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UST fights off gallant National U stand



Karim Abdul and the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers have long marked this date, a day where they could avenge their only loss of the season so far.

In a matchup filled with high emotions, the league-leaders made the necessary end game stops to stave off a late fourth quarter National University Bulldog hijack, 65-57, to clinch a Final Four spot Saturday afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The defending champions started off with a defensive stand that limited the Growling Tigers to just four points in the opening half of the quarter. On the offensive end, Alfred Aroga and Gelo Alolino combined to score the first 11 points of the team. Slowly, the Growling Tigers were able to get their feets wet with Kevin Ferrer scoring seven points on two triples to lead the UST charge. In addition, the offensive dry spell of the Bulldogs came back with NU not scoring for the final 4 minutes and 31 seconds of the quarter. Marvin Lee was able to throw a buzzerbeating triple to give UST a 20-14 lead.

Raph Tansingco was able to end the NU drought with a layup but was answered right back with a Kent Lao three-pointer, his first of two in the quarter. After an exchange between Alolino and Abdul, Ferrre connected on a trifecta to halt the NU momentum. The Bulldogs missed their last six free throws to close the quarter. Two more triples by the Growling Tigers, by Lao and Lee, gave the Espana cagers a 35-23 lead.

The league-leaders continued its downpour in the third quarter with the Growling Tigers leading by 11, 46-35, with 3:04 remaining. Aroga, feeling the pressure to carry the offensive load of the team, drove recklessly in scoring four straight points to cut the UST lead to just six. However, a three by Vigil and an acrobatic layup by Daquioag gave UST an 11-point lead to enter the final frame.

After waiting for so long, the Bulldogs were finally able to muster a huge 8-0 rally to cut the lead to just three. Three-pointers by Javellona and Alolino sparked the rally while a fastbreak layup by the latter gathered cheers from the quaint NU crowd. Things also got heated during the rally as foreign student-athletes Karim Abdul and Alfred Aroga were given a warning for taunting. After a split from the stripe by Abdul, free throws by Alolino cut the lead to just two with 4:36 remaining. A costly turnover by Mario Bonleon led to a no-look pass by Tansingco to a wide-open Alolino for a three that gave the lead to National U, 55-54, with 4:07 to go.

It was short-lived however as Vigil converted on a layup over Alolino while a steal by Marvin Lee led to a Daquioag layup to regain the lead for the White-and-Gold side. The athletic guard answered the NU captain’s floater with a floater of his own. Moreover, the Growling Tigers made the defensive stops in the end that resulted to sorry misses for Javellona and Alolino to give UST its eighth win in nine games.

“Makabawi kami, yun yung battlecry namin,” UST head coach Bong dela Cruz said after the game. It was also the sentiment of Cameroonian student-athlete Karim Abdul. Even Smart Elite ambassador Kevin Ferrer added that, “Nung nalaman namin yung schedule, sabi namin babawi kami. Nag-double effort sa ensayo para sa game na ito.”

However, after the game, Abdul tried to exchange pleasantries with Aroga but the latter refused to shake the hand of the victor. “It’s a mental game between me and Alfred,” Abdul said. “In the court we are enemies but we are friends outside of it. I don’t know what happened,” a confused Abdul remarked about the incident.

Smart Elite ambassador Kevin Ferrer had a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards. Karim Abdul had 13 points as well while Daquioag added 10.

For the Bulldogs, Gelo Alolino led all scorers with 20 points n 50% shooting. He also had seven boards but had no assists. Alfred Aroga had a double-double as well with 14 points and 17 rebounds.

As a team, both teams shot horribly with UST shooting 32.79% while NU continued its struggle with a 30.77% shooting clip. The Growling Tigers though shot better from the foul stripe 73.91% compared to just 55% for the Bulldogs. Also, the UST bench continued to provide ample firepower for the Espana cagers in scoring a combined 21 points.

The UST Growling Tigers (8-1) will next face the Ateneo Blue Eagles (5-4) on Wednesday, October 21 while the NU Bulldogs (3-6) look to bounce back against the Adamson Soaring Falcons (1-8) on the same day. Both games will be played at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:
UST (65)– Abdul 13, Ferrer 13, Daquioag 10, Bonleon 8, Vigil 8, Lao 7, Lee 6, Faundo 0, Sheriff 0, Subido 0.
NU (57) – Alolino 20, Aroga 14, Alejandro 7, Javelona 6, Diputado 4, Celda 2, Salim 2, Tansingco 2, Abatayo 0, Javillona 0, Morido 0, Neypes 0.
Quarterscores: 20-14, 35-23, 51-40, 65-57.

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AJ Mandani sparks Singapore in win over Joshua Munzon-led Westsports



Back to his role as the sixth man of the Slingers after two games, AJ Mandani provided the firepower needed by Singapore in a fourth quarter surge to stop the Westsports Malaysia Dragons, 93-85, Sunday afternoon at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia.

The win arrested the Slingers’ two-game losing streak, raising their slate to 6-6. Westsports, a team coming off a two-game winning streak that included a 91-87 win over Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat last January 18, fell to 3-5.

Struggling in the first three quarters, Mandani six of his eight points in the final frame. And those points were povital in fending off Westsports.

With Singapore clinging to a solitary point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Filipino-Canadian scored four straight points 8-0 run to gain a 74-67 lead with under seven minutes left. Another basket by Mandani followed it up with a breakaway layup with with 5:18 remaining to give Singapore an 81-72 cushion.

Filipino exports Joshua Munzon and Patrick Cabahug tried to rally the home team back as a triple by the latter cut the lead down to just three with 1:40 on the clock. Big buckets by Delvin Goh and Chris Charles sealed off the Malaysia-based club team.

Munzon went just 5-for-18 from the field to finish with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. Cabahug chipped in eight points on 3-for-4 shooting off the bench.

Xavier Alexander led Singapore with 33 points while Charles tallied a double-double with 25 points and 13 rebounds to go along with three swats. Singaporean Goh had 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

Marcus Marshall paced Westsports with 22 points, playing all 40 minutes as fellow World Import AJ West had a tough outing.

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Impervious Lady Chiefs stay perfect after sweep of Lady Pirates



The Arellano University Lady Chiefs extended their winning streak to 17, dating back to last season, after clobbering the Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The defending champions were unrelenting, with four Lady Chiefs scoring in double-digits. Rookie Necole Ebuen powered in 11 points. Third-year open hitter Regine Arocha and Arellano’s middle blockers Mary Anne Esguerra and Andrea Marzan each provided 10 markers.

Conversely, no Lady Pirate managed to score in double-figures.

“Maganda naman talaga ang nilalaro ng mga bata. Lahat kasi kami determinado na makakuha ulet ng championship. Alam nila (Lady Chiefs) na kailangan pataas nang pataas ang ginagalaw namin,” said Arellano head coach Obet Javier.

The Lady Chiefs also limited their errors to a season-best 16, while the Lady Pirates surrendered 24 miscues.

Christine Miralles and Monica Sevilla each supplied the struggling Lyceum with eight point apiece.

The Lady Chiefs will look for their sixth win of the season when they face the red-hot University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (4-1) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Pirates (1-4) take on the undefeated San Beda College (4-0) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

AU (3) – Ebuen 11, Arocha 10, Esguerra 10, Marzan 10, Prado 3, Ramirez 3, Liu 2, Balanoba 1, Donato 1, Verutiao 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)

LPU (0) – Miralles 8, Sevilla 8, Juanilla 7, Patio 4, Genova 1, Romanban 0, Bongabong 0, Marcella (L)

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Late whistle costs San Beda against Sousse, drops Red Lions to 0-2



23 for 2023 cadet Robert Bolick is averaging 27.5 points per game in the tournament

After struggling to close out the UAE National Team in their opener last Friday, the San Beda College Red Lions figured in a late judgment call that did not fall into their favor, Saturday at the Shabab Al Ahli Club in Dubai. Due to this, the defending NCAA Champions lost to Tuniasian club team Sousse, 78-79.

With the loss, the Red Lions fell to a 0-2 hole in the 29th Dubai Basketball Championship. But the record does not reflect how the Filipinos played.

Robert Bolick, who scored 28 points against the UAE National Team, led the charge for San Beda in their second outing with 27 points. Fellow 23 for 2023 cadet Javee Mocon added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Sousse — the second-best club team in Tunisia, who boasts four national team players and an American import — led by as much as 10 points, 70-60 in the final frame.

Fired up by the Filipinos who stormed the venue, the Red Lions answered right back with an 18-8 run capped by a booming Bolick triple with six ticks left to gain a 78-76 lead.

However, a foul was called on a Red Lion on a three-point attempt by a Sousse player. He calmly sank all three free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Donald Tankoua had eight points and 13 rebounds as he was saddled with foul trouble all throughout the game.

The Tunisian club team was paced by Radzhouane Slimane with 18 points, while Ibrahim Nadarri and Joshua Cassady had 13 markers each.

San Beda will have a one-day break before taking on Moroccan club team Al Sale on Monday, January 22.

The Scores:

San Beda 78 – Bolick 27, Mocon 11, Tankoua 8, Noah 8, Toba 6, Soberano 6, Prebitero 4, Tongco 4, Bahio 2, Carino 2, Oftana 0, Adamos 0.

Sousse 79 – Slimane 18, Naddari 13, Cassady 13, Mouhli 11, Knioua 9, Toumi 8, Monastiri 4, Gaddour 3.

Quarterscores: 23-17, 36-39, 57-62, 78-79.

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Perpetual overpowers JRU to keep pace for Final Four



Strutting their decisive height and power advantage, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas slammed the Jose Rizal University Lady Bombers, 25-21, 22-25, 25-14, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Altas were still heavy-handed with their errors, surrendering 35 miscues, including 12 in the second set — the only frame they lost.

The Las Piñas-based program, however, kept a scorching offensive pace, bombarding the Lady Bombers with six blocks and 12 aces. JRU had just five points combined from those categories.

“Mataas pa talaga ‘yung tendency ng mga bata mamigay ng mga puntos. Sabi ko nga hindi kami mananalo kung tutulungan pa namin ‘yung kalaban maka-score,” rued Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño.

“Pero, unti-unte namang gumaganda ‘yung galaw ng mga bata. Lahat naman ng pagkukulang nila, tinatrabaho namin para maayos sa ensayo,” the champion mentor added.

Perpetual’s six-foot-three middle blocker Lourdes Clemente towered over the Lady Bombers with a season-high 19 points which included 14 attacks, two blocks, and three aces. Winger Cindy Imbo added 15 points.

Rookie Dolly Versoza paced the Lady Bombers with a game-high 21 points, while captain Shola Alvarez managed 15.

The Lady Altas (4-1) take on the undefeated defending champs Arellano University (5-0) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Bombers (2-3) face the College of Saint Benilde (3-1) on Wednesday, also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Clemente 19, Imbo 15, Sangalang 8, Llorente 7, Tripoli 7, Gual 6, Versoza 2, Umandal 1, Estanislao 0, Medalla (L)

JRU (1) – Versoza 21, Alvarez 15, Ebuenga 5, Montojo 2, Rivera 2, Sibangan 1, Bodiongan 0, Macaraya (L)

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