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Cafe France blows out ZC-Mindanao in Aguilas debut



The 2015 PBA D-League Foundation Cup champions Cafe France-CEU Bakers displayed great poise and unselfishness in an 89-65 blowout against the debuting ZC-Mindanao Aguilas Monday afternoon at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City.

The Bakers quickly blasted their debuting opponents to open the contest with a 13-2 run. During that spurt, the Aguilas were limited to just a single field goal and committed numerous unforced turnovers that led to easy points for the Edgar Macaraya-mentored squad. A stepback jumper by Dexter Garcia at the 3:01 mark of the opening stanza broke the drought of the Mindanao-based squad. After cutting the lead to just nine with 36 ticks remaining, Mar Villahermosa was able to convert on a buzzer-beating layup to end the quarter with the Bakers leading 19-8.

The Aguilas were able to bounce back and make a ball game out of the contest as they went on an 11-4 rally to open the second quarter to cut the deficit to just four, 23-19. Garcia scored eight points during the rally that included a long rainbow and a three-point play. However, Cafe France import Rodrigue Ebondo halted whatever momentum gained by the Aguilas with a 9-0 run with all the points coming from the foreigner. Ebondo started the rally with a highlight putback dunk coming from a miss by Villahermosa. Ebondo once again rocked the rim at the 4:31 point of the quarter with a coast-to-coast jam. By the end of the run, Cafe France was once again up by double-digits 32-19. Cafe France then took a 43-31 lead to enter the break with the hulking import already notching a double-double with 14 points and ten boards.

Cafe France continued to surge in the third quarter as they were able to limit the Aguilas to contested jumpers to maintain their double-digit lead all throughout. Former UE Red Warrior Paul Zamar came up big for the Bakers on the other end with his drive-bys. Zamar scored five points in the quarter to help give his team a 57-45 lead to end the third canto.

In the final quarter, the Bakers went on a 10-0 run to open the quarter to break open the game behind Villahermosa and Zamar. With the score already out of reach at the 3:17 mark of the quarter and with the Bakers leading 74-56, things got chippy as Zamar and Mindanao’s Ar-Rouf Julkipli got entangled resulting to a technical foul called on the latter. After the dust had settled, the Bakers continued with their business as they continued to play aggressive up until the final buzzer. Cafe France soundly defeated the Mindanao Aguilas 85-64.

After the game, CEU head coach Edgar Macaraya was still not pleased with how his team performed. “We committed 14 turnovers in the first quarter pero maybe that’s because this is just the first game,” the NAASCU champion coach said. “Malakas yung susunod namin na kalaban (NU-BDO). That will be a good test for us.”

Macaraya then added that even though Rodrigue Ebondo led the team with a double-double performance, 16 points and 17 boards, he was not happy with his shot selection. “Nang-gigigil siya mag drive resulting to poor shot selection. By next game sana maka-adjust din siya sa selection niya,” he closed.

Besides Ebondo, three other Bakers scored in double figures. Joseph Manlangit had 13 points while Villahermosa and Zamar scored 11 and ten points respectively.

For the Aguilas, aggressive point guard Dexter Zamora led the team with 21 points. D-League mainstay Mark Sarangay added 11 points and five boards.

As a team, the Bakers were up in almost all categories. The most glaring of them all is the rebounding margin as the Bakers grabbed 50 boards compared to just 36 for the Aguilas. Moreover, Cafe France was able to force Mindanao to 29 turnovers that led to 24 points off turnovers.

The Scores:
Cafe France (89) – Ebondo 16, Manlangit 13, Villahermosa 11, Zamar 10, Jeruta 9, Celso 7, Arim 5, Casino 5, Cruz 5, De Leon 4, Abundo 2, Opiso 2, Cortez 0, Guinitaran 0.
ZC-Mindanao (65) – Garcia 21, Sarangay 11, Jumao-as 9, Ignacio 6, Acibar 4, De Guzman 3, Rivera 3, Rublico 3, Nalos 2, Villanueva 2, Navarro 1, Julkipli 0, Ongteco 0, Wehterell 0.
Quarterscores: 19-8, 43-31, 57-45, 89-65.

Photo courtesy of PBA Images

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After getting first D-League experience, Zark’s-Lyceum ready to get loose



After a hesitant performance in their PBA D-League debut last Thursday that resulted in a loss to the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers seemingly caught up with the league’s style of play on Tuesday.

Zark’s-Lyceum displayed their true form and stamped their class all over the Batangas-EAC Generals with a 37-point destruction, 112-75 — so far the biggest winning margin the franchise has ever had in its D-League history.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams we’re playing against with,” said Zark’s-Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson after the match at Pasig Sports Center. “But the things we want to mind are those things we control.

“We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways.”

Robinson’s claim was strongly backed up by the numbers that the Jawbreakers produced.

CJ Perez had 21 points and 10 rebounds. MJ Ayaay produced 15 points and 10 boards, and Mike Nzeusseu delivered 14 markers and 11 boards.

Even the bench made their presence felt in the victory. With guard Jaycee Marcelino spearheading the supporting cast’s charge with 12 markers, the bench contributed a remarkable 56 points to their total output.

Photo by PBA Images

“Ano lang, cinontrol lang namin yung pace kasi yun naman talaga yung laro namin, yung mabilisan,” said the 24-year-old do-it-all forward, who also collected three steals.

“Kailangan talaga mabilisan para ma-execute namin yung mga ginagawa namin.”

This week will be a rough one for the Pirates, as they will play right away this Thursday against the AMA Online Education. And for Perez, he strongly believes that they will be able to carry over their momentum.

“Oo. Nandun pa. Energy talaga yung puhunan namin para makalaro ng maayos.”

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Bonbon Batiller shows what he can bring to Letran in D-League debut



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Tuesday proved to be a double debut for Bonbon Batiller. Aside from beginning his first foray in the PBA D-League, it also marked his debut for the Letran Knights, who are carrying the Wang’s Basketball Couriers franchise.

And the 5-foot-11 guard showed what he can bring to the table. Batiller collected 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists to help the Knights raise the curtains of their campaign with a 93-75 rout of the Batangas-EAC Generals.

“Nagworkout yung pinagpraktisan namin,” said Batiller. “Nagbunga rin yung tinuro samin ni Coach Jeff (Napa) lalo sa depensa. Tsaka siguro sa rebounds — laking lamang namin sa rebound. Nagsipag mga bigs namin.”

But what has him even more satisfied is the warm reception and trust he’s had from the Knights, even if he has spent barely a year with them after transferring from University of the East last 2017.

“Masaya po kasi tinanggap nila ako sa Letran ng buong-buo,” said Batiller, who normed 10.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 steals with UE in two years. “Tsaka yung tiwala nila na makakatulong ako sa team nandoon.

“Kaya masaya ako sa pinakita nila sa akin.”

That is why the General Santos native is hard-pressed to prove himself to Letran, saying that he’s all about giving back to the school that gave him another opportunity to resume his young, up-and-coming basketball career.

“Kailangan kong may mapatunayan na deserving ako sa binigay na second chance sa akin ni Letran,” said Batiller, who decided to switch schools partly due to academic reasons.

“Malaki ang utang ko sa Letran.”

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Bienvenido Maranon scores brace as Ceres-Negros eliminates Brisbane Roar



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Philippine club football just achieved its biggest continental result yet

The inaugural Philippines Football League champions Ceres-Negros Football Club eliminated three-time Australian champions Brisbane Roar in the 2018 AFC Champions League’s second preliminary round with a 3-2 stunner, away at the QSAC Stadium in Brisbane.

With the win, the 2017 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Champions are set to face Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian next January 30, 2018 at the Haihe Educational Football Stadium in Tianjin, China, to book a seat in the group stages.

Brisbane were the favorites for this tie and it showed, as Ceres started the contest on the back foot. Italian striker Massimo Maccarone handed the home side the lead in the 35th minute when he turned in Brett Holman’s pass.

Maccarone’s goal could have lowered the Busmen’s moral, but Risto Vidakovic’s men took it as a motivation rather than a downer. In fact, Ceres replied in the best way possible when Bienvenido Maranon scored his first goal of the match two minutes from halftime, thanks to a scramble in the Brisbane box.

By all accounts, Ceres had already made Philippine football proud at halftime. By this stage last year, Brisbane had accrued a 4-0 halftime cushion against Global Cebu en route to a 6-0 rout.

Today, though, Brisbane faced tougher resistance at Ceres’ hands. That resistance turned into a full-fledged revolt in the 65th minute when Maranon directed the ball past a helpless Jamie Young to give the Busmen their first taste of the lead.

Maranon’s goal well and truly turned the tide in Ceres’ favor. Brisbane were stunned. The home side are the defending A-League champions, but are currently eighth in the table this season and would soon face elimination from Asia’s premier club competition.

Already up 2-1, the Busmen finally achieved some breathing room in the 75th minute when Omid Nazari scored from close range to give Ceres a two-goal cushion over Brisbane.

Nazari’s goal not only sealed the win for Ceres, it also propelled Philippine football into the big leagues. Not even a late goal from French midfielder Éric Bauthéac could prevent the Busmen’s victory.

After five minutes of stoppage time, Ceres emerged 3-2 winners against Brisbane Roar. Come what may against Tianjin seven days from now, the Busmen have already achieved Philippine football’s biggest result since their own achievement in last season’s AFC Cup.

Who knows? Maybe Ceres can pull off another upset?

Ceres-Negros XI: Doblas (GK), Super, Mike Ott, Ingreso, Maranon, Porteria, Schrock, De Murga (C), Munoz, Nazari, Christaens.

Brisbane Roar XI: Ingham, Bowles, Papadopoulos, Maccarone, Holman, Khalfallah, Oxborrow, McKay (C), Hingert, Young (GK), Franjic.

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CJ Perez, Zark’s-Lyceum vent ire on Batangas-EAC with 37-point romp



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CJ Perez and the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers finally lived up to their hype, as they clobbered the Batangas-EAC Generals to score a 37-point beatdown, 112-75 for their first win, Tuesday at the Pasig Sports Center.

It was an all-out attack from the Jawbreakers, as they beat the Generals to the bite and took control of the game early, with Mike Nzeusseu and Jaycee Marcelino guiding their side to the 48-33 lead at halftime which they would never surrender.

Perez paced Zark’s Burger-Lyceum with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while MJ Ayaay tallied a double-double with his 15 markers, 10 boards, and three assists.

Cameroonian student-athlete Nzeusseu also delivered 14 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists. Marcelino had eight first half points and wound up with 12 off the bench, as the reserves chipped in 56 huge points in the tussle.

Coach Topex Robinson lauded the Jawbreakers for quickly adjusting to the style of the PBA D-League just days after falling to the Marinerong Pilipino, 92-94, back in opening day.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams were playing against with. But the things we want to mind are those things we control. We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways,” he said.

Earvin Mendoza and Cedric de Joya both had 16 points for the Generals in the losing effort.

Zark’s-Lyceum look to continue to roll when they face the AMA Online Education Titans on Thursday, January 25. EAC-Batangas, on the other hand, take on the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers on Monday, January 29.

The Scores:

Zark’s-Lyceum 112 — Perez 21, Ayaay 15, Nzeusseu 14, Jc. Marcelino 12, Serrano 10, Baltazar 8, Santos 8, Jv. Marcelino 6, Tansingco 6, Marata 4, Liwag 4, Ibañez 2, Cinco 2, Pretta 0.

Batangas-EAC 75 — E. Mendoza 16, De Joya 16, Tampoc 12, Laude 9, Pate 8, Maguliano 6, Altamirano 5, Diego 3, Garcia 0, Dela Peña 0, Martin 0, J. Mendoza 0, Neri 0.

Quarterscores: 19-14, 48-33, 84-47, 112-75.

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