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Streak-busters: EAC surprises Letran to end Knights’ winning run

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We have an upset and there will be Final Four games.

The Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals grind it out in the second half to power themselves to a 83-69 win over to give the Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) Knights its first loss in the 91st season of the NCAA at the FilOil Arena on Friday afternoon.

Displaying their patented defense that was seen in their unblemished start to the season, Letran forced EAC to commit two turnovers in the opening minute that led to a 7-2 start for the Knights. However, the frontcourt bigs of the Generals were active with their strong interior defense that led to early advantage for their team rebounding-wise. The Generals perimeter attempts would not fall down specifically their three-point attempts and despite only shooting a poor ⅛ clip from the free throw stripe in the first, a 7-0 spurt late enabled them to take the lead after 10 minutes of action.

Enjerico Diego scored the second quarter’s opening bucket to extend his team’s lead to its highest at seven. However, the top-seeded Letran squad answered with a fast 10-0 run in the next three minutes including two triples by Kevin Racal as their suffocating defense played another huge part in their second quarter run.

After being silent during the stretch, Jorem Morada drilled in a trey to stop the bleeding but that was the last basket for EAC before Letran poured another 10-point swing in their favor, to distance themselves with triples firing from multiple spots. By halftime, the Knights held at 36-28 and limiting the Generals to 10 points in the second.

Defense started to take place for the Generals as they forced the Knights to several tough attempts in the second half. Rey Nambatac scored Letran’s first basket after three minutes of being scoreless. On the other end, the bigs kept on pounding the rock for EAC as Hamadou Laminou inked in eight of his team’s first 11 points to keep the score a close one while Letran struggled in finding their mark offensively.

Countering the Knights’ defense with their own, the trap defense made by EAC enabled them three straight layups in the last minutes of the third frame including a lead-giving one from Francis Munsayac that propelled them to take the lead for good.

With the pace of the game favoring their squad, the Generals held their furious momentous run to extend their advantage against the stunned Letran team who blew shot after shot in favor of EAC. Sidney Onwubere made timely shots and rebounds while Munsayac scored from way downtown to give them a 69-60 lead.

After ensuing plays, Letran was still blank from the perimeter while Jose Morada banked in a three-point play from with exactly three minutes to go plus a foul to extend their lead to a baker’s dozen. With necessary stops and free throws to top it off, the Generals completed the upset while notching their second win of the season and also avoiding to join Lyceum at the bottom of the standings.

“Yung game it looks so easy, pero hard work ang puhunan ng mga bata,” EAC head coach Andy de Guzman said after the game. “I told the boys yesterday that they play doubly hard, but because it’s Letran; they made it triple, triple hard! Pakita natin kung ano ang character ng team na ito.”

In addition, when they were up 13 with two minutes to go in the game, the coach told his team not to relax. “Don’t play loose because they still have a chance to come back.”

Finally, even in being down 0-5, coach Andy de Guzman said that the team’s morale was down. “I just kept on motivating them, tapos yung against San Sebastian, maganda ang naging resulta nun para sa team.”

Cameroonian student-athlete Laminou Hamidou grabbed a huge double-double with 20 points and 24 rebounds. Both Remy Morada and Sidney Onwubere added 18 points apiece with Morada also grabbing 10 boards and three assists. Smart Elite ambassador Francis Munsayac had eight points, six rebounds and three assists. The Letran Knights were paced by Kevin Racal’s 18 points but was just 7/22 from the field. Rey Nambatac had 11 points but also shot poorly as he shot just 3/14 from the field.

As a team, Letran shot a horrendous 31% from the field and was greatly outrebounded 67-42. This led to 17 second-chance points for the Generals.

EAC improved to a 2-5 slate while Letran barges into the losing column with their first defeat in eight games. The Generals will look to sustain their hot run against the LPU Pirates on Thursday, August 13 at 2:00pm while the Letran Knights will finish off their first round campaign on Friday, August 14 against the Mapua Cardinals at 12nn.

The Scores:

EAC (83) – Hamadou 20, Morada 18, Onwubere 18, Munsayac 7, Mejos 6, Diego 6, Pascua 3, Bonleon 2, Corilla 2, Mallari 1, Pascual 0

CSJL (69) – Racal 18, Cruz 16, Nambatac 11, Sollano 6, Apreku 4, Balanza 4, Calvo 3, Luib 3, Balagaysay 2, Publico 2

Quarters: 18-13, 28-36, 52-50, 83-69.

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Badminton

La Salle holds off FEU in UAAP opening day

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The De La Salle Green Archers came out victorious against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in their first match-up of the season earlier today at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall. DLSU won all but one match, as FEU managed to snatch the final singles match.

The Green Shuttlers came up short of the gold last season, as they fell to the National University Bulldogs in the finals for the second straight year. The Tamaraws, on the other hand, have been falling short of the Final Four since their championship in 2006.

Team Captain Kenneth Montedubio of La Salle took the first match against FEU’s Justin Trecias in two games, 21-17, 21-10.  The game was back and forth early on, with the first game tied at 10 apiece.  However, Monterubio had better placing and decision making early on to keep Trecias at bay for the first game.  The second game became lopsided, as Trecias struggled against Monterubio, giving DLSU the first win of the tie.

DLSU veteran Anton Cayanan kept La Salle in the winning column as he took a two-setter victory against Estario Bacalso of FEU.  Both players had cold starts in the first game, with their points coming from unforced errors.  However, Cayanan picked up the pace and led 20-10 at game point. Bacalso tried to catch up, sparking a 5-0 run, but had a crucial error that gave the final point and the first game to The Green Shuttlers with a score of 21-15.  The second game had a similar story, as Bacalso continued to struggle. Cayanan sealed the match as he ended the second game with a similar score of 21-15.

The first doubles match of the day proved to be a crucial one, with DLSU clinching the win against FEU.  Cayel Pajarillo and Jerickson Obaob of La Salle barely escaped with the win against Tamaraws Josh Maquelabit and Rafael Dionisio in two games, 25-23, 21-18.

The Green Shuttlers also took the first non-bearing match with Joshua and Kenneth Monterubio narrowly winning against Justin Trecias and Estario Bacalso, 21-19, 21-18, in the first and second game respectively.

The Tamaraws then snatched the last match of the day, as Josh Maquelabit pulled of a comeback against Andrew Pineda of La Salle. Maquelabit lost the first game against Pineda but bounced back to steal the win in three games, 18-21, 26-24, 16-14.

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Basketball

UP veteran Wong targets Final Four despite woeful start

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Three losses in as many games.

It has been a dismal start to the UAAP Season 79 Women’s Basketball Tournament for the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, as the likes of Adamson University, De La Salle University and most recently the University of the East have overwhelmed them.

While the loss against Adamson could be deemed as first day jitters, defeats to La Salle and UE have left a scar, as the two schools won in lopsided fashion over UP.

Even though the past two games were blowout wins, playing against them beforehand, we thought we could also win against them. We prepared well but nothing eh. It’s still not going our way,” stated fifth-year Lady Maroon Maan Wong.

The Lady Maroons were able to keep up with the Lady Archers and Lady Warriors in the first quarter, but were overwhelmed in each game by the second and third periods respectively. Those periods became the point of the game in which the Lady Maroons virtually lost the contest.

The Antipolo-born player said, “It’s like becoming a trend. It’s more of I feel like the teams they were able to adjust already and us players we weren’t able to adjust right away. I think that’s really a problem.

It’s really the turnovers which are killing us. We need to work on that aspect like not throwing the ball. If our teammate can’t get the ball, we still pass it. It’s more of focus and composure that we’re lacking.

Wong admitted that the team was still down after those three losses, but they still look forward to each game. She said, “We’re still hoping to win the next game. We’re still there. We’re still into this season. It’s still too early to give up. We’ll still fight. Obviously the past two games were kind of embarrassing, but we’re still into it.

This season is an adjustment year for UP, as Kenneth Raval had replaced Emmanuel Papa before the start of the season. Nevertheless, Wong is undeterred. “It’s still basketball. You just need to trust the new system and everything will go well. Now it’s my role to really lead the team like with the experiences I’ve had with the past seasons, those are the things I want to be able to share them.”

There are still 11 games to go before the end of the elimination round. The Montessori Integrated School of Antipolo product still has high hopes for the rest of the season. “Obviously I really want to win the championship, but realistically I know we have a chance of entering the Final Four and from there we’ll see.

UP’s next match will be against Season 79 hosts, the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigresses, on Septermber 17, 8:00AM, at the Araneta Coliseum. Expect Wong to go all out as she leads the Lady Maroons to what could be their first win this season. 

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Fuel Masters outlast Road Warriors in OT

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The race for the coveted eighth spot just got interesting.

The Phoenix Fuel Masters needed 53 minutes of basketball to outlast the NLEX Road Warriors, 95-91, to take solo 7th in the 2016 PBA Governors Cup Friday evening at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Fuel Masters relied heavily on reinforcement Eduard Phelps, playing 47 minutes in the game. He finished with a statline of 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting and grabbed 26 rebounds.

“We played their game, we fell into that trap,” Phoenix head coach Ariel Vanguardia said. “But good thing, we got something going in the third quarter and it helped us in the endgame.”

Phoenix was down 82-78 with 33 seconds remaining but Phelps scored on a quick basket followed by a triple and a split on the stripe by Cyrus Baguio that placed the Fuel Masters on top with 6.8 ticks remaining. However, speedy guard Kevin Alas coasted through the Phoenix defense and scored on an easy lay-in to send the game into extra time.

“We gambled with a double-teaming defense that worked towards the end of regulation,” Vanguardia added. “It led to a big three by Cyrus and that proved to be the turning point of the game.”

Phelps then took over in overtime, scoring eight of the 11 overtime points of Phoenix. The NLEX problem was then compounded by a crucial loose ball foul committed by Alas, who was held scoreless in extra time, against Mark Borboran.

“You have to earn every victory in this league,” the ABL champion coach shared.

Baguio added ten markers while Ronjay Buenafe, Willie Wilson, and Josh Urbiztondo chipped in nine markers each.

For NLEX, Henry Walker paced the Road Warriors with 23 points and 11 rebounds. The ageless Asi Taulava added 12 markers but fouled out of the game.

The Phoenix Fuel Masters (7th, 3-4) next face the Star Hotshots (11th, 1-5) on Friday, September 2 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. On the other hand, the NLEX Road Warriors (8th, 3-5) have the will face the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (6th, 3-3) on Sunday, September 4 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores:

Phoenix (95) – Phelps 29, Baguio 10, Buenafe 9, Wilson W. 9, Urbiztondo 9, Enciso 5, Borboran 5, Cruz 5, Miranda 4, Lanete 4, Lee 2, Caperal 2, Torres 0, Pennisi 0.

NLEX (91) – Walker 23, Alas 16, Taulava 12, Baracael 11, Villanueva J. 7, Monfort 6, Villanueva E. 5, Anthony 4, Lanete 3, Khobuntin 2, Akl 2.

Quarterscores: 11-16, 33-39, 60-64, 84-84, 95-91.

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Football

Ceres’ title hopes dented as Archers pull off upset

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In a 2016 United Football League which has seemed like a procession to the top by its strongest teams, upsets have been hard to come by for the minnows. Yesterday (August 7, 2016) was one rare day where the underdog shone at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

Against all odds, Green Archers United Football Club defeated title contenders Ceres-La Salle FC by a score of 2-1 to inflict serious damage on the Bacolod-based club’s championship hopes this season.

Hossein Doustdarsefodmazgi (35′) and substitute Tating Pasilan (73′) provided the goals for the Archers as Adrian Gallardo’s penalty (13′) wasn’t enough to set Ceres in the path to another win. While the Archers remain at 7th place with 17 points, Ceres stay at 2nd place with 28 points as league leaders Global are now ahead by 3 points with a game in hand.

After a lively opening in the first half, Ceres drew first blood in the first in clinical fashion. Stephan Schrock was adjudged to have been brought down in the Archers’ box by defender William Ebanda and the referee didn’t hesitate to award a penalty to Ceres. Up stepped Gallardo who made no mistake to put the ball past Archers goalie Henri Bandeken Fong at the 13th minute.

Following the opening goal, Ceres probed looked well on their way to enjoying another routine win. They manned most of the possession with the Archers’ defense just holding firm enough to prevent more goals. Archers themselves had chances mainly from former Azkal winger Chieffy Caligdong, although he failed to hit the target.

Things, though, changed when Reynald Villareal’s pass played Doustdarsefodmazgi through towards the Ceres goal. Ceres goalie Louie Casas rushed out to no avail as Doustdarsefodmazgi calmly directed the ball past him at the 35th minute. Ceres were stunned while relief swept across the Archers’ players faces. It then ended 1-1 at halftime with both teams proving good value for their goals.

Once the second half started, Ceres immediately took the initiative to restore their lead. Schrock unleashed a powerful shot, only for it to be denied by the post. Fong became a busy man afterwards as he produced quality stops to thwart Schrock and Manny Ott.

For the Archers, however, their most dangerous attacking player in the second half was substitute striker Pasilan. In between those Ceres attempts, Pasilan’s header from a corner kick would have went to the back of the net if not for an alert Casas. Pasilan, though, made it one better at the 73rd minute when he unleashed a shot beyond Casas’ reach for the priceless lead.

Ceres’ title hopes were dwindling. Fast. In what was Risto Vidakovic’s first game in charge of Ceres, Archers were ready to help crown Global as champions. Archers endured a nervy ending as Ceres pushed for a goal or two. The Alabang-based squad had Fong to thank as his calm goalkeeping ensured that late attempts on goal by Schrock were halted.

In the end, Archers secured an incredible 2-1 win over Ceres. Archers head coach Dolfo Alicante said after the game, “Talagang masayang-masaya kami. This is the first time na natalo namin yung Ceres. Alam naman natin na malakas na team yung Ceres. First of all, papasalamat kami sa Panginoon, siya ang tumulong sa amin. Yung adjustment ng team namin, malaking tulong. Medyo nag-improve yung organization. Nabigyan namin ng strength kaunti yung sa taas.”

Archers will face JP Voltes next on Wednesday (August 10, 2016; 4:00PM) at Rizal Memorial. On the other hand, Ceres will play JP Voltes as well on Sunday (August 14, 2016; 4:00PM) at the same venue.

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