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Philippines takes 2-0 lead over Sri Lanka in Davis Cup

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Wanting more of the same

The Philippine team raced to a 2-0 advantage against Sri Lanka after Day 1 of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group II tie last Friday, at the Valle Verde Country Club, in Pasig City

Tierro climbs back to win opening match

PLAYER12345Sets
P. Tierro (PHI)536663
H. Godamanna (SRI)764032

 

RP top singles player Patrick John Tierro started the campaign for the Nationals against a familiar foe in Harshana Godamanna. Godamanna continued his mastery over Tierro, whom he defeated in 5 sets last year, as the Sri Lankan took the first two sets. Tierro served well, connecting with several aces and service winners, while Godamanna had problems on his service as he had three double faults in just the first three games of the first set. The Colombo native, however, forced the otherwise solid Filipino ace player into several errors, especially on the former’s service game. Sri Lanka went to a 5-2 start and threatened to grab the set, but the Tierro had other things in mind. The former De La Salle University stalwart stepped on the gas pedal and won his service games easily to frustrate Godamanna by forcing him to errors on his own serve, which leveled the set at 5 games-all. The visitor took the momentum as errors from Tierro in the final game gave Sri Lanka the first set, 7-5.

During the second set, both players held on to their own service games, turning into a see-saw affair . Tierro continued his brilliant form on serve as he won them mostly on aces and on service winners. In the pivotal fourth game of the second frame, the Filipino had two break points but failed to close the game. This consequently becomes the story of the set. With a slim 3-2 lead with the set on serve, Godamanna broke Tierro to double the lead. The Sri Lankan added to the lead scoring on brilliant winners. The Pinoy top-seed would hold on to his serve, but that will his last hurrah as Godamanna took the second set and move a set away from taking the first match for his team, 6-3.

Third set followed a similar pattern to the previous one as the protagonists exchanged control of the match on their service games. With the match tied in this set, Tierro slowly gained confidence when he survived the ninth game by forcing miscues from Godamanna, to take the lead at 5-4. The South Carolina-born veteran closed out the set to take one back for the Philippines.

Sensing the momentum, Tierro pulled out all the stops to prolong the match and stir it in the Nationals’ favor. He blanked Godamanna in the fourth set, 6-0. Tierro scored 32 points while limiting the guest to just 12 points, which came mostly from the Filipino’s errors.

With the match in his control, the Filipino netter moved to an early 3-0 lead in the decider. Godamanna answered by holding on to his service games, but that did not stop Tierro from taking the 5-3 lead going in to the Pinoy’s last serve. After five match points, Tierro sealed the deal and completed the impressive comeback, 6-3.

When asked about the match, Tierro shared that he was indeed having problems with his game because the ball had an awkward bounce, and so he decided to change the tension of his racket prior to the third set. “Kasi nung first two sets it was going out. I don’t know if it’s about the ball or racket but he [Godmanna] was also playing well din kasi.”

Even when down two sets to none, Tierro never lost hope. “Godmanna was lucky pero kasama sa game yun. Sabi nga ni coach, just wait for your opportunity. Be patient and you’ll get your moment.”

When asked if revenge was on his mind, Tierro told us that it was definitely in his thoughts: “Losing five sets to him last year was heartbreaking.” Finally, Tierro felt great playing in front of an excellent crowd and in Valle Verde Country Club: “It’s a great facility and the crowd was amazing. The feeling of winning in front of people cheering for you is a surreal experience.”

3-2-1! Gonzales dominates to put RP closer to next round

Player12345Sets
R. Gonzales (PHI)666  3
S. Dissanayake (SRI)321  0

 

Five-year veteran Ruben Gonzales took the court next, against Sri Lanka’s no. 1 Sharmal Dissanayake wherein he flexed his muscles right of the bat. He fired service aces consecutively to take the first game, 1-0. Dissanayake retaliated to level the match at 1-apiece. But that would be just one of his breakthroughs in the game as the Filipino used his powerful forehand. A forehand winner clinched the first set for Gonzales, 6-3.

In the following set, problems piled up for Dissanayake when he lost his first service game on the account of three errors and a double fault. On the other hand, Gonzales continued to win games on service winners and aces. The Filipino ace also had numerous forehand winners which the visitor could not answer. Looking for some lifeline, the Sri Lankan controlled the seventh game to cut the deficit to 3, 5-2. However, Gonzales finished the set with a wonderful sequence of serve-and-volley plays, 6-2, and pushed the Philippines closer to a commanding two-match lead in this tie.

The third set was no different, with Gonzales who controlled the match while just enjoying the atmosphere. The Indiana-based netter attempted three drop shots in the second to fourth games that failed to connect. One of those errors gave Dissayanake a breakpoint in the second game, which the visitor converted to a game to tie the set at 1-apiece. Gonzales went on to sweep the next five games to seal the deal for the Nationals and move one win away from returning to Group II semifinals, 6-1.

The long-time Davis Cup participant recently won the ATP Challenger 100 tournament in Morelos, Mexico before flying to the country for this tie. He added this added confidence on his game. “I definitely felt good coming in, but I have been training very hard last couple [of] months so that made me feel more confident.” He did not, however, expect to dominate Dissayanake knowing that the Sri Lankan was a tough opponent. “I just went in and tried to execute my gameplan.” In closing, Gonzales shared that he loves playing for the country for these past few years, “Playing for my country is the biggest honor that I’ve ever had in my life. I’m truly blessed to have these opportunities and I will always give my all my heart and soul and body in representing my country.”

The Nationals will attempt to close out the tie on Saturday, March 7, as ATP Tour two-time champion Treat Huey partners with young gun Francis Casey Alcantara in the lone doubles match.

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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EAC

Perpetual escapes upset-hungry EAC

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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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EAC

Altas steamroll Generals for fourth win

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The University of Perptual Help System DALTA Altas maintained top-billing in the NCAA Season 93 Men’s Volleyball tournament after cruising past the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, 25-14, 25-19, 25-11, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Last season’s runners-up dominated right from the first point and never let the Generals sniff the lead. The Altas outclassed the San Marcelino-based program in every scoring category, tallying a season-high 13 blocks to EAC’s three.

The Altas also maintained their solid passing this season, a trend which delighted head coach Sammy Acaylar.

“Isa ‘yun sa mga bagay na tinututukan ko talaga sa kanila kasi we know na we can be good at attacking and blocking. We just need to be consistent on floor defense and reception,” said Acaylar as the Altas went 58 percent on excellent receives.

“Kahit maganda ang nilalaro namin ngayon, alam naman ng mga bata ang end goal namin which is to win a championship. So kailangan isa-isa lang ang tingin namin sa mga laro kasi marami pang challenges na darating bago namin makamit ang championship,” the decorated mentor added.

Graduating team captain Rey Taneo towed the Las Piñas-based spikers with 12 points coming off seven attacks and five blocks. Joebert Almodiel added 11 points.

Perpetual (4-0) looks to keep streaking when they face the struggling Jose Rizal University (0-4) on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Open hitter Joshua Mina was the lone bright spot for the Generals, scoring 13 points.

EAC (2-2) takes on the defending champion College of Saint Benilde (2-1) on Monday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores:

UPHSD (3) – Taneo 12, Almodiel 11, Rosales 10, Muhali 8, Ramos 8, Atentar 1, Solamilo 1, Bateon 0, Catipay 0, Salo 0, Taneo S. 0, Kalingking (L)

EAC (0) – Mina 13, Lim 5, Ilano 4, Rasing 2, Castelano 0, Garcia 0, Panoy 0, Magadan (L)

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ABL

Joshua Munzon, Westsports snap Saigon’s streak in highly emotional contest

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Photo by ASEAN Basketball League

Entering Wednesday night’s game, Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat were on a high, slaying the winning streaks of Hong Kong Eastern and Nanhai Kung Fu. However, Joshua Munzon and the Westsports Malaysia Dragons had other things in mind, keeping the Heat winless at the MABA Stadium, 91-87.

In his fourth game since returning to the Dragons, Munzon filled up the stat sheet, tallying 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks.

Besides putting up the numbers, the athletic swingman from California helped limit reigning Heritage Player of the Week Williams to his worst game so far in the ABL. Averaging 27.33 points, 6.67 assists, and 6.0 rebounds prior to this game, Williams went field goal-less against the Dragons, missing all 11 of his attempts. The Filipino-American floor general was able to dish out eight assists and grab five caroms.

Westsports led by as much as 11 points in the final frame, 82-71, after Munzon found Marcus Marshall for a triple with 4:59 remaining. Behind World Imports Akeem Scott and Maxie Esho, the Heat stormed right back but was answered by a long bomb by Munzon to keep them at bay.

Marshall and Scott figured in a shootout to close out the game but in the end, the hosts were still able to etch out their second straight victory.

Marshall finished the game with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Dragons while Scott’s 44-point game went for naught.

After the emotionally charged contest though, few unkind words were exchanged by the officials of both squads that almost resulted into a brawl. Fortunately, things did not escalate beyond that.

In the video, Munzon was also seen shoving a Saigon player to try and pacify the situation. The league is currently investigating the post-game incident.

With the win, Westsports Malaysia raised its record to 3-4 while dropping Saigon to 4-3.

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Mixed Martial Arts

Edward Kelly honored to fight alongside brother Eric

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Eric and Edward Kelly lived under the same roof for years in their hometown of Baguio City when they were young and shared the same burning passion in martial arts.

Growing up in the small town community of San Tomas Central, located within the city limits of Baguio, Eric and Edward did not always get along with one another as the two fought all the time, sometimes even resulting in injury.

“We were not that close before. We always fought. In short, Eric and I were headaches to our parents,” Edward recalled in jest.

“But of course, things change when you grow up and mature. We now appreciate each other’s company.”

Fortunately, when the brothers entered high school, Eric discovered martial arts, and everything would change for both of them.

Edward paid attention to the growing accolades of his older brother and was heavily motivated by it.

“I noticed after he started martial arts that it taught him the discipline not to fight me as a brother. Instead, he started giving me advice through what he had learned,” he bared. “I also joined martial arts because it teaches you discipline, and a lot of other positives, too.”

Years later, both men have made remarkable runs as outstanding martial artists in their respective professional careers.

Eric is widely regarded as one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines.

A Wushu practitioner who combines solid striking techniques with high-level grappling skills, Eric owns nine scintillating submissions and one knockout out of 12 total career victories.

Eric’s most impressive showing to date came in a submission win over Rob Lisita in July 2014, a performance that earned him the USD 50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus.

Meanwhile, Edward is considered as one of the best and brightest featherweight prospects to emerge from the well-established martial arts scene in the Philippines.

With a complete striking and grappling skill set, Edward brings Team Lakay’s world-renowned Wushu to center stage as he showcases his impeccable skillset inside the ONE Championship cage.

In addition, the younger Kelly has won three of his last four bouts under the ONE Championship banner, all by spectacular finish.

The Kelly brothers get a rare chance on Friday, January 26 as the siblings will compete side-by-side when ONE Championship holds its first of the four scheduled events in the country for 2018.

Eric squares off with Brazilian standout Rafael Nunes on the undercard of ONE: Global Superheroes, while Edward crosses paths with Cambodia’s Meas Meul in a three-round featherweight clash.

It is the first time both of them will be featured at a ONE Championship event together, and Edward plans to make it a night they will never forget.

“I am so excited because finally, it’s going to happen. It marks the first time that I will compete alongside my older brother. Surely, it’s going to be a memorable night for the both of us,” he said.

“We have the same aim of winning. So making it two for two on this card will make this extra special.”

As Eric seeks to get back on the winning track at the expense of Nunes, Edward is likewise looking to move forward in his career after getting his three-bout winning streak snapped by American stalwart Emilio Urrutia in August 2017.

In his next cage outing, Edward goes up against Meul, a undefeated promotional newcomer with six wins to his credit.

“My coaches has prepared me well for this. I am not going to disappoint my team and my country when I enter that cage on 26th of January,” Edward assured. “I don’t want to let my countrymen down this time. I am here to give them a great bout.

“And of course, win the bout in impressive fashion for them.”

Edward has no qualms if he has to go full three rounds with Meul, but he admitted that his sights are always set on securing the finish.

“I am looking to dominate him for three rounds. But hopefully, I can get the finish,” he vowed.

“A finish will be the perfect way to tell the world that I am back.”

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