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Cignal ends win drought with straight sets win over IEM

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After falling to their first two opponents, Cignal mustered enough strength to get their first win in the Spikers’ Turf Season 1 Open Conference, after disposing the tough Instituto Estetico Manila team, 25-22, 26-24, 25-22 earlier this afternoon, at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The score did not reflect the complexion of the match as IEM took it to Cignal in all of the sets, but fell flat when they needed to score most. Lorenzo Capate Jr. recorded a game-high 12 points to lead the Cignal unit, who also had three players in double-digit scoring. IEM, meanwhile, was carried by Jeffrey Jimenez, Evan Raymundo, and Jason Canlas. The trio combined for 32 of their team’s 53 points, but their concerted effort was not enough to stop the hungry Cignal spikers.

It was a tight opening set as both teams were in each other’s footsteps, but Cignal took a slight lead at, 10-8, with Capate drilling four points to put his team ahead. The lead was stretched to three in the second technical timeout, before IEM mounted a rally of four unanswered points to put them on top. Errors, however, haunted IEM from widening the gap, and the game was soon tied at 20-all. With the control of the match on the line, it was the Cignal players who delivered late with Jeffrey Lansangan scoring three points that made the difference in closing out the first set.

Falling short in the opening set, IEM jumped to a narrow 8-7 lead in the set’s initial technical timeout. By then, Raymundo had already scored four times to make sure his team went to a fine start this time around. Momentum, then, swung in favor of IEM, who led by as much as three on the back of a Jason Canlas spike to bring it to 16-13. Bonjomar Castel and susbtitute, Herschel Ramos, provided vital points midway through the second frame to keep Cignal from trailing further in the set. After a string of points from Cignal levelled the set at 20-all again, a couple of misfired spikes cost IEM the chance of levelling the set score. Tied at 24-all, Lansangan gave Cignal the advantage, and Jophius Banang, unluckily, blasted his attack way out, ending the set in favor of the team in white.

Two sets down, IEM gave themselves hope after moving in front again, 8-6, courtesy of multiple errors from Cignal. Luck evened out afterwards as it was the errors of IEM that brought Cignal ahead 11-9, later in the set. Fourteen points away from clinching their first win in the tournament, Cignal’s Ramos and Castel came up big to cushion their team’s lead, 16-13. Good defense and the emergence of Edmar Bonono, who finished the game with 11 points, on the scoring side of things towed Cignal to a comfortable position at 24-18. The IEM spikers refused to surrender by racking up four straight points before Castel killed the game with a low spike that ricocheted off a group of IEM players before hitting the floor.

Coach Michael Cari-o of Cignal was relieved after the match as he witnessed his team snapped their woeful losing skid. “Kailangan namin ‘yung panalo kasi first two games namin talo kami. Itong game na ito must-win para at least mahanap namin ‘yung winning ways. Once na manalo ‘yung team, medyo aangat ulit ‘yung confidence. So far, ‘yun ‘yung focus namin,” said the mentor who also attributed the previous losses to the players’ adjustments particularly in playing morning games as the team usually holds their training in the evening. In the end, he was pleased as he saw the team’s determination from wiping out a dismal string of results. “Kahit anong mangyari sa game, gusto talaga namin manalo,” Cari-o stressed. The result knots Cignal and IEM in the standings as both squads sport 1-2 win-loss cards.

The Scores:

Cignal (3) – Capate 12, Bonono 11, Castel 10, Lansangan 10, Ramos 6, Faytaren 2, Diezmo 2, Christenssen 1, Montero (L)

IEM (0) – Canlas 11, Jimenez 11, Raymundo 10, Dela Calzada 9, Banang 8, Beliran 4, Almario(L)

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes to break PH Arena record come 3×3 World Cup

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals that pitted 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 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 that was 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 team to win the championship.”

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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 formally announced its 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 its 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 its PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs it 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 aren’t a lot of 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 to cop 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 animal.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad had 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 however served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even having 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 while the 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the two and the rest of the Jawbreakers now have this 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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Basketball

Renzo Subido to bring Marinerong Pilipino experience to UST

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When Renzo Subido decided to skip out the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers’ UAAP Season 80 campaign, he had only one thing in mind: to improve on his craft. And he was able to do so under coach Koy Banal in the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers.

After the AMA Online Education Titans had a quick end to their campaign during the 2017 Foundation Cup, the 5-foot-9 floor general was immediately picked up by Marinerong Pilipino for the playoffs. Liking his style of play, he was again tapped for the 2018 Aspirants Cup.

And he showed a lot of growth from then, leading the Skippers to a 94-92 victory over fellow contenders Zark’s Jawbreakers. The 21-year-old tallied 20 points, three rebounds, and five assists while knocking down the crucial free throws to seal off the Lyceum-backed team.

“It was a good win for us. We’re happy that we won the game because it’s a good way to start the conference,” beamed Subido. “I’ve played against Lyceum in the past so I had familiarity with how they play.

“It was a good experience for us.”

Expectations are high for Marinerong Pilipino this conference as they are pegged as their blend of veterans and young guns are seen too overwhelming for the rest of the field. Still, Subido knows that it will be a tough climb as the other teams, especially the collegiate-based squads, have familiarity on their side.

“We’re taking it one game at a time but the goal is to win the championship,” he said. “But we know that it’s not going to be easy since we are going up against the top collegiate teams.

“So we’re just going to go all out every game.”

Besides winning the championship, Subido is on a personal mission. Being one of the seniors for the Growling Tigers next season, he hopes to learn to become a better leader for next season.

“I want to become a better leader. I know that everything I can learn this conference, I can bring to UST,” Subido expressed.

“For all I can see, coach Aldin [Ayo] is a guard-oriented coach. So I’m using all the experience I get here in Marinero, I’ll bring it to UST.”

For sure, Subido wants to make up for lost time.

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