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Letran advances to the QF in win over National-U

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Colegio de San Juan de Letran Head Coach, Aldin Ayo, is making a mark in his debut tournament in leading his team to a quarterfinals berth in the 2015 Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup.

The CSJL Knights displayed great hustle in 40 minutes of action in a 59-56 win over the National University Bulldogs, 59-56, late Wednesday afternoon, at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

Rey Nambatac and Jeric Balanza did not play in the game as Nambatac sustained an eye injury (laceration) during practice, and will be out for the rest of the tournament. Balanza, on the other hand, was still feeling the effects of a sore hip sustained during the team’s win against the CSB Blazers. For the Bulldogs, Gelo Alolino did not play as well, due to a shoulder injury sustained in a tune-up in Dumaguete City.

Both teams went toe-to-toe on offense in the first quarter, as both teams displayed intense defense that set the tone for the entire contest. Sophomore Point Guard, Rev Diputado sparked the Bulldogs in scoring five points in the quarter. On the other end, big man Jomari Sollano stretched the floor well for the Knights in converting on jumpers to put up seven points in the quarter. A three pointer by the returning Pao Javelona with 39 seconds remaining in the tied the game at 15-all to end the opening quarter.

Undersized Power Forward, Felix Apreku anchored the CSJL defense with his amazing hustle and pressing defense. After a 23-all deadlock with 6:33 remaining, the Bulldogs were only able to punch in just two points the rest of the way leading into halftime. During that span, Mark Cruz scored eight straight points and was able to assist on an Apreku layup to give CSJL a 30-25 lead. A runner by Apreku with 2:12 remaining gave the Knights 32-25 to go into halftime.

Behind Apreku, the Knights were able to extend their lead to 40-31 late in the third quarter. Jay Alejandro and Rden Celda, however, sparked a 7-2 rally to end the quarter to stay in reach of the Knights 42-38.

After a three pointer by Bong Quinto, the Bulldogs fortified their defense that help cut the CSJL lead to two. The big men of Letran, however, quelled all possible rallies by their opponents with timely shots in the post. With 1:23 remaining, Jay Alejandro came alive in making clutch baskets to cut the deficit to just a solitary point 57-56 with 22.4 seconds remaining. However, a costly turnover by Jeoff Javillonar led to a steal and a layup by Apreku to give CSJL a three-point lead. Free throws by Javelona was able to cut the lead back down to one but a conversion by Cruz sealed the game for the Knights.

In an interview after the game, Coach Aldin Ayo was pleased with how the undersized CSJL squad limited the big men of NU, especially Felix Apreku, “walang ibang gagawin yun kung hindi manggulo. Tuloy-tuloy lang ang pagtakbo, pagtalon, and pagset niya ng screen. Malaking asset talaga siya and naka-double-double pa.” Moreover, the win over one of his mentors, Eric Altamirano, felt like it vindicated his decision to move back to Manila. “Feel ko proud si Coach Eric sa akin dahil sa panalo na ito.”

Mark Cruz led all scorers with 16 points on just 33% shooting with four rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Felix Apreku grabbed a double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds on just 24 minutes of play, and limiting the young Seny Gaye to just two points and five rebounds. On the other hand, Rden Celda led NU with 15 points, while Jay Alejandro scored 13.

The CSJL Knights are now assured a spot in the quarterfinals. For the NU Bulldogs, however, it gets trickier. An FEU loss this Friday and an NU win against the Altas will be the only chance of NU to advance to the next round.

The Scores:

CSJL 59 – Cruz 16, Apreku 13, Sollano 12, Quinto 7, Publico 7, Calvo 4, Luib 0, Manlangit 0, Dela Peña 0

NU 56 – Celda 15, Alejandro 13, Diputado 7, Javelona 7, Neypes 5, Javillonar 3, Gaye 2, Abatayo 2, Morido 2, Rangel 0, Salim 0, Senining 0

TEAMS1ST2ND3RD4TH
CSJL (A, 6-2)15324259
NU (A, 4-3)15253856
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Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa

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After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Ryan Moss grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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Basketball

CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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