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Bonleon speaks up about move to España

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After a hiatus, Growling Tigers’ forward Mario Bonleon has finally broken his silence regarding his transfer from UE to the premises of UST, settling the puzzled minds of many about the issue.

A couple of years ago, Bonleon was clad in red and white, suiting up for the Red Warriors after finishing his high school years at La Salle-Greenhills (LSGH). His first appearance as a Red Warrior was in the 2013 FilOil-Flying V Hanes Premier Cup. A bright future was envisioned for the young forward as a UE stalwart, but shook everyone’s heads after a stunning move to his career.

June in that same year, Bonleon did the unthinkable – from being a promising Red Warrior, Bonleon was nowhere to be found come UAAP Season 76. All of a sudden, the Greenies alumnus has switched schools, from the university along Recto to the gates of España. Such a move left others puzzled, including his former school.

The move somewhat brought a negative impact to his game, since transferring from one UAAP school to another requires a long, two-year residence; which means a long layoff from competitive basketball. But now that his residence is all used up, Bonleon is now seen by many as a promising Growling Tiger under Head Coach Ariel Dela Cruz, doing his best to help the team in ways he could.

Now that the issue can be considered as a thing of the past, the former RP-Youth member has fully opened up about what really happened two years ago.

“Medyo hindi lang nagkaintindihan ‘yung parents ko tsaka si Coach [Boycie Zamar, former UE head coach], kasi pumunta ako ng UE dahil gusto ko tulungan ‘yung team. Pero, pagdating n’ung FilOil, wala man lang akong nagawa, kasi ‘di man lang ako nabigyan ng chance,” said Bonleon, recalling the scenario a few years back. “Na-lineup naman ako, pero parang sobrang down na. So inilabas na lang ako ng parents ko at nilipat ako sa UST,” he added.

Bonleon admitted that it was his parents’ decision to send him to another school, with limited playing time as the main reason that prompted them to do so. “’Di naman ako nawala sa lineup; parents ko mismo ‘yung nag-alis sa akin,” shared he. “Kasi, sabi niyo nga, ‘yung credentials ko, RP Team, so ine-expect namin na isa ako sa makakatulong at magle-lead ng team, kaso wala talagang playing time eh, kaya lumipat na lang ako.”

“Wala naman akong problema sa playing time eh. Kaya ko naman magtiis, kaya lang ‘yung parents ko talaga parang naaawa sa’kin, kasi ‘di sila sanay na nakikita ako na nasa bench lang. Tahimik lang ako noon; sila na talaga ‘yung nag-desisyon na lumipat ako. ‘Di ko kayang gawin [lumipat] pero nagawa nila [para sa akin],” spilled by Bonleon, regarding the truth behind his sudden shift of schools.

Transferring from another UAAP school requires a two-year residency, and the former RP-Youth cager disclosed that he was afraid his game might fade in that span. “Nag-pray lang ako na sana ‘yung game ko gan’un pa rin, kasi ‘yung iba nawawala eh. Pero buti na lang nakaabot ako. Parang ang bilis nga lang eh,” stressed Bonleon. “Nag-work lang talaga ako at nag-pray,” he furthered.

With the issue all settled, the streak-shooting forward now just gives his all for his newfound home, and focuses on helping UST get back on top of college basketball, particularly in the UAAP, if ever he makes it in the lineup. “’Pag kailangan nila ako mag-shoot or defense, tutulungan ko lang sila. Tutulungan ko rin ‘yung mga veterans namin, sina [Ed] Daquioag, [Kevin] Ferrer na makapasok sa Final Four [o kaya] sa Finals. Tutulungan ko sila. ‘Yun lang ang role ko ngayon,” explained Bonleon.

Their chances of barging into this year’s Final Four are high, according to Bonleon. But their hopes will only be attainable, as said by him, if the team will gel as a unit to be as one. “Chemistry lang namin. Actually, malakas na ‘yung line-up namin ngayon. Kami ‘yung may maraming veterans na magagaling pa, sina Ferrer, Daquioag, [Karim] Abdul, at Kent Lao. Chemistry lang,” proudly said by Bonleon.

“’Pag kami naglaro na ng maayos, may chance. Sobrang deep ng team namin, kahit sino pwede [mag-step up],” he concluded.

He was once hounded by trials and tribulations, but now that the smoke has been cleared, all that he has to do now is to show what he’s made of.

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Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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

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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

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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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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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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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Basketball

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

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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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