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Cagayan, NCR share top spot after Palarong Pambansa Day 1

ILOCOS SUR, Philippines – The Cagayan Valley and National Capital Region (NCR) emerged as early leaders in the partial medal tally for Palarong Pambansa at the end of the first day of competitions.  The athletic associations of both regions each garnered two gold medals as of 6:43 ........»»

Category: newsSource: rappler rapplerApr 17th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Who will replace Macandili?

De La Salle University completed its third three-peat with a clean sweep of an inexperienced Far Eastern University in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament. The Lady Spikers’ might inside the volleyball court is hinged not only on their powerful hitters or menacing middles but also on the precision and efficiency of their floor defense. For half a decade Dawn Macandili manned the floor like her life depended on it. Rolling, diving, twisting in midair and sacrificing her five-foot frame just to prevent the ball from hitting the floor. Her performance throughout her collegiate career put her in the elite list of great and unforgettable liberos in the league. But after the final whistle was blown Wednesday as the Lady Spikers wrapped the season with a 26-24, 25-20, 26-24, win in Game 2 of the best-of-three Finals series, Macandili bowed for the green and white for the last time. Now the question is: Who will fill in the huge shoes left by the Tanauan, Batangas star. The Season 80 Finals Most Valuable Player Macandili gave a few names that could take her spot in Season 81 depending on the decision of course of head coach Ramil De Jesus. “Meron naman, maraming prospects like si CJ (Saga), sina Marionne (Alba), yung mga aakyat galing senior high,” said Macandili, the 2017 AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship 2nd Best Libero. But taking Macandili’s role could be quite a challenge. Saga on her third year barely saw action in a setter spot. “Mahirap sabihin eh kasi si CJ ginagawang setter. Actually mahilig si coach mag-shuffle ng positions kaya mahirap sabihin eh,” said Macandili. “Pero marami namang possible na libero (na papasok).” Alba was recruited by DLSU last year after her great performance in the 2017 Palarong Pambansa but as a hitter. She has been training with the team and performed well in other tournaments as a converted libero but playing in the most celebrated collegiate league is another thing.    However, knowing her long-time mentor, Macandili, who played under De Jesus since her second year high school in DLSU-Zobel, believes that the 11-time UAAP champion coach will be able to find a fine replacement for her spot. “Tiwala naman ako sa program ni coach Ramil and the way he assigns roles to the players na alam niya kung anong ginagawa niya,” Macandili said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2018

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

Western Visayas, Calabarzon battle for 2nd spot as NCR pulls away in Palaro medal race

ILOCOS SUR, Philippines – It has turned into a race for the second spot between the regions of Western Visayas and Southern Tagalog as the National Capital Region continued to gather more gold medals and virtually seal the top spot in the Palarong Pambansa 2018. NCR added ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 19th, 2018

Still no stopping NCR in the Palarong Pambansa 2018 medal chase

ILOCOS SUR, Philippines - The National Capital Region (NCR) team maintained its lead at the end of the third day of action in the Palarong Pambansa 2018. As of 6 pm on Wednesday, April 18, NCR tightened its grip of the No. 1 spot  even more after amassing a total ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 18th, 2018

Cagayan Valley champ aims to break personal record in Palarong Pambansa 2018

ILOCOS SUR, Philippines- Algin Gomez, 17, came to Palarong Pambansa 2018 with a mission to break his current personal record in the triple jump for secondary boys. Gomez, a native of Aparri town in Cagayan province, already secured a gold medal for his long jump, one gold of keeping his ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 18th, 2018

Arnis prodigies propel Soccsksargen to early lead in Palarong Pambansa 2018

ILOCOS SUR, Philippines – It rained gold for Soccsksargen on the second day of the Palarong Pambansa 2018 , earning the region the top spot in the partial medal tally so far.  As of 5 pm on Tuesday, April 17, the Soccsksargen Regional Athletics Association collected 6 gold, 3 silver, ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 17th, 2018

UAAP Volleyball: Bernadeth Pons: Probinsyana with a Superstar Soul

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2018

UE: Rod Roque – The Accidental Coach

“Nakakatawa nga eh. I’ve never played volleyball in my life! Never!” A fact University of East head coach Rod Roque admitted when he talked to sports scribes after his first stint with the Lady Warriors in just the sixth game of the squad in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament. Just two days before, Francis Vicente parted ways with UE after three and a half seasons with a futile 2-45 win-loss record. The Lady Warriors absorbed their 12th straight defeat since Season 79 a day before he resigned. Then they found Roque, the school’s representative to the UAAP Board, a perfect fit. But with a losing record and a team lacking confidence, why would UE hire an interim coach that had no volleyball background? The answer is simple. The school’s management wanted someone that they can trust, a person who has been loyal to the Recto-based university and a tactician that can hold the fort until they can find a proper replacement. Plus, it’s an added bonus that the man they chose for the interim spot made miracles in their boy’s volleyball program. Heck, the man gave UE high school more titles than the other teams’ number of boy’s crowns combined. But Roque is also quick to temper UE management’s expectations. “Siympre mahirap because people might expect a miracle. Sabi ko naman sa management when they told me, sabi ko, ‘Don’t expect a miracle because a miracle doesn’t happen overnight.”   A Twist of Fate Roque may not have the volleyball background like the other UAAP coaches but he excelled in a different kind of sport.      “High school, college, noong estudyante pa ako gymnast ako,” said Roque, a true-blooded Red Warrior with a BS Physical Education degree. He was a member of the national men’s all-around gymnastics team and even represented the country in different international tournaments. “Nakapunta kami sa Asian Youth, sa National games. Di ko lang nalaro yung SEA (Southeast Asian) Games,” he said. After finishing his Masters degree in UE in 1992, Roque grew tired of gymnastics and decided to pursue his love of teaching, working as a PE instructor in the same university. Then fate brought him into coaching high school boy’s volleyball.         “Una ko na-discover sa intramural volleyball. Kumuha kami ng player noong intrams. Nagtayo kami ng team, nananalo naman kami. So yun na yung umpisa,” he said. With the UE boy’s team success, the late athletic director Brenn Perez saw a lot of potential with the Junior Warriors and he decided to field the squad in the UAAP.   “Nakita ng director namin, si Mr. Perez na nagtsa-champion kami sa mga invitational. So nag-propose siya sa UAAP na isama na ‘yung UAAP jrs volleyball. Ayun. Since 1996 nagstart yung UAAP Jrs. volleyball sa (UE),” said Roque. But UE wasn’t as successful as it was in the other tournaments the Junior Warriors joined. De La Salle-Zobel was lording it over since the boy’s tournament started in 1995. The Junior Spikers built a dynasty from Season 57 to 62. Then Roque’s crew got its payback. UE completed a grand slam from 2001 to 2003. DLSU-Zobel snatched a crown in Season 66 but Roque was set to make history. The Junior Warriors reigned supreme for the next 11 years. Under Roque’s tutelage, UE was invincible for more than a decade, dating from 2005 to 2015 - the longest title streak of any team in any UAAP volleyball division. From 1995 to 2016 the Junior Warriors landed 22 straight Final Four appearances. Roque handled the National Capital Region’s boy’s volleyball team for 10 years, earning five Palarong Pambansa gold medals. Out of UE’s 14 titles, Roque had 10 for the Junior Warriors before taking a bigger role as UE’s athletic director after Perez passed away from a heart attack in 2009. “Nag-retire (ako as coach) kasi na-promote ako. Naging assistant director na ako. After that, two years, ginawa na akong director,” he said. “Busy na ‘yung schedule. Hindi ako makapag-ensayo.”   Back as Coach UE has been lumbering at the cellar for years both in the men’s and women’s divisions. While the Junior Warriors were copping titles, the school’s college teams were getting beaten black and blue season after season. Under Vicente’s watch, the Lady Warriors sported a 2-45 win-loss record. The Red Warriors, who named a new coach before Season 80 in national men’s volleyball team coach Sammy Acaylar, didn’t fare any better. Five games into the season, UE decided to part ways with their coaches. Acaylar resigned citing conflict of schedule a he was appointed as Perpetual Help athletic director while Vicente left because of ‘personal reasons’. But sources said that Vicente was sacked a day before Acaylar tended his resignation. While Roque struggled to turn around the campaign of the Red Warriors, his stint with the Lady Warriors was sort of ‘miraculous’. He dropped a four-setter against Far Eastern University in his debut but again became an architect of UE’s historic feat – this time in the women’s division. The Lady Warriors closed the first round with a surprise 25-22, 22-25, 14-25, 25-20, 15-13 shocker over Adamson University that ended their 12-game slide since Season 79. Just three days later, UE stunned University of Sto. Tomas, 25-23, 18-25, 28-26, 26-24, in a historic first win against the traditional powerhouse Tigresses at least since the start of the Final Four format in 1994. It marked the first time since Season 74 that the Lady Warriors won back-to-back games. It opened the eyes of volleyball fans that the Lady Warriors have talented players like Shaya Adorador, Mary Anne Mendrez and libero Kath Arado. “Na-notice kasi namin na takot silang magkamali. Takot silang magkamali kaya lalo silang nagkakamali. Pero para sa akin OK lang magkamali but make sure babawi ka,” said Roque. “Natutuwa naman ako kasi nagkakamali sila pero bumabawi.” The Lady Warriors eventually dropped their next three games after that back-to-back wins but gave Adamson, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University quite a scare before succumbing. But with the change of culture brought by Roque, teams are now wary of the Lady Warriors, which will return to action on April 8 against slumping National University. UE will wrap up its campaign against FEU and University of the Philippines – the last remaining games of Roque before he leaves his post to make way to a new head coach. “This season lang talaga ako,” said Roque. With him on board, the Lady Warriors are playing like a team looking to prove that they are better than just being a win fodder for other squads. Roque made the players respect themselves. He gave UE volleyball the respect it deserves.   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 31st, 2018

NU Bullpups to wear the flag in 2018 Asean School Games

Not even a month after playing for Batang Gilas in the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Cup, Gerry Abadiano, Terrence Fortea, and Carl Tamayo will be playing for flag and country anew in the 2018 Asean School Games. The three national youth team players banner the Philippine team represented by Nazareth School of National University in the regional meet scheduled for July 19 to 27 in Malaysia. Earlier in the month, Abadiano, Fortea, and Tamayo were key cogs for Batang Gilas who registered the country’s best finish in the FIBA U17 Worlds at 13th place. Now, heady guard Abadiano, streaky shooter Fortea, and versatile big man Tamayo will be joined by Harold Alarcon, Aaron Buensalida, Vince Cuajao, Dom Dayrit, John Felicida, Cyril Gonzales, Kevin Quiambao, Joshua Ramirez, Reyland Torres. Of course, multi-titled mentor Goldwyn Monteverde will be calling the shots for Team Philippines backed by Freego. NU was awarded the right to represent the Filipinos after winning the 2018 Palarong Pambansa earlier in the year. They will be competing against the best young talent Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand have to offer. In the girls tournament, Chiang Kai Shek College, supported by SM, will be defending its title. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News60 min. ago

PBA: Hotshots import Wayne Chism enjoyed playing against former team NLEX

Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena, Wayne Chism made his return to the PBA, suiting up for the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok.  Making Chism's conference debut more interesting was that he went up against his former team in the NLEX Road Warriors.  Already their fourth reinforcement this conference after Vernon Macklin, Curtis Kelly, and Justin Jackson all came and went, the playoff-chasing Magnolia now pin their hopes on the 6-foot-9 former Best Import.  And he delivered.  In his first game back, Chism put up 27 points to go with eight rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and two steals, leading the Hotshots to a 116-89 win over the Road Warriors.  Not bad for someone who's still adjusting to a new system.  For the 31-year old however, playing against his former mentor in Coach Yeng Guiao was the most enjoyable part of his return.  "It was a good game, I enjoyed myself out there today, especially against Coach Yeng and my former teammates." Chism said after the win.  Chism played with for NLEX in the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup.  "It's always feelings with Coach, I mean we've been together for a while and this is the first time I'm playing against him and against his team. It was very tough to start off, 'cause I know Coach know me and what my tendencies are, so I had to adjust real quick." Chism added. "Other than that, I'm very happy I played against him just to see how it is on the other side. It was fun, I really enjoyed it." It also took a while for Chism to adjust to playing against his former teammates, jokingly saying that he wanted to assist them, but obviously couldn't.  "Everybody misses each other, I missed 'em too, but playing against 'em, being on the opposite side, it was very challenging 'cause I wanted to pass 'em the ball, but I couldn't."  "Other than that, it was very good to be out there with them and share the game with them again." Chism added.  As far as the win, which was important for the Hotshots as they continue to push for a spot in the playoffs, Chism said that it was about building confidence, more than anything.  "It was very important, today's game, to get my teammates' confidence up, and show 'em that we can win games and we can get them back and get them more confidence and get them back on the winning track." Magnolia closes out the elimination round against defending champions San Miguel on Saturday, July 7th at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 4th, 2018

Davao snares 2nd MPBL win

Ex-pro Leo Najorda and Emanuel Calo fired 21 points apiece as newcomer Davao Occidental-Cocolife continued its impressive start with a 90-78 drubbing of Quezon City-Black Mamba on Tuesday in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup in Pasig City. Davao gained share of top spot in the South with Muntinlupa at 2-0.---CEDELF P. TUPAS...Keep on reading: Davao snares 2nd MPBL win.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 27th, 2018

Meralco stops streaking Alaska, gains share of 2nd spot

Meralco continued its upward trajectory and shot down Alaska, 89-74, to force a tie in second place in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Bolts won their fourth straight game and in the process, stopped the Aces' seven-game winning run as both teams got to identical 7-2 records. Brushing off the tight 41-40 first half, the Bolts went into the offensive and outscored the Aces, 32-17, in the third quarter to build a 73-57 buffer heading into the fourth. Alaska tried to counter with an 8-0 run to start the fourth to pull within eight, 73-65, but the Bolts were quick to retaliate with an 11-0 sprint capped off by a five-point swing by Jared Dil...Keep on reading: Meralco stops streaking Alaska, gains share of 2nd spot.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 17th, 2018

PBA: Alaska grabs share of top spot after fending off NLEX

  Alaska took shared ownership of the top seed after overcoming NLEX, 120-111, in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup Friday at Mall of Asia Arena. The Aces bumped their winning streak to seven games and improved to a 7-1 record, tying Rain or Shine at the head of the standings while the Road Warriors dropped to 2-7. After a relatively comfortable first quarter where they led 28-14, the Aces got a dose of reality in the next two periods when the Road Warriors became the aggressor and ended the third trailing by just two, 88-86. NLEX then pushed further at the start of the fourth with a 7-0 run to take a 93-88 lead after Arnett Moultrie's jumper. Alaska countered with ...Keep on reading: PBA: Alaska grabs share of top spot after fending off NLEX.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 15th, 2018

PBA: TNT knows it will doubly hard as they face San Miguel on Saturday

For the TNT KaTropa, sporting a 6-2 record is not enough if they want to hold and clinch one of the top two spots in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup playoff race. And if they want to get win #7, they will have to go through a very tough opponent in defending champions San Miguel on Saturday, in their first face-off since the Finals last year, where they lost in six games. Both coming off losses, the two teams will obviously have a chip on their shoulder, but San Miguel will be more motivated, as they aim for a third to sixth spot, holding a 3-4 record. As Roger Pogoy and Terrence Romeo said, their goal is to make the top two in order to enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals. However, with their matchup Saturday, it may just have to wait for a game longer. "It all depends on the next three games of course but we really need to focus still on the next one. San Miguel, they lost earlier 'no? Which makes it doubly-hard to play them. But that's a challenge I think for both teams, having to play coming from losses," the former FEU coach said after the game. Even though they were ahead by as much as 12 in the first half, the KaTropa ultimately lost after the Hotshots blew the game wide open in the fourth, leading by as much as 24 points. Racela offered to share his take on the game, and it was not positive. "Actually the whole game hindi maganda. Even when we were leading in the first half hindi rin naman maganda tinatakbo namin. We just felt that the energy was down today, that's why." __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2018

Hua Siong edges St. Robert’s in Bingawan Foundation Cup

HUA SIONG College of Iloilo (HSCI) Red Phoenix survived a late quarter rally by St. Robert’s International Academy (SRIA) Panda Rockets, 84-82, in the elimination phase of the ongoing Bingawan Foundation Cup-Preseason High School Basketball Premier Tournament at the Bingawan gym in Iloilo, June 11, 2018. Palarong Pambansa veteran and Hua Siong point guard Reynold […] The post Hua Siong edges St. Robert’s in Bingawan Foundation Cup appeared first on The Daily Guardian......»»

Category: newsSource:  thedailyguardianRelated NewsJun 12th, 2018

Palaro champ does it again

ILAGAN CITY, Isabela -- Two-time Palarong Pambansa champion Alexie Mae Caimoso did it again. Caimoso, who rose to prominence by winning the gold medal in the Palarong Pambansa in Antique last year and again in Vigan, Ilocos Sur this year, captured the gold medal in high jump with a leap….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsJun 1st, 2018

Dyke dominates UE as La Salle stays hot in Got Skills Summer Showcase

STANDINGS (Under-25) Arellano 4-2 Letran 4-2 NU 4-2 LPU 5-3 FEU 3-2 La Salle 3-2 UP 3-2 UE 4-3 MLQU 1-5 UA&P 0-8 Continuing to prove his worth, Mark Dyke led La Salle to its third win in a row in the 2018 Milcu Sports Basketball presented by Got Skills Adidas Summer Showcase at the expense of UE, 52-40, last Tuesday at the Trinity University Gym in Quezon City. The incoming second-year forward, who is back with the team after trying his luck in FEU late last year, imposed his will all throughout and outmuscled defenders Shannon Gagate and Reymark Acuno en route to a 17-point, 18-rebound double-double. La Salle took until the third quarter, however, to get going with transferee guard Jordan Bartlett providing the spark. With Bartlett setting the table and Dyke finishing things, the Green Archers outscored the Red Warriors, 28-11, in the second half to improve their standing to 3-2. Sparkplug guard Bartlett wound up with nine points while backcourt partner Donn Lim chipped in eight markers of his own. UE was paced by big man Acuno who collected 12 points and eight rebounds. They now stand at 4-3. Meanwhile, in a showdown between well-stocked programs, NU edged out Lyceum, 71-69. Former UAAP Juniors champion Karl Penano showed the way with 18 points and six rebounds as the Bulldogs rose to joint first-place at 4-2. Versatile wings Mike Malonzo and Robert Minerva flanked him with a combined 21 markers and 13 boards. The 5-3 Pirates had their three-game win run halted despite the best efforts of sweet-shooting forward Ralph Tansingco who had 16 points and five rebounds. In other results, Letran (4-2) also made its way onto a share of the top spot following a 67-65 victory versus Arellano (4-2) while FEU (3-2) dragged down UP (3-2) in the standings with a 56-53 win. The Adidas Summer Showcase resumes on Tuesday still at the Trinity University Gym featuring a duel between Letran and FEU. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME NU 71 – Penano 18, Malonzo 11, Minerva 10, Morido 10, Salim 6, Chatman 6, Flores 5, Atienza 3, Sistoza 2, Puray 0 LYCEUM 69 – Tansingco 16, Pretta 13, Navarro 10, Ibanes 9, Pericas 8, Japzon 3, Mahinay 2, Remulla 2, Serrano 2, Guinto 2, Valencia 2, Caduyac 0, Cinco 0, Longalong 0, Barbero 0 QUARTER SCORES: 15-18, 33-35, 51-54, 71-69 SECOND GAME LETRAN 67 – Mina 22, Cordero 12, Sangalang 10, Pascual 8, Solera 6, Pambid 4, Domingo 2, Favilla 2, Ular 1, Pamulaklakin 0, De Villa 0, Labrador 0 ARELLANO 55 – Baila 11, Meca 10, Chavez 7, Alban 6, Dela Cruz 4, Sacramento 4, Labarda 4, Alcoriza 3, Concepcion 2, Filart 2, Sera Josef 2, Abdurasab 0, Ongolo-Ongolo 0, Codinera 0, Abanes 0, Cahigas 0 QUARTER SCORES: 16-13, 33-32, 52-42, 67-55 THIRD GAME FEU 56 – Jopia 9, Tuffin 8, Tempra 7, Abarrientos 6, Casino 6, Gonzales 5, Alas 3, Roman 2, Tchuente 2, Laigo 2, Senining 2, Celzo 2, Gloria 2, Davis 0, Ferrer 0, Gabane 0 UP 53 – Longa 11, Gomez de Liano 10, Battad 9, Espanola 8, Tungcab 4, Santiago 2, Madrigal 0, Gozum 0 QUARTER SCORES: 14-13, 27-19, 46-37, 50-50, 56-53 (OT) FOURTH GAME LA SALLE 52 – Dyke 17, Bartlett 9, Lim 8, Pastor 7, Manaytay 4, Corteza 2, Manuel 2, Tolentino 2, Bongay 1, Cu 0, Alcala 0, Escandor 0 UE 40 – Acuno 12, Sobrevega 8, Conner 5, Amora 5, Guion 4, Manalang 3, Strait 3, Gagate 0, Dimayuga 0 QUARTER SCORES: 14-16, 24-29, 41-38, 52-40.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 1st, 2018

DepEd official to file charges vs fake Palarong Pambansa page creator

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Tonisito Umali will take legal action against a fake Facebook page on the Palarong Pambansa that falsely credited to him a quote shaming fat teachers. "To all those who care for DepEd Usec Toni and our family: Please help us inform everybody ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 26th, 2018

PVL: High Flyers seek solo lead

PayMaya guns for back-to-back wins to and the solo lead when the High Flyers collide with freefalling BanKo in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan on Saturday. Opening serve is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream. The High Flyers share the top spot with Creamline and high school standouts-bannered BaliPure-National University with 3-1 win-loss record. PayMaya defeated Iriga-Navy, 25-23, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23, last week in Batangas to bounce back from a straight sets loss to Creamline in Tuguegarao the week before. The Perlas Spikers, on the other hand, are now struggling with their form after an impressive conference opener that saw them beat the crowd favorite Cool Smashers. BanKo is on a four-game losing slump including a 22-25, 22-25, 25-22, 30-32, loss to the Water Defenders last Wednesday.   ---         Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2018

PVL: BaliPure survives BanKo in grueling match, gets share of top spot

BaliPure went through four grueling sets to take the luster out of BanKo, 25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 32-30, for its third straight win in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference Wednesday at.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsMay 24th, 2018