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Teng sparks, Caracut finishes as La Salle denies UE comeback



Losing a 17-point lead to an energetic squad in the fourth, the De La Salle University Green Archers notched its first win streak of the UAAP Season as they survive the University of the East Red Warriors, 71-64 held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.

The game’s opening four markers accounted for by UE was quickly erased by Jeron Teng’s early assertion within the rim. The fourth year forward scored nine points in the opening period alone, including seven straight in the middle of it to help the Archers build a 13-10 lead. The Red Warriors responded with their usual frantic full court pressure that enabled them to score a 6-0 response to take the lead. However, Larry Muyang and Jeron Teng scored two more buckets in the last 1:22 to give the Green Arches a 17-16 edge after the first.

UE continued its bullying from the entire floor defensive-wise as Ed Charcos piled up the layups from fast break plays. La Salle would respond with good shooting from the foul stripe as they delivered seven points in the quarter alone. In addition, good defense by La Salle limited the Warriors to only five baskets in the quarter as the Taft-based crew built an 11-2 run to end the first half. Larry Muyang scored five markers during the stretch including a solid performance in grabbing the boards.

La Salle displayed its own running game as fast break points also grew for the Green Archers in the third period. UE had a hard time barging into the 8-point lead with Julian Sargent and Lorenzo Navarro doing damage in transition. Moreover, Joshua Torralba scored the first triple for his team with 4 minutes remaining in the third to maintain La Salle’s distance against the Warriors.

Rookie Andrei Caracut punched in two straight triple including a four-point play to build their biggest lead at 58-41. Then came the Red Warriors rally started by Nick Abanto’s inside baskets. UE’s stellar defense limited La Salle to score only two points in the next five minutes while the Red Warriors’ run was fortified with Ed Charcos’ fast break layup and Paul Varilla triple to make it a 60-56 game.
Teng and Caracut then delivered crucial layups to reinstall a comfortable distance and halt UE’s momentum. The Red Warriors had chances with late steals but failed to convert on chances while the Green Archers inked the necessary free throws to ice the game en route to the win.

“It’s a hard win. UE kept battling until the end. When we got the lead to double digits, they still found a way back,” Coach Juno Sauler said after the game. Moreover, he was proud of the end game composure of his guys in saying “It’s a great effort on the part of all the boys, not giving up and playing hard until the final seconds.”

The Green Archers were able to lockdown on stalwart Edson Batiller in limiting him to just two points on an atrocious 0/9 shooting. “We just told Josh [Torralba] and to Julian [Sargent] to defend him,” Sauler simply said about the feat.

Teng, on the other hand, knew that this game was going to be tough. That is why they trained the entire week on how to break the dreaded Pumaren-press. “Siguro kasi we worked on that the entire week. Alam namin pressing team sila. We had 30 [turnovers] but okay naman because of our D.”

Both Jeron Teng and Andrei Caracut topscored for the Archers with 16 markers. Teng added seven boards while the rookie added five. Another rookie stood out for the Taft cagers as Larry Muyang notched a huge double-double with 11 points and 11 boards.

For the Warriors, Nick Abanto led the team with 14 points and eight boards. RR De Leon added 12 points.

As a team, DLSU committed 30 turnovers but the Red Warriors were not able to take advantage of it in scoring just 18 from it. Fortunately for the green and white squad, they shot 37% from the field compared to 32% of their opponents.

The Green Archers (3-2) will next face the UST Growling Tigers (4-1) on Wednesday, September 30 at 4:00pm while the Red Warriors (2-4) will have the UST Tigers as well in their final assignment in the first round on Wednesday, October 7. Both games will be played at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:
DLSU (71) – Caracut 16, Teng 16, Muyang 11, Torres 8, Torralba 7, Perkins 6, Sargent 5, Navarro 2, Rivero 0, Tratter 0.
UE (64) – Abanto 14, De Leon 12, Charcos 8, Varilla 7, Palma 5, Pelenuela 5, Javier 4, Derige 3, Batiller 2, Yu 2, Manalang 0, Sta. Ana 0.
Quarterscores: 17-16, 32-26, 51-41, 71-64



Jovie Prado, Arellano make epic comeback against Perpetual to remain unscathed



The defending NCAA Women’s Volleyball champions Arellano University Lady Chiefs would just not give up.

Down two sets, the Lady Chiefs turned back the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas in five thrilling sets, 22-25, 19-25, 25-21, 25-20, 15-5, Tuesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Outside hitter Jovielyn Prado and middle attacker Andrea Marzan showed up and produced their expected numbers in this crucial tussle at 20 and 16 points, respectively.

Head coach Obet Javier was still optimistic that his players can pull it off after the 0-2 hole. “Siyempre, kailangan mong magtiwala sa players mo,” he said.

The long-time coach added, “Nung first two sets, ang pangit ng laro namin. Siguro sa game, lumabas lang ‘yung maturity ng players ko at ‘yung pusong champion.”

It was a nip-and-tuck affair throughout the day, but the deciding set was all Arellano as setter Sarah Verutiao fired off vicious serves after another and virtually bag the win with a 10-1 lead.

The reigning queens at 6-0 will try to extend their longest winning run in the league to 19 when they face fellow unscathed San Beda College (5-0) on Friday.

Bianca Tripoli registered 20 markers to pace the Lady Altas.

Perpetual (4-2) will take on Mapua University (0-5) on Tuesday, January 30.

The Scores:

AU 3 – Prado 20, Marzan 16, Arocha 14, Ebuen 7, Esguerra 4, Ramirez 1, Bello 1, Balanoba 0, Donato 0, Flores L, Buema L.

UPHSD 2 – Tripoli 20, Imbo 19, Clements 12, Verzosa 6, Llorente 5, Gual 3, Sangalang 3, Estanislao 0, Rosal 0, Umandal 0, Medalla L.

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Matt Nieto looks forward to learning from Jio Jalalon, Jayson Castro



When Matt Nieto made his way into the Meralco Gym on Monday evening, the 20-year-old quickly changed his clothes after receiving his Gilas jersey. And once he got dressed, the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles’ floor general quickly went to work, as he wanted to absorb everything he can from the night’s session.

“Actually na-star struck ako. ‘Di ako makapaniwala na nandito ako eh,” expressed the six-foot point guard.

Playing and practicing with the players they idolized growing up has been a theme for almost all of the 23 for 2023 cadets. The same could be said about the wide-eyed Nieto, as he could not believe he was side-by-side with the present and the future of the game in Jayson Castro and Jiovani Jalalon.

“Nakita ko pa lang si idol Jiovani Jalalon, nakikita ko parang… di ako makapaniwala na sa isang practice magkasama kami.

“Sila Kiefer [Ravena], lalo na si Jalalon talaga at si Jayson Castro kasi talagang idol ko talaga sila eh. Napapasma nga ako nung una eh kasi parang baka akalain nila ‘sino ba to?’,” the one-time UAAP champion shared.

Nervous, Nieto tried to talk to Castro and Jalalon numerous times during the practice. The two did not turn, welcoming the young buck with open arms.

“Nung nakausap ko na sila medyo na ano na kasi hindi lang sila magaling, sobrang bait pa nila. Madali akong naka-adjust kaagad dito,” he beamed.

Coach Chot Reyes has high expectations with Nieto, as he is being groomed as one of the leaders for the 2023 team. Still, he knows that there is still a long way to go for him.

To become a better leader, the second-generation Blue Eagle knows who to reach out to.

“Gusto ko matuto kay Jayson pati kay Jiovani kasi same position kami. And of course yung leadership ni Kiefer, yung mentality na talagang laban kung laban.

“Gusto ko marami matutunan sa kanila kasi wala pa eh, wala pa ako sa peak ko. Sila andun na. So marami talaga akong matututunan sa kanila kasi sobrang galing nila at sobrang dami na nilang na-achieve sa kanilang basketball career,” Nieto gushed.

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SJ Belangel makes leap to top 3 of Chooks-to-Go/NBTC 24




Ateneo Blue Eaglets towering teen Kai Sotto and La Salle Greenhills Junior Blazers court general Joel Cagulangan remained the top two high school players in the Chooks-to-Go/National Basketball Training Center 24, but there was a lot of movement this week, including the rise of SJ Belangel.

Belangel, Ateneo’s graduating floor leader, had a sensational week, helping steer the Blue Eaglets to an unblemished 10-0 record. With his exploits, he was the consensus third-ranked player of the week, leapfrogging Mapua High School’s and NCAA MVP Will Gozum.

FEU-Diliman do-it-all guard L-Jay Gonzales and Katipunan swingman Dave Ildefonso also moved up the ladder, while UST Tiger Cub ace CJ Cansino dropped to eighth after finishing fourth last week.

Besides movement at the top, there were also a lot of debutatants in this week’s list.

Blue Eaglets double-double machine Joaqui Manuel’s workhorse type of game paid off, as he was ranked 21st this week.

After firing 51 markers last weekend, Bacolod Tay Tung High School’s Harold Alarcon was named as the 22nd top prospect.

Joshua Yerro of University of Visayas then rounded out the list.

Here is the complete Chooks-to-Go/NBTC 24 Week 2:

1. Kai Sotto, center, Ateneo (1)
2. Joel Cagulangan, guard, La Salle (2)
3. SJ Belangel, guard, Ateneo (5)
4. Will Gozum, center, Mapua (3)
5. L-Jay Gonzales, guard, FEU-Diliman (6)
6. Dave Ildefonso, forward, Ateneo (8)
7. Rhayyan Amsali, forward, NU (7)
8. CJ Cansino, forward, UST (4)
9. Clint Escamis, guard, Mapua (10)
10. Aaron Fermin, center, Arellano (9)
11. Terrence Fortea, guard, NU (16)
12. RJ Abarrientos, guard, FEU-Diliman (15)
13. Inand Fornilos, forward, La Salle (11)
14. Evan Nelle, guard, San Beda (12)
15. Warren Bonifacio, center, Mapua (13)
16. John Galinato, guard, Chiang Kai Shek (14)
17. Mac Guadaña, guard, Lyceum (18)
18. Raven Cortez, center, La Salle Zobel (19)
19. Harvey Pagsanjan, guard, Hope Christian (20)
20. Maui Cruz, guard, EAC (23)
21. Joaqui Manuel, forward, Ateneo (N/A)
22. Harold Alarcon, guard, Tay Tung-Bacolod (N/A)
23. Jancork Cabahug, forward, UV (17)
24. Joshua Yerro, guard, UV (N/A)

On Tuesday, January 23, the second episode of Chooks-to-Go/NBTC 24 will air live at 7:00pm. Tonight’s special guest will be former Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas player and NBTC alumnus Jeron Teng.

The Chooks-to-Go/National Basketball Training Centre 24 is the first-ever attempt to rank the top high school prospects in the country today.

The weekly ranking used the following criteria: league stats, impact in team, team record, leadership, defense, offense, and level of competition.

These rankings will be used to determine the 24 players who will take part in the annual SM-NBTC High School All-Star Game on March at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

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Joyce Sta. Rita slams 28 as Lady Stags avert Cardinal upset



Erasing a disappointing third set, the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Lady Stags upended the upset-conscious Mapua University Lady Cardinals, 25-20, 25-7, 29-31, 25-14, Tuesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The win revived the Lady Stags’ campaign after back-to-back losses to the Jose Rizal University and University of Perpetual Help System DALTA. San Sebastian are now at 3-2.

“Andun pa rin naman, apat pa naman laro,” said Stags’ head coach Roger Gorayeb on their chances for the Final Four. “Sana umabot.”

Team captain Joyce Sta. Rita produced a career-high 28 points off 22 attacks, four blocks, and two serves. The senior middle hitter paced her squad’s 58 spikes, who outscored Mapua’s 33.

The Lady Cards capitalized on the rotation wherein Sta. Rita was in the backline in that third set turnaround. Nonetheless, Vira Guillema and the rest of the Lady Stags just turned to their experience to ultimately finish the match.

Gorayeb, nonetheless, hopes his team will toughen up mentally for the home stretch of the eliminations. “Kasi ‘yung laro, nawawala na ‘yan sa physical side, napupunta na sa psychological part ng game.”

Angelie Magundayao lead the Cardinals with 10 markers.

San Sebastian will take on the Colegio de San Juan de Letran (2-3) on Thursday. Mapua (0-5) will take on the Emilio Aguinaldo College (0-5) in a battle of the winless earlier that day.

The Scores:

SSC-R 3 – Sta. Rita 28, Dalisay 17, Santos 11, Encarnacion 10, Guillema 4, Tiangco 2, Eroa L.

MU 1 – Mangundayao 10, Racelis 9, Pena 9, Latayan 5, Morano 4, Frando 2, Mercado 1, Barias 0, Hermano 0, Ramilo L.

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