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Coach Aldin says DLSU peaking at the right time

De La Salle University will be well-rested and well-prepared when it takes on archrival Ateneo de Manila University in the Finals of the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament. Having dispatched of Adamson University last Saturday, the Green Archers have had a whole week to rest and prepare. All this, while watching the Blue Eagles have to go through the eye of the needle against fighting Far Eastern University. Along with the rest and preparation, the Taft-based team believes that momentum is on their side – having rang off eight consecutive victories heading into the Finals. “I think we’re in a very good spot because we’re peaking at the right time. The players have been very, very responsible in terms of their commitment to our goal,” head coach Aldin Ayo said. They last lost on October 8, falling by one point to Ateneo. Since then, however, the defending champions have dominated. Asked about the difference from then to now, Ayo answered, “We’re focused. We’re just focused on the game plan especially on defense.” He then continued, “When we were in the first round, there were lots of distractions. In the second round, they just surrendered to the system so we overcame those distractions.” The head coach went on to mention how he considered Ben Mbala’s stint with the Cameroonian national team and Aljun Melecio’s bout with dengue to be distractions. Now, however, Mbala, Melecio, and all of DLSU are all focused in going back-to-back. With that, they need no more motivation. As Ayo put it, “Wala namang motivation kundi championship e. yun lang.” He then continued, “Wala nang kung ano-anong mga hugot. Championship, yun lang.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnNov 24th, 2017

Aldin Ayo breaks silence, confirms departure as DLSU head coach

MANILA, Philippines – After days of unconfirmed reports, Aldin Ayo has confirmed on Twitter on Tuesday, January 2, that he is leaving the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers basketball program. In his first social media post since tweeting “Xroad” (crossroad) on December 8, the 40-year old 2-time collegiate champion ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2018

Will Louie Gonzalez be able to prove himself as head coach with DLSU?

De La Salle University did not waste time in moving forward from champion coach Aldin Ayo. The Green Archers will now have longtime assistant Louie Gonzalez calling the shots. According to fan account Archers’ Clubhouse, he was appointed as head coach of the Taft-based team right before the year 2017 ended. Several sources within the team confirmed the development. The post went on to say that team patron Danding Cojuangco himself appointed Gonzalez. He takes over for Ayo who has transferred from DLSU to University of Sto. Tomas. This brings to an end a longtime partnership between the two starting from Kia in the PBA to Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the NCAA and then onto the Green Archers. Twice in that longtime partnership, Ayo was suspended for one game and Gonzalez was thrust into the role of acting coach – giving us a little taste of his capabilities as shot-caller. Mentoring the Knights in 2015, he lost to Emilio Aguinaldo College, 83-69. That was their first loss in the season following a 7-0 start. Mentoring DLSU in 2016, he won against archrival Ateneo de Manila University, 97-81. That completed a sweep of the first round. For that small sample size, without a doubt, Gonzalez’ appointment didn’t set the world on fire Still, he brings with him years and years of experience that could prove valuable for a Taft-based team looking for much-needed stability with all that has happened recently. As per Reuben Terrado of spin.ph, Gonzalez started his coaching career under the tutelage of then Letran mentor Binky Favis in the ‘90s. From there, he had an assistant coaching stint in Far Eastern University from 2007 to 2010. He was then part of the Globalport bench from 2012 to 2014 and then the Kia staff from 2014 to 2015. It was in 2015 that he, serving as first lietenant, and Ayo led the Knights to a magical championship. A year later, the two guided the Green Archers a dominant title. Also, having had years and years of experience, former colleagues had nothing but good words for Gonzalez. One such former colleague is now FEU athletic director Mark Molina who had this to say:   Congrats to former FEU assistant Louie Gonzales. Louie was a vital part of Glenn Capacio's staff with the Tamaraws then. I'm sure my good friend Tanny Gonzales is smiling in heaven. — Mark Molina (@marqmolina) Enero 1, 2018   However, Gonzalez will still have a tall task ahead of him as he tries to fill the big shoes of two-time collegiate champion coach Ayo. He will also be missing the services of back-to-back MVP Ben Mbala who has elected to take his talents to Mexico. Helping their new head coach with this tall task will now be Mythical Team member Ricci Rivero, team captain Kib Montalbo, and former Rookie of the Year Aljun Melecio. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo,.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

UAAP Finals: DLSU came alive when captain Kib stood up to Thirdy

De La Salle University was at the wrong end of Ateneo de Manila University’s strong start in Game 2 of the Finals of the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Blue Eagles went online right from tip-off and dug a hole as deep as 21 points, 49-28, for the Green Archers in the second quarter. “Kanina, mapapaisip ka na lang talaga na grabe, pasok lahat ha. I just told my teammates to stick to the system ni coach Aldin,” team captain Kib Montalbo said. Indeed, the defending champions, showed heart and clawed their way, little by little, back into the contest. With a 14-2 run to end the first half, they decreased their deficit to only 42-51 at halftime. And right before the two teams headed back to their locker rooms, the Taft-based squad’s skipper proved that they weren’t going away just yet. Going into a defensive stance as Ateneo was inbounding the ball, Montalbo stood as an impediment to Thirdy Ravena. And even though the muscular Ravena bumped into him not once, but twice, five-foot-nine Montalbo stood his ground. Talking about their interaction post-game, he said, “As captain of this team, it all starts with me. If I play tough, they’re gonna play tough. There was no foul; I was just standing there.” He then continued, “It’s just basketball and we needed that, we needed to wake up. Inch by inch, possession by possession, we were going to get back into the game.” That, DLSU did and battled back from a 21-point deficit to come away with a 92-83 win. In the end, Montalbo was nothing but glad that he and DLSU brought the fight just in the nick of time. “We worked for 10 to 11 months for this tapos itatapon lang namin? No way,” he said. He then continued, “We’ll fight to the end.” Game Three of the UAAP Men's Basketball Finals will air on December 3, Sunday LIVE at 3:30 pm on ABS-CBN Channel 2, S+A, S+A HD and via livestream. —- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 29th, 2017

What was Encho Serrano doing in the DLSU locker room?

Still on track for back-to-back championships in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament, De La Salle University may have just shown a glimpse of its still bright future. After rallying by Adamson University all the way back into the Finals on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum, the Green Archers filed out of their locker room with smiles on their faces. Among the players and the coaches, however, was Encho Serrano. Yes, tantalizing talent Serrano who is currently with National University and formerly of Adamson High School. According to sources in DLSU, the five-foot-11 hyper-athletic swingman is being wooed to come over to Taft Avenue. Sources also went on to say that the interest is mutual. Serrano once starred for the Baby Falcons in the UAAP Juniors before he went with mentor Goldwyn Monteverde to NU. Now, the Pampanga native appears to be looking at other options. For his part, however, Green Archers’ head coach Aldin Ayo said that Serrano’s presence means nothing – not yet, at least. “Nanood lang siya,” he said. Meanwhile, a source in the Bulldogs’ camp said that, as far as they know, Serrano is still with them. ABS-CBN Sports tried to get in contact with Serrano, but is still awaiting a response as of press time. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 18th, 2017

Will Ben Mbala miss the UAAP Finals?

Ben Mbala missed the first two games of De La Salle University in the UAAP 80 Men's Basketball Tournament. There's a chance he may miss miss more. The Cameroonian was named part of his national team's lineup for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers scheduled from November 24 to 26. This was not a surprise as the 22-year-old had a starmaking stint in the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket with averages of 21.8 points and 9.3 rebounds through his country's quarterfinals finish. His time wearing the Cameroonian flag caused him to miss the Green Archers' first two assignments up against Far Eastern University and National University. Still, the defending champions took care of business and won without Mbala. This time around, however, things may be different as the UAAP Season 80 will be well approaching its climax by the time of the African Qualifiers. In fact, Game 1 of the Finals is slated for November 25. As it stands, the Green Archers and archrival Ateneo de Manila University are the top two teams in the tournament. ABS-CBN Sports reached out to Mbala and DLSU head coach Aldin Ayo for comment, but have yet to receive a response......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 2nd, 2017

King Maroon Desiderio is hands down Player of the Week

Following a career performance, all Paul Desiderio could say was, “Naglaro lang ako.” University of the Philippines’ main man was never one for talking and just lets his game speak for him. His statement was loud and clear last Saturday as he fired a career-best 30 points on top of six rebounds and five assists to lead the Fighting Maroons to a big-time win over De La Salle University. Scoring the most points by a player from Diliman since 2003 all while proving that State U is serious in its contention, Desiderio was hands down the Chooks-to-Go UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week from September 18 to 24. Even after besting teammate Jun Manzo, Ben Mbala of DLSU, Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo de Manila University, and Papi Sarr of Adamson University for the weekly citation, the 20-year-old was at a loss for words. “Wala akong masabi. Nagpapasalamat lang ako sa mga teammates ko kasi tulong-tulong kami para manalo,” he said. Indeed, UP head coach Bo Perasol said Desiderio’s “excellent performance” was also made possible by the other guys. “His teammates are his unsung heroes. They pass the ball to him, they rebound for him, they set screens for him, they do the little things for him,” he shared. Desiderio started the season slow, averaging 13 points on 26.3 percent shooting, but busted out with 28 points to shoot the Maroons over University of the East a week ago. “Medyo gigil pa ako first two games, pero ngayon, okay na. Nag-relax na ako,” he said. Against the defending champions, the pride of Cebu was even hotter, swishing six of State U’s 16 total triples. While Desiderio was never one for talking, opponents have no choice but to talk about him. Last week, Red Warriors mentor Derrick Pumaren said, “I think Desiderio killed us.” Not long after, Green Archers coach Aldin Ayo said, “Ginawa na rin sa amin ni Desiderio ‘yun before so we prepared ourselves for that, pero our players did not respond.” The Player of the Week will again lead UP as they try for three straight wins against Far Eastern University next Sunday. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 25th, 2017

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: FEU coach Pascua already preparing for DLSU

May it be a slip of the tongue or just an honest mistake, it seemed that Far Eastern University head coach George Pascua is already preparing for the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball championship against grand slam-seeking De La Salle University. Still high with euphoria after quenching a nine-year thirst for a Finals appearance, Pascua may have forgotten that the twice-to-beat Lady Spikers still need to hurdle National University on Sunday in their Final Four pairing.   Pascua was joined by graduating hitter Bernadeth Pons, Kyla Atienza and Toni Rose Basas during the postgame interview moments after FEU defeated Ateneo de Manila University, 25-20, 25-21, 14-25, 25-19, Saturday at the MOA Arena.      “Sabi ko sa kanila, the door is open. Ngayon, siyempre pag pasok mo, hindi mo alam kung ano 'yung papasukin mo muna eh. So kailangan mo planuhin,” said the first year Lady Tams mentor and former four-time champion coach of FEU’s men’s team. “Hindi ka basta papasok sa isang ano. Ibig sabihin, paplanuhin muna namin ng maayos,” he continued. “And then, ang kalaban namin is La Salle, defending champion.” That’s when Pons gave his mentor a little nudge before whispering that DLSU has yet to defeat the Lady Bulldogs to forge a best-of-three championship. “Uhmmmm, Sana. Either or, kahit sino, NU or La Salle,” Pascua said as the pressroom burst into soft chuckle with the mentor’s mistake. “Ready kami, ready kami.” FEU will have to wait for their opponent in the Finals, which will start on April 28. The Lady Tams are looking to end a decade-long title drought. In case DLSU does advance in the championship, the Lady Tams-Lady Spikers match will be the first time the two teams will clash for the title since Season 71 when the Taft-based squad dethroned FEU.     “Kasi talagang gusto naming makuha, ibalik sa Morayta ang trophy ulit na pinahiram ng FEU before,” said Pascua.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 21st, 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

DE JESUS: Genius, disciplinarian, champion coach

This story was originally published on May 7, 2017 De La Salle University head coach Ramil De Jesus came inside the press room of the Big Dome for a post-game interview wearing the same smile he had in the past nine times the Lady Spikers closed the UAAP season as champions. The only difference in those championship interviews were the players that accompanied him to answer questions from reporters. From Iris Ortega-Patrona, Desiree Hernandez, Maureen Penetrante, the legendary Manilla Santos, the Big Three of Cha Cruz, Paneng Mercado and Jacq Alarca, to Michel Gumabao and beast-mode-don’t-care Aby Marano to Ara Galang, Mika Reyes, Kim Dy and gem of a setter in Kim Fajaro – all of them stood beside a genius and architect of DLSU’s successful volleyball program. Victory after victory, De Jesus built his reputation as a one of the best women’s volleyball mentors in the country. Last Saturday, De Jesus added another feather to his cap when he steered the Taft-based squad to back-to-back titles in the 79th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the expense of archrival Ateneo de Manila. Two decades since his arrival to the school of a different shade of green after playing for Far Eastern University, delivered 10 titles and brought the Lady Spikers to the Finals 17 times.   De Jesus shared the secret of his success. “Siguro, sistema siguro then hard work. And then, well-disciplined ‘yung mga bata. Siguro, ‘yun ‘yung key,” he said. His success earned him the respect of his peers including three-time UAAP men’s volleyball champion Oliver Almadro of Ateneo, who was once one of his lieutenants, and players alike. DLSU embraced him as one of its own. “Natutuwa ako kasi kahit hindi ako alumnus doon niyakap nila ako bilang parang doon na din nag-graduate,” said De Jesus. “Hindi ko naman napapansin ang mga nanyayari sa akin sila lang ang nakakapansin, binigyan nga ako ng award. Happy, very happy (ako).” De Jesus is known to be a no nonsense coach. Strict, straightforward and a disciplinarian – traits he inherited from FEU men’s coach Kid Santos.                He doesn’t like fanfare and as much as possible keeps attention away from him. De Jesus carefully chooses his words but when he gives one, everybody listens. He means business all the time.   Brilliance of De Jesus 246-65. De Jesus knows how to win and his career win-loss record says it all. The main reason why DLSU trusted De Jesus to handle the team for that many years – a rare feat considering that a UAAP coach’s tenure is very volatile.   It was summer 20 years ago when former basketball Olympian and influential DLSU sport personality Ramoncito Campos brought in a young mentor in De Jesus to save the school’s volleyball program, which then had yet to win a title since joining the league in 1986.           He entered the UAAP volleyball scene during the time when powerhouse teams Far Eastern University and University of Sto. Tomas, then mentored by legendary coach August Sta. Maria, were the ones lording over here the competition. Of course the road to glory didn’t come easy but his first tour of duty gave DLSU a chance to feel what it was to be in the Final Four when the Lady Spikers finished fourth a year when after strings of forgettable seasons. Quenching the thirst to salvage some pride in the sport that will eventually be DLSU’s second most valued contest next to basketball, the Lady Spikers began to hunger for the crown – something the school never felt before since winning it all back in 1976 as a member of the NCAA.   De Jesus submitted his team to Spartan-like training and hammering discipline and slowly molded the Lady Spikers to a championship-caliber squad. In Season 61, DLSU challenged FEU for the crown but the Lady Tamaraws’ championship experience prevailed. The loss only fueled De Jesus’ desire to bring the Lady Spikers to the throne even more. With the core of ace hitter Ortega-Patrona, setter Valerie Bautista, Sally Macasaet, Sheryl Magallanes, Demelle Chua, Hollie Reyes and then sophomore Ivy Remulla, De Jesus steered DLSU on the right track for another shot at the crown. Midway in the season Bautista got pregnant. De Jesus, calm and composed, knew what to do. He converted open spiker Reyes into a setter and the gambit worked as DLSU once again punched a ticket to the Finals, this time against UST – a very hungry team looking to reclaim the title. A year removed from the throne, UST was ready for the kill. But the Espana-based squad went against a famished team – DLSU will not leave the sweltering University of the Philippines Human Kinetics Gym without the championship trophy. In front of a crowd - dwarf-sized compared to the multitude of fans that troop bigger venues of today – the Lady Spikers wrote history. DLSU slew a giant in a thrilling five-set game behind the stellar performance of Ortega-Patrona, who won that Season’s Most Valuable Player award – the first of many incredible volleybelles that will bag the highest individual honor under De Jesus’ tutelage.     It was an incredible feat but it won’t see a repeat in the next three years.              Grand Slam After their breakthrough title, the Lady Spikers had three straight bride’s maid finishes behind FEU. Heartbreaks brought by Ortega-Patrona’s falling out with De Jesus over a disciplinary issue in Season 63 and the unstoppable power of FEU's Monica Aleta, who won three straight MVP awards while towing the Lady Tams to a three-peat. Like a chess master, De Jesus learned from his mistakes before pulling off a feat that will cement his name as one of the greatest. With Hernandez, Penetrante and a young Santos as his main pieces, he steered the Lady Spikers to a rare three-peat. DLSU brought into heel FEU, UST and Adamson to complete a grand slam. A four-peat loomed for the celebrated Lady Spikers but fate played a cruel trick on them after UAAP suspended DLSU in Season 69 because the Green Archers' basketball squad fielded two ineligible players the previous year.       When the ban was lifted in Season 70, De Jesus and the Lady Spikers were again under the radar as title contenders together with the defending champion UST, FEU and Adamson. But team was forced to file a leave of absence from the school while the tournament was ongoing because Alarca saw action despite incomplete academic credentials to be eligible to play. All of the team’s won games where Alarca played where forfeited and the Lady Spikers ended up at seventh place. It was a painful setback but it also served as a rallying point for DLSU. With Santos playing her final year and the emergence of enigmatic but then rookie libero Mel Gohing in Season 71, the Lady Spikers denied the then graduating Rachel Anne Daquis and FEU back-to-back crowns. DLSU relinquished the throne to the Angeli Tabaquero and Aiza Maizo-led Tigresses the following year. The Lady Spikers avenged their loss the next season in a rematch with UST behind Alarca, Mercado, Cruz, Gumabao and Gohing in the start of De Jesus’ second three-peat.   DLSU-Ateneo rivalry Nobody really knows when UAAP volleyball picked up the tremendous following it has today. Maybe it needed something for people to get hooked into. A continuous rivalry, perhaps? For six straight years DLSU and Ateneo did just that. The storied rivalry between La Salle and Ateneo spilled from the basketball court to the taraflex mat of volleyball. De Jesus had in his bench the core of veterans Cruz, Gumabao and Marano back and freshmen Galang, Reyes and Demecillo when they met in the Season 74 Finals a young and promising Lady Eagles side – much like the Lady Spikers De Jesus inherited 14 seasons back. Led by Fille Cainglet, Dzi Gervacio and a fresh recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school Alyssa Valdez, Ateneo gave DLSU a tough challenge for two seasons but the Lady Spikers repelled them both times. Then came Lady Eagles Thai mentor Tai Bundit. For three years in a row, De Jesus’ system bested the rest of the field including that of then Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb. However, a coach who barely spoke English or Filipino provided him a challenge in Season 76. DLSU with an intact core led by Marano, swept its way straight to the Finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage. Ateneo crawled its way to the championship round through a series of do-or-die games. De Jesus is an old-school type of coach. His system is hinged on well-planned strategies and tactics. He was pitted against Bundit’s Thai-style of play anchored on a heartstrong mantra and a ‘happy, happy’ approach of the game. Bundit dances on the sideline, an animated fellow during the matches. De Jesus is stoic as always. When the two collided for the title for the first time, Bundit shocked De Jesus and DLSU when Ateneo beat them thrice in a four-game series that went the full distance. Bundit and the Valdez-led Lady Eagles did it again the following year, completing a season sweep at the expense of the Lady Spikers, who struggled to pose any form resistance in the Finals after Galang went down with a season-ending ACL tear in the semis. It was a devastating loss to say the least. But De Jesus, a general who fought many battles for the green and white, stuck with the weapon that brought him success – his ability to adjust. Outdueled by Bundit in their last six matches, De Jesus found a way to stop the rampaging Lady Eagles in their first meeting in Season 78. Ateneo equalized in the second round and even took the top spot after the elimination. The Lady Spikers and the Lady Eagles would eventually meet in the Finals for the fifth year in a row. De Jesus was ready for Ateneo. He knew the strengths and weaknesses of the Lady Eagles and used it to his advantage to win the series opener. The then graduating Valdez brought Ateneo back in Game 2 to tie the series, but DLSU completed its long-awaited revenge in the decider and gave Reyes, Demecillo and Galang a fitting sendoff gift.                  Road to back-to-back Losing five veterans including three of their key players heading into Season 79 gave De Jesus one of the toughest challenges he ever faced as a DLSU mentor.  Setter Kim Fajardo returned for her swan song together with fourth year playes Kim Dy, Dawn Macandili and Majoy Baron. Desiree Cheng also came back after a year of absence due to a knee injury, but De Jesus was still left to navigate with a relatively young crew.  “Sa laht nang nai-form kong team, ito yung medyo (up and down) yung performance,” he said. “Sobrang babaw ng bench, wala ka halos (mahugot) pagtingin mo, wala ka makuha.” DLSU struggled early and was on the losing end of two elims matches against Ateneo. “Ateneo nu’ng buong elimination NU lang ang halos tumalo. Sabi ko ano bang meron ang team na ito?” he said. “Pinilit lang naming habulin.” “Kasi alam ko nag-start kami medyo hilaw ang team namin. Early part ng first round natalo kami sa UP sabi ko pukpok pa tayo, habol pa,” De Jesus added. “Ang nakakatuwa sa mga bata, ang determinasyon na humabol nandoon.” When the De Jesus found himself leading the Lady Spikers to a sixth straight title series against Bundit and the Lady Eagles, he knew his squad was ready to defend their crown. And protect it they did in a series sweep capped by a dramatic five-set victory.    “Siguro buong eliminations, nire-review namin ang mga games, nakikita mo yung difference, ‘yung advantage at disadvantage ng team, so siguro doon kami nag-focus, kung saan kami medyo dehado. Concentrate kami sa training,” he said. “Ine-explain ko rin sa players kung ano yung dapat naming gawin, although mahirap. So, tanggapin na lang nila.” In a rare moment, when Ateneo’s Jho Maraguinot sent her attack long that signaled DLSU’s back-to-back championships, De Jesus let his hair down a little. He was jumping, dancing, celebrating the victory and even held his hands up, both his palms wide open as confetti dropped and the deafening roar of the crowd and banging of the drums echoed inside the arena. De Jesus won his tenth title. When the celebration subsided, De Jesus fashioned the same smile he wore in his past nine championships as he was led inside the pressroom of the Big Dome. Only this time around, Fajardo, Cheng and Dy were the ones who followed him from behind.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

Neil Tolentino bringing his attitude to greener pastures in DLSU

Colegio de San Juan de Letran was the most pleasant surprise for all of the NCAA Juniors Basketball Tournament a year ago. Expected to be rebuilding, the Squires instead fought hard each and every game and found themselves as the unlikely third-seed in the playoffs. The leader of that scrappy squad was, without a doubt, Neil Tolentino. While his per game counts of 11.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while tirelessly playing 28.1 minutes did not jump out at anybody, it was his intangibles that made him a valuable piece of that contending team. The 6-foot swingman will never be the strongest, fastest, or most skilled, but he will also never be beaten out in terms of heart and hustle. That attitude now makes him a much welcome addition in the new era in De La Salle University. Tolentino revealed to ABS-CBN Sports on Thursday that he has chosen to continue his career in Taft Avenue. “Sa La Salle na po ako maglalaro. Gusto kong makatulong sa kanila dun,” he said. His never back down attitude has always been his calling card from his time in Nazareth School of National University and then to his transfer to Letran. With that, he has gotten inside the heads of the likes of Aljun Melecio, Jolo Mendoza, Evan Nelle, and Clint Escamis. Now, defensive stopper Tolentino will be teaming up with offensive dynamo Melecio to help Louie Gonzalez in his first year as head coach. And so, the Taft-based team should only expect to get a whole lot of attitude. As Tolentino put it, “Yung tapang, ‘di naman nawawala sa sarili yun e. Dadalhin ko yun saan man ako pupunta.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Tapos na kami sa Ateneo, so it s about time na mag-focus kami sa susunod na game -- De Jesus

Done with their elimination round assignment, two-time defending champion De La Salle University head coach Ramil de Jesus is now looking at the bigger picture – steering the Lady Spikers to their 18th championship appearance. DLSU made quick work of archrival Ateneo de Manila University, 26-24, 25-17, 25-19, Sunday to complete a sweep of the second round elimination of the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena. The Lady Spikers closed the elims with a 12-2 win-loss record and collected their eighth straight win, building momentum heading into the Final Four against National University where the Taft-based squad enjoys a twice-to-beat advantage.           “Well, sabi ko nga, one game at a time. Tapos na kami sa Ateneo, so it's about time na mag-focus kami sa susunod na game, which is 'yung semis against NU,” said De Jesus, whose squad completed an elims sweep of the Lady Eagles for the first time in four years. DLSU disposed Ateneo in an emphatic fashion compared to its four-set win over the Lady Eagles in the first round.      But De Jesus, who is looking for his 11th title and third grand slam, reminded his wards that the much-hyped up match between two of the most popular teams in the league were just a couple of games in the elimination round. What is important, he said, are the remaining postseason season matches that will determine their place in history.     “Sabi ko sa kanila, at lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila, itong buong eliminations, hindi importante ito,” said the mentor. “Ang pinaka-importanteng game ay pagdating ng semis at tsaka ng Finals, kung aabutin ng Finals. So 'yun lang ang motivation. 'Yung importanteng game, kailangan paghandaan.”       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: De Jesus not worried about DLSU peaking too soon

De La Salle University head coach Ramil De Jesus is not worried about his team peaking too early in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament. The grand slam-seeking Lady Spikers are on a seven-game winning streak heading into the closing playdate of the elimination round and are already assured of a Final Four twice-to-beat advantage. “Well um, nasa tamang pacing lang kami, so hindi pa siguro,” said De Jesus on Wednesday after DLSU defeated Adamson University, 25-21, 25-15, 22-25, 25-18 at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Spikers locked the top seed in the Final Four after improving their win-loss record to 11-2.    “Kung magpi-peak man, kaya pang pigilan,” added De Jesus. Just like her mentor, graduating opposite hitter Kim Kianna Dy believes that their hard work and focus on playing their game resulted in their blistering winning romp.     “’Di naman, we don’t think of it na nag-peak na kami. It’s just that every game we just have to play our game,” said Dy, who had 17 points on 13 attacks, three aces and a kill block while adding 10 digs on defense.  The Lady Spikers will close the eliminations on Sunday against archrival Ateneo de Manila University in a much-anticipated rematch at the MOA Arena. A victory by DLSU coupled by a Far Eastern University win over National University will hand the Lady Tamaraws the last Final Four incentive. The Taft-based squad will face the Lady Bulldogs in the semis while Ateneo and FEU will clash in the other Final Four pairing.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 11th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: DLSU secures at least a playoff for a semis twice-to-beat advantage

Two-time defending champion De La Salle University secured at least a Final Four twice-to-beat advantage after taking down an also-ran but pesky University of Sto. Tomas side, 25-23, 25-23, 25-22, Sunday in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Lady Spikers kept a tight grip of the top spot with a 10-2 win-loss record despite a rusty start brought by a long layoff. Kim Kianna Dy and Majoy Baron led the way for the Taft-based squad, which completed an elims sweep of the Tigresses.  Dy finished with 12 points anchored on eight spikes and four kill blocks and added six digs while Baron hammered six kills in her nine-point performance for DLSU. Aduke Ogunsanya scored eight while setter Michelle Cobb tallied 33 excellent sets for the Lady Spikers, whose last assignments are against Adamson University on Wednesday and Ateneo de Manila University on April 15. “Well ito 'yung isang sakit ng La Salle eh. Pagka long break, pag balik dito medyo kinakalawang,” said DLSU coach Ramil De Jesus. “So ito nga 'yung palagi kong nire-remind 'yung team na pagka ganitong mahabang bakasyon, pagbalik medyo hindi tama, maraming mga unforced error na ginagalaw. Parang hindi magkakakilala sa loob. “At least, ang importante ay yung result, naka-survive kami ng straight sets, pero medyo close 'yung laro,” he added. UST, which before the game were already booted out of the semis race picture following National University’s sweep of University of the East in the earlier match, dropped to 4-9 record. Sisi Rondina registered 23 points on 21 attacks, an ace and a block for the Tigresses while Fil-Italian Milena Alessandrini got 10 markers.         --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2018

UAAP Season 80 Men’s Football: UST, DLSU split points after figuring in draw

University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University wound up splitting points after battling to a 1-1 draw in the second round of the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Football Tournament, Sunday afternoon at the FEU Diliman Football Field. Looking to create separation from the three-way tie with National University and University of the East, the Green Archers struck first, with Yoshi Koizumi getting his free kick to sneak past UST keeper Zaldy Abraham in the 42nd minute. DLSU continued to control the pace of the match in the second half, but the Growling Tigers managed to pull even, courtesy of a header from skipper Ian De Castro coming off a Darwin Busmion free kick in the 62nd minute. With a significant amount of time left to alter the result, both sides turned up the intensity and came close to breaking the deadlock. DLSU’s closest chance to going ahead came from a Chris Lawless strike that hit the left post, while UST had a couple of close chances to steal the win at in injury time. At the end of 90 minutes, the two sides settled for a 1-1 draw. “At least we didn’t lose.” said DLSU head coach Hans-Peter Smit. “It’s UST, UE, NU, and us that are vying for the third and fourth. As long as [the team] continues playing like this, and not to let up, we still have a chance.” UST head coach Marjo Allado also had the same sentiments after the thrilling draw. “Better than sa matalo kami, kasi La Salle will take over pa eh. We have two remaining games and four teams have chances para sa top four.” “We’re fighting for the third place kasi Ateneo and UP andun na. Better than na [natalo] kami.” Allado added. As it stands, UST sits at solo third place with 19 points off five wins, four draws, and three losses. DLSU sits at solo fourth with five wins, two draws, five losses, and 17 points. NU and UE are tied for fifth with 16 points each, but NU has the edge on goal difference......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: FIVE FOR (FINAL FOUR) FIGHTING

A couple more games in and the elimination round will soon come to a close. Even up to this point, the women’s volleyball tournament of UAAP Season 80 continues to prove to be the most unpredictable year in recent UAAP history. While the top two seeds, the DLSU Lady Spikers and the Ateneo Lady Eagles have already secured spots in the Final Four, it’s still an on-going Battle Royale for the remaining two spots among teams gunning for a chance at either redemption or ascendancy.  With the FEU Lady Tamaraws, NU Lady Bulldogs, Adamson Lady Falcons, UP Lady Maroons, and the UST Golden Tigresses still slugging it out to prove their worth, the last few games of the eliminations couldn’t be more exciting and interesting at the same time. FEU Lady Tamaraws (7 – 4) Numerically speaking, the Lady Tamaraws have the best chances of booking the 3rd spot based on their team’s performance in the different skill departments. Despite being 7th overall in spiking, the Lady Tamaraws have shown consistency in the more crucial departments such as serve (2nd), receive (4th), and setting (3rd). At a relatively more comfortable standing of 7 – 4, FEU just needs one win to seal their Final Four spot or 2 to guarantee at least a 3rd rank finish. In their upcoming game against their 1st round tormentors, the Adamson Lady Falcons, the Lady Tamaraws’ services would definitely be challenged by the resurgent passing and commendable first point conversion of the Lady Falcons. Likewise, FEU would be expected to capitalize on the relatively less aggressive serving of Adamson to run their bread and butter combination plays. A revenge win against Adamson, avoiding an upset against a confident UE Lady Warriors squad and a repeat over skidding NU will enable the Lady Tamaraws to bag the best possible ranking at the end of eliminations. NU Lady Bulldogs (6 – 6) Despite the downward spiral that the Lady Bulldogs have found themselves in this second round, their stellar performance during the first round could still be enough of a cushion for them to keep their Final Four dreams alive. In their recent matchup with the Lady Maroons, Queen Bulldog Jaja Santiago was being maximized with her relatively more unstoppable attack from the right wing and back row. At times that the team was able to go for a high enough dig or pass, despite the location quality, a safety set to Santiago proved to be much needed relief. However, despite this dominance by Santiago, the team still sorely lacks output from the left wing as a much needed support. Had the left wing been more successful in attempt-to-point ratio, the match would have had a different tone. But moving forward, now that the team has had some positional adjustments that ensures libero Gayle Valdez’s stint is fully utilized, a few adjustments in passing formation is needed to ensure that Valdez has the best coverage. With the current struggles in their floor defense, the Lady Bulldogs will benefit more with slowing the rally down will high first balls regardless if on a perfect location just so setter Jasmine Nabor can better shoot to the wings. Adamson Lady Falcons (5 – 6) With a recent commanding win against the NU Lady Bulldogs and an almost statement win versus the Ateneo Lady Eagles, the Adamson Lady Falcons have found a much needed momentum boost amidst a slow second round start. In recent games, the Lady Falcons have seen a resurgence in their receiving prowess which has enabled them to beat powerhouses like DLSU and FEU in the first round. In their recent outings, the Lady Falcons have shown that they have superior side-out game as they have relatively higher first point conversion coming from a serve but have had some struggles in earning points off the transition. In addition, perhaps the most significant limiting factor for Adamson is their serving, which is notably the least aggressive in the league. Though successful in their first encounters against DLSU and FEU, the Lady Falcons’ upcoming rematch against these two teams would be their toughest challenge yet as they would heavily rely in their steady passing against the top two serving teams. To increase their chances of a first round repeat against these two teams, serving adjustments should also be made to ensure that they can limit the DLSU’s Majoy Baron from the middle as well as FEU setter Kyle Negrito from setting up their combination plays. UST Golden Tigresses (4 – 8) Despite a rough and disheartening initial run in this season, the UST Golden Tigresses have started to show what they are seriously capable of achieving. Albeit a too little too late with their current resurgence, a fully intact team is not to be discredited yet. Although much like the UP Lady Maroons in that their fate relies on the succeeding outcome for both NU and Adamson, UST still has a slightly better chance given that they can ensure a win against the Lady Falcons. Able to stretch out the Lady Eagles into a five-set thriller recently is much of a testament that UST is indeed final four material given a fully functioning roster. Much like how Adamson capitalized on Ateneo’s passing, UST proved to be one of the leagues better serving team, but also felt quite short when it came to transition play compared to the Lady Eagles. In line with that, the Golden Tigresses will also have to rely on their serving for their match against the Lady Spikers to ensure easier transition when the middle is eliminated from the attack. Interestingly enough, UST’s situation is mirrored by the Adamson Lady Falcons and their fate relies on each other as both teams are yet to face off against top seed DLSU and are set to face each other for their last elimination match. UP Lady Maroons (4 – 8) Despite a rough start early on in the league that casted some doubts on the inclusion of new coach Godfrey Okumu, the Lady Maroons have slowly found their groove as well as their identity. Though the hopes of a Final Four finish are not as feasible as their fate relies on the further performance of both NU and Adamson, the Lady Maroons are in a good position to prepare for the next season. With all the rotational adjustments Okumu has utilized throughout the season, the current setup is perhaps their best bet to build on. Perhaps the main challenge UP has faced the entire season is that with the short stint under a new coach, the tournament has been more of an unlearning process first before Okumu’s new system, a more scientific one as he claims, is infused. For their upcoming match against the Lady Eagles, the Lady Maroons will find much benefit in aggressive serving to take opportunity of the less threatening passing proficiency of their opponent but at the same time, the challenge is ensuring they convert every possession since the Ateneo has shown much skill in winning the point the longer the transition rally progresses. Final Four Probabilities As with the standings in UAAP History, the elusive 7th win is always the magic number to strive for to get an assurance of a Final Four spot. At this point, FEU is almost guaranteed of that spot given that they just win another game. Should NU finally get out of their slump and manage their first win in the second round, they can guarantee an extension in their stint which would be enough time to at least familiarize their new rotation. Adamson undeniably has the best chances based on numbers as they still have 3 more games but these last elimination games will be relatively challenging as they will have to perform a repeat of their first round win against the top seeded teams FEU and DLSU. Finally, both UP and UST should ensure a win for their last 2 games and hope for upsets against NU and Adamson to at least be within striking distance for the last Final Four spot.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 5th, 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

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Breaking Down the Lady Bulldogs Struggles

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

Lady Spikers live up to DLSU Final 4 tradition

MANILA, Philippines – It's official: the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers are in the post-season for the 10th straight time.  Ten-time champion head coach Ramil de Jesus added another Final 4 appearance to his record, and the Lady Spikers are halfway there in clinching their 3-peat championship.  The Lady ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 24th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: FEU inches closer to a Final Four spot

Far Eastern University rallied from a set down to carve out a 21-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-22, win over University of the Philippines Saturday in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Lady Tamaraws inched closer to a Final Four berth with their seventh win in 11 games for the solo third spot behind Ateneo de Manila University (7-3) and league-leading two-time defending champion De La Salle University. Bernadeth Pons and Jeanette Villareal led the way with 15 points each. Pons scored all but one of her points on attacks while adding 20 digs and 18 excellent receptions for the Morayta-based squad. Villareal had five kill blocks, seven kills and three service aces. Celine Domingo had 11 markers while Toni Basas finished with 10 for the Lady Tams. Kyle Negrito tallied 46 excellent sets and nine points. FEU shook off a slow start and fended off the Lady Maroons furious fight back in the fourth set to complete its elimination sweep of UP and bounce back from a sorry five-set loss to DLSU the last time out. “Ang ginawa kasi ng UP noong una very aggressive sila. Sabi ko dapat sabayan yun. Nandun naman eagerness, timing lang nawawala pero nung nakuha na, yun OK na,” said FEU coach George Pascua. UP kept the fourth set close with Tots Carlos scoring on an attack to close the gap, 20-19. FEU plucked four of the duel’s next five points capped by a kill block by Villareal on Carlos to push the Lady Tams at match point. Carlos answered with a kill followed by an ace by Ayel Estranero as the Lady Maroons saved two match points before Villareal sealed the win with a running attack.   The Lady Maroons dropped their third straight match to fall to 3-8 mark and are on the brink of falling short of a Final Four return for the second straight year. Carlos registered 23 points on 19 kills, three kill blocks and a pair of aces while Isa Molde posted 18 markers for UP, which gave away 31 points off errors.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 24th, 2018