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The rising stock of CJ De Tomas



At 18-years young, CJ de Tomas, a second generation mixed martial artist, is one of the top prospects in the local MMA scene.

The son of MMA fighter Charles de Tomas, the brightest fighter coming from Team USC came off the biggest battle in his young career in overcoming 22-year old Jiu jitsu specialist Carlo Laurel last Saturday during URCC 26: Domination at the Fontana Convention Center in Clark, Pampanga. The fight was an instant classic as both De Tomas and Laurel duked it out on the stand-up and scrapped it out on the ground. In the end, it was the young fighter who came out with a decision win.

After the fight, De Tomas was relieved that he got out of the match with a win. “Siyempre masaya, kasi ‘yung panalo ko pang number one contender. Sobrang thankful ako na nanalo,” de Tomas said with relief. However, he was dismayed with how Laurel conducted himself during the fight. “Yung laban kasi [during the fight] nag tra-trashtalk siya. Eh sabi ng referee bawal daw ‘yun, pero kahit yellow card hindi binigyan.” As the fight went on, Laurel, knowing that the two up-and-coming stars gave it their all in the first two rounds, hugged his opponent to open the third and final round. “Nung laban talaga nag tra-trashtalk siya, nagmumura. Pero nung last round sabi niya ‘para sa kasal mo ‘to.’ Nagulat ako. Pati ‘yung start nung third, nagkarespeto ako sa kanya,” De Tomas quipped.

Carlo Laurel in CJ de Tomas' guard

Carlo Laurel in CJ de Tomas’ guard

Looking back on the match, De Tomas, a fighter still trying to perfect his craft, nitpicked his performance especially on the ground. De Tomas said that this was because he and his camp focused too much on the striking aspect of the game. “Kulang ang training ko. ‘Yung hangin ko pang striking lang, pero nung ground kulang pala. ‘Tsaka ‘yung training ko during the fight puro stand-up sila. So ‘yun problema, pero salamat sa Diyos nanalo,” he said.

The highly-anticipated match was not only personal for the young fighter but also had a lot at stake in it. The match was an eliminator for the URCC Flyweight title, a belt won by Hideo Morikawa later in the evening. The title match might actually happen later this year or early next year. To prepare for the match, De Tomas vowed to keep busy by continuing to run the MMA circuit. “Ngayon, kasi ‘yung URCC meron every month na fight nights. Dun siguro ako lalaban pero pahinga muna siguro ng two months.”

De Tomas believes that winning the title will book his ticket to go international. “Siguro malapit na ko sa pangarap ko na lumaban sa UFC. Sana pagkapanalo ko sa championship mapansin ako sa international,” he said with high hopes in his eyes. “Kinausap ako ni Sir Alvin after the fight, sabi niya suportahan niya ko sa pangarap ko makalaban sa states.” This was backed by URCC President Alvin Aguilar, “If the URCC goes back to the US, he’s gonna be one of the fighters headlining the card.”

Aguilar on the potential of De Tomas

CJ de Tomas attempts a rear naked choke on Carlo Laurel

CJ de Tomas attempts a rear naked choke on Carlo Laurel

Aguilar knew CJ when he was just a kid but the URCC president saw something in him. He fondly recalls saying to a young CJ “that if you keep training and be serious, you’ll be retiring as one of the all-time greats. And you make sure that whatever success you have it never gets to your head because if it gets to your head, you start believing in your own legend and that’s what brings you down.”

“CJ does everything all by himself. That’s what a champion is all about, it has to come from within. Now, we just need to make sure that he just keeps on going and going and going,” he said about the work ethic of De Tomas.

Moreover, the first Gracie Jiu jitsu black belt in the Philippines believes that De Tomas has a bright future in the sport. “He’s only 18. That’s how scary that kid is. He’s a really complete fighter. He knows how to wrestle, strike, and grapple. He has won so many gold medals in jiujitsu and wrestling,” Aguilar remarked.

But Aguilar also gave a stern warning to De Tomas. At the young age of 18, the young fighter is also set to add a new chapter in his life, being a family man. Aguilar told us that he has to be able to adjust to family life. “At 18, he’s gonna get married. For some people its gonna make a figher, for some people its gonna destroy a fighter. I really hope he does really well.”

With a record of 4-0 in the professional ranks and countless others in the amateur circuit, CJ De Tomas truly is one of the brightest young prospects we have in the local MMA scene. With the right focus, De Tomas could reach places even in international fighting organizations.

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After getting first D-League experience, Zark’s-Lyceum ready to get loose



After a hesitant performance in their PBA D-League debut last Thursday that resulted in a loss to the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers seemingly caught up with the league’s style of play on Tuesday.

Zark’s-Lyceum displayed their true form and stamped their class all over the Batangas-EAC Generals with a 37-point destruction, 112-75 — so far the biggest winning margin the franchise has ever had in its D-League history.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams we’re playing against with,” said Zark’s-Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson after the match at Pasig Sports Center. “But the things we want to mind are those things we control.

“We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways.”

Robinson’s claim was strongly backed up by the numbers that the Jawbreakers produced.

CJ Perez had 21 points and 10 rebounds. MJ Ayaay produced 15 points and 10 boards, and Mike Nzeusseu delivered 14 markers and 11 boards.

Even the bench made their presence felt in the victory. With guard Jaycee Marcelino spearheading the supporting cast’s charge with 12 markers, the bench contributed a remarkable 56 points to their total output.

Photo by PBA Images

“Ano lang, cinontrol lang namin yung pace kasi yun naman talaga yung laro namin, yung mabilisan,” said the 24-year-old do-it-all forward, who also collected three steals.

“Kailangan talaga mabilisan para ma-execute namin yung mga ginagawa namin.”

This week will be a rough one for the Pirates, as they will play right away this Thursday against the AMA Online Education. And for Perez, he strongly believes that they will be able to carry over their momentum.

“Oo. Nandun pa. Energy talaga yung puhunan namin para makalaro ng maayos.”

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Bonbon Batiller shows what he can bring to Letran in D-League debut



Photo by PBA Images

Tuesday proved to be a double debut for Bonbon Batiller. Aside from beginning his first foray in the PBA D-League, it also marked his debut for the Letran Knights, who are carrying the Wang’s Basketball Couriers franchise.

And the 5-foot-11 guard showed what he can bring to the table. Batiller collected 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists to help the Knights raise the curtains of their campaign with a 93-75 rout of the Batangas-EAC Generals.

“Nagworkout yung pinagpraktisan namin,” said Batiller. “Nagbunga rin yung tinuro samin ni Coach Jeff (Napa) lalo sa depensa. Tsaka siguro sa rebounds — laking lamang namin sa rebound. Nagsipag mga bigs namin.”

But what has him even more satisfied is the warm reception and trust he’s had from the Knights, even if he has spent barely a year with them after transferring from University of the East last 2017.

“Masaya po kasi tinanggap nila ako sa Letran ng buong-buo,” said Batiller, who normed 10.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 steals with UE in two years. “Tsaka yung tiwala nila na makakatulong ako sa team nandoon.

“Kaya masaya ako sa pinakita nila sa akin.”

That is why the General Santos native is hard-pressed to prove himself to Letran, saying that he’s all about giving back to the school that gave him another opportunity to resume his young, up-and-coming basketball career.

“Kailangan kong may mapatunayan na deserving ako sa binigay na second chance sa akin ni Letran,” said Batiller, who decided to switch schools partly due to academic reasons.

“Malaki ang utang ko sa Letran.”

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Bienvenido Maranon scores brace as Ceres-Negros eliminates Brisbane Roar



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Philippine club football just achieved its biggest continental result yet

The inaugural Philippines Football League champions Ceres-Negros Football Club eliminated three-time Australian champions Brisbane Roar in the 2018 AFC Champions League’s second preliminary round with a 3-2 stunner, away at the QSAC Stadium in Brisbane.

With the win, the 2017 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Champions are set to face Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian next January 30, 2018 at the Haihe Educational Football Stadium in Tianjin, China, to book a seat in the group stages.

Brisbane were the favorites for this tie and it showed, as Ceres started the contest on the back foot. Italian striker Massimo Maccarone handed the home side the lead in the 35th minute when he turned in Brett Holman’s pass.

Maccarone’s goal could have lowered the Busmen’s moral, but Risto Vidakovic’s men took it as a motivation rather than a downer. In fact, Ceres replied in the best way possible when Bienvenido Maranon scored his first goal of the match two minutes from halftime, thanks to a scramble in the Brisbane box.

By all accounts, Ceres had already made Philippine football proud at halftime. By this stage last year, Brisbane had accrued a 4-0 halftime cushion against Global Cebu en route to a 6-0 rout.

Today, though, Brisbane faced tougher resistance at Ceres’ hands. That resistance turned into a full-fledged revolt in the 65th minute when Maranon directed the ball past a helpless Jamie Young to give the Busmen their first taste of the lead.

Maranon’s goal well and truly turned the tide in Ceres’ favor. Brisbane were stunned. The home side are the defending A-League champions, but are currently eighth in the table this season and would soon face elimination from Asia’s premier club competition.

Already up 2-1, the Busmen finally achieved some breathing room in the 75th minute when Omid Nazari scored from close range to give Ceres a two-goal cushion over Brisbane.

Nazari’s goal not only sealed the win for Ceres, it also propelled Philippine football into the big leagues. Not even a late goal from French midfielder Éric Bauthéac could prevent the Busmen’s victory.

After five minutes of stoppage time, Ceres emerged 3-2 winners against Brisbane Roar. Come what may against Tianjin seven days from now, the Busmen have already achieved Philippine football’s biggest result since their own achievement in last season’s AFC Cup.

Who knows? Maybe Ceres can pull off another upset?

Ceres-Negros XI: Doblas (GK), Super, Mike Ott, Ingreso, Maranon, Porteria, Schrock, De Murga (C), Munoz, Nazari, Christaens.

Brisbane Roar XI: Ingham, Bowles, Papadopoulos, Maccarone, Holman, Khalfallah, Oxborrow, McKay (C), Hingert, Young (GK), Franjic.

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CJ Perez, Zark’s-Lyceum vent ire on Batangas-EAC with 37-point romp



Photo by PBA Images

CJ Perez and the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers finally lived up to their hype, as they clobbered the Batangas-EAC Generals to score a 37-point beatdown, 112-75 for their first win, Tuesday at the Pasig Sports Center.

It was an all-out attack from the Jawbreakers, as they beat the Generals to the bite and took control of the game early, with Mike Nzeusseu and Jaycee Marcelino guiding their side to the 48-33 lead at halftime which they would never surrender.

Perez paced Zark’s Burger-Lyceum with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while MJ Ayaay tallied a double-double with his 15 markers, 10 boards, and three assists.

Cameroonian student-athlete Nzeusseu also delivered 14 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists. Marcelino had eight first half points and wound up with 12 off the bench, as the reserves chipped in 56 huge points in the tussle.

Coach Topex Robinson lauded the Jawbreakers for quickly adjusting to the style of the PBA D-League just days after falling to the Marinerong Pilipino, 92-94, back in opening day.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams were playing against with. But the things we want to mind are those things we control. We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways,” he said.

Earvin Mendoza and Cedric de Joya both had 16 points for the Generals in the losing effort.

Zark’s-Lyceum look to continue to roll when they face the AMA Online Education Titans on Thursday, January 25. EAC-Batangas, on the other hand, take on the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers on Monday, January 29.

The Scores:

Zark’s-Lyceum 112 — Perez 21, Ayaay 15, Nzeusseu 14, Jc. Marcelino 12, Serrano 10, Baltazar 8, Santos 8, Jv. Marcelino 6, Tansingco 6, Marata 4, Liwag 4, Ibañez 2, Cinco 2, Pretta 0.

Batangas-EAC 75 — E. Mendoza 16, De Joya 16, Tampoc 12, Laude 9, Pate 8, Maguliano 6, Altamirano 5, Diego 3, Garcia 0, Dela Peña 0, Martin 0, J. Mendoza 0, Neri 0.

Quarterscores: 19-14, 48-33, 84-47, 112-75.

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