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RP Baseball Team optimistic about WBC Qualifier chances



They might have had little time to prepare, but the country’s finest batters are confident they can bring Philippine baseball back to the world stage.

The Crack Philippine National Baseball team left for Sydney Friday, February 5, to compete in the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers to be held at the Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney, Australia from February 11-14, 2016.

The Philippine team qualified for the last level before the world championship after winning the 2015 East Asian Baseball Cup. However, the team faced a problem afterwards.

The Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium, the largest baseball field in the country, though still below regulation size standards, was not available due to a supposed renovation that did not push through. The National Team’s head coach Wilfredo Hidalgo and the team took this as a challenge and still continued to make the most out of the few practices the team had.

“Ayos naman. Nasulit naman yung oras na nakalaan sa amin although late na kami na pinayagan mag-training dito (Rizal Memorial). May balak kasi na ayusin ‘to so kami nag-adjust,” Hidalgo said. “Nakasimula na kami kasi ng training January na.”

The team’s composition is split evenly with 14 homegrown players – majority coming from the UAAP and Mindanao – and 14 Filipino-foreigners.The Fil-foreigners that are set to represent the country include former Major League pitcher Clay Rapada and two minor league players, single A player Brad Haynal and double A player Angelo Songco.

Chris AguilaOF
Adriane Bernardo2B
Ernesto BinaraoLHP
Leslie CabilingRHP
Brady Conlan3B
Edmer Del SocorroC
Vladimir EguiaLHP
Eric FarrisOF
Taylor GarrisonRHP
Austin HaynalRHP
Brad HaynalC
Romeo JasminRHP
Ryan JuarezRHP
Ferdinand LiguayanOF
Paulo MacasaetOF
Alfredo OlivaresC
Jennald ParejaSS
Ronel PeraltaRHP
Jonash PonceOF
Devon RamirezLHP
Clay RapadaLHP
Jon Jon RoblesLHP
Angelo Songco1B
Kevin VanceRHP
Matt VanceSS
Vermon DiazOF
Joshua WongINF

The local players, though, have yet to meet their other teammates. “Dun na kami magkikita sa Australia,” Hidalgo shared to Tiebreaker Times. “Kaya nag-decide ang presidente namin (Marty Eizmendi) na February 5 kami dadating imbes na 8 para may two days kami na practice ng team. Tapos may MLB practice pa na regular practice para magkaroon ng gelling.”

The National Team is not worried that the team might not mesh due to the short time the entire team will spend together before the tournament commences. “Malaking bagay yung two days na yun. At the top level kasi na laro, makikita mo na kaagad kung paano i-aadjust yung sarili mo sa mga hindi mo na kasama,” the coach added about how big of an advantage it is for the team to be in Sydney two days earlier than expected. “Gaya namin na beterano na sa international, galaw pa lang ng isang player malalaman mo na. Paghawak pa lang niya ng bat, pagtakbo pa lang, alam mo na.”

Even with MLB minor league players and major league pitcher in the roster, Hidalgo believes that the home-grown talents on the team will not be left behind. “Sa pitchers si Paulo Macasaet. Unang-una talagang batak na batak na at yung puso niya nandoon para sa laro,” he said about current Ateneo sophomore and the East Asia Cup MVP. “Sa fielders si Aids Bernardo at Jennald Pareja. Kaya nilang tapatan ang mga makakalaban natin.”

When asked about the team’s chances to qualify for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Hidalgo, beaming with confidence, said, “Mas maganda ang bracket natin ngayon. Mas napabuti na hindi natin kasama yung China at Chinese-Taipei. Mas bigger yung chances natin.”

“Yung Australia puwede pa natin matalo. Hindi na sila parang last 2012 na may kaunting pagkakamali lang sa coaching yun. Pati yung New Zealand kaya natin yun.”

“80% ang chance natin. Kelangan pa rin ng dasal siyempre. Baka kung makapasok tayo sa World Baseball Classic sa 2017 yun na yung start ng pagbabalik ng baseball,” he continued. Moreover, he is hoping that this help in the resurgence of baseball in the country. “Ang kelangan lang naman talaga sa atin ay makita ulit na may baseball pala at softball. Malalaman nila na hindi kelangan ng height, eto yung sport na hindi kelangan na sobrang laki.”

At the end of the day, they are just proud to represent the three stars and the sun once more.

The Philippines will open their 2017 World Baseball Classic campaign against hosts Australia on February 11.

Here is the complete schedule of the four-day tournament

Games will be shown on Solar Sports

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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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