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Heated La Salle-FEU clash ends in 1-1 draw



A heated 90 minutes of football featuring the De La Salle University Green Archers and the Far Eastern University Tamaraws that saw hard collisions, bad falls, and possibly controversial calls ended in a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon at the FEU Diliman Football Field.

An 84th minute penalty goal by Jhan Jhan Melliza gave the Tamaraws the 1-0 lead following a call that incurred the ire of the La Salle faithful. But five minutes later, the people in green and white had something to cheer about, thanks to an 89th minute goal by Chuck Uy to equalize.

The opening ten minutes saw both teams in a struggle to dominate the midfield. The spotlight shone on FEU’s Angelou Val Jurao in the first half, who found a way to beat the La Salle defense by maneuvering his way in the wing. He came close to drawing first blood at the 12th minute after finding a good look from the left corner of the box, but the shot ended up sailing past the opposite post.

La Salle on the other hand suffered an early setback when defender Noel Timothy Brago was stretchered off a minute later, after a violent tackle. Just earlier this week Gelo Diamante, one of the Archers’ most prized playmakers, was stretchered off after an awkward fall in the Archers’ matchup with UST and had to sit out for this game.

It was the duo of Melliza and Jurao who kept the Tamaraws’ attack alive for the remainder of the first half, dominating the wing and striking as they pleased. La Salle had the chance to beat FEU to the much-coveted first goal at the 31st minute thanks to Nate Alquiros, who found himself with an open look and enough space to strike from the right wing, but the shot was stopped in its tracks by FEU goalie Patrick Bonn Rallos. Eric Giganto, the Tamaraws’ leading scorer, had another chance to finally bag a goal for the Green and Gold at the 43rd minute, beating the defense to go one-on-one with La Salle goalie Rafael de Guzman, but the ball was swept from his feet before he could tap the ball in the direction of the goal. Both sides entered the half scoreless.

The early second half opened to another midfield battle, with Arnel Amita taking charge for FEU and establishing his presence in the left wing and around the perimeter of the penalty box. At the 50th minute, a shot from just outside the box was caught by the La Salle keeper. Nine minutes later, Amita came close to breaking the cold spell with an open shot from the left wing, but the ball once again landed in de Guzman’s hands.

The 70th minute mark saw the Archers finally kick their offense back to life. Gerald Layumas came close to putting an end to the drought at the 73rd minute, collecting a set piece by Alquiros and nudging it toward the goal, but the ball wound up sailing past the net. A minute later, Michael Menzi connected with a cross from the left wing, heading the ball at point-blank range only for the ball to be headed away by La Salle’s Hector Ian Borromeo. The ball bounced back in play and was nudged toward the direction of the net, but this time the La Salle goalie was able to grab the ball before it could cross the line.

Tempers flared as the last ten minutes of regular time clocked in, with the La Salle supporters in the sidelines passionately contesting a couple of fouls slapped on the Archers. At the 84th minute, the crowd around the pitch exploded when La Salle defender Gregory Norman Yang was ruled to have fouled FEU’s Melliza just inside the penalty box. Yang contested the call and was given a yellow card. Melliza had no trouble guiding the ball past de Guzman into the net, giving the Tamaraws the 1-0 lead with just six minutes of regular time left.

The Archers however kept their counterattack going, and were rewarded five minutes later. At the 89th minute, Uy, after escaping the FEU defense to collect the long volley from Koizumi, found himself one-on-one with the Tams’ keeper before luring him out of position and chipping the ball into the open goal.

Though both teams spent stoppage time looking for the extra goal, neither could mount any serious attacks, and at the end of 90 the score stood at 1-1.

La Salle assistant head coach Elvin Marcellana had no comment about the game, but complained about the officiating, citing the yellow card handed to Brago in the first half.

Both the Tamaraws and Archers were playing with notable names on the injury list. FEU was without midfielder Paolo Bugas, who is out for four weeks after suffering an ACL tear in their game with UP earlier this week. La Salle on the other hand will be missing Gelo Diamante, who broke his clavicle in the Archers’ matchup with UST also earlier this week and will miss 6-8 weeks of action. Following the draw, neither team moves from their previous spots in the standings.

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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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Jake Vicen performs under pressure as Blazers end eight-year title drought



For the second straight match, the championship showdown between the College of Saint Benilde Blazers and the Arellano University Chiefs reached kicks from the penalty spot. And once more, goalkeeper Jake Vicen came up big.

The third-year custodian denied one of Arellano’s prolific scorers Roberto Corsame in the shootout and sealed the title after eight long years, 3-2, penalties, Wednesday evening at the historic Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The Blazers made its intentions clear from the get-go as they repeatedly pierced through the defense of the Chiefs.

Nonetheless, at the 38th minute, the white-shirts clinched the goal they much deserved. The Blazers pushed forward, and almost got a call in their favor. The referees, however, played advantage, and fortunately Benilde held on to the play.

Miguel Artillera found himself unmarked on the right flank and easily blasted the ball past opposing keeper Jericho Desalisa.

The Marlon Maro—mentored side continued to play aggressive in the following period and almost plucked a second one. This time, the Chiefs’ backline led by eventual Best Defender Patrick Bernarte held on.

Such stand was rewarded by their attacking force minutes later, and, as expected, the equalizer came from the counterattack.

Corsame received a pass from the middle and defeated two defenders, and seeing Vicen off his line, sent the ball into the onion bag at the 49th minute.

Both sides tried to break the deadlock, but fatigue slowly crept in the dying minutes of the second period and the whole of extra time, setting up another thrilling finish in the shootout.

Much like in Game 2, the two keepers came up big as Desalisa and Vicen denied their second kickers a clear shot. Arellano went to miss another shot, and it was then up to the Blazers to seal the deal.

Dean Ebarle stepped up and calmly and slotted the ball into the goal for the lead at 3-2. Afterwards, Corsame faced Vicen, but this time, the Cebuano keeper would not be denied. The latter went to his strong side, and, fortunately, guessed right for the huge save as pandemonium erupted from the Benilde crowd and squad.

The Finals series hero and season Best Goalkeeper Vicen was pleased that the new champions carved out the historic win despite early adversity. “Big loss ‘yun, si Val [Calvo], kasi may magagawa talaga siya kung nakalaro namin,” he said of losing their former captain.

Nonetheless, the squad stayed focused on getting it done this year.

“Binuhos lang namin every minute sa training. Luckily, hard work paid off,” closed Vicen.

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Kelly Williams rides Angkas to make it to TNT game



The TNT Katropa almost played shorthanded when they took on the Blackwater Elite Wednesday evening at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Early in the afternoon, a fire broke out in C5 that caused major traffic in the area. One of the people that was stuck was TNT’s 12-year veteran Kelly Williams.

“Coming from the South, I got to Taguig in about two and a half hours and I heard there was a fire on C5 and I was like, ‘Oh my god what am I going to do?’,” recalled Williams.

“I considered running, I considered jogging. Whatever you got to do, crawl, walk or run.”

Panicking, the 6-foot-6 Filipino-American was adviced by his driver to download Philippine-based mobile app Angkas — a motorcycle service provider. And it was one heck of a ride for the big man.

“My driver said check Angkas, an Uber for motorcycles. Okay. Quickly got out of the car in the middle of the C5, the middle of traffic, found this guy under the overpass, he was surprised to see me,” narrated animatedly by Williams.

“I got my helmet on, jumped on the bicycle and we got here for about 40 minutes,” he furthered. “Every stoplight, the other motorcycles pull up, double take, ‘Oh, what are you doing here?’, ‘Hi guys!’ It was fun, it was actually pretty fun but never again, make sure you plan ahead guys if you possibly get stuck in traffic.

“But it was a good experience for me. You get to see Manila in a different light.”

Around midway through the first quarter of the game, Williams finally arrived. Though relieved to see him, coach Nash Racela and the rest of the Katropa made sure to let him know that he was late.

“Good experience, I apologized to the team, I owe them a team lunch or something and I told coach I won’t do it again,” the 35-year-old expressed.

“Let’s pray that it doesn’t happen again.”

Williams compensated for it by giving TNT quality minutes. During their 92-83 win against the Elite, he tallied six points, six rebounds, and four blocks in just 17 minutes of action.

“You got to come out there with extra effort after coming in late like that. But it’s always my intention to come out and do whatever I have to do,” he expressed.

“Luckily, I was in a good position to get some blocks and it worked out that way.”

And he owes a lot to his driver Richard, who got him to the venue just in time.

“It was a good experience though, thank you to the cyclist, I think his name is Richard or something like that, he’s a lifesaver.

“I tipped him very handsomely. It was about a hundred but I’m sure I paid with whatever was in my pocket because I was very grateful,” he quipped.

Still, he knows that he also owes a lot to his team. He plans on making it up by treating everyone to lunch during their next practice.

Lesson learned for Kelly.

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