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Young Bulldogs tower over Generals for fifth Spikers’ Turf win



Touting their height advantage at almost every position on the court, the National University (NU) Bulldogs demolished the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals 25-20, 25-21, 27-25 for their fifth win in as many games in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference presented by PLDT Home Ultera at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

NU’s blocking spelled the difference in the match. The boys from Sampaloc notched 12 total block kills wherein Madzlan Gampong, Francis Saura, and Kim Malabunga each pitched three block kills apiece. NU’s superior length was also evident in the amount of total block attempts they had compared to EAC (52-22) which severely affected EAC’s attack efficiency (EAC went 31 for 91 in spiking with 19 attack errors for a true attacking efficiency of 13.2%).

NU’s sophomore middle blocker, Kim Malabunga dominated the first set with his superb control of the net. With him at the service line, NU erected a five-point lead, 11-6 which eventually inflated to seven, 17-10, after a 4-0 run capped by a Vince Mangulabnan ace. With his team reeling behind a 12-19 deficit, Howard Mojica sparked a revitalizing 4-0, run, 16-19, highlighted by three consecutive back row kills from the reigning NCAA MVP. Mojica continued to trade blows with NU’s lanky frontline, but NU successfully protected their lead and ended the set with Francis Saura copping a resounding block on Howard Mojica.

NU had a much harder time pulling away from the Generals in the second set as it seemed like every time NU pulled ahead by two or three points, EAC came back and answered with a run of their own. NU seemed to have pulled away after consecutive EAC errors brought them to a three-point lead, 20-17, prompting an EAC timeout. Then, it was NU’s turn to surrender consecutive errors that was followed by an Israel Encina block on Bryan Bagunas that tied the set again, 20-20. EAC finally then dug their own grave, as they gave up three consecutive attack errors and a 23-20 NU lead. NU backup setter Kim Dayandante surrendered a service error but Bryan Bagunas made up for it with a back row kill, which was followed by a Howard Mojica attack that went wide and sealed a 2-0 sets lead for NU.

Behind a ruckus gallery of supporters, EAC ran off a 4-0 run to begin the third set. However, NU quickly recovered, knotting the set at five, then taking a hefty 15-12 lead after two more EAC errors. Fauzi Ismail soared for a cross-court kill that put his team at a comfortable 22-18 lead. Mojica, however, had one more heroic run in him, scoring four consecutive points from a myriad of attacks and blocks to tie the set at 22. Saura and Bagunas conspired for back-to-back points for NU, placing them at set point, 24-22 but errors from Ismail and Bagunas brought the match to a deuce. The sophomore, Bagunas quickly took back his error and nabbed a down-the-line kill but Mojica retaliated with an open hit. Following a timeout, Mark Arias blew a service attempt which guest player, Mark Pagtalunan followed with a net touch that gave NU the match, 27-25.

Bagunas led NU’s balanced offense with 11 points followed by Bagunas and Malabunga who tallied nine points each. EAC’s Mojica topped all scorers with 22 huge points but had 10 attack errors.

NU head coach, Dante Alinsunurin, praised his team’s composure in the match’s close situations given his team’s youth. “Maganda ‘yung nilaro ng mga bata kahit noong huling dalawang set nahabol kami, nagamit pa rin ng mga bata ‘yung advantage nila tapos naka-execute pa rin sila ng gameplan namin.”

NU now joins Ateneo at the top of the heap in the next stage of elimination with identical 5-0 records. EAC drops to 4-1 with the schedule for their next batch of games yet to be announced as of press time.

The Scores:

NU (3) – Bagunas 11, Malabunga 9, Saura 9, Capal 7, Gampong 5, Ismail 5, Mangulabnan 2, Dayandante 0, Marcos (L)

EAC (0) – Mojica 22, Encina 9, Doguna 5, Melliza 4, Arias 1, Barbuco 0, Cilocilo 0, Mangaring (L)


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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After getting first D-League experience, Zark’s-Lyceum ready to get loose



After a hesitant performance in their PBA D-League debut last Thursday that resulted in a loss to the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers seemingly caught up with the league’s style of play on Tuesday.

Zark’s-Lyceum displayed their true form and stamped their class all over the Batangas-EAC Generals with a 37-point destruction, 112-75 — so far the biggest winning margin the franchise has ever had in its D-League history.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams we’re playing against with,” said Zark’s-Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson after the match at Pasig Sports Center. “But the things we want to mind are those things we control.

“We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways.”

Robinson’s claim was strongly backed up by the numbers that the Jawbreakers produced.

CJ Perez had 21 points and 10 rebounds. MJ Ayaay produced 15 points and 10 boards, and Mike Nzeusseu delivered 14 markers and 11 boards.

Even the bench made their presence felt in the victory. With guard Jaycee Marcelino spearheading the supporting cast’s charge with 12 markers, the bench contributed a remarkable 56 points to their total output.

Photo by PBA Images

“Ano lang, cinontrol lang namin yung pace kasi yun naman talaga yung laro namin, yung mabilisan,” said the 24-year-old do-it-all forward, who also collected three steals.

“Kailangan talaga mabilisan para ma-execute namin yung mga ginagawa namin.”

This week will be a rough one for the Pirates, as they will play right away this Thursday against the AMA Online Education. And for Perez, he strongly believes that they will be able to carry over their momentum.

“Oo. Nandun pa. Energy talaga yung puhunan namin para makalaro ng maayos.”

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Bonbon Batiller shows what he can bring to Letran in D-League debut



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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 are carrying the Wang’s Basketball Couriers franchise.

And the 5-foot-11 guard showed 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 the 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 has him even more satisfied 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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Bienvenido Maranon scores brace as Ceres-Negros eliminates Brisbane Roar



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Philippine club football just achieved its biggest continental result yet

The inaugural Philippines Football League champions Ceres-Negros Football Club eliminated three-time Australian champions Brisbane Roar in the 2018 AFC Champions League’s second preliminary round with a 3-2 stunner, away at the QSAC Stadium in Brisbane.

With the win, the 2017 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Champions are set to face Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian next January 30, 2018 at the Haihe Educational Football Stadium in Tianjin, China, to book a seat in the group stages.

Brisbane were the favorites for this tie and it showed, as Ceres started the contest on the back foot. Italian striker Massimo Maccarone handed the home side the lead in the 35th minute when he turned in Brett Holman’s pass.

Maccarone’s goal could have lowered the Busmen’s moral, but Risto Vidakovic’s men took it as a motivation rather than a downer. In fact, Ceres replied in the best way possible when Bienvenido Maranon scored his first goal of the match two minutes from halftime, thanks to a scramble in the Brisbane box.

By all accounts, Ceres had already made Philippine football proud at halftime. By this stage last year, Brisbane had accrued a 4-0 halftime cushion against Global Cebu en route to a 6-0 rout.

Today, though, Brisbane faced tougher resistance at Ceres’ hands. That resistance turned into a full-fledged revolt in the 65th minute when Maranon directed the ball past a helpless Jamie Young to give the Busmen their first taste of the lead.

Maranon’s goal well and truly turned the tide in Ceres’ favor. Brisbane were stunned. The home side are the defending A-League champions, but are currently eighth in the table this season and would soon face elimination from Asia’s premier club competition.

Already up 2-1, the Busmen finally achieved some breathing room in the 75th minute when Omid Nazari scored from close range to give Ceres a two-goal cushion over Brisbane.

Nazari’s goal not only sealed the win for Ceres, it also propelled Philippine football into the big leagues. Not even a late goal from French midfielder Éric Bauthéac could prevent the Busmen’s victory.

After five minutes of stoppage time, Ceres emerged 3-2 winners against Brisbane Roar. Come what may against Tianjin seven days from now, the Busmen have already achieved Philippine football’s biggest result since their own achievement in last season’s AFC Cup.

Who knows? Maybe Ceres can pull off another upset?

Ceres-Negros XI: Doblas (GK), Super, Mike Ott, Ingreso, Maranon, Porteria, Schrock, De Murga (C), Munoz, Nazari, Christaens.

Brisbane Roar XI: Ingham, Bowles, Papadopoulos, Maccarone, Holman, Khalfallah, Oxborrow, McKay (C), Hingert, Young (GK), Franjic.

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CJ Perez, Zark’s-Lyceum vent ire on Batangas-EAC with 37-point romp



Photo by PBA Images

CJ Perez and the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers finally lived up to their hype, as they clobbered the Batangas-EAC Generals to score a 37-point beatdown, 112-75 for their first win, Tuesday at the Pasig Sports Center.

It was an all-out attack from the Jawbreakers, as they beat the Generals to the bite and took control of the game early, with Mike Nzeusseu and Jaycee Marcelino guiding their side to the 48-33 lead at halftime which they would never surrender.

Perez paced Zark’s Burger-Lyceum with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while MJ Ayaay tallied a double-double with his 15 markers, 10 boards, and three assists.

Cameroonian student-athlete Nzeusseu also delivered 14 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists. Marcelino had eight first half points and wound up with 12 off the bench, as the reserves chipped in 56 huge points in the tussle.

Coach Topex Robinson lauded the Jawbreakers for quickly adjusting to the style of the PBA D-League just days after falling to the Marinerong Pilipino, 92-94, back in opening day.

“Medyo adjusted na kami on everything — the calls and the teams were playing against with. But the things we want to mind are those things we control. We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It’s more on replenishing na lang on our old ways,” he said.

Earvin Mendoza and Cedric de Joya both had 16 points for the Generals in the losing effort.

Zark’s-Lyceum look to continue to roll when they face the AMA Online Education Titans on Thursday, January 25. EAC-Batangas, on the other hand, take on the Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers on Monday, January 29.

The Scores:

Zark’s-Lyceum 112 — Perez 21, Ayaay 15, Nzeusseu 14, Jc. Marcelino 12, Serrano 10, Baltazar 8, Santos 8, Jv. Marcelino 6, Tansingco 6, Marata 4, Liwag 4, Ibañez 2, Cinco 2, Pretta 0.

Batangas-EAC 75 — E. Mendoza 16, De Joya 16, Tampoc 12, Laude 9, Pate 8, Maguliano 6, Altamirano 5, Diego 3, Garcia 0, Dela Peña 0, Martin 0, J. Mendoza 0, Neri 0.

Quarterscores: 19-14, 48-33, 84-47, 112-75.

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