Cignal blasts Sta.Lucia away

MALOLOS CITY — Cignal took its sweet time before blasting away Sta. Lucia, 20-25, 25-10, 25-20, 25-10, yesterday in the Belo-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference Saturday at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center here.
Rachel Anne Daquis had an impressive all-around performance while Honey Royse Tubino spearheaded a sizzling run in the deciding set to lift the HD Spikers to an easy triumph in this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Asics, Senoh and Mueller with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
With the win, the HD Spikers have avenged their sorry five-set loss to Petron last Thursday and are now in the third spot with a 2-1 win-loss mark.
Daquis, a fresh recruit from RC Cola-Army, delivered seven kills, three aces and two blocks for 12 points while Tubino finished with 11 markers for the HD Spikers, who fielded their second unit early in the game before veterans like Daquis, Tubino, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Chie Saet restored order in the second and third sets.
In the second match, Foton flirted with disaster before hammering out a 25-19, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24 win over Generika-Ayala.
Dindin Santiago and Gretchel Soltones finished with 19 and 18 points, respectively, for the Tornadoes, who started out slow but caught fire in the crucial stretch of the fourth set to claim the victory.
The HD Spikers and the Tornadoes are now tied at the second spot with a 2-1 win-loss mark behind unbeaten Petron.
The Blaze Spikers, however, are still playing neophyte Cocolife as of press time.
“We managed to cut down our errors unlike last game,” said Cignal coach George Pascua, admitting they cannot afford to relax now as they’re setting their sights on making it to the semifinals in this very short but competitive tournament that also has Gold’s Gym as official fitness partner and UCPB Gen as official insurance provider.
“We have a very good chance of making it to the top three. We just need to work hard and treat each game as if it’s a championship match.”
Daquis said their performance may have been impressive, but they still remain a work in progress.
“We’ve been together for only a month. We’re still working on making some adjustments,” said the comely open spiker, who was named Most Valuable Player of the PSL All-Filipino Conference two years ago.
The HD Spikers emerged with less errors compared to the Lady Realtors, 24-31, while having a huge advantage in the attack points, 50-31, and aces, 9-4.
One of the two new teams this year, the Lady Realtors came out firing in the opening set as 6-foot-1 Lourdes Clemente and hard-hitting Rachel Austero took turns in piercing the defensive blanket of Cignal in the first set.
But after Cignal equalized the match at one set apiece, the fire in the eyes of Sta. Lucia slowly diminished as the HD Spikers turned a 16-all deadlock into a 24-18 lead to capture the third set and gain a sky-high morale entering the fourth.
Clemente finished with eight kills for 10 points while Jonah Sabete had eight kills for the Lady Realtors, who have yet to win in two starts.

Baniqued, Manayon share IronKids honors

SUBIC – Multi-titled Wacky Baniqued went through the wringer before posting his latest triumph while Karen Andrea Manayon scored a breakthrough as they led the winners’ march in the Alaska IronKids Triathlon at Remy Field here yesterday.
Making his move in the 3.2K run, Baniqued beat Clifford Pusing in a pulsating dash to the finish to cop the boys’ 13-14 diadem. Baniqued and Pusing were given identical clockings of 42:31.
“It was my first time to experience racing neck-and-neck here and I’m happy to pull through,” said Baniqued, who had won all his three races in the 2016 Alaska IronKids.
On his final year in the circuit produced and organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. and sponsored by Alaska Milk, Baniqued said he wants to go out with a bang.
“I’m gonna go all out, this being my last year,” he said.
Talisay, Cebu pride Manayon topped the distaff side, submitting a winning time of 48:27 over runner-up Kristana Erica Derrada (51:38) and third placer Angelina Powell (52:57).
“After placing third in Cebu last year, I really worked hard to achieve my goal of winning first place for the first time,” said Manayon, whose previous best was a bronze behind the Borlain sisters in the Cebu race last year.
The Alaska IronKids also served as one of the opening activities for Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 weekend in this former US naval base. After the youngsters showcased their stuff, some of the triathletes joined the Superbods finalists in the Superbods Underpants Run that started and ended at Subic Yacht Club.
Participants ran in their underpants and costumes along a scenic route in the fun run inspired by the tradition at Kona and held as part of Century Tuna’s commitment to promote a fun local tradition that also gives back to the community.
Other IronKids winners were Zedrick James Borja and Moira Frances Erediano in the 11-12, Michael Gabriel Lozada and Kira Ellis in the 9-10, and Gabriel Ethan Gaw and Kyle Enialle Toledana in the 6-8.
Borja clocked 33:18 in winning the boys’ 11-12 while Erediano timed 34:50 in ruling the distaff side. Lozada copped the boys’ 9-10 with 24:26 even as Eliis reigned in the girls’ competition with 25:46. Gaw checked in at 16:18 for the boys’ 6-8 plum while Toledana reached home in 18:45 for the girls’ title.(pr)

Foton smothers Cocolife in three sets

A more experience Foton smothered newcomer Cocolife, 25-16, 25-17, 25-13, yesterday in the Belo-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Veterans Grethcel Soltones and Dindin Manabat led the assault and dictated the tempo early on to lead the Tornadoes to their first win in this prestigious women’s club tournament bankrolled by Mikasa, Senoh, Mueller and Grand Sport with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
A fresh recruit from San Sebastian College, Soltones fired 10 of her 11 points off kills, while Manabat chipped in nine markers for the Tornadoes, who pounced hard on the Asset Managers’ erratic attacks and sluggish floor defense.
The Tornadoes had 40 kills while the Asset Managers had only 19.
Foton also finished with 31 digs while Cocolife had 24 despite the backline presence of Denden Lazaro, the former star libero of Ateneo de Manila who tallied seven receptions.
Foton now fashions a 1-1 win-loss mark after absorbing an opening-day loss to Cignal.
Foton head coach Moro Branislav said they took advantage of the rawness of Cocolife, a new team which was formed by former Ateneo and La Salle players with the core of reigning NCAA champion Arellano University serving as reinforcements.
“Cocolife is a new team. They have good players, but we are more experienced,” said Branislav, the Serbian guru who steered the Tornadoes to the Grand Prix title last year and a ticket to the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship in Kazakhstan in May.
Branislav said he is looking forward to their next match, which is against Generika-Ayala on Saturday, as it would dictate the tempo of this very short tournament that also has UCPB Gen as official insurance provider and Gold’s Gym as official fitness partner.
“Normally, I like to see how our next match, which is against Generika, would go. In my opinion, there are four teams which can make it to the semifinals; Cignal, Petron, Generika and Foton. If we can win over them on Saturday, that will be very interesting.”
Staring at a 0-2 set deficit, the Asset Managers showed some traces of life in the third set as Michele Gumabao and Andrea Marzan delivered a pair of kills to put Cocolife ahead, 6-5.
But that was the last kick by the Asset Managers as the Tornadoes, behind the hot smashes of Soltones and Manabat, took control for a 17-19 advantage en route to the victory that lasted for only 73 minutes.
Former La Salle star Wensh Tiu nailed in six points while Gumabao finished with five markers for the Asset Managers, who fell to 0-2 slate.

Muangkhumsakul rallies, snares Champion Tour crown

TAGAYTAY – Thai Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul charged back from three shots down at the back with a blazing eagle-spiked windup, closing out with a 69 to foil local bet Pauline del Rosario and compatriot Titiya Plucksataporn and capture the ICTSI Champion Tour at Splendido crown by two here yesterday.
Muangkhumsakul eagled No. 10 of Splendido Taal Golf Club and birdied two of the last four holes to sneak from third-to-last flight to the top of the heap at 215 as erstwhile leader Plucksataporn wavered with a 74 and Del Rosario fell short of her own comeback bid with a 68 for 217s.
“I played relatively good. Everything was in place and I’m happy I finally made it,” said Muangkhumsakul, who led in the first round with a 69 but tumbled down with a horrendous 77 in windy Thursday.
But the 18-year-old shotmaker from Bangkok, a consistent Top 5 finisher but never a winner on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf, struck back hard in the last nine holes, her solid four-under 32 netting her the elusive crown worth $15,000, the replica of the check she received from STGC general manager Teboy Javier.
Plucksataporn, who held a two-stroke lead after 36 holes with a gutsy 71, hung tough despite Muangkhumsakul’s eagle on No. 10 with a birdie on the par-5 hole. But she fumbled with bogeys on the next, gave up another stroke on No. 14 and dropped off the lead.
Del Rosario, six behind Plucksataporn at the start of the final round after a disastrous 78 in the second day, mounted a fierce rally in an earlier flight with an eagle on No. 2 then came through with birdies on Nos. 14 and 16 to pull within one of Plucksataporn and Muangkhumsakul, raising hopes for a local victory in the event sponsored by Champion after erstwhile contenders Mia Piccio and Cyna Rodriguez faded one after the other.
But while Plucksataporn cracked under pressure, Muangkhumsakul held sway with clutch birdies, including on the par-3 17th from six feet that gave her a two-shot cushion and all but quashed Del Rosario’s crack for a playoff.
“If not for my 78 in the second round, I could’ve vied for the crown,” rued Del Rosario.
Still, the joint runner-up effort augured well for the rookie pro, who shared the combined $12,000 prize with Plucksataporn. She later vowed to do better when the next ICTSI LPGT leg, also part of the Taiwan LPGA and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., is held next Wednesday (March 15) at Mt. Malarayat.
The locals actually pinned their hopes on Symetra Tour campaigners Piccio and Rodriguez, who moved within two off Plucksataporn after 36 holes. But the former bowed out with a bogey and double bogey on Nos. 7 and 9, respectively, and the latter wilted with a bogey-marred backside 41.
Piccio ended up with a second 75 for joint fifth at 220 with Thai Narisara Kerdrit, who shot a 71, behind fourth placer Korean Kang Ji-won, who matched par 72 for the second straight day for a 219.
“I didn’t get the breaks and missed a lot of putts. Maybe this tournament was not meant for me,” said Piccio, who lost by one to Korean Lee Jeong-hwa here last year.
Yuka Saso took the top amateur honors with a 74 as she finished tied for seventh with Taiwanese Yeh Hsin-ning, who hobbled with a 75, while Taiwanese Lin Tzu-chi fired a 70 and tied Thais Thanuutra Boonraksasat (71) and Punpaka Phuntumabamrung (74) and compatriot Lee Hsin (76) at ninth at 222.
Rodriguez, who had dominated the first three editions of the LPGT backed by ICTSI, BDO, Champion, Custom Clubmakers, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, KZG, Sharp, Summit Mineral Water, Titleist and Event Captain, limped with a 78 and wound up tied with Thai Pimpadsorn Sangkagaro (75) at 223.
Princess Superal made a second 74 for a 225 at joint 19th while Dottie Ardina ended up tied at 33rd after a 74 for a 232.

La Carlota bets out to dominate PPS netfest

Local aces Tracy Llamas and Alexa Milliam hope to ride the momentum of their romp last week as they banner the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala La Carlota leg regional tennis tournament cast at the Lacta Tennis courts in Negros Occidental today (Thursday, March 9).
Llamas and Milliam came away with two victories each in the Roxas City leg of the nationwide circuit with the former eyeing another sweep of the girls’ 16- and 18-and-under crowns and the latter also out to stamp her class in the 12- and 14-U classes of the Group 2 tournament sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and presented by Slazenger.
“While Llamas and Milliam remain the favorites owing to their top form, we also expect a number of reversals this week with a host of others out to prove their worth and earn ranking points,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.
They include Kiana De Asis, Jewel Milliam, Faith Callao and Valerie Desoyo in the top two girls’ divisions while Arian Picaoco, Wendy Galaza, Jufe-ann Cocoy and Jazel Gavituya seek to topple Alexa Milliam in their own side of the event sanctioned by Philta and backed by Asiatraders Corp.
A toss-up also looms in the boys’ side with top seed Karl Baran having his hands full in the 18-U play against the likes of Reyniel Marcellana, Reynan Mahusay and Prince Dimate, while No. 1 Troy Llamas will be up against RJ Dejilla, Jewel Justiniani and Mahusay in the 16-U section of the event serving as the eighth leg of the 54-stage circuit hosted by Mayor Jacky Jalandoni and Vice Mayor Rex Jalando-on.
Khenz Justiniani and Pete Rodriguez, meanwhile, banner the field in the 14-U side which also drew Joshua Raymundo and Kerwin De Asis while Chad Cuizon and Aiz Pacheco will crowd Khenz Justiniani and Kerwin De Asis in the 12-U category.
Cuizon, on the other hand, is the player to beat in the 10-unisex group.
Meanwhile, action shifts back to Mindanao next week with the staging of the Davao leg, another Group 2 tournament, set at the GSIS Tennis Club. For details, call Bobby Mangunay, the PPS-PEPP sports program development director at 0915-4046464.(pr)

Celebs spice up CT Ironman 70.3

A pack of celebrities signed up for the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3, raring to showcase their sporting skills and talent in the premier swim-bike-run event firing off Sunday (March 12) in Subic Bay.
Dingdong Dantes, Drew Arellano, Gerald Anderson, Kim Atienza, Gretchen Fulido and Jake Cuenca, among others, take a break from their busy schedule to compete in relay division side by side with the premier 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run event featuring some of the world’s top and upcoming triathletes.
Dantes, Arellano, Anderson, Atienza and Fulido are regular triathlon campaigners while Cuenca has been drawn into the sport after playing the role of a triathlete in a recent TV show.
The organizing Sunrise Events, Inc. and sponsoring Century Tuna are expecting the third staging of the event to hit close to 1,000 entries after the inaugural run drew 902 and the next attracted 823 participants.
“With triathlon gaining tremendous popularity the last few years, we do expect to lure a record crowd for Century Tuna Ironman’s 70.3 third staging,” said Princess Galura, general manager of SEI.
The CT Ironman 70.3 will actually cap a three-day weekend of fun and competition with a 2GO Bike Service and Expo slated on March 10 and the Alaska Ironkids and the highly popular Century Tuna Superbods: The Underpants Run spicing up the action on March 11.
Great Britain, the US and Australia, noted for their top triathletes, are fielding in 23, 22 and 20 entries, respectively, Singapore has 16, Guam 14, Japan 12, Germany 11 while Switzerland has 10.
Other countries participating in the event presented by Century Bangus, Department of Tourism and Tourism Promotions Board, are Argentina, American Samoa, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Spain, France, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Monaco, Mexico, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Thailand, Uruguay and Vietnam
Last year’s champions Craig Alexander of Australia and Swiss Caroline Steffen are coming back to defend their respective titles with both bracing for a tougher challenge with a slew of rivals raring to foil their bids in the event backed by 2Go Express (official courier and logistics partner), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (venue partner), Acea Subic Bay (host hotel), Manila North Tollways Corp. (bike course partner), Gatorade (official sports drink), Saucony (official footwear and apparel partner) and TYR (official swim cap partner).
Aside from the centerpiece pro and Asian Elite, other titles to be disputed are the 18-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69 and the 70-and-above age categories.(pr)

Stakes are at an all-time when two of the league’s powerhouse squads in Cafe France and Racal clash in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup

Standings W L

* Cignal 7 1

* Cafe France 6 1

* Racal 6 1

* AMA 5 4

* Tanduay 4 3

* JRU 4 4

x Batangas 3 5

x Wangs 3 6

x Victoria 1 7

x Blustar 0 7

* – assured of quarterfinals

x – eliminated

Games Thursday

(Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig)

3 p.m. – Tanduay vs Blustar

5 p.m. – Racal vs Cafe France

Stakes are at an all-time when two of the league’s powerhouse squads in Cafe France and Racal clash in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Thursday ay Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Currently tied at second with their identical 6-1 records and just trailing Cignal-San Beda (7-1) in the team standings, both the Bakers and the Tile Masters part ways as they figure in a key matchup which can decide who will snare the outright semis berth.

Racal coach Jerry Codinera acknowledges that his side has its hands full against Cafe France, saying, “That’s a champion team.”

The PBA great also said that the Tile Masters are coming in as underdogs in the duel, citing the offseason tiff between the two squads where the Bakers made quick work disposing Racal.

“Malakas talaga sila and natalo nila kami sa offseason, but we’ll be ready to make some adjustments. We have players naman na I hope can provide quality support for our leaders,” he said.

Codinera will bank on the trio of Kent Salado, Sidney Onwubere, and Jackson Corpuz for the 5 p.m. showdown.

Cafe France, meanwhile, is just seeking to clean up its act going to the postseason as coach Egay Macaraya eggs his wards to be more consistent on both ends of the floor.

“Di pa rin kami consistent. But the only thing I can hope is for us to have a breakout game because we badly need that dahil parang on and off kami lagi,” he said.

What better way to have that for the Bakers against the Tile Masters, where a win could also inch the victor closer to a top two seat.

“Ang maganda dito is yung destiny, nasa kamay pa rin namin. We have to win our remaining games to hopefully land a spot in the top two,” said Macaraya, as he banks on the leadership of Paul Desiderio, Michael Calisaan, and Rod Ebondo for the game.

The game will immediately follow the 3 p.m. matchup between Tanduay (4-3), which is still in the hunt for a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, and also-ran Blustar (0-7).

Just keeping the sports community posted.