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At the SEA Games Episode 5: Gold at last



By: Aeron Valderrama, Aldo Tong, and Matthew Li

After the glittering opening ceremony, the action in the 28th Southeast Asian Games went into full-swing Saturday, June 6. The day started with a glittering gold medal for the country and ended with a variety of results.

Here is how our Team Philippines fared in the first official day of the biennial.

Triathlon: Adorna clinches PH first gold

With high hopes going into the SEA Games, the women triathletes met expectations as they finished 1-2 at the end of the competitions in East Coast Park.

University of the Philippines alumna Maria Claire Adorna went out of the water in first with an 18:45 split, followed closely by Thailand’s Arunsiri Sanruthai at 18:57. The other Filipina Kim Mangrobang was at third with 20:19. Mangrobang had problems in the swim-to-bike transition, dropping her to fourth.

In the end, Adorna never looked back and ran away with the win and the delegation’s first gold of the Games with a time of 2:13:08. Mangrobang recovered in the bike and run legs to annex the silver for the country, finishing at 2:14:26. Arunsiri rounded up the podium, taking the finish line, 9 minutes after Adorna.

Shooting: Baking and Dela Cruz falter

In the first event of the petanque competitions in Padang, our bowlers Arvin Baking and Victoria Dela Cruz, failed to make it to the medal rounds.

Baking started well finishing with a score of 28 after the shooting round, which was good for third place. Dela Cruz, on her part, registered 9 after the same round, to finish last in the field. With just 15 points in the barrage round, Baking dug a deep hole that was not enough for him to move on to the medal round. Dela Cruz did not make it in the women’s shooting semifinals scoring 11 in the barrage phase.

Softball: Blu Boys and Girls dominate

The reigning kings and queens of the diamond, the RP Blu Boys and Blu Girls, started their gold-medal campaigns on a good note at the Kallang Softball Field. The women’s team blanked Indonesia, 6-0, in their lone match of the day. On the other hand, the men defeated Thailand, 8-1, in their first game.

Gymnastics: Gymnasts progress to the next stage

At the Bishan Sports Hall, the Philippines’ male gymnasts finished fifth in the team event with a score of 278.500. However, several athletes move on to the individual all-around and apparatus final events in the team event doubles as individual qualifications.

Rafael Ablaza III and Jan Gwynn Timbang moves on to the individual all-around finals with Ablaza scoring73.850 in the qualifications, while Timbang registering 71.650. Two gymnasts from each country moved on to the apparatus finals as well. Reyland Capellan had 14.400 and Ablaza, 13.850, to advance to the floor exercise medal rounds. Capellan’s strong vault of 14.600 powered him into the finals in that event. Ablaza also notched slots as reserve in rings, vault, horizontal bars, and parallel bars.

Rugby: Volcanoes erupt in Day 1

The men’s and women’s rugby teams finished with contrasting fates during the first day of the two-day competition over at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium.

In their SEAG debut, the Lady Volcanoes edged Laos in their first game off the offense of Aiumi Ono who scored all of the team’s 17 points. In the afternoon, a strong Thailand team overpowered the girls, 36-0. The Thais scored on six tries and converted half of them to register the final score.

On the other hand, the projected gold-medalists Volcanoes, moved closer to clinching that mint after winning three of their matches in the preliminary round. The men’s team dispatched 2007 SEAG champions Thailand, 24-10, before pulling off a 17-0 victory against the hosts Singapore. The 2013 Rugby Sevens World Cup participants ended their day undefeated with a whopping 55-0 win over Cambodia.

Fencing: Tinio adds bronze to medal haul

The women’s foil team led by individual silver medalist Justine Gail Tinio moved on to the semifinals after dismanting Malaysia, 45-32. The men’s sabre and epee teams were not as fortunate, however, as their journey was cut short at the quarterfinals.

The Malaysians took revenge against the Philippines in the men’s sabre, winning 45-30. The Nationals’ epeeists kept their match close and even led 32-30 with two bouts remaining. Thailand then pushed for the win and ended the country’s gold medal hopes in the event, 45-40.

In the semifinals, Tinio and company stuck with the hosts led by gold medallist Wang Wenying but ultimately lost the match, 28-36. With the defeat, the Filipino fencers pocketed another medal – a bronze – a day before they end their campaign here in the city-state.

Boxing: National team goes 3-0 in Day 1 of the tournament

Three Filipinos competed in the opening day of the amateur boxing tournament of the 28th SEA Games. The event was held in the Singapore EXPO Hall 1. The day featured Josie Gabuco, Irish Magno, and Ian Clark Bautista competing in the preliminaries of the women’s light flyweight (45-48kg.), women’s flyweight (48-51kg.), and men’s flyweight (49-52kg.) respectively.

The 2012 World Women’s Lightweight Boxing Champion, Josie Gabuco, soundly defeated Indonesia’s Aldriana Suguro in the opening bout of the tournament. Gabuco outpointed Suguro in all three rounds to advance in the tournament. Gabuco will face Singapore’s Leona Hui in the semifinals on June 8, 2015 at 2:00pm.

The 23-year old Irish Magno also had an excellent outing in her women’s flyweight bout against Indonesia’s Novita Sinadia. The match went into the scorecards with Magno winning all three rounds in the eyes of the judges. With the win, Magno moves on to the semifinals and will square-off against Thailand’s Sopida Satumrum at 2:45pm on June 8.

In the final match for the Filipino’s in the day, 20-year old Ian Clark Bautista outclassed Muhammad Azuwan Mohd Nar in the flyweight division. Clark won via a unanimous decision in sweeping all three rounds to move on to the round of 16. Bautista will again compete today, June 7 in the quarterfinals and will face Thai boxer Chatchai Butdee.

Judo: Filipino judoka settle for bronzes

It was a difficult day for the touted judoka as they suffered losses along the way and ended up scouring bronze medals in Day 1 of competitions at EXPO Hall 2.

Jennielou Mosqueda moved on to the semifinals of women’s -57 kg category over Laotian Manivanh Baiyan. On the other hand, veterans Dennis Catipon (-66 kg) and Glibert Ramirez (-73) lost their quarterfinals matches and went to the consolation bracket. Catipon lost to Baiyan’s compatriot Soukpaxhay Sithisane, while Ramirez lost to Masayuki Terada of Thailand. Moving on to the men’s -81 kg, Fil-Jap Kodo Nakano advanced to gold medal contention after his opponent Chittakone Xayasan was called for a shido. In the women’s -52, Helen Dawa defeated Intan Mahathir of Malaysia in the same stage of the competition.

The winning judoka suffered losses in the semifinals, whereas the quarterfinal losers bounced back. In the end, Ramirez and Dawa won the bronze medals in their respective categories. The two veterans outclassed Danh Ut Kien of Vietnam and Ni Virgynia to collect the country’s first medals in the sport.

Swimming: UAAP MVP Jessie Lacuna falls short of podium by :00.09

At the Men’s side, Thai Hoàng Quý Phước established a SEA Games record in the Men’s 200m Freestyle by clocking in at 1:48.96 enroute to defending his title. Hometown favorite Zhen Wen Quah of Singapore was only able to manage 1:49.17 while Welson Wee Sheng Sim (1:50.73) of Malaysia narrowly edged Jessie Khing Lacuna (1:50.82) of the Philippines by :00.09 seconds to round out the podium. Lacuna established a personal best in this event.

Rounding out the evening session was the Women’s 400m Freestyle Relay where the team of Singapore lead most of the way clocking 3:46.60. Thailand touched next at 3:49.62 while Indonesia (3:53.18) battled with the Philippines’ Hannah Dato (58.51), Roxanne Ashley Yu (59.76), Elizabeth Ann Jordana (59.30) and Jasmine Alkhaldi (56.00) to enter the podium but the late rally of Alkhaldi fell short. The Philippines wound up with a time of 3:53.57.

The Filipino tankers who saw action in Day 1 of Swimming in SEA Games 2015 did not land in the podium, most of them established personal best times, some even Philippine national records.

Below is a complete list of the swimmers from the Philippines with their times:

Men’s 200m Freestyle

4thJessie Khing Lacuna1:50.82
11thAxel Toni Steven Ngui1:55.65
Women’s 800m Freestyle
7thRosalee Mira Santa Ana9:21.81
Men’s 100m Backstroke
8thJose Joaquin Gonzalez59.83
Women’s 400m Individual Medley
4thHannah Dato5:00.96
Women’s 400m Freestyle Relay
4th1 – Hannah Dato (58.51)3:53.57*
2 – Roxanne Ashley Yu (59.76)
3 – Elizabeth Ann Jordana (59.30)
4 – Jasmine Alkhaldi (56.00)

*Philippine National Record

Round-up: Philippines in 7th place in medal tally

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Calvin Abueva rejuvenated with return of physical play: ‘Masarap maglaro’



Photo by PBA Images

For Calvin Abueva, it feels great to play in the PBA nowadays.

The Beast, who has always been known as one of the league’s most physical players since entering in 2012, was all praises for the way the officiating has changed this 43rd season — by just letting all the players play.

“Mas gumanda yung tawagan ngayon, naging physical nga. Naging exciting para sa mga tao, mas marami na nanonood ngayon eh,” said Abueva moments after their 97-83 victory over the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Sunday night.

As has been said many times, physicality had become something controlled over the last two years. Abueva knows it too well, having been a casualty, as he has paid a bevy of penalties during that time.

And now that it is a thing of the past, the 6-foot-2 bruiser feels much better, knowing that he can display his brand of basketball once more.

“Masarap maglaro, talagang pisikalan,” said the 29-year-old forward from Angeles, Pampanga. “Siyempre makikita naman natin kung sinasadya o hindi, basta katawan lang.

“Pisikal. Yun yung magandang laro di ba?”

Aside from the comeback of physicality, what makes Abueva beam even more is the way the Aces have been playing in the 2018 Philippine Cup. After a 0-2 start in the tourney, they have now booked their third straight win.

“Nung 2017 parang nilubog na namin yung losing streak namin doon. Ito 2018 na at panibagong destination na naman yung ina-ano namin,” said Abueva, who had nine points, nine rebounds, and five assists against Ginebra.

“Sustain muna namin ‘to… Sana magtuloy-tuloy ‘tong winning streak namin.”

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Alaska takes advantage of Greg Slaughter’s absence



For the streaking Alaska Aces, their stunning 97-83 victory over the favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday night was partly made possible by the absence of one key player: seven-foot behemoth Greg Slaughter.

The 28-year-old center, who was averaging 20.67 points and 10.3 rebounds prior to Sunday, did not play against the Aces due to a hamstring injury. How he incurred the injury has yet to be determined.

“There’s a small person named Greg Slaughter who didn’t play; I think he has an impact on the game,” quipped coach Alex Compton after the match.

“[They missed] a guy who I think is gonna win an MVP soon in Greg Slaughter.

“Sometimes dito sa liga natin, you have to take advantage when opportunities come your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt [though],” added Compton.

With Slaughter out of the way, the Aces’ big men feasted.

Vic Manuel top-billed with 18 points and five rebounds, and elder statesman Sonny Thoss turned back the clock with a 17-point, four-rebound outing.

“Malaking bonus na rin sa amin, kasi wala nga si Greg kaya nakuha namin yung panalo,” said Manuel.

“Yeah it definitely helped,” added the six-foot-seven Thoss, who shot 6-of-12 from the floor and made four of his freebies.

“He’s a big guy, he’s a big presence inside so it took one big guy off our shoulder.”

Slaughter was approached and asked by scribes regarding his injury, but he was not in the mood to comment. No one can blame him, though, since the Barangay have slipped to their second straight defeat after a 2-0 start.

“I’m always there in practice, going over our gameplans. But it’s better if you ask our PT,” he said.

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Alaska completes turnaround at Greg Slaughter-less Ginebra’s expense



Photo by PBA Images

A strong second half surge was all the Alaska Aces needed to turn back the heavily-favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 97-83, and book their third straight victory, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The Aces, who have yet to lose this 2018, have now improved to 3-2. Meanwhile, the Barangay absorbed their second straight loss and have dropped to 2-2.

“I was telling the guys na parang ang dami nating iniisip, hindi natin ginagawa yung ginagawa natin noong nakaraang dalawang linggo. Sabi ko relax lang tayo,” said coach Alex Compton, sharing what he told his wards that sparked the win.

Vic Manuel led the Milkmen with 18 points and five rebounds. Sonny Thoss turned back the clock as he made 17 markers on 6-of-12 shooting, while Chris Banchero supplied 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds.

The Aces were trailing by eight, 36-44 at the half, but it became a different ball game come the third chapter as they outscored the Gin Kings, 37 to 19, to erect a favorable 73-63 cushion heading into the game’s final 12 minutes.

From there, Alaska kept their foot on the gas to sustain their lead, which grew to as much as 18, 85-67, after their 6-0 spree — punctuated by Banchero’s lay-up plus a foul — with 6:14 remaining in the final frame.

Ginebra still tried to make one last push as they inched within 10, 75-85, but baskets by Thoss and Kevin Racal propelled Alaska to an 89-75 lead with 3:42 left to play — more than enough to knock out their counterparts.

“I was glad to come away with the win,” added Compton. “Sometimes, we have to take advantage of opportunities coming your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt but when two number one picks on the other team aren’t playing… There.”

Jvee Casio had 13 markers for Alaska, while Calvin Abueva nearly had a double-double of nine points and nine boards along with five assists in 20 minutes.

Aljon Mariano had 15 points, nine rebounds, and three dimes for Ginebra, who — despite having Sol Mercado back in the fold after ankle issues — missed the services of Joe Devance and Greg Slaughter due to injuries.

Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and Kevin Ferrer each scored 12 for the Barangay, with Thompson adding five assists. The trio combined for 15 of Ginebra’s 43 rebounds.

Alaska will aim to extend their streak versus the Blackwater Elite on Saturday, January 27 at 4:30 PM, while Ginebra will look to end their slump against the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Friday, January 26 at 7:00 PM. Both games are at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Alaska 97 — Manuel 18, Thoss 17, Banchero 14, Casio 13, Abueva 9, Teng 9, Cruz 5, Enciso 3, Potts 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2, Racal 2, J. Pascual 0.

Ginebra 83 — Mariano 15, J. Aguilar 12, Ferrer 12, Thompson 12, Caguioa 8, Cruz 8, R. Aguilar 5, Tenorio 5, Mercado 2, Taha 2, Wilson 2, Jamito 0.

Quarterscores: 26-23, 36-44, 73-63, 97-83.

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Frustrated Jared Dillinger admits ‘he’s getting sick’ of Meralco’s bad PH Cup runs



It’s no secret that the Meralco Bolts have struggled in the Philippine Cup for the last three years. During the last two seasons, the eight-year-old franchise’s win-loss tally is four wins and 18 losses.

And in the 2018 edition, the narrative has been the same, with little to no hope of it turning the other way around.

The Bolts bowed to the TNT Katropa, 99-81, Sunday night — their third straight defeat after winning over Blackwater Elite in their opener last December. If things continue as they are, it looks like another poor all-Filipino tilt run is looming.

“We’re 1-3 and there’s nothing to be happy about,” said Jared Dillinger, who had 14 points and five caroms in the match at Ynares Center in Antipolo. “It’s a long season though… We [shouldn’t] panic but it’s not fun right now.

“The Philippine Cup has been our Achilles heel and every damn Philippine Cup we get our ass kicked. I’m getting sick of it.”

In this game, Meralco missed the services of top forwards Ranidel De Ocampo and Cliff Hodge due to injuries. But for Dillinger, those issues shouldn’t be excuses.

“When you get two guys like Ranidel and Cliff out, as a team, that’s the opportunity for the guys below them to step up,” asserted Dillinger, who has been with the franchise since 2013.

“It doesn’t have to mean scoring, getting the assists or rebound, it’s just making the right play, being smart.”

Asked what went wrong in this particular loss versus their sister team, where they shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and had committed 17 turnovers, the 10-year veteran lamented the poor effort that the Bolts put up.

“TNT didn’t do anything much, given that they played well. But they didn’t have any secret schemes against us. They just passed the ball around, and they got open shots,” added the 10-year pro, as TNT made 23 assists and shot 18 triples.

“Our effort wasn’t there. We got to put up the intensity cause it sucks right now.”

Meralco have a chance to end their slump against the Kia Picanto this Wednesday. Dillinger sees it as a do-or-die affair, warning that it will be a grind-out affair knowing that the Picanto is coming off a skid-ending win over Rain or Shine.

Do-or-die ’cause that’s gonna be a playoff game. Thank God they beat Rain or Shine ’cause you don’t want to be that one team that gives the win to a 0-16 [team]. You don’t want to play teams like that,” stressed the all-around forward.

“Nothing to take away from Kia though. It’s gonna be tough.”

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