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Malipat sa dagat: Ayo, Letran defense confounds San Beda to stay perfect



Once again, the ragtag Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights continued to slay the league’s giants as they handed the San Beda Red Lions their first loss of the season via a 93-80 win earlier at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

Kevin Racal led the Knights with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists while Mark Cruz followed up with 16 points 7 rebounds and 7 assists. In addition, Rey Nambatac chipped in 13 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists.

On the other hand, Ola Adeogun and Art Dela Cruz were the only bright spots for the Red Lions as the former managed to tally 20 points and 7 rebounds, while the latter had a double-double outing with 18 points and 14 rebounds to go along with 6 assists.

Right from the start, the Knights immediately went to work and established a 12-2 lead midway through the opening canto. San Beda then answered back with some timely shots to trim their deficit to 21-15 to end the first quarter.

The Red Lions continued to dissect the Knights in the second quarter by relying on their zone defense to force turnovers. After Baser Amer trimmed the score to 31-25 at the 6:17 mark, Letran countered back with a massive 15-6 run to take a 46-31 lead which was capped off by a couple of long bombs from Rey Nambatac.

The problem of the Red Lions were compounded as lead point guard Baser Amer, who had already played 13 minutes in the game and scored 10 points, re-injured his shoulder after an unsportsmanlike foul on a fast breaking Mark Cruz. Amer would not return to the game. The bleeding for San Beda didn’t stop at the point as Letran’s suffocating pressure defense forced easy transition buckets leading to a 52-33 lead at halftime.

The third quarter was pretty much the same story as Letran continued to hound San Beda with their patented fullcourt pressure. San Beda also attempted to take out Letran’s rhythm by matching their physicality but the Knights held to preserve their huge lead.

Entering the fourth quarter comfortably with a 67-53 lead, the game seemed to be a job well done for the Knights but San Beda had other plans in mind as they slowly chopped the opposition’s lead. Dela Cruz jumpstarted a series of San Beda scoring spurts which saw the Letran lead toned down to 83-76. Late in the game, third year guard Rey Nambatac fouled out and Mark Cruz suffered from cramps. Moreover, rookie big man Jomari Sollano also fouled out resulting into an undermanned Letran squad. Fortunately for the Muralla-based squad, Racal would answer every crucial San Beda bucket with timely hustle points in preserving the Knights’ lead. In addition, defensive stops by former Squires McJour Luib and JP Calvo helped seal the win for the Knights, 93-80.

After the game, rookie head coach Aldin Ayo opened up about the preparations he did for this huge rivalry game. “That was the most difficult preparation we had. Nung ten day break, almost six times ko pinanood ‘yung mga laro nila. Nung last Monday hindi ko pa alam ang gagawin ko,” he said. He then said that why change something that is not broken. “I decided that we will stick with our gameplan, yun na yun. ‘Yung pressure on defense and execution on offense.”

Moreover, Coach Ayo said that the defense he employed was what confused the Red Lions on offense. “Sa Sorsogon may kasabihan kami: malipat sa dagat. That means misdirection. We want our opponents to keep on guessing. The switching on defense, that was misdirection.“

As a team, Letran shot a whopping 48% from the field compared to a 41% shooting clip from San Beda. Even though the Red Lions forced the Knights to more turnovers, Letran was able to convert better off of turnovers with 26 turnover points. Moreover, the smaller Letran squad outrebounded San Beda 45-39.

CSJL (3-0) will next play the SSC-R Stags (1-1) on Tuesday, July 21 at 4:00pm while SBC (2-1) will look to bounce back against the LPU Pirates (1-2) in the first game of the same day.

The Scores:

CSJL (93) – Racal 20, Cruz 16, Nambatac 13, Calvo 12, Sollano 10, Apreku 9, Luib 6, Quinto 5, Balanza 2, Balagaysay 0, Publico 0

SBC (80) – Adeogun 20, Dela Cruz 18, Amer 10, Koga 7, Tongco 7, Tankoua 6, Cabanag 4, Mocon 3, Solera 4, Reyes 0, Bonsubre 0, Presbitero 0, Sedillo 0

Quarters: 21-15, 52-33, 67-53, 93-80.

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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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