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FEU, DLSU book Finals showdown

FEU, DLSU book Finals showdown with wins in the on going 2015 PFF Women’s Cup.

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After two rivalry matches in the semifinals of the 2015 PFF Women’s Invitational Cup, Far Eastern University (FEU) and De La Salle University (DLSU) secure their places in the Final when they outlasted University of Santo Tomas (UST) and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), respectively, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

FEU overpowers UST; clinches Final berth

Daidai Dolino hugs Tam Pachejo

Reigning UAAP champions FEU continued their mastery of UST in the first semifinal match when they poured in three goals, two from Jovelle Sudaria and another from Barbie Sobredo to take the first championship ticket.

After weak attempts from either side that went straight to the opposing keepers, the Morayta-based team started their build up in the middle. Kimberly Cupal sent a ball forward, which UST keeper Nicole Reyes kept out of danger. It wasn’t long until the relentless pressure from FEU finally plucked a goal in the 13th minute. Sudaria found Reyes off her line and chipped the ball into the goal.

The Thomasians attempted to connect to their attacking third, but FEU contained their passing on the right flank. On the other hand, the yellow-shirts found Sudaria again inside the box. However, the UST defense managed to clear it for an FEU corner kick, which the latter failed to convert.

UST had a spell on the offensive side at the vicinity of the 30th minute. Unfortunately, it did not end with a goal, as the free kick from Chandra Solite went over the bar. From there, it was a back-and-forth battle on the flood-drenched pitch until the final seconds of the first half. FEU’s Ina Araneta could have doubled their lead, but the ball got stuck in the puddle in front of their goal. The halftime whistle was sounded with Araneta’s squad leading 1-0.

FEU’s adjustments on the midfield paid off just minutes into the second period. After a botched play at the 47th minute, Sobredo ran into the box and tried an attempt to the goal. The UST defense attempted to stop the shot, but was called for a hand ball infraction. The burly FEU midfielder calmly sank the spot kick to double her team’s lead. On an ensuing play, Sobredo doubled her own output after stealing the ball from the midfield and blasting it towards the goal.

The home team wrestled control of the match from that point as they denied UST any chances to move the ball forward. Continuous rain also deterred the Thomasians plan on the attack, as they had difficulties with their passing game. After several tries, the white-shirts finally broke free from the opposing defense. Jennizel Cabalan and Charisa Lemoran was at the heart of the attack, but the forwards would fail to finish. The FEU defense held in the dying minutes and sealed their trip to the Final with this 3-0 victory over their rivals UST.

Hodges’ lone goal over Ateneo sends DLSU to Final

DLSU Celebration

UAAP Season 77 Rookie of the Year Chelo Hodges snatched a late goal in the second semifinal to lift DLSU past ADMU and propelled her team to the Final against FEU.

Both teams used their flanks in the early goings of the match as they tried to initiate their respective offensive rhythms. The Atenean left, and the La Sallian right flanks had their chances, but the opposing defenses stood their ground. The blue-shirts had the better of the opportunities, only the connection of Camille Rodriguez and Tessa Bernardo failed to find the back of the net. Fortunately for the visitors, Bernardo fished a foul against Mary Cristine Duran on an ensuing play. However, Mica Corrales sent her free kick over the bar and the goalless score line remained.

DLSU turned their defensive intensity to offense in the next few minutes. Their offense picked up in the latter stage of the first half as they finally sent the ball to their attacking third. Nonetheless, the Taft-based squad failed to score on their free kick attempts from Hodges and Angge Metillo. The period ended with the archrivals yet to tally a goal.

In the second half, Ateneo continued where they left off in the early stages of the previous half. At the 58th minute, substitute Pamela Diaz linked with Rodriguez, only Duran cleared the ball out of danger. The blue-shirts managed to keep up the pressure and won free kicks. Aina Martin took charge of these free kicks, but the veteran midfielder could not convert.

Just when the visitors inched closer towards their backline, DLSU stole a goal from the counter attack three minutes from the end of regulation. Irish Navaja picked the ball off an Atenean and sent the ball to Hodges on top of the box. The sophomore forward found herself with space to operate and fired a shot past the outstretched arms Kitkat Montelibano. That lone goal sealed the deal for her team to enter the Final against FEU.

The storied rivalry between the two best collegiate teams of the country: FEU and DLSU will take on another chapter on Sunday as the Final of the 2015 PFF Women’s Invitational Cup happens at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

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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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Calvin Abueva rejuvenated with return of physical play: ‘Masarap maglaro’

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Photo by PBA Images

For Calvin Abueva, it feels great to play in the PBA nowadays.

The Beast, who has always been known as one of the league’s most physical players since entering in 2012, was all praises for the way the officiating has changed this 43rd season — by just letting all the players play.

“Mas gumanda yung tawagan ngayon, naging physical nga. Naging exciting para sa mga tao, mas marami na nanonood ngayon eh,” said Abueva moments after their 97-83 victory over the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Sunday night.

As has been said many times, physicality had become something controlled over the last two years. Abueva knows it too well, having been a casualty, as he has paid a bevy of penalties during that time.

And now that it is a thing of the past, the 6-foot-2 bruiser feels much better, knowing that he can display his brand of basketball once more.

“Masarap maglaro, talagang pisikalan,” said the 29-year-old forward from Angeles, Pampanga. “Siyempre makikita naman natin kung sinasadya o hindi, basta katawan lang.

“Pisikal. Yun yung magandang laro di ba?”

Aside from the comeback of physicality, what makes Abueva beam even more is the way the Aces have been playing in the 2018 Philippine Cup. After a 0-2 start in the tourney, they have now booked their third straight win.

“Nung 2017 parang nilubog na namin yung losing streak namin doon. Ito 2018 na at panibagong destination na naman yung ina-ano namin,” said Abueva, who had nine points, nine rebounds, and five assists against Ginebra.

“Sustain muna namin ‘to… Sana magtuloy-tuloy ‘tong winning streak namin.”

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Alaska takes advantage of Greg Slaughter’s absence

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For the streaking Alaska Aces, their stunning 97-83 victory over the favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday night was partly made possible by the absence of one key player: seven-foot behemoth Greg Slaughter.

The 28-year-old center, who was averaging 20.67 points and 10.3 rebounds prior to Sunday, did not play against the Aces due to a hamstring injury. How he incurred the injury has yet to be determined.

“There’s a small person named Greg Slaughter who didn’t play; I think he has an impact on the game,” quipped coach Alex Compton after the match.

“[They missed] a guy who I think is gonna win an MVP soon in Greg Slaughter.

“Sometimes dito sa liga natin, you have to take advantage when opportunities come your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt [though],” added Compton.

With Slaughter out of the way, the Aces’ big men feasted.

Vic Manuel top-billed with 18 points and five rebounds, and elder statesman Sonny Thoss turned back the clock with a 17-point, four-rebound outing.

“Malaking bonus na rin sa amin, kasi wala nga si Greg kaya nakuha namin yung panalo,” said Manuel.

“Yeah it definitely helped,” added the six-foot-seven Thoss, who shot 6-of-12 from the floor and made four of his freebies.

“He’s a big guy, he’s a big presence inside so it took one big guy off our shoulder.”

Slaughter was approached and asked by scribes regarding his injury, but he was not in the mood to comment. No one can blame him, though, since the Barangay have slipped to their second straight defeat after a 2-0 start.

“I’m always there in practice, going over our gameplans. But it’s better if you ask our PT,” he said.

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Alaska completes turnaround at Greg Slaughter-less Ginebra’s expense

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Photo by PBA Images

A strong second half surge was all the Alaska Aces needed to turn back the heavily-favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 97-83, and book their third straight victory, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The Aces, who have yet to lose this 2018, have now improved to 3-2. Meanwhile, the Barangay absorbed their second straight loss and have dropped to 2-2.

“I was telling the guys na parang ang dami nating iniisip, hindi natin ginagawa yung ginagawa natin noong nakaraang dalawang linggo. Sabi ko relax lang tayo,” said coach Alex Compton, sharing what he told his wards that sparked the win.

Vic Manuel led the Milkmen with 18 points and five rebounds. Sonny Thoss turned back the clock as he made 17 markers on 6-of-12 shooting, while Chris Banchero supplied 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds.

The Aces were trailing by eight, 36-44 at the half, but it became a different ball game come the third chapter as they outscored the Gin Kings, 37 to 19, to erect a favorable 73-63 cushion heading into the game’s final 12 minutes.

From there, Alaska kept their foot on the gas to sustain their lead, which grew to as much as 18, 85-67, after their 6-0 spree — punctuated by Banchero’s lay-up plus a foul — with 6:14 remaining in the final frame.

Ginebra still tried to make one last push as they inched within 10, 75-85, but baskets by Thoss and Kevin Racal propelled Alaska to an 89-75 lead with 3:42 left to play — more than enough to knock out their counterparts.

“I was glad to come away with the win,” added Compton. “Sometimes, we have to take advantage of opportunities coming your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt but when two number one picks on the other team aren’t playing… There.”

Jvee Casio had 13 markers for Alaska, while Calvin Abueva nearly had a double-double of nine points and nine boards along with five assists in 20 minutes.

Aljon Mariano had 15 points, nine rebounds, and three dimes for Ginebra, who — despite having Sol Mercado back in the fold after ankle issues — missed the services of Joe Devance and Greg Slaughter due to injuries.

Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and Kevin Ferrer each scored 12 for the Barangay, with Thompson adding five assists. The trio combined for 15 of Ginebra’s 43 rebounds.

Alaska will aim to extend their streak versus the Blackwater Elite on Saturday, January 27 at 4:30 PM, while Ginebra will look to end their slump against the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Friday, January 26 at 7:00 PM. Both games are at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Alaska 97 — Manuel 18, Thoss 17, Banchero 14, Casio 13, Abueva 9, Teng 9, Cruz 5, Enciso 3, Potts 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2, Racal 2, J. Pascual 0.

Ginebra 83 — Mariano 15, J. Aguilar 12, Ferrer 12, Thompson 12, Caguioa 8, Cruz 8, R. Aguilar 5, Tenorio 5, Mercado 2, Taha 2, Wilson 2, Jamito 0.

Quarterscores: 26-23, 36-44, 73-63, 97-83.

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Frustrated Jared Dillinger admits ‘he’s getting sick’ of Meralco’s bad PH Cup runs

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It’s no secret that the Meralco Bolts have struggled in the Philippine Cup for the last three years. During the last two seasons, the eight-year-old franchise’s win-loss tally is four wins and 18 losses.

And in the 2018 edition, the narrative has been the same, with little to no hope of it turning the other way around.

The Bolts bowed to the TNT Katropa, 99-81, Sunday night — their third straight defeat after winning over Blackwater Elite in their opener last December. If things continue as they are, it looks like another poor all-Filipino tilt run is looming.

“We’re 1-3 and there’s nothing to be happy about,” said Jared Dillinger, who had 14 points and five caroms in the match at Ynares Center in Antipolo. “It’s a long season though… We [shouldn’t] panic but it’s not fun right now.

“The Philippine Cup has been our Achilles heel and every damn Philippine Cup we get our ass kicked. I’m getting sick of it.”

In this game, Meralco missed the services of top forwards Ranidel De Ocampo and Cliff Hodge due to injuries. But for Dillinger, those issues shouldn’t be excuses.

“When you get two guys like Ranidel and Cliff out, as a team, that’s the opportunity for the guys below them to step up,” asserted Dillinger, who has been with the franchise since 2013.

“It doesn’t have to mean scoring, getting the assists or rebound, it’s just making the right play, being smart.”

Asked what went wrong in this particular loss versus their sister team, where they shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and had committed 17 turnovers, the 10-year veteran lamented the poor effort that the Bolts put up.

“TNT didn’t do anything much, given that they played well. But they didn’t have any secret schemes against us. They just passed the ball around, and they got open shots,” added the 10-year pro, as TNT made 23 assists and shot 18 triples.

“Our effort wasn’t there. We got to put up the intensity cause it sucks right now.”

Meralco have a chance to end their slump against the Kia Picanto this Wednesday. Dillinger sees it as a do-or-die affair, warning that it will be a grind-out affair knowing that the Picanto is coming off a skid-ending win over Rain or Shine.

Do-or-die ’cause that’s gonna be a playoff game. Thank God they beat Rain or Shine ’cause you don’t want to be that one team that gives the win to a 0-16 [team]. You don’t want to play teams like that,” stressed the all-around forward.

“Nothing to take away from Kia though. It’s gonna be tough.”

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