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Lopez, Fighting Maroons outlast UST to get back to .500

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Sophomore Joseph Lopez lifted University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons over University of Santo Tomas Golden Shuttlers, 3–2, to snatch their second win, Saturday morning at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.

In the first singles, Miggy Leonardo reasserted his mastery over batchmate John Paul Pantig to take the lead for UP. The Maroons veteran took the early lead before the Thomasian kept it close. A four-point run by Leonardo propelled him to take the first game, 21–16. Banking on momentum, Leonardo strung five unanswered points before Pantig slowly seized the lead before the break. The UST senior rode on this newfound confidence to deny Leonardo the outright win and forced a deciding game with a similar 21–16 score line. In the final frame, it was a similar tight start, where Leonardo nosed out Pantig into the court change. From there, Leonardo took control and closed match, 21–17.

Birthday boy Alcaed Sabanal celebrated his natal day in style after outlasting Jojo Malelang in three games in the following singles match. The Thomasian turned a close five-point lead at the first game break into a huge 18–8 gap. Sabanal easily took the first game, 21–9. In the second game, it was Malelang who used his advantage at the break to romp off to the victory in an even better comfortable 21–7 win. The fourth-year Maroon took the 11–5 lead into the change of ends, but Sabanal stormed to cut it to one after the ceasefire. A series of exchanges ensued as Sabanal moved to within 3 points of getting the match. However, Sabanal wrapped up his birthday gift and walked away with a four-point romp to end the match, 21–18.

With the tie leveled at one match apiece, the cheers and jeers from the UP and UST crowd reached fever pitch as if the day was the Cheerdance Competition. Fueled by the the rousing win by Sabanal, Pantig and Edgard Reyes punished an erratic Maroons duo of CK Clemente and Wakee Deato in the second doubles to take the lead for the Tigers. The Golden Shuttlers cruised to an 11–7 lead at the break of the first game. The Maroons momentarily led, but they could not maintain it as Pantig and Reyes notched the first game, 21–16. The Maroons gained their bearings at the start of the second game and took a 5–3 advantage. Nonetheless, the Thomasian duo had other plans and rampaged past them en route to a 21–11 rout.

Needing to win the match to force a deciding singles, UP rookie Vinci Manuel and second-year Betong Pineda subdued Mark Sotea and Kristian Barrios in three close games. Sotea and Barrios took the upper hand into the break, 11–9, before Manuel and Pineda found their rhythm and wrestled the lead. The UP pair moved to within three points of taking the game. The Maroons then closed the game with two straight points after a muffed opportunity, 22–20. In the following game, the Thomasians pulled away in the middle part to lead big at 15–7. UP retaliated with their own run to cut the deficit at 1. An exchange of points pushed Sotea and Barrios to game point, which they also bungled before finishing the game. With send of urgency, the Maroons duo piled five-point binge after the court change to put the game out of reach. The shuttlers from Espana chipped off a few points from their Diliman counterparts’ errors but miscues from their own conceded the match to their opponents, 11–21.

It was up to national juniors player Joseph Lopez to complete the comeback for UP or be denied by Edgard Reyes in the deciding singles match. Lopez flexed his muscles against Reyes in the early goings of the first game. Reyes’ timely shots, coupled by a few errors from the Maroons sophomore, kept the frame close. The Thomasian emerged from this tug-of-war and got to the game point first, only Lopez took control of the last few rallies to eventually snatch it, 23–21. With brimming confidence, Lopez mounted an 11–5 lead into the second game break. From there, Lopez did not look back and ended the come-from-behind victory with a strong 21–13 victory.

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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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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 Marcus Elliott 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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