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Lyceum outmuscles Benilde to take first win



In a thriller of a match, the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Pirates needed a clutch performance from Shaq Alanes to stave-off the College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Blazers, 72-69, to take home their first win in the 91st season of the NCAA, early Wednesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The Blazers were hot from downtown in scoring their first nine points from downtown. Ervin Flores, Travis Jonson, and Raphael Nayve sparked an early 9-2 lead for CSB to open the game. The Pirates, who did not start star big man Joseph Gabayni due to disciplinary sanctions, slowly crawled back behind rookie Noah Lugo. A three pointer and a fastbreak layup by the rookie cut the deficit to just 11-9 with 4:13 to go in the quarter. Shaq Alanes then sparked a 9-2 run to tie the game to end the quarter 16-all.

After a basket by Lyceum’s Victor Nguidjol to open the second, the foreign student-athlete was called for a disqualifying foul in hitting CSB big man JR Ongteco with a closed fist. As a result, Nguidjol was ejected from the game and will be suspended for one game. The two teams then struggled from the field afterwards. Ongteco was able to anchor the CSB defense that led to a 5-0 run, all courtesy of Nayve, to give CSB a 29-26 lead with 52 seconds to go in the quarter. However, the Pirates were able to regain the lead with back-to-back conversions by Mer Ayaay and Joe Lacastesantos to enter halftime.

It was a defensive struggle for the Blazers in the third canto as the coaching staff of LPU was forced to bring in Joseph Gabayni into the game as Nguidjol was ejected from the game. Alanes and Gabayni bruised up the CSB frontline in slashing through the lane and grabbing fouls. The Blazers were called for six fouls in total in the game that resulted to Lyceum going for 10 for 14 from the line. Christian Fajarito and Fons Saavedra were able to convert on jumpshots in the closing minutes of the third canto to help keep Benilde in the game. The Pirates were up 44-38 to close the third quarter.

The game turned into a shootout in the fourth quarter. Jonathan Grey and Saavedra exchanged three pointers with Lyceum’s Wilson Baltazar to open the fourth. Another three pointer by Grey at the 7:38 mark was answered by an and-one layup by Lugo to help LPU maintain a six point lead 55-49. The Blazers then blitzed the Pirates defense in the next four minutes with a huge 12-2 rally. Back-to-back three pointers by Jonson and Saavedra tied the game at 62-all while Ongteco was able to escape the defense of Gabayni to give them the lead 64-62 with 2:28 remaining. The Pirates were able to gain a solitary point lead coming from a layup by Lugo and a free throw by Bulawan. With 1:06 remaining, Jonson was able to steal the ball that led to a Grey layup to put CSB back up by one. However, a foul by Jonson led to free throws by Gabayni. With 39.6 ticks to go, Jonathan Grey called for an isolation that led to a top of the arc three pointer over Alanes. The Pirates were fortunate to recover from a turnover coming from a timeout as Grey missed a layup that would have given the Blazers a two possession lead. Bulawan was able to rebound the Grey miss and was able to locate an open Alanes for a three-pointer to give Lyceum a 70-69 lead with 6.7 remaining. Grey missed a potential game-winning layup and two free throws by Alanes sealed the game 72-69.

After the game, a relieved coach Topex Robinson told the reporters that the game was a huge test of character. “We just never gave up,” Robinson said. “These guys just kept on playing.” Moreover, Robinson said that Alanes, who was stuck in the bench and the team B of Lyceum for a time, was just a player waiting for his opportunity. “Laking pasasalamat ko kay God and kay coach dahil sa opportunity na ito. Hindi ko ito papakawalan,” Alanes promised his coach. Moreover, Robinson said that Gabayni, in his eyes, had paid the price for being late and he had learned from his mistake.

The Pirates were led by Shaq Alanes’ 18 big points on 5/10 shooting. Rookie Lugo also had a breakout game with 16 points on 70% shooting. Gabayni and Balatazar also scored in double digites with 11 and 10 respectively. For the Blazers, Grey led the team with 19 markers, including three triples.

As a team, the Pirates shot 41% from the field while the Blazers shot just 36%. CSB attempted 28 three pointers in the game and only converted on 10. Moreover, the Pirates were more aggressive in getting fouls as CSB committed a total of 22 fouls resulting to 27 free throw attempts for LPU.

LPU will next play San Beda on Tuesday, July 21 at 2:00pm while CSB will play the same opponent on Thursday July 23 at 2:00pm.

The Scores:
LPU (72) – Alanes 18, Lugo 16, Gabayni 11, Baltazar 10, Ayaay 8, Soliman 2, Nguidjol 2 Marata 2 Lacastesantos 2 Bulawan 1, Mbbida 0, Elmejrab 0.
CSB (69) – Grey 19, Saavedra 12, Nayve 11, Fajarito 7, Ongteco 7, Jonson 6, Flores 3, Domingo 2, Castor 2, Sta Maria 0, Young 0, San Juan 0.
Quarterscores: 16-16, 30-29, 44-38, 72-69.

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AJ Mandani sparks Singapore in win over Joshua Munzon-led Westsports



Back to his role as the sixth man of the Slingers after two games, AJ Mandani provided the firepower needed by Singapore in a fourth quarter surge to stop the Westsports Malaysia Dragons, 93-85, Sunday afternoon at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia.

The win arrested the Slingers’ two-game losing streak, raising their slate to 6-6. Westsports, a team coming off a two-game winning streak that included a 91-87 win over Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat last January 18, fell to 3-5.

Struggling in the first three quarters, Mandani six of his eight points in the final frame. And those points were povital in fending off Westsports.

With Singapore clinging to a solitary point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Filipino-Canadian scored four straight points 8-0 run to gain a 74-67 lead with under seven minutes left. Another basket by Mandani followed it up with a breakaway layup with with 5:18 remaining to give Singapore an 81-72 cushion.

Filipino exports Joshua Munzon and Patrick Cabahug tried to rally the home team back as a triple by the latter cut the lead down to just three with 1:40 on the clock. Big buckets by Delvin Goh and Chris Charles sealed off the Malaysia-based club team.

Munzon went just 5-for-18 from the field to finish with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. Cabahug chipped in eight points on 3-for-4 shooting off the bench.

Xavier Alexander led Singapore with 33 points while Charles tallied a double-double with 25 points and 13 rebounds to go along with three swats. Singaporean Goh had 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

Marcus Marshall paced Westsports with 22 points, playing all 40 minutes as fellow World Import AJ West had a tough outing.

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Impervious Lady Chiefs stay perfect after sweep of Lady Pirates



The Arellano University Lady Chiefs extended their winning streak to 17, dating back to last season, after clobbering the Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The defending champions were unrelenting, with four Lady Chiefs scoring in double-digits. Rookie Necole Ebuen powered in 11 points. Third-year open hitter Regine Arocha and Arellano’s middle blockers Mary Anne Esguerra and Andrea Marzan each provided 10 markers.

Conversely, no Lady Pirate managed to score in double-figures.

“Maganda naman talaga ang nilalaro ng mga bata. Lahat kasi kami determinado na makakuha ulet ng championship. Alam nila (Lady Chiefs) na kailangan pataas nang pataas ang ginagalaw namin,” said Arellano head coach Obet Javier.

The Lady Chiefs also limited their errors to a season-best 16, while the Lady Pirates surrendered 24 miscues.

Christine Miralles and Monica Sevilla each supplied the struggling Lyceum with eight point apiece.

The Lady Chiefs will look for their sixth win of the season when they face the red-hot University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (4-1) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Pirates (1-4) take on the undefeated San Beda College (4-0) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

AU (3) – Ebuen 11, Arocha 10, Esguerra 10, Marzan 10, Prado 3, Ramirez 3, Liu 2, Balanoba 1, Donato 1, Verutiao 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)

LPU (0) – Miralles 8, Sevilla 8, Juanilla 7, Patio 4, Genova 1, Romanban 0, Bongabong 0, Marcella (L)

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Late whistle costs San Beda against Sousse, drops Red Lions to 0-2



23 for 2023 cadet Robert Bolick is averaging 27.5 points per game in the tournament

After struggling to close out the UAE National Team in their opener last Friday, the San Beda College Red Lions figured in a late judgment call that did not fall into their favor, Saturday at the Shabab Al Ahli Club in Dubai. Due to this, the defending NCAA Champions lost to Tuniasian club team Sousse, 78-79.

With the loss, the Red Lions fell to a 0-2 hole in the 29th Dubai Basketball Championship. But the record does not reflect how the Filipinos played.

Robert Bolick, who scored 28 points against the UAE National Team, led the charge for San Beda in their second outing with 27 points. Fellow 23 for 2023 cadet Javee Mocon added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Sousse — the second-best club team in Tunisia, who boasts four national team players and an American import — led by as much as 10 points, 70-60 in the final frame.

Fired up by the Filipinos who stormed the venue, the Red Lions answered right back with an 18-8 run capped by a booming Bolick triple with six ticks left to gain a 78-76 lead.

However, a foul was called on a Red Lion on a three-point attempt by a Sousse player. He calmly sank all three free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Donald Tankoua had eight points and 13 rebounds as he was saddled with foul trouble all throughout the game.

The Tunisian club team was paced by Radzhouane Slimane with 18 points, while Ibrahim Nadarri and Joshua Cassady had 13 markers each.

San Beda will have a one-day break before taking on Moroccan club team Al Sale on Monday, January 22.

The Scores:

San Beda 78 – Bolick 27, Mocon 11, Tankoua 8, Noah 8, Toba 6, Soberano 6, Prebitero 4, Tongco 4, Bahio 2, Carino 2, Oftana 0, Adamos 0.

Sousse 79 – Slimane 18, Naddari 13, Cassady 13, Mouhli 11, Knioua 9, Toumi 8, Monastiri 4, Gaddour 3.

Quarterscores: 23-17, 36-39, 57-62, 78-79.

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Perpetual overpowers JRU to keep pace for Final Four



Strutting their decisive height and power advantage, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas slammed the Jose Rizal University Lady Bombers, 25-21, 22-25, 25-14, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Altas were still heavy-handed with their errors, surrendering 35 miscues, including 12 in the second set — the only frame they lost.

The Las Piñas-based program, however, kept a scorching offensive pace, bombarding the Lady Bombers with six blocks and 12 aces. JRU had just five points combined from those categories.

“Mataas pa talaga ‘yung tendency ng mga bata mamigay ng mga puntos. Sabi ko nga hindi kami mananalo kung tutulungan pa namin ‘yung kalaban maka-score,” rued Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño.

“Pero, unti-unte namang gumaganda ‘yung galaw ng mga bata. Lahat naman ng pagkukulang nila, tinatrabaho namin para maayos sa ensayo,” the champion mentor added.

Perpetual’s six-foot-three middle blocker Lourdes Clemente towered over the Lady Bombers with a season-high 19 points which included 14 attacks, two blocks, and three aces. Winger Cindy Imbo added 15 points.

Rookie Dolly Versoza paced the Lady Bombers with a game-high 21 points, while captain Shola Alvarez managed 15.

The Lady Altas (4-1) take on the undefeated defending champs Arellano University (5-0) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Bombers (2-3) face the College of Saint Benilde (3-1) on Wednesday, also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Clemente 19, Imbo 15, Sangalang 8, Llorente 7, Tripoli 7, Gual 6, Versoza 2, Umandal 1, Estanislao 0, Medalla (L)

JRU (1) – Versoza 21, Alvarez 15, Ebuenga 5, Montojo 2, Rivera 2, Sibangan 1, Bodiongan 0, Macaraya (L)

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