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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: abscbn abscbnApr 20th, 2018

UAAP Season 81: Eh dun na kami kilala -- Cheng on DLSU swag

Graduating De La Salle University hitter Des Cheng roared as she walked backwards while staring at Ateneo de Manila University’s Kat Tolentino following a monster block in the second set. It was Cheng’s classic swagger that volleyball fans just love to love or hate depending on which side they're on.      But the open spiker cleared that it just came out naturally, especially in this kind of exciting and intense match between two proud schools.    “’Di ko alam kasi siyempre, hello! It’s Ateneo-La Salle. So parang kahit anong sabihin mo may rivalry talaga kahit sabihin mong wala,” said Cheng, who scored 13 points in the defending three-time champion Lady Spikers’ 25-14, 25-17, 16-25, 25-19, victory over the Lady Eagles Sunday in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena. Cheng was very animated during the match smiling, laughing, doing the finger wag and whatever gesture she could think of to celebrate a point.   OH MY, DES CHENG 😱 #UAAPSeason81Volleyball pic.twitter.com/ePvIxjxREe — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 17, 2019 “Uy, ang hirap kaya kumuha ng puntos kung mapapansin mo. Kaya sabi ko before mag-start ang game sabi ko, ‘Every point ise-celebrate natin. Hindi ‘yung every point makakapuntos ka tapos tatahimik ka tapos parang, ‘Yeheey!’ ganun lang,’” said Cheng, who added 14 receives and nine digs for an all-around performance. The veteran expected that non-DLSU supporters would think that the Lady Spikers went over the top with their on-court reactions but this is what they’re known for and they are not gonna change that. Des Cheng breaks out the finger wag ☝ #UAAPSeason81Volleyball pic.twitter.com/bbVBMIYoGK — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 17, 2019 “Eh dun na kami kilala bakit kailangang (i-hold back),” said Cheng. “’Dun kami kilala eh. Sabihin nyo na mayabang kami, swag kami, whatever kung ano ang pagka-interpret nyo it’s OK. Eh kasi yun na ang pagkakakilala nyo sa amin eh di dun nyo na kami i-ano talaga. Pero hindi kami mayabang. Ayun lang po talaga.” Even head coach Ramil De Jesus got into the celebration during that second set highlight, exchanging high-fives with Cheng.       The mentor, according to Cheng, actually asked her to be the spark plug and energizer of the team. “Kasi kailangan. Sabi ni coach, ‘Hindi gagalaw ang team mo kapag walang mag-spark.’ Meaning, kailangan may gagalaw para magi-spark sa kanila tapos susunod lang sila. Kaya kapag nakapuntos ako parang kahit hindi nga ako nakapuntos naga-ano ako na ‘Yeheey, yeheey!’ ganun-ganun,” she said. “Kasi kailangan nila yun kasi kapag walang isang tao na ganoon sino ang magli-lead sa kanila.” And to end her night, Cheng finished off Ateneo with an ace... and a finger wag as exclamation point.   Des Cheng. FOR THE WIN. #UAAPSeason81Volleyball pic.twitter.com/KHyg6qECPs — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 17, 2019     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: Siguro nasa 60% ang galaw kanina -- De Jesus on rookie Dela Cruz

Rookie Jolina Dela Cruz announced her arrival as part of the defending three-time champion De La Salle University with an impressive debut against the Lady Spikers’ archrival Ateneo de Manila University. The 19-year old, Bulacan-native poured in 11 points in DLSU’s 25-14, 25-17, 16-25, 25-19, win over the Lady Eagles in an early battle of titans in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament Sunday at the MOA Arena. It was a good outing for a player whose baptism of fire came in the most anticipated match of the season – the first opening day Ateneo-DLSU clash in the Final Four era.     But head coach Ramil De Jesus said that Dela Cruz has yet to show her full potential.   “Well, as rookie siguro nasa 60% ang galaw kanina. Expected ko na ‘yun kasi bago sa kanya ang lahat ng nangyayari. And siguro ‘yung dami ng crowd, tapos ang ingay ng crowd,” said De Jesus of the Palarong Pambansa standout.   “Sabi ko nga kanina after ng second set, ‘Jolina, sobrang confused mo na kasi ang likot na ng mata mo.’ So ni-remind ko lang na kailangan ko lang ng makakatulong sa loob. Kailangan ko ng tulong mo,” the 11-time champion mentor added. “Ganoon talaga sa first game siguro sa susunod hindi na ganoon.”             The Academia de San Lorenzo recruit and member of the Philippine youth team in the 2017 ASEAN Schools Game in Singapore admitted that her first Ateneo-DLSU experience was quite overwhelming.   “As a rookie bago lang po ako sa ganito and ‘yun po nire-remind ako lagi ng mga ates na kahit anong mangyari nandyan sila sa likod may backup ako,” she said. Dela Cruz added that there were times that she just got carried away with the crowd and energy inside the arena.   “Opo, masyado po akong nadala. Nire-remind naman po nila ako parati na, ‘Jolina balik ka, balik ka. Kaya mo yan. Nandyan ang mga ates mo. Di ka naman nila iiawanan. Iko-cover ka nila kahit anong mangyari.’ Yung mga coaches naman lagi akong nire-remind na focus ka, focus, na balik ka lagi. Once na magkamali ka may ibang way pa na pwede kang gawin,” said Dela Cruz.   Asked on how she would address the missing 40% that De Jesus wanted to see for her, Dela Cruz answered,  “Siguro kailangan pa magtiwala sa sarili ang kailangan balik ka kaagad once nagkamali ka.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: DLSU uses element of surprise in dismantling Ateneo

Defending three-time champion De La Salle University kept its team under wraps during the offseason and it worked wonders for the Lady Spikers. Head coach Ramil De Jesus thought that they had the element of surprise when DLSU demolished Ateneo de Manila University, 25-14, 25-17, 16-25, 25-19, Sunday in their UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament opener at the MOA Arena.         The Taft-based squad didn’t join any major pre-season tournament as a team, opting to field just a few of its regular players in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference and in the UniGames. “Mayroon siguro. Malaking advantage ‘yun na wala silang idea sa team namin kung sino ang starter, ano ang position, kung anong klase ng set play ang nangyayari sa team na pina-practice namin,”said De Jesus, whose squad defeated Ateneo for the fifth straight time since Season 79 Finals. DLSU lost three key players in Kim Kianna Dy, former MVP Majoy Baron and libero Dawn Macandili after graduating last season. During the pre-season, Gyra Barroga and Arriane Layug left the team to move up to the semi-pro league. Pundits thought that the Lady Spikers will have a hard time rebuilding but again, De Jesus' battle-tested system that produced 11 titles in two decades proved them wrong.      Graduating player Des Cheng delivered the same numbers that was expected from her but it was rookie Jolina Dela Cruz and fourth year player May Luna that did most of the damage with their production. Dela Cruz and Luna scored 11 points each to back Cheng’s 13 markers and Aduke Ogunsanya’s 10. Luna did the most damage in the fourth set as she helped the Lady Spikers pull away for good midway in the frame with her heady plays that frustrated the Lady Eagles.      As for their archrivals, the Lady Spikers were able to scout the Lady Eagles’ set plays and asses the tendencies of their players based on Ateneo’s performance in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.     De Jesus and his coaching staff devised a good game plan to dismantle Ateneo in front of 17,166-strong crowd.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2019

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2019

VOLLEYBALL IS LIFE: A look back at Philippine volleyball in 2018

Glorious victories, dynasties, historic feats, controversies and memorable moments once again highlighted another fruitful year for Philippine volleyball.   Now, let us take a look back in the year that was in volleyball:   DYNASTY Powerhouse teams continued to thrive in the country’s most popular collegiate leagues. Arellano University muscled its way back into the NCAA Season 93 Finals and met a newcomer in San Beda University. The Lady Chiefs did find the Lady Red Spikers as feisty opponents in their first championship meeting, needing five sets to survive San Beda in Game One. But it didn’t take long for Arellano U to stomp its class over the newbies to capture its second straight title and fourth overall crown in five years. De La Salle University painted UAAP Season 80 green after annexing its third straight title handing legendary head coach Ramil De Jesus his third grand slam in the country’s most popular and competitive collegiate league. Second year setter Michelle Cobb stepped up to the challenge of filling the big shoes left by Kim Fajardo and complemented the depth and firepower of DLSU. Far Eastern University, which advanced into the Finals for the first time after a decade, stood no chance against the onslaught of the Lady Spikers, which swept their way onto throne. University of Perpetual Help completed a four-peat in the NCAA juniors after sweeping Letran. Philippine Air Force snatched the Premier Volleyball League men’s Reinforced Conference crown and the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference title. Sisi Rondina cemented her legacy as the UAAP’s queen of the sands after completing a three-peat in women’s beach volleyball. Rondina wrapped her tour of duty with four titles in five years. The Tigers ruled the men’s division.       YEAR OF THE UNDERDOGS San Beda University made great strides in NCAA Season 93 after earning its first-ever Finals appearance behind the efforts of Cesca Racraquin and twins Nieza and Jiezela Viray. The Lady Red Spikers closed the elims with an 8-1 win-loss record and took down Perpetual in the semis. Languishing at the bottom half of the standings since the return of its women’s volleyball program in 2008, Jose Rizal University made history by advancing into the Final Four. Shola Alvarez capped the Lady Bombers’ remarkable season by pocketing the Most Valuable Player award.   Far Eastern University made it to the UAAP women’s volleyball Finals by booting out crowd-favorite Ateneo de Manila University in the semis.  For the first time in five years, the Blue Eagles found themselves in a very difficult position in the Final Four. With a twice-to-win disadvantage, the Marck Espejo-led Ateneo shocked FEU – a team that beat them twice in the elims – to march to its fifth straight championship appearance.      But the real underdog story belonged to NU. After three years of finishing runner-up to the Blue Eagles, the Bulldogs led by Bryan Bagunas finally got their long-awaited revenge as they swept Ateneo off its three-year reign at the throne.     OFF COURT STORIES, CONTROVERSIES University of the East parted ways with head coach Francis Vicente midway in Season 80 after three and a half seasons with the Lady Warriors. Vicente left for ‘personal reasons’ with a UE coaching record of 2-45 (win-loss). Red Warriors head coach Sammy Acaylar also resigned from his post midway in the season. University of Sto. Tomas hitter EJ Laure after months of speculations to the real reason of her sitting out UAAP Season 80 broke her silence by saying that needed time to recover from her right shoulder injury to end all the rumors circulating including an alleged pregnancy.    Sound bites, videos and clips that show collegiate players’ ‘human side’ made its rounds around social media that drew mixed reactions from fans.  Just like in the previous years, controversy filled the formation of the national women’s volleyball team. Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. initially named Ramil De Jesus as the national team coach but just two months after his designation, the multi-titled DLSU mentor resigned from his post citing ‘conflict of schedule’. Shaq Delos Santos took over De Jesus’ spot. Netizens went abuzz when the composition of the national team that participated in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games was released as fans give their different views on who should and should not be included in the roster.             LVPI named a new president in Peter Cayco of Arellano U to replace Joey Romasanta during the association’s election.   WRITING HISTORY Smart’s Cuban import Gigi Silva carved a world scoring record in the Philippine Superliga after scoring 56 points in a lost cause against Cocolife in the 2018 Grand Prix. Silva pounded 53 kills and had three aces to land her name in the fourth spot in the women’s world scoring record behind Polina Rahimova of Azerbaijan’s 58 points in 2015 while playing in Japan, American Madison Kingdon’s 57 (2017 Korea Volleyball League) and Bulgarian Elitsa Vasileva’s 57 (2013 Korea Volleyball League). Silva also surpassed the 55 points of Americans Nicole Fawcett (2013 KVL) and Alaina Bergsma, who led Petron to the 2014 PSL Grand Prix crown, (2016 KVL).     Not to be outdone, local volleyball star Marck Espejo had a 55-point explosion of his own in the Blue Eagles’ five-set Game 1 UAAP Final Four win over FEU. The five-time MVP pounded 47 attacks, had six kill blocks and two service aces for the Katipunan-based squad. Espejo scored 11 points in the deciding frame including Ateneo’s last four to seal the win in the match that lasted for two hours and 21 minutes. Espejo’s feat fueled Ateneo’s eventual semis series win over the twice-to-beat Tamaraws.  Espejo and DLSU libero Dawn Macandili were named as the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s 2017 Mr. and Miss Volleyball.     The Philippines saw three players make their mark in the international scene this year as Espejo and sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat were tapped as imports in Japan’s V. Premier League. Espejo is now playing for Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler while Jaja and Dindin suit up for Saitama Ageo Medics and Toray Arrows, respectively.     After 36 long years, the Philippines sent a women’s volleyball team to participate in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. The squad won against Hong Kong in straight sets in pool play in the country’s first Asian Games victory since defeating India in the 1982 New Delhi Games. The PHI advanced in the quarterfinals but went home empty-handed. The Filipinas ended up at ninth place in the AVC Asian Cup. Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio made waves in the country’s hosting of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open after the duo barged in the quarterfinals. The tandem eventually bowed down to eventual champion Japan. The NU Bulldogs brought its bark into the international scene and howled its way to giving honor to country by winning the ASEAN University Games gold medal at the expense of Thailand. Volleyball proved to be the most talked about sport in the country as #UAAPSeason80Volleyball became the most tweeted sports hashtag in 2018.   SMASHING WIN, BLAZING VICTORY Creamline became the most successful club in the Premier Volleyball League this year after winning its breakthrough Reinforced Conference crown before following it up with a title romp in the Open Conference. Alyssa Valdez finally ended a two-year title drought after leading the Cool Smashers to the Reinforced Conference throne.   Creamline’s Michele Gumabao joined Binibining Pilipinas and represented the country im the 2018 Miss Globe in Albania, landing at the top 15.     Petron lorded it over in the PSL after winning the Grand Prix and All-Filipino Conference titles at the expense of archrival F2 Logistics, which ruled the Invitational Conference. University of the Philippines ended a 36-year title drought by claiming the PVL Collegiate Conference championship and followed it up by reigning supreme in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam The SiPons tandem of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons of Petron annexed their second straight PSL Challenge Cup beach volleyball title. University of Perpetual Help reclaimed the NCAA men’s title after taking down Arellano University as the Altas bagged it 11th title overall.           National University took back the title it lost last year in the UAAP boys’ tournament while De La Salle-Zobel bagged the girls’ mint. The Beach Volleyball Republic continued its advocacy of propagating the sport throughout the country.   END OF THE ROAD After winning three straight UAAP titles, the Lady Spikers bid goodbye to its Big Three in Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili. Season 80 saw the end of the six-year Ateneo-DLSU Finals rivalry as the Lady Eagles bowed down to FEU in the semis. The Blue Eagles three-year reign ended at the hands of NU as Ateneo gave its farewell to its greatest men’s volleyball star Marck Espejo and prized setter Ish Povorosa.    NU’s four-year domination in the girls’ division was snapped by DLS-Zobel. After a dry 2018 PVL season, Pocari Sweat parted ways with its franchise player Myla Pablo as newcomer Motolite agreed to buyout the hitter’s last three contract years.      Thai coach Tai Bundit after five years and bringing two titles including a rare tournament sweep to the Lady Eagles finally called it quits after Ateneo’s campaign in UAAP Season 80. Creamline gave Bundit a farewell championship trophy in the PVL.      A NEW BEGINNING It was a colorful 2018, indeed, for volleyball but 2019 is another promising year for the sport. Can the Lady Chiefs complete a three-peat in the NCAA? Newcomers are sure to bring more excitement and interest in the UAAP. DLSU will try to extend its reign for another season while NU is looking for a repeat crown in the men’s side. Another season for the PSL and the PVL will open while the national men’s and women’s team will highlight the country’s Southeast Asian Games hosting.        --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2018

Athletes to Watch Out for in 2019

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2018

Pinoy sports most captivating underdog stories of 2018

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 24th, 2018

F2 Logistics stops rampaging Petron, forces title decider

F2 Logistics spoiled defending champion Petron’s tournament sweep attempt as the Cargo Movers shocked the erstwhile unbeaten Blaze Spikers to force a decider in their best-of-three 2018 PSL All-Filipino Conference Finals series Tuesday at the MOA Arena. The Cargo Movers shook off a rusty start to carve out a 21-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-17, Game 2 win to tie the series and hand Petron its first loss in the season-ending conference. F2 Logistics swung the momentum to their side with a dominating second set showing that saw the Cargo Movers lead by 12 and sustained the same intensity in the next two to seal the all-important win in two hours and 25 minutes. Ara Galang showed the way for F2 Logistics with 20 points including 17 off kills while skipper Cha Cruz-Behag displayed an all-around effort with 13 markers laced with 25 digs and 15 excellent receptions. Majoy Baron and Aby Marano wreaked havoc at the net combining for seven of F2 Logistics’ 12 kill blocks. Baron posted 14 points off 10 kills, three kill blocks and an ace while Michelle Morente and Marano scored 10 and eight, respectively, for the Cargo Movers. “Medyo tight noong first set tapos madami pang bad calls ‘yung referee, nandoon na ‘yung momentum tapos mapuputol na hindi nakikita, judgement call eh. Hindi naman challengeable ‘yung mga calls ng referee noong pa-end ang first set so hindi [na ako] nag-challenge,” said Cargo Movers coach Ramil De Jesus. “Noong second set medyo relaxed na eh so sabi ko masyado nang malayo ‘yung naging score ng set so nahirapan humabol,” he added. “So ibig sabihin kaya, sabi ko sa kanila, basta pag tyagaan lang ang situation ng nangyayari.” Game 3 is on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.       The Blaze Spikers, which took the series opener, 25-23, 25-11, 25-17, last Saturday, went off to a good start and looked poised to duplicate the same feat they did when Petron swept the 2015 edition of the conference. But F2 Logistics were quick to regroup to open up a 22-10 lead in the second set that changed the complexion of the match. “Naniniwala ako na it's by God's grace, binibigyan niya kami ng lakas, kahit ano ‘yung mga nararamdaman namin at ano yung line-up namin. Plus, pinaalala ni coach kung sino talaga kami, kung ano kaya gawin namin, and nagkaroon kami ng kumpyansa sa sarili, sa bawat isa, and kumpyansa para sa kasama, at malasakit din,” said Cruz-Behag. “Kaya nakuha namin yung Game 2, and may focus kami and may goal kami na makuha yung Game 3.” Ces Molina scored all but one of her 17 points off kills while Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Bernadeth Pons finished with 11 and 10 markers, respectively, for Petron. Meanwhile, De La Salle-Dasmarinas finished its campaign on a high note after taking down College of San Agustin-Binan, 25-23, 25-18, 21-25, 25-16, in the maiden Collegiate Grand Slam. Skipper Eunice Castillo got 16 points while Dasilyn Delfin and Rain Ramos scored 14 markers each for DLSU-Dasma. Aliah Marce had 14 points while Lency Duarte posted 13 for CSA.   ---  Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 18th, 2018

Petron closes in on duplicating historic feat

Games Tuesday: (Mall of Asia Arena) 4:15 p.m. – La Salle-Dasmarinas vs CSA 7:00 p.m. – Petron vs F2 Logistics   The deadly form that made Petron the most successful club team in the country was in full display when it crushed F2 Logistics, 25-23, 25-12, 25-17, in Game 1 of their Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference best-of-three finals series Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena. But for head coach Shaq Delos Santos, the battle is still far from over. Delos Santos said celebration is not yet on their minds as they expect a furious fightback from the Cargo Movers in Game 2 of this prestigious women’s club tourney Tuesday at the same venue. He said F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus is the best in the business in tweaking his gameplan so he expects Game 2 to be another thrilling showcase of high-flying attacks, great defense and nail-biting rallies from both sides. "Kami, think magandang pahinga, recovery, aral uli, pag-aralan namin sila ulit (sila). Siyempre for sure all out sila pero siyempre kami ready para dun,” said Delos Santos, whose wards moved a win shy of sweeping this tourney. Delos Santos sure knows what he’s talking about. In the Grand Prix last year, the Blaze Spikers hammered a convincing Game 1 win, thanks to the firepower of imports Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley as well as local stars Frances Molina, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Mika Reyes. But the Cargo Movers refused to quit. De Jesus shocked his counterpart when he pulled veteran Cha Cruz from the bench to serve as the starting spiker while moving American Kennedy Bryan back to her original position at the opposite spot. The gamble paid a handsome reward when the Cargo Movers crawled back from a 0-2 set lead all the way to a masterful Game 2 victory. Then, they went for the kill in Game 3 to formally clinch the title of this highly competitive tourney. Delos Santos stressed that de Jesus -- an 11-time champion coach for De La Salle University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines who also has three crowns in the PSL – won’t simply give up.    "Kilala namin sila alam namin trabaho ni coach Ramil especially sa ganyang sitwasyon pero mas magtatrabaho kami this time," said Delos Santos, who drew firepower from bench player Sisi Rondina and former Far Eastern University stars Bernadeth Pons and Remy Palma in Game 1. Rondina delivered 12 points while Pons and Palma chipped in 10 and nine hits, respectively, for the Blaze Spikers, who are on the verge of duplicating a golden sweep of the conference they first achieved three years ago.          .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 16th, 2018

30 Teams in 30 Days: After wholesale makeover, Hawks ready to rebuild

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com What offseason? That's a question many fans ask as the flurry of trades, free agent news and player movement seems to never stop during the summer. Since the Golden State Warriors claimed their third title in four years back on June 8 (June 9, PHL time), NBA teams have undergone a massive number of changes as they prepare for the season ahead. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- from the team with the worst regular-season record in 2017-18 to the team with the best regular-season record -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's team: Atlanta Hawks 2017-18 Record: (24-58, did not qualify for the playoffs) Who's new: Coach Lloyd Pierce, Trae Young (Draft), Kevin Huerter (Draft), Omari Spellman (Draft), Jeremy Lin (trade), Justin Anderson (trade), Alex Len (free agency), Vince Carter (free agency) Who's gone: Coach Mike Budenholzer, Dennis Schroder, Mike Muscala The lowdown: Three years after winning a conference-best 60 games, the Hawks crash-landed and clearly set their sights on the Draft lottery by the 2018 All-Star break. New GM Travis Schlenk dumped Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilasova at the trade deadline and would’ve shipped off a few more players if he could. Basically, Schlenk attempted to scrub most of the work of Budenholzer, who ran the basketball operation previously. John Collins made the All-Rookie team and Taurean Prince finished strong. However, Kent Bazemore -- the club’s highest-paid player -- sputtered and never felt comfortable being a volume scorer (12.9 points per game). The Hawks couldn’t win or generate much interest in Atlanta, putting the framework for a fresh era in place well before 2017-18 ended. The Hawks held the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 Draft. Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III were off the board. What say you, Mr. Schlenk? He made a gutsy move, bypassing European sensation Luka Doncic in favor of Young and a 2019 protected first from the Mavericks. Schlenk admitted the Hawks’ war room was evenly split on Doncic and Young, but the ’19 first-rounder was the deal-maker. That’s not an overwhelming vote of confidence for Young, and you wonder if Hawks ownership nudged Schlenk into making the deal because of Young’s star potential. The organization dropped millions to give the newly-renamed State Farm Arena some bling over the last year and obviously crave a player with flair to move the needle in Atlanta. Young certainly brings a wow factor. He was the box office star at Oklahoma with his long-range shots and fancy passes. He also became the first collegiate player to lead the nation in scoring and assists in the same season. The Hawks say his ability to make teammates better is vastly unappreciated and will smooth his transition into the NBA. He also had a ragged second half of last season and became a social media punch line. His shot selection and accuracy raised red flags. In a sense, his final year at OU was a tale of two players: Tantalizing Trae and Tragic Trae. NBA scouts say Young's other drawbacks were his lack of size, athletic ability and defense. He was a polarizing Draft pick and the Hawks’ decision received mixed reviews at best among Hawks fans. That additional first-round pick Atlanta got from Dallas could prove beneficial for a rebuilding team that wants to collect as many assets as possible. The idea of Young becoming an Atlanta Basketball Jesus seems like a reach ... until you remember this franchise hasn’t had a ticket-selling sensation in its history. Even Pete Maravich and Dominique Wilkins weren’t basketball magnets in this college football-crazed town. With a new basketball regime in place, it was only a matter of time before Budenholzer, stripped of his basketball operations stripes, would bolt. Schlenk wanted his own people, which is standard operating procedure for a new GM. Once the season ended, Budenholzer began running off copies of his resume with the blessing of the Hawks. He landed in Milwaukee and Schlenk began searching for Budenholzer's successor. Eventually, Schlenk stayed in his comfort zone and hired Pierce. (Years ago, they both worked for the Golden State Warriors.) Pierce came with strong reviews for his work as an assistant coach, most recently with the Sixers. As a player, he rode shotgun in college at Santa Clara with Steve Nash and brings solid people skills to Atlanta. He is, however, a first-time coach and sometimes, it gets tricky when folks slide one seat over on the bench. It was no secret the Hawks wanted to jettison starting point guard and leading scorer Schroder this summer. He had legal issues and didn’t develop solid chemistry with his teammates. When the Thunder agreed to a proposal, the Hawks pounced, sending Schroder to OKC for Carmelo Anthony (who was subsequently bought out), Justin Anderson and a future first-rounder. Of course, this means the Hawks will either go with a rookie as their starting point guard or Lin (who’s should be healthy for training camp after he missed all but one game last season.) With their additional first-round pick this year, the Hawks took Huerter, a sharp-shooter from Maryland. Right now they’re getting nothing special offensively from the swing position and Huerter will get a long look as a rotational player. In order to help a young locker room adjust, the Hawks added 41-year-old Carter (who was a rookie when Young was born). Carter has become a lovable NBA senior citizen, which allows folks to overlook his declining skills. His veteran voice will help when the Hawks endure a losing streak. Still, the summer belonged to the deal the Hawks swung for Young. It’s one of those decisions that could make Schlenk look like a genius, especially if he scores big on the 2019 Dallas pick and Young pans out. The flip side? Doncic becomes the transcendent star in Dallas that the Hawks craved. The final verdict on this deal won’t be delivered for years. By then, will the Hawks be winners? Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2018

“Can Aby your boyfriend?”: How Robert Bolick won Aby Maraño’s heart

Aby Maraño is everything you want in an athlete. She’s strong, driven and passionate about her sport. So, when basketball player Robert Bolick saw her play volleyball for the first time…he saw himself. The only difference was she was a three-time champion, two-time MVP and team captain, while he was merely a rookie and a bench warmer. Robert was also three years younger than her. Aby was way out of his league, it seemed. But, this young man was no loser. He was determined to shoot his shot and find some way to win her heart. His first move was to ask for a little favor from his former teammate, LA Revilla, who was the starting point guard of the DLSU Men’s Basketball team at the time. Robert needed LA to find out whether Aby had a boyfriend. Like he usually does on the hardcourt, LA delivered an assist to Robert in form of good news - Aby was single. Now, that Robert knew that his target was open, all he had to do was take a shot. And he took it at the most unexpected of moments. They were inside the school bus on the way back to DLSU after a Green Archers game in the UAAP. Aby, who was undergoing her on-the-job training with ABS-CBN Sports, the official broadcast partner of the league, hitched a ride with the team. There was a lot of joking among his teammates, but all Robert could think of was the soothing smell of Aby’s hair as he was seated right behind her. It was at that moment when Robert decided to crack a joke of his own. “Oy, Pre! Makinig kayong lahat!” announced Robert before motioning towards Aby. “Aby ka ba? Can Aby your boyfriend?” The entire bus erupted. It was as if they were back inside the MOA Arena where fans where screaming their lungs out. Robert looked at Aby’s face and sensed a positive reaction to his sudden revelation. “Ay. Parang kinilig ah,” he thought. As soon as they got off the bus, Robert and Aby shared their first dinner. When it was time to go home, Robert reminded Aby to take care and that they should continue communicating. “Text, text na lang tayo! Text mo ako ha.” he told her. “Paano kita ite-text? Wala naman akong number mo,” she replied. Little did Aby know that Robert didn’t ask for her number directly to avoid getting “busted.” His game plan worked as they started talking and spending time with each other more often. Upon Aby’s advice, Robert even asked her coach, the multi-titled Ramil de Jesus for permission to court her. Although Robert admitted that he was intimidated at first, he knew that he had no choice but to ask for Coach Ramil’s blessing to ensure a smooth passage to Aby’s heart. “Para sa akin naman, wala namang dapat katakutan pag alam mo na gusto mo talaga. Gusto ko naman si Aby eh.” Today, August 8, 2018, Robert and Aby are celebrating their 5th year anniversary together. A lot has happened in their lives since then. Robert has transformed himself into an accomplished athlete like Aby, winning three championships (1 UAAP title with La Salle, 2 NCAA titles with San Beda), a PBA D-League championship and MVP award among many accolades. They both have also become national team athletes as Robert was included in the “23 for 23” Gilas Pilipinas roster for the 2023 FIBA World Cup while Aby was named Captain of the Philippine Women’s Volleyball Team. “Hindi niya ako minahal dahil magaling ako mag-basketball. Minahal nga niya ako na bangko pa lang ako,” said Robert as he reminisced about everything he has been through with Aby throughout the past five years. While watching their careers blossom, following their love story is equally entertaining. The two are very open with regards to how they feel about each other. Aby even proudly declared during an interview on “Down the Line” that she would agree to marry Robert is ever he proposed to her.   We throw it back to an episode of #DownTheLinePH when @MrPureBusiness and @denniselazaro asked about Robert popping the big question to Tyang Aby! pic.twitter.com/NFGitS4TKE — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) August 8, 2018 Despite Robert and Aby being just 22 and 25 years old respectively, marriage has been a topic of conversation between the couple. “Sinasabi na nga niya sa akin na gusto niya na ‘Maraño-Bolick’ pag naglalaro siya,” revealed Robert. “Sabi ko naman sa kanya, ‘Take time lang. Total, five years na tayo magkasama. Di naman natin kailangan madaliin yan. Focus ka lang muna sa kung saan ka ngayon. Eventually, pag nag propose na ako, gusto ko yung ready ka na magka-anak.’” One of Robert’s biggest dreams in life is to be able to play with his future kids as a young father, preferably in his 20s. “Dream ko talaga na while naglalaro ako, makakalaro ko yung anak ko,” said Robert. “Kung magka-lalaki man lang ako, whatever na sport ang gusto niya, makakalaro ko man lang siya. Makaka-takbo-takbo man lang ako.” “Sabi ko kay Aby, ‘Tell me pag ready ka na.’” Only God knows what the future holds for these college sweethearts. But, right now, the King Lion and Tyang Aby are living their best lives. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2018

RDJ resigned because of conflict of schedule -- Cayco

Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. cited that conflict of schedule was the main reason of De La Salle University head coach Ramil De Jesus for stepping down from his post as the national women’s team mentor. Shaq Delos Santos was tapped by the country’s volleyball governing body as replacement for De Jesus in forming and handling the Nationals that will see action in two major tournaments this year and in the 2019 Manila Southeast Asian Games.      University of Sto. Tomas coach Kungfu Reyes and Bryan Esquibel of Letran men’s team were appointed as Delos Santos’ assistants. “Apparently, coach Ramil has his own reasons, one of them I think is yung kanyang commitment, yung schedule,” said LVPI vice president Peter Cayco on Tuesday during the national pool meeting held at the Arellano University-Legarda Gym. The 11-time UAAP champion coach is currently calling the shots for DLSU, F2 Logistics and the Baby Spikers – DLSU’s pool of recruits. “Kasi he is now coaching three teams. I respect his decision and we have to move on and I’m very thankful to Shaq na at a short notice,” added Cayco. “Sa selection committee kasi ng LVPI, we met, and it was unanimous na si Coach Shaq. So we got Coach Shaq. We wanted representation from the collegiate so kinuha naming si coach Kungfu from the UAAP and si coach Bryan from the NCAA to be his assistants.” LVPI named De Jesus as head coach last April where he conducted two tryouts for national team hopefuls. But after two months, the mentor, who steered the Filipinas to a bronze medal finish in the Manila SEA Games in 2015, suddenly resigned. “Actually before they left for Hong Kong, I think two weeks ago (siya nagsabi). We met in a party hosted by FilOil for the La Salle team. I told him, “Coach usap tayo” tapos he smiled tapos si Benson Bocboc na ang nag-inform sa amin na pass na muna sila,” Cayco said. “I mean I respect his decision kung yun ang decision nya, mahirap naman na pilitin natin.” “Baka nga mapabayaan niya (ang team) because of his schedule. In fairness naman kay Coach Ramil nagsabi naman siya through I think Mr. (Popoy) Juico. To me personally, hindi but it was relayed to me,” the LVPI official added. LVPI already submitted to the Philippine Sports Commission the names for the 24 slots for the entry by numbers. Delos Santos is expected to give the name of the players in that 24-player list by June 10. From that 24-player list, Delos Santos will choose 12 players who will represent the country in the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games in August and in the AVC Asia Cup the following month.       “We have to move on na kasi we’re short of time na eh. So we met and we decided na si coach Shaq nga so here we are now,” said Cayco.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2018

Nat l women s volleyball team hopefuls take coaching change positively

The coaching change came as a surprise to most of the national women’s volleyball team hopefuls, but the players received the appointment of Shaq Delos Santos as replacement for resigned mentor Ramil De Jesus positively. Delos Santos met with some of the national team candidates on Tuesday at the Arellano University-Legarda Gym together with his assistants Kungfu Reyes and Bryan Esquibel and Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. vice president Peter Cayco. LVPI appointed the Petron coach to the position after De Jesus, who took the coaching duty last April and conducted two tryouts attended by the country’s top volleybelles, stepped down two weeks ago. Delos Santos is tasked to form and train a team for the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games in September, the AVC Asia Cup in Thailand the following month and the 2019 Manila Southeast Asian Games.      “Nabigla ako na nagpalit ulet ng coach. We're in good hands naman with coach Shaq. He's a good coach, he has a good system. I'm looking forward to working with him,” said Cocolife libero Denden Lazaro, who was with 15 other hopefuls during the pool meeting. “Sa aming mga players kailangan lang naman namin maging open sa lahat kasi there’s no permanent naman talaga and ‘yun nga syempre kami mga players susunod lang kami kung ano papagawa sa amin ng coaches, ng staff,” said Jaja Santiao. “Okay lang naman na may pagbabago kasi si coach Shaq din naman is one of the best coaches din dito sa Pilipinas so go lang.” Petron’s Mika Reyes, the Nationals’ team captain last year during the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship and Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, was informed of the changes a few days ago.    “Actually hindi ko alam na nagpalit muna. Ang sabi lang may final tryouts. So okay. And then siguro two to three days ago, dun ko lang nalaman talaga. Mga Sunday ata yun,” she said. “Si coach sabi nya ‘Ye punta ka sa tryout ha.’ Tapos sabi ko okay coach. Tapos may nagsabi sa akin na teammate ko na sya na daw yung coach.” Reyes played for De Jesus for five years in De La Salle, in the Philippine Superliga for Meralco and F2 Logistics. The middle blocker bannered the 2018 PSL Grand Prix champion Petron under Delos Santos.      “Nagulat lang ako syempre coach ko rin before si coach Ramil, akala ko siya na,” she added. “Pero okay lang din naman, at least ito coach namin. Siguro yung advantage lang is alam ko na yung sistema nya.” Aby Marano, who during most of her volleyball career played under De Jesus, said that she was one of the first to know of her F2 Logistics mentor’s plan to step down. According to LVPI, De Jesus decided to quit his post because of conflict of schedule with his duties as coach for DLSU, the Baby Spikers and F2 Logistics. “Positive pa rin kami, whether nagpalit ng coach o hindi. Dapat hindi kami maapektuhan. Sa kanila na 'yun eh, ang kailangan namin mag-focus sa ensayo para magpalakas at magpahusay pa. Okay naman din 'yung set ng coaches na nakilala namin today. I don't think there will be a problem,” said Marano, a veteran internationalist who donned the tri-colors in the past two SEA Games and in the AVC Asian Seniors. “Magulo, siyempre, ganoon 'yung nangyare. Personal na decision 'yun ni coach Ramil eh so we all respect that. Ang laki talaga ng responsibilty niya sa mga teams niya. Wala naman kaming masasabi sa decision ni coach Ramil,” Marano continued. “Siyempre, na-brokenhearted nga kami,” she added. “Ako, personally, hindi naman ako bumabata. Gusto ko, bago ako mag-retire, maging coach ko siya sa National Team. Kung hindi naman papalarin, wala akong magagawa.” Also in attendance during the first meeting with the new set of coaches were Kim Kianna Dy, Dawn Macandili, Majoy Baron, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Rebecca Rivera, Mylene Paat, Sisi Rondina, Kim Fajardo, Rhea Dimaculangan, Maika Ortiz, CJ Rosario and Ces Molina. Creamline's Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado were supposed to attend the meeting but were caught in a traffic jam in Katipunan after their training while Myla Pablo was training with Pocari Sweat. Other players in the pool who skipped the meeting were Tots Carlos, Bea De Leon, Kath Arado, Royse Tubino, Lourdes Clemente, Elaine Kasilag, Jasmine Nabor, Maddie Madayag, Cha Cruz-Behag, Ara Galang, Mel Gohing, MJ Phillips, Isa Molde, Jho Maraguinot, Rachel Anne Daquis, Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza.    The pool will start its training on Thursday.    ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2018

Zidane s successor faces high bar, doubts about stars

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Zinedine Zidane had barely finished announcing that he was leaving Real Madrid when speculation began about who would succeed him. Twenty-four hours later, both Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino and Germany coach Joachim Loew — two of the top names rumored to be on Madrid's list of candidates — have said they are staying put. Pochettino said Friday that his "commitment is total" to Tottenham. He signed a five-year contract extension last week. Loew, who is preparing Germany to defend its World Cup title in Russia, said "it's not an issue for me. I'm at the World Cup now. I can completely rule it out now." Other coaches that Madrid president Florentino Perez supposedly is considering include Chelsea's Antonio Conte, exiting Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and former Madrid player Jose Maria "Guti" Gutierrez. While the Madrid job is one of soccer's most coveted posts, its next coach will have some hurdles to tackle. STARS IN DOUBT The biggest worry for any coach coming to the Spanish capital will be the uncertain future of the team's top stars. Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale appear to be mulling an exit, at least according to statements they made just moments after Madrid beat Liverpool in last weekend's Champions League final. Ronaldo put a huge damper on Madrid's celebrations by appearing to speak of his time at Madrid as having reached its end. "In the next few days I'll give the fans an answer because they are the ones who have always been by my side," Ronaldo said. "It was very beautiful to be with Madrid." Ronaldo said he would clear up his future once he joins the Portuguese national team next week as it prepares for the World Cup. Bale, who scored twice as a substitute to beat Liverpool 3-1, was more explicit in stating his desire to get more playing time after a season during which he lost his spot in the starting 11. Midfielder Francisco "Isco" Alarcon has also complained about not enjoying the same untoucbable status as Ronaldo, defender Sergio Ramos or midfielder Luka Modric. COMMITMENT Zidane could hardly have set the bar any higher with three straight European Cups. Still, the Frenchman leaves a Madrid team that woefully underperformed in both the Spanish league and the Copa del Rey this season. It is likely that only his status as fan favorite from his playing days at Madrid and his titles from the previous two seasons kept Zidane in his job through the first six months of last season, until the team finally found its form in the Champions League. Madrid finished in third place in the league, a whopping 17 points adrift champion Barcelona. In the Copa del Rey, the team was eliminated at home by a modest Leganes in the quarterfinals, a moment which Zidane said was the worst of his coaching stint with the club. Whoever inherits the team will have to improve its work ethic to face the weekly grind of games in the Spanish league and the Copa del Rey if it hopes to dethrone Barcelona from both domestic competitions. BENZEMA Zidane has been the biggest public defender of Karim Benzema, fending off calls from fans and the local sports media to bench the struggling striker. Benzema scored only five times in 32 league appearances this season, his lowest mark since arriving at Madrid in 2009. If the club doesn't sign a replacement for Benzema this offseason, then its next coach will have to help him recover his best form. YOUNG PLAYERS Madrid tried to rejuvenate its squad last year by bringing in a group of young Spanish players, including defenders Theo Hernandez and Jesus Vallejo, midfielders Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente, and forward Borja Mayoral. But none earned a spot in Zidane's starting lineup or his group of preferred backups. Madrid's in-coming coach will have to bring those players into the fold so their careers don't stagnate any further......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 2nd, 2018

Mexico opens World Cup prep with scoreless draw vs Wales

By Dan Greenspan, Associated Press PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Mexico opened its World Cup preparations with a 0-0 draw against Wales at the Rose Bowl on Monday night, but El Tri showed it has plenty more to offer in Russia than the score might indicate. Playing the first of three tuneup matches before its Group F opener against defending champion Germany on June 17 in Moscow, a rampant Mexican attack could not find a way to beat Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. However, Mexico was just as adept in keeping the Dragons under wraps. Wales took two shots and Mexico goalkeeper Jesus Corona did not have to make a save, getting some help when Hugo Ayala made a last-ditch tackle to keep Tom Lawrence from getting his try on goal in the 8th minute. Aside from that attempt and some early jitters in the opening few minutes, Mexico's defense settled in well in its first game without Nestor Araujo, who left the team Wednesday following a setback in his recovery from a knee injury. Araujo had been practically an automatic selection for coach Juan Carlos Osorio, and his absence was exacerbated by not having Diego Reyes of Porto FC and Hector Moreno of Real Sociedad available. Osorio expects both Reyes and Moreno to be healthy enough to play against Scotland in Mexico City on Saturday. "And I'm sure if they are in the starting line, we will improve the quality in many ways and I think we will have a very strong back line," Osorio said. Mexico, which will try to advance past the round of 16 for the first time since reaching the quarterfinals when it hosted the 1986 tournament, looks to be even more confident in its attacking prowess. Hennessey made eight saves, including sticking out his right foot to deny Mexico captain Hector Herrera's shot in the 56th minute from the edge of the 6-yard box. Hennessey also tipped Herrera's shot from outside the penalty box over the crossbar in the 40th minute and parried away Javier Aquino's attempt in the 22nd minute. "Mexico made us work for a clean sheet, they made us work hard," said Wales manager Ryan Giggs, praising the organization and tenacity of El Tri as much as its individual skill. Mexico took 17 shots and attempted 12 corners as it kept the pressure on a Welsh side mostly lacking in experience at the international level. "They've got a lot of quality, and what we've seen in the buildups with the videos is a team that likes to press," Giggs said. "When they lose the ball, get it back quickly, which puts you under pressure. It's very hard to keep the ball, so a very good team." The attack looks to be strengthened with the Los Angeles-based MLS trio of brothers Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos representing the Galaxy, and Carlos Vela from expansion team Los Angeles FC. Jonathan dos Santos came on in the 61st minute, and Giovani dos Santos was a 69th-minute substitute. They finished out the game without any apparent limitations from hamstring injuries that have limited both brothers this season. Osorio set a Saturday deadline to prove their fitness and make the final roster. Vela, who did not play against Wales, should be called upon against Scotland. He has scored seven goals in 12 MLS games. All three could be especially valuable if South Korea or Sweden decide to emphasize defense and force Mexico to break them down. Though they were unable to score against Wales, Osorio believes Mexico showed it is ready for that challenge, provided it can improve its chemistry in the final third. "Any team that will drop off will present the same questions in how we are going to penetrate them, how we are going to get entries into the attacking third. It will be a major factor. It was a big challenge for us," Osorio said. "However, we penetrated them enough times to score and the goalkeeper rescued them.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 29th, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2018

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

UAAP FINALS: Hindi madaling kalaban ang FEU –- De Jesus

Two-time defending champion De La Salle University swept past Far Eastern University on Saturday to draw first blood in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball Finals best-of-three series. But it was a deceiving result as the Lady Spikers needed to hang tough in the closing stretch of each set to carve out a 29-27, 25-21, 25-22, win. The Lady Tamaraws gave the Taft-based squad one hell of a fight.   “Well, oo, kasi alam naman natin na, sabi ko nga kanina, noong eliminations, talagang hindi madaling kalaban para sa amin ang FEU,” said DLSU coach Ramil de Jesus, who is looking to steer the Taft-based squad to its 11th title and third grand slam.    The mentor, who nine years ago dethroned the Lady Tams in three games, also pointed out that FEU has a full arsenal of versatile hitters who could defend both at the net and on the floor. “Sila kasi 'yung team na talagang marami ding kayang paikutin na tao eh. So tulad kanina, ginamit nila 'yun. So malaking bagay para sa team nila 'yun,” said De Jesus . The DLSU coach also praised FEU’s heady setter Kyle Negrito for distributing the ball well and keeping his wards guessing on who to defend.   “Kaya nahihirapan din kami dahil magaling din 'yung setter,” he added. “Halos wala kang makitang weak point sa rotation kasi lahat nakaka-block.” The Lady Spikers had to rely on their championship experience and composure in each of the sets just to stave off the rampaging and feisty Lady Tams. Now with three days of preparation, De Jesus is looking to make the necessary adjustments to finish off FEU in Game 2. “Well pipilitin namin na makuha 'yung Game 2, kasi mahirap na pag umabot pa ng Game 3,” he said. “And then kung ano man ang naging performance ng FEU today, pag-aaralan namin kung paano pa namin sila mako-control. Hopefully matapos sa Wednesday.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2018

UAAP FINALS: Battle of legendary coach Kid Santos’ protégés

It’s just a few days away before the much-anticipated battle for UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball supremacy between the grand slam-seeking De La Salle University Lady Spikers and the title hungry Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws. But even before the blazing action of the best-of-three championship series begins, one man is already smiling and probably very proud of the legacy he has left behind. Steering the Lady Spikers in their 10th straight Finals appearance is a multi-titled mentor in Ramil de Jesus. A man who for two decades changed DLSU’s volleyball program and gave the Taft-based school 10 titles. On the other side is George Pascua, a true-blue FEU product who delivered UAAP titles during his playing days and when he mentored the men’s team. Pascua is now looking to bring back the old glory of the Lady Tamaraws.      Both are great disciplinarians. No-nonsense coaches who value character, hard work and dedication more than popularity and fanfare. Coaches whose systems rely on teamwork rather than individual talent, mastering the basics of offense and defense while turning their wards into versatile workers and team players.   True men of the sport.    Characters they inherited and influenced by a man considered as the father of FEU volleyball: the late great Florentino "Kid" Santos. The championship series won’t just be about a present power battling a traditional powerhouse, it will also be a showdown between two students who learned their craft from a treasured Filipino volleyball master.   BROTHERS-IN-ARM Santos, who passed away November last year at the age of 67 due to cardiac arrest, brought FEU to numerous titles as a player and continued to do so as a mentor for the Tams and Lady Tams. He played a big role in the school’s total of 54 championships in both divisions and steered FEU to 19 of its 29 women’s crowns. Santos also handled the national team multiple times. But what made Santos great is the number of players he discovered and molded into stars under his Spartan-like training and strict discipline. That list includes De Jesus and Pascua. “Si Coach Ramil outside hitter siya na napakagaling rumeceive, napakabilis ng bola,” recalled Pascua after the postgame interview moments after twice-to-beat FEU booted out Ateneo de Manila University in the Final Four to for the Lady Tams’ first Finals appearance since Season 71.  “(Ako) middle pero napakagaling ko rumeceive din kasi walang libero noon eh,” he added, drawing laughter inside the press room. “Kaya nga tinitingnan namin noong time namin walang palitan ng libero ang gagaling namin rumeceive.”   Pascua was in his rookie year when he played alongside De Jesus, who was then in his swan song. De Jesus was spectacular, Pascua was a promising talent when they marched together in battle with Santos at the helm. With the two playing together, FEU conquered Season 54 for the Tams' back-to-back titles. “Pumasok ako 91. Eh 92 siya grumaduate. So last playing year niya, first year ako. Pero nagpang-abot kami sa UAAP,” added Pascua, who would eventually win two more. In a light moment during the start of the men’s Final Four at the MOA Arena last Saturday, Pascua and De Jesus were spotted seated together watching the match between FEU and three-time defending champion Blue Eagles. They were talking, laughing and were horsing around while reminiscing their playing days.    🤔 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/88NqdzFmiG — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 21, 2018 “Puro kalokohan lang 'yun, wala sa volleyball. Nu’ng time namin, nagku-kwentuhan kami, sabi namin, 'Biruin mo 'yung UP (gym) noon, noong naglalaro tayo, halos hindi mapuno, kahit isang layer lang ng ganoon (seats), tapos nanonood pa 'yung nasa lapag lang, sa UP noong time naming,'” said Pascua. “Tapos nakakasilaw, pag umuulan, tumutulo. Pero tingnan mo o, ang dami, libo-libo ang nanonood.” “Sabi namin, ibang klase ang volleyball ngayon. Hindi kami naging part ng ganito karaming ano pero naging part kami,” added Pascua. “Sabi niya, naging part pa rin tayo kaya naging successful ang volleyball. Sabi niya may contribution pa rin tayo. Kasi (ang usapan naming) about volleyball, mga past namin, kung gaano lumaki ang volleyball kumpara noon hanggang ngayon.” De Jesus in his postgame interview, the day after, shared that it was fun chatting and joking around with his former teammate. “Wala naman kaming pinag-uusapan, ine-enjoy lang namin 'yung game,” said De Jesus, whose squad dismantled National University in straight sets on Sunday. “Dumaan kasi accidentally si Sir (Mark) Molina.  Sabi niya dapat bigyan ng t-shirt 'yan si Coach Ramil. So 'yun, kaya kinukulit niya ako, kasi T-shirt ang binibigay, jacket ang kinuha. Sabi ko 'di ako magsusuot ng jacket. 'Yun ata ang kulitan namin na nakunan (ng TV camera).” Unfortunately, they witnessed the twice-to-beat Tams fall in five-sets against the 55-point onslaught of Ateneo ace Marck Espejo. About 24 hours after that, De Jesus set up a Finals date with Pascua’s Lady Tams. They will be after each other’s neck starting April 28 at the Big Dome.     RIVALRY Long after their playing careers have passed, both found a new calling: coaching. Learning under the tutelage of Santos, Pascua and De Jesus passed on to their wards the same discipline they had under the FEU legend and gave new twists to the system used by their former mentor.     De Jesus was tapped by DLSU to help with their women’s volleyball program. He was the messiah the Taft-based squad had been waiting for. Under his watch, the Lady Spikers transformed into a UAAP superpower collecting 10 titles overall. Pascua stayed with FEU, helping the Tams achieve a three-peat in Season 67 to 69 as the head coach. He steered FEU to its last championship in Season 74. Pascua and De Jesus eventually crossed paths as women’s team mentors in the 2014 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix. The younger mentor handled a powerhouse team in Petron Blaze Spikers while De Jesus built Generika behind his DLSU products. Pascua got the better of De Jesus in four sets in the winner-take-all championship round led by American import Alaina Bergsma and Brazilian setter Erica Adachi. He duplicated his feat the following tournament in the All-Filipino Conference as Petron swept De Jesus’ Shopinas.com Clickers in the best-of-three Finals series. Now on their third head-to-head match in four years, Pascua knows that his commercial league successes won’t matter in De Jesus’ turf. “Champion coach si Coach Ramil, ‘yung team niya may championship experience. Napakagaling na coach niya,” he said.      Though working on a team with a disadvantage in terms on experience in the Finals, De Jesus holds high respect on Pascua’s coaching. Being a product of FEU like him, Pascua won’t back out from a fight.     “Matiyagang tao si George, maganda 'yung ginagawa niya ngayon sa team, and siguro ano, kailangan talaga bantayan 'yung FEU kasi alam ko matiyagang tao 'yun,” said De Jesus. In this series, the DLSU mentor is expecting a tough challenge. Both will have their own advantages in their systems and strategies built on the backbone of Santos’ system. “Kasi bawat coach kasi may kanya-kanyang sistema, so maaring may mga part na nakuha niya dun kay Coach Kid, pero siyempre bawat coach, may gustong gawin sa team na hindi niya na dala-dala 'yung ibang sistema ng naging mentor,” said De Jesus. Whatever the result of the series, whichever shade of green will come up on top, one thing is for sure, the great FEU mentor Santos will surely have a hand in it. Santos’ legacy will have an influence on both sides, whether the title goes to Morayta or to Taft.      ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 24th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: DLSU makes 10th straight Finals appearance

De La Salle University’s journey for a third grand slam is now just a couple of wins away. The defending champion Lady Spikers swept their way into their 10th straight Finals appearance after a quick work of National University, 27-25, 25-22, 25-11, Sunday in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament Final Four at the MOA Arena. Graduating hitter Kim Kianna Dy, Tin Tiamzon and Des Cheng waxed-hot all game long to lead DLSU to a best-of-three showdown against Far Eastern University - the first matchup between the two proud schools since Season 71 when the Lady Spikers dethroned the Lady Tamaraws. DLSU showed its composure, rallying from five points down in the first set before dismantling NU in the next two.  “Well kasi sabi ko nga sa mga players, ‘wag nating bigyan ng chance na makakuha ng kumpyansa ng NU kasi pag nakuha nila ang first set, mahirap ang pagdadaanan natin,” said head coach Ramil de Jesus. “Medyo malayo nga yung first set, ginapang lang ng team hanggang sa abutan nila ng end game. After noon, bumitaw-bitaw na yung NU.” Game 1 of the Finals is on April 28 at the Big Dome. Dy finished with 17 points including 15 from attacks, Tiamzon had 11 while skipper Majoy Baron and Cheng had nine and eight markers, respectively, for the Lady Spikers, who could add another three-peat after their couple of grand slams in Seasons 66 to 68 and in Seasons 73 to 75.    Outgoing libero Dawn Macandili had 23 digs and 10 excellent receptions while setter Michelle Cobb dished out 25 excellent sets and seven digs.   The Taft-based squad started out flat as the Lady Bulldogs held a 12-7 lead. DLSU rallied to tie it at 18 but another scoring spurt by NU led by graduating ace 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago pushed the Lady Bulldogs’ lead to 23-21. Santiago broke a 23-23 deadlock with a hit to move at set point but a cross by Arriane Layug sparked the closing barrage of DLSU capped by an ace by Cheng. The Lady Spikers controlled the next two sets and even held a 19-9 advantage in the third frame to highlight their domination of the Lady Bulldogs, who started the season with a 6-1 first round elimination win-loss card before falling to a 1-6 struggle in the next round.     Santiago was the only Lady Bulldog in double figures with 17 points while setter Jasmine Nabor tallied 17 excellent sets and eight markers.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2018