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Category: lifestyleSource: abscbn abscbnAug 14th, 2019

PVL: Watch Manilla Santos-Ng’s last UAAP match 10 years ago

Former De La Salle University star Manilla Santos-Ng will make a comeback to competitive volleyball a decade since leading the Lady Spikers to the UAAP throne back in 2009. Known for her amazing elevation despite standing only 5-foot-4 and power as well as for her solid floor defense, Santos-Ng made a name for herself during her heydays with the green and white. One could just imagine the impact she could’ve made if she continued to play in the semi-professional league. Santos-Ng, instead, chose a different path after claiming her fourth UAAP title in Season 71 coupled by bagging the Most Valuable Player award in her swan song. DLSU retired Santos-Ng's jersey no. 14 as an appreciation for contribution to the school.  Here’s a look at her last performance in the UAAP in Game 3 of the Finals against the then Rachel Anne Daquis-led defending champion Far Eastern University. But fans will once again see Santos-Ng in action as she makes her comeback with newcomer ChocoMucho alongside this generation’s notable names in Bea De Leon, Kat Tolentino and Maddie Madayag in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference. The Flying Titans will take on BaliPure on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in their debut match that will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 13th, 2019

PVL: Five teams to debut in Open Conference; Collegiate Conference begins

Five clubs will make their respective debuts in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference this week while action in the Collegiate Conference gets underway with 12 teams vying for the crown. Newcomer ChocoMucho bannered by the trio of former Ateneo de Manila University stars Maddie Madayag, Kat Tolentino and Bea De Leon along with legendary Manilla Santos-Ng gets an early acid test on Wednesday against another debuting team BaliPure. All eyes will be fixed on four-time UAAP champion and Season 71 Most Valuable Player Santos-Ng in her return to competitive volleyball after a decade when the Flying Titans march into battle at 2:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The loaded Wednesday match will also feature the opening game of Motolite against defending champion Creamline while BanKo takes on PacificTown Army in a rematch of the Reinforced Conference battle for third won by the Lady Troopers. The Cool Smashers and Perlas Spikers opened their respective campaigns with victories over Air Force and PetroGazz, respectively. Both games will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. On Saturday, another newcomer Chef’s Classics will make its first appearance in the tournament in a clash with Motolite at 4:00 p.m. while Air Force hopes to bounce back against BanKo at 6:00 p.m.. Both games will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. Reinforced Conference champion PetroGazz seeks to rebound from its opening-day loss as the Angels square off with BaliPure at 4:00 p.m. The game will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. Chef’s Classics lock horns with Creamline at 6:00 p.m. in a match that will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The much-awaited sneak peek of college teams opens on Saturday. College of St. Benilde clashes with Far Eastern University at 8:00 a.m. followed by reigning UAAP champion Ateneo’s crack at Letran at 10:00 a.m. San Beda University and Adamson will meet at 12:00 noon On Sunday, University of Sto. Tomas opens up the triple-header against Lyceum of the Philippines University followed by NCAA three-peat champion Arellano University’s battle with Technological Institute of the Philippines and the San Sebastian College-University of Perpetual Help match at 12:00 noon. The 12 noon games are available via iWant and livestream.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 13th, 2019

UAAP 81 Volleyball: Alam niya na kaya ko - Ateneo s Deanna Wong on being seen as a leader by Jia Morado

Fourth-year setter Deanna Wong was no doubt an instrumental part in Ateneo de Manila University's UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball title run.  Wong and the Lady Eagles bested University of Santo Tomas in three matches to regain the women's title that the program last held back in UAAP Season 77. Part of that Season 77 championship team was none other than Jia Morado, who served as a mentor to Wong during her first two years with the Lady Eagles. Now, both Wong and Morado share the distinction of being the primary setters on an Ateneo championship team. [RELATED: Everything was worth the wait for Deanna Wong] Looking forward to next season, Morado has already pegged Wong as the leader of the Lady Eagles, especially with the departure of seniors such as of Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag, and Kim Gequillana.  “If you can lead them well, man them well, marami pa ring good weapons si Deanna kasi malalakas ‘yung mga batang papasok next year. So all she has to do is be able to lead them," Morado said in an interview with ABS-CBN Sports.  Wong, for her part, sees Morado's endorsement as a challenge to step up and as a sign of confidence in her abilities.  "What I can say is that she’s just challenging me to become a leader more pa, kasi alam niya na kaya ko, so that’s me taking on that challenge," Wong told ABS-CBN Sports. "We’ll just see na lang what happens." Wong, who will be a graduating senior come UAAP Season 82, knows full well what being the leader of a defending champion team entails, and she knows just what she has to work on.  "I think I need to improve on being more responsible pa, ‘cause I think that’s what a leader has to have and also yung pagiging disciplined din," Wong explained, adding that it was responsibility and leadership that helped the Lady Eagles return to the pinnacle of UAAP women's volleyball.  "That’s what we did to be able to get this championship, it’s that characteristic." .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Final Four: It’s a test of character -- Ateneo s Almadro

Even after dominating Far Eastern University in the elimination round and earning a twice-to-beat advantage in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Final Four, Ateneo de Manila University is not taking the Lady Tamaraws lightly. For head coach Oliver Almadro, FEU remains a big threat in the Lady Eagles’ desire to return to the championship round after seeing their six-year Finals stint snapped last year against the same opponent.      Saturday’s semifinals match will be a litmus test for the Lady Eagles, who are looking to return the favor to their last season’s semis tormentors. “It’s a test of character for the team,” said Almadro, who replaced Thai mentor Tai Bundit. Ateneo took the no. 1 seed after closing the elims with a 12-2 win-loss record – those two defeats coming at the hands of three-time defending champion De La Salle University – and set up a third straight Final Four date with the Lady Tamaraws. “Last year, sila ang magkatapat sa semis. It’s time to show our character. We have a chance to show our real character. We have to work hard and play hard to be back in the Finals,” said Almadro, who before taking over the Lady Eagles’ coaching duty brought the Blue Eagles to five straight championship appearance laced with a three-peat.   With a line-up led by graduating players in Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag out to bring the glory back to Katipunan in their swan songs, and solid support coming from Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston and setter Deanna Wong, the Lady Eagles are primed to make it to the Finals. Add their elims sweep of the Lady Tams and semis advantage, the odds are in favor of Ateneo. But Almdaro is not discounting FEU, besides, the core of last year’s runner-up Lady Tams remains intact. “FEU is really a good team considering ‘yung winning tradition nila,” he said. “We have to respect them. We acknowledge what they can do.” Ateneo may have the numbers of FEU in their first two meetings, but the semis is a different story.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2019

PVL: Flying Titans eye return to win column

ChocoMucho tries to rebound from a stinging setback as it tangles with struggling newcomer Chef’s Classics on Saturday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Flying Titans opened their campaign on a winning note only to be shot down by PacificTown Army on Wednesday in a record-setting match that saw ChocoMucho walk away with a disappointing result. Licking its wounds that came off a 41-39, 25-19, 19-25, 20-25, 12-15, loss at the hands of the Lady Troopers, ChocoMucho wants to bounce back big time in its 4:00 p.m. assignment. The match will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream.       Kat Tolentino and Maddie Madayag, who scored 23 and 15 points, respectively, the last time out, are expected to deliver their usual numbers with Bang Pineda, Arianna Angustia, Shannen Palec and Cindy Imbo as back up for the Flying Titans. Bea De Leon’s availability to suit up remains a game time decision after missing the squad’s first two games to rest her sore muscles. The Red Spikers have yet to win a game in their maiden stint in the league after absorbing a heavy beating at the hands of Motolite and defending champion Creamline last week in their back-to-back weekend schedule.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News10 hr. 45 min. ago

PVL: Flying Titans make good impression in debut

ChocoMucho made its presence felt with an explosive debut on Wednesday after crushing BaliPure, 25-12, 25-18, 25-18, in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Flying Titans played sans Bea De Leon, who was rested by head coach Oliver Almadro, but showed no signs of slowing down with their deep arsenal flexing their muscle to dominate the Water Defenders. Kat Tolentino, Bang Pineda and Maddie Madayag showed the way for ChocoMucho, which came back from four points down in the second frame. Tolentino finished with 14 points off 10 spikes, two kill blocks and two aces with 10 digs for an all-around performance for the Flying Titans, who landed 10 aces. Madayag had 11 markers while Pineda scored eight with four excellent receptions for ChocoMucho. Acy Masangkay tallied 18 excellent sets to help the Flying Titans hammer 33 kills. Legendary Manilla Santos-Ng made her return to competitive volleyball midway in the opening set with the Flying Titans up 15-8. Santos-Ng subbed in for Shang Berte and immediately made an impact as ChocoMucho blasted a 6-0 spurt capped by an ace by the former De La Salle University star, who last played in the UAAP Season 71 back in 2009 where she also won her fourth title and the Most Valuable Player award in her swan song. The Flying Titans went behind, 9-13, in the second set before mounting a rally to tie the frame at 13 off a Madayag kill block on Grazielle Bombita. Pineda gave ChocoMucho the lead as the Flying Titans regained their bearing to control the frame. BaliPure showed signs of resistance in the third but were easily repulsed by ChocoMucho, which got a chance to field in its bench. "We’re happy na we won on our first game. Sabi ko nga sa kanila kanin sa huddle, normally people will say first game jitters, but sabi ko sa kanila, ‘Mawawala yun if you play maturely. So we really have to play maturely and we really have to stick together and be one,’" said Almadro.   The Water Defenders bowed down in their first game in  the tournament and absorbed their 11th straight overall since an empty trip in the Reinforced Conference. No BaliPure player finished in double figures with Menchie Tubiera and Bombita scoring nine each.   ---     Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 14th, 2019

PVL: Flying Titans begin Open Conference quest

All eyes are on ChocoMucho when the much-hyped about newcomer charges into its first battle in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference against BaliPure on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Game time is at 2:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The Flying Titans are considered to be one of the teams to watch in the season-ending conference after making noise with their composition. ChocoMucho parades a very competitive lineup with the trio of Bea De Leon, Kat Tolentino and Maddie Madayag but what made the Flying Titans more interesting is the inclusion of De La Salle University legend Manilla Santos-Ng. Santos-Ng is making a comeback since her last competitive volleyball stint 10 years ago when she led the Lady Spikers to the UAAP Season 71 throne during her swan song. Santos-Ng also won the Most Valuable Player award that season. But the Oliver Alamdro-mentored squad has yet to prove that they are as good as advertised. And the Water Defenders are no pushovers. Though BaliPure finished the Reinforced Conference winless, the Water Defenders gained the much-needed experience in the import-laden tournament. Back for BaliPure are power-hitters Grazielle Bombita, Sandra Delos Santos, Menchie Tubiera, setter Vira Guillema and Satrianni Espiritu.     ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 13th, 2019

PVL: Manilla Santos makes comeback as a Flying Titan

Newcomer ChocoMucho made a recruitment coup after tapping legendary Manilla Santos-Ng to add more depth to an already promising Flying Titans roster for the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference. A decade after leading De La Salle University to the UAAP throne, Santos-Ng is making a return to competitive volleyball, beefing up the Oliver Almadro-mentored ChocoMucho bannered by former Ateneo de Manila standouts Kat Tolentino, Bea de Leon and Maddie Madayag. A giant in volleyball proudly walks among the Titans! ???????? #ChocoMucho #FlyingTitans #TitanPride pic.twitter.com/itzXoVzclO — Choco Mucho Flying Titans (@CMFlyingTitans) August 3, 2019 The Flying Titans announced the signing of Santos-Ng through their Twitter account on Saturday. It's OFFICIAL! The legendary Manilla "Illa" Santos-Ng proudly stands with the Choco Mucho Flying Titans in the Premier Volleyball League! ???????? #ChocoMucho #FlyingTitans #TitanPride pic.twitter.com/Mv0oKVRHey — Choco Mucho Flying Titans (@CMFlyingTitans) August 3, 2019 Talks of Santos-Ng’s comeback circulated as early this year with the former Queen Lady Spiker practicing with ChocoMucho’s sister-team Creamline.       [Related story: Look Manilla Santos trains with Creamline] The high-flying, power-hitting five-foot-5 Santos-Ng led DLSU back into the UAAP throne in Season 71 where she also bagged the Best Receiver and Finals Most Valuable Player award.  La Salle retired Santos' number 14 jersey. The season-ending conference opens on August 11.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2019

PVL: Newcomer Flying Titans out to soar high

Newcomer ChocoMucho will be packing a lot of energy and passion into every game come its debut in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference on August 11. “Our edge will be our passion. Our edge will be our energy. Our edge will be our intensity,” said head coach Oliver Almadro on Thursday night in the official team launch of the Flying Titans at the Joy-Nostalg Hotel in Pasig City. ChocoMucho is one of the three new teams in the league alongside Air Force and Chef Classic, and will join reigning Reinforced Conference champion PetroGazz, sister-team Creamline, PacificTown Army, BanKo, Motolite and BaliPure. Bannering the purple-clad Flying Titans, the second Rebisco squad in the PVL after two-time champion Creamline, will be former Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles Kat Tolentino, Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag. The ‘Big 3’ will be backed by a solid crew of young and veteran players in another former Lady Eagle in Kim Gequillana, University of Perpetual Help’s Cindy Imbo, setter Acy Masangkay, Carla Sandoval and Dianne Ticar. Also beefing up the squad are the core of the defunct United Volleyball Club led by Shang Berte, Bang Pineda, Arianna Angustia, Gyra Barroga, Dancel Dusaran, Shannen Palec and Erika Alkuino               “You know how Maddie plays, how Kat plays, how Bang Pineda plays. They're really up to the challenge,” said Almadro. “Every practice, I see what they're doing. Expect that these players will live up to expectations and we'll really be Titans during the games,” he vowed. The team started practicing together last July 1.   “It's not yet that long, but of course, most of the players are coming from my system in Ateneo and Bang Pineda is not new to me. Naging player ko na siya before sa isang club team in V-League also, Kia nung may Kia pa,” Almadro said. “Even though we are just two months here, I'm sure that we will be playing our best. We will be better than our best.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2019

PVL: No sibling rivalry between Creamline, ChocoMucho

ChocoMucho head coach Oliver Almadro is downplaying the angle of sibling rivalry with sister-team Creamline in the Flying Titans’ entry in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference starting August 11. "There will not be a sibling rivalry because we are sister-teams but, of course, we will play hard,” said Almadro on Thursday in the official launch of the Flying Titans at the Joy-Nostalg Hotel in Pasig City. However, Almadro added that come game time, ChocoMucho, albeit being a newcomer in the league, won’t back down from any team even if it’s against two-time champion Creamline.   “We will be better than our best every day in every training and every match. Expect that come game time, it will be war,” Almadro vowed. “Titans eh, we'll be true to our name. We will be as passionate as ever pagdating sa games.” Bannering the Flying Titans are former Ateneo de Manila University stalwarts Kat Tolentino, Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag. The ‘Big 3’ will be backed by a solid crew of young and veteran players in another former Lady Eagle in Kim Gequillana, University of Perpetual Help’s Cindy Imbo, setter Acy Masangkay, Carla Sandoval and Dianne Ticar. Also beefing up the squad are the core of the defunct United Volleyball Club led by Shang Berte, Bang Pineda, Arianna Angustia, Gyra Barroga, Dancel Dusaran, Shannen Palec and Erika Alkuino. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2019

Team Lakay s Gina Iniong and Joshua Pacio: Two paths, one goal

Lakay. It is the Ilocano word for old man.   But when you go up to Baguio, it has an altogether different meaning. You cannot miss that word when you drive down Benguet road, on a nifty sign attached to a normal-looking office building: Team Lakay.   The home of the best Philippine mixed martial arts team in history. Almost all of the big names local fight fans have come to cheer and love as our modern-day heroes trace their roots to the relatively small, packed training room down Benguet road, where mats are soaked with the sweat of the fighters.   Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Geje Eustaquio, Honorio Banario, Rey Docyogen, Roldan Sangcha-an, and Mark Eddiva are all hallowed names in the annals of Philippine mixed martial arts, disciples of Mark “The Machine” Sangiao, who established, and groomed Team Lakay to the fearsome fighting factory that it is today.   While all the names above have ensconced themselves on pedestals, Team Lakay’s pipeline includes two more who have been fighting for recognition in recent fights: lone female fighter Gina Iniong, and ONE’s current Strawweight lynchpin and youngest champion, Joshua Pacio.   Both fighters may have started their professional fighting careers for different reasons, but Iniong and Pacio still have a lot to offer and prove for mixed martial arts in the country and in the international stage, such as being prominent fighters in the prestigious cage of ONE Championship.   CHANCE OF A LIFETIME   Gina, the first female Filipino mixed martial artist to fight and win abroad, started boxing back in high school as part of her after-school activities. When she was about to graduate, she actively sought scholarships in order to finish her education. One such opportunity presented itself in the form of an athletic scholarship, concentrating on the martial art of Wushu, which has a huge following in her hometown of Baguio City, with the University of the Cordilleras having a team of its own.   “Our former boxing coach, who was a former student of Coach Mark (Sangiao), approached me one day, telling me to join the upcoming wushu competition then for the college scholarship. So I joined it, and took a chance,” Iniong shared, recounting how she got into the world of combat sports as a young lady.   However, it was too good to be true, as she had to hurdle quite a huge problem if she wants that scholarship: a fight record. Sangiao told the young Iniong it would be difficult to get her a scholarship if she does not have a record to show in active combat in Wushu.   “I was lucky because there was a Wushu National Games here in Manila and we immediately went down and made our way there. Thankfully, I got the gold after the competition, and that paved the way for my scholarship,” said Iniong.   From there, the “Conviction” was born. After competing in numerous Wushu tournaments, Iniong finally caught the eye of Sangiao, who decided to take her under his wings and train her to be his female version inside the MMA cage.   After debuting in the Universal Reality Combat Championship in 2010, Iniong hasn’t looked back in the 12 bouts she has figured in, compiling a professional record of 8-4.  As the lone female representative of the most-successful mixed martial arts team in the Philippines, she has displayed that trademark fearsome striking prowess of fighters coming from the Lakay camp.   When asked about the fact that she is one of the only five Filipinas making the country proud inside the ONE cage, the 29-year old’s face lit up, in disbelief, in honor, in humility, for she cannot believe it herself.   “I’m very proud, and humbled, of the fact that I am the lone female fighter representing Team Lakay in ONE Championship. Many very skilled female fighters dream of being part of ONE Championship, and fight under Team Lakay, yet I am the one that Coach Mark has seen with the most potential to carry the flag inside the cage,” she said.   However, what drives Gina to fight, and it has been a well-known fact, is her mother, diagnosed with a stage 5 chronic kidney disease. In her fight against Jihin Radzuan last February, Iniong dedicated the fight to her mother, who to this day, is scared of seeing her daughter mix it up in the ring.   “To this day, she hasn’t watched me fight live, not even on TV because she is quite the nervous person, and she would only watch if she knew I won, during replays. She is very unlike my dad, who has fully supported my life as an athlete, after being a boxer himself in his younger days,” she shared.   CHALLENGE ACCEPTED   Joshua “The Passion” Pacio never intended to make mixed martial arts fighting a career growing up. The 23-year old fighter deemed it impossible back then, to reach a stage as huge as ONE Championship, due to the excellence of the fighters that he used to watch with his uncle through videos.   Add to the fact that Pacio was overweight. Obese, specifically. It made it all the more difficult for the kid to follow his dream and passion to be a fighter.   It all changed when his uncle started training him in Muay Thai, the art of the eight limbs that originated from Thailand, and considered one of the deadliest forms of combat striking. It started out as training just for fitness, but as if seeing a tiny ray of light in a dark tunnel, Pacio wanted more.   “At first, it was only for fitness, with my uncle training me, and watching videos of various MMA fights, which really inspired me to push myself harder. I really wanted to test myself, compete with the best, and it all seemed impossible when I was out of shape. My uncle really pushed me starting with Muay Thai. I started competing a few months after that, but I suffered defeat after defeat in amateur competitions. I questioned myself why I still trained afterwards. But at the same time, that’s when I realized that this is really my passion, that even if I lost my last fight,” shared the ONE Championship Strawweight king, who has not looked back since then.   “The goal for me has ever been to prove to myself that I have improved in skills, and be the best fighter I can be,” Pacio added.   He made his ONE debut three years ago, finally fulfilling his lifelong dream of professional mixed martial arts, facing a more experienced Filipino fighter in Robin Catalan at the age of 20, one of the youngest to enter ONE’s cage.   “Before I got to represent Team Lakay in ONE Championship, the roster spot was actually up for grabs. Fighters of the team figured in a Team Lakay Championship, a grand-prix style tournament within the team, for the ONE Championship contract. I fought twice victoriously in one night to get it. Two weeks later, with a ONE Championship event in Manila, that’s when I found out I am making my professional debut,” said an astounded Pacio.   Everything about the man they call “The Passion” has been hard earned. He finally tasted gold last 2018 when he decisioned the famed Yoshitaka Naito, a Japanese ground and wrestling master that forced Pacio to tap via a rear-naked choke when they first met. Facing, and losing to Naito, according to Pacio, was a revelation that he has to improve his overall skills, especially his ground game in order to play with the big boys of the cage.   Striking will definitely get you somewhere, as is with Pacio’s base as a martial artist, but one has to have more tricks up his sleeve when they aspire for the pinnacle of the competition. Joshua came back with a vengeance in 2018 to show “Nobita” that “The Passion” is no longer the young kid who will be submitted easily.   However, 2019 did not start of great for Pacio and Team Lakay, after he lost the belt in January to Naito’s contemporary in Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta in a questionable split decision. But that did not deter the young man, who has made it his personal goal to continue improving and treat each loss as a lesson, in ONE Championship’s “Roots of Honor” fight card, where he faced Saruta once more.   This time, in front of a racous Filipino crowd inside the Mall of Asia Arena, Pacio did not let the judges’ cards decide as he detonated a right knee to the side of Saruta’s head late in the fourth round to reclaim his throne. The dreaded Team Lakay striking power knocked the lights out from the Japanese fighter as Baguio’s young lion let out a furious roar to celebrate his redemption.   TWO PATHS, ONE GOAL   One did it for education, the other for health. Nowadays, however, MMA means more to Iniong and Pacio than just a stepping stone to something else. It is their passion, their advocacy, their bread and butter.   They continue to grind each day, waiting for another opportunity to show what they got and get the win, not just for personal glory, but also for the country and their family.   Inspired by her ailing mother, the “Conviction” promises to keep her current winning streak up despite being up against a formidable foe in her next match. After tasting defeat from Brazilian Istela Nunes, Iniong bounced back with a split decision over Radzuan last February to get herself back on track. Right now, Gina has one thing in mind with their goal: chase that ONE Women’s Atomweight division title, currently held by Angela Lee, and become the Philippines’ very first female ONE world champion.   However, Iniong acknowledges that the path towards the gold may not be easy, as she is currently eyeing a rematch with Japanese tormentor Mei Yamaguchi, the number one-ranked Atomweight fighter whom she has fought with twice, in order to settle who the rightful challenger to Lee’s belt is.   “Everyone has gotten belts. My big brothers in the team have tasted championship. I felt jealous because I do not have a belt, and lost my fight that would have given me a title shot. This time, I will make sure that I will do my best to secure a title fight,” rued Iniong in a previous interview with ONE Championship prior to fighting Radzuan.   While Iniong wants hit paydirt, it’s all about keeping the belt on his waist for Pacio, the reigning ONE Strawweight champion. His most probable foe is his nemesis Yoshitaka Naito who he does not have a problem with facing for the third time.   “I really want to prove I am the champion, and if it’s by facing him (Naito), so be it. I also want to prove that I have greatly improved as well from the last time we fought,” he shared.   While Iniong and Pacio await their next fighting assignment, their teammates are in the thick of training for the upcoming “Dawn of Heroes” megafight card happening on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena. It features Team Lakay members, led by Edward “Landslide” Folayang, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, and Danny “The King” Kingad, who will face the best of the world as represented by Eddie Alvarez, Reece McLaren, and Yuya Wakamatsu.   The entire country will be cheering on them as the whole world watches. And maybe somehow, somewhere there will be new blood encouraged and inspired by them to take on the challenge of continuing the legacy of the nation’s best fighting team alongside Iniong and Pacio.   After all, Sangiao did not establish Team Lakay just to be some Bagiuo-based fitness gym down Benguet road. He made Team Lakay to provide a home, a family, for young Filipinos who have the heart to fight for their dream, their family, and the country.     Watch “ONE: Dawn of Heroes” on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena, to be broadcast LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A and S+A HD with livestreaming on iWant for all the Pinoy fight fans to see. For more stories and news one ONE Championship, follow @ABSCBNSports on Twitter and Facebook or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit www.abs-cbn.com/newsroom......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2019

Kawhi Leonard: 10 things to know

NBA.com staff report Kawhi Leonard has quickly risen from unheralded prospect to global superstar during his eight-year NBA career. With his highly anticipated free agent decision made, here are 10 things to know about the two-time Finals MVP. * * * Raised In California: Kawhi Anthony Leonard was born on June 29, 1991, in Los Angeles, California. He was the youngest of five children with four older sisters. During his freshman year of high school, his mother was out of town for work during his team's basketball tryouts so he missed the session. He played football instead that season and didn't start playing basketball at Canyon Springs High School until his sophomore year. Mr. Basketball: He played his next two seasons at Riverside King, where he went on to win California's Mr. Basketball during his senior year. After the tragic death of his father in 2008, he scored 17 points the next night and broke down in his mother's arms after the game. "Basketball is my life, and I wanted to go out there and take my mind off it," he said postgame. Aztec Legend: Kawhi took his talents to nearby San Diego State University for his collegiate career. He was dominant in college, especially on defense, as he led the Aztecs to back-to-back Mountain West Conference tournament championships. His team reached the Sweet 16 before being eliminated by eventual NCAA Tournament champion UConn during his sophomore season. After the tournament, Kawhi declared his intention to enter the 2011 NBA Draft. Draft Night Deal: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called the decision to trade for Kawhi on Draft night the "toughest" decision he had to make during his 20-plus seasons in San Antonio. The decision was difficult because the Spurs had to part ways with valued young guard George Hill in the deal with the Indiana Pacers. But the move paid off for San Antonio as Kawhi quickly adjusted to the NBA game and showed flashes of star potential. He finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting and earned a spot on the 2012 All-Rookie First Team. Mr. Economical: Despite his early success, Kawhi didn't let his first NBA paychecks steer him away from his frugal ways. During his first few seasons in the NBA, he continued to drive the same Chevy Malibu he drove in college. "It's paid off," he said in 2004. "I don't have a car note on it. It's good on gas. It's a good commuter car if you don't want to drive your luxury car." His friends and family eventually convinced him to buy a Porsche, which he would only drive on gamedays. Daily Grind: Kawhi quickly earned a reputation in San Antonio for his work ethic as he trained alongside legendary Spurs players Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. Longtime Spurs assistant coach Chip Engelland helped Kawhi perfect his shooting form by having him study the forms of Kobe Bryant and Richard Jefferson. Breakthrough Moment: The hard work paid off for Kawhi as he continued to blossom on the title-contending Spurs. After losing to the Miami Heat in seven games during the 2013 Finals, the Spurs returned to The Finals in 2014 and avenged their defeat with a 4-1 series win over Miami. Kawhi was key for San Antonio with averages of 17.8 points on 61.2 percent shooting, 6.4 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks. At age 22, Kawhi became the third youngest player in NBA history to win Finals MVP and the youngest since Magic Johnson in 1980. Out Of The Spotlight: His rise to fame during the 2014 Finals didn't change his day-to-day mindset. According to Engelland in 2017, "He hasn’t been tricked by any of the NBA glamour or bright lights, big city. A lot of smart, great players have been. You get lost and forget the process, forget why you began to play. With him, it’s like, ‘What’d you do last night?’ ‘Watched a little TV. I was with friends. My mom cooked dinner.’ Those are very common nights for him.” Derailed By Injury: The two-time Defensive Player of the Year enjoyed a relatively injury-free start to his career with the Spurs. But everything changed when he re-aggravated an ankle injury during Game 1 of the 2017 West finals. The injury, and subsequent recovery, forced Kawhi to miss the remainder of the series and all but 9 games during 2017-18. After the season, Kawhi expressed his desire to be traded by the Spurs. He was dealt to the Toronto Raptors on July 18, 2018. Legendary Company: It was a storybook season for Kawhi and the Raptors as he led Toronto to their first NBA championship in franchise history. Kawhi was unstoppable throughout the playoffs with clutch play after play, including an instantly iconic series-winner in the East semifinals. He joined LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in NBA history to win Finals MVP with two different teams......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2019

Wong, Madayag unavailable for U-23 Thailand stint

National women’s Under-23 volleyball team head coach Kungfu Reyes remains upbeat with the squad he has for the 2019 Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championships despite missing some familiar names. “Meron tayong collegiate, meron tayong high school,” said Reyes. “Sila ‘yung mga available for now so sila yung ipapadala namin sa Thailand so doon yung composition which is manggagaling rin ng tryout.” Reyes selected 14 players from the national pool for the July 4 to 10 tournament but the likes of team captain Isa Molde and Ateneo de Manila players Deanna Wong and Maddie Madayag are unavailable because of various reasons.      “Supposedly, sila Deanna Wong, um-okay na kaso naka-cast na siya e. So meron siyang ite-therapy sa shin niya ata ‘yun o kung ano mang injury niya, hindi pwede pero gusto ng bata,” said Reyes referring to the Lady Eagles playmaker. “Now, we talked to Ateneo, okay naman sila, problema lang talaga, hindi lang natin pwedeng i-sacrifice yung health ng mga taong gusto natin,” he added. Madayag, according to Reyes, expressed her intention to join but has been out of action for almost two months after helping Ateneo capture the UAAP Season 81 title.     “So ‘yung willingness nila Maddie, gusto nila maglaro. Problema naman, siyempre coming from UAAP, hindi rin fit to play dahil wala ng ensayo. So yung mga ganung gestures, maganda pa rin yung indication,” said Reyes. Molde, for her part, and teammates Tots Carlos and Marist Layug are unavailable because of their commitment with their club team Motolite in the Premier Volleyball League. “Talagang yung availability ng player ang problema as of now, with the club team,” Reyes said. Celine Domingo will skipper the squad composed of University of Sto. Tomas players Mafe Galanza, Kecelyn Galdones, Ysa Jimenez, setter Maji Mangulabnan, Rachelle Roldan, Imee Hernandez, and Janna Torres. Rossie Rosier and Jewel Encarnacion of University of the Philippines, FEU’s Ivanna Agudo and Lyann De Guzman, Justine Jazareno of De La Salle University and UAAP Season 81 high school Most Valuable Player Angel Canino of De La Salle-Zobel complete the very young lineup.   “Pero again, ito ‘yung mga program natin sa grass roots, siyempre anong iaangat mo dito, manalo ka dito, may talunin ka dito, magiging proud tayo in a way,” said Reyes. “Pero yung exposure outside Metro Manila o outside Philippines, malaking bagay para in the future. Sabi ko nga, in five years’ time, ito na yung papalit para sa National team natin.”  Part of the pool that are unavailable are Eya Laure of UST, Jessma Ramos of UP, Judith Abil and Mary Ann Mendrez of University of the East, FEU’s Buding Duremdes, Lycha Ebon and Jeanette Villareal, Alleiah Malaluan of De La Salle-Zobel, Faith Nisperos of Ateneo, FEU high school player Alexis Miner.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 26th, 2019

Blue Eagles flying to Greece, Singapore, Australia for UAAP 82 preps

With the 2019 PBA D-League championship all wrapped up and headed to Katipunan, Ateneo de Manila University can now set its sights on its title defense for the upcoming UAAP 82.  For that, the Blue Eagles will finally get to leave their nest and get themselves some overseas training. "We're leaving next week and we'll have a training camp in Greece. That'll be pretty brutal to be honest," head coach Tab Baldwin told reporters not even half an hour after they hoisted their trophy in the developmental league, Tuesday at Ynares Center in Pasig.  He then continued, "Then we'll go to Singapore and play against the Singaproe national team before heading down to Australia. We have a few games in Perth and also in Melbourne."  This is the second year in a row that Ateneo will be flying to Greece in preparation for its title defense. Obviously, the last time they did so worked wonders as they won back-to-back championships.  More than that, though, it's the bond between his boys that coach Tab wants to see get better. As he put it, "It's a great experience, I think, for the boys to understand the difficulties that long tours represent. They got to be away from home and get to bond together as a team."  He then continued, "That's where we learn to help each other through everything that we face. And you know, that's a lot when you go on tour."  Along with that, the overseas training will also be the ideal time for the Blue Eagles' coaching staff to see who are more than capable to fill out the rest of their roster – as two spots were vacated by graduated Anton Asistio and Aaron Black who is now starring in the MPBL and two more may be left open by Raffy Verano and Jolo Mendoza who are both dealing with academic deficiencies.  With that in mind, the two-time collegiate champion coach mentioned former NCAA Jrs. MVP Troy Mallillin, former UAAP Jrs. Champion Jason Credo, and Filipino-Kiwi forward Patrick Maagdenberg as Team B players who will be going along to Greece, Singapore, and Australia.  Coach Tab also said that new recruits Dwight and Eli Ramos will also be joining them there. Dwight had been a 23 for 23 Gilas Pilipinas cadet, but will still have to undergo one year of residency while Eli, who most recently opened eyes with FilAm Sport USA in the 2019 NBTC, will be good to go right away.  Still, no roster spot is assured as Ateneo gets down and dirty in preparation for another title defense. "We've had to expand the pool a little bit so we'll take those guys overseas. There, we'll let them fight it out," their brilliant tactician said.  ---  Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2019

NEXT IN LINE? Yeng Guiao sees Kiefer Ravena as a successor to elite Filipino point guards

The Philippine Men’s National Basketball Program has seen a number of elite playmakers during its time, and in recent memory and in recent memory, the likes of Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro are top of mind. Alapag helped lead the Philippines to their first FIBA World Cup berth in 2014, and starred in a number of big-time moments for the tri-colors Like Alapag, Castro has also excelled in international play and is widely regarded as Asia’s Best Point Guard. But as the Philippines gears up for another FIBA World Cup appearance this year, the program has seemingly lost the services of their chief playmaker, with Castro begging off from National Team duty to focus on his family. With the 2019 FIBA World Cup just around the corner, Gilas is now searching for their next floor general, and while Castro and his presence is undeniably irreplaceable, head coach Yeng Guiao believes that there is enough new blood that can help fill the void. “Wide open yan talaga, they have to earn that spot,” Guiao told ABS-CBN Sports, referring to Gilas' starting point guard spot.  While there is indeed a talented crop of point guards in the Philippines, Guiao has pinpointed Kiefer Ravena as a strong candidate, but maintains that it is still something that he needs to earn. “Although of course, Kiefer is a high likelihood that he’s going to be in the regular team, earning the number one spot is a different case. He has to fight it out with Paul, with Mark Barocca, even with the new guys, hindi natin alam kung ano ipapakita niyan.” Ravena rejoined National Team practice Monday evening after sitting out for nearly a year and a half due to a FIBA-imposed suspension. The suspension will be lifted on August 24th, a week before the start of the FIBA tournament. Guiao is confident that Ravena and the other Gilas hopefuls can step into the role that Castro has given up. “Tapos na ng suspension niya by August 24 eh, so ang calculation ko is yung spot ni Jayson, as much as we will miss him, as much as he has contributed a lot to the cause of the National Team, these are able guys, Kiefer particularly, who will show their true worth in the absence of Jayson. Kahit na malaki yung void na naiwan, I think these young guards coming in, especially Kiefer, are going to be able to fill it out.” The veteran mentor even believes that Ravena has what it takes to follow in the footsteps of other elite Filipino point guards such as Alapag, Castro and the ones that have come before. “For sure. I have no doubt, he is going to be the successor to those guys.” “Number one, he is smart. He has a very high basketball IQ. Number two, he has leadership qualities, yung nakikinig sa kanya yung mga kasama niya, as young as he is, he is relatively young, nakikinig sa kanya pati yung mga beterano. Number three, he has the physical tools,” Guiao explained. “I would have wanted him to be two or three inches taller, pero kahit na hindi, I think he has the tools to play that position as well, and I think he is as big or a littler taller than Jayson, so wala tayong problema sa physical tools niya.“ Apart from missing Ravena’s services in the National Team, Guiao has also missed the former UAAP champion and MVP’s services in the professional ranks with the NLEX Road Warriors. Having Ravena back on the floor, even just for practice for now, Guiao says, is definitely a welcome sight. “I saw him play, this is what we’re missing in NLEX. This is what we’re missing in the National Team. He could have played side-by-side with Jayson actually kung available siya. Nung nakita ko siya now, after not playing for one-and-a-half years, and he’s still this good, can you imagine kung naka-laro lang siya? Gumaling pa sana siya.” Ravena will be back with NLEX for the PBA's third conference, the Governor's Cup later this year. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2019

UAAP Volleyball: Morado sees Wong as Lady Eagles leader in Season 82

Former Ateneo de Manila University playmaker Jia Morado sees next season as Deanna Wong’s litmus test as the Lady Eagles' new leader when they try to defend their recently reclaimed throne. The Lady Eagles completed a Season 81 Finals series comeback over University of Sto. Tomas last Saturday to end a four-year title drought and capture their third crown overall. But Ateneo also saw the departure of middles Maddie Madayag and Finals Most Valuable Player Bea De Leon along with Kim Gequillana. Top hitter Kat Tolentino, who is still eligible to suit up next season, has not yet committed to play in Season 82. With the departure of Ateneo’s veterans, Wong will pilot a relatively young crew next year – almost the same situation that Morado was in during her last run as a Lady Eagle in Season 79 following the exit of three-time MVP Alyssa Valdez the year before.   “Actually, I think I had seasoned players on my last year. A lot of my spikers, nakasama ko na rin for at least a year or two,” said Morado on Monday during her club team Creamline’s photo shoot for the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference at the ABS-CBN Integrated Sports Office.   “But Deanna next year, although nakasama niya rin naman sila this year, hindi sila nabigyan ng time together talaga sa loob ng court so it will be interesting kung paano niya ibi-build ang connection niya with the spikers,” added Morado, who helped the Lady Eagles capture the Season 76 and 77 titles. The Cool Smashers setter said that although Ateneo will miss the services of its reliable veterans, the Lady Eagles and Wong will have the luxury of playing with young and aggressive talents looking to prove themselves in the country’s premier collegiate league.   “Siyempre ‘yung familiarity with her spikers is very important and next year more of rookies ang spikers niya. But the good thing about that you can go really far with young blood lalo na ‘yung mga rookies kasi sila ganado sila,” said Morado. “If you can lead them well, man them well, marami pa ring good weapons si Deanna kasi malalakas ‘yung mga batang papasok next year. So all she has to do is be able to lead them.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2019

UAAP 81 Finals: Coach O to Kat: Wag niya muna kaming paiyakin ngayon

Will Kat Tolentino be back for her fourth and final year for Ateneo de Manila University? "Let's just focus on the championship celebration first," she stated in the Lady Eagles' post-game interview following their championship win in the UAAP 81 Women's Volleyball Tournament. Unlike Bea De Leon, Kim Gequillana, and Maddie Madayag, Tolentino has a choice to come back next year. Whether or not she does is still unknown, however. For today, though, Ateneo indeed just wants to celebrate. "Sabi ko naman kay Kat, wag niya muna kaming paiyakin ngayon. Let's make this day a happy day," head coach Oliver Almadro said. And for today, Coach O said he just hopes she goes for what's best for her. As he put it, "I'm praying for Kat to discern well. Hindi pa kami umaabot sa semifinals, I confessed to Kat na I'm really praying for her na magkakaroon siya ng right discernment." For her part, Tolentino is also hopeful for whatever her mentor is saying. "I'm not sure yet. With what Coach O said, we just have to pray for it, but I don't wanna say anything now," she said. Whatever it is, the Lady Eagles' opposite hitter now has one championship under her belt. "I'm just thankful to God for making the journey hard, but memorable because without those three ACL injuries, I wouldn't have had as much passion. I wouldn't be here today because of that," she said. If and when Tolentino makes her decision, the defending champions will be right behind her. "Irerespeto ko naman kung ano yung desisyon niya," Coach O said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: Lady Eagles equalize

Not yet. Ateneo de Manila University lived to fight another day as the Lady Eagles beat University of Sto. Tomas, 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15, Wednesday in Game 2 of the best-of-three UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Finals series at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Lady Eagles capitalized on the Tigresses’ errors and poor service reception to tie the series at 1-1 and put UST’s seven-game winning streak to a screeching halt. Graduating middle blocker Maddie Madayag led Ateneo with 17 points off 10 attacks, four kill blocks and three aces.  Game 3 is on Saturday at the same venue. With momentum on their side the Lady Eagles crushed the Tigresses in the fourth set with an emphatic demolition. Ateneo broke the game open, 20-8, off a Bea De Leon kill block.    The Katipunan-based squad turned the tables around in the third set capitalizing on UST getting off sync following the injury scare on prized rookie Eya Laure. The Rookie of the Year sustained a mild left sprain at the start the frame but was able to return late in the same set.    Ateneo stole the opening set with a gritty stand after saving a set point for a 24-24 tie off a kill block of De Leon on Laure. Kat Tolentino smashed an overreception in the next play before Laure’s attack went out.     (To be updated) --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 15th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: UST goes for the finisher, Ateneo seeks extension

University of Sto. Tomas head coach Kungfu Reyes is looking to finish off Ateneo de Manila University and end the Tigresses' nine-year championship wait on Wednesday in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball best-of-three Finals at the MOA Arena. “Kung ano nasimulan namin ‘yun pa rin,” said Reyes, whose squad took the series opener on Saturday in straight sets to move a win away from its 15th title and first since Season 72. Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The Tigresses shocked the top seeded Lady Eagles in Game 1 with an emphatic 25-17, 25-16, 25-20, win – UST’s seventh straight victory of the season. “Papagandahin namin ang galaw namin para ma-lessen namin errors namin para matapos na sa Wednesday,” added Reyes. UST will pin its hopes on outgoing hitter Sisi Rondina, who is set to receive her Most Valuable Player award in the awards rites at 3:30 p.m., and Rookie of the Year winner Eya Laure with Caitlyn Viray, setter Alina Bicar and freshmen Ysa Jimenez, Kecelyn Galdones and libero Janel Delerio as support. Ateneo will try to force a Game 3. The series decider, if necessary, is on Saturday. Graduating middles Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon are expected to go all out to extend their final season with the Lady Eagles, who are hoping to end a four-year title drought. Kat Tolentino, who was the only player in double figures in Game 1, need to get more help from other hitters in Jules Samonte and Ponggay Gaston, who was limited to only one point in three sets of play.   ---     Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 14th, 2019

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Storming The (Blue) Keep

Winning twice in the elimination round to continue a 15-game streak, the Ateneo Lady Eagles couldn’t have asked for a better match-up in the Finals in the form of the UST Golden Tigresses as past encounters would easily sway towards a blue momentum. The top seed however went in for a surprise as the Sisi Rondina-led pack showed a whole different UST team from the eliminations and proved why her team was the best offensive team at the expense of the best defensive team for a crucial first game sweep. With a dominant three-set win over the Lady Eagles, the Golden Tigresses have breached the gates and are within reach of the throne. At this point, with momentum undoubtedly behind the Tigresses, it is quite interesting how the Lady Eagles will be able to hold their ground and last wall of defense and eventually mark a counter offensive from the inside should they wish to extend the series to a deciding championship match. Swift Claws One glaring difference between how UST played in the elimination round and the way they won Game 1 of the Finals series was the speed of their play. Despite being in the back seat for most of the elimination round, veteran setter Alina Bicar dug deep since the semifinals and has been the crucial factor in their win against the Lady Eagles even more so than the stellar dominance of Queen Tigress Sisi Rondina. Throughout her UAAP career, Bicar has been a fairly overlooked setter due to noticeable lapses in consistency, decision making and quality (height and speed) of sets. Perhaps one saving grace Bicar had prior to this season’s step-up since the semifinals would be how fast the ball is released from her hands. In Game 1 however, it was a more potent Bicar who was on display as her setting (even the bump sets at that) was noticeably faster and with better trajectory that enabled her spikers to play through the solid net defense of the Lady Eagles. Though still utilizing the combination plays in the middle that are more likely to get blocked by tall and anticipating middles such as Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag, Bicar’s decision-making was also a massive level up from how she played during the eliminations and the past seasons. Perhaps now that she has established a consistent shoot play to the left wing that proves problematic against the Atenean blockers, Bicar would find less reliance on combination plays that have less efficiency than a simple fast open to Rondina or Eya Laure. It is however an injustice to UST if credit won’t be given to the massive performance of their queen, Sisi Rondina. Just a quick look of her highlight reel is enough to tell the whole story of how she led the pack in decimating the Blue Defense be it up front or on the floor. Though expected to drop cherry bombs straight to the middle of the court to showcase her athleticism as seen throughout her career, Game 1 showed a Sisi Rondina who had long targets that proved to be a one-two punch for both the blockers and floor defenders of Ateneo. First, by going for long angle or line shots, Rondina ensures that she hits her maximum reach enough to work around the tall walls of the opponent. Second, by going for long targets, Rondina often landed her attacks on the perimeter of the blue court (a floor defense lapse exposed and exploited by rival Lady Spikers in their second round encounter). With Bicar’s fast sets, Rondina had more time and reach to work around the block and floor which proved too problematic for the Lady Eagles. Lastly, though it was a given that Rondina had the spotlight, the collective effort from Laure, Ysa Jimenez, KC Galdones and Caitlyn Viray was also a massive difference from the elimination round where UST has been branded as just a two-woman attacking team. Viray’s unorthodox set-up for a right pin attack despite being a middle and Galdones’ power from the middle earned crucial points for the team. Despite taking a backseat from her usual numbers, Eya Laure showed enough firepower to support Rondina a couple of which came from a low fast back play from Bicar which I’d like to see more of albeit pushed a little more to the right pin but with the same height and speed. Blunted Talons Right from the start of the match, the early assault of the Tigresses proved too much of a challenge for the Lady Eagles much like a dragon queen swooping over an army and decimating the wall of defense. UST clearly made prior work of how to circumvent the main asset of the Lady Eagles being their block by going for fast plays and long shots targeting unguarded zones such as high line and sharp angle. UST evading De Leon and Madayag’s defense set-up was already a big part of the equation as their offense proved successful in limiting the block points of the two middles to an unusual two and one kill blocks, respectively. It has been shown throughout the season that the main scoring output of the Lady Eagles are primarily the two middles and opposite Kat Tolentino. While there have been noticeable improvement from the second round towards the end of eliminations from both openers Ponggay Gaston and Jules Samonte, output from the left wing was sorely missing for the Lady Eagles for Game 1. A high output from transition could have been Ateneo’s saving grace as UST was successful in limiting them to just 17% in the passing department which is clearly not enough to active their main assets which are their middles. A combined effort of 16% efficiency by Samonte and Gaston (25% and 7% respectively) was clearly not enough to support Tolentino’s 28% efficiency to mount a counter offensive on the instances they had control of the first ball. In addition, it was noticeable how the Lady Eagles failed to capitalize with their block to hold UST at bay on a particular rotation in which only Rondina and Viray are up front and would attack from both pins without any benefit of a middle going for at least a decoy quick hit. With two relatively obvious spiker options, no quicker approaching, and no pipe or backrow attack tendencies, that specific rotation would have been the easiest for the Lady Eagles to earn points in succession. Moving forward, should the elimination top seed wish to force a Game Three, the main concern is obviously to ensure that Rondina can be neutralized. Sisi will definitely rack up the points, but by limiting her options in her attack angles, the Lady Eagles can have a relatively easier work with their defense. First option would be to slow down the setup of Bicar by serving her blind side. Should this option prove ineffective, the best possible option would be to serve long in the seam of zone 5 and 6 and target Rondina or Laure’s right side of their axis to keep them in the court as much as possible as they wind up for the approach. Doing so, their down the line shots would be a challenging option making it easier for Madayag and De Leon to block the sharp angle. Though Rondina is just one piece of the equation and much more can be expected of Laure, Jimenez, Viray, and Galdones in the upcoming match, ensuring that Bicar is hard pressed in setting up a fast play through well placed serves will be Ateneo’s best bet to force a decider match for the Season 81 throne.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 14th, 2019