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NU pounces on DLSU, secures Finals spot

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Fourth straight and a chance at a three-peat.

Defending champions the National University (NU) Bulldogs dismantled the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers, 5-0, to take their 8th consecutive win this season and advance to their fourth Finals appearance in a row last Sunday, February 8, at the Olivarez College Tennis Center.

Season 75 Most Valuable Player (MVP) Lean Lazaro started strong for the reigning kings as he won against La Salle sophomore Qoqo Allian in straight sets, 6-2 6-0. The Green Archer was able to keep in step with Lazaro in the first set as the usually solid Lazaro committed errors in the said frame. In the following set, however, the Bulldog ace player was able to play better, countering Allian’s returns with winners that sealed the deal for the champion.

Current MVP Fritz Verdad continued his winning streak as he upended a stubborn Kyle Parpan, 6-1 6-2. Parpan was able to push Verdad with his powerful returns. It was the NU standout though who was able to dictate the pace of the match. With his patented patient play and timely attacks, the singles stalwart made sure to answer any attempt of Parpan to make the game a close one.

The other singles player for the Bulldogs, Dheo Talatayod bounced back from his first ever setback this season as he outplayed another DLSU sophomore LA Cañizares in three sets, 6-3 2-6 6-0. Talatayod played better this time as he was able to finally get his serving game and winners going. Cañizares was able to execute in the following set, keeping in step with NU. The Bulldog veteran, however, pummeled the La Sallian in the following set to get the win for NU.

John Accion and Francis Alcantara also went through a tight matchup with DLSU’s Estoy Pantua and Dale Gorospe. They won in three sets, 3-6 6-1 6-3. The recently graduated Pantua and newbie Gorospe took the first set against the NU tandem with good net play and by countering the service game of the latter with timely returns. When the Bulldogs’ duo was able to keep their heads in the game, it was all Accion and Alcantara. The tandem of blue and gold was able to sweep the match.

The solid doubles team-up of Al Madrio and Jigo Peña kept their winning ways going as they swept the erstwhile potent partnership of Alvee Villamor and Akio Sy of the green and white. The doubles stalwarts continued with strong net play and serving to frustrate the La Sallians especially in the first set. The DLSU tandem managed to keep the game close in the second set when they were able to answer the service game of Madrio and Peña. It was too late though, as the latter put another W in their own record.

The win formalizes the entry of the Bulldogs into the Finals, their fourth straight since re-entering the league in that same span of time.

NU will take on their Finals rivals from last year, the University of the Philippines on Valentine’s Day, February 14, at the same venue. Meanwhile, DLSU will go up against University of Santo Tomas on a crucial tussle also on the 14th. DLSU needs to win their remaining ties to possibly force a playoff for the second Finals slot.

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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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Basketball

Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool

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SMART Gilas Pilipinas’ third session for the second leg of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers ended early on Monday evening.

Prior to the end of the practice, head coach Chot Reyes talked to team veterans Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo. The outspoken mentor told the seniors of the team that he is cutting Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan from the pool.

“The reason why we’re dropping Abueva and Almazan for the second window is because they haven’t showed up,” lamented Reyes.

“It’s already our third practice at hindi pa sila nagpapakita. It’s simply a matter of disinterest.

“I guess they’re not interested so we have to move on we can’t wait for those guys,” he pointed out.

Both Abueva and Almazan were part of the teams that competed in the 2017 SEABA Championship, the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, and the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Only 10 players from the pool showed up for the team’s third session. And with the second leg exactly one month away, Gilas cannot let a slip up happen especially against Australia.

“Aside from those two we don’t know where Matt Wright is, while Allein [Maliksi] is attending a wedding in Australia. Other than that it’s really just an issue of Calvin and Raymond if they don’t want to be a part of the pool.” expressed Reyes.

“That’s the reason we’re dropping them for the second window.”

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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

23 for 2023 cadets fill up Gilas practice

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With just 31 days until the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, only 10 players from the pool attended the team’s third session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.

Suiting up in the session presided over by Coach Chot Reyes were June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, and Roger Pogoy. Carl Cruz and Jayson Castro were in attendance but were in street clothes.

Not present were Matthew Wright, Japeth Aguilar, and Allein Maliksi. Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend practice.

Joining the seniors team to prep them up for the World Cup Qualifiers were 10 players from the 23 for 2023 pool.

Ateneo Blue Eagle Matt Nieto attended his first Gilas practice. Joining him were teammates Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.

Completing the night’s cast were CJ Perez, Abu Tratter, Will Gozum, J-jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, and Juan Gomez de Liano. Joshua Sinclair watched from the sidelines as he is still recovering from an ACL injury.

Gilas will take on Australia in Melbourne on February 22. The Philippine will then host Japan three days later at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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CSJL

San Beda fends off Letran for back-to-back wins

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With seasoned setter John Carlo Desuyo steering the wheel to near perfection, the San Beda College romped to their second straight win.

The Red Spikers pulled double-digit outings from four players to upend archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-22, and register their fourth win of the season, Monday early evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

It was the Knights, however, who started on the right foot, overhauling a 4-10 deficit to snag the first set. Better passing from liberos Aljune Centeno and Johnsen Timbreza resulted in kills from captain Bobby Gatdula.

Nonetheless, San Beda picked up the service game in the next three sets to ultimately finish off the blue-shirts.

Despite the win-loss record they currently sport, the Red Spiker playmaker admitted that t

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Basketball

Michael Calisaan tows Che’lu-San Sebastian past Perpetual

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Photo by PBA Images

Michael Calisaan poured 20 points as he captained newcomer Che’Lu-San Sebastian Revellers to a decisive 83-70 win over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas to start their voyage, Monday evening at the Pasig City Sports Center.

Doing it all for the Revellers, the veteran forward provided the stability for his side as he shot 8-of-15 from the field while also hauling down nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the conference-opening win.

But it wasn’t all Calisaan as Che’Lu got contributions from all over its roster.

Samboy de Leon chimed in 16 markers and nine boards. RK Ilagan went 2-of-5 from threes to collect 13 points, eight dimes, and three rebounds, while big men Alfred Batino and Jeepy Faundo combined for 20 in the victory.

Despite the triumph, coach Stevenson Tiu gave all the praise to his players, noting the team’s lack of time preparing for the tourney.

“Nanalo kami dahil sa talent ng players. Medyo mali ko rin kasi nahirapan pa ako mag-adjust sa players. Hopefully, we play much better in the coming games,” he said.

The Revellers used a 16-4 run to finally break away from the Altas, taking a 77-60 lead with 4:03 to play as they punished their foes for their turnovers, turning Perpetual’s 30 miscues to 28 points in their favor.

Prince Eze anchored the Altas with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and seven blocks in their first game under new head coach Frankie Lim.

Che’lu-San Sebastian look to make it two in a row when they take on the Wangs-Letran Couriers on Monday, January 29 at 5:00pm. Perpetual, on the other hand, hope they can notch their first win when they take on Mila’s Lechon Mighty Roasters.

The Scores:

Che’lu-SSCR 83 — Calisaan 20, De Leon 16, Ilagan 13, Batino 10, Faundo 10, Bulanadi 6, Costelo 6, Calma 2, David 0, Lao 0, Santos 0, Valdez 0.

UPHSD 70 — Eze 15, Coronel 13, Villanueva 13, Jimenez 9, Charcos 7, Peralta 7, Gallardo 5, Pido 1, Antonio 0, Aurin 0, Tamayo 0, Tongco 0.

Quarterscores: 17-22, 34-38, 59-53, 83-70.

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