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FEU, UST ends elims with rousing wins; Ateneo secures last semis berth

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In the last day of the group phase action of the 2015 PFF Women’s Invitational Cup, sure semifinalists Far Eastern University (FEU) and University of Santo Tomas (UST) pulled off contrasting wins against Sikat FC and Chelsea Soccer School, respectively, while Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) booked the last Final Four slot over Green Archers United (GAU) FC, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

FEU staves off Sikat FC; secures semis berth

Barbie Sobredo Goal

Three goals in the first half were enough for FEU as they snatch their third victory of the group phase and a spot at the Final Four, against Sikat FC, 3-1, in the first match of the day.

Just seconds into the match, Sikat FC had their first crack at goal after FEU was whistled for a foul. Lisan Bijdevaate attempted from a free kick outside the box, but her shot went straight to the hands of the opposing keeper Joy Chavez.

From there, the Morayta-based squad wrestled control of the match. At the fourth minute, Ina Araneta received a pass from the middle and weaved past the Sikat custodian Jezza Baron, only her attempt was cleared by the defense. The forward would not be denied, however, 13 minutes after. Araneta found Baron off her line, and chipped the ball into the goal to break the deadlock.

The offensive pressure continued for the visitors and they were rewarded with their second goal of the match. At the 21st minute, Barbie Sobredo found space to shoot from the right flank and guided the ball past Baron. Three minutes after, the prolific scorer doubled her own output. Team captain Alesa Dolino’s run was impeded by the Sikat defense inside the box, winning her squad a penalty kick. Sobredo took the spot kick and slotted it out of Baron’s reach. Both defenses held up to the halftime whistle, with FEU leading 3-0.

At the second half, both squads tried hard to tally a goal. FEU pushed for more goals with Araneta and Sobredo on the attack, but Sikat did well to stifle these attempts. Following several opportunities going forward, Sikat snatched a consolation goal in stoppage time.
Natasha Alquiros fired from inside the box and the ball ricocheted off the post and past the goal line. Nonetheless, FEU marched into the semifinals with this victory, finishing on top of the standings.

Late Lustan goal lifts UST over Chelsea SS

UST Celebration

Despite having already secured a semifinals slot, UST punctuated their group phase campaign with a come-from-behind victory against Chelsea SS, 3-2.

Chelsea took control of the match in the early goings. Several chances were mounted by the blue-shirts spearheaded by Joma Clemente, Loreta Ladero, and Sheen Ramores. At the 18th minute, Ladero pierced through the defense, but her shot went straight to UST keeper Ivy Lopez. With continuous pressure, the home side was finally able to get the breakthrough goal after three minutes. On an ensuing play, UST’s Rachelle Sanchez attempted to clear a shot from Chelsea, but instead the ball went in, giving the home side the lead.

After taking the stand on defense, UST pushed for and picked up an equalizer. At the 41st minute, Jennizel Cabalan found herself with space to operate and fired one near the top of the box to tie the match at one. Nina Acuna then tried to snatch the lead, but her two attempts were dealt with easily by the defense.

A minute before the halftime, Chelsea restored their one-point cushion. Ladero found Clemente with room to operate, and the latter blasted the ball into the net. Clemente’s goal put her team on top on the break, 2-1.

It was back-and-forth action in the second half as both teams continued to share possession and scoring chances until UST finally breached the home team’s backline. Cabalan forced Jayneth Mercardo out of her line and rolled the ball into the onion bag to level the game once again.

After Cabalan’s goal, the tussle continued between the teams as both defenses stymied any attempts from the opponent. It seemed as though the game would end on a stalemate, until UST pulled off a last-minute goal care of Hazel Lustan. The speedy forward blasted the ball from inside the penalty area to end her team’s captain on a high note going into the semis.

Ateneo fends off GAU, books last ride to semis

Pam Diaz Goal Celebration 2

In the battle for the last semifinals slot, two goals in both halves propelled Ateneo over GAU FC, 2-1, and into the knockout phase, in the last match of the group stage of the Cup.

ADMU started the first half on the offense by trying to use the right wing. At the 3rd minute, Camille Rodriguez fired from the top of the box, but it went straight to the mitts of GAU keeper Haya Ibarra. Tessa Bernardo tried to connect from a run at the 20th minute into the penalty area, only no one from her team was inside the box. It was five minutes after the hour-mark that the Lady Eagles got the breakthrough goal. Aina Martin received the ball from a short corner kick and sent it into the goal off the hands of Ibarra. That served as the marginal goal as the halftime whistle was sounded.

At the second half, both teams took advantage of what the opposing defense allowed with several opportunities to score. However, the forwards off either side could not finish. At the 56th minute, GAU’s Clara Poblador tried to take a shot from a free kick, but it went wide.

Ateneo finally broke the silence at the 67th minute with a goal against the run of play. Pamela Diaz received a pass from the midfield and drove into the box. GAU’s Poblador attempted to dispossess Diaz but failed. The Lady Eagle skillfully fired the ball past Ibarra to double the lead for her team.

With minutes to spare, GAU pushed for a goal back and was rewarded just three minutes after Diaz’ goal. In an ensuing corner kick at the 70th minute, the home side found Kaira Dimatulac for the conversion to cut the deficit to one, 1-2.

The response from the green-shirts fuelled Ateneo to search for an insurance goal. Two attempts from Diaz and Rodriguez in the vicinity of the 76th minute, however, was easily stopped by Ibarra. Both teams pushed for more goals, but their efforts were for nought as the final whistle was sounded with the Lady Eagles pulling the rag off GAU and snatching a last berth to the Final Four.

With the end of the group stage, the Cup now enters the semifinals next week where archrivals De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University go head-to-head. While tournament favorites Far Eastern University face-off with a revitalized University of Santo Tomas Lady Booters.

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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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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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