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UP, FEU share points in six-goal classic

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On a chilly Thursday afternoon at the Far Eastern University Diliman Football Field, last year’s best two teams, the UP Fighting Maroons and the FEU Tamaraws, battled fiercely to a high-octane 3-3 stalemate. Jinggoy Valmayor scored right at the end to cancel Noli Chavez’s second half goal after both teams netted twice early on.

With much at stake, both the Tamaraws and the Maroons played smartly in order to create good goalscoring chances. At the same time, both defenses exerted their best to challenge both teams’ potent attacks. FEU grabbed the game’s first chance four minutes into the game as Audie Menzi’s weak attempt rolled slowly towards UP goalie Ace Villanueva. The home squad followed it up seven minutes later courtesy of captain Eric Giganto. The forward got a touch to Val Jurao’s corner but it went far wide. UP’s Ryan Fermin blasted a shot well over the bar in the following minute.

After an array of awfully missed opportunities, the breakthrough came at the 13th minute in favor of the men in gold. Heavily marked, Giganto yielded possession to Jhan Jhan Melliza who was unmarked at the left hand side of the box. He then cleverly crossed the ball to Nicolas Ferrer who precisely timed his dive to head the ball into the net and put FEU ahead 1-0. The Tamaraws had a chance to double their lead but Melliza’s attempt from a free kick was caught by Villanueva.

The visiting team then established momentum midway through the first half. Fermin sent the ball into the box but Patxi Santos lost control of the ball at the 22nd minute. The Maroons continued to pressure and got their reward a couple of minutes after. Lou Rafanan whipped a cross from the left wing which found Valmayor. The UP forward clinically nodded the ball over Patrick Rallos to level the score at one goal apiece. It did not stop there as UP’s succeeding attempt resulted in another score change. Off a UP corner taken by Daniel Gadia, Carlos Monfort diverted the ball to Feb Baya who headed in UP ahead, 2-1, just a minute before the half hour mark.

In a game where both teams seemingly shared possession fairly, FEU awaited their next chance to shoot. Their aggressive approach on offense led to a penalty at the 35th minute. Gadia fouled Menzi inside the area, prompting the referee to point to the spot. Melliza stepped up to bury the spot kick and restored parity anew at 2-2. More chances took place after but nothing threatened both Villanueva and Rallos, ending the first half equal.

Two minutes into the second half, Valmayor went past Rallos but recovered late as the goal was protected by a swarm of FEU players. A rare goalkeeping swap happened immediately after that. RJ Joyel, who started the game as a defender, moved to goal in place of Rallos who then was taken off for Joshua Mulero.

With the game level, both teams actively hunted for the go-ahead goal. At the 53rd minute, Monfort won the ball inside the FEU box but scooped his shot wide. The Tamaraws took their turn moments after and were not denied. Chavez drilled in a shot off a headed clearance on FEU’s corner kick to give the Tamaraws their second lead of the game with 10 minutes gone by in the second half.

Despite leading, FEU maintained momentum in the next 15 minutes with the hope of extending their lead. It did not arrive, although the fourth-placed team had decent looks. Jurao, Ferrer, Giganto and Melliza were presented opportunities but none of them made it count. In the same period, UP only had one chance to tie but Valmayor also wasted his headed attempt at the 67th minute. The game then had another twist to its plot 17 minutes from time. Giganto, who was booked in the first half for a foul, was slapped with a second yellow card for a deliberate handball inside the UP box. More importantly, it resulted in Giganto’s dismissal, reducing FEU to 10 men.

Approaching full time, UP emerged as the hungrier team naturally as they were behind. Whenever the Tams kept the ball, they reluctantly surged forward to perhaps prevent a dangerous counter attacking play from the Maroons. Valmayor had a couple of free kicks saved well by Joyel while his teammate Ian Clarino’s shot struck the wall. The game was about to end when Chavez impeded Santos just outside the box. Within his range, Valmayor went for it in their last try of equalizing. The fifth year marksman then lashed his free kick with enough pace and precision to send it past Joyel to dramatically end the game at 3-3.

UP head coach Anto Gonzales noticed improvement from his team’s previous game, particularly in the way they started, despite taking home less points. “We played much better in the first half. [In the] second half, medyo nag-deviate kami sa dapat naming gawin. But at least towards the end, they really wanted to get that equalizing goal. I have to credit them for the effort,” Gonzales elaborated. Heading into their next match against UST on Sunday, Gonzales remains wary of Tiger Striker Steven Anotado as he shared his concern on defense. “Iyong defending namin, lalo na sa back four, hindi naayos ‘yung mga problema. We just have to keep on fixing [the problems].”

Speaking on behalf of FEU, assistant coach Dexter Chio felt that a combination of ill luck and bad officiating late in the game cost them the win. “Maganda naman nilaro, swerte lang UP,” he reacted. “Kailangan naming manalo para makaakyat sa top four. Malungkot man, wala nang magagawa. Tapos na,” he said, while also reckoning that Giganto was rashly given a second card and Chavez’s foul late in the game may have been soft and could have not been given. Nonetheless, Chio would like the Tamaraws to maintain focus, especially heading into an important match against NU this Sunday.

Today’s results now place five teams a point apart in the standings. UP solidifies its lead on top, moving one point ahead of La Salle. FEU, meanwhile, is in fourth; just a point behind third-seeded Ateneo and one point in front of NU who won earlier against Adamson. All teams have four games left in the elimination round, setting up an exciting climax for this season’s race for Final Four slots.

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ABL

Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa

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After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Ryan Moss grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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