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Nambatac puts on a show in huge comeback win over AdU

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After being down 64-54 with 5:11 remaining in regulation, third year guard Rey Nambatac put on a show to lead the Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) Knights in a huge 24-9 run in a 78-73 win over the Adamson University (AdU) Soaring Falcons Wednesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The Knights outworked the the Falcons in the opening quarter of the game. Even with Adamson holding a huge size advantage over their opponent, with the team starting with Matthew Aquino and the debuting foreign student athlete Papi Sarr, the Letran front court of Jomari Sollano and Felix Apreku outhustled their counterparts in boxing out and diving for loose balls. Moreover, excellent ball movement resulting to open shots for Rey Nambatac, Bong Quinto, and Sollano. The Knights held a 20 to 12 lead over the Falcons to end the first.

During the interval between the first and second quarters, Adamson head coach Kenneth Duremdes can be heard shouting “sige lang kayo ng sige! Gawin niyo naman ang sinasabi niyo.” This message prepped up the young Adamson squad into utilizing the height advantage they had. The Knights had no other recourse but to foul the big men of Adamson. Slowly, the Falcons were able to chip into the lead and eventually take the lead at 35-34 with 1:10 remaining in the second. During the stretch, the Knights committed eight fouls resulting to 18 free throw attempts and converting on 12. Guards Alwin Margallo and Jersey Pedrosa were aggressive on the drive as both scored 12 and 6 respectively at the half with Letran holding on to just a solitary lead 36-35.

In the third canto, the Adamson Falcons continued their barrage with Papi Sarr scoring 10 points in the quarter. JD Tungcab complimented the offense as well with his excellent drives that led to lay-ups. On the other end, the Letran offense stagnated due to them settling for the outside shot. The Falcons held a 57-52 lead entering the final frame.

With the lead of the Falcons going to as high as 64-54 with 5:52 remaining, largely in part to Tungcab, Rey Nambatac took over the game in scoring 15 points in the final five minutes of the game. After two free throws, Nambatac was able to force a turnover that led to a lay-up to cut the lead to just six. After an exchange by Dawn Ochea and Sollano, back-to-back baskets by Nambatac and Quinto cut the lead to just four with 3:05 remaining. The Letran defense then forced AdU to contested shots. Nambatac then scored on a three to take the lead 69-68. The Knights never looked back afterwards with the hotshot guard scoring five points in the final minutes of the game and hijack the game 78-73.

Coach Aldin Ayo was disappointed with how the officials handled the calls in the second quarter. “No comment ako diyan,” Coach Ayo told us. The stretch of eight fouls turned the tides of the game in favor of Adamson. “Kami isa sa pinakamaliit na team, ang speed namin ang advantage namin at kelangan namin mag work hard on the rebound,” Coach Ayo said with regards to the team’s size disadvantage.

Rey Nambatac scored 30 points to lead the team in the win. He shot 8 of 15 from the field while missing just one of his 12 free throw attempts. Frontcourt players Jomari Sollano and Bong Quinto scored 10 and 9 respectively to help the Letran cause. On the other side, debuting foreign student-athlete Papi Sarr had a monstrous double-double with 20 points and 19 rebounds. Alwin Margallo had 12 points as well.

As a team, Adamson shot better at 40% compared to Letran’s 38%. Moreover, the Falcons outrebounded the Knights by a huge margin 52-35. However, the Letran Knights had more points off turnovers with 19.

The CSJL Knights next face the CSB Blazers on Friday, May 29 at 3:15pm while the AdU Falcons play again on Saturday, May 22 against the NU Bulldogs.

The Scores:

CSJL 78 – Nambatac 30, Sollano 10, Quinto 9, Luib 8, Publico 6, Balanza 4, Apreku 3, Cruz 2, Calvo 2, Dela Pena 2, Bernabe 2, Balagsay 0

AdU 73 – Sarr 20, Margallo 12, Pedrosa 9, Pasturan 8, Tungcab 7, Ochea 6, Nalos 4, Gumtang 3, Aquino 2, Villanueva 2, Butron 0, Capote 0

TEAMS1ST2ND3RD4TH
CSJL (A, 4-2)20365278
AdU (A, 1-2)12355773
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Mixed Martial Arts

Rene Catalan continues rampage with TKO win

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Rene Catalan continues to turn critics into believers

Filipino fighter Rene Catalan made his sixth appearance inside the ONE Championship cage at ONE: Kings of Courage, held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia, Saturday evening. He faced 21-year-old Chinese athlete Peng Xue Wen in the opening main card bout, and leaned on his elite wushu skills to stop the young star at the 4:22 mark of the second round.

The victory improves Catalan’s record to 4-2 (1 NC), extends his winning streak to four, and gives him the first TKO stoppage of his martial arts career, as he bids to climb the strawweight ladder in search of the ONE Strawweight World Championship.

“The Challenger” came out in the southpaw stance to open the bout, throwing big hooks and a head kick that narrowly missed as he established the center of the cage from the start of the contest.

The Filipino landed a host of powerful strikes, including a perfectly-placed uppercut and a melee of punishing leg kicks, but Peng’s conditioning and composure kept him in the match as he looked to stand and trade with the man 18 years his elder.

Catalan picked up where he left off when the bout resumed in the second round, this time operating out of the orthodox stance, landing more leg kicks and continuing to deny Peng any space to work.

Despite his dominance on the feet, there was a brief moment of concern for the Filipino on the mat when he jumped into the Chinese wrestler’s guard mid-way through the second round, and immediately found himself in a triangle choke. But the Filipino kept his composure and managed to work himself free.

Once the fighters returned to their feet, Catalan poured on the pressure in search of a finish, and he got it with just 38 seconds remaining in the stanza.

“The Challenger” scored big with a liver shot, then unloaded a fierce flurry of punches that forced Peng onto his back foot. Another shot forced Peng to the mat, where a salvo of ground and pound from Catalan eventually forced the TKO stoppage as referee Olivier Coste stepped in to halt the contest.

Photo, story, and video from ONE Championship

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Basketball

Gelo Alolino regrets Phoenix’s failure to close out Hotshots

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Photo by PBA Images

Gelo Alolino had his best game for the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Saturday night at the Cuneta Astrodome with 19 points, eclipsing his previous career-high of 16 markers which he made last May 21, 2017 in a loss to the Mahindra Floodbuster.

But his achievement won’t be too memorable, as it went for naught following a 91-97 defeat at the hands of Paul Lee and the Magnolia Hotshots, who have now collected their third straight victory.

For the second overall pick in the regular 2016 Rookie Draft, it was all because of their failure to sustain momentum up until the game’s final buzzer.

“Sayang, nandun na. We felt na sa amin na nung dulo kaso lang ganun talaga,” rued the 24-year-old sophomore after the match, where he shot an excellent 7-of-10 from the floor.

“Breaks of the game napunta sa kabila.”

Phoenix were in contention all throughout the match. In fact, they were even ahead, 89-84, with just three minutes left to play. But the Hotshots’ comeback skills were unleashed, leading to the narrow win.

“Siyempre kami lahat nasayangan. Maganda naman yung team effort talaga namin,” admitted the 6-foot floor general of their end-game collapse, which wasted their efforts in assists (21) and on defense, where they forced Magnolia to 21 turnovers.

“Kami as players talagang gusto namin bumawi coming from a loss last game sa Rain or Shine.

The Fuel Masters have now lost their second straight outing and have dropped to 2-3. And for Alolino, all they have to do is learn as much as they can from this loss, especially now that they are about to face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel next.

“Yun nga. Medyo masakit para sa’min ‘to,” admitted the National University product.

“All we have to do is magviview ulit kami ng tape para makita kung saan kami mas pwede mag-improve as a team and bawat isa — including me.”

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Basketball

Glenn Khobuntin repays Ricky Dandan’s trust with end-game heroics

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FILE Photo from PBA Images

Glenn Khobuntin can finally say that he had himself a moment in the pro ranks

The National University alumnus proved his worth for the Kia Picanto, scoring his team’s final six points to steer the often-ridiculed club to their first win after a historic 16-game skid, at the expense of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 98-94.

“I knew he would. I knew he would,” lauded Kia head coach Ricky Dandan of the takeover by the six-foot-four forward.

“It was a blessing he didn’t play for the first two quarters because he [came in] fresh at gigil na gigil.”

Khobuntin finished with 11 markers on 5-of-7 shooting — the best game he’s had so far, not because of the numbers he posted but with the way he made them. But the three-year pro does not want to take the spotlight all onto himself.

“Hindi lang din naman ako e, kami ding lahat e,” the 26-year-old shared. “Siguro kumbaga nagka-opportunity lang, napunta sa akin yung bola kasi yun yung nasa scheme ng play so ayun.

“Thankful lang ako na-hit ko yung mga na-design na plays.”

However, the third-year pro admitted that he had been frightened during the game’s final stretch, as Rain or Shine managed to impose a serious threat by coming back from a seven-point deficit, 94-96, with just less than 22 ticks left to play.

“Kinakabahan ako kasi two minutes pa rin yun e tapos Rain or Shine yung kalaban namin,” the native of Cagayan de Oro said. “Nakita ko nakakabalik sila. Thankful lang naman ako na yung game napunta sa amin, at least natapos yung losing streak namin.”

But more than the end of their months-long slump, what Khobuntin is grateful for is the trust given to him by Dandan, who fielded him as a starter in the second half after sitting out the entirety of the first 24 minutes.

“Nag-decide siya na ako yung i-start niya so thankful ako kasi nagtiwala siya sa akin.”

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ABL

Justin Brownlee, Alab lock down Knights for fifth win

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Paying a visit to Indonesia for the first time this season, Tanduay Alab Pilipinas needed time to figure the CLS Knights out before stifling the hosts in the final frame to take a 92-87 road win, Saturday evening at the GOR CLS Kertajaya in Indonesia.

This is Alab’s second straight win after losing to the Singapore Slingers last January 10.

With the win, the Philippine-based club team lifts its slate to 5-4 for solo fourth. CLS, on the other hand, dropped to 1-7 — just half a game ahead of the cellar-dwelling Formosa Dreamers.

Justin Brownlee displayed his all-around brilliance in the game, leading Alab with 36 points on 15-for-24 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

But Alab’s bench could not sustain the effort of the starters, which meant the team was clinging to a two-point lead with 7:06 remaining.

Needing a spark, 40-year-old sniper Dondon Hontiveros provided for Alab, knocking down a triple that proved to be the starting point 14-2 Alab run. A jumper by Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. with 2:57 left capped the rally and gave Alab an 87-73 lead.

Hontiveros scored five of the eight Alab bench points. Fortunately for Alab, Renaldo Balkman and Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. were on point. The former tallying a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Alab’s skipper had 14 points, four assists, two rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

Coach Jimmy Alapag fielded his bench afterwards, but they let the quintet of Brian Williams, Mario Wuysang, Arif Hidayat, Decorey Jones, and Sandy Kurniawan slice the lead to as low as four points. Then free throws by Oping Sumalinog with eight ticks left put CLS away for good.

Williams paced CLS with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Kurniawan added 19 markers. Indonesian legend Wuysang had 17 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Alab ends its road trip on Sunday, January 28, when it takes on the Saigon Heat at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.

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