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UST ends Final Four drought in dramatic fashion

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After four disappointing seasons, the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses have finally lived up to their hype, clinching a spot in the Final Four with a classic five-set win over the National University Lady Bulldogs, 20-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-12, at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Tigresses floundered in the first two sets, struggling to stop NU ace and league leading scorer Jaja Santiago. The Tigresses stopped the bleeding in the next two sets, as their solid serving and blocking game forced the Lady Bulldogs into slow attacks and errors.

Heading into the fifth set, UST head coach Kungfu Reyes trusted his players to adjust and bring them to the promise land.

“Sinabi lang namin sa kanila na nandito na tayo, ilaban na natin hanggang dulo,” Reyes recalled telling his team.

“Doon na lalabas ‘yung sinasabing larong kalye. Tiyagaan na lang talaga hanggang dulo. Basta kayang buhayin ‘yung bola, gagawin nila.”

The fifth set came down to a 3-0 UST run that boosted them to a 12-8 lead. Santiago kept the Lady Bulldogs alive, tying the match at 12 after a sequence that led to one of her thunderous blocks.

UST ace spiker Ej Laure had a bad fall when UST were up 13-12, landing awkwardly on her left ankle. She was able to recover but saw her team take the match in a blitz capped by a Dimdim Pacres off-speed hit.

Ej Laure and Sisi Rondina led UST with 22 points apiece. With a 9-5 record, UST have bagged the third seed and will face the loser of the Ateneo-La Salle clash on April 22.

“Siyempre, na-reach na namin ‘yung goal na Final Four. Ngayon, kailangan na namin higitan. Tatrabahuhin na lang namin nang maigi,” Reyes closed.

Jaja Santiago ended her season with 30 points, while Jorelle Singh added 13.

The Lady Bulldogs, after starting the season at 3-0, drop out of the Final Four for the second straight year. They finish at sixth place.

The Scores

UST (3) – Laure 22, Rondina 22, Francisco 11, Meneses 10, Pacres 4, Sandoval 3, Bicar 2, Lastimosa 1, Cortez 0, Palec 0, Viray 0, Rasmo (L), Rivera (L)

NU (2) – Santiago 30, Singh 13, Urdas 11, Sato 9, Nabor 5, Chavez 0, Valdez (L)

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

Basketball

GlobalPort thrashes tired Blackwater for second straight win

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With their opponents playing their second game in three days, GlobalPort Batang Pier easily handled a tired Blackwater Elite side, 101-76, en route to their second straight victory, Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.

The Batang Pier, who had posted their second most lopsided win in franchise history, improved their card to 2-2, while the Elite lost their second straight match and had dropped to 2-3.

“We hit our target of 80 points below. They scored 76 points. We just played good defense all the way, and that’s the result,” said Batang Pier head coach Pido Jarencio. “Everybody contributed, even the rookies, that’s why we pulled away.”

Sean Anthony top-billed for GlobalPort with 22 points on six triples, on top of seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Stanley Pringle finished with 17 points and 11 boards with five dimes, while Kelly Nabong scored 16.

The one-sided affair in favor of the Batang Pier started as early as the opening frame, when Anthony’s three-pointer met the bottom of the net and gave them a 24-13 cushion with 3:21 left in the said quarter.

With almost everything going their way and Blackwater failing to find ways to respond, GlobalPort was able to lead by as much as 31 points, 87-56, after Pringle swished in a jumper with exactly 9:20 remaining in the final frame.

“Actually simple lang naman ang instruction ko sa team eh. Blackwater naglaro ng back-to-back, siyempre mapapagod din yan. So takbuhan,” added Jarencio on the win, where they scored 23 off fastbreaks.

Sophomore Mac Belo and Michael Di Gregorio were the only bright spots for Blackwater in the loss, as they scored 17 and 15 points, respectively, with the former adding seven rebounds and two assists to his name.

Poy Erram, who was remarkable in their last four games, was silent with eight points and seven rebounds. Raymar Jose added 12 boards and eight points for the Elite, who played without Allein Maliksi as he is currently in Australia.

Globalport will next face San Miguel Beermen on January 24, Wednesday at 7:00 PM, while Blackwater will take on Alaska on January 27, Saturday at 4:30 PM. Both games will be at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Globalport 101 – Anthony 22, Pringle 17, Nabong 16, Grey 8, Taha 7, Gabayni 6, Juico 6, Araña 4, Elorde 4, Flores 4, Guinto 4, Sargent 3.

Blackwater 76 – Belo 17, DiGregorio 15, Sena 9, Erram 8, Jose 8, Pinto 8, Palma 6, Javier 3, Cruz 2, Banal 0, Cortez 0, Marcelo 0, Neypes 0, Sumang 0.

Quarterscores: 28-23, 61-37, 79-54, 101-76.

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CSB

Saint Benilde regains winning form, sweeps San Sebastian

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Following a shocking defeat to San Beda College, the defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers rolled back into the NCAA Season 93 win column with a quick triumph over the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Stags, 25-20, 25-19, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Blazers outclassed the Stags in every scoring category, recording twice as many spikes (40-20), and blocks (10-5).

Saint Benilde head coach Arnold Laniog wanted to see high-level play from his team after, what he deemed, a lackadaisical effort in their last outing.

“Marami kaming naging struggles last game na alam namin na kaya naman sana namin iwasan. Sabi ko sa kanila na one game at a time tayo, kailangan bawat game kami nagi-improve,” said Laniog

“Kung may maganda mang naidulot ‘yung talo, nakita namin doon ‘yung weakness namin. Nasa sa amin na talaga kung paano kami magre-respond. Maganda naman ‘yung pinakita nila kanina,” the champion tactician added.

Team captain Isaah Arda topped the Blazers with 14 points while his fellow winger Owen Bacani added 12 markers off 10 attacks, one block, and one ace.

The Blazers (3-1) take on Emilio Aguinaldo College (2-2) on Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Jahir Ebrahim continued to tow the Stags’ offense, notching 12 points but was again the only Stag in double-digits.

The Golden Stags (1-3) try to snap their losing streak on Tuesday when they face Mapua University (2-2).

The Scores

CSB (3) – Arda 14, Bacani 12, Orian 8, Basilan 7, Magsino 4, Rojas 3, De Sequena 2, Martinez 2, Garcia 0, Saldavia 0, Dy (L)

SSC-R (0) – Ebrahim 12, Ronato 6, Eugenio 5, Lana 5, Eusebio 2, Lazaro 2, Onque 0, Enano (L), Toledo (L)

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CSB

Nikka Dalisay helps Lady Stags break slump at Lady Blazers’ expense

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The eight-woman San Sebastian College-Recoletos Lady Stags finally broke out of their slump, receiving a boost from Nikka Dalisay to slip past the College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers, 23-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-23, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The veteran winger, Dalisay compiled a season-high 19 points to lead the Stags in breaking a two-game losing streak.

According to Lady Stags head coach Roger Gorayeb, beating a fellow Final Four aspirant in College of Saint Benilde could be the boost his under-manned team needs to rescue their season.

“‘Yung mga huling laban namin may halong malas, may halong masyadong mataas na kumpiyansa namin kaya nahirapan talaga kami,” lamented Gorayeb.

“Ngayon kamuntikan nanaman kaming madisgrasya pero nahanapan naman ng paraan ng mga bata. Medyo nabawasan na ‘yung mga error namin kumpara sa mga nakaraan na laro. Sana magtuloy-tuloy lang kami,” added Gorayeb as his squad surrendered just 26 errors, much less than the 41.5 his team averaged in their last two matches.

In contrast, the Lady Blazers coughed up 43 errors, negating their decisive height and power advantage.

Lady Stags team captain Joyce Sta. Rita fought through a right ankle sprain and scored 12 points while Daurene Santos added 11.

The Lady Stags (2-2) take on the winless Mapua University (0-4) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Middle blocker Ranya Musa led the Lady Blazers with 15 points, all off attacks. Diane Ventura chipped in 14 markers.

The Lady Blazers (2-2) face the struggling Emilio Aguinaldo College (0-4) on Monday.

The Scores

SSC-R (3) – Dalisay 19, Sta. Rita 12, Santos 11, Encarnacion 6, Amponin 5, Guillema 0, Eroa (L)

CSB (1) – Musa 15, Ventura 14, Austero 13, Abriam 9, Daguil 7, Cardiente 3, Enginco 1, Pablo 1, Cui 0, Dolorito 0, Lim (L), Torres (L)

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MIT

San Beda stays unscathed, keeps Mapua winless

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The San Beda College Lady Red Spikers strutted to their fourth straight win of NCAA Season 93, ousting the Mapua University Lady Cardinals in four sets, 25-23, 25-14, 22-25, 25-15, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

San Beda dominated the first two sets with nary a response from the Lady Cardinals except for a late run in the first set.

Lady Red Spikers head coach Nemesio Gavino was expecting his players to close the match in straight sets. Instead, they succumbed in the third frame.

“Siguro nag-relax kami kanina talaga. Medyo in-expect siguro ng mga bata na ibibigay na lang ng Mapua sa amin ‘yung panalo. Maganda nilaro ng Mapua nung third set, pero alam kong kaya naman namin tapatan ‘yun. Kita naman sa nilaro namin noong sumunod na set,” Gavino said.

The Lady Red Spikers denied Mapua a fifth frame, taking a 19-9 early lead in the fourth set and never looking back.

“So far, maganda naman pinapakita namin. Sana lang hindi tumigil marami pa kaming pagsubok na dadaanan para makarating sa Final Four. Isa-isa lang,” Gavino closed.

Team captain Cesca Racraquin continued to lead the way for San Beda, scoring a game-high 19 points while Nieza Viray added 15.

The Lady Red Spikers (4-0) take on rivals Colegio San Juan de Letran (2-2) at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Monday.

Dianne Latayan topped the Lady Cardinals with 10 points while team captain Katrina Racelis provided nine.

Mapua (0-4) limps into their Tuesday showdown with fellow struggling squad San Sebastian College – Recoletos (1-2).

The Scores

SBC (3) – Racraquin F. 19, Viray N. 14, Paras 12, Viray J. 10, Cuevas 4, Tannagan 2, Amador 1, Garcia 1, Laguna 0, Racraquin D. (L)

MU (1) – Latayan 10, Racelis 9, Barias 8, Magundayao 7, Frando 5, Morano 4, Pena 4, Mercado 0, Ramila (L)

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