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    Makati Gospel Church-New Life Christian Academy is the new Aspirants Division titlist after defeating Philippine Cultural College, 67-53, Sunday afternoon (February 22) in the deciding Game Three of their best-of-three finals duel in the 2nd Philippine Ching Yuen Athletic Association (PCYAA) basketball competitions held at the Uno High School Gym in Tondo, Manila.

    MGC-NLCA had grabbed the series opener, 59-57, but PCC bounced back to take the second game, 75-67.

    The Seagulls, the 2014 champions, zoomed to an 11-4 lead behind three triples by Rowel Maravillas and Romar Lee (eight points, including two trifectas ) before MGC-NLCA, which had won 10 consecutive games prior to the Game Two debacle, went on an 8-0 run (built around fielders by big boy Aldrico Dy and Nathan Tan and a triple by Jullen Salud) to grab a 12-11 lead.

    After Rafael Pangilinan regained the lead for PCC, 13-12, MGC-NLCA netted the quarter’s final nine points (on a pair of baskets by Dy, a three-point play by Joshua Uang and free throws by Salud and Ike Jordan Lim) to move ahead, 21-13, after the first 10 minutes.

    Dy chalked up eight points in the first period to offset the poor shooting of Lim, the No. 2 scorer in the Aspi tournament who only had a solitary point and Lee produced eight markers for PCC to make up for the inept offensive play of Michael Manansala, the tournament’s third-leading scorer entering the game, was held scoreless by the suffocating PCC defense.

    Dy came up with three quick fielders as MGC-NLCA maintained a seven-point lead, 27-20. Manansala finally broke into the scoring column with 3:58 left in the second canto on a pair of free throws. This sparked a 7-0 run (including a pair of twinners by Pangilinan) by PCC that deadlocked the count at 27-all.

    Following two charity shots by MGC-NLCA’s Nathan Tan, Lee connected on a third three to give PCC its final taste of the lead, 30-29.

    Split free throws by Lim and Sy pushed MGC-NLCA back on the driver’s seat at halftime, 31-30. The top marksman on both teams, Lim (two, 0-for-5 from the field) and Manansala (four, 1-for-8 from the field) combined for only six points but their respective sidekicks, Dy (14) and Lee (11), totaled 25.

    MGC-NLCA’s Aaron Sy and Manansala exchanged triples to open the third quarter before Lim regained his form with three fielders (including a triple) and the hardworking Dy came up with three field goals as MGC-NLCA established a 49-37 lead

    MGC-NLCA was ahead, 51-39, after the third quarter, and led by at least 11 points throughout the payoff period (the last at 64-53, with a minute remaining following consecutive three-balls by PCC’s Rico Wu).

    Lim got going in the fourth quarter with 11 markers (including a second triple) and wound up with 20 for MGC-NLCA on 6-for-16 field shooting and 6-for-10 free-throw clip. Dy also had 20 points (all in the first three quarters) and hauled down 14 rebounds for a double-double. Sy added eight scores (including 5-of-10 from the charity stripes) and six reebies and Nathan Tan had six points and 11 caroms.

    Manansala, on the other hand, failed to score in double digits for the first time in 12 appearances as he netted a measly seven points on 2-of-14 field shooting. Manansala, who scored 29 points in Game Two, was blanked in the fourth quarter.

    Lee had 16 points to pace the runner-up Seagulls, whose players cried unabashedly after the loss. Wu finished with a dozen markers, Pangilinan totaled eight (plus seven boards and three steals) and burly Anson Tan had six points (none in the final quarter) and five reebies.

    To recap, Saint Jude Catholic School took the championships in the Developmental Division (for players age 11 and under) and Juniors Division (Boys High School); Uno High School, this year’s host, snared the Ladies Division (Girls High School) diadem; and MGC-NLCA romped away with the Aspirants Division crown for boys age 13 and under.

    Philippine Cultural College will be the host in PCYAA Season Three.
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    Philippine Basketball
  2. 2nd PCYAA Basketball: Saint Jude Sweeps Jubilee, Snares Juniors Title

    Exactly 427 days after losing to Uno High School in a Juniors Division finals rubber match via an endgame collapse, redemption for Saint Jude Catholic School finally came in the 2nd Philippine Ching Yuen Athletic Association (PCYAA) basketball competitions at the Uno High School Gym in Tondo, Manila.

    Along with the joyful 11-0 ride, the King Judenite atoned for his so-so effort in the opener of the best-of-three finals with a scintillating performance in the series clincher to become a champion in his farewell game as a high school player.

    The Judenites whitewashed Jubilee Christian Academy, 77-48, Tuesday night (February 20) in the series-clinching Game Two of their best-of-three finals to romp away with the Juniors Division crown in PCYAA Season 2.

    Unlike the series opener when they struggled to register a come-from-behind 65-59 win, Coach Luis Nolasco’s troops gave up only the game’s first six points (on baskets by Lance Tan, Paolo Lim and Kurt Ang) before stepping up their swarming pressure defense and detonating a 10-0 bomb, which was built around on a twinner by SJCS meal ticket Renzel Yongco, five points by Earl See (including a triple) and a three-point play by Daniel Pua, for a 10-6 lead with 4:09 left in the first 10-minute quarter.

    Saint Jude never trailed thereafter, enjoying a 19-11 advantage at one quarter’s end and a 35-25 edge at halftime as Yongco netted 13 markers, including eight (one triple) in the second period. His counterpart, speedy Paolo Lim, also chalked up 13 scores but nine (in 13 attempts) of them came from the foul line.

    Whatever hopes for a comeback by JCA were squashed quickly when SJCS opened the third canto with a 16-0 blast, including two triples and 10 points from Yongco, for a commanding 51-25 edge before Ang stopped the bleeding with a trifecta for JCA with 5:40 remaining in the quarter.
    A basket by Maynard Yap and a three-point play by Yongco propelled the Judenites to a 56-28 lead (double that of JCA’s tally) at the 4:39 mark.
    Yongco’s 13 points helped SJCS take a 60-37 after three quarters as JCA’s top two scorers Lim and John Miko Cheng went scoreless during the stretch.

    JCA came within 22, 62-40, after Lim completed a three-point play with 8:03 remaining but Yongco clustered five straight points (including his fourth and final triple) for a 67-40 edge.

    The Judenites enjoyed their largest lead of 30 points twice – 75-45 and 77-47.

    Yongco, one of top prospects for college ball in July, shot 11-of-22 from the field and was 5-of-5 from the foul line for 31 points along with six steals and five rebounds – a huge turnaround for the King Judenite after a sub-par Game One when he went 4-for-22 from the field and 5-for-13 from the charity stripes to get his 14 points.

    See, a graduating senior like Yongco, got a pair of triples and 17 points (eight in the payoff quarter) along with seven reebies. The energetic Pua registered a double-double with 13 points and 18 rebounds and also blocked four enemy missiles. Yap totaled eight scores, nine reebies, three blocks and three steals.

    Jubilee, which finished its season with a 7-4 mark for second-place honors, was led by Lim’s 17 points, eight boards, five steals and two assists. Cheng produced five steals but was held to nine markers on a 2-of-13 field clip and a 5-of-8 free-throw shooting. Like Cheng, Tan labored to secure his seven points although he was active off the glass with nine boards.

    Meanwhile, defending titlist Philippine Cultural College forced a deciding Game Three in the Aspirants Division finals with a stunning 75-67 victory over erstwhile unblemished Makati Gospel Church-New Life Christian Academy Friday night (February 20).

    The rubber match will be played on Sunday afternoon (February 22, 4:00 p.m.), also at the Uno HS Gym.

    Following the second of two deadlocks at 17-all (the first was 15-all), PCC, which dropped a 59-57 verdict in the series opener, scored the final seven points in the first quarter to grab a 24-17 advantage. During the period, Seagulls star Michael Manansala went 4-for-6 from the field and chalked up three triples and 11 points.

    PCC took the half, 36-32, on Manansala’s 13 markers as Ike Jordan Lim, the meal ticket of MGC-NLCA struggled mightily with a measly seven points – one less than Shane Tan’s eight.

    MGC-NLCA came within five points, 43-38, on a Lim twinner but Manansala ended third-quarter hostilities with a basket for a 54-45 PCC lead. Manansala had his fourth triple and scored seven points during the third canto.

    A Manansala steal and layup gave PCC a 70-51 lead, time down to 4:36. MGC-NLCA, however, was not done yet even if the deficit was sizeable and time was not on its side. Down 72-53, the boys of coaches Wilson Ngo and ...
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    Philippine Basketball
  3. 2nd PCYAA Basketball: Saint Jude, MGC-NLCA Seek Titles

    Unblemished Saint Jude Catholic School goes for the jugular when it takes on Jubilee Christian Academy on Friday, February 20 (7:00 p.m.), in Game Two of the best-of-three final s of the Juniors Division in the 2nd Philippine Ching Yuen Athletic Association (PCYAA) basketball competitions at the Uno High School Gym in Tondo, Manila.

    SJCS captured the series opener last Tuesday (February 17) with a come-from-behind 65-59 decision over JCA. It was the Mendiola-based school’s 10th consecutive victory in the six-week, eight-school tourney.

    An upset was brewing all night as the Judenites, who were ahead, 39-33, at the half behind Earl See’s 12 points and Maynard Yap’s 11, uneasily found themselves trailing by eight points, 52-44, after three quarters. JCA’s Paolo Lim and John Miko Cheng were sizzling hot with 20 points each by the time.

    In contrast, SJCS was limited to a measly five markers (to JCA’s 19, all by Lim and Cheng) during the third canto and the team’s meal ticket Renzel Yongco struggled mightily with a second straight scoreless quarter.

    However, Yongco came up with the magic potion and willed his team to a comeback win by knocking in 10 points in the payoff quarter, including a dagger triple that stretched the Judenites’ lead to six with barely two minutes remaining.

    Saint Jude banked on its patented pressure defense to open the final 10-minute quarter. This befuddled JCA and by halfway through the period, it was dead-even. Jubilee wound up with just seven points (a combined three from Lim and Cheng) to the Judenites’ 21. Cramps also took its toll on JCA’s Big Three of Lim, Cheng and big man Lanz Tan due to the heavy minutes played and this became a pivotal factor in the team’s meltdown at crunchtime.

    See led the Judenites with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. Yongco and Yap churned out identical numbers in points (14) and rebounds (12) for a double-double each. Yap also collected six of SJCS’ eight steals. Matthew Ang totaled eight points (all in the first half) and Daniel Pua tallied all his six points in the fourth quarter while also hauling down seven boards.

    For JCA, Lim finished with 22 points and nine rebounds, Cheng netted 21 points and four reebies, and Tan grabbed 17 rebounds but was held to just five scores on 2-of-12 field shooting and 1-of-10 free-throw clip. Big man Perry Go had 12 boards, four points and three blocks for the losing outfit.

    If JCA takes Game Two, a decisive third game will be played on Sunday, February 22 (6:00 p.m.)

    Meanwhile, Makati Gospel Curch-New Life Christian Academy looks to a complete an 11-0 season when it tangles with defending champion Philippine Cultural College on Friday (5:30 p.m.) in Game Two of their best-of-three titular showdown in the Aspirants Division for players age 13 and under.

    MGC-NLCA won the series opener, 59-57.

    Should the PCC Seagulls turn the tables around in Game Two, a third game would be staged on Sunday, February 22 (4:00 p.m.).

    During the semifinals, top seed MGC-NLCA downed fourth seed Jubilee Christian Academy and second-seeded Philippine Cultural College defeated third-seeded Saint Jude Catholic School. MGC-NLCA and PCC were armed with a twice-to-beat advantage but made short work of their respective opponents.
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    Philippine Basketball
  4. Slim Pickings

    With a longer offseason thanks to the change in the academic calendar for many schools, more interest has been shown to both the high school and grade school basketball tournaments (such as the ongoing UAAP Juniors season) and the developmental tournaments like the ongoing Fr Martin Cup Open Division.

    I've had occasion to watch several of these games either by myself or with other hardcore hoop nuts. May I just say our conclusions are pretty common: there really isn't much eye-popping, game-changing, obviously-elite talent out there.

    Two weekends ago I watched the Fr Martin Cup at San Beda along with GFY and Kid Cubao. I swear to all that is holy that there was maybe one or two players there that caught our attention. There was this one kid, wore Number 15 for UE, who was shooting very well against Perpetual Help. I think Number 15 nailed like four straight three-pointers, and he was making them as jumpshots, not set shots. But that was about all this kid was good at, and he may have had a good shooting day.

    There were also imports for most teams, with Perpetual's 6'5" banger Akouthe Bright, and his sidekick 6'6" pogo stick John Eze standing out. Mapua had a lean 6'7" import who was also very athletic, but he wasn't very skilled.

    All told there simply was not much to be excited about.

    This is in direct contrast to the era some eight or ten years ago when the Fr Martin Cup had the likes of Bonbon Custodio, Mark Borboran, Pong Escobal, Sudan Daniel, Orly Daroya, Mark Fampulme, RR Garcia, Pipo Nuondou, Zion Laterre, Nonoy Baclao, Ronnie Bughao, Chito Jaime, Calvin Abueva, Norbert Torres, Mark Barroca, Aldrech Ramos, Reil Cervantes, Mac Baracael seeing action.

    In this current crop of Fr Martin players, minus the imports, I was hard pressed to find any player who looked elite.

    Over in the major high school leagues it is more of the same. Again some eight to ten years back there were a lot of very good high school players. Keith Agovida, Louie Vigil, Arvie Bringas, Ryan Buenafe, Eric Salamat, Paul Lee, Almond Vosotros, Jamil Ortuoste, Nico Salva, LA Revilla, Baser Amer, Arthur Dela Cruz, Ponso Gotladera, Mike Pate, Martin and Mikee Reyes, Arnold Van Opstal, Gwyne Capacio, Ael Banal, Kiefer Ravena, Kyle Neypes, Kevin Ferrer, Kevin Alas, Roi Sumang, Oda Tampus, Glenn Khobuntin, Ken Acibar, Mike Tolomia, Russell Escoto, Terrence Romeo, Jeron and Justin Teng, Justin Chua, Joseph Eriobu, Gelo Alolino, were all priority recruits and/or RP Youth mainstays.

    Over the last two years high school superstars came few and far between, and they certainly were a far cry from the high school stars that preceded them. Currently the best high school player in Metro Manila, and probably the only one good enough to play right away in college is 5'7" guard JV Gallego of Chiang Kai Shek.

    It seems we are in some sort of talent recession era, and it does not look like there will be any end to it soon.

    Imports and Filipino-foreigners seem to be the priority now, and with the soon-to-be-implemented import ban, getting real talents will prove to be even more challenging.

    It seems even the provincial well has not produced that many instant-impact, elite-level players. FEU's Mac Belo emerged as a bona fide star this season, but was mostly a scrub in the two seasons prior. Don Trollano needed all of four years to emerge this season as well, and his emergence might have more to do with the middling roster of his Adamson Falcons, where he got every opportunity to shine. Lord only knows how long guys like 6'5" Daryl Pascual, and 6'7" KMark Carino will take to realize their full potential.

    This is when the decision of Filipino-American talent to stay in the US is even more felt. Since 2012, the likes of 6'10" Aaron Rodenas, 6'8" Brandon Rosser (younger brother of TNT's Matt Ganuelas), 6'7" Keith Datu, and 6'8" Troy Rike, and 6'6" Jamie Orme have all decided to stay put and try their luck in American colleges. Rosser and Datu are not even in mid-major programs.

    Filipino-Australian Jordan Heading seemed at least 99% sure of coming to the UAAP via the Ateneo, until he decided he'd try his luck with a US Division II school instead.

    College basketball is dependent solely on recruitment to get talent. You can't really go out there and hire talent. Yes, all of these "compensation packages" for superstar recruits is getting out of hand, but I will save that for another discussion. The point simply is that even with the most generous offers out there, there does not seem to be a recruit who will come in immediately and literally change the game.
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  5. 2nd PCYAA Ladies Division: Uno Belles Complete Perfect Season

    Host Uno High School pulverized Saint Jude, 81-22, Saturday morning (February 14) in the Ladies Division finals of the 2nd Philippine Ching Yuen Athletic Association (PCYAA) basketball competitions at the Uno High School Gym in Tondo, Manila to secure the championship and complete a perfect 11-0 season.

    The Lady Uneans, who needed only to beat the Lady Judenites to capture the Girls High School crown by virtue of their frontrunning 10-0 ledger during the double-round elimination phase, raced to a 30-2 lead after the first 10-minute quarter and never looked back.

    Uno was ahead, 50-7, at halftime and entered the fourth canto with an insurmountable 73-16 advantage.

    Four belles scored in double digits for UHS – Gianelle Nerys Taguibao, 27 points; Vivian Chua, 16; Gelsey Nikka Taguibao, 11; and Jodie Erika Yu, 10. Roxyanne Paulizette Liao added six points for the winning team.

    Saint Jude was bannered by Janelle Abigail Co and Alyssa Louise Tan, who each tallied six points. The Judenites had earlier beaten Jubilee Christian Academy, 57-51, in a playoff to claim the second finals berth.
    X X X
    2nd PCYAA Aspirants: Top 4 Seeds Enter Semis
    By Henry L. Liao

    And then there were four.

    The top four seeds in the PCYAA Aspirants Division advanced to the Final Four after making short work of their quarterfinal opponents Saturday afternoon (February 14).

    Armed with twice-to-beat advantages in the quarter finals, unbeaten and top-seeded Makati Gospel Church-New Life Christian Academy clobbered winless and No. 8-seeded Saint Peter the Apostle School, 74-33; No. 2 seed and defending champion Philippine Cultural College knocked off No. 7 seed Grace Christian College, 79-50; No. 3 seed Saint Jude Catholic School ousted No. 6 seed Uno High School, 56-41; and No. 4 seed Jubilee Christian Academy downed No. 5 seed Pace Academy, 63-59.

    Five players scored at least eight points for MGC-NLCA – Aldrico Dy, 10; Joshua Uang, 9; Darren Lim, 9; Pierre Dino, 8; and McNeil Si, 8. Ike Jordan Li, the team’s scoring leader with a tournament second-best 23.3-point average, showed up for the game but was kept on the bench.
    Jherome Siy topscored for SPAS with 11 markers.

    Philippine Cultural College, the reigning titlist in the Aspi Division for players age 13 and under, had a grand time against Grace Christian College after a close first quarter where the Seagulls were up by just one point, 14-13. It outscored GCC, 23-12, in the second period to grab a 37-25 lead at the half and then bamboozled its rival, 25-13, in the third to take a commanding 62-38 advantage as PCC hotshot Michael Manansala netted 10 of his game-high 18 points during the stretch.

    PCC, whose only loss so far have come at the hands of MGC-NLCA, produced two other double-digit scorers besides Manansala – Rico Wu, 12; and Art Tong 10 (including a pair of triples). Romar Lee contributed nine points and Rafael Pangilinan and Bryan Gadingan each chalked up eight.

    For Grace Christian, Michael Claver was highest point-producer with 12. Marcus Nathan Lu, the third-leading scorer in the tournament with 17.6-point clip, was held to nine.

    Saint Jude was pushed to the limit by Uno High School, owning just a three-point lead , 44-41, with four minutes left before it scored the game’s final 12 points built around Josiah Filipino’s five points (two free throws and a triple), a Kiefe Chu fielder, a Winston Ongchan triple and a Martin Ang basket to finish off the Uneans.

    Ongchan finished with 13 points (11 of them in the second half) for the Judenites. Filipino was also in double figures with `11 points (two triples and eight points in the final 4:15). Chu contributed nine markers and Kevin Dela Cruz had eight (including two three-pointers).

    Justin Matthew Vistan and Warren Tan chalked up 14 and 13 points, respectively for Uno. Vistan nailed four triples.

    Jubilee Christian Academy walked the tightrope before squeezing past a hard-fighting Pace Academy outfit. The Pacers were up by nine points, 23-14, after Dean Ong opened the second quarter with a basket.

    But JCA put together a 12-0 run, spiked by an eight-point blast by Kyle Nathan Barraza, to grab the lead for the first time, 24-21.
    Halftime score was 29-all and JCA was up by one, 43-42, at the end of the third period on a Barraza twinner.

    Pace last led at 50-48 on Ong’s two freebies with 5:24 left. Ong knocked in a banking three-ball with 8.7 ticks remaining as the Pacers trimmed their deficit to two, 61-59. However, Barraza sealed the deal with two charity shots with 7.6 seconds left on the game clock.

    Barraza wound up with 32 points (on 12-for-29 field shooting) and 20 rebounds. Barraza, who leads ...
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    Philippine Basketball
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