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The Heavy Bombers now hold their own fate

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“May pag-asa pa. Medyo lumilinaw pero we have to win more games. I know it will be very hard for us, but ang JRU lagi naman nasa situation na ganyan so one game at a time.”

We have documented the roller coaster ride the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers are in for the entire second round of the 91st Season of the NCAA Seniors Basketball tournament.

Just a little over a couple of weeks ago, the cagers from Shaw Boulevard were in a predicament that no coach wants their team to be in – having their fate on the hands of other teams. During that span, the mindset of Jose Rizal U Head Coach Vergel Meneses was not to pressure his players as his players might succumb to it.

Meneses was even more upbeat when the Heavy Bombers scored a huge upset win over the Perpetual Altas last September 25. In the game, the Heavy Bombers held their opponents scoreless in the final minutes of the game en route to a 62-60 win.

Fast forward to last Tuesday, the Jose Rizal Heavy Bombers have strung together five straight wins for a 11-6 slate as they were able to upend the Lyceum Pirates. With the win, the ball is now on the court of the Heavy Bombers with just one game to go in the regular season. “Well, depends on Friday pero nasa kamay na namin. Di na namin kelangan isipin na matalo si ganito, matalo si ganyan. Nasa amin na yung chances,” said an enthusiastic Meneses.

NCAA 91 JRU vs. UPHSD - Thompson drive-6446Defense has been the bread and butter of Jose Rizal U during the five-game stretch as it is the principle preached by the Aerial Voyager. “Lagi ko ineemphasize sa kanila yun.” He then cited their game against the Aric Del Rosario-mentored squad as an example. “Like nung sa Perpetual, hindi sila naka-score ng seven minutes, dun kami nakahabol. When we were up 62-60 with two minutes to go in the game, parehas kami hindi naka-score. We make it tough on the defensive end. Sinabi ko sa kanila, ‘JRU is known for that.'”

Prior to this stretch, Meneses disclosed that he told his players that the doors have shut for the team to reach the Final Four. “Sinabi ko sa kanila, ‘no more chance.'” The reason though was that he does not want to pressure his players. “Ayoko pressurin sila pero alam ko may chance pa and alam ko abilities ng players ko. Sinabi ko sa kanila ‘let’s win and we’ll see what will happen.’ Yun yung nasa kamay namin.”

NCAA 91 SSCR vs. UPHSD - Teodoro drive-7286But now that their fate is back on their hands, he still does not want to pressure either himself or his players. “Ngayon, nabalik na sa kamay namin. Siyempre ayoko na mapressure sila. Kasi the more na nakikita nila na naprepressure ako, the more din na naprepressure sila. Like sa practice, sige laro kayo. One and a half [hours] of practice okay na. Ayoko yung masyadong maraming ginagawa na baka hindi makayanan ng isip nila. Gumagana naman,” he disclosed.

This Friday, the Heavy Bombers will face this season’s spoilers, the San Sebastian Stags, a team that has toppled contenders like San Beda, Letran, and Perpetual in the second round. Meneses warned his players to not overthink nor take the Golden Stags lightly. “Yan yung sinasabi ko sa kanila. Nothing to lose sila, huwag niyong pressure sarili ninyo I told my players. Just stick to the gameplan. Hindi naman nila bibigay yung panalo. Kahit hindi na sila makakapasok, they want to end their season on a winning note.”

“More aggressiveness. Hindi ko pa nakikita yung nagprepress sila all the way. Hindi ko pa nakikita. Pero we are peaking at the right time,” Meneses closed.

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ABL

Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa

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After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Marcus Elliott grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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Basketball

CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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