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Blazers send Pirates packing

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The Lyceum Pirates had every chance to hijack the game and end their season on a high note. However, just like their season, they dropped the ball as the College of Saint Benilde Blazers staved off the Lyceum University Pirates, 59-56, in their penultimate game of the season Thursday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

Contrary to the result of the game, the Lyceum Pirates started the game playing hard on the defensive end. The Pirates were able to get an early 10-2 lead capped by back-to-back three-pointers Wilson Baltazar. After a TV timeout, the Blazers regrouped and were able to cut the lead to just three, 12-9, behind a 5-0 spurt by Fons Saavedra to end the opening stanza.

The Pirates continued their hot-shooting to start the second quarter as the hero in their first round encounter, Shaq Alanes, made it rain from downtown while Joe Lacastesantos connected on one of his own to extend the lead to nine. The Blazers then switched to a full court press that halted the Lyceum momentum. A huge 12-4 run by Benilde behind senior JR Ongteco and rookie Gegard Castor turned the tides of the game. Ongteco sparked the rally with four straight points while Castor scored nine. A hail mary by Castor from 3/4 away from the court converted to enter halftime, 29-25.

The Green-and-White squad continued to push the lead to 39-31 midway through the third. The backcourt of Alanes and MJ Ayaay, carrying the team on their backs as Gabayni stuggled, chipped in to the lead to eventually tie the game 43-all entering the final frame.

Ayaay scored seven third quarter points during that rally. Ongteco, playing his penultimate game with the NCAA, was aggressive on the inside in scoring eight points in the first 3:52 of the fourth quarter to extend the Benilde lead to ten 54-44. However, the Taft-based squad’s press softened up with Ayaay and Gabayni picking apart the CSB frontline. A putback by Gabayni eventually cut the lead to five, 59-54, with 37 ticks to go. Misses by Alanes from downtown with 10.8 remaining almost cut the lead but the opportunities just kept going to the Pirates. Misses on the charity stripe by Saavedra was rebounded by Alanes who threw a pull up but was fouled by JJ Domingo. Domingo then threw his hand in disgust of the call and was called for a technical foul. Unlike in their first round encounter though, Alanes missed 2/4 charities and committed a backing violation after to hand the game to the Blazers 59-56.

“We are using these last few games to develop our rookies,” coach Gabby Velasco remarked after the game. “Ang daming gragraduate sa amin. You have Grey, Ongteco and graduating players like Saavedra and Jonson. For the past two years, core namin nawawala.”

“That’s why we have to develop guys like the Domingo twins, Gerard Castor, and Fajarito,” he reitirated. “They can be the foundation of our team.”

“We also wanted to prove a point this game,” Velasco disclosed. “We know that we won our first round encounter and the calls in that game was not good. I even showed the tape to Commissioner Cristobal and he agreed.”

Only three players scored in double digits for the Blazers with Gerard Castor leading the way with 13 markers. He was 4/5 from downtown and added nine boards. Smart Elite ambassador Jonathan Grey scored 13 points but was just 6/14 from the field. He added five assists.

For the Pirates, Joseph Gabayni notched a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards. The 7 turnovers he committed was the primary reason the team fell behind. As a team, the Pirates committed 26 turnovers tat led to 22 turnover points.

The CSB Blazers (5-12) will play their final game of the season on Tuesday, October 6 against the Mapua Cardinals at 12:00nn. The Lyceum Pirates end their season with a 4-14 slate.

The Scores:

CSB (59) – Castor 14, Grey 13, Ongteco 12, Domingo JJ 6, Saavedra 5, Domingo JS 4, Sta Maria 2, Fajarito 2, Deles 1, Nayve 0, Flores 0, Dixon 0, Young 0, San Juan 0

LPU (56) – Gabayni 14, Ayaay 11, Alanes 10, Baltazar 6, Lacastesantos 6, Soliman 3, Marata 2, Mbida 2, Elmejrab 2, Sunga 0, Malabanan 0, Nguidjol 0, Taladua 0, Bulawan 0

Quarters: 9-12, 29-25, 43-43, 59-56

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Football

Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory

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Photo from the-AFC.com

2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.

The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.

“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.

Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.

Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.

Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.

Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.

While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.

It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.

The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.

As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.

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Basketball

Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’

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Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup

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Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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NCAA

Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win

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Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.

So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”

After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.

Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.

The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.

The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.

Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.

The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

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