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Ateneo starts strong, dominates Day 1 of UAAP Swimming Competition



[nextpage title = “Day 1 Recap”]
The 78th UAAP Swimming Championship kicked off yesterday at the Rizal Memorial Swimming Complex. Ateneo de Manila University stamped its class in both the Men’s and Women’s divisions to prove why they are the defending champions.

It seemed smooth sailing for the Ateneo Blue Tankers as they bagged a total of five gold medals and three silver medals in the five events of the day. Moreover, all these events were won in UAAP record fashion.

Axel Ngui provided the first gold medal of the day in the 800m Freestyle, breaking his old UAAP mark in 8:32.75. Rookie teammate Eman Dapat would finish next in 8:56.16. Returning participant National University would surprise everyone by landing the bronze medal courtesy of Martin Pupos who clocked 9:09.25.

In the afternoon, the 200m Medley Relay formally kicked off the tournament in a supposedly be a tight match. However, the team of Jeric Santos, Carlo Silva, Gio Palencia, and Paolo Mutuc from Ateneo, was in a class of its own. They smashed their own old UAAP record of 1:52.06, which they fought tooth and nail to achieve last year, by setting the new mark at 1:49.66. De La Salle University’s team of Miguel Narciso, Ambrose Agustin, Red Silvestre and Alfonso Bautista (1:51.87) would repeat as runners up while University of the Philippines’ Christen Mercado, Gaston Geloso, Lans Donato and Rafael Agtarap (1:52.24) rounded out the podium.

An interesting development was the 100m Freestyle, where reigning Most Valuable Player Jessie Lacuna was surprisingly entered alongside teammate Axel Ngui, who has topped the event three times previously. Ngui would fight Lacuna, a Southeast Asian Games medalist, till the finish but would come up short. Lacuna timed 51.66 while Ngui finished in 52.14, both surpassing the UAAP record. UP rookie Rafael Sta. Maria, an NCAA Juniors MVP, won the bronze in 55.14.

Lacuna would do the improbable by immediately coming back for the next event, the 200m Individual Medley, and win in 2:06.50. He was noticeably drained but was still able to hold off fellow Blue Tanker and last year’s Rookie of the Year, Alberto Batungbacal (2:09.47) and DLSU rookie Neil Puyo (2:14.54). Lacuna ripped his old UAAP mark in the event during the morning preliminaries with a time of 2:03.31.

The day ended for the Blue Tankers with another win in the 800m Freestyle Relay. The team of Brandon Sing, Justin Sy, Gerard Reyes and Gio Palencia managed a time of 8:14.58, surpassing the old UAAP mark of 8:20.83. DLSU’s Benjie Narciso, John Velecina, Troy Espiritu and Sage Yabut also beat the mark in 8:19.96 but their efforts were simply not enough. UP’s Lawin Dacera, Derek Libadia, Rydell Ayroso and Alfred Rojo completed the podium clocking 8:22.61.

Over at the women’s competition, the Ateneo Lady Tankers managed to match their male counterparts’ success by bagging five gold medals, one of them in UAAP record time, and 2 silver medals. UP, conscious of an upset, tried to stay close with two silver medals and a bronze while DLSU took home a silver medal and a bronze medal.

Kimberly Uy reigned supreme in her pet event, the 800m Freestyle, by setting a time of 9:33.99. Rookie teammate Romina Gavino took the silver with her time of 9:44.40 while University of Santo Tomas’ Angelic Saavedra finished in 9:51.50 to take the bronze.

In the 200m Medley Relay, UP fielded in a star-studded lineup of Anna Bartolome, Joy Rodgers, Janna Taguibao and Ariana Canaya to completely dominate the competition. However, disaster struck as one of them was ruled by the referee as having jumped in too early. This enabled the 2:13.39 time of Ateneo’s Julia Balanag, Basille Uy, Bethanie Martin and Hannah Castaneda to be good enough for a gold. DLSU’s Catherine Bondad, Magali Echauz, Sarah Castaneda and Jia De Guzman landed second in 2:14.10 while UST’s Ryan Regidor, Mary Sanchez, Julianne Torres and Zoe Teodoro finished third in 2:15.60. UP has protested the result to put this event on hold.

The competition would go on, however, and Ateneo’s Hannah Dato, the reigning MVP, quickly went back to work in the 100m Freestyle. She sped to a time of 58.48 in this sprint event to establish a new UAAP record. UP rookie Winona Tee Ten surprised everyone with her silver medal worthy time of 1:01.66 while DLSU’s Ingrid Ilustre finished third at 1:02.49.

Dato returned to the pool immediately to vie for the 200m Individual Medley event where she would again emerge victorious, leaving the competition behind in 2:21.92. The next closest competitor was teammate Ariana Herranz, last year’s Rookie of the Year, with her personal best time of 2:31.67, holding off UP’s rookie Pricila Aquino who clocked 2:32.25.

The Ateneo Lady Tankers completed its campaign for the first day with another convincing win in the 800m Freestyle Relay where the team of Dominiq Reyes, Julia Balanag, Ramona Datu and Kimberly Uy slowly established a huge margin enroute to a gold medal finish in 9:19.13. UP’s Erica Lukang, Michaela Alcover, Janna Taguibao and Monica Padilla took the silver in 9:25.85 while UST’s Danica Locsin, Katrina Aguelo, Rhezel Jugar and Isabelle Gubat took the bronze in 9:51.05.

At the end of the first day, the Ateneo Blue Tankers amassed 122 points, ahead of DLSU’s 67 and UP’s 40. Not to be outdone by their counterparts, the Ateneo Lady Tankers collected 121 points to top UP’s 66 and DLSU’s 38.

Day Two of the UAAP Swimming Championship continues today with the 400m Freestyle, 50m Breaststroke, 100m Butterfly, 200m Backstroke and 400m Freestyle Relay events. UP and DLSU are expected to pick up the pace even as Ateneo tries to hold off its competitors.

[nextpage title = “Points and Awarding”]
Event 1 Men’s 200 Medley Relay
GOLD – Jan Jeric Santos, Giancarlo Silva, Jose Gio Fidel Palencia, Paolo Gabriel Mutuc (ADMU) 1:49.66 NEW UAAP Record
SILVER – Juan Miguel Narcisco, Ambrose Raymund Agustin, Leon Red Silvestre, Alfonso Jose Bautista (DLSU) 1:51.87
BRONZE – Christen Mercado, Joseph Gaston Beloso, Lanz Rawlin Donato, Rafael Andrew Agtarap (UP) 1:52.24

Event 5 Men’s 100 Free

GOLD – Jessie Khing Lacuna (ADMU) 51.66 NEW UAAP Record
SILVER – Axel Toni Steven Ngui (ADMU) 52.14
BRONZE – Rafael Sta Maria (UP) 55.14

Event 6 Women’s 100 Free

GOLD – Hannah Dato (ADMU) 58.48 NEW UAAP RECORD
SILVER – Winona Nadine Tee Ten (UP) 1:01.6
BRONZE – Sabrina Ingrid Ilustre (DLSU) 1:02.49

Event 9 200 Individual Medley

GOLD – Jessie Khing Lacuna (ADMU) 2:06.50
SILVER – Alberto Batungbacal (ADMU) 2:09.47
BRONZE – Arian Neil Puyo (DLSU) 2:14.54

Event 10 200 Individual Medley


GOLD – Hannah Dato (ADMU) 2:21.92
SILVER – Ariana Herranz (ADMU) 2:31.67
BRONZE – Pricila Loren Aquino (UP) 2:32.25

Event 13 Men’s 800 Free


GOLD – Axel Ngui (ADMU) 8:32.75 NEW UAAP RECORD
SILVER – Eman Noellito Dapat (ADMU) 8:56.16
BRONZE – Martin Jacob Pupos (NU) 9:09.25

Event 14 Women’s 800 Free


GOLD – Kimberly Uy (ADMU) 9:33.99
SILVER – Romina Rafaelle Gavino (ADMU) 9:44.40
BRONZE – Mary Angelic Saavedra (UST) 9:51.50

Event 17 Men’s 800 Free Relay


GOLD – Brandon Willis Sing, Justin Vito Sy, Gerard Christoffe Reyes, Jose Gio Fidel Palencia (ADMU) 8:14.58 NEW UAAP RECORD
SILVER – Benjie Gregory Narciso, John Edward Velecina, Troy Jordan Espiritu, Franz Edward Yabut (DLSU) 8:19.96
BRONZE – Lawin Dacera, Derek Izac Libadia, Rydell Justin Ayroso, Alfred Valentin Rojo (UP) 8:22.61

Event 18 Women’s 800 Free Relay


GOLD – Dominiq Ruth Reyes, Julia Iona Balanag, Ramona Angelina Datu, Kimberly Uy (ADMU) 9:19.13
SILVER – Erica Kristy Lukang, Michaela Alyssa Alcover, Janna Mikayla Taguibao, Monica Padilla (UP) 9:25.85
BRONZE – Danica Claudia Locsin, Katrina Nicole Aguelo, Rhezel Jugar, Isabelle Gubat (UST) 9:51.05

Men’s DivisionWomen’s Division
1. Ateneo de Manila University122 points1. Ateneo de Manila University121 points
2. De La Salle University672. University of the Philippines66
3. University of the Philippines403. De La Salle University38
4. National University254. University of Santo Tomas31
5. University of Santo Tomas225. University of the East8
6. University of the East,
Adamson University



Aldo is an ultimate sports enthusiast who watches and plays a multitude of sports like basketball, volleyball, swimming and water polo. His heart bleeds blue as he graduated in Jesuit institutions and is currently employed in one. Purefoods (or whatever name they call it now) in the PBA and the LA Lakers in the NBA are his favorite basketball teams.

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Calvin Abueva rejuvenated with return of physical play: ‘Masarap maglaro’



Photo by PBA Images

For Calvin Abueva, it feels great to play in the PBA nowadays.

The Beast, who has always been known as one of the league’s most physical players since entering in 2012, was all praises for the way the officiating has changed this 43rd season — by just letting all the players play.

“Mas gumanda yung tawagan ngayon, naging physical nga. Naging exciting para sa mga tao, mas marami na nanonood ngayon eh,” said Abueva moments after their 97-83 victory over the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Sunday night.

As has been said many times, physicality had become something controlled over the last two years. Abueva knows it too well, having been a casualty, as he has paid a bevy of penalties during that time.

And now that it is a thing of the past, the 6-foot-2 bruiser feels much better, knowing that he can display his brand of basketball once more.

“Masarap maglaro, talagang pisikalan,” said the 29-year-old forward from Angeles, Pampanga. “Siyempre makikita naman natin kung sinasadya o hindi, basta katawan lang.

“Pisikal. Yun yung magandang laro di ba?”

Aside from the comeback of physicality, what makes Abueva beam even more is the way the Aces have been playing in the 2018 Philippine Cup. After a 0-2 start in the tourney, they have now booked their third straight win.

“Nung 2017 parang nilubog na namin yung losing streak namin doon. Ito 2018 na at panibagong destination na naman yung ina-ano namin,” said Abueva, who had nine points, nine rebounds, and five assists against Ginebra.

“Sustain muna namin ‘to… Sana magtuloy-tuloy ‘tong winning streak namin.”

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Alaska takes advantage of Greg Slaughter’s absence



For the streaking Alaska Aces, their stunning 97-83 victory over the favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday night was partly made possible by the absence of one key player: seven-foot behemoth Greg Slaughter.

The 28-year-old center, who was averaging 20.67 points and 10.3 rebounds prior to Sunday, did not play against the Aces due to a hamstring injury. How he incurred the injury has yet to be determined.

“There’s a small person named Greg Slaughter who didn’t play; I think he has an impact on the game,” quipped coach Alex Compton after the match.

“[They missed] a guy who I think is gonna win an MVP soon in Greg Slaughter.

“Sometimes dito sa liga natin, you have to take advantage when opportunities come your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt [though],” added Compton.

With Slaughter out of the way, the Aces’ big men feasted.

Vic Manuel top-billed with 18 points and five rebounds, and elder statesman Sonny Thoss turned back the clock with a 17-point, four-rebound outing.

“Malaking bonus na rin sa amin, kasi wala nga si Greg kaya nakuha namin yung panalo,” said Manuel.

“Yeah it definitely helped,” added the six-foot-seven Thoss, who shot 6-of-12 from the floor and made four of his freebies.

“He’s a big guy, he’s a big presence inside so it took one big guy off our shoulder.”

Slaughter was approached and asked by scribes regarding his injury, but he was not in the mood to comment. No one can blame him, though, since the Barangay have slipped to their second straight defeat after a 2-0 start.

“I’m always there in practice, going over our gameplans. But it’s better if you ask our PT,” he said.

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Alaska completes turnaround at Greg Slaughter-less Ginebra’s expense



Photo by PBA Images

A strong second half surge was all the Alaska Aces needed to turn back the heavily-favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 97-83, and book their third straight victory, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The Aces, who have yet to lose this 2018, have now improved to 3-2. Meanwhile, the Barangay absorbed their second straight loss and have dropped to 2-2.

“I was telling the guys na parang ang dami nating iniisip, hindi natin ginagawa yung ginagawa natin noong nakaraang dalawang linggo. Sabi ko relax lang tayo,” said coach Alex Compton, sharing what he told his wards that sparked the win.

Vic Manuel led the Milkmen with 18 points and five rebounds. Sonny Thoss turned back the clock as he made 17 markers on 6-of-12 shooting, while Chris Banchero supplied 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds.

The Aces were trailing by eight, 36-44 at the half, but it became a different ball game come the third chapter as they outscored the Gin Kings, 37 to 19, to erect a favorable 73-63 cushion heading into the game’s final 12 minutes.

From there, Alaska kept their foot on the gas to sustain their lead, which grew to as much as 18, 85-67, after their 6-0 spree — punctuated by Banchero’s lay-up plus a foul — with 6:14 remaining in the final frame.

Ginebra still tried to make one last push as they inched within 10, 75-85, but baskets by Thoss and Kevin Racal propelled Alaska to an 89-75 lead with 3:42 left to play — more than enough to knock out their counterparts.

“I was glad to come away with the win,” added Compton. “Sometimes, we have to take advantage of opportunities coming your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt but when two number one picks on the other team aren’t playing… There.”

Jvee Casio had 13 markers for Alaska, while Calvin Abueva nearly had a double-double of nine points and nine boards along with five assists in 20 minutes.

Aljon Mariano had 15 points, nine rebounds, and three dimes for Ginebra, who — despite having Sol Mercado back in the fold after ankle issues — missed the services of Joe Devance and Greg Slaughter due to injuries.

Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and Kevin Ferrer each scored 12 for the Barangay, with Thompson adding five assists. The trio combined for 15 of Ginebra’s 43 rebounds.

Alaska will aim to extend their streak versus the Blackwater Elite on Saturday, January 27 at 4:30 PM, while Ginebra will look to end their slump against the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Friday, January 26 at 7:00 PM. Both games are at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Alaska 97 — Manuel 18, Thoss 17, Banchero 14, Casio 13, Abueva 9, Teng 9, Cruz 5, Enciso 3, Potts 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2, Racal 2, J. Pascual 0.

Ginebra 83 — Mariano 15, J. Aguilar 12, Ferrer 12, Thompson 12, Caguioa 8, Cruz 8, R. Aguilar 5, Tenorio 5, Mercado 2, Taha 2, Wilson 2, Jamito 0.

Quarterscores: 26-23, 36-44, 73-63, 97-83.

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Frustrated Jared Dillinger admits ‘he’s getting sick’ of Meralco’s bad PH Cup runs



It’s no secret that the Meralco Bolts have struggled in the Philippine Cup for the last three years. During the last two seasons, the eight-year-old franchise’s win-loss tally is four wins and 18 losses.

And in the 2018 edition, the narrative has been the same, with little to no hope of it turning the other way around.

The Bolts bowed to the TNT Katropa, 99-81, Sunday night — their third straight defeat after winning over Blackwater Elite in their opener last December. If things continue as they are, it looks like another poor all-Filipino tilt run is looming.

“We’re 1-3 and there’s nothing to be happy about,” said Jared Dillinger, who had 14 points and five caroms in the match at Ynares Center in Antipolo. “It’s a long season though… We [shouldn’t] panic but it’s not fun right now.

“The Philippine Cup has been our Achilles heel and every damn Philippine Cup we get our ass kicked. I’m getting sick of it.”

In this game, Meralco missed the services of top forwards Ranidel De Ocampo and Cliff Hodge due to injuries. But for Dillinger, those issues shouldn’t be excuses.

“When you get two guys like Ranidel and Cliff out, as a team, that’s the opportunity for the guys below them to step up,” asserted Dillinger, who has been with the franchise since 2013.

“It doesn’t have to mean scoring, getting the assists or rebound, it’s just making the right play, being smart.”

Asked what went wrong in this particular loss versus their sister team, where they shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and had committed 17 turnovers, the 10-year veteran lamented the poor effort that the Bolts put up.

“TNT didn’t do anything much, given that they played well. But they didn’t have any secret schemes against us. They just passed the ball around, and they got open shots,” added the 10-year pro, as TNT made 23 assists and shot 18 triples.

“Our effort wasn’t there. We got to put up the intensity cause it sucks right now.”

Meralco have a chance to end their slump against the Kia Picanto this Wednesday. Dillinger sees it as a do-or-die affair, warning that it will be a grind-out affair knowing that the Picanto is coming off a skid-ending win over Rain or Shine.

Do-or-die ’cause that’s gonna be a playoff game. Thank God they beat Rain or Shine ’cause you don’t want to be that one team that gives the win to a 0-16 [team]. You don’t want to play teams like that,” stressed the all-around forward.

“Nothing to take away from Kia though. It’s gonna be tough.”

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