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Kyle Aguon continues his ascent

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Pacific Xtreme Bantamweight Championship [PXC] Bantamweight Champion Kyle Aguon (9-4) has, literally, grown inside the ‘terror dome.’ In his seven-year MMA career, he has only called one place home and that is the PXC cage.

Last Saturday night, the PXC Bantamweight Champion competed in his 13th bout and it was lucky number 13 for the young lion as he displayed his growth in the sport in grinding a split decision win over Davao City-raised Rolando Gabriel “The Incredible” Dy Navarette (5-4). Aguon showed his maturity in the bout as he was patient in getting his spots and taking Dy with ease.

Going into the grudge match, the Guamanian was oozing with confidence knowing that he had Dy’s number. “I was really confident fight by coming out fighting in a place other than home, I am actually more comfortable. Not so much pressure for me. I love the Philippines, you guys treat me so good,” Aguon told us after the match. And he credits all that to his intense training camp, “I came out here, I did what I could to train, I do what I can to fight and to become strong. I felt good coming out to the fight. I felt that the Filipinos were on my side, that’s why I wanted to give you guys a show and thank you guys for supporting me.”

As a prized fighter there should also be a sense of professionalism going into each fight. A strict regimen should be followed accordingly, including the process of cutting weight. Dy, however, did not make weight for the anticipated rematch resulting to the fight being relegated to just a three-round fight. “Super disappointed. We really had a good scrap in the beginning and I wanted to go out on a five round, five minute championship fight just to show that I am the true champion. That’s why I’m really disappointed,” the 135 scrapper said with disappointment.

“It’s disappointing man. I train as hard as I can to make 135. I busted my ass. I bled, I sweat, just to make that weight. I mean I suffered just to make weight. I gave up all the sweet foods, the beer, everything! To come out, I was expecting Dy to do the same. I guess that messed up with his diet that came up for him not to make weight. I hope everything with him is okay.”

But just like anything else, Aguon moved on. During the first fight between Dy and Aguon, both men exchanged in the stand-up, a stark contrast in the rematch. Aguon was more technical and displayed his all-around grappling game, a product of his hard work over at Spike 22’s gym. “I was worried about his striking because I knew he had good striking. I know my wrestling is way more superior than his, I have awesome wrestling partners. I come from a wrestling-based gym [Spike 22]. My coach, Melchor Manibusan, one of the most outstanding wrestlers in Guam. Then one of my best friends Joey Lopez, we go to war in the gym, he’s representing Guam as well. He has gone out in international tournaments. I’m here training with him, we’re training together and giving each other runs. His brother Mike is competing in college wrestling. We have so many wrestlers in our gym and I knew we could use that to our advantage in the fight.”

During the interval between the second and third round, the Guamanian and the Filipino touched gloves. Behind all the animosity these two showed during the events leading up to Saturday, it was a sight of fresh air and, according to Aguon, it was a sign of respect and farewell to the rivalry they developed. “I touched gloves as a sign of respect. We fought two rounds already. This was our last round. I felt that this was gonna be our last fight so we touched gloves. And it felt like ‘hey we both love the sport and we came out here to give the crowd a show. We both bleed, we both sweat.’ So I gave him that respect for what he deserves because we came out there banging.”

Aguon going for a takedown on Dy

Aguon going for a takedown on Dy

It was a great showing by Aguon as he dominated his opponent in three rounds of action. However, when the decision was announced one judge scored it in his favor (30-27) while the second judge had Dy winning 29-28. “That was really weird, I was like ‘how did he give him that’. I’m not sure how he took that, but I’m guessing we just can’t leave it to the judges’ hands. We should go out there and look for the finish. I put on a show and I don’t know what that judge was thinking but I thought that was unanimous. I was actually freaking out when I heard that number [29-28 Dy]. I was like ‘wow, what was going on’. It was making me scared.” Fortunately for the PXC Champion, the third judge had him as winning all three rounds as well. “In the end it was okay, I knew I did everything I could to win and, in the end, I went home with the win.”

Finally, having compiled a record of 9-4 and having faced fighters who are now in the big leagues, Aguon wishes that he could also join them in the UFC. “I’ll just try to move up in my career and get into the UFC. That’s just basically what my main goal is to try to make it up there.”

But he knows there’s still a lot to improve on in his game. “I’m still growing and still learning. I’m not at the peak yet. There’s room for improvement, more technical skills. I’m looking forward to improving my game, improving my wrestling, improving my boxing, and improving my media coverage just to try to move forward in my career.”

Kyle Aguon is one of the biggest prospects in the game today. The future is bright for the Guamanian but just like what he said, learning never stops.

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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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