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FULL TIME: UAAP Season 77 Women’s Football

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There were a lot of games and many storylines that arose in the last couple of days in UAAP football. A total of six compelling matches took place to mark the end of the tournament’s first round. Along with the results came corresponding perspectives from players and coaches who now eagerly anticipate the second half, with each of them hoping to do better in the latter stage of the season.

In the first of a special two-part edition of FULL TIME, here are the takes of the protagonists on what transpired Wednesday afternoon in women’s football.

UP’s first loss opens room for adjustments

The dream start for UP came to an end in the last game of the first round when they were beaten 2-0 by La Salle. The Lady Maroons gave away their first two goals this season and failed to find the back of the net for the first time in four games.

Kali Navea-Huff

“We didn’t want it enough,” UP winger Kali Navea-Huff suggested. Still, she furthered by saying that the team had a poor game, especially in connecting passes in dangerous spaces. “It’s something that we can fix and something we’re already working towards.” Gracious in defeat, the sophomore also praised DLSU’s preparedness in facing them.

Likewise, UP mentor Anto Gonzales credited La Salle in properly executing on both ends that made his team appear to play flat. “I thought the girls were tired. I don’t know if they did not do their part or nasobrahan kami sa training, which we have to assess.”

Thankfully for UP, they are on bye at the start of the second round meaning they will not play until next weekend. The advantage of finishing on top just gives them enough time to regroup and recuperate before resuming their quest of making the finals.

Guancia steps out of comfort zone to help DLSU win

Aside from the well-executed counterattacking plays that led them to score goals, the DLSU Lady Booters also employed radical adjustments ahead of their match against UP. One notable part of the plan was putting the experienced players in the back line to mute the Lady Maroons’ offense. The UP offensive specialists were able to take a few shots on goal but none had the right combination of power and accuracy to challenge DLSU goalkeeper Inna Palacios.

One odd decision was to move striker Cha Guancia further behind to a left fullback role. A loss would have been detrimental not only to La Salle’s season but it may have also undermined Smit’s decision-making. As big of a risk as it was, it brought huge rewards when the move effectively prevented UP from playing a free-flowing game on offense.

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“I was excited and nervous at the same time, but I was confident with our defense,” shared Guancia who is in her last year in the league. If some people from the stands had just seen her play for the first time, they may have mistaken her for an actual fullback with the way she shut down UP’s offense. In support, Lady Maroon Kali Navea-Huff took note of Guancia after the game. “They marked us pretty well. Cha, especially, was so fast. She was good in blocking. We didn’t get many opportunities,” she stated.

For many years, the Negrense striker contributed by putting the ball into the back of the net. In her last game, however, she did it the other way around as her efforts were meant to derail UP’s explosive attack. But even if it worked against UP, it remains to be seen where Guancia will be stationed in Sunday’s clash against Ateneo.

Lady Tamaraws far from desired championship form

The FEU Lady Tamaraws may be in second place after winning three straight games with only goal difference keeping UP ahead of them, but the green-and-gold camp thinks that they could do way better than what they have achieved in the first round. All of their games ended in one-goal results, including the loss to UP.

FEU coach Let Dimzon thinks her team needs to work on improving on-field communication between players and the ability to keep possession in the attacking third. They usually dominate possession, but according to Dimzon the team tends to waste the advantage. “May times na may movements sa side pero wala nang naiiwan sa harapan,” she lamented.

ina Araneta

The sentiment of Dimzon was echoed by the team’s leading goalscorer Ina Araneta. “Kulang pa ‘yung binibigay namin.” She admits that sometimes they feel nervous in facing defenses, leading to squandered opportunities to score. She and her teammates will be tested when they go up against UST tomorrow.

Not yet too late for hopeful Ateneo

coach bob

The Ateneo Women’s Football Team are in fourth place with only three of the possible 12 points in their pockets. Despite this, Ateneo coach Bob Manlulo remains confident about his team’s chances of making the finals this season. However, for them to make a late charge this season, his players need to ease the pressure by playing the game their way. “Go back to the game, enjoy it. That love, it can bring the success,” the Ateneo mentor said.

Looking forward, he expressed sheer optimism about the possibility of reaching the finals after failing narrowly the previous two seasons. His captain Cecil Dayrit agreed with him. “Everybody has skills, knows what to do and where to go. It’s just that we need to put or it into our minds,” she said. She also pointed out the close games in which they all lost and sees their luck to even out by the end of the first round.

Each result now is important for Ateneo. Failure to win one of the next two games could spell another early vacation this time around. The only team they have defeated, La Salle, will be their first opponents in the second round. Their game kicks off on Sunday, 1PM, at the FEU-Diliman Football Field.

Thomasians come into second round fresh after a long break

Sheen Ramores UST

For the UST Golden Tigresses, Season 77 has been quite harsh. They only picked up a win in four games and only scored twice so far this season.

Their opening game ended in heartbreaking fashion as they dropped a point following La Salle’s late winning goal. Although Lady Luck was on their side in the succeeding game as they won 1-0 against Ateneo courtesy of Kimberlee Jimenez’s own goal, the next two games saw the UST XI struggle against opponents. They almost had a chance to share points with last year’s champions but conceded a second that derailed their momentum. A heavier defeat came in their first match of 2015. Lapses on defense were costly as the UP Lady Maroons scored four inside the first half to earn what looked like the easiest win of the season so far.

In spite of the setbacks, UST coach Judal Sorito and his players welcome the second round with open arms as it gives them a chance to revitalize their finals bid. After the loss against UP, he said, “Gagamitin namin ‘yung break. We’ll go back to the drawing board and find a way to play better from defense to offense.”

They open the second round with a duel with the rampaging FEU Lady Tamaraws tomorrow afternoon.

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Yeng Guiao denies using racial slur against Chris Ross

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During the post-game of the San Miguel Beermen’s victory over the NLEX Road Warriors, reigning Coach of the Year Leo Austria said that NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao called Chris Ross the “N” word that caused the commotion.

According to Chris, tinawagan siya ng nigger or ganiyan,” said Austria. “I don’t know but that’s what he explained to me because I confronted Chris Ross because he’s one of the most important players in my team.

“But that’s the thing he doesn’t want to hear so nagflare up yung bata so I cannot blame him.”

Guiao though denied that he blurted out racial slurs against San Miguel’s Chris Ross.

“Hindi. Hindi ko tinawag na N-word. Ewan ko kung may nakarinig. Pero hindi,” clarified the fiery tactician moments after their 98-109 defeat, their third straight after starting the 2018 Philippine Cup with two straight wins.

That tussle, according to Guiao, was just filled with trash talking against each other, as he felt the need to retaliate. In fact, Guiao was even caught by the TV camera saying “son of a bitch” towards the Filipino-American point guard.

“Daldal siya ng daldal eh. Eh sa akin naman kapag ganon, siguro respeto nalang. Lumayo ka nalang tutal mananalo naman na kayo,” he said. “I didn’t understand what he was saying, what he was talking about.

“Nakipagtrash-talking din ako sa kanya.”

Furthermore, the 58-year-old was also caught by the cameras flipping the bird — in one quick motion — also against Ross.

“Oo. Kasama na rin yun.

“Pero ano naman eh, it’s part of, siguro, psychological warfare. Malakas din siya mang-asar. Hindi lang naman sa amin. Everytime naman na mga ganoong skirmishes, he also knows what he’s capable of,” the seven-time champion coach furthered.

But more than this scuffle, it really has become a stressful time for Guiao and the Road Warriors. They have now went down to 2-3 in the team standings, and the mentor sees the great need to end this slump immediately.

“We have to arrest it very soon. Ang susunod na laro namin ay versus Rain or Shine sa Friday. So we need to go back to 50 percent win-loss level para at least may chance ka na maka-playoffs. That’s going to be a crucial game for us,” he stressed.

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Kiefer Ravena shocked with Von Pessumal’s shove: ‘I did not expect that at all’

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Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal have been teammates ever since they were in high school, winning three UAAP juniors crowns together. They won two championships together in the seniors level and even played together in Gilas. They were inseparable.

Friday evening however, they were playing for separate camps.

Ravena admitted that he never expected a shove to come from Pessumal during the NLEX Road Warriors’ clash with San Miguel Beermen.

In an off-ball situation, Pessumal charged at Ravena, sending the rookie down to the floor with 9:50 remaining in the final frame. He was then whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul, and Ravena sank one from the line.

“I did not expect that at all,” admitted Ravena after the match in which they lost, 98-109 — their third straight defeat after a 2-0 start. “But hopefully Von doesn’t take it personal.

“I’m just doing my job. They won the game.”

Ravena insisted that there wasn’t any physicality between him and Pessumal prior to that, but he thinks that his former Gilas teammate may have gotten irked by his staredown after blocking him on a fastbreak play early in the fourth.

“When that fastbreak happened — the same exact possession na I challenged him, I looked at him, and after that yun na yung nangyari,” said the 23-year-old guard. “But I never instigated something to provoke Von to do that.

“Probably nung tinignan ko siya.”

Moreover, the second overall pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft felt that that incident “started all the commotions during the end game (laughs). Yun yung pinaka-una eh. And with that, the team got fired up and it worked for them.”

He may be right, for the game saw more skirmishes after that: from teammate Michael Miranda kicking Chris Ross to the groin, and with his head coach Yeng Guiao figuring in a heated verbal war also against Ross.

But then, Ravena made it clear that it was never a plan of his to put down somebody, especially someone like Pessumal who he sees as a brother for life.

“You know, Von and I, we go way back. Things like this hopefully don’t become too personal.

“I have no intention na ipapahiya yung tao or sasaktan mo yung tao. Wala namang ganun. Laro-laro lang,” said NLEX’s leading scorer.

It was somehow a night to remember for Ravena, but for all the wrong reasons. After Friday’s loss that sent their card to 2-3, the veteran internationalist now sees the need for him and the Road Warriors to push the panic button.

“‘Di na pwedeng sabihin palaging kailangan namin matuto eh. Pangatlong sunod na,” the second-generation cager expressed.

“Kailangan siguro naming umaksyon.”

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Downcast Chris Ross chooses to stay mum after heated altercation with Yeng Guiao

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Through wins or losses, Chris Ross has always accommodated the members of the press asking for interviews and fans requesting for photo ops every after game. But Friday evening, the nine-year pro was despondent.

Visibly agitated with the events that had transpired during the San Miguel Beermen’s tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors, Ross, with his hoodie covering his head, left the Cuneta Astrodome without saying a word.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year had figured in physical play after physical play and verbal exchange after verbal exchange with the frustrated Road Warriors.

Ross and Alex Mallari were both slapped with technicals after a confrontation with 9:06 left. This was just the start of many things to come for the Filipino-American defensive specialist

After knocking down a triple and receiving a taunt from Ross, Michael Miranda was assessed a disqualifying foul for an apparent kick to the groin against Ross with 4:35 left.

The tip of the iceberg came with 1:46 left to play and the game all but settled.

Yeng Guiao and Ross figured in a heated word war that resulted in Ross’ second technical foul for the game. Referees and players from both sides had to separate the two to prevent things from escalating.

San Miguel coach Leo Austria alleged that the fiery NLEX mentor said the “N” word, while some said Guiao called Ross a “bitch”.

Ross finished the game with four points, eight rebounds, and four steals in 37 minutes of action.

For sure, penalties and suspensions will come out of this game.

And it was better for Ross to stay silent.

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Jason Brickman flirts with triple-double as Mono holds off Singapore

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After playing his worst game of the season last Sunday against Tanduay Alab Pilipinas, Jason Brickman bounced back, steering the Mono Vampire to a 91-88 road victory over the Singapore Slingers, Friday evening at the OCBC Arena.

The 26-year-old, who finished with just seven points and three assists in their 71-104 loss to Alab, tallied 10 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. The league-leader in assists did not take a break, playing all 40 minutes.

But it was not a walk in the park for the Thailand-based squad.

Mono led by as much as 22 points, 60-48, with 7:46 left, 16 points entering the final frame. A furious fourth quarter rally by Singapore sliced the lead, turning the game into a single-possession contest with a minute left. The steady hands of Samuel Deguara and Mike Singletary from the stripe fended off Singapore.

Brickman’s compatriot Paul Zamar chipped in 13 markers for Mono.

Since torching Alab last January 3, Filipino-Canadian AJ Mandani has been on a slump, going just 3-for-11 from the field for nine points.

Mono’s World Imports Samuel Deguara and Mike Singletary both finished with 26 points with the former hauling down 18 rebounds. For Singapore, Xavier Alexander paced the Slingers with 29 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

With the win, the Vampire kept solo third with a 7-4 slate. On the other hand, the Slingers dropped its second straight game since winning against Alab, falling to 5-6.

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