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Palma guides UE in outlasting SWU



Renz Palma racked up 18 points to anchor the University of the East Red Warriors, 63-59, over the Southwestern University Cobras in Group B action of the FilOil Flying V Premier Cup held at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

Aside from Palma, UE relied on a balanced output among the team. RR De Leon and Edgar Charcos poured in eight and seven respectively while seven other players got to contribute in the team’s scoring. In the losing effort, the Cobras were spearheaded by Boko Mupungu who tallied a game-high 20 points and Daryl Goloran who also added 15 to nearly ambush a win for the Cebuanos.

Both teams only scored eight each in the first five minutes of the game, with fouls and turnovers becoming issues they needed to address. Breaking the deadlock, the Red Warriors raced to a comfortable 19-14 lead to end the first quarter. In that UE rally, SWU missed Goloran after being slapped with an unsportsmanlike foul after he elbowed Joshua Gonzales. Good thing for the Cobras, their starting forward did not do enough to get himself disqualified for the rest of the match. Mupungu rescued SWU from falling further behind by scoring eight of his team’s first 14 points.

In the second period, SWU played more aggressively. Led by Jasper Parker, the Cebuanos sent the Red Warriors to the penalty early in the quarter, milking most of their points from the free-throw line. Going down 25-21, UE banked on Palma to regain the advantage. He scored 10 of his team’s next 15 points to make sure the Red Warriors were ahead at halftime.

In the opening 10 minutes of the second half, UE increased their lead to as much as six points. Unable to find his groove in the opening half, Mac Tallo shone for the Cobras. The former DLSU Green Archer scored five unanswered points while also dishing a dime that led to a Mupungu basket. Tallo then split his trip from the line in the succeeding possession to singlehandedly ignite an 8-0 run to give SWU a two-point lead. Eager not to let SWU turn the game around, the Red Warriors employed the Pumaren full court press, which yielded to five quick points. Both squads exchanged baskets until the end of the period. With 10 minutes left in regulation, UE’s lead was cut to one.

The fourth quarter turned out to be a scoring duel. Whenever one team scored, the other responded and when otherwise, the opponent also misfired. Approaching a tense finish, Palma finished off a three-on-one fastbreak with a layup to spread the lead to three. Miscues from both ends of the court simply burned valuable time, much to the benefit of the Red Warriors who held on to their lead for good.

UE coach Derrick Pumaren admitted that the win is a flattering result for his team. “A win is a win but we did not come out playing that way. It was a game that we didn’t give our total effort out there. We were taking SWU lightly, and that’s why they really stayed close,” the veteran coach commented. A huge concern for Pumaren going into the UAAP was their discipline in defense. His team gave away eight more fouls than SWU, which gave the Cobras the opportunity to score 14 more points from the stripe than UE. Conversely, the ex-DLSU coach expressed satisfaction with the players’ ability to convert opponents’ mistakes into points. UE forced 22 turnovers, 10 less than what they had. It also resulted to 18 more points in favor of the Red Warriors, who grabbed their fifth win in six games played. Meanwhile, SWU slipped to their third loss in their fourth Filoil Flying V Premier Cup game.

The Scores:

UE 63 — Palma 18, De Leon 8, Charcos 7, Awana 6, Abanto 6, Manalang 4, Gonzales 4, Batiller 4, Guiang 4, P. Varilla 2, Gagate 0, Sta. Ana 0, J. Varilla 0, Mina 0, Cruz 0

SWU 59 — Mupungu 20, Goloran 15, Tallo 7, Parker 6, Holper 3, Pardo 3, Bregondo 3, Luz 2, Auditor 0, Acuno 0

UE (B, 5-1)19364963
SWU (B, 1-3)14324859
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OIC Willie Marcial insists ‘walang pagbabago’ in return of physical play in PBA



The return of physicality in PBA games early this 43rd season has drawn raves from the coaches and the fans. At last, the matches are decided by the players themselves and not by the way the referees blow their whistles.

All the fans, the players, and ultimately the coaches have been longing for such, as physical play was something that was heavily controlled during the administration of former commissioner Chito Narvasa from 2015 to 2017.

“The games are being called a little differently now. They’re allowing a little bit more contact or a lot more contact,” said Meralco Bolts head coach Norman Black.

“I love it. I’m an old school guy so you can imagine. No harm, no foul.”

“The physicality’s good. It’s good for the game. It’s real men going at it,” opined Alaska Aces head coach Alex Compton on the other hand, seconding Black’s sentiments.

“I like the direction the league is going in with officiating.”

It is just one of the many positive changes that is currently taking place in the league under the management of officer-in-charge Willie Marcial. But he insisted that tweaks haven’t really been made in terms of calling games.

“Wala, pinapalaro lang namin. Walang pagbabago yun,” said the amiable league official Monday evening, when he paid Gilas Pilipinas a surprise visit at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City.

“Pinapalaro lang namin yung mga players.”

All that he’s doing, according to Marcial, is simply reminding the referees to be firm with their calls.

“Sinabihan ko lang yung mga referees na, ‘Manindigan kayo kung ano talaga.'”

With much more consistent calls comes the shorter duration of games compared to the past two seasons, as time-consuming reviews by referees and officials have not taken place in matches too often this season.

“Mas mabilis na (mga laro ngayon),” said Marcial, also the league’s former external affairs and communications head.

“One hour (and) 56 (minutes), one hour 52… ‘Di umaabot ng dalawang oras eh.”

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Manny Pacquiao eyes bout against Vasyl Lomachenko



Even if he has hinted at retirement numerous times, Senator Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38KO) continues to stress that the time is not yet now.

In an interview with ANC’s Headstart Wednesday morning, the 39-year-old sure hall of famer reiterated his stance that he and his camp are still looking for the best fights possible.

“I am not retired yet. Alam mo na-mimiss ko yun boxing e,” Pacquiao told Karen Davilla.

“I’m still okay.”

Pacquiao, who lost his last bout against Jeff Horn last July 2, is not afraid that another loss might affect his legacy.

Pressed on who he wants to fight next, boxing’s only eight-division world champion disclosed that he is currently under negotiations with the camp of WBO Super Featherweight Champion Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1, 8KO).

“Wala akong problema kung Amir Khan. May discussion din ngayon kay Lomachenko, he is the number one pound-for-pound fighter,” Pacquiao shared.

“Hindi pa na-finalize pero this year.”

Pacquiao is eyeing an April date for the bout as it will be the time the senate goes on a break.

“This year, by April. Pangako ko sa mga tao na hindi maapektuhan ang trabaho ko. April, magandang idea dahil off kami from March 23 to May 13. April wala kaming trabaho,” a confident Pacquiao added.

“Three months is more than enough time to prepare.”

However, there is still one hindrance to the bout, according to Pacquiao. The two camps have yet to agree on which weight class the bout will be held.

According to reports, Lomachenko wants the bout to be at lightweight — a division Pacquiao has not been in for the last 10 years.

“Hindi pa sure. Nag-uusap pa about sa timbang.”

One thing is for sure. Pacquiao is hungrier more than ever.

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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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