ONE Masters of Fate Prelims: Catalan zaps Balart with brutal roundhouse

Christian Lee wins the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix with unanimous decision win over Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev

ONE Championship rolls out its last Manila card for 2019 with ONE: Masters of Fate at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Seven preliminary fights kicked off the Friday night extravaganza, highlighted by a knockout victory manufactured by Filipino bet Robin Catalan.

The Santa Barbara, Iloilo native stopped Brazilian Gustavo Balart with a right roundhouse kick at the 4:43 mark of the second round in an exciting strawweight scrap. Catalan caught Balart with the well-time head kick, as the Freedom Fighters MMA dynamo looked to score another takedown attempt.

The Catalan Fighting System product saw the opening to crack Balart with the round house, to score a highlight reel knockout. With the win, Catalan hiked his MMA record to 9-6, while Balart dropped to 8-4.

Later in the night, Catalan’s sibling Rene guns for the ONE strawweight world championship against current titleholder and fellow Filipino Joshua Pacio – a standout of the famed Team Lakay stable.

Meanwhile, Kongsak PK SaenchaiMuayThaiGym and Tukkatatong Petpayathai earned decision wins over Han Zi Hao and Hiroaki “Kaibutsukun” Suzuki, respectively, in a pair of bantamweight muay thai bouts.

In other preliminary MMA matches, former ONE strawweight world titlist Yoshitaka Naito decisioned Pongsiri Mitsatit; “The Fighting God” Kim Jae Woong downed Rafael “Indio” Nunes with knee strikes in the third round; Kim Kyu Sung stopped Akihiro “SuperJap” Fujisawa in the opening round with a right cross; and Roshan Mainam submitted Khon Sichan in the first with a kimura.

File photo

ONE Masters of Fate: Pacio outgrapples, submits Catalan to remain as world strawweight champion

UFC: Michelle Waterson looking to remain focused with doubts remaining over main event clash with Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Youth just prevailed over experience.

Joshua Pacio retained his ONE strawweight world title over Filipino compatriot Rene Catalan in the main event of ONE: Masters of Fate, Friday night inside the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

In the last ONE Championship Manila fight card for 2019, the 23-year old Team Lakay product successfully defended his strawweight crown against the 40-year old wushu veteran in a rare All-Filipino world title scrap. Pacio submitted Catalan with an arm-triangle choke at the 2:30 mark of the second round to emerge victorious in his first title defense.

In the first round, with Pacio taking the fight to the ground, both combatants attempted heel hooks and ankle locks but neither succeeded in generating enough torque to force a tap. Pacio spun out of Catalan’s submission attempts, managing to bring the fight back up in the final seconds of the opening salvo.

Then in the second, Pacio finished off Catalan on the mat, floating over half guard to side control to latch on the submission.

Pacio raises his win-loss record to 15-3. Catalan, on the other hand, saw his six-fight winning streak end at the hands of his fellow Filipino fighter, sinking his MMA record to 6-3.


Former ONE lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang figured in an abbreviated bout against Amarsanaa “Spear” Tsogookhuu, with the famed Filipino striker earning a technical decision win. A deep gash on the left cheek of Folayang, caused by an accidental clash of heads, called for the premature stoppage of the match as the five-minute recovery period elapsed for the injured wushu artist.

In the opening round, the Team Lakay bandleader strafed his opponent with inside leg kicks and those familiar spin kicks to the body to control the action. Folayang looked to continue with the tempo in the second but was caught by the unintentional headbutt that ended the featured bout.

Folayang even missed the traditional post-match press conference to receive stitches on the cut.


Geje Eustaquio lived up to his billing as the “Rematch King” after scoring a stoppage win over Toni “Dynamite” Tauru via spinning back kick at the 2:11 mark of the final round. The former ONE flyweight kingpin landed the Team Lakay signature onto the rib of the Finnish grappler, who crumpled to the canvas right after impact.

Eustaquio weathered an early assault by Tauru, who managed to take the Team Lakay bet down early in the opening round. Despite taking his opponent’s back, Tauru failed in his attempts to cinch in a rear-naked choke on Eustaquio. In round two, Eustaquio engaged Tauru in a standup battle but landed the more significant strikes – jabs, straights and push kicks. The Wushu/Sanda specialist even managed to deposit Tauru on the mat via a gorgeous sweep, sending the Pro-Filipino crowd to a frenzy.

With the win, Eustaquio avenged a December 2016 submission defeat to Tauru in ONE: Age of Domination, and also bounce back from a devastating knockout defeat to Yuya Wakamatsu last August.

Eustaquio hiked his win-loss slate to 13-8, while Tauru dropped to 11-8.

Pride of España | S82 individual awardees Soulemane Chabi Yo and Mark Nonoy

Two main cogs of the UST Growling Tigers have bagged the top individual awards of the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament.

Soulemane Chabi Yo, who hails from Benin, West Africa, ran away with the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award after topping the statistical race after the double-round robin eliminations.

Amassing 76 statistical points (SPs), Chabi Yo edged out Season 81 Rookie of the Year (ROY) Angelo Kouame of Ateneo for the prestigious individual award. Recruited out of the Colegio de San Lorenzo, Chabi Yo averaged 16.9 points, 14.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists in his maiden campaign in the UAAP Seniors division.

Mark Nonoy, on the other hand, bagged the ROY citation over fellow Thomasian Sherwin Concepcion. The Negros Occidental native garnered 39.29 SPs, built around averages of 10.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest.

Together with the emergence of newcomer Rhenz Abando, playmaker Renzo Subido and former De La Salle Green Archer Brent Paraiso, the Tigers barged into the playoffs – after a three-year absence – with an 8-6 win-loss slate. In the stepladder semifinals yesterday, the España-based dribblers took down the FEU Tamaraws, 81-71, to advance to the next phase against the second-ranked UP Fighting Maroons.

How did Chabi Yo and Nonoy make it to the top of individual awards’ race? FOX Sports Philippines looks back at the Season 82 campaign of both UST standouts:

Chabi Yo: Walking tall

Matching up against Kouame, Lenda Dounga, Issa Gaye, Patrick Tchuente, Alex Diakhite and reigning Seniors MVP Bright Akhuetie early in the season, one thing was obvious about Chabi Yo: he is undersized against other foreign centers. Standing at just 6-foot-6, Chabi Yo gave up an average of three-and-a-half inches in height to the opposition. The Beninese slotman seems like a small forward when pitted against a seven-footer like Kouame, or against Tchuente and Dounga who both measure at 6-foot-10.

But what Chabi Yo lacked in height, he compensated with hustle and timing. As his teammates fire from the outside, Chabi Yo patrols the shaded lane, looking to clean up those missed threes to recycle a UST possession. Most of Chabi Yo’s shots are of a high percentage – mostly off putbacks and post-ups. Chabi Yo also showcased his ability to knock down midrange jumpers, especially in instances where UST’s offense seem to go nowhere. Coach Aldin Ayo’s prized find has a deft touch from the perimeter and from the free throw line – an area where most of his counterparts are struggling at.

And on the breakaway? Chabi Yo was oftentimes a highlight-reel play waiting to happen.

Nonoy: Youthful flash

Mark Nonoy’s pace is akin to a sports car that goes from zero to 60 kilometers per hour in a split second. The Negrense speedster is at the forefront of UST’s fast-paced offense – a system favored heavily by Ayo. Nonoy thrives on the open court, as the young playmaker has displayed his knack for racking up points on the fast break. Apart from his transition attacks, Nonoy can also light it up from beyond the arc, much like the other UST gunners.

Nonoy’s turnover count though, is a bit on the high side, averaging a team-high 2.29 errors per ballgame. Losing control of the leather at breakneck speed, Nonoy at times has fallen victim to his own undoing. That’s one aspect that Nonoy has to improve on this early in his budding basketball career.

OPINION: What can Bobby Ray Parks Jr. bring to TNT?

That KaTropa backcourt has undergone a major upgrade.

TNT and the Blackwater Elite have recently completed a trade deal that sent the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft number two overall selection Bobby Ray Parks Jr. over to the KaTropa, in exchange for Don Trollano, Anthony Semerad and a 2021 first round pick.

ALSO READ — What’s next for the Blackwater Elite after Ray Parks trade?

After weeks of speculation on various social media platforms, the multiple-time ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) and UAAP Most Valuable Player ended up as the central piece of a major trade transaction as the elimination round of the 2019 Governors’ Cup winds down to its last nine playdates. The son of seven-time PBA Best Import awardee Bobby Parks Sr. suited up for the Elite in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup after missing the entire Philippine Cup due to his ABL stint with San Miguel Alab Pilipinas.

Currently at second place with a 7-1 win-loss card, the KaTropa are in a good position to make it to the quarterfinals, behind a talented cast led by Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, RR Pogoy and high-scoring import KJ McDaniels. Now with Parks on board, how will TNT’s campaign in the season-ending conference shape up?

What does Parks have in store for the KaTropa?


Creating his own shots has always been Parks’ strength. Since his UAAP years, the 6-foot-4 guard has shown his ability to score from the perimeter, on half-court sets and in transition. Taller than most two-way guards in the league, Parks can create mismatches on the post and on the breakaway. With Parks in their lineup, coach Bong Ravena and active consultant Mark Dickel have acquired another local offensive option, outside Castro, Rosario and Pogoy. 


Admittedly, TNT’s ace playmaker Jayson Castro has been hampered recently by injuries and the mileage he has logged through playing in the PBA and the men’s national team. A point guard of Parks’ caliber is more than an able counterpart for Castro, whose work rate can now be adjusted for proper recovery. With Alab Pilipinas and Blackwater, Parks has thrived at the point guard spot despite playing as a wing in the UAAP.


A player of Parks’ stature has always had a chip on his shoulder. Second-generation talent. A former NBA G-Leaguer. A former collegiate and regional league MVP. A former national team campaigner. The expectations have always been high on Parks, even before he steps foot on the court.  The camera lens stay glued on him once he steps in. There’s always that something that Parks has to prove. Despite the pressure, Parks has been effective throughout his young PBA career, averaging 21.35 points, 6.30 rebounds and 3.48 assists per game.

On November 8, Parks wears the TNT colors for the first time as the KaTropa face the defending Governors’ Cup champions Barangay Ginebra at 7 PM inside the Araneta Coliseum.

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Philippines nails slot in qualifier for Tokyo Olympics 3×3 event

The promotion of 3×3 basketball all over the nation by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go has paid off.

The Philippines has clinched a spot in the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT), as announced on the eve of the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final held in Utsunomiya, Japan.

A total of 20 teams from each gender claimed tickets to the OQT scheduled on March 18-22, 2020 in India. From there, three teams from the men’s and women’s side will advance to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, wherein 3×3 basketball is set to debut.

After men’s teams from China, Serbia, Russia and Japan were announced as direct qualifiers to the Olympics, the next 20 squads were formally introduced in the world tour finale – streamed live by the world governing body for basketball in various media platforms.

For the OQT, the Philippines landed in Pool C with Slovenia, France, Qatar and the Dominican Republic.

In December 2018, Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. (BAVI) launched its bid to help the country secure a slot in the first-ever 3×3 Olympic competition. This gave birth to Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas – a local 3×3 circuit sanctioned by SBP and FIBA.

BAVI also supported the campaigns of various Philippine teams to the 3×3 World Tour Masters and Challenger events.

The SBP, on the other hand, launched the Pambansang Tatluhan to further promote the half-court variant basketball in the country, as well as to accumulate technical points – FIBA’s measure of determining the qualified nations for the Olympics and the OQT.

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UAAP Roundtable | Season 82’s outstanding players, coaches

After 56 action-packed games, the hostilities in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament is just about to heat up.

With the double-round robin eliminations over, next up for the premier collegiate league is its much-talked-about playoff phase, set to be staged in a rare stepladder format. 

Defending Seniors champions Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles have booked an automatic finals seat via a 14-0 sweep of the preliminaries. The UP Fighting Maroons, ranked second with a 9-5 win-loss card, clinched their first-ever twice-to-beat incentive in the Final Four era, instituted by the UAAP way back in 1993. The Diliman-based dribblers await the winner of the sudden-death clash between the FEU Tamaraws and the UST Growling Tigers, scheduled on November 6.

Apart from the games, a number of personalities have made it to the sports headlines for their impressive showing in Season 82. Today, FOX Sports Philippines’ Kriel Ibarrola, Jonas Reyes and Jordan Samar discuss which players and coaches stood out amongst their counterparts after two exciting preliminary rounds of the 2019-20 season:

Who is the best local player of the season?

Jordan Samar: “The best local player for me this season has been Kobe Paras. He has been big in so many situations for UP emerging as their go-to guy especially down the stretch. Paras can basically do everything on the floor, but if he can further sharpen his outside stroke, he would be unstoppable.”

Kriel Ibarrola: “The best player usually plays for the best team in the league, but it’s hard to single out one Ateneo player given how everyone has stepped up for them throughout the tourney. Guys like Dave Ildefonso and Rey Suerte should be given merit, but they were unable to lead their respective teams to a more successful outing.  As far as being consistent goes, I’ll pick Kobe Paras for UP. Apart from taking full advantage of his natural gifts, Paras has shown the ability to pick his spots for coach Bo Perasol’s offense and has even managed to keep his teammates involved.”

Jonas Reyes: “My vote goes to Kobe Paras. The Fighting Maroons’ second straight trip to the playoffs has Paras’ imprint all over it. With Paras, coach Bo Perasol had for himself another scoring option outside of Season 81 Most Valuable Player Bright Akhuetie – who has been slowed down by injuries and the swarming defense put up by the opposition. The celebrated forward surely made the loudest noise this season after a widely-publicized stint in the NCAA Division I with the Creighton Bluejays. Also, that Season 82 highlight reel will obviously include a bevy of those Kobe Paras dunks.”

Who is the best foreign player of the season?

Jordan: “It’s no secret as to why Ateneo is the top team in the league right now, and a big part of that is the interior dominance of Angelo Kouame. He has been instrumental on both ends for Coach Tab Baldwin and he is a matchup nightmare for most of the other bigs here in UAAP.”

Kriel: “I had high hopes for Bright Akhuetie after last year’s MVP campaign, but it seems like Angelo Kouame has already surpassed him in terms of how valuable he is for his team. UST’s Soulemane Chabi Yo also turned a lot of heads with his play in Season 82 but it’s hard to deny Kouame’s claim given how big of a role he plays for Ateneo on both ends of the floor.”

Jonas: “I could have gone for UST’s Soulemane Chabi Yo, but getting my nod here is Ateneo’s Angelo Kouame. Those three-peat seeking Blue Eagles have displayed their ruthlessness on the defensive end of the floor, with Kouame’s imposing presence standing in its epicenter. Sure, there are games wherein the Ivorian big man has struggled on offense. But on defense? There seems to be no off-game for Kouame on that department.”  

Who is the best rookie/newcomer of the season?

Jordan: “UST finally made it to the Final Four after three seasons and it is because of the ascension of Rhenz Abando. In fact, he is so good that rival schools have reportedly tried to poach him. That says a lot really, and he should be the ROY no doubt.”

Kriel: “UST’s crop of spectacular freshmen all deserve recognition. Rhenz Abando gives the Tigers a possible superstar to build around for in the coming years, while gunner Sherwin Concepcion will certainly be a vital clog for the team moving forward. I’m picking Mark Nonoy as this year’s best newcomer. Sure, he still has a lot of shortcomings as a playmaker — particularly with his frequent turnovers – but you can’t deny his impressive run in handling coach Aldin Ayo’s system.”

Jonas: “My pick is Rhenz Abando, for three reasons: athleticism, hustle and the outside touch. There may have been ‘distractions’ to his maiden campaign in the UAAP, but Abando has undoubtedly risen amongst the crop of first-year players. The Growling Tigers’ return to the playoffs, after a three-year absence, has to be attributed to the fine play of Abando and fellow newcomer Mark Nonoy.”

Who is the best coach of the season?

Jordan: “Of course, Tab Baldwin gets the nod here since the results speak for itself with their flawless record. But more than anything, his eye for talent and development has been the main reason why the Blue Eagles are where they are right now.”

Kriel: “Tab Baldwin is still the gold standard when it comes to coaching at the collegiate level. However, I’ll be going with an unpopular choice in FEU’s Olsen Racela. He managed to steer the Tamaraws to another Final 4 appearance, despite fielding a line-up that’s not as star-studded as their competitors. His guidance was also instrumental in FEU’s second-round surge, helping his team overcome a slow start in Round 1 of the eliminations.”

Jonas: “Same with Kriel, I will go with an unpopular but deserving choice — Aldin Ayo of UST. The master of Mayhem has towed the España-based squad to a spot in the playoffs despite having a rookie-laden lineup. Ayo’s Tigers have scored big wins over UP and FEU this year, and came up short of an upset over Ateneo in the first round – a testament to the system installed to the UST program by a former NCAA and UAAP champion coach.”

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WHO’S OUT, WHO’S IN | UAAP Season 82 playoff scenarios

Three playdates remaining. Three playoff spots still up for grabs.

With the second round of action in the UAAP Men’s basketball tournament down to its last seven games, four squads are looking to clinch the three tickets left for the big dance. The pre-tournament favorites – dominant through 12 games in the preliminaries — have locked up the top billing in the playoffs, while three other teams have already kissed their championship aspirations for this season goodbye.

FOX Sports Philippines scoured through the standings and upcoming games to determine:


Out for an early vacation are the NU Bulldogs, UE Red Warriors and the Adamson Soaring Falcons.

Currently at the eighth and last spot with a 2-10 win-loss card, the Bulldogs miss out on the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. The Jamike Jarin-mentored squad started off the tournament last September 7 on the wrong foot – succumbing to an 84-83 defeat in overtime to Adamson courtesy of a Lenda Dounga buzzer-beating triple. It conspicuously kicked off a six-game losing slide for the Bulldogs, before finally nailing a win last September 25 against the FEU Tamaraws, 61-39. Two weeks later, the Bulldogs would repeat over the Tamaraws, 85-79 in overtime, to notch their second win of the season.

UE, on the other hand, managed to claim the scalps of NU and the De La Salle Green Archers in the first round, and the Falcons in the second. Led by Cebuano sensation Rey Suerte, the Recto-based squad ushered in the post-Alvin Pasaol and coach Derek Pumaren era with three victories so far – two more than their dismal 1-13 showing in Season 81. With a 3-9 slate, the Warriors conclude their Season 82 stint on October 30 against the also-ran Bulldogs.

Adamson, last year’s semifinalist, failed to duplicate the feat this year after losing eight of their 12 games in the tournament. For the first time under the regime of coach Franz Pumaren, the San Marcelino-based dribblers – despite having a potent core led by Jerom Lastimosa, Simon Camacho, newcomer Val Chauca and former mythical team member Jerrick Ahanmisi – will be reduced to mere spectators for the remainder of the season.


Defending Seniors champions Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles have already assured themselves of a seat in the playoffs and possibly an automatic finals berth should they complete a 14-0 sweep of the eliminations. The troops of coach Tab Baldwin have decimated their opposition with an efficient half-court offense – ran to perfection by the likes of Mike Nieto, Thirdy Ravena and William Navarro – and an unforgiving blockade over at the defensive end – anchored on Gian Mamuyac and Season 81 Rookie of the Year Angelo Kouame.

With a perfect 12-0 record, the three peat-seeking Eagles target a clean sheet in their last two assignments – an October 26 joust against NU and a much-awaited second round showdown against the UP Fighting Maroons on October 30.


Gunning for an invite to the next phase of the tournament are the Fighting Maroons, the FEU Tamaraws, the UST Growling Tigers and the De La Salle Green Archers.

Currently ranked second with an 8-4 slate, the Bo Perasol-mentored quintet can clinch a playoff slot and a twice-to-beat edge should they win at least one of their last two matches. Prior to their clash against Ateneo, the Maroons take on the Green Archers on October 27 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

With identical 7-6 records, the Tamaraws and Tigers could possibly reach the eight win-plateau should they dispose of the already-eliminated squads UE and Adamson in their final elimination round games, respectively. An eighth win for both FEU and UST will add more pressure to the team teetering and currently hanging on to their tournament lives right at the fifth spot.

That team is De La Salle, which holds an even 6-6 card. The green and white squad are beset to aim for a sweep of their final two assignments against UP and Adamson, scheduled on October 30. The wards of coach Gian Nazario and active consultant Jermaine Byrd cannot afford any slipup from this point on if they want to extend their Season 82 campaign. The Archers will still get the boot if they end up at 7-7, if both FEU and UST finish at 8-6.

If three or more teams end up tied after all the 14 elimination round games, the quotient system will be applied to determine the best-ranked squad and those who will figure in do-or-die matches.

An extra game will also be played if two teams will end up with similar preliminary round records.

UAAP Season 82 Team Standings as of October 23 (remaining games)

1. ADMU – a 12-0 (NU, UP)
2. UP 8-4 (DLSU, ADMU)
3. FEU 7-6 (UE)
4. UST 7-6 (AdU)
5. DLSU 6-6 (UP, AdU)
6. AdU – e 4-8 (UST, DLSU)
7. UE – e 3-9 (FEU, NU)
8. NU – e 2-10 (ADMU, UE)


a          –           advance to playoffs
e          –           eliminated from playoff race

(Images from UAAP)

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Weekend’s UAAP games may well define Season 82 Final Four cast

That weekend trek to Antipolo was surely interesting — and probably season-defining — for all eight UAAP teams.

For the second time this year, the UAAP made its way back to the Rizal Capitol to stage a number of second round basketball games inside the Ynares Center. Over at the men’s side, four key matchups were on hand, with each result stirring up the team standings of this competitive and exciting Season 82.

A sequel to the September 21 and 22 matchups, the Saturday double-header had the UST Growling Tigers face National University Bulldogs and the Far Eastern University Tamaraws taking on the De La Salle Green Archers. Defending Seniors champions Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles and the University of the East Red Warriors kicked off festivities Sunday, followed by the weekend main event pitting the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons versus the Adamson Soaring Falcons.

How did the results of these four pairings affect the standings? FOX Sports Philippines breaks down the weekend aftermath:

UST 88, NU 76

It was a tumultuous week, to say the least, for the Growling Tigers. After a big win last October 16 against UP, the UST community was rocked with news concerning sensational newcomer Rhenz Abando, who was allegedly being lured away by other schools in the middle of the tournament. Both Abando and UST coach Aldin Ayo disproved the reports, as the talented La Union native re-affirmed his commitment with the España-based institution.

Benched in their game against the Fighting Maroons, Abando went back to action last Saturday against the Bulldogs, whom the Tigers took down 88-76. The victory strengthened the Growling Tigers’ bid for a Final Four ticket as they improve their win-loss record to 7-5. The Bulldogs, who tote a 2-9 card, miss out on the playoff bus for the fourth straight year.

FEU 81, DLSU 60

In a match reminiscent to their first round encounter, the Tamaraws decimated the Green Archers anew with a 21-point beatdown. The Morayta-based squad rained down threes on the hapless Archers to secure the victory, solidifying their hold on the number four spot with a 6-6 slate. The Archers stumble to their sixth defeat in 11 games, as they slide down to fifth place. The embattled green and white quintet are now hard-pressed to sweep their remaining three matches to gain at least a playoff for a Final Four slot.

ADMU 84, UE 50

Are the Blue Eagles two games away from an elimination round sweep?

If their performance against the Warriors is an indication, then the Tab Baldwin-mentored five may very well finish the preliminaries with a perfect 14-0 slate. Win number 12, at the expense of the Warriors, was a result of another dominant showing by the three-peat seeking Eagles, led by the trio of Isaac Go, Angelo Kouame and Thirdy Ravena. Succumbing to their ninth defeat in 12 starts, the Recto-based Warriors bomb out of contention for a Final Four spot for the tenth consecutive season.

UP 81, AdU 77

Similar to their first meeting this season, the Fighting Maroons roared back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to escape with a narrow four-point win over the Soaring Falcons. Behind the heroics of Kobe Paras and Jun Manzo, the Diliman-based dribblers carved out an all-important victory – their seventh against four defeats – to tighten their grip for the second spot behind Ateneo. Just like the Archers, the Franz Pumaren-mentored Falcons would now need a sweep of their last three matches to remain in the chase for a Final Four slot.

Team standings as of October 20 (remaining games)

1. ADMU 12-0 (NU, UP)
2. UP 7-4 (NU, DLSU, ADMU)
3. UST 7-5 (DLSU, AdU)
4. FEU 6-6 (AdU, UE)
5. DLSU 5-6 (UST, UP, AdU)
6. AdU 4-7 (FEU, UST, DLSU)
7. * UE 3-9 (FEU, NU)
8. * NU 2-9 (UP, ADMU, UE)

* eliminated from Final Four race

(Photos from UAAP)

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Moala Tautuaa-Christian Standhardinger trade: Which team won?

Quality in exchange for quality.

Two impressive big men found themselves swapping roster spots midway through the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup, with the NorthPort Batang Pier and San Miguel Beermen entering into a trade deal yesterday which involved Moala Tautuaa and Christian Standhardinger.

Tautuaa will now be suiting up for his third PBA team after a year-long stint with the Batang Pier and a three-year tenure with the TNT KaTropa, which tabbed the Filipino-Tongan center as the first overall pick in the 2015 Rookie Draft. Standhardinger, himself a former number one pick in the draft, takes his act to his second PBA ballclub after four fruitful conferences with the Beermen.

The grand slam-seeking Beermen currently occupy the number two spot in the team standings with a 4-1 win-loss card. The eighth-ranked Batang Pier, on the other hand, own a 2-4 slate.

Was the trade beneficial for just one team, or for both?

Another floor spacer for San Miguel

Those three-point shootout contests during San Miguel practices may just welcome a new participant.

Upon his transfer to NorthPort, Tautuaa has shown an extended range from the perimeter. Tautuaa has improved his three-point shooting from 25.6%, while with TNT, to 30.9% during his stay with NorthPort. At San Miguel, the 6-foot-8 slotman joins a three-point shooting platoon consisting of Marcio Lassiter, Terrence Romeo, Alex Cabagnot, Von Pessumal, Chris Ross and Arwind Santos. Tautuaa’s signing further strengthens San Miguel’s perimeter sniping, which allows plenty of room to operate on the inside for their main man June Mar Fajardo.

Also, with Tautuaa around, coach Leo Austria gains an able backup for the “Kraken”. Similar to what Standhardinger has provided for the Beermen, Tautuaa can provide that spark off the bench while Fajardo cools his heels. In the season-ending tournament, Tautuaa has been averaging 11.33 points and 8.83 rebounds per contest while shooting 39% from the field.

NorthPort plugs the hole in the middle

Standhardinger will be a welcome addition to the Batang Pier, especially to their big man rotation which includes Jervy Cruz, Bradwyn Guinto and Russel Escoto. The 6-foot-8 Standhardinger shores up the Batang Pier frontline as a legitimate inside presence and scoring option outside of Robert Bolick and Kevin Ferrer.

In addition, Standhardinger is expected to finally flourish with the Pido Jarencio-mentored squad with probably a spot in the starting five. Unlike his role as a reliever over at San Miguel, the Munich-born center is expected to land a starring role with NorthPort — an upgrade that could possibly hike up his numbers in the third conference of the 44th PBA season.

Following two championship conferences with the Beermen this year, Standhardinger’s stat line took a dip through four games in the Governors’ Cup. The former University of Hawaii standout has logged per game norms of 3.5 points and 4.0 rebounds, in 12.78 minutes of playing time. With NorthPort, Standhardinger’s potential as a premier big man could possibly be fulfilled.

(Images from PBA)

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ASEAN Basketball League Season 10 kicks off November 16

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

The ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) announced on October 14 the official schedule of 2019-2020 season games to start on November 16 at Taipei City, Taiwan.

The Macau Black Bears will tip-off the 10th season of the ABL against the Fubon Braves who will be making their first ABL appearance under coach Roger Hsu.

The ten teams were divided into two groups based on the geographical location of the teams— Group A includes Formosa Dreamers, Hong Kong Eastern, Wolf Warriors, Macau Black Bears, and Fubon Braves.

On the other hand, Group B includes Mono Vampire, Westports Malaysia Dragons, Singapore Slingers, Saigon Heat, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas.

Teams will face their opponents within their group four times and will face opponents outside their group twice.

The ten official teams that will participate in the 10th season are Formosa Dreamers, Fubon Braves, Hong Kong Eastern, Macau Black Bears, Mono Vampire Basketball Club, Saigon Heat, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, Singapore Slingers, Westports Malaysia Dragons, and the Macau Wolf Warriors.

The ten teams will each have 26 games in the regular season – 13 home games and 13 away games.

The regular season will then end on March 29, 2020, with the following games: Fubon Braves versus San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, Hong Kong Eastern versus Wolf Warriors, Singapore Slingers versus Mono Vampire Basketball Club, and Macau Black Bears versus Formosa Dreamers.

Fans cannot wait for Jason Brickman to suit up for San Miguel Alab Pilipinas under Coach Jimmy Alapag. His debut will happen on November 17 against his former team Mono Vampire Basketball Club.

Also to be watched out for is ABL All-Time 10 honoree Steven Thomas who will make his ABL return as a Wolf Warrior on November 23 against Macau Black Bears.

The rivalry game between Fubon Braves and Formosa Dreamers on December 7 will take place in Changhua City, home of the Dreamers. This will also be the first time for Jet Chang to face his former team, the Braves in the ABL.

Now Singapore Slinger Marcus Elliot will be returning to Hong Kong on January 21, 2020, this time, as an opponent of his former team.

On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2020, the Causeway rivalry between the Westports Malaysia Dragons and Singapore Slingers will happen in Singapore.

For more ABL updates, check out their website

Vanquished Vera lauds light heavyweight king Aung La: ‘You deserve it. You earned it’

Christian Lee wins the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix with unanimous decision win over Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev

Even in defeat, Brandon Vera continues to show why he’s such a class act and a popular figure in mixed martial arts.

Shortly after a second round knockout loss to Aung La N Sang for the light heavyweight world championship in ONE: Century Part II, Vera posted a video on his Facebook page a short message for the Burmese MMA sensation.

READ — Brandon Vera loses epic slugfest vs Aung La N Sang at ONE: CENTURY

On the receiving end of a stoppage at the 3:23 mark of the round two, the American-born Filipino striker took time to express his thoughts about the titular fight held inside Ryogoku Kokugikan in Sumida City, Japan, while being wheeled in what seems to be a wheelchair. Aung La and Vera, the reigning ONE heavyweight kingpin, headlined a stacked fight card where world championships and grand prix titles in MMA, muay thai, and kickboxing were put on the line.

In the one-minute clip, Vera congratulated Aung La for the successful title defense and conveyed his next plans with the Chatri Sityodtong-owned promotion.

“Am I happy? No. Am I mad? Yeah. But Mr. Aung La N Sang, congratulations again brother. You deserve it. You earned it. Man, you are a tough bastard,” said Vera, who suffered his first loss in ONE Championship after starting off with four straight victories with the Singapore-based outfit.

“I’m still the heavyweight world champion. Still defending that ASAP,” Vera added.

Thank you guys for coming…. Short video for all my supporters and haters. Thank you/Maraming Salamat

Posted by Brandon Vera on Sunday, 13 October 2019

Fighting professionally since 2002, Vera saw his win-loss record dip to 16-8. Aung La, dubbed as “The Burmese Python,” hiked his slate to 26-10 and extended his winning streak seven fights.

ALSO READ — Team Lakay staples Belingon, Banario succumb to submissions at ONE: CENTURY

ALSO READ — Demetrious Johnson out-grapples Danny Kingad to win ONE Flyweight Grand Prix

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Final Four race intensifies as Tamaraws shackle Tigers

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

Engaged in a furious shootout in the deciding frame, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws stood tall over their first round tormentors University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 72-58, in their UAAP Season 82 Sunday playdate inside the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Both teams got caught in a dogfight in the final frame, which started in favor of the Tamaraws 45-39. Zach Huang, Mark Nonoy and Rhenz Abando uncorked a total of four three-pointers to start off the fourth, which drew the Espana-based squad to within two, 53-51, with 6:34 remaining in the match.

The Olsen Racela-mentored quintet would respond with backbreaking 13-2 run, capped off by an LJ Gonzales jumper, that pushed his squad to a 66-53 lead in the final 1:59. The Tamaraws’ lead increased further – 72-56 with 42 ticks remaining – courtesy of back-to-back triples by Rey Bienes.

Gonzales led all scorers with 17 points, while Royce Alforque contributed 16 huge markers off the bench for the Tamaraws, whose win-loss record improved to 5-5.

Leading the way for the Tigers, who now hold a similar 5-5 card, was Brent Paraiso who scored 12 points, backstopped by Abando and Huang who finished with 11 apiece.

Giving chase to the Tamaraws and Tigers are La Salle (4-5) and Adamson (4-6) as the 2019-20 men’s tournament heats up.

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Balanced Ateneo attack paves way for elimination round sweep of La Salle

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

That first Final Four ticket has been booked by – who else – but the only undefeated team in the tournament.

With all eleven players fielded in by coach Tab Baldwin scoring a basket, the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles scraped past their nemesis De La Salle Green Archers, 77-69, in their second round meeting of UAAP Season 82, Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Swingman Adrian Wong came off scorching, hitting eight of his game-high 18 points in the opening period to set the tone early for the three-peat seeking Eagles. Wong was the lone Ateneo player in double figures in the first half with 11 markers, which ended in their favor 36-30.

In the third frame, the Eagles were on the verge of a breakaway with back-to-back dunks by Angelo Kouame and Thirdy Ravena which put their team up 44-36 at the 6:43 mark. The Archers though would respond quick, cutting the deficit to three, 51-48, courtesy of a Justine Baltazar jumper with 56 ticks remaining in the said frame.

Ahead 55-50 at the start of the final period, the Katipunan-based dribblers established a 13-point headway from the Archers with just 3:50 left in the contest. Gian Mamuyac’s layup in transition pushed Ateneo to a 68-55 lead, enough to fend off another rally from the green-and-white brigade.

The system installed by the veteran American-Kiwi coach, especially on defense, was on full display all game long as the defending Seniors champions forced the Archers to 17 errors, which they translated to 17 turnover points. The blue-and-white squad also outscored the Archers, 36-22, in terms of inside points.

With their tenth win is as many games, the Eagles effectively clinched a spot in the semifinals and are still on track for a 14-game eliminations sweep. Last September 8, the Eagles dealt the Archers an 81-69 beating in their first round encounter inside the Araneta Coliseum

The Archers’ win-loss record, on the other hand, dip to 4-5.

Kouame turned in a double-double performance consisting of 10 points and 14 rebounds, while Raven chipped in 13 markers and 10 boards. Save for Isaac Go who scored his two points from the free throw line, all the Ateneo players tallied at least a field goal in the contest.

Encho Serrano paced DLSU with 15 points and eight rebounds. Baltazar contributed 12 markers and nine boards.

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ASEAN Basketball League holds 2019-2020 Season Launch

‘They got championship DNA’ – LeBron on why Lakers lost to Raptors

The ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) held its 10th season on October 10, 11 AM (GMT +8) at the Conrad Hotel, Seaside Boulevard, Coral Way, Pasay, Manila. 


During the launch, the ten participating teams were unveiled as well as the top ten players of all time.


The teams that will be participating in the 10th season are Formosa Dreamers, Fubon Braves, Hong Kong Eastern, Macau Black Bears, Mono Vampire, Saigon Heat, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, Singapore Slingers, Westports Malaysia Dragons, and Wolf Warriors. 


The Saigon Heat earned their first playoff victory on their home floor and has never missed the postseason for the last five years. 


The Singapore Slingers will be joined by Marcus Elliot together with last season’s MVP Xavier Alexander in hopes to win their first ABL title this season.


The Hong Kong Eastern will try a new coach Jordan Brady along with young imports TJ Price and Trey Kell.


Although, the Westports Malaysia Dragons are hoping to make a return in the playoffs after failing to qualify in the last three seasons of ABL.


The Macau Black Bears will try to replicate their success last season without the presence of Anthony Tucker.


After finishing the season in the last place, the Wolf Warriors sign ABL champion Steven Thomas as they try to turn their franchise around this season.


Former head coach of Saigon Heat Kyle Julius takes over coaching duties in Formosa Dreamers as they hope to build from last season’s success.


On the other hand, The Mono Vampire signed former Macau Black Bears Anthony Tucker and Ryan Watkins and welcomed new coach Andrej Urlep who was the former coach of Slovenia’s U22 team. 


For San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, the team signed former Mono Vampire player and Fil-Am guard Jason Brickman to play this season. 


After winning in the Super Basketball League, the Fubon Braves is ready to debut in the ASEAN Basketball League under coach Roger Hsu. 


Top 10 Players of All Time


2018-2019 Season Most Valuable Player Xavier Alexander was the first to be named as one of the All-Time-10 Players of all time.  


Followed by ABL great Leo Avenido and two-time finals MVP Jerick Cañada.


Chris Charles, Attaporn Lertmalaiporn, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Steven Thomas, Wong Wei Long, and Mario Wuysang were also part of the top ten players. 


Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Marcus Elliot, Wong Wei Long, and Leo Avenido were not present to receive the award because of prior commitments. 


The 2019-2020 season is set to start in November. 


Photo credit: ABL website