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Red Alert: On to the next mission

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As if to underline the agony, burly Opposite Hitter Mark Christian Enciso finally ended the three-year wait of San Beda College with an emphatic hit against the Arellano University Chiefs in their playoff for the last semifinals slot last Tuesday. With the initial mission accomplished for Red Spikers, the boys from Mendiola now look forward to the next challenge.

Looking back

Season 90 was a tournament the Red Spikers would like to forget. Just two years removed from their last Finals, and hence, also their last post-season appearance, San Beda had finished winless after the single round robin. Most of the players supposed to be on their roster had been ineligible.

From such hardship, Enciso shared that they have learned much. “Natutunan namin na ibigay yung lahat ng kailangan naming gawin. Tsaka yung sa grades, nagsipag lang kami. Yun muna yung main goal.”

Leading Best Setter candidate John Carlo Desuyo added that he had really tried to improve as a playmaker. “Importante po kasi talaga [yung role ko], kasi ako po yung hindi dapat mataranta,” he emphasized. As such, Desuyo tweaked his decision-making inside. He explained, “Yung sa diskarte lang po, kasi iba yung last year kesa ngayon.”

The road back

With most of their recruits finally given the go signal to participate this year, Enciso commented that the team felt they could finally return to the Final Four. The team’s top scorer also said that they worked hard in training and each member continued to motivate everyone. He said the primary reason for their having gotten this far is their team chemistry. “Yung pagkakaibigan namin dinadala namin sa loob ng court,” he shared.

Enciso also said that the Red Spikers finally saw their target coming through as they matured well into the season. The wing attacker believed that their approach of taking it “point by point, inch by inch” worked well. He also noted that the team have achieved their desired level of maturity inside the court, a characteristic of a team in title-contention. He furthered, “Yung peak ng laro as a team. Kasi kaya kami natatalo dati, immature pa kami. Ngayon, unti-unti, pinag-aaralan namin kung paano iaayos yung team.”

No turning back

It will be a tall order for the current crop of the Red Spikers, but they are sure to try and make it back to the last dance. As Desuyo put it, “dream bigger.”

The San Beda College Red Spikers and their semifinal opponents, the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, are two of the most in-form teams in the league so far this year, both in terms of level of play and win-loss records. The defending champions, EAC, have swept both of the other semifinalists, College of Saint Benilde and University of Perpetual Help System DALTA. Meanwhile, the Red Spikers suffered a tight four-set loss against the Altas before disposing of the Chiefs the other day.

It should be noted, however, that San Beda have out-gunned their past two opponents in terms of attacks, something that can be attributed to the brilliant ball distribution of Desuyo. The third-year setter believed that the entry of decent spikers was also what helped him in his playmaking duties. The setter said, “Nagtitiwala naman ako sa kanila na kaya nilang patayin yung bawat set na ibibigay ko sa kanila eh.”

Enciso recalled their very first game of the season, in which the Generals shook off the challenge of the Red Spikers in five tight sets. The utility spiker shared that they had still been on the ropes in that opening match, and yet they were able to hang on against the defending champions. “Nung first game kasi namin, naninibago pa kami,” he said.

Enciso and Desuyo were also one in saying that the squad will try to contain the reigning Most Valuable Player and EAC Team Captain Howard Mojica. “Basta mastop lang si Mojica,” Desuyo said. Enciso added, “Pag na-check si Mojica, madali na lang yun.” However, the team will put up effort against the other Generals, as Mark said. “Pag-aaralan pa rin namin kung pano sila mag-play.”

Desuyo also noted that they would try to take the Generals on defense. He agreed that their floor defense and coverage have been what kept them in the past few games. However he added, “Kailangan pang magdouble time [sa depensa].”

The whole of the San Beda College community has waited for the roaring return of their Red Spikers into the semifinals. Now that they have done it, Desuyo and his wards would like to give them what they want and hopefully more. The setter has declared that the team has been inspired by what their predecessors had achieved. “Kung kaya nila, kakayanin din namin. Yun yung motivation.” Encisco added that, as cliché as it may sound, “Importante naman kasi yung maglaro ka para dun sa nasa harap – yung school mo.”

They might be going by a “softer” monicker, but deep inside they are still Red Lions who are raring to show their “feared roar.” Now that they are here, San Beda are not backing down.

Desuyo ended, “lalaban kami.”

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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ABL

Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa

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After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Ryan Moss grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“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. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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Basketball

CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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