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UP completes comeback win, clinches podium finish

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UP (5-4), 3rd000100033782
NU (4-6), 5th0020020004103

It pays to play with heart.

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons scored six runs in the last two innings to upend National University (NU) Bulldogs, 7-4, and secured the third place trophy, Thursday, February 26 at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

Both teams stood their ground in the first two innings as neither defense allowed a hit. And that would continue for the Bulldogs held UP on the top of third inning. An error by NU shortstop Julius Mondragon put Maroons captain Martin Senador on first base. That is all the defense allowed as the NU infield got two more outs to close their side.

NU got their offense going in the third inning, as the top of the batting order went to work. Fourth-year player Herxel Fortunato had a lead-off single. After Mondragon grounded out for the first out, Alfredo De Guzman III scored Fortunato to get the first run for the Bulldogs. NU doubled the lead after as De Guzman got to the home plate himself with Ronel Peralta at bat from an error committed by UP.

The Maroons got one back in the following inning. Senior rightfielder JC Pantan hit a single to get on base. After NU starting pitcher Junmar Diarao fanned Diego Gonzalez, James Legaspi hit a double to advance Pantan to third. An error from the consequent play helped Pantan score to cut the deficit to 1, 2-1.

At the top of the fifth inning, rookie catcher Javie Lopez hit a glaring pitch deep into right field to get into third base. Senior Karl Peralta led to two balls on his at bat, but three consecutive strikes froze the Maroons shortstop for the first out. This was followed by two outs, which left Lopez stranded on that scoring position.

Freshman pitcher Kenneth Mariñas started well on their side of fifth but after pitching strikes, four consecutive balls followed and De Guzman was walked, prompting UP to make a change. Third year pitcher Gab Rodriguez took the mound and took the second and third outs to end the inning.

Diarao hit a single to start it for NU in the sixth. After Villame grounded out to Rodriguez, Keneth Ybañez hit another single to put Diarao into a scoring position at second. In a full count, Fortunato was able to hit a ground ball to the center as Diarao and Ybañez scored. NU’s pushed their lead to 3, 4-1. With Mondragon at bat, Fortunato stole to second and advanced to third off a fielding error by UP’s Lopez. But with a 0-2 count, Mondragon was forced to hit the ball but grounded to third baseman SJ San Juan for the final out of the inning.

In the crucial seventh inning, both Maroons and Bulldogs held their fort. NU defense went to work and dismissed three Maroon batters consecutively. Hoping to grab the momentum, it was UP’s turn to clamp down NU offense. Maroon “Energy Bunny” Lopez caught De Guzman who attempted to steal second. De Guzman earlier advanced to the first base off a single. Another single by Clarence Caasalan was all NU could muster as a grounder by R. Peralta was caught by K. Peralta, and Senador stepped on the second base to force De Guzman out and then threw to Legaspi to dismiss Caasalan for an excellent 6-4-3 double play to end the seventh inning.

That pumped up the Diliman-based batters as after Senador hit a ground ball to first, leading Best Hitter candidate San Juan drove a single to start it for UP. A pair of base hits by Mik Herrera and Pantan loaded the base for rookie Ron Opelanio who went it for Gino Aganon. During this sequence, San Juan pulled off his hamstring and was replaced by another newcomer Ramon Atienza. With the pitch count at 2-2, Opelanio met the pitch and drove a double into deep center as Atienza and Herrera steps into the home plate to cut the deficit back to 1, 4-3. While co-captain Pantan was on third base, Legaspi hit a long fly to left field that was caught, but Pantan pulled through and scored to level the game at 4 runs apiece. NU ended the Maroon onslaught, as rightfield Peralta caught a fly ball by Silvestre to close out their side of the eighth inning.

With the match tied, junior Rodriguez took matters into his own hands dismissing Diarao, Ericson Villame, and Ybañez in succession, to keep the Bulldogs at bay. Diarao and Ybañez grounded to the veteran pitcher and Villame’s fly was caught to end the inning.

In a need for a score to push their solid season further, the Maroons went on an offensive overdrive in the ninth inning. An error by NU third base Ybañez put Lopez on first base. After K. Peralta grounded to first for the first out, Senador hit a single for Lopez to score as the Maroons finally takes the lead, 5-4. However, the UP captain was caught stealing by Villame. A clutch hit by the sub Atienza, started what would become a two-out rally. Herrera added another hit. A succession of miscues by NU substitute pitcher R. Peralta proved to be disastrous as a ball called on him advanced Atienza and Herrera to third and second, respectively, and a wild pitch scored the base runners with Pantan at bat. After Pantan retired, the Maroons’ lead went up to 7-4.

The Bulldogs had their last chance in their side of the final inning, but it was the defense of the Maroons that prevented the oppotunity. After Miranda took a 0-2 single, Lopez dismissed Fortunato on a fly ball for the first out. Mondragon was able to push another hit against Rodriguez. De Guzman hit a deep fly to center but was caught by Pantan for the second out. Rodriguez would put an end to the game as the junior player took the final out, catching the Caasalan ball and threw it to Legaspi.

With the win and the result in the following game where De La Salle University won against Ateneo, 14-12, the Maroons finished their season in third place, improving from their fifth-place finish last year.

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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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Basketball

Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool

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SMART Gilas Pilipinas’ third session for the second leg of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers ended early on Monday evening.

Prior to the end of the practice, head coach Chot Reyes talked to team veterans Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo. The outspoken mentor told the seniors of the team that he is cutting Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan from the pool.

“The reason why we’re dropping Abueva and Almazan for the second window is because they haven’t showed up,” lamented Reyes.

“It’s already our third practice at hindi pa sila nagpapakita. It’s simply a matter of disinterest.

“I guess they’re not interested so we have to move on we can’t wait for those guys,” he pointed out.

Both Abueva and Almazan were part of the teams that competed in the 2017 SEABA Championship, the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, and the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Only 10 players from the pool showed up for the team’s third session. And with the second leg exactly one month away, Gilas cannot let a slip up happen especially against Australia.

“Aside from those two we don’t know where Matt Wright is, while Allein [Maliksi] is attending a wedding in Australia. Other than that it’s really just an issue of Calvin and Raymond if they don’t want to be a part of the pool.” expressed Reyes.

“That’s the reason we’re dropping them for the second window.”

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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

23 for 2023 cadets fill up Gilas practice

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With just 31 days until the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, only 10 players from the pool attended the team’s third session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.

Suiting up in the session presided over by Coach Chot Reyes were June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, and Roger Pogoy. Carl Cruz and Jayson Castro were in attendance but were in street clothes.

Not present were Matthew Wright, Japeth Aguilar, and Allein Maliksi. Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend practice.

Joining the seniors team to prep them up for the World Cup Qualifiers were 10 players from the 23 for 2023 pool.

Ateneo Blue Eagle Matt Nieto attended his first Gilas practice. Joining him were teammates Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.

Completing the night’s cast were CJ Perez, Abu Tratter, Will Gozum, J-jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, and Juan Gomez de Liano. Joshua Sinclair watched from the sidelines as he is still recovering from an ACL injury.

Gilas will take on Australia in Melbourne on February 22. The Philippine will then host Japan three days later at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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CSJL

San Beda fends off Letran for back-to-back wins

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With seasoned setter John Carlo Desuyo steering the wheel to near perfection, the San Beda College romped to their second straight win.

The Red Spikers pulled double-digit outings from four players to upend archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-22, and register their fourth win of the season, Monday early evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

It was the Knights, however, who started on the right foot, overhauling a 4-10 deficit to snag the first set. Better passing from liberos Aljune Centeno and Johnsen Timbreza resulted in kills from captain Bobby Gatdula.

Nonetheless, San Beda picked up the service game in the next three sets to ultimately finish off the blue-shirts.

Despite the win-loss record they currently sport, the Red Spiker playmaker admitted that t

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Basketball

Michael Calisaan tows Che’lu-San Sebastian past Perpetual

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Photo by PBA Images

Michael Calisaan poured 20 points as he captained newcomer Che’Lu-San Sebastian Revellers to a decisive 83-70 win over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas to start their voyage, Monday evening at the Pasig City Sports Center.

Doing it all for the Revellers, the veteran forward provided the stability for his side as he shot 8-of-15 from the field while also hauling down nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the conference-opening win.

But it wasn’t all Calisaan as Che’Lu got contributions from all over its roster.

Samboy de Leon chimed in 16 markers and nine boards. RK Ilagan went 2-of-5 from threes to collect 13 points, eight dimes, and three rebounds, while big men Alfred Batino and Jeepy Faundo combined for 20 in the victory.

Despite the triumph, coach Stevenson Tiu gave all the praise to his players, noting the team’s lack of time preparing for the tourney.

“Nanalo kami dahil sa talent ng players. Medyo mali ko rin kasi nahirapan pa ako mag-adjust sa players. Hopefully, we play much better in the coming games,” he said.

The Revellers used a 16-4 run to finally break away from the Altas, taking a 77-60 lead with 4:03 to play as they punished their foes for their turnovers, turning Perpetual’s 30 miscues to 28 points in their favor.

Prince Eze anchored the Altas with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and seven blocks in their first game under new head coach Frankie Lim.

Che’lu-San Sebastian look to make it two in a row when they take on the Wangs-Letran Couriers on Monday, January 29 at 5:00pm. Perpetual, on the other hand, hope they can notch their first win when they take on Mila’s Lechon Mighty Roasters.

The Scores:

Che’lu-SSCR 83 — Calisaan 20, De Leon 16, Ilagan 13, Batino 10, Faundo 10, Bulanadi 6, Costelo 6, Calma 2, David 0, Lao 0, Santos 0, Valdez 0.

UPHSD 70 — Eze 15, Coronel 13, Villanueva 13, Jimenez 9, Charcos 7, Peralta 7, Gallardo 5, Pido 1, Antonio 0, Aurin 0, Tamayo 0, Tongco 0.

Quarterscores: 17-22, 34-38, 59-53, 83-70.

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