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Ateneo loss offers early lessons for NU, Pablo



The highly-anticipated first day match of the Season 78 UAAP women’s volleyball tournament between Ateneo Lady Eagles and National University Lady Bulldogs ended prematurely, as what many pundits expected to be a gruesome back-and-forth battle turned into a quick three-set sweep by the defending champions.

The NU Lady Bulldogs took quick early leads in the initial two sets of the match. The first set had them ahead, 16-11, while in the second they jumped to a 15-9 lead. Both sets had NU proceed to tumble under the weight of a formidable Ateneo squad. The result? The Lady Bulldogs crumbling in the third set for a straight-sets loss to Ateneo, 25-21, 25-19, 25-14.

Despite the early loss, NU team captain Myla Pablo is still upbeat about the team’s chances this season. There are, however, some things within the team that need to be addressed. And the loss may prove to be beneficial to the team as they have pinpointed their problems early on.

“Yung nangyari ngayon kailangan namin i-adjust ng mabuti. Adjust nalang kung ano yung mangyari sa next game against Adamson,” she said.

First and foremost, the team need to be able to maintain their composure throughout the whole match. The nerves brought about by playing in such a big game proved fatal against a cool-headed Ateneo team.

“Siguro nandoon nanaman yung pag-rattle namin sa loob ng court. Nag kanya kanya nalang kami sa loob ng court, hindi kami nag-uusap,” shared Pablo.

Second, something that has been plaguing head coach Roger Gorayeb for years now, is the lack of a consistent setter. In NU’s lineup, there are three setters in the team, rookie Rica Diolan, and veterans Jocelyn Soliven and Ivy Perez.

The problem is that while each setter brings different things to the table, each also has glaring weaknesses that have to be fixed. Diolan lacks the experience of playing in the collegiate ranks, Soliven becomes a handicap once she rotates to the back row, and Perez is unable to consistently set up her teammates for attacks.

“Kaya nahabol kami siguro kasi wala masyadong play yung setter namin, puro open, kwatro. Siyempre nababasa ng kalaban yun so nabloblock kami. Ang gusto ni coach Roger, maganda yung play. Medyo napagod din (yung attackers), kasi puro open, backline.”

Also, the team needs to utilize Jaja Santiago more.

“Si Jaja hindi namin na maximize kanina,” shared Pablo. Santiago, at roughly 6’5 in height, towers over every other player in the league. “Wala naman makaka-block kay Jaja eh. Pero wala kaming magandang receive, walang magandang set, so puro open nalang. Napagod kami. Sabi nga namin, pag magandang receive, si Jaja ima-maximize namin.”

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Both Santiago and Pablo pitched in 11 points each in the loss. No other Bulldog scored in double-digits.

Aside from these, Pablo was very critical of the way she had played in the game. When asked about her performance, had this to say:

“Actually ngayon medyo hindi (ako masaya). Kasi ngayon nahihirapan ako ngayon as a team captain. Yung laro ko sa ibang liga parang di ko ma-apply kasi iniisip ko yung mga teammates ko. Parang pangalawa lang ako sa iniisip ko para makapaglaro ng maayos (yung teammates ko). Sobra kasi ang dami kong iniisip eh. Sa loob ng court pag na-down yung isa, kailangan iaangat mo. So ako naman hindi ko naiisip sarili ko.” she said.

UAAP 78 ADMU vs. NU - Pablo-2591

She was quick to add, however, that she fully plans on bouncing back from her poor performance. “Pero ngayon, yung laro ko ngayon, hindi pa yun yung laro ko talaga. Sabi nga ni coach Roger first game pa lang naman eh. Marami pa namang games eh.”

With that said, Pablo hopes the team will be able to quickly remedy the issues they currently face, especially as this will be her last playing year in the UAAP.

“Iniisip ko na last playing year ko na, so kailangan ibigay yung best ko.”

The NU Lady Bulldogs will attempt to rebound in their next match against the Adamson Lady Falcons on Saturday, February 6, 4pm at the Philsports Arena.

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AJ Mandani sparks Singapore in win over Joshua Munzon-led Westsports



Back to his role as the sixth man of the Slingers after two games, AJ Mandani provided the firepower needed by Singapore in a fourth quarter surge to stop the Westsports Malaysia Dragons, 93-85, Sunday afternoon at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia.

The win arrested the Slingers’ two-game losing streak, raising their slate to 6-6. Westsports, a team coming off a two-game winning streak that included a 91-87 win over Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat last January 18, fell to 3-5.

Struggling in the first three quarters, Mandani six of his eight points in the final frame. And those points were povital in fending off Westsports.

With Singapore clinging to a solitary point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Filipino-Canadian scored four straight points 8-0 run to gain a 74-67 lead with under seven minutes left. Another basket by Mandani followed it up with a breakaway layup with with 5:18 remaining to give Singapore an 81-72 cushion.

Filipino exports Joshua Munzon and Patrick Cabahug tried to rally the home team back as a triple by the latter cut the lead down to just three with 1:40 on the clock. Big buckets by Delvin Goh and Chris Charles sealed off the Malaysia-based club team.

Munzon went just 5-for-18 from the field to finish with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. Cabahug chipped in eight points on 3-for-4 shooting off the bench.

Xavier Alexander led Singapore with 33 points while Charles tallied a double-double with 25 points and 13 rebounds to go along with three swats. Singaporean Goh had 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

Marcus Marshall paced Westsports with 22 points, playing all 40 minutes as fellow World Import AJ West had a tough outing.

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Impervious Lady Chiefs stay perfect after sweep of Lady Pirates



The Arellano University Lady Chiefs extended their winning streak to 17, dating back to last season, after clobbering the Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The defending champions were unrelenting, with four Lady Chiefs scoring in double-digits. Rookie Necole Ebuen powered in 11 points. Third-year open hitter Regine Arocha and Arellano’s middle blockers Mary Anne Esguerra and Andrea Marzan each provided 10 markers.

Conversely, no Lady Pirate managed to score in double-figures.

“Maganda naman talaga ang nilalaro ng mga bata. Lahat kasi kami determinado na makakuha ulet ng championship. Alam nila (Lady Chiefs) na kailangan pataas nang pataas ang ginagalaw namin,” said Arellano head coach Obet Javier.

The Lady Chiefs also limited their errors to a season-best 16, while the Lady Pirates surrendered 24 miscues.

Christine Miralles and Monica Sevilla each supplied the struggling Lyceum with eight point apiece.

The Lady Chiefs will look for their sixth win of the season when they face the red-hot University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (4-1) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Pirates (1-4) take on the undefeated San Beda College (4-0) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

AU (3) – Ebuen 11, Arocha 10, Esguerra 10, Marzan 10, Prado 3, Ramirez 3, Liu 2, Balanoba 1, Donato 1, Verutiao 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)

LPU (0) – Miralles 8, Sevilla 8, Juanilla 7, Patio 4, Genova 1, Romanban 0, Bongabong 0, Marcella (L)

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Late whistle costs San Beda against Sousse, drops Red Lions to 0-2



23 for 2023 cadet Robert Bolick is averaging 27.5 points per game in the tournament

After struggling to close out the UAE National Team in their opener last Friday, the San Beda College Red Lions figured in a late judgment call that did not fall into their favor, Saturday at the Shabab Al Ahli Club in Dubai. Due to this, the defending NCAA Champions lost to Tuniasian club team Sousse, 78-79.

With the loss, the Red Lions fell to a 0-2 hole in the 29th Dubai Basketball Championship. But the record does not reflect how the Filipinos played.

Robert Bolick, who scored 28 points against the UAE National Team, led the charge for San Beda in their second outing with 27 points. Fellow 23 for 2023 cadet Javee Mocon added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Sousse — the second-best club team in Tunisia, who boasts four national team players and an American import — led by as much as 10 points, 70-60 in the final frame.

Fired up by the Filipinos who stormed the venue, the Red Lions answered right back with an 18-8 run capped by a booming Bolick triple with six ticks left to gain a 78-76 lead.

However, a foul was called on a Red Lion on a three-point attempt by a Sousse player. He calmly sank all three free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Donald Tankoua had eight points and 13 rebounds as he was saddled with foul trouble all throughout the game.

The Tunisian club team was paced by Radzhouane Slimane with 18 points, while Ibrahim Nadarri and Joshua Cassady had 13 markers each.

San Beda will have a one-day break before taking on Moroccan club team Al Sale on Monday, January 22.

The Scores:

San Beda 78 – Bolick 27, Mocon 11, Tankoua 8, Noah 8, Toba 6, Soberano 6, Prebitero 4, Tongco 4, Bahio 2, Carino 2, Oftana 0, Adamos 0.

Sousse 79 – Slimane 18, Naddari 13, Cassady 13, Mouhli 11, Knioua 9, Toumi 8, Monastiri 4, Gaddour 3.

Quarterscores: 23-17, 36-39, 57-62, 78-79.

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Perpetual overpowers JRU to keep pace for Final Four



Strutting their decisive height and power advantage, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas slammed the Jose Rizal University Lady Bombers, 25-21, 22-25, 25-14, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Altas were still heavy-handed with their errors, surrendering 35 miscues, including 12 in the second set — the only frame they lost.

The Las Piñas-based program, however, kept a scorching offensive pace, bombarding the Lady Bombers with six blocks and 12 aces. JRU had just five points combined from those categories.

“Mataas pa talaga ‘yung tendency ng mga bata mamigay ng mga puntos. Sabi ko nga hindi kami mananalo kung tutulungan pa namin ‘yung kalaban maka-score,” rued Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño.

“Pero, unti-unte namang gumaganda ‘yung galaw ng mga bata. Lahat naman ng pagkukulang nila, tinatrabaho namin para maayos sa ensayo,” the champion mentor added.

Perpetual’s six-foot-three middle blocker Lourdes Clemente towered over the Lady Bombers with a season-high 19 points which included 14 attacks, two blocks, and three aces. Winger Cindy Imbo added 15 points.

Rookie Dolly Versoza paced the Lady Bombers with a game-high 21 points, while captain Shola Alvarez managed 15.

The Lady Altas (4-1) take on the undefeated defending champs Arellano University (5-0) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Bombers (2-3) face the College of Saint Benilde (3-1) on Wednesday, also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Clemente 19, Imbo 15, Sangalang 8, Llorente 7, Tripoli 7, Gual 6, Versoza 2, Umandal 1, Estanislao 0, Medalla (L)

JRU (1) – Versoza 21, Alvarez 15, Ebuenga 5, Montojo 2, Rivera 2, Sibangan 1, Bodiongan 0, Macaraya (L)

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