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52-year-old Filipina Ironman finisher aims to replicate feat in home soil

At 52 years old, Filipina triathlete Chang Hitalia powered through the grueling test of endurance that is the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. The Ironman entails for triathletes to accomplish the following: Swim 3.86 km, ride a bike for 180.25 km, and run 42.2 km. It’s so tough that only 1 out of 10,000 people actually finish it.  For Hitalia, who only started doing triathlons at the age of 46, it was by no means an easy feat.  Hitalia may have a tiny physique but she’s powered by a strong desire to achieve her fitness goals—a must for anyone who wishes to be an Ironman.  Hitalia was like most people wanting to be a better version of themselves. Her journey began eight years ago when she joined a running group with the goal of shedding a few pounds.  Regular running gave her a high and soon, she joined races. In 2010, she started yearning for a tougher challenge. She added swimming and biking to her routine and soon, Hitalia was a full-fledged triathlete.  Unlike her running pursuits, Triathlon is much more demanding in terms of training time, cost, and motivation. Hitalia needed to make major adjustments to her daily routine to ensure she gets to train for all three sports and still have ample time for other things.  Soon, Hitalia aimed at loftier goals in the sport and in 2014, she finished strong in the Langkawi Ironman, bagging second place for her age group despite it being her first crack at an Ironman race.  Hitalia continued her swim, bike, run lifestyle, competing in two Ironman 70.3 races in Hefei and Xiamen, China in 2016. The latter earned her a coveted slot to compete in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.  “It was always a goal to qualify since I embraced triathlon as part of my life,” Hitalia shares. After qualifying, she knew the sacrifices she needed to make in order to finish strong in Kona.  Hitalia spent seven months reinforcing her stamina to endure the Ironman grueling leg. In between, she joined a number of races to check her progress. She also underwent training in different conditions—hot weather, strong winds, and uphill routes—essentially what the Kona race was infamous for.   Despite being prepared, Hitalia says that “you have to come in and fight” as far as Ironman races go. During the swim leg of her race in Kona, water conditions were not ideal to swim in. “Starting off with more than 600 female age groupers was really a struggle. I kept my calm and stuck with my rhythm,” she recalls. The bike part was equally brutal, too. “The hills were punishing, the heat and humidity were harsh, and it was crazy windy,” she describes.  Hitalia made up for lost time during the 42.2 km run. However, as with the tough nature of Ironman races, fatigue soon set in.  Thoughts of giving-up creeped up in her mind. With her dream almost within reach, Hitalia decided to soldier on.  As she crossed the finish line, she describes the experience as nothing but amazing. “The cheers from the crowd, the festive mood, and the red carpet made it an overwhelming experience. Suddenly all the pain subsided and all my hard work became reality. The happiness when you finally hear your name being called out is surreal,” Hitalia shares.  Having accomplished her goal of crossing the finish line in Kona, Hitalia’s next target is to finish strong on home soil. She’s focused to achieve this in June at the Philippine leg of Ironman.  Knowing what it takes to finish the grueling race and the elation that takes over, Hitalia wishes for her fellow Pinoy triathletes to experience this.  Her advice for those looking to join: Respect the distance.  “Train right, work with a certified coach, and come in adequately prepared. When race day comes, enjoy the experience,” Hitalia says.  With the Ironman Philippines posing a challenge for Filipino triathletes in June, Hitalia’s story of perseverance and success rings even truer now as she hopes to inspire more Pinoys to pursue fitness and be part of making the Philippines a healthier and fitter nation. .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnFeb 15th, 2018

After dominant 2018, San Miguel looks to replicate success

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; min-height: 14.0px} After a dominant showing in sports for 2018, San Miguel is looking to replicate the feat once again for 2019. The San Miguel-backed teams have thoroughly enjoyed success in the sporting scene, taking home championships in both basketball and volleyball. A triumvirate of the San Miguel Beermen, Ginebra Gin Kings, and the Magnolia Hotshots swept the PBA season and took home the three conference championships, a first. Alab Pilipinas, who is also sponsored by the conglomerate, waltzed its way to the ASEAN Basketball League plum earlier this year. Volleyball also saw the coronation of the Petron Tri-Activ Spikers twice in the Philippine Superliga this year. For San Miguel Corp. Sports Director Alfrancis Chua, the unprecedented success of the corporation’s teams were a result of a mixture of good management and relations between none other than SMC Chairman Ramon S. Ang to each of his squads. Also a factor was having an understanding of the sports they handle, which Chua said he did in handling the affairs of the PSL squad. “[H]ands-on talaga si Boss [Ramon S. Ang] eh. Sa lahat ng bagay. Talagang hands-on siya. Pati sa sports, alam niya ang lahat ng nangyayari. Siguro kung wala siya, iba ang mangyayari. Iba ang utak ng tao na yun. Kaya mahal na namin namin si boss RSA,” Chua said at the victory party of the Magnolia Hotshots at company headquarters in Mandaluyong. A continuous plan that has been going on for three to four years now, the conglomerate is now reaping the benefits of success, and aims to continue dominating the Philippine sports landscape for years to come. “We're not going to stop now. 2019, 2020, we have to find ways to make us competive,” Chua assured. “Hindi kami puwedeng tumigil. I told the coaches, I told the managers of the teams, we need to learn more. Lalo pang palakasin and mag-improve ang bawat team. “     ___   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2018

Philippine golden golfers want to replicate Asiad feat in SEAG

No sooner had the Philippine golf team heard the national anthem was played here twice that a next mission came to mind — the Southeast Asian Games at home next year......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 27th, 2018

Filipino triathlete places 11th overall in PH’s first full Ironman

SUBIC, ZAMBALES – For the first time, the full-distance Ironman race has come to the Philippines. And Filipinos have wasted no time in showing that they could compete in the sport of triathlon and that their country could host events of triathlon. August Benedicto, a proud son of Tarlac, finished 11th overall out of 1, 155 competitors with a total time of 9:48.46 in the 2018 Century Tuna Ironman Philippines on Sunday here. Among males, he was eighth overall while among the 11 professional male triathletes, he was fifth. In fact, Benedicto even ended ahead of the likes of 18-year veteran Freddy Lampret of South Africa. Without a doubt, racing right here at home did wonders for the 34-year-old. “Masayang-masaya ako na first time nagkaroon ng (full-distance) Ironman sa Pilipinas. Yun yung tumatakbo sa isip ko buong araw,” he told reporters after his finish. He then continued, “Iniisip ko na sana makuha ko (yung medal) para sa mga Pilipino. Walang susuko dapat.” Benedicto did just that and now, hecould proudly wear his well-earned Ironman Philippines finisher medal – a medal that was inspired by and had design elements from the people of Marawi. “Masayang-masaya ako sa ganitong medal galing sa mga kapatid natin sa Mindanao. Alam kong napakahirap nang buhay nila ngayon dahil sa giyera,” he said. He then continued, “Kaya nga nagpapasalamat pa rin kami at nakagawa sila ng medal na ‘to. Just praying na makabangon sila.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2018

Taekwondo, pool bets add three silvers to PHI haul in AIMAG

ASHGABAT—Poomsae artists Rodolfo Reyes Jr. and Jocel Lyn Ninobla settled for silver medals with pool player Chezka Centeno to keep the medal streak of the Philippines going in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. Centeno’s hasty shot on the fourth marble in the 10th frame was a costly mistake that China’s Han Yu exploited for a 7-4 victory in the women’s 9-ball finale. Han launched a powerful break on the deciding set and finished off the 18-year-old Zamboanga City native with a combination of the third and ninth balls on the left corner pocket. Delivering what seemed like a spotless routine, Reyes scored 8.310 points from the judges before Pongporn Suvittayarak of Thailand erased his lead with 8.550 points for the gold in men’s individual poomsae. The 22-year-old from Dasmarinas City was proud of the silver, his best performance in international tournaments after bringing home bronze medals from the recent Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games and the 2016 world championships in Lima, Peru. ``It’s nice to have the gold but it wasn’t meant for me. I’m thankful for the opportunity to contribute a silver medal for our country,’’ said Reyes. Jocel Lyn Ninobla also got the silver with 8.000 points after Marjan Salahshouri of Iran scored 8.120 points in the women’s individual poomsae finals. The Philippines jacked up its medal collection of two gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze medals, which included the third-place performance of Kristel Macrohon in women’s weightlifting. Macrohon combined a total lift of 209kg for the bronze behind gold medalist Assem Sadykova of Kazakhstan (222kg) and silver finisher Apolonia Vaivai of Fiji (221kg). Chef de mission Monsour Del Rosario was happy on the turnout where Filipino athletes kept on delivering medals everyday since the Games began last week. It shadowed some of the few setbacks for the day after Anna Patrimonio and Khim Iglupas failed to advance in the semifinals of women’s tennis doubles. Ankita Raina and Prarthan Thombare of India defeated pushed the Filipina netters to the exits with a 6-3, 6-3 victory at the Tennis Center. In bowling, Tannya Roumimper of Indonesia eliminated Maria Liza Del Rosario, 204-194, in their quarterfinal showdown .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2017

Serena Williams shooting for Slam history

Serena Williams has adopted a low profile ahead of the Australian Open, but rival players admit the American's shadow looms large in Melbourne as she eyes a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam crown. Williams won her 23rd title and seventh at Melbourne Park while eight weeks pregnant two years ago, and now attempts to match Margaret Court's mark of 24 singles majors on the Australian's home soil. The 37-year-old's last outing on tour was her meltdown in losing the US Open final to Naomi Osaka in September and she enters the season-opening Slam as the 16th seed. Yet she has proved in the past that such numbers mean little to her and Osaka said most in the locker room believed the vetera...Keep on reading: Serena Williams shooting for Slam history.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 13th, 2019

Australian Open: History beckons as Serena Williams shoots for Slam history

Serena Williams is back in Melbourne as hot favorite to repeat her 2017 Australian Open win and claim a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam with rivals, including defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, battling health issues and poor form. Williams won her 23rd title and seventh at Melbourne Park while eight weeks pregnant two years ago, and now attempts to match Margaret Court's mark of 24 singles majors on the Australian's home soil. The 37-year-old enters the tournament ranked 16 in the world but has proved in the past that such numbers mean little to her, despite fresh memories of her meltdown in losing the US Open final to Naomi Osaka in September. Her 2017 triumph Down Un...Keep on reading: Australian Open: History beckons as Serena Williams shoots for Slam history.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 8th, 2019

2018: A giant leap for Filipino womankind

    MANILA, Philippines --- The year 2018 was filled with remarkable achievements in many different forms as outstanding women stamped their marks on the international stage.   This year saw the Philippines soared in the world of sports, as many of the country's female athletes brought home not only medals to their motherland but took along with them a sense of pride.   Hidilyn Diaz   Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz gave pride to the country after she clinched the Philippines' first ever gold medal 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia during the women's weightlifting event.   Diaz, who hails from Zamboanga City, be...Keep on reading: 2018: A giant leap for Filipino womankind.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 31st, 2018

Ronaldo scores twice as VAR helps Juventus to 2-1 win

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press ROME (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as runaway leader Juventus escaped with a 2-1 win over Sampdoria in Serie A on Saturday with help from the VAR. Ronaldo's second goal, a penalty, was awarded by the VAR for a questionable handball. Then Sampdoria had a stoppage-time goal chalked off by the Video Assistant Referee. Sampdoria thought it had become the first visiting Serie A club to score more than one goal at the Allianz Stadium in more than a year when Riccardo Saponara's shot went in off the underside of the crossbar, but replays showed the play was offside. "I like (the VAR) a lot because it reduces the number of mistakes," Ronaldo said. "It's not easy for the match officials to analyze everything that goes on. We just have to let them get on with their jobs." Ronaldo had put Juventus ahead two minutes in with a bouncing shot and Fabio Quagliarella equalized with a penalty before the break to become the first player to score in nine consecutive Serie A matches since David Trezeguet accomplished the feat with Juventus in 2005. Ronaldo's decisive penalty came in the 65th after the VAR decided that Alex Ferrari had used his arm, even though it appeared as if the defender kept his arm next to his body and didn't move it toward the ball. The double gave Ronaldo 14 goals in 19 matches this season to move one ahead of Genoa's Krzysztof Piatek atop the league scoring chart. Ronaldo has maintained his form since leaving Real Madrid in the offseason, despite being the subject of a rape allegation in the United States. Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in Nevada in September claiming Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. Police reopened an investigation into the allegation at her request. Ronaldo has denied any wrongdoing. Aiming for a record-extending eighth straight league title, Juventus set a record of 53 points at the season's halfway mark with 17 wins, two draws and no defeats. The Bianconeri remained nine points ahead of second-placed Napoli, which beat Bologna 3-2, and 14 points ahead of third-placed Inter Milan, which won 1-0 at Empoli. "The first half of the season has gone really well," Ronaldo said. "We've won nearly all our games and we're a solid side but there's still a long way to go. We must stay focused and keep working away if we want to achieve great things." After a winter break, Serie A resumes Jan. 19. WE'RE ALL KALIDOU Napoli fans and players showed their support for defender Kalidou Koulibaly during the win over Bologna after the Senegal international was subjected to racist chants this week. With Koulibaly suspended, Napoli fullback Faouzi Ghoulam warmed up wearing the Senegal international's No. 26 shirt. Fans held up photos of Koulibaly and anti-racism banners with the hashtag label #SiamotuttiKalidou, which translates as "We're all Kalidou." Koulibaly had monkey noises directed at him throughout a match against Inter Milan on Wednesday at the San Siro Stadium. Against Bologna, Dries Mertens scored the winner two minutes from time with a shot from beyond the area after the hosts had twice given up the lead. Arkadiusz Milik scored twice for Napoli but Federico Santander replied to his first and Danilo equalized after his second. The victory meant Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti got the better of Bologna counterpart Filippo Inzaghi, his former striker at AC Milan. NO FANS The visiting section was empty for Inter's win at Empoli. Local authorities banned away fans after an Inter supporter died following clashes with opposing supporters outside the San Siro stadium before the match against Napoli. Keita Balde scored midway through the second half with a scuffed shot that went in off the post. Inter will also play its next two home matches behind closed doors, plus there will be a partial closure for the club's third home game, as punishment for the clashes and racist chants. OTHER RESULTS Lazio remained fourth following a 1-1 draw with Torino in which both sides finished with 10 men. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored the equalizer for Lazio after a penalty from Andrea Belotti. Gonzalo Higuain broke a two-month scoring drought by netting the winner as AC Milan ended a four-match streak without a victory by defeating Spal 2-1. Roma won 2-0 at Parma with second-half goals from Bryan Cristante and Cengiz Under. Josip Ilicic came off the bench to score a hat trick in Atalanta's 6-2 win at Sassuolo. It was Ilicic's third hat trick in 2018 — matching Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero for the record in Europe's top five leagues. Udinese won 2-0 against Cagliari with goals from Ignacio Pussetto and Valon Behrami. Emanuele Giaccherini scored with a curling free kick as last-place Chievo Verona beat 10-man Frosinone 1-0 for its first win of the season. Genoa and Fiorentina shared a 0-0 draw......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2018

Top sports headliners in the year that was

From the FIFA World Cup to the NBA, the PBA to the UAAP and NCAA, the Asian Games to Manny Pacquiao, volleyball to MMA, the past 12 months truly was a great year for Filipino sports fans.   Here are some of the most memorable sports headliners that bannered the year that was.    San Miguel Corporation dominates PBA San Miguel Corporation owned 2018. For the first time in the history of the Asia’s first professional basketball league one company dominated all three conferences of the PBA. The San Miguel Beermen annexed their fourth straight Philippine Cup title against sister team Magnolia last May, while Ginebra rode on undersized do-it-all forward Justin Brownlee to the Commissioner's Cup title at the expense of San Miguel last August. Then it was Magnolia's time to shine in December. The Hotshots dismantled Alaska in six games to complete SMC’s domination of PBA 2018. Outside of basketball, SMC also made its presence felt in volleyball as Petron bagged the Grand Prix, Challenge Cup (beach volleyball) and the All-Filipino Conference in the Philippine Superliga.   Kai Sotto stands tall as Ateneo takes title vs NU Kai Sotto became a household name in 2018 as the 7'1" wunderkind showed off in the UAAP Season 80 juniors' basketball tournament. The eventual Finals MVP was a beast in Game 1 of the Finals against the NU Bullpups, tallying a triple-double of 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 blocks in the 86-70 win, the first of its kind since 2003. Ateneo finished the season almost unscathed at 16-1, with their lone loss in Game 2 of the series, a very chippy one to say the least. In Game 3, Sotto came up clutch, scoring the go-ahead basket, 60-58, with about 30 seconds left as Ateneo came away with the 63-58 win to take the title.  SJ Belangel, Joaqui Manuel, Dave Ildefonso and Jason Credo, and coach Joe Silva all appeared in their last games for the Blue Eaglets.   DLSU completes three-peat; NU dethrones Ateneo  The UAAP Season 80 volleyball tournament was filled with lasting memories that will surely be remembered for a long time. Numerous upsets in the eliminations, great games, and much more were the name of the game for the women's tournament. However, a long-time rivalry was rekindled when two-time defending champs De La Salle Lady Spikers met 29-time title holders FEU Lady Tamaraws for all the marbles last May. Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron, and Dawn Macandili all ended their careers on a high note as they swept graduating Bernadeth Pons and the Lady Tamaraws in two straight games to win their third straight title. Graduating libero Macandili was named Finals MVP for the first and final time in her collegiate career.  Behind their magnificent floor defense and some stellar play from Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas, the NU Bulldogs also swept three-time defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles to reclaim a title they last enjoyed in Season 76. Espejo, a five-time UAAP MVP, had an awesome performance for the world's record books, scoring a record-55 points to force the FEU Tamaraws to a do-or-die Final Four. The Blue Eagle legend had played his last, and has since suited up for a semi-pro team in Japan's topflight volleyball league.   Alab fends off Mono Vampire to claim ABL title San Miguel-backed Alab Pilipinas were such a glorious sight to see in the eighth season of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) last March. Coached by perennial fan favorite Jimmy Alapag in his very first season, the trio of Renaldo Balkman, Justin Brownlee, and Local and Finals MVP Bobby Ray Parks to their first title in home soil. Alab faced Thailand-based Mono Vampire, who were led by Mike Singletary, towering Sam Deguara, Fil-Am Jason Brickman and Pinoy Paul Zamar. In the very same day as the coronation of the UAAP volleyball championships, Alab took home the crown in a rousing 102-92 victory in Sta. Rosa, much to the delight of the home crowd. Balkman, the league's Defensive Player of the Year led Alab in scoring with 32, while Brownlee added 24 of his own. Parks added 13 markers. The two imports played in the PBA for the Commissioner's Cup, where Balkman (San Miguel) and Brownlee (Ginebra) would face each other in the Finals.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Warriors send LeBron packing to Los Angeles The Golden St. Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers locked horns in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season after the two teams were pushed to the brink in the Conference Finals. Both teams were down 3-2 and won Game 7 on the road to win their respective conferences, with both teams banking on experience to forge another bout in the championship series. Game 1 was undoubtedly the most exciting game in the series as LeBron James had an epic performance of 51 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.  However, JR Smith's blunder at the end of regulation became the lasting image of that game, as he dribbled out the clock with the score tied at 107-all. The defending champions rode the surge and took the opening game, 124-114. Stephen Curry's brillant performance throughout the series was overshadowed by Kevin Durant's dagger in Game 3, a few feet away from the spot where he launched the go-ahead three in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals. Durant was named as the Bill Russell Finals MVP after norming 28.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, and 7.5 apg in the four-game sweep, demolishing the Cavs 108-85 in the series finale last June. It would also be the last game LeBron James had in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform, as he bolted for the Los Angeles Lakers almost a month later.   (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) France rules 2018 FIFA World Cup The most-coveted title of the beautiful game returned to France after two decades. The youthful French squad celebrated their conquest soaked in a downpour in Moscow after a 4-2 victory over first-time finalist Croatia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup last July. Teenager Kylian Mbappe stood out in the French team composed of a bunch of 25 and under players. Speed, strength and youth became France’s biggest asset during the quadrennial football spectacle watched by almost 3.5 billion viewers around the world.  The 19-year-old migrant scored one of the four goals in the championship match to become the second teen to score a goal in the Finals after the legendary Pele back in 1958. France defeated Belgium in the semifinal, 1-0, while Croatia outlasted the favored Russians in penalty shootout, 4-3 (2-2). The French team also displayed diversity, with players born of migrant parents including Alphonse Areola, whose parents are both Filipinos working in France.   Pac on top, The Filipino Flash returns The most-celebrated Filipino athlete continued make the headlines this year. Manny Pacquaio stripped Lucas Matthysse of his WBA welterweight world championship belt with a seventh round technical knockout win in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July. Pacquiao split with long-time trainer Freddie Roach during his build up for the Matthysse bout back in April but confirmed their partnership once again for the 40-year old boxer’s title defense against Adrien Broner next year. Nonito Donaire Jr. announced that he would be going back down to super bantamweight after a loss to Carl Frampton in April for the interim WBO Featherweight belt and would be taking part in the World Boxing Super Series' super bantamweight tournament.  Matched up in the quarterfinal round against Ryan Burnett back in November, Donaire scored what many consider an upset, winning via TKO after the Irishman suffered a back injury to snatch the WBA (Super) Bantamweight World Championship.  Up next for Donaire will be WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Zolani Tete of South Africa in the semifinals.           Pinay power in the Asian Games   The Philippines participated in the 18th Asian Games held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia that ran from August 18 to September 2. A total of 272 athletes that participated in 31 sports represented the country in the quadrennial meet with Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers and medalist Margielyn Didal marching as flagbearers in the opening and closing ceremonies, respectively. Rio Olympian Hidilyn Diaz gave the PHI its first gold medal in women’s -53 kg. weightlifting. Five days after Diaz’s victory, the trio of Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go accounted for the women’s golf team mint. Saso also bagged the individual gold. In Palembang, Didal rolled her way into winning the women’s street skateboard gold. The celebrated men’s basketball team started out strong after routing Kazakhstan but lost by two-points to China in the group stage. The Gilas Pilipinas squad advanced in the quarterfinals but bowed down to South Korea by nine points eventually settling for a fifth spot in the classification phase after wins over Japan and Syria. The PHI finished with a 4-2-15 gold-silver-bronze haul and landed at 19th spot, three places higher that its 2014 finish in Incheon, South Korea.      Red Lions roar, Blue Eagles soar San Beda University continued its mastery over the NCAA as it annexed its third straight title and 22nd overall. The Red Lions grabbed its 11th crown in 13 years at the expense of Lyceum of the Philippines University. It was one-sided championship series – just like in their Finals meeting last year – with the San Beda ripping the Pirates apart in Game One with LPU playing sans its best player in CJ Perez, who was banned for one game after failing to notify the league of his intention to join the PBA Draft. Perez returned in Game 2 but even his presence didn’t stop the Red Lions from painting the NCAA red once again. In probably one of the most memorable UAAP season in recent years, Ateneo de Manila University won its second straight crown. Ivorian tower and Rookie of the Year 6-foot-11 Ange Kouame made an immediate impact for the Blue Eagles complementing the already stacked Ateneo squad led by Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena. But the glory of Ateneo was overshadowed by the Cinderalla story of the team it vanquished in the Finals. Climbing up from the cellar in the past years, University of the Philippines made history by making it in the Finals for the first time since winning it all in 1986. But before their championship stint, the Fighting Maroons ended a two-decade Final Four drought. UP then shocked twice-to-beat Adamson University with both games decided by game-winners. Ateneo came in the series as the title favorites but overwhelming support from a very hungry UP community and underdogs fans backed the Fighting Maroons. But in the end, it was the Blue Eagles championship experience that prevailed.       Pinoys make wave in MMA Fighters under Team Lakay flexed their muscles in One Championship. Flyweight star Geje Eustaquio opened the year with an interim championship win over former champion Kairat Akhmetov in Manila back in January. Eustaquio then defeated two-time champion Adriano Moraes in Macau last July to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion.  Joshua Pacio earned the ONE Strawweight World Championship last September after a unanimous decision win over two-time champion Japanese Yoshitaka Naito. Kevin Belingon dropped former world title challenger Andrew Leone with a now-famous spinning back kick in April. He followed it up with a dominating win over then-two division world champion Martin Nguyen to capture the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion. Belingon ended the five-year reign and seven-year winning streak of of long-time bantamweight king Brazilian Bibiano Fernandes in November via split decision.  Eduard Folayang outclassed Singaporean contender Amir Khan at ONE: Conquest of Champions in Manila in early December to bag the ONE Lightweight World Championship for the second time in his storied career.  BRAVE Combat Federation Bantamweight World Champion Stephen Loman successfully defended his title twice in 2018.  Reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera needed only 64 seconds to knockout hard-hitting Italian challenger Mauro Cerilli in Manila early December to remain the king of the ONE Championship heavyweight kingdom.    Petron, Creamline rule respective club leagues Creamline claimed its breakthrough championship in the Premier Volleyball League by sweeping PayMaya in the Reinforced Conference Finals series last July. Alyssa Valdez finally ended a two-year title drought with the Cool Smashers' victory. Creamline opposite hitter Michele Gumabao was named Miss Globe-Philippines during the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 last March. Gumabao represented the country in the 2018 Miss Globe in Albania last October and won the Miss Social Media and Dream Girl awards while landing a spot in the Top 15.     The Cool Smashers completed a sweep of the PVL’s Season 2 after claiming the Open Conference crown at the expense of Ateneo-Motolite via an emphatic series sweep this month. In the Philippine Superliga, Petron reigned supreme in the Grand Prix after taking down archrival F2 Logistics last May. Petron extended its supremacy in the sands after the tandem of Sisi Rondina and Bernadethn Pons defeated Dhannylaine Demontano and Jackielyn Estoquia of Sta. Lucia in the Challenge Cup final last May. The Cargo Movers got its revenge in the Invitational Cup, toppling the Blaze Spikers in a series sweep last July. Petron wrapped the year with the All-Filipino Conference in its pocket. The Blaze Spikers won its first 14 games before dropping Game 2 of the Finals. Petron swept F2 Logistics in Game 3......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2018

MVP Ladder: Irving enters chase with work on, off the floor

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com The best of Kyrie Irving, both on and off the floor, has been on display the past few weeks. With the Boston Celtics’ season at an early crossroad, of sorts, it was Irving who stepped into the leadership void to steer things in the right direction. With injuries to key players complicating matters and chemistry issues still being sorted out, Irving was the veteran willing to step up and speak out in an effort to make sure the Celtics dealt with their issues head on. The Celtics had an inconsistent start to the season (10-10) before going on a eight-game win streak that was more like what was expected of them, only to hit the skids again briefly and lose three straight games before Irving piped up. "I think everyone can see that we've obviously had some inconsistencies regarding our play,” he said, “so I think it was just time to address it." A 36-minute players meeting in the locker room after a Dec. 21 (Dec. 22, PHL time) home thumping from Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks was enough for Irving, who didn’t spare anyone (himself included) from the harsh spotlight. It was a cathartic moment for the Celtics, who saw Al Horford return from a seven-game absence just in time for Sunday’s win in Charlotte. Kyrie was at his superstar best with the bright lights shining on Christmas. He torched the Philadelphia 76ers for 40 points, unleashing his full offensive arsenal (shooting 17-for-33 from the floor, 5-for-10 from deep), while also grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out three assists. He was in showtime mode again Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) against James Harden and the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center, finishing his night with 23 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and just one turnover. The Celtics simply had no answer for Harden, who like Irving moves up the ranks on this week’s Kia Race to the MVP Ladder. But it’s clear Irving is ready to shoulder the burden of leading these Celtics, in whatever way necessary. * * * The top five this week in the 2018-19 Kia Race to the MVP Ladder: * * * 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks Last week: No. 1 Season stats: 26.4 points, 12.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.3 steals Antetokounmpo turned Madison Square Garden into his very own Christmas playground when he smoked the Knicks for 30 points, 14 rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks to kick off the league’s showcase day. And just so the Knicks know it wasn’t a fluke, he hurried them again Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) at Fiserv Forum with 31 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and four blocks in another rout. The Greek Freak is making it tough for anyone to nudge him from the top spot on this list; he’s averaging 24.8 points (on 60.9 shooting), 12.6 rebounds  5.6 assists and 1.7 blocks in his last 10 games. The Bucks are cruising during this stretch as well, solidifying their position as one of  the top teams in the Eastern Conference and the entire league at the close of the calendar year 2018. If this is just the warm up for 2019, Antetokounmpo can really crank up his MVP campaign between now and the All-Star break. 2. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors Last week: No. 2 Season stats: 26.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.8 steals Leonard and the Raptors didn’t get an opportunity to showcase themselves for the world to see on Christmas but made up for that scheduling snafu with an instant classic in a win over Miami on the day after the holiday. Leonard scored 30 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had two assists and two steals in the winning effort. December has been good to the Raptors’ prized summer acquisition — he’s averaging 30.1 points (on .520 shooting) to go along with his 8.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals. For all of the chatter about how good the Raptors have been with Leonard out of the lineup and how good their quality depth is and has been all season, the fate of this team rests on Leonard’s broad shoulders come playoff time. He’s the one element they’ve lacked in previous runs, as a true crunch-time, go-to player in the postseason. All that noise about him not being an ideal vocal leader looks like just that at this stage of his tenure in Toronto. 3. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers Last week: No. 3 Season stats: 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.3 steals Lakers Nation held its collective breath earlier this week, awaiting the word on LeBron’s MRI after he heard a “pop” when he went down in the third with a groin injury in the third quarter of the Lakers’ Christmas Day (Dec. 26, PHL time) blowout over the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The news was better than expected but the catalyst for the Lakers’ revival this season is still expected to miss “several games.” This could actually prove to be a critical stretch for the Lakers. If they can manage to maintain their position in the Western Conference standings without LeBron in uniform, it’ll speak volumes about the growth and development of their youngsters. It will also instill some confidence in the entire group if they can piece together a few wins without the new king of Los Angeles. All that said, it would be shortsighted of anyone to dismiss the work LeBron has put in during the early-season turnaround this team has undergone. He was playing as well as anyone in the league this month (25.8 points on .516 shooting, 9.3 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 1.3 steals). 4. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors Last week: No. 4 Season stats: 28.6 points, 5.2 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals Curry bounced back from yet another uncharacteristic Christmas Day (Dec. 26, PHL time) performance (just 15 points on an ugly 5-for-17 shooting) with a big night against his brother Seth and the Portland Trail Blazers. But his 29 points and a triple-double from Kevin Durant wasn’t enough to lift the Warriors past Damian Lillard’s late-game heroics against his hometown team. If there was ever a time to be concerned about Curry and these Warriors, it’s now. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson cannot find their marks. The bench production is non-existent at times. And the edge the Warriors have used to their advantage for years seems to have vanished. The boost they need is more than just adding a superstar talent like Boogie Cousins (whose recovery from his Achilles injury seems to be in hyperdrive). The Warriors might need both Curry and Durant to go off script a bit and shake things up by going nuclear offensively to strike fear in teams the way this team once did. They’ve become far too predictable a target without the proper support from their other stars. 5. James Harden, Houston Rockets Last week: No. 7 Season stats: 32.3 points, 8.4 assists, 5.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals The reigning Kia MVP will not be denied any longer. Harden has been on an absolute tear of late and is bringing the Rockets back into focus in the Western Conference playoff chase while doing so. He’s posted back-to-back 40 point games (45 in their Friday, PHL time showdown win over the Boston Celtics and 41 in their Dec. 26, PHL time win over the Oklahoma City Thunder). He’s currently on a career-best eight-game run scoring 30 or more points, the first player to do so since Russell Westbrook did it in November of 2016. Harden’s the first to score 35 or more in six straight games since former teammate Carmelo Anthony accomplished the feat in April of 2013. Harden’s eight games of 40 or more points this season leads the league (Anthony Davis is second with five). The Celtics tried every player in uniform to stop him but to no avail. But Harden’s best work has been pulling the Rockets out of their sub-.500 hole at Thanksgiving to a season-best four games over .500 as they close out the 2018 portion of their schedule. * * * The next five 6. Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder 7. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets T-8. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors T-8. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers 10. Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics And five more: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans; De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings; Tobias Harris, Los Angeles Clippers; Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers; Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2018

VOLLEYBALL IS LIFE: A look back at Philippine volleyball in 2018

Glorious victories, dynasties, historic feats, controversies and memorable moments once again highlighted another fruitful year for Philippine volleyball.   Now, let us take a look back in the year that was in volleyball:   DYNASTY Powerhouse teams continued to thrive in the country’s most popular collegiate leagues. Arellano University muscled its way back into the NCAA Season 93 Finals and met a newcomer in San Beda University. The Lady Chiefs did find the Lady Red Spikers as feisty opponents in their first championship meeting, needing five sets to survive San Beda in Game One. But it didn’t take long for Arellano U to stomp its class over the newbies to capture its second straight title and fourth overall crown in five years. De La Salle University painted UAAP Season 80 green after annexing its third straight title handing legendary head coach Ramil De Jesus his third grand slam in the country’s most popular and competitive collegiate league. Second year setter Michelle Cobb stepped up to the challenge of filling the big shoes left by Kim Fajardo and complemented the depth and firepower of DLSU. Far Eastern University, which advanced into the Finals for the first time after a decade, stood no chance against the onslaught of the Lady Spikers, which swept their way onto throne. University of Perpetual Help completed a four-peat in the NCAA juniors after sweeping Letran. Philippine Air Force snatched the Premier Volleyball League men’s Reinforced Conference crown and the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference title. Sisi Rondina cemented her legacy as the UAAP’s queen of the sands after completing a three-peat in women’s beach volleyball. Rondina wrapped her tour of duty with four titles in five years. The Tigers ruled the men’s division.       YEAR OF THE UNDERDOGS San Beda University made great strides in NCAA Season 93 after earning its first-ever Finals appearance behind the efforts of Cesca Racraquin and twins Nieza and Jiezela Viray. The Lady Red Spikers closed the elims with an 8-1 win-loss record and took down Perpetual in the semis. Languishing at the bottom half of the standings since the return of its women’s volleyball program in 2008, Jose Rizal University made history by advancing into the Final Four. Shola Alvarez capped the Lady Bombers’ remarkable season by pocketing the Most Valuable Player award.   Far Eastern University made it to the UAAP women’s volleyball Finals by booting out crowd-favorite Ateneo de Manila University in the semis.  For the first time in five years, the Blue Eagles found themselves in a very difficult position in the Final Four. With a twice-to-win disadvantage, the Marck Espejo-led Ateneo shocked FEU – a team that beat them twice in the elims – to march to its fifth straight championship appearance.      But the real underdog story belonged to NU. After three years of finishing runner-up to the Blue Eagles, the Bulldogs led by Bryan Bagunas finally got their long-awaited revenge as they swept Ateneo off its three-year reign at the throne.     OFF COURT STORIES, CONTROVERSIES University of the East parted ways with head coach Francis Vicente midway in Season 80 after three and a half seasons with the Lady Warriors. Vicente left for ‘personal reasons’ with a UE coaching record of 2-45 (win-loss). Red Warriors head coach Sammy Acaylar also resigned from his post midway in the season. University of Sto. Tomas hitter EJ Laure after months of speculations to the real reason of her sitting out UAAP Season 80 broke her silence by saying that needed time to recover from her right shoulder injury to end all the rumors circulating including an alleged pregnancy.    Sound bites, videos and clips that show collegiate players’ ‘human side’ made its rounds around social media that drew mixed reactions from fans.  Just like in the previous years, controversy filled the formation of the national women’s volleyball team. Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. initially named Ramil De Jesus as the national team coach but just two months after his designation, the multi-titled DLSU mentor resigned from his post citing ‘conflict of schedule’. Shaq Delos Santos took over De Jesus’ spot. Netizens went abuzz when the composition of the national team that participated in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games was released as fans give their different views on who should and should not be included in the roster.             LVPI named a new president in Peter Cayco of Arellano U to replace Joey Romasanta during the association’s election.   WRITING HISTORY Smart’s Cuban import Gigi Silva carved a world scoring record in the Philippine Superliga after scoring 56 points in a lost cause against Cocolife in the 2018 Grand Prix. Silva pounded 53 kills and had three aces to land her name in the fourth spot in the women’s world scoring record behind Polina Rahimova of Azerbaijan’s 58 points in 2015 while playing in Japan, American Madison Kingdon’s 57 (2017 Korea Volleyball League) and Bulgarian Elitsa Vasileva’s 57 (2013 Korea Volleyball League). Silva also surpassed the 55 points of Americans Nicole Fawcett (2013 KVL) and Alaina Bergsma, who led Petron to the 2014 PSL Grand Prix crown, (2016 KVL).     Not to be outdone, local volleyball star Marck Espejo had a 55-point explosion of his own in the Blue Eagles’ five-set Game 1 UAAP Final Four win over FEU. The five-time MVP pounded 47 attacks, had six kill blocks and two service aces for the Katipunan-based squad. Espejo scored 11 points in the deciding frame including Ateneo’s last four to seal the win in the match that lasted for two hours and 21 minutes. Espejo’s feat fueled Ateneo’s eventual semis series win over the twice-to-beat Tamaraws.  Espejo and DLSU libero Dawn Macandili were named as the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s 2017 Mr. and Miss Volleyball.     The Philippines saw three players make their mark in the international scene this year as Espejo and sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat were tapped as imports in Japan’s V. Premier League. Espejo is now playing for Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler while Jaja and Dindin suit up for Saitama Ageo Medics and Toray Arrows, respectively.     After 36 long years, the Philippines sent a women’s volleyball team to participate in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. The squad won against Hong Kong in straight sets in pool play in the country’s first Asian Games victory since defeating India in the 1982 New Delhi Games. The PHI advanced in the quarterfinals but went home empty-handed. The Filipinas ended up at ninth place in the AVC Asian Cup. Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio made waves in the country’s hosting of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open after the duo barged in the quarterfinals. The tandem eventually bowed down to eventual champion Japan. The NU Bulldogs brought its bark into the international scene and howled its way to giving honor to country by winning the ASEAN University Games gold medal at the expense of Thailand. Volleyball proved to be the most talked about sport in the country as #UAAPSeason80Volleyball became the most tweeted sports hashtag in 2018.   SMASHING WIN, BLAZING VICTORY Creamline became the most successful club in the Premier Volleyball League this year after winning its breakthrough Reinforced Conference crown before following it up with a title romp in the Open Conference. Alyssa Valdez finally ended a two-year title drought after leading the Cool Smashers to the Reinforced Conference throne.   Creamline’s Michele Gumabao joined Binibining Pilipinas and represented the country im the 2018 Miss Globe in Albania, landing at the top 15.     Petron lorded it over in the PSL after winning the Grand Prix and All-Filipino Conference titles at the expense of archrival F2 Logistics, which ruled the Invitational Conference. University of the Philippines ended a 36-year title drought by claiming the PVL Collegiate Conference championship and followed it up by reigning supreme in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam The SiPons tandem of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons of Petron annexed their second straight PSL Challenge Cup beach volleyball title. University of Perpetual Help reclaimed the NCAA men’s title after taking down Arellano University as the Altas bagged it 11th title overall.           National University took back the title it lost last year in the UAAP boys’ tournament while De La Salle-Zobel bagged the girls’ mint. The Beach Volleyball Republic continued its advocacy of propagating the sport throughout the country.   END OF THE ROAD After winning three straight UAAP titles, the Lady Spikers bid goodbye to its Big Three in Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili. Season 80 saw the end of the six-year Ateneo-DLSU Finals rivalry as the Lady Eagles bowed down to FEU in the semis. The Blue Eagles three-year reign ended at the hands of NU as Ateneo gave its farewell to its greatest men’s volleyball star Marck Espejo and prized setter Ish Povorosa.    NU’s four-year domination in the girls’ division was snapped by DLS-Zobel. After a dry 2018 PVL season, Pocari Sweat parted ways with its franchise player Myla Pablo as newcomer Motolite agreed to buyout the hitter’s last three contract years.      Thai coach Tai Bundit after five years and bringing two titles including a rare tournament sweep to the Lady Eagles finally called it quits after Ateneo’s campaign in UAAP Season 80. Creamline gave Bundit a farewell championship trophy in the PVL.      A NEW BEGINNING It was a colorful 2018, indeed, for volleyball but 2019 is another promising year for the sport. Can the Lady Chiefs complete a three-peat in the NCAA? Newcomers are sure to bring more excitement and interest in the UAAP. DLSU will try to extend its reign for another season while NU is looking for a repeat crown in the men’s side. Another season for the PSL and the PVL will open while the national men’s and women’s team will highlight the country’s Southeast Asian Games hosting.        --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2018

Kylian Mbappe stars, ball-tampering scandal, Serena Williams outburst: 2018 sporting highlights

It was a memorable year for sports in 2018, with the World Cup in Russia, a cricketing controversy and Serena Williams' bizarre outburst grabbing the headlines. Here, AFP Sport takes a look at 10 sporting highlights from the last 12 months: FRANCE WIN WORLD CUP France won the World Cup on July 15 in Moscow, beating Croatia 4-2 in the highest-scoring final for 52 years. Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann all hit the target. Mbappe was not even born when France claimed the World Cup on home soil in 1998, their only previous win. THOMAS TAKES TOUR DE FRANCE Welshman Geraint Thomas savoured the sweetest of Tour de France victories on July 29, eclipsing all challengers inc...Keep on reading: Kylian Mbappe stars, ball-tampering scandal, Serena Williams outburst: 2018 sporting highlights.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 24th, 2018

ONE Championship: Eduard Folayang aims to promote Philippine culture with choice of formal attire

ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayang aims to represent the Philippines not just in mixed martial arts, but also with how he suits up in front of a large audience.   Folayang, touted as the face of Philippine mixed martial arts, is often seen wearing a traditional Barong Tagalog for outside-the-cage festivities.   The 35-year-old Baguio City native would dress to impress in pre-bout events such as press conferences and public face-offs, wearing the embroidered formal shirt.   According to Folayang, dressing locally-made garments is his way of telling the world that he is a proud Filipino.   "I represent the Philippines and my ethnicity by wearing a Barong. I am proud to wear it each and every time. I also use a Barong for awardings and speaking engagements," he said.   "I think it sends a message that you do not have to imitate other nation's style to look good. We have to be proud of your own identity."   Folayang is fresh from his unanimous decision victory over Singapore’s Amir Khan last November, when he took home the vacant ONE Lightweight World Title in the co-main event of ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS.   Throughout the promotion of his last bout, Folayang was frequently glanced upon walking around in a Barong Tagalog, which he usually picks up from Easter Weaving, a store in Baguio City that offers an expansive range of products made from indigenous materials to highlight Philippine heritage and contemporary culture.   Folayang stressed he has nothing against his fellow athletes wearing a suit or tuxedo, but he simply finds a distinct uniqueness when wearing a Barong Tagalog.   "Our Barong is unique, which is why I like wearing it so much. I want to show how unique Filipinos are. I am very proud of where I came from," he explained.   Folayang's proud representation of his heritage had become so apparent in his storied career that he even managed to catch the attention of Victor Cui, ONE Championship’s CEO International.   According to the renowned Team Lakay member, Cui liked his formal attire so much that he simply had to drive out and get one for the company executive.   "Victor Cui likes my formal attire so much," Folayang recalled with a smile. "The fact he likes it so much, I had to buy one for him. He was very happy when he got it.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2018

Catriona Gray s Miss Universe win inspires Filipina warrior Rome Trinidad

Filipina mixed martial artist Rome "The Rebel" Trinidad has a newfound inspiration in Catriona Gray, who was crowned Miss Universe 2018 last Monday, 17 December in Bangkok, Thailand.   The 24-year-old Filipina beauty queen bested 93 other candidates from all over the world, standing out for her signature "lava" catwalk, which made headlines in the news around the globe and trended on social media.   “Catriona is truly an inspiration for us women. She is a living proof that anything is possible through hard work,” Trinidad said.   A familiar face in the Philippine modelling world, Gray is also a martial artist, singer, and advocate of free education and HIV/AIDS awareness.   Touted by both casual and long-time pageant followers as a shoo-in for the crown, she represented the Philippines in the Miss World 2016 pageant but failed to bag the crown, settling for Top Five.   Two years later, Gray won the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 trinket, making her the country's delegate to Miss Universe 2018.   Gray's impact to women is undeniable as it motivates the likes of Trinidad to go the extra mile when it comes to chasing her dream.   "She didn’t give up on her dream. Failures didn’t stop her to reach for her ultimate goal. It is empowering to have a fellow Filipina like Catriona Gray," she stated.   "We belong to a totally different kind of fields, but seeing her succeed boosts my morale and inspires me to pursue my dreams just like her."   2018 has been a big year for the Philippines, especially in the world of combat sports, where six of its celebrated athletes copped gold on the international stage.   Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao claimed the WBA Welterweight World Championship, stopping Argentina's Lucas Matthysse in the seventh round last July.   Meanwhile, the Philippines established the unprecedented record of most mixed martial arts world title wins in the history of ONE Championship this 2018, courtesy of Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Geje Eustaquio, Joshua Pacio and Brandon Vera.   Trinidad, a professional model before she ventured into the mixed martial arts scene, is more motivated now than ever after witnessing how far the Philippines has gone in 2018.   She believes that hard work is in a Filipino's DNA, commending her countrymen for the tremendous amount of effort and dedication that they exerted in their respective fields.   "Seeing the Philippines excel in the worlds of boxing, mixed martial arts and beauty pageant is a big motivation," Trinidad shared.   "Our boxing hero Manny Pacquiao became a world champion again this year. In mixed martial arts, the country ended the year with five ONE World Champions. To top it off, Catriona Gray was crowned Miss Universe 2018."   Trinidad was last seen in action this past May when she took on Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol  ONE: GRIT & GLORY, yielding to the Indonesian hometown hero by way of first-round submission.   Although her 2018 did not turn out the way she wanted it to be, the nation’s banner year in combat sports and beauty pageant fuels Trinidad to strive even harder as she aims to carve her own success story next year.   "2018 proved to be a year of success for the Philippines. I am drawing inspiration from that success as I open a new chapter in 2019. Like them, I am not giving up. I will be back stronger than ever,” she vowed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 18th, 2018

Fil-Am R& B singer H.E.R. bags 5 Grammy nominations

LOS ANGELES -- The Recording Academy announced the nominations for the 61st Grammy Awards and 21-year-old Fil-Am R&B singer Gabi Wilson --- known by her stage name H.E.R. --- received five nominations, including Album of the Year. Wilson --- who is half-Filipina, half-African American ---was also nominated for Best New Artist, Best R&B Performance (for the song "Best Part" feat. Daniel Caesar), Best R&B Song ("Focus") and Best R&B Album for her self-titled compilation album. In response to her Grammy nominations, Wilson posted on Instagram last week with an all-caps caption, "I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY. BUT THANK YOU SO MUCH. GREATEST TEAM IN THE WORLD. IT'S ...Keep on reading: Fil-Am R&B singer H.E.R. bags 5 Grammy nominations.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 17th, 2018

Catriona Gray advances to Miss Universe Top 10

MANILA, Philippines --- Catriona Gray's chance of bringing home the Philippines' fourth Miss Universe title is still alive. The 24-year-old beauty queen from Albay advanced to the Top 10 of the Miss Universe 2018 competition on Monday at Bangkok, Thailand. The Top 10 pageant beauties are set to compete in the evening gown and swimsuit rounds. If Gray wins the Miss Universe crown, she she will be the fourth Filipina to do so after Pia Wurtzbach in 2015, Margie Moran in 1973, and Gloria Diaz in 1969. Below is the list of Miss Universe candidates who advanced to the Top 10: South Africa Vietnam Venezuela Philippines Costa Rica Curacao ...Keep on reading: Catriona Gray advances to Miss Universe Top 10.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 17th, 2018

Brandon Vera would ‘rather die’ than lose ONE heavyweight title in Manila

Losing is not an option for ONE heavyweight champion Brandon Vera, especially not on his home soil. The charismatic Fil-American fighter, who is making his second defense of the title in ONE: Conquest of Champions, said he would rather lose his life than lose his crown in full view of the Filipino fans at Mall of Asia Arena on Friday. "I would rather die than lose in the Philippines. Hindi ko kaya yun (I can't take that)," said the 41-year-old Vera during the press conference for the event on Tuesday at City of Dreams Manila. Vera has been away from the action for two years since he pummeled Hideki Sekine into submission to keep the belt, which was also witnessed the adoring...Keep on reading: Brandon Vera would ‘rather die’ than lose ONE heavyweight title in Manila.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 21st, 2018

Rejuvenated Dutch strike late, into Nations League s Final 4

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press The Netherlands' recovery from one of the lowest ebbs in its history continued with a last-gasp qualification for the Final Four of the inaugural UEFA Nations League on Monday. Virgil van Dijk volleyed home a 90th-minute equalizer to seal a dramatic Dutch comeback in a 2-2 draw in Germany, allowing Ronald Koeman's rejuvenated side to top its qualifying group on goal difference ahead of France, and join fellow group winners Portugal, England and Switzerland in a five-day finals competition in June. So instead of seeing Kylian Mbappe, France's new wonderkid and star of the team's World Cup triumph in Russia in July, vying for another piece of international silverware, soccer fans will get to see if the Netherlands truly has turned the corner. The slump of the Dutch has been profound since they finished third at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. They failed to qualify for an enlarged European Championship in 2016 and also didn't make it to the World Cup this year. Three coaches — Guus Hiddink, Danny Blind, and Dick Advocaat — came and went. And with Dutch soccer at club level also in strife, debate swirled as to how one of the long-time heavyweights of the world game could recover. Under Koeman, though, the future of the Oranje looks bright. Youngsters like center midfielder Frenkie de Jong and center back Matthijs de Ligt are regarded as two of the most promising players in the world; Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum have returned to their best form over the last 18 months; and, in Van Dijk, the Netherlands has one of the best defenders around. A rock for Liverpool this season and last, Van Dijk — soccer's most expensive defender following his $99 million move from Southampton in January — sidefooted in a cross from the left to follow up an 84th-minute goal from Quincy Promes that gave the Dutch a glimmer of hope in Gelsenkirchen. The Germans had gone 2-0 up after 19 minutes thanks to Timo Werner's dipping shot from 25 meters and Leroy Sane's deflected effort from just inside the area. They couldn't hold on, though, and finished group play with no wins, just two points, and in something of a crisis. They didn't get out of their group in Russia in a dismal defense of their World Cup title, while relegation to League B of the Nations League — featuring Europe's second-tier teams — had already been confirmed after failing to win any of their first three group games. Germany coach Joachim Loew opted to stay in the job after the World Cup, but is now under mounting pressure. The Nations League, a new competition devised by UEFA to replace unpopular international friendlies with competitive matches between teams of a similar level, appears to have won over the skeptics, and the lineup for the Final Four is intriguing if hardly a marketer's dream. Portugal, which will be playing on home soil, has a superstar in Cristiano Ronaldo who should be back in the team after an extended absence from international soccer since the World Cup. England has Harry Kane, the top scorer at the World Cup, and a talented, dynamic group of young players under forward-thinking coach Gareth Southgate. Switzerland, which hasn't reached a quarterfinal of an international tournament since 1954, will be the outsider. The Netherlands, at No. 15, will be the lowest-ranked team in the competition but should not be discounted. This victory came three days after the team produced one of its best performances in years to beat France 2-0, while it beat Portugal 3-0 in March and Germany by the same score at home in the Nations League. The draw for the Final Four, which comprises of two semifinals and then a third-place playoff and final, will take place in Dublin on Dec. 3. Some other loose ends were tied up in the Nations League, which offers teams a second chance to qualify for the European Championship in 2020. The 16 group winners in Leagues A, B, C and D — or the next best-placed teams who have not already qualified via the European qualifiers starting in March — will progress to the Nations League playoffs and compete for the last four qualifying places for Euro 2020. NORWAY, MACEDONIA PROMOTED Norway was promoted to the second-tier League B after finishing top of Group C3 with a 2-0 win at Cyprus. The Norwegians started the final round of group play tied for points with Bulgaria, which could only draw at home to Slovenia 1-1. Macedonia went up to League C after beating Gibraltar 4-0 to top Group D4. Armenia, the only team that could have finished above Macedonia, ended up second after drawing at Liechtenstein 2-2. SLOVAKIA RELEGATED Slovakia was relegated to League C after losing at neighbor Czech Republic 1-0, with Patrik Schick scoring the winner in the first half with a deft lob over the goalkeeper on a counterattack. Denmark was already guaranteed promotion to the top tier and Ireland was sure of being relegated before they drew 0-0 in Aarhus......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 20th, 2018

Mets deGrom gets Cy with record-low wins; Snell takes AL

By Jake Seiner, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — After a season marred by narrow defeats, Jacob deGrom became a runaway winner. The New York Mets ace easily won the National League Cy Young Award on Wednesday night, a reward for a historically fruitless season in Flushing. The right-hander had just 10 victories, the fewest ever by a Cy Young-winning starter. The AL prize also reflected a change in voters’ values, with Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays narrowly beating out past winners Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber for his first Cy Young. Snell pitched just 180 2/3 innings, fewest ever by a Cy Young-winning starter. Over full seasons, Snell is the second starter to win the award with fewer than 200 innings after Clayton Kershaw logged 198 1/3 in 2014. “I definitely think the game has changed in that aspect,” deGrom said. “I feel like it’s just turning more into quality of work and what did you accomplish in those innings,” Snell said. “I think that’s just the way it’s going.” DeGrom easily beat out Washington’s Max Scherzer, who was seeking a third straight Cy Young and fourth overall. DeGrom got 29 first-place votes and 207 points from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Scherzer had the other first-place vote. In his first season after chopping off his distinctive long hair, deGrom cut down hitters from start to finish despite little help from teammates. He had a 1.70 ERA, the lowest in the NL since Zack Greinke’s 1.66 mark in 2015. Yet the 30-year-old right-hander went 10-9, eclipsing the low bar among starters of 13 victories set by the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 and matched by Seattle’s Felix Hernandez in 2010. DeGrom allowed three runs or fewer in 29 consecutive starts to close the season, breaking Leslie “King” Cole’s 108-year-old record of 26 such outings. Yet the Mets were 11-18 in those games and 14-18 overall with deGrom on the mound. “My thought process was, ‘Hey, take the ball every fifth day and continue to try to put this team in position to win and control what you can control,’” deGrom said. Hernandez’s Cy Young victory signaled a major shift from voters, who once prioritized pitcher wins. The push toward advanced analytics made deGrom’s candidacy possible, and by September there was little debate deGrom was worthy, even as the Mets regularly wasted his dominance. “This was one of my goals,” deGrom said. “The team didn’t end up where we wanted to be this past season, but you kind of set personal goals, and I think being able to accomplish something that has been a dream of yours is just something special. To be a Cy Young Award winner, you’re in great company, and it truly is an honor.” Perhaps no pitcher had ever been such a hard-luck loser. New York averaged 3.5 runs in games started by deGrom, second only to Cole Hamels for worst support in the majors among qualified pitchers. During one stretch late in the season, the Mets totaled 10 runs over seven of deGrom’s outings, and four of those were driven in by the pitcher himself. DeGrom nearly produced more wins above replacement than actual wins — an unfortunate sabermetric feat that has only been accomplished once, when the Philadelphia Athletics’ Eddie Smith went 4-17 with 4.1 WAR in 1937. Baseball-Reference calculated deGrom for 9.6 WAR. The 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, he became the seventh rookie winner voted a Cy Young, joining fellow Mets Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden. R.A. Dickey was the only other Met to win a Cy Young. The Mets unveiled a deGrom bobblehead featuring the Cy Young Award shortly after deGrom was crowned. They will give away 25,000 prior to a home game April 7 against Scherzer’s Nationals. Snell got 17 first-place votes and 169 points to 13 first-place votes and 154 points for Verlander. Kluber had 71 points, followed by Boston’s Chris Sale and Houston’s Gerrit Cole. Snell had a 1.89 ERA, third best in the AL since the DH was introduced, trailing only Ron Guidry (1.74) in 1978 and Pedro Martinez (1.74) in 2000. The 25-year-old pitched had 33 1/3 fewer innings than Verlander, but his dominance was enough to sway the electorate. The lefty nicknamed Snellzilla wreaked havoc against the AL’s top lineups. He was 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts against the World Series champion Red Sox, and 2-0 in two starts each against the Astros and Indians. The Yankees roughed Snell up twice, but he got threw five scoreless innings in a victory Aug. 16. That came during a late-season run of nine consecutive wins for Snell, including a victory against every team in the AL East. He also made five starts against former Cy Young winners and went 3-0 with an 0.59 ERA. Snell was the first player 25-or-younger to win 21 games since Barry Zito in 2002. He was highly regarded as a minor leaguer for his electric arsenal, but subpar control led to struggles during his first two major league seasons. He was even demoted to Triple-A for a month in 2017. It all came together this year. Snell was a stalwart for a most unusual pitching staff, taking the ball every fifth day while manager Kevin Cash successfully experimented with reliever “openers” to start games in between. Snell led the Rays with 31 starts, and no other traditional starter had more than 17. After longtime franchise ace Chris Archer was traded to the Pirates on July 31, Snell went 9-0 with a 1.17 ERA. “I felt with the opener, I had a bigger role on the team,” Snell said. Snell is the second Rays pitcher to win the award, following David Price in 2012. Scherzer went 18-7 with a 2.53 ERA and led the majors with 220 2/3 innings and 300 strikeouts. He was attempting to become the first player since Randy Johnson to win three consecutive Cy Youngs. He got the first-place vote of John Maffei of the San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 seconds and 123 points. Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies was third with 86 points, followed by Colorado’s Kyle Freeland and Arizona’s Patrick Corbin. Verlander led the AL with 290 strikeouts while going 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA for AL West champion Houston. This is his third second-place finish since winning the Cy Young and MVP in 2011 with Detroit. Kluber was attempting to win his second straight Cy Young and third overall. He went 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA for AL Central champion Cleveland and led the AL with 215 innings......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2018

Jett Manuel proud of his boys as UP finally makes UAAP Final Four

Although not being able to personally bring the UP Fighting Maroons to the UAAP Final Four, Jett Manuel was just as happy as he learned of his team's feat. The boys from Diliman have made the postseason for the very first time since 1997, when they were led by the late Bryan Gahol, Joseph "Ogie" Gumatay, and Paolo Mendoza.  Since then, the squad has experienced heartbreak for the next two decades, including a few winless seasons. Manuel, who donned the maroon and white from 2010-16 was not spared from UP's mediocrity, compiling an overall 10-60 record in his five-year playing career, including two 0-14 seasons and the infamous UAAP Season 77 bonfire back in 2014, which celebrated their only win of the campaign. The former team captain admitted that he was following the game while his team, Ginebra, was at shootaround at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, trying to keep their season alive, facing archrivals Magnolia in Game 4 of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup semifinals. "Well, I was secretly following the game throughout my pre-game preparation. Di nga ako nag-pre-game shooting para mapanood ko yung game," Manuel shared. UP was already up by 23 when the opening jump took place for Game 3, so Manuel had a good feeling his alma mater had made it and never knew the actual final results until much later. Despite not leaving the bench the entirety of the game, Manuel went home a happy man as the Fighting Maroons downed the DLSU Green Archers, 97-81, while Ginebra forced a Game 4, 107-103. "I’m sad na I wasn’t there in person, but at least I got the win here today." But before some of his former teammates, now the veterans of the squad entered the hardwood, Manuel relayed a good luck message for the team, who were playing at the Mall of Asia Arena. "I spoke to Paul [Desiderio], I spoke to Diego [Dario], to Gelo [Vito] this morning, just telling them good luck, and yung usual ano, I mean, I’m always there for them. I’m just really happy for them. Yun lang talaga." The licensed engineer also shared how he expected that one day his teammates will bear the fruit of his squad's labor, an accomplishment the UP community has eagerly waited for a very long time. "Me personally, leaving UP with that goal na I wanted to leave something behind, leave a culture behind and try to start something, which will eventually lead to this." However, Manuel felt mixed emotions that UP's victory came at the expense of the Green Archers, where his younger brother, Joaqui plays for as a rookie. "...50-50 yung puso ko eh. I’m Maroon-blooded as well as a Manuel. So at the expense of my brother, yeah, I feel sad, but I’m more happy now that finally, finally [UP made it]." __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2018