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Aaron Black ready to deliver as one of Blue Eagles’ new faces in Season 78



Losing to the eventual Season 77 champions National University Bulldogs, the Ateneo de Manila University is geared up to be one of the contenders this upcoming UAAP season. And while the team will be parading seven newcomers in their roster, one striking name is listed in Aaron Black as he is the son of one of the most iconic faces in Ateneo basketball, Norman Black.

The team has veterans in Kiefer Ravena, Fonso Gotladera, Von Pessumal and Gwyne Capacio, who are expected to lead the charge in Ateneo’s drive for another run in the men’s basketball title. Black emphasizes that he would like to help the seniors in their Season 78 grind and give the veterans a championship before they part ways in their respective UAAP campaigns.

“The veterans are very vocal in practice. I just want to help the seniors win the championship so they could leave college with a ring on their finger,” he says.

In terms of how his dad has helped him in his game, he mentioned, “My dad helps me in every aspect of the game. He talks about the things I can do to improve. We call it ‘tune ups’ if I want to work on something I just tell him and we go to the court.”

Being the son of Norman, who coached the Blue Eagles to a historic five-peat run, and is now currently calling the shots for the Meralco Bolts, Aaron has received a lot of attention in terms of dealing with the pressure. Pressure that he as fuel to improve himself in and out of the court.

“Well that ‘pressure’ has been with me all my life. At this point, it’s not much of a pressure anymore. It’s now something I use to do well for me and it’s a positive thing now,” he shared.

After showing what he can do in the basketball court in his juniors stint in the Blue Eaglets, Black has played the 2 and 3 position but is working on improving his ball handling as of now.

“I hope I can provide energy off the bench. Aside from that, probably (I can give) scoring and rebounding. I worked a lot on my defense as well so I hope I can provide that energy and spark,” he added.

Looking forward, he was straight on in terms of setting goals for the Blue Eagles. Last year was a heart-breaker as they were a win away from barging into Season 77 finale.

“We all want to win a championship right now. Last year, our team fell short and I hope that this year we can give a better effort. Our team is hungry and I think we can make it all the way.”

He also pointed out that he is much more than a shooter and is excited to show what he can really do on the court. “I guess a lot of people see me more of just a shooter and I like to prove them that I’m not just that. Von(Pessumal) said something about himself also and that label is something I don’t wanna be called because it’s not really me,” shared Black

The Blue Eagles will be opening this year’s campaign up against the FEU Tamaraws on Sunday and Black is one of the usual rookies who are looking forward to their UAAP debuts.

“Nervous, of course, but feeling excited. I wanna help the seniors. They’re very vocal in practice. Not really that they get mad, but it’s more like they help you on anything that happens on the court. So they just help us when we make mistakes.”

In addition, he is also eyeing his first Ateneo-La Salle match in the seniors division which is usually a circled-date in terms of the fans of the league due to the school’s rivalry.

“I’ve actually been asking all the seniors about the feeling of it and I’m very excited about it,” he ended.

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Kent Salado re-injures MCL, out for Go for Gold campaign



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Kent Salado suffers a setback

The worst fear of the Go for Gold Scratchers came true Monday evening as all-around combo guard Kent Salado re-injured the medial cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The injury was confirmed by Kent Salado and the officials of Go for Gold and he will miss the entire 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.

With under three minutes left in the third quarter of Go for Gold’s opening game against the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers Monday afternoon, the 5-foot-9 guard went for a drive but could not get the proper lift. He tried to walk it off but limped towards the audience section of the Pasig Sports Center.

“Parang may narinig nga siya na may tumunog daw,” shared Scratchers head coach Charles Tiu after their 75-68 win.

“We’re very worried.

“I think our PT said baka MCL ‘yun, so that might be a month or two, so that’s a big problem for us,” the youthful mentor added.

Salado finished the game with nine points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. He was immediately rushed to the Makati Medical Center afterwards. At around nine in the evening, the MRI showed that he tore his ACL as was initially reported by Tiebreaker Times. A second opinion, however, contradicted the initial diagnosis, showing only an MCL tear.

Prior to this, the native of Cagayan de Oro suffered a partial tear on medial collateral damage on the same knee last October 10, 2017 during Arellano’s 85-79 win over the San Sebastian Golden Stags.

With this setback, Salado was also advised to not play in the summer leagues to fully recover in time for the NCAA Season 94 Seniors Basketball tournament.

“Okay lang para NCAA na ko makapaglaro,” he said.

“Mas importante naman yun.”

The 23-year-old averaged 19.1 points, 5.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 steals last season. He is eligible to enter the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.

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Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool



SMART Gilas Pilipinas’ third session for the second leg of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers ended early on Monday evening.

Prior to the end of the practice, head coach Chot Reyes talked to team veterans Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo. The outspoken mentor told the seniors of the team that he is cutting Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan from the pool.

“The reason why we’re dropping Abueva and Almazan for the second window is because they haven’t showed up,” lamented Reyes.

“It’s already our third practice at hindi pa sila nagpapakita. It’s simply a matter of disinterest.

“I guess they’re not interested so we have to move on we can’t wait for those guys,” he pointed out.

Both Abueva and Almazan were part of the teams that competed in the 2017 SEABA Championship, the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, and the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Only 10 players from the pool showed up for the team’s third session. And with the second leg exactly one month away, Gilas cannot let a slip up happen especially against Australia.

“Aside from those two we don’t know where Matt Wright is, while Allein [Maliksi] is attending a wedding in Australia. Other than that it’s really just an issue of Calvin and Raymond if they don’t want to be a part of the pool.” expressed Reyes.

“That’s the reason we’re dropping them for the second window.”

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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

23 for 2023 cadets fill up Gilas practice



With just 31 days until the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, only 10 players from the pool attended the team’s third session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.

Suiting up in the session presided over by Coach Chot Reyes were June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, and Roger Pogoy. Carl Cruz and Jayson Castro were in attendance but were in street clothes.

Not present were Matthew Wright, Japeth Aguilar, and Allein Maliksi. Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend practice.

Joining the seniors team to prep them up for the World Cup Qualifiers were 10 players from the 23 for 2023 pool.

Ateneo Blue Eagle Matt Nieto attended his first Gilas practice. Joining him were teammates Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.

Completing the night’s cast were CJ Perez, Abu Tratter, Will Gozum, J-jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, and Juan Gomez de Liano. Joshua Sinclair watched from the sidelines as he is still recovering from an ACL injury.

Gilas will take on Australia in Melbourne on February 22. The Philippine will then host Japan three days later at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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San Beda fends off Letran for back-to-back wins



With seasoned setter John Carlo Desuyo steering the wheel to near perfection, the San Beda College romped to their second straight win.

The Red Spikers pulled double-digit outings from four players to upend archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-22, and register their fourth win of the season, Monday early evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

It was the Knights, however, who started on the right foot, overhauling a 4-10 deficit to snag the first set. Better passing from liberos Aljune Centeno and Johnsen Timbreza resulted in kills from captain Bobby Gatdula.

Nonetheless, San Beda picked up the service game in the next three sets to ultimately finish off the blue-shirts.

Despite the win-loss record they currently sport, the Red Spiker playmaker admitted that t

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