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Lausa cops PXC Flyweight belt in close contest; Kwan dethrones Aguon

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It’s a new year and a new era for the Pacific Xtreme Combat as two new champions were crowned.

In the first of two title bouts, Kwan Ho Kwak made true to his promise in dethroning longtime PXC bantamweight kingping Kyle Aguon to stay undefeated.

The main event then saw two warriors gut it out as Jinel Lausa displaying great preparation and stamina in outpointing Team Lakay’s Crisanto Pitpitunge to win the vacant PXC Flyweight crown in a classic.

PXC Bantamweight Championship: Kwan Ho Kwak vs. Kyle Aguon


PXC 51 - Kwan Ho Kwak

“A lot of my opponents underestimated me, but I ended up winning in the end”

Those were the words of challenger Kwan Ho Kwak during the press conference for PXC 51. The Korean Top Team product displayed great poise for a young fighter as he outclassed the amazing heart of defending champion Kyle Aguon in 25 minutes of action to win the PXC Bantamweight crown.
PXC 51 - Kwan Ho Kwak jab
Kwan Ho Kwak immediately threw high variance of kicks of punches to confuse the Guam-based champion in the opening round. A superman punch and a spinning flying kick by the challenger showed the audience and the champion that he is no fluke and deserved to be in the championship bout as Aguon could not contain Kwan for at least a takedown in the first two rounds of the bout. However, Aguon was persistent in the closing seconds of the second round in landing the first double-leg takedown of the bout in the waning seconds of the second round.

In the third canto, after a failed shoot by Aguon, he was able to carry Kwan on his shoulders for a takedown at the 1:15 mark of the round. Kwan was able to escape as Aguon tried to transition. As the two stood up, the Spike 22 product received stiff jabs from the challenger that stunned the champion. The challenger was then able to trip Aguon for a takedown while hammerfists and short elbows resulted to a cut under the left eye of the champion to end the round.
PXC 51 - Kyle Aguon
Aguon opened the championship rounds with a stuffed takedown attempt. Knowing that the challenger had prepared well for his wrestling, Aguon landed jabs of his own that connected. With 1:11 left in the fourth round, another failed takedown attempt by Aguon resulted to strong hard-hitting elbows by Kwan that resulted to another cut, this time at the corner of the left eye of Aguon.

Knowing that his jabs were on-point, Aguon opened the final round with stinging jabs but the Korean just shrugged it off. A hard right by Kwan knocked down Aguon and was showered by ground punches. As the two fighters stood up, the Korean again unleashed a flurry of punches that again knocked the champion down. For some reason, as Kwan attempted a triangle on Aguon, he argued with the referee resulting to a momentary opening for Aguon to try and lock an armbar. However, time was not on the champion’s side as time expired.

The judges decision was 49-46 across the board to end Aguon’s reign on top.

“What’s up Philippines!,” the new champion declared after the fight. Looking at the crown, Kwan Ho Kwak, now 8-0, promised the audience that he will take on all challengers and will defend the championship at all costs.

PXC Flyweight Championship: Crisanto Pitpitunge vs. Jinel Lausa


In a historic main event that saw two Filipino warriors fight for the vacant PXC Flyweight crown, it was Jinel Lausa who was able to outpoint his “idol” Crisanto Pitpitunge to win his first world championship in his young MMA career.

The two Filipino warriors struggled for control to open the contest. As the Iloilo native threw wild uppercuts and a standing guillotine attempt, Pitpitunge was able to take his opponent down and went for a kimura attempt. As the two fighters stood up, Pitpitunge was able to clip Lausa with a right and took Lausa down for the second time to close the opening round.PXC 51 - Jinel Lausa punishing Pitpitunge body

In the second round, Lausa again attempted a standing guillotine but it was just a ploy to land a huge head and body combination. After a stuffed takedown attempt, “The Slugger” was able to convert on another takedown and immediately trapped the arm of Lausa for a submission attempt. However, Lausa went for a sweep and landed huge elbows to the body of the Baguio-native to close-out the round.

An over the shoulder takedown marked the third round for Pitpitunge as the Fighting Cop was able to spend the majority of the round on top. Meanwhile, in the first championship round, Lausa was the one who was able to shower Pitpitunge with elbows to the chest, body, and head of Pitpitunge. Hammerfists by Lausa closed out the fourth round.PXC 51 - Crisanto Pitpitunge

Lausa was able to trip Crisanto in the opening moments of the final round but was reversed into an omoplata attempt by the Team Lakay fighter. Later it was discovered that the omoplata resulted to a right arm injury to Lausa. With his back against the wall, Pitpitunge tried to go for at least a submission attempt to close out the match.

Two judges deemed the match in favor of Lausa 48-47 while the third judge gave the bout for Pitpitunge to give Lausa the PXC Flyweight championship. “Thank you sa inyong lahat,” exclaimed the new champion after the fight. “Mabigat talaga na kalaban si Crisanto at pinaghandaan ko talaga ito ng maigi, mas lalo na ang wrestling niya. Maraming maraming salamat sa lahat ng fans ko!”

With the win, the new PXC Champion Jinel Lausa goes up to 6-2 while Pitpitunge will look to bounce back and is now 8-4 in his career.

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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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Basketball

Glenn Khobuntin repays Ricky Dandan’s trust with end-game heroics

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FILE Photo from PBA Images

Glenn Khobuntin can finally say that he had himself a moment in the pro ranks

The National University alumnus proved his worth for the Kia Picanto, scoring his team’s final six points to steer the often-ridiculed club to their first win after a historic 16-game skid, at the expense of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 98-94.

“I knew he would. I knew he would,” lauded Kia head coach Ricky Dandan of the takeover by the six-foot-four forward.

“It was a blessing he didn’t play for the first two quarters because he [came in] fresh at gigil na gigil.”

Khobuntin finished with 11 markers on 5-of-7 shooting — the best game he’s had so far, not because of the numbers he posted but with the way he made them. But the three-year pro does not want to take the spotlight all onto himself.

“Hindi lang din naman ako e, kami ding lahat e,” the 26-year-old shared. “Siguro kumbaga nagka-opportunity lang, napunta sa akin yung bola kasi yun yung nasa scheme ng play so ayun.

“Thankful lang ako na-hit ko yung mga na-design na plays.”

However, the third-year pro admitted that he had been frightened during the game’s final stretch, as Rain or Shine managed to impose a serious threat by coming back from a seven-point deficit, 94-96, with just less than 22 ticks left to play.

“Kinakabahan ako kasi two minutes pa rin yun e tapos Rain or Shine yung kalaban namin,” the native of Cagayan de Oro said. “Nakita ko nakakabalik sila. Thankful lang naman ako na yung game napunta sa amin, at least natapos yung losing streak namin.”

But more than the end of their months-long slump, what Khobuntin is grateful for is the trust given to him by Dandan, who fielded him as a starter in the second half after sitting out the entirety of the first 24 minutes.

“Nag-decide siya na ako yung i-start niya so thankful ako kasi nagtiwala siya sa akin.”

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ABL

Justin Brownlee, Alab lock down Knights for fifth win

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Paying a visit to Indonesia for the first time this season, Tanduay Alab Pilipinas needed time to figure the CLS Knights out before stifling the hosts in the final frame to take a 92-87 road win, Saturday evening at the GOR CLS Kertajaya in Indonesia.

This is Alab’s second straight win after losing to the Singapore Slingers last January 10.

With the win, the Philippine-based club team lifts its slate to 5-4 for solo fourth. CLS, on the other hand, dropped to 1-7 — just half a game ahead of the cellar-dwelling Formosa Dreamers.

Justin Brownlee displayed his all-around brilliance in the game, leading Alab with 36 points on 15-for-24 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

But Alab’s bench could not sustain the effort of the starters, which meant the team was clinging to a two-point lead with 7:06 remaining.

Needing a spark, 40-year-old sniper Dondon Hontiveros provided for Alab, knocking down a triple that proved to be the starting point 14-2 Alab run. A jumper by Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. with 2:57 left capped the rally and gave Alab an 87-73 lead.

Hontiveros scored five of the eight Alab bench points. Fortunately for Alab, Renaldo Balkman and Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. were on point. The former tallying a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Alab’s skipper had 14 points, four assists, two rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

Coach Jimmy Alapag fielded his bench afterwards, but they let the quintet of Brian Williams, Mario Wuysang, Arif Hidayat, Decorey Jones, and Sandy Kurniawan slice the lead to as low as four points. Then free throws by Oping Sumalinog with eight ticks left put CLS away for good.

Williams paced CLS with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Kurniawan added 19 markers. Indonesian legend Wuysang had 17 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Alab ends its road trip on Sunday, January 28, when it takes on the Saigon Heat at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.

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