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Macapagal, National U shut out UE for 3rd win

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Mia Macapagal has been spectacular in the two games she has pitched for the National University Bulldogs.

Having given up just six singles in their opening day game against the La Salle Lady Batters, Macapagal and the National University defense only gave up three singles in a 6-0 shutout of the University of the East Lady Warriors in the Wednesday morning at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

The Lady Bulldog batting that went missing during their game against the Ateneo Lady Eagles last Monday resurfaced at the bottom of the second inning. Clean-up hitter Mia Macapagal and Shaira Damising were able to pop singles to get a feel of Lady Warriors pitcher Elvie Senangote’s throws. It was the warm-up needed by the Lady Bulldogs.

Knowing the tendencies of Senangote, Macapagal again popped a single against the UE pitcher at the top of the fourth inning. She was then replaced by Mary Grace Blanco. Rookie Aimee Watson then knocked off a huge triple that placed the lady batters from Jhocson Street on the scoreboard. A sacrifice fly to center field by Charles Tulalian then paved the way for a Watson run to put the Lady Bulldogs up 2-0 entering the fifth inning.

UE tried to stop the bleeding prior to the fifth inning when they replaced Senangote for Lovely Redaja on the mound. However, the momentum gained by the Lady Bulldogs was just too much. Lead-off batter Dyan Arago immediately connected with a single to open the inning. An error at first base gave Kristine Acuna base as well. A single by Colleen Alilin led to NU’s third run for the game. After a flyout of Macapagal, Watson converted on her second hit of the day, a double, that led to two more runs. Tulalian then knocked a long single to bring Watson home and give NU a commanding 6-0 lead.

“Nagstart kami ng training namin last April pa. Buti naman nagbubunga this early yung training ng pitchers namin especially si Mia,” former head coach and current NU pitching coach Hernando Posadas said about the team’s improvements on both ends this season.

On the other end, Macapagal led the NU defense, pitching all seven innings. Macapagal only allowed three hits in the game and struck out six batters. The defense was spectacular, having allowed only five runners to reach base. In addition, during the fifth inning, the defense left Malou Blanco on third base that helped secure the shutout.

“Parang nagtiwala lang ako sa sarili ko. Bilang isa sa mga seniors, iniisip ko walang hindi ko kaya para sa team,” senior and ace pitcher Mia Macapagal said about her improvements this season. “Kelangan ko kasi masuklian yung binibigay nila sa akin.”

Moreover, Macacpagal and the team’s seniors took it upon themselves to help integrate the team’s rookies. “Para sa akin, kelangan ko pangunahan sila. Kelangan ko ipakita, bilang isa sa mga seniors, na hindi kami sumusuko,” she added. “Yung mga bago naming pitchers, kelagan talaga namin suportahan at lakasan yung loob nila.”

With a 3-0 start, Posadas admitted that they too are surprised with the team’s hot start. “Nagulat talaga lahat pati team manager namin sa inimprove ni Mia. Last year, nung head coach ako medyo nahirapan kami,” he shared. “Kaya ngayon, finocus na nila ako sa pitching. So, okay at natutukan ko yung mga pitchers.”

The National University Lady Bulldogs (3-0) will next face the UP Lady Maroons on Monday, February 8 while the UE Lady Warriors (1-2) face the UP Lady Maroons on Saturday, February 6.

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NU (3-0)671000240
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Basketball

Matt Nieto looks forward to learning from Jio Jalalon, Jayson Castro

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When Matt Nieto made his way inside the Meralco Gym Monday evening, the 20-year-old quickly changed his clothes after receiving his Gilas jersey. And once he got dressed, the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ floor general quickly went to work as he wanted to absorb everything he can from the night’s session.

“Actually na-star struck ako. Di ako makapaniwala na nandito ako eh,” expressed the six-foot point guard.

Playing and practicing with the players they idolized growing up has been evident in almost all of the 23 for 2023 cadets. Same could be said about the wide-eyed Nieto as he can’t believe he was side-by-side with the present and the future of the game in Jayson Castro and Jiovani Jalalon.

“Nakita ko pa lang si idol Jiovani Jalalon, nakikita ko parang… di ako makapaniwala na sa isang practice magkasama kami.

“Sila Kiefer [Ravena], lalo na si Jalalon talaga at si Jayson Castro kasi talagang idol ko talaga sila eh. Napapasma nga ako nung una eh kasi parang baka akalain nila ‘sino ba to?’,” the one-time UAAP champion shared.

Nervous, Nieto tried to talk to Castro and Jalalon numerous times during the practice. The two did not turn, welcoming the young buck with open arms.

“Nung nakausap ko na sila medyo na ano na kasi hindi lang sila magaling, sobrang bait pa nila. Madali akong naka-adjust kaagad dito,” he beamed.

Coach Chot Reyes has high expectations with Nieto as he is being groomed as one of the leaders for the 2023 team. Still, he knows that there is still a long way to go for him.

To become a better leader, the second-generation Blue Eagle knows who to reach out to.

“Gusto ko matuto kay Jayson pati kay Jiovani kasi same position kami. And of course yung leadership ni Kiefer, yung mentality na talagang laban kung laban.

“Gusto ko marami matutunan sa kanila kasi wala pa eh, wala pa ako sa peak ko. Sila andun na. So marami talaga akong matututunan sa kanila kasi sobrang galing nila at sobrang dami na nilang na-achieve sa kanilang basketball career,” Nieto gushed.

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Basketball

SJ Belangel makes leap to top 3 of Chooks-to-Go/NBTC 24

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Ateneo Blue Eaglets towering teen Kai Sotto and La Salle Greenhills Junior Blazers court general Joel Cagulangan remained the top two high school players in the Chooks-to-Go/National Basketball Training Center 24, but there was a lot of movement this week, including the rise of SJ Belangel.

Belangel, Ateneo’s graduating floor leader, had a sensational week, helping steer the Blue Eaglets to an unblemished 10-0 record. With his exploits, he was the consensus third-ranked player of the week, leapfrogging Mapua High School’s and NCAA MVP Will Gozum.

FEU-Diliman do-it-all guard L-Jay Gonzales and Katipunan swingman Dave Ildefonso also moved up the ladder, while UST Tiger Cub ace CJ Cansino dropped to eighth after finishing fourth last week.

Besides movement at the top, there were also a lot of debutatants in this week’s list.

Blue Eaglets double-double machine Joaqui Manuel’s workhorse type of game paid off, as he was ranked 21st this week.

After firing 51 markers last weekend, Bacolod Tay Tung High School’s Harold Alarcon was named as the 22nd top prospect.

Joshua Yerro of University of Visayas then rounded out the list.

Here is the complete Chooks-to-Go/NBTC 24 Week 2:

1. Kai Sotto, center, Ateneo (1)
2. Joel Cagulangan, guard, La Salle (2)
3. SJ Belangel, guard, Ateneo (5)
4. Will Gozum, center, Mapua (3)
5. L-Jay Gonzales, guard, FEU-Diliman (6)
6. Dave Ildefonso, forward, Ateneo (8)
7. Rhayyan Amsali, forward, NU (7)
8. CJ Cansino, forward, UST (4)
9. Clint Escamis, guard, Mapua (10)
10. Aaron Fermin, center, Arellano (9)
11. Terrence Fortea, guard, NU (16)
12. RJ Abarrientos, guard, FEU-Diliman (15)
13. Inand Fornilos, forward, La Salle (11)
14. Evan Nelle, guard, San Beda (12)
15. Warren Bonifacio, center, Mapua (13)
16. John Galinato, guard, Chiang Kai Shek (14)
17. Mac Guadaña, guard, Lyceum (18)
18. Raven Cortez, center, La Salle Zobel (19)
19. Harvey Pagsanjan, guard, Hope Christian (20)
20. Maui Cruz, guard, EAC (23)
21. Joaqui Manuel, forward, Ateneo (N/A)
22. Harold Alarcon, guard, Tay Tung-Bacolod (N/A)
23. Jancork Cabahug, forward, UV (17)
24. Joshua Yerro, guard, UV (N/A)

On Tuesday, January 23, the second episode of Chooks-to-Go/NBTC 24 will air live at 7:00pm. Tonight’s special guest will be former Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas player and NBTC alumnus Jeron Teng.

The Chooks-to-Go/National Basketball Training Centre 24 is the first-ever attempt to rank the top high school prospects in the country today.

The weekly ranking used the following criteria: league stats, impact in team, team record, leadership, defense, offense, and level of competition.

These rankings will be used to determine the 24 players who will take part in the annual SM-NBTC High School All-Star Game on March at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

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MIT

Joyce Sta. Rita slams 28 as Lady Stags avert Cardinal upset

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Erasing a disappointing third set, the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Lady Stags upended the upset-conscious Mapua University Lady Cardinals, 25-20, 25-7, 29-31, 25-14, Tuesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The win revived the Lady Stags’ campaign after back-to-back losses to the Jose Rizal University and University of Perpetual Help System DALTA. San Sebastian are now at 3-2.

“Andun pa rin naman, apat pa naman laro,” said Stags’ head coach Roger Gorayeb on their chances for the Final Four. “Sana umabot.”

Team captain Joyce Sta. Rita produced a career-high 28 points off 22 attacks, four blocks, and two serves. The senior middle hitter paced her squad’s 58 spikes, who outscored Mapua’s 33.

The Lady Cards capitalized on the rotation wherein Sta. Rita was in the backline in that third set turnaround. Nonetheless, Vira Guillema and the rest of the Lady Stags just turned to their experience to ultimately finish the match.

Gorayeb, nonetheless, hopes his team will toughen up mentally for the home stretch of the eliminations. “Kasi ‘yung laro, nawawala na ‘yan sa physical side, napupunta na sa psychological part ng game.”

Angelie Magundayao lead the Cardinals with 10 markers.

San Sebastian will take on the Colegio de San Juan de Letran (2-3) on Thursday. Mapua (0-5) will take on the Emilio Aguinaldo College (0-5) in a battle of the winless earlier that day.

The Scores:

SSC-R 3 – Sta. Rita 28, Dalisay 17, Santos 11, Encarnacion 10, Guillema 4, Tiangco 2, Eroa L.

MU 1 – Mangundayao 10, Racelis 9, Pena 9, Latayan 5, Morano 4, Frando 2, Mercado 1, Barias 0, Hermano 0, Ramilo L.

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MIT

Cardinals blast Golden Stags for third win

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After absorbing a sorry defeat to the San Beda College Red Spikers in their last outing, the Mapua University Cardinals subdued the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Golden Stags, 26-24, 25-16, 26-24, to take their third victory of the season, Tuesday morning at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Mark Jason Egan paced the Intramuros-based squad with 14 points on eight attacks and three each of blocks and serves. Team captain Anjo Pertierra finished with 13 markers, while Alfred Pagulong had 10.

Despite a miserable reception output, Cardinals setter Raven Evangelista still had a field day, as he produced 32 excellent sets on the 41 attack points of his squad.

It did not go unnoticed, as Pertierra lauded his playmaker’s production that led to the win. He said, “Sobrang ganda kung performance ni Raven. Nakapag-adjust siya sa bad reception. Kino-commend ko siya today.”

Having lost the second set by a large margin, the Stags threatened to steal the third as they led 21-18 off back-to-back hits from James Eugenio, and even forced a deuce. Nonetheless, a quick attack from Pertierra and an ace off Pagulong sealed the win for the Cards.

Pertierra admitted their lack of intensity almost cost them the first and third sets, and hopes the team addresses it in the next game against the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals.

“Kilala naman EAC na maganda floor defense, sobrang makapit. Sasabayan namin sila, we’ll give our best,” he shared.

Former skipper Jahir Ebrahim led the Stags with 16 markers.

The critical tussle between the Cards (3-2) and the EAC Generals (2-3) will happen on Thursday. San Sebastian (1-4) will try to get back on track when they face the winless Letran (0-5) later that day.

The Scores:

MU 3 – Egan 14, Pertierra 13, Pagulong 10, Damian 8, Navera 8, Evangelista 1, Bondoc L.

SSC-R 0 – Ebrahim 16, Lana 9, Eugenio 8, Ronato 6, Ongque A 3, Campuspos 1, Eusebio 1, Lazaro 0, Toledo 0, Ongque AC L, Enano L.

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