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FULL TIME: Top 5 UAAP Season 77 Football stories of the week

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The first weekend of UAAP football in 2015 has seen six action-filled matches in both divisions. The plot continues to thicken in this year’s competition and along with it comes interesting side stories week in week out. These paint the full picture a lot better as they shed light on some matters concerning the protagonists.

Without further ado, we give you the top five stories from this past weekend’s UAAP football tournament.

Smit blasts officiating in 2-1 loss to FEU

Photo courtesy of Bianca Fernando of DLSU Sports http://dlsusports.com

Photo courtesy of Bianca Fernando of DLSU Sports http://dlsusports.com

“Officials screwed up,” cried La Salle coach Hans Peter Smit. The tenured mentor vented his frustration with the refereeing decisions in La Salle’s 2-1 defeat to FEU Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Tamaraws controlled much of the game after converting two goals inside 32 minutes. DLSU scored a goal, but Smit was livid in the end when a couple of bad decisions spoiled his team’s chances of claiming an equalizer.

Down by one, La Salle was a victim of two wrong decisions according to Smit. One was a non-call on an apparent handball committed by a Lady Tamaraw inside the box that came a couple of minutes before time. In the ensuing possession, FEU’s attacking sequence came to an end when DLSU keeper Inna Palacios got hold of the ball. The referee consulted his linesman who identified foul play, resulting in a free kick to FEU. “The referee was much closer to the ball and he uses his assistant, who’s all the way out there. Who has the better angle? The referee,” Smit voiced.

“How do you expect to be respected when you guys are supposed to be professionals but you take it against personal issues,” the DLSU coach, who has never been shy of expressing his sentiments, lamented.

Condat earns coach’s praise, sets sights on winning starting role

With UP playing clinical football that led to identical 6-0 wins in their last two games, rotation is bound to accommodate playing time for footballers usually on the bench. Maroon winger James Condat took advantage of the break. In return, he received a huge boost after being praised by coach Anto Gonzales following his notable performance against the Red Warriors. The substitute was singled out by Gonzales, who may be considering to include Condat in his plans for UP’s next game.

Condat

The inspired winger helped the Maroons in setting up attacks upon his arrival and also recovered on defense to prevent UE from breaching their goal. Overall, he was pleased with his game. “Iyong gusto kong gawin noong training, nagawa ko [sa game].” Like most players, Condat relishes making to the starting lineup. Asked what it would take to get there, the Isko said, “Kailangan ko ulit mag step up pa, especially sa stamina and consistency. Mabawasan ‘yung errors as pitch.”

Gonzales welcomes this positive development as he seeks to tweak his lineup following the dismissal of left back Albert Yatco, who will miss the marquee match against FEU next Thursday. Surely, it opens a chance for Condat or anyone else in UP’s talented pool of footballers to shine.

FEU returns to action by slaughtering Adamson

Out of this round’s 19 goals in men’s football this past weekend, nine of them came from last year’s champions, the FEU Tamaraws who trampled Adamson 9-1. The green-and-gold was bannered by captain Eric Giganto and Jhan Jhan Melliza who combined for six of the nine in the Sunday afternoon game.

They are starting to look like the monsters of last year and welcomed back the returning Falcons with an eight-goal triumph. The Tamaraws struck two birds with one stone as they got to win and pad their goal difference, which may prove vital in an event of a tie come Final Four.

Asst. coach Dexter Chio told us that it was their focus and sacrifice that made the difference, “nag focus kami sa game namin last year maibalik yung passing namin, nagsakripisyo kami na hindi umuwi noong Christmas para lang mapakita namin yung teamwork namin at tsaka na may pride kami.”

Adamson, on the other hand, suffered their second straight lopsided setback. Although not much of a surprise, the results against UP and FEU may bother the Falcons, who managed to lose narrowly in their four games. Growth pains are perhaps starting to keep the boys from San Marcelino off the pace.

Lady Maroons enjoying dream start after three games

Six goals scored, zero goals conceded, three games played.

TBT_Dimla_UAAP77_FootballW_AdMUvsUP_Game1  (6)

The UP Lady Maroons are looking invincible in this year’s UAAP women’s football tournament. Solid on both offense and defense, the Iskas are starting to build a winning identity under coach Anto Gonzales.

Their massive 4-0 win against UST effectively eliminates any doubt in the Lady Maroons. Heavily tested in their first two games against Ateneo and FEU, UP strung together a neat overall performance to take their third straight win.

On offense, the Lady Maroons are piloted by the returning national team player Cristina de los Reyes. Her impact has helped changed UP’s reputation into title contenders and are now favorites to reach the finals. The likes of Mary Obra, Kali Navea-Huff and Christille Ardiente also make it difficult for opposing defenses to lock the potent UP offense down.

Another big part of UP’s success this season has been their long standing record of keeping a clean sheet. Opponents tried but failed in scoring against the Iskas, who even had the luxury of playing three goalkeepers. First choice keeper AJ Javier weathered the storm in the opening two games. Jermaine Choa Peck and Nicole Adlawan got the chance to strut their skills versus UST. Marie Navea-Huff is also a key cog in UP’s backline that is becoming more compact than ever before.

Interesting mid table situation sets up exciting midweek games

Sunday saw FEU emphatically return to winning ways, NU extended their victorious streak while rivals La Salle and Ateneo shared points. This array of results arranges a pair of mouth-watering clashes tomorrow. The games will be televised live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action starting at 1PM.

La Salle will test NU in the first game of the double header. The Green-and-White XI won against the Bulldogs in all of their previous UAAP encounters. But that record may soon vanish.

In their third season of fielding a team in the league, NU has risen from minnows to genuine title contenders. They are riding on a two-game winning streak and have picked up a string of good results against top teams. Their Final Four bid will be challenged in facing DLSU which remains unbeaten after five matches this season.

A win for La Salle would catapult them back to the summit, possibly as high as second place. A draw would keep NU inside the Top Four, while a Bulldogs win would give them a chance to not only keep La Salle partially away from a semifinal spot, but it could also favorably displace NU to as high as second seed.

TeamWDLPointsGD
UP41113+14
Ateneo32011+5
FEU31110+10
NU31110+4
DLSU2309+5
UST2046-4
UE1053-15
Adamson0060-19

 

Following that will be tomorrow’s main event. FEU will virtually host Ateneo in a battle of the last two seasons’ champions at FEU-Diliman. The Tamaraws are currently a point behind Ateneo, meaning only a win will be enough to secure second seed ahead of what could be a battle for first place against UP next Thursday.

The Blue Booters will be eager to foil that with a win, which would permit them to go ahead of UP. With an easier game in the seventh round of games against the young Adamson team, the Katipunan squad will fancy their shot in claiming the number one seed at the culmination of the elimination phase’s first half. A draw would not be too bad for Ateneo as well, for it would keep them in the top three at least.

The season is still young and many things are bound to happen. Nonetheless, these two games will definitely be important in more ways than one. As the top five teams are only separated by four points, a win by any of them against the other may spell the difference of making it to the semifinals and otherwise.

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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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