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Gerald Sibayan leads DLSU Green Shuttlers in eliminating S76 champions ADMU



This was the anticipated rematch of the classic 5-game series between rivals Ateneo and De La Salle that occurred during the 2nd day of the badminton tournament this season. This time, Gerald Sibayan, John Kenneth Monterubio and Carlos Cayanan would not give-up a match to the team of King Eagle Patrick Natividad, Justin Natividad and Carlos Remo in sweeping the defending champions and setting-up a date with the unbeaten National University Bulldogs in the finals of the tournament.


Men’s Singles Match 1: Gerald Sibayan (DLSU) def. Patrick Wilfred Natividad (ADMU); 2:1


Gerald Sibayan and Patrick Natividad opened the series of the final knockout phase that would determine who would face the NU Bulldogs in the finals of this season’s badminton tournament. Right from the get-go, the match-up between the highly-ranked Patrick Natividad and Philippine Team member Gerald Sibayan was a barn-burner. Gerald Sibayan, usually a slow-starter in most of his singles matches, would storm to an early 9-4 lead that would extend to an 11-5 lead by the 11th point break. Sibayan’s strategy was to start with low drops that would eventually result into a high lob by Sibayan that Natividad would fail to return. With the Sibayan leading 16-11, the King Eagle would come crawling back to cut the Sibayan lead to 2 at 17-15. The complete comeback of Natividad however would not come into fruition as Sibayan would take the set 21-16.

The 2nd set would see another early Sibayan lead, 9-3, over Patrick Natividad. The strategy of Coach Owen Lopez seemed to work until this time. During the break, Coach Kennevic stressed to the King Eagle to stay in the middle of the court to be able to return low drops and high lobs from Sibayan. After the break, Natividad would be much quicker than Sibayan, limiting Sibayan to just 7 points, in tying the match up at 1-1 with a score of 21-17.

For the deciding set of this match-up, again, just like in the 1st two sets, Sibayan would execute the same strategy over Natividad. It was a well-executed game plan by Coach Owen Lopez. Moreover, the strengths of the lanky Natividad was negated by the sheer wit of Gerald Sibayan. Sibayan would again start the match with an 11-5 lead. The King Eagle would try to make mini-spurts with a combination of Sibayan errors and excellent returns. There would be no comeback however as Sibayan would avenge his singles loss to Natividad from the 2nd day of the tournament to win the deciding set 21-17 and giving DLSU a 1-0 lead over ADMU.

Aggregate Score: Sibayan 59 — P. Natividad 55

Total Match Time: 65 mins


Men’s Singles Match 2: John Kenneth Monterubio (DLSU) def. Carlo Glenn Remo (ADMU); 2:1


John Kenneth Monterubio faced-off against ADMU’s Carlo Remo, the #1 ranked shuttler in the U19 division. Kenneth Monterubio’s pace during the 1st set was slow and steady. He would take advantage of various return errors from Carlo Remo. After being down by just a point to Monterubio during the 11th point break of the 1st set, Remo would commit a string of various return errors that would halt any momentum he had. Monterubio would take the 1st set 21-16.

The string of errors from Carlo Remo would continue until the start of the 2nd set. Kenneth Monterubio would lead the 2nd set 10-5 early on. Carlo Remo would be a different shuttler after the break. In a surprising turn of events, Remo would utilize his smash, a skill set from his that was rarely seen throughout the tournament. He would tie the game at 14-all before blowing the game away with a 21-16 to pump more life to the Ateneo effort.

Finding his momentum, Carlo Remo would start-off the deciding set going point-for-point for Monterubio. With a bigger and more vocal Ateneo contingent, compared to the De La Salle crowd, John Kenneth Monterubio tried to draw his strength from the jeers of the Blue Babble Battalion in the 3rd set. The game would be tied at 9-all before a more animated Monterubio would find his momentum. Monterubio and Remo would be tied at 14-all before a Remo shot was deemed out by the umpire to extend the Monterubio lead to 15-14. A fired-up Monterubio would turn directly into the crowd to emphasize that the shot went astray. The game has already hit the 70th minute mark with Monterubio holding on to 20-17 lead. Remo would make a final push before succumbing to a 21-19 victory for John Kenneth Monterubio. The defending champions now have their backs against the wall.

Aggregate Score: Monterubio 58 – Remo 56

Total Match Time: 74 mins


Men’s Doubles Match 1: Carlos Antonio Cayanan and Patrick Sibayan (DLSU) def. Justin Wilbert Natividad and Patrick Wilfred Cayanan (ADMU); 2:0

DLSU 3 – 0 ADMU (DLSU wins)

The defending champions from the UAAP season 76 tournament now have their backs against their wall. The Hail Mary team from Katipunan should now sweep their next 3 matches to fight another day. It was not meant to be however. Behind the pairing of Escueta and Magnaye of NU, the doubles team of the athletic Carlos Cayanan and the imposing Patrick Sibayan are the 2nd best pairing in this tournament. They proved it in a masterful performance in the complete domination of the Natividad siblings. The pair from Taft Avenue would win both sets with scores of 21-17 and 21-13. In both sets, Cayanan and Sibayan worked in perfect harmony displaying great defense and offense. Both Justin and Patrick Natividad were clearly fatigued from playing both days, with Patrick playing almost 2 and a half hours of total court time during the weekend. The deciding point in the 2nd and deciding set was scored by Patrick Sibayan with an emphatic smash followed by his trademark WA-CHA to the delight of the DLSU crowd.

Aggregate Score: Sibayan and Cayanan 42 – P. Natividad and J. Natividad 30

Total Match Time: 24 mins


With this elimination, the King Eagle, Patrick Natividad, has played his final UAAP game. It was an amazing UAAP run which included last year’s championship. The King Eagle, alone in court 4 of the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall, took a look at the hall and the crowd, serenaded with Ateneo’s school hymn and reflected on 5 years of joys and tears.

There will be new champions in this season’s Men’s Badminton Tournament of the UAAP with the elimination of the Blue Shuttlers. The De La Salle Green Shuttlers would now face the unbeaten National University Bulldogs. They would have to beat the Bulldogs thrice to win the coveted crown.


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Joshua Munzon, Westsports snap Saigon’s streak in highly emotional contest



Photo by ASEAN Basketball League

Entering Wednesday night’s game, Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat were on a high, slaying the winning streaks of Hong Kong Eastern and Nanhai Kung Fu. However, Joshua Munzon and the Westsports Malaysia Dragons had other things in mind, keeping the Heat winless at the MABA Stadium, 91-87.

In his fourth game since returning to the Dragons, Munzon filled up the stat sheet, tallying 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks.

Besides putting up the numbers, the athletic swingman from California helped limit reigning Heritage Player of the Week Williams to his worst game so far in the ABL. Averaging 27.33 points, 6.67 assists, and 6.0 rebounds prior to this game, Williams went field goal-less against the Dragons, missing all 11 of his attempts. The Filipino-American floor general was able to dish out eight assists and grab five caroms.

Westsports led by as much as 11 points in the final frame, 82-71, after Munzon found Marcus Marshall for a triple with 4:59 remaining. Behind World Imports Akeem Scott and Maxie Esho, the Heat stormed right back but was answered by a long bomb by Munzon to keep them at bay.

Marshall and Scott figured in a shootout to close out the game but in the end, the hosts were still able to etch out their second straight victory.

Marshall finished the game with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Dragons while Scott’s 44-point game went for naught.

After the emotionally charged contest though, few unkind words were exchanged by the officials of both squads that almost resulted into a brawl. Fortunately, things did not escalate beyond that.

In the video, Munzon was also seen shoving a Saigon player to try and pacify the situation. The league is currently investigating the post-game incident.

With the win, Westsports Malaysia raised its record to 3-4 while dropping Saigon to 4-3.

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Mixed Martial Arts

Edward Kelly honored to fight alongside brother Eric



Eric and Edward Kelly lived under the same roof for years in their hometown of Baguio City when they were young and shared the same burning passion in martial arts.

Growing up in the small town community of San Tomas Central, located within the city limits of Baguio, Eric and Edward did not always get along with one another as the two fought all the time, sometimes even resulting in injury.

“We were not that close before. We always fought. In short, Eric and I were headaches to our parents,” Edward recalled in jest.

“But of course, things change when you grow up and mature. We now appreciate each other’s company.”

Fortunately, when the brothers entered high school, Eric discovered martial arts, and everything would change for both of them.

Edward paid attention to the growing accolades of his older brother and was heavily motivated by it.

“I noticed after he started martial arts that it taught him the discipline not to fight me as a brother. Instead, he started giving me advice through what he had learned,” he bared. “I also joined martial arts because it teaches you discipline, and a lot of other positives, too.”

Years later, both men have made remarkable runs as outstanding martial artists in their respective professional careers.

Eric is widely regarded as one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines.

A Wushu practitioner who combines solid striking techniques with high-level grappling skills, Eric owns nine scintillating submissions and one knockout out of 12 total career victories.

Eric’s most impressive showing to date came in a submission win over Rob Lisita in July 2014, a performance that earned him the USD 50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus.

Meanwhile, Edward is considered as one of the best and brightest featherweight prospects to emerge from the well-established martial arts scene in the Philippines.

With a complete striking and grappling skill set, Edward brings Team Lakay’s world-renowned Wushu to center stage as he showcases his impeccable skillset inside the ONE Championship cage.

In addition, the younger Kelly has won three of his last four bouts under the ONE Championship banner, all by spectacular finish.

The Kelly brothers get a rare chance on Friday, January 26 as the siblings will compete side-by-side when ONE Championship holds its first of the four scheduled events in the country for 2018.

Eric squares off with Brazilian standout Rafael Nunes on the undercard of ONE: Global Superheroes, while Edward crosses paths with Cambodia’s Meas Meul in a three-round featherweight clash.

It is the first time both of them will be featured at a ONE Championship event together, and Edward plans to make it a night they will never forget.

“I am so excited because finally, it’s going to happen. It marks the first time that I will compete alongside my older brother. Surely, it’s going to be a memorable night for the both of us,” he said.

“We have the same aim of winning. So making it two for two on this card will make this extra special.”

As Eric seeks to get back on the winning track at the expense of Nunes, Edward is likewise looking to move forward in his career after getting his three-bout winning streak snapped by American stalwart Emilio Urrutia in August 2017.

In his next cage outing, Edward goes up against Meul, a undefeated promotional newcomer with six wins to his credit.

“My coaches has prepared me well for this. I am not going to disappoint my team and my country when I enter that cage on 26th of January,” Edward assured. “I don’t want to let my countrymen down this time. I am here to give them a great bout.

“And of course, win the bout in impressive fashion for them.”

Edward has no qualms if he has to go full three rounds with Meul, but he admitted that his sights are always set on securing the finish.

“I am looking to dominate him for three rounds. But hopefully, I can get the finish,” he vowed.

“A finish will be the perfect way to tell the world that I am back.”

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Roger Pogoy churns best performance against former teammates



Prior to Wednesday, all eyes were on the TNT Katropa-Blackwater Elite face-off, with many curious to see how last season’s Rookie of the Year Roger Pogoy would fare against his former FEU teammates Mac Belo and Raymar Jose.

And as the final buzzer sounded, the 25-year-old Pogoy had reigned triumphant over his close pals, getting away with a conference-best performance as a bonus.

The six-foot-two Cebuano sniper fired a game-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, along with eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals, to lead the Texters to a skid-ending, 92-83 victory at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

“Must-win talaga namin ‘to para makabawi kami, kasi 1-2 na yung standing namin (before the game) eh.

“Buti na lang maganda yung nilaro ko,” said Pogoy, who was just averaging 11.3 points in the past three games.

But Pogoy tipped his hat to the much taller Elite, who enjoyed plenty of time in the driver’s seat in the first half, until the Katropa found their groove in the third canto — highlighted by a 16-3 rally that put them ahead, 60-53.

“Malakas yung Blackwater eh, tapos ang lalaki nila kaya mahirap mag-drive, mahirap pumasa kasi naagaw nila,” said Pogoy. “Buti na lang naka-adjust kami nung second half. Hindi kami nagmadali, dinahan-dahan namin.”

Aside from his own outing, Pogoy is thankful that they were able to address their fourth quarter woes when facing the Elite — the issue that hounded them in their 76-88 loss to the San Miguel Beermen last Saturday in Iloilo.

TNT had actually been mere steps away from melting down — again — against Blackwater, no thanks to a 20-9 run that wiped out their 17-point lead to just six,

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With Nash Racela knowing his tendencies, Mac Belo limited to poor shooting



Prior to Wednesday, Blackwater Elite’s young star Mac Belo was on a roll early in the 2018 Philippine Cup, averaging exactly 20 points on 42.6 percent shooting in their games against Meralco, Rain or Shine, and Ginebra.

But, as they say, good things must come to an end.

Belo, despite having 13 rebounds, was held to just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting as the Elite bowed to TNT Katropa, 92-83 — a sour loss knowing that they’re coming off huge 94-77 win against Ginebra last Friday.

“Bukol,” said Belo in jest of his poor outing after the match. “Big test para sa’min kasi yung TNT talagang isang de-kalibreng team dito sa PBA.

“Talagang pinaghandaan nila kami, at gustong-gusto nila manalo.”

It also did not help that the Katropa’s head coach, Nash Racela, was his coach in FEU Tamaraws for three years — a relationship brightly highlighted by a championship run in the UAAP Season 78 back in 2015.

“Siyempre alam niya yung mga tendencies ko. Matagal ko siyang coach sa FEU,” said the 6-foot-4 forward.

“Sa akin naman, kailangan ko pa matuto sa ganun, kung anong mga defense binabato niya sakin. Kailangan ko pang pag-aralan.”

But for Belo, the loss was more than his own showing. The 25-year-old lamented his and the Elite’s lapses on defense, which was encapsulated by the second half collapse they had that allowed TNT to come back and steal the win.

“Medyo marami lang kaming lapses especially sa defense namin,” said the sophomore forward, as they allowed TNT to shoot 41.6 percent from the floor. “Maraming mga miscommunication na kailangan pa namin i-work.”

Belo and the Elite are now set to move on from this bitter defeat, as they all shift their sights in their match this Friday versus GlobalPort Batang Pier. For the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart, it is already a must-win for them.

“Kailangan namin ng rest ngayon kasi back-to-back games kami. We need to win sa Friday para okay sa’min,” said Belo. “Kailangan din namin paghandaan kasi galing sila sa win.

“Kailangan namin i-double yung effort namin.”

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