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Creamline back in the PVL throne

April 8, 2022 9:34 p.m.

ANTIPOLO – Jema Galanza took some of the spotlight from Tots Carlos’ crowning night, keying a decisive Creamline run in the fourth set as the Cool Smashers pounded out a 25-18, 15-25, 25-23, 25-16 victory over the Petro Gazz Angels to nail the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference crown before a jampacked crowd at the Ynares Center here Friday night.

Galanza sprayed three key points in varying fashions, helping Creamline break away from a tight 10-9 game and into a 17-11 lead then Alyssa Valdez did what she does best, closing out their rivals with her vaunted power blasts and an ace before Jia de Guzman and Celine Domingo capped their romp on a quick play.

As De Guzman fell on the floor and the Cool Smashers whooped it up before a raucous crowd of over 7,000, confetti rained down the court, marking the return of the Cool Smashers to the volley throne at the very venue where they left with heads bowed after falling to the Angels in the 2019 Reinforced Conference finals.

“It’s worth all the sacrifices after we came up short the first time out,” said Galanza, referring to their setback to the Chery TIggo Crossovers in the league’s pro inaugurals in Ilocos Norte last August where they won the series opener but dropped the next two.

Galanza finished with 17 points, all on attacks.

“It’s all mental toughness and the strategies that we made,” said Valdez, whose own three-point binge late in the frame put the team at match point. She went on to bag the Finals MVP honors, her first in PVL era, following a top-scoring 20-point effort she laced with three blocks.

The one-hour, 41-minute victory thus completed the crowd favorites’ eight-game sweep of the tournament, including a three-game romp in the group prelims, a lopsided win over PLDT in the quarters and a two-game domination of sister team Choco Mucho in the Final Four.

They needed four sets and a lot of patience and breaks before squeezing out a 25-16, 23-25, 25-12, 32-30 victory over the plucky Angels in Game One of the best-of-three finals at the MOA Arena in Pasay last Wednesday.

The title sweep likewise made up for the team’s failed bid to become the first winner of the league’s pro tournament. But they toughened up during the off-season, keeping the team intact while adding a player or two to further bolster their drive in the tournament that had to be compacted into a four-week tourney to give way for the national team’s preparation for next month’s Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, the core of which are mainstays of the league.

The championship was Creamline’s fourth in six straight finals appearances, including three in the league’s centerpiece event. But it wasn’t all offense for the Cool Smashers, who came through with two blocks off Nicole Tiamzon to preserve their commanding lead in the clutch with Domingo producing five blocks.

Cignal HD, meanwhile, clinched third place honors after getting back at Choco Mucho, 25-18, 27-25, 22-25, 25-17, earlier as the HD Spikers edged the Flying Titans, 185-181, in the tiebreak.

Choco Mucho beat Cignal, also in four, 25-17, 25-21, 21-25, 25-22, in Game One at the MOA Arena last Wednesday.

Carlos earlier took the MVP title after a sustained power-packed performance in the compressed tournament where she normed 20.67 points before the finals. Other top performers were Cignal’s Ces Molina and Gretchel Soltones of Petro Gazz as best outside spikers; Rosely Doria and Ria Meneses, both of Cignal as best middle blockers; Cignal’s Gel Cayuna as best setter; and Dawn Macandili of F2 Logistics as best libero.
Carlos, the former UP stalwart, also bagged the best opposite spiker honors.

“I’m grateful to my teammates and the team management for their support. I’m so happy to win the MVP honors,” said Carlos, who finished with 16 points.

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Ateneo, UP face off again for UAAP title

December 7, 2022 9:54 p.m.

For the second straight season, it will be Ateneo de Manila University versus University of the Philippines in the UAAP men’s basketball finals.

Moments after the Fighting Maroons escaped National University, the Blue Eagles thrashed Adamson University, 81-60, to advance to its sixth consecutive Finals appearance on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Game One of the best-of-three championship series will be on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

“We had our best offensive performance of the year. I think when you get some time to prepare and your opponent doesn’t have much time and they were playing on heart, they were playing on Nash’s brain, and all of those things they have a ton of,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.

“But the cauldron of the semifinals you need more than that you need time to prepare, you need rest, and you need a full team hitting on all cylinders and tonight we were that team,” continued Baldwin.

Already ahead by eight early in the third period, Dave Ildefonso scored eight straight points before Ange Kouame and Chris Koon connived to end the quarter with 19 unanswered points and give Ateneo a 27-point advantage heading into the fourth, 63-36.

Sean Quitevis then opened the payoff frame with another trey to put the Blue Eagles up by 30 with 9:14 left, 66-36, before Jed Colonia made the Soaring Falcons’ first basket in nine minutes with 8:30 to go. Jerom Lastimosa last scored on a layup at the 7:27 mark of the third.

Forthsky Padrigao had 16 points and five assists, while Koon was 4-of-5 from deep to end with 15 points to go with five assists and a plus-21 in his 19 minutes on the floor.

Kai Ballungay chimed in 13 points, while Ildefonso had 11 points and nine rebounds.

Lastimosa was the lone Falcon in double figures with 10 points on a woeful 4-of-15 shooting from the field.

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Adamson eliminates La Salle, claims last seat in Final 4

December 4, 2020 10:11 p.m.

Adamson University knocked out De La Salle University, 80-76, to grab the last Final Four spot in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament, Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Soaring Falcons will face top seed Ateneo de Manila University, which holds a twice-to-beat edge, in the Final Four on Wednesday, 6 p.m., at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“We’re happy to be in the Final Four. We’re actually gatecrashing the Final Four. People didn’t expect us to be in the Final Four, they expected I don’t know what you call them… big spenders. To me, they’re all big spenders but I’m happy the team did their part,” said Adamson coach Nash Racela.

“We will check our emotions because we don’t want to be in a high because may trabaho pa and we’re still gonna play Wednesday and the weekend,” he added.

With the Falcons down by a single point, Lenda Douanga took matters into his own hands, draining a push shot before dishing to Cedrick Manzano the next play for the reverse layup and a three-point Adamson lead with 58.8 seconds left, 77-74.

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After multiple empty possessions on both ends, Evan Nelle came up clutch, stealing Joem Sabandal’s inbound and burying a lay-in to pull La Salle within one with 15.4 ticks to go, 76-77.

The Green Archers were forced to put Jerom Lastimosa on the line in the ensuing play, which the Soaring Falcon made both to push them up by three anew, 79-76, before Nelle missed his three-pointer attempt badly, only hitting the side of the board as Joshua Yerro iced the game from the charity stripe.

La Salle led by as much as 13 in the third frame, 51-38, but Lastimosa went ballistic, going for 11 from his 22 points there to help Adamson inch within one at the end of the quarter, 59-60.

Adamson’s Jerom Lastimosa

Lastimosa also added six assists and a steal, while Yerro had 13 points and six rebounds.

AP Manlapaz chimed in 22 points, while Douanga got 10 points and seven rebounds.

In the sudden death playoff for fourth seed, the Green Archers did not have three of their best players in Schonny Winston, Mike Phillips, and Kevin Quiambao.

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URCC 81: Decades of Success happens Dec. 6 in Okada

November 27, 2022 7:22 p.m.

THE Universal Reality Combat Championship will celebrate two decades of greatness titled the “Decades of Success” in a fight night on December 6, featuring the country’s best mixed martial artists at the Okada Manila in Parañaque City. 

Three years since the last time they held their last main event, URCC founding president Alvin Aguilar announced the coming URCC 81 will definitely be a night to remember with events like the 3 Versus 3, MMA fight and the bare-knuckle bouts.

“Our first main event in three years will definitely be an unforgettable night in mixed martial arts. We have a lot of good fighters and everyone is very excited,” Aguilar said. 

The last time URCC held a main event — Retribution— was in November 2019, at the same venue. Despite the pandemic, URCC didn’t stop as it held three fight nights when the government finally allowed contact sports. 

In celebrating URCC’s main event return, Aguilar will be having Team Philippines of Sugar Ray “Mammoth” Estroso, Caloy “Bad Boy” Baduria and Boss Bullet Manliclic taking up against South Koreans Jeong Minhun, Choi Wontae and Jeon Youngjun in an exciting 3 versus 3 event.

“We have to go up against other Asian countries before we start expanding. So we meet Korea then later on China again and then we will invite people from Russia and the USA. This is the fourth time we will be holding this 3 versus 3 fight,” Aguilar said, who also expects the other events to live up to the hype.

A URCC welterweight interim championship is also set between Filipino Arvin Chan and American Will Chope as the other highlight of the main event presented by Okada Manila and sponsored by Winzir.

URCC Global Chairman Arnold Vegafria said the promotions have been evolving since 2002, becoming a household name in the local mixed martial arts industry, where it discovered great MMA fighters and promoted quality fights abroad. 

For inquiries about tickets sale, go to www.urcc.online and download app https://apps.wix.com/place-invites/join-lp/b4e05b90-55a0-40a8-8fac-17ccf4a2c074?ref=pre_banner_top which is available for iOS and Google.

Other MMA undercard bouts feature Dunlee Stewart facing John Tirona in a 170 lbs bout, followed by Gester Maglaque meeting Mariano Jones in an 185 lbs bout; Kimbert Alintozon battling Junie Kimayong (125 lbs); Rhyle Lugo clashing against Alex Aballe (145 lbs) and Eros Baluyot taking on MJ Abrillo (125 lbs). 

For the thrilling bare-knuckle competitions, Damsa Abrenica collides with Joseph “King Pinoy” Cabral, while Dondon Serrano squares off with Sherwin Niro and Denzel Dimaguila fights Mark Jalaron.  

Details of the fight and future fight cards are available to download at https://apps.wix.com/place-invites/join-lp/b4e05b90-55a0-40a8-8fac-17ccf4a2c074?ref=pre_banner_top, which is available for iOS and Google.

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