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Torralba’s clutch triple lifts La Salle over Ateneo in squeaker

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In a classic rivalry game, the marquee stars were on full display as Kiefer Ravena and Jeron Teng exchanged baskets and defended each other hard on the other end. But it was transferee Joshua Torralba whose star shined the brightest in hitting a clutch three-pointer to lift the De La Salle University Green Archers past the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, 80-76, Sunday afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

La Salle tweaked its starting lineup by inserting Smart Elite Ambassador Prince Rivero as its center. The second year big man made his presence felt early with six points in the opening frame but they were facing a high-octane offense ran by the Katipunan-based crew. The Blue Eagles led the entire opening quarter which was highlighted by a Kiefer Ravena two-handed jam that gave his squad an 18-11 edge.

The cagers from Taft had a hard time containing their fouls especially in Ateneo’s transition game as they entered the penalty situation early in the first and gave 12 attempts from the foul stripe to the Eagles. As they ended the first period up by a dozen, the Blue Eagles relied on good ball movement to sustain the lead and pile up the number of assists. La Salle had a hard time barging into the 10-point barrier as free throw woes with eight misses after 20 minutes.

At the half, Ateneo already marked 15 assists on their 16 field goal attempts while shooting 70% inside downtown. After the break however, La Salle made a huge wave of a run anchored by back-to-back triples by Thomas Torres and Joshua Torralba. This opened up a big shift momentum-wise as the relatively small lineup by the Archers were able to dictate the pace of the game with their rally.

A total team effort for La Salle enabled them to claw back and take the lead during the second half with Jason Perkins sinking in back-to-back threes during the stretch and Thomas Torres overcoming his poor start to the season to regain his confidence in being the team’s main guy at the point. However, Ateneo would be able to recapture the lead with Arvin Tolentino and Chibueze Ikeh contributing to make it a 61-56 game. La Salle responded with a 5-0 spurt to tie things up entering the final quarter of play.

Back-and-forth were the two teams offensive-wise as an early 69-65 edge by Ateneo was erased by Torres’ play on the other end. Fast forward to the dying minutes, Ravena and Jeron Teng took charge but no team was able to pull away. With 1:37 left in the game and tied at 74, Ikeh scored off a dish from Jerie Pingoy off a timeout. Afterwards, La Salle set up a four-men play at the top of the key which led to a wide-open corner triple for the rookie Torralba, who drained in the lead-giving three back to La Salle.

Two more free throws by Teng extended the Green Archers’ lead. Kiefer Ravena would then muff a tightly contested three from straight on that led to another free throw for Torralba en route to the win.

“It was a hard time. Very tough game for both teams,” Juno Sauler said after the game. Moreover, he complimented the defense done by his wards as the team made sacrifices to play hard on defense. “The players are putting their team above on the defensive end.”

On Joshua Torralba’s clutch three-pointer, the proud mentor was proud of his student as he has seen him work hard on it during practices. “He’s been working on the three during practices.” Torralba though disclosed that he was frustrated with the game before making the big shot. “I was frustrated with the game. I give it all to God because he gave me guidance.”

Finally, with regards to the Teng’s crucial defense on Ravena. Teng said that he knew Kiefer will take the three. “I knew that he will take a three, but I needed to work hard to challenge that shot.”

Jeron Teng topscored for the Archers with 18 points on 6/15 shooting from the field. He added six boards and five dimes. Thomas Torres also had an excellent outing with 15 markers, nine coming from the second half. Finally, Smart Elite ambassador Prince Rivero notched a double-double with ten points and ten boards.

For the Blue Eagles, Kiefer Ravena scored 19 points but was a terrible 7/24 from the field. He was 0/6 from downtown and was just5 5/9 from the charity stripe. Ateneo’s other Smart Elite ambassador Von Pessumal also had a horrid shooting day in shooting just 27% from the field for 10 markers. Chibueze Ikeh grabbed a double-double also with 13 points and 13 boards.

Both teams finished the first round with a 4-3 slate.

The Scores:

DLSU (80) – Teng 18, Torres 15, Perkins 13, Rivero 10, Torralba 9, Caracut 6, Tratter 4, Navarro 3, Muyang 2, Sargent 0

ADMU (76) – Ravena 19, Ikeh 13, Capacio 10, Gotladera 8, Pessumal 8, Tolentino 7, Pingoy 6, Apacible 2, Babilonia 2, Nieto Ma. 1, Cani 0

Quarters: 13-25, 36-46, 61-61, 80-76.

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ABL

Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa

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After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Marcus Elliott grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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Basketball

CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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