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Emphasis on defense, maximizing depth doing wonders for Tams



Pegged as this season’s favorites to win the crown, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws have been nothing short of poised and dominant.

When they began their campaign against the Ateneo Blue Eagles last week, they quickly sent out a strong message by smashing them with an 88-64 rout. However, the Tamaraws, uncharacteristically, fell short to UST in their next game by a point, 72-71, after a turnover-heavy performance.

The Tamaraws quickly regained traction and rebounded from their loss against UST with a commanding blowout of the De La Salle University Green Archers, 93-75, at the Mall of Asia Arena last Sunday.

“We’ve always emphasized on playing defense. Sabi namin that’s the way we beat Ateneo in our first game. All of a sudden against UST we didn’t play any kind of defense. Actually, binalik lang namin [against La Salle] ang focus namin on defense,” FEU Head Coach Nash Racela said. “The players were really up to the challenge. Nakita naman nila na when they work hard, they will reap benefits.”UAAP 78 FEU vs. DLSU - Arong

Adding more info in FEU’s early season success, their superb bench play and emphasis on outside shooting has been key to their hot start, and their fluid execution of the dribble-drive motion offense. After three games played, the Tamaraws are averaging 39.3 bench points per game, and they have been shooting the lights out from three-point land by knocking down 38 percent of their shots. They are also averaging 27 three-point shot attempts and they usually nail 10 makes per game.

FEU also makes the most out of its uncontested shots. They currently hold a record of having 12 uncontested field goal attempts per game, and they are averaging norms of 7 uncontested field goal makes per contest.

Furthermore, Racela also made it a point to make his rotations deeper this, season which makes his regular players less fatigued. Racela has deployed at least 12 players per game, and luckily for his Tamaraws, most of the players picked from the bench delivered in key stretches during their last three games.

“It’s the design of our team this year. If nagkaroon kami ng problema sa isa, other guys are ready to fill in that spot. I think we were lucky kasi halos lahat [can nail outside shots]. That is a luxury we have this year,” Racela added. “But I don’t want na biglain ang rookies, dahan-dahan lang. Pero [in our game against DLSU] tinawag sila ng tadhana pero nakadeliver naman.”

No doubt, FEU will continue to play like championship contenders and display excellent teamwork in their upcoming games. However, Racela also noted that this year’s UAAP Season always has the flavor of upsets, surprises, and the emergence of the unlikeliest of heroes. If they can duplicate their selfless play during their matchups with Ateneo and La Salle, they will surely be a headache to other opposing teams.

UAAP 78 FEU vs. DLSU-Belo“Actually, I was kind of scared to face La Salle after that loss to UST because I didn’t know on how we’ll react. Pero tuwang-tuwa ako to see them play as team again,” Racela remarked. “The challenge for us is how will we be able sustain that kind of performance. That is the challenge for us the whole year. The UAAP is very unpredictable.”

Now, next in line for FEU will be the rejuvenated UP Fighting Maroons this coming Sunday, 4:00 pm, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Paghahandaan namin siyempre and every team is tough in the UAAP. UP, even if they lost [against UST], pinakita nila kung anong klaseng team sila. Mahirap silang hindi paghandaan. Every game, the objective is to win. Kahit sinong kalaban, iyan naman ang objective ng every team.”

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Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool



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



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



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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Michael Calisaan tows Che’lu-San Sebastian past Perpetual



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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