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Loyola Meralco pulls off gutsy victory over Team Socceroo

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Three goals, late in the second half, propelled Loyola Meralco Sparks FC to a bounce-back win, 4-0, over the hapless Team Socceroo FC, Tuesday, in the ongoing second round of action of the 2015 United Football League at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

The lower-seeded Team Socceroo made their plans known as soon as the kickoff whistle sounded. The white-shirts settled to a defensive stance, as the ball was put into play. At the second minute, a pass from Loyola’s captain-of-the-day, Phil Younghusband, found Graham Caygill, but the attempt ended with Team Socceroo’s goalkeeper Baba Sampana to collecting it.

In the ensuing play, Younghusband tried to get the ball into the box, but the shot sailed out. Furthermore, Loyola continued to send passes into their attacking third, but the compact defense of the opponent dealt with these incursions comfortably, making it difficult for Loyola to find the goal. Alvin Sarmiento had several impressive runs on the flanks; however, his crosses to Caygill could not be converted, as the burly forward was either called for offside or misfired his shots.

The pressure kept on piling from the Loyola side, and in the 41st minute, the league’s fourth-placers finally got rewarded. Napoleon Junquera Bustillo found himself unmarked on the left flank and connected a low cross to Caygill, who tucked the ball into the back of the net, for the first goal of the match. In the following play, Caygill would have recorded a brace, had he managed to convert Sarmiento’s pass. Charlie Beaton acquired another chance for the leading squad, but faltered on the opportunity as the halftime whistle was blown.

The tight defense of Team Socceroo continually caused problems for Loyola, however, the home side kept on aggressively attacking their defense in hopes of breaking it. Sampana, who had a solid outing for most of the match, had a mental lapse in the 65th minute that could have been costly. The Socceroo custodian tried to save a loose ball from Loyola only to be caught outside the penalty area, which reward Loyola a free kick. The free kick, taken by Younghusband, ended up being blocked by the wall. Following that occurence, Loyola was granted a corner kick when Curt Dizon, who came in just three minutes after the previous free kick, had his shot deflected. By retrieving the ball from that dangerous position caused by the corner kick, Sampana redeemed himself from his previous blooper.

Team Socceroo’s Alexandre Recht broke free from the offside trap and attempted a shot from inside the box, which was easily gathered by Loyola’s goalkeeper Saba Sadeghi Garmoudi. When Loyola controlled possession at the 74th minute, Beaton sent the ball into the six-yard box from the right, which Younghusband calmly guided into the goal to double their side’s lead. That proved to be the blow on Team Socceroo’s confidence, as they conceded two more goals thereafter.

After Recht was whistled for another offside infraction at the 84th minute, Paolo Enrile was called for a foul near the edge of the box on the other side of the pitch. Younghusband made it count in the following free kick with a looping shot finding the top corner for his second goal and his team’s third. Two minutes into regulation, the Azkals Captain sealed the deal for his club when he connected to Lee Joo Young for the final goal of the match. Loyola Meralco Sparks walked away with the 4-0 victory to bounce back from their lost last Saturday against Ceres FC. Team Socceroo suffered another setback following their Sunday’s defeat to Manila Jeepney.

“The scoreline says 4-0 because once you get two or three, looks like you can score more. But for me, second half is a very sloppy performance,” Loyola’s Head Coach Simon McMenemy stated. The former national team mentor felt they started strong in the first half, wherein they dominated the game. McMenemy also shared that they should not settle for what happened in this match where they made chance after chance only for Younghusband to convert on them. “As good as the first half was, the second half was very sloppy. And they knew that. I think they were not particularly happy with the second half performance. At least, it’s a good thing,” he ended.

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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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Football

Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory

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Photo from the-AFC.com

2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.

The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.

“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.

Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.

Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.

Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.

Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.

While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.

It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.

The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.

As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.

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Basketball

Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’

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Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup

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Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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NCAA

Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win

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Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.

So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”

After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.

Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.

The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.

The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.

Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.

The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

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