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  1. KING CALOY" BOOK LAUNCHED

    Caloy Loyzaga, undisputedly the greatest Filipino basketball player ever, in is town for the formal launching of the “King Caloy” on March 20 at the San Beda College chapel in Mendiola.
    *
    The book, which consists over 100 pages, features various stories on Loyzaga throughout his brilliant cage career.*
    *
    Loyzaga, who turns 83 on August 29, migrated to Australia during the eighties.* He played varsity ball at San Beda College during his heyday, propelling the Red Lions to four championships during the 1950s – National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) titles in 1951, 1952 and 1955 and the National Open crown in 1951, which was then the biggest plum in local basketball.
    *
    A bull-strong 6-3, 200-pound center in his prime, Loyzaga spanned an era that contributed in no small measure to the huge popularity currently enjoyed by the game among the Filipinos.
    *
    If there is a singular personality responsible for enhancing the mass appeal of any sport in his country, he would be Loyzaga, known as “The Big Difference,” “The Great Difference” and “King Caloy” during his time.
    *
    Loyzaga was a rarity in that he could play all three positions – center, forward and guard – with equal efficiency.* But it was at center that Caloy was most recognized – a tough, deadly and graceful slotman who sowed terror in the heart of his adversaries.
    *
    Loyzaga was a dominant force even at the commercial/post-graduate level, latching on with the fabled Yco Athletic Club in 1954 after powering PRATRA and PRISCO to the National Open championship in 1950 and 1953, respectively.* With Yco, he helped the Redshirts/Painters put together a 49-game winning streak from 1954 to 1956.* Loyzaga took over as the commercial club’s head coach after hanging up his jersey in 1964.
    *
    Loyzaga subsequently became the national team mentor.* He piloted the gold medal-winning PH “Dirty Dozen” team in the 1967 Seoul Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) tournament (now known as the FIBA Asia Championship) and the 1968 Mexico Olympics squad.
    *
    Loyzaga also took a crack at local politics at the height of his popularity, winning as a councilor in the City of Manila, before migrating to Australia for a job with a security agency.
    *
    Talking about Loyzaga is like leafing through the pages of the sport’s golden era in the Philippines.
    *
    And much of Caloy’s greatness can be gleaned from his stunning performances in the international front.
    *
    Under the baton of Loyzaga, the Filipinos never lost an Asian basketball title during the 1950s and early 1960s, coming up with six gold medals in as many continental competitions – four in the Asian Games, 1951-1954-1958-1962, and two in the ABC tournament, 1960-1963.
    *
    The Philippines also grabbed the bronze medal during the 1954 Rio de Janeiro World Basketball Championship as Loyzaga earned a slot on the five-man All-Tournament Team with a tournament third-leading 16.4-point average.
    *
    Believe it or not, the Philippines never once registered a losing record during Loyzaga’s 10 international stints (including Olympic appearances in Helsinki in 1952 and in Melbourne in 1956 and a second World Basketball Championship in Santiago, Chile in 1959).
    *
    The Filipinos compiled a 58-14 win-loss mark overall, including 41-3 in Asian-level competitions, during the Loyzaga era.
    *
    Wonder no more why Loyzaga is the greatest basketball player ever produced by the Philippines.
    *
  2. 2013 MMTLBA: REDEMPTION FOR HCHS JUNIORS

    For 20 long years, Hope Christian High School went through one losing season after another in the Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association competitions, once dropping 22 consecutive games at one stretch (2006-09).* Even when it finally reached the Finals in 2011 and 2012, it faltered each time.
    *
    Last February 28, redemption came – sweet and nice.
    *
    Before a capacity crowd at the Chiang Kai Shek College Gymnasium, Hope Christian HS exorcised the ghosts of the past by capturing its first Tiong Lian Juniors Division crown since 1993 with a hard-earned 62-55 victory over perennial powerhouse Xavier School in the deciding Game Three of the best-of-three Finals of the 43rd MMTLBA BonChon Chicken tournament.
    *
    Hardworking guard Arjan Dela Cruz was simply unstoppable, shooting 10-for-16 from the field, including 2-for-4 from beyond the arc, for a career-high 29 points. He also collected 11 rebounds, three assists, four steals and one block in 37 minutes. Deservedly so, Dela Cruz earned Player of the Game honors.
    *
    Dela Cruz was ably supported by another backcourter, Mark Nuñez, who knocked in three triples (in six attempts) for a series-best 15 markers, and burly center John Apacible, who tallied only seven points but grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds and blocked three enemy missiles.
    *
    The 6-foot-4 Apacible was in double figures in rebounds in each of the three-game titular series, going 19, 13 and 15 for a 15.7 norm.* He also averaged 9.0 points and 1.67 blocks during the series to capture the Tiong Lian Finals Most Valuable Player award.
    *
    Jollo Go, HCHS’s scoring leader for the season with a 13.2-point average, was a non-factor in Game Three with just five points on 2-for-13 floor shooting, including 0-for-6 from the three-point area.* In the first and second games, Go had 23 and 12 points, respectively.
    *
    Meanwhile, Xavier School’s 1-2 scoring punch Kyles Lao and Jarrell Lim struggled mightily in the finale with a combined 6-for-31 (.194) field shooting..* The law of averages caught up with Lao, the tournament’s No. 1 point-producer with a 25.8 clip in 13 appearances, as he was held to a “silent” 18 points on a horrendous 5-for-20 from the field after chalking up 33 and 31 points on a combined .583 (21-for-36) floor shooting in the first two games.
    *
    Lao’s sidekick, Lim, scored a measly six points for the second time in the Finals (the first was in the series opener) on an anemic 1-for-11 floor clip.* For the season, the junior guard averaged 12.7 ppg.
    *
    And for the second time in the series, the Golden Stallions dug themselves a hole too big to overcome as they trailed by as much as 18 points (44-26) midway through the third quarter before trimming the deficit to four, 55-51, at the 5:54 mark of the payoff period.*
    *
    Despite Xavier School’s Finals debacle, a Golden Stallion picked up the regular Tiong Lian MVP award for a fifth consecutive year.* This year it was the 6-foot Lao, a senior who reportedly is being wooed by Ateneo for its 2013 UAAP campaign.* He follows in the footsteps of brothers Jeric Teng (2009) and Jeron Teng (an unprecedented three-time winner in 2010, 2011 and 2012).
    *
    The MMTLBA also announced the Most Outstanding Student Athlete for each of the six member schools.
    *
    They were Apacible, Lao, Pierce Chan of host St. Stephen’s High School, Karl Billan of St. Jude Catholic School and Rodney Gonzales of Grace Christian College.* Gonzales topped the tournament in rebounding for the second straight season.
    *
  3. HOPE CHRISTIAN HS CAPTURES MMTLBA JUNIORS TITLE

    DATE
    February 28, 2013
    *
    VENUE
    Chiang Kai Shek College Gymnasium
    *
    RESULT
    Juniors Finals, Game 3
    *
    Hope Christian High School 62 – Xavier School 55
    Quarter Scores:* 17-11, 34-18, 48-39, 62-55
    (HCHS wins best-of-three Finals, 2-1)
    *
    STATISTICS
    *
    HCHS
    Arjan Dela Cruz (29 points, 10-of-16 FGA, 2-of-4 3FGA, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 1 block), Mark Nuñez (15 points in 14 minutes off the bench, 5-of-11 FGA, 3-of-6 3FGA, 1 rebound and 2 steals), John Apacible (7 points, 15 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 blocks), Jollo Go (5 points, 2-of-13 FGA, 0-of-6 3FGA, 3 rebounds and 2 assists), James Galoso (2 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist), Leo Guion (2 points, 5 rebounds. 2 assists and 1 steal), Jobert Mercado (2 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal), Jeffrey Siybauco (0 point), Lerwin Yap (0 point), Jomari Tubiano (0 point and 4 rebounds) and Kenneth Sumalacay (0 point, 2 rebounds and 1 assist).
    *
    XS
    Kyles Lao (18 points, 5-of-20 FGA, 8-of-9 FTA, 3 rebounds and 3 assists), Anton Lapez (9 points, 3-of-9 FGA, 2-of-8 3FGA, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 1 steal), Tyler Tio (6 points, 3-of-10 FGA and 4 rebounds), Jarrell Lim (6 points, 1-of-11 FGA, 4 rebounds and 2 assists), Donald Felbaum (4 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists), Isaac Go (4 points, 2-of-7 FGA, 14 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block), Gian Go (3 points, 1-of-6 FGA, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block), Paolo Susmerano (2 points and 1 rebound), Louis Cu (2 points and 2 rebounds), Jacob Ejercito (1 point, 1 rebound and 1 assist), Mark Chan (0 point and 2 rebounds) and Luis Fernando (0 point).
    *
    TEAM STATS
    *
    HCHS – 22-of-63 FGA (.349), 5-of-17 3FGA (.294), 13-of-25 FTA (.520)
    XS –****** 18-of-71 FGA (.254), 2-of-14 3FGA (.143), 17-of-24 FTA (.70
    *
    HCHS – 54 rebounds, 13 assists, 8 steals, 4 blocks, 22 turnovers
    XS –****** 44 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 16 turnovers
    *
    NOTESFor the first time since 1993, Hope Christian High School grabbed the Juniors crown in its third straight Finals stint.* HCHS coach Steve Tiu earned his third championship (1983/1993/2013) as HCHS coach and fourth overall, having led the school to the crown as a player in 1981 … HCHS guard Arjan Dela Cruz saved his best for last with a career-high 29 points, playing the fireman’s role each time Xavier School came dangerously close.* He completed a three-point play to give HCHS a 52-44 edge at the 8:23 mark when the Golden Stallions came within five points, 49-44, on an Anton Lapez triple.* After XS closed the gap to four, 55-51, for a second time in the fourth quarter on a Tyler Tio jumper (XS also trailed 52-44 earlier but Mark Nuñez connected on his third trifecta for a 55-48 HCHS edge), Dela Cruz knocked in four straight points (a basketball and a pair of free throws) to lift HCHS to a 59-51 advantage, time down to 3:49 … Dela Cruz earned BonChon Player of the Game honors … Just like when it trailed by as much as 21 points (56-35) midway through the third quarter of Game One, Xavier School got off to a slow start – leading just thrice, 2-0 on a Gian Go fielder, 4-3 on a Kyles Lao* jumper and 6-4 on another Lao twinner – and dug itself too big a hole to overcome …* Following deadlocks at 4-4 and 6-6, HCHS zoomed ahead with a 7-0 blast to move ahead, 13-6.* It never trailed thereafter and held its largest lead of 18 points thrice – 33-15 late in the first quarter following a 9-0 run; 36-18 to open the third quarter; and 44-26 at the 5:14 mark of the third period on Dela Cruz’s jumper … The Golden Stallions rallied with eight unanswered points to come within 10, 44-34, on back-to-back baskets by 6-7 Isaac Go, with 1:39 left in the third quarter.* But Dela Cruz sandwiched a Louis Cu fielder with a pair of baskets to restore order for Hope Christian, 48-34 … Jobert Mercado scored on an undergoal stab for his only points in the game with 1:23 remaining as HCHS built a 61-53 lead … Only Dela Cruz and Nuñez scored in twin digits for HCHS.* Baby-faced John Apacible only registered only seven points but grabbed 15 boards and blocked three enemy missiles.* Apacible was named Tiong Lian Finals Most Valuable Player with averages of 9.0 ppg, 15.7 rpg and 1.67 bpg in the three-game series.* He was in double figures in rebounds each time (19, 13 and 15) … No rebounds, no championships – HCHS lived up to the slogan by topping XS in the rebounding race, 54-44 … In Game Three, the law of average caught up with Kyles Lao, the tournament’s leading scorer with a 25.8-point clip in 13 assignments this season.* The 6-foot Lao made 33 and 31 points (over a 32.0 average) on .583 (21-of-36) FG shooting in the first two games of the titular series.* But in Game Three, he had a silent 18 points on a porous 5-fo-20 shooting, including 3-for-12 in the first half when XS was a measly 5-of-35 (.143) from the floor as ...
  4. XS, HCHS CLASH FOR MMTLBA JUNIORS CROWN

    The deciding Game Three of the best-of-three Juniors Division Finals in the 43rd Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association BonChon Chicken tournament between Xavier School and Hope Christian High School will be held today, February 28, at the Chiang Kai Shek College Gymnasium.

    Hope Christian High School is bidding to end a 20-year title drought while Xavier School is looking to regain its lofty status with a fifth championship in six years.

    Hope Christian HS took the series opener with a 74-66 decision, leading by as much as 21 points (56-35) midway through the third period before staving off a huge rally by the Golden Stallions. HCHS hotshot Jollo Go knocked in seven triples and 23 points and burly center John Apacible registered a double-double with 10 points and 19 boards for coach Steve Tiu’s troops. With XS’s baby-faced 6-7 mastodon Isaac Go in early foul trouble, HCHS easily dominated the boards with a 52-31 rebounding edge. Kyles Lao, the tournament’s No. 1 scorer, chalked up exactly half of Xavier School ’s total output with 33 points as no other player in Gold and Blue uniform hit double figures.

    In Monday’s Game Two where neither side led by more than seven points, Xavier School proved to be a tough nut to crack in the five minutes to register an 80-74 success against HCHS. Following the sixth and final deadlock at 68-68, stocky reserve center Louis Cu, Lao and Paolo Susmerano clustered six consecutive points to propel the Golden Stallions to a 74-68 advantage that it never surrendered thereafter.

    XS guard Anton Lapez knocked in his second three-pointer for a 77-71 lead at the 2:21 mark but his HCHS counterpart Arjan Dela Cruz answered back with a trifecta of his own 23 ticks later to cut the deficit to three points, 77-74, with 1:58 remaining. Rookie mentor Jerome Oliva’s forces finished off the title-hungry HCHS team with three free throws from Isaac Go and Jarrell Lim.

    Lao once again topscored for the Golden Stallions with 31 points. He shot 9-of-16 from the field and was 13-of-13 from the free throw line, along with five rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes.

    Lim, the missing link in XS’s offensive arsenal in the series opener when he made just six markers, atoned for his lackluster Game One performance with 18 points, including 16 in the first half. Isaac Go, who only had six points and four boards in the series-opening debacle, contributed seven and 10 this time, including five rebounds in the payoff quarter, for XS, whose 26 field goals came off 20 assists.

    Just like in Game One, HCHS’s share-the-offensive-wealth strategy produced five double-digit scorers in the second game. Dela Cruz was tops with 16 points, Jobert Mercado had 15 off the bench and Jollo Go totaled a dozen despite a forgettable 4-for-17 floor effort (including 2-of-13 from three-point territory). Leon Guion added 10 points and Apacible posted a second straight double-double with 10 markers and 13 rebounds.

    Hope Christian High School attempted just 16 times from the charity stripes and made 11 while Xavier School went 24-for-31 from the same area. Both schools grabbed 37 rebounds each.

    * * *

    Here are some Finals notes.

    + Jose (Jollo) Go IV, Hope Christian High School’s scoring leader this season with a 13.9-point clip, is pacing the Tiong Lian tournament in three-pointers made with 36 triples in 12 appearances, or an average of three a game. He collected at least one trifecta in 10 of his 12 assignments, missing out only in both encounters against 2012 titlist Chiang Kai Shek College .

    In contrast, Xavier School ’s Kyles Lao, the tournament’s No. 1 scorer with a 26.5 average, is 1-for-19 from the three-point area this season.

    + Xavier School ’s Gian and Isaac Go are bidding to become the first set of brothers in the league to play on a championship unit since Jeric and Jeron Teng of the Golden Stallions in 2009.

    + Only one team in Tiong Lian history has reached the Finals thrice in a row without winning a championship – the defunct Uno High School in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Today, Hope Christian HS hopes to avoid joining Uno High School with the futility record.
  5. 2013 MMTLBA JUNIORS FINALS: XS BEATS HCHS, FORCES GAME 3

    VENUE
    Chiang Kai Shek College Gymnasium

    DATE
    February 25, 2013

    RESULT
    Finals Game 2

    Xavier School 80 – Hope Christian High School 74 (series tied, 1-1)
    Quarter Scores: 18-14, 30-38, 54-55, 80-74

    STATISTICS

    XS
    Kyles Lao (31 points, 9-of-16 FGA, 13-of-13 FTA, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal), Jarrell Lim (18 points, including 16 in the first half, 6-of-11 FGA, 5-of-8 FTA, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal), Gian Go (7 points and 3 rebounds), Isaac Go (7 points, 3-of-8 FGA, 10 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks), Anton Lapez (6 points, 2-of-4 3FGA, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal), Paolo Susmerano (4 points, 1 rebound and 2 assists), Jacob Ejercito (1-of-1 3FGA, 1 rebound and 1 steal), Tyler Tio (2 points and 1-of-1 FGA), Louis Cu (2 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist), Donald Felbaum (0 point and 3 rebounds), Mark Chan (0 point and 1 rebound) and Luis Fernando (0 point).

    HCHS
    Arjan Dela Cruz (16 points, 7-of-14 FGA, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 7 turnovers), Jobert Mercado (15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals), Jollo Go (12 points, 4-of-17 FGA, 2-of-13 3FGA. 1 rebound, 1 assist and 1 steal), John Apacible (10 points, 5-of-7 FGA, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks), Leo Guion (10 points, 3-of-9 FGA, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals), Mark Nuñez (5 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal), Jeffrey Siybauco (3 points), Kenneth Sumalacay (2 points), Jomari Tubiano (1 point, 4 rebounds and 1 block) and James Galoso (0 point and 2 rebounds).

    Team Statistics:

    XS 26-of-53 FGA (.491), 4-of-8 3FGA (.500), 24-of-31 FTA (.774), 37 rebounds
    HCHS 29-of-72 FGA (.403), 5-of-19 3FGA (.263), 11-of-16 FTA (.68, 37 rebounds

    XS 20 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks, 24 turnovers, 28 points off 22 HCHS turnovers
    HCHS 12 assists, 9 steals, 3 blocks, 22 turnovers, 22 points off 24 XS turnovers

    NOTES
    The decisive Game Three of the best-of-three Juniors Finals will be played on Thursday, February 25 … Xavier School has been involved in each of the last four Finals that went the maximum three-game route – vs. St. Stephen’s High School (1-2) in 2005, vs. Chiang Kai Shek College (2-1) in 2008 and vs. Hope Christian High School (2-1) in 2011 and this season … Hope Christian High School is looking to end two decades of futility with a first-ever Juniors crown since 1993 … Xavier School seeks to capture its fifth Juniors crown in six years … Game Two was a game of spurts and the largest lead for either side was seven points… HCHS got off to a 7-0 start, but XS scored the next eight points to go up, 8-7 … HCHS grabbed the upperhand, 12-8, on five consecutive points, including a triple by Jeffrey Siybauco. Jarrell Lim, who tallied a measly six markers in the series opener won by HCHS, 74-66, clustered six straight points and Isaac Go made a basket as XS took the first quarter, 18-14 … HCHS opened the second quarter with another 7-0 run to go up, 21-18 … There were deadlocks at 12-12, 21-21 and 38-38 (after XS had taken a 38-31 lead) before Lim gave XS a slim 40-38 advantage at halftime. Kyles Lao had 17 points in the first 20 minutes (6-of-11 FGA, 5-of-5 FTA) while his sidekick Lim totalled 16 on 6-of-8 field shooting. Jobert Mercado came off the bench to score eight markers for HCHS … XS was ahead 44-38 early in the third quarter when HCHS put together another 7-0 blast on baskets by Mercado, John Apacible and Arjan Dela Cruz to regain the advantage, 45-44 … After Lao scored for the Gold and Blue for a 46-45 lead, Hope Christian knocked in eight consecutive points on fielders by Jollo Go, Mercado, Apacible (four points) to zoom ahead, 53-46. It was still 55-48 when XS finished the third quarter with a 6-0 run to trail by just one point, 55-54, entering the fourth period … Gian Go and Lao each had a pair of free throws as XS regained the upperhand, 58-55. A triple by Jollo Go deadlocked the score at 58-58 and a long two again from Go put HCHS again on the driver’s seat, 60-58 … Just as quickly, Jacob Ejercito surprisingly connected on a three-pointer and Lao had a fielder as the Golden Stallions of rookie mentor Jerome Oliva went up, 63-60 … Mercado equalized the count at 63-63 at the 7:49 mark … Brothers Gian Go and Isaac Go had two free throws and a jumphook, respectively, as Xavier School moved ahead once more, 67-63 … Mark Nuñez connected on a trifecta and following a Gian Go freebie, Dela Cruz forced the sixth and final deadlock of the game, 68-68, time down to 5:17 … Louis Cu scored underneath the basket, Lao made a piar of charity shots and Susmerano completed a fastbreak as Xavier School grabbed a 74-68 advantage at the 3:44 mark … Three free throws by Dela Cruz and Leo Guion closed HCHS’s deficit to three, 74-71, but Anton Lapez knocked in second triple with 2:21 ...
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