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NU outshines UST, takes 3-1 victory



The National University Bulldogs affirmed their push for final four contention in the UAAP Season 77 men’s football tournament, after a 3-1 rout of the University of Santo Tomas Golden Booters, Sunday evening at the FEU Diliman football field.

The first three minutes of the first half saw a couple NU attackers come close to scoring an early goal. Patrick Valenzuela had the chance to draw first blood just a minute into the meeting, finding himself unchecked by the top right corner and tried to strike one in, but the ball ended up flying past the bar. Francis Jay Abalunan too got into position for the easy goal around the 3rd minute, escaping the UST back to go one-on-one with UST goalie John Rey Catalino, but the keeper managed to sweep the ball from under Abalunan’s feet before he could get into position for a shot.

Abalunan entered the scorecard at the 7th minute, after a free kick from beyond the penalty box went straight past the UST keeper and into the net, putting the Bulldogs up 1-0.

What followed however was an uneventful half of play, with UST struggling to mount their counterattack and every attack mounted by the Bulldogs’ defenders. Steven Anotado, the league’s leading scorer prior to the Christmas break struggled to cut through the NU back to find the easy look. Anotado’s lone near-hit for the half was a volley from way beyond the penalty box at the 40th minute that NU keeper Pepito Hayeson safely caught.

Care of the trio of Paolo Salenga, Valenzuela, and Abalunan, the Bulldogs meanwhile managed to land a couple more attacks. It was Jezer Jalandoni however who gave the Bulldogs their second goal at the 43rd minute, finding himself unchecked in the middle of the penalty box to send the ball flying into the net. Valenzuela had the chance to add another one to the NU tally just as the 45th minute came along, after receiving the volley from the midfield and beating the offside trap to go one-on-one with the UST goalie, but lost control of the ball before he could get into position for the shot. At the half, NU led 2-0.

It was around the 50th minute that the Tigers’ offense finally got going, with Marvin Jake Bricenio’s crosses creating a couple of good looks for UST. Around the 53rd minute, Kenneth Tuzon had the chance to finally score one for the Tigers after receiving the back pass from the clutter in front of the goal and sending a powerful strike from just beyond the penalty box, but the ball ended up going wide. Jogi Celiz too had the chance to finally get one for UST at the 62nd minute, after corralling the corner kick from Bricenio, but the ball was knocked off course and out of play by NU’s Jalandoni.

Entering the last 20 minutes of the half, the pace continued to pick up. Jacob Gomez had the chance to bag the Bulldogs’ third goal at the 71st minute after connecting with a low cross from the right wing with a header, but the ball landed in the UST goalie’s hands. Later at the 74th, Anotado had the chance to finally score, cutting through the NU defense to receive the inside pass and pull up for the shot, but once again the ball ended up whirring past the right post.

It was Dexter John Benecio who gave the Tigers a lease on life at the 79th minute, spotting a hole in the NU back and after finding himself unchecked in the penalty box, sent the ball flying past the NU goalie into the net.

The Tigers however did not have much time to celebrate, as the Bulldogs mailed their response two minutes later at the 81st minute care of Salenga, who kept his composure amidst the chaos in front of the goal to corral the ball and flick it past the UST goalie and into the net, putting the Bulldogs up 3-1 with less than 10 minutes of regular time left.

Though the Tigers continued to attack the goal in every opportunity, they found themselves struggling to score, amidst the Bulldog’s defense. Efren Menares had the chance to renew the Tigers’ hopes at the 84th minute, connecting with a corner kick by Bricenio with a header in front of the goal, but the ball ended up in the hands of NU keeper Hayeson. At the end of 90 minutes, it was the Bulldogs who walked away with the victory.

“Wala naman kaming binago sa sistema. Pino-polish lang namin yung sistema, and yun, nag-materialize,” said NU head coach Wilhelm Laranas when asked about the victory. Coach Laranas related that the team attended a five-day training camp in La Trinidad, Benguet during the Christmas break to help them prepare for the rest of the season.

Coach Laranas also praised his team’s defenders, who stifled UST’s attackers throughout the game. “Defend, and kung makuha na ang bola, counterattack.”

“Yung mindset, mentality, at approach sa game,“ said UST coach Marjo Allado when asked about what the source of UST’s struggles may have been. Coach Allado however commended his players’ efforts. “Second half, pag dating sa puso meron naman si UST eh.”

With the win, NU is now at fourth behind FEU, who completed a 9-1 rout of Adamson earlier today. UST meanwhile stays at sixth, three points below fifth-placed De La Salle University.

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Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory



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2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.

The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.

“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.

Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.

Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.

Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.

Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.

While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.

It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.

The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.

As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.

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Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’



Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup



Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win



Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.

So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”

After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.

Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.

The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.

The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.

Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.

The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

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