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Short-handed Cardinals nail Pirates for fourth straight win

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The Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) Cardinals earned its fourth consecutive victory, squeaking by the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Pirates, 70-66, in the 91st season of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

The league’s best offensive squad, Mapua blitzed their Intramuros neighbors in the opening quarter, drilling four triples along with a plethora of long two pointers to bury LPU in a 25-12 hole to end the first quarter. The law of averages, however, caught up with the cardinals in the following canto, managing only a single field goal in the first five minutes. Lyceum took full advantage, nibbling the deficit down to five after a Marata trifecta with 3:20 left in the first half. MIT then caught fire, scoring the last seven points of the half higlighted by back-to-back Mark Braña jumpers to forge a 37-25 advantage to cap the opening half.

With the Pirates consciously taking the ball into he teeth of the Mapua defense, the Cardinals’ prized big man, Allwell Oraeme got into heavy foul trouble and was sat out for more than half of the third quarter after catching his fourth foul. Returning Lyceum power forward, Joseph Gabayni went to work in the third canto, dropping 11 points in the quarter alone with his late and-one play bringing his team to within eight, 41-49 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter. What followed was a hectic exchange of fastbreak buckets from both teams with Mapua vaulting their lead back up to 13, 58-45, entering the pay-off period.

Oraeme re-entered the match with eight minutes remaining on the gane clock. But the Nigerian stalwart sat immediately went back to the bench after incurring his disqualifying foul two minutes later, much to the dismay of Mapua head coach, Atoy Co who was ejected from the game for gamely questioning Oraeme’s fifth foul. Lyceum utilized a gigantic lineup of MJ Ayaay, Joseph Baltazer, Gabayni, Victor Nguidjol, and Jeb Bulawan to closeout the game. The lineup’s length and Nguidjol’s speed in defending Mapua’s guards helped Lyceum slowly creep back into the match as the Cardinals continued to foul the Pirates everytime the ball flung its way near the rim. Lyceum rattled off seven consecutive points from the charity stripe to slice the Mapua lead down to three, 62-65, the closest they got since the start of the match. The Mapuans, still struggling to get points on the board, clinched their win with scrappy defense. Mapua point guard, JP Nieles got a steal and a layup that gave Mapua a 67-62 lead which Gabayni followed with a sweepjng hook. With the shot clock winding down a few possessions later, Nieles bailed his team out with triple from the top of the arc to keep his team ahead, 70-64, with 2:42 left in the match. Neither team converted a field goal in the closing moments with the Pirates getting multiple offensive boards but failed to bring the Mapua lead down. Lyceum also had a tough time in the final minute to get back possession with the Cardinals hustling for every loose ball and offensive rebound.

In their first round matchup, Mapua nearly blew a 40-point lead but managed to stave off the late meltdown. The refereeing in the game, however, caused Coach Atoy’s now famous shirt-twriling meltdown which also gave him a one game suspension. “My boys did not give up. Maybe it inspired them when I got thrown out. I do not know why the referee threw me out on my first technical foul. Sabi ni Bai, [this happened because] of my first ejection when I took of my shirt,” the fiery coach said.

This season’s host school were without the services of Andretti Stevens, who suffered a knee injury early in the season, and Josan Nimes, who re-aggravated his hamstring injury. The Mapua role players did the heavy-lifting in their eighth win of the season with Nieles earning player of the game honors with 10 markers. Senior Mark Braña contributed 10 points while Justine Serrano had 15 markers which includes three hits from the beyond the arc.

Retuning from a four-game suspension, Gabayni led all scorers with 21 points on 9/12 shooting while also gobbling up seven rebounds. Nguidjol had a miserable shooting game but made up for it by making all of his seven charities to finish with a double-double of 12 points and 12 boards. Lyceum played without starting point guard, Shaq Alanes who served his one game suspension.

The Mapua Cardinals (8-5) look to extend their winning streak to five games as they face the league leading Letran Knights on Tuesday, September 15 at 2:00pm while the Lyceum Pirates (3-11) face the San Beda Red Lions on Thursday, September 17 at 4:00pm.

The Scores:

MIT (70) – Serrano 15, Nieles 10, Brana 10, Oraeme 8, Menina 8, Isit, Que 6, Biteng 5, Aguirre 0, Layug 0, Raflores 0

LPU (66) – Gabayni 21, Balatazar 14, Nguidjol 12, Ayaay 8, Marata 3, Bulawan 3, Malabanan 2, Soliman 2, Sunga 1, Mbida 0, Lugo 0

Quarters: 25-12, 37-25, 58-45, 70-66.

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball – from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado’s setting.

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Football

Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory

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Photo from the-AFC.com

2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.

The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.

“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.

Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.

Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.

Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.

Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.

While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.

It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.

The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.

As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.

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Basketball

Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’

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Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup

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Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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NCAA

Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win

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Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.

So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”

After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.

Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.

The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.

The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.

Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.

The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

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