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National U show grit, top La Salle in epic marathon game

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In a game that lasted five hours and 13 minutes and featured high drama, great action, and tremendous resolve, the National University Bulldogs upended pre-season favorites, the De La Salle University Green Batters, in the 10th inning, 8-7, in the second game of opening day at the historic Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

The Bulldogs got off to a quick start, with rookie Jerome Tenorio grounding a single that brought in runners Alfredo de Guzman and Junmar Diarao at the top of the second inning for an early 2-0 lead. However, a bench-clearing rumble almost broke out during that half of the inning. Fifth year player Aprix Santos was trying to gain National U’s third run for the inning. The La Salle defense, though, continued to find the play and made a timely throw to pitcher Paul Naguit for a hard tag out to the abdomen of a sliding Santos. Tempers flared when the Bulldog confronted the third year catcher, resulting in a closed fist thrown by Naguit and Santos. In addition, both squad’s clubhouses went to the field, with some trying to stop the confrontation from escalating even further.

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and both teams were called on to the field prior to the top of the third inning to shake it off. Santos and Naguit were assessed with warnings, while the league is still reviewing the incident as of publishing.

“Dahil sa alitan na ‘yun medyo na-agitate kami kaya nawala kami sa game,” Bulldog team captain Clarence Caasalan said about the incident.

Last season’s rookie of the year Boo Barandiaran and the La Salle fielders picked off NU’s batters in the next two innings. Moreover, the potent offense of the Green Batters led to five runs during that span.

With the bases loaded for the Green-and-White, Barandiaran was walked that resulted in Paolo Salud returning home to put La Salle up on the board. Then in the fourth inning, La Salle’s first batter for the inning, Naguit, was able to connect on a single, while next batter Andre Palacios walked due to balls. The NU fielders were able able to knock off the next two batters by two consecutive walks. Diego Lozano and Kiko Gesmundo loaded the bases and gave La Salle their second run of the game. Team captain Carlos Munoz then popped a double to bring home Palacios and Lozano to put La Salle up 5-2. NU Coach Saki Bacasiras then placed Caasalan on the mound to close out the inning.

“Laban lang tapos wag kami sumuko. Yung mga natutunan namin kay coach Saki (Bacasiras) dapat naming ilabas,” Caasalan reflected about the monstrous 4th inning of La Salle.

Bulldog Rookie John Presores was able to take advantage of two La Salle errors at the top of the fifth inning, but was answered right back with two runs by Palacios and Francisco Hashimoto at the bottom end of the inning to give La Salle a 7-3 lead going into the sixth inning.

After a sixth inning that almost saw the Jhocson Street batters gain a run, Barandian was subbed out for Lozano for pitching duties at the top of the 7th. The La Sallian rookie had success during the 7th but gave way in the momentum-altering 8th inning.

Clean-up batter Kenneth Ybanez was walked due to balls to open the inning, and a single by Caasalan gave the Bulldogs a good start to the inning. A fielding error by La Salle with slugger Robin Libid at bat led to a run for Ybanez to cut the La Salle lead to just three runs. A passed ball then loaded the bases for National University with no outs.

After a strike out of Diarao, Aprix Santos popped a huge grounder that paved the way for a Caasalan run. However, a controversial call was made as the sideline official deemed that even as La Salle second baseman Joshua Salinas had committed an error, he was able to make a timely throw to first baseman Lozano for a Santos ouster. In a stunning turn of events after that play, Salinas again committed a fielding error with Jerome Tenorio at bat, leading to runs for Libid and De Guzman to tie the game at 7-all going into a ninth inning that stunned the La Sallians in attendance.

One of the most dangerous closers in the UAAP, Carlos Munoz, then stepped on the mound to close out for the Green Batters at the top of the ninth inning. The King Archer was able to strike out the first two NU batters with ease but an error led to Libid gaining base. A single by De Guzman and a walk of Diarao loaded the bases for Bulldogs. Munoz, though, did not falter as he calmly struck out Santos for third out.

Diarao, who was replaced as pitcher in the early-goings of the game, returned to the mound to try to extend the game into an extra inning by the NU bullpen. “Binigyan ako ni coach ng pagkakataon para makabawi. Siyempre nanghina ako ng sinabi ni coach sa akin (before the 9th inning) na ako ang inaasahan niyang pitcher,” Diarao said.

“So naisip ko na, ako pala yung magcloclose na pitcher at kelangan kong bumalik. Sinabi ko kay coach ‘kaya ko ‘to, ako na maghohold.’”

The Laguna-native went up against the top of the La Salle batting order. With one out and Lozano and Munoz gaining base due to walks, rookies Ignacio Escano and Arvin Herrera were tasked to break the deadlock. Diarao was able to strikeout both batters to extend the game into an extra inning.

“Nung high school pa lang at nung Palarong Pambansa pa lang nakakalaban ko na sila. Mas pabor sa akin na pinalitan kasi hindi pa nila memorize yung bola ko,” the third year Bulldog said about the two strikeouts. “Nung nakita ko sila sabi ko ‘ayos ‘to.’ Kinurba ko ng kinurba kasi kahit tumama naman sila, diyan lang sa malapit kesa naman i-fast ball ko baka masunog pa kami.”

Tenorio opened the extra inning with a single, but next batter Cyrus Malit was struck out for first out, while the former was tagged out for two outs. Third batter and rookie Floro Malit was walked while a passed ball gave him second base. With nothing to lose, Kenneth Ibanez converted on his second excellent hit of the game that led to a Malit run and give the Bulldogs the lead, 8-7. A flyout at 1st base of Caasalan close out the top end of the 10th.

Diarao was able to strikeout Bilbao, while Palcios was grounded out for two outs. In a bizarre event, Hashimoto was able to knock off the ball right into the second base. However, third baseman Caasalan ran from the third base to second base to try and catch the ball, resulting in confusion from the NU fielder and a failed close out. It was meant to be for the Bulldogs, as Salud was grounded out at first base for third out and the shocking NU upset.

“Ang mindset ko lang relax lang, hanggang hindi pa tapos yung inning hindi pa tapos yung laro,” Diarao said after the game. In the six innings he pitched, he was able to strike out five batters and was able to recover from the five runs he gave up in the opening innings by giving up no hits in the final two innings.

The rookies also stepped up for National University. 17-year-old Jerome Tenorio played excellently at both ends with 2 RBI’s, a single, and three putouts on the other end. 16-year-old Floro Malit was also the one who secured the game-winning run for National University.

“Napasunod namin yung mga bago namin. 14 rookie namin, kaming mga senior nag-deliver kami pero sila nag-step up talaga para sa amin,” Diarao said about the eventful debut of their rookies.

The National University Bulldogs (1-0) have a tough task for their next outing, as they face the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles (1-0) in the first game of the day on Sunday, February 7. The DLSU Green Batters (0-1) will look to bounce back later in the day as they face the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons (0-1).

TEAMS1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10thRHE
NU (1-0)0200100401881
DLSU (0-1)00142000007123
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Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa

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After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Marcus Elliott grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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Basketball

CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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