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Happy Thursday: DLSU slams UP to seize pole position



It is a Happy Thursday for Nathan Alquiros and company as the midfield general scored twice to forge a resounding 3-0 win for the DLSU Men’s Football Team against the UP Fighting Maroons at the FEU-Diliman Football Field earlier this afternoon. The score does not reflect the game’s complexion but a late UP defensive collapse in the latter stages permitted the Lasallians to flex their muscles.

DLSU dictated the game’s pace in the opening stages, applying pressure on UP’s defense. The Maroons were able to withstand the pressure and managed to fire the first shot of the match. Off a quickly taken free kick, Jinggoy Valmayor got to shoot but Gregory Yang stood in his way. La Salle had two free kicks approaching the 15th minute mark but both were futile. Maroon midfielder Daniel Gadia tested La Salle goalkeeper Paeng de Guzman with a shot that the latter caught. On the other side, Feb Baya headed away Yang’s decent delivery into the Maroons’ box to prevent any takers from challenging UP keeper Ace Villanueva. Moments later, Matthew Nierras located Christian Zubiri with a lobbed diagonal ball but the latter was unable to decisively touch the ball, leaving UP’s defenders to clear the ball away.

Reminiscent of their first half surge against FEU, the Maroons strung up three neat chances to claim the opening goal of the match. Valmayor’s shot was blocked by Nierras in between off target attempts by Michael Simms and Gadia, all of which took place within the midway stretch of the first half. Three minutes after Gadia’s shot went wide, Yang’s free kick was cleared yet again. Then, UP had another couple of moments when they produced opportunities to go ahead. Valmayor was about to gain possession inside La Salle’s box but De Guzman urgently rushed to drive the ball as far from him as possible. Gadia, who has been creating danger whenever in possession, had his attempt stifled by Nierras. Approaching the break, La Salle’s Alquiros and Bustamante had their shots blocked. Halftime came with no team yet on the score sheet.

Just two minutes into the second half, UP almost went ahead courtesy of Valmayor only for his shot to have rattled the bar before getting cleared. Prior to that, Carlos Monfort pounced onto a loose ball mishandled by Gerald Layumas inside the box and the latter managed to recover in time to cleanly tackle Monfort before Valmayor came close to scoring. La Salle earned two opportunities to score from set pieces but the Maroons stubbornly defended to keep the Lasallians at bay. At the hour mark, De Guzman was properly positioned to stop Valmayor’s shot from going in. There were also two good chances but last year’s finalists failed to get a shot on target. He also had another chance to score but Nierras got in his way and the DLSU defender headed it to De Guzman instead.

Meanwhile, La Salle turned up the heat in the last 20 minutes of action. Yang’s free kick was parried away by Villanueva while Alquiros’ shot was tame enough for Villanueva to capture at the 75th minute. However, Alquiros found a way to break the deadlock two minutes later when he received a pass from Koizumi. Lou Rafanan telegraphed Koizumi’s pass but lost control of the ball, which then went to Alquiros. He then had enough space to clinically bury the game’s first goal. It looked like the goal that would have secured the three points, but with quality opposition like UP, a one-goal lead is not safe. Six minutes after going ahead, La Salle earned a penalty kick when Rafanan fouled Chuck Uy inside the box. Alquiros stepped up to double his and DLSU’s tally with just five minutes left to play. Valmayor threatened to a goal back but two of his free kicks did not bother De Guzman while Patxi Santos’ attempt was also blocked. In the end, it was La Salle’s Uy who scored a goal to complete a 3-0 rout after picking up Koizumi’s saved free kick attempt.

After the win, DLSU coach Hans Smit lauded his players after displaying a fine effort on both ends to get the confidence-boosting victory. “I’ll give it to the boys. They reciprocated very well to what we’ve been trying to instill in them.” In support, Man of the Match Alquiros was happy with the way they performed, particularly in staying patient towards scoring. “In the first half, we didn’t have much [chances] so I just told them to just keep doing what we do in training and we’ll get there [scoring],” he stated. Now sitting on top of the standings, the team is hoping to sustain their fine form as they go into the Final Four and try to end the 17-year championship drought.

Meanwhile, UP coach Anto Gonzales acknowledged that his charges had the better of the opportunities prior to Alquiros’ goal but has identified a major concern moving forward. “La Salle didn’t have a very hard time spreading their defense out because our wingers did nothing,” he expressed. Evidently, most of UP’s chances came from Valmayor and Gadia who have played more central while the rest seemed to have floundered. Good news for UP is that they still have time to fix their problems before Final Four begins on March 1.

La Salle now has a league-best win-draw-loss record of 8-5-0, keeping them unbeaten in 13 games while notching just their second win against a title contender in eight tries this season. The Maroons, on the other hand, fell to third–still level with second-placed FEU on points at 27 but own an inferior goal difference. DLSU can clinch the top seed entering the Final Four with a win against NU on Sunday. On the same day, UP will end their elimination round campaign with a match against the young Adamson squad who notched their first point of the season earlier with a 2-2 stalemate against fellow cellar dwellers UE.

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Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory



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2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.

The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.

“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.

Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.

Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.

Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.

Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.

While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.

It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.

The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.

As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.

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Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’



Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup



Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win



Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.

So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”

After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.

Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.

The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.

The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.

Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.

The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

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