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SWEEPING SHUTTLERS: NU Bulldogs dominate the UAAP S77 Badminton Tournament



RIZAL MEMORIAL BADMINTON HALL, MANILA CITY – In the 1st series for the UAAP Men’s Badminton Finals Challenge, Joper Escueta and Peter Gabriel Magnaye were the only shuttlers fielded by Coach Jojo Mance in a 3-match, 6-game sweep of the De La Salle University Green Shuttlers. In the 2nd game of the finals, the #1 and #2 ranked shuttlers in the tournament are the only ones needed to sweep, not only the finals, but the entire tournament for the National University Bulldogs. This is the Bulldogs’ 2nd UAAP Men’s Badminton Championship in 3 years.

Men’s Singles Match 1: Philip Joper Escueta (NU) def. Elijah Boac (DLSU); 2:0
NU 1 – 0 DLSU

The team captains for both teams opened up the 2nd series in the Finals challenge with #1 ranked shuttler and Season 75 MVP Joper Escueta facing-off against DLSU team captain Elijah Boac. This was a surprising move by DLSU Coach Owen Lopez as Gerald Sibayan has always been the designated opener for the Green Shuttlers.

In two sets, Elijah Boac was overmatched by the strength and athleticism of Joper Escueta. Escueta played high all throughout the match by not settling for drop returns; instead returning with emphatic smashes. On the other hand, whenever EJ Boac would make a drop return, Escueta would respond with a high lob that would eventually tire-out Boac in the latter stages of the 2nd set. Moreover, Boac would not gain any sort of momentum in the 2 games of the match. Majority of Boac’s points came from unforced errors by Escueta. Joper Escueta would overpower Monterubio in winning both sets with the score of 21-11, 21-11 in a dominant performance.

Aggregate Score: Escueta 42 – Boac 22
Total Match Time: 30 mins

Men’s Singles Match 2: Peter Gabriel Magnaye (NU) def. John Kenneth Monterubio (DLSU); 2:0
NU 2 – 0 DLSU

Former UST star shuttler and #2 ranked in the Men’s Badminton MVP race, Peter Gabriel Magnaye, was as confident as one can be entering court 3 of the Badminton Hall. His opponent, John Kenneth Monterubio, with the weight of the DLSU season on him, had his game face on in trying to secure an upset win over Magnaye.

The 1st set saw Magnaye loosen-up his game by utilizing drop and push shots in long exchanges with Monterubio. Magnaye would find himself finding success with that strategy, going into the 11th point break with a small 11-7 lead over the shuttler from Taft. Monterubio would then come out of the break quicker than the lankier Magnaye to slowly tie the game at 14. Gabe Magnaye would then unleash a series of kill shots in a punishing 7-1 rally to win the 1st set 21-15.

In the huddle prior to the start of the 2nd set, Coach Lopez was overheard saying Monterubio should loosen-up and let the game come to him. With these words, Monterubio played lighter in the 2nd set compared to his stiff positioning in the 1st set. Peter Magnaye played aggressive all throughout the set, going for kill shots for each return he made, majority of which went array. Monterubio would exchange shots with Magnaye and convert them into excellent returns. The game would be tied at 16 at the latter stages of the set. Magnaye, knowing that the he could seal the match in this game, would make-up for his earlier errors in a series of sharp returns that would force Monterubio into errors to gain the lead 20-16. Peter Gabriel Magnaye would score the game-point with an excellent smash to seal the match 21-17.

Aggregate Score: Magnaye 42 – J. Monterubio 32
Total Match Time: 45 mins

Men’s Doubles Match 1: Philip Joper Escueta and Peter Gabriel Magnaye (NU) def. Carlos Cayanan and Gerald Sibayan (DLSU); 2:0
NU 3 – 0 DLSU (NU wins the UAAP Men’s Badminton Tournament)

This would be the swansong for the most dominating doubles tandem for this season of the UAAP Men’s Badminton Tournament. The tandem of Joper Escueta and Gabriel Magnaye went unbeaten in 8 matches, a total of 16 games and 7 different doubles pairs prior to this match-up. They would beat the pair of Cayanan and Sibayan in two matches and four games during the regular season and the 1st game of the finals. The result of the 3rd match would be much worse compared to their first two encounters.

Joper Escueta and Gabe Magnaye executed a perfect game plan all throughout the match. With Magnaye manning the back and Escueta taking over the front end of their court, no shuttlecock went unreturned from the returns of the DLSU tandem. Even with the few errors of the NU tandem, the pair displayed great defense and offense for Magnaye and Escueta in winning the 1st set 21-10.

With the championship just a game away for the NU Bulldogs, team captain and graduating player Joper Escueta would take the lead in what would be his final UAAP game. Escueta would be all over the court in the 2nd set, even diving for returns at certain points. Magnaye on his end would direct all his returns to Cayanan, who again was stifled by the NU play. Sibayan would try to mark his imprint on the game with push shots, which were usually excellent against other doubles pairings but not against Magnaye and Escueta. With the championship just 5 points away, score at 16-7, the pair for Sampaloc would go for successful smashes in a dominant 21-8 win to sweep the entire season.

Aggregate Score: Escueta and Magnaye 42 – Cayanan and Sibayan 18
Total Match Time: 25 mins

The National University Bulldogs have swept the entire men’s badminton tournament. In an interview with Coach Jojo Marce he would say that he is fortunate to coach such a talented team. A lot of factors were involved in the win with the recruitment of Alvin Morada and Paolo Gonzales, the end of residency for Gabe Magnaye and, most importantly, the leadership of Joper Escueta. Escueta, playing in his last UAAP game, would leave for Indonesia to train. He would then represent the Philippine Men’s Doubles team right after.

Meanwhile, the DLSU Green Shuttlers would compete in the University Games this October at Iloilo. Gerald Sibayan was happy with the team’s performance, especially after missing the playoffs for 3 straight seasons. He stressed that the Green Shuttlers will be stronger next year.

Click here for the Awarding Ceremony

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Defense has been key for Globalport to even slate, beams Sean Anthony



GlobalPort’s horrid start is now a thing of the past

Sean Anthony was all praises for the way GlobalPort Batang Pier has been executing their defensive schemes, following he and his team’s 101-76 demolition of the Blackwater Elite for their second straight victory.

“[It was] Defense again. We held them under 80 points. Our offense just flowed and we stayed aggressive on defense,” said the 31-year-old forward.

“Coach [Pido Jarencio] wants us to keep teams under 80, so another great defensive win for us.”

“We again met our target of limiting our points to below 80 points,” beamed Jarencio.

After a 0-2 start into the 2018 Philippine Cup and allowing their opponents to score at an average of 109.5 points per game, the Batang Pier have gone on a roll and have improved to 2-2. In this mini streak of theirs, with Rain or Shine and Blackwater as casualties, they have limited their opponents to just 73 points.

For the eight-year pro, it’s mostly because of the team’s growing chemistry, considering that they are running a new system under Jarencio, who took the coaching reins from Franz Pumaren in the offseason.

“A lot of it is the chemistry – we have a lot of new guys, so many young guys, a new coach, too, so our chemistry’s building,” said Anthony, who paced the Batang Pier with 22 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.

“It’s getting better every day.”

GlobalPort though has a tall order infront of them on January 24 as they are set to face reigning three-time all-Filipino champs San Miguel Beermen. But Anthony believes that they have ample time to prepare against the giants.

“San Miguel is three-time defending champs, so they’re going to be the team to beat, and definitely a barometer,” said the Filipino-American, who is currently averaging 18.25 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.75 assists.

“We’ve got some time to get better, so we’ve got to keep working on our weaknesses and continue to get better every day.”

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After second straight loss, Poy Erram laments: ‘Nagkanya-kanya kami’



For Blackwater Elite’s top big man Poy Erram, their 76-101 defeat into the hands of GlobalPort Batang Pier Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome was a result of the players resorting to play as individuals rather than as a single unit.

Erram himself nearly finished with a triple double of eight points, seven rebounds, and seven blocks, but his efforts were put in vain as the Elite never had a chance to show their brand of basketball right from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

“‘Di namin sinunod si coach. Nagkanya-kanya kami. Simula pa lang, nakita naman talaga na nagkanya-kanya kami,” lamented the 28-year-old moments after the lopsided affair.

“Di namin ginawa yung sistema ni coach.”

And it also didn’t help that Erram failed to display his best form no thanks to an ankle sprain, which he incurred late in the opening frame.

“Nilalaro ko lang buong game. Actually masakit talaga, namamaga talaga siya,” added the 6-foot-7 big man.

“Kasi kung di ako maglalaro, walang ibang maglalaro (center spot), so pinilit ko na lang talaga.”

The Elite have now fallen to their second straight loss after their huge 94-77 triumph over Ginebra last week. And this skid is something they regret, for they feel like they failed to prove that their win against the Gin Kings was no fluke.

“May chance na kami eh, pinakawalan pa namin. Sobrang sayang,” said the four-year pro out of Ateneo de Manila. “Yung mga players sobrang down (tonight) kasi inexpect namin lalaban kami, tapos tinambakan kami ng sobra.”

Blackwater played their second game in three days after asking for a schedule revision to give way to their Hope for Lupus Run this Sunday. But Erram does not want to make the exhausting string of games as an excuse.

“Medyo naging factor din na in one week tatlong games kami. Tapos puro malalakas pa kalaban namin. Pero di yun excuse for us,” said Erram, who is averaging 13.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks this conference.

“Dapat ready kami kahit sino kalaban namin.”

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GlobalPort thrashes tired Blackwater for second straight win



With their opponents playing their second game in three days, GlobalPort Batang Pier easily handled a tired Blackwater Elite side, 101-76, en route to their second straight victory, Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.

The Batang Pier, who had posted their second most lopsided win in franchise history, improved their card to 2-2, while the Elite lost their second straight match and had dropped to 2-3.

“We hit our target of 80 points below. They scored 76 points. We just played good defense all the way, and that’s the result,” said Batang Pier head coach Pido Jarencio. “Everybody contributed, even the rookies, that’s why we pulled away.”

Sean Anthony top-billed for GlobalPort with 22 points on six triples, on top of seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Stanley Pringle finished with 17 points and 11 boards with five dimes, while Kelly Nabong scored 16.

The one-sided affair in favor of the Batang Pier started as early as the opening frame, when Anthony’s three-pointer met the bottom of the net and gave them a 24-13 cushion with 3:21 left in the said quarter.

With almost everything going their way and Blackwater failing to find ways to respond, GlobalPort was able to lead by as much as 31 points, 87-56, after Pringle swished in a jumper with exactly 9:20 remaining in the final frame.

“Actually simple lang naman ang instruction ko sa team eh. Blackwater naglaro ng back-to-back, siyempre mapapagod din yan. So takbuhan,” added Jarencio on the win, where they scored 23 off fastbreaks.

Sophomore Mac Belo and Michael Di Gregorio were the only bright spots for Blackwater in the loss, as they scored 17 and 15 points, respectively, with the former adding seven rebounds and two assists to his name.

Poy Erram, who was remarkable in their last four games, was silent with eight points and seven rebounds. Raymar Jose added 12 boards and eight points for the Elite, who played without Allein Maliksi as he is currently in Australia.

Globalport will next face San Miguel Beermen on January 24, Wednesday at 7:00 PM, while Blackwater will take on Alaska on January 27, Saturday at 4:30 PM. Both games will be at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Globalport 101 – Anthony 22, Pringle 17, Nabong 16, Grey 8, Taha 7, Gabayni 6, Juico 6, Araña 4, Elorde 4, Flores 4, Guinto 4, Sargent 3.

Blackwater 76 – Belo 17, DiGregorio 15, Sena 9, Erram 8, Jose 8, Pinto 8, Palma 6, Javier 3, Cruz 2, Banal 0, Cortez 0, Marcelo 0, Neypes 0, Sumang 0.

Quarterscores: 28-23, 61-37, 79-54, 101-76.

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Saint Benilde regains winning form, sweeps San Sebastian



Following a shocking defeat to San Beda College, the defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers rolled back into the NCAA Season 93 win column with a quick triumph over the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Stags, 25-20, 25-19, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Blazers outclassed the Stags in every scoring category, recording twice as many spikes (40-20), and blocks (10-5).

Saint Benilde head coach Arnold Laniog wanted to see high-level play from his team after, what he deemed, a lackadaisical effort in their last outing.

“Marami kaming naging struggles last game na alam namin na kaya naman sana namin iwasan. Sabi ko sa kanila na one game at a time tayo, kailangan bawat game kami nagi-improve,” said Laniog

“Kung may maganda mang naidulot ‘yung talo, nakita namin doon ‘yung weakness namin. Nasa sa amin na talaga kung paano kami magre-respond. Maganda naman ‘yung pinakita nila kanina,” the champion tactician added.

Team captain Isaah Arda topped the Blazers with 14 points while his fellow winger Owen Bacani added 12 markers off 10 attacks, one block, and one ace.

The Blazers (3-1) take on Emilio Aguinaldo College (2-2) on Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Jahir Ebrahim continued to tow the Stags’ offense, notching 12 points but was again the only Stag in double-digits.

The Golden Stags (1-3) try to snap their losing streak on Tuesday when they face Mapua University (2-2).

The Scores

CSB (3) – Arda 14, Bacani 12, Orian 8, Basilan 7, Magsino 4, Rojas 3, De Sequena 2, Martinez 2, Garcia 0, Saldavia 0, Dy (L)

SSC-R (0) – Ebrahim 12, Ronato 6, Eugenio 5, Lana 5, Eusebio 2, Lazaro 2, Onque 0, Enano (L), Toledo (L)

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