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Bonleon credits seniors for defensive turnaround



Former Batang Gilas member Mario Bonleon Jr. is continuing to prove his doubters wrong.

The former La Salle Greenhills Greenie was a shoot-first wing and a dynamic scorer when he came out of high school. Recruiters found his offensive game as his key to a college scholarship. After a year away from the game, Bonleon found himself with the University of Santo Tomas and with a frame molded in the likes of former Growling Tigers Dylan Ababou and Khasim Mirza, he was a perfect fit for the Espana cagers.

After missing the first game of the season due to an injury, Bonleon has been one of the key role players for the league-leading UST Growling Tigers. “Well para sa akin grateful kami na ganun na yung record namin,” Bonleon remarked about the team’s run so far. “Alam mo yun every game mahirap, nabibigyan lang ng grasya. Grateful talaga kami doon.”

The UST rookie is currently averaging 18 minutes of court time for the Growling Tigers. Beside his offensive prowess, the lanky wing has displayed tenacious grit on defense, which is a huge bonus for UST. This defensive tenacity has earned him the confidence of his coach Bong dela Cruz. “Yun nga e. Minsan nga natatakot na ko kasi parang sobrang tiwala niya. Ako naman lagi nagtuturnover,” Bonleon, who is currently averaging 2.3 turnovers a game, said.

“At least kahit papaano, this game [against NU] nakabawi ako ng kaunti. Thank talaga ako sa tiwala niya,” he reflected about the team’s win against the defending champions, National University. Bonleon played just 13 minutes in the game but was one of the key pieces that helped limit the Bulldogs to just nine points in the pivotal second quarter.

Jokingly, the young Bonleon quipped that, “ewan ko nga ano pinakain kay coach kaya sobrang tiwala niya sa akin.”

“Embons” knows that in being a rookie, he has to be effective on both ends of the court whenever his name is called. That is why, with the help of his seniors, he worked hard on his defense. “Dahil sa kanila naging all-around player ako. Dati kasi nung nagsimula ako maglaro offensive player ako. Ngayon kasi, dahil nagsisimula pa lang ako, kelangan maging role player muna. Lahat kasi ng seniors namin magagaling, lahat scorers,” he reflected.

Bonleon has utilized his length to front and check the likes of Kiefer Ravena, Mike Tolomia, Jeron Teng, and other marquee scorers in the league night-in and night-out. “Dahil dun nadevelop defense ko hanggang sa ako na nagbabantay sa mga key players sa kabila. Mas focus ako sa depensa ngayon kaya nadagdagan ako. Hindi tulad ng dati na puro offense lang,” he added.

Even with the high praises he receives, Bonleon keeps his head leveled as he knows that his game is still far from being a finished product. Besides working on his ball-handling skills, he is also working on the mental aspect of the game. “Ngayon, dinedevelop ko din yung mental toughness. Minsan kasi kahit ginagamit ako ni coach nawawala pa rin ako sa offense or defense,” he closed

Bonleon will look to stop Ravena once more as he and the rest of the UST Growling Tigers are set to face Kiefer Ravena and the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles on Wednesday, October 21 at 4:00pm in the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa



After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Marcus Elliott grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record



Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Ilocos United takes leave from PFL



Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level



After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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