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Javier, UE cool down Ateneo, keep Final Four hopes alive

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The University of the East Red Warriors need a miracle to stay in the Final Four race.

Knowing they only had a glimmer of hope to get into the top four, senior Chris Javier and the Red Warriors worked hard to control what they could to cool off the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, 74-66, Saturday afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The first quarter was sloppy as both teams’ offense were stagnant and turnover-prone. UE’s only bright spot during the opening minutes was Emil Palma, who was able to score half of the eight UE points for an 8-3 lead. The Recto-based cagers were able to extend the lead to 16-9 with 3:23 left in the opening quarter. With the starters lacking energy, Ateneo’s second unit of Chibueze Ikeh, Aaron Black, and Mike Nieto added spark to the Blue Eagles in a 12-0 rally to gain a 21-16 lead to close out the first quarter.

Lanky wing RR De Leon sparked a 6-0 UE run to start the second stanza, capped by a long two to give UE a 22-21 lead. Moreover, the Red Warriors’ pressure defense forced their opponents to shoot contested shots and turnovers that held Ateneo scoreless in the first 4:01 of the quarter. After a Gwayne Capacio layup and an Adrian Wong triple that gave Ateneo a momentary lead, De Leon was able to halt the rally with a jumper. Back-to-back conversions by rookie Fran Yu gave UE a five-point lead, 31-26. Turnovers then plagued the Katipunan cagers in the final 4:03 of the quarter, giving UE a 35-26 lead to enter the break.

After mixing and matching combinations in the first half, Coach Bo Perasol left it to his seniors to lead the Ateneo comeback in the third canto. With the UE lead growing to a game-high 14 points, 43-29, with 7:31 left in the quarter, Ravena power-dribbled his way to the paint to start an 8-2 rally to cut the UE lead to eight. A triple by foul-plagued Paul Varilla momentarily halted the rally, but sharpshooting Von Pessumal responded with a jumper and free throws. Four more Ravena free throws and a rainbow by Pessumal eventually cut the UE lead to just two, 48-46. The Blue Eagles then closed the third quarter strong with a sneaky inbound play by Aaron Black to find Capacio, entering the final frame down by just two points, 53-51.

The Blue Eagles took the lead 54-53 to open the final quarter with an and-one conversion by Pessumal. A split by Black and a fast break layup by Ravena then extended the lead to four with 7:47 remaining. Just as Ateneo was about to breakaway, UE intensified their defense in a 10-3 rally, with Javier scoring seven during that spurt. With Ateneo continuing to struggle from the field, and with UE still up by five with 45.2 ticks remaining, Ravena took charge but his team could not make the stops. Free throws by Derige and Bonbon Batiller staved off Ravena’s nine-point blitz in the last 1:16 seconds to keep their team afloat in the Final Four race, 74-69.

“We’re fighting for our survival,” UE head coach Derick Pumaren declared after the game. “Even if we have a small chance, we still need to finish strong.” He then commended the team’s end-game composure that was lacking in their loss against the Adamson Soaring Falcons.

Senior Chris Javier, who had a splended outing in his penultimate regular season game with 13 points on a 6/11 clip, said that “ready lang talaga kami maglaro.” This was the same sentiment shared by sophomore Clark Derige, who tallied 17 markers on 50% shooting from the field and 75% shooting from the stripe, added that “huwag lang kami matakor [sa Ateneo]. Dapat laruin lang namin ang laro namin.”

Pumaren then closed in saying the team does not think about whether they get in the playoffs or not. “We just have to go all-out in our final game.”

For the Blue Eagles, Ravena had another outstanding personal outing, scoring a game-high 28 points. He was 9/18 from the field and 8/10 from the foul line. He was able to grab four boards and dish out four assists as well. Von Pessumal added ten markers but was just 3/11 from the field.

As a team, UE shot a tad better from the field, with 41.79% compared to just 40.63% by the Blue and White. The UE pressure defense proved to be the ultimate difference as they forced Ateneo to 25 turnovers that led to 24 points.

The UE Red Warriors (5-8) will play their final game of the regular season against the UP Fighting Maroons on Wednesday, November 18 at 2:00pm. On the other hand, the Ateneo Blue Eagles will finish their regular season campaign with a 9-5 record, good for third seed, and will await who the second seed of the tournament will be.

The Scores:
UE (74) – Derige 17, Javier 13, De Leon 10, Batiller 9, Yu 8, P. Varilla 7, Palma 6, Charcos 4, Cudal 0, Sta. Ana 0, J. Varilla 0.
ADMU (69) – Ravena 28, Pessumal 10, Black 8, Wong 5, Capacio 4, Ikeh 4, Mi. Nieto 4, Babilonia 2, A. Tolentino 2, V. Tolentino 2, Cani 0, Gotladera 0, Pingoy 0, Go 0.
Quarterscores: 16-21, 35-26, 53-51, 74-69.

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Football

Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory

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Photo from the-AFC.com

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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Basketball

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

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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

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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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NCAA

Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win

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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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