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Comeback Kid: Bugas returns to team, helps FEU to title

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When the reigning UAAP men’s football Most Valuable Player went down in their 3-1 loss against University of the Philippines (UP), there was a collective sigh of anxiety on what the future may hold. Paolo Bugas tried as he may to finish the game, but really felt the discomfort. Minutes after the final whistle, the Azkal-capped Far Eastern University (FEU) junior, then, announced of his injury. Most thought it would be the last time they will see Paolo on the pitch this season. Bugas, himself, thought the same.

“When I got the injury, I thought I was out of the season already.” In spite of this, a glimmer of hope was given to him after his platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. Paolo shared, “But after the PRP therapy, the pain was less, and I got to think that I can be back soon so I just followed the doctor’s advice.”

However, it was still heart-breaking for one of the league’s best playmakers to watch from the sidelines for the entire second round. He even went to social media to let out his despair of not being able to help the team. After their second round match against UP, the midfielder posted on his Twitter account:

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His frustrations would soon die down, and he slowly saw the light in the tunnel when he started recovering from this injury. Adding to that, his motivation to get back on the field to help the team is on a high, which is why “sa recovery ginagawa ko ng proper yung mga exercise.” The star player also said that he always prayed so that he would recover soon. He continued fervently to get back to work because he really wanted to get the twin title this season. “Kahit iniisip ko na may mas magandang opportunity next year, pero mas gusto kong mag-back-to-back kami ngayon eh. Gusto kong makatulong sa kanila.”

The risk was well worth it as the midfielder, who showed signs of fast recovery, was fielded in their second round against the University of the East. Even though Bugas played for just five minutes in that match, it was such a pleasant sight to see him back on field. That inspired the team to go on.

On the final game of the season, he showed the heart that won him the MVP award last year. Tied at two goals apiece against the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Booters, the FEU coaches told Bugas before the extra time to just attack to get the goal, and, hopefully, the win for the defending champions. “Ang advice kasi ng mga coaches ko shoot lang ako ng shoot, kahit hindi na ako mag-cross basta magshoot lang ako ng magshoot, atake lang ng atake.” It was quite a struggle though as the veteran midfield felt his injury was bothering him. However, that did not hinder him to push for the golden goal. “Kahit nagkacramps na ko, hindi pa rin ako sumusuko. Kahit sumasakit yung knee ko, feeling ko bumabalik, gusto kong tapusin yung laro.

This determination paid dividends, that in the 94th minute of the Final against DLSU last Sunday, the defending king of UAAP football found the back of the net to finally get a go-ahead for the Tamaraws. That turned out to be the goal that gave FEU their back-to-back championship. He, otherwise, gave the credit to all of the members of the team. The former MVP exclaimed, “I was very happy because everyone worked hard, everyone did their job. We felt that we really need to win this game and I’m very happy with my teammates.”

In closing, the small but terrible junior shared his happiness that he pulled through the injury, and carried his team into raising that trophy again. “[The feeling was] same as last year, kung paano magchampion, ganun yung pakiramdam.” He is also all praises for the team he worked hard to play with again. “Proud naman ako sa team ko ngayon eh.”

With two years left for the Babyface Assassin to show his mettle in the UAAP, we still have something more to witness from him and the Tamaraws on the pitch. When asked if they will be champions again next year, “Hopefully,” was all he said. With his leadership and presence on the pitch, it is far from being just a wish.

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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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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