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Veteran trio leading Benilde’s strong V-League charge



Currently etched at second place in the standings with a 2-1 record, the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers have been one of the more consistent teams so far in the ongoing Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Collegiate Conference.

Led by their veteran trio of Jeanette Panaga, Jannine Navarro, and Djanel Cheng, CSB was able to open their season on a high note by winning their first two games against the San Sebastian Lady Stags and the TIP Lady Engineers. In addition, the team almost got their third straight win of the tourney in their five-set thriller against UST but CSB didn’t pull the necessary stops to do so.

“Medyo nakakapanghinayang ang talo [sa UST] kasi five-setter. Pero hindi ko ineexpect na ganyan ang ilalaro ng mga players ko,” CSB head coach Michael Cariño told Tiebreaker Times. “Alam ko lalaban sila pero hindi inexpect na ganito katindi aabot ang laban sa dulo. Pero, maganda na rin sa side namin kahit natalo kami kasi maganda ang pinakita ng mga bata.”

In the team rankings, Benilde is currently the second best team in blocks and digs by posting averages of 2.5 blocks per game and 7.42 digs per game. In addition, they are also the seventh best team in terms of spikes by posting a success rate of 29.59 percent. Rounding it out, CSB is the third best team in terms of reception by posting an efficiency rating of 18.64 percent and they are also the best setting team by having norms of 7.67 assists per set.

Dissecting the Trio

SVL College CSB vs. UST Panaga vs Lastimosa De Leon
As mentioned above, Benilde is currently finding success by relying on their veteran trio of Panaga, Navarro and Cheng.

As of press time, Panaga is currently tied with Ateneo’s Jho Maraguinot as the third best scorer in the tourney with a total of 48 points. She is also the ninth best server by averaging 0.58 points per set and lastly, Panaga is currently the league’s best blocker with her average of 1.25 blocks per set.
On the other hand, Navarro is the league’s second best scorer, trailing only National University’s Jaja Santiago, with a total of 57 points scored. She is also the ninth best blocker by posting norms of 0.58 blocks per set. Furthermore, Navarro is the seventh best spiker in the league as she posts a spiking success rate of 36.23 percent after three games.

Last but not the least, Cheng is the leading setter so far in the league by averaging 7.5 excellent sets per set.

Aside from the ripple effect made by their flashy numbers, Cariño pointed out that his seniors provide the necessary veteran savvy and leadership whenever the team gets together. With a lot of volleyball milage by the three players, the lessons and experiences from it will surely be beneficial to every member of the Lady Blazers.

“Dapat kasi talagang ganoon ang performances nila palagi kasi sila ang seniors ko. Wala na akong ibang titingnan na ibang players na magdadala sa team kung hindi sila. Aside from Panaga and Navarro, pinakamalaking factor dito si Cheng,” Cariño remarked. “Without Cheng, hindi magiging smooth at hindi magiging madali para sa team ko. Credit ko sa kanilang tatlo kung bakit successful ang team.”

Gaining outside experience

PSL ShopinasvsFoton-9512Aside from being established players in the NCAA, Benilde’s trio also had a busy summer as Panaga, Navarro, and Cheng saw action in the 2015 Philippine Superliga All-Conference. Panaga and Navarro played for the Cignal HD Spikers while Cheng played for the Lady Clickers.

“Ang experience nila doon, given na ibang klase na ang labanan doon. Dapat talaga kung ano ang nakuha nila doon, ipakita nila dapat dito sa team,” Cariño remarked about his players’ respective PSL stints.

PSL CignalvsManeNTail-9477In addition, Panaga also got her taste of international competition as she was a key part of the Philippine team that participated in the 18th Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship held at Beijing and Tianjin, China.

“Malaki kasi sa experience niya doon kasi ang kalaban iba. Dito sa Pilipinas, compared sa iba niyang kalaban sa ibang bansa, maganda ang performance niya. Hindi naman dapat na ma-pressure siya na maganda dapat ang ipapakita niya,” Cariño added. “Kahit paano, hindi ko naman sinasabi na dapat perfect ang laro niya, mas mataas talaga ang percentage niya at performance niya.”

The Tournament Continues

The Lady Blazers will now have a big test ahead of them as they are set to take on the still undefeated Ateneo Lady Eagles this coming Saturday, 12:45 pm, at the Filoil Flying V Arena. The game will be aired live on GMA News TV Channel 11.

Note: All stats used in this article were based on the V-League’s official statistician, TMX Sports. All info used are updated since the last game day.

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Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory



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2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.

The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.

“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.

Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.

Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.

Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.

Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.

While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.

It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.

The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.

As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.

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Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’



Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup



Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win



Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.

So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”

After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.

Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.

The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.

The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.

Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.

The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

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