
SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.
CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.