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Fajardo, Pringle in 2-way tiff for pro league& rsquo;s MVP crown

Fajardo, Pringle in 2-way tiff for pro league& rsquo;s MVP crown.....»»

Category: sportsSource: thestandard thestandardNov 8th, 2018

FIBA WORLD CUP: Pressure mounts for Guiao with 'best Philippine team ever'

Upon the announcement of Gilas Pilipinas' new 20-man pool for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, talks about how this is the best Philippine team ever assembled have surfaced as well. And with good reason. The lineup currently looks like this, for those who missed it: Jayson Castro Paul Lee Stanley Pringle Alex Cabagnot LA Tenorio Matthew Wright Marcio Lassiter Ricci Rivero Scottie Thompson Gabe Norwood Troy Rosario Arwind Santos Japeth Aguilar Greg Slaughter June Mar Fajardo Beau Belga Christian Standhardinger JP Erram Ian Sangalang Kai Sotto It's certainly the tallest, most imposing, and perhaps most balanced pool in the whole of Gilas Pilipinas, and this is without regulars Andray Blatche, Terrence Romeo, Calvin Abueva, and RR Pogoy. So talks about how this is the best Philippine team ever assembled have some traction and members of the team are feeling it now even before their first practice session. Because if this is truly the Avengers version of Gilas Pilipinas, they have no reason not to impress. There's no Thanos in the Asian Qualifiers. "You know, you feel a little bit of pressure. Dapat malakas yung team na ito," head coach Yeng Guiao said of his national team. "On paper, it looks lke that [best Philippine team ever] but on paper is always different sa actual so nadadagdagan yung pressure sa akin pag ganoon. Though sabi ko nga, nandiyan naman parati yan [pressure], but we'll try to whip it into the best team that people expect it to be," he added. The best Gilas team ever can prove itself soon as the Philippines hosts Kazakhstan and Iran in the 5th window of the Asian Qualifiers. It's imperative for Gilas to score a sweep for a number of reasons. First, a sweep protects home court and second, beating Kazakhstan and Iran likely clinches Gilas' spot in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Finally, it's a chance to showcase what a unified national team can do. "Ang importante naman dito is manalo tayo sa Kazakhstan at sa Iran eh. Yun lang muna kasi I think pag nangyari yun, malaki na chance natin sa World Cup which is the ultimate objective anyway," Guiao added. With full support of the PBA and SBP, Gilas Pilipinas can form the ultimate team everytime. Now, it's just time to win. "Naniniwala ako na the strength of the national team is proportional to the strength of your professional league eh. Pag malakas ang professional league mo sa isang bansa, lumalakas ang national team mo because your pool really comes from your professional players, so it’s going to be a reflection of the PBA," Guiao said. "That responsibility is on our shoulders and we hope we can live up to it," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 8th, 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

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Halfway to Greatness

UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball continues to prove itself as the most unpredictable season in recent history. With a good mix of key losses as well as additions across the board for all competitors, the league is at an all out rock-paper-scissors slugfest. Though the current standings clearly represent a quintessential Bell Curve, Season 80 maintains its unpredictability as evidenced by teams upsetting each other. In addition, the sheer number of five-set matches so far is an indication how tight the competition is this season. UE Lady Warriors: 1 - 6 Despite initial concerns about the leave of head coach Francis Vicente, the UE Lady Warriors surprised the league with their maiden win at the expense of the season’s Dark Horse, the Adamson Lady Falcons. Under the mentorship of multi-awarded UE High School coach Rod Roque, the Lady Warriors were able to play their best game so far this season. For that particular win against the Lady Falcons, Coach Roque’s game plan was just to encourage the team to play carefree and enjoy as he is just taking over a team he has never handled. It is a given that UE is a team brimming with potential. They have decent size as well as a good number of seasoned veterans in Shaya Adorador and Kat Arado, who have not been maximized unfortunately. The handover to Coach Roque might just be the much-needed break for UE as they have found new confidence moving on to the second round making them more threatening to upset more teams. UST Golden Tigresses: 2 - 5 Considered to be one of the main contenders based on their pre-season performance, the UST Golden Tigresses have fallen short of expectations as a series of early key injuries has prevented the team from playing to full capability. Ending the first round with two successive disheartening losses against the UP Lady Maroons and old time rivals FEU Lady Tamaraws, UST is pressed to turn around their performance to keep their Final Four dreams alive. UST’s offensive threat from the wings cannot be underestimated as they have league top scorer Cherry Rondina from the left and power player Dim Pacres from the right. However, what the team still lacks is the offensive and defensive threats from the middle reminiscent of the days of Mary Jean Balse and Maika Ortiz. As long as the middles are not generating enough points off the quick or slide attack, the team is expected to continue struggling against better blocking teams through the second round as Rondina continues to be in the spotlight. UP Lady Maroons: 2 - 5 All hopes were high for the UP Lady Maroons to finally break in once again to the Final Four this season under new foreign coach Godfrey Okumu. The squad however kicked off season 80 disappointingly far from their stellar 4-0 run last season. Despite setter Ayel Estranero showing more mastery over shoot sets to the wings and Tots Carlos sporting more power in her attacks, the team has struggled with their floor passing to severely limit their offense set up. Much like UST, UP has yet to show breakout performances from the middles as they continue to struggle getting the first pass consistently to the setter. Much to their credit though, Coach Okumu has adjusted to their struggles by utilizing different patterns for their passing system as well as even going for a 6-2 set-up just to tap into Estranero’s floor play. The gamble proved successful with their win over UST and this system might be their solution to bounce back this second round. Adamson Lady Falcons: 3 - 4 The return of veterans Mylene Paat and Fhem Emnas as well as the addition of transferee Eli Soyud were clear indications that the Lady Falcons this season won't be their former pushover status. True enough, the team started the season strong with massive victories against top seeded teams such as FEU and DLSU as well as trouncing UP in straight sets. Given that head coach Air Padda has much more utility with addition of new seasoned players, the team still lacks consistency as evidenced by their poor passing performance in their game against UST and the error-laden upset by UE to end the first round. Technically, Padda’s passing and transition defense patterns are the most efficient but a lack of more aggressive serving (i.e. fast, flat, well-placed floaters) as well as their tendency to commit individual unforced errors limit the team from winning more games they are undeniably capable of. Ateneo Lady Eagles: 4 - 3 After a concerning opening for the second-seeded team, the Ateneo Lady Eagles managed to go on a four-game win streak midway to still maintain a spot in the top four so far. The team’s three losses were notably against the three tough-serving teams: FEU, DLSU, and NU. The glaring inefficiency in the passing department has been the Lady Eagles’ exploited weakness as evidenced by the barrage of aces DLSU let out in their recent match. Relative to other teams, Ateneo’s offense is not composed of power hitters. As such, the team runs fast and well-placed attacks that heavily rely on efficient first ball to circumvent the opposing block and floor defense. Unless the team manages to remedy their passing and defense patterns, setter Deanna Wong would continue to be forced to do bump sets that are not ideal for non-power hitters making it harder for the team to run the offense. FEU Lady Tamaraws: 5 - 2 The FEU Lady Tamaraws continue to live up to pre-season expectations as one of the top contenders this season. Despite early expectations that Queen Tamaraw Bernadette Pons will have the spotlight in the scoring department, the squad has proven that it's not a one- woman show through commendable ball distribution by setter Kyle Negrito. The team has also proven to be dominant in the serving department as evidenced by their dismantling of weaker passing teams NU, Ateneo, and UST. The combination X-play continues to be the team’s bread and butter offense but its reliance on consistent excellent passing might be a concern against better serving teams like La Salle moving forward to the second round. De La Salle Lady Spikers: 5 - 2 The Lady Spikers continue to prove their defending champion status despite the loss to current top seed NU and the upset by league dark horse Adamson. Despite not being considered as crafty as her predecessor Kim Fajardo, setter Michelle Cobb does her job well in running the offensive set-up for basic plays. Perhaps where the setting falls short is the lack of maximization of Queen Spiker Majoy Baron as she has yet to produce outputs comparable to last season. In line with that, the defending champions have yet to be seen utilizing more back row attacks as added offensive options on transition defense since the left wing is almost always their option on a sub-optimal first ball. NU Lady Bulldogs: 6 - 1 The long developmental process of the Lady Bulldogs is coming into fruition under the new mentorship of coach Babes Castillo. With a roster of seasoned veterans and decent size, the Lady Bulldogs have all the artillery to finally claim the crown. Their lone loss under the hands of the Lady Tamaraws could be well attributed to the fact that Queen Bulldog Jaja Santiago could be mitigated in the middle with well placed aggressive serves. The challenge then for NU moving on to the second round is how to be able to still maximize Santiago in the frontline in the onset that she is relegated to mere decoy status due to a sub-optimal first ball.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 6th, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Six standout local volleybelles of 2017

We’ve seen them shine this year whether in the collegiate stage, in the club leagues or even in the international scene. These six Pinay volleyball players took the sport’s limelight in the year that’s about to end.     DESIREE CHENG Desiree Cheng came into De La Salle University during the time bitter rival Ateneo de Manila University got the Lady Spikers’ number. From Seasons 76 to 77, Cheng saw her team fall prey to the might of the Lady Eagles in the UAAP Finals. Then redemption came in Season 78. Unfortunately, the 5-foot-8 spiker was forced to watch from the sidelines with an ACL tear as her crew reclaimed the crown. A year after, Cheng got her biggest break. DLSU lost most of its veteran core after Season 78 and needed another scoring option. Cheng heeded the call. Though Cheng struggled at the start of the eliminations, the hitter slowly got her groove back and delivered when DLSU needed offense in their sixth straight championship showdown against Ateneo. Cheng was the X-factor for the Ramil De Jesus-mentored squad during the series. Her contributions both on offense and floor defense played a huge part in the Lady Spikers’ series sweep of the Lady Eagles for the school’s 10th title. Cheng also helped F2 Logistics claim the Cargo Movers’ breakthrough Philippine Superliga Grand Prix title and a runner-up finish in the All-Filipino Conference.   ALYSSA VALDEZ Although Alyssa Valdez failed to claim a crown in the Premier Volleyball League this year and a continued title drought since 2016, the Phenom’s magic remains. She can still fill up game venues whenever she takes the court and 2017 proved as the former Queen Eagles’ biggest year in terms of her flourishing volleyball career. Valdez brought her talents abroad, landing a stint with 3BB Nakornnont in the Thai League and in the Thai-Denmark Superleague where her team finished third in both tournaments. After her appearance in Thailand, Valdez donned the Creamline jersey and led the Rebisco franchise to a bronze medal finish both in the PVL Reinforced and Open conferences. Valdez also had another tour of duty, playing for the national team in the AVC Asian Women’s Senior Volleyball Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 24-year old hitter got another international gig when she was tapped by Attack Line to play in the Chinese-Taipei Volleyball League.          Outside volleyball, Valdez has a blooming relationship with basketball star Kiefer Ravena. If she’s not busy with her volleyball and other commitments, Valdez also drew attention as one of the newest member of the so-called PBA players’ WAGS (wives and girlfriends) cheering for Ravena and the NLEX Road Warriors.      DAWN MACANDILI She may be only 5-foot tall but Dawn Macandili stood alongside Asia’s volleyball giants this year. The De La Salle University libero was the catalyst in the Lady Spikers’ back-to-back UAAP championship run. Her pesky floor defense frustrated DLSU’s rivals while giving her teammates a good first ball to operate their lethal offense.  But her biggest showing was when she landed a spot in the national team that competed in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship and in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games. A first-timer donning the national colors, Macandili did not disappoint as she earned the respect and admiration of Japanese coaches and trainers during the Nationals’ training camp in Japan. She performed even better when the PHI hosted the AVC Asian Seniors. Ms. Everywhere gave teams like Asian powerhouse Vietnam, Kazakhstan, South Korea and Thailand a hard time with her floor defense. All her efforts caught the eyes of the AVC tournament officials and she was rewarded with the historic 2nd Best Libero award. She made the final list of in the national team that participated in the SEA Games. Back in the local scene, Macandili helped F2 Logistics to runner-up finish in the PSL All-Filipino Conference and a breakthrough crown in the Grand Prix.    JAJA SANTIAGO Tall, powerful and versatile, Jaja Santiago is a force to reckon with.  At 6-foot-5, Santiago dominated the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference as she led the National University Lady Bulldogs to a perfect championship run. She also bagged the conference’s Most Valuable Player award. Though NU failed to make it in the Final Four of UAAP for the second straight year, Santiago’s effort for the Lady Bulldogs was rewarded with a third straight Best Attacker award to go with the Best Scorer and Best Blocker recognitions. In the PSL, Santiago was a consistent scorer for the Foton Tornadoes in the All-Filipino Conference and the Grand Prix. Under the tutelage of Serbian import Moro Branislav, Santiago became an even more dangerous and versatile player. Aside from her natural position as a middle blocker, she can now wreak havoc on both wings the puts her height advantage to good use. She made it into the national team that competed in the AVC Asian Seniors and SEA Games and was the Nationals’ scoring ace. Santiago received an offer from Thai powerhouse Bangkok Glass but declined the offer to play in her last year with the Lady Bulldogs.             KIM FAJARDO Setter Kim Fajardo left winning legacy when she played her swan song for DLSU. It took her a few months to decide to play her fifth year with the Lady Spikers. Leading a young crew after the departure of the core of the Season 78 championship squad, Fajardo faced a tough challenge in the Taft-based squad’s title-retention bid. But the Batanguena proved her worth as a leader and the skipper rallied the Lady Spikers back into the Finals in a sixth straight collision against bitter rival Ateneo. Fajardo’s composure carried DLSU in a tough Game 1 match and again in the five-set title-clincher to complete the Lady Spikers’ series sweep of the Lady Eagles. She earned a spot in the national team as a starting setter. Fajardo steered F2 Logistics to its first PSL Grand Prix crown bagged the conference’s Best Setter award. She helped the Cargo Movers to a runner-up finish in the All-Filipino Conference.     JOVIELYN PRADO Silent but deadly. Jovielyn Prado may not be the typical vocal leader but her presence inside the court is enough to rally the Arellano University Lady Chiefs to meet their goals. The outside hitter proved her worth to the Lady Chiefs when she led the Legarda-based squad back on the NCAA women’s volleyball throne. A year removed from the title, Arellano U turned to Prado to provide the spark the Lady Chiefs needed to make another shot at the crown. Consistent, efficient and effective, Prado delivered for the Obet Javier-mentored squad. Arellano U advanced in the stepladder semifinals and dethroned College of St. Benilde to set up a date with thrice-to-beat, three-time Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones-led San Sebastian College. Undaunted even with a great series disadvantage, Prado played her best three games of the season to power the Lady Chiefs to an impressive sweep of the Lady Stags. Prado continued her great performance in the PVL Reinforced and Open Conference playing for the Power Smashers. She then bannered the Lady Chiefs to a bronze medal finish in the Collegiate Conference at the expense of UAAP team Adamson University.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

Petron, F2 Logistics in final showdown for Grand Prix title

Games Saturday: (Mall of Asia Arena) 4:00 p.m. --- Petron vs F2 Logistics   Drama and intensity are tipped to unfold when F2 Logistics and Petron go all out for all the marbles Saturday in the winner-take-all 2017 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Finals at the MOA Arena. At stake in the 4:00 p.m. encounter is the right to claim the throne in the thrilling finale of the best-of-three series that went the full distance. The Cargo Movers look to write history with their breakthrough title in the import-laden conference while Petron seeks to reclaim the crown they lost two years ago.  The locking of horns between the same squads that figured in the All-Filipino Conference Finals four months ago will be a fitting season-ender in the 5th year of the league. F2 Logistics hopes to complete a series comeback after surviving Game 2 with a morale-boosting 25-20, 24-26, 14-25, 25-19, 15-4, victory. “Of course all out na, kasi that’s what we are hoping for, ang makarating sa Game 3,” said Cargo Movers skipper Cha Cruz, whose leadership and clutch plays sparked F2 Logistics’ amazing comeback. “So we’re gonna grab the chance mapunta sa amin ang Game 3,” she added. But the Cargo Movers will be attempting a feat that no team has ever accomplished.    Since the PSL implemented a best-of-three finals format two years ago, no team has ever crawled back from a 0-1 disadvantage with Foton recovering from a Game 2 meltdown to win the Grand Prix crown in 2015 and F2 Logistics averting a massive collapse to clinch the All-Filipino Conference title in 2016. Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos remains confident that his team will be able to recover from their Game 2 meltdown, putting into mind the bitter pill they had to swallow after squandering a 2-1 match lead. The Blaze Spikers started the fourth set with a 9-0 lead only to surrender the frame and eventually unravelling in the fifth. “Andun pa rin ‘yun (tiwala). ‘Di naman mawawala ‘yun,” he said. “Kumbaga, sobrang tiwala lang namin sa kanila. Andun lagi ‘yun, di mawawala ‘yung kumpyansa or ‘yung tiwala.” “Syempre di naman kami papasok sa finals kung weak din yung ganun namin, yung tiwala namin sa isa’t isa. I think, lesson learned lang ’to,” added Delos Santos. Aside from the match up of Petron American duo of Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley against F2 Logistics’ Venezuelan reinforcement Maria Jose Perez and Kennedy Bryan of the USA, the battle of locals will also play a major role in the series decider. Cruz, Aby Marano, Majoy Baron, Kianna Dy, setter Kim Fajardo and libero Dawn Macandili will carry the fight for the Cargo Movers against the Blaze Spikers veterans Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, skipper Ces Molina, Mika Reyes, setter Rhea Dimaculangan and Remy Palma.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2017

San Miguel, TNT, Ginebra have target on their backs for PBA Philippine Cup

Three-time champion San Miguel is the unanimous team-to-beat as the PBA gears up for its season-opening Philippine Cup. The Beermen were the only ones mentioned by all of the team governors who were asked about the top team in the tournament. “I think it’s still gonna be San Miguel because of its intact lineup,” Meralco alternate governor Ryan Gregorio told reporters in the league’s preseason press conference on Wednesday at the Okada in Paranaque. Indeed, the three-time champions will be parading the same core of four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and Arwind Santos. That’s not even counting 2017 PBA Draft top pick Christian Standhardinger who is still fulfilling contractual obligations in the Asean Basketball league. Alaska’s Dickie Bachmann, Blackwater’s Dioceldo Sy, Ginebra’s Alfrancis Chua, Magnolia’s Rene Pardo, NLEX’s Ramoncito Fernandez, Rain or Shine’s Mert Mondragon, TNT’s Magnum Membrere, and even San Miguel’s own Robert Non could only agree with Gregorio. Chua and Pardo, however, explained that the Beermen will not be able to truly take their place as the top team in the tournament as they are yet to have Standhardinger. “SMB, hindi pa malakas yan, wala pa si Standhardinger. Sa second conference pa,” the former said. With that opening for contention, team governors also named Ginebra and TNT as teams to watch. “If you know your basketball, Ginebra ang pipiliin ko,” Pardo said, talking about the Gin Kings of multi-titled mentor Tim Cone, Japeth Aguilar, Joe Devance, Greg Slaughter, LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson. “Yung TNT, intact yung lineup tapos they also have bigs who can match-up with June Mar,” Non said of the KaTropa mentored by Nash Racela and fronted by Jayson Castro, RR Pogoy, and Kelly Williams. Meanwhile, Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle’s Globalport as well as Kevin Alas and Kiefer Ravena’s NLEX are seen as darkhorses in the tournament. The 43rd Season of Asia’s first pay-for-play league commences on December 17 at the Araneta Coliseum. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 13th, 2017

Sotto welcomes physicality, ready to fight for slot

Kai Sotto may be the youngest among the 20-man Team Pilipinas pool but the Ateneo de Manila University high school center knows that his ‘kuyas’ won’t go easy on him. The towering 16-year old cager boldly said that he welcomes the challenge of going up against experienced pros. Even if it means absorbing the physical nature of their game. “Sana ibigay nila ang lahat nila,” said the lanky 7-foot-1 Sotto. “Dahil siyempre kaya naman ako nandito para maramdaman ‘yung mga bagay na yun. Para ma-experience din kung paano talaga maglaro ‘yung players sa ganitong klaseng level.”      Sotto was one of the 12 players who attended the first practice session of Team Pilipinas, which is preparing for the two home games against Kazakhstan and Iran in the fifth window of the 2019 World Cup Asia Qualifiers. “Sobrang happy and sobrang excited ko na mag-practice rito and makilala yung mga teammates ko rito and looking forward na maraming matutunan sa kanila,” said Sotto, who already donned the national colors under the Batang Gilas banner. Sotto was joined another young player in University of the Philippines Ricci Rivero. Also in attendance were Talk ‘N Text’s Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario, San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos, Rain or Shine’s Beau Belga and Gabe Norwood, Phoenix’s Matthew Wright and Blackwater’s Poy Erram. Included in the pool are Barangay Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson and Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang and Paul Lee. The six though skipped practice with their teams clashing in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals Game 2.    SMB’s Christian Standhardinger and NorthPort’s Stanley Pringle have yet to arrive for practice as of posting time. Head coach Yeng Guiao said that Sotto and Rivero have the same equal chance as the pros to secure a spot in the final 12-man lineup. “Meron, meron (chance). Actually, the reason they’re here is they’re one of the guys with the opportunity to fight for a slot in the 12-man lineup,” said Guiao. “So kahit na sabihin natin na ang basic purpose natin is for their development, who knows?” “Hindi natin alam baka magpakita sila,” he added. “So I’m not discounting that possibility. It might be a little bit remote but it’s still a possibility.” For Sotto, getting a call up for the pool is already an honor. Whatever the decision of Guiao come the final cut, the experience will definitely improve Sotto’s game for the future.   “Dream ko na makasama sa talagang team and itong pagsama sa pool. Pero kahit ano man ang kalabasan positive lang ako dahil kahit papaano 16 pa lang naman ako,” said Sotto. “Kahit anong mangyari dito alam ko naman na magandang bagay yun para sa akin. Mag-pray lang ako na kahit anong mangyari magiging successful itong Team Pilipinas.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 12th, 2018

PBA: Standhardinger holds down fort as SMB awaits June Mar s return

Obviously, the San Miguel Beermen look like a very different team without reigning four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo. The juggernaut of the PBA without its main man in the middle was to be seen as a challenge for the team, as the prized big man is still down due to a stress fracture in his foot. However, stepping in during Fajardo's absence is #1 pick Christian Standhardinger, who has flourished in the Governors' Cup, posting averages of 25.3 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in the Beermen's nine outings. Without Fajardo, San Miguel has stayed solid at sixth place with a 5-4 record, and the Beermen may look even better as Fajardo could make his conference debut on Saturday in Biñan, if coach Leo Austria's pronouncement becomes reality. In the Beermen's 114-107 win against the pesky NorthPort Batang Pier, Standhardinger again acted like a second import, scoring 21, and grabbing 22 rebounds in exactly 40 minutes inside the court. "We’ve been playing without June Mar in the last five games so obviously nothing changed in my mindset and the whole team," the Fil-German said after the game. "I think, we did a great job in compensating his big absence and we can’t wait to have him back so we’re gonna be a better team." Despite losing AZ Reid to injury, the team found an explosive scorer in former NBA player Kevin Murphy, who rose to becoming the league's top scorer with 32.4 ppg. In Fajardo's return, the team will have to rework the offense again as the reigning three-time Coach of the Year Austria will be re-inserting the 6'10 giant back into the fold. Quite the problem it would be for the Beermen, who are chasing the twice-to-beat advantage that the top four teams in the standings are awarded to. "...[W] hen June Mar comes back obviously he’s a key player for us so we have to adjust again and that’s gonna be a tough situation for us (but) I think we have high basketball IQ to figure it out." Despite Austria expressing his unapproval of Standhardinger's perceived lack of effort on defense, especially defending the pick-and-roll, which NorthPort used to great effect in mounting a come back, the super rookie gave his two cents. "I just give my best outside and just give my best to hustle and give my best to the team and even he thinks that I didn’t do a good job, then I didn’t do a good job I apologize." __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 24th, 2018

MAJOR POINT: Has the PBA Solved Its Draft Problem?

Late last week on October 12th, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) made an announcement that the PBA Board of Governors voted and agreed unanimously that starting 2019, the number 1 overall draft pick can no longer be traded and is exclusively for the worst team in the league to pick who they choose. At first glance, the PBA’s announcement looks like a solution to the draft problem that has gone on for over a decade. If you just read the headline or skimmed through the press release or an article written on the subject maybe you think the PBA has found its solution to the draft problem that caused division in the PBA Board and led to the hiring of a new commissioner after another draft debacle last year. Ever the skeptic, I read more than the headlines. Instead of skimming through the press release and articles, I read the fine print. After my readings and a few discussions with basketball people, do I feel the PBA has found a solution to its draft problem? I’m skeptical. I have questions. But before we get to my questions, lets take a look at how the PBA got itself in a situation where they had to make an actual rule that the worst team in the league CAN’T trade the number one overall pick: 2005: Anthony “Jay” Washington gets drafted number one overall by Air21 Express. Washington gets traded on draft day to the Talk ’N Text Phone Pals. Talk ’N Text was second in wins in the PBA in the three conferences leading up to the 2005 draft. 2008: The Talk ’N Text Phone Pals have picks 2 and 4 in the first round of the draft despite being tied for the most number of wins in the 2006-2007 season. They draft Jared Dillinger and Rob Reyes with those picks. TNT trades Jay Washington to the San Miguel Beermen and acquires the third overall pick, which turns out to be Jayson Castro. 2009: Japeth Aguilar is selected number one overall by the Burger King Whoppers. Aguilar plays one game for the Whoppers, before he is shipped to the Talk N Text Tropang Texters in a three-way trade also involving Barako Bull. Burger King was able to get Barako Bull’s 2010 (previously acquired by Talk ‘N Text) and 2012 first-round picks along with Talk ‘N Text’s 2013 and 2014 first-round picks. 2010: Noy Baclao and Rabeh Al-Hussaini are selected first and second overall by Air21 Express. Midway through their rookie season both Baclao and Al-Hussaini along with Rey Guevarra are traded to Petron Blaze in exchange for Danny Seigle, Dondon Hontiveros, Dorian Peña and Paul Artadi. Baclao and Al-Hussaini help the Petron Blaze win the 2011 PBA Governors’ Cup. Al-Hussaini wins Rookie of the Year. 2012: The Petron Blaze Boosters (from Barako Bull via Air21) select June Mar Fajardo number one overall. 2013: Barangay Ginebra (from Air21) selects Greg Slaughter number one overall. Barako Bull had the fourth, fifth and sixth picks in the first round. Barako Bull decides to trade away all three first round picks. The fifth pick turns out to be Terrence Romeo. 2014: Despite winning the Philippine Cup in a 4-0 sweep, Talk ’N Text lands the second and fourth picks overall and selects Kevin Alas and Matthew Ganuelas-Rosser before the 2014-2015 PBA season begins. Alas & Ganuelas-Rosser help Talk ’N Text win the 2015 Commisioner’s Cup. Kia Sorento with their first pick in franchise history selects Manny Pacquiao 11th overall. 2015: Despite winning the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup, Talk ’N Text has the number one overall pick (from Blackwater). Talk ’N Text selects Moala Tautuaa number one and then two days later trade for the number two overall pick, Troy Rosario (Mahindra). 2016: The “Special” Draft. Gilas players are selected behind closed doors. One Gilas cadet per team, not to be traded for two years. Draft order was never released to the PBA fans/public. 2017: The San Miguel Beerman, despite winning two championships, having the most wins and the best win percentage, select Christian Standhardinger number one overall after a trade from Kia. Losing out on the Standhardinger sweepstakes, TNT blasts Commissioner Narvasa for approving the trade. The PBA divides where seven teams declare they have a “loss of confidence” in Commissioner Narvasa. Five teams support Commissioner Narvasa. After a three-month stalemate, Commissioner Narvasa steps down and the PBA Board appoints a new commissioner, Willie Marcial. As you can see, it is a little more complicated than having the number one overall pick protected from a trade. While the number one overall pick has been traded seven times in the last 13 years, which has to be some kind of record, there have been other issues as well. And that is where my long list of questions begins: -    What’s to stop an already winning team from stacking up multiple first round picks other than the number one overall pick, like in 2008 and 2014? -    This "no trading of the top pick rule" becomes effective in 2019. Why the wait? Why can’t it apply this year? Columbian Dyip has the first pick this season. History says they could likely trade that pick to a championship team. Why do we have to go through this make-believe world another year? -    Hypothetically, how would the PBA handle this situation: Phoenix trades an active player to Rain or Shine for ROS’s 2021 1st round pick. Unfortunately, in 2020, ROS has a variety of injuries and acquires the number one overall pick. What happens then? Who gets the first pick? ROS or Phoenix? -    After the first pick is drafted, when does that player selected first become tradeable? Can it be traded after the draft? If not, for how long? Looking at the draft history of the last 13 years, you have to wonder, what were the objectives of teams like Air21, Barako Bull & Kia? Were those teams in the league to form competitive teams? Were they attempting to build championship teams? Why were those teams trading so many of their top picks? Columbian justified its trading of the number pick last year by saying they were going to play in an “unconventional” way. Their unconventional way has led them to five wins in 31 games so far this season. It has also earned them the number one overall pick for the second year in a row. The PBA Draft is supposed to be fun. It used to be fun. Before 2005, the PBA Draft was a legitimate event. It was something to look forward to. The idea of the draft is still special in theory. It’s a day where dreams come true. Drafted players lives change that day. Many times, the lives of a player's family change forever when their son or husband or father is drafted in the PBA. It's an opportunity for teams who have struggled to get better. It's supposed to give hope to teams drafting high and a challenge to teams drafting low. That is how the draft system is supposed to work. Unfortunately, in the PBA that system has been broke for a long time. I like the idea and the spirit of the draft. However, last year on my podcast, Staying MAJOR, I argued that the PBA should scrap its draft. That made me sad. It made me sad because I feel like the spirit of the PBA Draft has been lost. It's been lost by teams manipulating the system for the improvement of their individual team or their team's objective, but not for the betterment of the league. I’m tired of the PBA Draft getting hijacked every year. And now we have to likely go through it again this year. Even after what happened last year. Not being able to trade the number one pick sounds good. It’s a nice blanket statement. I even think it might be a step in the right direction. But, sometimes when you're bleeding, you need more than a band-aid. Fans aren’t naive. They can figure out what’s going on when year after year the rich get richer and the poor stay poor. Maybe some of my questions will get answered here as the draft approaches? Maybe Columbian Dyip won’t trade their pick again? Maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part? If there is a silver lining, it is at least the PBA and its Board have acknowledged that there is a problem. At least there was an attempt to fix it. I’d say vetting of new potential franchises, so the PBA doesn’t have members who want to trade their draft picks to already successful teams is the bigger issue, but hopefully this is a start of trying to level the playing field. Wouldn’t it be fun to have teams that haven’t won in a while, keep their picks and build contending teams? Or at least not give them to the already strong teams? Wouldn’t that be fun? Wouldn’t it be fun to celebrate the draft spirit of hope on draft day without trying to figure out how the best teams ended up with the top picks again? The PBA is a professional, competitive, sports league. That’s what it’s supposed to be. The PBA is supposed to be fun too. However, it’s NOT fun or competitive when the top teams keep picking high every year. That’s not real competition to me. So will the PBA’s new rule regarding the number one overall pick change anything? This year, no. Starting next year, maybe. I’d like to be optimistic that there will be change or that this rule will initiate an on-going conversation of how to make the draft better. Unfortunately, we still have a full year of waiting before we find out. Eric Menk played in the PBA from 1999 to 2016. Menk is a four-time PBA champion, three-time PBA Finals MVP and one-time PBA MVP (2005). He will be writing for ABS-CBN Sports weekly. Menk also has his podcast Staying MAJOR as welll as his own YouTube channel ......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2018

UAAP Season 81: Morente cherishes first and last Finals

The journey may be an uphill climb but De La Salle University’s Michelle Morente will definitely cherish the experience of vying for the crown in the UAAP Season 81 women’s beach volleyball tournament. It doesn’t matter if she and partner Tin Tiamzon will take on an unbeaten and three-peat favorite University of Sto. Tomas. What matters for Morente is the fact that she’ll be able to step in the biggest stage of the competition in her first and last stint at the sands as a Lady Spiker. “It will be my first and last. Super excited kasi hindi namin ini-expect na makapasok na kami sa Finals and first time ko pumasok sa finals ng beach volley,” said Morente on Saturday after the Taft-based squad hurdled University of the Philippines’ Justine Dorog and Isa Molde, 21-16, 24-26, 15-9, in the last phase of the stepladder semifinals at the Sands SM by the Bay.    The Lady Spikers clinched a spot in the best-of-three championship on Sunday against the Tigresses pair of three-time Most Valuable Player Sisi Rondina and Blove Barbon. Morente last played in UAAP beach volleyball back in Season 79 for Ateneo de Manila University before transferring to DLSU last year. Morente played alongside Kim Gequillana then while Tiamzon's partner that season was Kim Fajardo. “It’s something new talaga na hopefully, Lord please, ibigay sa amin ni Lord ito,” said Morente, who is also hoping to make the cut in the Lady Spikers indoor volleyball team. Morente and Tiamzon dropped their elims meeting with Rondina and Barbon, 14-21, 14-21. Winning the title which DLSU last held in Season 78 delivered by Fajardo and Cyd Demecillo seemed to be a tall order but Morente hopes that luck will be on their side to duplicate that feat. Fajardo and Demecillo three seasons ago won the crown by beating the Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza Far Eastern University pair, which then also advanced in the Finals outright by going undefeated in the elims.   “Siguro i-try namin i-keep ‘yung composure naming. Nothing to lose naman kasi talagang winork hard namin ito. Ipu-push pa rin namin yung sarili namin we’ll give them a good fight,” said Morente......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 6th, 2018

PVL: Panaga getting back into old form

Pocari Sweat-Air Force’s Jeanette Panaga is slowly getting into the same form that won her three straight middle blocker citations. The former College of St. Benilde standout made her presence felt as the Lady Warriors collected their third straight win over Adamson University-Akari, 25-23, 25-22, 25-16, Wednesday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City. Panaga wreaked havoc at the net as she and Del Palomata scored five kill blocks each for the Lady Warriors. Both finished with nine points each. Head coach Jasper Jimenez was all praises for Panaga, who led CSB to its breakthrough NCAA crown in 2016.       “Panaga is best blocker talaga. Alam natin yan, may titulo na yan si Jeannette,” said Jimenez of Panaga, who won the PVL Season 1 Reinforced Conference 2nd Best Middle Blocker, last year’s Open Conference 1st Best Middle Blocker and last Reinforced Conference’s 1st Best Middle Blocker.    Panaga averaged 8.6 points in Pocari Sweat’s last three games that helped the squad recover from an opening day setback against Ateneo-Motolite. “Siguro si Coach Jasper sobrang tiwala lang din sa akin, then every game din naman nagma-mindset ako na kailangan as a middle blocker kailangan every game may maipakita ako sa blocking,” said Panaga. With her coach showing confidence and trust in her, Panaga vowed to repay it with giving her A-game every match. “Sa tiwala at kumpiyansa niya sa akin ‘yun siguro yung nakakapag-boost ng morale ko na everyday gagawin ko yung best ko para maipakita sa kanila kung sino ba talaga ako,” she said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2018

Eight breakout players who wowed in PVL s Collegiate Conference

Collegiate volleyball won’t be around until the second semester but the recently-concluded Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Collegiate Conference on ABS-CBN S+A gave us a glimpse of what the girls may be raring to give us once their tournament in their respective leagues finally open. Some girls came out of nowhere to really provide the fireworks in the conference and came away with new fans and admirers thanks to their impressive play on the floor. As the PVL’s Open Conference is about to part its curtains, let’s take a look at the eight collegiate volleybelles who totally captured our hearts thanks to their display of heart and skill.   1.) Tonnie Rose Ponce, Adamson University (Tonnie Rose Ponce (libero) made a mark in the last PVL Collegiate Conference when she bagged a Mythical Six award) Adamson head coach Air Padda is proud of Ponce, her team’s libero, for being the best cheerleader of her teammates on the floor. Even with her small stature, she plays big with a fighting spirit that has endeared her to the fans. It still came as a surprise, however, to the dimunitive Ponce, to be named as one of the Mythical Six and the conference’s Best Libero. Maybe not for Padda, who has always seen the leadership potential of her squad’s cheerleader.   2.) Rosie Rosier, University of the Philippines (The sophomore Lady Fighting Maroon was instrumental in ending the school's 36 year major title drought in the PVL Collegiate Conference) Rosier was instrumental in breaking the UP Lady Fighting Maroons’ 36-year championship drought as the sophomore carried the team on her back in a thrilling five-set Game 1 match with the FEU Lady Tamaraws. She pumped in 15 points via 13 attacks to have probably one of her best birthday celebrations to date, and followed it up with a 10-point output in Game 2 to help her squad bring home the Collegiate Conference crown.   3.) Milena Alessandrini, University of Santo Tomas (Second year Golden Tigress Milena Alessandrini powered the Thomasians in the FInal FOur ddespite nursing a shoulder injury) UST’s Fil-Italian tower introduced herself to Filipino volleyball fans when she won Rookie of the Year in UAAP Season 80. While it’s not easy to be on a different land where everyone speaks a different language, Alessandrini has been quick to adapt to what the coach wants done on the floor based on her performance in PVL. Her best game happened in the Battle for Third against Adamson where she broke out with a 31-point outing, a sign of things to come for the Golden Tigresses’ campaign in the coming UAAP wars.   4.) Celine Domingo, Far Eastern University (Celine Domingo followed up her stellar UAAP season 80 campaign with a masterful PVL Collegiate Conference under Coach George Pascua) Veteran setter Kyle Negrito is FEU’s top player and Jerrili Malabanan is their main weapon, no doubt, but Domingo is poised to take over the team as she continues to make an impact in the net in the recently-concluded PVL Collegiate Conference. The conference’s First Best Middle Blocker has been one of Coach George Pascual’s reliable players that are expected to carry the scoring duties now that super senior Bernadeth Pons’ career with the school is over. Too bad she was set back by a knee injury in Game One of the Finals against UP, which also sidelined her in Game Two.   5.) Jan Daguil, College of Saint Benilde (Jan Daguil (16) was one of the surprises for CSB in the PVL Collegiate Conference) With their MVP, Jeanette Panaga, moving on from her school career, the College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers are hard-pressed to find a replacement. So far, Marites Pablo has emerged as the biggest candidate, but not too far behind is Daguil, who has come up big for them when they needed the points the most. During their battle for a Final Four spot in the recently-concluded PVL Collegiate Conference, Daguil led her team with 15 points, all on kills, to turn back the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Lady Stags.   6.) Joyce Sta. Rita, San Sebastian College-Recoletos (Joyce Sta. Rita is the only holdover remaining for the Lady Stags but she is determined to be their main pillar) Sta. Rita is the only holdover from Coach Roger Gorayeb’s compact 7-woman squad from a year ago in NCAA Season 93, where she was named Second Best Middle Blocker. That did not stop her from being an example to her new teammates as she fought in each set and match to keep the young Lady Stags competitive even if they failed to notch a single win.   7.) Satrianni Espiritu, San Beda University (Satrianni Espiritu (10) looks to be the final piece of the puzzle for the SBU Lady Red Spikers) Everyone talks about SBU stars Cesca Racraquin and the Viray twins. But another player that should be acknowledged is Espiritu, who consistently chipped in to keep the Red Lionesses in contention with her consistent showing game in and game out. If her PVL Collegiate Conference showing translates to the incoming NCAA wars, the other ladies better be shaking in their shoes as the Red Lionesses will be a mighty force to be reckoned with. 8.) Cindy Imbo, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (With Bianca Tripoli out of commission, Cindy Imbo stepped up in the last PVL Collegiate Conference) Bianca Tripoli is the main pillar of strength for the Lady Altas. It was a shame that she had to limp off the PVL Collegiate Conference due to a mild tear in her quadriceps. Carrying the load for her during her absence is Imbo, who displayed her scoring abilities while their captain was injured. In a crucial game against favorite FEU Lady Tamaraws, Imbo fired away 15 points to lead the team. While they did not win the match, it showed her capability to step up when needed. Watch for these ladies when the 2018 seasons of the NCAA and UAAP women’s volleyball tournaments begin. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more scintillating volleyball action once the PVL resumes with their Open Conference this Saturday (September 22) on S+A, S+A HD, and via livestream......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2018

PVL Open Conference: Lady Warriors out to reclaim lost glory

Pocari Sweat-Air Force has one goal set in mind: claim the throne. Fielding an intact core, the Lady Warriors remain as one of the top title contenders in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference. Expect Pocari Sweat to bring quite a storm as the Lady Warriors shoot for nothing else but the crown in the all-Filipino tournament set to begin on September 22. Reinforced Conference Most Valuable Player Myla Pablo is back to once again lead the Lady Warriors to the Promised Land. Pocari Sweat, which ruled the Open Conference of the defunct V-League in 2016, fell short of the crown last year at the hands of BaliPure, which skipped this season’s edition. The Lady Warriors will again backed by the core of Philippine Air Force.     Here is the full Pocari Sweat-Air Force lineup: Shobe Crisostomo Jeannette Panaga Iari Yongco Cesca Racraquin May Ann Pantino Wendy Semana Gena Andaya Elaine Kasilag Mary Ann Balmaceda Del Palomata Angel Antipuesto Myla Pablo.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 14th, 2018

PVL Finals: UP uses crowd advantage to down experienced FEU

University of the Philippines may be at a disadvantage in terms of championship experience against seasoned Far Eastern University but the Lady Maroons have their own weapon – their crowd support. The UP faithful filled the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Sunday, dwarfing the Lady Tamaraws’ crowd. FEU did get the upper hand early by claiming the first two sets silencing UP’s supporters but an opening in the tightly-contested third set sparked an exciting comeback that pushed the Lady Maroons on the verge of quenching a 36-year major tournament title thirst. When the cheers and the loud banging of the drums from the maroon and white-clad crowd kicked in, FEU crumbled and UP exploited their newfound weapon.    The Lady Maroons complete a come-from-behind, 14-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-18, 15-5 Game 1 win over FEU in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference best-of-three Finals series Sunday to move a within a win away from pocketing the elusive crown. All thanks to a huge weekend turnout of UP fans. “I was surprised. They were all cheering, the whole crowd. Everywhere I look around there were UP (fans). Where do they come from? I think from Diliman, yeah?” joked UP's Kenyan head coach Godfrey Okumu, drawing laughter frpm reporters during his postgame interview.   “But it’s great. I really admire the fans. It gives me the drive, it gives me the purpose to serve the community and the people who love the game of volleyball,” added Okumu, who can steer the Lady Maroons to their first title since ruling the UAAP in 1982 with another win on Wednesday. While the UP crowd fueled the Lady Maroons to march on and rally to win the battle, the Lady Tams obviously got their confidence drained.    “Nawala ‘yung composure. ‘Yung big crowd ng UP doon sila na-intimidate. Medyo tumaas ‘yun intensity ng UP,” admitted FEU mentor George Pascua. The Lady Tams looked like the same team that De La Salle University swept in the UAAP Season 80 Finals. A squad that drowned in a sea of green was now engulfed in an ocean of maroon.   “’Yung communication bigla silang nawala, siguro sa crowd na rin kasi nangyari na sa amin ‘yan nu’ng Finals sa UAAP. Sobrang dami nu’ng crowd (ng La Salle). Malaking bagay talaga yung crowd pero sabi ko nga sa kanila hindi reason yun,” Pascua said. Game 2 on Wednesday is slated at 6:30 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream and YouTube.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 10th, 2018

PVL: FEU, UP start Finals series

Two very hungry teams square off for crown and glory in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference. Far Eastern University hopes to settle an unfinished business when it meets a title-parched University of the Philippines Sunday in Game 1 of the best-of-three series at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Action begins at 6:30 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream. The Lady Tamaraws will get another shot at the elusive title after falling short in last year’s edition. FEU is in its third straight title appearance after runner-up finishes in the inaugural PVL Collegiate Conference and in UAAP Season 80. The Morayta-based squad look to cling on its championship experience and veteran crew to take down the Lady Maroons, which the Lady Tams defeated in their elims meeting. “Malaking advantage ang experience namin sa championship and experienced na rin ang mga players ko compared sa kanila,” said FEU coach George Pascua. While the Lady Tams see experience as their edge, UP head coach Godfrey Okumu believes that the thirst of the Lady Maroons for glory will fuel their desire to win it all.    “They have waited for this for a long time,” said Okumu. FEU will bank on seasoned players Jerrili Malabanan, top setter Kyle Negrito, Heather Guino-o, Jeanette Villareal and rookie Lycha Ebon. Isa Molde, Marian Buitre, Rosely Rosier, Marist Layug and Ayel Estranero will banner UP’s fight. The Lady Tams advanced to the Finals after defeating University of Sto. Tomas while the Lady Maroons booted out Adamson University in their semis showdown.     ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 9th, 2018

Galanza, Nabor earn National team spots

A mix of returning players and new blood will carry the nations pride in the AVC Asian Cup in Thailand. Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. released Friday a tentative lineup for the tournament set to run from September 17 to 23 in Nakhon Ratchasima. Top hitter Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado of Creamline will banner the Nationals, who will miss the services of six of core players that suited up for the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games last month. Back for another tour of duty are team captain Aby Marano, Mylene Paat, Cha Cruz-Behag, Maika Ortiz, Denden Lazaro and Mika Reyes. Making her return in the National squad are Grethcel Soltones, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Risa Sato and libero Mel Gohing while debuting for the tricolors are Jema Galanza and setter Jasmine Nabor. The six new members will replace injured playmaker Kim Fajardo, sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat and the De La Salle University trio of Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron and prized libero Dawn Macandili. The Santiago sisters are set to debut in their respective clubs in Japan’s top tier league while Dy, Baron and Macandili will fly to New York as part of the Lady Spikers’ incentive for winning the UAAP Season 80 title.  The squad will fly to Thailand on September 14.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles       .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 7th, 2018

PVL: Bulldogs, Tams battle one last time for a Finals seat

Judgment day. Throw away all the stats and results from their last two matches for only the outcome of their do-or-die match on Wednesday will matter for National University and Far Eastern University. The two squads meet one last time in Game 3 of their Premier Volleyball League Season Collegiate Conference men’s division best-of-three Final Four series at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan to determine which team will advance in the championship round. The top seed Bulldogs and Tamaraws collide at 10:00 a.m. for the right to face University of Sto. Tomas for the crown. FEU, which needed to go through a do-or-die match against College of St. Benilde to advance to the semis, shocked NU last Saturday after scoring a 21-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-23, win. The Bulldogs were quick to recover the following morning to even the series, 25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 25-21, and force a decider. The winner of the match will take on the Tigers, who swept Adamson University in their semis pairing, in the best-of-three Finals while the loser will be relegated in the battle for third. Game 1 of the championship series is on Sunday.     ---      Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2018

PBA: Energetic Standhardinger runs away with Player of the Week honors

Tireless San Miguel Beer rookie big man Christian Standhardinger secured his first Cignal-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week following his impressive conference debut in the 2018 Governors’ Cup against NLEX. Just a few hours after landing in Manila following his stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the Jakarta Asian Games, the 6-foot-8 Standhardinger suited up the moment he arrived at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. His presence no doubt energized a San Miguel side that missed the services of four-time league Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo. The Cebuano slotman came in with a protective boot due to a right shin fracture he sustained in the Commissioner’s Cup. But the Beermen hardly needed the services of the SMB star center as Standhardinger pumped in a PBA career-high 36 points, to go along with 11 rebounds as the Beermen clobbered the NLEX Road Warriors, 125-112 on Saturday. The hard-banging Standhardinger showed no signs of fatigue though he was just a day removed from registering 27 points and 13 rebounds for Gilas in its 54-point rout of Syria to finish fifth place in the Asian Games. Instead, the former Nebraska and Hawaii standout came out with a lot of energy, making his first six attempts on the way to finishing 14-of-17 from the field in close to 28 minuets of action. Standhardinger won the weekly citation after beating Ginebra forward Japet Aguilar, Magnolia guard Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon and Rome dela Rosa, Phoenix forward Jason Perkins, TNT’s Jayson Castro and NLEX’s Ken Ighalo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2018

PVL: FEU to bank on Finals experience against newbie UP

If there will be one specific advantage in the Finals that Far Eastern University will look to capitalize on when the Lady Tamaraws face University of the Philippines for the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference crown, it’s definitely their championship experience. Head coach George Pascua sees it as a weapon that they could use against the first-time finalists Lady Maroons when their best-of-three title showdown begins Sunday. FEU finished runner-up in last year’s edition and took home silver in UAAP Season 80. The Lady Tamaraws also enjoy the luxury of having a seasoned and battle-tested core.    UP’s best finish in a high level tournament was a Final Four stint in the UAAP three years ago.        “Ah oo, malaking advantage ‘yun kasi ‘yun na nga experienced na ‘yung players namin. ‘Yung UP first time nila so kahit papano (lamang kami doon),” said Pascua, whose squad booted out University of Sto. Tomas in the Final Four in a come-from-behind series win for a return stint in the Finals. Pascua will pin his hopes on veterans Jerrili Malabanan, Celine Domingo, Heather Guino-o, setter Kyle Negrito and top rookie Lycha Ebon. Still, the mentor knows that UP isn’t a pushover team especially after the fourth seed Lady Maroons scored a huge upset over Adamson University, which swept the elimination.         “Pero syempre mahirap din magkumpyansa kasi ang labanan ngayon character na lang eh kasi lahat ng teams unpredictable eh,” he said. “Hindi mo alam kung sino ‘yung mananalo that day so depende na lang sa player kung ano ang magiging desire nila.” FEU defeated UP in the elims but the Lady Tams will face a different Lady Maroons side. UP started out shaky but slowly jelled and found their rhythm as the conference progressed. The Lady Maroons’ veterans also stepped up their game with the likes of Marian Buitre, Marist Layug, Aie Gannaban and sophomore Roselyn Rosier helping out prized hitter Isa Molde on offense and in floor defense.  UP head coach Godfrey Okumu also has at his disposal veteran setter Ayel Estranero and a young but steady playmaker Marianne Sotomil. With the Lady Maroons' seemingly diverse rotation despite the absence of injured Tots Carlos and Nicole Magasarile, Pascua and his coaching staff are devicing a good game plan to defeat the Diliman-based squad.   “‘Yung UP very unpredictable din ang laro nila kumbaga hindi mo alam kung sino ang magle-level up sa kanila,” Pascua said. “Every game kasi iba ‘yung ano nila so meron din kaming specific person na binabantayan sina Molde, Buitre.” “Siyempre paplanuhin namin ‘yang game plan for UP,” he closed.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 3rd, 2018