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Bulldogs stave off Generals, book Finals seat



Drawing another balanced effort from their entire team, the National University (NU) Bulldogs shrugged off the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals in Game Two of their best-of-three series in four sets 25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-22 in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference semifinal round presented by PLDT Home Ultera at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

The Bulldogs rushed to a blistering start in the opening set behind sophomores Kim Malabunga and Bryan Bagunas. NU kept a steady three-point wall between them and their foes, but EAC eventually threatened to hijack the set after Howard Mojica capped a scoring run that had his team within a point of NU, 18-19. NU rookie opposite hitter, Madzlan Gampong led a franetic run from the service line that afforded NU five consecutive points and a comfortable 24-18 advantage. Bagunas powered a cut shot past two EAC blockers that gave his team the 1-0 sets lead.

A tighter affair greeted the Bulldogs in the second set as their errors piled up. The UAAP runner-ups however climbed to the lead through powerful wing attacks from Ismail and Gampong. An EAC service error ballooned the NU advantage to four, 11-7, prompting Generals’ coach Rod Palmero to call a timeout. But his quick talk bore no results with the Bulldogs matching every EAC assault. The Generals got their deficit down to as much as three, 16-19, after Hariel Doguna served up some bombs from the service stripe. From there, the Bulldogs traded blows with the Generals who religiously fed the ball to Howard Mojica. NU countered with hits from Ismail and Gampong to take the second frame.

The Bulldogs then admittedly relaxed in the third frame, allowing EAC to build a 13-6 lead after 5-0 rally spearheaded by Doguna’s serving. The Bulldogs slowly chipped away at the deficit, eventually forcing an EAC timeout after Kerth Melliza blew and whiffed an attack, 21-23. EAC got a lift in the following point after NU middle blocker, Francis Saura sent a quickattack wide. Howard Mojica finished the set with a rare running hit with no blockers in front of him, pulling his team to a 2-1 match.

The Generals fought hard in the fourth set but could not match the power and verticality of the young NU squad. EAC forced multiple ties throughout the set but never took the lead in the latter parts. After EAC guest player April Pagtalunan’s block knotted the set at 20, NU replied with back-to-back points highlighted by a Madzlan Gampong attack that flew over two blockers. EAC struggled mightily to score points and force a side out as the points they scored from that point on came from NU errors. Gampong, Malabunga, and Ismail scored the three match-clinching attacks that brought their team to the Finals.

Gampong dished out a team-high 19 points, Bagunas turned in 17 markers, Ismail had 12 while Malabunga chipped in 10 points to round out NU’s balanced assault.

Asked about his team’s chances in the Finals against the dedending UAAP champs, Ateneo, NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin admitted that winning a title was not the priority going in to the tournament. “Bata pa ‘yung mga players ko. Malakas sila maglaro, advanced ‘yung skills, pero kailangan pa talaga nila mahasa sa mga big games,” the Air Force middle blocker said. “Medyo boring pa ‘yung opensa namin ngayo kumpara last year, pero sana pagdating mg UAAP, madagdag na namin ‘yung mga patong sa laro namin,” he added.

NCAA MVP, Mojica fired off 31 points while Hariel Doguna had 11 markers for EAC who will settle for a third place face-pff with the NCBA Wildcats.

The Scores

NU (3) – Gampong 19, Bagunas 17, Ismail 12, Malabunga 10, Saura 8, Mangulabnan 3, Dayandamte 0, Natividad 0, Marcos (L)

EAC (1) – Mojica 31, Doguna 11, Melliza 9, Encina 6, Gerella 4, Pagtalunan 1, Arias 0, Gorospe 0, Mangaring (L)


Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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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 Ryan Moss 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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