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Calisaan’s career-high anchors Stags to break 5-game slump over Lyceum



In a highly emotional game, San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSC-R) Golden Stags came up with a 77-70 win to grab their second win of the season at the expense of Topex Robinson’s, their former mentor, the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Pirates at the San Juan Arena on the opening game of Friday’s NCAA triple-header.

Five early deadlocks were witnessed in the game’s threshold as the match was played in a high-octane pace and a good exchange between the two teams. The Golden Stags started firing from the perimeter that did not find the bottom the rim early. However, Michael Calisaan went running in transition to pour in the points for his team. He scored his team’s first ten points, but mid-range pullups made the offense flowing for the pirates.

Jon Ortuoste drilled in the game’s first triple but it was Lyceum’s defense who dictated the latter part of the opening frame with a huge 10-3 surge to take a six-point lead after ten minutes of action. During the stretch, the Pirates came up capitalizing on forced turnovers with their fullcourt pressure defense while inside points increased.

Despite the slow start, San Sebastian countered with a strong second half with Calisaan continuing to pour on the easy baskets in transition. They dominated the rebounding battle while running in transition was the name of the game for the Stags. Calisaan scored 13 more points alone in an efficient shooting from the field, while their team limited the Pirates to nine silent points with their fueled running offense.

Lyceum opened up the second half with a triple but contrary to what transpire in the first half, the game slowed down with the defense being performed by the two teams. They combined for a measly eight points in the first four minutes of action, but the Golden Stags were able to maintain their double-digit separation. Missing his first three shots of the third, Calisaan made a fastbreak layup to cap a 5-0 run after a 3-minute mid quarter drought to pull ahead, 57-42. Ryan Costelo also caught fire to favor San Sebastian with eight points in the last part of the third, including two treys to help his team enter the last quarter up by 15 huge points.

In the payoff period, Calisaan spearhead to counter Lyceum’s mini-run in the first two minutes as they maintained the spread despite the Pirates playing better full court pressure defense. LPU’s run was halted with their misses from make-able attempts while early offense became San Sebastian’s trump card the entire match. In addition, Lyceum had a hard time breaking the eight-point barrier, but Victor Nguidjol started to take matters into his own hands by muscling his way underneath and a three-point play converted made it a 75-70 match with 79 seconds left. The Pirates made it interesting after a key stop on the other end, but two missed three pointers on their end left them scoreless for the remainder of the game with Costelo providing the game-sealing free throws in the dying seconds.

After the game, Jon Ortuoste, Michael Calisaan, and Bradwyn Guinto found it awkward that they were facing their old mentor. All of them are very grateful of the opportunity given to them by Robinson but they needed to set aside their emotions to get the win. “Niyakap ko ng mahigpit si coach [Robinson] after the game,” said Ortuoste.

For head coach Rodney Santos, a rookie coach, he said that he learned a lot in the first eight games of his coaching career in the NCAA. “Mahirap, but ‘yung win na ito is a good confidence boost going into the game against San Beda,” the grizzled PBA veteran said.

Calisaan finished the game with a huge 35 points, on an efficient 15/20 shooting from the field, and 16 rebounds. Smart Elite ambassador Bradwyn Guinto scored just seven points but grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked three shots. For Lyceum, Shaq Alanes continued his hot-shooting with 17 points with 3 three-pointers.

San Sebastian improved to a 2-6 slate while Lyceum drops to 1-7 and are now losers of five straight matches. The Stags will next face the San Beda Red Lions on Thursday, August 13 at 4:00pm while the Pirates face the EAC Generals on the same day at 2:00pm.

The Scores:
SSC-R (77) – Calisaan 35, Ortuoste 15, Costelo 12, Guinto 7, Santos 3, Fabian 3, Capobres 2, Sibal 0, Bragais 0, Pretta 0, Bulanadi 0, Mercado 0

LPU (70) – Alanes 17, Nguidjol 14, Bulawan 9, Sunga 8, Taladua 8, Mbida 7, Baltazar 4, Soliman 2, Lugo 1, Malabanan 0, Lacastesantos 0, Ayaay 0, Elmejrab 0

Quarters: 20-26, 48-35, 65-60, 77-70.


Mixed Martial Arts

Rene Catalan continues rampage with TKO win



Rene Catalan continues to turn critics into believers

Filipino fighter Rene Catalan made his sixth appearance inside the ONE Championship cage at ONE: Kings of Courage held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia, Saturday evening. He faced 21-year-old Chinese athlete Peng Xue Wen in the opening main card bout, and leaned on his elite wushu to stop the young star at the 4:22 mark of the second round.

The victory improves Catalan’s record to 4-2 (1 NC), extends his winning streak to four, and gives him the first TKO stoppage of his martial arts career, as he bids to climb the strawweight ladder in search of the ONE Strawweight World Championship.

“The Challenger” came out in the southpaw stance to open the bout, throwing big hooks and a head kick that narrowly missed as he established the center of the cage from the start of the contest.

The Filipino landed a host of powerful strikes, including a perfectly-placed uppercut and a melee of punishing leg kicks, but Peng’s conditioning and composure kept him in the match as he looked to stand and trade with the man 18 years his elder.

Catalan picked up where he left off when the bout resumed in the second round, this time operating out of the orthodox stance, landing more leg kicks and continuing to deny Peng any space to work.

Despite his dominance on the feet, there was a brief moment of concern for the Filipino on the mat when he jumped into the Chinese wrestler’s guard mid-way through the second round, and immediately found himself in a triangle choke. But the Filipino kept his composure and managed to work himself free.

Once the bout returned to the feet, Catalan poured on the pressure in search of a finish, and he got it with just 38 seconds remaining in the stanza.

“The Challenger” scored big with a liver shot, then unloaded a fierce flurry of punches that forced Peng onto his back foot. Another shot forced Peng to the mat, where a salvo of ground and pound from Catalan eventually forced the TKO stoppage as referee Olivier Coste stepped in to halt the contest.

Photo, story, and video from ONE Championship

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Gelo Alolino regrets Phoenix’s failure to close out Hotshots



Photo by PBA Images

Gelo Alolino had his best game for Phoenix Fuel Masters Saturday night at the Cuneta Astrodome with 19 points, eclipsing his previous career-high of 16 markers which he made last May 21, 2017 in a loss to Mahindra Floodbuster.

But that achievement of his won’t be that memorable, as it went for naught following a 91-97 defeat they had absorbed into the hands of Paul Lee and Magnolia Hotshots, who have now collected their third straight victory.

For the second overall pick in the regular 2016 Rookie Draft, it was all because of their failure to sustain momentum up until the game’s final buzzer.

“Sayang, nandun na. We felt na sa amin na nung dulo kaso lang ganun talaga,” rued the 24-year-old sophomore after the match, where he shot an excellent 7-of-10 from the floor.

“Breaks of the game napunta sa kabila.”

Phoenix was there in contention all through out the match. In fact, they were even ahead, 89-84, with just three minutes left to play. But then, the Hotshots’ comebacking skills were unleashed, leading to the narrow win.

“Siyempre kami lahat nasayangan. Maganda naman yung team effort talaga namin,” expressed the 6-foot floor general of their end-game collapse, which wasted their efforts in assists (21) and on defense, where they forced Magnolia to 21 turnovers.

“Kami as players talagang gusto namin bumawi coming from a loss last game sa Rain or Shine.

The Fuel Masters have now lost their second straight outing and have dropped to 2-3. And for Alolino, all they have to do is learn as much as they can from this loss, especially now that they are about to face Barangay Ginebra next.

“Yun nga. Medyo masakit para sa’min ‘to,” admitted the National University product.

“All we have to do is magviview ulit kami ng tape para makita kung saan kami mas pwede mag-improve as a team and bawat isa — including me.”

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Glenn Khobuntin repays Ricky Dandan’s trust with end-game heroics



FILE Photo from PBA Images

Glenn Khobuntin can finally say that he had himself a moment in the pro ranks

The National University alumnus proved his worth for Kia Picanto, scoring his team’s final six points to steer the often-ridiculed club to its’ first win after a historic 16-game skid at the expense of Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 98-94.

“I knew he would. I knew he would,” lauded Kia head coach Ricky Dandan of the takeover the six-foot-four forward made.

“It was a blessing he didn’t play for the first two quarters because he [came in] fresh at gigil na gigil.”

Khobuntin finished with 11 markers on 5-of-7 shooting — the best game he’s had so far not because of the numbers he posted but with the way he made it. But the three-year pro does not want to take the spotlight all by himself.

“Hindi lang din naman ako e, kami ding lahat e,” the 26-year-old shared. “Siguro kumbaga nagka-opportunity lang, napunta sa akin yung bola kasi yun yung nasa scheme ng play so ayun.

“Thankful lang ako na-hit ko yung mga na-design na plays.”

However, the third-year pro admitted that he got frightened during the game’s final stretch, as Rain or Shine managed to impose a serious threat by coming back from a seven-point deficit, 94-96, with just less than 22 ticks left to play.

“Kinakabahan ako kasi two minutes pa rin yun e tapos Rain or Shine yung kalaban namin,” the native of Cagayan de Oro said. “Nakita ko nakakabalik sila. Thankful lang naman ako na yung game napunta sa amin, at least natapos yung losing streak namin.”

But more than the end of their months-long slump, what Khobuntin is grateful for is the trust given to him by Dandan, who fielded him as a starter in the second half after sitting out the entirety of the first 24 minutes.

“Nag-decide siya na ako yung i-start niya so thankful ako kasi nagtiwala siya sa akin.”

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Justin Brownlee, Alab lock down Knights for fifth win



Paying a visit to Indonesia for the first time this season, Tanduay Alab Pilipinas needed time to figure the CLS Knights out before stifling the hosts in the final frame to take a 92-87 road win, Saturday evening at the GOR CLS Kertajaya in Indonesia.

This is Alab’s second straight win after losing to the Singapore Slingers last January 10.

With the win, the Philippine-based club team lifts its slate to 5-4 for solo fourth. CLS, on the other hand, dropped to 1-7 — just half a game ahead of the cellar-dwelling Formosa Dreamers.

Justin Brownlee displayed his all-around brilliance in the game, leading Alab with 36 points on 15-for-24 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

Alab’s bench however could not sustain the effort of the starters that led to them clinging to a two-point lead with 7:06 remaining.

Needing a sparkplug, 40-year-old sniper Dondon Hontiveros provided the spark for Alab, knocking down a triple that proved to be the starting point 14-2 Alab run. A jumper by Bobby Ray Parks Jr. with 2:57 left capped the rally and gave Alab an 87-73 lead.

Hontiveros scored five of the eight Alab bench points. Fortunately for Alab, Renaldo Balkman and Bobby Ray Parks Jr. were on-point with the former tallying a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds while Alab’s skipper had 14 points, four assists, two rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

Coach Jimmy Alapag fielded his bench afterwards that resulted to the quintet of Brian Williams, Mario Wuysang, Arif Hidayat, Decorey Jones, and Sandy Kurniawan to slice the lead to as low as four points. Free throws by Oping Sumalinog with eight ticks left put CLS away for good.

Williams paced CLS with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Kurniawan added 19 markers. Indonesian legend Wuysang had 17 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Alab ends its road trip on Sunday, January 28 when they take on the Saigon Heat at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.

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