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Adeogun leads San Beda to top of standings over Letran

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The San Beda College Red Lions are back in a familiar place, a place where they have been for the last ten years.

With the top seed on the line, and as well as school pride, fifth year foreign student-athlete, Ola Adeogun, made the crucial basket, with 4.4 seconds to go, that gave the San Beda Red Lions an 83-78 cushion against rivals, the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, to gain the top seed heading towards the NCAA Final Four early Tuesday evening at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

In the first half, the Letran Knights started sluggish compared to their usual pace as their high-octane offense went cold from the field. The Knights were only able to muster 12 points in the opening quarter, while San Beda held a five-point lead with 17 first quarter points. In the second quarter, Javee Mocon was able to score nine points in the quarter, and at one point even outscored the entire production of Letran as he tallied 14 points in the first half. With the returning Dan Sara also gaining the hot hand in the quarter, the defending champions were able to gain the biggest lead of the game, 39-24, midway through the second. The Knights finally found their bearings after a timeout with Mark Cruz leading the way. Cruz erupted for 11 second quarter points that helped cut the SBC lead to just 11, 41-30, to enter halftime.

Seniors Kevin Racal and Mark Cruz opened the second half with back-to-back baskets that sparked a 13-4 run that cut the Beda lead to just two. The nightmare press of the Knights was in full effect during that stretch that forced San Beda to turnovers. Two straight conversions by pro-bound Art dela Cruz helped quell the rally, as the Mendiola Cagers regained a ten-point advantage, 53-43, with 4:40 to go in the third. The Knights later went cold from the field, as they were only able to convert on free throws and inside points the rest of the way while the Red Lions big men pounded the paint. The Red Lions held a 59-48 lead entering the final frame.

Even with Kevin Racal’s explosion to start the fourth, the Red Lion-lead just seemed to not go down as AC Soberano continued were he left off . Just as all seemed lost for the Knights, and with Rey Nambatac succumbing to a mild ankle sprain, the Knights again went into overdrive in the last five minutes in plans of hijacking the game. The Red Lions held a 12 points lead with 3:02 to go with Adeogun punishing the small frontline of the Knights. After a timeout, a triple by Mark Cruz gave life to the Letran crowd. Drawing strength from the Letran faithful, the Muralla street cagers went on a blistering 12-2 rally capped by a corner three by the Ant Man that cut the San Beda lead to just a solitary point. Free throws by Amer gave San Beda a three-point cushion. But after an Amer miss from downtown, Cruz was able to find a free Jom Sollano underneath for an and-one that tied the game at 78-all. After a Jamike Jarin-timeout, the Knights were able to trap well but a last-second find by Ryusei Koga led to an Adeogun-layup. Cruz then missed a three-pointer that could have given Letran the lead. A free throw by Amer and a putback by Adeogun sealed the game for the defending champions, 83-78.

“I have no complains,” said San Beda coach Jamike Jarin after the game. “At least we got the twice-to-beat advantage.” Moreover, he emphasized that what they accomplished in the first round doesn’t matter in the Final Four. “It’s a whole new ballgame.”

Ola Adeogun notched a San Beda-high 21 points and a game-high nine boards. For Jarin, the win should not be entirely credited to Adeogun. “We should give credit to his teammates, not just Ola. All the players on our team stepped up.”

With the tenth straight time that the Red Lions end the elimination round on top, Jarin admitted that there was pressure. “I’d be lying if there was no pressure. San Beda is a big program that has pressure and high expectations. But for me, I was excited to take this challenge because it’s a reunion. It’s just fun to be back home,” he said.

Javee Mocon also played his best game of the season in scoring 16 points, 14 coming in the first half. Art dela Cruz and Dan Sara both added 12 points each as well.

For the Knights, Mark Cruz scored a game-high 29 points on 11 of 19 shooting. He had three triples and dished out four assists. Kevin Racal added 17 points, on a perfect ten of ten shooting from the charity stripe, and grabbed ten boards.

As a team the Red Lions again shot excellently from the field with a 52% clip compared to just 36% for their rivals. They also outrebounded the Knights 52-29.

With the win, both teams will await the result of the JRU Heavy Bombers-Mapua Cardinals tilt. The winner of that match will face the Letran Knights while San Beda faces the loser of that game. The semifinals will start on Tuesday, October 20.

The Scores:
SBC (83) – Adeogun 21, Mocon 16, Sara 12, Dela Cruz 12, Tankoua 10, Soberano 4, Koga 3, Amer 3, Cabanag 2, Reyes 0, Bonsubre 0, Presbitero 0, Tongco 0, Sorela 0, Sedillo 0.
CSJL (78) – Cruz 29, Racal 17, Sollano 9, Quinto 9, Nambatac 8, Balanza 2, Calvo 2, Luib 2, Apreku 0, Publico 0.
Quarterscores: 17-12, 41-30, 59-48, 83-78

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ABL

Joshua Munzon, Westsports snap Saigon’s streak in highly emotional contest

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Photo by ASEAN Basketball League

Entering Wednesday night’s game, Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat were on a high, slaying the winning streaks of Hong Kong Eastern and Nanhai Kung Fu. However, Joshua Munzon and the Westsports Malaysia Dragons had other things in mind, keeping the Heat winless at the MABA Stadium, 91-87.

In his fourth game since returning to the Dragons, Munzon filled up the stat sheet, tallying 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks.

Besides putting up the numbers, the athletic swingman from California helped limit reigning Heritage Player of the Week Williams to his worst game so far in the ABL. Averaging 27.33 points, 6.67 assists, and 6.0 rebounds prior to this game, Williams went field goal-less against the Dragons, missing all 11 of his attempts. The Filipino-American floor general was able to dish out eight assists and grab five caroms.

Westsports led by as much as 11 points in the final frame, 82-71, after Munzon found Marcus Marshall for a triple with 4:59 remaining. Behind World Imports Akeem Scott and Maxie Esho, the Heat stormed right back but was answered by a long bomb by Munzon to keep them at bay.

Marshall and Scott figured in a shootout to close out the game but in the end, the hosts were still able to etch out their second straight victory.

Marshall finished the game with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Dragons while Scott’s 44-point game went for naught.

After the emotionally charged contest though, few unkind words were exchanged by the officials of both squads that almost resulted into a brawl. Fortunately, things did not escalate beyond that.

In the video, Munzon was also seen shoving a Saigon player to try and pacify the situation. The league is currently investigating the post-game incident.

With the win, Westsports Malaysia raised its record to 3-4 while dropping Saigon to 4-3.

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Mixed Martial Arts

Edward Kelly honored to fight alongside brother Eric

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Eric and Edward Kelly lived under the same roof for years in their hometown of Baguio City when they were young and shared the same burning passion in martial arts.

Growing up in the small town community of San Tomas Central, located within the city limits of Baguio, Eric and Edward did not always get along with one another as the two fought all the time, sometimes even resulting in injury.

“We were not that close before. We always fought. In short, Eric and I were headaches to our parents,” Edward recalled in jest.

“But of course, things change when you grow up and mature. We now appreciate each other’s company.”

Fortunately, when the brothers entered high school, Eric discovered martial arts, and everything would change for both of them.

Edward paid attention to the growing accolades of his older brother and was heavily motivated by it.

“I noticed after he started martial arts that it taught him the discipline not to fight me as a brother. Instead, he started giving me advice through what he had learned,” he bared. “I also joined martial arts because it teaches you discipline, and a lot of other positives, too.”

Years later, both men have made remarkable runs as outstanding martial artists in their respective professional careers.

Eric is widely regarded as one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines.

A Wushu practitioner who combines solid striking techniques with high-level grappling skills, Eric owns nine scintillating submissions and one knockout out of 12 total career victories.

Eric’s most impressive showing to date came in a submission win over Rob Lisita in July 2014, a performance that earned him the USD 50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus.

Meanwhile, Edward is considered as one of the best and brightest featherweight prospects to emerge from the well-established martial arts scene in the Philippines.

With a complete striking and grappling skill set, Edward brings Team Lakay’s world-renowned Wushu to center stage as he showcases his impeccable skillset inside the ONE Championship cage.

In addition, the younger Kelly has won three of his last four bouts under the ONE Championship banner, all by spectacular finish.

The Kelly brothers get a rare chance on Friday, January 26 as the siblings will compete side-by-side when ONE Championship holds its first of the four scheduled events in the country for 2018.

Eric squares off with Brazilian standout Rafael Nunes on the undercard of ONE: Global Superheroes, while Edward crosses paths with Cambodia’s Meas Meul in a three-round featherweight clash.

It is the first time both of them will be featured at a ONE Championship event together, and Edward plans to make it a night they will never forget.

“I am so excited because finally, it’s going to happen. It marks the first time that I will compete alongside my older brother. Surely, it’s going to be a memorable night for the both of us,” he said.

“We have the same aim of winning. So making it two for two on this card will make this extra special.”

As Eric seeks to get back on the winning track at the expense of Nunes, Edward is likewise looking to move forward in his career after getting his three-bout winning streak snapped by American stalwart Emilio Urrutia in August 2017.

In his next cage outing, Edward goes up against Meul, a undefeated promotional newcomer with six wins to his credit.

“My coaches has prepared me well for this. I am not going to disappoint my team and my country when I enter that cage on 26th of January,” Edward assured. “I don’t want to let my countrymen down this time. I am here to give them a great bout.

“And of course, win the bout in impressive fashion for them.”

Edward has no qualms if he has to go full three rounds with Meul, but he admitted that his sights are always set on securing the finish.

“I am looking to dominate him for three rounds. But hopefully, I can get the finish,” he vowed.

“A finish will be the perfect way to tell the world that I am back.”

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Basketball

Roger Pogoy churns best performance against former teammates

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Prior to Wednesday, all eyes were on the TNT Katropa-Blackwater Elite face-off, with many curious to see how last season’s Rookie of the Year Roger Pogoy would fare against his former FEU teammates Mac Belo and Raymar Jose.

And as the final buzzer sounded, the 25-year-old Pogoy had reigned triumphant over his close pals, getting away with a conference-best performance as a bonus.

The six-foot-two Cebuano sniper fired a game-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, along with eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals, to lead the Texters to a skid-ending, 92-83 victory at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

“Must-win talaga namin ‘to para makabawi kami, kasi 1-2 na yung standing namin (before the game) eh.

“Buti na lang maganda yung nilaro ko,” said Pogoy, who was just averaging 11.3 points in the past three games.

But Pogoy tipped his hat to the much taller Elite, who enjoyed plenty of time in the driver’s seat in the first half, until the Katropa found their groove in the third canto — highlighted by a 16-3 rally that put them ahead, 60-53.

“Malakas yung Blackwater eh, tapos ang lalaki nila kaya mahirap mag-drive, mahirap pumasa kasi naagaw nila,” said Pogoy. “Buti na lang naka-adjust kami nung second half. Hindi kami nagmadali, dinahan-dahan namin.”

Aside from his own outing, Pogoy is thankful that they were able to address their fourth quarter woes when facing the Elite — the issue that hounded them in their 76-88 loss to the San Miguel Beermen last Saturday in Iloilo.

TNT had actually been mere steps away from melting down — again — against Blackwater, no thanks to a 20-9 run that wiped out their 17-point lead to just six,

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Basketball

With Nash Racela knowing his tendencies, Mac Belo limited to poor shooting

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Prior to Wednesday, Blackwater Elite’s young star Mac Belo was on a roll early in the 2018 Philippine Cup, averaging exactly 20 points on 42.6 percent shooting in their games against Meralco, Rain or Shine, and Ginebra.

But, as they say, good things must come to an end.

Belo, despite having 13 rebounds, was held to just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting as the Elite bowed to TNT Katropa, 92-83 — a sour loss knowing that they’re coming off huge 94-77 win against Ginebra last Friday.

“Bukol,” said Belo in jest of his poor outing after the match. “Big test para sa’min kasi yung TNT talagang isang de-kalibreng team dito sa PBA.

“Talagang pinaghandaan nila kami, at gustong-gusto nila manalo.”

It also did not help that the Katropa’s head coach, Nash Racela, was his coach in FEU Tamaraws for three years — a relationship brightly highlighted by a championship run in the UAAP Season 78 back in 2015.

“Siyempre alam niya yung mga tendencies ko. Matagal ko siyang coach sa FEU,” said the 6-foot-4 forward.

“Sa akin naman, kailangan ko pa matuto sa ganun, kung anong mga defense binabato niya sakin. Kailangan ko pang pag-aralan.”

But for Belo, the loss was more than his own showing. The 25-year-old lamented his and the Elite’s lapses on defense, which was encapsulated by the second half collapse they had that allowed TNT to come back and steal the win.

“Medyo marami lang kaming lapses especially sa defense namin,” said the sophomore forward, as they allowed TNT to shoot 41.6 percent from the floor. “Maraming mga miscommunication na kailangan pa namin i-work.”

Belo and the Elite are now set to move on from this bitter defeat, as they all shift their sights in their match this Friday versus GlobalPort Batang Pier. For the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart, it is already a must-win for them.

“Kailangan namin ng rest ngayon kasi back-to-back games kami. We need to win sa Friday para okay sa’min,” said Belo. “Kailangan din namin paghandaan kasi galing sila sa win.

“Kailangan namin i-double yung effort namin.”

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