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Caracut, Navarro brace for bigger duties



Last Sunday, the De La Salle Green Archers ended their first round on a high note after defeating rivals, the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles, 80-76, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

For both teams, the marquee stars came out to play as King Archer Jeron Teng led La Salle with 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists while for Ateneo, King Eagle Kiefer Ravena finished the game with 19 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

The game also saw the Ateneo-La Salle debut of rookies Andrei Caracut and Renzo Navarro. Just like in the first part of this series, Tiebreaker Times caught up with the rookies and talked about their thoughts and realizations about their La Salle-Ateneo debut.

Caracut embracing big responsibilitiesUAAP 78 DLSU - Caracut-9082

A standout from the San Beda Red Cubs during his high school years, Caracut is one of the bright spots for La Salle in their ongoing UAAP Season 78 campaign.

In the first round, the rookie guard averaged norms of 10.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. His best game so far came in their match against the University of the East Red Warriors wherein he dropped 16 points, five rebounds, and three assists.

In their win against Ateneo, Caracut tallied a statline of six points, four rebounds and an assist in 19 minutes of action.

“Grabe, sobrang wild ang crowd and inamin ko na ang pressure nandiyan. Pero kahit papaano na-overcome ko naman ang pressure kahit medyo may mga mali akong ginawa,” Caracut reflected. “[Parang] mas na-pressure ako [against Ateneo compared to his other games]. Hindi ko inexpect ‘yung mga nangyari.”

Usually for rookies playing in an emotionally-charged game like the La Salle-Ateneo rivalry, jitters will always be the common theme for them. This was the case for the former NCAA Juniors MVP last Sunday.

As the game progressed, Caracut, who has been playing deep minutes for the Green Archers throughout the season, off-set his bad shooting game by playing solid defense. He may have coughed up the ball in some instances but he would make it up on defensive end of the floor by getting timely stops.

“[I have] a lot of responsibilities sa team. Iyon lang, laro lang ako kung ano ang meron ko at gagawin ko kung ano ang pinapagawa nila,” he added.

Now, with seven UAAP games under his belt, Caracut hopes that it will be a continuous learning process for him as the season goes deeper.

“Iyong first round ko, siyempre, may mga maganda na rin akong pinakita pero hindi ako satisfied doon,” he closed. “Kailangan ko pang maging composed sa laro, maging mautak sa decision making. Nagpapasalamat ako na nangyari iyon at [sana] sa second round [sana] hindi ko na maulit iyon at [dapat] maovercome ko.”

Navarro ready for bigger roleUAAP 78 DLSU vs. ADMU-Navarro

Another member of La Salle’s Season 78 rookie class, Navarro is now expected to have a bigger load on his shoulders as one of the team’s main backup guards since Kib Montalbo suffered an ACL injury during the preseason.

In the first round, Navarro average norms of 2.2 points, 0.7 rebounds and 0.7 assists in six games played. Navarro played just five minutes in his team’s win against Ateneo and finishing with three points and an assist.

“Sobrang iba iyong feeling niya. I’ve played sa juniors, sa championship, pero times ten ang feeling,”  Navarro said after their win against Ateneo. “Sobrang saya niya at nanalo pa kami. Kaya ayon, ibang-iba iyong feeling.”

As time had shown, rookies will always make the most of the limited time they are given. But for Navarro, he constantly relies on his coach and teammates’ guidance to ease his transition in the collegiate basketball style of play.

“Hindi naman kami pinepressure ni coach,” he added. “Kinakausap niya kami ng mabuti para wala kaming excess na pressure na mafeel kaya hindi naman masyado, okay naman, hindi naman pressured.”

With the season about to get more challenging as the second round is set to start next week, Navarro expects that he can use his learnings from the first round as a springboard to help him perform better in his team’s next slate of games.

“Siguro, medyo nag-aadjust na ako sa physicality and iyong sa role ko [as one of the backup guards],” he quipped. “Mas kailangan ko ngayong mag-organize ng team kasi maraming scorers at kailangan kong mabalance iyon. Okay naman [ang adjustment ko kasi] nandoon naman si Thomas [Torres] to guide me.”

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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



Photo by PBA Images

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



Photo by PBA Images

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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