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Obra scores brace as UP upends UST 3-1 to book finals slot



The final stage has been set. The University of the Philippines Lady Maroons recovered from an early deficit with three goals in the first half to outlast the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigresses to take home the 3-1 victory and the women’s football finals ticket, Sunday afternoon at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field in the Ateneo de Manila University campus.

UP entered the first half with superb wing play, coursing their offense through Kali Navea-Huff. She came close to drawing first blood two minutes into the half, powering her way through the right wing to strike just inside the box, but her shot was easily stopped in its tracks by UST goalie Zipporah Luna.

By the 10th minute, UST had found a way to stymie UP’s dangerous wingers, building up their counterattack to take control of the midfield. Around the 11th minute, Hazel Lustan almost scored for the Tigresses, powering her way into the center of box and launching a powerful shot that UP goalie Nicole Adlawan barely managed to stop. The Tigresses’ counterattack eventually bore fruit six minutes later, when Jae Marie Abuan found herself with enough space in the left wing and sent a cross to Pearl Aguilar, who gracefully headed the ball past the keeper and into the net, giving UST the 1-0 lead.

The 17th minute goal however proved to be the Tigresses’ lone moment of glory in the half. The Lady Maroons scrambled to organize their midfield anew, and four minutes later, they found themselves with something to celebrate about. At the 21st minute, a shot by Mary Obra that was parried away by the UST goalie was left in play with no one to collect it. UST’s Abuan however caught up in time to get a tap on the ball, but lost control and instead nudged it into the direction of the open net. With 21 minutes gone by, the score was tied at a goal apiece.

Three minutes later, Obra shined for the Lady Maroons once again, maneuvering her way in the left wing and beating the defender to launch another mean shot from way out that sent the ball gliding above the keeper and into the top of the net. All of a sudden, the Lady Maroons found themselves on top, 2-1, 24 minutes into the half. UP’s renewed attack resulted in more success, as eleven minutes later, Obra found herself in the spotlight once more. She powered her way through the midfield after receiving a through pass from Monica Malansan to strike from the center of the penalty box, but the UST goalie was unable to react in time. She sent the ball into the net to extend the Lady Maroons’ lead to 3-1. Later in the half, Christille Mae Ardiente had the chance to score from a couple of set pieces helmed by Kali Navea-Huff, but all her shots went wide. At halftime, UP led 3-1.

Scrambling to get out of the two-goal hole, the Tigresses resorted to aggressive low ball early in the second half to get the ball to the top of the field. However, they struggled to get any good looks, with UP’s defenders covering every inch of the box. UST’s attackers adjusted by taking long shots from around the perimeter of the box, but were unable to find the net.

The Lady Maroons on the other hand maintained their composure with their midfield organized, while keeping their own offense and the threat of an extended lead alive. UP’s dominance on the wing almost bore another goal at the 68th minute, when Kali Navea-Huff connected with a short cross by Cristina de los Reyes via a mean header, but UST goalie Luna reacted in time to stop the ball. At the 81st minute, Obra had the chance to complete the hat-trick with a powerful strike from the left wing, but her shot sailed wide above the bar.

With just ten minutes on the clock, the Lady Maroons focused on stifling the Tigresses’ passing, denying them any more easy shots. At the final whistle, it was the Lady Maroons celebrating on the pitch.

“Big improvement from our last game. Maganda ‘yung rebound mentality ng players noong naka-goal ang UST. They bounced back very well,” said UP head coach Anto Gonzales when asked about his team’s performance in today’s game. “The midfield played fantastic today. Winning and defending balls, they didn’t let the midfielders of UST settle.” Coach Gonzales also praised his players’ constant improvement throughout the season.

Meanwhile, UST head coach Judal Sorito said that his team was still eyeing a second runner up placing, a feat they could achieve should they defeat Ateneo in their game next week.

UP will be meeting Far Eastern University in the finals, which is slated to kick-off early in March.

1 Comment
  • Connie V

    UP Coach is Andres Gonzalez, not Crisanto


D-League to hold three-day showcase for players



Seeking to further display the greatness of the Filipino basketball players, the PBA is giving more chances to the cagers as the league is set to hold the first-ever PBA D-League Showdown later this conference.

Opening the eighth season with this ground-breaking news, PBA officer-in-charge Willie Marcial is hopeful that this will serve as another motivation for the players to perform at their best this 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup.

“Ginagawa naman natin ito para mas galingan ng mga players natin para rin maipakita nila yung tunay nilang talento,” he said Thursday during the opening ceremonies at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Marcial bared that the plan is to hold a two-day summit for the players suiting up in the ongoing conference to allow them to showcase their talents in front of coaches and scouts, not just from the PBA but also from countries in the Southeast Asian region.

“Lahat ng mga players ay maglalaro dito at mapapanood hindi lang ng mga PBA coaches,” he said.

“Iimbitahin din namin ang mga coaches ng ibang bansa tulad ng Malaysia, Thailand, at Vietnam na kumukuha ng imports sa atin.”

Marcial acknowledged that as much as players seek to make the jump to the pro league, securing spots in the PBA teams have been hard to crack over the past few years, forcing the players to look elsewhere for opportunities.

That has made playing in overseas leagues an option for these less fortunate ballers, keeping them earning while also hoping to impress scouts while keeping their PBA dreams alive.

Some of the players who suited up in the D-League and are currently playing outside of the country are Paul Zamar and Almond Vosotros in Thailand, AJ Mandani in Singapore, and Reil Cervantes in Indonesia.

With this project, Marcial is hopeful that this would keep the players in line while also delivering the best competition the D-League could dream of.

“Iwasan natin ang bisyo at galingan ninyo.”

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Letran overpowers Lyceum for second win



After a string of losses, the Colegio San Juan de Letran Lady Knights returned to the NCAA Season 93 win column with a gritty win over the short-handed Lyceum of the Philippines University Lady Pirates, 28-26, 20-25, 26-24, 25-20, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Knights won out in a sloppy match which had both teams combine for 25 aces, 15 coming from Letran. According to assistant coach Ron Dulay, Letran needed to solve their reception problems on the fly.

“Weakness nga siguro namin ‘yung receive, pero inaayos namin siya ensayo. Kanina medyo shaky lang ‘yung mga bata. Mabuti noong dulo naka-adjust kami sa ginagawa ng kalaban,” said Dulay.

Both sides also had a whooping 34 errors apiece. Letran’s miscues, however, came early in the match and were lessened by the deciding fourth set which they won convincingly.

“Unti-unte tumataas ‘yung level ng team. Kailangan talaga namin mag-double time pa sa mga susunod na laban kung gusto namin umabot doon sa Top Four,” Dulay added.

Second-year Lady Knight Charm Simborio led the way with 17 points while Glayssa Torres added 15 which includes two blocks and three aces.

The Lady Knights (2-2) take on perennial rival San Beda College (4-0) on Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Christine Miralles topped the Lady Pirates with a career-high 21 points. Team captain Bien Juanillo added 17 markers.

The Lady Pirates (1-3) face the undefeated defending champs Arellano University (4-0) on Sunday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

CSJL (3) – Simborio 17, Torres 15, Abitan 11, Barrinuevo 8, Parin 8, Mendoza 3, Bangcola 2, Uriza 1, Perez 0, Larioque (L)

LPU (1) – Miralles 21, Juanillo 17, Sevilla 11, Bongabong 5, Patio 5, Genova 2, Marcella (L), Romanban (L)

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

FIBA 3×3 World Cup to be a huge boost for country’s Olympic bid



All roads will lead to Bocaue, Bulacan as the 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will head to the Philippine Arena. The biggest tournament in 3×3 basketball will be played from June 8-12, 2018.

The announcement was made Thursday afternoon by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executives. The event was graced by Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas, SMART Sports’ Christopher Quimpo, and FIBA’s 3×3 Managing Director Alex Sanchez.

With 3×3 basketball being declared an Olympic event last 2017, the SBP is looking at this tournament as a way to prove to the world that we are capable of hosting and that we can compete with the world’s finest.

“As mentioned earlier, I think we’ve been very successful holding it in the malls, 3,000 to 4,000 people watching the games. We chose to move it to a bigger venue, I think we want to give an opportunity for more people to see the games,” said SBP president Al Panlilio.

“From a Philippine basketball point of view, that gives an opportunity for the youth to watch the game. From an SBP, FIBA perspective, we want bigger crowds in 3×3 and that’s something we want to deliver to FIBA,” he added.

There will be 40 teams split into two divisions that will compete in this annual tourney.

For the men’s side, the Philippines will take on teams from Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Ecuador, Estonia, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and Uruguaz.

In the women’s division, the hosts will face Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, United States, and Venezuela.

With this task of hosting a world class tournament, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help in the organization of it.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream,” said Mascariñas.

“Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance. I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times.”

FIBA, on the other hand, is looking forward to helping groom a possible Philippine team that will compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I’m sure the event this year, we’re starting the countdown, is going to be amazing,” Sanchez said. “I think this is going to be helpful for us in developing.

“I’m coming from Tokyo where we’re discussing the venue and layout of the Olympics. We should make an effort with Al and SBP to see if we have a Filipino team in Olympics. In my opinion Filipinos have a real chance to make it. Hopefully this can give us a nice push to get a PH team to the Olympics,” the Spanish executive added.

“See you in June.”

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Perpetual escapes upset-hungry EAC



Fighting off a sluggish start, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas came alive late to slip past the Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals, 22-25, 25-19, 25-14, 23-25, 15-13, and remain on pace for a spot in the NCAA Season 93 Final Four at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Taking on a struggling EAC side, Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño knew that there was a possibility that his squad would relax. His team has had trouble starting and finishing off matches, as evidenced in their first set performance and lack of finishing push in the fourth frame.

“May tendency talaga ‘yung team ko na mag-relax. Sabihin na nating hindi kasi sobrang lakas ng kalaban. Pero alam naman natin sa volleyball na wala namang team na ibibigay sa’yo ‘yung panalo, kailangan kunin mo talaga,” Cariño lamented.

The fifth frame came down to late breaks. The Lady Altas broke a 13-all tie with back-to-back transition conversions from Cindy Imbo and Lourdes Clemente.

“Siyempre, nage-expect ako nang mas maganda pang performance sa team ko. Alam din naman nila na mas may ibubuga pa sila kaya kailangan mas maganda ang ipakita namin sa mga huli naming laro,” the NCAA champion mentor added.

Imbo tallied a game-high 17 points, while Clemente and Maria Aurora Tripoli added 15 points, apiece. The Lady Altas needed all of their 11 aces and 11 blocks to offset their season-high 42 errors.

Aira Binondo was the only Lady General in double-digits with 13 points.

The Lady Altas (3-1) next face the Jose Rizal University (2-2) on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. EAC (0-4) will look for their first win on Monday against the College of Saint Benilde (2-1).

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Imbo 17, Clemente 15, Tripoli 15, Sangalang 11, Llorente 10, Versoza 4, Estanislao 1, Gual 1, Umandal 0, Medalla (L)

EAC (2) – Binondo 13, Tongco 9, Pablo 8, Lumbao 7, Magbanua 7, Reyes A. 3, Reyes K. 3, Tasis 2, Yongco 1, Medina (L)

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