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Injury-plagued La Salle shuts down UST to stay unbeaten



The De La Salle Green Archers are still unbeaten in the UAAP Season 77 men’s football tournament, following a narrow 1-0 victory over the University of Santo Tomas Golden Booters Thursday afternoon at the FEU Diliman football field.

Care of Jean Mari Clarino, UST established their presence around the perimeter of the penalty area, paving the way for a series of early UST attempts. The fifth minute ejection of La Salle’s Jhoguev Ybañez after being given a red card for trying to throw a punch gave the Tigers more space to create. But it was the Archers instead who bagged the first goal of the game, when Christian Zubiri headed in a high cross sent by Nate Alquiros from the left wing.

The next twenty minutes of play saw UST finally maneuver to exploit the hole in La Salle’s defense. Clarino came close to equalizing for UST at the 19th minute, after winning the ball in the struggle in front of the net and striking from just a few feet away from the ball. However, it was stopped by La Salle goalie Rafael de Guzman. Two minutes later, leading UST scorer Steven Anotado had a chance to equalize with a shot from inside the penalty box, but the ball ended up sailing above the bar.

The arrival of Jose Montelibano, who was subbed in for Zubiri at the 29th minute paved the way for a renewed La Salle offensive push. Montelibano almost extended La Salle’s lead at the 33th minute after connecting with a cross from Nate Alquiros with a header just by the right post, but the ball went straight to the hands of UST goalie John Rey Catalino. The final fifteen minutes of the half saw La Salle get a couple more good looks, but all shots ended up getting stopped or going wide. UST’s Jopridale Molino had the last great shot of the first half, rebounding a blocked header by teammate Anotado to strike from point blank range, but the shot was knocked off course by La Salle’s Matthew Nierras, who immediately cleared the ball off the pitch. At the half, the narrow lead stayed with La Salle.

Though they struggled to get their offense going early in the second half, the Tigers finally found a way inside of the penalty box, with Dexter John Benecio getting a good look to strike from just inside the box. The ball however sailed way over the bar. It was Efren Menares’ turn to try to equalize just two minutes later at the 57th minute, charging through the right wing and beating the defenders to receive the through pass from Anotado. Though Menares was immediately able to nudge the ball into the direction of the net, Paeng managed to scrambled in time to scoop the ball up before it could cross the line.

The 63rd minute marked a drastic change in the complexion of the game. A red card due to card accumulation sent Clarino, one of the Tigers’ most threatening presences at the top of the field, off the pitch. With UST also now down to ten men, the Archers’ counterattack kicked to life, and the last thirty or so minutes saw La Salle dominate offensively. At the 66th minute, Montelibano had the first of many near-hits in the late second half, sending a powerful shot from just beyond the penalty box that went way past the post.

Montelibano, along with Karlo Miguel Villamor and Gerald Layumas spearheaded the late La Salle flurry that broke down the Tigers’ previously effective back. The three had no trouble breaking into the the penalty area to get the good look on the goal, but struggled to get anything past the wide reach of UST goalie Catalino. As the 90th minute approached, the flurry kicked into sixth gear, but none of their shots found the net. The last great shot of the game came from Villamor, who at the 89th minute found himself with enough space and the open look from the right wing, but celebration was withheld when the shot went drifting inches from the opposite post.

Assistant coach Alvin Ocampo was happy about the much-needed three points and his players stepping up late in the game, but expressed his displeasure with the early red card that sent Ybañez off the field. “Not good for the team. We had to make adjustments five minutes into the game. Very crucial ang first five minutes, especially in this game.” Head coach Hans Smit, who was absent from the sidelines for the Archers’ past few games, makes his return on Sunday against Ateneo. Smit was attending to his responsibilities as match commissioner for the Philippine Football Federation-Smart National Cup Championship.

“Overall, parang wala talaga kaming napakita ngayon. Everybody’s off,” said UST coach Marjo Allado, who once again emphasized his team’s lack of experience. Still, he is hopeful that the team will regain form in their upcoming game against UE on Sunday.

The Archers however have to deal with the problem of injured players. Rookie Zubiri, who scored the lone goal of the game, was subbed out around thirty minutes into the first half after spraining his ankle. Already on La Salle’s injury list are Gelo Diamante and Chuck Uy, who scored crucial goals in La Salle’s past few matchups.

1 Comment
  • Mix

    Nice write up! However, please change Clariño to CLARINO. Both for Jean Mari (UST) and Julian Mariano (UP). Thanks!


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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