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Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

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

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnApr 20th, 2018

LOOK: PVL Collegiate Conference schedule

Adamson University and University of Perpetual Help will open the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference action on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The promising UAAP squad Lady Falcons face last year’s NCAA semifinalist Lady Altas at 2:00 p.m. UAAP Season 80 Finalist Far Eastern University will take on College of St. Benilde at 4:00 p.m. All opening day matches will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream. The rest of the elimination matches will be available via livestream while live TV broadcast will resume in the Finals. Crowd-favorite Ateneo de Manila University and NCAA champion Arellano University skipped this year’s edition.   Here’s the complete elimination round schedule:    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 17th, 2018

PVL: Lady Bulldogs brace for tough title defense

A young National University squad will march into battle hoping to defend its crown when the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference opens shop on July 21. The Lady Bulldogs ruled the inaugural edition of the tournament last year via a clean sweep of the conference behind Most Valuable Player Jaja Santiago. But this time, NU will parade a different lineup following the departure of Santiago and Aiko Urdas, while key players Jorelle Singh and Jasmine Nabor are doubtful to see action.        Head coach Babes Castillo will parade the core of his BaliPure squad composed of a mix of veterans, incoming Lady Bulldogs and Nazareth School-NU high school standouts.     Bannering the squad will be incoming rookie setter Joyme Cagande, Ivy Lacsina, libero Jennifer Nierva, Princes Robles and high school star Faith Nisperos. Eight teams will try to dethrone the Lady Bulldogs led by the returning 2017 runnerup Far Eastern University. Also joining the fray are UAAP teams University of Sto. Tomas, Adamson University and University of the Philippines and NCAA squads College of St. Benilde, University of Perpetual Help, San Sebastian College and San Beda University. Taking a leave of absence are Ateneo de Manila University and NCAA champion Arellano University. Playing in the men’s division are FEU, NU, Adamson, San Beda, Perpetual, De La Salle University, UST, UP and CSB. Defending champion Ateneo will skip the tournament.   ---      Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2018

Valdez ‘hyped’ to play with ‘championship-caliber teammates’ in PVL Finals

Alyssa Valdez has always been a constant figure in the championship round of any tournament she's been in since she entered Ateneo in 2010. She went to five straight UAAP Finals and won two consecutive titles with the Lady Eagles. She's also featured several times in the championship series of the Shakey's V-League, which then, became the Premier Volleyball League. Those glitzy appearances, however, ended in 2016. Valdez's last finals series was with Bureau of Customs during thr Reinforced Conference wherein the Transformers settled for the silver medal. And now that Valdez is back in the big dance, she can't help but feel revved up as she plans to reach the pinnacle of t...Keep on reading: Valdez ‘hyped’ to play with ‘championship-caliber teammates’ in PVL Finals.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 9th, 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

PVL: ABS-CBN Sports taps BDL as regular PVL analyst

While Bea De Leon is yet to decide on whether to play or forego her last playing year with Ateneo de Manila University, the Lady Eagles standout seems to be enjoying volleyball from a different perspective. The 22-year-old middle did a great job Wednesday in her debut as livestream broadcast analyst in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference Season 2. With her long experience playing the sport, De Leon was able to give on point explanations and dissect the action during the match between Tacloban and Iriga-Navy.   “Nakakanerbyos talagang ninerbyos ako the whole time pero masaya siya actually,” said De Leon after her stint. “It was a great experience. It’s a new experience for me.” De Leon is looking to do more stints like this in the future. “Well if the opportunity presents itself and I’m not too bad at it then why not ‘di ba?” she said. Well, good news for all you BDL fans. De Leon will be a regular analyst for the PVL’s livestream broadcast. De Leon is the latest volleyball personality tapped by ABS-CBN Sports to join the game panel as regular analysts after Adamson University coach Air Padda and Lady Eagles mentor Oliver Almadro. Two more volleyball personalities – another player and a coach – are set to go onboard. De Leon may be taking her time to think about her decision for UAAP Season 81 but who knows, maybe her analyst gig could help her lean towards suiting up for her swan song with the Lady Eagles.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 31st, 2018

UP coach was key in Espejo s journey to Japan

After a dominating UAAP stint, no one would have been surprised if Marck Espejo decided to take his talents outside the Philippines. Well that time is coming as the five-time UAAP Most Valuable Player is officially moving to Japan to play for Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler. [Related: WHITE EAGLE: Marck Espejo is taking his talents to Japan] The official announcement and contract signing went down Sunday and Espejo is now a White Eagle, ready to spread his wings in the Land of the Rising Sun. No one would have been surprised if Espejo took his talents elsewhere. What's surprising though is the fact that one of the bridges that helped Espejo in his journey to Japan is actually an opposing head coach. Godfrey Okumu, the mentor of the UP Women's Volleyball Team, is actually the one that recommended Espejo to Oita Miyoshi head coach Takashi Ogawa. Okumu apparently worked with Miyoshi for three years. "He [Okumu] said there's a good player in the Philippines," coach Takashi said. At that time, Oita Miyoshi was already looking for Asian imports to beef up its squad and after scouting Espejo, everything worked out for both sides. Before UAAP Season 80, Espejo already travelled to Japan last December to do workouts. Oita Miyoshi's staff also quietyly made trips to the Philippines to see Espejo in action for the Blue Eagles. "Coach Okumu of UP used to work with them [Oita Miyoshi," said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro. "When coach Okumu came here and timing na they [Miyoshi] were looking for Asian players, coach Okumu recommended one player in the Philippines [Espejo], nandito raw yung kailangan nila," he added. According to Almadro, Espejo already got offers from Thailand last year but things didn't proceed because the star spiker already had one more season with Ateneo. It just so happened that Espejo also decided to pursue a career in Japan. "Many club teams were asking for Marck's services in Thailand. But siguro he chose Japan, mas mahirap dun pero he chose it. We let him decide," Almadro said. "Syempre para mas lalo pa daw siya ma-push," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2018

UAAP volleyball phenom Marck Espejo joins Japanese club team

    MANILA, Philippines – Marck Espejo has decided to take his talents to Japan. Espejo, a five-time UAAP Most Valuable Player, will play for  Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler after an incredible collegiate career with the Ateneo Blue Eagles. He will play with the Japanese club team starting this September until May 5, ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 27th, 2018

Espejo takes talents to Japan, joins club team White Eagles

Marck Espejo compiled a resume worthy of envy when he was playing in the UAAP men's volleyball tournament, and after five years with Ateneo he is ready to take his talents to the "Land of the Rising Sun." The five-time UAAP MVP signed a one-year contract with Japanese club team Oita Miyoshi Aeisse Adler in the V.League, Japan's top-tier volleyball association. "One of the highest goals an athlete here in the Philippines is to play abroad," said Espejo in Filipino at Buffalo Wild Wings in Conrad Manila. "I feel really happy right now and of course I have the jitters." Espejo was the anchor of Ateneo's championship-winning run in the UAAP that produced three titles in five yea...Keep on reading: Espejo takes talents to Japan, joins club team White Eagles.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 27th, 2018

Almadro joins Ateneo

ATENEO made it official yesterday, appointing multi-titled men’s coach Oliver Almadro as its new women's volleyball mentor. University president Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ, made the announcement, as Almadro will fill in the big shoes left by Tai Bundit to bring the Lady Eagles back on top in the UAAP. Almadro….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsMay 24th, 2018

UAAP: Kailangan ibalik ang character ng Lady Eagles -- Almadro

Bringing back the confidence, intensity and heart that brought success to the Lady Eagles in the past are the first order of business for new Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball head coach Oliver Almadro.    Formally named as replacement for Tai Bundit on Thursday, Almadro is expected to buckle down to business in the first week of June. Almadro puts his focus in bringing back the same fire that fueled the Lady Eagles in their UAAP Season 76 and 77 title conquests. After their back-to-back reign behind ace hitter Alyssa Valdez, prized setter Jia Morado and top libero Denden Lazaro, the Lady Eagles seemed to have lost the magic that made them the most popular collegiate team in this generation and ultimately fell short of making it into Season 80 Finals after six straight championship appearances.       “Unang-una siguro kailangang ibalik ko muna ang confidence nila kasi coming from sa pinaka-last game nila, kahit kami talo rin kami ng Finals, yung confidence bababa yun eh,” said Almadro, who steered the Blue Eagles to three-straight titles from Season 77 to 79 before relinquishing the crown to archrival National University. “Pero yun ang una, ibalik ang confidence.” The Lady Eagles finished third in Season 80 and were booted out by Far Eastern University in the Final Four.  “(Kailangan) ibalik ang intensity, ibalik yung playing with heart, yun muna. Yun ang kailangang ibalik muna, yung character nila as Lady Eagles,” Almadro said. “Hindi naman sinasabi ko na pangit ang end nila (sa Season 80). They still ended up in a podium finish but siyempre alam mo naman na ang Ateneo binabantayan ng marami and they are expecting a lot from them.” “Sabi ko let’s put back muna yung confidence, let’s put back muna yung chemistry, yung trust with each other and saka natin tingnan kung anong character ang kailangan i-build ng team,” added Almadro, who was replaced by longtime assistant coach Timmy Sto. Tomas in the men’s team.   Bringing a DLSU twist in Lady Eagles’ new system Almadro has been coaching volleyball for two decades and calling the shots for a women’s team is not new to the passionate and vocal mentor. For 10 years, Almadro worked as a deputy for De La Salle University Lady Spikers head coach Ramil De Jesus.  After his stint with the Taft-based squad, Almadro became the chief tactician of the Ateneo men’s team before transferring to NU. He returned to the Katipunan-based squad half a decade ago, bringing with him a dangerous scorer and all-around player in Marck Espejo. Now working on a different challenge of handling the Lady Eagles, who took the spotlight before the start of Season 80 with their ‘internal issues’ that went public, Almadro will be adopting a different approach. A deviation from the ‘happy, happy and heartstrong mantra’ used by Bundit. A no-nonsense coach like his former mentor, Almadro is leaning on using the formula that brought success to Ateneo’s bitter rival – his own twist to the system of the reigning three-peat champion Lady Spikers.   “Ire-recall ko na lang ulit kung ano yung nangyari sa La Salle, noong humawak pa ako ng women’s,” said Almadro. De Jesus has been known to instill strict discipline and Spartan-like training to the Lady Spikers. Almadro will be doing the same with the Lady Eagles.  “Pero sabi ko nga ang Ateneo Lady Eagles mababait naman ang mga yan. They are good followers. They are great athletes. Ang great athlete mate-test kung gaano sila kabilis maga-adjust,” he continued. Almadro will try to work on the power and speed of the Lady Eagles, who will have the core of Season 80 Best Setter Deanna Wong, Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston and seniors Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon, who are yet to commit to playing their swan songs. “Sa women’s sana madala ko yung bilis at yung power ng men’s. Yun sana ang maidagdag ko sa kanila,” he said. “Pero iba pa rin ang women’s eh. More on defense, more on variation pero ang importante volleyball naman yan eh. Ang importante lang maka-cope up with the system.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2018

Ateneo names Oliver Almadro as new women s volleyball coach

  MANILA, Philippines – Former Ateneo men's volleyball coach Oliver Almadro hopes to bring the same magic to the Lady Eagles. Almadro will officially take the reins of the two-time UAAP champion Ateneo women’s volleyball team, a reliable source told Rappler. The champion men's team mentor, who will succeed Thai coach Tai ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 18th, 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

LOOK: Ateneo s Ish Polvorosa elected SK chairman in Cavite

MANILA, Philippines – After ending his UAAP career as 5-time Best Setter, Ateneo men's volleyball star Ish Polvorosa will begin a new journey as the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairman of Barangay Anabu 2-B in Imus, Cavite. {source}  Thank you so much, oh God! I'll never let You and ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 15th, 2018

PVL: Adamson, Ateneo, DLSU squads hold unexpected reunions in Tuguegarao

The Philippine volleyball community really is just one tight-knit family.  If you need any proof of that claim, just witness the unplanned, yet awesome impromptu reunion that took place after the Premier Volleyball League On Tour in Tuguegarao during the Mother’s Day weekend. After finishing the two-day slugfest away from Manila (in one of the hottest places in the country, right smack in the middle of summer, no less) the volleybelles found a piece of home in each other. Out of the four teams who travelled to the capital of Cagayan, there were three groups that were able to represent their UAAP squads, while having time to catch up before they head back to the city. The Adamson Lady Falcons were well-represented by San Marcelino legends Amanda Villanueva, Lizlee Ann Gata-Pantone, and Pau Soriano, as well as fresh grads Jema Galanza, Fhen Emnas, Joy Dacoron, and Jellie Tempiatura. Too bad Coach Airess Padda wasn’t in attendace.   Generations of Adamson Lady Falcons enjoying their #PVL stint in Tugegarao! @joydacoron @aamandavillanueva @jemagalanza @tatanpantone @fhenfhenlang @tempiaturajellie @pausoriano02 A post shared by UPFRONT (@upfront_official) on May 13, 2018 at 5:50am PDT   Meanwhile, the Ateneo squad is just a nice mixture of past players, coaches, managers and personalities that underline their presence in the sport. And yes, coaches Roger Gorayeb (Now with PayMaya) and Tai Bundit (Creamline) are still going strong.   Former ATENEO players and coaches reunited here at #PVLonABSCBN Tugegarao ! A post shared by UPFRONT (@upfront_official) on May 13, 2018 at 6:06am PDT Last, but definitely not least, the DLSU Lady Spikers group, made up by a small but potent trio of Michele Gumabao, Melissa Gohing, and Ivy Remulla, are now all members of the Creamline Cool Smashers, and are look to bring their winning tradition to the hot pink squad.   From DLSU Lady Spikers to Creamline Coolsmashers @gumabaomichele @gohingmelissa Ivy Remulla A post shared by UPFRONT (@upfront_official) on May 13, 2018 at 6:09am PDT While most of the players who took the challenge of spreading volleyball sacrificed some time to miss Mother’s Day, they were still able to celebrate another kind of togetherness......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2018

‘Mamathlete’ Fille Cainglet talks mom life

MANILA, Philippines – Walking with her hair pulled back and sporting that charming smile we knew too well, former Ateneo Lady Eagle Fille Cainglet didn’t seem to have changed when we bumped into her at a shopping destination in Taguig some Sunday ago. Except that, within seconds, we would notice her carrying a child and pushing a stroller around while a yaya followed closely. “I was just hanging around!” Fille said, with a laugh. The child, of course, was her son: Ino Phillip. And Fille was there to relax with her firstborn with husband Lino Cayetano. This is what makes up the life of a former member (and captain) of the Ateneo Lady Eagles now—taking her child for some form of weekend leisure as part of fulfilling her duties as a new mom. Fille, who graduated Psychology from the Katipunan-based university, was among the likes of Gretchen Ho, Michele Gumabao, and other volleybelles who would meet in UAAP Season 74—at the dawn of the rivalry between Ateneo and La Salle in women’s volleyball. Such would eventually help popularize the sport in the league, more than how men’s basketball or cheerdance would usually fare even outside it. Fille took a break from volleyball when she married the director-politician in 2013. She would give birth to Ino on May 13 the next year, and would only come back to play a few months later in October. That time, new mom and wife Fille had already slipped into a jersey that read “Cayetano.” “I can say I'm back (to volleyball). It took a while but it hasn't been a year pa nga since I gave birth,” Fille, who is now playing semipro, said. “C-section pa ako. But I was cleared naman by my OB 5 weeks pa lang after giving birth.” Fille, now keeps busy as a mom. She spends her day taking care of her child. What was everyone’s favorite Ateneo volleybelle once now feels challenged to be doing parental obligations for the first time.  “Pero I persevered!” she added, amused. “And I was able to breastfeed pa rin kahit naglalaro na ako.” Though, it helps that her husband Lino is also a “hands-on” dad to Ino. “He changes diapers, feeds him, and plays with him. Actually, ‘pag training ko minsan, sya naiiwan kay baby.” Fille’s new life as a mother and athlete can be stressful, but she doesn’t mind. “I’m still new at (being a mom), so I cant say I’m good at it or I’m bad at it. But I always try to do what's best for my son as what most parents would do. Being a mom is a lot of work, but it's all worth it. It’s true, all the late nights and no sleep can be exhausting but it’s all worth it when you see your baby smile and happy.” We didn’t bother ask Fille if she’s in a much better place now as we already knew the answer. Update: Fille Cainglet-Cayetano now has three kids: Ino Phillip, Fille Renee and newly-born Lily Saint......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2018

The five Super Moms behind your favorite athletes

The saying goes “For every great man, there is a great woman.” This holds true in the world of sports, where athletes lean on their moms during their development, through their success, and beyond. Remember when NBA superstar Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors received the MVP award for the 2013-2014 season? He offered his award to his mom for her dedication in bringing him up the right way. In the Philippines, our local athletes also cherish their mom as much as they cherish their wins and accolades. Let’s take a look at five super moms who have been caught by S+A’s cameras supporting their children game in and game out.   1.) Mozzy Ravena   But the plan is to show you that i understand. You are appreciated. . . . . . . Happy mother’s day @ravenamozzy ! A post shared by Kiefer Ravena (@kieferravena15) on May 12, 2018 at 4:39pm PDT Mozzy Ravena is always there for her kids. Mozzy Ravena is probably the most prominent sporting mom S+A has caught. Not only is she a former star for the UST Golden Tigresses, she is also the mom of the Ravena siblings who have made a mark in their respective UAAP sports. Kiefer, Thirdy, and Dani Ravena surely have one heck of a super mom that never tire from cheering them on and lecturing them about what it takes to be an ultimate athlete. When Ateneo plays, everyone is sure that Tita Mozzy will be there for her kids.   2.) Lydia De Vega-Mercado Former Filipina super sprinter and national track team mainstay Lydia De Vega-Mercado made sure to support daughter Stephanie's volleyball dream. The former national sprinter, who was considered the fastest woman in Asia during her heydays in the ‘80s, is also the mother of former star DLSU Lady Spiker and current Petro Gazz Angel Stephanie Mercado. While her daughter did not follow in her footsteps and pursued volleyball instead of athletics, it did not stop her from showing up in her Paneng’s games and celebrated her championships as if she just won in a World Championship for the 100m dash.   3.) Susan Teng     Congrats @jeronalvinteng for winning your second championship and being the finals mvp! Great way to end your college career! 👍 A post shared by jeric teng (@tengjeric) on Dec 7, 2016 at 4:21am PST Susan Teng is all out when it comes to supporting her sons during their collegiate careers, never mind that they went to different schools.  When it comes to former UAAP stars and brothers, Jeron and Jeric Teng, their father Alvin is mentioned more being a former professional basketball player. However, as much as the Teng brothers credit their dad for their love and development in the sport, they also heap as much love to their mother Susan, who has been with them every step of the way, starting to when they were still small basketeers.   4.) Pablita Valdez Pablita Valdez made a big decision in letting her precious Alyssa travel to Manila and embark on a journey towards volleyball stardom. Before her daughter even became a national sensation, Pablita, who was a teacher in Batangas, believed that Alyssa was in store for great things when she started playing volleyball. It is that belief that made her decide to bring the younger Valdez to Manila where she can hone her talent and play in tougher situations and competition. That decision has paid off in spades as the volleyball phenom was born and her star’s ascent was meteoric. Every step of the way, Mama Pablita was there for her and we couldn’t thank her enough for giving us an excellent and much-loved star.   5.) Marilyn Mollena It took them 13 years to be together, but for every spike and score, Marilyn Mollena was on the mind of the Lady Beast, Grethcel Soltones.  Mommy Marilyn was the reason why Grethcel Soltones became the “Lady Beast.” Young Grethcel decided to play volleyball during her formative years as she searched for her mom. She thought that it was the easiest avenue to meet her mother after 13 years if she played and got broadcast on TV. She soon got her wish for on her last year with the San Sebastian Lady Stags when Marilyn surprised the Lady Beast during the individual awarding ceremonies and the whole nation even got to witness the touching reunion on TV.    Catch more super moms and also super dads on ABS-CBN S+A as it continues to champion Filipino athletes and sports development through the coverage of sports events and the airing of inspiring features on teams and athletes. For more information and stories, visit ABS-CBN’s sports hub sports.abs-cbn.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2018

Ish Polvorosa tries hand at politics by running for SK Chairman

Ish Polvorosa has had a storied career as the main playmaker for the Ateneo men's volleyball team in the UAAP, and it appears that he's branching out to try his hand at politics. The graduating setter for the Blue Eagles took to social media to announce his candidacy in the upcoming Barangay Elections on May 14, for the Sanguniang Kabataan (SK) chairman seat of Brgy. Anabu 2-B in his hometown of Imus, Cavite. Even at a very young age, our setter faced the pressure and hardwork and became THE leader inside the court. I’m sure he can empower the youth to do the same by setting (😉) them to the right track! #IshOurTime #IshYourTime pic.twitter.com/W8yD6RKD3X — Rex Intal (@rexintal) May 7, 2018 The decorated setter and three-peat champion for the Katipunan-based squad has been aggressive in promoting his campaign, even holding a 'Grand Fans Day' alongside his fellow Ateneo athletes, even his head coach, Oliver Almadro. Marck is coming also 💙 pic.twitter.com/PsLdpDZRbT — Ish Polvorosa (@ishpolvorosa) May 10, 2018   Supporting our very own @ishpolvorosa in his willingness to be of service to his community as SK Chairman in Brgy Anabu 2B Imus, Cavite. 👍🏼😁💙 #ishyourtime #AMDG pic.twitter.com/GXVEF0XaW2 — Oliver Almadro (@kowchO) May 11, 2018 Ish will join a long list of athletes-turned-politicians who aim to prove their mettle as public servants......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 12th, 2018

How Ponggay Gaston, Maddie Madayag reawakened Ateneo s happy-heartstrong mentality

Lost in the thrilling UAAP season 80 women's volleyball Finals series between eventual champions De La Salle University and worthy challenger Far Eastern U was one of the most underappreciated feats of the tournament. The Lady Eagles lost to the Lady Tamaraws in disappointing fashion in the Final Four, and FEU didn't have to use its twice-to-beat advantage to do so.  But even with the exit, discounting Ateneo's path to the Final Four would deny all the heart-stopping comeback wins, and hardwork they've shown, considering that they weren’t even expected to compete all that much, given the problems they faced during the offseason. After an alarming 0-2 start to the season, things somehow clicked for the Katipunan-based ladies. Having adjusted to the loss of veteran setter Jia Morado, among other key players, communication started getting better, and they became the league's best defensive team at the net.  That surprising turnaround changed Ateneo from an afterthought, into a legitimate title contender. And the Lady Eagles, along with its legion of fans, can specifically thank two players for their reawaking, namely Maddie Madayag and Ponggay Gaston. After being thrusted into a leadership role, Madayag was not afraid to call out the team whenever its members fall short of expectation. More than words, though, Madayag also motivated the team through her improved net defense, helping Ateneo make up for its other shortcomings, eventually led an upstart Ateneo squad many experts had already written off before the start of the season to fight until the Final Four. On the other side, Ponggay offered a somewhat intangible trait, but it helped Ateneo immensely. Mid-slump, Ateneo was looking for a ray of light to follow so it can finally rise. That proverbial light came in the form of Ponggay Gaston, a hitter that has captured the hearts of many fans for her antics on the court. Ponggay's happy-happy ways may have irked a few people, accusing her of not taking the game seriously, but it proved to be her way of towing the Lady Eagles past their troubles. She brought the carefree disposition back to the Lady Eagles' camp, while also giving a huge boost to their floor defense when she accepted the role of a libero at the middle of the season. The move was the ultimate test of Ponggay's versatility, and she delivered, proving to be the dependable player who's ready to adjust for the good of the team. Ponggay brought the happy-happy, while Maddie had the heartstrong as they reclaimed the Lady Eagles' identity and winning culture before it disappeared for good. Off the court, however, Maddie and Ponggay can also pull off stunning feats of style with the help of H&M Philippines. Their busy sched may have prevented them from exploring different looks. But now, their jerseys are going to take a rest because they’re up for their much-deserved full makeover. See Maddie Madayag sporting tonal dressing trends and Ponggay Gaston pulling off an all-denim look in their style transformation videos below. They may have lost in the #UAAPSeason80Volleyball championship, but these two are winners in the beauty and fashion arena—without doubt. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2018

Rivals turned teammates Valdez, Gumabao have ‘beautiful chemistry’

Alyssa Valdez and Michele Gumabao were once the faces of the decade's two most successful programs in the UAAP volleyball landscape, and both were champions during their collegiate careers with Ateneo and De La Salle, respectively. The two are currently teammates for Creamline in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference and their healthy brand of competition have pushed the Cool Smashers into early favorites. Creamline rolled past PetroGazz, 25-18, 25-16, 25-13, in its opener Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre, and the two were in unison in saying that part of the team's identity were their intense competitiveness they've had since they were in college. "It's kind o...Keep on reading: Rivals turned teammates Valdez, Gumabao have ‘beautiful chemistry’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 6th, 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