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‘Amin Baco’ could be in Basilan, may recruit more Malaysians

MALAYSIAN MILITANT Amin Baco may be hiding in Basilan and could recruit more Malaysians for attacks in other parts of southern Philippines if he is still alive, a former hostage says. The Philippine authorities were earlier divided on whether Sabahan Amin was still alive and emir of the Islamic State (IS) in Southeast Asia, as claimed by an Indonesian militant captured in the besieged city of Marawi. But the latest statements by the Philippine military indicate that the seasoned terrorist may still be alive and is one of 10 militants who could be the new leader of the terror group’s regional arm. “Amin was definitely one of the leaders during the siege on Marawi,” college teacher Lordvin Acopio, who spent four months in captivity by the pro-IS groups which attacked Marawi, told FMT. “I can’t say how many groups were in Marawi. Amin led one of the groups. “Each group had 10-15 fighters, but the number depended on the size of the area they were guarding. “If Amin is still alive, it’s possible he’ll recruit more Malaysians to join in attack plots in other parts of southern Philippines.” Amin and others were said to be potential candidates to succeed IS’ Southeast Asia emir designate Isnilon Hapilon, who was killed last month in Marawi. Amin, who was from Tawau, was also reported to be an expert bomb-maker, recruiter and facilitator of weapons movement between southern Philippines and the east coast of Sabah. Malaysian counter-terrorism chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay last week revealed Amin was Isnilon’s son-in-law, which caught analysts and experts by surprise. Some analysts said Amin’s family relationship with Isnilon, as well as his leadership position, vast experience and network, could set him apart from the other candidates for the top post. “If Amin is Isnilon’s son-in-law, most probably the IS’ regional leadership position was given to him after Isnilon was killed. The possibility is high,” Lordvin said. In October, FMT broke the news about a Malaysian teenager whom Lordvin had seen fighting troops alongside his militant father in Marawi. FMT withheld the identity of the militant and his son, but last week, Ayob Khan revealed the boy’s name, adding that he was Amin’s son. Lordvin, who was kidnapped on May 23, the first day of the Marawi war, said Amin and his son had access to siege leader Isnilon. “The boy was always at Isnilon’s place if he was not at the frontline fighting with his father,” Lordvin told FMT. “All of us hostages kept getting moved around, but wherever we were held, Isnilon was always in a building nearby and we weren’t allowed to go there. “Not everyone could see Isnilon at his place or command centre unless they were high-ranking militants. “I believe Amin’s son always visited his step-grandfather Isnilon at the command centre to collect firearms or to give situational reports.” Ayob Khan had said last week that Amin’s son was still alive and probably in Basilan, the base of the Abu Sayyaf group led by Isnilon. “If the boy is now in Basilan, then most probably Amin is also there because the duo never left each other’s side in Marawi,” Lordvin said. “In fact, intelligence reported by the Philippine media says militants are planning attacks there and elsewhere as revenge for the loss of their caliphate in Marawi. “Many relatives of those militants killed in Marawi are said to be doing recruitments now.” More than 1,000 people, mostly militants, were killed in the five-month clashes between the authorities and militants who wanted to set up a so-called IS caliphate in the lake city. (By Zam Yusa – Free Malaysia Today) 1,489 total views, 1,489 views today.....»»

Category: newsSource: mindanaoexaminer mindanaoexaminerDec 2nd, 2017

PVL: Long wait worth it for Eya Laure

Eya Laure could’ve been with the University of Sto. Tomas’ seniors team for two years now. One could just imagine where the Tigresses could’ve been in the UAAP with Laure playing alongside her sister EJ and a very passionate Sisi Rondina. Unfortunately, Laure had to stay in high school for two more years following the implementation of the K-12 education system. But the delay was worth the wait for Laure, taking it as a blessing in disguise rather than wasted time.     “Ako kasi since akala ko pagka-Grade 11 and Grade 12 ko makakalaro na ko sa seniors,” said Laure Sunday after UST’s 25-21, 25-12, 25-17 demolition of San Sebastian College in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. “Kaso nu’ng in-announce sa amin ni coach siguro may plan talaga para sa amin si God, na magpe-prepare talaga sa amin kasi may kulang pa samin ni (setter) Maji (Mangulabnan),” added Laure, who scored all her seven points on kills. The additional high school years molded Laure into a better and versatile player. Her achievements in the high school rank made her a sought after recruit. And who will not want a player who has collected a rookie of the year award (Season 75) and a Season MVP honor (Season 78) on top of being a Best Setter (Season 76), Best Attacker (Season 77) and back-to-back Best Opposite Hitter from Season 79 to 80? Fortunately for UST, Laure decided to stay. “Si Eya Laure, siyempre, talk of the town. Kilala naman ng mga tao 'yun. Galing 'yan sa programa namin sa high school,” said UST head coach Kungfu Reyes. “Sa dami ng rookies ngayon, di naman nalalayo si Eya sa mga ka-batch niya na recruit ng ibang teams.” Laure actually had already shown what she can give to the Tigresses when she played as a guest player two years ago for UST in the defunct V-League’s Collegiate Conference. And choosing the Espana-based squad for Laure is a way of giving back for all the efforts made by Reyes and Yani Fernandez in helping her develop into a complete player.    “Si coach Kungfu naman kasi simula’t simula talaga na mag-volleyball ako andyan siya kahit nung Grade 5 ako tine-train ako ni coach Kungfu at coach Ian na mag-setter spiker na,” she recalled. “So ‘yun pagkapasok ng Grade 7 sa UST nagi-expect na sila sa akin na makakatulong ako.” “So parang naka-set na siya sa akin na siyempre ginawa nila ako, trinain nila ako ng sobrang tagal alam ko talaga naghahanap sila ng something galing sa akin. Na gusto nila na lahat ng pinagpaguran nila sa akin na binigyan nila ako ng time para ma-develop ng ganito tapos gusto nila magkaroon ng result,” she added. For now, Laure is taking it slow as she is still recovering from a right shoulder contusion. But come UAAP time, Laure will be ready to bring her long-awaited roar in the collegiate volleyball scene.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2018

We have to be ready sa mga surprises nila -- Valdez on Game 3

Crowd-favorite Creamline braces for a dogfight on Friday when the Cool Smashers march into battle against defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force for the last time in Game 3 of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference Final Four. Michele Gumabao played big against her former team as the opposite hitter did most of the damage on offense in the Cool Smashers’ four-set win Wednesday that evened the best-of-three semifinals series to one game apiece. The rubber match is scheduled at 2:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream. Gumabao scored a conference-high 18 points while top hitter Alyssa Valdez had 15 markers, 23 digs and 13 excellent receptions in the Cool Smashers’ 25-16, 26-24, 22-25, 25-17, Game 2 win. But Creamline knows that the wounded Lady Warriors won’t be an easy picking in the series decider. “Pero definitely, Air Force will go back and will fight harder on Friday so we have to be ready also sa mga surprises na ipapakita nila,” said Valdez. Pocari Sweat-Air Force surprised the top seed Cool Smashers in the series opener with an emphatic straight sets 25-23, 25-12, 25-23, win with only Valdez scoring in double figures. “We really talked after the game noong Sunday, so we talked kung ano 'yung technicalities na pagkukulang namin, and ano ang pagkukulang namin as a team,” Valdez said. Backing Valdez and Gumabao up are American import Laura Schaudt, Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin, prized setter Jia Morado, Risa Sato and veteran libero Mel Gohing, who is also a recruit from Pocari Sweat. They will take on a seasoned squad bannered by last year’s Finals Most Valuable Player Myla Pablo, Jeanette Panaga and American reinforcements Maddie Palmer and Ari Love. With the series tied and each team parading a solid line up, the ticket to the best-of-three Finals starting on Sunday will all boil down to who wants it more. “Hindi natin masasabi (na nasa amin ang momentum) kasi sabi nga nila bilog ang bola. Kahit anong mangyari momentum man or even sa games or even sa set, hindi mo makukuha yun eh,” said Valdez. “Kung sino ang mas gustong manalo, yun talaga ang mananalo. Kung sinong pabor ang suwerte yun ang mananalo. It’s anybody’s ballgame on Friday.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 5th, 2018

Red-hot Escamis carries Robins over Cubs, onto Filoil title

With the graduation of Will Gozum, Mike Enriquez, and Warren Bonifacio, Clint Escamis is now the main man for Mapua High School. The third-year player proved that much on Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, tallying a game-high 30 points to tow the Red Robins right through rival San Beda High School, 78-72. With his team down by one inside the last two minutes, Escamis scored half in the 8-1 finishing kick that pushed Mapua onto the mountaintop of the 2018 Filoil Flying V Centre. It’s that kind of leadership that the 5-foot-11 swingman wants to bring into the looming NCAA 94. “Malaking responsibility to step up ngayong wala na sina Will at Mike at yung iba pa, pero malaking opportunity rin siya,” Escamis, who was also rightfully recognized as Tournament MVP, told reporters post-game. It was definitely not a one-man show for the Red Robins, though, as three of their big men posted double-doubles. Paolo Hernandez had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Joinel Policarpop had 12 points and 10 rebounds of his own, and Grant Dennison had 11 points and 10 rebounds. With that, the 2017 champions of the NCAA Juniors got for themselves a big boost in confidence. “Malaking bagay ‘to para sa amin to prove we can compete in the NCAA,” assistant coach Ian Racela said. The Red Cubs won’t have to wait long for the chance to get back at their rivals as the NCAA 94 tips off a week from now. Jade Talampas showed the way for them in this one with a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double while Justine Sanches had his own 16 markers and 19 boards. In the battle for third, Nazareth School of National University got the better of Far Eastern University-Diliman, 97-90. Bacolod recruit Harold Alarcon broke out with 23 points while Reyland Torres and Kevin Quiambao chipped in 15 and 14 markers, respectively. For the Baby Tamaraws, RJ Abarrientos topped the scoring column with 24 points. BOX SCORES FINALS MAPUA 78 — Escamis 30, Hernandez 12, Policarpio 12, Dennison 11, Sarias 6, Mariano 4, Arches 3, Chaves 0, Diaz 0, Lazarte 0, Samonteza 0, Smith 0, Tagal 0. SAN BEDA 72 — Talampas 20, Sanchez 16, Amsali 13, Oliva 7, Valencia 3, Pelipel 3, Calaguin 2, Llarena 2, Ynot 2, Alcantara 0. QUARTER SCORES: 13-18, 35-37, 53-52, 78-72. BATTLE FOR THIRD NU 97 – Alarcon 23, Torres 15, Quiambao 14, Dayrit 12, Abiera 8, Gonzales 6, Enriquez 5, Vinoya 5, Mailim 4, Songcuya 2, Felicilda 2, Buensalida 1, Lantaya 0. FEU 90 – Abarrientos 24, Alforque 21, Ona 13, Anonuevo 9, Torres 6, Armendez 5, San Pablo 3, Bradley 3, Libago 2, Barasi 2, Tolentino 2, Hontiveros 0, Mantua 0. QUARTER SCORES: 17-26, 46-47, 79-64, 97-90. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2018

Court convicts ex-Basilan mayor, treasurer of 51 cases

The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division convicted former Mayor Haber Amin Asarul of Sumisip, Basilan and then-municipal treasurer Camlian Borjal after pleading guilty in connection with municipal employees’ taxes and contributions to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG). According to three separate decisions, Asarul and Borjal were re-arraigned and pleaded… link: Court convicts ex-Basilan mayor, treasurer of 51 cases.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsJun 13th, 2018

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

Newly-appointed head coach Roger Gorayeb looked at his line-up heading into UAAP Season 71. A champion mentor of NCAA powerhouse San Sebastian College - Recoletos, Gorayeb had in his hands a gargantuan task of rebuilding Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball program. Just a few months before, Ronald Dulay, the mentor before him landed a trio of blue chip recruits who were fresh from a successful stint in the Palarong Pambansa. Angeline "Dzi" Gervacio, Fille Saint Cainglet and Jamenea "Jem" Ferrer just joined the Katipunan-based squad. Gervacio and Cainglet were products of St. Scholastica's College in Manila while Ferrer was a gem from Hope Christian School under girl’s volleyball guru Jerry Yee. Looking at his 15-woman line-up with the season just a few months ahead, Gorayeb knew he needed to do something drastic. The roster just won’t do. Talking to then athletic director Ricky Palou and team manager Tony Boy Liao, the mentor told the team officials that he intended to cut five players from the list. One could just imagine the shock in their faces. “Nakita ko may line-up pero player-playeran lang yung ganoon bang tipo, 15 ata yun. Sabi ko ‘Magtatanggal ako ng lima then magre-recruit ako,’” he said. The three rookies were in. Middle Bea Pascual, Kara Acevedo and libero Steph Gabriel retained their spots. He needed more. “Sa mga tinira kong players, si Kara Acevedo sabi niya, ‘Coach mayroong player ang ICA (Immaculate Conception Academy) na gumraduate naka-exam na rito pasado.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sige papuntahin mo,’” said Gorayeb. It was Gretchen Ho. “Sa akin kasi ang talagang nagyaya sa akin si coach Ron Dulay. Si Kara Acevedo teammate ko and she’s been recruited by Ateneo. So one summer wala akong magawa naki-train lang ako noon tapos nagustuhan nila ang laro ko and then fourth year noong graduate na ako I passed the ACET then niyayaya na nila ako,” she said. “Then nagbago ng coach na si Coach Roger and dun niya ako nakita.”   “Pagdating ko ng March (sa Ateneo) wala na akong way para maka-recruit pa. Ang nangyari yung tatlo accepted na kaagad. Si Gretchen tinanong ko sabi ko, ‘ano ba ang laro mo?’ Sabi niya the usual panggitna, tres,” Gorayeb recalled. “So sinubukan ko pero ang laro niya tres hindi quick. Siya panggitna pero hindi quicker na gusto ko saka yung height niya (maliit). Kaya lang si Gretchen takbo ng takbo, mahilig magtatakbo so sabi ko sige pwede na yan. Wala namang player na during that time. So kinuha ko si Gretchen.” Gorayeb just needed just one more. “Ngayon nagkaroon ng STCAA (Southern Tagalog Calabarzon athletic association) eh kulang pa ako ng isa, wala akong panggitna. Ang gitna ko during that time si Bea lang tapos si Gretchen so wala akong pamalit. So naisipan ko may nakita ako sa STCAA,” he said. He spotted a lanky player from Canossa Academy-Lipa, Aillysse Nacachi. “Sabi ko kay Sir Tony pagtyagaan ko na lang ito kahit hindi naman kalakasan at wala naman na rin akong choice na makapili kasi rush ang pagdating ko dyan. Nakiusap lang sila sa akin na magbuo ako ng team kasi si Ronald nag-resign,” said Gorayeb. Another freshman could’ve had ended up with Ateneo, Hope’s libero Melissa Gohing. But a few obstacles prevented her from fulfilling her promise to join Ferrer in Ateneo. She instead chose to join the ladies in green and white in Taft.    SOMETHING PROMISING December 7, 2008. Far Eastern University Gym. Excitement filled the air. Fans, mostly volleyball purists and some who just came to support their classmates or were just curious to see a new spectacle after the basketball season ended, slowly settled in their seats for the women’s division’s second game. It was Adamson University, the previous year’s runner-up, which just visited the turf of their arch nemesis and defending champion FEU, which was led by that era’s finest and most popular volleybelle Rachel Anne Daquis. Fans wanted to see if the Lady Falcons still had the same firepower they had the previous season with the loss of top setter Janet Serafica and power hitter Sang Laguilles. A rookie-laden Ateneo squad should be easy pickings with Angela Benting, rookie Pau Soriano and libero Lizlee Anne Gata in the roster. Besides the Lady Falcons got the Lady Eagles’ number. Or so they thought. “Naalala ko nu’ng time namin sinasabi sa amin ng seniors namin na, ‘Hay naku ang lakas ng Adamson, never kami nanalo dyan,’” Cainglet, now happily married to film director Lino Cayetano and with three beautiful children, recalled.  But the Lady Eagles stunned Adamson in the opening set. The Lady Falcons took the next two frames. Ateneo stole the fourth.  “Ako naalala ko ano eh, parang alam namin na lahat kasi kami palaban. Nasa amin yun. Tapos binigyan kaming lahat ng chance to be in the first six so parang dream come true,” said Ho, now an ABS-CBN host. “Naalala ko rin na palaban kaming lahat kumbaga nothing to lose eh so ang ano namin, sumasabay kami sa laro and nu’ng nakita na namin na ‘Ay kaya pala natin ‘to guys. Kaya pala naming lumaban.’” Still, Adamson had the upper hand in experience. The Lady Falcons, used to pressure and were steady at crunch time, outlasted Ateneo.           The young Katipunan-based squad fell short, 25-22, 22-25, 15-25, 25-15, 8-15. But for the Fab 5, it was a loss that felt like a resounding victory. “Parang sobrang natutuwa kami and everybody in the crowd, kaya siguro kami natawag na Fab 5 kasi rookies kami pero kahit ganoon palaban kami,” said Ho. “Saka close game. Five sets yun.” However, it was the first of five five-set matches that Ateneo will drop that season including one in the second round against the Manilla Santos-bannered De La Salle University. “Pero ang problema di kami nananalo ng five sets. Parang ilan lang ang naipanalo namin na ganoon. Feeling ko na-overwhelm kami na ‘Uy nananalo tayo.’ May ganoong disbelief ng konti pero alam namin na may ibubuga kami,” said Ho. “Definitely, our rookie season was full of five-set matches. It was tough, we felt like we were so close, but still so far away. At some point, it gave us frustration also. We just couldn't figure out that time what is it that's still lacking because we couldn't win the five-set matches,” according to Nacachi. “People said, it was because the team was still so inexperienced. We still didn't have the tenacity unlike of those more matured teams. But we didn't take it as bad, it was a learning experience for us all at the end. We had to learn how to develop that finishing will to be able to win games like that in the future.” The Fab 5 finished their rookie season with a 6-8 slate at fifth spot.   ‘MAY MEDAL NA TAYO’ Gorayeb remembered on their second year the look on Pascual’s face in their last elimination game match against Adamson. Already wrapping up their first win over the Lady Falcons, Pascual was giddy. “Natatawa nga ako dyan kay Bea kasi papanalo na kami nu’n tapos sumesenyas na siya ng tres. Sabi ko, ‘Hoy anong ginagawa mo?’ Yun pala sobrang saya na niya kasi for the first time in 30 years magkaka-medal na sila,” he said. It was the most important match of the season for the Lady Eagles. With the Fab 5 already in their sophomore year, Ateneo was already making great strides. The Lady Eagles closed that season’s elims with five straight wins capped with a victory over Adamson. Ateneo posted a 10-4 win-loss mark to enter the Final Four legitimately. “Ang nangyari kasi nu’ng time nila Charo (Soriano) kaya sila nakapasok sa semis kasi may nag-squeal na si (Jacq) Alarca di pala naka-enroll nu’n kaya na-forfeit mga laro ng La Salle,” said Gorayeb. The Fab 5 proved that they were not just a bunch of much-hyped up pretty faces. They backed it up with their skills on court. It didn’t matter that Ateneo were swept by eventual champion University of Sto. Tomas in the Final Four.      But the podium finish of Season 72 was short-lived. Adamson got its revenge in the last game of Season 73 elims, bumping off the Lady Eagles in the podium finish. The loss put Ateneo in a collision course with the twice-to-beat DLSU, who could’ve completed an elims sweep if not only for a forfeited match against University of the East after UAAP found out that Carmela Garbin and Clarisse Yeung participated in a ‘ligang labas’ while the season was onoing, in the Final Four. Ateneo gave the Lady Spikers a scare before succumbing in another heartbreaking five-set match. The Lady Eagles finished fourth but that lone semis game gave Ateneo and its maturing Fab 5 enough experience to dream for something big – A ticket into the Finals.      ‘HINOG NA KAYO’ The first three years saw the gradual improvement for Ateneo. But Season 74 proved to be the turning point for the Fab 5. A fresh new recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school, who just completed a year of residency, came into picture and with the Fab 5 armed with years of experience, the Lady Eagles’ fate will forever be changed. Alyssa Valdez, a highly recruited open spiker just like Gervacio, Cainglet-Cayetano and Ferrer years back, gave renewed excitement for the Ateneo faithful. “Alyssa's joining with Ateneo was a great turning point for us. We needed as much support we can get, and Alyssa's entrance to the team was a great boost to the team's morale,” said Nacachi. “The girl is a powerhouse and we felt like with her presence, the team finally became solid.” “We were able to play around with the positions and the rotations, since we had different versatile open players who can also greatly play other roles,” she added. “We were also able to formulate a lot of plays and attacks because Alyssa can generally do all kinds; open, running, quick, name it all. She gave the team the power and the versatility that we previously lacked from the past seasons.” Social media was just gaining traction then but the Lady Eagles were already on the radar of volleyball purists through online forums. For the first time, Ateneo was considered a legitimate contender.   The Fab 5 proved it by winning 11 games in the elimination round, losing only to UST once and dropping two against the Lady Spikers. Valdez’s arrival gave Ferrer an even broader option on offense. It eased the scoring load off the shoulders of Cainglet and Gervacio, who was then moved to an opposite position. “I guess sakto lang din yung dating niya because by that time Kara Acevedo graduated so someone had to fill in her spot so coach Roger decided for me to move to utility or opposite,” said Gervacio. “And then sakto Alyssa naman could fill in the spot na other open spiker.” “So timing din na we had all the pieces put together at the right time,” she added. With a good performance in the elims despite missing a legit middle in Bea Pascual and the entry of Aerieal Patnongon barred by academic problems, Ateneo finished second and for the first-time was armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder semifinals. The Lady Eagles faced an experienced Tigresses side in the last stepladder semis stage. UST just came from a hard-fought four-set do-or-die match against FEU and were banking on their four-set win over Ateneo in the second round to force another sudden death. Ateneo’s date with destiny was sealed with a four-set win over the Tigresses, who then bid goodbye to Maika Ortiz and Judy Anne Caballejo. “Pinu-push na rin kami ni Coach Roger noon eh, ‘Hinog na kayo ngayon. Kasi dalawang taon na lang, kailangan makapasok na kayo sa Finals,’” said Ho. “Somehow senior na rin kami,” added Cainglet.  “Season 74 was really the target season for us to be in the finals and target even to win the championship,” according to Nacachi. “During this time, we were already thinking we could not afford to not go in the finals.” “So it was with our mindset and our level of commitment that we were able to finally reach our goal of reaching the finals,” she added. “We had enough experience that time already, and it was really time for us to show the level of game maturity the team had obtained from the past seasons.” But then they had to face an unbeaten team. Unscathed in 14 games, De La Salle University was poised to complete a perfect season. The Lady Eagles spoiled it. Ferrer outplayed DLSU setter Mika Esperanza, 57-42, in excellent sets as Ateneo handed the Lady Spikers its first loss after 25 straight victories in a come-from-behind 23-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-17, Finals opener win. Witnessed by 3,002 spectators inside the then The Arena in San Juan, all of the Fab 5 produced points. Cainglet had 19 behind Valdez’s 24, Gervacio scored 12, Ho had 10, Nacachi finished with five while Ferrer had one. Gorayeb made a big gambit and it worked. “Dahil sa wala kong panggitna, yung laro namin ng La Salle, ginawa kong quicker si Alyssa. Kasi si Alyssa nakakapalo. Nagulat si Ramil (de Jesus) dun.” It was a big win. A huge upset. Unfortunately, Ateneo needed to win two more.  DLSU held a thrice-to-beat advantage.   THAT SWAG After Ateneo made a miracle in Game One, fans began to feel a new rivalry born. The attendance spiked. From just 3,000 spectators, the gate attendance more than doubled its size. The interest was there. Fans of traditional powers began to notice the Lady Eagles as a rising team. For the first time, a squad with no previous championship experience except for a title during the Marcos era in a different collegiate league, made a giant jolt. Everybody wanted to see what these girls would do next.    The Lady Eagles, still high on adrenaline after their Game 1 upset, took the opening set in Game 2. But just like in their opener, a well-experienced DLSU squad adjusted to take the next three frames to move a step closer to a repeat crown. With then Rookie of the Year Ara Galang, Season Most Valuable Player Aby Marano, an intimidating Michele Gumabao and a very efficient Finals MVP Cha Cruz teaming up for the kill, the Lady Spikers ripped Ateneo apart in Game 3 in straight sets, 25-16, 25-22, 25-13. “Sabi nga ni Dzi na nadyan na lahat eh. So I guess noong Season 74 nandoon na pero may kulang pa rin,” said Ho. “I guess we we’re able to make it to the Finals pero wala pa kaming championship experience.” Ferrer agreed. "Siguro ang kulang yung championship experience kasi nasa La Salle na ‘yun eh. Ilang years na silang nagpa-finals, nag-champion and for Ateneo doon pa lang namin sinimulan," said the three-time Best Setter. Lacking championship experience is one thing, but Ateneo during that time wasn’t ready for DLSU’s most feared weapon: the Lady Spikers’ swag.  “They have that swag,” said Gervacio. “Everyone knows about it naman. It’s really coach Ramil’s style talaga kasi as I remember when we were first year, four out of six of the players inside the court were rookies and even if we go against the powerhouses UST, FEU, Adamson, hindi sila yung nakikita nyo na kapag championship na rivalry, na swag, angas, stare down. Pero La Salle talaga kahit sino ang kalaban nila they’ll bring that attitude inside the court.” That Finals series cemented a new rivalry that will become one of the most celebrated in the sport. “I think it also helped that Ateneo-La Salle basketball didn’t face also,” said Gervacio. “Siyempre nandoon ang hunger for the rivalry eh and timely din na its been Ateneo-La Salle na rin sa volleyball.”   CLOSING A CHAPTER The Fab 5 were now in their fifth and last year. They wanted to leave a winning legacy. The pieces were already there. Gorayeb had at his disposal five seniors, a rising star in Valdez, a sophomore middle in Amy Ahomiro, a versatile Ella De Jesus, a steady libero in Denden Lazaro and a new kind of weapon – a massive crowd that can turn any venue into a sea of blue.              As expected, the second installment of the Ateneo-DLSU rivalry was set into place. Both sweeping their semis opponents. The Lady Spikers crushed National University while the Lady Eagles shot down Adamson. Game One was a shocker. DLSU heading into the Finals are on a 14-game roll but were stunned in the first two sets with Ateneo stepping on the gas. But a string of miscues, mostly from the service line, did the Lady Eagles in as they allowed the Lady Spikers to force a decider. DLSU, smelling blood, punished Ateneo to eke out a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6, victory inside the Big Dome witnesses by 17,342-strong gate attendance. Then the series transferred to a newly-built, state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena that drew a crowd of 18,799. The first two frames were frustrating for the Lady Eagles.   Ateneo came back to life in the third set to gain a 9-5 lead. But DLSU easily erased it with Ateneo crumbling under pressure. The Lady Spikers were on an onslaught. Sophomore Galang pushed DLSU at matchpoint with a cold-blooded ace that went in a few inches from the baseline. The score, 24-16. It was a tense moment for the Fab 5. A long rally ensued in the next play. Gervacio, with all her might pounded a kill. Her hand making a great contact on the ball off Ferrer’s backset.     Smack! The ball ricocheted off the hands of DLSU’s Wensh Tiu before falling on the same landing area of Gervacio, who tried to dive for a dig together with Lazaro. DLSU swept Ateneo, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16. Game over.          “Kahit hindi kami nanalo alam naming ibinigay namin ang lahat namin, all-out talaga kaya wala kaming pagsisisi,” said Ho. It was the end of the Fab 5 era, but they left more than what any of them could have imagined. "I remember so many people or fans telling me that they started really watching UAAP Volleyball because of our batch. And that is really touching and fulfilling to know. Knowing that you were able to leave an impact like that to people. We were not able to bring even a single championship to our school, Ateneo, but we were able to touch a lot of people's hearts despite that," Nacachi shared. The Fab 5 closed a colorful chapter of Ateneo volleyball in tears. They were there during the Lady Eagles’ birth pains. They labored. They shed tears, blood and sweat. They laid the foundation for something big. The Fab 5 planted the seeds that would eventually bear fruit and would change the course of Ateneo women’s volleyball program forever. Glory didn’t happen during their time. It started in theirs.    Amidst the roar of the crowd, the falling confetti, banging of drums and the echoing chant of ‘Animo La Salle’ from the sea of green, the Fab 5 hugged each other tight. They found comfort in each other. It was their time to say goodbye. For those who remained – Valdez, Lazaro, Ahomiro, De Jesus – the defeat added fuel to their already blazing desire to bring glory for the blue and white. They were the next in line, heirs to unfinished business. WATCH: FAB 5 Reunion Part 1 and Part 2 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

UAAP Volleyball: Bernadeth Pons: Probinsyana with a Superstar Soul

In a time where gadgets have pretty much taken over the lives of majority of the world’s population, Bernadeth Pons prefers to keep things simple. Instead of swiping her phone for the latest news on Twitter or organizing her feed on Instagram, FEU’s Team Captain and graduate of Financial Management would rather spend time inside the athlete’s dormitory to sleep. While that sounds boring, the 21-year old Pons reasons that she needs all the energy she can get to complete her Master’s degree in Business Administration and perform at the highest level in her final season in the UAAP. The 5’7” open spiker is currently the fourth best scorer in the league averaging 15.2 points per match. She is also ranked third in both digging and receiving. Because of her all-around brilliance, there is a fairly good amount of fans on social media who have been campaigning for Pons to be named MVP of Season 80. But, of course, Pons is oblivious to that. In fact, she didn’t even know that she was included in the 34-player wish list of new National Team Head Coach Ramil de Jesus. It took a text message from her younger sister, Melody, who lives in their hometown of Talisay, Negros Occidental for Pons to learn about the development. “Ha? Saan galing yan?” was her honest reply. To Pons, playing for the national team goes beyond her wildest dreams. And while she feels very much honored to have her name considered for a spot, Pons says her current focus is with FEU. After all, it was the school that provided her with a means to fulfill her goals and make her parents proud. From Softball to Volleyball Pons was born in Malolos, Bulacan where her father, Roberto and mother, Maryjen met. A year after her birth, the family moved to Talisay where Roberto started playing baseball recreationally. When his eldest daughter grew big enough to play, she also took a liking to the sport. Pons would even join the boys play catch during her elementary days at Efigenio-Enrica Lizares Memorial School. Unfortunately, there was no softball team for Pons to try-out for. That’s when her classmate, Allen Joy Esponilia invited her to try-out for the volleyball team. “Nung una, sobrang hirap kasi wala talaga akong alam eh. Kahit dig, dig lang, kung saan-saan pumupunta. Nahihiya ako sa ka-partner ko kasi syempre, alam na niya yung basics ng volleyball. Naiiyak na nga ako kasi palagi nalang tumatalsik,” recalled Pons, who was 10 years old at the time. But, the challenge of excelling at a sport where she had no background in challenged the young Pons. Eventually, she learned how to dig up powerful spikes and became a libero. In the fifth grade, she experienced her first major competition by participating in the Palarong Pambansa held in Palawan and representing Region 6 – Western Visayas where she teamed up with Kim Gequillana and Ayel Estraňero. It was the first of five Palarong Pambansa events she would participate in. In those competitions, Pons played against numerous future UAAP stars like Jia Morado, Desiree Cheng, Majoy Baron, Jhoana Maraguinot and a powerhouse Region 7 – Central Visayas squad that featured Sisi Rondina, Dimdim Pacres, Rica Rivera and CJ Saga. Leap of Faith As she got older, Pons began developing her spiking prowess and caught the eye of the legendary Roger Gorayeb, who wanted to bring her to San Sebastian College-Recoletos. But, she was reluctant to leave home. “Wala akong idea about life dito sa Manila. So, hindi ko alam kung tutuloy ba ako or hindi. Dumating sa point na nag-decide kami ng Papa ko na doon nalang sa amin ako mag college,” explained Pons. During her final year in high school in 2013, then FEU Head Coach Shaq delos Santos went to the Regional Meet in Roxas City, Capiz to recruit the reluctant Pons. Delos Santos was persistent in convincing her to come and be a part of his plan to revive the volleyball program of the university. The free education, food and accessibility to the training facilities finally convinced Pons to take a leap of faith.   “Naisip ko, pag doon ako sa probinsya, mamamasahe ako every day, mabigat din sa parents ko. So, yun talaga yung sabi ko, ‘O-oo na ako’. Nag-decide ako na mag go-go na ako sa Maynila,” recalled Pons. For someone who never imagined leaving her hometown, Pons didn’t have any trouble making her mark in the UAAP as she immediately led the Lady Tamaraws in scoring (11.8 points per match) as a rookie. She would become FEU’s leading scorer in each of her UAAP stints which includes Final Four appearances in the past three seasons. Last Stretch Now that Pons is approaching the last stretch of her collegiate career and with FEU in a good position to attain a twice-to-beat advantage in the post-season for the first time since 2009, she is more focused than ever on the task at hand. Should the Lady Tamaraws beat NU in their last elimination round game on Sunday and if Ateneo loses to La Salle, FEU will enter the Final Four as the number two ranked team. But, Pons knows it won’t be easy as the Lady Bulldogs will be out for redemption. “Kami kasi yung unang tumalo sa kanila sa first round. So, palagi namin rine-remind yung bawat isa na yung NU, pipilitin nilang bumawi sa atin. Tapos sila, nothing to lose kasi kahit ano mangyari, number four na sila. Eh tayo, may hinahabol tayo na number two. Hindi puwedeng magpabaya tayo kasi NU pa rin yan. Lalaban at lalaban yan,” shared Pons. It’s been a decade since FEU last won the UAAP Women’s Volleyball title. While Pons has already achieved her initial goal of earning a college degree, she still has that burning desire to give back to the school that gave her the opportunity to help her family and leave a lasting legacy in the process. “Gusto ko maalala nila ako bilang isa sa mga nakapagbalik ng crown sa FEU. Sobrang tagal nang nawala ang FEU sa championship. Yun yung gusto namin ibalik ulit,” declared Pons. All Pons ever wanted was to ease the burden on her parents by graduating from school. The game of volleyball has given her a means to accomplish that and so much more. She’s become one of the UAAP’s brightest stars and may wear the colors of the Philippine flag one day. But, no matter what happens, she will always be that same humble girl from Talisay, inspiring countless others like her to be brave and go for great. Catch Bernadeth Pons and the FEU Tamaraws take on the NU Bulldogs on April 15, Sunday, 12 noon LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, Liga, Liga HD and via livestream......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2018

Alvarez earns MVP as reward for hard work

From a new recruit struggling to keep pace with the team’s warm-up jog, Shola Alvarez changed the volleyball culture of Jose Rizal University. In her fifth and last season with the Lady Bombers all of Alvarez’s efforts and sacrifices for JRU paid off when she received the coveted Most Valuable Player award in the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball competition Friday during the awarding rites at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The graduating open hitter averaged 21.3 points during the elimination round as she led the Kalentong-based squad to a first-ever Final Four appearance. JRU closed the elims with a 6-3 win-loss slate – the Lady Bombers’ best record since the return of its women’s volleyball program in 2008.   “(Ang MVP) kasi hindi po siya basta-bastang makukuha eh. Kailangan mo po siyang paghirapan. Ngayon po na last year ko na po, nakakatuwa na nakuha ko na po siya,” said Alvarez, whose squad fell prey to well-experienced defending champion Arellano University in straight sets in the semis.     Head coach Mia Tioseco could attest to all the hard work Alvarez put to hone and improve her game.    “Sobrang proud kami sa kanya dahil dumating siya sa amin after five minutes ayaw na mag-jog kasi hinihingal na, hinihika,” Tioseco recalled. “Now look where she is right now, as one of the top players sa NCAA. So we’re really proud of her.” Alvarez joined other standout volleybelles during the simple awarding ceremony held before Game 1 of the Finals between the Lady Chiefs and San Beda University. “Halu-halong emotion na po. Hindi ko na po alam kung ano ie-express ko, kung ano ang nararamdaman ko hindi ko na po alam. Sobrang saya ko,” said the bubbly Alvarez. “Sa limang taon na pinaghirapan ko, sa pinaghirapan namin ng teammates ko nakuha namin ang goal namin.” Alvarez and teammate Dolly Verzosa will represent JRU in the beach volleyball tournament slated late February.   ---     Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2018

F2 Logistics braces for tough Grand Prix title defense

Defending champion F2 Logistics face a tough challenge in its title-retention bid with seven other teams beefing up their rosters for the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix starting this Saturday at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City. The Cargo Movers retained their reinforcements Kennedy Bryan, Maria Jose Perez and added a new recruit Japanese libero Minami Yoshioka.   F2 Logistics lost six players in its championship core in top libero Dawn Macandili, Kim Kianna Dy, Des Cheng, Tin Tiamzon, Aduke Ogunsanya and Majoy Baron, who went back to their school team De La Salle University which is looking to complete a grand slam in the UAAP.      But the Cargo Movers are bringing in reinforcements to backstop mainstays setter Kim Fajardo, Aby Marano and Cha Cruz. According to team manager Hollie Reyes former Ateneo de Manila University Michelle Morente will suit up for F2 Logistics this conference together with College of St. Benilde setter Pauline Cardiente and University of Perpetual Help middle Lourdes Clemenente.  “Actually naghahanda pa rin kami kasi kami ang defending champion so kung last year mahirap na ang training, ngayon nag-double time pa rin kami dahil kami ang hinahabol ng mga teams ngayon and at the same time madaming hindi makakalaro na UAAP players kaya nagdagdag kami,” said Cargo Movers assistant coach Noel Orcullo Thursday during the PSL's season press conference held at Center Stage in MOA. “Maganda naman dahil nagco-complement naman sa team, unang-una ang libero na Japanese and at the same time makakakuha ng tips si Dawn doon,” he added. “Second, ‘yung sa middle nakuha namin si Clemente, big addition din ‘yun, 6-foot-2. So may experience na rin nag-PSL na rin si Clemente kaya adjustment na lang since katatapos lang ng NCAA.” But the road back into the Finals will be harder this time. Petron, Cocolife and Generika-Ayala loom as heavy favorites while Cignal, Foton, Sta. Lucia Realty and new team Smart Prepaid also expected to spring lots of surprises to challenge F2 Logistics. Formal opening of the new season is set on Feb. 24 at the Sta. Rosa City Sports Complex in Laguna. The Blaze Spikers will be marching with a vengeance after losing to the Cargo Movers in three games in the best-of-three finals last year. Petron’s American imports Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley, as well as Japanese Yuri Fukuda, will be back. “Sobra (ang gigil na bumawi) kasi masakit talaga ang nangyari sa amin na pagkatalo sa Finals pero ganoon talaga eh,” said Petron coach Shaq delos Santos, whose wards squandered a 1-0 Finals series lead. “Ang sa amin ay yung acceptance sa talo na ’yun para mas makita namin kung ano pa ang kailangan naming i-improve and mas mag-mature kami.” Taylor Milton of the United States and Sara Klisura of Serbia will also be back for the Asset Managers while Darlene Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago and Symone Hayden of the US, who replaced injured Katarina Pilepic, will reinforce the Lifesavers.  Jeane Horton of the US and Sonja Milanovic of Bosnia will banner the HD Spikers while the Tornadoes will lean on Brooke Kanda of the US, Elizabeth Wendel of Canada and Katarina Vukamanovic of Serbia; the Lady Realtors will lean on Bohdana Anisova of Ukraine and Kristen Moncks and Marisa Field of Canada; and the Giga Hitters will have Gyselle De La Caridad and Silva and Lisbet Arredondo Reyes of Cuba.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2018

Military checking if top Malaysian terrorist survived

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is trying to validate intelligence information that a top Malaysian extremist survived the defeat of an Islamic State-linked siege on Marawi City and is helping restart efforts to establish an extremist alliance, a military official said.   The commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said troops were trying to validate reports that Amin Baco is wounded during the siege but managed to escape to Sulu, where he was hiding with Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists.   Yusop Jikiri, central committee chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which has a peace treaty with the government, said that his gro...Keep on reading: Military checking if top Malaysian terrorist survived.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 18th, 2018

Military verifying if Malaysian terrorist still alive

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) is verifying reports that Malaysian militant Amin Baco, who was reporte.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 8th, 2017

Military verifying if new ISIS emir Amin Baco was killed in Marawi

Military verifying if new ISIS emir Amin Baco was killed in Marawi.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 7th, 2017

Malaysia s Amin Baco is new emir in South-East Asia, says Philippine police

MANILA: A top Malaysian militant with long combat experience in the war-torn southern Philippine island of Mindanao is the new "emir" of the ultra-radical Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (IS.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsNov 7th, 2017

Amin Baco believed killed in Marawi

Amin Baco believed killed in Marawi.....»»

Category: newsSource:  cnnphilippinesRelated NewsNov 7th, 2017

Roque urges Sereno to quit, Lorenzana on Baco, Lacson on Ventura | Evening wRap

Today on Rappler: Malacañang calls on Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to step down.  Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana dismisses the capabilities of the new supposed emir of ISIS in Southeast Asia, Malaysian Amin Baco.  Senator Panfilo Lacson raises the possibility that Aegis Juris fratman Mark Ventura is a 'Trojan horse' in the fatal ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 7th, 2017

PNP says Malaysian ‘emir’ alive, AFP says he’s dead

The military on Monday shot down a police claim that a Malaysian militant had succeeded slain Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon as the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group's "emir" in Southeast Asia. In a news conference at Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, on Monday morning, PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa identified the Malaysian as "drone operator" Amin Baco. Dela Rosa presented to reporters arrested Indonesian militant Muhammad Ilham Syahputra, according to whom, he said, Baco was not only leading the remaining Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Marawi but also had taken over as "emir," or leader, of IS in Southeast Asia. Govern...Keep on reading: PNP says Malaysian ‘emir’ alive, AFP says he’s dead.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 7th, 2017

New ISIS emir? Get to know Malaysian terrorist Amin Baco

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday, November 6, announced that Amin Baco is the new leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Southeast Asia.  Citing police intelligence, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said Baco is leading the remaining Maute ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

Malaysian designated ISIS Southeast Asia head — PNP

MANILA, Philippines — Extremist militant Amin Baco, a Malaysian, assumed the leadership of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia after Abu Sayyaf subleader Isn.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

3 more Malaysians rescued from Abu Sayyaf

AL-BARKA, Basilan, Philippines – The three remaining Malaysian crewmembers of a tugboat kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf bandits last year have been rescued in Sulu......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 27th, 2017
Category: newsSource:  manila_shimbunRelated NewsMar 23rd, 2017

Ex-Basilan town mayor, 2 others charged with graft

The Office of the Ombudsman has charged before the Sandiganbayan former Mayor Haber Amin Asarul of Sumisip, Basilan and two municipal officers in connection with the alleged use of the town's funds as security for a P2-million personal loan in 2010. Also .....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsSep 7th, 2016