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NU Lady Bulldogs prevail in see-saw battle against DLSU

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SCOREBOARD
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DLSU (6-4), 2nd00110035103
NU (6-5), 3rd00020036100

 

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.

In this crucial match to keep their semis bid alive, the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs edged De La Salle University (DLSU), 6-5, last Wednesday, March 4 at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

NU made a gamble in this game and started freshman pitcher Rina Vailoces in lieu of sophomore Mia Macapagal. It paid dividends early on as the DLSU batters were caught off guard. Vailoces allowed only one hit from La Salle veteran Mary Joy Son and also struck out Patricia Belarmino in her first two innings on the mound. Furthermore, the Bulldog took matters in her own hands early on as she was able to assist in three dismissals.

DLSU on the other hand kept rookie sensation Jamica Arribas as their starting pitcher. After NU junior Lovely Arago had a base hit, the Lady Archers worked their defense that left Arago stranded on second base with Arribas fanning out Lyn Tulalian. In the following inning, Macapagal had another hit against La Salle but it is all NU could muster as the inning ended scoreless.

At the top of the third inning, La Salle got on to the scoreboard. After Macatangay struck out, three consecutive hits from the Taft-based squad put them on top. Muñoz started it off with a single to left field followed by another base hit from Mercynell Arroyo. Vanessa Borbon hit a double to left-center to score Muñoz, which made it 1-0 for DLSU. Arroyo was left on a scoring position at third base as NU retired the next two batters.

In the top of the fourth inning, Belarmino shook of her previous at bat and made a leadoff single for the Green and White. Jen Gomez then hit a fly out to NU shortstop Arago, but Belarmino quickly reached to second base while the ball was in flight. With  a runner on scoring position, Judy Macatangay hit that ball to deep right for a double to score Belarmino which doubled La Salle’s lead, 2-0.

Sensing the need of urgency, NU got their offense going at their side of the fourth. Baby Gequillo hit a single to start if off for the Bulldogs. Macapagal had another base hit loaded for the Bulldogs. A passed ball off DLSU catcher Gomez scored Gequillo to cut the deficit to 1. In spite of a good defensive play that retired Macapagal, another passed ball scored Colleen Alilin who reached first on fielder’s choice, which put NU and DLSU on equal footing after four, 2-2.

Defense held up in the next two innings for NU, limiting DLSU to a single hit. Vailoces anchored her defense well while the Bulldogs infield got busy in preventing any Archers attack. Only Arribas was able to hit for La Salle as all others were dismissed on grounders.

La Salle also stood their ground as Arribas dismissed two successive batters in Whell Nietes and Tulalian in their side of the fifth. An error by DLSU shortstop Macatangay, however, presented a scare to her squad when NU’s Shaira Damasing reached second base in the ensuing play. A caught fly to the center off Alilin ended the fifth still tied at 2-apiece.

NU’s momentum continued in the next inning with Sheenah Rayos entering the game for Payapaya. The second-year Bulldog hit a line drive near the right foul line to keep the ball rolling for her team. Another error, this time by DLSU second baseman Son, puts Rayos and Arago on second and first, respectively. Several miscues of La Salle in the succeeding plays, helped Rayos score for NU and took the lead to 3-2.

With just a solitary run separating the team, the game was far from over. La Salle started their side of the final inning well as a visibly tired Vailoces gave up a leadoff walk on substitute Bernadette Benzon. After Arroyo grounded out to first base, Borbon hit another double that scored Benzon to tie the game once more at 3-all. This prompted NU to make the change to give their rookie Vailoces a much needed rest and let Macapagal take on her usual place in the field. La Salle however went on to score another with a single by Son. This puts Borbon to the home plate and DLSU retakes the lead 4-3. After Arribas was retired by Macapagal with a swing and a miss, another hit by Gomez put DLSU offense on track as she scored Son and pad on the lead at 5-3. Despite the lead, pinch runner Beatrice Ignacio was caught stealing to third and was subsequently forced out at second.

NU regrouped once more to keep their semifinals hopes alive in their side of the final inning. Damasing began with a single for NU. After Gequillo grounded out to Arribas, Alilin hit a double, which scored Damasing to cut the deficit back to 1, 4-5. Macapagal redeemed herself from her debacle in the previous inning on mound, as she hit another single to tie the game again at 5-all as Alilin steps on the plate. With Arago batting and with one out, another low pitch from Arribas was not caught by Gomez and the DLSU catcher did not recover in time,which let Macapagal step home to take the win for NU, 6-5.

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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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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