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NU sweeps UST, takes back-to-back title

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Dominance completed

The National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs blank rivals University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tigresses to annex another championship with 3-0, as the UAAP Women’s Tennis tournament ended on Saturday, February 28, at the Olivarez College Tennis Center.

Bouncing back from her previous match in the first tie, NU stalwart, Clarice Patrimonio smothers UAAP 75 Most Valuable Player (MVP), Macy Gonzales, with the scores of 6-2 6-2. Patrimonio dictated the pace, making good serves during the match. Gonzales was unable to respond to the Lady Bulldog’s play, committing errors even on her service game. The Thomasian won only a few points in the match due to the miscues of the, otherwise strong, NU newcomer. Patrimonio would not be denied of the victory as she peppered Gonzales’ defense with timely forehand winners.

Maintaining their “Finals” lineup, the defending champions fielded Hannah Espinosa and Junnelyn Polito in the first doubles match against Lenelyn Milo and April Santos, a rematch from Tie 1. It was a similar pattern from their previous meeting, as the blue and gold duo were the more aggressive side. Espinosa and Polito controlled the match with their service game and net play, which caused the Tigresses to commit mistakes. The match initially seemed one-sided, until both pairs pushed their opponents to the limit as most games went to deuce. It was the finishing touch of the Bulldogs that clinched them the first set with 6-2. It was the same story in the second set. NU led 3-0 as they manned the net well, forcing the struggling UST pair to committing errors. In the end, it was Espinosa and Polito who took the match with the second-set score of 6-1.

The Lady Bulldogs were one win away from a back-to-back championship, with the last two games of the day. On the doubles court, NU’s Jzash Canja and Marie Nagret were facing the Tigresses, Genevieve Caorte and Shymae Gitalan. But when last year’s MVP, Tin Patrimonio, took the win during her singles game against Kendies Malinis, the doubles match was abandoned.

The older Patrimonio stood her ground early on the singles match, as she went to take her first service game. The second game grew tight, but NU managed to obtain the win to lead 2-0. After Malinis held her own serve, Patrimonio countered and won two-straight games to keep the lead at 4-1. The Thomasian sophomore bounced back to blank her counterpart, ending the sixth game with a forehand winner. Unfortunately, it was Malinis’ last stand, as NU’s ace player won the next two games to take the set, 6-2, and a game away for the Bulldogs’ victory.

Patrimonio pulled all the stops to grab the final win of the match. Displaying her technical prowess, the second-year player raced to a 5-0 lead. After a tight first game on the Patrimonio serve, Malinis could not capitalize on her own serve as she dropped the second mainly on errors. The Lady Bulldog committed minor errors, but enough to give Malinis a chance to fight back. An emphatic winner at 40-15, ended the fifth game as Patrimonio moved a game away from taking it for NU. Holding on for dear life, Malinis played toe-to-toe in her last service game, swatting away three match points of the Bulldogs. Another winner by the Thomasian forced NU to serve for the title. The last game of the match was a tight affair, as both players forced their opponents to errors. Two service winners by Patrimonio ended the set and the match for their second championship title.

In the awarding ceremony, Ateneo’s doubles specialist Jana Hernandez received the Rookie of the Year Award. It was a solid first year from the Lady Eagle with her partner, ace veteran, Shanin Olivarez in their wins.

The De La Salle University Lady Archers was given the third-place trophy led by former MVP, Marinel Rudas, and all-around player, Nikki Arandia.

After a roller-coaster season, the UST Tigresses took the runner-up trophy. Coach Dennis Sta. Cruz, really felt that NU is a solid team, but he commended his team saying “My girls lumaban din up to the end.” The long-time mentor also added that initially, they would just be content with a Finals stint, however, “when we beat them in the first (round), beatable pala.” In the end, he was just so proud of his wards.

The NU Lady Bulldogs took their second title in just their third season in the UAAP, which serves as a testament to their dedication. Assistant coach Ronald Joven, however, said that they always tell the team this statement, “Ayaw namin na makumpyansa. Yung ibang teams malalakas din.” He also said that it was different story because “girls are more sensitive. Hindi pwede yung pagagalitan mo. Kailangan is motivation.” He ended by giving praise to his wards for their hard work in training that paid off on the court.

NU’s Clarice Patrimonio was named MVP of the UAAP Season 77 Womens Tennis tournament, concluding the season undefeated in all 10 matches. Patrimonio shared that she did not expect to dominate the competition. “Gusto ko lang ilaro yung game ko. Maging confident sa court.” She added that she really had a hard time in her last match against Malinis, but she really vowed to bounce back. In the end, she expressed her happiness that she helped NU win the title, “Masaya ako for this win.”

Her older sister Tin Patrimonio explained that the entry of Clarice into the squad was an added pressure. She also said that, “Mahirap kasi ako yung MVP last year. Pero not this time; she (Clarice) won it kasi meron akong talo.” When asked about her lone loss she told the author, “Hindi ko alam kung anong nangyari. Yung ibang tao rin nagulat.” But after that loss, “ayoko ng matalo kahit isang set.” The second-year ace indeed won the next matches without dropping a set. She also shares the sentiment of her sibling regarding the title, especially for their schoolmates, “Happy ako for them kasi they really train hard under coach Karl and coach Toto.”

CLICK IMAGE FOR UAAP SEASON 77 WOMEN’S TENNIS AWARDING CEREMONY
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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

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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Basketball

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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Football

Bienvenido Maranon scores brace as Ceres-Negros eliminates Brisbane Roar

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Photo from the-AFC.com

Philippine club football just achieved its biggest continental result yet

The inaugural Philippines Football League champions Ceres-Negros Football Club eliminated three-time Australian champions Brisbane Roar in the 2018 AFC Champions League’s second preliminary round with a 3-2 stunner, away at the QSAC Stadium in Brisbane.

With the win, the 2017 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Champions are set to face Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian next January 30, 2018 at the Haihe Educational Football Stadium in Tianjin, China, to book a seat in the group stages.

Brisbane were the favorites for this tie and it showed, as Ceres started the contest on the back foot. Italian striker Massimo Maccarone handed the home side the lead in the 35th minute when he turned in Brett Holman’s pass.

Maccarone’s goal could have lowered the Busmen’s moral, but Risto Vidakovic’s men took it as a motivation rather than a downer. In fact, Ceres replied in the best way possible when Bienvenido Maranon scored his first goal of the match two minutes from halftime, thanks to a scramble in the Brisbane box.

By all accounts, Ceres had already made Philippine football proud at halftime. By this stage last year, Brisbane had accrued a 4-0 halftime cushion against Global Cebu en route to a 6-0 rout.

Today, though, Brisbane faced tougher resistance at Ceres’ hands. That resistance turned into a full-fledged revolt in the 65th minute when Maranon directed the ball past a helpless Jamie Young to give the Busmen their first taste of the lead.

Maranon’s goal well and truly turned the tide in Ceres’ favor. Brisbane were stunned. The home side are the defending A-League champions, but are currently eighth in the table this season and would soon face elimination from Asia’s premier club competition.

Already up 2-1, the Busmen finally achieved some breathing room in the 75th minute when Omid Nazari scored from close range to give Ceres a two-goal cushion over Brisbane.

Nazari’s goal not only sealed the win for Ceres, it also propelled Philippine football into the big leagues. Not even a late goal from French midfielder Éric Bauthéac could prevent the Busmen’s victory.

After five minutes of stoppage time, Ceres emerged 3-2 winners against Brisbane Roar. Come what may against Tianjin seven days from now, the Busmen have already achieved Philippine football’s biggest result since their own achievement in last season’s AFC Cup.

Who knows? Maybe Ceres can pull off another upset?

Ceres-Negros XI: Doblas (GK), Super, Mike Ott, Ingreso, Maranon, Porteria, Schrock, De Murga (C), Munoz, Nazari, Christaens.

Brisbane Roar XI: Ingham, Bowles, Papadopoulos, Maccarone, Holman, Khalfallah, Oxborrow, McKay (C), Hingert, Young (GK), Franjic.

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EAC

CJ Perez, Zark’s-Lyceum vent ire on Batangas-EAC with 37-point romp

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Photo by PBA Images

CJ Perez and the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers finally lived up to their hype, as they clobbered the Batangas-EAC Generals to score a 37-point beatdown, 112-75 for their first win, Tuesday at the Pasig Sports Center.

It was an all-out attack from the Jawbreakers, as they beat the Generals to the bite and took control of the game early, with Mike Nzeusseu and Jaycee Marcelino guiding their side to the 48-33 lead at halftime which they would never surrender.

Perez paced Zark’s Burger-Lyceum with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while MJ Ayaay tallied a double-double with his 15 markers, 10 boards, and three assists.

Cameroonian student-athlete Nzeusseu also delivered 14 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists. Marcelino had eight first half points and wound up with 12 off the bench, as the reserves chipped in 56 huge points in the tussle.

Coach Topex Robinson lauded the Jawbreakers for quickly adjusting to the style of the PBA D-League just days after falling to the Marinerong Pilipino, 92-94, back in opening day.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams were playing against with. 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,” he said.

Earvin Mendoza and Cedric de Joya both had 16 points for the Generals in the losing effort.

Zark’s-Lyceum look to continue to roll when they face the AMA Online Education Titans on Thursday, January 25. EAC-Batangas, on the other hand, take on the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers on Monday, January 29.

The Scores:

Zark’s-Lyceum 112 — Perez 21, Ayaay 15, Nzeusseu 14, Jc. Marcelino 12, Serrano 10, Baltazar 8, Santos 8, Jv. Marcelino 6, Tansingco 6, Marata 4, Liwag 4, Ibañez 2, Cinco 2, Pretta 0.

Batangas-EAC 75 — E. Mendoza 16, De Joya 16, Tampoc 12, Laude 9, Pate 8, Maguliano 6, Altamirano 5, Diego 3, Garcia 0, Dela Peña 0, Martin 0, J. Mendoza 0, Neri 0.

Quarterscores: 19-14, 48-33, 84-47, 112-75.

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