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Alejandro leads National U past La Salle, saves season

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The National University Bulldogs will not go down without a fight!

Needing a “miracle” -in coach Eric Altamirano’s words- to keep their Final Four hopes alive, Jay Alejandro, who has been spectacular in the second round, performed a career-defining performance to lead the Bulldogs past the De La Salle University Green Archers, 81-73, Wednesday evening at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

In the third quarter and with the two squads exchanging leads for the better part of the first half, the Green Archers came out of the locker rooms on fire as they opened the third quarter with a 13-0 blast. Jeron Teng led the Archers during that surge in scoring six points and assisting on a cutting Josh Torralba to give La Salle a 43-32 lead. Moreover, Alolino and the rest of the Bulldogs struggled to find their shot. Coach Eric Altamirano then called for a timeout to regroup his troops. The timeout proved to be vital as senior Kyle Neypes exposed the thin La Salle interior defense in driving through the lanes and getting offensive boards. Neypes scored seven straight point capped by a layup that cut the La Salle lead to just two, 43-41, with 4:42 to go. However, Neypes landed on a foot of a La Salle player that resulted to a sprained ankle. After a La Sale timeout, both teams exchanged baskets but rookie Andrei Caracut scored on a floater and a layup while Jason Perkins was able to convert on a three-point play to give the Green-and-White squad a 53-49 lead to enter the final frame.

With La Salle up 55-51 with 8:22 remaining in the game, Jay Alejandro, who also saved the Bulldogs in their overtime win against Adamson, led a 14-3 rally with every point coming from him. During that personal run, Alejandro knocked down two free throws, a hard drive layup, and three three-pointers, the last six points coming from back-to-back triples that gave NU a 65-58 lead. Sauler had to burn his second to the last timeout with 5:41 to go just to quell the Alejandro rally. After four straight points by Teng, the momentum had shifted towards the Jhocson Street cagers with Jeoff Javillonar knocking down a triple and Alejandro scoring on an and-one coming from a fastbreak.

Thomas Torres and Jeron Teng were able to bring cut the deficit to five with 2:42 to go but a lucky pass by Alfred Aroga to Med Salim extended the lead to seven once more. The DLSU coaching staff had to use their last timeout with 1:30 to go. Missed triples by Torres and Caracut worsened the situation for the Archers. With 44.4 ticks to go and with NU up by just five, a careless inbound by Salim led to a high-arching three by Torres. After an Altamirano timeout, Aroga was able to convert on a three-point play. Misses by Perkins underneath and a layup by Javellona with three seconds left sealed the game for National University, 81-73.

“I am very proud of the boys on how they performed,” a relieved coach Eric Altamirano said after the game. “We had a good game plan in the first half but nawala nung third quarter. That’s why I called for a timeout to regroup the team. They reponded well to it.”

The man of the hour though was Jay Alejandro. Alejandro notched a season-high 25 points on an excellent 62% clip. He had 17 points in the crucial fourth quarter that included three triples. “Kinailangan ko mag step-up,” the junior said. “Napilay si Kyle and foul-trouble si Pao.” Moreover, he knows that the Bulldogs need every win they can get in saying “big win ito sa amin. Kelangan namin lahat ng panalo na kaya naming makuha.

Besides Alejandro, Paolo Javelona broke out of his funk in scoring 14 points on 5/8 shooting. The performance of the two more than made up for the off-night of Smart Elite ambassador Gelo Alolino. Alolino was a horrid 3/15 from the field but was able to grab nine boards and seven assists.

For the Green Archers, Jeron Teng had 25 points to lead his team. He was 10/22 from the field and dished out just two assists. Andrei Caracut added 18 markers while Jason Perkins was able to grab a double-double with ten points and 15 boards.

The National University defense was able to limit the Green Archers to just 36.84% from the field while shooting at a 46.77% field. The Bulldogs were also able to outrebound La Salle 48-37.

The NU Bulldogs (5-7), who are now just a game behind La Salle, will next face the UP Fighting Maroons on Sunday, November 8 at 11:00am while the DLSU Green Archers (5-6) face bitter rivals Ateneo on the same day at 4:00pm.

The Scores:
NU (81) – Alejandro 25, Javelona 14, Alolino 7, Aroga 7, Javillonar 7, Neypes 7, Salim 6, Abatayo 4, Diputado 2, Morido 2.
DLSU (73) – Teng 25, Caracut 18, Perkins 10, Torres 8, Rivero 5, Torralba 4, Navarro 3, Langston 0, Muyang 0, Tratter 0.
Quarterscores: 14-10, 32-30, 49-53, 81-73.

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Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa

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After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Marcus Elliott grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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Basketball

CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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