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RDJ confident in ‘world-class’ libero Dawn Macandili

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In line with their continued mission to raise the level of Philippine Volleyball, the Philippine Supeliga added another innovation to the 2017 Chooks-to-Go Grand Prix. Unlike past seasons, when teams were only allowed two imports, the league has allowed its clubs to field a third import, provided that there can only be two foreign reinforcements in the frontline per rotation.

Most teams took advantage, picking up the usual two attackers and a libero or setter to beef up their lineups. But some, like the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, opted to go with just two imports.

While F2 Logistics head coach Ramil De Jesus admits that he was not aware that they could have a third import until a few weeks before the season, he’s confident that his wards can keep up with their foreign counterparts.

De Jesus does have National Team players filling up the setter and libero positions. Kim Fajardo and Dawn Macandili were both impressive in their first stints for the Senior Women’s National Team earlier this year.

“Sa totoo lang, late na din nalaman na pwede pala magdagdag ng isa pang import,” De Jesus revealed.

“Pero masaya naman kami sa mga players na meron kami sa mga posisyon na ‘yun.”

While De Jesus has gushed about both players in the past, the 10-time UAAP champion expressed particular confidence in Macandili, whom he has coached since high school.

“Kung may Dawn Macandili ka naman na world-class, kampante naman ako na makaka-keep up kami sa ibang teams,” said the La Salle tactician.

However, he acknowledges that his two imports will be critical to their success in this highly-competitive Grand Prix.

“Ang labanan talaga sa Grand Prix is ‘yung quality ng imports kasi sila talaga ‘yung magbubuhat sa mga teams,” De Jesus continued.

The former FEU Tamaraw also has great faith in his pair of imports this year — former Venezuelan Olympian Maria Jose Perez and American Kennedy Bryan.

Winning this year’s Grand Prix would round out De Jesus’ coaching trophies, as he has already won the elusive All-Filipino Cup on 2016.

After taking a rousing debut win over Petron in Bacolod last weekend, De Jesus has high hopes for his team this conference.2017-psl-grand-prix---f2-logistics-def-petron---perez

“Ang maganda sa mga imports ko ngayon ay madali silang kausap. Wala talagang arte. Gagawin nila lahat para makatulong na maipanalo ‘yung team,” De Jesus expressed.

Matagal pa ‘yung season. Hopefully, patuloy lang ‘yung pag-improve namin as a team and makakuha pa nang mas magandang chemistry ‘yung team.”

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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.

Basketball

Troy Rosario, TNT can’t miss, keep Meralco struggling

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FILE Photo from PBA Images

After a sluggish start in the 20-1718 Philippine Cup, TNT Katropa have seemingly found their groove as they cruised to their second straight win at the expense of Meralco Bolts, 99-81, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

This is now TNT’s first win streak in the tourney as they improve to 3-2. The Bolts, on the other hand, had suffered their third straight loss and are now 1-3.

“We knew that Meralco was undermanned. We knew that they lacked the people going to this game today so ang mentality namin was to take advantage of that, ‘yung pagkukulang ng Meralco,” said TNT coach Nash Racela.

“Today from start to end, we were able to do that. The intensity level was consistent. Siguro medyo bumababa ng kaunti but kaunting-kaunti lang. That’s our goal as a team, maging consistent on both ends,” he added.

Troy Rosario, who had just turned 26 years old yesterday, led TNT with 22 points — 12 coming from the opening frame where he powered a 16-3 run — on 8-of-13 shooting from the field on top of a game high 10 rebounds.

“It won’t be his birthday every day. It’s nice that he shot well while celebrating his birthday, but we also need him to shoot well during other days,” said Racela of Rosario. “That’s how you become consistent.”

Shades of a comeback flashed come the game’s third chapter, when the Orangemen chopped down a 16-point lead to just five, 52-47, thanks to back-to-back triples by KG Cañaleta and Jared Dillinger with 8:32 remaining.

But it proved to be the last time that Meralco will knock that close. After Roger Pogoy’s triple went in to help TNT regain the double-digit lead, 57-47, with 6:07 in the third, the Katropa then never looked back and ran roughshod.

The Texters even led by as much as 22 points, 92-70, after RR Garcia’s three-pointer with 4:27 left to play.

Garcia supplied 18 points and eight assists for the Katropa, who shot a conference-high 18 treys in the win. Pogoy made 15 points despite shooting 6-of-16, while Jayson Castro had 12 points, four boards, and three dimes.

Ryan Reyes and Anthony Semerad each chipped in 10 markers.

The Bolts, who shot just 39 percent in the loss, were led by Baser Amer’s 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Dillinger scored 14 and grabbed five caroms, while Cañalata had 11 markers, five boards, and three assists.

TNT will try to sustain momentum versus Magnolia on January 27, Saturday at 6:45 PM, while Meralco will aim to end their skid versus Kia on Wednesday, January 24, at 4:30 PM. Both games are at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

TNT 99 — Rosario 22, Garcia 18, Pogoy 15, Castro 12, Reyes 10, Semerad 10, Carey 3, Hernandez 3, Tautuaa 2, Torres 2, Williams 2, Golla 0, Onwubere 0.

Meralco 81 — Amer 20, Dillinger 14, Canaleta 11, Tolomia 8, Newsome 6, Lanete 5, Bono 4, Hugnatan 4, Ballesteros 3, Faundo 3, Baracael 2, , Sedurifa 1, Caram 0, Salva 0.

Quarterscores: 27-18, 46-36, 73-62, 99-81.

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ABL

AJ Mandani sparks Singapore in win over Joshua Munzon-led Westsports

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Back to his role as the sixth man of the Slingers after two games, AJ Mandani provided the firepower needed by Singapore in a fourth quarter surge to stop the Westsports Malaysia Dragons, 93-85, Sunday afternoon at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia.

The win arrested the Slingers’ two-game losing streak, raising their slate to 6-6. Westsports, a team coming off a two-game winning streak that included a 91-87 win over Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat last January 18, fell to 3-5.

Struggling in the first three quarters, Mandani six of his eight points in the final frame. And those points were povital in fending off Westsports.

With Singapore clinging to a solitary point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Filipino-Canadian scored four straight points 8-0 run to gain a 74-67 lead with under seven minutes left. Another basket by Mandani followed it up with a breakaway layup with with 5:18 remaining to give Singapore an 81-72 cushion.

Filipino exports Joshua Munzon and Patrick Cabahug tried to rally the home team back as a triple by the latter cut the lead down to just three with 1:40 on the clock. Big buckets by Delvin Goh and Chris Charles sealed off the Malaysia-based club team.

Munzon went just 5-for-18 from the field to finish with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. Cabahug chipped in eight points on 3-for-4 shooting off the bench.

Xavier Alexander led Singapore with 33 points while Charles tallied a double-double with 25 points and 13 rebounds to go along with three swats. Singaporean Goh had 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

Marcus Marshall paced Westsports with 22 points, playing all 40 minutes as fellow World Import AJ West had a tough outing.

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AU

Arellano stays undefeated, trounces Lyceum

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The Arellano University Chiefs stayed on top of the NCAA Season 93 Men’s Volleyball standings, surging to their fifth straight win after slashing the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates, 25-18, 25-21, 21-25, 25-17 at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Chiefs had another straight-set victory in sight until a error-filled third set swung to the Pirates’ favor. According to Chiefs head coach Sherwin Meneses, his team suffered from a spell of complacency which he hoped they grow out of.

“Sabihin na nating minsan, medyo nagre-relax talaga o nagiging over-confident ang players. Nangyayare talaga ‘yun pero, siyempre, ayaw mong magtuloy-tuloy ‘yun sa mga susunod na laban,” said Meneses who admitted his team still has ways to go, especially with their defensive skills.

Demy Lapuz led the Chiefs with 17 points while Kevin Liberato and Joseph Cabillan each tallied 14 markers.

The Chiefs get a chance to claim the solo lead when they face the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas (5-0) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Joeward Presnede topped the Pirates with 15 points while Jhonel Badua added 14.

The Pirates (1-4) take on Final Four contenders San Beda Collega (3-1) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

AU (3) – Lapuz 17, Cabillan 14, Liberato 14, Dela Paz 11, Segovia 4, Domingo 2, Soriano 2, Meneses 1, Arellano K. 0, Arellano T. 0, Liberato J. 0, Blanco (L), Esguerra (L)

LPU (1) – Presnede 15, Badua 14, Saporna 7, Lajara 6, Samonte 2, Ilano 1, Uy 1, Estranero 0, Rubio (L)

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AU

Impervious Lady Chiefs stay perfect after sweep of Lady Pirates

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The Arellano University Lady Chiefs extended their winning streak to 17, dating back to last season, after clobbering the Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The defending champions were unrelenting, with four Lady Chiefs scoring in double-digits. Rookie Necole Ebuen powered in 11 points. Third-year open hitter Regine Arocha and Arellano’s middle blockers Mary Anne Esguerra and Andrea Marzan each provided 10 markers.

Conversely, no Lady Pirate managed to score in double-figures.

“Maganda naman talaga ang nilalaro ng mga bata. Lahat kasi kami determinado na makakuha ulet ng championship. Alam nila (Lady Chiefs) na kailangan pataas nang pataas ang ginagalaw namin,” said Arellano head coach Obet Javier.

The Lady Chiefs also limited their errors to a season-best 16, while the Lady Pirates surrendered 24 miscues.

Christine Miralles and Monica Sevilla each supplied the struggling Lyceum with eight point apiece.

The Lady Chiefs will look for their sixth win of the season when they face the red-hot University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (4-1) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Pirates (1-4) take on the undefeated San Beda College (4-0) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

AU (3) – Ebuen 11, Arocha 10, Esguerra 10, Marzan 10, Prado 3, Ramirez 3, Liu 2, Balanoba 1, Donato 1, Verutiao 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)

LPU (0) – Miralles 8, Sevilla 8, Juanilla 7, Patio 4, Genova 1, Romanban 0, Bongabong 0, Marcella (L)

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