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Colina penalty goals push NU past Adamson

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Two penalty goals from Lawrence Colina, one in the first half and another in the last ten minutes of the second, paved the way for the National University Bulldogs to take a 3-1 victory over the Adamson University Soaring Falcons, Thursday afternoon at the FEU Diliman Football Field.

The first half opened to both teams being aggressive in front of the goal. A header by Darwin Regala at the third minute almost sent the ball past Adamson goalie Carl Jupiter Viray, but the latter was able to dive in time and collect the ball before it could go into the net or be tapped in by anyone else from NU. Viray responded by sending the long ball all the way to the other end of the field, where Bless Brian Jumo II, who had maneuvered his way into the penalty, easefully collected the pass. Though he found himself one on one with NU goalie Hayeson Pepito, he lost control of the ball before he could tap it into a trajectory beyond the goalie’s reach. The ball was promptly scooped up by Pepito.

Taking advantage of Adamson’s disorganized back, Nico Macapal found himself with enough space to strike from the left top corner of the box at the 8th minute, but the shot whizzed past the bar. Four minutes later, he took another try from the same spot with the same kind of shot, but once again the shot was wide. At the 17th minute, Patrick Valenzuela was tripped inside the penalty box while positioning himself. The penalty kick was assigned to Lawrence Colina, who had no difficulty sending the ball past Viray to give the Bulldogs the 1-0 lead.

The Bulldogs’ continued aggression proved fruitful, when ten minutes later, Nico Macapal finally found success, after another one from just inside the box connected with the net. After the 27 minutes of play, the Bulldogs lead 2-0. Jumo II had the chance to kick the Falcons’ campaign back to life at the 35th minute, finding himself one-on-one with the NU goalie. Jumo II was able to send the ball flying in an upward curve before Pepito could react, but the ball instead bounced off the bar and out of play. The remainder of the half saw a midfield battle for the ball, the Falcons’ playmakers trying to re-establish their presence on the field. At the half, the score was still 2-0.

Colina, the game’s first scorer, had a couple more good shots from just beyond the penalty box, but was unable to send anything past the goalie. The Falcons on the other hand finally found a way to get into the penalty box, and at the 50th minute, they were rewarded with their first goal of the game care of brothers Bless Brian Jumo I and Bless Brian Jumo II. It was Jumo I who sent the through pass to his brother Jumo II, with the latter maneuvering to get the NU goalie out of position and easefully chipping the ball into the open net.

With the complexion of the game looking to change, both sides’ midfields figured in another struggle to control the offensive flow. The Adamsonians were able to stifle NU’s previously aggressive drive to the goal, leaving space to create on their own end of the pitch. Around the 64th minute, Darwin Regala came close to extending the NU lead, striking from the left flank after collecting the cross from the opposite wing by teammate Francis Jay Abalunan. The shot however was easily knocked off course by Falcon Jumo II, who parried the ball away with his leg. Six minutes later, Pepito, the Bulldogs’ starting goalie was subbed out for Chris Perocho after the former hurt his leg while sending a long ball. The NU defenders readjusted in time to tighten the back, while midfield finally found a way to control the flow of the ball.

The last ten minutes saw NU continue to trouble the Adamson defenders, but found themselves unable to get past the plucky Falcons. At the 88th minute, Viray tripped Jacob Gomez while the latter was trying to attack the goal. Lawrence Colina once more was assigned to take the penalty kick, and once again had no trouble sending the ball into the net. Approaching the 90th minute, Arnel Casil almost padded the NU tally anew, heading in the free kick sent by Jezer Jalandoni, but the Bulldogs’ celebrations were cut short when the officials ruled the shot as having been offside. It was the Bulldogs however who walked away with the victory.

“Nawala sa second half pero maganda ‘yung nilaro ng mga tao,” said NU head coach Wilhelm Laranas after the game. Coach Laranas was happy with the team’s overall performance but was disappointed with the midfield’s struggles in the second half. “Obvious naman na na-dominate namin kaso noong second half nawala yung midfield. ‘Yung goal ng Adamson, wake up call ‘yun.”

Coach Laranas also expressed his optimism about the coming matchup against defending champions this Sunday.”We are hoping na maulit yung win namin sa FEU this Sunday. I’m happy na FEU ‘yung kalaban. Everybody can play.”

“First half naging mas defensive ako. Noong second half ginawa kong offensive na, eventually naging balance na,” said Adamson head coach Nolan Manito about his approach to the game. Adamson coach Manito praised his players despite the loss, expressing that they showed effort and perseverance throughout the game. He however recognized that the two penalties that gave NU the means to ice the win were due to mistakes they made.

As of this writing, NU is tied with defending champions FEU with 17 points, but trail in terms of goal difference. Adamson is still without any points at eight place.

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FEU

Rose Vargas all set for UAAP return after four-season absence

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In an unprecedented move, hard-hitting Far Eastern University spiker Rose Vargas will return to finish her UAAP career when Season 80 kicks off on February 3 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Vargas last played for the Lady Tamaraws in Season 75. With a year of eligibility left, Vargas left the Morayta-based program to focus on her academics and pursue a career in the semi-pro ranks.

Five years since her last UAAP game, Vargas says that she did not hesitate when FEU officials asked if she wanted to return to play out her final year of eligibility.

During her time in the V-League, she played for the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns, the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors, the Bureau of Custom Transformers, and, most recently, the Creamline Cool Smashers.

“‘Yung pag-babalik naman dito (FEU) is hindi ko naman pinag-isipan matagal or nag-dalawang isip ako,” said the Season 74 Best Scorer. “Noong tinanong lang sa akin kung gusto ko daw bumalik, ang sagot ko lang, oo.

“Kasi gusto kong makatulong, and gusto kong makuha ‘yung championship namin na matagal ng hindi nakukuha ng FEU.”

Vargas adds to an already solid FEU core which includes graduating captain Bernadeth Pons, Toni Rose Basas, and Jerrili Malabanan.

The last time Vargas suited up for FEU, she was the main piece to a core that included Mari Toni Basas — Toni Rose’s older sister, a young Remy Palma, Gyzelle Sy, and Tin Agno.

Vargas now sees herself as more of a complimentary piece, the hardened veteran looking to guide FEU’s younger guns in a season where much if expected of them.

“Ngayon, nadagdagan siguro yung maturity and ko, pagiging veteran daw, sabi, na pwede ko mai-share din sa mga bata ‘yun, as a leader, as an ate,” added Vargas.

“Nako-contribute ko kung anong knowledge ang natutunan ko.”

League insiders are confident that Vargas, who turned 25-year-old on December 12 last year, will be declared eligible to play in Season 80. Although the UAAP is yet to have their eligibility meeting this week, a source closely monitoring the situation expressed confidence that Vargas will pass the league’s eligibility rules.

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Basketball

23 for 2023 cadet CJ Perez honored to help out Gilas

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Having had the chance to represent the Philippines in FIBA-sanctioned cagefests such the Asia Challenge Cup and the 3X3 All-Stars back in 2016, Lyceum Pirates star CJ Perez is no stranger to the international stage.

But the 24-year-old do-it-all swingman admits that he still gets overwhelmed whenever he sees his seniors — the stars and pillars of the program — in the team. “Nasusurprise [pa rin] ako,” he said. “Mga professionals eh.

“Na-istarstruck pa rin ako sa kanila.”

Perez said so when he finally made his return within Gilas’ realms last Monday night. The last time he was with the National Team was in August 2016, when the SBP built an amateur-laden batch of Gilas cagers that served as the transition from the 2016 Olympic Qualifiers squad to the 2017 SEABA team.

“Sobrang grateful ako (sa invitation),” said the talented six-foot-two guard, after practice at the Meralco Gym.

The reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player is back in the fold for Gilas as his name, along with young, up-and-coming stars, was included in the 23 for 2023 pool — a list of cagers projected to be the contingent for the Manila-hosted World Cup.

“Iniisip ko yun (FIBA World Cup 2023) simula magtawag sila ng practice. Actually nandoon na yung utak ko eh,” the Lyceum Pirate ace bared. “Kailangan ko lang mag work hard pa para makapasok dun sa lineup na yun, kahit malayo pa.

“It’s an honor para ma-represent yung country.”

Unlike in 2016, Perez graced the court and took part in drills with the veterans such as Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, among others. With those type of players around him, he feels that the lessons he can get will be limitless.

“Oo sobra. Kahit kanino naman (matututo ka talaga),” Perez shared. “(At tsaka) Dito parang more on sa mental. ‘Di na iniisip yung conditioning kasi may ibang teams naman sila so about sa mental toughness [talaga].”

For now, the 23 for 2023 cadets are already working out not just for familiarity, but also to help the seniors in preparing for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers this February.

“Sobrang happy and grateful na nakakatulong ako sa kanila kahit sa simpleng practice lang.”

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ABL

Blistering Mikey Williams takes home Heritage Import of the Week honor

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Photo from ASEAN Basketball League

The resurgent Saigon Heat have been the thorn to topflight clubs teams Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club and Nanhai Kung Fu, handing both squads their first losses in the eighth season of the ASEAN Basketball League. The Heat would not have done it without Filipino-American import Mikey Williams.

Williams, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Cal State Fullerton, dropped 39 points on 14-for-25 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and nine assists in Saigon’s 121-115 overtime win over Hong Kong.

The former NBA G-Leaguer followed it up with a sensational 24-point, five-rebound, and seven-assist outing in their 96-93 win over Kung Fu.

Overall, the 26-year-old guard averaged 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.0 steals to edge out fellow Filipino AJ Mandani of the Singapore Slingers for the weekly award.

For the Local Player of the Week, two Alab Pilipinas stalwarts were the runners-up for the crown.

Reigning local Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. and his floor general Josh Urbiztondo had stellar weeks that earned them honorable mentions.

Parks averaged 17.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists for the week that saw Alab lose to the Slingers at home last Wednesday before bouncing back on the road against the Mono Vampire last Sunday.

Urbiztondo, on the other hand, had norms of 14.5 points on a hot 9-for-17 clip from downtown.

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Football

Brazilian football legend Zico to visit Manila

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Contributed photos

One of the best to ever play the Beautiful Game is coming to the Philippines. Zico, who electrified the footballing world in the ’70s and ’80s, is slated to visit Manila on the weekend of January 27.

The Brazilian, whose real name is Arthur Antunes Coimbra, is considered one of the best footballers in the world during the late 70’s and early 80’s. Zico starred for the Brazilian national team, scoring 48 goals in 71 appearances for the Selecao. In 1999, the attacking midfielder came 8th in the FIFA Player of the Century grand jury vote, and in 2004 was named in FIFA’s list of the world’s greatest living players.

Zico played for legendary Brazilian club Flamengo and also for the Italian Serie A team Udinese. He finished his playing career suiting up for Kashima Antlers in the J-League, the top tier of Japanese football, leading them to an unlikely runner-up finish.

The 64-year-old also had a successful managerial career, leading Turkey’s Fenerbahce, Greek team Olympiacos, and CSKA Moscow to titles. Zico was also in charge of the Japanese national team when they won the AFC Asian Cup in 2004. Because of that accomplishment, Zico is one of the most beloved football figures in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Seven Seas Properties, a company that promotes Philippine real estate and Philippine stocks in the Japanese market, is bringing the football icon here.

“We are delighted to welcome Zico to the Philippines. I’m sure he will give a big boost to the growing football scene here,” says Seven Seas Properties President Yukihiro Nishimura.

Zico will attend a CSR event with young footballers from underprivileged communities on Saturday, January 27. The following day, Sunday January 28, he will lead a football clinic for elite young players and coaches in the McKinley Hill stadium in Taguig. Football fans and media are welcome to watch this event, which kicks off at 2:00 pm. Admission is free.

Zico in Manila is also made possible by Otsuka – Solar Philippines, Inter Sports Partners, AgriNurture, and Primex.

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