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Alaska snatch victory from San Miguel to stay unbeaten in Philippine Cup

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The Alaska Aces are 4-0, after emerging as the victor of a thrilling 66-63 showdown with the previously undefeated San Miguel Beermen, Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
Alaska had trailed for most of the game, struggling to find the easy shot against the Beermen’s crushing defense, but managed to steal the lead late in the fourth quarter.

The Aces entered the game on a high note, scoring seven straight points to take a 7-0 start, but San Miguel’s Chris Lutz would lead the charge for the Beermen, bagging seven points to force an 11-all deadlock. A lay-up from Ronald Tubid gave San Miguel a taste of the lead, 13-11. Following a trade of baskets in the remainder of the quarter, the score would rest at 19-all, at the end of the period.

The second quarter saw the Beermen go all out defensively, denying the usually eagle-eyed Aces the easy look. The Aces were held to a mere three points in the first six minutes of the period, and the Beermen would go on to capitalize on the Aces’ shooting woes, pulling away for a 38-30 edge by halftime.

Alaska would return to the court in excellent form, finally powering through San Miguel’s defense to slowly but effectively trim the Beermen’s lead. A triple from Jvee Casio gave Alaska their first taste of the lead since the first quarter, 44-43, with four minutes on the clock. Following a highly physical trade of baskets, the Beermen would manage to pull through and steal back the lead before the end of the quarter, 52-50.

The Beermen would pace the game for most of the quarter, once again going all out defensively, but the Aces would remain just a step behind and never letting San Miguel build up another major rally. A four-point conversion that saw Alaska set up Cyrus Baguio for a three-pointer, after corralling the missed free throw from a split charity by Calvin Abueva, gave the Aces the means to come within striking distance, 60-61, with a minute and a half left on the clock. The Beermen would regain the lead, 63-62, with less than a minute left on the clock, but Jvee Casio stole back the lead for Alaska, 64-63, with 32.6 on the clock, after a breakway jumper.

The Aces would force a San Miguel turnover, after forcing Chris Lutz to an errant drive on the basket, with 22.4 left. Casio, the former De La Salle University standout, would sink two free throws with 17.9 left on the clock to put Alaska up by three, 66-63. In the following play, Solomon Mercado would manage to throw up a triple in attempt to force a deadlock, but the ball would bounce from the rim. Calvin Abueva would draw the foul after grabbing the missed basket, but would later miss both free throw charities. With 7.9 left on the clock, gunner Marcio Lassiter would manage to fling one to tie, but the ball once again would bounce of the rim.

Jvee Casio, Alaska’s late game hero, was give Player of the Game honors. He had 11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal to his name. Cyrus Baguio led the Alaska scoring with 13 points. The ‘MVP Connection’ of Arwind Santos and June Mar Fajardo meanwhile paced the Beermen, Santos finishing 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks, while Fajardo had 10 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Alaska currently sit at the top of the standings at 4-0, while the Beermen slide to 3-1.

photos courtesy of Nuki Sabio

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Football

Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory

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Photo from the-AFC.com

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 matters as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors visibly looked 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 an 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 throughout the encounter.

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 114th minute may have proved to be the closest in 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 to 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 eye 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.

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Basketball

Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’

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Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony 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, being 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 continue answering the call when Gilas needs it 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.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup

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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 rehabilitating his injury 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 a lot 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.

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NCAA

Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win

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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).

The Scores:

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.

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