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PFFWL Roundup: 12 wins in a row for perfect DLSU; UST, FEU complete top three

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The PFF Women’s League had five matches this week, including one between Green Archers United FC and The Younghusband FA last Saturday in Cavite, which resulted in a default, prompting an automatic 3-0 win and three points awarded to TYFA.

Dimaandal returns to form, helps push DLSU streak to 11


It was a triumphant return to league play for De La Salle University after being on bye for nearly a month, and their 4-1 beating of surging club Hiraya FC keeps them undefeated and on top of the league.

In their previous meeting, Hiraya managed to hold off DLSU until the second half, but last weekend’s match saw the ladies in green needing only thirteen minutes. Kyra Dimaandal broke through Hiraya’s defensive line and thumped in a goal after beating the keeper, her first since July.

Hiraya were able to regroup after that and kept the scoreline as it was until halftime. After restart, Anicka Castañeda proved again how productive she for her new team when she blasted a 55th minute goal from long range.

Five minutes later, Cecilia Dayrit pulled a goal back for Hiraya, taking the La Sallian backline by surprise as she capitalized on a through ball into the box that ended with the keeper clashing with one of her defenders.

Unfortunately for Hiraya, Sara Castañeda decided to cancel this effort out after hitting from way off right to the far post in the 65th minute.
Dimaandal wrapped it up for the Lady Archers with a minute left until full time, the captain scoring her second of the match after some nifty combination play inside the box.

The Hiraya win means DLSU has not lost a match since nearly a year ago, a total of 11 straight victories, 20 if UAAP Season 79 were included.
Yet coach Hans-Peter Smit maintains the team is far from perfect.

“You can see the long layoff, it showed in the game. They’re not as fluid, that’s why you saw me screaming and screaming because I wanted them to go back to their old game. They were able to execute but not as often as I would want them to. Yes they were dominating ninety percent but you can say the shots that we had did not have too much power,” Smit said.

Even with the championship already secured, the La Sallian mentor promises his side will not relax with two more matches to go.

“I remind the girls that I want to keep a clean slate because I want to do history because no other football team has done this. Today is the 20th game straight, no loss, so I said let’s go for the 22-game streak, then let’s see what happens in the UAAP,” he added.

Caw-It second half strike secures comeback win for FEU


PFFWL - FEU def ADMU - Caw-It celebratesFar Eastern University have clinched the third spot on the ladder after a come from behind 2-1 win over the Ateneo de Manila University last Sunday.

It was the Katipunan-based squad that led after 26 minutes when Suet Simoy’s clumsy tackle on Jill Panganiban led to a penalty situation which Tessa Bernardo converted.

The Lady Tamaraws were able to equalize only six minutes later, after captain Jovelle Sudaria belted in a running shot from thirty yards out.
Moments later, the Lady Eagles had a chance to take the lead again after Hannah Pachejo fouled Bernardo while inside the penalty area. This time however, Kimberly Pariña was able to block Bernardo’s spot kick.

FEU capitalized on Ateneo’s missed opportunity 23 minutes into the second half when Mae Ann Caw-It jumped on a poor clearance for a near post shot that ended up being the match winner.

Pleased with the outcome, FEU coach Let Dimzon said they were able to work out the lapses from their previous games.

“Ngayon we’re doing better with the attacking, pero malaki pa rin yung kailangan namin i-work out with defending. Sabihin natin malakas yung attacking pero when it comes to defending, dun kami nagkakaroon lagi ng butas,” she shared.

Dimzon also recognized that her wards’ understanding of the game still needs work. “We are trying to improve yung game insight nila dahil yung nagiging problem is game understanding, so individual. Yung decision-making, especially kapag nandodoon na sa taas ng box, doon sila nara-rattle.”

FEU now sit in third place with three points and one remaining match to go.

Dominant UST rain goals on frustrated UP to lock up second


PFFWL - UST def UP - CadagThe University of Santo Tomas Lady Booters were the first team to complete the first season of the inaugural league, and they finished with authority, sweeping the entire second round.

It would not be enough, however, certainly not enough to touch the pinnacle that DLSU are on, thus the UAAP Season 79 runners-up would have to make do with another bridesmaid finish.

UST were quickly on top of UP in just two minutes when Shelah Mae Cadag picked on Nina Yanto’s quick second touch pass for a dipping shot at the far post.

In the 21st minute, MJ Indac doubled the Lady Tigresses’ lead after cleaning up on Yanto’s attempt that hit the crossbar. Moments into first half stoppage, Yanto added another goal with a turnaround shot just inside the box.

Just like in their previous meeting, it was BG Sta. Clara who put the Lady Maroons on the board with a bouncing header seven minutes after halftime. The España-based squad responded quickly when Cadag drilled a low bouncing strike.

The Lady Booters continued to prey on the UP defense with Hazel Lustan adding a 57th minute goal that looped from the distance.

The Lady Maroons did not back down with scoring chances one after another only to be thwarted by the woodwork or with near misses. In the end, UST claimed a dominating 5-1 victory but their instructor was dismissive of the result.

“Masaya dahil panalo pero ang objective kasi namin is makita kung umaangat yung performance regardless kung sino yung kalaban. Kaya kung titingnan yung individual skills sa performance ng team medyo dismayado kasi nakikita na merong mga player na hindi pa rin talaga conditioned o nakakapag-perform ng maayos. Parang kung anong performance dati ganun pa rin,” Aging Rubio said.

Having played their last match for the league, she revealed that she was unhappy with the changes to the league format which reduced the number of matches, rendering it impossible for her side to challenge De La Salle for the title.

“Hindi naman puwedeng kung ano yung regulations na ginamit nung nag-agree bago nag-kick off tapos biglang pagdating ng second round nagbago. Nakakalungkot lang kasi ine-aim namin is game exposure tapos nabawasan yung games,” UST’s chief tactician furthered. “Yung pag-change lang talaga ng regulations na-compromise yung at stake na championship na tinitignan ng lahat. Medyo magulo talaga. Pero aside dun, thankful pa rin dahil mayroong tournament na ganito.”

DLSU shuts out sister team GAU for 12th straight win


PFFWL - DLSU def GAU - CastañedaDe La Salle University Lady Archers are clearly unstoppable at the moment. Not even the team closest to them in style and most familiar with their system and their players can put a dent on their onrushing success.

The Taft-based squad routed their Alabang-based counterparts 3-0 last Wednesday, November 15, at their own turf in De La Salle Zobel to stretch their win streak to 12.

Both teams were on equal footing for most of the first half until Kyra Dimaandal opened the scoring for La Salle yet again three minutes before halftime. Dimaandal took advantage of a defensive error inside the box before slotting the ball into the net.

In the 70th minute, Kyla Inquig finished on a low cross from Irish Navaja at the wings. Anicka Castañeda added a third goal in the dying minutes after some combination passes.

Even with an unbeaten streak going and a guaranteed title, DLSU remain wary of overconfidence.

“It’s flattering but we can’t nail it into our heads. The streak is like an incentive for each game. But like always, we take games one at a time. Credit also to our previous captains Inna [Palacios] and Meryll [Ledesma] for leading the team, they were big factors in our progress last year,” the present captain Dimaandal said.

The league’s leading scorer has racked up a total of 17 goals, but the in-form striker maintains she is far from it.

“I haven’t gotten my proper form yet, and I’ve been very lousy in games [so far]. I’m just lucky my teammates are great players,” Dimaandal added. “I wasn’t concerned [with my scoring streak getting broken] because I’m not focused on scoring for the meantime. [Instead] I want to focus on the team’s growth and how we’re going to play this upcoming UAAP season.

“It’s important to see the rookies step up and one way to make them step up is to let them score and make plays,” she closed.

League Standings


DLSU – 36 (pts)
UST – 27
FEU – 23
GAU FC – 19
Hiraya FC – 16
ADMU – 15
TYFA – 15
OutKast FC – 14
UP – 13
Fuego Espanya – 0

On Deck


The first season of the PFF Women’s League will close on Saturday, November 18, at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona with four matches:

DLSU (1) vs. TYFA (7) at 8:00 a.m., FEU (3) vs. UP (9) at 10:00 a.m., OutKast FC (8) vs. Hiraya FC (5) at 1:00 p.m., Fuego Espanya (10) vs. ADMU (6) at 3:00 p.m.

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Ateneo pulls out of friendly against UST

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The Philippine Superliga regretfully announced Friday evening that the supposed tune-up match between the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles and the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses on Saturday has been cancelled.

“We regret to announce that the scheduled friendly game between Ateneo and University of Santo Tomas volleyball teams that was to serve as an appetizer to Saturday’s championship game between Petron and F2 Logistics will not push through,” PSL chairman Philip Juico released in a statement.

Though no specific reason was said regarding why the Lady Eagles decided to pull out of the tune-up that was announced Friday morning, the league stressed that the team agreed to play.

“A late announcement by the Ateneo de Manila University officials caused the cancellation of the match they have earlier agreed to play,” the statement furthered.

Even with this circumstance, the league is holding no grudges as it is still open to have a partnership with the Lady Eagles in the future.

“The Philippine Superliga still welcomes the Ateneo Volleyball Team to play in the league as we are open to all interested squads who want to be partners of the PSL.”

Still, Game Three of the Chooks-to-Go/PSL Grand Prix will still have a start time of 4:00pm.

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Lady Eagles versus Golden Tigresses to open PSL’s season finale

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Serving as the opening act for Game Three of the Chooks-to-Go/PSL Grand Prix Finals pitting the Petron Blaze Spikers and the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, UAAP rivals Ateneo Lady Eagles will face the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses to open the day’s festivities. The game is set at 1:00pm at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

This will be the final encounter of the two teams before the UAAP Season 80 Women’s Volleyball tournament begins on February 3.

The Growling Tigresses are expected to field a complete teams sans fourth-year spiker Cherry Rondina. Rondina will play for Petron later in the evening.

On the other hand, the Lady Eagles will be stepping on the PSL taraflex for the first-time ever. Ateneo won two championships in the collegiate division of PSL rival V-League. Bannering the new-look Ateneo will be Bea De Leon, Jho Maraguinot, and Kat Tolentino.

This will then be followed by the rubber match between Petron and F2 Logistics. The awarding ceremony for the tournament is set at 6:00pm.

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#OOThirdy

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The UAAP Season 80 Finals Most Valuable Player’s on court swag carries over off the court

In terms of stylish post-game Outfit of the Day (or #OOTD, as the millenials call it), if the NBA has Russell Westbrook, the UAAP has Thirdy Ravena.

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After games, the student-athletes usually just throw on a shirt and a comfortable pair of pants or shorts. However, the 20-year-old Ravena puts in more effort than that.

Rarely would you see him with a “plain” attire. From printed pants, to leather jackets, to statement shoes, this high-flying Blue Eagle has got it all.

When asked about his fashion sense, he proudly shared that he is the only one who plans his outfits — no stylist needed.

“It’s something I look forward to because I like to dress up. It’s an opportunity for me to show who I am. It’s one way to show your character,” said the second-generation cager, who averaged 15.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 0.9 steals during Ateneo’s golden run.

“Might as well enjoy also off the court diba!”

Photos of his outfits have been shared on social media and liked multiple times both on Twitter and on Instagram. He even has his own hashtag for it, #OOThirdy, and makes sure he maintains a lookbook in his well-curated Instagram feed.

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“It’s nothing big really. It’s just I didn’t expect that people will talk about it this way,” Ravena said after describing his style as a mix of streetwear and preppy.

“I’m happy that people accept me and they appreciate how I dress up.”

His basketball prowess propelled the Ateneo de Manila University to this season’s championship, showing his tremendous potential and hinting that his talent can go beyond the college level.

But with his natural flair for fashion, opportunities can also open up for him beyond basketball. When asked what he thinks of possibly designing clothes in the future, he immediately expressed his interest in it.

“That is something na parang I think I could have fun doing. We really can’t tell, but maybe in the future,” he said.

“Maybe kapag the time is right and when things are where they are supposed to be, then why not.”

If you are a basketball fan and fashion savvy at the same time, the excitement of watching an Ateneo game does not end after the final buzzer. Ravena’s post-game outfit game is something to look forward to, too.

Keep slaying, Thirdy!

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Much-maligned Chibueze Ikeh goes out in a blaze of glory

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With 1:39 left in Game Three of the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Basketball Finals, wily floor general Anton Asistio found a free Chibueze Ikeh underneath. Once he was able to lock his legs, Ikeh soared through the air before throwing down a thunderous one-handed jam that gave the Ateneo de Manila University an 82-73 lead.

The sea of blue in the jampacked SMART-Araneta Coliseum exploded with chants of “Ikeh! Ikeh! Ikeh!”.

“It was now or never,” Ikeh recalled during a live chat with ABS-CBN Sports.

“I took the opportunity since it was my last playing year, I had to take it hard all the time.”

The 6-foot-9 big man had waited for three years to experience that moment.

During his first two years with the Blue Eagles, no one was more scrutinized than Ikeh. Many were frustrated that he couldn’t release his true potential even if he had all the physical tools to do so. And that included second-year Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin.

“There’s this thing called male pattern balding. I’m losing more hair! Can you believe it?,” quipped Baldwin as he paid tribute to Ikeh during the Blue Eagles’ thanksgiving mass at the Church of the Gesu.

“Since I’ve know him he has been criticized more than any other player we have. And sometimes for good reason.”

Ikeh averaged a paltry 5.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in his first two years in Ateneo. Amid the pressure on him to deliver, as he was inheriting a post left by great Ateneo centers like Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Greg Slaughter, he himself struggled to even stay on the floor during that time, averaging 2.9 fouls per game that limited him to just 17.7 minutes per contest.

Then there was his arrest last November 4, 2015.

Even with this, the Blue Eagles continued to believe in him.

“This is a young man who left his continent, friends, family,” furthered Baldwin.

“He had to fit in without asking anybody to fit in with him.”

Anybody else would have broken down, packed their bags, and left after experiencing all of this. Not Ikeh. The Nigerian student-athlete persevered in the off-season that resulted to career-highs across the board. In his final year, he posted norms of 7.5 points and 8.6 rebounds, per contest. Ikeh was even top 10 in the statistical points ladder to end the elimination round.

And no one appreciated him more then the Blue Eagles. Thirdy Ravena even asked Ikeh to join him at center court when he was awarded with the Finals Most Valuable Player plum.

“I wasn’t expecting that, but he’s been one of a kind. For him to share that moment with me, it feels so great,” said Ikeh about that moment. “I really appreciate that.”

“There are things na hindi nakikita ng mga tao talaga. It’s the intangible he brings,” Ravena added. “You don’t see it in the stats, but I saw Ikeh the whole game, he just did his job, he did his best to limit Ben [Mbala] and to execute the game plan.

“If it weren’t for Ikeh, his effort, Isaac [Go’s] shot, it wouldn’t be possible for us to win.”

As Ikeh went to the podium of the Church of the Gesu on Sunday night — his last moment as an Ateneo Blue Eagle — the community once again exploded into a chant of “Ikeh! Ikeh! Ikeh!”

“Thank you for believing in me,” Ikeh said, trying to fight off tears as he closed this chapter of his young career.

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