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National U survive Ateneo’s gallant stand



The National University Lady Bulldogs had an outstanding opening day outing while the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles had looked helpless in the same day. Mainly on that, many would think that the Lady Bulldogs would have an easy time disposing of the Lady Eagles.

However, in the most exciting game of the early season so far, Ateneo, through Ira Nevalga, fought tooth and nail against NU. But they fell short, as the Lady Batters from Jhocson Street survived a gallant Ateneo stand, 2-1, Monday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

It was a baptism of fire for National University rookie pitcher Mary Ann Ramos as she manned the National U fort. “We gave her rest kasi nag-pitch siya nung first game namin against La Salle so we need to rest her arms,” NU head coach Edgar delos Reyes said about not playing Mia Macapagal. “We might need her sa mga susunod pang game so as much as possible binibigyan pa namin ng pahinga.”

The Lady Bulldogs were able to get on the scoreboard at the top of the first inning. Lead-off batter Dyan Arago survived two quick strikes due to a catching error by Ateneo’s second basewoman, giving her first base. A single by Shaira Damasing gave the Lady Bulldogs second base. With two outs, rookie Aimee Watson popped a single while a failed fielder’s choice paved the way for an Arago run.

The lady batters from Katipunan were able to take the point back at the bottom of the second inning. Kat Villareal quickly connected with a single, while a sacrifice bunt by Cheska Imperial moved her to second base. A failed fielder’s choice and a catching error by pitcher Colleen Alilin led to a Villareal run to tie the game at a run each.

Nevalga settled in during the middle innings, not allowing successful hits in the next two innings. However in the fifth inning, Carla Payapaya, the last in the batting order, gained base due to a throwing error by Yla Trinidad. A single by lead-off batter Arago led to NU’s second run of the game.

“Error lang namin siguro mga dalawa o tatlo. Yung isang error ng third si Yla, throwing errors sa firts yun lang,” Ateneo head coach Dione Macasu said. “Tapos sa short stop throwing error lang din kaya ayun medyo light error lang naman yung nangyari today.”

Her counterpart, Ramos, only allowed two hits in the six innings she pitched and was able to strikeout three batters.

Fatigue though set-in for Nevalga in the sixth inning. The Ateneo junior gave up two singles in the inning. With Watson and Alilin gaining the third and second base respectively, and with two outs, the Ateneo fielders were able to save the inning in grounding out Nicole Ordoyo.

With NU leading 2-1 at the bottom of the seventh and final inning of regulation, Ramos was subbed out for sophomore Rina Vailoces. Clariel Dacanay popped a single to start Ateneo’s comeback attempt. She immediately replaced pinch runner and rookie Anna Lacson. With one out, Angela Natividad connected with a single that moved Lacson to second base. Nikki Borromeo’s attempt was caught at right field, downing Ateneo two outs. Ordoyo then successfully pitched two strikes against Ira Nevalga. With the game on the line, the super senior popped the ball to center field where it bounced off the ground. Lacson then ran to third base but hesitated to run to home plate but did so. However, that moment gave the Bulldog defense time to recover and put out at homeplate to give National University the win.

“Medyo late lang siya nakaleave ng base kaya inabutan siya,” Macasu said about the final play and rookie pinch runner Lacson. “Pero kasi two outs na talgang patayan na going home so ayun sinabi ko nga sa kanya dun sa mismong runner na lesson learned.”

“Siguro this is just one of our bad days,” Delos Reyes said. “Medyo yung hitting namin ngayon di nagclick di katulad nung last time when they were hitting the ball.”

“Ganun talaga nangyayari sa game eh. I’m glad na yung puso at yung tapang nung players ko lumabas dito,” he continued. “Kasi ito mas gusto ko yung ganitoing klaseng game eh. Dito mo matetest yung tibay ng loob ng players mo.”

For the Lady Eagles, they gave it their all out there and made their head coach proud. “Ang NU ay isa sa mga top teams din kaya maganda good job naman yung view nila today compared dun sa first game na against sa UP na talagang nagimprove sila ngayon,” she enthusiastically said.

She then singled out Nevalga’s performance. “Yung pitcher namin talagang maganda yung pinitch niya. Sabi ko nga sa kanya talagang nagstep-up siya,” she shared. “Nagawa naman niya kaya nakakatuwa kasi kung di naman ganun yung pinitch niya baka matambakan din kami diba.”

The National University Lady Bulldogs next face the University of the East Lady Warriors, while the Ateneo Lady Eagles face the UST Tiger Softbelles. Both games will be played on Wednesday, February 3 at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.


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  • Jered Panalagao Adal



Fired-up Von Pessumal on Kiefer Ravena incident: ‘I’m not here to make any friends’



Will bridges be burned?

Von Pessumal was heavily-scrutinized Friday evening after an incident with fellow Ateneo lifer Kiefer Ravena.

It took place with 9:50 left in the final frame of the San Miguel Beermen’s highly-charged tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors. After Marcio Lassiter launched a trey, Pessumal looked like he was aiming for the rebound. Instead, he simply charged towards Ravena and pushed him down.

Lassiter’s three-pointer counted, while Pessumal, who was blocked by Ravena in a fastbreak and then received a staredown moments prior, was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul.

It was a surprising sight to see considering the amount of time he and Ravena have spent together — a bond that started ever since they were in high school. Even the second-generation star admitted that he did not expect that from his former running body.

“I did not expect that at all,” said the NLEX rookie.

But Pessumal downplayed such incident despite attempts by scribes to make him elaborate what had really transpired during that moment.

“It’s part of the game. It’s part of the game,” the league sophomore said after the match which they won 109-98. “I don’t wanna say anything, I’m sorry.

“It’s part of the game. Whatever move on. Not a big deal.”

Asked if he was motivated to face Ravena, whom he had shared three UAAP juniors titles, two UAAP seniors crowns, and a SEA Games gold medal with, the 24-year-old shared that he approached Friday’s bout the way he usually does.

“I wouldn’t say motivated [versus Kiefer], I mean, it’s just like any other game. When I play, I don’t see who’s guarding me, I just play,” said the 6-foot-2 swingman.

“I play to win all the time.”

The incident he and Ravena figured in shadowed his performance of 10 points on 50 percent shooting off the bench — the second time he had scored in double figures this season. After Friday, Pessumal is averaging 8.25 points.

“We have to sustain the level of excellence that they (starters) have. Our job is — I wouldn’t say support, but — when we get in, we should bring the level higher so when they come back, the game is easier for them,” he said.

Pessumal was then asked if he and Ravena met each other after the buzzer sounded as the two did not even shake hands after the contest. But, through a short yet strong response, the 24-year-old said that they did not.

“I wouldn’t say anything. I don’t know, after the game?,” he expressed.

“I’m a professional basketball player, I’m not here to make any friends.”

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Yeng Guiao denies using racial slur against Chris Ross



During the post-game of the San Miguel Beermen’s victory over the NLEX Road Warriors, reigning Coach of the Year Leo Austria said that NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao called Chris Ross the “N” word that caused the commotion.

According to Chris, tinawagan siya ng nigger or ganiyan,” said Austria. “I don’t know but that’s what he explained to me because I confronted Chris Ross because he’s one of the most important players in my team.

“But that’s the thing he doesn’t want to hear so nagflare up yung bata so I cannot blame him.”

Guiao though denied that he blurted out racial slurs against San Miguel’s Chris Ross.

“Hindi. Hindi ko tinawag na N-word. Ewan ko kung may nakarinig. Pero hindi,” clarified the fiery tactician moments after their 98-109 defeat, their third straight after starting the 2018 Philippine Cup with two straight wins.

That tussle, according to Guiao, was just filled with trash talking against each other, as he felt the need to retaliate. In fact, Guiao was even caught by the TV camera saying “son of a bitch” towards the Filipino-American point guard.

“Daldal siya ng daldal eh. Eh sa akin naman kapag ganon, siguro respeto nalang. Lumayo ka nalang tutal mananalo naman na kayo,” he said. “I didn’t understand what he was saying, what he was talking about.

“Nakipagtrash-talking din ako sa kanya.”

Furthermore, the 58-year-old was also caught by the cameras flipping the bird — in one quick motion — also against Ross.

“Oo. Kasama na rin yun.

“Pero ano naman eh, it’s part of, siguro, psychological warfare. Malakas din siya mang-asar. Hindi lang naman sa amin. Everytime naman na mga ganoong skirmishes, he also knows what he’s capable of,” the seven-time champion coach furthered.

But more than this scuffle, it really has become a stressful time for Guiao and the Road Warriors. They have now went down to 2-3 in the team standings, and the mentor sees the great need to end this slump immediately.

“We have to arrest it very soon. Ang susunod na laro namin ay versus Rain or Shine sa Friday. So we need to go back to 50 percent win-loss level para at least may chance ka na maka-playoffs. That’s going to be a crucial game for us,” he stressed.

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Kiefer Ravena shocked with Von Pessumal’s shove: ‘I did not expect that at all’



Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal have been teammates ever since they were in high school, winning three UAAP juniors crowns together. They won two championships together in the seniors level and even played together in Gilas. They were inseparable.

Friday evening however, they were playing for separate camps.

Ravena admitted that he never expected a shove to come from Pessumal during the NLEX Road Warriors’ clash with San Miguel Beermen.

In an off-ball situation, Pessumal charged at Ravena, sending the rookie down to the floor with 9:50 remaining in the final frame. He was then whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul, and Ravena sank one from the line.

“I did not expect that at all,” admitted Ravena after the match in which they lost, 98-109 — their third straight defeat after a 2-0 start. “But hopefully Von doesn’t take it personal.

“I’m just doing my job. They won the game.”

Ravena insisted that there wasn’t any physicality between him and Pessumal prior to that, but he thinks that his former Gilas teammate may have gotten irked by his staredown after blocking him on a fastbreak play early in the fourth.

“When that fastbreak happened — the same exact possession na I challenged him, I looked at him, and after that yun na yung nangyari,” said the 23-year-old guard. “But I never instigated something to provoke Von to do that.

“Probably nung tinignan ko siya.”

Moreover, the second overall pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft felt that that incident “started all the commotions during the end game (laughs). Yun yung pinaka-una eh. And with that, the team got fired up and it worked for them.”

He may be right, for the game saw more skirmishes after that: from teammate Michael Miranda kicking Chris Ross to the groin, and with his head coach Yeng Guiao figuring in a heated verbal war also against Ross.

But then, Ravena made it clear that it was never a plan of his to put down somebody, especially someone like Pessumal who he sees as a brother for life.

“You know, Von and I, we go way back. Things like this hopefully don’t become too personal.

“I have no intention na ipapahiya yung tao or sasaktan mo yung tao. Wala namang ganun. Laro-laro lang,” said NLEX’s leading scorer.

It was somehow a night to remember for Ravena, but for all the wrong reasons. After Friday’s loss that sent their card to 2-3, the veteran internationalist now sees the need for him and the Road Warriors to push the panic button.

“‘Di na pwedeng sabihin palaging kailangan namin matuto eh. Pangatlong sunod na,” the second-generation cager expressed.

“Kailangan siguro naming umaksyon.”

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Downcast Chris Ross chooses to stay mum after heated altercation with Yeng Guiao



Through wins or losses, Chris Ross has always accommodated the members of the press asking for interviews and fans requesting for photo ops every after game. But Friday evening, the nine-year pro was despondent.

Visibly agitated with the events that had transpired during the San Miguel Beermen’s tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors, Ross, with his hoodie covering his head, left the Cuneta Astrodome without saying a word.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year had figured in physical play after physical play and verbal exchange after verbal exchange with the frustrated Road Warriors.

Ross and Alex Mallari were both slapped with technicals after a confrontation with 9:06 left. This was just the start of many things to come for the Filipino-American defensive specialist

After knocking down a triple and receiving a taunt from Ross, Michael Miranda was assessed a disqualifying foul for an apparent kick to the groin against Ross with 4:35 left.

The tip of the iceberg came with 1:46 left to play and the game all but settled.

Yeng Guiao and Ross figured in a heated word war that resulted in Ross’ second technical foul for the game. Referees and players from both sides had to separate the two to prevent things from escalating.

San Miguel coach Leo Austria alleged that the fiery NLEX mentor said the “N” word, while some said Guiao called Ross a “bitch”.

Ross finished the game with four points, eight rebounds, and four steals in 37 minutes of action.

For sure, penalties and suspensions will come out of this game.

And it was better for Ross to stay silent.

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