Advertisements


Embassy mum on CIA plot’s ‘kill Rody’

Embassy mum on CIA plot’s ‘kill Rody’.....»»

Category: newsSource: thestandard thestandardSep 30th, 2016

Reds’ claim of CIA plot to kill Duterte ‘fabricated’

Reds’ claim of CIA plot to kill Duterte ‘fabricated’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 8th, 2017

‘Kill-Duterte’ plot revealed

‘Kill-Duterte’ plot revealed.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsSep 1st, 2016

PVL: Alessandrini drops 31 despite shoulder pain

University of Sto. Tomas hitter Milena Alessandrini played her best game so far in a Tigresses uniform. The sophomore was all over that stat sheet in the Tigresses’ 25-20, 27-29, 13-25, 25-19, 17-15, win over Adamson University in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference battle for third. Alessandrini registered a personal-best 31 points on 24 kills, six kill blocks and an ace to lead UST’s offense. The Fil-Italian did it all while nursing a lingering shoulder injury. “Masakit pa rin ng konti siyempre sumusumpong-sumpong pa rin pero nato-tolerate naman niya, kaya okay lang,” said Alessandrini’s Tita Cora, who served as a translator for the spiker who is still struggling with English and Filipino.   The Tigress suffered a right shoulder injury during UST’s campaign in UAAP Season 80 that forced her to miss the squad’s last four games in the elimination round. Alessandrini did return to action during that season but struggled in form as the Tigresses bombed out in the Final Four race. Months into her recovery, Alessandrini slowly regained her form and played a vital role on offense together with rookie Eya Laure for UST.    “Very happy siya nagpapasalamat siya sa kanyang mga coaches na na-reach niya ‘yan (career-high) so ngayon nakaka-adjust adjust siya,” said Tita Cora. “‘Yun lang very happy siya, satisfied naman siya sa naging laro niya.” Aside from playing great on offense in the Tigresses’ revenge win over their elimination round tormentor, 6-foot-2 Alessandrini also churned up impressive numbers on floor defense. She had 13 digs and 11 excellent receptions for UST. With the bronze medal within reach, expect Alessandrini to once again lead the charge of the Tigresses on Wednesday in Game 2.   ---     Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 9th, 2018

Rody& rsquo;s & lsquo;rape joke& rsquo; turns off Robredo

Rody’s ‘rape joke’ turns off Robredo Source link link: Rody’s ‘rape joke’ turns off Robredo.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsSep 4th, 2018

PVL: Lady Tams down Tigresses, earn championship seat

Far Eastern University came back from a set down to defeat old rival University of Sto. Tomas, 19-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-17, and punch a return ticket to the Finals of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Sunday.    The Lady Tamaraws completed a 2-1 series comeback after dropping Game 1 of best-of-three semifinals showdown to set up a championship clash with University of the Philippines. Game 1 of the best-of-three Finals is on Sunday. Jerrili Malabanan led FEU, which finished runner-up in last year’s edition and in UAAP Season 80, with 13 points with 10 coming off attacks while rookie Lycha Ebon and setter Kyle Negrito had 12 markers each. Negrito tallied 22 excellent sets on top of her five attacks, four kill blocks and three aces for the Lady Tamaraws. Heather Guino-o added 11 markers. FEU started out flat before finding its rhythm to turn back the Tigresses for the second straight time in their back-to-back weekend clash. “Oo slow start sila masyado kasing nag-iingat sa first set so sabi ko ‘wag masyado mag-ingat, basta play your game, focus sa kalaban and ‘wag sa error,” said FEU coach George Pascua.   “Kaya sabi ko nga kailangan ang mga beterano ko ‘yung experience nila kailangan i-apply nila ngayong game kasi ‘yun ang pinaka importante, do-or-die game. Na achieve naman namin (ang goal namin),” he added. Eya Laure finished with 15 points while Caitlyn Viray had 11 for UST, which was haunted by 33 errors. Alina Bicar and Milena Alessandrini scored nine each for the Tigresses, who will take on Adamson University in the battle for third.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2018

Armed men kill six civilians in & lsquo;Zambo& rsquo;

Armed men kill six civilians in ‘Zambo’ Source link link: Armed men kill six civilians in ‘Zambo’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2018

Cracks: Among Rody& rsquo;s partymates on the & lsquo;real& rsquo; PDP-Laban

Cracks: Among Rody’s partymates on the ‘real’ PDP-Laban Source link link: Cracks: Among Rody’s partymates on the ‘real’ PDP-Laban.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsAug 10th, 2018

PVL: Tigresses crush Red Spikers for a share of the lead

University of Sto. Tomas cruised to its third straight win with an emphatic sweep of San Beda University, 25-18, 25-16, 25-21, Sunday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Rookie Eya Laure and sophomore Milena Alessandrini led the unbeaten Tigresses climb at the top spot for a share of the lead with idle Far Eastern University. The Espana-based won all of their matches in straight sets. “Mas ano naman ‘yun, ‘yung mga ganoong instances wine-welcome naman namin ‘yun syempre,” said UST head coach Kungfu Reyes of their perfect run. Laure hammered 12 attacks and a pair of kill blocks for 14 points while Alessandrini chipped in 11 markers and seven excellent receptions for UST. The Tigresses uncorked 45 points off kills and played consistently at the net to frustrate the Lady Red Spikers’ hitters. San Beda dropped to 0-2 slate tied with other NCAA teams San Sebastian College and College of St. Benilde. Nieza Viray was the only Lady Red Spiker in double figures with 17 points while Nieza Viray and Kimberly Manzano combined for 10 markers.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 29th, 2018

Rody& rsquo;s & lsquo;focus& rsquo; list: Corruption, drugs, finance, peace, jobs

Rody’s ‘focus’ list: Corruption, drugs, finance, peace, jobs Source link link: Rody’s ‘focus’ list: Corruption, drugs, finance, peace, jobs.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsJul 28th, 2018

Cignal claims third place

Dethroned Cignal saved some sense of pride after copping a podium finish with a 25-15, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18, victory over Smart-Army in the 2018 Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference battle for third at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Thursday. Skipper Rachel Anne Daquis turned back the hands of time as she displayed her vintage form with an all-around performance for the HD Spikers. The Far Eastern University product finished with 18 points anchored on 14 kills with two aces and two kill blocks. Daquis also played well on defense with 22 digs to give Cignal a bronze medal finish. Despite losing the crown in the semifinals at the hands of F2 Logistics, head coach Edgar Barroga praised his wards for good run in the tournament.   Cignal fielded a relatively new lineup after loss of stars Jovelyn Gonzaga, Honey Royse Tubino, Paneng Mercado, Chie Saet and Maica Morada. “Actually masaya kami kasi actually ito lang ‘yung talagang ine-expect namin, makapasok lang kami sa top four since ‘yung lineup namin is sabihin na nating hilaw pa,” said Barroga. “So sa ganda ng ensayo namin kaya naging confident kami and inasam namin na ma-finals.” “’Yun lang makikita mo talaga na imature pa ‘yung mga players pagdating sa ganyang bagay, bumibigay,” he added. “So we are really happy na naka-medal kami.” Mylene Paat, who was elevated into the main roster of the national team, finished with 15 while Cherry Vivas got 13 for the HD Spikers. Joanne Bunag scored 10 points while Dimdim Pacres and Nene Bautista combined for 15 markers for the Giga Hitters.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2018

Cargo Movers draw first blood in Invitational Finals

F2 Logistics showed nerves of steel in the cliffhanger fifth set to outlast archrival Petron, 18-25, 25-23, 20-25, 29-27, 16-14, Thursday in Game 1 of the best-of-three Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference Finals at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Majoy Baron delivered the crushing blows to seal the Cargo Movers’ victory that pushed them closer to their third title. With the Blaze Spikers threatening to steal the match after erasing a 14-12 deficit in a thrilling rally to force a deuce, Baron stepped up and played the hero’s role with a crucial running attack to give the lead back to F2 Logistics. Baron then buried the dagger to the hearts of Petron and its faithful that trooped the arena with a service winner that went past Blaze Spikers Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and libero Buding Duremdes. Baron finished with 15 points highlighted by four blocks including the denial against Petron’s fireball Sisi Rondina in the extended fourth set that forced the decider. The UAAP Season 79 MVP had eight attacks and three aces. “Well ah, sabi ko nga sa inyo, ‘yung team ng Petron mahirap mahanapan ng butas kasi madalang ‘yung unforced errors hindi basta-basta dumadating. Unlike noong mga first set namin and third set sobrang ang daming unforced errors lalo na ‘yung service and isang naging factor siguro medyo nahirapan kaming pumasa noong first set and third set,” said F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus, who rued his squad’s 39 errors. Ara Galang led F2 Logistics’ offense with 18 points built on 13 attacks while Aby Marano scored nine of her 10 points on kills for the Cargo Movers, who are looking to end the series on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.    F2 Logistics took control of the fifth set after rallying from a 7-6 deficit to take a 10-7 lead. The Cargo Movers moved at match point, 14-12, only to see Petron tie it after Desiree Cheng’s service error and a kill block by Blaze Spiker setter Rhea Dimaculangan. Then, Baron took over. Mika Reyes and Bernadeth Pons posted 14 points each, Maizo-Pontillas had 13 while Rondina and Ces Molina got 12 apiece for Petron, who gave away 12 points to the Cargo Movers from the service line.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2018

Rody says sorry to his & lsquo;all-forgiving God& rsquo;

Rody says sorry to his ‘all-forgiving God’ Source link link: Rody says sorry to his ‘all-forgiving God’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsJul 12th, 2018

PVL: Ultra Fast Hitters force semis decider

PLDT Home Fibr’s one-two punch Mark Alfafara and John Vic De Guzman delivered when it mattered the most to power the Ultra Fast Hitters past the defending champion Cignal, 22-25, 27-25, 20-25, 25-22, 15-11, Wednesday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference men’s Final Four at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Alfafara and De Guzman posted 24 points each and provided the swag and energy especially in the fifth set to even the best-of-three series to 1-1. Game 3 is on Friday. De Guzman pounded 22 attacks while Alfafara had 19 kills, three aces and a pair of kill blocks for the Ultra Fast Hitters, who rebounded from a straight sets beating in the series opener last Sunday. Henry Pecana got 12 points while Jayvee Sumagaysay added 10 markers for PLDT, which came back from a 1-2 match deficit. “Bunga ‘yan ng preparation. Off kami last time nawalan kami ng pasa, this time we made sure na mako-cover namin ang mga lapses noong nakaraan so it paid off naman,” said PLDT coach Odjie Mamon. The Ultra Fast Hitters pulled away late in the fifth set, building a 13-9 lead. The HD Spikers fought back with back-to-back hits capped by a Marck Espejo kill. But Ysay Marasigan committed a net touch on the next play as he tried to block De Guzman before Sumagaysay sealed the win with a kill block on Marasigan. Espejo had 24 points, 22 off kills, while adding 17 excellent receptions and 16 digs for the HD Spikers. Marasigan and Rex Intal had 17 and 14 markers, respectively.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 4th, 2018

Whatever happened to two-time NCAA MVP Allwell Oraeme?

Alwell Oraeme, without a doubt, dominated in his two years in the NCAA. Averaging 16.3 points, 20.3 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks in Season 91 and 15.8 markers, 19.8 boards, and 2.3 rejections in Season 92, Mapua University’s Nigerian powerhouse was the hands-down MVP in back-to-back years. Early last year, however, Oraeme had a falling out of sorts with Cardinals mentor Atoy Co. “Wala nang Oraeme (sa Mapua),” Co said last April 2017. Since then, the 6-foot-8 center’s whereabouts have been a mystery. Now, however, it looks like somebody finally has an answer to the question, “Where is Allwell Oraeme?” And, ironically, it’s coach Atoy himself who has the answer. “I heard he’s in Florida now,” he told reporters in their visit to their campus in Intramuros on Thursday. According to the always amiable mentor, Oraeme had been sending out feelers that he is hoping to return. As he put it, “Meron siyang mga pasabi, hindi sa akin, pero nakakarating sa akin, na may kinakausap siyang tao rito na gusto niyang bumalik.” For Co, that would be a welcome development for a Mapua side hoping for a return to relevance in the looming NCAA Season 94. “Kung gusto niyang bumalik, wala namang problema. Alam ko namang kailangan ko siya sa team,” he remarked. However, another misunderstanding has emerged in the relationship of coach Atoy and Allwell. “Gusto niya na bayaran namin yung airfare. Sa akin, wala namang problema yun kasi magkano lang ba airfare,” the former shared. He then continued, “Kaya nga lang, kung willing ka talagang bumalik, bumili ka ng sarili mong airfare para ipakita mo na in good (faith) na willing kang bumalik.” In the end, Co said that Oraeme has yet again proven that he does not value their relationship. “Ang gulo niyang kausap. Una sa lahat, hindi makatotohanan yung sinabi niya sa amin. Sabi niya, magpapahinga raw, pero yun pala, may balak siyang iba,” he said. Finally, the Cardinals mentor revealed the real reason for the departure of the two-time NCAA MVP. “In January (2017), he begged off, nakikiusap kung pwede siya mag-rest to heal yung injury sa legs niya. I said we’ll see and kung talagang ‘di ka makaka-recover, I will let you rest,” he said. He then continued, “Pero hindi pala yun ang katotohanan. Meron siyang girlfriend na nabuntis niya. Tamang-tama, yung girlfriend, American citizen na nagwo-work sa US Embassy and that’s why he was able to get a US visa.” If Mapua head coach Atoy Co is to be believed, Allwell Oraeme is in Florida. Until Allwell Oraeme himself comes out of hiding, though, nobody could be certain about that. What’s sure is that Mapua looks like the last of places the Nigerian powerhouse would be in – if ever he surfaces in the Philippines. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2018

Iriga City poised to become Bicol’s volleyball center next year

Iriga City bids to become a sporting mecca in the Bicol Region with the construction of a 5,000-seat gym in this city 400 kilometers southeast of Manila. Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen, owner-manager of the Navy-Iriga City Lady Oragons, said the gym is under construction and will be finished by December.       “Maybe next year the PVL on Tour could go to Iriga now that we will have the facilities to host some of its games,” she said, referring to the league’s program to bring the league's matches to the provinces, which started last year.      Sports Vision president Ricky Palou said Iriga City’s strong partnership with the PVL organizing outfit continues to serve “…our vision of promoting and upgrading volleyball in the country.”  Among others, the Iriga City gym will provide excellent facilities in volleyball as part of the mayor’s vision to restore Bicol’s lofty position in volleyball. “It used to be that Bicolanos were highly regarded in the sport and regularly picked for the national teams,” she said. When the sports arena finally rises six months from now, it will occupy pride of place with Iriga’s new city hall, already transferred to its new home in barangay Sta. Cruz Sur, new library, new public market and new slaughterhouse as part of the more concrete legacy the mayor wants to leave to her constituents.   But it is in sports where the sports-minded chief executive of this multi-awarded city wants to involve her young constituents to develop physical fitness, character and mental toughness, prerequisites, she said, to making the young transform into productive citizens and ideal leaders and followers of the future.   High sports awareness      At no other time has sports awareness in Iriga City been this incredibly high and involving as it is now.  Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen fittingly provides the face to this exciting sports phenomenon happening in her city of birth, where generations from her side of the family have served and continue to serve their people through holding public offices.    The well-loved first and only woman mayor of Iriga said she keeps her balance by finding time to indulge her passion in sports. She is into a lot of sports for recreation or for competition. She still plays volleyball, lawn tennis, table tennis and badminton. At one time in elementary and high school she took up softball as a shortstop and even football. It was her serious intent to lure primarily her youthful constituents into sports that led Mayor Alfelor-Gazmen to form her own club team that proceeded to compete in the 2016 nationally telecast season of the Sports Vision-organized V-League.    After seeing their mayor, her prodigy Grazielle Bombita from Camarines Sur and fellow Bicolanos tangle with the best players in Manila in a big time league on television for the first time ever, parents from even as far as Sorsogon and the Visayas, Mayor Alfelor-Gazmen said, would see her at the city hall or stop her in her tracks to recommend their daughters for training under her volleyball program.      As a result, the city government has tied up with elementary and high schools in Iriga to train kids of all genders not only in volleyball but in basketball, table tennis, lawn tennis and football as well. Scholarships are given to training program participants from San Miguel Elementary School, University of St. Anthony, University of Northeastern Philippines, Ceferino Arroyo High School and Rinconada National Technical and Vocational School.   Multi-awarded city    Daughter of the late Camarines Sur Rep. Ciriaco R. Alfelor, granddaughter of the CamSur Gov. Felix O. Alfelor, and niece of ex-Iriga City Mayor Emmanuel R. Alfelor, Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen became Iriga’s first woman mayor in 2004. She served for three consecutive terms via the biggest margin of votes in Iriga’s political history.    Younger brother Ronald Felix Y. Alfelor, an electrical engineer by profession, was voted into the same position next before she assumed the office again.     Under her leadership anchored on an advocacy on good governance and responsible citizenship, Iriga City has distinguished itself with several awards from national and international organizations.  Among these are the 2009 Award of Excellence in Good Local Governance given by the DILG; 2010 citation as among the Top 10 performing local governments under the component cities category from the DILG; 2010 citation as a Galing Pook Award finalist; 2010 citation for Best Practices given by the Asia Foundation and British Embassy for the city’s programs on people’s participation, revenue generation and environment protection; 2011 Region’s Best Outstanding Local Government Agency award given by the Civil Service Commission; and the 2011 Outstanding Human Resource Management award. Mayor Alfelor-Gazmen finished BA Humanities in the University of the Philippines, BS Biology in Far Eastern University, but instead of proceeding to study medicine, she took up law in the University of Santo Tomas, a course she didn’t get to finish because of she said she was ‘sidetracked’ by marriage.   Mayor Alfelor-Gazmen’s children, all Ateneo students – Maria Cenen, 23; Brendan, 20; and Brian, 18 – may not have inherited her one-of-a-kind passion for sports but they support all her sporting decisions and endeavors.   Her only daughter gets to flex some athletic muscles, though, during university intramurals. Eldest son Brendan is team captain of the popular Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion. Brian, the youngest, helps her mom manage and cheer the Navy-Iriga City Lady Oragons in the PVL if he’s not busy with his commitment as a Star Music talent......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2018

PVL: Lady Warriors back in win column

Defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force recovered just in time after a second set meltdown to turn back Iriga-Philippine Navy, 25-8, 23-25, 25-18, 25-16, Wednesday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. American import Ari Love wreaked havoc at the net as she led the Lady Warriors to their second win in four outings tied with idle Tacloban. Love scattered 18 spikes with five kill blocks and two aces for game-high 25 points while skipper Myla Pablo added 16 markers, all but one coming off kills, for Pocari Sweat-Air Force, which unleashed 51 points off attacks. The Lady Warriors were active at the net, scoring 11 kill blocks and keeping the Lady Oragons’ attackers in check. “Second set ‘di naman sa nag-over confident mga bata, talagang nag-step up kalaban,” said Lady Warriors coach Jasper Jimenez. “Siguro third and fourth mas lalo sigurong kinapitan nu’ng team ko.” American import Maddie Palmer had 13 markers while Jeanette Panaga added 10 points for Pocari Sweat-Air Force. Iriga-Navy dropped its second straight match in three games. Americans Lauren Whyte and Macy Ubben scored 15 points each to pace the Lady Oragons.     ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2018

PVL: Fighting Warays snatch second straight win

Thai import Hyapha Amporn exploded with 28 points but it was Jovielyn Prado who delivered the most damaging blows in the closing stretch of the fourth set as Tacloban collected its second straight win at the expense of BanKo Perlas, 25-27, 28-26, 25-19, 25-23, Wednesday in Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference. Prado scored three of the Fighting Warays last four points to end the match held at the FilOl Flying V Centre oin San Juan and climbed to a share of the top spot with Creamline and PayMaya with 2-1 win-loss record.  Amporn unleashed 25 kills and three kill blocks while Prado finished with 16 points including 14 off attacks for Tacloban. Thai reinforcement Sasiwimol Sangpan had 10 while Kyle Negrito scored nine markers on top of 27 excellent sets for the Fighting Warays. The Arellano University product Prado tied the fourth set at 22 on an off the block hit. Prado pushed Tacloban at match point, 24-22, before the Spikers saved a point. Prado sealed the win with a thunderous hit that went off the hands of two BanKo Perlas defenders.  “’Yung inensayo namin, yung game plan, halos talagang 90 percent nasunod,” said Fighting Warays head coach Nes Pamilar. “Kaya nga sabi ko kanina ‘yung umpisa naman parang naging breaks lang ‘yung pagkatalo. “Ang advice ko lang, ang paalala ko sa kanila, ‘yung inensayo natin, ‘yun na ‘yun lang ang mangyayari. So nasunod lahat, ‘yung game plan namin, ‘yung pano ba-blockin yung import nila pati ‘yung rotation namin. Nakinig naman ‘yung players,” he added. BanKo Perlas absorbed its second straight defeat in three matches. Thai import Jutarat Montripila had 22 points while American Kia Bright had 16 as the only Spikers in double figures.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 16th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: NU sweeps way back into the Finals for the sixth straight year

National University stormed to a 25-13, 25-13, 31-29, demolition of hapless University of Sto. Tomas in the 80th UAAP men’s volleyball Final Four to advance in the championship round for the sixth straight year Sunday at the MOA Arena. Bryan Bagunas and Madzlan Gampong starred in the Bulldogs’ fourth win in a row heading into the best-of-three Finals starting on April 28.    NU will await its championship opponent on Wednesday when the three-time reigning titlists Ateneo de Manila University and Far Eastern University clash in a winner take all duel for the last Finals berth. “Gawa rin naman sa ginagawa namin sa suporta ng school namin at managers. ‘Yung sixth straight appearance namin sa Finals ay bunga sa suporta ng school, ng mga magulang ng players. Masaya kami,” said NU coach Dante Alinsunurin. Bagunas finished with a career-high 29 points coming off 24 attacks, three aces and a couple of blocks including the match-clinching denial over Arnold Bautista to seal the 73-minute victory. Gampong had eight markers while James Natividad           After dominating the first two frames, the Bulldogs found themselves trailing, 16-19, in the third. Gampong and Bagunas led NU’s comeback as the Bulldogs pushed at match point, 24-22. The Tigers saved two match points after an error by Gampong and a kill block by Tyrone Carodan before Joshua Umandal’s kill pushed UST at set point, 25-24. Bagunas’ back-to-back hit brought NU back at match point, 26-25. UST regained the set point advantage before saving two more match points to tie the frame at 29.           The fourth year hitter Bagunas pounded a through the block kill to break the deadlock before scoring a kill block on Bautista. Jayvee Sumagaysay scored 10 points while Umandal had nine for the Espana-based squad.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2018

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

DE JESUS: Genius, disciplinarian, champion coach

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018