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Falcons, Skippers open semis bid vs Revellers, Jawbreakers

Akari-Adamson and Marinerong Pilipino hope to live up to their top billing as they collide with Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian and Zark’s Burgers-Lyceum, respectively, at the start of the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup semifinals at the Pasig City Sports Center today......»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarApr 17th, 2018

Pinoy sports most captivating underdog stories of 2018

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 24th, 2018

PVL: Angels complete semis cast

PetroGazz barely broke a sweat in sweeping hapless Adamson-Akari, 25-21, 25-9, 25-15, Sunday to complete the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference semifinals cast at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Angels started out flat but was quick to recover to claim their third straight win for an 8-5 win-loss record while adding more woes to the winless Lady Falcons. PetroGazz joined BanKo (10-3), Ateneo-Motolite (10-4) and Creamline (9-3) in the best-of-three Final Four after completing a back-to-back weekend schedule sweep. The Jerry Yee-mentored squad defeated Ateneo-Motolite in four sets last Saturday.  The Angels’ victory booted out Pocari Sweat-Air Force, which missed the semis for the first time in franchise history, and Tacloban, which are tied at 6-7 slates. Jessey de Leon poured 13 of her 14 points on attacks to highlight the Angels' 46-kill performance. Cherry Nunag and Alyssa Layug added 13 and 11 markers, respectively, for PetroGazz.   The Lady Falcons, who fielded Eli Soyud for the first time after recovering from a knee injury but still played without Bernadette Flora (back spasm) and Lea Anne Perez (ankle sprain), absorbed its 12th straight loss in as many games. No Adamson-Akari player scored in double figures with rookie Trisha Genesis posting six points while Soyud, who only played in the third set, and Chrislyn Uy added five markers each.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 18th, 2018

PVL: Fighting Warays remain in semis contention

Tacloban kept its semifinals hopes alive after hurdling listless and undermanned Adamson-Akari, 25-11, 25-12, 25-19, Saturday in the Premier Volleyball Season 2 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Fighting Warays waylaid the limping Lady Falcons, who played without injured Bernadette Flora and Lea Ann Perez, to improve their record to 6-7 and remain in contention for the last best-of-three Final Four berth. Dimdim Pacres wreaked havoc with 14 attacks, two aces and a kill block for 17 points to lead Tacloban to its second straight win. Skipper Jovielyn Prado got 13 markers while Anne Esguerra and Heather Guino-o combined for eight markers for the Fighting Warays, who burned Adamson-Akari with 45 attacks. “Nandoon pa rin ang chance pero sabi ko nga sa mga players na tuluy-tuloy natin hindi tayo dapat mag-relax hanggang sa huli ipanalo,” said Tacloban coach Nes Pamilar. “Kasi maraming pwedeng mangyari, pwedeng two-way o three-way tie pa eh. Kaya hangga’t sabi ko nga hangga’t maaari yung magandang magagawa namin every game gawin na namin.” The Fighting Warays are now a full game ahead of Pocari Sweat-Air Force (5-7) and breathing down the necks of PetroGazz (6-5), who are still playing Ateneo-Motolite as of posting time. Adamson-Akari was again riddled with a string of injuries with Flora nursing a back spasm and Perez down with a right ankle sprain while Chiara Permentilla rode the bench the whole game. The Lady Falcons fell to 0-11 slate. Trisha Genesis and Krich Macaslang combined for only 13 markers for Adamson-Akari, which gave away 22 points off errors.       ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2018

PVL: Fighting Warays try to stay alive in semis hunt

Tacloban’s semifinals bid now depends on fate. Though needing to pray hard for other teams still in the hunt for the last Final Four spot to drop their remaining assignments, the Fighting Warays, for now, must take care of the things they have control over. Tacloban is in a must-win situation when it clashes with upset-conscious Adamson-Akari Saturday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.   Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream.  The Fighting Warays are in a two-way tie at fifth to sixth spots with idle Pocari Sweat-Air Force, sporting 5-7 win-loss records. PetroGazz, which will face Ateneo-Motolite at 6:00 p.m., currently occupies the fourth spot behind the semis-bound Lady Eagles, Creamline and BanKo. Tacloban needs to sweep its remaining games and hope that Pocari Sweat and PetroGazz drop all of their next assignments to advance to the semis. The Fighting Warays are coming off a week-long  rest after outlasting PetroGazz in five sets. But pressure will be on Tacloban’s side against a team with nothing to lose. The Lady Falcons have yet to capture the elusive victory after bowing down on their last 10 outings.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2018

PVL: Lady Eagles seek bounce back win and a semis seat

Ateneo-Motolite suffered a stinging setback in its attempt to advance to the Final Four. Back in action less than 24 hours after absorbing their third loss, the Lady Eagles march into battle on Sunday against winless Adamson-Akari, hoping to clinch a semifinals seat this time in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream.      Ateneo-Motolite saw its four-game winning streak snapped by first round tormentor BanKo, 24-26, 22-25, 16-25, Saturday night in Malolos, Bulacan. The Lady Eagles slid to second place with a 9-3 win-loss record. But Ateneo-Motolite remains to be the favored team compared to the Lady Falcons, who have yet to taste victory in the season-ending conference. Adamson-Akari is already eliminated in the Final Four race with a 0-9 slate, but the Lady Falcons could still give the Lady Eagles a huge challenge especially with Ateneo-Motolite barely escaping them during their first encounter in five sets.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 10th, 2018

Jawbreakers, revellers open fire

Game today (Pasig Sports Center) 4 p.m. – Zark’s vs Che’Lu ZARK’S Burgers-Lyceum of the Philippines University and Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian, the last teams standing in what has been one of the unpredictable conferences ever, open their best-of-three series today in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup. Tip-off is….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsApr 23rd, 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

Ilagan’s clutch rally completes Che’Lu comeback vs Gamboa to qualify for semis

MANILA, Philippines – The twice-to-beat Che’lu San Sebastian College Revellers staged an 80-72 comeback victory to eliminate the 5th-seeded Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers at the kick-off of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup playoffs on Tuesday, April 10. With the win, Che’lu now moves on to face the first-seeded Akari-Adamson Falcons, who ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 10th, 2018

Foes-turned-friends Tratter, Tolentino lead Marinerong Pilipino to D-League semis

MANILA, Philippines – The streaking Marinerong Pilipino Skippers sailed straight to the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup semifinals after blasting the playoff-bound Che’lu-SSC Revellers, 82-67, at the Pasig City Sports Center, Tuesday, April 3. In the crucial clincher game, it was former La Salle big man Abu Tratter and former Ateneo ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 3rd, 2018

Meet FEU's new swag queen Czarina Carandang

Far Eastern University middle Czarina Carandang smacked the ball right at an open spot in the middle of Adamson University’s side in the fourth set of their best-of-three semifinals Game 2 of the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference on Saturday. The third-year player gave a long stare down at the Lady Falcons. “Aba palaban!,” National University setter Jasmine Nabor joked while she and the Lady Bulldogs watched the match near the entrance to FilOil Flying V Centre’s dugouts . During the closing juncture of the fifth set, Carandang gave Adamson scorer Eli Soyud a grin and another dose of stare down after scoring on a kill block. FEU needed an inspiration when its back was against the wall in the semis series. Carandang unleashed her inner Remy Palma, the former FEU skipper known for her swag, as the Lady Tams survived elimination to keep their semifinals hopes alive in a thrilling, 21-25, 27-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-11, win that tied the series at 1-1.        “Kasi po kapag crucial point lalo na po ngayon na do-or-die kami kailangan pong ipakita ko ‘yung tapang ko lalo na po’t wala si Ate (Bernadeth) Pons saka si Ate Kyla (Atienza),” said Carandang, who had a breakout night with 20 points. “Parang naisip ko rin po na parang pam-boost din siya ng confidence,” she added.     Carandang had 15 spikes, three kill blocks and two service winners while playing and starting in all five sets. But her swag and antics in her inspired play was something that definitely made Palma, who witnessed the match, proud. “Kanina nga nagkaka-eye to eye kami ni Ate Remy. Gumaganoon siya sa akin na, ‘relax lang Czar, relax lang.’ So sa kanya lang ako tumitingin, ‘na Ate Rem anong gagawin ko?’ said Carandang. The Tanauan, Batangas player looked up to Palma, who exhausted all her five playing years in the UAAP last season, even before. “Kasi ever since noong simula pa lang noong rookie year ko pa lang. Hindi po ako volleyball player talaga eh. May height lang ako talaga pero wala pong skills, si coach Shaq (Delos Santos) po ang kumuha sa akin tapos pinalakas nya po ako,” she said. “Tapos every time na may gagawin, ‘Ate Rem paano po ito? Paano po ang ganito?’ Sa kanya lang po ako nagtatanong lalo na po kung nalilito ako. Kanina po nag-eye to eye lang po kami na parang ‘Ate paano?’ Alam nya na po sa isip niya yun na, ‘Relax lang Czar, kaya mo ‘yan.’” Asked if she’s a Remy Palma in the making, Carandang said that nothing beats the original. “Si Ate Rem po talaga yung parang ‘The Boss’ talaga, paran ako kampon na lang,” she said. “Konting angas lang, low key lang.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 7th, 2017

Adamson gains semis seat, loses Galanza to ankle injury

Adamson University punched a semifinals ticket in Group B of the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference, but it came at a high price. The Lady Falcons swept College of St. Benilde, 25-19, 25-20, 25-17, Monday but lost ace player Jema Galanza to a harrowing right ankle injury early in the third set at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. After a disappointing last place finish in the Open Conference, the Lady Falcons entered the best-of-three semis after claiming their fourth win in as many outings. Eli Soyud led the Lady Falcons with 18 points while Chiara Permentilla got 10 markers. Galanza left the game with nine points. The Queen Falcon broke her ankle after a bad landing in a block attempt in the third set with Adamson ahead, 5-0. Galanza was rushed to Cardinal Santos Medical Center. The also-ran Lady Blazers dropped to 0-4 slate. Ranya Musa had 14 points while Rachel Austero had 13 for CSB.   ---  Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 25th, 2017

La Salle still spotless in Philippine Baseball League

Coming off an 11-8 win over IPPC a day ago, the De La Salle Green Batters heated up at the right time before romping the UP Fighting Maroons in just seven innings, 18-8, last Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium. With the win, the Green Batters are just one win away from an elimination round sweep in the Philippine Baseball League. In addition, La Salle clinched the top seed in the semifinals. But for long-time La Salle head coach Joseph Orillana, he was just glad as the Green Batters stepped up after reigning UAAP Athlete of the Year Kiko Gesmundo suffered a shoulder injury. "Masaya ako para sa team. Sabi ko sa kanila, kahit wala si Kiko, kailangan nila mag-step up. Hindi naman puwede na aasa lang kami sa seniors. Kanila na ito e," said Orillana as Gesmundo's first inning dive resulted to a shoulder sprain. The Fighting Maroons, who are coming off their first win of the season last Saturday, were able to keep pace with the league-leaders -- even picking up a 5-4 lead in the fifth inning. Errors, though, plagued UP at the bottom end of the inning while a 2-RBI single by left baseman Paolo Casas served as the go-ahead run. It did not stop there as the Green Batters, who were already up 11-8 entering the seventh inning, punch in seven more runs - capped by Mark Tuballas' errand pitch that hit Diego Lozano with the bases loaded that resulted to the walk-off stoppage. Tuwi Park was once again spectacular for La Salle, going 3-of-4 at-bat with five RBIs. Anton Acuna and Casas had three and two RBIs, respectively. Graduating infielder Boo Borandiaran earned the win for La Salle, pitching the last two innings -- fanning two batters. "Hopefully, sa UAAP magamit namin siya as pitcher," said Orillana as Barandiaran rarely pitched after his sophomore year. "Pinag-fofocus namin siya sa second [base], may times this season na magiging reliever siya. Hindi namin siya binibigla kasi galing siya sa injury." Earlier in the day, the Ateneo Blue Eagles snapped their two-game skid after escaping the UST Golden Sox, 13-12. Gino Tantuico connected on the first home run of the tournament during the first inning. In the last game of the triple-header, the Adamson Soaring Falcons kept their semis hopes alive after blasting the NU Bulldogs in seven innings, 19-3. Adamson will have to await the results of the games on Saturday, January 26 to see if it makes the Final Four......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News7 hr. 14 min. ago

UAAP Season 81: NU willing to be patient this time

National University’s management has learned the hard way that it takes years to mold and develop a women’s volleyball team that would yield the results they wanted. The Lady Bulldogs for the past six years gambled with coaching changes that saw the squad play under five different mentors. Yet the outcome were the same: NU season after season came away empty-handed in the UAAP.     When NU approached Norman Miguel and laid out a long-term program, the Lady Bulldogs seemed to be looking at the right direction this time. “Well, actually, when the sports director approached me, nu’ng in-explain niya sa akin ‘yung parang long-term program doon parang medyo na-open ‘yung mind ko na it’s very challenging pero why not accept it,” said Miguel, who was took the reins after former coach Babes Castillo parted ways with NU. Castillo handled the Lady Bulldogs last year as a replacement for Roger Gorayeb, who was with the team for two seasons and a half. Under Castillo, NU made a strong run in the first round of UAAP Season 80 after winning six of their first seven games in 6-foot-5 star Jaja Santiago’s swan song. But their campaign turned sour as the squad managed to win only one game in the second round to land at no. 4 seed in the Final Four and eventually bowed down to grand slam champion De La Salle University.    Overall, NU saw its women’s team switch hands from one coach to another. Francis Vicente steered the Lady Bulldogs to a Final Four stint in Season 75 but received the boot the following year and was replaced by Edjet Mabbayad, whose short stint will be always be remembered as Ateneo de Manila University’s second to the last step before claiming its breakthrough title in Season 76. Dong Dela Cruz took over Mabbayad’s position in Season 77 but was replaced by Gorayeb halfway into the season. Gorayeb left the Lady Bulldogs after NU failed to reach the semis for two straight years. “Alam naman nating lahat na ‘yung NU women’s parang looking forward to you know bag a title sa UAAP kasi hanggang ngayon medyo wala pa talaga,” said Miguel, who handled DLSU’s men’s team last season. “So parang ‘yun yung pumasok sa mind ko na malaking challenge siya pero masarap trabahuhin di ba?” he added. However, Miguel will have a young roster to work with. Rookies Princess Robles, Joyme Cagande, Ivy Lacsina and Jennifer Nierva show a lot of promise. Holdovers Roselyn Doria, Risa Sato and Audrey Paran will return while Rica Diolan is back in the fold after skipping two seasons. Miguel said that the NU management set a realistic goal this season, just one step at a time.     “Naniwala ako doon sa gusto nilang mangyari not this year, probably next year or at the third year parang ganun na kailangan na meron nang mangyari (championship),” he said. There’s no short cut to success and NU this time is willing to take a long drive to the promised land.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2019

Djokovic in Qatar Open semis

DOHA, Qatar — World number one Novak Djokovic won another grueling battle in Doha on Thursday to continue his unbeaten start to the year and progress to the Qatar Open semifinals. Just like in his previous game, the Serb came from a set down to beat Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, in a match […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJan 4th, 2019

EYES ON YOU, KID: UAAP 81 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the UAAP 81 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And we can’t wait for the second round to get started just so we could get even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: KAI SOTTO – Ateneo de Manila High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 25.3 points, 62.1 shooting, 12.7 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 2.7 assists For the first time in his three years in Ateneo, Kai Sotto is, bar none, the most dominant force in the UAAP. In his first year, he took a backseat to Juan Gomez de Liano and SJ Belangel then as a sophomore, he was overtaken by CJ Cansino. Now, however, there is no doubt that the 7-foot-1, 16-year-old is the best player in the league – tops in scoring, rebounding, and blocking. And for good measure, just as he is a sure shot inside the paint, he also has the soft touch to make jumpers. Don’t send him to the line either as he makes good on 70.8 percent of his shots from there. Yes, Sotto is an end-to-end force that nobody could match not only in the UAAP, but in all of high school. RJ ABARRIENTOS – Far Eastern University-Diliman ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.4 points, 5.0 assists, 4.1 rebounds RJ Abarrientos had already committed to FEU’s Seniors squad, but later backtracked to use up his last year of eligibility in the UAAP Juniors. Safe to say, FEU-Diliman only welcomed him back with open arms and then proceeded to provide him the stage to shine the brightest he has ever been. A complementary player to the likes of Kenji Roman and L-Jay Gonzales before him, the nephew of Philippine basketball legend Johnny now runs the show for the Baby Tamaraws to the tune of a scoring clip and an assist total both third-best in the league. And even as he is now the primary playmaker for the green and gold, Abarrientos remains a dead shot as the league’s top marksman from three. All in all, the 5-foot-11 stocky guard is the most college-ready player in high school (of course, we’re not counting Kai Sotto who’s not only looks like he's college-ready, but pro-ready as well). CARL TAMAYO – Nazareth School of National University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 11.5 points, 54.3 percent shooting, 9.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks Due to various injuries, Carl Tamayo has only seen action in four out of seven games NU has played thus far in the tournament. Each and every time he’s on the court, however, the 6-foot-7 only delivers the goods on offense as a paint presence as well as a threat from the perimeter. At the other end, Tamayo also stands strong inside and outside and is actually third-best in terms of blocks. The Cebuano has all the tools to go toe-to-toe with Kai Sotto, but will need to work on his strength and conditioning so that he may leave the injury bug that has been biting him far behind. MARK NONOY – University of Sto. Tomas ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 18.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.7 steals UST looked like it had hit the jackpot in unearthing CJ Cansino and then unveiling him as a dominant force in Season 80. Only, the Tiger Cubs look like they have hit the jackpot again in discovering Mark Nonoy out of Negros Occidental and then developing him into their new all-around shining star in Season 81. In just his first game in the UAAP Juniors, Nonoy dropped 31 points. Just two games later, he tallied a triple-double of 17 points, 16 rebounds, and 12 assists. Now, he is second-best in points and assists and third-best in steals in all of the league. More importantly, with their 5-foot-8 playmaker fronting the effort, UST has stayed in the conversation of playoff hopefuls in the ongoing season. GERRY ABADIANO – Nazareth School of National University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 13.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists Nothing about Gerry Abadiano’s game will jump out at anybody. In fact, nobody will be able to find him in the top five of any statistical category. In the same light, however, he also does not have any weaknesses that will jump out at anybody. The 5-foot-9 lead guard just does whatever his team needs from him and he does it well. That is exactly why he has become to be heart and soul of a Bullpup side with championship aspirations. More than that, Abadiano’s biggest contribution will not be seen in any stat sheet as he has turned out to be the leader that the blue and gold deserves. JOEM SABANDAL – Adamson High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals Joem Sabandal can make difficult shots with the best of them – whether that be willing a layup through defenders or willing a jumper in the face of a contest. That ability has thrust him into the role of being the main man for upstart Adamson and into the recognition as the fifth-best scorer in the UAAP Juniors. Make no mistake, however, the 5-foot-11 guard is not a score-first, second, and third player as he also contributes in the rebounds, assists, and steals departments for the Baby Falcons. Just like any young player, shot selection is a point for improvement for Sabandal, but the fact of the matter is, he’s already well on his way into being a dynamic scorer. TERRENCE FORTEA – Nazareth School of National University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists Looks like all Terrences have a scorer’s mentality as NU’s Fortea wants to get buckets just as much as San Miguel’s Romeo. The good news for the Bullpups is that Terrence Romeo is just one of the hopeful trajectories 18-year-old Terrence Fortea’s career can take. Like Romeo, Fortea is a sniper from deep (second-most triple total with 20) and an even better shot from the line (best free throw clip at 82.6 percent). He also has that handy floater that can frustrate defenses that close out on him. Best of all, though, the 5-foot-10 Batang Gilas stalwart is still learning the ropes on being more of a facilitator. And when he masters that, he may very well exceed his namesake. AP MANLAPAZ – Adamson High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 10.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.0 blocks, 1.3 steals While Joem Sabandal is Adamson’s go-to-guy, it’s actually little-known teammate AP Manlapaz who is in the top five of the MVP race. And with a closer look, there’s every reason for him to be there as he, put simply, stuffs the stat sheet for the Baby Falcons – averaging a points-rebounds double-double to go along with marks from assists, blocks, and steals. Safe to say, long-limbed forward Manlapaz has been anonymous before the season, but without a doubt, will only keep making noise on both ends. BISMARCK LINA – University of Sto. Tomas ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 11.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.0 assist Bismarck Lina is one of only three players to be averaging a double-double in the UAAP Juniors. As their man in the middle, the cousin of school legend Kevin Ferrer sees to it that UST does not get bullied in the interior as whether it be offense or defense, he is a threat at the rim. Most of all, the 6-foot-6 Lina, the second-best rebounder in the league, is always at the right place, at the right time to complete defensive stops or to clean up a teammates’ miss with a rebound. JORDI GOMEZ DE LIAÑO – University of the Philippines Integrated School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 11.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.0 assist Jordi is the best-shooting Gomez de Liano – or so he says. Of course, numbers do back him up as at just 15-years-old, he already has the third-best triple total in all of the UAAP Juniors. At the same time, however, the younger brother of Javi and Juan has a long ways to go as while he already stands at 6-foot-5, he is also reed thin and can get muscled through by anybody and everybody. More than that, his team is winless in the season. Nonetheless, it’s good to know that both the shooting and the confidence, both GDL trademarks, are already there – and it’s just a matter of time before Jordi grows into his body. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2019

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2018

Marian Jade Capadocia upends Christine Patrimonio, gains semis

Marian Jade Capadocia lived up to her top billing as she slammed Christine Patrimonio, 6-2, 6-1, yesterday to catch the last semifinals bus in the women’s singles of the 37th Phl Columbian Association Open at the PCA’s Plaza Dilao shell courts in Paco, Manila......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 5th, 2018

PVL: Perlas Spikers near third place repeat

BanKo inched closer to a podium finish after taking down PetroGazz, 25-14, 28-26, 10-25, 25-19, Wednesday in Game 1 of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference best-of-three battle for third at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Dzi Gervacio paced the Perlas Spikers with all but one of her 20 points coming off kills while playing superb floor defense with 18 digs and nine excellent receptions. Kathy Bersola and Nicole Tiamzon had 11 and nine markers, respectively, for BanKo, which can duplicate its Reinforced Conference third place finish with another win. “‘Yun ang sinabi namin sa mga players kasi emotional talagang medyo down ang team dahil sa nangyari sa semis pero wala nang magagawa doon, we have to move forward. Hindi talaga para sa amin, kaya itong third place pipilitin namin makuha,” said BanKo head coach Dong Dela Cruz, whose squad came off a painful Game 3 loss to Ateneo-Motolite in the Final Four.   Game 2 is on Saturday at the Batangas City Coliseum. The Perlas Spikers started out strong before facing tough resistance in the second. Tied at 24 in the second frame, Sasa Devanadera came off the bench and provided instant offense as she scored on back-to-back quick attacks to close the set. The Angels found renewed energy in the third and took advantage of BanKo’s sluggish game to save a set. But the Perlas Spikers were quick to get their bearing back to finish off PetroGazz. Paneng Mercado had 15 markers while Jonah Sabete got 12 for the Angels. Cherry Nunag and Cai Baloaloa finished with 10 markers each for PetroGazz.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 5th, 2018

PVL: Angels, Perlas Spikers start battle for third

After falling short of making it into the Finals, PetroGazz and BanKo set their eyes on the consolation prize when they meet Wednesday in Game 1 of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Action in the best-of-three series opener begins at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream.  The Angels and Perlas Spikers split their elimination round head-to-head and are coming off contrasting but equally painful defeats in the Final Four. PetroGazz got swept by the title-favorites Creamline Cool Smashers in their best-of-three semis showdown last week. BanKo went a win closer for a breakthrough Finals appearance after taking Game 1 of their Final Four series against Ateneo-Motolite, but the Lady Eagles were quick to recover and knotted the series in Game 2. A night after a stinging loss, the Perlas Spikers went ahead 2-0 in the match and moved just a point away from advancing in the Finals in the fourth set but a costly miscue gave Ateneo-Motolite a chance to force a decider. BanKo had six match point advantages in the fifth frame but another miscue doomed their chance of making it in the title round as the young and energetic Lady Eagles left them in shock with a panful upset.          Both teams’ character will be tested as they battle it out for a podium finish in the season-ending conference. Game 2 of the series is on Saturday at the Batangas City Coliseum.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 4th, 2018

PVL: It will be a hard series -- Almadro

Ateneo-Motolite head coach Oliver Almadro expects nothing but an all-out war when the young and energetic Lady Eagles march into battle against veteran-laden, powerhouse team Creamline Wednesday in Game 1 of the best-of-three Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. "The Finals series will be tough for us. We are a collegiate team learning towards the UAAP. It will be hard series," said Almadro, whose wards collide with the Cool Smashers at 6:00 p.m. in the match that will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream.  The Lady Eagles took then long route to advance into the Finals, needing to complete a comeback from a 0-1 semis series deficit against seasoned but luckless BanKo. Ateneo-Motolite dropped a five-set series opener before shocking the Perlas Spikers with a dominating sweep in Game 2 last Saturday to force a decider. Just a night after their big win, the Lady Eagles went down to a 0-2 match hole before recovering in the third. Ateneo-Motolite survived an extended fourth set and needed to save six match points in the decider to punch the last championship seat ticket. Almadro said that his team, which he considers as a ‘guest team’ in the season-ending conference for clubs has already overachieved with a Finals stint. The mentor knows that they are facing a tough team composed of established stars in Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza, Michele Gumabao, Pau Soriano, a very skilled setter in Jia Morado and libero Mel Gohing, but he wants to treat this series as a learning experience for his team.      "We are just happy that we are here and we will give our best. Creamline is a very disciplined and experienced team. So we will learn from them," said Almadro, who will lean on solid middle blockers Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon, hitter Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston, playmaker Deanna Wong and rookie Vanessa Gandler. The two teams split their series head-to-head with Creamline sweeping the undermanned Ateneo-Motolite, which played without Gaston, Madayag and Tolentino because of academic requirements, in the first round. The Lady Eagles were able to get payback in the second round in Batangas in five sets with the Cool Smashers missing the services of Risa Sato. Game 2 of the series is on Saturday at Batangas City Coliseum while Game 3, if needed, is at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Sunday.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 4th, 2018