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UAAP Season 77 Men’s Football Dream Team 2014: The Defense

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The season isn’t even at its halfway point, but Season 77’s been heating up. Last year’s runners-up UP are heading the pack, Ateneo, who fell from grace last season after finishing a dismal seventh, are on their way to erasing last year’s painful memories at second place. Last year’s kings FEU meanwhile are sitting at fourth, having suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of the up and coming dark horses National U.

With the Christmas break coming to an end and the action on the pitch ready to resume, we here at Tiebreaker Times decided to take some time to give recognition to the league’s most brilliant performers so far and put the spotlight on the 11 players on the field we’d pick if UAAP football had its own all-star game.

In choosing the players, we went with the 3-4-3 formation. It puts three players in front of the goalkeeper, quite central in position with the opportunity for movement along the sides. Four midfielders are situated across the pitch with two on the wings and two in the middle. Up front, there are three forwards. They may occupy the central areas or stretch the attack by leaving one in the center and the two near the flanks.

And so with much pride and no bias do we present who we think are the best XI for the first portion of the UAAP Season 77 Men’s Football championship. Let’s start by discussing about the people at the back.

Before we go to the main selection, we took note of other players who have distinguished themselves as top-caliber players in the league but did not make the cut for our all-star team.

Honorable Mentions:

Goalkeepers:

Lendon Clores (UE), Carl Viray (AdU)

Yes, UE and Adamson have been on the wrong end of some lopsided results so far in the season but their goalkeepers are considered to have greatly performed after playing five games in UAAP Season 77. Clores and Viray may have never kept clean sheets yet their ability to stop shots and intelligence in positioning inside their areas has helped them give away less goals. What undermines their status in the league, however, is the number of goals scored against them. Nonetheless, it should be remembered that defending is a shared responsibility.

Both of their teams struggled in 2014, but it should make opposing players and coaches less complacent. One good overall performance twinned to a positive result against one of the top teams may just bolster their chances in entering the Final Four.

Defenders:

Albert Casil (NU), Jeremiah Rocha (ADMU), Joshua Mulero (FEU)

All three belong to the top five teams of the league at the end of 2014. Casil has the urgency every coach would probably want each of his defenders to have. Mulero imposes his way against rampaging forwards en route to making errors in their attacking third. Rocha makes timely movement to thwart forwards from advancing deeper into the Ateneo half. To improve their teams’ title charges, these three mighty men at the back need to be more stable. A good run of form would make their teammates more comfortable on the attack.

More than who made the most clean tackles or who was the most aggressive on the pitch, we took time to picking the defenders whose performances on the field translated to few conceded goals from their squad. Without further ado, here are the players we like best on defense.

Goalkeeper:

Ace

Ace Villanueva (UP)

The State U’s main man between the sticks kept his team solid at the back in their first five games of the season. After five games, the Maroons have only given away two goals–one of them a penalty. The disciplined goalkeeper is an intimidating figure right from the first minute of the season. His smart positioning and excellent command of the Maroons defense made it hard for their foes to get the ball past the reliable goalie.

The UP goalkeeper is also worthy of praise for his consistency. Even in their lone loss of the season that came against Ateneo, the UP custodian displayed fine form and was unlucky not to take a clean sheet after Carlo Liay’s penalty attempt went past him. Before that goal, Ace was busy for most of the first half, as he made good saves such as Mikko Mabanag’s spot kick. Brilliance never seems to fade away from Villanueva which makes him the finest goalkeeper after four and a half rounds of UAAP Season 77 football.

Most teams would probably wish to have the luxury of having him in their team. In the coming weeks, a marquee clash against FEU sets up Villanueva, who may just have his busiest game of the season against the attack-minded champions.

In the solid UP defense, Villanueva has grabbed his share of the plaudits. His stellar showing has paid dividends, but he is not the only Isko to have displayed exemplary form at the back.

Defenders:

Patxi Yatco

Patxi Santos and Albert Yatco (UP)

UP’s feared defensive unit has been averaging a remarkable 0.4 goals per 90 minutes, the only team in the league that has played more games than goals conceded so far. While Ace Villanueva has emerged to be the goalie to look out for in the season, credit also goes to the Maroons’ fearsome defense, especially Patxi Santos and Albert Yatco, the fullbacks manning the flank.

The fearsome duo’s dominance in the back was proven in UP’s year-ending blowout victory over Adamson, where the Falcons were held to a dismal two shots in the first half, neither on goal. The UP duo are quick on their feet to chase down every enemy attacker looking to set up a goal, and do their job disrupting the enemy midfield’s flow. Their defensive presence sets the groundwork for UP’s feared counterattack, as their effective passing and ability to communicate with their friends in the midfield facilitate the steady transition from defense and offense. More importantly, this has helped UP avoid most of their opponents from building up their attacks on the wings.

The Maroon defenders are of great help to UP’s early season charge. Likewise, a young man from the other side of the city has been enormous for his team this season.

IMG_0128 copy

Nicholas Villacin (DLSU)

Out of the many center backs in the league, Nicholas Villacin stood out in 2014. Quickly, the La Salle center back is building a formidable reputation in the league. His performances against big teams UP and FEU fortified La Salle’s resistance in the process. Against the Season 76 finalist squads, Villacin controlled the middle of the back line that hindered the offense of his teams’ opponents. His steady game provides assurance that enables the La Salle backline to play a high line. This was evident in their matches against Adamson and UE.

His best moment of the season came versus UP, stifling Jinggoy Valmayor in the process. Villacin also made the list for being one of the league’s most consistent center backs. Some teams have decent players in front of the goalkeeper but the Lasallian is in fine form throughout the opening four-game stretch. If not for him, La Salle may arguably no longer sport an unbeaten record. For them to keep that, Villacin needs to continue his good form at the center of La Salle’s defense.

There may only be three defenders in this selection, but the stability all of them provide makes it a difficult task to break them down. UP has the best defensive record in the league while Villacin resembles a perfect fit at center back. Combined, the three backs and a goalkeeper like Villanueva establish a fortified wall that would require immense effort to squeeze past against. — Brian Tamayao, Aidan Manglinong, and RJ Co

UAAP Season 77 Men’s Football Dream Team 2014: The Playmakers

UAAP Season 77 Men’s Football Dream Team 2014: The Gunners

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Kent Salado re-injures MCL, out for Go for Gold campaign

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Photo by PBA Images

Kent Salado suffers a setback

The worst fear of the Go for Gold Scratchers came true Monday evening as all-around combo guard Kent Salado re-injured the medial cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The injury was confirmed by Kent Salado and the officials of Go for Gold and he will miss the entire 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.

With under three minutes left in the third quarter of Go for Gold’s opening game against the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers Monday afternoon, the 5-foot-9 guard went for a drive but could not get the proper lift. He tried to walk it off but limped towards the audience section of the Pasig Sports Center.

“Parang may narinig nga siya na may tumunog daw,” shared Scratchers head coach Charles Tiu after their 75-68 win.

“We’re very worried.

“I think our PT said baka MCL ‘yun, so that might be a month or two, so that’s a big problem for us,” the youthful mentor added.

Salado finished the game with nine points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. He was immediately rushed to the Makati Medical Center afterwards. At around nine in the evening, the MRI showed that he tore his ACL as was initially reported by Tiebreaker Times. A second opinion, however, contradicted the initial diagnosis, showing only an MCL tear.

Prior to this, the native of Cagayan de Oro suffered a partial tear on medial collateral damage on the same knee last October 10, 2017 during Arellano’s 85-79 win over the San Sebastian Golden Stags.

With this setback, Salado was also advised to not play in the summer leagues to fully recover in time for the NCAA Season 94 Seniors Basketball tournament.

“Okay lang para NCAA na ko makapaglaro,” he said.

“Mas importante naman yun.”

The 23-year-old averaged 19.1 points, 5.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 steals last season. He is eligible to enter the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.

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Basketball

San Beda overwhelmed by Sale, out of title contention

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Against a taller Moroccan club team, the San Beda College Red Lions could not get the ball rolling against Al Sale, falling 77-104, early Tuesday morning (Manila time) at the Al Ahli Club in Dubai.

With the loss and the UAE National Team defeating Sagesse earlier in the day, the 0-3 Red Lions can no longer advance to the next stage of the 29th Dubai International Basketball Tournament.

San Beda ace Robert Bolick continued his string of sensational outings. After putting up 28 and 27 points respectively in their first two games, the 23 for 2023 Gilas cadet had 20 markers in this game to lead San Beda.

Bolick’s fellow 23 for 2023 teammate Javee Mocon had 10 points but shot just 4-for-14 from the field while NCAA Season 93 Seniors Basketball Finals Most Valuable Player Donald Tankoua had six points, eight rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.

Sale, a team that has three national team players including 6-foot-11 Soufiane Kourdou and two American reinforcements, imposed their will right from the get-go — leading 28-7 to end the first frame.

Sale led by as much as 37 points midway through the second quarter, 51-14. On the other hand, San Beda could not muster a strong run as their longest rally was just a 6-0 spurt late in the third canto.

Sniper AC Soberano and Jeramer Cabanag played their best games in the tournament so far, finishing with 11 and eight points respectively. Co-captain Joe Presbitero also had eight markers.

American Patrick Rembert led six Sale players in double-figures with 22 points. Abderrahim Najah went 7-for-8 from the field for 17 points while Kordou had 16 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks.

San Beda-Pilipinas ends its campaign against Sagesse on Wednesday, January 24 (Manila time).

The Scores:

San Beda 77 – Bolick 20, Soberano 11, Mocon 10, Presbitero 8, Cabanag 8, Tankoua 6, Noah 4, Oftana 4, Carino 3, Adamos 3, Toba 0, Tongco 0.

Sale 104 – Rembert 22, Najah 17, Kourdou 16, Baery 14, Cutis 14, Arnold 13, Almahini 4, Jaddi 4, Elmadini 0, Belhaddar 0.

Quarterscores: 7-28, 22-54, 53-82, 77-104.

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Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool

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SMART Gilas Pilipinas’ third session for the second leg of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers ended early on Monday evening.

Prior to the end of the practice, head coach Chot Reyes talked to team veterans Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo. The outspoken mentor told the seniors of the team that he is cutting Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan from the pool.

“The reason why we’re dropping Abueva and Almazan for the second window is because they haven’t showed up,” lamented Reyes.

“It’s already our third practice at hindi pa sila nagpapakita. It’s simply a matter of disinterest.

“I guess they’re not interested so we have to move on we can’t wait for those guys,” he pointed out.

Both Abueva and Almazan were part of the teams that competed in the 2017 SEABA Championship, the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, and the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Only 10 players from the pool showed up for the team’s third session. And with the second leg exactly one month away, Gilas cannot let a slip up happen especially against Australia.

“Aside from those two we don’t know where Matt Wright is, while Allein [Maliksi] is attending a wedding in Australia. Other than that it’s really just an issue of Calvin and Raymond if they don’t want to be a part of the pool.” expressed Reyes.

“That’s the reason we’re dropping them for the second window.”

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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

23 for 2023 cadets fill up Gilas practice

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With just 31 days until the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, only 10 players from the pool attended the team’s third session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.

Suiting up in the session presided over by Coach Chot Reyes were June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, and Roger Pogoy. Carl Cruz and Jayson Castro were in attendance but were in street clothes.

Not present were Matthew Wright, Japeth Aguilar, and Allein Maliksi. Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend practice.

Joining the seniors team to prep them up for the World Cup Qualifiers were 10 players from the 23 for 2023 pool.

Ateneo Blue Eagle Matt Nieto attended his first Gilas practice. Joining him were teammates Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.

Completing the night’s cast were CJ Perez, Abu Tratter, Will Gozum, J-jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, and Juan Gomez de Liano. Joshua Sinclair watched from the sidelines as he is still recovering from an ACL injury.

Gilas will take on Australia in Melbourne on February 22. The Philippine will then host Japan three days later at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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