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Rain or Shine survives Lastimosa show to advance

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Even while playing inconsistently throughout the game, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters still managed to outmuscle the Blackwater Elite, 95-90, advancing in the PBA playoffs earlier today at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Both squads shot bricks from the perimeter to open the match. The Painters found gaps in the Blackwater half court defense, scoring off drives and cuts. The Elite, on the other hand, pushed the ball up the court even off Rain or Shine makes to generate their points. Still, the Painters escaped with a 17-14 lead.

Plugging in sharpshooters Jeff Chan and Maverick Ahanmisi, the Elasto Painters finally drained jumpers. After Raymond Almazan botched consecutive rebound plays and gave up own-goal baskets, Chan and Ahanmisi took their turns burning Blackwater’s defense with stabs from the outside. An Ahanmisi three gave the Elasto Painters a 37-27 lead with four minutes left at the half. The Elite threatened to wrestle away the advantage, unleashing a quick 7-0 run highlighted by a Mike Cortez transition triple, but RoS had an immediate reply, going to Almazan to cap a 7-0 run for a 44-34 advantage to end the half.

After scoring just four points in the opening half, Blackwater’s Carlo Lastimosa put on a show to keep his team in the game. Lastimosa answered every Rain or Shine advance with daredevil drives to the hoop, tallying 16 points in the third quarters alone. However, Rain or Shine’s bigs still dominated their matchups and gave their team a 69-60 lead heading into the payoff period.

With the season his team’s season on the line, Lastimosa valiantly fanned the flames to his incendiary play, scoring 15 more points in the final quarter. A Lastimosa breakaway layup capped a 15-6 blitz that tied the game at 75 to open the fourth quarter. But Blackwater’s lack of experience showed down the stretch, failing to string stops at key points to keep momentum on their side. Chris Tiu scored all of his seven points in a short burst in the last five minutes, keeping RoS ahead, 86-79. Lastimosa and his fellow young gun Arth Dela Cruz took turns scoring baskets, managing to pull their to within five, 93-88, in the final two minutes. Elasto Painters veteran big, Beau Belga gave up two costly turnovers with under a minute left. But Blackwater could not capitalize on their oppurtunities, eventually bowing out to Rain or Shine’s clutch defense.

“It’s a good thing for us that we were able to make some big shots in the end game,” a clearly disappointed Yeng Guiao said after the game. “We prepared really hard for this game but I did not see the effort on the defensive end.”

The lack of energy in the defensive end resulted to the Elasto Painters giving up 30 fourth quarter points. “I’m hoping that the next time we play we raise our level of energy. Im not happy with the win even if it got us to the next round,” the fiery head coach added. “I hope we can prepare harder for the next game.”

This was a call supported by Player of the Game Jeff Chan. Chan had 17 big points, including two triples, and was able to grab six boards and dish out four assists. “Yung sa defense namin hindi ako happy,” Rain or Shine’s gunslinger said after the game. “Pag ganito nilalaro namin baka hindi na kami umabot sa next round.”

“Mahirap ang dadaanan namin kumbaga sa butas ng karayom kami dadaan. I hope sa next game lahat magbigay ng puso kasi pag matalo kami wala na, bakasyon na.”

Besides Chan, bulky big man JR Quinahan finished the game with 16 points on 7/13 shooting from the field. In addition, Raymond Almazan almost notched a double-double with 11 points and nine boards on just 20 minutes of play while rookie Maverick Ahanmisi also added 11 markers.

For the Elite, Carlo Lastimosa had his third 30+ point game this conference in scoring 35 points. Even in fouling out late in the game, he was an efficient 13/24 from the field and was able to grab five boards and five assists. JP Erram and Art Dela Cruz both had 11 points for the second-year franchise.

As a team, Rain or Shine and Blackwater almost shot identical from the field with the victors shooting 42% while the latter was at 43%. However, the Elasto Painters were able to knock down two more triples and convert on seven more free throws that proved to be the difference.

Rain or Shine is set to face off the winner of the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters and NLEX Road Warriors.

The Scores:
Rain or Shine (95) – Chan 17, Quinahan 16, Almazan 11, Ahanmisi 11, Cruz 9, Norwood 8, Belga 6, Tiu 6, Trollano 4, Ibanes 2, Ponferada 4, Ibanes 2, Teng 0.
Blackwater (90) – Lastimosa 35, Erram 11, Dela Cruz 11, Gamalinda 6, Reyes 6, Cortez 5, Agovida 5, Golla 4, Melano 2, Vosotros 0, Canada 0.
Quarterscores: 17-14, 44-34, 69-60, 95-90.

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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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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, to remain on pace for a spot in the race for an NCAA Season 93 Final Four spot at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Taking on a struggling EAC side, Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño knew that there was a possibility for his squad to 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 every bit of their 11 aces and 11 blocks to off-set their season-high 42 errors.

The Lady Altas (3-1) faces Jose Rizal University (2-2) on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Aira Binondo was the only Lady General in double-digits with 13 points.

EAC (0-4) look for their first win on Monday against 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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