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DLSU escapes UPHSD in thriller; books last semis slot



Jeron Teng saved the De La Salle University from a late game meltdown for the second game in a row. This time Teng found Jason Perkins for an open layup with just .6 seconds remaining to give DLSU an 81-79 to eliminate the heavily-favored University of Perpetual Help System Delta (UPHSD) Altas in the 2015 FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup.

Bright Akhuitie was unstoppable in the first minutes of the game. Akhuitie scored six of the Altas’ first six points to give UPHSD an early 8-4 lead. However, careless fouls by the Altas defense gave up free throws that helped cut the lead. A jumper by Thomas Torres cut the DLSU deficit to 12-10. With 4:04 remaining, the Las Pinas-based squad were penalized for their fifth foul. Teng, Tratter, Torres, and Perkins eventually gave DLSU a 21-16 lead to end the quarter.

The Archers were able to extend their lead in the second quarter. After a steal by Akhuitie on Tratter that led to a fastbreak dunk with 6:02 remaining, the Taft-based squad caught fire on offense. Andrei Caracut connected with two three pointers in the DLSU rally while Teng continued to be aggressive in going to the paint. DLSU extended their lead to 44-33 entering halftime.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Gabriel Dagangon and Akhuitie paced the Altas offense but could not cut through the lead as Caracut, Teng, and Torres continued to score at will. Fortunately for the Altas, they finally found their offensive groove late in the quarter. Akhuitie took the pressure of scoring and creating for his teammates in a 12-5 rally. The score was 67-60 in favor of DLSU to enter the final quarter.

With the DLSU lead remaining at nine with 5:40 remaining in the final quarter of regulation, it could not have come in a much worse time for Bright Akhuitie to get his fourth foul in the game. Coach Aric del Rosario had no other recourse but to substitute Akhuitie for Prince Eze. It was a fortunate move, however, as Eze scored six of his eight points in an 8-0 run. Eze connected with jumpers from the midrange that Tratter struggled to defend. A reverse layup by Jason Perkins gave DLSU a three-point lead with 2:34 remaining but was eventually erased by a three pointer by Dagangon. Free throws by Perkins and a split by Teng gave the Green and White squad a three point lead with 14.3 seconds remaining. After Teng missed his second free throw, JRU immediately ran that led to a wide open pull-up three pointer by Dagangon, his third three pointer, to tie the game. After a timeout, Teng drove hard to the free throw line and found an open Perkins to score the eventual game-winner with .6 seconds remaining. UPHSD was not able to attempt a shot after as DLSU took an 81-79 win to advance to the semifinals.

Coach Juno Sauler after the game told us that the play was designed for Jeron Teng. Ten was defended well and, fortunately for the Archers, found Perkins for the game-winner. Moreover, when asked about the flexibility of the current roster of DLSU, Sauler jokingly said that “we’ve been watching a lot of Cleveland-Golden State and we’re trying to implement what their doing.”

The DLSU Green Archers next face the FEU Tamaraws in a rematch of last year’s UAAP semifinals on Friday, June 12 at 3:00pm.

The Scores:

DLSU 81 – Teng 19, Torres 18, Tratter 14, Caracut 12, Perkins 11, Torralba 5, Gob 2, Go 0, Sargent 0

UPHSD 79 – Akhuetie 25, Dagangon 23, Ylagan 10, Elorpe 8, Eze 8, Sadiwa 4, Dizon 1, Oliveria 0, Gallardo 0, Coronel 0, Pido 0, Bantayan 0, Cabiltes 0



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Mixed Martial Arts

Rene Catalan continues rampage with TKO win



Rene Catalan continues to turn critics into believers

Filipino fighter Rene Catalan made his sixth appearance inside the ONE Championship cage at ONE: Kings of Courage held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia, Saturday evening. He faced 21-year-old Chinese athlete Peng Xue Wen in the opening main card bout, and leaned on his elite wushu to stop the young star at the 4:22 mark of the second round.

The victory improves Catalan’s record to 4-2 (1 NC), extends his winning streak to four, and gives him the first TKO stoppage of his martial arts career, as he bids to climb the strawweight ladder in search of the ONE Strawweight World Championship.

“The Challenger” came out in the southpaw stance to open the bout, throwing big hooks and a head kick that narrowly missed as he established the center of the cage from the start of the contest.

The Filipino landed a host of powerful strikes, including a perfectly-placed uppercut and a melee of punishing leg kicks, but Peng’s conditioning and composure kept him in the match as he looked to stand and trade with the man 18 years his elder.

Catalan picked up where he left off when the bout resumed in the second round, this time operating out of the orthodox stance, landing more leg kicks and continuing to deny Peng any space to work.

Despite his dominance on the feet, there was a brief moment of concern for the Filipino on the mat when he jumped into the Chinese wrestler’s guard mid-way through the second round, and immediately found himself in a triangle choke. But the Filipino kept his composure and managed to work himself free.

Once the bout returned to the feet, Catalan poured on the pressure in search of a finish, and he got it with just 38 seconds remaining in the stanza.

“The Challenger” scored big with a liver shot, then unloaded a fierce flurry of punches that forced Peng onto his back foot. Another shot forced Peng to the mat, where a salvo of ground and pound from Catalan eventually forced the TKO stoppage as referee Olivier Coste stepped in to halt the contest.

Photo, story, and video from ONE Championship

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Gelo Alolino regrets Phoenix’s failure to close out Hotshots



Photo by PBA Images

But that achievement of his won’t be that memorable, as it went for naught following a 91-97 defeat they had absorbed into the hands of Paul Lee and Magnolia Hotshots, who have now collected their third straight victory.

For the second overall pick in the regular 2016 Rookie Draft, it was all because of their failure to sustain momentum up until the game’s final buzzer.

“Sayang, nandun na. We felt na sa amin na nung dulo kaso lang ganun talaga,” rued the 24-year-old sophomore after the match, where he shot an excellent 7-of-10 from the floor.

“Breaks of the game napunta sa kabila.”

Phoenix was there in contention all through out the match. In fact, they were even ahead, 89-84, with just three minutes left to play. But then, the Hotshots’ comebacking skills were unleashed, leading to the narrow win.

“Siyempre kami lahat nasayangan. Maganda naman yung team effort talaga namin,” expressed the 6-foot floor general of their end-game collapse, which wasted their efforts in assists (21) and on defense, where they forced Magnolia to 21 turnovers.

“Kami as players talagang gusto namin bumawi coming from a loss last game sa Rain or Shine.

The Fuel Masters have now lost their second straight outing and have dropped to 2-3. And for Alolino, all they have to do is learn as much as they can from this loss, especially now that they are about to face Barangay Ginebra next.

“Yun nga. Medyo masakit para sa’min ‘to,” admitted the National University product.

“All we have to do is magviview ulit kami ng tape para makita kung saan kami mas pwede mag-improve as a team and bawat isa — including me.”

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Glenn Khobuntin repays Ricky Dandan’s trust with end-game heroics



FILE Photo from PBA Images

Glenn Khobuntin can finally say that he had himself a moment in the pro ranks

The National University alumnus proved his worth for Kia Picanto, scoring his team’s final six points to steer the often-ridiculed club to its’ first win after a historic 16-game skid at the expense of Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 98-94.

“I knew he would. I knew he would,” lauded Kia head coach Ricky Dandan of the takeover the six-foot-four forward made.

“It was a blessing he didn’t play for the first two quarters because he [came in] fresh at gigil na gigil.”

Khobuntin finished with 11 markers on 5-of-7 shooting — the best game he’s had so far not because of the numbers he posted but with the way he made it. But the three-year pro does not want to take the spotlight all by himself.

“Hindi lang din naman ako e, kami ding lahat e,” the 26-year-old shared. “Siguro kumbaga nagka-opportunity lang, napunta sa akin yung bola kasi yun yung nasa scheme ng play so ayun.

“Thankful lang ako na-hit ko yung mga na-design na plays.”

However, the third-year pro admitted that he got frightened during the game’s final stretch, as Rain or Shine managed to impose a serious threat by coming back from a seven-point deficit, 94-96, with just less than 22 ticks left to play.

“Kinakabahan ako kasi two minutes pa rin yun e tapos Rain or Shine yung kalaban namin,” the native of Cagayan de Oro said. “Nakita ko nakakabalik sila. Thankful lang naman ako na yung game napunta sa amin, at least natapos yung losing streak namin.”

But more than the end of their months-long slump, what Khobuntin is grateful for is the trust given to him by Dandan, who fielded him as a starter in the second half after sitting out the entirety of the first 24 minutes.

“Nag-decide siya na ako yung i-start niya so thankful ako kasi nagtiwala siya sa akin.”

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Justin Brownlee, Alab lock down Knights for fifth win



Paying a visit to Indonesia for the first time this season, Tanduay Alab Pilipinas needed time to figure the CLS Knights out before stifling the hosts in the final frame to take a 92-87 road win, Saturday evening at the GOR CLS Kertajaya in Indonesia.

This is Alab’s second straight win after losing to the Singapore Slingers last January 10.

With the win, the Philippine-based club team lifts its slate to 5-4 for solo fourth. CLS, on the other hand, dropped to 1-7 — just half a game ahead of the cellar-dwelling Formosa Dreamers.

Justin Brownlee displayed his all-around brilliance in the game, leading Alab with 36 points on 15-for-24 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

Alab’s bench however could not sustain the effort of the starters that led to them clinging to a two-point lead with 7:06 remaining.

Needing a sparkplug, 40-year-old sniper Dondon Hontiveros provided the spark for Alab, knocking down a triple that proved to be the starting point 14-2 Alab run. A jumper by Bobby Ray Parks Jr. with 2:57 left capped the rally and gave Alab an 87-73 lead.

Hontiveros scored five of the eight Alab bench points. Fortunately for Alab, Renaldo Balkman and Bobby Ray Parks Jr. were on-point with the former tallying a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds while Alab’s skipper had 14 points, four assists, two rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

Coach Jimmy Alapag fielded his bench afterwards that resulted to the quintet of Brian Williams, Mario Wuysang, Arif Hidayat, Decorey Jones, and Sandy Kurniawan to slice the lead to as low as four points. Free throws by Oping Sumalinog with eight ticks left put CLS away for good.

Williams paced CLS with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Kurniawan added 19 markers. Indonesian legend Wuysang had 17 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Alab ends its road trip on Sunday, January 28 when they take on the Saigon Heat at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.

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