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Green Archers break slump in vengeful defeat of Soaring Falcons

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After five consecutive losses, the De La Salle University Green Archers recorded their second win of the season by avenging their first round loss to the Adamson University Soaring Falcons in a 2-0 win, Thursday evening at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field in Katipunan, Quezon City.

Failing to score in the first half, it was beginning to look like more of the same for La Salle. Yet they did not allow the errors of the past to haunt them anew, as goals from Nicko Villacin and Jed Diamante in the second half led to an important win in the Green Archers’ season.

“Great team effort from start to finish. Even from training we’re all positive, we’re all on the same page, we’re all thinking on the same page, we all worked together. It showed in this game,” DLSU captain Iñigo Gonzales assessed of their performance after the game.

Now, the Green Archers are in solo sixth place and are just two points behind fourth-placed teams National University and University of Santo Tomas, who have 10 each after eight games. The Soaring Falcons remain at the bottom with just three points to show.

As the skipper had mentioned, La Salle controlled the flow of the game. They generated wave after wave of dangerous attacks but vitally lacked the finishing needed to convert chances into goals.

Jose Montelibano, Yoshi Koizumi, and Gonzales spearheaded the attack for the Green Archers, but their efforts came to naught. The absence of killer instincts in front of goal was detrimental to their cause of not just avenging their first round loss to the Soaring Falcons, but of securing only their second win of the season.

The closest the La Sallians came before halftime was in the 24th minute, when Diamante’s free kick was headed by Montelibano, but his attempt could only strike the post. Garcia then pounced on the rebound with the goal gaping in front of him. Unluckily, the rookie couldn’t find his balance and scuffed the shot over in the process.

Moments before, Adamson could consider themselves lucky as a questionable Viray pass hit Montelibano and almost set up Gonzales for a easy shot on goal. Fortunately for him, the ball was cleared just before the La Salle captain could make contact with the ball.

About the lackadaisical finishing, Gonzales admitted there is still plenty for them to improve on and, instead of crying over spilled milk, chose to highlight their attitude in the game.

“I can’t stress enough how we have to think positive especially from how we start training. We really prepared for this game. We didn’t lose sight of what our objective was and we know the this round is the most important as this will define our season,” he remarked.

Though they were on the back foot for much of the first half, the Soaring Falcons were not without chances of their own. Twins Bless and Brian Jumo tested Kerbi Almonte in the La Salle goal later in the half, producing a shot each that Almonte comfortably held.

At halftime, the score stayed level, much to Adamson’s satisfaction as they had dodged going behind against an aggressive DLSU team.

It was more of the same early in the second half, as La Salle continued to pressure the stubborn Adamson defense. The Soaring Falcons displayed good organization behind the ball, meaning chances for the Archers to claim the lead came via set piece opportunities.

One of those came in the 53rd minute when Koizumi pumped the free kick on target, an effort Adamson keeper Viray was equal to. Then in the 67th minute, La Salle found what they were looking for, after defender Villacin rose above everyone else to guide Diamante’s free kick into the back of the net.

It was not surprising then that they came close once more through another free kick teed up by Diamante with 10 minutes left in the game. This time around, it was Cristian Zubiri who got his head on the ball. The substitute’s effort, unlike Villacin’s, was off the mark.

Down the other side of the pitch, Adamson conjured a rare chance on goal when substitute Ejike Ugwoke, the Soaring Falcons’ hero of the last meeting between the two teams, forced a save from Almonte after he made room for himself to shoot inside the box. It would have not counted nonetheless, as he was adjudged to have received the ball from an offside position.

Towards the end, La Salle still had time to put the game beyond reach and did so through a spectacular deflected half volley by Diamante from long range in the fourth minute of added time, putting the icing on the cake in what could be a pivotal win for coach Hans Smit’s team.

The veteran mentor deflected credit to his coaching staff, who had prepared the team entering the second round. He also expressed satisfaction with the manner the boys played against a team that had defeated them last time around. “You can see the intensity was there but we still lack the finishing but it’s a good start to the second round. All they need to do is just focus on their finishing now,” Smit observed.

As for Gonzales, this is a manifestation of the team’s true abilities as they stay alive in the race for a Final Four spot. “I find this result as an eye-opener that we’re not out and we have it in us. We just have to show it and bring it in the game,” he figured.

DLSU now have a chance to build a winning run when they meet the University of the East Red Warriors, the only team they had beaten last round, on Sunday. As for Adamson, they face a grueling battle against University of Santo Tomas on the same day for their second win this season. Both games will be at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

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AMA Online Education gets first pick in D-League draft

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The AMA Online Education will once again have the luxury of picking the best talent in the 201-man rookie pool at the 2017 PBA D-League Rookie Draft Tuesday at PBA Cafe in Metrowalk, Pasig.

Flanked by hardworking big man Andre Paras, the Mark Herrera-mentored Titans will have the chance to further fortify their school-based core as they prepare for the upcoming 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup, which will see 13 teams vying for the title.

This will be the second time AMA will pick at first overall after tapping Jeron Teng in the 2016 draft proceedings.

UE’s Alvin Pasaol and FEU’s Arvin Tolentino are expected to go high up the draft board, as they are set to make their debut in first conference of the eighth season of the developmental league, set to open on January 18, 2018.

Wangs Basketball-Letran and Batangas-EAC are set to pick second and third, respectively.

Eleven of the 13 squads participating this year will be school-based teams, as they make early preparations for their respective collegiate leagues. These include Zark’s Burgers-Lyceum, Gamboa Coffee-St. Clare, JRU, and CEU, and debuting teams Akari-Adamson, Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian, Perpetual, and Powerball-St. Benilde.

Only returning Marinerong Pilipino and newcomer Mila’s Lechon are the ones who will not feature varsity crews.

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Adamson Pep head coach goes full circle

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When the Adamson Pep Squad were declared as the champions of the 2017 UAAP Cheerdance Competition, hysteria filled the jampacked SM Mall of Asia Arena. But no one was more elated than head coach Jeremy Lorenzo.

“Nung na-announce na gold kami sabi ko, ‘Lord, totoo ba ‘to? Gisingin niyo ko!’

“I was really, really speechless, hindi ko alam unang iisipin ko,” he admitted.

Lorenzo has been with the program ever since his 2007. He spent all five of his collegiate years as part of Adamson’s cheer group before returning to the program as head coach last year. Moreover, he still kept his day job to make both ends meet.

Though not being formally trained to be a dance mentor, Lorenzo single-handedly turned the program around. In his first year, Adamson notched its first-ever podium finish.

Coming off a third place finish, the youthful mentor needed to up the ante. And he did so by returning to basics.

“Last year talaga sobrang stepping stone namin kasi nag-second runner up. Talagang na mold namin yung mga bata sa disiplina, spiritually, mentally, physically,” he recalled.

“Then nag start na kami sa difficulty ng cheerleading elements. Hindi kami totally nag-start sa advance, tinry muna namin mild difficulty, then after last year nung nag podium half of the year graduated puro seniors kasi,” he added.

“After that yung rookies at Team B namin, pinasok namin sa same process sa pag mold ng discipline then tinry namin i-step up difficulty from last year then from there sinubukan naming lagpasan routine last year.”

During their performance, almost every single member of the 19,851-strong crowd danced to their beat as their selection turned the arena into a huge dancefloor with his troops lighting it up with an 80’s inspired outfits.

“After kasi nung Polynesian last year nag plan na ako ng possible routine for next year. I was inspired to make an OPM routine kasi sa cheerdance bihira manalo gumamit ng OPM,” he said as the songs he chose included VST and Company classics, “Rock Baby Rock”; “Awitin Mo, Isasayaw Ko”; “I-Swing Mo Ako”; and “Magsayawan”.

“Why not VST? Tutal very iconic siya sa mga Pinoy and sure akong makaka-relate lahat.

“It’s not how intense or serious your theme is it’s about how you win the hearts of the people. Yun ang pinaka motto ng Adamson — to win hearts and trophies,” he added.

But now that he has steered his alma mater to the top, he still remains grounded. Moreover, Lorenzo was flattered that Adamson Pep is now in the same lines as former champions UST Salinggawi Dance Troup, UP Pep Squad, NU Pep Squad, and FEU Cheering Squad.

“It’s really a complex situation pag mga ganyan. Ang akin kasi, the more na i-strive mo yung dancers mo kung ano talaga yung halaga ng potential ng skills nila,” he reflected. “Hindi nila ma-rerealize yung unless na sumunod sila sayo, unless they see it themselves. Kung mahilera kami sa NU, UP, at UST it’s very flattering and overwhelming.

“Pero we still have more room for improvement pa sinasabi nga bilog ang bola eh.”

Instead, the Adamsonian is just happy to give back to the school that molded him to what he is today.

“Pinaka naging motivation ko yung time sa Adamson nung 2007 until 2012. We were win-less at na-experience ko yung pagiging talo buong college life ko,” he shared.

“Yun yung naging motivation at inspiration ko yung frustration ko — ibawi yung mga panahon na nakaramdam ako ng talo.”

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Adamson Pep takes home first-ever Cheerdance crown

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Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that

After notching their first-ever podium finish last season, the Adamson Pep Squad completely got out of the darkness with an 80’s inspired show of lights and finesse to give Adamson University its first-ever UAAP Cheerdance crown, Saturday evening at the state-of-the-art SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasig City.

For the second time in three years, the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe took home silver with a Crouching Tiger-inspired performance.

The UE Pep Squad finished in third place, taking home bronze and PHP 140,000.

An error-filled start completely doomed defending champions National U Pep Squad from notching a five-peat and even making the podium.

After missing the competition a season ago, the UP Pep Squad’s performance, that was inspired by the stories of the Iskolars ng Bayan, did not finish in the podium for the first time.

In the group stunt competition, the FEU Cheering Squad took home gold — their second championship in the event in four years.

Adamson Pep finished with silver while UP Pep completed the podium in the side event.

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UAAP concludes investigation of DLSU-Adamson game

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After deeply and judiciously reviewing the game tape of the De La Salle University Green Archers-Adamson University Soaring Falcons Final Four game that occurred last November 18, league executive director Rebo Saguisag, speaking on behalf of the league, has concluded that the irregularities and non-calls happened for both sides.

“The stat sheets show that 33 fouls were called against Adamson and 12 were called against La Salle,” the letter penned by Saguisag opened. “While the disparity in statistics tends to suggest biased officiating, it is imperative to focus on whether or not the non-calls were actually incorrect since the disparity in non-calls could be an indication of how the teams played, i.e., one team was more focused on its inside game and lane incursions, while the other team was more predisposed in its perimeter game, among other factors.

“After a thorough review, it appears that there were a number of incorrect non-calls. Particularly there were 10 incorrect non-calls on fouls committed by La Salle. However, there were seven incorrect non-calls on fouls committed by Adamson as well.”

The number of non-calls validated La Salle head coach Aldin Ayo’s post-game statement, saying that the officials were “consistent” for the entire game.

“I told the boys to return the favor because they were doing it in the first quarter,” the second-year tactician said. “Actually, for the whole first half, they kept on doing it, they kept on bumping us and the referees are allowing it. So I told the boys, since they are not calling it, ibato din natin sa kanila.”

“So good thing, the referees were consistent.”

Moreover, a video released online by YouTube channel Ph Ball highlighted the irregularities.

Saguisag is hoping for understanding that the league has no intention to waste the efforts of the student-athletes when a problem like this arises. Moreover, clear and convincing proof must be given before bias can be thrown at the game officials.

“We do understand the frustration of the players, coaches, supporters, and the viewing public in general when the right call is not made. Teams train hard and lay everything on the floor to compete,” the statement furthered.

“The office of the commissioner will never tolerate or condone any conduct, act, or omission that would compromise the integrity of the sport.

“However, bias or partiality on the part of the officials cannot be presumed. Partiality is related to intention which is a mental process, an internal state of mind, that must be judged by the person’s overt acts. This office cannot infer bias or partiality on the basis of errors in judgment. These must be proved with clear and convincing evidence — which, upon meticulous review of the game, are absent in the case,” the statement continued. “To hold otherwise would be to render refereeing untenable, for no one called upon to officiate a sport, where you only have a brief moment to decide (without the benefit of a replay), can be infallible in their judgment.

“With the foregoing, we conclude that while there were errors in officiating, the evidence at hand is insufficient to prove bias or partiality.”

Even with this, Saguisag and the league are not letting referees Borbe, Alejo, and De Luna go unsanctioned. The three are not only out of the pool for the rest of the UAAP Season, including the on-going juniors basketball tournament; they were also slapped with a red flag in case evidence of bad faith arises now or in the future against them.

“That being said, we recognize the importance of having officials who must be able to perform at the highest levels. We also acknowledge the need to maintain public confidence in the league. Further to their preventive suspension (provisional in nature and not based on a finding of guilt), the officials concerned have been heavily reprimanded with a warning of stiffer penalties should evidence of bad faith or malice surface even after this review,” the statement closed.

“They also remain excluded from the pool of referees for the finals series to remove any cloud of doubt in the Finals.”

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