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Lady Maroons smother Ateneo to clinch playoff for semis slot



UP (6-5, 3rd)08201020151
ADMU (0-12, 7th)000101410

A chance at redemption

The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons pummelled their neighbors the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles, 20-1, to move a step closer to the semifinal round last Saturday, March 7 at Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium, Manila.

Third year veteran DC Cruz started the game with a single off to left field. Batchmate Gabin Paz followed it up with a double to the right foul line. With runners on first and second for the Lady Maroons, the Ateneo defense went to work retiring the next three batters leaving DC Cruz and Paz stranded after the first-half inning.

UP rookie starting pitcher Cochise Diolata showed no mercy early on, fanning the graduating Ateneo shortstop Lala Cruz and her counterpart Nikki Borromeo. Senior Kat Altomonte pushed a hit to deep center to get on base. However, a fly ball to first by Aira Nevalga ended the first inning scoreless.

Cruz’s twin Dennise hit a grounder to L. Cruz, to start off the next inning. However, the Ateneo veteran dropped the ball to advance to first base. UP veteran Sella Mendoza followed it up with base hit to put runners on first and second for UP. The Lady Eagles recovered to get the next two batters out. With one out away to end their side of the inning, Ateneo decided to intentionally walk DC Cruz to make it easier for the defense to get the last out. However, Paz hit a ball into deep left-center to register a triple and score DC, Mendoza, and Dennise to put UP on board 3-0. Newcomer Gelai Penales kept the offense going when she delivered a base hit to score Paz. Sophomore designated hitter Chanty Bongat reached base again when Shereen Salvatierra failed to recover the grounder. As Bongat was batting, Penales stole a base to move to second. With Diolata at bat, Penales advanced to third as a passed ball was not caught by Altomonte.

A consequent error by Ateneo’s Cruz loaded the bases for UP. The miscues did not stop for Ateneo as a centerfielder Parma was not able to deal with a Dennise Cruz fly ball, that led to two more runs for the Maroons, with Bongat and Diolata stepping to the plate, 7-0. A double by Mendoza to deep left field, scored Cruz as the flood gates blew for the Maroons, 8-0. Ateneo finally stopped the bleeding as Lily Gonzales grounded out to Salvatierra to end the side of the inning. UP consolidated their strong showing on their side of the second inning as they retired the next three batters of Ateneo.

In the third inning, captain and shortstop Seiko Hashimoto started the fifth inning for the Diliman-based with single to deep center. After DC Cruz and Paz were dismissed, UP went on to a two-out rally. Penales hit a long fly to the left field, but was not caught by Angela Natividad as Hashimoto crossed home to add another run for the Maroons. Bongat hit a double to score Penales as UP registered a double-digit tally. The Lady Eagles put an end this time early as they retired substitute Angelica Palacol as the third inning ended at 10-0.

Ateneo finally had a break as Borromeo broke Diolata’s pitch for just a second time. After Altomonte and Kat Villareal flyed out, and Nevalga on second on a fielding error by UP shortstop Gonzales, substitute Cheskie Tantoco hit a single to score the Borromeo to get on board, 1-10. Diolata ended it soon enough, dismissing Salvatierra to end the fourth inning.

The Lady Maroons just needs to hold in the fifth inning to run away with the win. However, UP turned to this game to gain confidence going into the crucial stretch to the postseason stint. After a scoreless fourth inning, the third seeds pushed the onslaught more. After an MJ Abanes fly out, DC Cruz hit a double to right field. This prompted Ateneo to make a pitching change as Nevalga took the mound for Borromeo. That did not hinder UP as Paz, who was playing one of her best games of her UAAP career hit yet another single to score her batchmate Cruz to make it 11-1 for her team.

Penales got on first base in the subsequent play when Borromeo over threw the ball, and Paz added another run for UP, 12-1. With Bongat at the plate, a passed ball advanced Penales on third. Bongat then advanced to first after a wild pitch by Nevalga hit the burly sophomore. In the ensuing play, Penales will go on to score to blew the lead up to 13-1. With runner on second, it was up to the next batters to drive another run with just one out. Nevalga went to work in the following batter she faced as she retired her fellow pitcher Diolata. It was just the calm before the storm as Dennise Cruz pushed a line drive along the right foul line was more to score Penales, 14-1.

Rookie Jazreel Movido hit the ball to the other side as she advanced Cruz to second. Fourth year veteran Gonzales took it again to the deep right as she drove in a double to score Dennise Cruz and advanced Movido to third, 16-1. Abanes made it count this time as she turned to the left again hitting a single to get on base. DC Cruz was again given a free pass to first to load the bases for the Maroons. Presented the same situation, the former Miriam College player Paz hit it again on the deep right for a double to score three more for UP as Gonzales, Abanes, and DC Cruz steps home.

Ateneo needed just one out to end the misery but a fielding error off Natividad scored Paz and moved Penales to a prime scoring position at second base. Nevalga took it into her own hands as she retired the hard-hitting Bongat. UP was able to mount an insurmountable 20-1 lead.

With three outs away from a possible semifinals stint, the Maroons went on to defense. Diolata fanned Dakky Dacanay and the infield retired Parma and L. Cruz to complete the onslaught for the Maroons.

With the win, UP is now is assured of at least a playoff for a semifinals slot. Ateneo ends their season without a win. The Lady Maroons will take on De La Salle University in the last day of eliminations on Wednesday.


Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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After getting first D-League experience, Zark’s-Lyceum ready to get loose



After a hesitant performance in their PBA D-League debut last Thursday that resulted in a loss to the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers seemingly caught up with the league’s style of play on Tuesday.

Zark’s-Lyceum displayed their true form and stamped their class all over the Batangas-EAC Generals with a 37-point destruction, 112-75 — so far the biggest winning margin the franchise has ever had in its D-League history.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams we’re playing against with,” said Zark’s-Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson after the match at Pasig Sports Center. “But the things we want to mind are those things we control.

“We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways.”

Robinson’s claim was strongly backed up by the numbers that the Jawbreakers produced.

CJ Perez had 21 points and 10 rebounds. MJ Ayaay produced 15 points and 10 boards, and Mike Nzeusseu delivered 14 markers and 11 boards.

Even the bench made their presence felt in the victory. With guard Jaycee Marcelino spearheading the supporting cast’s charge with 12 markers, the bench contributed a remarkable 56 points to their total output.

Photo by PBA Images

“Ano lang, cinontrol lang namin yung pace kasi yun naman talaga yung laro namin, yung mabilisan,” said the 24-year-old do-it-all forward, who also collected three steals.

“Kailangan talaga mabilisan para ma-execute namin yung mga ginagawa namin.”

This week will be a rough one for the Pirates, as they will play right away this Thursday against the AMA Online Education. And for Perez, he strongly believes that they will be able to carry over their momentum.

“Oo. Nandun pa. Energy talaga yung puhunan namin para makalaro ng maayos.”

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Bonbon Batiller shows what he can bring to Letran in D-League debut



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Tuesday proved to be a double debut for Bonbon Batiller. Aside from beginning his first foray in the PBA D-League, it also marked his debut for the Letran Knights, who are carrying the Wang’s Basketball Couriers franchise.

And the 5-foot-11 guard showed what he can bring to the table. Batiller collected 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists to help the Knights raise the curtains of their campaign with a 93-75 rout of the Batangas-EAC Generals.

“Nagworkout yung pinagpraktisan namin,” said Batiller. “Nagbunga rin yung tinuro samin ni Coach Jeff (Napa) lalo sa depensa. Tsaka siguro sa rebounds — laking lamang namin sa rebound. Nagsipag mga bigs namin.”

But what has him even more satisfied is the warm reception and trust he’s had from the Knights, even if he has spent barely a year with them after transferring from University of the East last 2017.

“Masaya po kasi tinanggap nila ako sa Letran ng buong-buo,” said Batiller, who normed 10.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 steals with UE in two years. “Tsaka yung tiwala nila na makakatulong ako sa team nandoon.

“Kaya masaya ako sa pinakita nila sa akin.”

That is why the General Santos native is hard-pressed to prove himself to Letran, saying that he’s all about giving back to the school that gave him another opportunity to resume his young, up-and-coming basketball career.

“Kailangan kong may mapatunayan na deserving ako sa binigay na second chance sa akin ni Letran,” said Batiller, who decided to switch schools partly due to academic reasons.

“Malaki ang utang ko sa Letran.”

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Bienvenido Maranon scores brace as Ceres-Negros eliminates Brisbane Roar



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Philippine club football just achieved its biggest continental result yet

The inaugural Philippines Football League champions Ceres-Negros Football Club eliminated three-time Australian champions Brisbane Roar in the 2018 AFC Champions League’s second preliminary round with a 3-2 stunner, away at the QSAC Stadium in Brisbane.

With the win, the 2017 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Champions are set to face Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian next January 30, 2018 at the Haihe Educational Football Stadium in Tianjin, China, to book a seat in the group stages.

Brisbane were the favorites for this tie and it showed, as Ceres started the contest on the back foot. Italian striker Massimo Maccarone handed the home side the lead in the 35th minute when he turned in Brett Holman’s pass.

Maccarone’s goal could have lowered the Busmen’s moral, but Risto Vidakovic’s men took it as a motivation rather than a downer. In fact, Ceres replied in the best way possible when Bienvenido Maranon scored his first goal of the match two minutes from halftime, thanks to a scramble in the Brisbane box.

By all accounts, Ceres had already made Philippine football proud at halftime. By this stage last year, Brisbane had accrued a 4-0 halftime cushion against Global Cebu en route to a 6-0 rout.

Today, though, Brisbane faced tougher resistance at Ceres’ hands. That resistance turned into a full-fledged revolt in the 65th minute when Maranon directed the ball past a helpless Jamie Young to give the Busmen their first taste of the lead.

Maranon’s goal well and truly turned the tide in Ceres’ favor. Brisbane were stunned. The home side are the defending A-League champions, but are currently eighth in the table this season and would soon face elimination from Asia’s premier club competition.

Already up 2-1, the Busmen finally achieved some breathing room in the 75th minute when Omid Nazari scored from close range to give Ceres a two-goal cushion over Brisbane.

Nazari’s goal not only sealed the win for Ceres, it also propelled Philippine football into the big leagues. Not even a late goal from French midfielder Éric Bauthéac could prevent the Busmen’s victory.

After five minutes of stoppage time, Ceres emerged 3-2 winners against Brisbane Roar. Come what may against Tianjin seven days from now, the Busmen have already achieved Philippine football’s biggest result since their own achievement in last season’s AFC Cup.

Who knows? Maybe Ceres can pull off another upset?

Ceres-Negros XI: Doblas (GK), Super, Mike Ott, Ingreso, Maranon, Porteria, Schrock, De Murga (C), Munoz, Nazari, Christaens.

Brisbane Roar XI: Ingham, Bowles, Papadopoulos, Maccarone, Holman, Khalfallah, Oxborrow, McKay (C), Hingert, Young (GK), Franjic.

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CJ Perez, Zark’s-Lyceum vent ire on Batangas-EAC with 37-point romp



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CJ Perez and the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers finally lived up to their hype, as they clobbered the Batangas-EAC Generals to score a 37-point beatdown, 112-75 for their first win, Tuesday at the Pasig Sports Center.

It was an all-out attack from the Jawbreakers, as they beat the Generals to the bite and took control of the game early, with Mike Nzeusseu and Jaycee Marcelino guiding their side to the 48-33 lead at halftime which they would never surrender.

Perez paced Zark’s Burger-Lyceum with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while MJ Ayaay tallied a double-double with his 15 markers, 10 boards, and three assists.

Cameroonian student-athlete Nzeusseu also delivered 14 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists. Marcelino had eight first half points and wound up with 12 off the bench, as the reserves chipped in 56 huge points in the tussle.

Coach Topex Robinson lauded the Jawbreakers for quickly adjusting to the style of the PBA D-League just days after falling to the Marinerong Pilipino, 92-94, back in opening day.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams were playing against with. But the things we want to mind are those things we control. We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways,” he said.

Earvin Mendoza and Cedric de Joya both had 16 points for the Generals in the losing effort.

Zark’s-Lyceum look to continue to roll when they face the AMA Online Education Titans on Thursday, January 25. EAC-Batangas, on the other hand, take on the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers on Monday, January 29.

The Scores:

Zark’s-Lyceum 112 — Perez 21, Ayaay 15, Nzeusseu 14, Jc. Marcelino 12, Serrano 10, Baltazar 8, Santos 8, Jv. Marcelino 6, Tansingco 6, Marata 4, Liwag 4, Ibañez 2, Cinco 2, Pretta 0.

Batangas-EAC 75 — E. Mendoza 16, De Joya 16, Tampoc 12, Laude 9, Pate 8, Maguliano 6, Altamirano 5, Diego 3, Garcia 0, Dela Peña 0, Martin 0, J. Mendoza 0, Neri 0.

Quarterscores: 19-14, 48-33, 84-47, 112-75.

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