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Women’s Beach Volleyball Day Two: Lady Falcons, Lady Eagles emerge as favorites

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Day One’s frantic momentum rolled all the way into Day Two of the UAAP Women’s Beach Volleyball Tournament. The Lady Falcons and the Lady Eagles pulled-off dazzling wins, last season’s finalists DLSU and UST continued to skid, while FEU looked great in both their loss and win.

The Adamson Lady Falcons’ Mylene Paat and Gemma Galanza kicked-off Day Two with a quick win over the UP Lady Maroons’ Arielle Estranero and Vina Alinas, 21-8, 21-7. Paat and Galanza had the upper hand at every skill, taking advantage of UP’s younger players. With the fact that their next match was going to come in just a few minutes, the Lady Falcons consciously pounded on the Lady Maroons to get enough time to recover.

Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez and Bea Tan followed, earning a tight 24-22, 21-17 victory over FEU’s feisty pair of Bernadette Pons and Kyla Atienza. FEU, behind stellar back row defense from Atienza and solid play at the net from Pons, led Ateneo by as much as five, 9-4, in the first set. Tan and Valdez, however, regrouped through a timeout midway through the set and slowly nibbled away at FEU’s advantage. After an attack from Valdez brought Ateneo to set point at 20-18, FEU stormed back after a timeout, grabbing three points and a crack at set point. FEU then surrendered crucial errors down the stretch which allowed Ateneo to escape with the opening set win. The following played out much the same way with the Lady Tams rallying to an early lead at 9-6. But, the Lady Eagles finally consistently controlled Atienza’s deadly serve, to hijack FEU’s lead, 14-13. From there, attacks from Valdez and Tan finished off the Lady Tams, leaving Ateneo with a perfect record. Both teams played magnificently, but the Atneans had an extra zip that pulled them to keep many points alive.

Adamson had to battle a quick turnaround, but exuberant play from Gemma Galanza powered them to a quick 21-14, 21-18 over last season’s finalists DLSU’s Kim Fajardo and Cyd Demecillo. Galanza roamed the court, keeping multiple balls alive. Paat, meanwhile, ferociously went for every block. It was Galanza’s serving, however, that gave the Lady Spikers the most trouble with the Lady Falcon notching eight aces in the match. La Salle’s flat-footed play kept them behind early in every set. Having to play catch up for most of the match, Demecillo and Fajardo ran out of steam late in each set.

In the first match of the afternoon, the Lady Tams avenged their earlier loss, taking down the dazed defending titlists, UST’s Cherry Rondina and Rica Jane Rivera, 21-14, 21-16. Again, Kyla Atienza’s powerful jump serve left no prisoners, hitting her targets perfectly and either generating an ace or a free ball which Bernatdette Pons converted easily. FEU consistently targeted Rica Rivera who was suffering from abdominal pains yesterday.  With Rivera struggling, the fiery Rondina was taken out of her usual rhythm, allowing FEU to totally dominate the match up.

Before NU’s match against Ateneo, officials announced that NU’s reserve player, Jaja Santiago was going to replace Roma Doromal in the lineup. According to NU Coach Noy Are, he had planned on slotting Jaja Santiago in for Doromal even before the tournament started adding that he wanted to give Doromal more exposure.

NU’s last minute change, however, still could not hinder Ateneo’s Bea Tan and Alyssa Valdez from cruising to win. The Ateneans handed Santiago and Jasmine Nabor a 21-18, 21-14 sweep. Jaja had her moments, firing off several powerful hits that left craters in the sand. But Ateneo’s speed and craftiness overwhelmed the Lady Bulldogs. Tan, whom NU targeted, found ways through and around Jaja Santiago’s block, providing the Lady Eagles with easy side outs while Valdez was her usual offensive threat, scoring on both soft and strong hits.

The Final match had UP’s Vina Alinas and Arielle Estranero claim their first win in the longest game of the tournament, downing UE’s Angelica Dacaymat and Judith Abil in a three-set slobber-knocker, 21-16, 20-22, 24-22. UE used their supreme leaping ability to take an early lead in the first set but they failed to maintain their offensive pressure as they coughed up errors. UP took the opening set but was in a hole throughout the following frame. UE leaped out to set point, 20-16, with UP mounting another comeback. After scoring four straight points, an untimely attack error from Alinas cut UP’s momentum and made way for the Lady Warriors to sneak back and force third set. The deciding set saw the fatigue in both sides. Both playing tired, UP and UE traded botched attacks and momentary, adrenaline-fueled bursts. UP had match multiple in the deciding deuce but couldn’t put the Lady Warriors away. After UE’s error knotted the set at 22, Vina Alinas saved the day, serving back-to-back aces to seal their first win.

Here are the standings after Day Two:

AdU (Paat/Galanza) 3-0
ADMU (Tan/Valdez) 3-0
FEU (Pons/Atienza) 2-1
DLSU (Fajardo/Demecillo) 1-2
NU (Santiago/Nabor) 1-2
UST (Rondina/Rivera) 1-2
UP (Estranero/Alinas) 1-2
UE (Dacaymat/Abil) 0-3

For the schedule of remaining games, click here.

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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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Mixed Martial Arts

Rene Catalan continues rampage with TKO win

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Rene Catalan continues to turn critics into believers

Filipino fighter Rene Catalan made his sixth appearance inside the ONE Championship cage at ONE: Kings of Courage held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia, Saturday evening. He faced 21-year-old Chinese athlete Peng Xue Wen in the opening main card bout, and leaned on his elite wushu to stop the young star at the 4:22 mark of the second round.

The victory improves Catalan’s record to 4-2 (1 NC), extends his winning streak to four, and gives him the first TKO stoppage of his martial arts career, as he bids to climb the strawweight ladder in search of the ONE Strawweight World Championship.

“The Challenger” came out in the southpaw stance to open the bout, throwing big hooks and a head kick that narrowly missed as he established the center of the cage from the start of the contest.

The Filipino landed a host of powerful strikes, including a perfectly-placed uppercut and a melee of punishing leg kicks, but Peng’s conditioning and composure kept him in the match as he looked to stand and trade with the man 18 years his elder.

Catalan picked up where he left off when the bout resumed in the second round, this time operating out of the orthodox stance, landing more leg kicks and continuing to deny Peng any space to work.

Despite his dominance on the feet, there was a brief moment of concern for the Filipino on the mat when he jumped into the Chinese wrestler’s guard mid-way through the second round, and immediately found himself in a triangle choke. But the Filipino kept his composure and managed to work himself free.

Once the bout returned to the feet, Catalan poured on the pressure in search of a finish, and he got it with just 38 seconds remaining in the stanza.

“The Challenger” scored big with a liver shot, then unloaded a fierce flurry of punches that forced Peng onto his back foot. Another shot forced Peng to the mat, where a salvo of ground and pound from Catalan eventually forced the TKO stoppage as referee Olivier Coste stepped in to halt the contest.

Photo, story, and video from ONE Championship

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Basketball

Gelo Alolino regrets Phoenix’s failure to close out Hotshots

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Photo by PBA Images

Gelo Alolino had his best game for Phoenix Fuel Masters Saturday night at the Cuneta Astrodome with 19 points, eclipsing his previous career-high of 16 markers which he made last May 21, 2017 in a loss to Mahindra Floodbuster.

But that achievement of his won’t be that memorable, as it went for naught following a 91-97 defeat they had absorbed into the hands of Paul Lee and Magnolia Hotshots, who have now collected their third straight victory.

For the second overall pick in the regular 2016 Rookie Draft, it was all because of their failure to sustain momentum up until the game’s final buzzer.

“Sayang, nandun na. We felt na sa amin na nung dulo kaso lang ganun talaga,” rued the 24-year-old sophomore after the match, where he shot an excellent 7-of-10 from the floor.

“Breaks of the game napunta sa kabila.”

Phoenix was there in contention all through out the match. In fact, they were even ahead, 89-84, with just three minutes left to play. But then, the Hotshots’ comebacking skills were unleashed, leading to the narrow win.

“Siyempre kami lahat nasayangan. Maganda naman yung team effort talaga namin,” expressed the 6-foot floor general of their end-game collapse, which wasted their efforts in assists (21) and on defense, where they forced Magnolia to 21 turnovers.

“Kami as players talagang gusto namin bumawi coming from a loss last game sa Rain or Shine.

The Fuel Masters have now lost their second straight outing and have dropped to 2-3. And for Alolino, all they have to do is learn as much as they can from this loss, especially now that they are about to face Barangay Ginebra next.

“Yun nga. Medyo masakit para sa’min ‘to,” admitted the National University product.

“All we have to do is magviview ulit kami ng tape para makita kung saan kami mas pwede mag-improve as a team and bawat isa — including me.”

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Basketball

Glenn Khobuntin repays Ricky Dandan’s trust with end-game heroics

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FILE Photo from PBA Images

Glenn Khobuntin can finally say that he had himself a moment in the pro ranks

The National University alumnus proved his worth for Kia Picanto, scoring his team’s final six points to steer the often-ridiculed club to its’ first win after a historic 16-game skid at the expense of Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 98-94.

“I knew he would. I knew he would,” lauded Kia head coach Ricky Dandan of the takeover the six-foot-four forward made.

“It was a blessing he didn’t play for the first two quarters because he [came in] fresh at gigil na gigil.”

Khobuntin finished with 11 markers on 5-of-7 shooting — the best game he’s had so far not because of the numbers he posted but with the way he made it. But the three-year pro does not want to take the spotlight all by himself.

“Hindi lang din naman ako e, kami ding lahat e,” the 26-year-old shared. “Siguro kumbaga nagka-opportunity lang, napunta sa akin yung bola kasi yun yung nasa scheme ng play so ayun.

“Thankful lang ako na-hit ko yung mga na-design na plays.”

However, the third-year pro admitted that he got frightened during the game’s final stretch, as Rain or Shine managed to impose a serious threat by coming back from a seven-point deficit, 94-96, with just less than 22 ticks left to play.

“Kinakabahan ako kasi two minutes pa rin yun e tapos Rain or Shine yung kalaban namin,” the native of Cagayan de Oro said. “Nakita ko nakakabalik sila. Thankful lang naman ako na yung game napunta sa amin, at least natapos yung losing streak namin.”

But more than the end of their months-long slump, what Khobuntin is grateful for is the trust given to him by Dandan, who fielded him as a starter in the second half after sitting out the entirety of the first 24 minutes.

“Nag-decide siya na ako yung i-start niya so thankful ako kasi nagtiwala siya sa akin.”

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ABL

Justin Brownlee, Alab lock down Knights for fifth win

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Paying a visit to Indonesia for the first time this season, Tanduay Alab Pilipinas needed time to figure the CLS Knights out before stifling the hosts in the final frame to take a 92-87 road win, Saturday evening at the GOR CLS Kertajaya in Indonesia.

This is Alab’s second straight win after losing to the Singapore Slingers last January 10.

With the win, the Philippine-based club team lifts its slate to 5-4 for solo fourth. CLS, on the other hand, dropped to 1-7 — just half a game ahead of the cellar-dwelling Formosa Dreamers.

Justin Brownlee displayed his all-around brilliance in the game, leading Alab with 36 points on 15-for-24 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

Alab’s bench however could not sustain the effort of the starters that led to them clinging to a two-point lead with 7:06 remaining.

Needing a sparkplug, 40-year-old sniper Dondon Hontiveros provided the spark for Alab, knocking down a triple that proved to be the starting point 14-2 Alab run. A jumper by Bobby Ray Parks Jr. with 2:57 left capped the rally and gave Alab an 87-73 lead.

Hontiveros scored five of the eight Alab bench points. Fortunately for Alab, Renaldo Balkman and Bobby Ray Parks Jr. were on-point with the former tallying a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds while Alab’s skipper had 14 points, four assists, two rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

Coach Jimmy Alapag fielded his bench afterwards that resulted to the quintet of Brian Williams, Mario Wuysang, Arif Hidayat, Decorey Jones, and Sandy Kurniawan to slice the lead to as low as four points. Free throws by Oping Sumalinog with eight ticks left put CLS away for good.

Williams paced CLS with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Kurniawan added 19 markers. Indonesian legend Wuysang had 17 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Alab ends its road trip on Sunday, January 28 when they take on the Saigon Heat at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.

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