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Altamirano, Bulldogs still looking for consistency

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The defending UAAP Men’s Basketball Champions, the National University Bulldogs, ended the first round with a 3-4 record, their worst start in four years.

The Bulldogs and last season’s runner-up the FEU Tamaraws figured in a defensive standstill in their first round encounter last Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. After a first half that saw the cagers from Jhocson Street limit the high-octane Tamaraw-offense to just 29 points on 50% shooting and forcing them to 11 turnovers for a 34-29 lead, National U was limited to just six third quarter points that eventually led to their fourth loss.

“We started out well. For some reason we were lethargic when we started the third quarter. That really killed us as we only scored six points. I felt FEU got their momentum from that stretch. So we got them back to the game,” NU head coach Eric Altamirano said after the game.

The Bulldogs’ league-leading defense, their bread and butter, contained the Tamaraws from breaking the game wide-open but the team’s offensive struggles halted any momentum the defending champions gained. Instead of attacking the paint, the Bulldogs forced themselves into contested jumpshots, ending up just 35% from that distance.UAAP 78 FEU vs. NU - Tolomia-0277

This allowed FEU seniors Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia to get their bearings going. In two straight possessions and just 42 seconds apart, the NU defense relaxed for a bit that allowed Tolomia to convert on two long-range daggers during the crucial stages of the game. “When we got them going it was hard for us to stop them. Belo got going in the third. From then mahirap na, we played catch-up basketball. Then Tolomia got his bearing in the last two minutes, took those two three-point shots that gave them a cushion,” Altamirano recalled.

The catch-up basketball he was talking about also led to nerves getting the best for the defending champions as the team missed eight free throws in the fourth quarter, four in the last 3:26 of the game that could have changed the complexion of the game. “The eight missed free throws killed us also. Mahirap talaga pag naghahabol ka, then yung pressure to make free throws. So, nagsama-sama na sa dulo.”

UAAP 78 FEU vs. NU - Alolino-0076For Altamirano, he gave credit to the FEU defense for limiting them to just 40.68% shooting but for him and his coaching staff, there’s no one to blame for the loss but themselves. “You have to give it also to FEU. They tightened up their defense, they took away what we wanted to do,” he said. But quickly added that, “I felt that I did not see the energy in the third quarter, very lethargic kami. I felt that was not us, that’s not how we play.”

The problem that the head coach sees with the team right now is inconsistency. “There’s still some inconsistencies. Sabi ko nga sa boys kanina, ‘I think for us, we need to be consistent the entire game,’” he disclosed about the long talk he had with the players after the game. “We have to play consistent the entire 40 minutes. Talagang part of our loss today is our doing. Importante na we have to be consistent with what we do.”

The Bulldogs, though, only have two days to rest and practice as they immediately have to start their second round campaign on Saturday, October 10 against the UE Red Warriors. According to Altamirano, each game from here on out is do-or-die for them. “Ang importante sa amin ngayon is to just focus. We don’t want to dwell on it. We just have to focus on our upcoming games. We have to win the games that we can win. Then, hopefully get some upsets para makabalik kami sa upper bracket.”

“There has to be a sense of urgency,” he closed.

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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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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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