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Ferrer hopes to have made UST proud

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Smart Elite ambassador Kevin Ferrer, in his five years with the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, has helped steer the España-based squad to three Finals appearances and four Final Four berths.

Throughout his UAAP Seniors’ career, Ferrer has started 41 of 64 regular season games and posted a career average of 10.5 points on 32.5% shooting, 6.4 rebounds, and at least one triple per game. Moreover, the UST skipper has posted career-highs in his final collegiate season, with averages of 17.9 points, on an efficient 40.1% clip from the field and 77.8% from the charity stripe, and 8.2 boards to lead the Growling Tigers to another Finals appearance.

However, just like the former King Tigers Jeric Fortuna and Jeric Teng, Kevin Ferrer was not able to cap his UAAP career with a championship, losing a heartbreaking winner-take-all Game Three to the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 67-62, early Wednesday evening.

In his final collegiate game, Ferrer was limited to just six points on seven attempts, with his last two attempts being desperation three-pointers as the Tamaraws held a two-possession advantage. “Naka stay-home talaga sila kay Kevin Ferrer. Talagang naka-deny sila kay Kevin,” UST head coach Bong Dela Cruz said about the blanketing defense of FEU seniors Mac Belo and Roger Pogoy. Their suffocating defense kept Ferrer from even at least gaining possession of the ball for the majority of the game.

“Mahirap talaga intindihin yung depensa sa kanya ng FEU. Talagang naka-dikit sa kanya. Nandun din naman si Kevin. Hindi lang naman sa points. Nandun siya para sa rebounds, sa defense, and to lead.”

Minutes after the game, Ferrer came out of their locker room visibly heartbroken. As the UST faithful gathered around their captain in the parking lot of the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Ferrer was serenaded by chants of “Go USTE!” and “MVP!”. The Smart Elite ambassador went out of his way to stay for pictures with the UST students who had waited for the team, forcing a smile to hide the pain of the loss.

“Basta ginawa ko yung best ko. Pinaglaban ko yung UST. Kung ano man yung result, okay na ako doon,” an emotional Ferrer said on his way to the team bus.

For Dela Cruz, he is thankful to have coached Ferrer, as his leadership had proved vital to the Cinderella run of their team. “Kevin Ferrer is my MVP,” he reflected. “Nakita niyo naman yung ginawa niya sa team na ito. Ni-lead talaga niya itong team na ito sa Finals. Siya talaga yung dahilan kung bakit kami nandito.”

Ferrer, though, feels that he should have pushed the limits of his body for this game. “Yun talaga e. Yun na yung best (na kaya) e. Sa tingin ko kulang pa yung nagawa ko pero hindi pa naman tapos yung journey ko,” an exhausted and upset Ferrer furthered. “Basta ginawa namin yung best namin. Kung ano talaga yung destiny namin, okay na kami doon. Wala naman kaming question kay God. Yun yung plan talaga ni God sa amin.”

With five graduating seniors for the Growling Tigers, a new era will dawn for the España cagers next season, with Marvin Lee and Embons Bonleon leading the way. “Sobrang emotional kasi last year ko na ‘to,” he shared about what he said to his teammates after the game. “Basta nag-‘thank you’ ako. Nag-remind ako sa mga matitira na ipaglaban talaga nila yung pride ng UST.”

Projected to be a first round pick for the 2016 PBA Draft, Ferrer vows that he will work on the mistakes to become a better, stronger athlete. “Hindi naman matatapos dito yung career ko e. Lahat ng mistakes ko i-improve ko,” he closed.

“Hard worker talaga si Kevin and may good attitude. Sana maganda maging takbo ng PBA career niya,” his mentor for two years Bong Dela Cruz added.

Prior to going out of the locker room, Ferrer had pondered on whether the UST community will remember his career with UST fondly or with angst. Based on the words of encouragement and the chants of “Thank you Kevin!” outside the arena, the “King Tiger” will head on to his next journey knowing that the Thomasians are thankful for the blood, sweat, and tears he has given to the school.

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AU

Impervious Lady Chiefs stay perfect after sweep of Lady Pirates

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The Arellano University Lady Chiefs extended their winning streak to 17 dating back to last season, after clobbering the Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The defending champions were unrelenting with four Lady Chiefs scoring in double-digits with rookie Necole Ebuen powering in 11 points. Third-year open hitter Regine Arocha and Arellano’s middle blockers Mary Anne Esguerra and Andrea Marzan each provided 10 markers.

Conversely, no Lady Pirate managed to score in double-figures.

“Maganda naman talaga ang nilalaro ng mga bata. Lahat kasi kami determinado na makakuha ulet ng championship. Alam nila (Lady Chiefs) na kailangan pataas nang pataas ang ginagalaw namin,” said Arellano head coach Obet Javier.

The Lady Chiefs also limited their errors to a season-best 16 while the Lady Pirates surrendered 24 miscues.

The Lady Chiefs look for their sixth win of the season when they face the red-hot University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (4-1) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Christine Miralles and Monica Sevilla each supplied the struggling Lyceum with eight point apiece.

The Lady Pirates (1-4) take on the undefeated San Beda College (4-0) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

AU (3) – Ebuen 11, Arocha 10, Esguerra 10, Marzan 10, Prado 3, Ramirez 3, Liu 2, Balanoba 1, Donato 1, Verutiao 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)

LPU (0) – Miralles 8, Sevilla 8, Juanilla 7, Patio 4, Genova 1, Romanban 0, Bongabong 0, Marcella (L)

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Basketball

Late whistle costs San Beda against Sousse to fall to 0-2

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23 for 2023 cadet Robert Bolick is averaging 27.5 points per game in the tournament

After struggling to close out the UAE National Team in their opener last Friday, the San Beda College Red Lions figured in a late judgment call that did not fall into their favor, Saturday at the Shabab Al Ahli Club in Dubai. Due to this, the defending NCAA Champions lost to Tuniasian club team Sousse, 78-79.

With the loss, the Red Lions fell to a 0-2 hole in the 29th Dubai Basketball Championship. But the record does not reflect how the Filipinos played.

Robert Bolick, who scored 28 points against the UAE National Team, led the charge for San Beda in their second outing had 27 points. Fellow 23 for 2023 cadet Javee Mocon added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Sousse, the second-best club team in Tunisia and boasts four national team players and an American import, led by as much as 10 points, 70-60 in the final frame.

Fired-up by the Filipinos who stormed the venue, the Red Lions answered right back with an 18-8 run capped by a booming Bolick triple with six ticks left to gain a 78-76 lead.

However, a foul was called on a Red Lion on a three-point attempt by a Sousse player. He calmly sank all three free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Donald Tankoua had eight points and 13 rebounds as he was saddled with foul trouble all throughout the game.

The Tunisian club team was paced by Radzhouane Slimane with 18 points while Ibrahim Nadarri and Joshua Cassady had 13 markers each.

San Beda will have a day break before taking on Moroccan club team Al Sale on Monday, January 22.

The Scores:

San Beda 78 – Bolick 27, Mocon 11, Tankoua 8, Noah 8, Toba 6, Soberano 6, Prebitero 4, Tongco 4, Bahio 2, Carino 2, Oftana 0, Adamos 0.

Sousse 79 – Slimane 18, Naddari 13, Cassady 13, Mouhli 11, Knioua 9, Toumi 8, Monastiri 4, Gaddour 3.

Quarterscores: 23-17, 36-39, 57-62, 78-79.

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JRU

Perpetual overpowers JRU to keep pace of Final Four

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Strutting their decisive height and power advantage, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas slammed the Jose Rizal University Lady Bombers, 25-21, 22-25, 25-14, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Altas were still heavy-handed with their errors, surrendering 35 miscues, including 12 in the second set, the only frame they lost.

The Las Piñas-based program, however, kept a scorching offensive pace, bombarding the Lady Bombers with six blocks and 12 aces. JRU had just five points combined crom those categories.

“Mataas pa talaga ‘yung tendency ng mga bata mamigay ng mga puntos. Sabi ko nga hindi kami mananalo kung tutulungan pa namin ‘yung kalaban maka-score,” rued Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño.

“Pero, unti-unte namang gumaganda ‘yung galaw ng mga bata. Lahat naman ng pagkukulang nila, tinatrabaho namin para maayos sa ensayo,” the champion mentor added.

Perpetual’s six-foot-three middle blocker Lourdes Clemente towered over the Lady Bombers with a season-high 19 points which included 14 attacks, two blocks, and three aces. Winger Cindy Imbo added 15 points.

The Lady Altas (4-1) take on the undefeated defending champs Arellano University (5-0) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Rookie Dolly Versoza paced the Lady Bombers with a game-high 21 points while captain Shola Alvarez managed 15.

The Lady Bombers (2-3) face the College of Saint Benilde (3-1) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Clemente 19, Imbo 15, Sangalang 8, Llorente 7, Tripoli 7, Gual 6, Versoza 2, Umandal 1, Estanislao 0, Medalla (L)

JRU (1) – Versoza 21, Alvarez 15, Ebuenga 5, Montojo 2, Rivera 2, Sibangan 1, Bodiongan 0, Macaraya (L)

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Basketball

Marc Pingris wants Rafi Reavis to break Robert Jaworski’s record

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Marc Pingris was all praises for veteran Rafi Reavis Saturday night, as the 40-year-old center made his presence felt in the Magnolia Hotshots’ 97-91 victory — their third straight win — over Phoenix Fuel Masters at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The six-foot-nine Reavis finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks — a performance perfectly punctuated by a follow-up of a Paul Lee miss with 12.5 seconds left to play that knocked out the Fuel Masters for good.

“Papasalamat ako kay Rafi na talagang kababalik lang niya pero binigay niya talaga lahat,” said Pingris after the bout, as Saturday night was just Reavis’ second outing in the 2018 Philippine Cup after recovering from a hip injury.

“Nag-usap nga kami kanina e, hindi pa siya 100 percent. So bukas, ang sabi niya babalik daw siya sa gym dahil gusto niya ibalik yung lakas ng legs dahil wala pa daw,” added the 36-year-old, who also suffered a hip injury last season.

Reavis has been playing in the league for 16 years. Seeing the work he has put in, Pingris, who finished the game with 17 rebounds, four assists, four points and two blocks, believes that the 10-time PBA champion can play for 10 more years — at least.

“You know naman Rafi eh, katulad ko rin yan eh – rebound and depensa. At tsaka sobrang vocal siya sa team eh,” beamed Pingris, who himself is a 14-year veteran. “Walang siyang inaano, talagang sinasabihan niya kung sino yung mga nagmi-mistake, kung paano kami mag-adjust, so nakikinig naman lahat sa kanya.

“Talagang nandun yung respeto namin kay Rafi.”

And if Reavis stays healthy for the next decade, Pingris wants Reavis to exceed Jaworki’s 958 games played — third most all time.

“Nasa kanya yun, basta kaya mo ba eh. As a player, kung masipag ka naman at may disiplina sa sarili mo, kaya niya yun.”

Still, Reavis has a lot of catching up to do.

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