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Reigning champions NU routs Ateneo

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Defending champions National University (NU) downed rivals, Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), 4–1, to open their quest for a third straight crown on a high note.

Rookie Keeyan Gabuelo started the season for NU with a straight games win over Jan Mangubat of the Blue Shuttlers. Gabuelo survived the challenge of the Atenean at the start of the match, and took the first game for his team, 21–18. After a tight battle in the early goings, Gabuelo then flexed his muscles and scored six straight points to wrestle the lead 8–2. Mangubat tried to keep himself in the game, but the huge lead of Gabuelo was overwhelming for the Atenean. NU took the second game, and the match, 21–11.

In the second singles, Ateneo Team Captain Clarence Filart used his length advantage to stun former Rookie of the Year Ross Pedrosa in three gruelling games. The two exchanged shots at the start, but Filart pulled away with the biggest lead of the game which proved to be pivotal as the Blue Eagle sealed the deal to take the first game, 21–16. After Filart trimmed his lead in the second game, Pedrosa breezed through with a 6–1 run to level the match, 21–13. Sensing momentum, the Bulldog started with a 5–1 swing in the deciding game. Filart, however, answered with a huge 10–3 run to lead to lead 14–9. Pedrosa inched closer, but Filart finished the match after 50 exciting minutes, on a 4–1 run, 21–16.

In the first doubles, NU veteran, Ariel Magnaye, and last year’s Rookie of the Year, Alvin Morada, paired up to upend Ateneo’s Patrick Gecosala and Fides Bagasbas in two games. In the first game, NU banked on an early lead to take it, 21-15. The Bulldogs rose to seven unanswered points to snatch the lead and dominated the next few rallies and moved just a point away from taking the match, 20-12. Ateneo, however, did not easily give up, and scored four straight, 16-20. NU would not be denied in the following rally, and the Bulldogs snared the game, and the match, 21-16, for the 2-1 tie lead.

Pedrosa partnered with Paul Gonzales in the second doubles to take one back against Filart, who went with Hanz Bernardo, to secure the opening day victory for the defending champions in two games. The NU Bulldogs executed well in the early part of the first game, and posted a 7–1 lead. Filart and Bernardo kept the game close, cutting the gap to 3, 7–10. From the break, NU raised two three-point swings to push their lead to the biggest of the game, 19–11. After an exchange of kills and errors, the Bulldogs emerged victorious in the first frame, 21–15. At the start of the second game, both teams kept it close. Ateneo pushed their lead to 11–8 at the break. NU took the lead after scoring five straight. That run proved pivotal, as Pedrosa and Gonzales finished the game and the match, 21–17.

NU’s Ariel Magnaye finished the day for the Bulldogs with a rousing win over Carlo Remo in straight games in the third singles match. Magnaye posted a 6-1 start to kick off the match. Ateneo kept it close, but NU posted an 11-8 lead going into the break. After a Remo point after the interval, NU strung seven straight points, 18-8. Despite scoring more from this point, Ateneo still failed to get the first game, as Magnaye took it, 21-13. Remo took his last-ditch momentum into the second game and rose to a slim 6-5 lead. Magnaye then countered to take the lead into the break, 11-9. From there, NU pulled away after scoring five unanswered en route to 19-13. Remo cut the deficit, 16-20, but Magnaye completed the rout on the following point.

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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 Marcus Elliott 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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