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La Salle loss giving valuable lessons to Ateneo’s rookie point guards



One of the key additions for this year’s Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles squad is their rookie point guard troika of Jerie Pingoy, Matthew Nieto and Hubert Cani.

Last October 4, each of their skills were put to the test as they faced long time rival, the De La Salle University Green Archers, in an emotionally-charged game at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. After the game, Tiebreaker Times had the opportunity to talk to the three Ateneo rookies about their first Ateneo-La Salle seniors’ basketball game.

Pingoy eager to bounce back

UAAP 78 DLSU vs. ADMU-Jerie Pingoy
A highly-touted candidate, Jerie Pingoy gives Ateneo a solid playmaker that can easily dictate the pace of the game. In seven games played so far, the Cebuano floor general has been averaging 4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal.

During his Ateneo-La Salle debut, he managed to create wonderful scoring opportunities for his teammates; finishing the game with 6 points, 3 rebounds and 8 assists in 23 minutes of action.

“Siyempre, malungkot kasi first La Salle-Ateneo na laban ko, talo kami. Nandoon na sana pero kinapos lang sa uli pero for sure, we’ll bounce back next game,” Pingoy said. “Well, dati kasi napapanood ko lang ito. Grabe talaga ang mga crowd. I mean, hindi lang iyong about sa laro lang, kung baga fight for the school. Grabe pala maglaro ng ganitong game.”

Pingoy also reminded everyone why he was one of best high school prospects two seasons ago. In spite of being sidelined from a two-year residency, Pingoy has been coming off the bench constantly flashing his playmaking skills for his teammates even in the tightest of defenses. Moreover, Pingoy is improving on a game-by-game basis.

“Well ako naman ginagawa ko ang best ko for the team in distributing the ball and at least naibabalik ko ng dahan-dahan ang game ko,” he added. “Kami naman we’re always ready kasi ang time namin we really need to value that one. Not all the time kasi you’re going to play 40 minutes di ba? So, if ever na bench player man kami, it’s okay with us kasi we’re all ready naman for Ateneo, to fight for the blue and white.”

Learning experiences for Nieto

UAAP 78 DLSU vs. ADMU-Matt Nieto
Former Ateneo Blue Eaglet Matthew Nieto has been showing impressive signs of adapting well into the collegiate league. He already has five starts under his belt and is currently posting norms of 4.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.

However, he was in for a huge challenge yesterday as he was matched up with La Salle’s defensive point guard Thomas Torres. He finished the rivalry game with a point, 2 rebounds and 3 assists in 15 minutes of play.

“It is exciting for us since it is my first Ateneo-La Salle game. I’ve been watching that since grade school,” Nieto remarked. “Of course, the ball game didn’t happen the way I liked it to be but siguro sa laro namin madami akong natutunan.”

During the first half, the Blue Eagles gained a huge lead against La Salle as Nieto did a good job in handling the ball and holding down the defense against his La Salle counterparts. However, things started to get difficult for the rookie point guard when the Green Archers made a huge run in the third quarter.

“Since I’m a rookie, I learned a lot from this game like composure, setting up Kiefer [Ravena] and Von [Pessumal], and of course playing more defense,” he added. “Well, La Salle made their run, made their three-pointers and of course we couldn’t ask for more since bumawi sila doon sa nangyari sa kanila in the first half.”

Later on, he also admitted that this loss motivates him to come back stronger when they meet the Archers again in the second round. During his high school years, Nieto never experienced defeat against rival De La Salle-Zobel. He will surely have a chip on his shoulder come their second round encounter.

“Since I’m true blue Atenean, sabi ko nga matalo na sa lahat huwag lang sa La Salle. Ever since sa high school never pa akong natalo against La Salle,” Nieto commented. “But of course God has plans and this is my first loss against La Salle and hopefully last pero hindi naman tayo magsasabi niyan. Masakit, ayaw kong matalo kalaban ang La Salle.”

“It’s an Ateneo-La Salle game, we’re going to throw away all the stats, we’ll don’t care about anything and we just want to win. Ang nangyari sa amin we were there, we were leading ten points sa first half. Pinakita namin na kaya namin sila talagang talunin at hindi lang namin nasustento. Ang plano namin sa second round is masustain namin ang lead and ang killer instinct namin dapat mag-improve kami doon.”

Cani preaches patience

UAAP 78 ADMU vs. NU-Cani
For the first round, Cani has yet to find his groove but he states that he is always ready should he be summoned from the bench. Cani had minimal playing time in the DLSU-ADMU showdown as he only played three minutes of action in the heated affair.

Knowing that an Ateneo-La Salle match is often a highly pressured one, the more experienced veteran roster will always get chunk of the minutes, since majority of the rookies tend to falter in these kind of games. Even so, the rookies were pushed to perform in the big stage according to the former NU Bullpup.

“Kaming mga rookies, sobrang pressured kami magdeliver this game,” Cani said. “Lahat naman ng rookies ganoon, kailangan bumawi sa second round.”

True enough, jitters were all over the place for the rookies of both teams. But it is understandable, especially when one is part of a rivalry game such as this: the atmosphere is really different, the crowd is raucous and players driven by pure adrenaline.

In order for a rookie like Cani to pace himself in this kind of game, he needs to work well together with his team and settle in for the role that suits him best.

“Tulungan lang kami as a team kasi kaming tatlo ang nagrorotation sa position namin,” he closed. “Every training namin gawin na namin ang best namin.”

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AJ Mandani sparks Singapore in win over Joshua Munzon-led Westsports



Back to his role as the sixth man of the Slingers after two games, AJ Mandani provided the firepower needed by Singapore in a fourth quarter surge to stop the Westsports Malaysia Dragons, 93-85, Sunday afternoon at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia.

The win arrested the Slingers’ two-game losing streak, raising their slate to 6-6. Westsports, a team coming off a two-game winning streak that included a 91-87 win over Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat last January 18, fell to 3-5.

Struggling in the first three quarters, Mandani six of his eight points in the final frame. And those points were povital in fending off Westsports.

With Singapore clinging to a solitary point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Filipino-Canadian scored four straight points 8-0 run to gain a 74-67 lead with under seven minutes left. Another basket by Mandani followed it up with a breakaway layup with with 5:18 remaining to give Singapore an 81-72 cushion.

Filipino exports Joshua Munzon and Patrick Cabahug tried to rally the home team back as a triple by the latter cut the lead down to just three with 1:40 on the clock. Big buckets by Delvin Goh and Chris Charles sealed off the Malaysia-based club team.

Munzon went just 5-for-18 from the field to finish with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. Cabahug chipped in eight points on 3-for-4 shooting off the bench.

Xavier Alexander led Singapore with 33 points while Charles tallied a double-double with 25 points and 13 rebounds to go along with three swats. Singaporean Goh had 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

Marcus Marshall paced Westsports with 22 points, playing all 40 minutes as fellow World Import AJ West had a tough outing.

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Impervious Lady Chiefs stay perfect after sweep of Lady Pirates



The Arellano University Lady Chiefs extended their winning streak to 17, dating back to last season, after clobbering the Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The defending champions were unrelenting, with four Lady Chiefs scoring in double-digits. Rookie Necole Ebuen powered in 11 points. Third-year open hitter Regine Arocha and Arellano’s middle blockers Mary Anne Esguerra and Andrea Marzan each provided 10 markers.

Conversely, no Lady Pirate managed to score in double-figures.

“Maganda naman talaga ang nilalaro ng mga bata. Lahat kasi kami determinado na makakuha ulet ng championship. Alam nila (Lady Chiefs) na kailangan pataas nang pataas ang ginagalaw namin,” said Arellano head coach Obet Javier.

The Lady Chiefs also limited their errors to a season-best 16, while the Lady Pirates surrendered 24 miscues.

Christine Miralles and Monica Sevilla each supplied the struggling Lyceum with eight point apiece.

The Lady Chiefs will look for their sixth win of the season when they face the red-hot University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (4-1) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Pirates (1-4) take on the undefeated San Beda College (4-0) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

AU (3) – Ebuen 11, Arocha 10, Esguerra 10, Marzan 10, Prado 3, Ramirez 3, Liu 2, Balanoba 1, Donato 1, Verutiao 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)

LPU (0) – Miralles 8, Sevilla 8, Juanilla 7, Patio 4, Genova 1, Romanban 0, Bongabong 0, Marcella (L)

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Late whistle costs San Beda against Sousse, drops Red Lions to 0-2



23 for 2023 cadet Robert Bolick is averaging 27.5 points per game in the tournament

After struggling to close out the UAE National Team in their opener last Friday, the San Beda College Red Lions figured in a late judgment call that did not fall into their favor, Saturday at the Shabab Al Ahli Club in Dubai. Due to this, the defending NCAA Champions lost to Tuniasian club team Sousse, 78-79.

With the loss, the Red Lions fell to a 0-2 hole in the 29th Dubai Basketball Championship. But the record does not reflect how the Filipinos played.

Robert Bolick, who scored 28 points against the UAE National Team, led the charge for San Beda in their second outing with 27 points. Fellow 23 for 2023 cadet Javee Mocon added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Sousse — the second-best club team in Tunisia, who boasts four national team players and an American import — led by as much as 10 points, 70-60 in the final frame.

Fired up by the Filipinos who stormed the venue, the Red Lions answered right back with an 18-8 run capped by a booming Bolick triple with six ticks left to gain a 78-76 lead.

However, a foul was called on a Red Lion on a three-point attempt by a Sousse player. He calmly sank all three free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Donald Tankoua had eight points and 13 rebounds as he was saddled with foul trouble all throughout the game.

The Tunisian club team was paced by Radzhouane Slimane with 18 points, while Ibrahim Nadarri and Joshua Cassady had 13 markers each.

San Beda will have a one-day break before taking on Moroccan club team Al Sale on Monday, January 22.

The Scores:

San Beda 78 – Bolick 27, Mocon 11, Tankoua 8, Noah 8, Toba 6, Soberano 6, Prebitero 4, Tongco 4, Bahio 2, Carino 2, Oftana 0, Adamos 0.

Sousse 79 – Slimane 18, Naddari 13, Cassady 13, Mouhli 11, Knioua 9, Toumi 8, Monastiri 4, Gaddour 3.

Quarterscores: 23-17, 36-39, 57-62, 78-79.

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Perpetual overpowers JRU to keep pace for Final Four



Strutting their decisive height and power advantage, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas slammed the Jose Rizal University Lady Bombers, 25-21, 22-25, 25-14, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Altas were still heavy-handed with their errors, surrendering 35 miscues, including 12 in the second set — the only frame they lost.

The Las Piñas-based program, however, kept a scorching offensive pace, bombarding the Lady Bombers with six blocks and 12 aces. JRU had just five points combined from those categories.

“Mataas pa talaga ‘yung tendency ng mga bata mamigay ng mga puntos. Sabi ko nga hindi kami mananalo kung tutulungan pa namin ‘yung kalaban maka-score,” rued Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño.

“Pero, unti-unte namang gumaganda ‘yung galaw ng mga bata. Lahat naman ng pagkukulang nila, tinatrabaho namin para maayos sa ensayo,” the champion mentor added.

Perpetual’s six-foot-three middle blocker Lourdes Clemente towered over the Lady Bombers with a season-high 19 points which included 14 attacks, two blocks, and three aces. Winger Cindy Imbo added 15 points.

Rookie Dolly Versoza paced the Lady Bombers with a game-high 21 points, while captain Shola Alvarez managed 15.

The Lady Altas (4-1) take on the undefeated defending champs Arellano University (5-0) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Bombers (2-3) face the College of Saint Benilde (3-1) on Wednesday, also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Clemente 19, Imbo 15, Sangalang 8, Llorente 7, Tripoli 7, Gual 6, Versoza 2, Umandal 1, Estanislao 0, Medalla (L)

JRU (1) – Versoza 21, Alvarez 15, Ebuenga 5, Montojo 2, Rivera 2, Sibangan 1, Bodiongan 0, Macaraya (L)

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