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Cagayan Valley avoids late meltdown; thwarts Navy in five sets

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Cagayan Valley Lady Rising Suns withstood the furious come-from-behind surge by Philippine Navy Lady Sailors in five sets, 25-18, 25-7, 22-25, 25-23, and 15-9, in their preliminary match-up of the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Open Conference this afternoon, at the FilOil-Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The Lady Rising Suns actually started well in the opening set, but the error bug seemed to have bitten Cagayan’s offense, which inevitably gave away easy points to the opposing side. Midway into the set, Navy saw themselves on top, 15-13, after a check ball by Norie Jean Diaz. However, their grasp of the lead loosened moments later, as Cagayan regained their stance on both ends of the floor striking a 12-3 scoring spree behind Rosemarie Vargas, Marivic Meneses, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, and Shiela Pineda to close out and own the first set, 25-18.

The second set displayed the beastly offensive outburst by Cagayan, preventing Navy to get their rhythm and initiate a scoring attack. Behind their all-around team effort on both ends; highlighted by Chie Saet’s service aces, Pau Soriano’s quick attacks, and Meneses’ solid blockings, Cagayan easily handled the Lady Sailors, 25-7, to go up 2-0.

However, Navy refused to back down come the third set. While Cagayan played far from the level they had in the first two sets, the Lady Sailors capitalized and posted a five-point lead midway into the third, 19-14, after a service ace from Lilet Mabbayad. Cagayan, on the other hand, mounted a comeback of their own behind Maizo-Pontillas, Saet, and Elaine Sagun to tie at 20-all. Navy, then, quickly answered with three straight points behind Diaz and Jolina Labiano to regain the lead, 23-20. The Lady Rising Suns chalked up two more points off attacks, but a costly service error by Saet sent the Lady Sailors to set point, 24-22. A service ace by Hezzymie Acuña sealed the set for Navy, 25-22.

Cagayan quickly shrugged off their sluggish third-set performance come the fourth set. They strengthened their attacks further through proper execution in the offensive end, which propelled them to lead most of the set. The Lady Rising Suns seemed to be poised to end the match at four sets, but squandered their lead late in the set. With just two points shy in closing out the match, 23-20, the Lady Sailors, behind Labiano, Acuña, and Mabbayad, scored five unanswered points and cruised past Cagayan, 25-23, to equalize at 2-2.

The Lady Rising Suns did not let any opportunity to slip in the fifth set, when they quickly stormed to an 8-3 lead, thanks to their beefed up offense provided by Soriano and Maizo-Pontillas. From then on, Cagayan successfully kept Navy at bay, not allowing the latter to close by less than five points. An off-the-block hit by Maizo-Pontillas sealed the win for Cagayan, 15-9.

Cagayan Valley Head Coach, Nes Pamilar, admitted that he was a bit disappointed with the match’s turnout. “Of course medyo disappointed din ako,” stressed Pamilar. “Pero dahil nga sa hindi 100% ang mga players ko, sabi ko na lang na ‘kung anong kaya ng katawan natin, yun ang ilaro natin.’ Buti naman at nakapanalo,” added Pamilar, who pertained to a viral infection that caused some of his players to feel sick, which played a key factor in their performance.

Maizo-Pontillas led the Rising Suns with 24 points, with 22 coming from spikes. Meneses paced 18 points, coming from 11 spikes and 7 blocks, while Vargas had 10. Pineda, who was converted to the spiker position from her usual Libero spot to fill in team needs, and Soriano each scored 10 in the win. Mabbayad and Labiano each had 13 markers for the Lady Sailors in a losing effort.

The victory improved Cagayan to a 4-1 win-loss slate, while Navy dropped to 2-4, with their hopes of entering the next round in tatters.

The scores:

Cagayan Valley (3) – Maizo-Pontillas 24, Meneses 18, Pineda 11, Soriano 11, Vargas 10, Saet 5, Sagun 2, Eulalio 2, Benito 1.

Philippine Navy (2) – Labiano 13, Mabbayad 13, Diaz 12, Martinez 11, Acuña 8, Ticar 2, Oserio 1.

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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 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

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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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