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Pessumal, Ravena weigh-in on their last year in the UAAP

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With the UAAP basketball season fast approaching, the Ateneo Blue Eagles are looking to bring the trophy back to Katipunan. Led by newly-minted Smart Elite ambassadors, Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal, as well as re-tooling their roster with numerous rookies, Ateneo has the makings of a title contender this season.

In an interview with Tiebreaker Times, Ravena and Pessumal shared how they plan on facing their final year in the UAAP.

As the two seniors begin their final year in the UAAP, mixed feelings of excitement as well as nervousness crawl through their skins. For Pessumal, this marks the beginning of the end of his long run as an Ateneo basketball player. Ravena, on the other hand, can’t wait for the experience, but hopes it doesn’t end too soon.

“I’m a little bit excited and nervous at the same time, as well as a little bit sad. I’ve been playing for Ateneo for the past… I don’t know, since I was a kid. This will be my last time that I’ll get to play in the UAAP,” shared Pessumal.

“It’s a mix of everything. It’s something that you want to start, but don’t want to end. It’s my last year, and hopefully we can pull off a championship,” added Ravena.

The two graduating players also shared that they always talk with each other, even more so now that it’s their last year to play for Ateneo.

For Pessumal, talking with Kiefer and the rest of the graduating batch helped him realize the gravity of the situation that they’re in. There’ll be no more second chances for them, and this is their last chance for a championship.

“We always talk about it. Sometimes it’s serious talk, sometimes it’s jokingly, but we always talk about it. I think the more we talk about it, the more we realize that this is really it. We’re going to start our last year in the UAAP and after this we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Kiefer also chimed in, adding that their discussions are a big help not only to them, but to the team as well.

“We always have those conversations. ‘Ano pwede namin gawin? Ano kailangan namin gawin para manalo? Ano yung dapat namin gawin since it’s our last year? How do we lead by example? How do we lead the young guys?’ Pinag-uusapan talaga namin kasi ayaw namin mag-sisi in the end sa mga hindi namin ginawa.” 

The growth of the team’s rookies is important for Pessumal and Ravena as well. The Blue Eagles boast eight rookies in their lineup, with a few of them expected to play heavy minutes. Former Bullpup Hubert Cani, UAAP Juniors MVP Jerie Pingoy, as well as foreign-student athlete Chibueze Ikeh, are expected to make an immediate impact on their first season as a Blue Eagle.

“I think there’s two parts of being a good leader, it’s vocally and through example, and I try to do it both. Vocally, I try to give words of encouragement once in a while. With my work ethic, I want to show them that to get better you really have to work hard. Nothing is given to you. Every one here were star players in high school, me, Kief, Pingoy and Cani. We were all star players in high school. but there comes a time when you get to a saturation point if you don’t work hard. You just really have to work hard everyday,” said Pessumal.

“Of course. Kailangan talaga nila yun eh. Marami mawawala sa amin after this season, not just players, but experience-wise. Ito lang maiiwan namin sa kanila, so kailangan namin tutukan yung mga bata.”

The two Ateneans also mentioned just how much they want to win the championship this year. Pessumal is out to prove that despite losing the members of the five-peat era, Ateneo still has what it takes to reach the top.

“This year, like every year, I have something to prove. Not just to myself, but to everybody. I want to win at the end of the day. That’s always been my goal every time I step on the basketball court. This year it’s a win or go home situation for me, Kiefer, and the rest of the graduating guys,” said Pessumal. “We didn’t win the past two years, so I think we really have to win this one. I want to prove that despite losing coach Norman and losing the key players from the five-peat season that we’re still a good team and we can do it without them.”

Meanwhile, Kiefer wants to leave a good legacy to the community and the people who have supported him from day-one.

“Since it’s my last year wala na, kailangan magpakamatay na talaga. Wala na akong sasabihin na ‘bawi tayo next year’ since I’ll be moving to a different chapter after this season. I want to leave a good legacy to the Ateneo crowd, Ateneo community, and my fans who have been there with their never-ending support. It’s just right for me to give something back. Kailangan talagang bigyan ko sila ng good game everytime.”

Does Ateneo have what it takes to regain the five-peat glory days? It remains to be seen, but for Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal, they’ll be doing all they can for another taste of the championship before their time in the UAAP is over.

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Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa

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After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Ryan Moss grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“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. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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Basketball

CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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