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History is made: Ateneo clinches their first Men’s Volleyball crown



The Ateneo Blue Spikers notched their first ever UAAP Men’s Volleyball title as they dethroned the two-time champions NU Bulldogs, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-15 held at the Mall of Asia Arena on a historical Saturday afternoon.

Armed with momentum from the first game, Ateneo built a 5-1 lead in the opening set despite the Bulldogs settling for multiple blockers in the net. The ensuing plays showed NU going through their combination plays to score. With Rueben Baysac scoring on an ace and Rex Intal’s spike going wide, the Bulldogs chipped closer and made it a one point game at 8-7.

As the opening game jitters come into play, both teams made multiple service errors. Ateneo gave NU seven on the opening frame while the Bulldogs failed on five. Ateneo settled for double blocking against Peter Torres. However, as the newly-minted best blocker’s quick middle attacks dealt damage, the combination plays for NU proved to be deadly in the late run. Down by one at 21-20, NU rallied to a 5-3 finish including a timely contribution from Fauzi Ismail to cap the opening set up by one.

The Bulldogs entered the first technical timeout with a one point lead as Ateneo committed two service errors in the start of the second canto. Season MVP and Best attacker Marck Espejo gathered momentum in his stint in the back row during the second set as his reinsertion in the frontline triggered a 9-3 run for Ateneo.

Espejo scored five points on that stretch capped by an Ysay Marasigan score on a combination play. The Blue Spikers built a five point lead but the Bulldogs caught up, with Torres and Mangulabnan scoring for NU. Both teams tied for the 21st to the 23rd point but Ateneo took the set as Espejo finished it off with a check ball hit.

Best server Vince Mangulabnan opened up the third set with two quick service aces while Torres added a spike for a 3-0 run. However, poor first ball issues for the Bulldogs haunted them in the third frame as they lost a five point lead they built. Espejo scored on against three NU players to cap the wild third set that displayed a lot of exchanges both in spikes and blocks.

The two teams continued to the neck-to-neck battle in the fourth set with an exchange in attacks that made it 7-all. Rex Intal started to chip in points in the frame to help Ateneo sustain the lead in the set. Intal’s hit capped a 4-0 run to force NU coach Dante Alinsunurin to call a quick ceasefire.

The timeout was not effective for last year’s champions, as Ateneo mounted a rampage in the set to distance themselves against NU for good. With multiple spikes hitting the floor of NU, the Bulldogs were stunned as Ateneo sucked the life out of the past champions.

As the struggling and rattled Bulldogs squad continued their problems on reception, Espejo pounded and kept piling up the points to finish off the match. The reinsertion of Torres in the front row salvaged some points for NU but Espejo and the rest of his squad proved to be too much. Ateneo sealed their mastery over the Bulldogs with Rex Intal providing the championship-winning point.

The win gives the Katipunan-based spikers the victory against the Bulldogs in their best-of-three finals series as their quest for redemption for their Season 76 heartbreak has been accomplished. In addition, Ateneo has won all its four matches against the Bulldogs this season.

Setter Esmilzo “Ish” Polvorosa was named the finals Most Valuable Player with 36 excellent sets and scored two markers during the match. Mark Espejo played another tremendous outing finishing off the season with a big 33-point outing including three service aces.

The scores:

ADMU (3): Espejo 33, Marasigan 14, Intal 9, Villanueva 8, Rivera 6, Polvorosa 2, Santos 0, Baysa 0, Señoren 0, Rivera (L) 0

NU (1): Torres 12, Tolentino 8, Baysac 6, Inaudito 6, Ismail 5, Mangulabnan 4, Tipay (L) 0, Dizon (L) 0

Set scores: 23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-15

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



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



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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Ilocos United takes leave from PFL



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



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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