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Living up to the Lacuna Legacy

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Sports has its share of siblings who either battle with one another – like sisters Kali and Marie Huff of University of the Philippines football, or Cha, Cienne, and Camille Cruz of De La Salle University volleyball – or against each other, like Jeric and Jeron Teng of University of Santo Tomas and DLSU basketball, respectively. Hence, it is not unusual for sports to showcase sibling rivalry and sibling love all in the honor of their last names. Enter Jessie Khing Lacuna of Ateneo de Manila University and Dexter John Lacuna of UP.

Friendly familial competition

As much as the rivalry between the Teng brothers was intense during the UAAP 76 Finals, Jessie was quick to dismiss that the same is true with him and Dexter. The older Lacuna explained, “It is different with our family. In our family, we’re all swimmers. My brothers are swimmers, so nagkakaintindihan kami.” Jessie also added that he does not look at Dexter as someone from rival school, but as a younger sibling he is responsible for, as he even gave tips on how the Dexter could improve on his time in his events.

One of the most poignant moments of this year’s UAAP swimming championships happened in the 200m Free, where the two brothers swam next to each other. Dexter was on lane 5, and Jessie to his left. The older Lacuna, however, kicked it up a notch in the finals to win the gold, while the younger sibling finished in third place. In a proud kuya moment, Jessie hugged Dexter after the latter registered a sub-2 minute swim to get the bronze.

The same could have happened in the 200m Fly, only Dexter could not get a podium finish. The younger Lacuna was emotional at the conclusion of the event, and again kuya Jessie was there to give some words. The Atenean told his brother, “Matatalo ka, mananalo ka, OK lang yan. Yung time, tumaas man ng 1 second, OK lang yan. You can bounce back next year.”

Taking inspiration from one another

Jessie Lacuna hugs Dexter Lacuna

Jessie has accomplished much as a swimmer, including participating in the 2012 London Olympics. From this, the younger Dexter takes inspiration. The Maroon said, “Nakaka-proud kasi kapatid mo yun eh; nirerepresent niya yung country internationally. At the same time, nakakainspire.” Using this as motivation, Dexter shared that he trained and prepared hard for this upcoming UAAP season, which paid off in the competition. He recalled his 200m Free swim, and said it was “a dream come true na magsub-2 minutes.” He added, “Ang sarap sa feeling na … sa lahat ng events ko nag-best time ako, masaya ko dun.”

With this, Jessie expressed his pride over what Dexter was able to do this year. “Nakita namin yung progress niya talaga. Ever since nagstart yung season, nagtetraining, unti-unti nakikita naming pumapayat siya.” He even went as far as saying that for him, his younger brother had one of the best performances for the Fighting Maroons this season. “For me as a swimmer, makuha mo yung best time mo is sobrang good na,” Jessie explained.

Bringing up the Lacuna Legacy

Born to Marcelo and Cora Lacuna, the siblings – all swimmers – have been supported since the start of their careers, and have repaid this with multiple laudable swimming achievements.

For Jessie, winning awards locally and being able to compete internationally is his own way of bringing honor to his family. He noted, “They’re just happy naman na every time na lumangoy ako, especially pag dala ko yung last name namin.” The older Lacuna also believes that his surname brings some sort of high regard to the swimming community due to his and kuyas’ achievements.

After a successful UAAP 78, the youngest brother Dexter has added to this reputation. Dexter said, “Ngayon, sobrang ganda ng performances ko. Kahit hindi ko man sila nakita ngayon, for sure, magtetext naman sila na, cocongrats nila kami, proud naman sila sa min. Lalo na kung nandito sila, nakita nila yung nagawa naming for this season.”

Brotherly love

Jessie and Dexter Lacuna

At the conclusion of the UAAP swimming championships, the brothers will have to wait a while to meet again in the arena. As ‘parting words’, Jessie motivated Dexter to keep up with what he has done. “Maintain mo lang yung weight mo. Nandiyan ka na. Nandito kami para mag-advise. We’re proud [of him].” To this, Dexter replied, “Sobrang thankful ako na … kasi first time kong makasama [ka] sa podium. Masaya lang. Nakakainspire yung mga tips at advices na binibigay [mo], sobrang malaking tulong. Yung confidence [ko], tumaas pa lalo.”

People always say that when you compete in the arena of sports, you should always play for the name on the front of your jersey, at the back of your dobok, or the one usually printed on your swim cap. In some cases, however, it gives one some sense of pride and honor to bring something for the other name – the surname. And in this country where family is at the utmost regard, such legacy is important.

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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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Basketball

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

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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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Basketball

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

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Photo by PBA Images

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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Football

Bienvenido Maranon scores brace as Ceres-Negros eliminates Brisbane Roar

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Photo from the-AFC.com

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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EAC

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

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Photo by PBA Images

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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