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Basketball

NU cruises to 58th straight win at ailing La Salle’s expense

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With the National University’s Big Three not letting up, the Lady Bulldogs continued their winning ways, pounding the injury-riddled De La Salle University Lady Archers, 91-56, Wednesday morning at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

NU are now 10-0 in the UAAP Season 80 Women’s Basketball tournament, taking their 58th straight win. La Salle, on the other hand, dropped to 2-8.

Ria Nabalan filled up the stat sheet anew in this contest, finishing with 13 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Foreign student-athlete Rhena Itesi added 12 points on an efficient 6-for-10 shooting to go along with 14 rebounds.

Still, Lady Bulldogs head coach Patrick Aquino is looking for perfection from his student-athletes, looking for 40 minutes of consistent basketball.

“Let’s just say na one game at a time lang. We should be ready for Ateneo and hopefully we don’t start slow again like today. We had lots of errors in the first half and yung defense namin, La Salle had easy baskets,” said the three-time champion coach.

With NU playing relaxed basketball against La Salle, Aquino quickly plugged Jack Animam into the game midway through the first frame. The leading MVP candidate quickly turned things around, scoring eight points in the opening quarter to give NU a double-digit lead that they would not relinquish.

Animam finished with 12 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks.

The Lady Bulldogs’ bench did not let up in the final frame, as baskets by Jhian Layug and Mikka Cacho gave NU a game-high 39-point lead, 87-48, with 1:23 left in the game.

Cacho finished with eight points on a perfect 4-for-4 clip while grabbing seven rebounds. For the second straight game, every Lady Bulldog fielded was able to score at least one field goal.

“It’s really important that everybody contributes and gain experience. Once kailangan mo silang bunutin in certain situations, maasahan sila,” added Aquino.

Already without Camille Claro, Benette Revillosa, and Susan Al-Mohamed for the season, La Salle had also lost Joehanna Arciga after she suffered a fracture on her right knee. The injury occurred during the Lady Archers’ 49-56 loss to the Ateneo Lady Eagles last Sunday.

Aquino, though gladly chalking up another win, could not help but be saddened to see another rival figure in an injury-riddled campaign.

“‘Di natin maiiwasan yung injuries. Things like that are bad for the team. Sila Claro and sila Arciga, I hope that they get well because it’s going to be good for the league,” said Aquino, who is also the head coach of the National Women’s Basketball team.

Khate Castillo was the sole bright spot for La Salle, scoring 19 points that included five triples. As a team though, the Lady Archers went just 35 percent from the field and attempted a miniscule five free throw attempts.

NU will next face the Ateneo de Manila University on Saturday, October 28, at 10:00am while La Salle take on the Adamson University Lady Falcons on Sunday, October 29, at 10:00am. Both games will be played at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Scores:

NU (91) – Nabalan 13, Itesi 12, Animam 12, Camelo 9, Cacho 8, Layug 8, Harada 4, Ano-os 4, Del Carmen 4, Antiquera 3, Ceno 3, Sison 2, Lopez 2.

DLSU (56) – Castillo 19, Javier 8, Torres 8, Del Campo 6, Paraiso 6, Dagdagan 3, Figueroa 2, Jimenez 2, Nunez 2, Vergara 0.

Quarterscores: 28-13, 44-24, 65-38, 91-56.

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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 is carrying the Wang’s Basketball Couriers franchise.

And the 5-foot-11 guard unleashed 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 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 makes him beam even more 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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Tireless J-Jay Alejandro heads from D-League game to Gilas training

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Former NU Bulldogs captain J-Jay Alejandro was at the Pasig Sports Center Monday afternoon, making his debut for the Go for Gold Scratchers. After their 75-68 win over Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers, he immediately packed his bags and headed for the exit.

Why was he in a rush? He did not want to be late for Gilas later on.

PHOTO by PBA Images

“Sayang, malapit na ako eh. Pasig lang. Walang showbiz-showbiz, malapit lang talaga,” shared Alejandro, who had five points, five rebounds, seven assists, and two steals for Go for Gold. “Wala rin akong gagawin kasi.

“Tsaka minsan lang magpa-tawag ng practice, every Monday lang, so sayang ‘yung chance makapag-practice.”

The 6-foot-2 combo guard was a much-needed body by the pool of Gilas as only eight players suited-up for Monday’s session. Besides helping out the seniors team, the 22-year-old is looking at the sessions as a way to not just improve but also get in touch with his former collegiate foes.

“Well, ganoon talaga eh. Player, mapapagod at mapapagod ka talaga,” said the All-UAAP team member.

“Pero nakakasama ko sila Arvin Tolentino, sila CJ Perez, tsaka ‘yung ibang mga PBA players, siyempre experience ‘yun eh, tsaka learning process din sa akin.”

Moreover, he knows that being under the tutelage of coach Chot Reyes will only do wonders for him, especially with the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft just months away.

“Mas pisikal talaga sa PBA. ‘Yun, kung paano mo gagamitin ang utak mo pati ‘yung katawan mo sa tamang posisyon sa laro, makukuha ko yun rito,” he said.

“Well sa akin kasi, ‘yung mapabilang ka sa Gilas, mapabilang lang ang pangalan mo sa Gilas, sobrang fortunate na ako, sobrang blessed na ako,” Alejandro added.

“And siguro sa akin, may opportunity na nag-open, so iga-grab ko na lang — either PBA or Gilas.”

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Loaded Wangs-Letran wallops AMA in debut

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Armed with new recruits, the Wangs Basketball-Letran Knights embarked on its new chapter with a rousing 93-75 rout of the AMA Online Education Titans, Tuesday afternoon at the Pasig Sports Center.

Everyone clicked for the Couriers with Bong Quinto spearheading the blowout with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists.

Newcomer Bonbon Batiller added 15 markers, five boards, and three dimes in his debut, while starting point guard JP Calvo chipped in 12 points, eight rebounds, and two assists.

Christian Fajarito also registered 11 markers and nine boards, while Alex Mandreza had 10 points for Wangs-Letran.

Despite the promising showing, coach Jeff Napa said that he still wants to see more from his Couriers moving forward.

“Masaya kami syempre dahil nanalo. Pero marami pa rin kaming kailangang gawin,” he said as he wanted more from the Knights after outrebounding the Titans, 57-44.

Quinto and Calvo triggered Wangs-Letran’s second quarter pullaway to establish the 38-26, lead which grew to as high as 22 points, 81-59 in the payoff period.

Michael Cañete topscored AMA with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Kris Porter had 13 in the defeat.

Wangs-Letran will have vengeance on their minds on Monday, January 29 when it takes on NCAA tormentors Che’lu- San Sebastian Revellers. AMA, on the other hand, will have a tough assignment when it takes on the Zark’s-Lyceum Jawbreakers on Thursday, January 25.

The Scores:

Wangs-Letran 93 — Quinto 19, Batiller 15, Calvo 12, Fajarito 11, Mandreza 10, Trinidad 8, Publico 6, Vacaro 4, Balagasay 3, Ambohot 3, Muyang 2.

AMA Online Education 75 — Cañete 20, Porter 13, Escalambre 11, Casiño 10, Antonares 6, Manalang 6, Garcia 4, Ng 3, Parcero 2, Bragais 0, Carpio 0, Paras 0, Raflores 0, Salonga 0.

Quarterscores: 16-13, 44-35, 67-52, 93-75.

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Matt Nieto looks forward to learning from Jio Jalalon, Jayson Castro

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When Matt Nieto made his way into the Meralco Gym on Monday evening, the 20-year-old quickly changed his clothes after receiving his Gilas jersey. And once he got dressed, the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles’ floor general quickly went to work, as he wanted to absorb everything he can from the night’s session.

“Actually na-star struck ako. ‘Di ako makapaniwala na nandito ako eh,” expressed the six-foot point guard.

Playing and practicing with the players they idolized growing up has been a theme for almost all of the 23 for 2023 cadets. The same could be said about the wide-eyed Nieto, as he could not believe he was side-by-side with the present and the future of the game in Jayson Castro and Jiovani Jalalon.

“Nakita ko pa lang si idol Jiovani Jalalon, nakikita ko parang… di ako makapaniwala na sa isang practice magkasama kami.

“Sila Kiefer [Ravena], lalo na si Jalalon talaga at si Jayson Castro kasi talagang idol ko talaga sila eh. Napapasma nga ako nung una eh kasi parang baka akalain nila ‘sino ba to?’,” the one-time UAAP champion shared.

Nervous, Nieto tried to talk to Castro and Jalalon numerous times during the practice. The two did not turn, welcoming the young buck with open arms.

“Nung nakausap ko na sila medyo na ano na kasi hindi lang sila magaling, sobrang bait pa nila. Madali akong naka-adjust kaagad dito,” he beamed.

Coach Chot Reyes has high expectations with Nieto, as he is being groomed as one of the leaders for the 2023 team. Still, he knows that there is still a long way to go for him.

To become a better leader, the second-generation Blue Eagle knows who to reach out to.

“Gusto ko matuto kay Jayson pati kay Jiovani kasi same position kami. And of course yung leadership ni Kiefer, yung mentality na talagang laban kung laban.

“Gusto ko marami matutunan sa kanila kasi wala pa eh, wala pa ako sa peak ko. Sila andun na. So marami talaga akong matututunan sa kanila kasi sobrang galing nila at sobrang dami na nilang na-achieve sa kanilang basketball career,” Nieto gushed.

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