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Saint Benilde makes history, wins first-ever Men’s Volleyball crown

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Fall down once, stand up and fight eleven times.

The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Blazers completed an epic comeback in Game 2 of the NCAA Season 92 men’s volleyball Finals in five sets, 25-12, 21-25, 17-25, 25-14, 18-16, over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas, Tuesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

Season MVP and team captain John Vic De Guzman delivered 28 huge markers in his swan song, 26 coming from attacks. Graduating setter Mark Deximo also pulled off 55 excellent sets for the newly crowned champions.

“Stepping stone namin ito. Mas nag-prepare kami, dinamdam namin, emotionally tinanggap namin ito as motivation,” the season MVP said.

Reception efficiency was the name of the game, as it determined who took the sets.

In the second and third sets, last year’s titlists Altas summoned their championship heart and pounced on the opportunity presented with slick transitions. Captain Manuel Doliente carried the fight scoring most of his points in the two frames.

“Walang imposible, apply natin lahat, sanay tayo sa ganito, nagsakripisyo tayo. Hindi matatapos ang araw nang di natin makukuha ito,” De Guzman recalled telling his teammates.

Nonetheless, when smoke cleared and with their own transition on point, the Taft-based squad simply blew by the opponents in fiery fashion.

The fifth set ensued as a classic with the Blazers carrying the momentum in the frame.

“Basta ‘pag crucial, iba ang confidence ko sa mga players ko na mas nakakapag-isip sila, mas kampante sila, kaya nila mag-deliver at kaya nila controllin yung situasyon,” he admitted. “Nangyari nga, yung last 3 points, ang daming errors na ng perpetual. Sabi ko umangat talaga ang mental toughness ng mga players.”

The Altas made their last stand and tried to extend the series, with skipper Manuel Doliente showing his skills at floor defense, foiling Blazers’ attack.

However, as had transpired the whole match, Ron Jordan made sure that they ended it in this game, as he fired off huge services that made it difficult for a decent pass from Perpertual. This sent the Blazers to the cusp of the title.

Owen Bacani had a championship point, but it was erased by the maroon-shirts. It might have been fitting, though, that in the next instance it was De Guzman who made his last serves in his collegiate career.

The last play was like a send-off to the seniors and a passing of the torch. A huge pickup from De Guzman was perfectly set up by Mark Deximo, and was then smartly finished by Isaah Arda.

For Laniog, the title fulfilled what was his biggest dream after leaving college.

“Pinaghirapan talaga, especially sa personal ko. Pag tungtong ko sa benilde noong college, ito yung frustration ko, na hindi talaga namin nakuha,” he said.

“Tapos noong nag-coach ako, there are a lot of times na nasa finals ako pero di talaga nakuha. After 17 yrs ko sa CSB, nakuha na rin.”

NCAA Season 91 Finals MVP Jun Taneo showed off his big-time game composure after finishing with 19 points for the Altas.

The Scores:

CSB 3 – De Guzman 28, Bacani 18, Basilan 10, Arda 7, Deximo 4, Orian 3, Jordan 2, Dy (L), Garcia (L).

UPHSD 2 – Taneo Jr. 19, Kasim 10, Rosales 9, Sala-an 8, Doliente 8, Narvasa 2, Ramos 1, S. Taneo 0, R. Taneo 0, Atentar 0, Kalingking (L)

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AMA Online Education gets first pick in D-League draft

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The AMA Online Education will once again have the luxury of picking the best talent in the 201-man rookie pool at the 2017 PBA D-League Rookie Draft Tuesday at PBA Cafe in Metrowalk, Pasig.

Flanked by hardworking big man Andre Paras, the Mark Herrera-mentored Titans will have the chance to further fortify their school-based core as they prepare for the upcoming 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup, which will see 13 teams vying for the title.

This will be the second time AMA will pick at first overall after tapping Jeron Teng in the 2016 draft proceedings.

UE’s Alvin Pasaol and FEU’s Arvin Tolentino are expected to go high up the draft board, as they are set to make their debut in first conference of the eighth season of the developmental league, set to open on January 18, 2018.

Wangs Basketball-Letran and Batangas-EAC are set to pick second and third, respectively.

Eleven of the 13 squads participating this year will be school-based teams, as they make early preparations for their respective collegiate leagues. These include Zark’s Burgers-Lyceum, Gamboa Coffee-St. Clare, JRU, and CEU, and debuting teams Akari-Adamson, Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian, Perpetual, and Powerball-St. Benilde.

Only returning Marinerong Pilipino and newcomer Mila’s Lechon are the ones who will not feature varsity crews.

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Cignal-San Beda to defend Aspirants’ Cup title against 12 other teams

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Defending Aspirants Cup champions Cignal-San Beda Hawkeyes will return to make it three championships in a row in the PBA D-League, the league announced on Thursday evening.

Cignal, winners of both the Aspirants’ and Foundation Cup, will once again be backstopped by reigning NCAA champions San Beda College Red Lions.

Last year, the Hawkeyes were able to outlast the Racal Tile Masters in the Finals, pushing coach Boyet Fernandez’s D-League championships to eight.

Also returning for the first conference of the 2018 season are the Tanduay Rhum Masters, AMA Online Education Titans, Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, Wang’s Basketball Couriers, and Gamboa Coffee Lovers.

2017 Aspirants’ Cup runner-up Racal have yet to tell the league of their intention of joining. The deadline is on Tuesday, November 28.

Mila’s Lechon, on the other hand, is set to debut its first-ever club team.

Completing the record-tying 13 teams are six other schools-based squads out to give Cignal-San Beda a run for its money.

Foundation Cup runners-up Centro Escolar University Scorpions will have another go in the semi-pro league.

Seeing the run CEU had, the rest of the field will be filled with school-based teams.

The Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers will return after a successful 2017 campaign. Fellow NCAA schools Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas, Powerball-College of Saint Benilde Blazers, and the Zark’s Burger-backed Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates. Lyceum will be led by reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez, who is making his semi-pro debut.

The league will begin on Tuesday, December 12, with the D-League Draft at the PBA Cafe in Pasig City. The target date for opening day will be on January 18, 2017.

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Former Benilde head coach Macky Cariño returns to Perpetual

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Michael Carino is heading back to where his coaching career began

Cariño, who was let go by the College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers last month, has been tasked to take over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas volleyball program, and serve as mentor of the Lady Altas in the coming NCAA Season 93 women’s volleyball tournament.

“I resigned to assume a bigger role, which is to handle not only the women’s volleyball team but Perpetual Help’s volleyball program as a whole,” said Cariño, who led the Lady Blazers to four consecutive Final Four appearances and a championship in Season 91.

Cariño will succeed Sammy Acaylar, who was promoted to the role of university’s athletic director a year ago.

Acaylar opted to keep his duty as chief tactician of the Altas.

“Perpetual Help already has a strong volleyball program and I’m here to just continue it and hopefully make some improvements,” added Cariño.

Acaylar — who was responsible for the bulk of the 10 men’s, nine juniors, and three women’s titles — said he is optimistic Cariño can handle the job.

“Everybody knows he (Carino) is my protégé and I’m confident he can do the job well, maybe even better,” he said.

Saint Benilde men’s volleyball coach Arnold Laniog will handle the Lady Blazers on the interim basis.

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Rey Nambatac saves Letran’s season, forces tie with Arellano

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Not wanting his NCAA career to end without a fight, Rey Nambatac proved to be pivotal late in the game, as the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights escaped a valiant College of Saint Benilde Blazers squad, 66-60, Tuesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

“Yun nga, hindi kami pwede maglaro ng ganito. Kailangan maglaro talaga kami as a group, as a whole,” lamented second-year Knights head coach Jeff Napa.

The win snapped Letran’s two-game slide and forced a tie with the Arellano Chiefs, as both sport a 9-9 slate. Their do-or-die game will take place on Friday, October 20.

“A win is a win pero kailangan namin magtrabaho para paghandaan ang Arellano. Ang Arellano, deserve din na mapunta sa ganitong situwayson. Maraming pagkakataon na ang binigay sa amin, mahirap pag masayang,” Napa admitted.

San Sebastian could force a three-way tie if they defeat the Perpetual Help on Thursday, October 17.

Nambatac, who has already submitted his draft application, carried the Knights with 18 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. And he proved pivotal in the clutch.

A Bong Quinto triple was answered right back by an Eric Pili three with 1:09 left, to cut the Letran lead to just two, 61-59. Misses by Dino San Juan and Pili led to a breakaway layup by JP Calvo. However, the Letran floor general overcooked the attempt. Fortunately for him, Nambatac was trailing behind, cleaning up the miss while drawing a foul on Pili to seal their playoff ticket.

“Kasi noong start, merong flat eh. Masakit mang sabihin pero meron talagang may ganun. Di ko alam kung ready sila maglaro today or what. Good thing may mga deserving na nag-step up at ayaw pa magbakasyon,” shared Napa, as Letran suffered a second quarter drought that saw a 12-point lead quickly vanish.

Jeo Ambohot had an excellent outing as well with 10 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks, while Calvo and Jerrick Balanza chipped in 16 and 13 points respectively.

TY Tang ended his maiden campaign with the Blazers with a 4-14 slate, good for ninth place. Gerard Castor, Rene Sta. Maria, Matt Johnson, Carl Suarez, and Renzo Mercado played their final game with CSB.

Clement Leutcheu led the Blazers with 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting and 18 rebounds. Pili added his career-high of 16 markers.

The Scores:

CSJL 66 – Nambatac 18, Calvo 16, Balanza 13, Ambohot 10, Quinto 7, Balagasay 2, Bernabe 0, Caralipio 0, Gedaria 0, Mandreza 0, Pamulaklakin 0, Taladua 0, Vacaro 0.

CSB 60 – Leutcheu 18, Pili 16, Sta. Maria 6, Castor 4, Dixon 4, Mercado 4, Domingo 3, San Juan 3, Velasco 2, Johnson 0, Naboa 0, Suarez 0, Young 0.

Quarterscores: 20-11, 28-28, 48-43, 66-60.

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