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Marciano/Pineda, Morada/Hingpit enter BVR Open semis

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Gathering some of the best local beach volleyball talent, the Beach Volleyball Republic Open Tournament persisted through heavy rains and had the pairs of Sheila Pineda-Janine Marciano, and Maica Morada-April Hingpit dominate Day One of the tournament. The pairs both came out of Pool B to makeup half of the semifinals cast with the other half to be determined after tomorrow morning’s contests.

Former UAAP beach volleyball champion, Bang Pineda and her Cagayan Valley Lady Rising Suns teammate, Janine Marciano swept all three of their matches. The spunky pair first handled Atenean Michelle Morente and Mich Otoshi in straight sets, 21-19, 21-13 in the morning. In their noon tilt, they beat out another pair of former Lady Eagles in crowd-favorites Fille Cainglet-Cayetano and Denise Lazaro, 21-9, 22-20, before rounding out their day with a 21-14, 21-15 triumph over Rose Mary Cailing and April Joy Romero.

The Petron Blaze Spikers’ team captain in the recently concluded Philippine Superliga season, Maica Morada and the Cignal HD Spikers’ starting setter, April Hingpit also breezed through their three matches, taking care of Cailing and Romero 21-11, 21-12 in the morning, sweeping Morente and Otoshi 21-17, 21-18 in the noon, and quickly drubbing Cayetano and Lazaro 21-10, 21-10 in the afternoon.

Team Pineda-Marciano and Team Morada-Hingpit will throw down in their final match of the Group Stage tomorrow’s opener to determine the final seeding in Pool B.

“Siguro in-enjoy lang talaga namin ‘yung mga laro. Mahirap kasi nga umuulan and kailangan mas concentrated ka sa ball control kasi bumibigat ‘yung bola. Pero sobrang saya namin,” said former Adamson Lady Falcon, Pineda who revealed that she and Marciano did not practice together before the tournament.

“Matagal na rin kasi kami ni Bang (Pineda) magka-teammate so parang gamay na namin ‘yung galaw ng isa’t isa,” Marciano added.

Pool A, on the other hand, still has no qualifier to the semifinal with three pairs still in contention.

Petron’s Brazilian import in the recently concluded PSL Grand Prix, Rupia Inck and Ateneo beach volleyball veteran, Bea Tan ran through their first three matches before succumbing in their final game. Tan and Inck sprinted towards the end of their 21-19, 19-21,15-6 win over UP Lady Maroons Arielle Estrañero and Vina Alinas in their morning tilt. They then eked out a close 21-18, 21-18 decision over Charo Soriano and Alexa Micek before crushing SSC-R Lady Stags Mariel Sinamban and Julie Ann Tianco 21-9, 21-7.

In the day’s final match, Air Force’s Judy Ann Caballejo and Camille Abanto kept their semifinal hopes alive, methodically dissecting the worn out Tan and Rupia in an exhilarating 14-21, 21-10, 15-9 decision. Caballejo and Abanto split their initial pair of matches, outmuscling Sinamban and Tianco 21-15, 21-10 before dropping 21-13, 21-14 sweep at the hands of Micek and Soriano.

Two of the country’s most active beach volleyball competitors, Fil-Am Alexa Micek and former Ateneo Lady Eagle Charo Soriano also won over Estrañero and Alinas 21-10, 21-12 to tie with Caballejo and Abanto at 2-1.

With the possibility of triple-tie in Pool A, tomorrow morning’s last two Pool A matches will determine who moves on the semifinals. Micek and Soriano will take on Sinamban and Tianco in the day’s second match while Caballejo and Abanto will face Estrañero and Alinas in the fourth game. If Teams Rupia-Tan, Micek-Soriano, and Caballejo-Abanto all end up with 3-1 slates, quotient will determine which two teams move on.

Matches will start at 8 a.m. at the Sands by the Bat in the Mall of Asia grounds.

Group Stage Standings:

Pool A
Tan and Rupia 3-1
Caballejo and Abanto 2-1
Micek and Soriano 2-1
Estrañero and Alinas 1-2
Sinamban and Tianco 0-3

Pool B
Marciano and Pineda 3-0
Morada and Hingpit 3-0
Cayetano and Lazaro 1-2
Morente and Otoshi 1-2
Cailing and Romerl 0-4

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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Basketball

Troy Rosario, TNT can’t miss, keep Meralco struggling

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FILE Photo from PBA Images

After a sluggish start in the 20-1718 Philippine Cup, TNT Katropa have seemingly found their groove as they cruised to their second straight win at the expense of Meralco Bolts, 99-81, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

This is now TNT’s first win streak in the tourney as they improve to 3-2. The Bolts, on the other hand, had suffered their third straight loss and are now 1-3.

“We knew that Meralco was undermanned. We knew that they lacked the people going to this game today so ang mentality namin was to take advantage of that, ‘yung pagkukulang ng Meralco,” said TNT coach Nash Racela.

“Today from start to end, we were able to do that. The intensity level was consistent. Siguro medyo bumababa ng kaunti but kaunting-kaunti lang. That’s our goal as a team, maging consistent on both ends,” he added.

Troy Rosario, who had just turned 26 years old yesterday, led TNT with 22 points — 12 coming from the opening frame where he powered a 16-3 run — on 8-of-13 shooting from the field on top of a game high 10 rebounds.

“It won’t be his birthday every day. It’s nice that he shot well while celebrating his birthday, but we also need him to shoot well during other days,” said Racela of Rosario. “That’s how you become consistent.”

Shades of a comeback flashed come the game’s third chapter, when the Orangemen chopped down a 16-point lead to just five, 52-47, thanks to back-to-back triples by KG Cañaleta and Jared Dillinger with 8:32 remaining.

But it proved to be the last time that Meralco will knock that close. After Roger Pogoy’s triple went in to help TNT regain the double-digit lead, 57-47, with 6:07 in the third, the Katropa then never looked back and ran roughshod.

The Texters even led by as much as 22 points, 92-70, after RR Garcia’s three-pointer with 4:27 left to play.

Garcia supplied 18 points and eight assists for the Katropa, who shot a conference-high 18 treys in the win. Pogoy made 15 points despite shooting 6-of-16, while Jayson Castro had 12 points, four boards, and three dimes.

Ryan Reyes and Anthony Semerad each chipped in 10 markers.

The Bolts, who shot just 39 percent in the loss, were led by Baser Amer’s 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Dillinger scored 14 and grabbed five caroms, while Cañalata had 11 markers, five boards, and three assists.

TNT will try to sustain momentum versus Magnolia on January 27, Saturday at 6:45 PM, while Meralco will aim to end their skid versus Kia on Wednesday, January 24, at 4:30 PM. Both games are at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

TNT 99 — Rosario 22, Garcia 18, Pogoy 15, Castro 12, Reyes 10, Semerad 10, Carey 3, Hernandez 3, Tautuaa 2, Torres 2, Williams 2, Golla 0, Onwubere 0.

Meralco 81 — Amer 20, Dillinger 14, Canaleta 11, Tolomia 8, Newsome 6, Lanete 5, Bono 4, Hugnatan 4, Ballesteros 3, Faundo 3, Baracael 2, , Sedurifa 1, Caram 0, Salva 0.

Quarterscores: 27-18, 46-36, 73-62, 99-81.

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ABL

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

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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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AU

Impervious Lady Chiefs stay perfect after sweep of Lady Pirates

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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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Basketball

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

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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.

“Never been prouder as Team Manager of the Red Lions than tonight when we almost beat the second best club team in Tunisia,” team manager Jude Roque said in a Facebook post.

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.

“If not for a last second bum call from the refs that gave them two free throws, we would have won the game,” rued Roque.

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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