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Blue Eagles establish insurmountable lead; Lady Maroons close in on Lady Eagles

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[nextpage title = “Day 3 Recap”]
Day Three of the 78th UAAP Swimming Championship saw the Ateneo de Manila University pull further away from challenger De La Salle University in the Men’s Division. In the distaff side, the University of the Philippines set up an interesting final day as they further trimmed down the lead established by Ateneo.

It was another day of dominance for the Ateneo Blue Tankers as they piled up a total of five gold medals, four of them in record fashion, three silver medals and three bronze medals in six events. The DLSU Green Tankers managed to bring home a gold medal in UAAP record time, two silver medals and a bronze medal. The UP Fighting Maroons managed to get a silver and bronze medal each while UST went away with one bronze medal.

Jessie Lacuna of Ateneo had a big day ahead as he was set to swim three events – the 200m Freestyle, 50m Butterfly, and the 400m Individual Medley. It wound up being no problem as he managed to win all of them. In the 200m Freestyle, he clocked 1:54.78 to hold off teammate Axel Ngui, who timed 1:57.35, and his brother Dexter Lacuna, swimming for UP, who touched at 1:59.84.

Lacuna returned to the pool moments later for the 50m Butterfly, where he broke another record in 25.31 seconds, lowering his previous mark of 25.47 seconds. Red Silvestre of DLSU collected the silver medal by finishing in 25.89 seconds while UST’s Brayan Celestial rounded out the podium in 26.37 seconds.

In his final event of the day, Lacuna emerged victorious in the gruesome 400m Individual Medley where he found enough strength to shave off almost two seconds from his previous best, with a time of 4:25.89. Fellow Blue Tanker Aldo Batungbacal took the silver medal with a personal best time of 4:39.65 while DLSU rookie Neil Puyo took home the bronze in 4:50.27.

It was Batungbacal’s second silver medal for the day as he was also runner-up in the 100m Breaststroke which he won last season. Ateneo’s Giancarlo Silva won the event in 1:06.08, touching ahead of Batungbacal who timed 1:06.15. Batungbacal would repeatedly charge Silva but to no avail. Teammate Paolo Mutuc surprised everyone with his bronze medal time of 1:07.24 to make it an all-Ateneo podium finish. Silva broke the 12-year old record of Olympian Timmy Chua in the preliminary session with a time of 1:05.93.

Ngui and Puyo would set up a showdown for the 100m Backstroke. In the end, Ngui prevailed over the rookie by matching the standing UAAP record of former DLSU tanker Johan Aguilar of 59.49 seconds. Puyo registered a lower personal best time of 1:00.07. Atenean Jeric Santos collected the bronze medal with a time of 1:01.99.

Rounding out the day, the 200m Freestyle Relay never fails to draw the excitement from the stands. The team from DLSU of Alfonso Bautista, Troy Espiritu, Red Silvestre and Miguel Narciso ruled the event to deny Ateneo a sweep, on their way to a new UAAP record of 1:39.21. UP’s Lans Donato, Rafael Agtarap, Alfred Rojo and Christen Mercado touched next in 1:40.56, also below the standing UAAP mark. Even Ateneo’s Brandon Sing, Justin Sy, Paolo Mutuc and Aldo Batungbacal with a time of 1:40.68 were below the record time but were only good enough for the bronze.

In the Women’s Division, Ateneo took home five gold medals, two of them in record time, and two silver medals, but the lone gold medal, three silver medals and three bronze medals of UP were enough to further close the gap between the two teams. DLSU took home one silver and bronze medal each while UST managed to snare two bronze medals.

Hannah Dato led the way for the Ateneo Lady Tankers by ruling the 50m Butterfly and 400m Individual Medley, both in new UAAP record times. She registered a time of 27.75 seconds in the morning preliminaries but further brought it down to 27.66 seconds in the afternoon finals. Last year, she set the record of 28.20 seconds. In second was UP rookie Janna Taguibao with her time of 29.77 seconds, while in third was another UP rookie Teresa Dela Rosa who finished in 30.04 seconds.

Dato finished the day by shaving off two seconds from her record last year in the 400m Individual Medley with her new best time of 5:03.71. Ateneo rookie Romina Gavino took the silver medal in 5:22.62 while UST’s Angelic Saavedra took the bronze medal in 5:26.77.

Ateneo’s Kimberly Uy concluded her UAAP swimming career with a bang by ruling the 200m Freestyle in 2:13.02. She retires from the UAAP scene with the 800m Freestyle record in her name. Teammate Ariana Herranz finished next in 2:14.68 while UP’s rookie Nadine Tee Ten completed the podium with her time of 2:14.89.

Later on, Herranz swam the 100m Backstroke in 1:07.51 where she emerged victorious over UP’s Mikee Bartolome, who registered a time of 1:07.72. DLSU rookie Cathy Bondad took the bronze in 1:08.57.

UP again ruled the breaststroke event courtesy of Joy Rodgers who clocked 1:17.50, reigning over DLSU’s Ingrid Ilustre (1:18.41) and UP’s April Bartolome (1:18.78).

The Ateneo team of Shaye Uy, Andrea Torres, Shayn Ting and Hannah Castaneda sped to a gold medal time of 1:54.70 in the 200m Freestyle Relay, topping UP’s team of Teresa Dela Rosa, Nicole Tan, Michaela Alcover and Ariana Canaya who only managed a 1:56.67 finish. UST’s Zoe Teodoro, Althea Belen, Zsuzsanna Gatchalian and Jana Toledo took home the bronze medal in 1:58.89.

With only one day left in the competition, the individual awards race is becoming clearer. Jessie Lacuna and Hannah Dato both are shoe-ins for the Most Valuable Player medals. The Rookie of the Year race is a tight competition between Ateneo’s Eman Dapat and DLSU’s Neil Puyo in the Men’s Division, and Ateneo’s Romina Gavino, and UP’s Pricila Aquino, Janna Taguibao, and Nadine Tee Ten in the Women’s Division.

The final day of the 78th UAAP Swimming Championship continues at the Rizal Memorial Swimming Complex where the teams vie for medals in the 50m Backstroke, 200m Breaststroke, 200m Butterfly, 50m Freestyle, 1500m Freestyle and 400m Medley Relay.
[/nextpage]
[nextpage title = “Awarding and Points”]

Men’s DivisionWomen’s Division
1. Ateneo de Manila University400 points1. Ateneo de Manila University341 points
2. De La Salle University2002. University of the Philippines309
3. University of the Philippines1373. De La Salle University120
4. University of Santo Tomas814. University of Santo Tomas92
5. National University675. University of the East26
6. University of the East,
Adamson University
12 

[/nextpage]

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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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ABL

Joshua Munzon, Westsports snap Saigon’s streak in highly emotional contest

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Photo by ASEAN Basketball League

Entering Wednesday night’s game, Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat were on a high, slaying the winning streaks of Hong Kong Eastern and Nanhai Kung Fu. However, Joshua Munzon and the Westsports Malaysia Dragons had other things in mind, keeping the Heat winless at the MABA Stadium, 91-87.

In his fourth game since returning to the Dragons, Munzon filled up the stat sheet, tallying 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks.

Besides putting up the numbers, the athletic swingman from California helped limit reigning Heritage Player of the Week Williams to his worst game so far in the ABL. Averaging 27.33 points, 6.67 assists, and 6.0 rebounds prior to this game, Williams went field goal-less against the Dragons, missing all 11 of his attempts. The Filipino-American floor general was able to dish out eight assists and grab five caroms.

Westsports led by as much as 11 points in the final frame, 82-71, after Munzon found Marcus Marshall for a triple with 4:59 remaining. Behind World Imports Akeem Scott and Maxie Esho, the Heat stormed right back but was answered by a long bomb by Munzon to keep them at bay.

Marshall and Scott figured in a shootout to close out the game but in the end, the hosts were still able to etch out their second straight victory.

Marshall finished the game with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Dragons while Scott’s 44-point game went for naught.

After the emotionally charged contest though, few unkind words were exchanged by the officials of both squads that almost resulted into a brawl. Fortunately, things did not escalate beyond that.

In the video, Munzon was also seen shoving a Saigon player to try and pacify the situation. The league is currently investigating the post-game incident.

With the win, Westsports Malaysia raised its record to 3-4 while dropping Saigon to 4-3.

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Mixed Martial Arts

Edward Kelly honored to fight alongside brother Eric

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Eric and Edward Kelly lived under the same roof for years in their hometown of Baguio City when they were young and shared the same burning passion in martial arts.

Growing up in the small town community of San Tomas Central, located within the city limits of Baguio, Eric and Edward did not always get along with one another as the two fought all the time, sometimes even resulting in injury.

“We were not that close before. We always fought. In short, Eric and I were headaches to our parents,” Edward recalled in jest.

“But of course, things change when you grow up and mature. We now appreciate each other’s company.”

Fortunately, when the brothers entered high school, Eric discovered martial arts, and everything would change for both of them.

Edward paid attention to the growing accolades of his older brother and was heavily motivated by it.

“I noticed after he started martial arts that it taught him the discipline not to fight me as a brother. Instead, he started giving me advice through what he had learned,” he bared. “I also joined martial arts because it teaches you discipline, and a lot of other positives, too.”

Years later, both men have made remarkable runs as outstanding martial artists in their respective professional careers.

Eric is widely regarded as one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines.

A Wushu practitioner who combines solid striking techniques with high-level grappling skills, Eric owns nine scintillating submissions and one knockout out of 12 total career victories.

Eric’s most impressive showing to date came in a submission win over Rob Lisita in July 2014, a performance that earned him the USD 50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus.

Meanwhile, Edward is considered as one of the best and brightest featherweight prospects to emerge from the well-established martial arts scene in the Philippines.

With a complete striking and grappling skill set, Edward brings Team Lakay’s world-renowned Wushu to center stage as he showcases his impeccable skillset inside the ONE Championship cage.

In addition, the younger Kelly has won three of his last four bouts under the ONE Championship banner, all by spectacular finish.

The Kelly brothers get a rare chance on Friday, January 26 as the siblings will compete side-by-side when ONE Championship holds its first of the four scheduled events in the country for 2018.

Eric squares off with Brazilian standout Rafael Nunes on the undercard of ONE: Global Superheroes, while Edward crosses paths with Cambodia’s Meas Meul in a three-round featherweight clash.

It is the first time both of them will be featured at a ONE Championship event together, and Edward plans to make it a night they will never forget.

“I am so excited because finally, it’s going to happen. It marks the first time that I will compete alongside my older brother. Surely, it’s going to be a memorable night for the both of us,” he said.

“We have the same aim of winning. So making it two for two on this card will make this extra special.”

As Eric seeks to get back on the winning track at the expense of Nunes, Edward is likewise looking to move forward in his career after getting his three-bout winning streak snapped by American stalwart Emilio Urrutia in August 2017.

In his next cage outing, Edward goes up against Meul, a undefeated promotional newcomer with six wins to his credit.

“My coaches has prepared me well for this. I am not going to disappoint my team and my country when I enter that cage on 26th of January,” Edward assured. “I don’t want to let my countrymen down this time. I am here to give them a great bout.

“And of course, win the bout in impressive fashion for them.”

Edward has no qualms if he has to go full three rounds with Meul, but he admitted that his sights are always set on securing the finish.

“I am looking to dominate him for three rounds. But hopefully, I can get the finish,” he vowed.

“A finish will be the perfect way to tell the world that I am back.”

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Basketball

Roger Pogoy churns best performance against former teammates

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Prior to Wednesday, all eyes were on the TNT Katropa-Blackwater Elite face-off, with many curious to see how last season’s Rookie of the Year Roger Pogoy would fare against his former FEU teammates Mac Belo and Raymar Jose.

And as the final buzzer sounded, the 25-year-old Pogoy had reigned triumphant over his close pals, getting away with a conference-best performance as a bonus.

The six-foot-two Cebuano sniper fired a game-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, along with eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals, to lead the Texters to a skid-ending, 92-83 victory at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

“Must-win talaga namin ‘to para makabawi kami, kasi 1-2 na yung standing namin (before the game) eh.

“Buti na lang maganda yung nilaro ko,” said Pogoy, who was just averaging 11.3 points in the past three games.

But Pogoy tipped his hat to the much taller Elite, who enjoyed plenty of time in the driver’s seat in the first half, until the Katropa found their groove in the third canto — highlighted by a 16-3 rally that put them ahead, 60-53.

“Malakas yung Blackwater eh, tapos ang lalaki nila kaya mahirap mag-drive, mahirap pumasa kasi naagaw nila,” said Pogoy. “Buti na lang naka-adjust kami nung second half. Hindi kami nagmadali, dinahan-dahan namin.”

Aside from his own outing, Pogoy is thankful that they were able to address their fourth quarter woes when facing the Elite — the issue that hounded them in their 76-88 loss to the San Miguel Beermen last Saturday in Iloilo.

TNT had actually been mere steps away from melting down — again — against Blackwater, no thanks to a 20-9 run that wiped out their 17-point lead to just six,

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Basketball

With Nash Racela knowing his tendencies, Mac Belo limited to poor shooting

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Prior to Wednesday, Blackwater Elite’s young star Mac Belo was on a roll early in the 2018 Philippine Cup, averaging exactly 20 points on 42.6 percent shooting in their games against Meralco, Rain or Shine, and Ginebra.

But, as they say, good things must come to an end.

Belo, despite having 13 rebounds, was held to just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting as the Elite bowed to TNT Katropa, 92-83 — a sour loss knowing that they’re coming off huge 94-77 win against Ginebra last Friday.

“Bukol,” said Belo in jest of his poor outing after the match. “Big test para sa’min kasi yung TNT talagang isang de-kalibreng team dito sa PBA.

“Talagang pinaghandaan nila kami, at gustong-gusto nila manalo.”

It also did not help that the Katropa’s head coach, Nash Racela, was his coach in FEU Tamaraws for three years — a relationship brightly highlighted by a championship run in the UAAP Season 78 back in 2015.

“Siyempre alam niya yung mga tendencies ko. Matagal ko siyang coach sa FEU,” said the 6-foot-4 forward.

“Sa akin naman, kailangan ko pa matuto sa ganun, kung anong mga defense binabato niya sakin. Kailangan ko pang pag-aralan.”

But for Belo, the loss was more than his own showing. The 25-year-old lamented his and the Elite’s lapses on defense, which was encapsulated by the second half collapse they had that allowed TNT to come back and steal the win.

“Medyo marami lang kaming lapses especially sa defense namin,” said the sophomore forward, as they allowed TNT to shoot 41.6 percent from the floor. “Maraming mga miscommunication na kailangan pa namin i-work.”

Belo and the Elite are now set to move on from this bitter defeat, as they all shift their sights in their match this Friday versus GlobalPort Batang Pier. For the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart, it is already a must-win for them.

“Kailangan namin ng rest ngayon kasi back-to-back games kami. We need to win sa Friday para okay sa’min,” said Belo. “Kailangan din namin paghandaan kasi galing sila sa win.

“Kailangan namin i-double yung effort namin.”

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