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Reaching the Finals a blessing for La Salle’s Boac

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Two consecutive finals appearances is a sign of success for any school in the UAAP. Whether or not the championships were secured, those two UAAP finals appearances speak volumes about the competitiveness of the school’s varsity program.

Take the DLSU Men’s Badminton Team for example. In UAAP Season 76, DLSU finished with a 4-3 record, alongside UP, after the elimination round. A playoff match determined the fourth seed in the step-ladder scenario. UP beat DLSU 3-2, which ended the La Salle’s season early and left them in fifth place.

But La Salle bounced back.

UAAP Seasons 77 and 78 proved to be fruitful for DLSU as they earned 6-1 records after the elimination rounds of both campaigns. There was a repeat script for DLSU as they lost to a dominant NU in both the elimination round and finals in both seasons. While two straight first runner-up finishes may be bittersweet for DLSU, it is also a sign of marked improvement from their fifth-place finish in Season 76.

For DLSU captain EJ Boac, Season 78 was a successful term given what his team accomplished the previous year. Boac shared, “First of all, yung aim namin is to get back in the top four. Siyempre hindi kami nagpaparessure na since diba runner-up kami last year, kailangan huwag tayo matalo. Parang no pressure. Enjoy lang namin. One by one. Parang yung target namin is to win one by one and definitely na-reach namin yung goal na yun.”

Despite the losses to NU in the elimination round and the finals this past season, Boac was still proud of the achievements of DLSU, albeit regretting a missed opportunity or two. “Very blessed na kami na umabot kami sa Finals. Parang ang target namin is to enjoy kasi alam naman namin na mas malakas ang NU pero siyempre lahat ng malalakas meron silang butas so yun kami kasi sa amin hindi kami napepressure. Anybody’s game naman so nakita naman namin na nagdeliver naman lahat sa games. Sayang lang kasi may chance kami manalo ng one game. Ganun lang.”

This Season 78 may have been the last time Boac, Gerald Sibayan, Kenneth Monterubio and Anton Cayanan donned the Green and White in the UAAP. Boac explains that Sibayan had run out his eligibility already, while there are question marks over whether he, Monterubio, and Cayanan will return for DLSU next season.

Even if all four of them don’t play for DLSU next season, Boac feels they left a legacy for future Green Archers to uphold. “So today, kita naman namin na nanalo kami ng isa and definitely aabot sana sa fifth game para lang makita nila na ang La Salle medyo umaangat na. Tsaka nag-iwan kami ng mark na never give up. Kami nagtuturuan kami ng teamwork, unity. Yun yung naging key goal namin this season.”

Boac believes that if DLSU wants to maintain its standing in UAAP Men’s Badminton, it has to follow the advice of Coach Owen Lopez regarding hardwork and perseverance. “Yun yung sinabi ni coach Owen. If ever na may gusto kami, kailangan naming paghirapan. Lagi ko sinasabi sa teammates ko na if ever nandiyan tayo sa court, huwag natin tanggalin sa isip ang target natin. Dedication sa game. Definitely one by one lang then mananalo tayo eh.”

The primary goal of DLSU every UAAP season is to win the General Championships, which they accomplished in Seasons 75 and 76. As the captain of the Men’s Badminton Team, Boac is aware of the responsibility to end as high up in the final standings as possible over main rivals UST. “Malaking bagay sa amin na mas malaki angat namin sa UST kasi sila ang kalaban ng La Salle sa General Championship eh. Ngayon confident kami na malaki ang maitutulong namin sa General Championship kasi isa na rin ang Men’s and Women’s Badminton team sa inaasahan ng La Salle para mag-contribute ng malaki talaga.“

While two finals losses in succession may not be the best storyline for Boac and the DLSU Men’s Badminton Team, there’s a silver lining to everything, and a championship may be an inevitability in the future.

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Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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Yeng Guiao denies using racial slur against Chris Ross

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During the post-game of the San Miguel Beermen’s victory over the NLEX Road Warriors, reigning Coach of the Year Leo Austria said that NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao called Chris Ross the “N” word that caused the commotion.

According to Chris, tinawagan siya ng nigger or ganiyan,” said Austria. “I don’t know but that’s what he explained to me because I confronted Chris Ross because he’s one of the most important players in my team.

“But that’s the thing he doesn’t want to hear so nagflare up yung bata so I cannot blame him.”

Guiao though denied that he blurted out racial slurs against San Miguel’s Chris Ross.

“Hindi. Hindi ko tinawag na N-word. Ewan ko kung may nakarinig. Pero hindi,” clarified the fiery tactician moments after their 98-109 defeat, their third straight after starting the 2018 Philippine Cup with two straight wins.

That tussle, according to Guiao, was just filled with trash talking against each other, as he felt the need to retaliate. In fact, Guiao was even caught by the TV camera saying “son of a bitch” towards the Filipino-American point guard.

“Daldal siya ng daldal eh. Eh sa akin naman kapag ganon, siguro respeto nalang. Lumayo ka nalang tutal mananalo naman na kayo,” he said. “I didn’t understand what he was saying, what he was talking about.

“Nakipagtrash-talking din ako sa kanya.”

Furthermore, the 58-year-old was also caught by the cameras flipping the bird — in one quick motion — also against Ross.

“Oo. Kasama na rin yun.

“Pero ano naman eh, it’s part of, siguro, psychological warfare. Malakas din siya mang-asar. Hindi lang naman sa amin. Everytime naman na mga ganoong skirmishes, he also knows what he’s capable of,” the seven-time champion coach furthered.

But more than this scuffle, it really has become a stressful time for Guiao and the Road Warriors. They have now went down to 2-3 in the team standings, and the mentor sees the great need to end this slump immediately.

“We have to arrest it very soon. Ang susunod na laro namin ay versus Rain or Shine sa Friday. So we need to go back to 50 percent win-loss level para at least may chance ka na maka-playoffs. That’s going to be a crucial game for us,” he stressed.

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Kiefer Ravena shocked with Von Pessumal’s shove: ‘I did not expect that at all’

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Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal have been teammates ever since they were in high school, winning three UAAP juniors crowns together. They won two championships together in the seniors level and even played together in Gilas. They were inseparable.

Friday evening however, they were playing for separate camps.

Ravena admitted that he never expected a shove to come from Pessumal during the NLEX Road Warriors’ clash with San Miguel Beermen.

In an off-ball situation, Pessumal charged at Ravena, sending the rookie down to the floor with 9:50 remaining in the final frame. He was then whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul, and Ravena sank one from the line.

“I did not expect that at all,” admitted Ravena after the match in which they lost, 98-109 — their third straight defeat after a 2-0 start. “But hopefully Von doesn’t take it personal.

“I’m just doing my job. They won the game.”

Ravena insisted that there wasn’t any physicality between him and Pessumal prior to that, but he thinks that his former Gilas teammate may have gotten irked by his staredown after blocking him on a fastbreak play early in the fourth.

“When that fastbreak happened — the same exact possession na I challenged him, I looked at him, and after that yun na yung nangyari,” said the 23-year-old guard. “But I never instigated something to provoke Von to do that.

“Probably nung tinignan ko siya.”

Moreover, the second overall pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft felt that that incident “started all the commotions during the end game (laughs). Yun yung pinaka-una eh. And with that, the team got fired up and it worked for them.”

He may be right, for the game saw more skirmishes after that: from teammate Michael Miranda kicking Chris Ross to the groin, and with his head coach Yeng Guiao figuring in a heated verbal war also against Ross.

But then, Ravena made it clear that it was never a plan of his to put down somebody, especially someone like Pessumal who he sees as a brother for life.

“You know, Von and I, we go way back. Things like this hopefully don’t become too personal.

“I have no intention na ipapahiya yung tao or sasaktan mo yung tao. Wala namang ganun. Laro-laro lang,” said NLEX’s leading scorer.

It was somehow a night to remember for Ravena, but for all the wrong reasons. After Friday’s loss that sent their card to 2-3, the veteran internationalist now sees the need for him and the Road Warriors to push the panic button.

“‘Di na pwedeng sabihin palaging kailangan namin matuto eh. Pangatlong sunod na,” the second-generation cager expressed.

“Kailangan siguro naming umaksyon.”

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Downcast Chris Ross chooses to stay mum after heated altercation with Yeng Guiao

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Through wins or losses, Chris Ross has always accommodated the members of the press asking for interviews and fans requesting for photo ops every after game. But Friday evening, the nine-year pro was despondent.

Visibly agitated with the events that had transpired during the San Miguel Beermen’s tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors, Ross, with his hoodie covering his head, left the Cuneta Astrodome without saying a word.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year had figured in physical play after physical play and verbal exchange after verbal exchange with the frustrated Road Warriors.

Ross and Alex Mallari were both slapped with technicals after a confrontation with 9:06 left. This was just the start of many things to come for the Filipino-American defensive specialist

After knocking down a triple and receiving a taunt from Ross, Michael Miranda was assessed a disqualifying foul for an apparent kick to the groin against Ross with 4:35 left.

The tip of the iceberg came with 1:46 left to play and the game all but settled.

Yeng Guiao and Ross figured in a heated word war that resulted in Ross’ second technical foul for the game. Referees and players from both sides had to separate the two to prevent things from escalating.

San Miguel coach Leo Austria alleged that the fiery NLEX mentor said the “N” word, while some said Guiao called Ross a “bitch”.

Ross finished the game with four points, eight rebounds, and four steals in 37 minutes of action.

For sure, penalties and suspensions will come out of this game.

And it was better for Ross to stay silent.

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Jason Brickman flirts with triple-double as Mono holds off Singapore

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After playing his worst game of the season last Sunday against Tanduay Alab Pilipinas, Jason Brickman bounced back, steering the Mono Vampire to a 91-88 road victory over the Singapore Slingers, Friday evening at the OCBC Arena.

The 26-year-old, who finished with just seven points and three assists in their 71-104 loss to Alab, tallied 10 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. The league-leader in assists did not take a break, playing all 40 minutes.

But it was not a walk in the park for the Thailand-based squad.

Mono led by as much as 22 points, 60-48, with 7:46 left, 16 points entering the final frame. A furious fourth quarter rally by Singapore sliced the lead, turning the game into a single-possession contest with a minute left. The steady hands of Samuel Deguara and Mike Singletary from the stripe fended off Singapore.

Brickman’s compatriot Paul Zamar chipped in 13 markers for Mono.

Since torching Alab last January 3, Filipino-Canadian AJ Mandani has been on a slump, going just 3-for-11 from the field for nine points.

Mono’s World Imports Samuel Deguara and Mike Singletary both finished with 26 points with the former hauling down 18 rebounds. For Singapore, Xavier Alexander paced the Slingers with 29 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

With the win, the Vampire kept solo third with a 7-4 slate. On the other hand, the Slingers dropped its second straight game since winning against Alab, falling to 5-6.

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