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Comeback Morning: UST, Ateneo pull off come-from-behind victories

UST and ADMU score wins in Day 5 action of the PFF Women’s Invitational Cup.

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University of Santo Tomas (UST) and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) shook of early conceded goals to emerge victorious against University of the Philippines (UP)-X and Sikat FC, respectively, Sunday morning at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Tigresses claw back against UP-X; remain unscathed

Nina Acuna

Two goals in the first half and an insurance goal in the second powered UST to their second win of the tournament, against UP-X, in the first match of the day.

UP-X took early control of the match as they kept on intercepting passes of the black-shirts. The visitors then transitioned from defense to offense and were rewarded with the first goal of the match. At the 12th minute, the UST defense blocked Sabrina Nierras on top of the box, but cleared the ball only as far as Mary Rose Obra. The striker blasted the ball past opposing keeper Nicole Reyes for the go-ahead goal.

The Tigresses wrestled the momentum after Obra’s goal. Several passes into their attacking third were stifled by the Lady Maroons until the 25th minute. Nina Acuña caught UP-X custodian Nic Adlawan off her line and chipped the ball into the onion bag for the equalizer. UST continued this offensive pressure and took the lead five minutes after. Charisa Lemoran snatched the ball off Marie Navea-Huff and tapped the ball past Adlawan. The halftime whistle was sounded with UST taking the 2-1 lead.

At the second half, UST resumed their threats on attack with better passing and distribution. Acuña attempted to double her output at the 50th minute, but her strike went straight to the mitts of Adlawan. At the 64th minute, Tigresses finally plucked their third goal after relentless pressure. Chandra Solite stole the ball from the defense and flicked the ball into the back of the net.

Despite the lead, the Thomasians kept on pushing for another goal, which relegated UP-X to try from counterattack. Nonetheless, neither team found the back of the net, and UST completed the comeback and remains undefeated.

The UST Lady Booters now have a 2-1-0 W-D-L record while UP-X ended their stint with two points coming from two draws.

Ateneo outlasts Sikat FC

Maria Teresa Bernardo Celebration

Ateneo fashioned a similar come-from-behind win in the second match against Sikat FC, after trailing by a goal at halftime.

Sikat FC tried to break the Atenean defense early on, with several balls into their attacking third spearheaded by Lea Tanton and Natasha Alquiros. Alquiros had the first crack at the goal, but her shot went wide. In the following play, Lea Tanton was impeded and fouled on her run towards the goal. The burly forward took the ensuing free kick that went straight to the right bottom corner of the goal and out of Kitkat Montelibano’s reach.

Ateneo finally got their offense running after the goal. Camille Rodriguez and Maria Teresa Bernardo attempted from long range, but their shots were off target. At the 44th minute, Bernardo found a gap on the Sikat backline and fired a shot that went straight to the hands of opposing keeper Jezza Baron. With the save, Baron preserved their 1-0 lead at the break.

The Lady Eagles was finally rewarded with tying goal at the 53rd minute. Martie Bautista found Nona Amoncio on her right, who also had support from Bernardo at the middle. The Philippine international passed the ball to Bernardo, and the latter directed the ball past Baron for the equalizer.

The Katipunan-based squad then kept their offensive intensity anchored by their steals off of Sikat’s passing lanes. At the 74th minute, Rodriguez sent a lovely through pass to Bautista on the middle. The winger drove inside the box and guided the ball off the far post and into the back of the net as Ateneo took the lead.

Both sides tried to breach the opposing defense, but neither was able to mount another good scoring opportunity in the last minutes of the match. Ateneo took their second win of the tournament, 2-1, and solidified their bid for a semifinals seat.

The Lady Eagles now have six points with 2 wins 0 draws and 1 loss. On the other hand, Sikat FC has one point coming from a draw and still remains winless.

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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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ABL

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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