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Ateneo clinches first win; UP-X, Lady Tamaraws share spoils in hard-fought battle

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The University of the Philippines (UP)-X and the Lady Tamaraws put on a classic stalemate in the main game of the maiden PFF Women’s Invitational Cup, while Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) upstaged UP-Y in an earlier match, Sunday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Ateneo owns neighbours UP-Y

Christina Delos Reyes v Camille Rodriguez

After a tight battle in the first period afternoon’s first match, Ateneo upended rivals UP-Y, off the heroics from senior forward Cam Rodriguez, 2-0.

It was the Blue and White who executed better in the first minutes of the game as they controlled the possession and the chances. The Lady Eagles sent in balls into their attacking third, but they either could not finish or the defense held for the Lady Maroons. Rodriguez and Pamela Diaz had their attempts as they found gaps in the backline, which proved pivotal in the following period.

On their part, UP-Y had their chances anchored on the midfield from Cristina Delos Reyes; nonetheless, Bling Perez could not deliver crosses into the other side for the finish. The halftime whistle was sounded with neither team getting something into the back of the net.

It was a different second half, as both teams tried to break the deadlock. UP started on the bright side as they executed well on the offense; however, they lacked creativity on the final third. Ateneo turned things around at the 49th minute, Diaz found herself within shooting range and fired from outside the box. UP keeper AJ Javier was able to clear, but only as far as Rodriguez. The national team mainstay slid the ball into the net to get the go-ahead goal for her team.

The following few minutes was a back-and-forth scene with Ateneo taking control of the match most of the time. Ten minutes before the final whistle, Rodriguez tried to save the ball from going out and blasted it into the net. Javier tried to parry the ball, but instead accidentally pushed it in for Rodriguez’ brace. The match ended with Ateneo taking one against UP-Y, 2-0, to take the group lead after Day 1.

Lady Tamaraws, UP-X settle for draw

Face-up

In the final game of the opening day, Lady Tamaraws FC and UP-X fought tooth and nail, but ended up sharing the points at the end of 90 minutes, 2-2.

UP-X started out like a well-oiled machine right when the kickoff whistle was sounded. After several incursions and chances in the opening minutes of the match, Kali Navea-Huff got the initial goal. The burly winger found some space on the left flank and fired the ball into the back of the net. Navea-Huff almost doubled her team’s lead at the 10th minute, but was denied by the opposing keeper.

After that Navea-Huff goal, Lady Tamaraws executed their own offense in search of an equalizer. After some work from the midfield, the green-shirts were rewarded with a goal at the 14th minute. Bia Requerme saw UP custodian Nic Adlawan off her line and chips the ball towards the net, to level the match at 1-apiece.

The Lady Maroons would mount their own rally in the next minutes, which ended with another goal. Navea-Huff fired another shot from the top of the box, but it sailed over the bar. Nonetheless, in the following play, Cassandra Alleje finished a feed from the middle into the onion bag to wrestle back the lead for UP. The Lady Tamaraws tried to level the match once more, but the halftime whistle was sounded with the Maroons leading by 1, 2-1.

The Lady Tamaraws stepped on the gas in the second half as they continually breached the middle third of UP. At the hour-mark, the Morayta-based squad registered the tying goal. Off a free kick, opposing goalie Adlawan grabbed the ball, but spills it out. Mary Harriete Lam punished this error and tapped the ball pass the goal line for the final goal of the match.

The green-shirts showed their maturity and endgame composure in the final minutes as they tried to steal the victory off UP. In a heated scuffle for the ball, Navea-Huff pushed Jeanelyn Amita hard into the pitch. The UP winger walked away from the pitch knowing she will be sent off by the referee. The Lady Tamaraws send some last-ditch attempts; nonetheless, the score line stayed on even terms between them and UP-X.

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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2 Comments
  • Gely Tiu

    Correction: precious Capirtrano did not get to suit up for today’s match for Ateneo. First half striker with Rodriguez was Martie Bautista, who was then replaced by Fiona Faulkner, and then by Annika Ong.

    • rjbarjay

      Thank you for the information. We will edit the article accordingly

FEU

Rose Vargas all set for UAAP return after four-season absence

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In an unprecedented move, hard-hitting Far Eastern University spiker Rose Vargas will return to finish her UAAP career when Season 80 kicks off on February 3 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Vargas last played for the Lady Tamaraws in Season 75. With a year of eligibility left, Vargas left the Morayta-based program to focus on her academics and pursue a career in the semi-pro ranks.

Five years since her last UAAP game, Vargas says that she did not hesitate when FEU officials asked if she wanted to return to play out her final year of eligibility.

During her time in the V-League, she played for the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns, the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors, the Bureau of Custom Transformers, and, most recently, the Creamline Cool Smashers.

“‘Yung pag-babalik naman dito (FEU) is hindi ko naman pinag-isipan matagal or nag-dalawang isip ako,” said the Season 74 Best Scorer. “Noong tinanong lang sa akin kung gusto ko daw bumalik, ang sagot ko lang, oo.

“Kasi gusto kong makatulong, and gusto kong makuha ‘yung championship namin na matagal ng hindi nakukuha ng FEU.”

Vargas adds to an already solid FEU core which includes graduating captain Bernadeth Pons, Toni Rose Basas, and Jerrili Malabanan.

The last time Vargas suited up for FEU, she was the main piece to a core that included Mari Toni Basas — Toni Rose’s older sister, a young Remy Palma, Gyzelle Sy, and Tin Agno.

Vargas now sees herself as more of a complimentary piece, the hardened veteran looking to guide FEU’s younger guns in a season where much if expected of them.

“Ngayon, nadagdagan siguro yung maturity and ko, pagiging veteran daw, sabi, na pwede ko mai-share din sa mga bata ‘yun, as a leader, as an ate,” added Vargas.

“Nako-contribute ko kung anong knowledge ang natutunan ko.”

League insiders are confident that Vargas, who turned 25-year-old on December 12 last year, will be declared eligible to play in Season 80. Although the UAAP is yet to have their eligibility meeting this week, a source closely monitoring the situation expressed confidence that Vargas will pass the league’s eligibility rules.

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Basketball

23 for 2023 cadet CJ Perez honored to help out Gilas

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Having had the chance to represent the Philippines in FIBA-sanctioned cagefests such the Asia Challenge Cup and the 3X3 All-Stars back in 2016, Lyceum Pirates star CJ Perez is no stranger to the international stage.

But the 24-year-old do-it-all swingman admits that he still gets overwhelmed whenever he sees his seniors — the stars and pillars of the program — in the team. “Nasusurprise [pa rin] ako,” he said. “Mga professionals eh.

“Na-istarstruck pa rin ako sa kanila.”

Perez said so when he finally made his return within Gilas’ realms last Monday night. The last time he was with the National Team was in August 2016, when the SBP built an amateur-laden batch of Gilas cagers that served as the transition from the 2016 Olympic Qualifiers squad to the 2017 SEABA team.

“Sobrang grateful ako (sa invitation),” said the talented six-foot-two guard, after practice at the Meralco Gym.

The reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player is back in the fold for Gilas as his name, along with young, up-and-coming stars, was included in the 23 for 2023 pool — a list of cagers projected to be the contingent for the Manila-hosted World Cup.

“Iniisip ko yun (FIBA World Cup 2023) simula magtawag sila ng practice. Actually nandoon na yung utak ko eh,” the Lyceum Pirate ace bared. “Kailangan ko lang mag work hard pa para makapasok dun sa lineup na yun, kahit malayo pa.

“It’s an honor para ma-represent yung country.”

Unlike in 2016, Perez graced the court and took part in drills with the veterans such as Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, among others. With those type of players around him, he feels that the lessons he can get will be limitless.

“Oo sobra. Kahit kanino naman (matututo ka talaga),” Perez shared. “(At tsaka) Dito parang more on sa mental. ‘Di na iniisip yung conditioning kasi may ibang teams naman sila so about sa mental toughness [talaga].”

For now, the 23 for 2023 cadets are already working out not just for familiarity, but also to help the seniors in preparing for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers this February.

“Sobrang happy and grateful na nakakatulong ako sa kanila kahit sa simpleng practice lang.”

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ABL

Blistering Mikey Williams takes home Heritage Import of the Week honor

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Photo from ASEAN Basketball League

The resurgent Saigon Heat have been the thorn to topflight clubs teams Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club and Nanhai Kung Fu, handing both squads their first losses in the eighth season of the ASEAN Basketball League. The Heat would not have done it without Filipino-American import Mikey Williams.

Williams, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Cal State Fullerton, dropped 39 points on 14-for-25 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and nine assists in Saigon’s 121-115 overtime win over Hong Kong.

The former NBA G-Leaguer followed it up with a sensational 24-point, five-rebound, and seven-assist outing in their 96-93 win over Kung Fu.

Overall, the 26-year-old guard averaged 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.0 steals to edge out fellow Filipino AJ Mandani of the Singapore Slingers for the weekly award.

For the Local Player of the Week, two Alab Pilipinas stalwarts were the runners-up for the crown.

Reigning local Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. and his floor general Josh Urbiztondo had stellar weeks that earned them honorable mentions.

Parks averaged 17.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists for the week that saw Alab lose to the Slingers at home last Wednesday before bouncing back on the road against the Mono Vampire last Sunday.

Urbiztondo, on the other hand, had norms of 14.5 points on a hot 9-for-17 clip from downtown.

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Football

Brazilian football legend Zico to visit Manila

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Contributed photos

One of the best to ever play the Beautiful Game is coming to the Philippines. Zico, who electrified the footballing world in the ’70s and ’80s, is slated to visit Manila on the weekend of January 27.

The Brazilian, whose real name is Arthur Antunes Coimbra, is considered one of the best footballers in the world during the late 70’s and early 80’s. Zico starred for the Brazilian national team, scoring 48 goals in 71 appearances for the Selecao. In 1999, the attacking midfielder came 8th in the FIFA Player of the Century grand jury vote, and in 2004 was named in FIFA’s list of the world’s greatest living players.

Zico played for legendary Brazilian club Flamengo and also for the Italian Serie A team Udinese. He finished his playing career suiting up for Kashima Antlers in the J-League, the top tier of Japanese football, leading them to an unlikely runner-up finish.

The 64-year-old also had a successful managerial career, leading Turkey’s Fenerbahce, Greek team Olympiacos, and CSKA Moscow to titles. Zico was also in charge of the Japanese national team when they won the AFC Asian Cup in 2004. Because of that accomplishment, Zico is one of the most beloved football figures in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Seven Seas Properties, a company that promotes Philippine real estate and Philippine stocks in the Japanese market, is bringing the football icon here.

“We are delighted to welcome Zico to the Philippines. I’m sure he will give a big boost to the growing football scene here,” says Seven Seas Properties President Yukihiro Nishimura.

Zico will attend a CSR event with young footballers from underprivileged communities on Saturday, January 27. The following day, Sunday January 28, he will lead a football clinic for elite young players and coaches in the McKinley Hill stadium in Taguig. Football fans and media are welcome to watch this event, which kicks off at 2:00 pm. Admission is free.

Zico in Manila is also made possible by Otsuka – Solar Philippines, Inter Sports Partners, AgriNurture, and Primex.

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