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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

Travel Goals: Pinoy athletes celebrate the New Year in style

With most of the major sports leagues in the Philippines currently on a break to start 2019, some of your favorite athletes took some time to unwind before another year of grinding fully begins. Star athletes flew to different parts of the Philippines and the world to unwind, checking off their travel goals before they reach their actual career goals this year. Some of the reigning UAAP women's volleyball champions DLSU Lady Spikers trekked to the Summer Capital of the Philippines to soak up some fresh air before their title defense in UAAP season 81 this February.         View this post on Instagram                 •Gon’ slay, okay• - @beyonce . . . 📷 @_maylunaaa A post shared by Ernestine Tiamzon (@ernietiamzon) on Jan 6, 2019 at 2:13am PST           View this post on Instagram                 All smiles, 2019 💞 A post shared by May Luna (@_maylunaaa) on Jan 5, 2019 at 8:12pm PST Meanwhile, former Lady Spikers Dawn Macandili and Kim Kianna Dy both travelled abroad to enjoy nature and to surprise a loved one, respectively.  The multi-awarded libero went to Australia with her family, while KKD flew to Japan to surprise her boyfriend, Marck Espejo, who has been reaching goals playing in the Japan V. Premier League.         View this post on Instagram                 “Di na maka-solo” -Donato (2018) A post shared by Dawn Macandili (@dawn_macandili) on Dec 31, 2018 at 2:45am PST           View this post on Instagram                 Yannn, ginagalit niyo kasi si Dudut eh 😑🤣 —— Kidding aside, never been more proud of you! Watching you play the same level even internationally makes me so proud. It was worth every second & mile just to see and be with you ❤️ see u in 4 months ❤️ A post shared by Kim Kianna Dy (@kiannady) on Jan 6, 2019 at 12:57am PST Woman In Action Gretchen Ho tagged along fellow former Ateneo Lady Eagles Jem Ferrer and Dzi Gervacio as they scaled Mount Pamitinan in Rodriguez, Rizal.         View this post on Instagram                 Started my year right 🤙🏻🏞 All is well, all is well ☺️ #womaninaction ➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖ There have been a lot of things going on with my career and personal life. People know I like pursuing my passions no matter how difficult they are. But despite my #womaninaction lifestyle, I still make sure to get my #adulting right!! - - @prulifeuk’s #PRULifeYourTerm makes it easy for me to reach my financial goals as it is the ONLY renewable term insurance in the country that can be upgraded with an investment component rider. Happy to move forward as secure as I can be :) #prulifeuk - While it’s good to make the most of “NOW”, we must not lose sight of the future. Here we go! #2019 #mountainclimbing #mountaineering #philippines #mountpamitinan #rizal #montalban #mtpamitinan A post shared by Gretchen Ho (@gretchenho) on Jan 7, 2019 at 4:50pm PST           View this post on Instagram                 Fearless. A post shared by Jamenea Ferrer (@jemferrer) on Jan 5, 2019 at 10:16pm PST Michele Gumabao got a much-deserved break after a successful Premier Volleyball League title run with the Creamline Cool Smashers, posing while in an unidentified, but picturesque island.         View this post on Instagram                 And so another adventure begins ☀️ 👙@soakswimwearph 📸 XT100 @fujifilmph @fujifilmphlifestyle #ShowMeYourWorldXT100 #FujifilmPHXMicheleGumabao #fujifilmlifestyle A post shared by Michele Gumabao (@gumabaomichele) on Jan 7, 2019 at 3:23am PST Olympian Hidilyn Diaz made sure to promote her hometown of Zamboanga in her #TravelGoals post, endorsing the wonderful 11 Islands in Zamboanga Peninsula.         View this post on Instagram                 Kung nasa Zamboanga Peninsula kayo baka maconsider niyong pumunta sa Onse isla at malamawi. Suggestion ko magdala kayo ng mat or duyan para makapagsunbath kayo at matulog under the coconut tree or under the sun then marinig niyo ang waves and air. Sobrang refreshing and relaxing! 📸 @imjulius 😎 🌴 🏝 🏖 #Zamboanga #vacation A post shared by Hidilyn Diaz OLY (@hidilyndiaz) on Jan 6, 2019 at 3:45am PST The entire Ildefonso family bonded in Japan capturing some IG-worthy photos along the way.        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 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

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

UAAP Season 81: DLSU, Ateneo in early clash of titans

Three-time defending champion De La Salle University takes on archrival Ateneo de Manila University in an early clash of titans on Sunday in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena. The four-peat-seeking Lady Spikers gets their first acid test at 4:00 p.m. in the duel that will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, iWant and via livestream. “Sabi nga nila na sa proverbial statement na ‘go to the ring of fire.’ Sabi nga ni coach (Ramil De Jesus) whoever we play in the first game ready kami,” said Tin Tiamzon, one of the remaining veterans left to lead DLSU. The Lady Spikers won their third grand slam in the past 20 years at the expense of Far Eastern University last year in the final eligibility year of Kim Kianna Dy, former Most Valuable Player Majoy Baron and libero Dawn Macandili. DLSU also lost two more veterans during the offseason after Gyra Barroga and Arianne Layug decided to move up to the semi-pro league. De Jesus will now lean on his remaining grizzled soldiers in Tiamzon, Des Cheng, Aduke Ogunsanya and May Luna. The Taft-based squad will parade transferee Lourdes Clemente and rookie Jolina Dela Cruz. Meanwhile, Ateneo will begin its post-coach Tai Bundit era under new mentor former Blue Eagles tactician Oliver Almadro. “Siyempre may halong pressure, may halong excitement, may accepting the blessing. Pero siyempre di natin matatawaran na La Salle kaagad. Ang masasabi ko lang ay my team is on track sa conditioning and sa program namin,” said Almadro, who was once an assistant coach of De Jesus at DLSU back in 2007. “But of course we’re looking at it na ang first game mo ay bakbakan agad.” Leading the charge of Ateneo are graduating players Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag, Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston and last year’s Best Setter winner Deanna Wong with promising rookie Vanessa Gandler.     ---      Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News14 hr. 31 min. ago

No Michelle Morente for La Salle in UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs94TpkHbvS/ MANILA, Philippines---Michelle Morente caused some stir when she left Ateneo and transferred to De La Salle in September 2017. Morente, though, won't be suiting upat all for the Lady Spikers in women's volleyball with the defending champions instead slotting in former University of Perpetual Help star Lourdes Clemente in the final lineup for Season 81. Morente represented De La Salle in the UAAP Season 81 beach volleyball tournament and her inclusion in the first-semester sport meant that she's exhausted all her playing years in the UAAP. Clemente, who passed the UAAP's mandatory eligibility period for a student coming in from the NCAA...Keep on reading: No Michelle Morente for La Salle in UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2019

LOOK: UAAP Season 81 volleyball line-ups

The UAAP Season 81 men's and women's volleyball tournament starts once again this Saturday, Feb. 16! Take a look at the official lineups of all eight member schools of the most popular collegiate league in the country! Adamson Soaring Falcons Alicando, Geffrey B.. Alvarez, Mark Angelo Q. Amburgo, Lenard Frans B. Bello, Royce H. Dela Cruz, Archie M.. Garcia, Marc Edsel` N. Gudoy, Jadewin Jairell C. Hernandez, Alecson S. Jimenez, Carlo B. Labang, George Jr. L. Miranda, Leo C.. Nuguid, John Philip U.. Pablico, Paolo P. Valdez, Jesus S.. Head coach: Domingo Custodio Adamson Lady Falcons  Ave, Gracelchen .. Balang, Princess Niña O.. Dacoron, Mary Joy C. Flora, Bernadette A. Genesis, Trisha Mae C.. Igao, Mary Jane P.. Infante, Hannah Nicole .. Macaslang, Krich Aesheluoz L. Perez, Lea-ann M. Permentilla, Chiara May T. Pinar, Ceasa Joria E. Ponce, Tonnie Rose F. Soyud, Christine Joy P. Yandoc, Nikka Sophia Ruth S.. Head coach: Airess Padda Ateneo Blue Eagles Aguilar, Kurt Mikhael M. Cuerva, Sebastian Enrique E. Glorioso, Gian Carlo A. Koyfman, Anthony P. Ligot, Luis Alfonzo Martin M. Llenos, Canciano C. Magadia, Lawrence Gil R. Medalla, Ron Adrian D. Morado, Jr, Ariel C. Njigha, Chumason Celestine M. Rivera, Ishmael John T. Sumanguid Iii, Manuel D. Tan, Jasper Rodney .. Trinidad, Paulo Lorenzo S. Head coach: Timothy Sto Tomas Ateneo Lady Eagles De Leon, Isabel Beatriz P. Delos Reyes, Jeycel Ann F. Furukawa, Ayumi B. Gandler, Vanessa S. Gaston, Pauline Marie Monique M. Gequillana, Kassandra Miren C. Gequillana, Candice C. Madayag, Madeleine Yrenea A. Maraguinot, Janel A. Raagas, Erika Beatriz G. Ravena, Danielle Theris C. Samonte, Julianne Marie B. Tolentino, Katrina Mae D. Wong, Ma. Deanna Izabella A. Head coach: Oliver Almadro De La Salle Spikers Anima, Billie Jean-henri G. Aquino, Ashbery John A. Bacon, Geraint Bell P. Balanong, Gibson P. De Jesus, Gian Edrei P. Delos Reyes, John David A. Dumago, Cris Bernard B. Inocentes, John David S. Llige, Rian Ozzie R. Macaspac, Rafael P. Marco, Wayne Ferdi O. Reyes, Keiffer Arvex P. Serrano, Angel Paul C. Sumalinog, John Raphael N. Head coach: Arnold Laniog De La Salle Lady Spikers Alba, Marionne Angelique A. Cheng, Desiree Wynea T. Clemente, Maria Lourdes Cobb, Michelle Monique L. Dela Cruz, Jolina V. Hatulan, Ynna Nicole Angela F. Instrella, Rovena Andrea G. Ipac, Norielle O. Luna, May M. Nomil, Ferlyn S. Ogunsanya, Aduke Christine P. Saga, Carmel June V. Santos, Erika Mae T. Tiamzon, Ernestine Grace P. Head coach: Ramil de Jesus FEU Tamaraws Barrica, Jeremiah G. Bugaoan, John Paul M. Calado, Mark Frederick C. De Asis, Reco B. Fernandez, Clark M. Garcia, Jude U. Lorenzo, Vince Patrick P. Padon, Sean Victor U. Paler, Redijohn M. Quiel, Peter John B. Salabsab, John Paul D. Silang, Kris Cian S. Solis, Richard E. Suarez, Owen Jaime L. Head coach: Rey Diaz FEU Lady Tamaraws Agudo, Ivana Marie C. Bautista, Angelica T. Carandang, Czarina Grace Dc. Cayuna, Maria Angelica P. Domingo, Celine Elaiza B. Duremdes, Ria Beatriz Glenell J. Ebon, Lycha C. Guino-o, Heather Anne L. Hernandez, Carlota M. Malabanan, Jerrili P. Mora, Mary Martha Louise B. Negrito, Kyle Angela P. Ronquillo, France Elize B. Villareal, Jeanette Virginia P. Head coach: George Pascua NU Bulldogs Almendras, Angelo Nicolas H. Ancheta, Jann Paulo G. Bagunas, Bryan B.. Daymil, Berhashidin H. Gampong, Madzlan A.. Maclang, Marco Ely A. Malabunga, Kim N. Marcos, Ricky A. Mondero, Banjo O.. Natividad, James Martin I. Ponti, Krisvan D. Retamar, Ave Joshua S. Saura, Francis Phillip C. Head coach: Dante Alinsunurin NU Lady Bulldogs Cagande, Joyme G. Chavez, Joni Anne Kamille F. Cloza, Elaine D. Doria, Roselyn B. Lacsina, Ivy Keith L. Landicho, Mary Antonette C.. Luceño, Gelina Mae P. Nierva, Jennifer D. Orillaneda, Mary Klymince D. Paran, Audrey Kathryn S. Robles, Princess Anne N. Head coach: Norman Miguel UE Red Warriors Abalon, Al-jhon .. Adriano, Kim .. Alba, Angelu Noel A. Bonoan, Bryan Ross D. Cacayan, Mori B. Ernacio Jr, Danilo F. Imperial, Adrian Rafael C. Imperial, Ralph Ryan C. Inoferio, Clifford S.. Josafat, Lloyd C. Medina, John Lester A. Ortega, Geric Rodmar T.. Reyes, Jose Mari C. Solis, Aldwin D. Head coach: Turing Victorio IV UE Lady Red Warriors Abil, Judith O. Alcayde, Jasmine Gayle J. Arado, Kathleen Faith P. Babol, Jasckin May R. Baliton, Roselle P. Bendong, Laizah Ann P. Clavano, Lhara Maye M.. Gabarda, Mariella R. Manabat, Mialyn G. Mendrez, Mary Anne B. Olarve, Zilfa Geline M. Rodriguez, Seth Marione P. Santos, Remcel Joyce M. Sta Maria, Jana Katrina S. Head coach: Rod Roque UP Fighting Maroons Baldelovar, Jarahmeel A. Castillo, John Mark Joshua D. Consuelo, Nicolo Brylle A. Enteria, Bryan Christian C.. Evaristo, Julian Miguel T.. Fortes, Joshua Emmanuel V. Ijiran, Ruskin Joss V. Ilao, John Stephen V. Madrigalejos, John Carlo P. Millete, John Mark T. Nasol, John Miguel B. San Pascual, Gian Kyle S. San Pedro, Jerry Earl Jr P. Yan, Martin David A. Head coach: Hans Chuacuco UP Lady Fighting Maroons Altomea, Remelyn P.. Bautista, Mary Mirgie B.. Bernardo, Lorie Lyn F. Buitre, Marian Alisa L. Carlos, Diana Mae M. Dorog, Justine M. Estranero, Ma. Arielle L. Gannaban, Aieshalaine R. Layug, Maristela Genn G. Molde, Maria Lina Isabel M. Ramos, Jessma Clarice E. Rosier, Roselyn M.. Sandoval, Caryl D. Sotomil, Marianne B.. Head coach: Godfrey Okumu UST Tiger Spikers Buro, Juren Jireh M. Carodan, Tyrone Jan L. Casillan, Aldous Darcy M. Corda, Hernel Gem L. Del Rosario, Josh Robert G. Medina, Manuel Andrei M. Mendiolla, Jelex Jay V. Requinton, Jaron -. Sawal, Lester Kim V. Sumagaysay, Jayvee G. Tajanlangit, Timothy James C. Tajanlangit, Jerald David C. Umandal, Joshua A. Valenzuela, Vyxen Vaughn P. Head coach: Arturo 'Odjie' Mamon UST Golden Tigresses Bicar , Alina Joyce R. Alessandrini, Milena L. Balcorta, Janinie Kyla O. Delerio, Janel O. Galanza, Maria Fe C. Galdones, Kecelyn -. Jimenez, Ysabel Jamie M. Laure, Ejiya C. Pacres, Mary Dominique P. Rivera, Rica Jane B. Roldan, Rachelle M. Rondina, Cherry Ann Q. Tuazon, Donna May R. Viray, Caitlin N. Head coach: Emilio 'Kung Fu' Reyes, Jr.    Action starts on Saturday, Feb. 16 on ABS-CBN S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, LIGA HD, sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/uaap, and iWant. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: Dawn of a new era for the Lady Eagles

For five years, Ateneo de Manila University embraced the ‘happy, happy’ and heartstrong mantra preached by former mentor Tai Bundit. This coming UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament will be the dawn of a new era for the Lady Eagles under new head coach Oliver Almadro. Known as a great motivator who engineered three straight title conquests in the men’s division, Almadro brings to the Lady Eagles a new system and injects and a different approach to the game. “My players trust naman kung ano ang sistema namin, yun ang maganda,” said Almadro, who replaced Bundit after Season 80. “My players naman are slowly getting the system kasi seven months pa lang ako sa Ateneo.” “Sad part lang talaga na ang nga seniors ko, sina Bea (De Leon) and Maddie (Madyag), is [sic] on their last playing years. Kung mayroon pa sanang isang taon medyo may buwelo pero wala na,” he added. “We really have to give our best, we really have to give all-out this year. We have to mature right away.” Almadro also wants his wards to adopt a simple mindset: ‘be better than their best’. "The mindset of my players is to just aim at what is above, play right and be better than their best. Kung ano ang ibinigay nila sa mga previous tournaments they just have to be better than that. Yan ang mindset namin," Almadro said. Bundit handled the Lady Eagles for five years and gave Ateneo its breakthrough crown in Season 76 and a rare tournament sweep in Season 77. For his first order of business, Almadro will try to bring the Lady Eagles back into the Final Four and eventually a return stint to the championship after missing the Finals last year. Ateneo missed the Finals last year after six straight championship appearances and settled for a third place finish.      “Well, realistic goal, of course, first, to be in the Final Four. Because if we reach the Final Four, we have a chance and opportunity to be in the Finals,” said Almadro, who steered the Marck Espejo-led Blue Eagles to three straight titles from Season 77 to 79. “Now, kapag nasa Final Four na, saka natin pag-isipan kung anong mangyayari doon. But of course, all teams are aiming on what is above always, which is the championship.” Almadro will have in his hands a squad with a good mix of veterans and promising rookies. Seasoned players and co-team captains Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag and Kim Gequillana will return for their swan songs for the blue and white as well as other veterans Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston and last year’s Best Setter Deanna Wong. Rookies Vanessa Gandler and Jaja Maraguinot, sister of former Ateneo hitter Jho Maraguinot who graduated last year, also showed a glimpse of their game during the pre-season, making the Lady Eagles one of the top title contenders.    “I have 60 percent veterans and 40 percent rookies. Hindi siya 50-50 pero vital role kasi 'yung rookies ko kasi in my system kasi, I really rotate players eh,” said Almadro. “So 'yung mga rookies talaga, magagamit at magagamit sila. So, vital role 'yun.” “Importante talaga 'yung mga rookies ko kahit 40% lang sila nu’ng team. And 'yung mga veterans ko naman, new position. So, basically it's a new system talaga,” he added. As part of their build up for the season, the Lady Eagles joined the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference and finished runner-up to star-studded club Creamline led by former Queen Eagle Alyssa Valdez. Ateneo also ruled the Viking Cup and set up a training camp in Japan.   With a report from Danine Cruz. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 13th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: One more year to make it right, to end it right – BDL

Bea de Leon didn’t need a lot of convincing to return for her swan song with Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament. Yes, it did took a while for her to announce her decision but it gave her enough time to set her mind into her one last dance with the blue and white.    A year ago, De Leon shared the agony and anguish of the Lady Eagles after Far Eastern University ended their six-year run to the Finals. Now back for her final season with the Lady Eagles, De Leon is on a mission to set things right before she bids adieu to a colorful collegiate career. “Well, kasi siyempre I finished (Management Economics). I graduated last year, so I really had a choice not to come back,” said De Leon, who helped the Lady Eagles complete a rare tournament sweep in Season 77 – Ateneo’s last of back-to-back titles. “But 'yun nga, Coach (Oliver Almadro) said talaga we didn't even make the finals last year which was a heartbreaking event for all of us. And just to know that you have one more year to make it right, to end it right, to get the goal and the dream, you know that's really what pushed me,” De Leon continued. After the Lady Eagles fell short of making it to the Finals in head coach Tai Bundit’s last season, De Leon asked for some time to think about her future with Ateneo.   Then, Almadro gave her a ring one day. “Coach O called me one day when he finally knew he's gonna coach, he said, ‘Bea, gusto kitang part ng team ko. I want you to leave a legacy that you want.’ And for me, you know, when someone says that, how could you say no 'di ba?” recalled De Leon. “So, yeah. I came back for my team. I love them so much and I just really, really want one more chance to get it right.” Almadro, the architect of the Blue Eagles’ three-peat from Seasons 77 to 79 and the successor to Tai Bundit, knew that if he wants to make a good run in his first year as Ateneo women’s team coach he must have someone he can trust to lead the squad inside the court.      “Bumalik si Bea to prove something. Bea played her fifth year para ma-prove niya na kaya niya. Kaya niya na mag-lead ng team at kaya niya na umabot sa goal niya last year,” he said. Oliver appointed De Leon and another graduating player, Maddie Madayag, as co-team captains. A role that De Leon welcomed with open arms. “Well, I think my number one role in this team is to really bring the fire and the passion which Coach O also mentioned was one of the biggest reasons why he called me up,” said De Leon. “He always knew that I had, you know, the fire in my eyes. 'Cause he talks like that eh. And the motivation to bring it to the team.” “So, as a game captain, parang kumbaga, ang pinaka-role ko is hawakan sila,” she added. “To really encourage them and make them believe that they're the best volleyball players in the Philippines, or at least, in the UAAP.” With De Leon back in the fold and with other veterans in Madayag, Ponggay Gaston, Kim Gequillana, Kat Tolentino and last year’s Best Setter Deanna Wong with promising rookies Vanessa Gandler and Jaja Maraguinot, Ateneo could be looking at another strong tittle run this season.    With a report from Danine Cruz.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 13th, 2019

Espejo to join nat’l team tryout after Japan stint

Even with his credentials, Marck Espejo signified his intentions to join the tryouts for a spot in the men’s national volleyball team. Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. president Peter Cayco said that the five-time UAAP Most Valuable Player, who is currently playing in the Japan V. Premier League, has communicated with head coach Dante Alinsunurin regarding his interest to don the tri-colors. “Si Marck Espejo nakipag-communicate kay coach Dante, na he is willing to undergo tryouts pagbalik niya,” Cayco told reporters Sunday. Espejo, who last played for the national team back in 2015 Singapore Southeast Asian Games and Asian men’s U-23 in Myanmar, has been one of Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler’s go-to-guy. However, despite the efforts of Espejo, Oita Miyoshi continues to struggle and is currently ranked ninth in the 10-team field with only four wins and 19 losses. The Weisse Adler will close their elimination round on February 24 against FC Tokyo.   “Ngayon kung hindi raw sila pumasok sa semis, mukhang hindi eh, baka pauwiin siya ng maaga. Same case with the Santiago sisters (Jaja and Dindin),” said Cayco. Espjeo is one of the many hopefuls looking to land a spot in the national team that will compete in the AVC Men’s Club Championship, Asian Men’s Senior Championship in Iran and in the 30th Southeast Asian Games that the Philippines will host in November.     Almost 90 players joined the two-day national pool tryouts last weekend at the University of the East gym in Recto supervised by Alinsunurin, who steered National University to the UAAP throne last year and the country’s breakthrough gold medal in the ASEAN University Games. Alinsunurin was tapped by LVPI selection committee composed of the association’s vice president Joey Romasanta, treasurer Jeff Tamayo and chaired by Rod Roque as replacement for Sammy Acaylar.   The composition of the 20-man pool will be announced this week. “Next week ipo-forward na nila sa akin. Ang dami kasing nag-tryout. First was around 72 tapos kanina may nadagdag pang 15. ‘Yung Ateneo six of them nag-tryout together with their assistant coach,” said Cayco. LVPI is also finalizing an arrangement with a sponsor to form an U-23 team as well as forming a pool for the national beach volleyball team.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2019

Rookie Vanie Gandler focused on helping Ateneo, not UAAP hype

https://twitter.com/INQUIRERSports/status/1091322551454687232 MANILA, Philippines---There's usually hype that comes with being an Atenean prospect in the UAAP. From the likes of Kiefer Ravena, Thirdy Ravena, Alyssa Valdez, and Bea De Leon, spotlights are usually focused on an Eagle youngster and Vanie Gandler is about to receive such treatment once the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament rolls off. Gandler is seen as one of the better players of in her batch that has Eya Laure, Lycha Ebon, and Nicole Magsarile, but it's that Atenean limelight that's shining brightly above. But despite the early hype, Gandler said she's ready for it and that she's not thinking too muc...Keep on reading: Rookie Vanie Gandler focused on helping Ateneo, not UAAP hype.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 3rd, 2019

Kat Tolentino hopes to finally experience winning UAAP title before leaving Ateneo

MANILA, Philippines---Kat Tolentino was supposed to be part of the 2015 Ateneo team that won the UAAP women's volleyball title but a knee injury prevented her from even stepping into the padded floors. She had spend quite some time on the sidelines recovering from the anterior cruciate ligament tear in her right knee but being healthy for the past three years, she only has one goal in mind---to win that elusive title. "I'm hoping to get that championship before I leave," said Tolentino Friday at Blue Eagle Gym in Ateneo after the team's practice. Tolentino was one of Ateneo's best players in Season 80 tallying a total of 185 points to become the ninth best scorer in the leag...Keep on reading: Kat Tolentino hopes to finally experience winning UAAP title before leaving Ateneo.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 2nd, 2019

Early La Salle-Ateneo clash up

Holder La Salle will kick off its four-peat quest immediately against Ateneo in an early showcase of their storied rivalry in the soon-to-open UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 31st, 2019

Ateneo-La Salle showdown to usher in UAAP 81 volleyball

Normally, the highly anticipated Ateneo-La Salle clash is reserved for a latter part of the tournament's schedule – the teams usually play against each other in their final games of the first and second round......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 31st, 2019

Fanboy Coach O reunites with former ward Marck Espejo in Japan

Just like old times. Coach Oliver Almadro took some time off from the Ateneo Lady Eagles' Japan training camp to watch his former ace and five-time UAAP MVP Marck Espejo, who is currently playing for Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler in the Japan V. Premier League. Almadro, now the mentor of the Lady Eagles, took a break from preparations for the upcoming women's volleyball wars in the UAAP to witness Espejo fly among international foes firsthand. The mentor, who steered the Ateneo men's volleyball team to a three-peat in the UAAP alongside Espejo, was like a proud 'fanboy' as he excitedly posed for this photo with the Pinoy import in Japan:          View this post on Instagram                 @marckespejooo with the #fanboys hahaha!!!😊💙🙏🏼 #obf #amdg #amvt #oitamiyoshiweisseadler A post shared by Oliver Almadro (@kowcho) on Jan 12, 2019 at 4:05am PST Espejo himself had nothing but gratitude for his former mentor:  Espejo has been a steady presence for the ninth-place Oita Miyoshi and is soaking up as much as he can, playing in the top tier league in one of Asia’s volleyball giants. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: NU willing to be patient this time

National University’s management has learned the hard way that it takes years to mold and develop a women’s volleyball team that would yield the results they wanted. The Lady Bulldogs for the past six years gambled with coaching changes that saw the squad play under five different mentors. Yet the outcome were the same: NU season after season came away empty-handed in the UAAP.     When NU approached Norman Miguel and laid out a long-term program, the Lady Bulldogs seemed to be looking at the right direction this time. “Well, actually, when the sports director approached me, nu’ng in-explain niya sa akin ‘yung parang long-term program doon parang medyo na-open ‘yung mind ko na it’s very challenging pero why not accept it,” said Miguel, who was took the reins after former coach Babes Castillo parted ways with NU. Castillo handled the Lady Bulldogs last year as a replacement for Roger Gorayeb, who was with the team for two seasons and a half. Under Castillo, NU made a strong run in the first round of UAAP Season 80 after winning six of their first seven games in 6-foot-5 star Jaja Santiago’s swan song. But their campaign turned sour as the squad managed to win only one game in the second round to land at no. 4 seed in the Final Four and eventually bowed down to grand slam champion De La Salle University.    Overall, NU saw its women’s team switch hands from one coach to another. Francis Vicente steered the Lady Bulldogs to a Final Four stint in Season 75 but received the boot the following year and was replaced by Edjet Mabbayad, whose short stint will be always be remembered as Ateneo de Manila University’s second to the last step before claiming its breakthrough title in Season 76. Dong Dela Cruz took over Mabbayad’s position in Season 77 but was replaced by Gorayeb halfway into the season. Gorayeb left the Lady Bulldogs after NU failed to reach the semis for two straight years. “Alam naman nating lahat na ‘yung NU women’s parang looking forward to you know bag a title sa UAAP kasi hanggang ngayon medyo wala pa talaga,” said Miguel, who handled DLSU’s men’s team last season. “So parang ‘yun yung pumasok sa mind ko na malaking challenge siya pero masarap trabahuhin di ba?” he added. However, Miguel will have a young roster to work with. Rookies Princess Robles, Joyme Cagande, Ivy Lacsina and Jennifer Nierva show a lot of promise. Holdovers Roselyn Doria, Risa Sato and Audrey Paran will return while Rica Diolan is back in the fold after skipping two seasons. Miguel said that the NU management set a realistic goal this season, just one step at a time.     “Naniwala ako doon sa gusto nilang mangyari not this year, probably next year or at the third year parang ganun na kailangan na meron nang mangyari (championship),” he said. There’s no short cut to success and NU this time is willing to take a long drive to the promised land.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: Lady Eagles open Japan training camp

Ateneo de Manila University’s preparation shifts into full gear with just a month to go before the opening of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament. The Lady Eagles flew to Japan Saturday for their training camp in Osaka that will run until January 16. Head coach Oliver Almadro is expected to fine tune the Lady Eagles with his system heading into his first stint as Ateneo women’s mentor in the most prestigious collegiate league in the country. The squad, led by graduating players Bea De Leon, Ponggay Gaston, Maddie Madayag and Kat Tolentino, will also have tune-up games against local teams to further hone their skills and develop team chemistry. Kobe Shinwa Women's University will host the Lady Eagles' training camp thru coach Kiyokazu Yamamoto.  Aside from training sessions and tune-up games, Ateneo will also participate in mini tournaments and will be mentored by seasoned Japanese coaches. Rookie Samantha Fanger skipped the trip to attend to personal matters. Ateneo for the first time in seven years failed to advance in the Finals after receiving the boot from Far Eastern University in the Final Four of Season 80. The Lady Eagles bid goodbye to Thai head coach Tai Bundit, who was replaced by Almadro, who led the Blue Eagles to three-straight men’s titles from Season 77 to 79. As part of their pre-season build up, Ateneo participated in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference under the Motolite banner. The Lady Eagles finished runner-up to powerhouse team Creamline led by former Ateneo stars Alyssa Valdez and setter Jia Morado.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2019

10 can’t-miss moments in sports for 2019

2018 is already in the books. Now, we look forward to the next chapters we’re all about to read in 2019. Laban Azkals in AFC Asian Cup – January The Azkals will enter historic grounds as early as January as they play for the first time in the AFC Asian Cup in 2019. Their ticket was booked after crushing Tajikistan in a 2-1 home victory early in 2018. With a world-renowned mentored on their side in Sven-Goran Eriksson and veteran national players, the Azkals will travel to the United Arab Emirates for the continental showdown. The Azkals kick off their 2019 AFC Cup Campaign on January 7th against South Korea, followed by a match against China PR on January 11th, before closing out the Group Stage on January 16th against Kyrgyzstan.  Newest season of the oldest professional league in Asia – January After just roughly a month of break from basketball action, the oldest professional league in Asia is back. The PBA will be kicking off its 44th season on January 13 with San Miguel defending its Philippine Cup title. Aside from that, marquee rookies such as CJ Perez, Robert Bolick, and Paul Desiderio are all set to play their first professional games with their respective teams. Up next on Pacman’s list – January The Filipinos will be treated to quality boxing as early as January 19 when Manny Pacquiao defends his WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Championship against challenger American Adrien Broner. After two years of fighting outside the US, Pacquiao will be back in Las Vegas to defend his title against a tough challenger in Broner. Just like old times, Freddie Roach will be back in Pacquiao's corner, this time serving as a consultant. Fanning the flames for a place in FIBA World Cup 2019 – February For the Philippines to be back in the FIBA World Cup, these are the things that need to happen: we must sweep out last two games then Japan must lose at least one of its last two games – giving us the third spot in Group F. Alternatively, we can pin our hopes on China winding up in the top four of its group – giving Groups E and F four berths apiece. Gilas Pilipinas begins its trek through that long and winding road away from home up against Qatar. All teams are teams-to-beat in UAAP 81 Volleyball – February The exciting and highly entertaining collegiate volleyball league is back on February 16. Things to watch out for? La Salle's bid for their fourth consecutive title, Ateneo's face post-Tai Bundit era, UP's confident aura coming off two major preseason championships, and UST's game-changing rookies. Eaglets-Bullpups Finals rematch or not – March Without a doubt, Ateneo and NU, the very same two teams that battled in the Finals last year, are the favorites to go all the way back to the champipnship round in the ongoing season. After all, the Blue Eaglets still have 7-foot-1, 16-year-old Kai Sotto and the Bullpups boast of the deepest roster in all of high school. After the first round of eliminations, however, it’s also clear that RJ Abarrientos-led FEU-Diliman and Joem Sabandal-fronted Adamson have other plans. For sure, something’s gotta give. Alab Pilipinas’ shot at history – April In the almost decade-long history of the Asean Basketball League, no team has won back-to-back championships. Alab Pilipinas is here to change that with the Puerto Rican pair of Renaldo Balkman and PJ Ramos showing the way alongside two-time Local MVP Ray Parks Jr. No doubt, this is the most talented team in franchise history and as such, nothing but a second straight title will be an acceptable outcome. The NCAA is five years away from its centennial celebration – July The first collegiate league in the country is approaching rarified air. Set to open its milestone mark 95th Season, the same old intensity is to be expected in the NCAA. The protagonists, however, may very well be different as all of last year’s Final Four teams will now be missing their main men – Robert Bolick for San Beda, CJ Perez for LPU, Bong Quinto for Letran, and Prince Eze for Perpetual. Is the UAAP 82 Basketball crown Katipunan’s to keep – September In Season 82, all teams will be seeking to nip the dynasty that the Ateneo Blue Eagles are trying to build. After going for back-two-back last season, all eyes will still be on them as their enter the season with an intact core. However, just like Season 81 it will not be a walk in the park with all contenders striving to match their caliber through massive recruitment, coach changes, and tough training camps. Filipino hospitality in SEA Games 2019 – November For the first time since 2005, the SEA Games will be played in Manila. That means that, at long last, our regional neighbors will yet again experience that world-renowned warmth of the Philippines and its people. Make no mistake, however, the Filipinos are all set to go all-out and dominate the medal tally – whether that be basketball in Manila or athletics and aquatics in Clark......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2018

Athletes to Watch Out for in 2019

Remember these names because for sure, they will be making the headlines this 2019. Kai Sotto The 7-foot-2 wunderkind of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets will be making major decisions in 2019. With opportunities opening up for him in Europe and USA, the current Grade 10 student of Ateneo High School has the option to leave the UAAP Juniors early to explore bigger stages. Billed as the nation's best bet to be the first Filipino homegrown NBA talent, there will definitely be a lot of eyes following this young man's every move.   Ricci Rivero and Kobe Paras Former De La Salle Green Archer Rivero and former Creighton Blue Jay Paras are both set to make University of the Philippines' #AtinSeason82 bid more promising, as they finish their residency and finally play for the Maroons in the UAAP in 2019. Both players are expected to make immediate impacts in the history-seeking squad given Rivero's championship experience, Paras' athleticism, and both player's Gilas cadets background.   Kiefer Ravena 2018 was a tough year for national team player and NLEX Road Warrior Ravena after he was slapped with an 18-month suspension in FIBA and the PBA for testing positive for banned substances. Due to the suspension, Ravena has diverted his attention to other interests such as golf and volleyball but his days away from the hard court will be over come August 2019. By then, he will be taking the keys again for NLEX either in the PBA Commissioner's or Governor's Cup.   CJ Perez, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., and Robert Bolick The 2018 PBA Rookie Draft was full of quality guards, and these top three draftees are expected to make immediate impacts in their professional teams. Former NCAA superstars Perez and Bolick both already signed lucrative contracts with Columbian Dyip and Northport. On the other hand, after being drafted in the second pick by Blackwater Elite, the former UAAP MVP and ASEAN Basketball League champion and MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr. is still in the middle of trade talks and negotiations.   Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Geje Eustaquio, and Joshua Pacio Team Lakay had a magical 2018 after producing four world champions in the Lightweight, Bantamweight, Flyweight, Strawweight divisions. However, as people say, defending a title is always tougher.  By 2019, all fighters will most likely have the tough assignment to keep their belts in Baguio City.   Manny Pacquiao Philippine sports fans will be treated to world-class boxing by as early as the second week of January, when Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao gets back in the ring to defend his WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Championship against American Adrien Broner. Pacquiao's long-time mentor Freddie Roach will also be back in his corner, serving as a consultant. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)   Eya Laure University of Santo Tomas' much needed reinforcement is finally here, with incoming rookie Eya Laure. The former star of the UST girls volleyball team will be making her debut in the senior's division in UAAP Season 81 this February 2019. In the preseason activities for the PVL and the PSL, Laure already proved that she will be a reliable scoring option for the Golden Tigresses - a perfect aid for graduating Sisi Rondina.   Michelle Morente Volleyball fans, it's time to get used to the sight of Morente playing in La Salle green. Last September 2018, the former Ateneo Lady Eagle already played for La Salle during the beach volleyball tournament. If she makes Ramil de Jesus' cut, the feisty scorer will bolster the Lady Spikers' title defense in the UAAP Season 81 womne's volleyball tournament.    Kath Arado La Salle's Dawn Macandili set the gold standard of libero greatness in UAAP. However, in 2019, libero extraordinaire Arado of the University of the East has every chance to prove that she might be the next to take the mantle of Philippine collegiate volleyball's best libero. For her UAAP Season 81 preparations, Arado played in two conferences of the Philippine Superliga at the same time - for UE in the Collegiate Grand Slam and for Generika Ayala Lifesaves for the All-Filipino conference. As a proof of her caliber, she swept all libero awards in both conferences.   Kat Tolentino With Jho Maraguinot's decision to not come back for the Ateneo Lady Eagles in UAAP Season 81, Kat Tolentino is expected to make the leap and be the number one scoring option for the blue-and-white. During their preseason preparations in the Premier Volleyball League under Ateneo-Motolite, rookie coach Oliver Almadro praised Tolentino for embracing her new role as the go-to girl. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2018

After loss to Creamline in finals, Motolite-Ateneo focuses on UAAP

There was something that helped pull Motolite-Ateneo out of its funk after losing the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference championship series to powerhouse Creamline. The Lady Eagles had already achieved what they had set out to do in the first place. Motolite-Ateneo was using the tournament as preparation for the UAAP women's volleyball wars and coach Oliver Almadro kept reminding his players that it wasn't the results that mattered, but the learning they drew from playing against tough club teams. And one of those lessons was to keep fighting regardless of the hurdles facing the squad. "I told the players, 'Let's not give up even if the odds are against us. We should...Keep on reading: After loss to Creamline in finals, Motolite-Ateneo focuses on UAAP.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 11th, 2018