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Basketball

CJ Perez, Lyceum prevail over Letran for 16th straight win

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Unlike in their first round encounter, the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates did not need to overcome adversity as CJ Perez provided the momentum-shifting buckets against the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights to take an 81-69 win, Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

Lyceum’s 16-0 start has now surpassed the 15-0 start of the 2009 San Sebastian Golden Stags, making them the sole holder of the second best start in league history.

In their first round encounter last August 18, Lyceum needed to overcome a 17-point deficit to turn back Letran, 75-68. This time though, the Pirates made sure to have fun on the court that translated into beautiful basketball.

“Again, it’s really fun to watch if you see our players having fun, playing their hearts out, and honoring the game,” said third-year Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson.

Leading the way is All-Philippines talent CJ Perez. Arguably the top two player in the collegiate ranks today, Perez scintillated, scoring a game-high 24 points to go along with three rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

And when the Knights tried to rally back, Perez was there to stop any run in the final frame, scoring 10 of Lyceum last 15 points in the contest.

When the Pirates’ once 16-point lead, 56-40, was sliced to just eight after huge baskets by Rey Nambatac with 5:37 left, Perez went on to score four straight points to return Lyceum’s double-digit cushion.

Together with Perez, Jayvee Marcelino and Mike Nzeusseu were able to answer back every basket Letran had to offer to close out the game.

MJ Ayaay added 12 points and six rebounds while Nzeusseu finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

“It’s the inspiration that’s really been there,” added Robinson.

Letran center Jeo Ambohot played his first game since August 15, finishing with eight points and three rebounds in 18 minutes of game time.

The Knights dropped to 8-8, still at fourth but just half-a-game ahead of San Sebastian.

JP Calvo, who led Letran with 15 points, cramped up late in the game. However, Bong Quinto and Nambatac shot a combined 9-for-28 from the field, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds; and 12 points and 15 rebounds repectively.

Lyceum plays its penultimate game of the elimination round against the JRU Heavy Bombers on Friday, October 13 at 4:00pm. Letran, on the other hand, takes on archrivals San Beda Red Lions on the same day at 2:00pm.

The Scores:

LPU 81 – Perez 24, Ayaay 12, Nzeusseu 11, Marcelino JV 11, Santos 6, Marcelino JC 5, Caduyac 4, Baltazar 3, Liwag 3, Serrano 2, Ibanez 0, Tansingco 0, Cinco 0, Pretta 0, Marata 0

CSJL 69 – Calvo 15, Quinto 13, Nambatac 12, Balagasay 9, Ambohot 8, Taladua 5, Balanza 4, Gedaria 2, Mandreza 1, Vacaro 0, Bernabe 0, Caralipio 0

Quarterscores: 29-20, 45-36, 64-54, 81-69.

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After getting first D-League experience, Zark’s-Lyceum ready to get loose

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After a hesitant performance in their PBA D-League debut last Thursday that resulted in a loss to the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers seemingly caught up with the league’s style of play on Tuesday.

Zark’s-Lyceum displayed their true form and stamped their class all over the Batangas-EAC Generals with a 37-point destruction, 112-75 — so far the biggest winning margin the franchise has ever had in its D-League history.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams we’re playing against with,” said Zark’s-Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson after the match at Pasig Sports Center. “But the things we want to mind are those things we control.

“We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways.”

Robinson’s claim was strongly backed up by the numbers that the Jawbreakers produced.

CJ Perez had 21 points and 10 rebounds. MJ Ayaay produced 15 points and 10 boards, and Mike Nzeusseu delivered 14 markers and 11 boards.

Even the bench made their presence felt in the victory. With guard Jaycee Marcelino spearheading the supporting cast’s charge with 12 markers, the bench contributed a remarkable 56 points to their total output.

Photo by PBA Images

“Ano lang, cinontrol lang namin yung pace kasi yun naman talaga yung laro namin, yung mabilisan,” said the 24-year-old do-it-all forward, who also collected three steals.

“Kailangan talaga mabilisan para ma-execute namin yung mga ginagawa namin.”

This week will be a rough one for the Pirates, as they will play right away this Thursday against the AMA Online Education. And for Perez, he strongly believes that they will be able to carry over their momentum.

“Oo. Nandun pa. Energy talaga yung puhunan namin para makalaro ng maayos.”

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Bonbon Batiller shows what he can bring to Letran in D-League debut

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Photo by PBA Images

Tuesday proved to be a double debut for Bonbon Batiller. Aside from beginning his first foray in the PBA D-League, it also marked his debut for the Letran Knights, who are carrying the Wang’s Basketball Couriers franchise.

And the 5-foot-11 guard showed what he can bring to the table. Batiller collected 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists to help the Knights raise the curtains of their campaign with a 93-75 rout of the Batangas-EAC Generals.

“Nagworkout yung pinagpraktisan namin,” said Batiller. “Nagbunga rin yung tinuro samin ni Coach Jeff (Napa) lalo sa depensa. Tsaka siguro sa rebounds — laking lamang namin sa rebound. Nagsipag mga bigs namin.”

But what has him even more satisfied is the warm reception and trust he’s had from the Knights, even if he has spent barely a year with them after transferring from University of the East last 2017.

“Masaya po kasi tinanggap nila ako sa Letran ng buong-buo,” said Batiller, who normed 10.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 steals with UE in two years. “Tsaka yung tiwala nila na makakatulong ako sa team nandoon.

“Kaya masaya ako sa pinakita nila sa akin.”

That is why the General Santos native is hard-pressed to prove himself to Letran, saying that he’s all about giving back to the school that gave him another opportunity to resume his young, up-and-coming basketball career.

“Kailangan kong may mapatunayan na deserving ako sa binigay na second chance sa akin ni Letran,” said Batiller, who decided to switch schools partly due to academic reasons.

“Malaki ang utang ko sa Letran.”

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Tireless J-Jay Alejandro heads from D-League game to Gilas training

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Former National University Bulldogs captain J-Jay Alejandro was at the Pasig Sports Center on Monday afternoon, making his debut for the Go for Gold Scratchers. After their 75-68 win over the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers, he immediately packed his bags and headed for the exit.

Why was he in a rush? He did not want to be late for Gilas practice later on.

PHOTO by PBA Images

“Sayang, malapit na ako eh. Pasig lang. Walang showbiz-showbiz, malapit lang talaga,” shared Alejandro, who had five points, five rebounds, seven assists, and two steals for Go for Gold. “Wala rin akong gagawin kasi.

“Tsaka minsan lang magpa-tawag ng practice, every Monday lang, so sayang ‘yung chance makapag-practice.”

The 6-foot-2 combo guard was a much-needed body by the Gilas pool, as only eight players suited up for Monday’s session. Besides helping out the seniors team, the 22-year-old is looking at the sessions as a way to both improve and get in touch with his former collegiate foes.

“Well, ganoon talaga eh. Player, mapapagod at mapapagod ka talaga,” said the All-UAAP team member.

“Pero nakakasama ko sila Arvin Tolentino, sila CJ Perez, tsaka ‘yung ibang mga PBA players, siyempre experience ‘yun eh, tsaka learning process din sa akin.”

Moreover, he knows that being under the tutelage of coach Chot Reyes will only do wonders for him, especially with the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft just months away.

“Mas pisikal talaga sa PBA. ‘Yun, kung paano mo gagamitin ang utak mo pati ‘yung katawan mo sa tamang posisyon sa laro, makukuha ko yun rito,” he said.

“Well sa akin kasi, ‘yung mapabilang ka sa Gilas, mapabilang lang ang pangalan mo sa Gilas, sobrang fortunate na ako, sobrang blessed na ako,” Alejandro added.

“And siguro sa akin, may opportunity na nag-open, so iga-grab ko na lang — either PBA or Gilas.”

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Loaded Wangs-Letran wallops AMA in debut

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Armed with new recruits, the Wangs Basketball-Letran Knights embarked on their new chapter with a rousing 93-75 rout of the AMA Online Education Titans, Tuesday afternoon at the Pasig Sports Center.

Everyone clicked for the Couriers with Bong Quinto spearheading the blowout with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists.

Newcomer Bonbon Batiller added 15 markers, five boards, and three dimes in his debut. Starting point guard JP Calvo chipped in 12 points, eight rebounds, and two assists.

Christian Fajarito also registered 11 markers and nine boards, while Alex Mandreza had 10 points for Wangs-Letran.

Despite the promising showing, coach Jeff Napa said that he still wants to see more from his players moving forward.

“Masaya kami syempre dahil nanalo. Pero marami pa rin kaming kailangang gawin,” he said as he wanted more from the Knights after outrebounding the Titans, 57-44.

Quinto and Calvo triggered Wangs-Letran’s second quarter pull-away to establish the 38-26, lead which grew to as high as 22 points, 81-59 in the payoff period.

Michael Cañete topscored AMA with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Kris Porter had 13 in the defeat.

Wangs-Letran will have vengeance on their minds on Monday, January 29, when they take on NCAA tormentors Che’lu-San Sebastian Revellers. AMA, on the other hand, will have a tough assignment when they take on the Zark’s-Lyceum Jawbreakers on Thursday, January 25.

The Scores:

Wangs-Letran 93 — Quinto 19, Batiller 15, Calvo 12, Fajarito 11, Mandreza 10, Trinidad 8, Publico 6, Vacaro 4, Balagasay 3, Ambohot 3, Muyang 2.

AMA Online Education 75 — Cañete 20, Porter 13, Escalambre 11, Casiño 10, Antonares 6, Manalang 6, Garcia 4, Ng 3, Parcero 2, Bragais 0, Carpio 0, Paras 0, Raflores 0, Salonga 0.

Quarterscores: 16-13, 44-35, 67-52, 93-75.

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