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Kungfu Reyes on Sunday loss: ‘Our bodies failed us’

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For the first time this season, two powerhouse PSL squads did not disappoint and treated fans to a splendid, drawn-out battle.

RC Cola-Army and F2 Logistics came into Saturday as the only two undefeated teams in the league. The Lady Troopers rallied back from a 0-2 set-deficit but succumbed in the fifth set, as the younger Cargo Movers kept the pace fervent in the fifth set, leaving Army in their dust.PSL AFC 2016 F2 vs. Army - Daquis-3809

The Lady Troopers, as they have throughout their storied franchise history, would have taken the loss in stride and rested their weary bones. Only, in a scheduling quirk, they had to take on F2 again the following day.

With several key Lady Troopers in the late stages of their careers, Army slogged through the Sunday rematch while the Cargo Movers maintained the same fire they’d had 24 hours prior. Army lost in straight sets for the first time since they were still in the V-League last December.PSL AFC 2016 F2 vs. Army - Gonzaga-4875

“Siguro, lumabas lang talaga ‘yung pagkabata ng team ko,” noticed F2 head coach Ramil De Jesus after their triumph.

“Kung anong sakit ng katawan ng mga player ko, doble siguro ng sakit ng katawan nila [Army].”

“Nandoon pa din ‘yung mental part ng game namin, nawala lang talaga ‘yung physical,”echoed Army head coach Kungfu Reyes.

“Kita naman na alam namin kung ano dapat ang galaw, kita namin kung saan ang punta ng bola, pero hindi na talaga sumusunod sa galaw ng isip ‘yung galaw ng katawan namin.”

Army’s 38-year-old setter Tina Salak played a key role on the Saturday match but was worn down a day after. She, like a lot of Army’s key players, could not withstand the toll of back-to-back games, Reyes admitted.PSL AFC 2016 F2 vs. Army - Salak-4914

“Sinubukan naming magpaikot ng mga player pero wala din. Lahat naman kami gustong manalo, hindi lang talaga sumang-ayon ang mga katawan namin.”

Army take on the Foton Tornadoes on Thursday at the De La Salle Lipa Gym in Batangas City to continue their second round campaign. With a few days of rest under their belts, Reyes hopes to get a rejuvenated effort from his wards.

“So back-to-back losses; hindi namin to ginusto pero nandiyan na. Matututo na lang kami sa mga pagkakamali and go from there,” he closed.

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball – from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado’s setting.

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F2 Logistics claims franchise’s first-ever Grand Prix crown

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Known for sporting a deep lineup of locals, the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers finally proved that they can also win with imports.

The Cargo Movers absorbed everything that the Petron Blaze Spikers and came away with the 2017 Chooks to Go-PSL Grand Prix title after a masterful performance in the winner-take-all Game Three, 25-20, 25-19, 20-25, 25-19, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Cargo Movers were dominant in the opening two frames. F2 Logistics rolled with their newfound lineup from Game Two; using Cha Cruz as one of the open hitters and flipping import Kennedy Bryan into the starting opposite slot in place of Kianna Dy. The adjustment contimued to work as Cruz brought timely scoring, serving, and floor defense that boosted F2 Logistics to a 12-6 lead in the first set. Petron quickly recovered via a 5-0 run that trimmed the deficit to one, 12-11. F2 Logistics, however, regained momentum following a timeout and zoomed back on top, 18-12.

Petron languished all the way into the second frame. Struggling to pass and mount their offense, thw Blaze Spikers went from being locked in a 14-all tie to being down big, 15-20, after a string Cruz’s sharp serves. Petron tried to rally back, but ended up giving three errors in F2 Logistics’ last five points.

Shrugging off their struggles in the first two sets, Petron finally came alive in the third frame, taking a 20-15 advantage and never looking back.

The fourth set, however, became an apt coronation for F2 Logistics, who blew past the Blaze Spikers with an early 8-4 salvo and kept them at bay.

F2 Logistics takes their first Grand Prix title. This also marks head coach Ramil De Jesus’ first triumph in the import-laiden conference.

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Tanduay Alab spoils Formosa’s home debut to enter win column

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Photo by ASEAN Basketball League

After three unfruitful outings, Tanduay Alab Pilipinas had finally tasted the sweet flavor of triumph through a convincing 78-61 win over Formosa Dreamers, Saturday at the Changhua County Stadium in Taiwan.

With this, both club teams are now carrying an identical 1-3 win-loss card.

Everyone from Alab scored in the win, with World Import Reggie Okosa anchoring the offense with 19 points along with 19 rebounds. Ray Parks, Jr. had his best outing so far with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Lead point guard Josh Urbiztondo, who was slapped with an unsportsmanlike foul after a commotion with Formosa’s Chen Yu Han in the second frame, also chipped in 12 markers on top of seven assists and six rebounds.

Tanduay Alab spent the majority of the bout ahead, but the home team still managed to give their opponents a run for their money not just with their ability to wipe out leads, but through their physical style of play as well.

But the complexity changed come the second half. Through their hustle and fluid ball movement, Tanduay Alab outclassed the Taiwanese club team and led by as much as 17, 68-51, after Okosa’s dunk with 7:43 in the final frame.

The Filipino dribblers then never relinquished the huge advantage and zoomed all the way to their first-ever win.

Alab’s win though has raised some issues, as Ivan Johnson — for unknown reasons — was benched in the game. He was last seen having a heated moment with somebody after their 99-96 loss to Hong Kong Eastern last Wednesday.

Former Saigon Heat reinforcement Lenny Daniel powered the Dreamers with 19 points and eight rebounds. Local Cheng Chi Kuan provided 11 points, while another World Import Jaleel Cousins chipped in 10 and nine boards.

Tanduay Alab will look to rake in back-to-back wins as they take on Westports Malaysia Dragons after the holiday break on January 3 at 8:00 PM.

The Scores:

Tanduay Alab (78) – Okosa 19, Parks 12, Urbiztondo 12, Maierhofer 7, Hontiveros 7, Domingo 6, Raymundo 5, Celiz 4, Alabanza 2, Javelona 2, Sumalinog 2.

Formosa (61) – Daniel 19, Cheng 11, Cousins 10, Chou 9, Chen 5, Yang 4, Li C. 0, Li P. 0, Wu 0, Tsai 0.

Quarterscores: 21-13, 39-32, 62-48, 78-61

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Football

Meralco routs Kaya to salvage bronze

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Photo from FC Meralco-Manila

With pride and a possible 2018 AFC Cup playoff berth at stake, it was the inaugural Philippines Football League regular season-leaders FC Meralco Manila that prevailed.

Three goals, all in the first half, wwere enough for the home side to walk away with the consolation bronze past Kaya FC—Makati, 3-1, Friday evening at the historic Rizal Memorial Stadium.

After absorbing an early pressure from the visitors, the Sparks went to their team offense to break the deadlock, resulting to an early goal.

Skipper Simon Greatwich received a good delivery from outside and headed the ball into the penalty area. Fortunately for the former Azkals midfielder, Joaco Cañas was there to head the ball into the goal for the opener.

Kaya seemed unperturbed of that score and tried to restore parity. Nonetheless, Manila’s defense disrupted deliveries intended primarily for Robert Lopez-Mendy. Moreover, balls deep into the Sparks’ goal went straight to the hands of keeper Ace Villanueva.

It was not long before Meralco doubled their lead, thanks to Azkal Curt Dizon.

Twelve minutes after the Canas goal, the crafty winger, who took over the scoring cudgels for Meralco with the departures of Phil and James Younghusband, found himself virtually unmarked on the left flank and fired a cannonball at the edge of the box for the home team’s second of the night.

Dizon then virtually put the game out of reach at the 25th minute, finishing a spectacular free kick with a left-footed strike past Kayo goalie Ref Cuaresma.

Chances were scarce after that onslaught as it was primarily Meralco’s organized defending which stood its ground, denying a possible goal back from Kaya.

This continued well into the following period, but insertion of Joven Bedic and Marvin Angeles worked for Kaya at the start of the second half.

With few chances on the build up, the visitors took their opportunity on the set piece. In the 58th minute, Bedic tapped in a low cross past Villanueva to pull one back.

The goal is something Manila head coach Aris Caslib foresaw and lamented. “In the second half, the players were cautious, never wanting what happened in the semifinals to happen again.”

However, what the Sparks lost in offensive fluidity, they still atoned for on that defensive consistency. If not for that strong resistance, Kaya could have extended the match.

Instead, the Meralco defense held and it was an impressive win for them to finish an emotional season after the 90 minutes.

“It was the character of the team that showed up. While we struggled in that latter part, we were able to overcome,” Caslib remarked about the Sparks.

For the former national team mentor, it was the squad’s determination to end the season with a win that carried them through. He said, “A big part of this is the players wanted to get over that hump; and they were able to push it in the end.”

FC Meralco Manila might still get a 2018 AFC Cup playoff berth if the PFL champions go on to clinch a 2018 AFC Champions League slot.

The PFL Final between Ceres—Negros FC and Global—Cebu FC will happen on Saturday evening at the Panaad Park and Football Stadium in Bacolod City.

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Ateneo pulls out of friendly against UST

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The Philippine Superliga regretfully announced Friday evening that the supposed tune-up match between the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles and the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses on Saturday has been cancelled.

“We regret to announce that the scheduled friendly game between Ateneo and University of Santo Tomas volleyball teams that was to serve as an appetizer to Saturday’s championship game between Petron and F2 Logistics will not push through,” PSL chairman Philip Juico released in a statement.

Though no specific reason was said regarding why the Lady Eagles decided to pull out of the tune-up that was announced Friday morning, the league stressed that the team agreed to play.

“A late announcement by the Ateneo de Manila University officials caused the cancellation of the match they have earlier agreed to play,” the statement furthered.

Even with this circumstance, the league is holding no grudges as it is still open to have a partnership with the Lady Eagles in the future.

“The Philippine Superliga still welcomes the Ateneo Volleyball Team to play in the league as we are open to all interested squads who want to be partners of the PSL.”

Still, Game Three of the Chooks-to-Go/PSL Grand Prix will still have a start time of 4:00pm.

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