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UST’s CJ Cansino leads Ateneo’s Kai Sotto by 26 points in MVP race

All eyes have been on Ateneo de Manila High School’s Kai Sotto in the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament – but perhaps, most, it not all, of them should be on CJ Cansino. University of Sto. Tomas’ shining star is, far and away, the frontrunner for MVP after the first round of eliminations. Cansino has tallied 100.57 Statistical Points (SPs) built on per game counts of 27.6 points in 43.5 percent shooting, 14.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.7 steals. With that, the Tiger Cub swingman leads the tally for top individual player by a whopping 26 points. This, even though it has been Ateneo, and not UST, which remains undefeated and stands as title favorite. A distant second is Sotto who registered 74.43 SPs on averages of 12.9 points in 52.5 percent shooting, 12.7 rebounds, and 4.9 blocks. The 7-foot-1 towering teen has been the apple of the eye for many Filipinos, but most probably is one or two years away from being the standard for MVP. Two other Blue Eaglets are behind him with SJ Belangel at third (69.00 SPs) and Dave Ildefonso (67.00 SPs) at fourth. Rounding out the top five is first-year player Agem Miranda of University of the East whose award bid has been boosted by Nazareth School of National University’s forfeiture. Also in the top 10 are Far Eastern University-Diliman’s L-Jay Gonzales and RJ Abarrientos, Adamson High School’s Jorem Sabandal, De La Salle Zobel’s Raven Cortez, and Bullpup Rhayyan Amsali. —- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 12th, 2018

UAAP Juniors Basketball: Kai Sotto leads Ateneo to 4-0 record

Kai Sotto led the way for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets as they demolished the previously undefeated UST Tiger Cubs, 94-63, in the UAAP Season 80 juniors basketball tournament at the Blue Eagle Gym Sunday. Sotto made his interior presence felt with 20 points on an efficient 10/14 shooting clip, 13 rebounds, and seven blocks, as Ateneo won their fourth straight game to start the season. Sean Ildefonso added 19 points while SJ Belangel registered 15 markers. The Tiger Cubs, who fall to a 3-1 record, led at the end of the first quarter from a buzzer-beating triple by Vince Dolendo, 18-15.  However, it would be the final time UST would take control of the game as the Blue Eaglets suddenly shifted to a higher gear and launched a 21-5 blitz that gave Ateneo a 36-20 lead. The Tiger Cubs then lost the guidance of head coach Chris Cantonjos immediately after the huge Ateneo run as he was ejected for storming the court. Things never got in UST's way again as the Blue Eaglets cruised through the rest of the game, leading by as much as 33 points in the payoff period, 94-61. John Cansino paced UST's scoring with a 20-point performance. Bismark Lina was the only other Tiger Cub in double figures with 10. "If we let UST hung around, we knew it would have been a close game," Blue Eaglets head coach Joe Silva said. "I just told my team to play defense. Defense is really the team's identity." In the second game, the Adamson Baby Falcons defeated the UPIS Junior Maroons in a wire-to-wire victory, score. Jose Sabandal had an all-around game for Adamson, scoring 19, grabbing four rebounds, and dishing six assists. Andrey Doria added 17 points and six rebounds. Jacob Estrera meanwhile led the way for the FIghting Maroons with 13 points. Matt Santiago and Rafael Labao contributed 12 points apiece. It was all Adamson in the game as the Baby Falcons soared from the get-go and never looked back, leading by as much as 35, 81-46, in the fourth quarter. Adamson improved to a 2-3 slate while the Junior Maroons fall to 1-4. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME ADMU (93) - Sotto 20, Ildefonso 19, Belangel 15, Jaymalin 14, Manuel 10,  Diaz 6, David 4, Credo 2, Chiu 2, Escalona 2, Lopa 0, Ong 0. UST (63) - Cansino 20, Lina 10, Manabat 9, Dolendo 6, Bayquial 6, Palencia 4, Dela Cruz 3, Anunciacion 2, Estrella 2, Biag 1, Co, 0, Relucio 0, Narvasa 0, Villapando 0. Quarter Scores: 15-18, 45-35, 74-49, 94-63. SECOND GAME ADU (86) - Sabandal 19, Doria An 17, Padilla 9, Doria Ad 6, Manlapaz 6, Baculio 5, Engbino 5, Santos P 5, Santos R 5, Perez 4, Padilla 3, Sevilla 2, Canoy 0, Prodigo 0, Bantiles 0. UPIS (55) - Estrera 13, Santiago 12, Labao Raf 12, Tupaz 9, Gregorio 3, Lopez 3, Labao Ral 1, Vill-Real 0, Vergeire 0, Dimaculangan 0, Colandor 0. Quarter Scores: 28-16, 46-25, 62-40, 86-55......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2017

Ateneo still spotless after shutting down MVP leader Cansino

STANDINGS Ateneo 8-0 NU 6-2 UST 5-3 FEU-Diliman 4-4 Adamson 3-4 DLSZ 2-5 UPIS 1-6 UE 1-6 On Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, Ateneo de Manila High School showed that second, third, and fourth combined is better than first all by himself. Kai Sotto, SJ Belangel, and Dave Ildefonso all together to power Ateneo de Manila High School right through MVP frontrunner CJ Cansino and University of Sto. Tomas, 78-54. Sotto is second, Belangel is third, and Ildefonso is fourth to first-place Cansino in the MVP leaderboard of the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament. Together, however, they again proved to be too much for one of the other contenders in the tournament. “Kahit ganito, marami pa rin kaming kailangang ayusin. We still have lots to improve,” head coach Joe Silva said. Ildefonso had 20 points, seven assists, and three assists; Belangel had 13 points, six assists, and six rebounds; and Sotto had 11 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks to make sure Ateneo remained undefeated through eight games. The Tiger Cubs actually got off to a strong start and owned an eight-point lead in the early going before the league-leaders settled down. Just trailing by one late in the second quarter, Belangel then orchestrated a 9-0 run that put the Blue Eaglets on top, 35-27, at the half. They would only keep their foot on the gas pedal from there and in all, crushed their opponents, 65-36, in the last three quarters. The offense took some time to get going, but the defense was on-point from the get-go as the kids from Katipunan frustrated Cansino to only 16 points, seven coming when the game was already over, in 6-of-20 shooting along with three turnovers. “Actually, we were expecing a shaky start sa offense kaya second quarter, we locked it down,” Silva said. He then continued, “The boys were proud enough to lock Cansino down.” With another convincing victory, they have now defeated UST twice, Far Eastern University-Diliman once, and Nazareth School of National University once all by double-digits. On the other hand, the Tiger Cubs dropped to third in the standings now at 5-3. With the MVP frontrunner struggling, nobody else stepped up as Vince Dolendo was the only other one in double-digits with 10 points BOX SCORES ATENEO 78 – Ildefonso 20, Belangel 13, Credo 12, Manuel 11, Sotto 11, Jaymalin 3, Chiu 2, Escalona 2, Tandeo 2, Diaz 2, David 0, Lopa 0, Gusi 0, Ong 0 UST 54 – Canaino 16, Dolendo 10, Benzonan 9, Villapando 8, Lina 6, Narvasa 3, Baquial 2, Anunciacion 0, Dea Cruz 0, Palencia 0, Esplana 0, Manabat 0 QUARTER SCORES: 13-18, 35-27, 58-41, 78-54 —- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2018

Kai Sotto, Will Gozum, high school standouts to be ranked in NBTC 24

The SM-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) is already gearing up for the seventh High School All-Star Game this coming March. In doing so, the SM-NBTC will release weekly rankings for high school players taking part in the UAAP, CESAFI-NBTC, MMBL, and FCAAF tournaments as well as the recently concluded NCAA competition.   Every week, a selection committee composed of several reputable sportswriters covering the various high school tourneys including two coaches and one statistician will meet to rank the top 24 players around the country. As such, for the first time ever, players like Ateneo de Manila High School’s SJ Belangel and Kai Sotto, Mapua University’s Will Gozum, La Salle Greenhills’ Joel Cagulangan, and University of Sto. Tomas’ CJ Cansino will be ranked on a weekly leaderboard that may or may not change based on their performance. Criteria for judging includes the following: offense, defense, team record, statisics, impact on team, and level of competition. The eighth and final of these rankings will then be used to determine the 24 players who will take part in the annual SM-NBTC High School All-Star Game on March at the MOA Arena.   For program director Eric Altamirano, this is nothing but a step forward for all of Philippine basketball. “SM-NBTC believes that these rankings will make the race to be part of the top 24 high school players more exciting while also making more of people aware of the abundance of talent that’s at hand in the high school level,” he said. The SM-NBTC 24 will be announced every Monday from January 15 to March 5......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2018

EYES ON YOU, KID: UAAP 80 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And we can’t wait for the second round to get started just so we could get even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: CJ CANSINO – University of Sto. Tomas (yellow jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 27.6 points, 43.5 percent shooting, 14.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.7 steals (yellow jersey number 27) CJ Cansino has single-handedly made University of Sto. Tomas matter again – and that’s not an exaggeration. Through his sheer will, the Tiger Cubs find themselves well inside the playoff picture at the end of the first round. The long-limbed forward is an all-around weapon who can get his shots inside the paint, from the perimeter, and even from the charity stripe where he has already scored a mind-boggling 60 points – that’s out of 76 attempts, giving him a 78.9 percent shooting clip from there. It’s not just scoring where he makes an impact, though, as he also can also make plays for teammates like scoring guard Kobe Palencia as well as disrupt plays for opponents. And oh, the six-foot-two graduating player is also tops in the league in rebounding – yes, he has more rebounds than the next kid on our list. The even better news for UST? Cansino wants to stay for college. KAI SOTTO – Ateneo de Manila High School (blue jersey number 11) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.9 points, 52.5 percent shooting, 12.7 rebounds, 4.9 blocks (blue jersey number 11) All eyes have been on Kai Sotto ever since he was discovered in the Jr. NBA. Now in his second season for currently league-leading Ateneo de Manila University, he has given all of us more than enough reason to never take our eyes off of him and all of his now 7-foot 1-inch stature. A legitimate inside presence the likes of which the high school ranks have never seen before, Sotto is unstoppable in getting points near the basket and collaring rebounds from anywhere inside the paint. And yeah, the kid atop our list has more rebounds than him, but nobody in the Juniors can touch the 15-year-old’s rim protecting ability. 34 blocks through seven games? That’s unheard of! The even better news for Ateneo? He’s just in Grade 9, that’s three more seasons of eligibility after this one. SJ BELANGEL – Ateneo de Manila High School (white jersey number 0) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 50.6 percent shooting, 5.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals (blue jersey number 0) Sotto has been getting all the attention, but just like a year ago, Ateneo has been SJ Belangel’s show to run. The kid who famously scored 99 points back in his hometown of Bacolod is now a complete player. The scoring has always been there for Belangel, but it’s his now pinpoint passing that is the more welcome development for the still undefeated Blue Eaglets. It doesn’t hurt either that the 18-year-old is doing nothing but living up to being a floor leader. L-JAY GONZALES – Far Eastern University-Diliman (yellow jersey number 0) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.6 steals (yellow jersey number 0) No doubt, the shots have yet to fall for L-Jay Gonzales as he is only shooting 32.4 percent from the field. Just like what he showed in his starmaking stint in last season’s Finals, however, it has again become clear that he doesn’t have to score to make an impact. In all of the league, Far Eastern University-Diliman’s main man is first in steals, second in assists, and fifth in rebounds. And there’s one thing we all learned last season, it’s never to count out the Baby Tamaraws and their do-it-all guard. DAVE ILDEFONSO – Ateneo de Manila High School (white jersey number 10) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.9 points, 42.7 percent shooting, 8.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 steals (white jersey number 10) Dave Ildefonso is not top five in the league in anything – he is well inside the top 10 in many things, though. With Sotto, Belangel, and the rest of Ateneo’s stacked lineup, it’s easy to forget that they have a versatile player who can score from all over the floor while also defending the opposing team’s forwards and guards. And among all of high school, the son of Philippine basketball legend Danny Ildefonso has one of the most college-ready bodies – he can bump with the best of them and he can move with the best of them. That is exactly why make no mistake about it, Dave Ildefonso has been a key cog in the Blue Eaglets’ ascent to the top of the leaderboard. RHAYYAN AMSALI – Nazareth School of National University (blue jersey number 13) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 13.0 points, 43.2 percent shooting, 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.1 steals As expected, there has been an adjustment period for Nazareth School of National University and new head coach Goldwyn Monteverde. That hasn’t stopped Rhayyan Amsali from producing as expected, though. Already having proven himself as an all-around offensive weapon, the third-year forward is now displaying the development of his defense to the tune of a third-best steals total. RJ ABARRIENTOS – Far Eastern University-Diliman (green jersey number 17) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals FEU-Diliman is already fortunate to have somebody like L-Jay Gonzales and yet, they actually have two of that kind of player on their roster. RJ Abarrientos can do the very same things his Finals MVP teammate can, but when focused, has proven himself to be an impactful 3-and-D swingman. The nephew of “Flying A” Johnny Abarrientos will never have the ball in his hands all that much, but when he does, good things happen more often than not. JOEM SABANDAL – Adamson High School (blue jersey number 21) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 45.9 percent shooting, 6.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 2.2 steals A new day has dawned upon Adamson High School and serving as the brightest ray of light is Joem Sabandal. The heady guard is best in the league in assists, second in steals, and third in points – doing anything and everything in his power to keep his team afloat. The journey back to the heights they once reached is far and long, but the Baby Falcons are nothing but glad that they already have the person to steer them there. AGEM MIRANDA – University of the East (white jersey number 4) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 17.9 points, 41.1 percent shooting, 8.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.1 steals University of the East remains winless Round 1, but unlike a year ago, there is reason to watch and there is reason to hope. Agem Miranda has made the most out of his opportunities on a talent-lacking squad and has opened eyes on how his all-around game will translate if given more help. The one-and-done guard will have to find that out on some other team, but at the very least, he has energized the Junior Warriors back on track. RAVEN CORTEZ – De La Salle Zobel (green jersey number 6) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.6 points, 64.2 percent shooting, 10.9 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 1.1 assists It looks like Boris Aldeguer, the mentor who molded Joshua Webb and Arnold Van Opstal into promising big men, has finally gotten his hands on his next project. There is no doubt that Raven Cortez is raw, even rawer than Ateneo’s Sotto, but his size and skill give him all the potential in the world, much like Ateneo’s Sotto. The Batang Gilas member may not have an outside shot just yet, but he has already put his 6-foot 7-inch frame to good use as the second-best blocker and fourth-best rebounder in the league......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2018

Belangel does it all against Bullpups as Blue Eaglets remain unscathed

Ateneo de Manila High School remains the lone unbeaten team in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament. And following a 64-49 dismantling of Nazareth School of National University on Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, the Blue Eaglets now have convincing victories versus all other contenders. SJ Belangel spearheaded the Katipunan blitz to begin the game which had them racing to a 19-5 edge after the first quarter. It was also the graduating guard’s back-to-back assists to Angelo David and then to Jason Credo that capped off a 7-0 burst that built up the biggest lead of the game for Ateneo, 36-13, late in the second quarter. By halftime, the Blue Eaglets were still ahead thanks to Belangel’s 13 points, six assists, three steals, and two rebounds as well as the rim protection of Kai Sotto who had six blocks and five boards. With the 7-foot-1 Sotto patrolling the paint, Rhayyan Amsali, Terrence Fortea, and Paul Manalang could not get going and combined for 0-of-13 shooting. Still, the Bullpups didn’t quit and neared to 48-58 inside the last four minutes only to see two dishes from the Ateneo captain again lead to two baskets. That kept Belangel – who wound up with 14 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, and four steals – and company ahead for good and also kept their perfect record intact after six games. “We’re talking it one game at a time. We want to stay focused,” head coach Joe Silva said Dave Ildefonso also added a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double while Sotto chipped in 12 rebounds and eight blocks on top of six points. Without a doubt, though, it was defense that won the game for the Blue Eaglets as they stymied their opponents into missing 59 of their 78 attempts. “Again, it’s all about defense. Dun talaga kami naka-focus this year,” Silva sais. This latest win adds erstwhile undefeated NU to Ateneo’s list of fallen contenders that already included Far Eastern University-Diliman and University of Sto. Tomas. No Bullpup was in double-digits as they suffered their first setback. In the first game, UST got for itself a mighty rebound, throttling De La Salle Zobel, 83-72. CJ Cansino kept his double-double-streak in the season going with 23 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists in this one. Kobe Palencia also had 16 markers, five boards, and five dimes to help the Tiger Cubs improve to 4-2. The Junior Archers had their two-game win run get snapped as they drop to 2-4. RC Calimag showed the way for them with 14 points. Defending champion FEU-Diliman also got a bounce back win by pounding on University of the Philippines Integrated School, 90-63. L-Jay Gonzales had 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals in just 20 minutes to show the Baby Tamaraws the way to 3-3. RJ Abarrientos contributed 12 markers, nine dimes, and six boards of his own. Matt Santiago’s career-high 23 points, on the other hand, were all for naught as the Junior Maroons dropped to 1-5. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME UST 83 – Cansino 23, Palencia 16, Baquial 11, Benzonan 9, Dolendo 8, Lina 5, Anunciacion 5, Manabat 4, Dela Cruz 2, Co 0, Biag 0 DLSZ 72 – Calimag 14, Santos 13, Pascual 11, Cortez 10, Bonalos 7, Vesagas 6, Damiles 5, Terrado 3, Cosejo 3, Buncayo 0, Carlos 0, Escandor 0, Barcuma 0, Udal 0 QUARTER SCORES: 23-10, 44-23, 65-51, 83-72 SECOND GAME ATENEO 64 – Belangel 14, Ildefonso 12, Manuel 10, Credo 9, Sotto 6, Angeles 6, David 4, Diaz 2, Chiu 1, Jaymalin 0, Santos 0, Gusi 0, Lopa 0 NU 49 – Fortea 9, Oczon 8, Minerva 7, Pradella 8, Amsali 6, Javillonar 4, Gonzales 3, Malonzo 2, Felicida 2, Pangilinan 1, Manalang 0, Coyoca 0 QUARTER SCORES: 19-5, 36-17, 50-34, 64-49 THIRD GAME FEU-DILIMAN 90 – Gonzales 15, Abarrientos 12, Alforque 10, Armendez 10, Ona 10, Tolentino 7, Celso 6, Bautista 6, Sajonia 6, Boc 4, Escoto 2, Escarda 2, Torres 0, Barasi 0, Mariano 0, Libago 0 UPIS 63 – Santiago 23, Vergiere 11, Labao Ral 8, Tupaz 7, Labao Raf 5, Estrera 3, Gregorio 3, Dimaculangan 3, Villa-real 0, Condalor 0, Gomez de Liano 0 QUARTER SCORES: 22-9, 50-21, 70-37, 90-63 —- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 9th, 2017

Ateneo coach Silva on 3 Eaglets in NBTC 24: ‘They deserve to be there’

Ateneo de Manila High School is undefeated in the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament. And with a lineup as talented and as deep as they have, the Blue Eaglets are expected to go all the way to the Finals – and even get the championship. Led by three players in the top five in terms of Statistical Points (SPs) in the UAAP in second-running Kai Sotto, third-running SJ Belangel, and fourth-running Dave Ildefonso, indeed, no team is as talented and as deep as the kids from Katipunan. For head coach Joe Silva, those three are only worthy of being mentioned as top talent not only in the UAAP, but also the entire Philippines. “The three of them really are blue-chip talents sa high school,” he said. The first-ever NBTC Chooks-to-Go 24 high school player rankings seems to agree with him as in the initial list revealed last Monday, Sotto was deemed the top talent among all players taking part in the NCAA, UAAP, CESAFI (Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc.), MMBL (Metro Manila Basketball League), and FCAAF (Filipino-Chinese Amateur Athletic Federation). The NBTC Chooks-to-Go 24 is a weekly ranking of high school players which will ultimately be used to select the participants in the annual SM-NBTC High School All-Star Game at the MOA Arena. There, Belangel was ranked fifth while Ildefonso was eighth. That means that Ateneo has three players in the top eight in all of the Philippines. In Silva’s eyes, there is no doubt that his three prized prospects are nothing but deserving of their ranks. “They deserve to be there,” he said. That statement is even truer for Sotto, the towering teen who has long had scouts drooling about his potential. “If you put him in another team, he’d dominate, double-double yan easily. We’re not about individual stuff, but it’s not a surprise that Kai’s number one,” he said. The 7-foot-1, 15-year-old has per game counts of 12.6 points in 53.7 percent shooting, 12.6 rebounds, and 4.9 blocks in just 23.2 minutes of play. Silva was quick to remind Sotto, Belangel, and Ildefonso, however, “Good for them, pero they shouldn’t settle. They should work harder, stay humble, and focus on their studies.” The Blue Eaglets mentor, though, would also like to see two more names of his players on the NBTC Chooks-to-Go 24. “For me, Jason Credo and Joaqui Manuel should be there. Maybe they’re being overshadowed kasi medyo malakas yung team namin kaya they don’t get their numbers,” he said. He then continued, “Pero versatility-wise, value to the team, I believe they should be there.” Manuel has been their breakout player with averages of 11.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 1.6 assists while Credo has been their glue guy with norms of 10.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.6 steals. Manuel and Credo’s next chance to get on the list will be next Monday when the new rankings will be released. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News12 hr. 6 min. ago

Jrs. MVP leader Cansino already in touch with new UST coach Ayo

Aldin Ayo’s first-ever recruit in for De La Salle University was its high school star. Now with University of Sto Tomas, Ayo is looking to do the same. The new head coach of the Growling Tigers was present at the Filoil Flying V Centre on Saturday for the Tiger Cubs’ matchup with league-leader Ateneo de Manila High School. Of course, Ayo was there to scout the Juniors program of his new school – which just so happens to have the frontrunner in the MVP race in CJ Cansino. While the two-time collegiate champion coach declined interviews from media, he was seen chatting with Cansino’s mother after the game. Asked about it, the King Tiger Cub himself answered, “Opo, nagkausap na sila kanina.” He then continued, “Sabi raw po ni coach na gusto nila akong kunin sa UST. Sobrang saya po naming ganun na nga po ang nangyayari.” In earlier interviews, Cansino has already stated that he wants to stay in Espana for college. “Sana nga po, tumuloy rin ako sa Seniors para bigyan din ako ng pagkakataon na iangat yung Growling Tigers. Gusto ko ring i-prove sa Seniors na may magagawa ako for UST,” he said then. Now, it looks like his wish may just be granted as a source said UST is on the lookout for talent at the wings. Last year, the Growling Tigers trotted out the likes of Jordan Sta. Ana, Reggie Boy Basibas, and Christian Garcia at the wings. Said to be coming back to bolster that weakness is Embons Bonleon. Still, getting the six-foot-two swingman will be a coup for the rebuilding squad as they will be getting a blue-chip recruit who fills a need. Also, Ayo has some sort of success with his first-ever recruit being his program’s high school star. Two years ago, he got the commitment of DLS Zobel star and Juniors MVP Aljun Melecio. That partnership proved to be a big part of the Green Archers’ championship. —- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2018

NBTC to release weekly rankings of 24 best high school players in PH

Spicing up the seventh edition of the High School All-Star Game, the SM-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) is introducing a new innovation to determine who are the best high school players in the country. The official grassroots arm of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) will release weekly power rankings naming the top 24 high school players from the UAAP, NCAA, CESAFI, MMBL, and FCAAF tournaments in the buildup for the much-anticipated All-Star exposition this March. Every week, a selection committee made up of reputable sportswriters, coaches, and a statisticians will convene to make the list. Ateneo's Kai Sotto and SJ Belangel, UST's CJ Cansino, and NCAA MV...Keep on reading: NBTC to release weekly rankings of 24 best high school players in PH.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 8th, 2018

Matter of when Man City wins title and how many records fall

By Steve Douglas and Rob Harris, Associated Press English soccer has never seen a team so utterly dominant as Manchester City entering the packed Christmas program. There seems little doubt Pep Guardiola will be raising the Premier League trophy for the first time in May. It is just a question of when City will wrap up its third title since 2014, and how many records will tumble on the way. City has already reeled off the most consecutive English top-flight wins — a record extended at the weekend to 17 games. Manchester United's record Premier League title-winning margin of 18 points from 2000 could also be under threat. And England could be looking at its third unbeaten "Invincibles" team after Preston in 1888-89 and Arsenal in 2003-04. So it doesn't bode well for a compelling second half of the Premier League season? Think again. The chase for the other three Champions League spots should be fierce with eight points separating second-place Manchester United and Arsenal in sixth. Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham are in the mix among them. Two leading sides will fall by the wayside and be denied a place among the European elite. The battle to stay in the world's richest soccer league is also intense. No team is stranded at the bottom, with Swansea in 20th place only six points behind Southampton in 13th. A closer look at the first half of the season: ___ TITLE RACE City leads by 13 points at the halfway stage after winning 18 of its 19 games and drawing one in the best ever start to a Premier League season. The only dropped points came at home to Everton in the second game on Aug. 21, when City played more than a half with 10 men following Kyle Walker's sending-off. Guardiola won the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich in late March in 2014 — aided by a winning streak of 19 games never before seen in a major European league. It will be tough for Guardiola to win the title that early in England as he chases a quadruple after finishing his first season at the club without a trophy. City is already through to the League Cup semifinals, into the Champions League last 16 and begins its FA Cup campaign in two weeks. Man United is in second place, with defending champion Chelsea three points further back in third. United manager Jose Mourinho says the title race is still on, but the rest of his peers among the chasing pack don't see City faltering now. It will be intriguing how Mourinho reacts to be seeing his title ambitions further fade in his second season at United, having already opted to publicly call out his "childish" players after a draw at Leicester on Saturday. ___ PICK OF THE PLAYERS Kevin De Bruyne is playing in a deeper role for City this season, virtually as a center midfielder, and it is bringing the best of out the Belgium midfielder. He has provided many of this season's wow moments, from scoring the winning goal at former club Chelsea in September with a fierce left-footed strike from outside the area to the assists for goals by Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling in the 7-2 win over Stoke in October Dovetailing perfectly with fellow playmaker David Silva, De Bruyne has six goals and eight assists but it's more than just his statistics. His prodigious work rate, range of passing and crossing ability — arguably the best in the Premier League since the days of David Beckham — that make him a strong contender for the player of the season awards. No wonder City is determined to nail down the 26-year-old De Bruyne to an improved, longer contract. ___ EMERGING TALENT Amid an offseason of record spending in English soccer, little was made of Watford signing Richarlison from Brazilian team Fluminense for 13 million pounds ($17 million). Yet the 20-year-old forward is proving a bargain, settling in quickly to the pace and intensity of the Premier League and being one of the key factors in Watford's impressive start to the season that, at one stage, saw them challenging around the top four. Direct, skilful and quick, Richarlison already has five goals and keeps getting himself in great positions to score more, with his finishing sometimes letting him down. Opponents have cottoned on to his impact, with Richarlison telling ESPN Brazil this month: "Teams are already marking me individually, they are putting two players there on my side." Chelsea and Tottenham have been linked with the Brazil under-20s player, who has yet to earn a call-up to the senior squad. That appears only a matter of time. Other players to break through this season are Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, the Danish center back who has ousted David Luiz, and Liverpool's Joe Gomez, the right back who has ensured long-term injury absentee Nathaniel Clyne hasn't been missed. ___ SURPRISE TEAM An unfashionable club is mixing it with the heavyweights of the Premier League against all the odds. We've heard this before, right? Two years ago, it was Leicester delivering a soccer fairy tale by somehow winning the league. Now it's Burnley's turn to provide the feel-good story of the season. Widely regarded as a relegation candidate at the start of the season, Burnley is currently seventh. Don't rule Burnley out of staying in the tussle for the Champions League qualification places, with Liverpool only three points better off in fourth. The northwest team hasn't finished a season higher than sixth place in the top flight since 1974. Burnley, which has conceded just 15 goals in 19 games, has already beaten Chelsea away and drawn at Tottenham and Liverpool. Not bad for a team that returned a profit of about $20 million in summer player sales when most of the rest of the Premier League was spending freely. ___ POINTS TO PROVE Alexis Sanchez is a superstar performing well below expectations this season, perhaps as a result of failing to secure a move to Man City from Arsenal during the summer. That transfer could be revived in January — Guardiola cut an awkward figure recently when asked about making a new bid for the Chile forward — to potentially leave City with an even greater wealth of attacking riches. Sanchez has five league goals. By this stage last season, he had already scored 12 on his way to career-high haul of 24 for a single league campaign. In the dugout, these are testing times for two British managers: Alan Pardew and Mark Hughes. Pardew succeeded Tony Pulis a month ago with a mission to keep West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League. Then the Baggies were two points above the bottom three. Now they are next-from-bottom after collecting only two points from Pardew's first five games. Hughes' future appears on a knife-edge at Stoke despite a pressure-relieving victory over West Brom on Saturday that hauled the team three points from the danger zone......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2017

The Headlines So Far in the 2017-18 NBA Season

The new NBA season is still in its early stages, but it feels like we’re already in the thick of things with so much happening already. Luck of the Irish The Celtics, despite losing Gordon Hayward to a season-ending injury, currently have the best record in the league and own the longest winning streak so far this year with 16 games won consecutively. Kyrie Irving and Al Horford have been leading the charge, with young guns Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum upping their game. It certainly won’t be surprising to see them secure the top seed in the East this season if their remarkable play continues. Steve Kerr even declared the Celtics as the East’s “team of the future.” International Beasts of the East Giannis Antetokounmpo is already staking his claim as the league’s MVP, averaging nearly 30 points a game at a very efficient 55% clip as of this writing. With Eric Bledsoe assisting with ball-handling duties, the young Buck’s play is only bound to get better. Remember, Antetokounmpo still hasn’t even developed an outside shot yet. Imagine what the Greek Freak can do when he finally does. Kristaps Porzingis has also been unleashed in New York after the departure of Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson. The Latvian big man has been on a roll, taking advantage of an increased usage rate to average 27.3 points per game. The Knicks are exceeding expectations—The Playoffs doesn’t seem to be a far-fetched reality for them if Porzingis and the rest of the team can keep this up. After playing only 31 games last season, Joel Embiid has been making up for lost time. Along with Ben Simmons, the Cameroonian standout has been leading the Philadelphia to its best start in years, averaging 22.7 points and 11 boards. Additionally, Embiid has been posting roughly 2 blocks per game, and he says that he’s going to go for the Defensive Player of the Year Award this season. It looks like the Sixers fans’ are finally being rewarded for trusting the process. The Rookies Have Been Doing Work In his first season on the floor, Ben Simmons has been averaging 18. 7 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per outing. And in almost every game, he’s been flirting with a triple-double. At this rate, it looks like he’s going to be the frontrunner in the Rookie of the Year race. Another solid performer is Jayson Tatum, who is one of the primary contributors in the Celtics’ stellar start. He’s been averaging an efficient 14.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assist per game in around 30 minutes of play. From deep, Tatum has been drilling 48% of his threes. With his smart play, sometimes, it feels like we’re not watching a rookie. Kyle Kuzma, perhaps the biggest steal in this year’s draft class, is currently outperforming most rookies picked ahead of him, including fellow Laker and #3 draftee Lonzo Ball. Kuzma has been averaging 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 15 assists, and he’s shooting nearly 50% from the field and 36% from deep. While he still has a bit of work to do on the defensive end, he’s shaping up to be a cornerstone in LA’s post-Kobe era. Warriors still Super Team to Beat During the offseason, several teams secured major acquisitions to reinforce their lineups. The Cavs were able to reload with future Hall of Fame guards and versatile wings on board. OKC acquired two All-Stars in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, but are still in the process of figuring things out. Minnesota was able to add Jimmy Butler to its young core. But despite the trades and signings, the Golden State Warriors remain the most “super” of the squads with the “super team” tag. After starting the season 1-2, the Warriors have regained their dominating form and are now back with their winning ways—and it seems that they won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Kevin Durant has been on a tear, but it’s Steph Curry that currently leads the team in points per game (25.5), steals per game (1.8), and in Player Efficiency Rating (27.6). He remains the fulcrum of Golden State’s offense, the man that won’t let the Dubs down. Steph Curry continues to perform at a high level because he depends on the World’s No. 1 Deodorant to stay cool and confident. The two-time MVP only trusts Rexona Ice Cool to help him fee dry and fresh all day, so he can be his best on the court, and even off it. It’ll be interesting to see if these stories and trends continue as we go along the new season. Stay tuned, hoops fans!  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2017

UAAP: Blue Eaglets sweep first round

Ateneo capped off its first round schedule in the UAAP Season 80 juniors basketball tournament with a resounding 87-63 win over De La Salle-Zobel Saturday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Blue Eaglets now have an immaculate 7-0 card with SJ Belangel putting up 23 points to lead the team. Joaqui Manuel added 16 points and 13 rebounds for Ateneo while Kai Sotto finished with his own double-double of 11 points and 16 rebounds that went with four blocks. Meanwhile, National University ended its first round schedule by blasting University of the Philippines 103-79 with RJ Minerva leading the 6-1 Bullpups with 18 points and eight boards. University of Santo Santo Tomas ea...Keep on reading: UAAP: Blue Eaglets sweep first round.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 16th, 2017

MVP Mbala joined by teammate Rivero, rival Ravena in Mythical 5

For the second straight season, De La Salle University’s Ben Mbala is first and Ateneo de Manila University’s Thirdy Ravena is second in terms of Statistical Points (SPs). That means that Mbala will be hoisting his second straight MVP award before Game 2 of the Finals of the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum. The Green Archers’ main man proved he is still, far and away, the top individual player in the league with per game counts of 26 points in 52 percent shooting, 13.1 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 steals. He has also powered the Taft-based team to a 12-2 finish in the elimination round and back onto the Finals. In all, those combined for 96.58 SPs – 30 better than his closest competitor. That closest competitor is Ravena whose 63.86 SPs places him as the runner-up again to the Cameroonian powerhouse. The Blue Eagles’ first among equals averaged 14.6 points in 44.6 percent shooting, 8.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists. He was a big part of their 13-1 record in the eliminations as well as their return to the championship round. Joining them in the Mythical Team is another DLSU player is Ricci Rivero. The second-year stud had norms of 13.8 points in 48 percent shooting, 5.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.6 steals for 56.29 SPs. That put him eighth in the MVP race. However, league rules only allow one foreign student-athlete in the Mythical Team. As such, Adamson University’s Papi Sarr (fifth with 63.15 SPs), National University’s Issa Gaye (57.57 SPs), and University of Sto. Tomas’ Steve Akomo (56.77 SPs) were all ineligible due to Mbala’s inclusion. Rounding out the Mythical selections are NU’s J-Jay Alejandro and University of the East’s Alvin Pasaol. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 27th, 2017

Alejandro, Pasaol get good ending to stellar seasons with Mythical selections

Their teams may have fallen short of the playoffs, but J-Jay Alejandro and Alvin Pasaol still, without a doubt, put on a show all throughout their stay in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament. That is exactly why, even though National University’s main man and University of the East’s top gun did not have much win bonuses, they still find themselves in the Mythical Team. Statistical Points for the MVP race take into account points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, as well as a 15-point bonus for each and every win. Alejandro was third in the MVP race with per game counts of 17.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.3 steals. Having stuffed the stat sheet worked wonders for his Statistical Point count of 63.86 as he didn’t get much boost from the Bulldogs’ 5-9 record. The same goes for MVP race fourth-placer Pasaol who averaged 20.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.6 assists. Those monster numbers in scoring – including a milestone mark 49 points in a single game – helped him overcome the Red Warriors’ 3-11 standing. The two join MVP Ben Mbala of De La Salle University, fellow Green Archer Ricci Rivero, and Ateneo de Manila University’s Thirdy Ravena in the Mythical Team. All of them will be awarded before Game 2 of the Finals on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 27th, 2017

Nothing stopping DLSU’s Mbala from being back-to-back MVP

He has played in two less games, but Ben Mbala is still, far and away, the top individual player in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament. De La Salle University’s monster numbers prove that as his per game counts of 26 points in 52 percent shooting, 13.1 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 steals has led to 96.58 Statistical Points (SPs) in the race for MVP. Also helping his cause is how he has powered the Green Archers to a 12-2 finish in the elimination round. Those are, without a doubt, more than enough to win for him his second straight MVP. Mbala has 30 SPs more than his closest competitor. This, even though the Cameroonian powerhouse missed the first two games of the season as he fulfilled his duties for his national team. Poised to flank Mbala in the Mythical Team are Ateneo de Manila University’s Thirdy Ravena who placed second in the MVP race with 66.50 SPs and National University’s J-Jay Alejandro who ranked third with 63.86 SPs. Rounding out the top five individual players are University of the East’s Alvin Pasaol (63.43 SPs) and Adamson's Papi Sarr (63.15 SPs). --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 13th, 2017

Wright is still PBA's top rookie stats-wise

Turns out the mystery guy from the Gilas cadets might turn out to be the best. Fil-Canadian sniper Matthew Wright leads the PBA Rookie of the Year race for 2017 and its not even close. Phoenix's prized recruit averaged 26.07 statistical points for the season, up almost four points from RR Pogoy's 22.29 SPs. Wright was a beast particularly in the Philippine Cup, averaging 30.92 SPs. He was also right up there in the Commissioner's Cup and Governors' Cup despite only playing a combined 14 games. After Wright and Pogoy, Star Hotshot Jio Jalalon is only in the mix for Rookie of the Year, averaging 21.50 SPs for the season while Ginebra's Kevin Ferrer is a far fourth at 15.64 SPs. Kia's Reden Celda complete the top 5 with 13.99 statistical points.   br /> --- br /> 8 br /> Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 13th, 2017

June Mar still leads BPC race, Durham on track for Best Import

Despite making an early exit in the 2017 Governors' Cup, ruining their chances at a Grand Slam in the process, June Mar Fajardo maintains a healthy lead in the race for the Best Player of the Conference award. In the latest rankings at the end of the semifinal round, the Kraken has compiled an average of 38.455 statistical points, way ahead of no. 2 Jayson Castro who has an average of 33.563 SPs. However, it appears that Fajardo, who is tied with Danny Ildefonso for most BPC awards ever at five, is hardpressed to win the award for the season-ending conference for the sole reason that the Beermen failed to advance past the quarterfinal round. As such, it appears that the BPC award for the 2017 Governors' Cup is a three-man race featuring Castro, Greg Slaughter (3rd with 32.625 SPs), and Chris Newsome (4th with 30.875 SPs). Both Slaughter and Newsome are in the Finals as defending champion Ginebra defends its title against Meralco in a rematch from 2016. Arwind Santos complete the top 5 with 30.583 SPs. In the Best Import race, Allen Durham looks like a lock to win it all for the second straight year after compiling 58.875 SPs. Phoenix's Brandon Brown is second with an average of 54.500 statistical points. Ginebra's Justin Brownlee is at 6th with 48.875 SPs.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 10th, 2017

Mercedes' Hamilton secures pole position for Japanese GP

em>By Jim Armstrong, Associated Press /em> SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — Championship leader Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix, leading a 1-2 finish for Mercedes drivers on Saturday. Hamilton posted a lap record time of 1 minute, 27.319 seconds to finish 0.332 ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton's title rival, Sebastian Vettel, was third but the Ferrari driver will move up to second after Bottas's penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change. Bottas drops to seventh. Hamilton struggled for pace in the previous race in Malaysia but that wasn't the case in Saturday's qualifying. 'It's been a really great day, every lap was fantastic, I never really got a great balance in the past so never did a great qualifying here,' Hamilton said. Before Saturday's qualifying, Hamilton had secured pole at every current F1 circuit except Suzuka. 'It's incredible for me, 10 years or whatever it is and my first pole at Suzuka,' Hamilton said. With five races remaining, Hamilton leads Vettel by 34 points in the drivers' championship. Hamilton has won twice before here at Suzuka, in 2014 and 2015, and was runner-up to former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in last year's race. A win in Suzuka would move Hamilton a step closer to a third F1 title in four years with Mercedes and his fourth overall. Vettel was happy to be on the front row after starting the Malaysia GP from the back of the grid and working his way up to a fourth-place finish. 'The car is quick and, as last weekend shows, if you start out of position you can still get back,' Vettel said. Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest — and now starts third — just 0.026 clear of teammate Max Verstappen, who won last week's Malaysia GP. Kimi Raikkonen was sixth but, like Bottas, will also drop five places on the grid after requiring a new gearbox. Esteban Ocon edged Force India teammate Sergio Perez to finish seventh, while Williams driver Felipe Massa and McLaren-Honda's Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 7th, 2017

Hamilton aiming to build championship lead at Japanese GP

SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton can widen his lead when Formula One wraps up its Asian leg at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday. With five races remaining, Hamilton leads Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by 34 points after finishing second at the Malaysian GP. Vettel, despite starting last on the grid, finished fourth in Sepang. Hamilton has won twice before in Suzuka, in 2014 and 2015, and was runner-up to former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in last year's race. A win in Suzuka would move Hamilton a step closer to a third F1 title in four years with Mercedes and his fourth overall. Mercedes was slower than Ferrari and Red Bull for the second straight race in Malaysia after similarly struggling for pace in Singapore. 'We're still leading the championship, we've still got a great car,' Hamilton said Thursday. 'Each race is just really trying to understand more about the car because there's constantly something new thrown in the mix, (that) can catch us off guard.' Mercedes was debating whether to run the team's latest aerodynamic package for the Japanese GP. 'After Malaysia, we have found ourselves analyzing our problems, beginning to understand their causes and working on solutions,' Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff said. 'While we work to improve in those areas, we must not forget the many strengths we have shown this season,' Wolff added. 'Our car has taken more pole positions and race wins than any other and we lead both championships.' Vettel, who had a new engine for the race in Malaysia, is a four-time winner in Japan. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who overtook Hamilton with ease early on to win the race in Malaysia, is sixth in the standings and will be looking to build on his momentum in Japan. 'Suzuka will always be a special place for me because I made my Formula One debut there,' Verstappen said. 'It's a proper old-school track.' br />   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 6th, 2017

Ateneo faces UST, FEU challenges NU in semis series opener

The race to the championship round heats up for the four remaining teams looking to rule the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference men’s division. Game 1 of the best-of-three Final Four begins Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan with unbeaten top seed Ateneo de Manila University taking on no. 4 ranked University of Sto. Tomas at 8:00 a.m. No. 2 seed Far Eastern University clash with National University at 10:00 a.m. The Blue Eagles are bringing the momentum of its seven-game elimination sweep in a rematch with the Tigers, who they easily beat in their first meeting, 25-21, 25-17, 25-18, last September 9. Ateneo finished the elims with an emphatic 25-19, 25-19, 25-15 win over arch nemesis NU Bulldogs last Saturday. Leading Most Valuable Player contender Marck Espejo, Gian Glorioso, Ishmael Rivera, Karl Baysa and setter Ish Polvorosa are again expected to carry the fight of Ateneo, which is looking to add the PVL conference title to their collection after dominating the last two editions of the defunct V-League’s Collegiate Conference.  UST closed its elims run with a 4-3 win-loss record tied with the Bulldogs but NU took the no. 3 seed via superior match points earned. The Tigers, who will bank on the trio of Joshua Umandal, Arnold Bautista and Manuel Medina, are coming off back-to-back wins. Meanwhile, the Tamaraws hope to recover from their end of elims setback at the hands of San Beda College, 27-29, 25-15, 20-25, 25-22, 7-15 last Monday that snapped their five-game winning streak. FEU pins its hopes on John Paul Bugaoan, Redijohn Paler and Richard Solis to make a repeat win against NU, which the Tams defeated in five sets in their first meeting. Game 2 of the series is on Saturday and if necessary, Game 3 is on Monday.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2017

Lady Tams grab last semis ticket

Far Eastern University was in all sorts of trouble early in the match before rediscovering its form to book the last Group A semifinals ticket against upset-conscious Lyceum of the Philippines University, 18-25, 28-26, 25-15, 25-17, Monday in the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The undermanned Lady Tamaraws started out flat but recovered just in time to end the elimination round with a 4-1 win-loss record. FEU, which played without its UAAP beach volleyball bets Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza, joined unbeaten National University in the best-of-three Final Four against the top seed of Group B. Adamson University, still playing as of posting time against San Beda College, sports a 4-0 slate while semis-bound Arellano University holds a 4-1 card. FEU’s victory formally eliminated Ateneo de Manila University (3-2) in the semis race. The Final Four will begin on Wednesday.     ''Yun talaga ang problema namin ang tempo, mabagal sa first set,' said Lady Tams coach George Pascua. 'Expect ko magdidikit talaga kasi no pressure sa kanila pero sa amin turning point namin ito para sa semis.' Toni Rose Basas finished with 21 points including 17 off attacks while Jerrili Malabanan got nine markers in three sets of action for FEU.  The Lady Tams had an awful start, trailing by as much as 5-16 in the opening set as FEU to surrendered the frame. FEU saw its 15-5 lead in the second set evaporate and even squandered a 24-21 advantage in the frame as the Lady Pirates forced a 24-24 deuce after back-to-back aces by Christine Miralles. The Lady Tams held the set point twice more but LPU answered each time before FEU closed the frame with back-to-back hits capped by a crosscourt kill by Toni Basas. With their rhythm back, FEU coasted in the next two sets to seal the win and take the last ride to the semis. The Lady Pirates ended their campaign with a 1-4 slate. Miralles capped her stint with 12 points while Rocelyn Hongria got 11 for the Intramuros-based squad.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 2nd, 2017