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PLDT claims first SVL title; dethrones Army in epic Game Three

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With ominous white and orange balloons hanging over the playing court and thousands of ruckus fans filling the stands, the PLDT Home Ultera Ultra Fast Hitters fulfilled lofty preseason expectations, clinching their first Shakey’s V-League title in a five-set classic over the defending champions, Army Lady Troopers 25-22, 18-25, 26-24, 28-26, 15-13 at the FilOil Flying-V Arena.

PLDT, as they have done all season, rode the hot hand of local volleyball superstar, Alyssa Valdez who dropped a game-high 29 points and 10 excellent digs. Jaja Santiago, who garnered her second SVL title and first MVP Award, and Gretchel Soltones, who won her first title since entering the collegiate ranks, both paced the PLDT offense with 17 points apiece. PLDT found themselves trailing for most of the up-and-down match with Army’s blocking forcing them into tight corners. Army tallied 19 block kills, the most of any team this season, to PLDT’s four but the Ultra Fast Hitters dug themselves out with their signature powerful attacking as they notched 63 attacks to Army’s 49.

Valdez got her high-flying act off early as she helped keep PLDT close in a tight first set. The Ultra Fast Hitters closed the opening set with a combined effort from Soltones and Santiago. Their play took a dive for an extended period as Army controlled the pace of the match masterfully with their blocking and explosive attacking from Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Anne Daquis. The Lady Troopers handily took the second set and were in control for much of the third set until PLDT made a last minute run.

One point away from netting the third frame, 24-21, the Lady Troopers coughed up three consecutive errors and sent the set into a deuce. Army, however, quickly restored order as Jovelyn Gonzaga capped a combination play that gave Army advantage. Alyssa Valdez sent a cross-court attack long in the following point, giving Army a 2-1 sets advantage.

The Ultra Fast Hitters built an early lead in the following set, 12-8, with Valdez firing off four points within that stretch. Dindin Santiago-Manabat’s devastating running attacks buoyed the Lady Troopers from there, allowing them to tie the set at 14. What followed was another heavy back and forth with the Santiago sisters bannering the action that led to another deuce after a Sue Roces service error. Gretchel Soltones’ attacks put PLDT at set point twice, but her team’s errors kept the set at deuce. Tied at 26, Alyssa Valdez once again saved her team’s season, scoring the following two points off questionable receptions from her teammates and simultaneously sending the title match into a deciding fifth set.

Veteran composure and moves allowed Army to sniff a hefty lead early in the final set, 4-1. However, the Ultra Fast Hitters reacted quickly, eventually tying the match, 4-4, off a Jaja Santiago block and then taking a decisive 9-7 lead after Tina Salak mistimed her drop ball. The Ultra Fast Hitters came close to squandering their advantage with their own attack errors. An Alyssa Valdez attack that went wide tied the match at 13, prompting PLDT head coach, Roger Gorayeb to call for a timeout. His last minute talk proved crucial as his girls got the job done after the timeout. PLDT first scored off a beautiful double-quick play for Sue Roces then Jaja Santiago scored the championship point off a snap decision to tip a ball that Army overdug.

“Sinabihan ko lang ‘yung mga bata ng mga bagay na mag-uuplift sa kanila,” said Gorayeb in the post-match presser. “Lahat ng players nag-step up, si Jaja, si Gretchel, even si Denden at Tatan (Pantone), malaki ‘yung ginawa ng dalawang libero namin. Hindi na ‘rin talaga ako nag-focus sa kung anong kaya nilang (Army) gawin, nag-focus na lang ako sa kung ano ‘yung kailangan namin gawin.”

Recently named the SEA Games Women’s Volleyball team captian, Jovelyn Gonzaga led the Lady Troppers with 19 points while Dindin Santigo-Manabat delivered 17 points. After having a miserable first two games of the Finals, Rachel Anne Daquis rebounded with an 11-point outing.

The Scores:

PLDT (3) – Valdez 29, Santiago 17, Soltones 17, Roces 9, Soriano 4, De Leon 2, Devanadera 1, Kasilag 0, Villanueva 0, Ferrer 0, Lazaro (L), Pantone (L)

Army (2) – Gonzaga 19, Manabat 17, Balse 13, Daquis 11, Tubino 6, Salak 5, Aganon 4, Bautista 1, Torres 0, Agn (L)

SVL Season 12 Open Conference Awarding Ceremony
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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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Basketball

Bonbon Batiller shows what he can bring to Letran in D-League debut

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Photo by PBA Images

Tuesday proved to be a double debut for Bonbon Batiller. Aside from beginning his first foray in the PBA D-League, it also marked his debut for the Letran Knights, who is carrying the Wang’s Basketball Couriers franchise.

And the 5-foot-11 guard unleashed what he can bring to the table. Batiller collected 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists to help the Knights raise the curtains of their campaign with a 93-75 rout of Batangas-EAC Generals.

“Nagworkout yung pinagpraktisan namin,” said Batiller. “Nagbunga rin yung tinuro samin ni Coach Jeff (Napa) lalo sa depensa. Tsaka siguro sa rebounds — laking lamang namin sa rebound. Nagsipag mga bigs namin.”

But what makes him beam even more is the warm reception and trust he’s had from the Knights, even if he has spent barely a year with them after transferring from University of the East last 2017.

“Masaya po kasi tinanggap nila ako sa Letran ng buong-buo,” said Batiller, who normed 10.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 steals with UE in two years. “Tsaka yung tiwala nila na makakatulong ako sa team nandoon.

“Kaya masaya ako sa pinakita nila sa akin.”

That is why the General Santos-native is hard-pressed to prove himself to Letran, saying that he’s all about giving back to the school that gave him another opportunity to resume his young, up-and-coming basketball career.

“Kailangan kong may mapatunayan na deserving ako sa binigay na second chance sa akin ni Letran,” said Batiller, who decided to switch schools partly due to academic reasons.

“Malaki ang utang ko sa Letran.”

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Football

Bienvenido Maranon scores brace as Ceres-Negros eliminates Brisbane Roar

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Photo from the-AFC.com

Philippine club football just achieved its biggest continental result yet

The inaugural Philippines Football League champions Ceres-Negros Football Club eliminated three-time Australian champions Brisbane Roar in the 2018 AFC Champions League’s second preliminary round with a 3-2 stunner away at the QSAC Stadium in Brisbane.

With the win, the 2017 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Champions are set to face Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian next January 30, 2018 at the Haihe Educational Football Stadium in Tianjin, China to book a seat in the group stages.

Brisbane were the favorites for this tie and it showed as Ceres started the contest at the backfoot. Italian striker Massimo Maccarone handed the home side the lead at the 35th minute when he turned in Brett Holman’s pass.

Maccarone’s goal could have lowered the Busmen’s moral, but Risto Vidakovic’s men took it as a motivation rather than a downer. In fact, Ceres replied in the best way possible when Bienvenido Maranon scored his first goal of the match two minutes from halftime thanks to a scramble in the Brisbane box.

By all accounts, Ceres already made Philippine football proud at halftime. By this stage last year, Brisbane accrued a 4-0 halftime cushion against Global Cebu en route to a 6-0 rout.

Today, though, Brisbane faced tougher resistance at the hands of Ceres. This resistance turned into a full-fledged revolt at the 65th minute when Maranon directed the ball past a helpless Jamie Young to give the Busmen their first taste of the lead.

Maranon’s goal well and truly turned the tide in Ceres’ favor. Brisbane were stunned. The home side are the defending A-League champions, but are currently eighth in the table this season and would soon face elimination from Asia’s premier club competition.

Already up 2-1, the Busmen finally achieved some breathing space at the 75th minute when Omid Nazari scored from close range to give Ceres a two-goal cushion from Brisbane.

Nazari’s goal not only sealed the win for Ceres as it also propelled Philippine football into the big leagues. Not even a late goal from French midfielder Éric Bauthéac can prevent the Busmen’s victory.

After five minutes of stoppage time, Ceres emerged 3-2 winners against Brisbane Roar. Come what may against Tianjin seven days from now, the Busmen have already achieved Philippine football’s biggest result ever since their own achievement in last season’s AFC Cup.

Who knows? Maybe Ceres can pull off another upset?

Ceres-Negros XI: Doblas (GK), Super, Mike Ott, Ingreso, Maranon, Porteria, Schrock, De Murga (C), Munoz, Nazari, Christaens.

Brisbane Roar XI: Ingham, Bowles, Papadopoulos, Maccarone, Holman, Khalfallah, Oxborrow, McKay (C), Hingert, Young (GK), Franjic.

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EAC

CJ Perez, Zark’s-Lyceum vent ire on Batangas-EAC with 37-point romp

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Photo by PBA Images

CJ Perez and the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers finally lived up to its hype as it clobbered the Batangas-EAC Generals to score a 37-point beatdown, 112-75 for its first win, Tuesday at the Pasig Sports Center.

It was an all-out attack from the Jawbreakers as they beat the Generals to the bite and took control of the game early with Mike Nzeusseu and Jaycee Marcelino guiding their side to the 48-33 lead at halftime which they will never surrender.

Perez paced Zark’s Burger-Lyceum with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while MJ Ayaay tallied a double-double with his 15 markers, 10 boards, and three assists.

Cameroonian student-athlete Nzeusseu also delivered 14 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists, while Marcelino had eight first half points and wound up with 12 off the bench as the reserves chipped in 56 huge points in the tussle.

Coach Topex Robinson lauded the Jawbreakers for quickly adjusting to the style of the PBA D-League just days after falling to Marinerong Pilipino, 92-94 back in opening day.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams were playing against with. But the things we want to mind are those things we control. We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways,” he said.

Earvin Mendoza and Cedric de Joya both had 16 points for the Generals in the losing effort.

Zark’s-Lyceum looks to continue to roll when it faces the AMA Online Education Titans on Thursday, January 25. EAC-Batangas, on the other hand, takes on the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers on Monday, January 29.

The Scores:

Zark’s-Lyceum 112 — Perez 21, Ayaay 15, Nzeusseu 14, Jc. Marcelino 12, Serrano 10, Baltazar 8, Santos 8, Jv. Marcelino 6, Tansingco 6, Marata 4, Liwag 4, Ibañez 2, Cinco 2, Pretta 0.

Batangas-EAC 75 — E. Mendoza 16, De Joya 16, Tampoc 12, Laude 9, Pate 8, Maguliano 6, Altamirano 5, Diego 3, Garcia 0, Dela Peña 0, Martin 0, J. Mendoza 0, Neri 0.

Quarterscores: 19-14, 48-33, 84-47, 112-75.

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Mixed Martial Arts

ONE Championship pledges to help Global Citizen in fight against poverty

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Contributed photo

During the pre-fight showdown between the fighters main evening ONE Championship: Global Superheroes, the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in Asia also forged a partnership, Monday afternoon.

ONE, through chief executive officer and chariman, Chatri Sityodtong vowed to help Global Citizen in its fight to end poverty.

“It is with great excitement that I announce ONE Championship’s partnership with Global Citizen, an NGO with the goal of ending extreme poverty across the world by the year 2030,” said Sityodtong. “Just like Global Citizen, ONE Championship aims to inspire the people of the world to come together to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.”

“We are thrilled to be joining forces with ONE Championship to bring Global Citizen to Asia. ONE Championship reaches millions of young people around the region and together we will engage them on issues that impact the entire world,” expressed Global Citizen co-founder Wei Soo. “Since we launched Global Citizen in 2012, over 13 million actions have been taken, and we are excited to drive more actions and increase our impact for the world’s most marginalized people through this partnership.”

Headquartered in New York with offices in Canada, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom, Global Citizen was founded in 2012 with the goal of building the largest platform where people can learn about issues, take action on what matters most, and join a global movement working to end extreme poverty by 2030. Since then, millions of Global Citizens around the world have taken over ten million actions, which includes millions of emails, tweets, petition signatures, and phone calls targeting world leaders to end extreme poverty by 2030.

To date, the actions by Global Citizen’s global community, along with its high-level advocacy efforts and various partners, have resulted in 130 commitments and policy announcements from leaders, including financial aid valued at over US $35-billion, that is set to affect the lives of over 1.3 billion people.

Also present in the launch were ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera, ONE Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee, and former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang.

The partnership launching at ONE’s upcoming event in Manila, Philippines on Friday, January 26, will harness the power of ONE’s platform to engage millions of martial arts fans around the world to support initiatives and find solutions to the issues associated with extreme poverty.

Global Citizen and ONE will collaborate across 24 live ONE events scheduled in 2018, and various outreach activations throughout Asia. Fans will have the opportunity to take action and engage with specific policy areas including, education, food security, hunger and nutrition, global health, gender equality and empowerment.

“Our ONE Championship athletes embody the spirit of perseverance and many have risen through poverty through martial arts, inspiring millions of people around the world with their journey,” Sityodtong added. “Through our collaboration across all 24 of our live events scheduled in 2018, ONE Championship and Global Citizen aim to affect positive movement in our society.”

The first action ONE fans can take will be centred on global education. Fans will be able to call on donor countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and India, to attend the Global Partnership for Education’s replenishment conference in Dakar, Senegal on February 2, 2018, and make a commitment to GPE to support better education for all. Currently, 264 million children around the world are missing out on an education.

Over half are girls, and over 75 million have had their schooling disrupted by conflict or natural disasters. At the replenishment conference, the GPE will raise much needed funds that will allow it to continue to support quality, inclusive education to hundreds of millions of children around the world.

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