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Mapua buries Saint Benilde to continue Final Four push



“Isang talo lang todas na” was the mindset of coach Atoy Co and the Cardinals going into the final week of the season.

In their penultimate game for the elimination round, the Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals sniped the College of Saint Benilde Blazers 77-70 Tuesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Coming from a 13 day break, the Mapua Cardinals started sluggish in this game as they committed various unforced turnovers to open the game. The season hosts sluggishly put up six points to open the first 3:40 of the game behind Allwell Oraeme. After free throws by the Blazers to cut the lead to just two, the JP Nieles-Darell Menina connection blasted a 12-0 rally all behind the sniping of Menina to push the lead to 18-4. However, after that rally, the Cardinal players failed to move the ball around while JR Ongteco willed his way inside to cut the Mapua lead to just seven, 18-11, to end the opening salvo.

The Blazer rally continued its rally heading on to the start of the second quarter in a 14-2 blast that tied the game at 20-all. A long jumper by JP Nieles momentarily stopped the bleeding but Fons Saavedra, JJ Domingo, and Rene Sta. Maria continued to push the pace for Benilde. In addition, energy guy Christian Fajarito and Ongteco helped the Taft cagers in sustaining possession as they combined for five offensive rebounds in the half. Oraeme though powered his way in the paint in scoring the last five points of the half to give Mapua a five point lead to enter halftime, 33-28.

Darell Menina and pro-bound Josan Nimes helped the hosts in retaining the lead in the third canto as Menina’s outside sniping and Nimes’ daredevil drives answered every point Domingo’s and Saavedra’s triples. The two teams exchanged baskets in a high-scoring quarter but the Blazers’ failed to make the stops to cut the lead as the Cardinals sustained its lead entering the final frame, 54-48.

The Saint Benilde faithful were hoping that Jonathan Grey, who is playing his last game in the NCAA, would erupt in his final collegiate quarter to lead an upset. But the pesky Mapua defense thought otherwise as they hounded the Smart Elite ambassador to a horrendous 1/12 outing. In addition, Oraeme anchored the inside defense, limiting the Blazers to just outside shots. Menina made it rain with long jumpers while CJ Isit threw outlets for easy baskets to extend the lead to 15, 71-56, with 3:13 to go. Rainbows by Travis Jonson, Domingo, Carlo Young, and Fons Saavedra made the score respectable, 77-72, in favor of the hosts.

“We have to win our last two games,” coach Atoy Co exclaimed after the game. “Whatever the outcome is, we are ready for the playoffs.”

However, the PBA legend was not pleased with how the Cardinals started this game. “I’m not happy with the win. They were complacent to start the game and we did not play our game on both ends of the court.” He further added that, “In the first two quarters, everyone wants to shoot. Nagsarili sila resulting to a 40-all tie.”

Fortunately for the team, Darell Menina once against saved the day with 17 points on 6/11 shooting, 3/5 coming from downtown. “Good thing Menina was the hero of the game as Allwell was forcing the dunks. Laro na nilalaro pa,” the PBA legend remarked about his two rookies.

Beisdes Biteng, Oraeme helped stabilize the Cardinals in notching another double-double with 15 markers and 23 boards. Guard Exe Biteng added 12 points, all scored in the first quarter.

For the Blazers, graduating player Fons Saaveddra with 19 points. He added six boards and five triples. JR Ongteco added 14 points and eight boards.
The Mapua Cardinals shot 43% from the field and was 8/21 from downtown compared to just 36% from the field for the Blazers. In addition, Mapua shot more free throws, 17/22, compared to just seven attempts for

The Mapua Institute of Techonology Cardinals (11-6) will play their final game of the elimination round on Friday, October 9 at 2:00pm against the EAC Generals. If the Cardinals win that game, they are assured of at least a playoff. The College of Saint Benilde Blazers finish their season with a 5-13 slate, good for seventh.

The Scores:
MIT (77) – Menina 17, Oraeme 15, Biteng 12, Nimes 9, Serrano 9, Isit 8, Nieles 5, Brana 2, Que 0, Aguierre 0, Raflores 0.
CSB (72) – Saavedra 19, Ongteco 14, Domingo JJ 10, Fajarito 7, Young 6, Jonson 5, Grey 4, Domingo JS 3, Sta. Maria 2, San Juan 2, Nayve 0, Deles 0, Castor 0, Flores 0.
Quarterscores: 18-11, 33-28, 54-48, 77-72.



Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool



SMART Gilas Pilipinas’ third session for the second leg of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers ended early on Monday evening.

Prior to the end of the practice, head coach Chot Reyes talked to team veterans Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo. The outspoken mentor told the seniors of the team that he is cutting Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan from the pool.

“The reason why we’re dropping Abueva and Almazan for the second window is because they haven’t showed up,” lamented Reyes.

“It’s already our third practice at hindi pa sila nagpapakita. It’s simply a matter of disinterest.

“I guess they’re not interested so we have to move on we can’t wait for those guys,” he pointed out.

Both Abueva and Almazan were part of the teams that competed in the 2017 SEABA Championship, the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, and the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Only 10 players from the pool showed up for the team’s third session. And with the second leg exactly one month away, Gilas cannot let a slip up happen especially against Australia.

“Aside from those two we don’t know where Matt Wright is, while Allein [Maliksi] is attending a wedding in Australia. Other than that it’s really just an issue of Calvin and Raymond if they don’t want to be a part of the pool.” expressed Reyes.

“That’s the reason we’re dropping them for the second window.”

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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

23 for 2023 cadets fill up Gilas practice



With just 31 days until the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, only 10 players from the pool attended the team’s third session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.

Suiting up in the session presided over by Coach Chot Reyes were June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, and Roger Pogoy. Carl Cruz and Jayson Castro were in attendance but were in street clothes.

Not present were Matthew Wright, Japeth Aguilar, and Allein Maliksi. Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend practice.

Joining the seniors team to prep them up for the World Cup Qualifiers were 10 players from the 23 for 2023 pool.

Ateneo Blue Eagle Matt Nieto attended his first Gilas practice. Joining him were teammates Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.

Completing the night’s cast were CJ Perez, Abu Tratter, Will Gozum, J-jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, and Juan Gomez de Liano. Joshua Sinclair watched from the sidelines as he is still recovering from an ACL injury.

Gilas will take on Australia in Melbourne on February 22. The Philippine will then host Japan three days later at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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San Beda fends off Letran for back-to-back wins



With seasoned setter John Carlo Desuyo steering the wheel to near perfection, the San Beda College romped to their second straight win.

The Red Spikers pulled double-digit outings from four players to upend archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-22, and register their fourth win of the season, Monday early evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

It was the Knights, however, who started on the right foot, overhauling a 4-10 deficit to snag the first set. Better passing from liberos Aljune Centeno and Johnsen Timbreza resulted in kills from captain Bobby Gatdula.

Nonetheless, San Beda picked up the service game in the next three sets to ultimately finish off the blue-shirts.

Despite the win-loss record they currently sport, the Red Spiker playmaker admitted that t

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Michael Calisaan tows Che’lu-San Sebastian past Perpetual



Photo by PBA Images

Michael Calisaan poured 20 points as he captained newcomer Che’Lu-San Sebastian Revellers to a decisive 83-70 win over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas to start their voyage, Monday evening at the Pasig City Sports Center.

Doing it all for the Revellers, the veteran forward provided the stability for his side as he shot 8-of-15 from the field while also hauling down nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the conference-opening win.

But it wasn’t all Calisaan as Che’Lu got contributions from all over its roster.

Samboy de Leon chimed in 16 markers and nine boards. RK Ilagan went 2-of-5 from threes to collect 13 points, eight dimes, and three rebounds, while big men Alfred Batino and Jeepy Faundo combined for 20 in the victory.

Despite the triumph, coach Stevenson Tiu gave all the praise to his players, noting the team’s lack of time preparing for the tourney.

“Nanalo kami dahil sa talent ng players. Medyo mali ko rin kasi nahirapan pa ako mag-adjust sa players. Hopefully, we play much better in the coming games,” he said.

The Revellers used a 16-4 run to finally break away from the Altas, taking a 77-60 lead with 4:03 to play as they punished their foes for their turnovers, turning Perpetual’s 30 miscues to 28 points in their favor.

Prince Eze anchored the Altas with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and seven blocks in their first game under new head coach Frankie Lim.

Che’lu-San Sebastian look to make it two in a row when they take on the Wangs-Letran Couriers on Monday, January 29 at 5:00pm. Perpetual, on the other hand, hope they can notch their first win when they take on Mila’s Lechon Mighty Roasters.

The Scores:

Che’lu-SSCR 83 — Calisaan 20, De Leon 16, Ilagan 13, Batino 10, Faundo 10, Bulanadi 6, Costelo 6, Calma 2, David 0, Lao 0, Santos 0, Valdez 0.

UPHSD 70 — Eze 15, Coronel 13, Villanueva 13, Jimenez 9, Charcos 7, Peralta 7, Gallardo 5, Pido 1, Antonio 0, Aurin 0, Tamayo 0, Tongco 0.

Quarterscores: 17-22, 34-38, 59-53, 83-70.

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