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Tolomia leads late charge as FEU escapes National U

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In the first match-up between the finalists of last season’s UAAP Men’s Basketball Finals, it was senior Mike Tolomia who provided the clutch baskets for the Far Eastern University Tamaraws. Those were enough to halt the momentum of the National University Bulldogs, 61-59, as the Tamaraws co-share the top of the standings with the UST Growling Tigers.

The stingy National University defense was on full display at the start of the game as the Tamaraws were held scoreless in the first 3:20 of the game. However, the offense of the defending champions as they were only able to convert on the inside. After coach Nash Racela called for a timeout to relax his troops, Mike Tolomia immediately scored on his patented push shot to cut the lead to just one, 5-4. Two consecutive fins by Gelo Alolino to Reggie Morido was answered by free throws by Raymar Jose. With NU holding an 11-8 lead, a basket by Russel Escoto and a buzzer-beating three pointer by Roger Pogoy ended the quarter with FEU up, 13-11.

Sparkplug Jay Alejandro and Alfred Aroga pushed the Jhocson Street cagers to open the quarter. To counter that NU push, Mac Belo went aggressive on offense as well as he knocked down a three-pointer and a lay-up to keep in pace. Aroga was the only source of offense for the Bulldogs in scoring six straight points, all through drives, to gain a 30-24 lead. The FEU bleeding was stopped at the 1:29 mark with a Jojo Trinidad triple. Alolino would knock down two consecutive jumpers but was answered with a reverse layup by Tolomia to close the quarter with the Bulldogs leading 34-29.

Known more for their offense, the Green-and-Gold squad displayed a new facet in their game in the third quarter. The Tamaraws held the Bulldogs scoreless in the first 5:41 of the third quarter. The Eric Altamirano-mentored squad could not connect on their shots nor penetrate the lane due to the imposing lockdown defense of last season’s runner-up. During that span, Mike Tolomia. Francis Tamsi, and Belo were able to gain a 40-34 lead. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, their defense still kept them in the game in only allowing 11 points during that span. National University only scored on free thrwos by Aroga and Alejandro while only gaining their first field goal with three seconds remaining with an Aroga layup as the Tamaraws entered the final frame with a 45-40 lead.

With the Bulldogs looking to find an offensive source, Kyle Neypes stepped up in the fourth quarter as he led the NU offense in the final quarter. With FEU leading by just five with 4:21 remaining. Neypes knocked down a jumper to cut the lead to just three. In the next play, Pao Javellona was able to find a cutting Med Salim who was fouled by the older Escoto. FEU assistant coach Eric Gonzales was then assessed a technical foul due to his continuous questioning of the call. The Bulldogs though blew the opportunity to at least tie the game as they only made one of three free throws. Neypes made up for this with another jumper to tie the game at 52-all. With just 2:30 remaining, a calm Tolomia circled above the arc and drained a three-pointer at the top of the arc. In the next play, Tolomia returned to that same spot and knocked down another one to extend the lead back to six, 58-52.

The Bulldogs though made one last push with a minute to go. Javellona found an open Neypes for a three-pointer with 56.6 seconds to go while free throws by Alolino cut the lead to just two, 59-61, with 28.3 remaining. The Tamaraws rushed a shot that led to an Aroga rebound after but the outlet thrown by the foreign student-athlete was intercepted by Tamsi with two ticks left. Knowing that NU had no timeouts, Tamsi intentionally missed both free throws that led to the fifth straight win for FEU.

“Before the game sabi namin this is just another game,” Coach Nash Racela said about the matchup. “We just need to play with the same intensity just like in the other games.” However, it’s still in the back of their minds according to the head coach as he said, “it’s a good feeling to beat the defending champions.”

Mike Tolomia, however, said that this was special for them. “Iniisip namin na makabawi kami bago nung game. Kaso ni-remind kami ni coach na huwag isipin yun.” With the big shots he connected in the crucial minutes of the fourth quarter, the senior said that his confidence is coming from the trust his coaches give him.

Racela closed in saying that just like Coach Juno Sauler of La Salle and Coach Bong dela Cruz of UST, they are emphasizing defense. “People overlooked our defense. Same thing with the other coaches, it’s the same thing with us.”

Mike Tolomia was the only one who scored in double-figures for the Tamaraws with 19 points. He was 62% from the field and 3/6 from downtown. He added five assists. Mac Belo had nine points and seven boards.

For the defending champions, Alfred Aroga topscored with 17 points on 47% shooting. He also grabbed 14 rebounds. Smart Elite ambassador Gelo Alolino added 10 points, four boards, four assists, and four steals.

The NU Bulldogs shot just 40% from the field and just 18% from downtown compared to the 43% from the field by FEU. The Tamaraws also shot 40% from three-point country.

The FEU Tamaraws (6-1) will have no rest as they face the Ateneo Blue Eagles (4-3) on Sunday, October 11 at 11:00am at SM Mall of Asia Arena. The NU Bulldogs (3-4), on the other hand, will look to get back on the winning track against the UE Red Warriors (2-5) on Saturday, October 12 at 4:00pm at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:
FEU (61) – Tolomia 19, Belo 9, Pogoy 7, Escoto Ru 5, Arong 4, Jose 4, Orizu 4, Tamsi 4, Trinidad 3, Escoto Ri 2, Comboy 0, Ebona 0, Holmqvist K 0, Holmqvist S 0, Inigo 0.
NU (59) – Aroga 17, Alolino 10, Neypes 10, Alejandro 7, Javelona 4, Morido 4, Abatayo 3, Salim 2, Tansingco 2, Diputado 0, Javillonar 0.
Quarterscores: 13-11, 29-34, 45-40, 61-59.

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Basketball

After getting first D-League experience, Zark’s-Lyceum ready to get loose

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After a hesitant performance in their PBA D-League debut last Thursday that resulted in a loss to the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers seemingly caught up with the league’s style of play on Tuesday.

Zark’s-Lyceum displayed their true form and stamped their class all over the Batangas-EAC Generals with a 37-point destruction, 112-75 — so far the biggest winning margin the franchise has ever had in its D-League history.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams we’re playing against with,” said Zark’s-Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson after the match at Pasig Sports Center. “But the things we want to mind are those things we control.

“We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways.”

Robinson’s claim was strongly backed up by the numbers that the Jawbreakers produced.

CJ Perez had 21 points and 10 rebounds. MJ Ayaay produced 15 points and 10 boards, and Mike Nzeusseu delivered 14 markers and 11 boards.

Even the bench made their presence felt in the victory. With guard Jaycee Marcelino spearheading the supporting cast’s charge with 12 markers, the bench contributed a remarkable 56 points to their total output.

Photo by PBA Images

“Ano lang, cinontrol lang namin yung pace kasi yun naman talaga yung laro namin, yung mabilisan,” said the 24-year-old do-it-all forward, who also collected three steals.

“Kailangan talaga mabilisan para ma-execute namin yung mga ginagawa namin.”

This week will be a rough one for the Pirates, as they will play right away this Thursday against the AMA Online Education. And for Perez, he strongly believes that they will be able to carry over their momentum.

“Oo. Nandun pa. Energy talaga yung puhunan namin para makalaro ng maayos.”

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Basketball

Bonbon Batiller shows what he can bring to Letran in D-League debut

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Photo by PBA Images

Tuesday proved to be a double debut for Bonbon Batiller. Aside from beginning his first foray in the PBA D-League, it also marked his debut for the Letran Knights, who are carrying the Wang’s Basketball Couriers franchise.

And the 5-foot-11 guard showed what he can bring to the table. Batiller collected 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists to help the Knights raise the curtains of their campaign with a 93-75 rout of the Batangas-EAC Generals.

“Nagworkout yung pinagpraktisan namin,” said Batiller. “Nagbunga rin yung tinuro samin ni Coach Jeff (Napa) lalo sa depensa. Tsaka siguro sa rebounds — laking lamang namin sa rebound. Nagsipag mga bigs namin.”

But what has him even more satisfied is the warm reception and trust he’s had from the Knights, even if he has spent barely a year with them after transferring from University of the East last 2017.

“Masaya po kasi tinanggap nila ako sa Letran ng buong-buo,” said Batiller, who normed 10.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 steals with UE in two years. “Tsaka yung tiwala nila na makakatulong ako sa team nandoon.

“Kaya masaya ako sa pinakita nila sa akin.”

That is why the General Santos native is hard-pressed to prove himself to Letran, saying that he’s all about giving back to the school that gave him another opportunity to resume his young, up-and-coming basketball career.

“Kailangan kong may mapatunayan na deserving ako sa binigay na second chance sa akin ni Letran,” said Batiller, who decided to switch schools partly due to academic reasons.

“Malaki ang utang ko sa Letran.”

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Bienvenido Maranon scores brace as Ceres-Negros eliminates Brisbane Roar

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Photo from the-AFC.com

Philippine club football just achieved its biggest continental result yet

The inaugural Philippines Football League champions Ceres-Negros Football Club eliminated three-time Australian champions Brisbane Roar in the 2018 AFC Champions League’s second preliminary round with a 3-2 stunner, away at the QSAC Stadium in Brisbane.

With the win, the 2017 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Champions are set to face Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian next January 30, 2018 at the Haihe Educational Football Stadium in Tianjin, China, to book a seat in the group stages.

Brisbane were the favorites for this tie and it showed, as Ceres started the contest on the back foot. Italian striker Massimo Maccarone handed the home side the lead in the 35th minute when he turned in Brett Holman’s pass.

Maccarone’s goal could have lowered the Busmen’s moral, but Risto Vidakovic’s men took it as a motivation rather than a downer. In fact, Ceres replied in the best way possible when Bienvenido Maranon scored his first goal of the match two minutes from halftime, thanks to a scramble in the Brisbane box.

By all accounts, Ceres had already made Philippine football proud at halftime. By this stage last year, Brisbane had accrued a 4-0 halftime cushion against Global Cebu en route to a 6-0 rout.

Today, though, Brisbane faced tougher resistance at Ceres’ hands. That resistance turned into a full-fledged revolt in the 65th minute when Maranon directed the ball past a helpless Jamie Young to give the Busmen their first taste of the lead.

Maranon’s goal well and truly turned the tide in Ceres’ favor. Brisbane were stunned. The home side are the defending A-League champions, but are currently eighth in the table this season and would soon face elimination from Asia’s premier club competition.

Already up 2-1, the Busmen finally achieved some breathing room in the 75th minute when Omid Nazari scored from close range to give Ceres a two-goal cushion over Brisbane.

Nazari’s goal not only sealed the win for Ceres, it also propelled Philippine football into the big leagues. Not even a late goal from French midfielder Éric Bauthéac could prevent the Busmen’s victory.

After five minutes of stoppage time, Ceres emerged 3-2 winners against Brisbane Roar. Come what may against Tianjin seven days from now, the Busmen have already achieved Philippine football’s biggest result since their own achievement in last season’s AFC Cup.

Who knows? Maybe Ceres can pull off another upset?

Ceres-Negros XI: Doblas (GK), Super, Mike Ott, Ingreso, Maranon, Porteria, Schrock, De Murga (C), Munoz, Nazari, Christaens.

Brisbane Roar XI: Ingham, Bowles, Papadopoulos, Maccarone, Holman, Khalfallah, Oxborrow, McKay (C), Hingert, Young (GK), Franjic.

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EAC

CJ Perez, Zark’s-Lyceum vent ire on Batangas-EAC with 37-point romp

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Photo by PBA Images

CJ Perez and the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers finally lived up to their hype, as they clobbered the Batangas-EAC Generals to score a 37-point beatdown, 112-75 for their first win, Tuesday at the Pasig Sports Center.

It was an all-out attack from the Jawbreakers, as they beat the Generals to the bite and took control of the game early, with Mike Nzeusseu and Jaycee Marcelino guiding their side to the 48-33 lead at halftime which they would never surrender.

Perez paced Zark’s Burger-Lyceum with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while MJ Ayaay tallied a double-double with his 15 markers, 10 boards, and three assists.

Cameroonian student-athlete Nzeusseu also delivered 14 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists. Marcelino had eight first half points and wound up with 12 off the bench, as the reserves chipped in 56 huge points in the tussle.

Coach Topex Robinson lauded the Jawbreakers for quickly adjusting to the style of the PBA D-League just days after falling to the Marinerong Pilipino, 92-94, back in opening day.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams were playing against with. But the things we want to mind are those things we control. We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways,” he said.

Earvin Mendoza and Cedric de Joya both had 16 points for the Generals in the losing effort.

Zark’s-Lyceum look to continue to roll when they face the AMA Online Education Titans on Thursday, January 25. EAC-Batangas, on the other hand, take on the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers on Monday, January 29.

The Scores:

Zark’s-Lyceum 112 — Perez 21, Ayaay 15, Nzeusseu 14, Jc. Marcelino 12, Serrano 10, Baltazar 8, Santos 8, Jv. Marcelino 6, Tansingco 6, Marata 4, Liwag 4, Ibañez 2, Cinco 2, Pretta 0.

Batangas-EAC 75 — E. Mendoza 16, De Joya 16, Tampoc 12, Laude 9, Pate 8, Maguliano 6, Altamirano 5, Diego 3, Garcia 0, Dela Peña 0, Martin 0, J. Mendoza 0, Neri 0.

Quarterscores: 19-14, 48-33, 84-47, 112-75.

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