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‘King Bulldog’ Alolino looks back on National U, UAAP career

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Ask anyone on who they think is synonymous to the modern-day National University basketball program, for sure these five names will come up.

Ray Ray Parks, Troy Rosario, Emmanuel Mbe, Alfred Aroga, and, of course, Gelo Alolino.

Coming from the highly-regarded recruitment class of 2011, Gelo Alolino had to earn the trust of long-time mentor Eric Altamirano for the team’s floor general spot as he was recruited together with fellow 2010 Nokia U-16 National Basketball team member Cedric Labing-isa. Alolino more than earned the trust of Altamirano in starting in all but five UAAP regular season games in his career, 65 of 70 games.

In those games, National U’s Smart Elite ambassador posted a career average of 9.3 points, 4 rebounds, and 3.6 rebounds in 27.8 minutes of action. More importantly, he is part of the quintet that turned the local collegiate basketball landscape around as Jhocson Street turned from being a basketball cellar to a hotbed.

A big game player, Altamirano reflected on his floor general in saying that, “Gelo is the type of player who loves the ball come endgame.” But what impressed the NU mentor was how Alolino was able to bring together the team. “He is our leader. Gelo is a proven player and he not only leads us in the court but also outside.”

Next season’s elder statesman, Alfred Aroga, added that Alolino is a workhorse during the games and in practices. “We go where Gelo takes us. He is our leader and he leads by example,” the foreign student-athlete said about their captain. “He communicates well with us on the court and Gelo always finds us when we are open.

UAAP 78 ADMU vs. NU - Alolino, Aroga-3842For Alolino, he is forever grateful and blessed to have been mentored by Altamirano in saying, “I couldn’t thank Coach Eric enough. Hindi ko talaga alam paano siya papasalamatan,” he said holding his emotions. “From nung National Team with sila Kevin [Ferrer], Kiefer [Ravena], Mike [Tolomia], and Jeron [Teng], he really helped us a lot in terms of maturity.”

Being recruited out of University of Perpetual Help System, he also credits the former National Youth Team head coach for teaching him the value of humility and maturity. “Not just on-court, off-court he gives us life talks, bible study. Si Coach he teached us a lot. Makikita mo naman yung perspective niya as a person,” he said.

“Sobrang thankful ako na naging coach ko siya. I-checherish ko talaga yung five years na nakapaglaro ako sa kanya.”

Moreover, he will forever be thankful to have been part of National University. During his five-year stay with the 115 year old institution, Alolino aided the Bulldogs to five straight Final Four appearances. This was highlighted by ending National U’s 60-year Men’s Basketball Championship drought in the 77th season of the UAAP.

“Yun yung lone championship namin after 60 years. Hindi rin ganun kadili yun kasi madami kaming pinagdaanan na do-or-die situations,” the Smart Elite ambassador reflected about it. “Tapos Ateneo twice-to-beat then yung Game 1 nanalo din yung kabila [FEU]. Ang hirap ng pinagdaanan namin nun.”

He then added that that moment that he and his teammates will never forget for the rest of their lives. “We talked about that kanina and sabi nila after ten years magkikita-kita kami ulit. We’ll look for the banner that has ‘the Champion of Season 77.’ After 60 years…,” again fighting-off tears. “Until now, pagnaiisip namin na nagawa namin yun sobrang [laking] honor. Memorable sa amin yung time na yun.”

Looking forward, Alolino admitted that he is looking forward to being in the Philippine Basketball Association one day. But his top priority nowadays is to graduate with a degree since he only has four subjects remaining in his academic slate.

Next season, with one cycle of recruits ending for them last Sunday – as Coach Altamirano puts it-, a new era of NU basketball is set to start. For the incoming recruits, it will be hard to even match what Alolino has given to the community. But if there’s one student-athlete they should pattern themselves to, it should be him as he exemplified hard work, humility, and balance.

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Basketball

Marc Pingris wants Rafi Reavis to break Robert Jaworski’s record

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Marc Pingris was all praises for veteran Rafi Reavis Saturday night, as the 40-year-old center made his presence felt in the Magnolia Hotshots’ 97-91 victory — their third straight win — over Phoenix Fuel Masters at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The six-foot-nine Reavis finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks — a performance perfectly punctuated by a follow-up of a Paul Lee miss with 12.5 seconds left to play that knocked out the Fuel Masters for good.

“Papasalamat ako kay Rafi na talagang kababalik lang niya pero binigay niya talaga lahat,” said Pingris after the bout, as Saturday night was just Reavis’ second outing in the 2018 Philippine Cup after recovering from a hip injury.

“Nag-usap nga kami kanina e, hindi pa siya 100 percent. So bukas, ang sabi niya babalik daw siya sa gym dahil gusto niya ibalik yung lakas ng legs dahil wala pa daw,” added the 36-year-old, who also suffered a hip injury last season.

Reavis has been playing in the league for 16 years. Seeing the work he has put in, Pingris, who finished the game with 17 rebounds, four assists, four points and two blocks, believes that the 10-time PBA champion can play for 10 more years — at least.

“You know naman Rafi eh, katulad ko rin yan eh – rebound and depensa. At tsaka sobrang vocal siya sa team eh,” beamed Pingris, who himself is a 14-year veteran. “Walang siyang inaano, talagang sinasabihan niya kung sino yung mga nagmi-mistake, kung paano kami mag-adjust, so nakikinig naman lahat sa kanya.

“Talagang nandun yung respeto namin kay Rafi.”

And if Reavis stays healthy for the next decade, Pingris wants Reavis to exceed Jaworki’s 958 games played — third most all time.

“Nasa kanya yun, basta kaya mo ba eh. As a player, kung masipag ka naman at may disiplina sa sarili mo, kaya niya yun.”

Still, Reavis has a lot of catching up to do.

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JRU

Altas surge to fifth straight win, slam Heavy Bombers

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Pulling double-digit scoring outings from three spikers, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas remained unbeaten in NCAA Season 93 after a straight-set triumph over thr Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 25-17, 25-16, 25-20, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Middle blocker Ronniel Rosales topped the Altas with 13 points off 10 attacks and three blocks. Team captain Rey Taneo and Joebert Almodiel added 12 markers apiece.

The Altas dominated every scoring category, recording 44 attacks to JRU’s 26, five blocks to the Bombers’ zero, and three aces to JRU’s one.

Breezing through the first half of the season, Altas head coach Sammy Acaylar lauded his team’s consistency and hoped they continue getting better as they aim for a championship.

“So far, masasabi kong maganda ang nilalaro ng mga bata. Consistent naman ang mga galaw nila and focused sila sa mga laban,” said Acaylar.

“Pero alam nilang may ibubuga pa sila. We still need to get better and reach the championship level. Kailangan hindi mawala ‘yung ganito naming killer instinct,” the decorated mentor added.

The Altas take on a major test on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre when they face fellow undefeated squad Arellano Chiefs (4-0).

Wenjo Lahaylahay led the Bombers with 10 points while captain Patrick Rabaja managed seven.

JRU (0-5) limps into their Wednesday showdown against defending champs College of Saint Benilde (3-1).

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Rosales 13, Almodiel 12, Taneo R. 12, Muhali 7, Ramos 5, Atentar 1, Catipay 1, Salo 1, Bation 0, Solamilo 0, Taneo S. 0, Kalingking (L)

JRU (0) – Lahaylahay 10, Rabaja 7, Sulivas 6, Salazar 4, Cebrero 1, Soriano 1, Cruz 0, Ferwelo 0, Defensor (L), Flor (L)

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Mixed Martial Arts

Rene Catalan continues rampage with TKO win

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Rene Catalan continues to turn critics into believers

Filipino fighter Rene Catalan made his sixth appearance inside the ONE Championship cage at ONE: Kings of Courage, held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia, Saturday evening. He faced 21-year-old Chinese athlete Peng Xue Wen in the opening main card bout, and leaned on his elite wushu skills to stop the young star at the 4:22 mark of the second round.

The victory improves Catalan’s record to 4-2 (1 NC), extends his winning streak to four, and gives him the first TKO stoppage of his martial arts career, as he bids to climb the strawweight ladder in search of the ONE Strawweight World Championship.

“The Challenger” came out in the southpaw stance to open the bout, throwing big hooks and a head kick that narrowly missed as he established the center of the cage from the start of the contest.

The Filipino landed a host of powerful strikes, including a perfectly-placed uppercut and a melee of punishing leg kicks, but Peng’s conditioning and composure kept him in the match as he looked to stand and trade with the man 18 years his elder.

Catalan picked up where he left off when the bout resumed in the second round, this time operating out of the orthodox stance, landing more leg kicks and continuing to deny Peng any space to work.

Despite his dominance on the feet, there was a brief moment of concern for the Filipino on the mat when he jumped into the Chinese wrestler’s guard mid-way through the second round, and immediately found himself in a triangle choke. But the Filipino kept his composure and managed to work himself free.

Once the fighters returned to their feet, Catalan poured on the pressure in search of a finish, and he got it with just 38 seconds remaining in the stanza.

“The Challenger” scored big with a liver shot, then unloaded a fierce flurry of punches that forced Peng onto his back foot. Another shot forced Peng to the mat, where a salvo of ground and pound from Catalan eventually forced the TKO stoppage as referee Olivier Coste stepped in to halt the contest.

Photo, story, and video from ONE Championship

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Basketball

Gelo Alolino regrets Phoenix’s failure to close out Hotshots

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Photo by PBA Images

Gelo Alolino had his best game for the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Saturday night at the Cuneta Astrodome with 19 points, eclipsing his previous career-high of 16 markers which he made last May 21, 2017 in a loss to the Mahindra Floodbuster.

But his achievement won’t be too memorable, as it went for naught following a 91-97 defeat at the hands of Paul Lee and the Magnolia Hotshots, who have now collected their third straight victory.

For the second overall pick in the regular 2016 Rookie Draft, it was all because of their failure to sustain momentum up until the game’s final buzzer.

“Sayang, nandun na. We felt na sa amin na nung dulo kaso lang ganun talaga,” rued the 24-year-old sophomore after the match, where he shot an excellent 7-of-10 from the floor.

“Breaks of the game napunta sa kabila.”

Phoenix were in contention all throughout the match. In fact, they were even ahead, 89-84, with just three minutes left to play. But the Hotshots’ comeback skills were unleashed, leading to the narrow win.

“Siyempre kami lahat nasayangan. Maganda naman yung team effort talaga namin,” admitted the 6-foot floor general of their end-game collapse, which wasted their efforts in assists (21) and on defense, where they forced Magnolia to 21 turnovers.

“Kami as players talagang gusto namin bumawi coming from a loss last game sa Rain or Shine.

The Fuel Masters have now lost their second straight outing and have dropped to 2-3. And for Alolino, all they have to do is learn as much as they can from this loss, especially now that they are about to face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel next.

“Yun nga. Medyo masakit para sa’min ‘to,” admitted the National University product.

“All we have to do is magviview ulit kami ng tape para makita kung saan kami mas pwede mag-improve as a team and bawat isa — including me.”

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