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National U averts disaster, survives UE scare to go 5-0

National University survived a near collapse in the end game against the University of the East Lady Warriors

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National University survived a near collapse in the end game as it blew away a 20-point cushion although did just enough to book a 66-63 win over University of the East Wednesday in the UAAP Season 78 women’s basketball tournament at the Blue Eagle Gym.

The Lady Warriors simply refused to roll over and die, having answers every time the Lady Bulldogs seemed to pull away.

After a 7-0 run to open the fourth made it a commanding 57-37 lead for National U, UE started to cut the gap little by little as Pat Aquino opted to stay with his bench for a long time.

Triples by Glozelle Bale and Eunique Chan capped 10 unanswered points for the Lady Warriors, making it 57-47.

Later, six straight foul shots by UE cut the deficit down to 60-53. Chery Ano-os then converted on a drive and added two more charities later to make it 61-57.

Coming off a timeout, NU fielded its starters back, but Afril Bernardino turned the ball over, leading to a fastbreak and-one by Ano-os that pulled UE to within 60-61.

Shelley Gupilan and Bale exchanged triples in the ensuing plays for a 64-63 NU cushion with only 18 seconds left.

Gupilan scored a split from the line before a missed trey by Bale led to another split, this time by Jack Danielle Animam to make it 66-63.

UE was never able to convert after that point, as the Lady Warriors dropped to 2-3 in the team standings.

Bernardino led the defending champions with 13 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Gupilan added 12 points while Animam and Itesi contributed 9 apiece.

Ano-os and Chan topscored for the Lady Warriors with 17 points each. The Recto crew scored 16 fastbreak points, keeping them in the game although 33 turnovers affected them in the end.

Scores:

NU (66) – Bernardino 13, Gupilan 12, Itesi 9, Animam 9, Nabalan 5, Abriam 4, Sison 4, Del Carmen 4, Antiquera 3, Tongco 2, Riel 1, Paig 0, Miranda 0, Reyes 0, Layug 0, Harada 0.

UE (63) – Ano-os 17, Chan 17, Sto. Domingo 9, Bale 9, Ramos 4, Mendina 3, Tacula 2, Nama 2, Taguiam 0, Francisco 0, Sampaga 0.

Quarterscores: 18-11, 33-19, 50-37, 66-63.

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Jake Vicen saves Saint Benilde’s season, forces winner-take-all

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For most of the match, College of Saint Benilde Blazers’ goalkeeper Jake Vicen was under pressure. However, that just set up for his heroics in the end.

The third-year custodian came up big with two huge denials in the shootout as the Blazers won 4-2 after the match ended at 3-3 after 120 minutes against the Arellano University Chiefs, Friday evening at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Applying the same game plan and using their speed advantage, the Chiefs pummeled the Blazers’ defense plucking a chance at the set piece. The free kick went for nought, but the succeeding sequence turned to the go-ahead goal.

At the seventh minute, the ball bounced in front of Arellano captain Cymun Sanquilos, who blasted the ball into the top corner past the outstretched arms of Jake Vicen.

The rest of the first period was a defensive clinic from the Season 91 champions as Saint Benilde was left scouring for opportunities to level the match. The green-shirts just waited for that moment as their possession improved and their attacking aggressiveness increased in the following period.

At the one hour mark, Dean Ebarle received a low cross inside the penalty area, and finding himself unmarked, slotted the ball into the bag for the equalizer.

Both teams tried to break the deadlock once more, only neither team could not barge through the opposing defense in the remaining minutes of the second half and the whole of extra time.

Thus, the match has to be decided on kicks from the penalty spot.

Vicen and Jericho Desalisa denied the second kickers setting up a dramatic finish. To which the former turned his focus, “Sabi ko sa coaches, ‘Kukunin ko ‘to. Yung shoot out di naturalist hangga’t di pumipito yung ref.”

Patrick Bernarte missed miserably wide as Vicen was on point, setting up long-time teammate Moiselle Alforque for the winning spot kick.

Head coach Marlon Maro was pleased on how the Blaers responded in this game. As for the sudden-death match, he commented, “May the best team win.”

That third and deciding match is scheduled on Wednesday also at 6:00pm.

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Gilas still sticking with Andray Blatche, says team manager Butch Antonio

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It will still be Andray Blatche

Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio made it clear that naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche will be back for the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in February.

Blatche has yet to attend Gilas practices due to his commitment with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association, but Antonio said that they have already reached out to the said league for his temporary release.

“We have already made communication. We sent a letter already,” said the executive after Gilas’ practice Monday. “Kasi that’s the protocol now eh… You have to write a letter to the team through the CBA and you will just have to wait for their reply.”

It is still uncertain if and when the Flying Tigers will lend the naturalized center to Gilas, who will face Australia and Japan on February 22 and 25, respectively. But Antonio is confident that the ball club will let the former NBA cager go.

“More ofte

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Jong Uichico calls for pool players to be complete as Gilas brace for Aussies

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Cause for concern?

In their second session for the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, only nine of the 15 Gilas pool players actively participated.

June Mar Fajardo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, Troy Rosario, Jiovani Jalalon, Carl Cruz, Gabe Norwood, Allein Maliksi, and Japeth Aguilar were in uniform while Roger Pogoy watched on the sidelines. Jayson Castro and Mac Belo were not present while Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend a session. 23 for 2023 cadets CJ Perez and Abu Tratter were called to duty to give the team added bodies.

The session ended earlier than usual, only practicing for around 45 minutes.

“Light lang naman. Some players had games last night,” said assistant coach Uichico, who together with Josh Reyes handled the night’s session. “Light lang pero we emphasized on some things in today’s practice, it’s more mental and a little bit of execution. “

With Gilas’ game against the 10th ranked Australia just 34 days away, Uichico expressed his concern that the Nationals won’t be as cohesive as they want it to be.

“It’s always a concern naman. We prefer once a week na lang naman, di pa tayo makumpleto,” expressed Uichico,

“We prefer really na makumpleto whether they practice or not, at least nandyan sila nanonood kung anong nangyayari.

“So mas mabilis yung pagtuto, especially if we put something new, at least nakikita nila kahit hindi nila naeexecute. We prefer and it’s really mandatory na nandito sila every Monday,” the mentor of the 2017 SEA Games team furthered.

Due to this, the staff of the team has yet to formulate a gameplan for the Aussies. A win against either the Boomers or Japan will automatically qualify Gilas to the next stage of the qualifiers.

“I don’t know. Our first plan is to practice everyday and then see if we can get the team complete as soon as possible.”

But as Gilas has proven time and time again, the multi-time PBA champion coach believes that they will overcome once more.

“There’s always challenges naman, especially the situation that we’re in. The PBA’s ongoing and we try to practice,” the soft-spoken tactician shared.

“There will always be challenges but every problem or challenge can be solved naman.”

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Willie Marcial hints at possibility of PBA lending unlimited players to Gilas

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Current PBA officer-in-charge Willie Marcial was a surprise spectator Monday night at the Meralco Gym, as Gilas Pilipinas resumed its’ preparations for the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Sabi ko sa kanila, hindi ako bisita.

“Magkakasama tayo nung araw pa,” quipped the amiable official.

Marcial’s visit speaks volumes of the PBA’s commitment to the Gilas program even if the pro league is in the midst of recovering from a lengthy impasse late in 2017, where a power struggle in the PBA’s board room took place.

“Ang PBA 100 percent susuportahan yung Gilas. Maniwala kayo. Talagang all out ang PBA diyan,” said the league’s former media bureau chief.

And coming along with that all-out support he had affirmed is the possibility of abolishing the one-player-per-team rule in loaning players to the National Team. That ruling has seemingly limited Gilas in building the best team possible.

“Baka magulat kayo biglang mag-propose sila wala nang limit ang players ‘pag kumuha. Puwedeng mangyari yun.”

When asked if he will be a regular fixture in Gilas practices in the coming weeks, Marcial said that it would be strongly possible, barring any meetings in the league’s office that require his full attention.

“Nako, sinabi ko sa kanila pipilitin ko every Monday nandito ako,” said Marcial, a favorite to become the next PBA commissioner. “Pupunta ako rito every Monday, basta wala lang mga meeting talagang pupuntahan ko sila.

“Tingnan niyo, masaya kami, parang magkakabarkada diba? Sabi ko sa kanila walang problema.”

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