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Fighting Maroons smother Adamson for third win



The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons inched closer to at least a playoff spot after running over Adamson University Soaring Falcons, 5–0, Sunday morning at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.

UP veteran Miggy Leonardo started the onslaught after finishing off Adamson rookie Kevin Fabros in two straight sets in the first singles match. Leonardo got off to a hot start by stringing points in bundles while limiting Fabros to single points to lead at the first game break, 11–5. UP took it from there and ended the frame with a 5–0 run, 21–7. The fourth-year Maroon continued with his blistering pace in the following game and took an even bigger 11–3 advantage at the interval. Another 5–0 run — this time at the middle portion of the game — sealed the deal for UP and closed out the match, 21–5.

In the second singles, Team Captain Jon Masongsong doubled the tie advantage for UP when he waylaid Adamson veteran EJ Viloria in two games. Viloria scored two straight points to start off the match, but five straight points from Masongsong pushed the latter into the break, 11–9. From there, UP did not let up as two huge scoring runs clinched the game, 21–13. In the second game, the Adamson shuttler again took the first two points, before errors on his side gave UP the lead. Now with the advantage, Masongsong then scored four straight points to get to the interval first, 11–9. After the break, UP fended off any attempts of Adamson for a comeback and capped of the game and the match with a 6–0 binge, 21–13.

Playing in their first UAAP doubles match as partners in a while, UP seniors Leonardo and Jojo Malelang clinched the win for their team against Joshua Antonio and Jeffrey Iquiña. The Falcons stunned the Maroons duo with a fiery opening into the match with their aggression to go ahead. This proved too much as they succumbed to errors, conceding the advantage to UP at the interval, 11–10. Five consecutive points from Leonardo and Malelang moved pivotal as they pulled through with the first game win, 21–16. In the following game, the Fighting Maroons zapped all the fight in the Antonio and Iquiña with an 11–1 romp into the break. Ultimately this huge advantage put the game out of reach for Adamson, and UP took their second straight win of the season.

With the tie already in the books, Adamson’s Viloria and partner Elben Concha tested the tandem of Vinci Manuel and Betong Pineda in the following doubles match. It was tight opening in the first game before UP took the advantage at the break off three straight points and a service fault by Concha, 11–7. Manuel and Pineda flexed their muscles after the interval and finished the first frame, 21–11. In the following set, however, Adamson got their game going and led 11–9 at the interval. Three consecutive errors from the Maroons just after the ceasefire was all that Concha and Viloria needed to force the match into a deciding set, 21–16. The UP pair bounced back at the start the final game and led 11–6 at the court change after another miscue on the service from Adamson. The trailing tandem tried to mount a rally to keep it close; nonetheless, the Maroons held off their opponents and the match ended fittingly on another service error. Manuel and Pineda won the game and the match, 21–15.

Malelang completed the sweep and the rout when he demolished Adamson’s Gerloth Delizo in the final singles match in just two matches. The UP veteran rolled with an 11–6 at the first game break. Delizo tried to keep in step with Malelang after the interval, only the latter managed to waive off the challenge to clinch the match, 21–14. The Falcon used this newfound confidence to stay with Malelang in the opening part of the second game. After the break, Malelang threatened to put the match out of reach with a 4–0 run, until Delizo countered with his own binge. On the other hand, the fourth-year Maroon would not be denied of the victory, when he took the last three points and secured the win, 21–18.

The Fighting Maroons will try to cement their place in the semifinals when they face University of the East on Saturday, October 3. Meanwhile, the Soaring Falcons will battle against Ateneo de Manila University on the same day.


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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Mixed Martial Arts

Rene Catalan continues rampage with TKO win



Rene Catalan continues to turn critics into believers

Filipino fighter Rene Catalan made his sixth appearance inside the ONE Championship cage at ONE: Kings of Courage, held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia, Saturday evening. He faced 21-year-old Chinese athlete Peng Xue Wen in the opening main card bout, and leaned on his elite wushu skills to stop the young star at the 4:22 mark of the second round.

The victory improves Catalan’s record to 4-2 (1 NC), extends his winning streak to four, and gives him the first TKO stoppage of his martial arts career, as he bids to climb the strawweight ladder in search of the ONE Strawweight World Championship.

“The Challenger” came out in the southpaw stance to open the bout, throwing big hooks and a head kick that narrowly missed as he established the center of the cage from the start of the contest.

The Filipino landed a host of powerful strikes, including a perfectly-placed uppercut and a melee of punishing leg kicks, but Peng’s conditioning and composure kept him in the match as he looked to stand and trade with the man 18 years his elder.

Catalan picked up where he left off when the bout resumed in the second round, this time operating out of the orthodox stance, landing more leg kicks and continuing to deny Peng any space to work.

Despite his dominance on the feet, there was a brief moment of concern for the Filipino on the mat when he jumped into the Chinese wrestler’s guard mid-way through the second round, and immediately found himself in a triangle choke. But the Filipino kept his composure and managed to work himself free.

Once the fighters returned to their feet, Catalan poured on the pressure in search of a finish, and he got it with just 38 seconds remaining in the stanza.

“The Challenger” scored big with a liver shot, then unloaded a fierce flurry of punches that forced Peng onto his back foot. Another shot forced Peng to the mat, where a salvo of ground and pound from Catalan eventually forced the TKO stoppage as referee Olivier Coste stepped in to halt the contest.

Photo, story, and video from ONE Championship

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Gelo Alolino regrets Phoenix’s failure to close out Hotshots



Photo by PBA Images

Gelo Alolino had his best game for the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Saturday night at the Cuneta Astrodome with 19 points, eclipsing his previous career-high of 16 markers which he made last May 21, 2017 in a loss to the Mahindra Floodbuster.

But his achievement won’t be too memorable, as it went for naught following a 91-97 defeat at the hands of Paul Lee and the Magnolia Hotshots, who have now collected their third straight victory.

For the second overall pick in the regular 2016 Rookie Draft, it was all because of their failure to sustain momentum up until the game’s final buzzer.

“Sayang, nandun na. We felt na sa amin na nung dulo kaso lang ganun talaga,” rued the 24-year-old sophomore after the match, where he shot an excellent 7-of-10 from the floor.

“Breaks of the game napunta sa kabila.”

Phoenix were in contention all throughout the match. In fact, they were even ahead, 89-84, with just three minutes left to play. But the Hotshots’ comeback skills were unleashed, leading to the narrow win.

“Siyempre kami lahat nasayangan. Maganda naman yung team effort talaga namin,” admitted the 6-foot floor general of their end-game collapse, which wasted their efforts in assists (21) and on defense, where they forced Magnolia to 21 turnovers.

“Kami as players talagang gusto namin bumawi coming from a loss last game sa Rain or Shine.

The Fuel Masters have now lost their second straight outing and have dropped to 2-3. And for Alolino, all they have to do is learn as much as they can from this loss, especially now that they are about to face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel next.

“Yun nga. Medyo masakit para sa’min ‘to,” admitted the National University product.

“All we have to do is magviview ulit kami ng tape para makita kung saan kami mas pwede mag-improve as a team and bawat isa — including me.”

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Glenn Khobuntin repays Ricky Dandan’s trust with end-game heroics



FILE Photo from PBA Images

Glenn Khobuntin can finally say that he had himself a moment in the pro ranks

The National University alumnus proved his worth for the Kia Picanto, scoring his team’s final six points to steer the often-ridiculed club to their first win after a historic 16-game skid, at the expense of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 98-94.

“I knew he would. I knew he would,” lauded Kia head coach Ricky Dandan of the takeover by the six-foot-four forward.

“It was a blessing he didn’t play for the first two quarters because he [came in] fresh at gigil na gigil.”

Khobuntin finished with 11 markers on 5-of-7 shooting — the best game he’s had so far, not because of the numbers he posted but with the way he made them. But the three-year pro does not want to take the spotlight all onto himself.

“Hindi lang din naman ako e, kami ding lahat e,” the 26-year-old shared. “Siguro kumbaga nagka-opportunity lang, napunta sa akin yung bola kasi yun yung nasa scheme ng play so ayun.

“Thankful lang ako na-hit ko yung mga na-design na plays.”

However, the third-year pro admitted that he had been frightened during the game’s final stretch, as Rain or Shine managed to impose a serious threat by coming back from a seven-point deficit, 94-96, with just less than 22 ticks left to play.

“Kinakabahan ako kasi two minutes pa rin yun e tapos Rain or Shine yung kalaban namin,” the native of Cagayan de Oro said. “Nakita ko nakakabalik sila. Thankful lang naman ako na yung game napunta sa amin, at least natapos yung losing streak namin.”

But more than the end of their months-long slump, what Khobuntin is grateful for is the trust given to him by Dandan, who fielded him as a starter in the second half after sitting out the entirety of the first 24 minutes.

“Nag-decide siya na ako yung i-start niya so thankful ako kasi nagtiwala siya sa akin.”

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Justin Brownlee, Alab lock down Knights for fifth win



Paying a visit to Indonesia for the first time this season, Tanduay Alab Pilipinas needed time to figure the CLS Knights out before stifling the hosts in the final frame to take a 92-87 road win, Saturday evening at the GOR CLS Kertajaya in Indonesia.

This is Alab’s second straight win after losing to the Singapore Slingers last January 10.

With the win, the Philippine-based club team lifts its slate to 5-4 for solo fourth. CLS, on the other hand, dropped to 1-7 — just half a game ahead of the cellar-dwelling Formosa Dreamers.

Justin Brownlee displayed his all-around brilliance in the game, leading Alab with 36 points on 15-for-24 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

But Alab’s bench could not sustain the effort of the starters, which meant the team was clinging to a two-point lead with 7:06 remaining.

Needing a spark, 40-year-old sniper Dondon Hontiveros provided for Alab, knocking down a triple that proved to be the starting point 14-2 Alab run. A jumper by Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. with 2:57 left capped the rally and gave Alab an 87-73 lead.

Hontiveros scored five of the eight Alab bench points. Fortunately for Alab, Renaldo Balkman and Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. were on point. The former tallying a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Alab’s skipper had 14 points, four assists, two rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

Coach Jimmy Alapag fielded his bench afterwards, but they let the quintet of Brian Williams, Mario Wuysang, Arif Hidayat, Decorey Jones, and Sandy Kurniawan slice the lead to as low as four points. Then free throws by Oping Sumalinog with eight ticks left put CLS away for good.

Williams paced CLS with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Kurniawan added 19 markers. Indonesian legend Wuysang had 17 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Alab ends its road trip on Sunday, January 28, when it takes on the Saigon Heat at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.

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