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FEU withstands UE pressure, clinches Final Four spot

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Bitter rivals Far Eastern University and University of the East figured in a defensive standstill.

In the crucial moments of the game, the FEU Tamaraws relied on veterans Mac Belo and Roger Pogoy to weather their rivals’ pressure and win, 71-67, to clinch the first Final Four spot in the UAAP Men’s Basketball tournament Saturday afternoon at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Tamaraws were without Mike Tolomia to close the game as he sprained his ankle with a minute to go in the third quarter after a conversion. FEU head coach Nash Racela said Tolomia wanted to return in the waning moments of the game, but the coaching staff refused to gamble.

With the Red Warriors holding a 57-53 lead to open the final quarter, rookie Wendel Comboy and sophomore Richard Escoto were able to tie the game with jumpers. RR De Leon then responded with a shot to put the UE faithful in attendance to a frenzy. Smart Elite ambassador Mac Belo took notice of this, taking over the game and silencing the crowd. Belo scored on two free throws and, in the next play, dribbled past two defenders and converted on a turnaround jumper to give FEU a 61-59 lead midway through the final quarter.

The UE Red Warriors returned the favor in a 6-2 spurt to regain the lead. The UE run was capped with a banker by Paul Varilla. After a timeout, the Tamaraws hardened their defensive stance, not allowing the Red Warriors to score a field goal in the final five minutes of the game. After that, baskets by Prince Orizu and Russell Escoto gave the Tamaraws a solitary point lead, 66-65, with four minutes to go. But the Tamaraws also struggled on the offensive end as well. With 1:32 second to go, after an excellent block by Belo on Chris Javier, RR Pogoy was able to shake-off Batiller and knockdown a top-of-the-arc three-pointer that gave them a four point cushion.

The Red Warriors still had a chance with 46.7 seconds to go. After a basket by Nick Abanto that cut the lead to just two, the Warriors regained possession after a flurry of turnovers. However, a wide-open Edgar Charcos was not able to convert on a triple, while Varilla missed another three from the corner. Free throws by Achie Inigo with 3.9 seconds to go sealed the game for the Tamaraws, 71-67.

“Scary, scary,” was the first thing Racela said after the game. He then commended the style of play of UE and their players. “Talagang ganun if you play a team like UE. They never give up when they play. They play the same way allthroughout,” he remarked. “It’s a good thing we made the necessary stops in the end game.”

As for the Final Four spot, Racela admitted that it is not on their minds. “We know that we could make the Final Four, why bother to think about it,” he said. He further added that they take this season game by game as all teams are tough, including their next opponents, the Adamson Soaring Falcons. It’s the same sentiment shared by RR Pogoy, who said that “hindi pa enough yun dahil marami pa kaming puwede i-improve personally and as a team.”

For Mac Belo, he feels that the team is just lucky to have made that stop that led to the end game rally. “Grabe yung depensa ng UE,” he admitted. “At nabibigyan lang ng magandang spots kaya nagawa ko yun.”

Smart Elite ambassador Mac Belo led all scorers with 16 points. He was 5/11 from the field and 5/7 from the foul stripe. He added six boards and two assists to his statline. Pogoy, even in shooting just 5/16 from the field, made the crucial baskets in scoring 12 points and grabbing the biggest boards as he had eight rebounds.

For the Red Warriors, Bonbon Batiller broke out of his slump in scoring 13 minutes. Paul Varilla and Edgar Charcos had ten points apiece in the contest as well.

As a team, the Tamaraws shot just 35.53% from the field and were forced to 22 turnovers. UE shot better in shooting 38.16%. However, FEU greatly outrebounded their opponents, 61-42, that led to a 21-10 advantage in second chance points that proved to be the difference.

The league-leading FEU Tamaraws (9-1) will next face the Adamson Falcons (2-9) on Wednesday, October 28 at 2:00pm while UE Red Warriors (3-7) will have a long break before they face the UST Growling Tigers on Wednesday, Novermber 4 at 2:00pm.

The Scores:
FEU (71) – Belo 16, Pogoy 12, Inigo 11, Jose 8, Orizu 6, Escoto Ru 6, Escoto Ri 4, Tolomia 4, Arong 2, Comboy 0, Dennison 0, Tamsi 0, Trinidad 0.
UE (67) – Batiller 13, Charcos 10, Varilla P 10, Abanto 8, Derige 8, Varilla J 7, Javier 5, Manalang 3, Palma 2, De Leon 1, Gonzales 0, Sta. Ana 0.
Quarterscores: 18-19, 34-34, 53-55, 71-67.

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Basketball

PBA slaps fines on Yeng Guiao, Chris Ross

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Yeng Guiao and Chris Ross opt to move on

The much-talked about tilt that pitted the San Miguel Beermen and the NLEX Road Warriors last January 18 featured numerous confrontations and exchanges. But none was more heated than what happened between fiery head coach Yeng Guiao and emotional defensive cog Chris Ross.

With 1:46 remaining in that game, Guiao and Ross figured in a verbal altercation that resulted to the latter being slapped with his second technical foul of the contest.

San Miguel head coach Leo Austria alledged that Guiao threw a racial slur at Ross that triggered the Filipino-American.

The league though could not find any hard evidence that this occurred.

“Upon review of the incident, consulting possible witnesses to the event and discussing the matter with both parties, the alleged racist remark attributed to Coach Guiao could not be established,” the league said in a statement. “Coach Guiao has denied such allegation while Chris Ross has opted to move forward and said that he would not want to discuss the matter further. However, Coach Guiao and Chris Ross will be subject to appropriate fines for their respective misconduct.

“As a result, the Office of the Commissioner finds no sufficient basis to discuss the matter of an alleged racist remark uttered by Coach Guiao. It may be recalled that in a previous incident, a heavy penalty was imposed for a racist remark that was clearly proven.

“Rest assured that any act that is racially derogatory and pejorative in nature will be dealt with sternly by the league,” the statement ended.

As a result, Guiao is fined PHP 11,000 for obscene gesture, use of profane language and engaging in a verbal altercation while Ross is fined the amount of PHP 2,600 for incurring two technical fouls, both for verbal altercation.

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MPBL aims to give local talent biggest exposure

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After months of planning, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League will finally raise its curtains on Thursday, January 25 at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. Unlike the other leagues in the country, the MPBL wants to give Filipino aspirants from local communities a chance to shine on national TV.

“I would like to say, this is the noble project of our founder and chairman, Senator Manny Pacquiao, Talagang dream niya ito, matulungan ‘yung mga grassroots,” said MPBL head of marketing Arnold Vegafria during the league’s press conference. “And from the grassroots, to the collegiate players and also professionals na gusto niyang tulungan, mabigyan ng chances, makalaro at ma-expose ang skills nila para matulungan ang mga basketbolista not only sa Metro Manila but this is gonna be all over the Philippines.

“Simula muna sa Metro Manila and key cities in Luzon. Soon it will go to Visayas and Mindanao.”

The first conference for the league is the Anta Raja Cup. 10 teams from Luzon will compose the league, namely Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Caloocan, Imus, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Paranaque, Quezon City, and Valenzuela.

Though it may be ambitious, the league wants to continue the dream started by the Metropolitan Basketball Association which is to create a league that has a home and away format.

“For the longest time, after ng MBA, I think it’s 20 years ago na ‘yun, I think it’s due na rin for our basketball fans around the country, ‘yung mga sa provinces, ‘cause ‘yung advantage nito is ‘yung games mismo, dadalhin mo sa kanila. Unlike before sa mga liga natin, naka-stay lang sila sa isang venue,” said league commissioner Kenneth Duremdes.

“Maraming factors ngayon, traffic and time-consuming. Pero itong liga natin, tayo ang magdadala mismo sa mga tao, sa mga basketball fans. Sa tagal-tagal ng walang organized, or high-level na basketball tournament, ito na ‘yung time na makikita ng mga basketball fans natin na up close and personal ang mga ini-idolo nila, lalo na ang mga hometown hero nila,” the PBA legend furthered.

Armed with this vision, the league plans to be the country’s premier amateur league, helping build the dreams of the Filipino youth.

“It’s an amateur league. Kaya nga natin siya tinatawag na liga para sa lahat ng Pilipino, kasi lahat dito as long as Filipino ka, kasali ka,” shared Duremdes.

“Kagaya ng sinasabi ni Sen. Manny, matutulungan natin ang mga players ng grumaduate sa college na walang mapaglaruan, mga ex-pro na hindi masyado nabigyan ng exposure sa PBA, may exposure sila dito. Tapos yung mga grassroots player natin, malay mo springboard nila ang MPBL and who knows they will represent the country in the national team.

“Ito ang nakikita ni Sen Manny, mga players na out of school or the big leagues, ma-expose sila sa MPBL at mapansin sila ng national team or pro team,” he furthered.

The league’s first game will feature Caloocan taking on Paranaque at the Big Dome. Tickets are priced at P300, P200, P150, P100 while the Gen Ad will be open for all.

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CSB

Lady Blazers evade upset-hungry Lady Generals

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The College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers avoided a major upset, slipping past the winless Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals, 25-17, 18-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-7, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

After winning the opening set, the Lady Blazers collapsed in the following frames, surrendering errors and fumbling passes. The Lady Generals took full advantage and grabbed all the momentum, rued Saint Benilde head coach Arnold Laniog.

“Nabigyan nga namin ‘yung kalaban ng confidence, kaya tuloy-tuloy na sila kanina. Mataas pa rin ‘yung tendency ng team ko mag-relax,” Laniog said. “Kung tutuusin, may advantage talaga ‘yung team namin. Nahihirapan lang talaga kami makabangon kapag nauunahan kami. Mabuti na lang kanina nakabawi kami noong huling dalawang sets.”

The Lady Generals took their turn making errant plays, allowing the Lady Blazers to grab a 15-7 lead in the fourth set and force a decider. Anchored by the imposing presence of their middle blockers Ranya Musa and Rachel Austero, the Lady Blazers raced to a 10-2 in the final set and sealed the win.

Austero finished with 17 points while Musa added 15. The pair also combined for seven of CSB’s 13 blocksm Austero also provided five aces.

The Lady Blazers (3-2) take on fellow Final Four aspirant Jose Rizal University (2-3) on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Generals had no player score in double-digits as they pulled 48 points from Benilde’s errors. Yvette Tongco and Arina Reyes, nonetheless, provided nine points apiece.

The Lady Generals (0-5) get their best chance at their first of the season when they face also-ran Mapua University (0-4) also on Wednesday.

The Scores

CSB (3) – Austero 17, Musa 15, Cui 8, Ventura 8, Abriam 5, Daguil 5, Enginco 5, Cardiente 1, Pablo 1, Dolorito 0, Lim (L), Torres (L)

EAC (2) – Reyes 9, Tongco 9, Binondo 8, Lumbo 8, Tasis 4, Pablo 3, Magbanua 2, Chan 0, Yongco 0, Medina (L)

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CSB

Blazers rally from 0-2 deficit, fend off Generals for fourth win

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Defending NCAA men’s volleyball champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers completed a huge comeback from an 0-2 hole and upended the gritty Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, 19-25, 20-25, 25-7, 25-14, 15-11, Monday morning at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Generals stormed through the first two sets, leaning on better transition and their service game. Joshua Mina and Chris Ilano poured in most of their combined 27 points in these frames.

Nonetheless, when the Blazers realized that they needed to turn up its aggressiveness, it was cruise control from there.

“Nung first two sets, nag-relaxed kami, ‘di kami aggressive sa atake, sa blocking,” Benilde senior middle blocker Jethro Orian lamented. “Eh yung kalaban, masipag sila.”

EAC imploded in the next two sets, coughing up most of its 41 miscues during the frame. The reigning champions capitalized on the situation with heightened aggression.

Halfway into the eliminations, Orian shared that the Blazers needed to continue their hard work.

“Kailangan pa naming mas maging aggressive. Mas tumrabaho sa dapat naming again,” he said.

Captain Isaah Arda registered a 19-point outing, 17 coming off attacks. Orian’s fellow center attacker Francis Basilan finished with 12 markers.

The Blazers (4-1) will battle the Jose Rizal University (0-5) on Wednesday.

Mina starred for the Generals with 16 points.

The Generals (2-3) will lock horns with Mapua University (2-2) on Thursday, in a tussle for survival.

The Scores:

CSB 3 – Arda 19, Basilan 12, Orian 9, Bacani 9, Bautista 9, Magsino 4, Rojas 1, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

EAC 2 – Mina 16, Ilano 11, Rasing 11, Castellano 8, Lim 6, Garcia 2, Guinto 1, Panoy 0, Lumbar 0, Magadan L, Bagdoc L.

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