Sports

UCBL: CEU vs CdSL in finals

Image: Olivarez vs Cdsl (UCBL Facebook)

Colegio de San Lorenzo routed Olivarez College in their knockout duel yesterday, 78-61, to clinch the other finals berth in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) Season 2 at the Sea Lions gym in Sucat, Parañaque City.

Pro league hopeful Jon Gabriel made a triumphant return as he helped ease the load off the shoulders of Benin big man Soulemane Chabi Yo, veterans Charles Callano and Gelo Sablan as the No. 2 Griffins jumped the gun on the No.3 Sea Lions early on and never let up.

The solid victory, far from its showing in a 74-69 loss in the series opener last Monday, also primed up CdSL in what promises to be an explosive best-of-three titular showdown with reigning titlist Centro Escolar University starting tomorrow at the same venue.

The 6-foot-6 Chabi Yo was back at his dominant form with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Callano continued his stellar play with 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. It was, however, the surprising return of Gabriel that caught Olivarez College by big surprise and served as the key in CdSL’s all-important victory.

UAAP: Archers on my mind – Tab

Right after taking the Far Eastern Tamaraws by the horn, Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin wasted no time shifting his sights on a familiar rival – Green Archers waiting in ambush.

“La Salle. What else would I be thinking about? We have to move on,” said the American-Kiwi coach, hardly giving his team any time to celebrate after their hard-earned 88-84 victory over FEU in Wednesday’s UAAP do-or-die semis for the right to face the defending champions in the finals.

Tab Baldwin
Tab Baldwin

“I think the coaching staff has to set the tone and we gotta come down from the cloud pretty quick. Get our focus on the next game because we didn’t play this season just to win in the semis. We played this season to go as far as this team is capable of going,” he stressed.

The finals is a best-of-3 affair with Game 1 at 4 p.m. tomorrow at the Mall of Asia Arena.

This will be the sixth time in nearly three decades that the “Blue versus Green” rivalry will hog the finals’ limelight, with Ateneo winning it in 1988, 2002 and 2008 and La Salle prevailing in 2001 and 2016.

After surviving a balanced Tamaraws crew, the Blue Eagles hope for a quick recovery before they face the rejuvenated Green Archers.

“They’re a good team. There’s a reason why they’re in the finals, why they’re waiting in the finals, they’re the defending champs,” said longtime Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga of La Salle, which made quick work of Adamson, 82-75, in their own semis pairing over the weekend.

“We have no illusion that it’s gonna be an easy game for us. We have to dig deep and really play in spite of this game that we’re tired and it went into overtime. Fatigue’s not a factor right now. We’re gonna find a way to overcome that. We can’t enjoy this game too much because we have to focus on the next game.”

The Blue Eagles suffered a drop-off in confidence and sharpness after they lost two of their last three matches in the last two weeks, including a 79-76 heartbreaker to the Archers.

Forward Mike Nieto, however, is confident they can regain their bearings in time as they try to avenge a two-game sweep dealt by La Salle in last year’s finals.

“When it comes to facing La Salle in the finals, lumalabas na rin yung character ng team namin,” he said, adding the Blue Eagles’s tough grind against the Tamaraws helped them prepare for the ultimate battle.

“Losing two straight games and then having a do-or-die, siguro nag-mature na rin kami. You know the most important game like what coach Tab states all the time and coach Sandy is the next game. Importante ‘yung Game 1 because it’s the next game.”

Ateneo’s top wingman Thirdy Ravena, who’s expected to bear the brunt of La Salle’s unrelenting “Mayhem” pressure, waxed just as optimistic.

“Hopefully natutunan na namin yung mga mali namin from last year. We have to be more composed this year because La Salle is not gonna play us any softer than FEU,” said the younger brother of former two-time UAAP league MVP Kiefer.

ONE: Aoki ‘really good’ opponent for Askren’s swan song

That’s why Askren did not hesitate to take on the the former ONE Lightweight World Champion for his swan song on Friday in the ONE: Immortal Pursuit at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

“Shinya is a really good final opponent. Obviously, he is a legend of the sport, and he is a really big challenge on the ground, which is where I like to compete, personally. I am excited for this bout,” said Askren of the ONE Weltwerweight clash.
The former Beijing Olympian is looking to walk away from the sport with a spotless record, but that’s going to be easier said than done against of the best mixed martial artists in Asia.
But that challenge of going out with a victory against a legend like Aoki, who touts an impressive resume of submission victories earning him the monicker of “Tobikan Judan,” is what drew the American fighter to the World Championship bout.
“He is a grappler and has a great skill set that I respect, so I think it will be a great battle,” Askren said of Aoki, who is his teammate at EVOLVE MMA.

Expect the 33-year-old Askren, an outstanding wrestler in his college days, to take the fight to the ground, where he has earned a living through his undefeated eight-year career as pro.
“I said from day one that I am the best in the world at what I do, and this is what I am going to do every single time. I have been saying that since I started in 2009, and I believe it more strongly than ever because I have proved it 17 times now, and I am pumped to prove it again,” he stated.
“He’s going to stick around until I put him out.”

Back to academics for triumphant Lions

Red Lions coach Boyet Fernandez gets a victory lift after the Lions completed a sweep of the Lyceum Pirates to keep the NCAA cage crown Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Joey Mendoza
MANILA, Philippines — The morning after San Beda pulled off a sweep in reverse over Lyceum to keep the NCAA men’s basketball crown, coach Boyet Fernandez exhorted his players to shift their focus to the other “championship” – academics.

With the exam week set in the first week of December in Mendiola, Fernandez stressed the need for his wards to double their effort and try to catch up in their respective classes.

“My next order of battle is checking on the players on how they are doing on their studies because we’ve been focusing on basketball the last three weeks,” said Fernandez a day after steering the Lions to their ninth crown in the last 11 seasons and a league-best 21st overall with a 2-0 sweep of their best-of-three series with the Pirates.

A registered nurse, Fernandez said academics, like basketball, would be the other “championship” his players should be striving for.

“We all know that you can’t play basketball forever and I want my players to have a life in case they stop playing,” said Fernandez.

In fact, the Lions, according to Fernandez, might skip the PBA D-League in January to give his players more time to focus on their studies, also a requirement for a player to be included in the team pool.

Sportshub ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

“It’s a possibility because in the NCAA, you have to pass the second semester to get to play next season and if they couldn’t pass it, they couldn’t play,” said Fernandez. “But it will depend on boss MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) if he wants us to play.”

In case they get to participate in the D-League, Fernandez wants to field in a school-based team so he could synchronize it with the Lions’ training and academic schedules.

He also expressed his concerns over fellow NCAA schools like LPU, Jose Rizal, St. Benilde and Perpetual Help that are going to field in teams in the D-League.

“I just don’t want to be left behind. Also, Bolick and (Javee) Mocon improved a lot by playing in the D-League,” he said.

San Beda is also scheduled to see action in the Champions’ League, a tournament among the country’s collegiate champions, which will be revived next year.

“It will be a good tournament for us,” he said.

But after besting the elims in the just- concluded NCAA Finals, Fernandez said it would be better for his wards to concentrate first on their upcoming exam before going back to the drawing board.

NU lords over UAAP taekwondo, wins first men’s title, defends women’s crown

DOUBLE CHAMPIONSHIP. The National University taekwondo team takes the top spot of the podium in both the men's and women's divisions. Photo by Delfin Dioquino/Rappler 

MANILA, Philippines – The tides have turned in UAAP taekwondo as the National University reigned supreme in both men’s and women’s divisions this Season 80 at the Blue Eagle Gym in the Ateneo de Manila University from November 15-17. 

Both teams went undefeated in the tournament as the men’s squad nabbed its first UAAP title while the women’s team defended the crown it won last year. 

 

“History, hindi ako makapaniwala until now dahil napakalakas ng mga teams na natalo namin, especially UST,” said NU coach Jeffrey Figueroa. 

(History, I still cannot believe because we defeated strong teams, especially UST.) 

UP had its best finish in recent years in the men’s division by bagging silver while 4-peat-seeking UST slipped to third place. 

Ateneo landed second place in women’s play while UP clinched 3rd, leaving perennial podium-winners UST at 4th place. 

NU’s Arven Alcantara and Rheza Aragon were named Most Valuable Players in their respective divisions. – Rappler.com

 
 

San Beda sweeps LPU to retain NCAA crown

Wikicommons file
The San Beda Red Lions clinched their second straight NCAA championship after sweeping the LPU Pirates in the best-of-three finals on Thursday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Red Lions defeated the Pirates in Game Two, 92-82, to successfully defend their title and hoist their 21st basketball crown, the most in league history.

Robert Bolick scored 18 points, nine of which came in the pivotal fourth quarter where he knocked down crucial baskets to deliver the victory to San Beda.

Donald Tankoua registered 17 points and 17 rebounds in the title-clinching game to earn Finals MVP honors. He averaged 22 points and 18.5 rebounds in the series.

The Red Lions ended the game on a 19-6 run, with Bolick knocking down the dagger triple with 50 seconds left to take the fight out of the Pirates.

League MVP CJ Perez tallied 22 points and four rebounds but couldn’t lift LPU to even a single win in the finals. The Pirates had swept all of the 18 games in the elimination round before going winless in the title series.

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