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UP staves off meltdown, stuns La Salle



It took six years but the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons avoided a late game meltdown and go 2-0 as the Fighting Maroons upset the De La Salle University Green Archers, 71-66, Wednesday afternoon at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The cagers from Diliman quickly started with a 7-2 blast to open the game. Third-year center Andrew Harris anchored UP’s interior defense as the Green Archers were forced to jumpshots. Jeron Teng cut the lead with his aggressive drives midway through the quarter 7-5. Unfortunately for the Green Archers, they could not muster a field in the final 3:34 of the opening quarter while the UP offense was on fire with Paul Desiderio and JR Gallarza knocking down open jumpers while rookie a Piero Longa three-pointer gave UP a 16-10 lead. Back-to-back conversions by Smart Elite ambassador Prince Rivero ended the quarter with UP up by just two points 16-14.

The UP onslaught continued in the second quarter with UP clogging the passing lanes to force their opponents into turnovers. On offense, Longa continued his hot shooting in scoring five points in the quarter while Desiderio and Manuel bombarded DLSU with jumpshots. Teng was the only bright spot for the Archers in the first half with Thomas Torres not converting even on open shots. The Fighting Maroons held an imposing 13 point lead, 41-38, to enter halftime.

Three-point shooting by the Fighting Maroons helped the Rensy Bajar-mentored squad gain the games biggest lead 54-37 with 2:04 remaining in the third canto. Game 1 hero Gelo Vito, spitfire guard Diego Dario, and Desiderio helped during that run. Caracut and Rivero were able to cut the lead to 12, 54-42 to enter the final quarter.

The Fighting Maroons were able to quell every rally that the Taft cagers gave during the fourth quarter. However, Coach Juno Sauler had one last trick in his book. With four minutes remaining, Sauler switched to a press that startled the Maroons. After a Manuel fadeaway with 3:42 remaining that gave UP a 64-51 lead. Thomas Torres and Rivero were able to cut the lead to 65-59 as UP had a hard time to even cross the half court due to the defense. A Jeron Teng layup cut the lead further to just four with 45.9 to go. Fortunately for the hosts, they were able to outrebound the La Salle frontline down the stretch while free throw conversions by Harris and Henry Asilum sealed the game.

“Ang sarap!” a speechless Rensy Bajar said after the game. “Yung feeling namin ay di ko madescribe.” Team captain Jet Manuel added that everything was perfect for the game,” the coaching staff and the team, ang ganda ng performance.” The UP Fighting Maroons are not getting ahead of themselves, even with a 2-0 start, with Bajar saying “we’re taking it game-by-game. One game at a time.”

The UP Fighting Maroons were led by Smart Elite ambassador Jet Manuel’s 14 huge points. He was 6/16 from the field and added five rebounds, five assists and a steal. Paul Desiderio complimented the offense with 13 points while rookie guard Piero Longa added ten markers, with two triples.

Prince Rivero led the Archers with 15 points and 11 boards. He was 6/8 from the field but missed crucial free throws down the stretch. Rookie guard Andrei Caracut added 12 points. UP was able to limit Jeron Teng to just 10 points on a horrendous 4/12 shooting.

As a team, UP shot 41.27% from the field compared to the horrible 36% of DLSU. In addition the Green Archers were just 3/24 from downtown.

The UP Fighting Maroons have stringed together their first back-to-back wins since September 3, 2006 while the De La Salle Green Archers fall to 1-1. The Fighting Maroons (2-0) will try to go for their third straight win against the UST Growling Tigers on Sunday, September 13 at 2:00 pm while the Green Archers face the FEU Tamaraws on the same day at 4:00pm. Both games will be played at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Scores:

UP (71) – Manuel 14, Desiderio 13, Longa 10, Dario 9, Asilum 7, Moralde 5, Harris 4, Vito 3, Gallarza 2, Amar 2, Prado 2, Juruena 0, Kone 0

DLSU (66) – Rivero 15, Caracut 12, Teng 10, Torres 8, Sargent 8, Perkins 5, Go 5, Muyang 3, Navarro 0, Tratter 0

Quarters: 16-14, 41-28,54-42, 71-66.

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Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory



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



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



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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Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win



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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