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ADMU Blue Batters sweep first round with 4-1 win over DLSU



ADMU (5-0), 1ST 0000020024102
DLSU (3-2), 2ND 001000000144


In a battle between two rookie pitchers- Ateneo’s Paulo Macasaet going against La Salle’s Francis Gesmundo- it was Macasaet who stood tall at the end in leading the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Batters in a 4-1 win over their rivals, the De La Salle Green Batters, last Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

In the first two innings of the game, Gesmundo, formerly from Marist School, gave up just a single hit and struck out two ADMU batters. The DLSU fielders also left one runner on base, Lorenzo Banzon at second base, during that span. Not to be outdone, Ateneo High School standout Paulo Macasaet struck out three DLSU batters in the first two innings of the game and gave up no hits. Three runners were left on base by the Ateneo fielding, two from the first inning with Carlos Laurel and Vicente Barandiaran left on the second and first bases respectively.

The Green Batters were the first team to put a run on the scoreboard at the bottom of the third inning. Francisco Hashimoto, after hitting a single to open the inning, scored a run coming from a Carlos Laurel RBI double.

Gesmundo during the next three innings gave up just one hit and struck out five batters. The DLSU defense, the pride of coach Joseph Orillana, did not allow any Ateneo runner to reach third base in the first five innings of the game. On the other end, after giving up a run in the third inning, the ADMU fielders made quick work of the DLSU batters in the fourth and fifth innings in putting out all six batters at bat, including two strikeouts by Macasaet.

At the top of the sixth inning and with two outs, the defending champions picked up a hit courtesy of a Carlos Remollo single. A fielding error by DLSU shortstop Hashimoto led to Ryon Tionloc gaining another base for the blue side. Third year ADMU batter Lorenzo Ramos then hit a single deep into left field that paved the way for a Remollo run and advanced Tionloc into scoring position. A costly catching error by DLSU catcher Paul Naguit led to a Tionloc run.

The DLSU Green Batters had a good opportunity to have a rally of their own at the bottom end of the sixth inning. With two outs, catching errors by ADMU 1st baseman Tionloc and 2nd baseman Conrado Banzon placed Gesmundo and Paolo Salud in prime scoring positions. Pinch hitter Martin Nolasco was called to hit for rookie Sigfrid Tan to try to at least score a run. Macasaet was able to strikeout Nolasco, leaving Gesmundo and Salud on base.

The Ateneo Blue Batters tried to extend the lead at the top of the 7th. With two outs, Adriane Bernardo hit a single while Banzon and Matt Laurel were walked due to balls to load up the bases.  Gesmundo was able to strikeout Remollo thereafter that left all three runners on base.

Gesmundo and the DLSU fielders were again in the same position at the top of the 8th. With two outs, the Ateneo runners again loaded all the bases. Fortunately for the batters from Taft Avenue, a Bernardo fly was caught by Salud to end the inning.

With Gesmundo pitching eight straight innings and fatigue setting in as seen by the speed of Gesmundo’s pitches, the DLSU coaching staff relieved Gesmundo of pitching duties and replaced him with senior Carlos Muñoz while Andre Palacios replaced Muñoz to man the left field.

Banzon quickly hit a leadoff double over Muñoz to open the 9th inning. Matt Laurel then hit a deep game-breaking homerun that extended the Ateneo lead to three runs. The DLSU fielding was able to secure three outs after, including two strikeouts.

Macasaet and the Ateneo fielders ended the game by not giving up a single hit at the bottom of the last inning.

Head coach Randy Dizer told us postgame that the mindset of his prized rookie Macasaet was to close out the game. “I will try to finish this game,” was what Macasaet told his head coach before the 9th inning started.

“We were trying to count on his pitch count pero nung medyo delikado na, from the 6th inning onward, my three pitchers were warming up already but Paulo was able regain his form to close the game.”

Moreover, Coach Dizer was proud of his seniors. “Tulad nung sinabi ko sa inyo last time, my seniors proved to be the difference. Mas matanda sila and they don’t want to lose in their last year.” 

Meanwhile, DLSU head coach Orillana was very proud of the performance of his squad. “We played a good game, they fought a good fight,” Coach Orillana told us after the game. “Nandun ang defense naming at nag-gain ng experience yung rookie namin (Gesmundo). Babawi tayo sa second round.”

Macasaet anchored the ADMU defense in giving up just one run, four hits, three BB’s and striking out 10 DLSU batters in the nine innings he pitched. Senior Matt Laurel led the offense with a run, two hits and two RBI’s including a 2-run HR.

The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Batters open the second round on Thursday, February 12 against the Adamson Soaring Falcons at 7am while the De La Salle University Green Batters face the National University Bulldogs in the second game of the day. Both games will still be played at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

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Fired-up Von Pessumal on Kiefer Ravena incident: ‘I’m not here to make any friends’



Will bridges be burned?

Von Pessumal was heavily-scrutinized Friday evening after an incident with fellow Ateneo lifer Kiefer Ravena.

It took place with 9:50 left in the final frame of the San Miguel Beermen’s highly-charged tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors. After Marcio Lassiter launched a trey, Pessumal looked like he was aiming for the rebound. Instead, he simply charged towards Ravena and pushed him down.

Lassiter’s three-pointer counted, while Pessumal, who was blocked by Ravena in a fastbreak and then received a staredown moments prior, was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul.

It was a surprising sight to see considering the amount of time he and Ravena have spent together — a bond that started ever since they were in high school. Even the second-generation star admitted that he did not expect that from his former running body.

“I did not expect that at all,” said the NLEX rookie.

But Pessumal downplayed such incident despite attempts by scribes to make him elaborate what had really transpired during that moment.

“It’s part of the game. It’s part of the game,” the league sophomore said after the match which they won 109-98. “I don’t wanna say anything, I’m sorry.

“It’s part of the game. Whatever move on. Not a big deal.”

Asked if he was motivated to face Ravena, whom he had shared three UAAP juniors titles, two UAAP seniors crowns, and a SEA Games gold medal with, the 24-year-old shared that he approached Friday’s bout the way he usually does.

“I wouldn’t say motivated [versus Kiefer], I mean, it’s just like any other game. When I play, I don’t see who’s guarding me, I just play,” said the 6-foot-2 swingman.

“I play to win all the time.”

The incident he and Ravena figured in shadowed his performance of 10 points on 50 percent shooting off the bench — the second time he had scored in double figures this season. After Friday, Pessumal is averaging 8.25 points.

“We have to sustain the level of excellence that they (starters) have. Our job is — I wouldn’t say support, but — when we get in, we should bring the level higher so when they come back, the game is easier for them,” he said.

Pessumal was then asked if he and Ravena met each other after the buzzer sounded as the two did not even shake hands after the contest. But, through a short yet strong response, the 24-year-old said that they did not.

“I wouldn’t say anything. I don’t know, after the game?,” he expressed.

“I’m a professional basketball player, I’m not here to make any friends.”

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Yeng Guiao denies using racial slur against Chris Ross



During the post-game of the San Miguel Beermen’s victory over the NLEX Road Warriors, reigning Coach of the Year Leo Austria said that NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao called Chris Ross the “N” word that caused the commotion.

According to Chris, tinawagan siya ng nigger or ganiyan,” said Austria. “I don’t know but that’s what he explained to me because I confronted Chris Ross because he’s one of the most important players in my team.

“But that’s the thing he doesn’t want to hear so nagflare up yung bata so I cannot blame him.”

Guiao though denied that he blurted out racial slurs against San Miguel’s Chris Ross.

“Hindi. Hindi ko tinawag na N-word. Ewan ko kung may nakarinig. Pero hindi,” clarified the fiery tactician moments after their 98-109 defeat, their third straight after starting the 2018 Philippine Cup with two straight wins.

That tussle, according to Guiao, was just filled with trash talking against each other, as he felt the need to retaliate. In fact, Guiao was even caught by the TV camera saying “son of a bitch” towards the Filipino-American point guard.

“Daldal siya ng daldal eh. Eh sa akin naman kapag ganon, siguro respeto nalang. Lumayo ka nalang tutal mananalo naman na kayo,” he said. “I didn’t understand what he was saying, what he was talking about.

“Nakipagtrash-talking din ako sa kanya.”

Furthermore, the 58-year-old was also caught by the cameras flipping the bird — in one quick motion — also against Ross.

“Oo. Kasama na rin yun.

“Pero ano naman eh, it’s part of, siguro, psychological warfare. Malakas din siya mang-asar. Hindi lang naman sa amin. Everytime naman na mga ganoong skirmishes, he also knows what he’s capable of,” the seven-time champion coach furthered.

But more than this scuffle, it really has become a stressful time for Guiao and the Road Warriors. They have now went down to 2-3 in the team standings, and the mentor sees the great need to end this slump immediately.

“We have to arrest it very soon. Ang susunod na laro namin ay versus Rain or Shine sa Friday. So we need to go back to 50 percent win-loss level para at least may chance ka na maka-playoffs. That’s going to be a crucial game for us,” he stressed.

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Kiefer Ravena shocked with Von Pessumal’s shove: ‘I did not expect that at all’



Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal have been teammates ever since they were in high school, winning three UAAP juniors crowns together. They won two championships together in the seniors level and even played together in Gilas. They were inseparable.

Friday evening however, they were playing for separate camps.

Ravena admitted that he never expected a shove to come from Pessumal during the NLEX Road Warriors’ clash with San Miguel Beermen.

In an off-ball situation, Pessumal charged at Ravena, sending the rookie down to the floor with 9:50 remaining in the final frame. He was then whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul, and Ravena sank one from the line.

“I did not expect that at all,” admitted Ravena after the match in which they lost, 98-109 — their third straight defeat after a 2-0 start. “But hopefully Von doesn’t take it personal.

“I’m just doing my job. They won the game.”

Ravena insisted that there wasn’t any physicality between him and Pessumal prior to that, but he thinks that his former Gilas teammate may have gotten irked by his staredown after blocking him on a fastbreak play early in the fourth.

“When that fastbreak happened — the same exact possession na I challenged him, I looked at him, and after that yun na yung nangyari,” said the 23-year-old guard. “But I never instigated something to provoke Von to do that.

“Probably nung tinignan ko siya.”

Moreover, the second overall pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft felt that that incident “started all the commotions during the end game (laughs). Yun yung pinaka-una eh. And with that, the team got fired up and it worked for them.”

He may be right, for the game saw more skirmishes after that: from teammate Michael Miranda kicking Chris Ross to the groin, and with his head coach Yeng Guiao figuring in a heated verbal war also against Ross.

But then, Ravena made it clear that it was never a plan of his to put down somebody, especially someone like Pessumal who he sees as a brother for life.

“You know, Von and I, we go way back. Things like this hopefully don’t become too personal.

“I have no intention na ipapahiya yung tao or sasaktan mo yung tao. Wala namang ganun. Laro-laro lang,” said NLEX’s leading scorer.

It was somehow a night to remember for Ravena, but for all the wrong reasons. After Friday’s loss that sent their card to 2-3, the veteran internationalist now sees the need for him and the Road Warriors to push the panic button.

“‘Di na pwedeng sabihin palaging kailangan namin matuto eh. Pangatlong sunod na,” the second-generation cager expressed.

“Kailangan siguro naming umaksyon.”

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Downcast Chris Ross chooses to stay mum after heated altercation with Yeng Guiao



Through wins or losses, Chris Ross has always accommodated the members of the press asking for interviews and fans requesting for photo ops every after game. But Friday evening, the nine-year pro was despondent.

Visibly agitated with the events that had transpired during the San Miguel Beermen’s tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors, Ross, with his hoodie covering his head, left the Cuneta Astrodome without saying a word.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year had figured in physical play after physical play and verbal exchange after verbal exchange with the frustrated Road Warriors.

Ross and Alex Mallari were both slapped with technicals after a confrontation with 9:06 left. This was just the start of many things to come for the Filipino-American defensive specialist

After knocking down a triple and receiving a taunt from Ross, Michael Miranda was assessed a disqualifying foul for an apparent kick to the groin against Ross with 4:35 left.

The tip of the iceberg came with 1:46 left to play and the game all but settled.

Yeng Guiao and Ross figured in a heated word war that resulted in Ross’ second technical foul for the game. Referees and players from both sides had to separate the two to prevent things from escalating.

San Miguel coach Leo Austria alleged that the fiery NLEX mentor said the “N” word, while some said Guiao called Ross a “bitch”.

Ross finished the game with four points, eight rebounds, and four steals in 37 minutes of action.

For sure, penalties and suspensions will come out of this game.

And it was better for Ross to stay silent.

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