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AS GOOD AS GOLD: Lady Bulldogs win 50th in a row

National University and head coach Pat Aquino have added yet another feather to their cap now in the 80th Season of the UAAP Women’s Basketball Tournament. Turning the rematch of last year’s Finals into a mismatch on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum, the Lady Bulldogs had their way against De La Salle University, 77-56, for their 50th consecutive victory dating back to 2014. Rhena Itesi posted a 21-point, 15-rebound double-double, but it was Ria Nabalan who spearheaded the pivotal push that effectively put the game out of reach. With the Lady Archers mounting some sort of a fightback and trimming their deficit to 49-59 at the end of the third, Nabalan scored six of her 18 points in the 13-0 run that re-established a 72-49 edge for the three-time defending champions. Nabalan also added seven rebounds, four steals, and three assists to make sure their mentor retains his undefeated streak now into a fourth season. The last time NU lost was in the championship round of Season 76 in 2014. Since then, they have dominated UAAP Women’s Basketball with the likes of Afril Bernardino and Gemma Miranda and now, with Congolese Itese and fellow frontcourt player Nabalan. Aquino, however, remained modest as always about his monumental feat. “I never expected in my entire coaching career that I’ll get 50 straight wins, but again, I’ll downplay it. I told my girls not to think about it,” he said. With a 2-0 record, Aquino’s girls find themselves in a three-way tie for first with Ateneo de Manila University and University of Sto. Tomas. He then continued, “I told them that this is a new season so let’s take it one game at a time again.” The Lady Bulldogs imposed what has become their trademark bully basketball on DLSU, dominating inside points, 36-18 as well as rebounds, 56-34. “Siyempre, one factor is our defense,” Aquino said. Jack Daniel Animam was a big part of that with a total of nine points, 21 rebounds, and two blocks. For the Lady Archers, Angelika Figueroa topped the scoring column with 15 points. Without all of ace scorer Camille Claro and bigs Susan Al-Mohamen and Benette Revillosa, however, they just did not have enough to put up a fight against dynastic NU. Runner-up last season, the Taft-based team is yet to win through two games. Meanwhile, together with NU atop the leaderboard are the Tigresses who clawed Adamson University, 75-66. First-year player Jem Angeles had for herself a breakout game with 22 points, seven rebounds, four steals, and two assists and was backstopped by Sai Larosa who was a force with a 16-point, 17-rebound double-double. Behind those two, UST waltzed its way into back-to-back wins to start the season. On the other hand, the Lady Falcons suffered a second straight setback. Jamie Alcoy led them with 14 points and eight rebounds. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME NU 77 – Itesi 21, Nabalan 19, Antiquera 11, Animam 9, Sison 5, Del Carmen 4, Harada 4, Camelo 2, Ano-Os 2, Ceno, Tanesa. DLSU 56 – Figueroa 15, Castillo 11, Torres 6, Javier 5, Jimenez 4, Vergara 4, Paraiso 3, Nunez 3, Del Campo 3, Arciga 2, Dagdagan 0. QUARTER SCORES: 22-10, 33-25, 55-36, 77-54 SECOND GAME UST 75 – Angeles 22, Larosa 16, Rivera 11, Anies 8, Isanan 8, Capilit 6, Penaflor 4, Gandalla 0, Aujero 0, Jerez 0, Sanggalang 0 ADAMSON 66 – Alcoy 14, Camacho 13, Prado 11, Villanueva 7, Araja 6, Rosario 4, Cacho 2, Cabug 1, Razalo 0, Aciro 0, Tacitac 0 QUARTER SCORES: 11-12, 34-30, 54-44, 75-66 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnSep 16th, 2017

Pinoy sports most captivating underdog stories of 2018

Who doesn't love a good underdog story? In 2018, we saw another batch of champions get crowned for their extended excellence in their respective leagues and disciplines. We also witnessed squads and personalities who found success despite minimum fanfare. These underdogs didn't let any pre-competition predictions cloud their performances en route inspiring runs that may not have delivered gold, but are primed to be remembered for years to come.  MARGIELYN DIDAL Let's start with arguably the most inspiring entry on this list. Margielyn Didal basically burst onto the scene to bag skateboarding gold in the 2018 Asian Games. The Cebuana's victory is made even more impressive because of her humble roots, the lengths she went through just to compete, and what she's fighting for. The daughter of a carpenter and a sidewalk vendor, Didal also famously had to fend off security personnel in malls, when she was practicing her craft. Still, Didal's rise continued as she became the first Filipino to represent the nation in the 2018 X Games in Minnesota.  Her gold in the Asiad  earned her the distinction as the flag bearer of the Philippine delegation in the continental meet, and has slowly increased awareness for the sport. UP LADY FIGHTING MAROONS Now for another champion. The UP Lady Maroons were far from shoo-ins into the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Final Four. After a slow start to the elimination round, the Diliman-based squad was able to get things going, securing the fourth seed to face the top-ranked Adamson Lady Falcons in the semis.  Facing a twice-to-beat disdvantage, the Lady Maroons flexed their rediscovered depth, especially after feisty middle Marian Buitre found her touch. Conference MVP and eventual Finals MVP Isa Molde also made a case as a legitimate star as UP stunned Adamson. Facing the UAAP season 80 Finalists FEU Lady Tamaraws, UP leaned on its unparalleled chemistry and communication to defeat FEU in two hard-fought, five-set matches. The Lady Maroons also bagged gold in a rival tournament, beating out another UAAP powerhouse in UST. Come UAAP Season 81, the Lady Maroons are set to prove their preseason victories are no fluke.    NU BULLDOGS With a chip on their shoulder, wanting to regain UAAP men's volleyball supremacy, the NU Bulldogs did everything they could to dethrone reigning three-time defending champs Ateneo Blue Eagles in Season 80. NU waltzed their way through the double round robin elimination round and made quick work of UST in the Final Four to book a ticket to the finals. However, the same road block, the Blue Eagles were there, with five-time MVP Marck Espejo just fresh off from his record-setting 55-point explosion to oust  twice-to-beat FEU in the Final Four.  Using their strong net defense and efficient reception, the Bulldogs swept Ateneo in the best-of-three Finals series. Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas led the offensive attack in the clincher with 22 points, as NU's famed floor defense frustrated the graduating Espejo and hand them their first loss in the championship series in three years.   FEU LADY TAMARAWS The UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament was arguably the most exciting in recent memory. It was open-ended, every game oozed excitement as the unlikliest of results would come out here and there. Two-time defending champs De La Salle Lady Spikers still were the favored ones in the course of the eliminations, but suffered some shocking losses, including a four-set disappointment over Adamson. Being the other Finals contender was a quandary, but the FEU Lady Tamaraws led the charge and rose to the occasion, depriving Ateneo of a Finals appearance. Led by none other than Bernadeth Pons, and excellent play from their frontline, FEU advanced to the Finals for the first time in nine years, ironically also against the Ramil de Jesus-led squad. Many things had changed then, but La Salle showed why they were the reigning Queens of the UAAP, sweeping the Lady Tamaraws in two hard-fought contests.   UP FIGHTING MAROONS After an encouraging run in the UAAP season 80 men's basketball tournament, the UP Fighting Maroons put the league on notice in season 81.  Led by captain Paul Desiderio, super sophomore Juan Gomez de Liano, and Nigerian reinforcement Bright Akhuetie, the Fighting Maroons had to fight through a sluggish start. All things changed when head coach Bo Perasol decided to bring Juan off the bench to inject much-needed energy to the second unit. Juan would lead the league in assists as he guided UP's offense masterfully, carrying them to a historic Final Four return after a 21-year absence. That may already be a victory worth celebrating for UP, but the Fighting Maroons brought the fight in the Final Four as the third-seeded team facing no. 2 Adamson. In what would eventually be one of the most exciting Final Four series in recent UAAP history, UP would upset the Soaring Falcons in two games to book a Finals berth against Ateneo, where the Fighting Maroons bowed out. Still, what a run it was. And UP looks primed to be even more dangerous next season.   ATENEO LADY EAGLES There were uncertainty on how the Ateneo Lady Eagles would fare after coach Tai Bundit left the team in UAAP Season 80.  Blue Eagles mentor Oliver Almadro was tapped to oversee the team after Bundit's reign, with the PVL Open Conference being his first real challenge, calling the shots for Ateneo-Motolite.  Veterans Bea de Leon and Maddie Madayag did the heavy lifting for the team, but rookie sensations Vanessa Gandler, Jaja Maraguinot, Isabela Peralta, Samantha Fanger, and Erika Raagas provided their worth for the team. Almadro's unique style of motivation was also key in providing the spark for his team, providing some quotable lines from his timeouts showed around the world. Qualifying to the Final Four, Ateneo had their hands full against the veteran-laden BanKo-Perlas Spikers, who featured some former Lady Eagles. Down 0-1 in the series and had their backs against the wall in Game 3 down 0-2, the Lady Eagles mounted a massive comeback, stunning the Perlas Spikers in five sets and booking a dream Finals matchup against the Creamline Cool Smashers. However, it was not meant to be as they firepower of the Cool Smashers behind season MVP Alyssa Valdez proved to the difference as Creamline swept the Lady Eagles to clinch the Open Conference plum......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 24th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Breaking Down the Lady Bulldogs Struggles

From a 6 - 1 start in the first round to a current 0-4 record in the second round, the National University Lady Bulldogs are in peril of falling out of the Final Four. Ending the first round on a high note, but eventually struggling in the second round is not exclusive to the Lady Bulldogs in recent UAAP Volleyball history. Downward Spiral I remember quite well our very own journey way back in Season 70 when my team, the Ateneo Blue Eagles, also had what seemed to be a budding collapse after a stellar first round. It was the maiden year of current head coach Oliver Almadro and he had the gargantuan task of bringing a perennial cellar dweller team to the Final Four.   To everybody’s surprise, we steamrolled the first round, ending it at 6-1, second only to the former powerhouse line-up of the UST Growling Tigers. Not only we were gunning for the Final Four spot at this point, but we set up hopes of actually making the podium. The second round quelled those hopes as that 7th win which could assure us a Final Four spot proved too elusive until the latter part of the round. We finished the second round of the eliminations at 2-5, which still qualified us for the semi-finals but eventually bowed out to top-seeded UST, which we could have avoided if not for the second round collapse. Though exactly not the same, our scenario is highly comparable to the NU Lady Bulldogs currently as they struggle to beat the teams they have beaten in dominant fashion during the first round. The difference lies in the fact that NU has still three more games to turn things around while we didn’t make any adjustments during our time. Muffled Bark The Lady Bulldogs were suiting up for a sweep of the first round until they were silenced by the FEU Lady Tamaraws towards the mid-season break. Not only were the Lady Tamaraws responsible for the elimination of the step-ladder possibility, but they exposed one glaring weakness in the Lady Bulldogs as well as started the team’s current downward spiral. From the aforementioned match to the recent meltdown at the hands of the UST Golden Tigresses, one trend is highly noticeable which is the correlation between NU’s passing and scoring output most especially from Queen Bulldog Jaja Santiago. Team Passing Percentage Spiking Percentage (Team) Spiking Percentage (Santiago) FEU 22.35 25.79 27.78 DLSU 17.65 28.57 33.33 ADMU 16.42 25.23 38.24 ADU 38.20 24.48 40.48 UST 34.09 30.77 47.92 Fig 1.1 – NU correlation of Passing and Spiking efficiency Based on the numbers alone, it can easily be deduced that tough serving has been the crucial factor to limit Jaja from making significant output. Being a middle, a team passing efficiency below 30-40% would prove problematic as quick attacks rely heavily on consistent reception. Against the top 3 serving teams (FEU, DLSU, ADMU), it can be deduced that Santiago (and co-middle Rissa Sato) only had less than 20% chance to wind up for a quick attack. In most cases, NU’s middles are relegated to mere decoys which rarely prove threatening to opposing blockers.   Due to low output from middle attacks, an adjustment employed is to leave Santiago attacking from zone 6 at the expense of the utilization of their libero Gayle Valdez. In some instances, Sato also doesn’t get switched out due to her reliable floor defense. Though this adjustment has contributed to Santiago providing output from the pipe attack, her position in the back proves to have more costs than benefits. Since Santiago is not switched out, their best passer (Valdez) is underutilized. In addition, instead of just focusing on the back row attack, Santiago is also burdened with passing responsibilities which significantly hamper her capability to wind up for the perfect approach. In certain instances as well, Santiago takes the second ball during transition coverage instead of just focusing on approaching for the attack. Last Minute Adjustments Going by the numbers alone, perhaps the best adjustment the Lady Bulldogs can utilize is to fully commit Santiago in the opposite position. In terms of passing and digging, this rotation would ensure that Valdez is still fully utilized as a defense specialist at the same time still enabling Santiago to contribute from the back row. In line with that, a shift into the opposite position would eliminate any passing burden for Santiago, letting her just focus on approaching for the attack. With regards to attack, a concern perhaps is if the shift to opposite would still provide the same output for Santiago. With the current disposition in the Lady Bulldogs’ floor efficiency, the shift would definitely be beneficial more than costly. First off, a middle attack relies heavily on several interlinked factors such as the pass consistency, the speed of the toss, the location of the attacker, and the height of the ball. On the other hand, attacks from the right wing, be it from the front or back row, relies less on pass consistency and attacker position. Santiago committing to the right wing would ensure that NU Setter Jasmine Nabor will always have a threatening safety net regardless of the quality of the pass. In addition, attacks from the wings would be easier for Nabor to exploit Santiago’s high attack reach as compared to quick hits. Another concern perhaps would be the trade off for blocking since Santiago would be focused on one area. Going by the numbers once more, the six leading scorers in the league (excluding Santiago) are open hitters. It would definitely prove beneficial to pit the team’s best blocker against the position with the highest scorers in the league. Though it may not guarantee kill blocks all the time, the towering presence of Santiago from the right wing would significantly alter the spiking tendencies of open hitters from other teams. In terms of a replacement blocker to fill in Santiago’s spot, NU need not be concerned with making kill blocks as well. As exemplified by Adamson’s middle Lea Ann Perez, a decent sized middle with good lateral movement can significantly contribute to the rotation through one-touch blocks that slow the ball’s momentum. High Risk High Reward Though the numbers right now logically point to the aforementioned adjustment, a practical application of such strategy is a whole different story. Perhaps the best testament of this strategy would be the masterful risk by Russian men’s volleyball coach Vladimir Alekno in none other than the Gold Medal Match of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Severely struggling in passing and defense against the Brazilian assault, the Russians’ backs were up against the wall 0 sets to 2 as they failed to utilize their strongest asset, the 7’2” giant Dimitriy Muserskiy from the middle. With Muserskiy out of the attacking equation in most cases, Brazil was able to close in on their block to the wings. With what could be considered as the riskiest yet smartest adjustment in volleyball history, Alekno fielded in Muserskiy as the opposite while putting his ace opposite Maxim Mikhaylov in the open position. Russian setter Sergey Grankin just went all out in feeding Muserskiy from the right wing with high and off the net tosses. The switch proved to be a masterstroke as the towering Muserskiy just went all out with height and strength to plow through the Brazilian net and floor defense. In addition, the adjustment did not only alter the defense dynamic of Brazil but the attack as well with Brazilian setter Bruno Rezende setting the right side more to avoid Muserskiy’s wall in the left. The last minute adjustment by the Russians caught the Brazilians off guard as they stretch out the match to a decider and eventually dealt a disheartening loss to their opponents. Going back, with Jaja Santiago inarguably comparable to Muserskiy in terms of capability to attack high from the wings, a shift into the opposite position would be a noteworthy consideration. Not only will it maximize and put more value on Santiago, such a shift can also contribute significantly in the passing woes of the Lady Bulldogs as it will ensure that their best passer will still be fielded in and utilized more. With three more upcoming matches to try out a new strategy, all might not be too late for the Lady Bulldogs to get back on the right path to the crown.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

HEADS UP: 10 sporting events to watch out for in 2018

2017 has come and gone, and it delivered some exciting sporting moments that has every sports fan clamoring for more. Worry not, though, as 2018 looks primed to satisfy even the most die-hard Pinoy sports aficionado with its bevy of local and international sporting events. Let's welcome the upcoming year with 10 of the most exciting sporting events to watch out for this 2018.   NCAA 93 & UAAP 80 VOLLEYBALL The cagers are out, and the spikers are in. Volleyball season begins this January 4 with NCAA season 93, followed by the 81st season of the UAAP this February. NCAA volleybelles are once again ready to take center court, and the defending women's champion Arellano University Lady Chiefs, led by heavy hitters Jovie Prado and Regine Arocha are banking on their undisputed team play to propel them to another title. Playing inspired volleyball throughout the season, the Lady Chiefs stunned the thrice-to-beat San Sebastian Lady Stags in the Finals last year, ultimately ending Grethcel Soltones' collegiate career with a dud. Rising stars like San Beda's Ces Racraquin, JRU's Karen Montojo also make the upcoming NCAA volleyball season worth waiting for. UAAP volleyball begins a month later the NCAA tournament, but expect the field to be even more tumultuous. With no clear-cut number 2 team to challenge the two-time defending champions DLSU Lady Spikers, it will be a toss-up against basically the other seven schools to step up. Dangerous squads include the much-improved Adamson Lady Falcons, last year's pleasant surprise UST, the dynastic Ateneo Lady Eagles, and the intact NU Lady Bulldogs and FEU Lady Tamaraws. NBA ALL-STAR GAME & 2018 NBA FINALS The annual showcase of the NBA's brightest stars just got a major revamp. That's right, the league has done away with the traditional East-West teams, and will now have a playground-type pool selection of players between its two captains when the exhibition tips off in Los Angeles. This raises a lot of interesting questions: Will the captains pick their teammates or will they go with a more controversial pick and select a rival? Will we able to know the order of the draft? Will this actually work in making the game better? While answers to those questions might not be answered until a few months, one thing's for sure, the NBA Finals, the spectacle that actually counts, will be epic. Will we be treated to Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers Pt. 4? Or will another squad swoop in to spoil the party? The league has indeed improved, with surprising teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, the Indiana Pacers, the Detroit Pistons out in the East already staking claim to playoff spots, and the Wild, Wild, West staying true to its monicker. The Houston Rockets and the perennial powerhouse San Antonio Spurs are still the favorites to pull the rug under the Warriors, while the Oklahoma City Thunder is right behind. Either way, with months of hoops already invested in it, the NBA Finals will surely be another explosive one, as it always is.   HOMECOMING QUEEN Alyssa Valdez spent the majority of 2017 overseas, spreading her wings in Taiwan with volleyball club Attack Line. This 2018 though, The Phenom plans on staying in the Philippines, armed with two year’s worth of international experience to focus on her home club team in the Creamline Cool Smashers.  "Next year, I'm planning to focus sa Creamline. Just this year, I travelled a lot talaga. They supported me throughout, esepcially doon sa National Team stint ko. They sacrificed a lot for me talaga. I think I have to focus sa team ko talaga,” she said last week.Alyssa Valdez just got scarier.   PINOY HOOP DREAMS: REMY MARTIN, KOBE PARAS  Two proudly Pinoy ballers based in the U.S. set out this 2018 to continue shooting for our island nation’s humble hoop dreams. Kobe Paras is still serving residency this 2017-2018 season with the California State University-Northridge Matadors, but his development is sure to be a joy to watch. The 6’6” Pinoy swingman accomplished a tour of duty with Gilas Pilipinas earlier in the year, and many Pinoys saw why we should all be excited about high-flying forward. Remy Martin, a 5’11” point guard dazzled in his first few games with the Arizona State Sun Devils, with his athleticism, explosiveness and feisty defense. The Filipino-American cager is proud of his roots and hopes to represent flag and country with Gilas Pilipinas in the future.   WHO (OR WHAT) IS NEXT FOR MANNY PACQUIAO? The never-ending saga of what’s next for Manny Pacquiao looks like it'll seep into 2018.  Following a rather controversial loss to Australian boxer Jeff Horn, Pacquiao has been “courting” the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr. for a rematch, even taking to Instagram to ”greet” MMA superstar Conor McGregor before finally admitting that he’s been in talks with the Irish fighter’s camp. Whether he actually retires from boxing for good, or takes on another foe in the squared circle, one thing’s for sure: we’ll all have our eyes on Manny Pacquiao’s next move.   2018 WORLD CUP RUSSIA™ After four years, the best of world football will once again converge, this time in Russia to crown the Kings of the beautiful sport. The stage is set, the groups are finalized, and the 32 squads are promising the best 30-day football extravaganza in the hopes of dethroning defending champions Germany this June. Some group stage clashes to look out for are Germany vs Mexico, England vs Belgium, Portugal vs Spain, to name a few. June couldn’t come soon enough.   CHRISTIAN STANDHARDINGER'S PBA DEBUT No PBA rookie has probably come into the league as pro-ready as the Filipino-German standout Christian Standhardinger. The 6’9” big man was the consensus top overall pick of the 2017 PBA draft, and was also at the center of the controversial trade that sent Kia Picanto’s rights to the number 1 selection to the already-dominant San Miguel. While the trade did go down, so did former commissioner Chito Narvasa. Standhardinger’s entry to the PBA has come at a cost, but San Miguel is more than ready to wait one more conference to bulk up their already stacked squad. Seeing Standharinger play alongside 6’11” center and reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo, versatile forward Arwind Santos, and the Beermen’s bevy of guards in Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, and Chris Ross, is definitely a sight to see, just look at how he's tearing it up in the ASEAN Basketball League.    2018 ASIAN GAMES INDONESIA The Philippines’ less than stellar performance at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games was met with widespread flak. Not directed at our athletes however, but aimed at our sports development and governing body for its subpar work in getting our sports representatives ready. While the 2018 Asian Games isn’t so far away, a handful of Pinoy medalists from the SEA Games are going into the continental meet with high hopes. After dominating the SEA Games’ triathlon event, our Filipino endurance athletes, led by gold medalists Kim Mangrobang, and Nikko Huelgas, are once again primed to take home hardware. Marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, and boxers John Marvin, and Eumir Marcial, all gold medalists at Malaysia, are all bright spots that could soon unravel into full-fledged stars come 2018.   GILAS PILIPINAS IN THE FIBA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS It’s official, basketball is coming home to the Philippines this 2023 by way of the FIBA World Cup, but Gilas Pilipinas will first have to try its luck in the 2019 meet. After dealing with Chinese Taipei and Japan this 2017 for a perfect 2-0 slate in the qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas still has to face the Japanese anew, and the powerhouse Australian team early in 2018. A good showing against these squads will help Gilas strengthen its bid to international basketball’s biggest stage before we actually host the event in six years’ time.   UAAP 81 BASKETBALL UAAP season 80 just came to an end, but the next season just got way more interesting. Aside from the title defense of the intact Ateneo Blue Eagles and their ongoing rivalry with La Salle, a certain move by a coach has shaken up the league. With Aldin Ayo reportedly accepting the job as the new head coach of the struggling University of Sto. Tomas, we might just be witnesses to the rebirth of the once proud basketball program under the fiery mentor. That, and the way the DLSU Green Archers can adjust from the departure of Ayo and former two-time MVP Ben Mbala, key cogs to their season 79 championship run. The tight race for the MVP award will also be one to watch, with Mbala gone, it’s up to the local stars to step up to the challenge......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

FEU holds off NU in UAAP volleyball opening win

MANILA, Philippines---Far Eastern University got off to a good start and dismantled National University, 22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-12, in the second game of the opening day of the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament Saturday at Filoil Flying V Center. The Lady Tamaraws, last season's runners-up, were quick to recover from their disappointing first set and showed their might in the next three sets. NU fell further in the game when it lost its only setter Joyme Cagande late in the third set after she collided with Roselyn Doria and suffered a sprained ligament in her left knee. With the Lady Bulldogs without their only playmaker, their offense quickly fell into shambles...Keep on reading: FEU holds off NU in UAAP volleyball opening win.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated News21 hr. 12 min. ago

Ginagawa ko po siyang motivation – Lacsina on Ate Jaja

Rookie Ivy Lacsina has big shoes to fill for National University. Expectations are high from the young middle blocker especially that she’s being groomed to fill the void left by last year’s Most Valuable Player Jaja Santiago. Lacsina knows the weight of her responsibility come the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament and the unavoidable comparison between her and the 6-foot-5 former Queen Bulldog. She welcomes it as an inspiration to perform well for the young and rebuilding NU squad.   “Hindi ko po siya tini-take na karibal kasi siyempre si ate Jaja po ‘yun, ang daming uma-idol po dun. Isa na po ako doon. Siguro ginagawa ko po siyang motivation,” said the 6-foot-1 Lacsina, a key player in NU’s four-peat in girls volleyball. “Alam ko po dito nag-start si Ate Jaja, kaya ginagawa ko po siyang motivation para marating ko din po kung ano ang nararating niya.” Aside from being her inspiration, Lacsina reveals that it was Santiago, who is currently playing as an import in the prestigious Japan V. Premier League, who convinced her to stay in NU. “Nagkausap po kami ni Ate Jaja noong nandito pa po siya sa Philippines noong nag-iisip pa ako between NU and UP po,” Lacsina said. “Sinasabi niya na parang dilemma ang nangyari kasi parehong good (schools) pero isipin ko raw po kung saan po ang mas best. Yun ang sinasabi niya and naisip ko po na sa NU. Dito ko po nakikita ang sarili ko and yung system na gusto ko.” “Sobrang nahirapan din po ako pero at the end of the day naman, parang naisip ko rin na nandito talaga ang heart ko sa NU,” added Lacsina, who climbed in the collegiate ranks together with high school teammates Joyme Cagande, Princes Robles and Jennifer Nierva. “Dito ko rin nakilala ang sarili ko at dito ko rin nakita ang totoong team.” The departure of Santiago, who has exhausted all of her five playing years, left a huge hole in the Lady Bulldogs' offense as well as on defense with her intimidating presence at the net. NU lost in Santiago a player who normed 20 points per game last year with an impressive 41.76% attacking accuracy. It didn’t help that NU also lacked the veteran presence of Jasmine Nabor, Jorelle Singh, Roma Doromal and middle blocker Risa Sato, who will sit out the season. “This year po para po sa akin kasi sobrang laking pressure po talaga sa akin lalo na po na rookie pa lang po ako kasi parang ako na yung inaanuhan ng mga coaches na, ‘ganito, dapat alam mo na yung dapat mong gawin kasi isa ka sa inaasahan ng team,’” said Lacsina. “Para po sa akin sobrang laki po ng kawalan ni Ate Jaja po sa amin lalo na po ‘yung ibang seniors na di makakalaro sa amin. Si Ate Risa po sobrang laking kawalan sa gitna namin,” she added. “So this season po siguro ie-enjoy na lang namin siya. Lalaro kami hanggang sa makakaya namin. Alam naman naman namin na kaya namin saka naniniwala po ako sa team namin, sa coaches namin na kakayanin namin this season.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 12th, 2019

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

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

2018: The year of collegiate champions and people s champions

From Katipunan to Mendiola, from Intramuros to San Marcelino, and from Morayta to Las Pinas, the year 2018 will be tough to top. That goes for both the NCAA and the UAAP as both leagues learned that it all begins here before experiencing unparalleled heights. Now, it’s high time for look back at the year that was in collegiate basketball. New year, new regime Before we can look back, however, we first need to look ahead as several new eras are already underway even before the year has ended. Over at La Salle, American coach Jermaine Byrd has been tapped with the hopes he can do to the Green Archers what American-Kiwi mentor Tab Baldwin has done for Ateneo. The same task of a turnaround is also what’s expected from the new hires of Mapua in Randy Alcantara, EAC in Oliver Bunyi, and Arellano in Cholo Martin. Immediate impact Alongside talented tacticians, however, teams need talented players. Fortunately for a handful of teams, they got just that from their first-year players. Ateneo won back-to-back championships all while featuring a brand new paint presence in Ivorian tower and Rookie of the Year Ange Kouame. While being a force is already a given for any 6-foot-11 player like Kouame, both CJ Cansino and Dave Ildefonso also exceeded expectations in their rookie seasons for UST and NU, respectively. Over in the NCAA, Filipino-American high-flyer Justin Gutang propelled CSB just right outside the playoffs while Rookie of the Year Larry Muyang helped re-establish Letran as a powerhouse. The Walls of Intramuros are up again Speaking of Letran, it’s nothing but a welcome development to see them contending once more for the first time since their magical season and championship in 2015. Head coach Jeff Napa, at long last, has a team he can call his own and the Knights look like they will be big, big threats for the foreseeable future. Of course, size was never the advantage for neighboring LPU and rather, they have run-and-gunned their way to back-to-back Finals. With new head coach Randy Alcantara, Mapua is nothing but hoping it can finally catch up with its fellow Intramuros occupants. Started from the bottom, now we’re here Just four years ago, Adamson and UP were cellar-dwellers and were fighting over wins that were meaningless in the standings, but meaningful to their morale. Now, the two teams have just figured in classic semifinals series with both games going down the wire. In the end, it was the Fighting Maroons who advanced to the Finals, but the Soaring Falcons have nothing to be ashamed of, especially as they were one of only two teams that had downed champion Ateneo. Controversy, controversy The on-court action in both the NCAA and the UAAP was, without a doubt, intense. The same can be said, however, for the off-court happenings. The NCAA season started with San Sebastian being forced to forfeit a couple of its wins due to RK Ilagan playing in a commercial league, continued with Perpetual also being questioned about having players who suited up in a different commercial league, and ended with LPU main man CJ Perez getting suspended in Game 1 of the Finals. The UAAP had its share of colorful events with Thirdy Ravena getting suspended and therefore, getting disqualified from individual awards as well as FEU being indirectly helped into the playoffs by the untimely injuries to Adamson’s Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sean Manganti. 2 MVPs, 1 alma mater It’s a universally accepted truth that Prince Eze deserved the NCAA MVP and Bright Akhuetie deserved the UAAP MVP. What’s funny is that, at one point in time, those two were actually teammates over at Perpetual. Yes, the Altas had both Nigerian tower Eze and Nigerian powerhouse Akhuetie seeing action for them for two seasons. Even more, they were also teammates with now Ginebra star Scottie Thompson for one year. Of course, the NCAA MVP and the UAAP MVP agreed that they had to go their separate ways so that both of them can spread their wings and fly. Good thing they did. Good thing they did. Just another season in the office for San Beda So much happened in the NCAA season – LPU’s continued contention, Letran and Perpetual’s resurgence, CSB and San Sebastian being darkhorses. In the end, however, San Beda left no doubt that it was still their kingdom by blanking the Pirates in the Finals. With that, the Red Lions extended their league-leading title total to 22 – with half coming in the last 13 years. We can talk about all the teams and all the players we want, but at the end of the day, the NCAA title will still go through Mendiola. Blue Eagle, still the king At the end of the first round of the UAAP season, Ateneo found itself in a three-way tie for the top spot with FEU and Adamson. By virtue of having lost to both the Tamaraws and the Soaring Falcons, the Blue Eagles were actually in third-place entering the second round. From there, however, Ateneo never lost – and was never even threatened – all the way to back-to-back championships. They did that, with court general Matt Nieto injured for most of the second round and do-it-all forward Thirdy Ravena incurring a suspension as well. Come the Finals, however, Ateneo just unleashed both Nieto and Ravena and ultimately, took the fight out of UP. Her-story for Lady Bulldogs These are the most important numbers for the NU Lady Bulldogs at the end of the UAAP season: five straight championships, 80 wins in a row. Yes, NU has not dropped any of its last 80 games dating back to 2014. With that, they not only eclipsed the 72-game winning streak of the Adamson softball squad, once the longest winning streak in league history, but also ran way past it. Oh, that winning streak – and the five-peat, for that matter – is still ongoing. That’s short of saying that the Lady Bulldogs will only continue to make history next year. Indeed, up was where the Fighting Maroons went From 2007 to 2015, UP only won 13 times out of 126 games. Those days have been self-depreciatingly called “the dark days.” In the recently concluded UAAP season, the Fighting Maroons finally found light at the end of the tunnel. First, at 7-6 with one game to go in the elimination round, they already registered their best showing in 14 seasons. Then, at 8-6 to end the elims, they claimed their first Final Four berth since 1997. Then, in discarding Adamson’s twice-to-beat advantage, they won in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years. Then, by doubling down against the Soaring Falcons, they climbed to their first Finals since 1986. In the end, UP’s Cinderella run didn’t get a happy ending at the hands of Ateneo. But maybe, just maybe, the Fighting Maroons actually aren’t Cinderella. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2018

UAAP: Ria Nabalan graduates undefeated after 80 games

As the ladies of National University were jumping up and down to celebrate their fifth straight championship in the UAAP Women's Basketball tournament Wednesday morning, Ria Nabalan was fixing all of the five gold medals that she earned in her five playing years around her neck. Ngiting 80-0, ngiting never pa natatalo sa UAAP. Ria Nabalan with her five championship medals! pic.twitter.com/nBBA7VvcyD — Danine Cruz (@the9cruz) December 5, 2018 It was a spectacular sight. The bubbly sharp shooter was wearing five medals from different seasons, but all five say the same thing: "CHAMPION". Plus, from Seasons 77 to 81, she has never been on the losing column in all the 80 games she played. All she knows is the taste of victory. Looking back at her beginnings as a rookie from Chiang Kai Shek College in 2014, Nabalan never thought she would end up this successful. "Hindi [ko naisip ito] syempre, may mga times siguro na madodown kami, marami kami struggles and bilog yung bola, pero hindi ngayon," she said. Aside from joining an elite list of UAAP athletes who graduated undefeated, she is also part of another historic group of players who have scored 40-points in a single game. She notched this milestone on October 20, 2018 versus De La Salle University. Anchored on Ria Nabalan's career-high of 40 points, the National University Lady Bulldogs notch their 72nd straight win in the UAAP. They are just one game away from matching the league record for the longest winning streak set by the Adamson Softball team. @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/1dh21RB9gP — Danine Cruz (@the9cruz) October 20, 2018 She is also a pivotal part of NU's record-breaking run, wherein the Lady Bulldogs snatched the record for the longest winning streak in UAAP history back in October 27, 2018. Still, it was just in her very final game wearing the NU jersey that she considered herself as a history-maker. As she described, "Masaya syempre, at least ngayon masasabi ko na naging part na ako ng history." From her record-setting performances to her spunk on and off the court, Nabalan leaves a lasting impression on the Lady Bulldogs' program. She is one who always expresses confidence in her team. When asked if she remembers any point in her UAAP career that she thought she was going to lose, she had a ready answer. "Wala. Andyan naman mga teammates ko at coaches namin eh. Wala. Hindi kami pwede matakot kasi alam naming nasa likod namin ang isa’t isa," she said with full conviction. "One day siguro matatalo kami pero hindi pa ngayon," she added. After a stellar UAAP career, the Sports and Wellness Management major shared that she plans on serving the nation either through Philippine Navy or the women's national team Perlas Pilipinas next. "Siguro magtatry ako mag Navy kasama yung mga seniors ko. Depende pa kung anong mangyayari sa akin. Hoping din sana for RP team," she said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 7th, 2018

UAAP Season 81 Chess: FEU tops NU for men s crown; DLSU rules women s division

Far Eastern University ended National University's three-year reign in the men's division while De La Salle ruled the women's category for the second straight year in the UAAP Season 81 chess tournament over the weekend at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion. The Tamaraws collected a 14-round total of 40 points to claim their 14th men’s crown overall while the Lady Woodpushers from Taft snared their ninth tiara in the distaff side after finishing with 43 points. FEU actually secured the men's championship in the 13th round following a 2-2 stalemate with De La Salle Saturday. The Morayta-based chessers then put the icing on the cake with a 2.5-1.5 win over eventual third placers Adamson University in the final round Sunday. Rookie of the Year Jeth Morado led the Tamaraws by winning the Board 2 gold, while Romy Fagon was the team's other gold medalist in Board 4. The Bulldogs' saw their dynasty end after a 2-2 draw with University of the East Saturday. As a consolation for NU, International Master Paulo Bersamina, who topped Board 1, was named the season MVP for the fourth year in a row.  Arnel Ilagan was the other gold medalist for NU in Board 6. The Lady Woodpushers drew the best from WCM Mira Mirano was named the tournament MVP and Board 1 gold medalist, while her teammate Samantha Revita bagged the Rookie of the Year honors, as well as the Board 4 gold.        De La Salle blanked FEU, 4-0, to seal the title in the 13th round Saturday before ending the season with a 3.5-0.5 win over University of the Philippines Sunday. Ella Moulic was the Lady Woodpushers' other gold medalist in Board 3. The Lady Maroons and the Lady Falcons finished second and third respectively. In the juniors division, FEU-Diliman won the boys title for the fourth straight year with Dale Bernardo, a veteran of the 19th ASEAN Chess Age Group Championship, winning the season MVP honors, while NU annexed its first-ever girls crown behind tournament MVP Fide Master Allanney Jia Doroy.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 31st, 2018

UAAP Beach Volleyball: NU rookies dazzle in debut

National University rookies Antonette Landicho and Kly Orillaneda were not supposed to be the ones representing the Lady Bulldogs for the UAAP Season 80 Beach Volleyball Tournament. But due to conflicts with the indoor volleyball team, the 18-year-olds were called up late in August to play on the sand court. "Hindi din po kami dapat ‘yung maglalaro. Sila Ate Roma [Doromal] po [dapat] kaso nagkaconflict po sa indoor," said Landicho who hails from Balayan, Batangas. Despite the late call-up, the duo has been giving an impressive account of themselves after defeating all of their three opponents so far. First, it was the Ateneo Lady Eagles, 21-11, 21-14. Second, was the UP Lady Maroons, 21-19, 21-10. And their latest victim, the University of the East, 21-16, 21-15. "Masaya kasi unexpected po na kami maglalaro tapos naka 3-0 pa din," shared Landicho. Interestingly, this is also Landicho's and Orillaneda's first time to play beach volleyball on a competitive level. "Si [Antonette] first time, ako po paminsan-minsan sa Cebu," shared Orillaneda. However, first time jitters were not obvious among these girls. With their apparent chemistry and smart ball placing on the sands, both girls played as if they have been playing together for a long time already. When asked about it, they said it was all about good communication. "Usap lang po kasi lagi kaming naguusap kung san namin lalagay yung bola like sa dulo dulo, dito, dito," said Landicho. So far, the only unbeaten teams in the league after three games are NU and defending champions University of Santo Tomas. By Tuesday, October 2, the rookie Lady Bulldogs will face the Tigresses. "Okay lang po laban lang naman. Tao din naman si Ate Sisi. May skills din naman po siya na wala [siya pero mayroon] sa amin tapos yun na lang yung papakita namin," said the bubbly Orillaneda. In addition to UST, they will also have to face De La Salle University and Far Eastern University. Regardless of how tough their itinerary is, Orillaneda has this to say. "Nothing to lose, everything to gain ganun lang iniisip namin," shared the rookie......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 25th, 2018

NU has all the pieces, but can they put them all together?

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 5-9, sixth YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Issa Gaye, Enzo Joson, Jonas Tibayan, Dave Wilson Yu WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: John Lloyd Clemente, John Galinato, Dave Ildefonso, Shaun Ildefonso, JV Gallego (returning), Joshua Sinclair (returning) GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: J-Jay Alejandro, Jordan Bartlett, Matt Salem, Chino Mosqueda (injured) WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM NU? National University is not messing around as it tries to put an end to its three-year playoff drought. Even though they lost longtime starters J-Jay Alejandro and Matt Salem, the Bulldogs are all set to welcome blue-chip recruits in the form of Ildefonso brothers Shaun and Dave, John Lloyd Clemente, and John Galinato. “Right now, we’re excited that we got a very talented team, but it’s a very young team.” – head coach Jamike Jarin We named NU the 2018 king of recruiting because of that – and so, nothing less than immediate impact is expected from the Ildefonsos, JLC, and Galinato. “Of course, it’s make or break for everybody – for the entire school, for the entire team.” – head coach Jamike Jarin If all goes well, the new blood will fully fill in the holes beside Senegalese tower Issa Gaye, second-year playmaker Enzo Joson, and stalwart Dave Wilson Yu. More than the rookies, however, head coach Jamike Jarin wants and needs all his holdovers to take another step forward for the Bulldogs to live up to the hype. “We’re so young and the experience that we have is not enough. It has to be a combined effort to make us competitive.” – head coach Jamike Jarin WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM NU? Gaye has a chance to claim the vacant spot of best foreign student-athlete – only if the tall and long-limbed Senegalese tower plays up to his potential. At the wings, NU is brimming with talent in veteran DWY, returning JV Gallego and Joshua Sinclair, and first-year players Shaun and Dave Ildefonso, JLC, and Galinato. “JLC, Dave Ildefonso, Josh Sinclair, those are the guys that you will see in the long run.” – head coach Jamike Jarin The issue that persists, however, is at point guard – as it always has been since Gelo Alolino left. Rev Diputado is as steady as they come and Joson can turn into a problem for opponents as a big guard, but both of them have no time to waste and have to become masterful generals for all the weapons the Bulldogs have. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR NU? NU is, hands down, the 2018 king of recruiting. That means that most of the top talent from this year’s recruitment class will be donning blue and gold. The youth movement is well underway and, coupling that with head coach Jamike Jarin’s uptempo attack, there is no doubt that the Bulldogs will be nothing but fun to watch. Get ready for a lot of running and gunning when the NU Bulldogs will be let out. WHERE WOULD NU BE AT THE END OF UAAP SEASON 81? NU will be fighting for a playoff berth – make no mistake about it. “We’re gonna play with a lot of heart. We’re gonna give a scare to the entire UAAP.” – head coach Jamike Jarin Unlike the likes of favored Ateneo, intact Adamson and FEU, reloaded La Salle, and primed UP, all of whom we know what we’re going to get, we’re still not sure how the Bulldogs look like when they finally play together in the UAAP. When the veterans and the new blood perfectly co-exist, then look out for the Bulldogs. Otherwise, however, add one more year to that playoff drought. WHEN IS NU’S FIRST GAME IN UAAP SEASON 81? NU trots out its stacked lineup up against rebuilding UST and coach Jamike will be matched up once more opposite coach Aldin Ayo on September 7. Of course, It All Begins Here on S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, LIGA HD, and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2018

PVL: MOA Arena brings back Valdez’s ‘vintage form’

The vibe of playing inside the Mall of Asia Arena brought back a lot of memories for Alyssa Valdez. The Creamline star used it as an inspiration to fuel her desire to end a long title drought. Valdez dropped 18 points to help the Cool Smashers beat PayMaya, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20, 25-19, Sunday in Game 1 of the best-of-three Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference Finals. It was in the same arena when Valdez rallied Ateneo to its breakthrough crown against the then thrice-to-beat DLSU in Season 76 and in the Lady Eagles’ historic sweep of Season 77.   “It’s always good to be back naman sa place na siyempre first ever championship rin namin dito eh, ng Ateneo sa MOA,” said Valdez. “So iba rin ang feels din na babalik at babalikan mo sa unang venue yung Arena na nakakuha ka ng gold.” Outside last year's Battle of the Rivals, Game 1 was the first competitive game of Valdez back in the state-of-the-art venue since leading Ateneo de Manila University to winning Game 2 of UAAP Season 78 back in 2015 against archrival De La Salle University that evened their series. Unfortunately, Valdez and the Lady Eagles fell short in the series decider.          “Iba ‘yung napaparamdam sa akin, malapit sa puso ko itong MOA Arena ever since,” added Valdez, who had 11 digs. The Cool Smashers team captain now has a chance to end a three-year title-less stretch on Wednesday at the same venue. Valdez last won a crown back in 2015 while playing for PLDT alongside Jaja Santiago, Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Grethcel Soltones, who is now playing for PayMaya, in the defunct V-League Reinforced Conference. “Hindi mo maitatago na siguro nasi-spread naming ang vibes na gusto namin lahat mag-champion hindi lang naman ako,” said Valdez. “More than ever its everyone who wanted this win, who wanted to win the championship that’s why maganda ang teamwork namin.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 8th, 2018

I think it’s a very productive season for them -- Castillo on his high school standouts

BaliPure-National University head coach Babes Castillo gave the Water Defenders a passing grade despite missing the bus ride to the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference. The mentor liked what he saw especially from the high school standouts that are set to move up to the college ranks in UAAP Season 81.    “Overall I think it’s a very productive season for them, first time,” said Castillo after the Water Defenders swept Tacloban, 25-18, 25-16, 25-16, Wednesday at the end of the round robin quarterfinals at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. BaliPure, which fielded seven high school players, closed the quarters with a 2-3 win-loss record and 5-7 slate overall.     “Sabi ko nga perspective, it’s the first time that majority of high school squad has fielded in, it was a good start but I think we anticipated that they might be, they will be challenged in the midway doon sa liga because syempre mga seasoned and veterans ang mga (kalaban), lumabas nga ang pagkabata nila. That’s what we saw,” added Castillo. However, Castillo knew that the exposure will help his players come UAAP season.     Bannered by incoming Lady Bulldogs setter Joyme Cagande, libero Jennifer Nierva, Ivy Lacsina and Princess Robles and high school stars such as UAAP Season 80 high school Most Valuable Player Mhicaela Belen, Faith Nisperos and Alyssa Solomon with seasoned American imports Janisa Johnson and Alexis Matthews, the Water Defenders gave their opponents a good fight.    “It’s a very good experience for them going back to their high school and sa magka-college going into their next UAAP Season. I think it’s a very good experience for them,” said Castillo. Castillo and NU will be back in the Collegiate Conference with Cagande, Lacsina, Nierva and Robles joining the Lady Bulldogs.   ---  Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2018

UAAP greats assemble in ABS-CBN Sports The Legacy of Greatness online special

Before the 80th season of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) finally closes its curtains, ABS-CBN Sports is gathering a super lineup of legendary UAAP athletes for an exclusive interview at the Far Eastern University Auditorium that can be watched via livestreaming on sports.abs-cbn.com and the ABS-CBN Sports Youtube channel, and via Facebook Live on the ABS-CBN Sports Facebook page starting at 2 pm. Dubbed “The Legacy of Greatness,” the online special hosted by ABS-CBN Sports digital head Mico Halili and “Upfront” host Janeena Chan brings together former UAAP women’s volleyball stars led by Ateneo De Manila University’s phenom and current Creamline Cool Smashers’ skipper Alyssa Valdez, former UST Golden Tigresses star-turned-volleyball analyst Mozzy Ravena, and former De La Salle University Lady Spiker Manilla Santos-Ng, the first and only female athlete to have her jersey number retired by her school. Joining them are erstwhile kings and queens in their respective sports and teams like former National University (NU) Bulldogs captain Gelo Alolino, University of the East’s (UE) champion fencer and current coach Rolando Canlas, Jr., Adamson University’s (AdU) 8-peat softball coach and two-time SEA Games gold medalist Ana Santiago, former University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Fighting Maroon Rep. Pia Cayetano, and the Philippines’ first woman grandmaster and UAAP Season 77 Athlete of the Year, Janelle Mae Frayna from Season 80 hosts Far Eastern University. These UAAP greats will take a look back at their UAAP journey, the hardships they had to endure and triumphs they got to savor individually and as a team, as well as discuss how the times and competition have drastically changed the landscape of the UAAP, among others. Aside from that, they’ll also answer questions from Twitter that are posted with the hashtag #UAAPS80GoForGreat. Watch “The Legacy of Greatness” online exclusive on sports.abs-cbn.com, the ABS-CBN Sports Youtube channel, and the ABS-CBN Sports Facebook page at 2 pm followed by the UAAP Season 80’s closing ceremony and turnover for UAAP Season 81 at 4:30 pm. Join the conversation by tweeting using the #UAAPS80GoForGreat hashtag......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 15th, 2018

Japan, Germany emerge victorious in inaugural FIVB Manila Open

Despite coming from countries which experience the cold confines of winter, Japan and Germany sizzled and came out as the Queens and Kings of the sand court at the conclusion of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open at the SM Sands by the Bay. The Japanese tandem of Nishibori Takemi and Kosano Ayumi defeated Spain's Paula Soria Gutierrez and María Belén Carro Márquez de Acuña despite the scorching bayside afternoon heat in straight sets, 21-14, 21-18. With the victory, the gold medallists have gone undefeated in the tournament, 6-0, while the silver medalists ended the tournament with a 5-1 slate.  Meanwhile, their countrymates were not as lucky in the bronze medal match, as the top-seeded Paraguay tandem of Erika Bobadilla and Michelle Amarilla managed to eke out a 21-17, 21-16 victory over Tanaka Shinako and Sakurako Fujii in the preceding match. Takemi and Nishibori advanced to the Finals after beating Tanaka and Fujii, 21-13, 21-16, in the semis while Bobadilla and Amarilla won over Soria Gutierrez and Carro Márquez de Acuña, 21-16, 21-15. #FIVBManilaOpen Women's Division Podium Finishers: 1st: Japan 🇯🇵 2nd: España 🇪🇸 3rd: Paraguay 🇵🇾@abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/PLxetGh9aN — Philip Matel (@philipptionary) May 6, 2018 In the men's division, the Germans defeated the Russians as they came back and won a grueling three-set affair,15-21, 23-21, 15-9, to be crowned the kings of the Manila sand court. Max-Jonas Karpa and Milan Sievers took advantage of the visibly tired Russian duo of Petr Bakhnar and Taras Myskiv, finding open holes in the defense and winning jousts to take home the gold an a $1000 cash prize.  Meanwhile, Switzerland's Michiel Zandbergen and Gabriel Kissling won third after stifling Spanish brothers Javier and Alejandro Huerta Pastor in a thrilling match, 22-20, 19-21, 15-13. It was a see-saw third set which saw both teams exchanging leads. However, it seems the final change of the sides of the court did wonders for the Swiss nationals as Zandbergen emphatically rejected two straight attacks to clinch the third spot.  Bakhnar and Myskiv went to the finals by defeating the Huerta Pastor brothers, 21-18, 17-21, 21-18, while Karpa and Sievers won over Zandbergen and Kissling in the semis, 21-17, 21-16. #FIVBManilaOpen Men's Division Podium Finishers: 1st: Germany 🇩🇪 2nd: Russia 🇷🇺 3rd: Switzerland 🇨🇭@abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/hwwXsj5w75 — Philip Matel (@philipptionary) May 6, 2018  The four-day tournament, which featured teams from 23 different countries, featured eight teams, four each for the men's and women's bracket from the Philippines. #FIVBManilaOpen winners celebrate at the podium with champagne @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/VdVEvPU3Ew — Philip Matel (@philipptionary) May 6, 2018 UAAP beach volleyball veteran Sisi Rondina and Beach Volleyball Republic founder Dzi Gervacio, used their wit and skill up to the quarterfinals, where they bowed to Japan's Shinako Tanaka and Fujii Sakurako, which went to three sets and went in the favor of the Japanese, 13-21, 21-17, 11-15, Saturday afternoon. READ MORE: Kaya nating sumabay, kaya nating manalo -- Rondina “Sana ito na talaga ang reason why the Philippines should have a good, long term and continuous program for beach volleyball,” said Gervacio to ABS-CBN Sports' Mark Escarlote after their loss against Japan. “Kita naman natin na with just two weeks of practice, never ko ‘tong naging partner si Sisi and never ko itong naging teammate kahit saan but we’ve managed to play until the quarterfinals.” The former Ateneo Lady Eagle also hopes that this will be a springboard for the development of the popularity of the sport in the country. "Sana ito na ang heads up to everyone na, ‘Tara let’s start a beach volleyball program.’ We’ve won against USA and Canada and I think that’s a good turnout for someone who’s very young and a young team in beach volleyball." With the win in the one-star tournament, the participants recieved a $1000 prize for first, $700 for second, and $500 for third, coupled with their corresponding FIVB ranking points.       -- Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 6th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: An Unpredictably Exciting Season

And it finally comes to a close. Season 80 of the UAAP volleyball, from its opening game up to the very last point of the season, will be remembered as the most unexpected and exciting year for Philippine Collegiate Volleyball. While most other competitors had a good share of ups and downs, the emerging champions NU Bulldogs and DLSU Lady Spikers proved to be just a cut above the rest in exerting volleyball dominance. Bulldogs’ Bite Tired of a three-peat runner-up finish, the National Univeristy Bulldogs finally claimed the glory by snatching the crown from perennial rivals, the Ateneo Blue Eagles. With both teams having a shared rivalry once as cellar dwellers and now as championship contenders, the rivalry between NU and Ateneo in men's volleyball has been a wonder to see evolve. For Season 80, the Bulldogs finally left a mark by serving up height, athleticism, and cohesion to dominate the men's division. In their finals match against the Blue Eagles, the Bulldogs showed exemplary net play in terms of offense led by eventual Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas. With King Blue Eagle Marco Espejo relegated to the opposite position, NU coach Dante Alinsunurin’s choice to field in Madzlan Gampong proved to be beneficial in checking Ateneo’s offensive behemoth. Though still capable of producing his usual output, Espejo was closed down on key situations, giving confidence boosters to the NU wall as well as compensating for their floor defense, which was relatively their disadvantage. Perhaps the other contributing factor in NU’s victory was how the Blue Eagles were not able to maximize on their skill advantages such as service and blocking. In both finals matches, Ateneo was not able to capitalize on the passing of NU with aggressive serving leading to clean execution of offensive plays from the latter. In instances where the Blue Eagles were making a rally and even obtaining a Game 2 set, it was highly evident that their blocking was significantly altering the hitting tendencies of NU, but Ateneo was not able to stay consistent with such tactic. Archers’ Aim Over in the ladies division, the finals match-up of the two powerhouse squads, the De La Salle Lady Spikers and the FEU Lady Tamaraws, was highly consistent with the theme of the encounters throughout the season. With the two best serving and passing teams in the league, it was expected that both teams would bring out the best in each other and that was just what both teams did in the Finals series. In both encounters during the elimination season, the Lady Tamaraws were able to challenge the passing efficiency of the Lady Spikers by giving them a taste of their own medicine which was aggressive serving. In the instances that FEU was able to subdue La Salle in their encounters, it was because of well placed heavy serves that negate the threat of middles Majoy Baron and Aduke Ogunsanya. In similar fashion, Season 80 Best Blocker Celine Domingo was also able to pose a significant defensive threat in the net due to the team’s ability to disrupt oponent attack patterns through aggresive serving. Coming into the Finals series, it can be considered that both FEU and DLSU are the most balanced teams in the league. With starters who are notable in producing points in every rotation, the biggest factor for both teams would be the ability of the middles to execute as Baron was capable of racking up the points left unchecked and Domingo was essential in running FEU’s bread and butter combination plays. As such, the main determining factor in the outcome of the finals series was who could out-serve who given both team's proficiency in both serving and passing. True enough, the Lady Spikers proved that they were the better serving team as they were able to establish a tight wall defense to check The Lady Tamaraws’ offense. Consistent with their elimination round encounters, FEU’s inability to execute the set given a substantial lead combined with La Salle’s tenacity to thrive under pressure eventually won the Lady Spikers the crown. Beyond 80 The exit of big names such as Dy, Baron, Bernadeth Pons, Dawn Macandili, Jaja Santiago, Jho Maraguinot, Jema Galanza, Mylene Paat and Shaya Adorador to name a few would spell some concern for their respective teams ,but would serve as a challenge and inspiration for newcomers to reach the achievements of their predecessors. In similar fashion, teams left with solid line-ups like UST and UP would have better chances to dominate albeit higher expectations. In line with that, familiarization with more foreign coaching ideologies from the likes of Air Padda and Gody Okumu will further elevate the level of the sport in the women's division. On the other hand, an intact champion in the NU Bulldogs as well as contender FEU Tamaraws will ensure dominance for both. As such,the exit of inarguably one of the best tandems in UAAP history, that of Ish Polvorosa and Espejo, would entail a tough challenge for Ateneo to produce new outstanding inclusions in order to maintain their place in the upper echelons of the league.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Akala ko si Pons ang MVP -- Santiago

Jaja Santiago on her last playing year tried to bring National University back into UAAP women’s volleyball radar. Although the Lady Bulldogs failed to live up to the preseason hype, falling short in their return in the Final Four for the first time in three years following a sloppy second round after a good start, Santiago’s performance earned her the most coveted individual award. The 6-foot-5 versatile hitter bagged the Season 80 Most Valuable Player award as a parting gift for her five colorful years with NU.     But despite a well-deserved recognition, Santiago thought that the honor belonged to another graduating player in Far Eastern University hotshot Bernadeth Pons. “Akala ko si Pons talaga ‘yung magiging MVP,” said Santiago, who also won the Best Spiker award. Santiago averaged 20 points per game in the elimination round and had a 41.76% attacking efficiency. Pons, on the other, normed with 15.3 points per outing and the best non-libero in the reception category with a 45.16% efficiency rate.   “Ang MVP award na ‘yun bonus na lang sa akin ngayong UAAP Season 80 kasi sabi ko hindi ko naman ine-expect na mage-MVP ako,” said Santiago. “Kasi ngayong season na ‘to sobrang nagfa-flactuate talaga ang mga teams eh. Hindi mo alam sino magcha-champion, sino papasok sa Final Four. Parang performance din namin taas-baba and maraming nagi-improve na players lalo na si Pons.” “Sabi ko nga special mention ko siya kasi nakita naman natin nadala niya ang team niya sa Finals and sobrang laki ng contribution niya at ‘yung effort niya para sa team niya. (Kaya) sabi ko talaga di ko in-expect na MVP ako,” added Santiago, whose squad was swept by Pons’ Lady Tamaraws this season. The towering hitter credited her teammates for helping her claim the recognition. “It’s a great honor na maging MVP ako this end of the season namin sa UAAP. Hindi man kami pinalad na mag-champion or umabot sa Finals itong award na ito ang nag-prove na ginawa namin ang best namin (as a team),” she said. “Kasi sabi ko nga hindi ko makukuha ‘tong award na ‘to kung ‘di dahil sa teammates ko so it shows pa rin na nabigay namin ‘yung best namin kahit ‘di kami umabot sa Finals.” Santiago and the rest of the individual award winners will be feted on Wednesday before the Finals Game 2 between De La Salle University and FEU at the Big Dome. Catch Game 2 of the UAAP Season 80 Women's Volleyball Finals LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, Liga on SkyCable channel 83, Liga HD on SkyCable channel 186 and via livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Breaking Down the UAAP Final Four match-ups

After what has been considered as the most unpredictable elimination round for the women’s division as well as an exciting triple threat fight for dominance over at the men’s side, the Final Four of UAAP Season 80 volleyball has finally arrived. With three out of four teams almost similar for both divisions, fans and supporters of these semifinal teams couldn't be more excited at who will emerge as the final contenders for the crown. Men's Division Final Four Season 80 became witness to a more exciting men's division as the Far Eastern University Tamaraws finally reclaimed its powerhouse status to challenge the perennial rivalry in recent history involving the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the National University Bulldogs. The elimination round became a rock-paper-scissor match-up amongst the three as FEU’s agility, NU’s strength and Ateneo’s skill challenged each other. NU (1) vs. UST (4) The NU Bulldogs are poised to reclaim the crown after edging out their rival Ateneo to secure top seed and twice-to-beat advantage. Fortune favored them once again by dodging a bullet as the team that upset them in round two, the Adamson Soaring Falcons, fell to the UST Golden Tigers in a close decider. NU has proven this season that they can outmuscle the league as their offense greatly compensates for their defense. The Bulldogs are expected to still get output from Bryan Bagunas on all ends while the middles provide stable support. Bryan Bagunas' hit was so strong it ricochets to the announcers' table! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/MqdtjNfgts — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018 Kim Malabunga says N🚫PE to Marck Espejo! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/j3FJxhd2Gj — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 15, 2018 Not to be discredited, the UST Golden Tigers can significantly challenge the NU defense with continuous assaults from their middles most notably Tyrone Carodan, who has been providing high outputs in the second round. Likewise, the make or break factor for UST would be the consistency of left wing hitter Josh Umandal, whose height is a good match against the NU wall. Should UST be able to disrupt NU’s quick set-up and load up on the wings, they might have a chance at extending their run to a do-or-die encounter.  Josh Umandal WHAT A HIT 😱 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/a9QlDj5Yty — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 11, 2018   FEU (2) vs. Ateneo (3) After a crucial loss to the Bulldogs for the top spot, the defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles are in a tight spot as they lost a chance at a twice-to-beat advantage and are now up against their season tormentors, the FEU Tamaraws. In both encounters during the season, the Tamaraws exerted dominance over the defending champions as their bread and butter combination plays were left unchallenged by the Blue Eagle defense. JP Bugaoan taking over for FEU! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/SRkL6wANi7 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 FEU’s strength whole season long lies on solid floor passing care of their libero Rikko Marmeto that enables them to run their combinations. They also employ an unusual rotation where middles shift hitting positions in certain rallies in order to confuse opposing defenders. It would still be in the Tamaraws’ best interest to have their libero cover the most passing responsibility to ensure they can run their plays. You know you're hot when even your libero is scoring! What a smart hit by Rikko Marmeto! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Xa8uaGh4gu — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 With their crown on the edge of being snatched by a team they haven't beaten all season, the Blue Eagles are hard pressed to rely on their solid passing and serving to at least prevent the Tamaraw assault. The Blue Eagles have proven that their service is the best in the league and it will be the most crucial factor in making the finals. Consistent aggressive serving to key locations would be their best option in mitigating the Tamaraw combination. No second touch needed for Marck Espejo 😳 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Y7OqGUlAUH — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 7, 2018   Women's Division Final Four After a highly unpredictable elimination round filled with upsets and the most number of five set matches to date, the top four contenders during the first round were able to hold their ground in their quest for the crown. What's interesting for these Final Four match-ups is that all the teams have beaten each other and that the twice-to-beat advantage is indeed a breath of relief for the top two seeds De La Salle Lady Spikers and Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws. DLSU (1) vs. NU (4) Securing a twice to beat advantage against an NU team that is yet to recover their groove, the Lady Spikers are in the best position to defend their title in the Finals. Sticking to their guns of excellent serving and passing up until their last elimination game against rival Ateneo, La Salle would be once again expected to capitalize on NU’s passing struggles to prevent the Lady Bulldogs from setting up their offense especially Jaja Santiago from the middle. Aside from that, it can also be expected that the Lady Spikers will load up on another of their best assets which is blocking to capitalize on the lackluster output from the wings of NU recently. Majoy Baron BL🚫CKS Kat Tolentino, AND THEN SOME 😤 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/H55UobHbJO — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 15, 2018 On the other hand, the NU Lady Bulldogs have proven before that they can challenge the Archer supremacy. The challenge for them would be how to minimize La Salle’s free ball chances through better passing. While it is to be expected that the Lady Spikers will serve aggressively to limit Santiago’s quick attack opportunities, NU’s passers will be hard pressed to bring the ball at least on a settable location so Santiago can still hit a safety high ball. Likewise, output from the wings will be crucial in taking the spotlight off from Santiago. The set by Nabor! The quick by Sato! 💪 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Qs3hWOGYqW — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 25, 2018   FEU (2) vs. Ateneo (3) A more exciting match-up would be the battle between the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws and the Ateneo Lady Eagles since both teams have cancelled each other out in their elimination encounters. The Lady Tamaraws caught Ateneo off guard in three sets to start the season while the Lady Eagles were able to exact a revenge to FEU in five sets in their second round encounter. FEU, like La Salle, will pretty much utilize their best asset in their service and receive game to take advantage of Ateneo’s passing to limit Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon from the middle while fortifying the floor to defend the wings. In addition, FEU would ensure that their passing is on point as well so that they can run their usual combinations to circumvent the Eagle’s wall. Bernadeth Pons tears right through the wall for the sharp, sharp kill! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/AHjQ2Pmgqs — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 On the other hand, the Lady Eagles would be challenged to pass better compared to their most recent game against their rivals. It was highly noticeable that although not a lot of shank passes were made, the quality of the passes were not sufficient enough to at least be set by Deanna Wong to the wings. The Lady Eagles would be hard pressed to do high settable passes to at least drive a hard ball from the wings and extend the transition to involve the middles. Maddie Madayag CLUTCH. #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/UTTdUyk0Ns — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 25, 2018        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 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