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Valdez, PLDT down Army in surprising sweep

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Finally debuting their vaunted lineup of offensive prodigies, the PLDT Home Ultera Ultra Fast Lady Hitters took out the Army Lady Troopers in three tight sets 25-16, 25-23, 28-26 in the first round of eliminations in the Shakey’s V-League, at the San Juan Arena.

In her first game this season, Alyssa Valdez immediately imposed her dominance, delivering 19 markers, 15 off attacks. The two-time UAAP MVP, Valdez displayed her wide array of attacks, utilizing not only her powerful spikes, but also bamboozling the Army defense with her off-speed hits, scoring seven points off such attempts. PLDT’s Jaja Santiago took care of family business, outscoring elder sister, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, 10-7.

There was something visibly wrong with Army’s play in the beginning of the match, as the usually composed veterans coughed up routine errors allowing PLDT to take the first set comfortably. Army slotted in Santiago-Manabat in the following frame, and the former Lady Bulldog immediately delivered three points to push her team ahead 8-6. From there, Army showed the composure lacking in the opening set, and kept up the offensive pressure until PLDT turned the jets on with Army ahead 14-12. Alyssa Valdez dropped a patented floater, which sparked a run, that pulled them ahead 19-14. Dindin scored off a quick attack, and delivered loaded serves that tied the match at 19. Both teams, then, struggled to take control of momentum, but PLDT ultimately grabbed hold of the set after an unlikely contribution from their reserve open hitter, Elaine Kasilag, who notched a clutch ace and attacked down the final stretch of the set.

It seemed that Army was going to go down easily in the third set after they gave up another early advantage to PLDT at 7-3. However, Army slowly nibbled at the lead, eventually taking a 15-13 advantage midway through the set. Army’s Rachelle Anne Daquis and Jing Balse tried valiantly to match PLDT’s Santiago-Valdez onslaught, but Army eventually gave way after Alyssa Valdez placed PLDT at match point, 24-22. Surrendering two consecutive errors, PLDT almost opened the door for Army to extend the match with the Lady Troopers grabbing two set point advantages in the deuce. It was, however, PLDT’s blocking and floor defense that saved them in the end, as an Alyssa Valdez block on Manabat gave PLDT the match.

“First time din naming nagaksama-sama ngayon,” said PLDT Coach Roger Gorayeb about his team’s preparation. “Si Alyssa kasi humingi ng pahinga, pinagbigyan ko naman kasi kakagaling nga lang naman niya ng UAAP. Kahapon din sa ensayo wala ‘yung mga libero ko kaya maganda na naipakita naming ‘yung laro naming ngayon.”

None of the Lady Troopers cracked double digits as they were led by Daquis’ nine points, while Nene Bautista, Tina Salak, Jing Balse, and Manabat, all contributed seven points.

PLDT will face the Coast Guard Lady Dolphins on Tuesday, while Army has the Navy Lady Sailors on the same day.

The Scores:

PLDT (3) – Valdez 19, Roces 10, Santiago 10, Kasilag 6, Soriano 4, Soltones 4, De Leon 4, Villanueva 0, Ferrer 0, Latigay 0, Mendiola 0, Pantone (L), Lazaro (L)

Army (0) – Daquis 9, Bautista 7, Manabat 7, Balse 7, Salak 7, Carolino 2, Bunag 2, Aganon 1, Sabas 0, Gonzales 0, Agno (L), Torres(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.

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Basketball

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 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 furthered.

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 just one month away, Gilas could not 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 away from 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 was 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 Ateneo 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 on 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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CSJL

San Beda fends off Letran for back-to-back wins

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With seasoned setter John Carlo Desuyo steering the wheel to near perfection, the San Beda College romped to its second straight win.

The Red Spikers carved double-digit outings from four players to upend archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-22, and registered their fourth win of the season, Monday early evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

It was the Knights, however, who started on the right foot, overhauling a 4-10 deficit to snag the first set. Better passing from liberos Aljune Centeno and Johnsen Timbreza resulted to kills from captain Bobby Gatdula.

Nonetheless, San Beda picked up the service game in the next three sets to ultimately finish off the blue-shirts.

Despite the win-loss record they currently, the Red Spiker playmaker admitted that they are far from the form they expected. “Sabi nga ni coach [Nes Pamilar], kulang pa ‘yung nilalaro man in kada game,” he said.

“‘Yung dapat tapusin in straight sets; hindi magawa sa game ‘yung sa training,” he added.

Desuyo finished with 41 excellent sets as his batchmate Mark Enciso led the Mendiola-based squad with 17 markers. Middle hitter Limuel Patenio unleashed a double-digit output for the second consecutive match at 15.

The Red Spikers (4-1) will gun for its third straight victory when they take on Lyceum of the Philippines University (1-4) on Wednesday.

Letran skipper Gatdula carried the cudgels for his team with 22 points.

The Knights (0-5) will try to arrest their skid as the battle with San Sebastian College (1-3) on Thursday.

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Enciso 17, Patenio 15, Amagan 13, Santos 10, Viray 9, Desuyo 2, Gonzales E 1, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSJL 1- Gatdula 22, Cistina 14, Alilio 6, Almoguerra 4, Dizon 3, Domingo 1, Ladeon 1, Sison 1, Tumbali 0, Orsini 0, Brioso 0, Timbreza L, Centeno L.

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Basketball

Michael Calisaan tows Che’lu-San Sebastian past Perpetual

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Photo by PBA Images

Michael Calisaan poured 20 points as he captained newcomer Che’Lu-San Sebastian Revellers to a decisive 83-70 win over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas to start its voyage, Monday evening at the Pasig City Sports Center.

Doing it all for the Revellers, the veteran forward provided the stability for his side as he shot 8-of-15 from the field while also hauling down nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the conference-opening win.

But it wasn’t all Calisaan as Che’Lu got contributions from all over its roster.

Samboy de Leon chimed in 16 markers and nine boards, RK Ilagan went 2-of-5 from threes to collect 13 points, eight dimes, and three rebounds, while big men Alfred Batino and Jeepy Faundo combined for 20 in the victory.

Despite the triumph, coach Stevenson Tiu gave all the praise to his players noting the team’s lack of time preparing for the tourney.

“Nanalo kami dahil sa talent ng players. Medyo mali ko rin kasi nahirapan pa ako mag-adjust sa players. Hopefully, we play much better in the coming games,” he said.

The Revellers used a 16-4 run to finally break away from the Altas, taking a 77-60 lead with 4:03 to play as they punished their foes for their turnovers, turning Perpetual’s 30 miscues to 28 points in their favor.

Prince Eze anchored the Altas with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and seven blocks in their first game under new head coach Frankie Lim.

Che’lu-San Sebastian looks to make it two in a row when it takes on the Wangs-Letran Couriers on Monday, January 29 at 5:00pm. Perpetual, on the other hand, hopes it can notch its first win when it takes on Mila’s Lechon Mighty Roasters.

The Scores:

Che’lu-SSCR 83 — Calisaan 20, De Leon 16, Ilagan 13, Batino 10, Faundo 10, Bulanadi 6, Costelo 6, Calma 2, David 0, Lao 0, Santos 0, Valdez 0.

UPHSD 70 — Eze 15, Coronel 13, Villanueva 13, Jimenez 9, Charcos 7, Peralta 7, Gallardo 5, Pido 1, Antonio 0, Aurin 0, Tamayo 0, Tongco 0.

Quarterscores: 17-22, 34-38, 59-53, 83-70.

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