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PLDT sweeps Gold Medal series over Cagayan; claims inaugural Spikers’ Turf Title

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Riding the hot hands of their outside spikers, the PLDT Home Ultera Ultra Fast Hitters staved off a late Cagayan Rising Suns’ rally and clinched the first ever Spikers’ Turf championship in four sets 25-15, 25-11, 23-25, 30-28, Tuesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying-V Arena.

It was PLDT’s strategic blocking that spelled the difference in the championship series. Matching their Game One effort of 19 blocks, PLDT showed that they had mastered Cagayan’s offense as the boys in orange stuffed the vaunted Peter Torres running attacks and Jesus Espejo open hits. PLDT breezed through the first two sets but then ran into some trouble as Cagayan adjusted their lineup and attacks in the following two sets.

Veering away from running attacks and open hits, Cagayan utilized their quickers more often and involved their hitters in more combination plays. The team in wine and gold also got a crucial boost form bench skipper, Michael Zamora who scored all of his nine points in the third and fourth set. Cagayan led wire-to-wire in the third set and were ahead comfortably in the fourth, 21-17, before their play fell apart. With Howard Mojica at the service line, PLDT managed to take the lead through a 5-0 run with Cagayan’s offense misfiring. PLDT reached match point first, 24-23, but relinquished a deuce when John Vic De Guzman delivered a long serve. It took PLDT five match points to finish the match but a clutch double-block on Berlin Paglinawan delivered them the title.

Named the conference’s best opposite hitter and Finals MVP, UST’s Mark Gil Alfafara topped all scorers with 23 points off 16 attacks, six blocks, and an ace. Reigning NCAA MVP, Howard Mojica paced the PLDT offense with 19 points off 13 attacks, three blocks, and three aces. Benilde’s John Vic De Guzman contributed 12 points while former Growling Tiger, Jayson Ramos pitched in 10 markers.

“Nagbunga ‘yung preparation namin for Cagayan. Muntik na ulit sila mabuhay in noong dulo pero nagawan naman ng paraan,” said PLDT head coach, Odjie Mamon.

Two-time UAAP MVP Marck Espejo was limited to only 14 points for Cagayan. Ditto for the decorated former NU Bulldog, Peter Torres who notched only seven points.

PLDT started their season off with a bit of turbulence, going off on a 2-2 start. Since their heartbreaking five-set loss to Champion Infinity Active Smashers, PLDT refused to surrender another match and ran through their final eight matches en route to the title.

The Scores

PLDT (3) – Alfafara 23. Mojica 19, De Guzman 12, Ramos 10, Franco 8, Torres 4, Mangulabnan 2, Casillan 1, Malleon 1, Pecaña 0, Longavela (L)

Cagayan (1) – Espejo 14, Intal 10, Paglinawan 10, Zamora 9, Torres P. 7, gatdula 2, Santos 2, Pirtante 1, Torres A. 0, Canlas 0, Ramos (L), Dizon (L)

CLICK IMAGE FOR SPIKERS’ TURF OPEN CONFERENCE AWARDING CEREMONY
TST Finals PLDT vs Cagayan-5099
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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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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

FIBA 3×3 World Cup to be a huge boost for country’s Olympic bid

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All roads will lead to Bocaue, Bulacan as the 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will head to the Philippine Arena. The biggest tournament in 3×3 basketball will be played from June 8-12, 2018.

The announcement was made Thursday afternoon by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executives. The event was graced by Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas, SMART Sports’ Christopher Quimpo, and FIBA’s 3×3 Managing Director Alex Sanchez.

With 3×3 basketball being declared an Olympic event last 2017, the SBP is looking at this tournament as a way to prove to the world that we are capable of hosting and that we can compete with the world’s finest.

“As mentioned earlier, I think we’ve been very successful holding it in the malls, 3,000 to 4,000 people watching the games. We chose to move it to a bigger venue, I think we want to give an opportunity for more people to see the games,” said SBP president Al Panlilio.

“From a Philippine basketball point of view, that gives an opportunity for the youth to watch the game. From an SBP, FIBA perspective, we want bigger crowds in 3×3 and that’s something we want to deliver to FIBA,” he added.

There will be 40 teams split into two divisions that will compete in this annual tourney.

For the men’s side, the Philippines will take on teams from Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Ecuador, Estonia, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and Uruguaz.

In the women’s division, the hosts will face Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, United States, and Venezuela.

With this task of hosting a world class tournament, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help in the organization of it.

“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,” said Mascariñas.

“Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance. I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times.”

FIBA, on the other hand, is looking forward to helping groom a possible Philippine team that will compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I’m sure the event this year, we’re starting the countdown, is going to be amazing,” Sanchez said. “I think this is going to be helpful for us in developing.

“I’m coming from Tokyo where we’re discussing the venue and layout of the Olympics. We should make an effort with Al and SBP to see if we have a Filipino team in Olympics. In my opinion Filipinos have a real chance to make it. Hopefully this can give us a nice push to get a PH team to the Olympics,” the Spanish executive added.

“See you in June.”

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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 that 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 were 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.

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

Perpetual (4-0) look to keep streaking when they face the struggling Jose Rizal University (0-4) on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. EAC (2-2) take on the defending champions 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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