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Back-to-Back Champions: Lady Archers beat Lady Tams, sweep season

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The DLSU Lady Archers breezed through the FEU Lady Tamaraws to successfully defend their UAAP Women’s Table Tennis Championship this Season 78. Not only is it the second successive UAAP Women’s Table Tennis Championship for the Lady Archers, it is also their third title in four seasons.

The Lady Archers earned a thrice-to-beat advantage in the finals after they swept the whole elimination round. They only needed to triumph twice in the finals to retain their crown.

Smooth sailing for the Lady Archers

Nothing epitomized the dominance of the Lady Archers this season more than the first finals tie versus the FEU Lady Tamaraws.

DLSU fielded Jamaica Sy and Ian Lariba and dispatched Josephine Talay and Shamiele Pineda for the first and second singles matches respectively. Both Sy and Lariba made quick work of their respective matches. Sy swept Talay 3-0 with scores of 11-7, 11-9, and 11-3, while Lariba followed the same script and defeated Pineda 11-7, 11-6, and 11-5, so both matches 3-0.

DLSU now had an instant 2-0 lead over FEU.

In the doubles match, Faye Bernaldez and Ina Co suited up for DLSU to take on FEU’s Jasmine Jaro and Lyndel Sellado. The Lady Archers took the first set 11-9 in a close fight. However, for the Lady Archers, the match was about to get tricky as the Lady Tamaraws won the second set 6-11.

The third set was crucial, with both sets of players hoping to get a foothold over the other. The Lady Tamaraws squeaked past the Lady Archers, 8-11, and had the chance to get one match over DLSU provided they secured the fourth set. But the Lady Archers showed why they finished the elimination round unbeaten via an 11-9 close call to seize the fourth set.

With the match and tie in the balance, the Lady Archers dismissed the Lady Tamaraws ruthlessly to seize the fifth set 11-7 and the match itself 3-2 which enabled them into having one foot forward for the gold.

Dael secures the title for DLSU

With the championship within reach, the Lady Archers needed no more encouragement to defeat FEU in the second finals tie.

The players in the first two singles matches of the previous tie returned for the same events, albeit with different arrangements in the lineup.

Lariba set the tone with a 3-0 win against Josephine Talay. It was an easy win for Lariba as Talay scored no more than five points in each set. The scores were 11-5, 11-4, and 11-5.

A five-set thriller was next in the second singles match between DLSU’s Sy and FEU’s Pineda. Sy easily won the first set 11-3, only for Pineda to stun her in the second 10-12. Sy recovered in the third set and took it 11-6. Undeterred, Pineda upset Sy in the fourth and fifth sets 7-11 each to give FEU a lifeline.

Co and Bernaldez were chosen once again from the Lady Archers, but Lady Tamaraws’ Jasmine Jaro and Fatima Soya were their opponents this time around for the doubles match. Unfazed, the Lady Archers won the first two sets 11-8 and 11-7. The Lady Tamaraws gave it their all in the third set to no avail as the Lady Archers eventually won 13-11 to sweep the match 3-0.

Emy Dael now had the opportunity to clinch the championship for DLSU against FEU’s Rose Fadol. It was going according to plan for Dael when she aced the first set 11-7. Fadol then bounced back to win the second set 6-11. The pattern continued in the third and fourth sets with Dael winning the former 11-9 while Fadol got the latter 7-11.

In what was the last set of Season 78, Dael displayed maturity to conclude the set, match, and tie and seal the championship. She outlasted Fadol in a nervy fifth set 11-9. The score for the final match of the season was 3-2 in favor of Dael.

Aside from the championship, the Lady Archers secured some individual glory. Lariba capped off her last playing year for DLSU with the Season 78 MVP award, but it is the fact that she has never lost a singles match in her UAAP career which will live long in the memory. On the other hand, Dael was awarded this season’s Rookie of the Year honor, which was hers almost the moment she secured the championship for the Taft-based squad.

The DLSU Lady Archers ruled UAAP Women’s Table Tennis for the second straight season running and no doubt they will want to prolong that championship streak for as long as they can.

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Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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Fired-up Von Pessumal on Kiefer Ravena incident: ‘I’m not here to make any friends’

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Will bridges be burned?

Von Pessumal was heavily-scrutinized Friday evening after an incident with fellow Ateneo lifer Kiefer Ravena.

It took place with 9:50 left in the final frame of the San Miguel Beermen’s highly-charged tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors. After Marcio Lassiter launched a trey, Pessumal looked like he was aiming for the rebound. Instead, he simply charged towards Ravena and pushed him down.

Lassiter’s three-pointer counted, while Pessumal, who was blocked by Ravena in a fastbreak and then received a staredown moments prior, was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul.

It was a surprising sight to see considering the amount of time he and Ravena have spent together — a bond that started ever since they were in high school. Even the second-generation star admitted that he did not expect that from his former running buddy.

“I did not expect that at all,” said the NLEX rookie.

But Pessumal downplayed such incident despite attempts by scribes to make him elaborate what had really transpired during that moment.

“It’s part of the game. It’s part of the game,” the league sophomore said after the match which they won 109-98. “I don’t wanna say anything, I’m sorry.

“It’s part of the game. Whatever move on. Not a big deal.”

Asked if he was motivated to face Ravena, whom he had shared three UAAP juniors titles, two UAAP seniors crowns, and a SEA Games gold medal with, the 24-year-old shared that he approached Friday’s bout the way he usually does.

“I wouldn’t say motivated [versus Kiefer], I mean, it’s just like any other game. When I play, I don’t see who’s guarding me, I just play,” said the 6-foot-2 swingman.

“I play to win all the time.”

The incident he and Ravena figured in shadowed his performance of 10 points on 50 percent shooting off the bench — the second time he had scored in double figures this season. After Friday, Pessumal is averaging 8.25 points.

“We have to sustain the level of excellence that they (starters) have. Our job is — I wouldn’t say support, but — when we get in, we should bring the level higher so when they come back, the game is easier for them,” he said.

Pessumal was then asked if he and Ravena met each other after the buzzer sounded as the two did not even shake hands after the contest. But, through a short yet strong response, the 24-year-old said that they did not.

“I wouldn’t say anything. I don’t know, after the game?,” he expressed.

“I’m a professional basketball player, I’m not here to make any friends.”

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Yeng Guiao denies using racial slur against Chris Ross

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During the post-game of the San Miguel Beermen’s victory over the NLEX Road Warriors, reigning Coach of the Year Leo Austria said that NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao called Chris Ross the “N” word that caused the commotion.

According to Chris, tinawagan siya ng nigger or ganiyan,” said Austria. “I don’t know but that’s what he explained to me because I confronted Chris Ross because he’s one of the most important players in my team.

“But that’s the thing he doesn’t want to hear so nagflare up yung bata so I cannot blame him.”

Guiao though denied that he blurted out racial slurs against San Miguel’s Chris Ross.

“Hindi. Hindi ko tinawag na N-word. Ewan ko kung may nakarinig. Pero hindi,” clarified the fiery tactician moments after their 98-109 defeat, their third straight after starting the 2018 Philippine Cup with two straight wins.

That tussle, according to Guiao, was just filled with trash talking against each other, as he felt the need to retaliate. In fact, Guiao was even caught by the TV camera saying “son of a bitch” towards the Filipino-American point guard.

“Daldal siya ng daldal eh. Eh sa akin naman kapag ganon, siguro respeto nalang. Lumayo ka nalang tutal mananalo naman na kayo,” he said. “I didn’t understand what he was saying, what he was talking about.

“Nakipagtrash-talking din ako sa kanya.”

Furthermore, the 58-year-old was also caught by the cameras flipping the bird — in one quick motion — also against Ross.

“Oo. Kasama na rin yun.

“Pero ano naman eh, it’s part of, siguro, psychological warfare. Malakas din siya mang-asar. Hindi lang naman sa amin. Everytime naman na mga ganoong skirmishes, he also knows what he’s capable of,” the seven-time champion coach furthered.

But more than this scuffle, it really has become a stressful time for Guiao and the Road Warriors. They have now went down to 2-3 in the team standings, and the mentor sees the great need to end this slump immediately.

“We have to arrest it very soon. Ang susunod na laro namin ay versus Rain or Shine sa Friday. So we need to go back to 50 percent win-loss level para at least may chance ka na maka-playoffs. That’s going to be a crucial game for us,” he stressed.

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Kiefer Ravena shocked with Von Pessumal’s shove: ‘I did not expect that at all’

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Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal have been teammates ever since they were in high school, winning three UAAP juniors crowns together. They won two championships together in the seniors level and even played together in Gilas. They were inseparable.

Friday evening however, they were playing for separate camps.

Ravena admitted that he never expected a shove to come from Pessumal during the NLEX Road Warriors’ clash with San Miguel Beermen.

In an off-ball situation, Pessumal charged at Ravena, sending the rookie down to the floor with 9:50 remaining in the final frame. He was then whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul, and Ravena sank one from the line.

“I did not expect that at all,” admitted Ravena after the match in which they lost, 98-109 — their third straight defeat after a 2-0 start. “But hopefully Von doesn’t take it personal.

“I’m just doing my job. They won the game.”

Ravena insisted that there wasn’t any physicality between him and Pessumal prior to that, but he thinks that his former Gilas teammate may have gotten irked by his staredown after blocking him on a fastbreak play early in the fourth.

“When that fastbreak happened — the same exact possession na I challenged him, I looked at him, and after that yun na yung nangyari,” said the 23-year-old guard. “But I never instigated something to provoke Von to do that.

“Probably nung tinignan ko siya.”

Moreover, the second overall pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft felt that that incident “started all the commotions during the end game (laughs). Yun yung pinaka-una eh. And with that, the team got fired up and it worked for them.”

He may be right, for the game saw more skirmishes after that: from teammate Michael Miranda kicking Chris Ross to the groin, and with his head coach Yeng Guiao figuring in a heated verbal war also against Ross.

But then, Ravena made it clear that it was never a plan of his to put down somebody, especially someone like Pessumal who he sees as a brother for life.

“You know, Von and I, we go way back. Things like this hopefully don’t become too personal.

“I have no intention na ipapahiya yung tao or sasaktan mo yung tao. Wala namang ganun. Laro-laro lang,” said NLEX’s leading scorer.

It was somehow a night to remember for Ravena, but for all the wrong reasons. After Friday’s loss that sent their card to 2-3, the veteran internationalist now sees the need for him and the Road Warriors to push the panic button.

“‘Di na pwedeng sabihin palaging kailangan namin matuto eh. Pangatlong sunod na,” the second-generation cager expressed.

“Kailangan siguro naming umaksyon.”

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Downcast Chris Ross chooses to stay mum after heated altercation with Yeng Guiao

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Through wins or losses, Chris Ross has always accommodated the members of the press asking for interviews and fans requesting for photo ops every after game. But Friday evening, the nine-year pro was despondent.

Visibly agitated with the events that had transpired during the San Miguel Beermen’s tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors, Ross, with his hoodie covering his head, left the Cuneta Astrodome without saying a word.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year had figured in physical play after physical play and verbal exchange after verbal exchange with the frustrated Road Warriors.

Ross and Alex Mallari were both slapped with technicals after a confrontation with 9:06 left. This was just the start of many things to come for the Filipino-American defensive specialist

After knocking down a triple and receiving a taunt from Ross, Michael Miranda was assessed a disqualifying foul for an apparent kick to the groin against Ross with 4:35 left.

The tip of the iceberg came with 1:46 left to play and the game all but settled.

Yeng Guiao and Ross figured in a heated word war that resulted in Ross’ second technical foul for the game. Referees and players from both sides had to separate the two to prevent things from escalating.

San Miguel coach Leo Austria alleged that the fiery NLEX mentor said the “N” word, while some said Guiao called Ross a “bitch”.

Ross finished the game with four points, eight rebounds, and four steals in 37 minutes of action.

For sure, penalties and suspensions will come out of this game.

And it was better for Ross to stay silent.

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