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Category: lifestyleSource: abscbn abscbnAug 14th, 2019

ABS-CBN S+A’S “THE SCORE” LOOKS BACK ON THE BEST OF 2019 IN PH SPORTS

ABS-CBN S+A wraps up a milestone year for Philippine sports with a two-part special of “The Score,” featuring champion athletes in basketball and volleyball, and medalists from the recent 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG). Joining veteran sports anchor Mico Halili on December 30 (Monday) to discuss the year in basketball are kings of the hardcourt Fran Yu and Jerrick Balanza from the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball champion Letran Knights and John Wilson and Mike Ayonayon of MPBL Datu Cup champion San Juan Knights, and Southeast Asia women’s basketball queens Afril Bernardino and Janine Pontejos. Afril and Janine helped make 2019 one for the books for Philippine women’s basketball as members of the teams that clinched the gold medals in SEAG women’s basketball and women’s 3x3. Other SEAG heroes and heroines will also be part of the program as Mico shifts the discussion to Team Philippines’ 387-medal haul in the region’s biennial sporting event. To share their thoughts on the Filipinos’ historic feat are CJ Concepcion (Fencing), Carlo Peña (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), Kim Kilgroe (Triathlon), Jasmine Alkhaldi (Swimming), Christiana Means (Skateboarding), and Meggie Ochoa (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu). On December 31 (Tuesday), former volleyball superstar and now multisport athlete and “Umagang Kay Ganda” anchor Gretchen Ho takes over the special to focus on the sensational year for Philippine volleyball. Premier Volleyball League (PVL) 2019 Open Conference champions Creamline Cool Smashers will be represented by national athletes Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado with teammates Jema Galanza and Kyla Atienza, while 2019 Reinforced Conference champions Petro Gazz Angels will be represented by Cherry Nunag, Jonah Sabete, and Chie Saet. Joining them in the roundtable are UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball champion Ateneo Lady Eagles’ setter Deanna Wong and middle blocker Maddie Madayag, who also represented the country in the SEAG. As in previous years, ABS-CBN Sports has been delivering the inspiring stories of Filipino athletes through its coverage of tournaments in various local and international leagues on multiple media platforms including S+A on TV, S+A HD, LIGA, and LIGA HD on cable, and online on iWant, sports.abs-cbn.com, and the ABS-CBN Sports social media accounts and YouTube channel. In 2020, the sports arm of the country’s leading media and entertainment conglomerate will continue to highlight the greatness and positive values of Filipino sports idols and icons. Don’t miss “The Score: Best of 2019” two-part special on December 30 and 31, 6 pm on ABS-CBN S+A and S+A HD. Watch online on iWant. For sports news, follow @ABSCBNSports on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or visit www.abs-cbn.com/newsroom......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2019

UAAP 82: Tolentino back for last flight as a Lady Eagle

Kat Tolentino has decided to play her final year for the Ateneo de Manila University. It may have taken the power-hitter some time to think it over but Tolentino will definitely don the blue and white uniform for her fourth and last season as the Lady Eagles bid for back-to-back titles in the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament starting February next year. The 6-foot-3 Filipino-Canadian on Thursday officially announced her return for the Oliver Almadro-mentored squad. “As much as I love playing for the commercial league I found that playing for the UAAP is a whole different experience,” said Tolentino, who during the off-season played for ChocoMucho in the Premier Volleyball League. "There is something so unique about the competitiveness of the UAAP that I feel is hard to recreate.  The rivalry between schools is not just about playing for pride but for something bigger than yourself. Its also about playing for your teammates and for all those who’ve supported you." Her return will give the Lady Eagles the much-needed veteran presence along with Ponggay Gaston, playmaker Deanna Wong, Jules Samonte and libero Dani Ravena. “I’ve been following the current Ateneo team especially during the PVL collegiate conference and I am proud to see how strong they are already. There's still a few more months to prepare and I look forward to being back with them and contributing in any way I can,” said Tolentino. Tolentino led Ateneo in a dramatic come-from-behind best-of-three Finals series win over the Sisi Rondina-led University of Sto. Tomas for the Lady Eagles' first title since winning it all in back in 2014 and 2015. After claiming her first crown, Tolentino gave an emotional speech during the team’s thanksgiving Mass at the Church of Gesu inside the Ateneo campus.     She talked about her three ACL injuries and unforgettable championship season before saying, “This is Kat Tolentino, No. 10, signing off” back in May this year. But it's a good thing she changed her mind with the guidance of her management, Virtual Playground. "Well, initially I thought that because I graduated college and won the championship it was time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life. I have been in college for a while and have played volleyball for well over 10 years," Tolentino explained. "So I just felt like I wanted to experience something different and start to play in the commercial league to make the most out of my volleyball career." Tolentino will play a bigger role this season not just as the team’s top scoring option but also the young Lady Eagles’ leader after the departure of Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon. She will pilot a squad that will have promising rising stars in Faith Nisperos and Joan Narit, sophomore setter Jaja Maraguinot and Vannie Gandler.     "Our goal will always be the UAAP championship. But coming into this season I feel like I will try to bring more skills and experience from what I learned in playing for Choco Mucho in PVL," Tolentino said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 28th, 2019

PVL: We still have so much more to show -- Tolentino

For the first time in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference, ChocoMucho fans saw the reunion of the trio of Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon inside the court. Although head coach Oliver Almadro admitted that they’re still far from the same dangerous troika that led Ateneo de Manila University to the UAAP Season 81 throne, the fact that they’re playing together for the Flying Titans was a welcome news for the mentor. “Throwback in different uniform,” said Almadro on Wednesday after ChocoMucho’s, 25-16, 25-12, 25-16, demolition of BaliPure for the team’s first back-to-back wins in the tournament. Madayag made her return after a tour duty with the national team in the ASEAN Grand Prix recently in Thailand while De Leon was on her second game for ChocoMucho after missing the first round to work on her conditioning. “I cannot say na kumpleto kami kasi Bea naman is not 100% pa but I have trust sa kanya na unti-unti she’s working hard para makabalik and we need her presence inside the court,” the mentor added.     League-leading scorer Tolentino, who has been carrying much of the scoring chores with an average of 22.8 points per game in their first nine outings, scored 14 points while Madayag posted 11 markers. De Leon chipped in with two points including the match-clinching dink in two sets of action as a reliever.   “I think obviously it’s not the same as UAAP,” said Tolentino, who averaged 33 points in her last three games. “It’s not really the same system yet cause she’s (De Leon) not yet fully ready but it’s nice to have each other and to be able to see each other and to be able to play and still be in coach O’s system.” “I’m so excited and we still have so much more to show,” she added. De Leon saw minutes inside the court sparingly but showed some glimpses of her old form. “Ako siguro yung nahiwalay for the longest because I hadn’t been in the court. But yeah, I was really excited nakaka-miss din maglaro kasi it’s hard to be in the sidelines,” she said. De Leon was just happy that she’s back with her long-time Ateneo teammates especially with the Flying Titans hoping to win as many games as they can to vie for a seat in the semifinals. “But like coach said medyo throwback siya and I’m excited to be on the court 100% to really be with them again,” said De Leon. “That’s why we’re all here para magkakasama pa rin kami.” The trio will play a big role in ChocoMucho’s push for a Final Four seat with big games against top tier teams PacificTown Army, Motolite, unbeaten defending champion Creamline, BanKo and Air Force coming up.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 25th, 2019

It’s an opportunity to grow -- Madayag on National team call-up

After a long wait, Maddie Madayag will finally get a chance to play for the national team. “Masaya ako kasi ngayon lang ako nagkaroon ng chance na makasali talaga,” said Madayag after her recent call up for the national pool. Madayag with UAAP Season 81 1st Best Middle Blocker Roselyn Doria and veteran opposite spiker Jovelyn Gonzaga were the latest players to be included in the pool that will train for the 30th Southeast Asian Games. “I’m very glad na sila Coach Shaq [Delos Santos] wanted to get me kasi it’s an opportunity rin as a player na I can grow,” said the ChocoMucho standout. The two-time UAAP champion had been invited to join the pool before but conflict in her UAAP schedule as part of the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles and her studies prevented were the major obstacles for her to commit.     “Kasi first year ako underage ako, second year na-injure ako tapos third year, fourth year hanggang pag-graduate ako I was committed to Ateneo eh,” said the UAAP Season 81 2nd Best middle blocker. “I really couldn’t play for the national team kasi UAAP season.” Madayag said that it has always been her dream to be in the national team and play for the country. “Nu’ng season pa lang tinatanong ako kung interested ako sabi ko, ‘Oo naman, ba’t naman aayaw ako maglaro para sa bayan,’” said Madayag. She also explained that she and teammate Kat Tolentino didn’t get a chance attend the tryouts called by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. because it was held either near the UAAP season or with the tournament already on going.    “Nu’ng UAAP pa di rin kami naka-tryout ni Kat kasi we had training tsaka may games kami,” she said. “During the season parang tinatanong talaga ako if I wanted to join sabi ko oo naman talaga. Hindi lang talaga ako available at that time.”   Big shoes to fill Madayag's inclusion came just in time after 6-foot-5 middle blocker Jaja Santiago failed to get a clearance from her Japan V. Premier League club Ageo Medics to suit up for the national team in the SEA Games that the Philippines will host in November. Santiago won’t be available in the biennial meet with the Japan League season set to begin on October 27.       “Mas masaya kung andoon si Jaja di ba? We’ll still give our best naman tsaka it’s a team effort so kung ano yung gusto ng team yun naman yung lalabas, said Madayag. Aside from Santiago, Tots Carlos, Celine Domingo, Angel Cayuna, Jema Galanza and Jerrili Malabanan withdrew from the pool according to Delos Santos.   With Santiago out, Madayag as well as the remaining middles in the pool Mika Reyes, skipper Aby Marano, Majoy Baron and Doria will have big shoes to fill. “Doon naman sa filling in kay Jaja marami din kaming gitna sa roster e,” said Madayag. “We’re gonna train harder for the spot of Jaja to fill it in and we’re gonna give our all para sa bayan.” Madayag, Gonzaga and Creamline’s Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado will join the national pool in Thailand on September 15. The bulk of the pool leaves for Thailand on Saturday for the 12-day training camp before seeing action in the Southeast Asian Grand Prix in Nakhon Ratchasima from Sept. 20 to 22.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 4th, 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

US NCAA Division I Coaches zero in on young talent at DreamBig Gold Tennis Camp

Manila, Philippines – Junior tennis players who joined the DreamBig Gold Series Tennis Camp at Manila Polo Club, Makati on January 11 and 12, 2020 caught the eye of U.S. NCAA Division I coaches.   Ezequiel Gils of Rice University, Rob Raines of Cornell University and Jesse Frieder from Boston University were more than pleasantly surprised by the Philippine tennis landscape when they watched the tennis players participate in the extremely intensive tennis training camp. Twenty young tennis players were given the rare opportunity to be trained by the Division I Tennis coaches and underwent extensive, hands-on training that gave them an insight on of how US colleges run their athletic programs. “Talent is everywhere. I’ve seen a lot of players who can play at a really high level if they just commit to spending time on the court and practicing. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on the Philippines in terms of tennis. It’s a place a lot of coaches are missing out on and it’s certainly a place that I’ll keep in mind as I’m recruiting,” added Cornell University Coach Rob Raines. The coaches were impressed with the campers and their eagerness to learn, with Boston U coach, Jesse Frieder specifically praising the student-athletes for their coachability. “The players here are very coachable, which leads me to believe that if they to end up in any of our teams, we could help them reach for the sky because they’re open to learning and improving.” The coaches were particularly impressed with several of the country’s up and coming tennis sensations including, the 16-year old son of former Olympian Bea Lucero - Sebastien Lhuillier - who participated in the camp. According to the coaches, almost all the players showed potential to play at the Division I level.  “Physicality and fitness are so important. It’s so easy to lose to somebody when they hit the ball harder than you because they’re bigger than you are. But if you consistently beat higher-ranked players while winning 3-set matches, you prove to us that you are really tough and gritty. We want to see you in more and more matches because it makes your UTR more accurate and it makes you a tougher tennis player. We want players in our team who are tough; who are not scared of pressure and not scared of the moment.” Coach Frieder said.  Overall, however, the coaches said it will take more than talent to compete at the world level. With resources becoming readily available, it will take proper mindset, grit, and support from the country for young players to dream big and achieve big. “It’s more mindset than perhaps even resources. Having someone who is hungry as a child—and I mean hungry to learn— is crucial. We need somebody who wants to be better today than they were yesterday regardless of what their floor is, in terms of talent and athletic ability,” said Rice University Coach Ezequiel Gils “People who work the hardest, who are disciplined, who go to the gym, who consistently practice buckets of serves, are generally the most confident. You gain confidence from preparation. The more confident the player — the more he or she  is likely to win,” said Coach Jesse Frieder. “Manila has the facilities, and the weather. You can work on having good fitness. This country surely has the possibility of having a champion someday,” Rice University Coach Ezequiel Gils said. Akshay Maliwal, Founder and CEO of DreamBig Events said DreamBig is bringing in more camps and tournaments for tennis, golf and soccer this year, to give local junior athletes the opportunity to be discovered by Division I US universities coaches who can help them reach their personal goals and the country’s dream to have Filipino players compete at the international stage......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2020

20 for 20: Pinoy Sports Personalities to Watch in 2020

As we enter a new decade, ABS-CBN Sports takes a look at 20 Pinoy sports personalities destined to shine in 2020.    Kiefer Ravena After an 18-month wait, Kiefer Ravena is finally back in basketball. Despite only playing in the PBA’s third conference, his impact was immediate, leading NLEX to the number 1 seed in the Governors’ Cup. The Road Warriors didn’t advance sure, but if Kiefer can impact a team that way in limited time, wait until you see what he can do with a full offseason.   Alex Eala At just 14 years old, Filipina tennister Alex Eala is already turning heads, and she’s yet to turn pro. With a runner-up finish at the ITF Mayor’s Cup in Osaka, Japan and her first ITF Juniors title in Cape Town, South Africa, Alex has had quite the fruitful year, leading to a career-best 11th-place ranking in the ITF Juniors table to finish the year.  Heading into 2020, Eala now has her sights set on turning pro as she plans to join more professional tournaments to raise her ranking even more. Expect the young tennis star to make even more headlines in the coming year.     Bryan Bagunas A vital cog in the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Bagunas is considered as one of the best Filipino volleyball players in this generation. Eyes will be on his blossoming international career playing as an import in the Japan V. Premier League.         Margielyn Didal While already a household name in Philippine skateboarding due to her success in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Margielyn Didal made even more waves in 2019. The 20-year old Cebuana reached the semifinals of the 2019 SLS World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and captured gold in the 2019 National Championships and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.  Didal is currently looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and if she can do so, it’s highly likely that the Pinay skater can become an even bigger star in the industry.    Marck Espejo After his spectacular collegiate career with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Marck Espejo's colorful career as part of the men's national volleyball team and in the club league continues to blossom. Just like Bryan Bagunas, Espejo will be showing his skills internationally with a stint in Thailand following a historic silver medal finish at the 30th SEA Games.   Yuka Saso After a decorated amateur career that saw her  participate in major tournaments such as the Ladies’ European Tour, the Summer Youth Olympics and claim top honors in the 2018 Asian Games, 2018 and 2019 Philippine Ladies Open, and the 2019 Girls’ Junior PGA Championship, 18-year old Pinay golfer Yuka Saso finally made the jump to pro in November of 2019.  With even more competitions in store plus a 2020 Tokyo Olympics berth in her crosshairs, it’s quite likely that we hear more about Saso in the coming months.  Carlos Yulo Perhaps no other young athlete in the Philippines shot to stardom faster than gymnastics phenomenon Carlos Edriel Yulo. After a gold medal finish in the floor exercise at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, Yulo hauled in even more hardware in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, taking home two more gold medals and five silvers.  Yulo’s spectacular 2019 earned him a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and if his SEA Games and World Championships performances are any indication, Caloy is bound for another podium finish on the biggest stage there is.   Eya Laure Last UAAP season’s rookie of the year will return as the heir apparent of Season 81 MVP Sisi Rondina. With her national team stint, all eyes will be on the younger Laure as she reunites with older sister EJ as they try to bring University of Sto. Tomas back in the Finals after falling short last year. Hidilyn Diaz 2019 was another big year for Olympic silver medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, highlighted by her first ever gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Diaz also finished with silver medals in the 2019 Asian Championships and a bronze in the 2019 World Championships.  All those podium finishes are crucial in Diaz’s quest for another Olympics berth in 2020. Should the 28-year lock up another spot in the Summer Games in Tokyo, we could see another Olympic medal coming home.    Kat Tolentino  After initially announcing that she would not come back for her final season in the UAAP, Kat Tolentino changed her decision and will suit up for the Ateneo Lady Eagles once last time, providing a great morale-booster in their bid for back-to-back titles. Tolentino’s leadership will be tested as she will be leading a young team.      Joshua Pacio 23-year old Joshua “The Passion” Pacio proved to be the brightest spot for Philippine MMA stable Team Lakay in 2019. After opening the year with a questionnable decision loss to Yosuke Saruta, Pacio silenced any doubts in the rematch and regained the ONE Strawweight World Championship with a highlight-reel headkick knockout. Pacio would follow that up with another masterful performance, this time with a second-round submission win over top contender Rene Catalan before the end of the year.  2020 is shaping up to become another banner year for the rising Pinoy star, as he’s scheduled for another title defense on January 31st in Manila, this time against former champ Alex Silva of Brazil. A win for Pacio will solidify his claim of being the best strawweight ever in ONE Championship history.     Louie Romero The Adamson University freshman displayed great potential during the pre-season when she piloted the Lady Falcons to title win in the PVL Season 3 Collegiate Conference. Romero is expected to be a gem of a setter for the young Adamson squad hoping make a return in the UAAP Final Four. Manny Pacquiao While eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is certainly in the twilight of his professional boxing career, 2019 showed that he is still one of the best around. A successful title defense over Adrien Broner followed by an impressive dismantling of the previously-undefeated Keith Thurman to capture the WBA’s primary world title proved that even at 40, Manny Pacquiao is still a big name in the sport.  With Pacquiao targeting an early return in 2020, more big names are lined up to fight “the People’s Champ”, including names like Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, and even a title-unification bout against Errol Spence. Still, the biggest fight that is out there proves to be a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr, granted that “Money” finally bites.    Faith Nisperos A key addition for the repeat-seeking Ateneo de Manila University. The highly-touted rookie hitter will add height and firepower for the Lady Eagles in UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball. In the previous PVL Collegiate Conference, Nisperos flashed her scoring prowess, exploding for 35 points in one outing.   Robert Bolick The two best rookies of 2019 were CJ Perez and Robert Bolick. We know what we can expect from CJ, but Bolick is an interesting case as 2020 will be his return from knee injury. Bolick could still win Rookie of the Year, but even if he doesn’t, his return to Northport could push the reloaded Batang Pier from a Cinderella team to full-on PBA title contender.   Joshua Retamar His playmaking skills as well as his efficiency on net defense during the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games makes him a setter to watch out for come UAAP. Retamar is an asset for National University’s three-peat bid.       Kai Sotto The Philippines' 7-foot-2, 17-year-old is opening eyes as he suits up for Atlanta-based The Skills Factory - so much so that he has already gotten interest from quite a few US NCAA schools. Before Sotto continues breaking the glass ceiling for Filipinos, though, he will go home for a while to wear the flag with Mighty Sports-Pilipinas in the 2020 Dubai International Basketball Tournament.   Jema Galanza Coming off a great outing to close the PVL Season 3 highlighted by copping the Open Conference MVP award, expectations are high for Jema Galanza as Creamline aims to reclaim the PVL Reinforced Conference crown and complete an Open Conference three-peat.      Kobe Paras Many questioned just what the 6-foot-6 tantalizing talent would bring to the table for UP - but more often than not, he had all the answers as he led the Fighting Maroons to their second straight Final Four. In the end, Paras was actually the steadying force State U needed in what was a hyped up season. They may not have made it back to the Finals, but they still got much more motivation as they run it back for next year.   Pat Aquino What's next for the most decorated mentor in women's basketball? Pat Aquino followed up a six-peat for National U with the Philippines' first-ever gold medal in women's basketball in the SEA Games. Without a doubt, he will only continue steering the sport forward especially as the likes of UST and FEU are already gearing up to put up greater challenges in the new year.   Isaac Go Isaac Go is technically not the no. 1 pick of the 2019 PBA Draft but he is without a doubt, the no. 1 prospect of the year. His top selection from the special Gilas Pilipinas Draft is proof of that. Gilas Pilipinas has the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on deck in 2020 and as a new era dawns on the national team, all eyes will be on the biggest piece for the future that’s already drafted into the new Philippine squad......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

The King reigns: LeBron James is AP’s male athlete of decade

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press He left Cleveland for Miami, finally became a champion, went back to his beloved northeast Ohio, delivered on another title promise, then left for the Los Angeles Lakers and the next challenge. He played in eight straight finals. No NBA player won more games or more MVP awards over the last 10 years than he did. He started a school. He married his high school sweetheart. “That’s all?” LeBron James asked, feigning disbelief. No, that’s not all. Those were just some highlights of the last 10 years. There were many more, as the man called “King” spent the last decade reigning over all others — with no signs of slowing down. James is The Associated Press male athlete of the decade, adding his name to a list that includes Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and Arnold Palmer. He was a runaway winner in a vote of AP member sports editors and AP beat writers, easily outpacing runner-up Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. “You add another 10 years of learning and adversity, pitfalls, good, great, bad, and any smart person who wants to grow will learn from all those experiences,” James, who turns 35 Monday, told the AP. “A decade ago, I just turned 25. I’m about to be 35 and I’m just in a better (place) in my life and have a better understanding of what I want to get out of life.” Usain Bolt of Jamaica was third for dominating the sprints at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, soccer superstar Lionel Messi was fourth and Michael Phelps — the U.S. swimmer who retired as history’s most decorated Olympian with 28 medals, 23 gold — was fifth. James was revealed as the winner Sunday, one day after Serena Williams was announced as the AP’s female athlete of the decade. In his 17th season, he’s on pace to lead the league in assists for the first time while remaining among the NBA’s scoring leaders. “When LeBron James is involved,” Denver coach Michael Malone said, “I’m never surprised.” Including playoffs, no one in the NBA scored more points than James in the last 10 years. He started the decade 124th on the league’s all-time scoring list. He’s now about to pass Kobe Bryant for No. 3. No. 2 Karl Malone and No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are within reach. Is Abdul-Jabbar in his sights? Is catching him the new decade’s goal? “I would be lying if I said I don’t see it,” James said. “Obviously I’m not trying to say, ‘OK, well if I play this amount of time, if I average this’ ... I’m not doing that because I’ve never done that with my career. I’ve always just kind of let it happen. Whatever happens, happens. But I see it. I do see it.” His work ethic, even now, makes even those closest to him marvel. Here’s a typical day this past summer for James, who remains obsessed with working even though fame and fortune found him long ago: He’d wake up at 3 a.m. and be at the Warner Bros. lot by 3:45 — where a weight room and court, built just for him, were waiting. He’d be lifting by 4 a.m., getting shots up by 5:30 and be ready to start another day of shooting the remake of “Space Jam” that he has been planning for years by 7 a.m. “That’s who he is,” said Mike Mancias, one of the longest-tenured and most trusted members of James’ inner circle, tasked for more than 15 years with keeping James fit. “He does whatever it takes when it comes to fulfilling his commitments to everything — especially his game and his craft.” The 2010s for James started with “The Decision,” the widely criticized televised announcement of his choice to leave Cleveland for Miami. (Lost in the hubbub: The show raised more than $2.5 million for charity.) He was with the Heat for four years, went to the NBA Finals all four times with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, finally won the title in 2012 — “it’s about damn time,” he said at the trophy celebration — and led the way in a Game 7 win over San Antonio to go back-to-back the following year. “He grew immensely here as a leader,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He impacted winning as much as with his leadership as he did with his talent. I think that was the most important thing he learned with us. And he’s been able to take that to different franchises and continue using that as a template.” Cleveland was devastated when he left. It forgave him. James returned home in 2014, took Cleveland to four consecutive finals, then led the Cavaliers to the 2016 title and came up with one of the biggest plays of his life by pulling off a chase-down block of Golden State’s Andre Iguodala in the final seconds of Game 7 of that series. And in 2018, he was off to LA. Going Hollywood made so much sense — he’s making movies, has a production company, has a program called “The Shop” as part of his ‘Uninterrupted’ platform featuring an array of guests from Drake to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who signed a bill on the show that will allow college athletes to get paid for the use of their likeness and sign endorsement deals. “There’s a lot of moments from this decade that would be up there, winning the two Miami championships, winning a championship in Cleveland, the chase-down block,” James said. “But the best moment? Definitely marrying Savannah. That would be No. 1.” James and longtime partner Savannah Brinson got married six years ago. They already had two sons — both are very good basketball players already — and added a daughter in 2014. James also spent most of the last decade as a lightning rod for critics. He used his voice often on social matters, speaking out after the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and campaigning for Hillary Clinton. He supported Colin Kaepernick’s methods of protesting police brutality and racial injustice. Most recently, he was criticized by many — including top U.S. lawmakers — for his remarks after Houston general manager Daryl Morey sparked a massive rift between the NBA and China by sending out a tweet supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. “I don’t live in regret,” James said. “There’s no moment in this last decade that I wish I could have back. If a situation was bad or you feel like you could have done better, then I learned from it.” He doesn’t know how much longer he’ll play. He laments missing time with his children. His “I Promise” school that opened in 2018 in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, has been an immediate success story, and he wants to see that enterprise continue growing. Some love him. Some don’t. He doesn’t mind. “When you believe in your calling or you believe in yourself, then it doesn’t matter what other people say or how other people feel,” James said. “And if you allow that to stop you or deter you from your mission, then you don’t get anywhere.” And in the 2010s, nothing deterred James......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2019

2019: To sweep or not to sweep in collegiate basketball

The 2019 collegiate basketball season will always be remembered as the time when all of NCAA defending champion San Beda, UAAP Men’s defending champion Ateneo, and UAAP Women’s defending champion National U were trying for season sweeps. Two of them did it, one of them didn’t. All in all, though, that storyline that had something to do with history defined NCAA 95 and UAAP 82. A tale of two leagues – when it comes to foreign student-athletes NCAA 95 was the last season wherein the Grand Old League’s 10 member-schools were still able to trot out foreign student-athletes. This, after more than a decade of the likes of Sam Ekwe, Sudan Daniel, Allwell Oraeme, Prince Eze, and Mike Nzeusseu setting the bar higher for big men. Over in UAAP 82, Beninese ball of energy Soulemane Chabi Yo and Ivorian tower Ange Kouame jostled throughout the tournament for the recognition as top individual player. In the end, Chabi Yo followed in the footsteps of Cameroon’s Ben Mbala and Nigeria’s Bright Akhuetie as Season MVPs. The NCAA will go local from here on out while the UAAP will still parade promising prospects from overseas – what’s certain is that both leagues will go all-out to ascertain that the action will never stop. Rising stars become shining stars Robert Bolick left San Beda with a big, big hole at point guard – only for Evan Nelle to waste no time proving the Red Lions remain in good hands. UST’s fast and furious attack needed a fast and furious playmaker – and the Growling Tigers got just that in the form of Mark Nonoy. In his first year as FEU’s lead guard, L-Jay Gonzales showed time and time again why he was always seen as the next one in the Tamaraws’ long, long line of great guards. The story of the season in terms of guards, however, has got to be Fran Yu who came out of nowhere to energize Letran to a pleasant surprise of a championship. UP might 2019 was the first time in a long, long while – or maybe even ever – that UP was considered a shoo-in for the Final Four. The Fighting Maroons had just ended a 32-year Finals absence and a 21-year playoff drought last year and came into this season still with Bright Akhuetie, Jun Manzo, and Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan, but also now with Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero. In all, State U lived up to the hype and made it back-to-back Final Four appearances, but at the same time, fell short of fulfilling the promise of its fully loaded line-up. Still, continued contention is nothing but a welcome development for Diliman which had been experiencing dark, dark days for far too long. Gilas Pilipinas calling With Tab Baldwin overseeing the program, Gilas Pilipinas will try once more to take a long-term, big-picture view – especially with the 2023 FIBA World Cup looming large. With that, the American-Kiwi mentor tapped on five collegiate standouts to form the foundation of the national team – Ateneo’s Isaac Go and Nieto twins Mike and Matt, UE’s Rey Suerte, and San Sebastian’s Allyn Bulanadi. And with that, the Philippines is yet again leaning on the best of the best of collegiate basketball to wear the flag and do the country proud. It’s a new day, it’s a new generation The NCAA hit home runs in each and every one of its coaching changes. Bonnie Tan raised banner no. 18 for Letran in his first year. Randy Alcantara has Mapua prepped and primed to take flight. Louie Gonzalez has given JRU an attitude. Oliver Bunyi and Cholo Martin have EAC and Arellano, respectively, headed in the right direction. The same cannot be said for the UAAP as both of its new head coaches found themselves on the outside looking into the playoff picture. Jermaine Byrd had La Salle fighting, but ultimately failed to find a finishing kick. UE also kept coming with the leadership of Lawrence Chongson, but eventually ended eliminated. Teeth out, claws out, all-out UST has a proud program in basketball, but only had nine wins to show in 42 games from 2016 to 2018 That all came to an end in 2019 as Aldin Ayo had the Growling Tigers, well, growling from the get-go. Bombing away at their opponents and forcing them to keep up, Espana made its mark as a legitimate contender that made it all the way to the Finals. There, they were sent away by Ateneo’s championship-winning machine, but the future remains bright for the black and gold with all of Season MVP Chabi Yo, Rookie of the Year Nonoy, captain CJ Cansino, Brent Paraiso, and Sherwin Concepcion, among others, coming back for more. Fitting farewell for Ateneo’s championship core Thirdy Ravena. Isaac Go. Mike Nieto. Matt Nieto. Adrian Wong. Those five left Ateneo on top of the world – having claimed a three-peat as well as completed a historic season sweep. And without a doubt, those five were also the catalysts in this new golden age for the Blue Eagles – a golden age which has seen them set and then raise the standard for team glory time and time again. Katipunan will have a tough time moving forward from those five, but at the same time, having the likes of Ange Kouame, Will Navarro, Gian Mamuyac, and SJ Belangel just waiting in the wings makes it easier. Who run the world? National U has not lost a game in 2,270 days. National U has not lost a game in 74 months. National U has not lost a game in six years. The last time head coach Pat Aquino had to lift up the spirits of his Lady Bulldogs was back in October 5, 2013 when they bowed to La Salle in the winner-take-all Finals Game 3. Since then, the blue and gold has been the gold standard of women’s basketball all while giving its opponents the blues. That didn’t change this year as behind Jack Animam and Rhena Itesi as well as welcome additions Kelli Hayes and Camille Clarin, National U continued to have all the answers – even for back-to-back Season MVP Grace Irebu and UST. Shock the system Letran was, in no way, given a chance to deny archrival San Beda’s bid for a perfect season – or much more, win the championship altogether. But the Knights didn’t listen and took that chance themselves, catching just everybody by surprise by taking Game 1 and dealing the Red Lions their first defeat in the season. San Beda bounced back in Game 2, but in the decider, Jerrick Balanza, Bonbon Batiller, Larry Muyang, and Yu just willed Letran to the title. Now, the Knights are kings for the 18th time – and indeed, they had no import, but had no problem. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2019

SEA Games: PHI volleybelles relegated to battle for bronze

The Philippines kissed its gold medal hopes goodbye as 11-time defending champion Thailand turned back the Filipinas, 25-16, 25-22, 34-32, Thursday night in the 30th Southeast Asian Games women’s volleyball competition at the jampacked PhilSports Arena in Pasig City. Even with the overwhelming odds against the finest team in the region, the Nationals, specifically team captain Aby Marano, stayed true to their promise to give the Thais a match to remember with a gallant stand until the bitter end as the Philippines saw its championship round bid go down the drain with its second straight defeat. Thailand set up a gold medal duel with Vietnam, the other unbeaten team after two outings, for a rematch of their 2015 Singapore edition championship battle. The Thais are now on its 15th straight gold medal match appearance Vietnam, which defeated Indonesia 20-25, 25-14, 19-25, 25-18, 15-6, in the curtain-raiser, and Thailand clash on Saturday in a preview of their gold medal clash. Alyssa Valdez, who scored five points in the closing stretch including the country's last of five set point advantages in the third set, finished with 14 points with 12 coming off attacks and added 12 digs while Mylene Paat had 11 points off eight kills and two kill blocks for the Philippines. Marano and Majoy Baron posted seven markers each for  the Nationals. “Sobrang nakaka-proud kasi like every huddle namin pinag-uusapan namin, ‘Maglaro lang kayo i-enjoy natin, give your 100 percent kasi wala naman mawawala eh.’ Yun nga pakiramdam namin eh,” said PHI coach Shaq Delos Santos. “Kung matatalo ka nakakalungkot pero yung pakiramdam namin na nakapag-perform kami ng napakaganda especially yung mga players grabe yung ginawa and then marami kaming napasayang tao, nakakatuwa kasi nakikita namin yung improvement every game." “’Yun din naman goal namin hanggang ma reach namin kung ano kaya namin this SEA Games,” he added. The Thais found the Nationals a tough nut to crack the whole match. The Filipinas breathed down Thailand's neck 17-21, in the third set after a Mylene Paat back-to-back hit and a Majoy Baron ace as the Nationals fought back from a 13-19 deficit. Maddie Madayag, Valdez and Jovelyn Gonzaga saved three match points to close in, 24-22, as Thailand called time. Valdez scored off a cross and Gonzaga forced a deuce before Thailand committed a line fault to give the Philippines the set point advantage. Veteran Wilavan Apinyapong stopped Thailand's bleeding with a down the line kill. An unsuccessful challenge by PHI head coach Shaq Delos Santos resulted on another Thai match point before Valdez knotted it at 26 with an off the block kill. Pimpichaya Kokram scored for Thailand but Valdez tied it again at 27. Kokram scored on the next play before Majoy Baron countered with a monster block for 28-28 count. Thailand committed an attack error before tying it again, 29-29. Mylene Paat got a kill block only to see Thailand force another deuce. Chatchu-on Moksri sent her service short but Thailand evened the set again at 31. Valdez hammered a kill for another PHI set point advantage, but Madayag crumbled under the pressure, overcooking her serve for a 32-32 tie. Kokram pounded a down the line hit before Wilavan sealed the edge-of-your-seat match with an off speed.                Kokram had 19 points with 17 coming off attacks while Apinyapong got 15 with all but one comin off kills for Thailand. The Thais looked poised for a walk in the park domination of the same squad they had been beating in the biennial meet since dethroning the Filipinas in 1995, in what turned out to be the start of their now-two and a half decade stranglehold of the crown, after taking a 21-9 advantage in the first set following an Alyssa Valdez attack error. Marano, who after losing to Vietnam in five sets vowed to give the Thais a memorable match on home soil, anchored an inspired rally to somehow close the gap, 16-23, on a kill block. But the Thais countered to extinguish the fight from the Filipinas. Fueled by the cheering home crowd, the Nationals sprung to life in the second set with libero Dawn Macandili providing one of the highlights as she dove head first to the stands trying to retrieve the ball to no avail.    Her effort fired up her teammates to give the Thais a scare with the Philippines taking what turned out to be its biggest lead in the duel, 13-10, capped by back-to-back hits by Majoy Baron. Then the Thais did what they do best. The Philippines will take on Indonesia, also winless in two games, on Saturday in a sneak peek of the bronze medal battle. The medal round is on Monday.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 5th, 2019

UAAP 82: It s Kat’s time – Madayag on new Lady Eagles leader

Former Ateneo de Manila University star Maddie Madayag sees the return of Kat Tolentino for her final playing year as a big boost for the Lady Eagles' bid to retain the UAAP women’s volleyball crown next year in Season 82. With her and another veteran Bea De Leon’s departure following Ateneo’s conquest in Season 81, the changing of the guard is secured with Tolentino’s return. Her presence gives the Lady Eagles the much-needed leadership. “Very promising talaga especially na may senior pa rin na kayang dalhin ang team next year,” said the national team member, who led the Lady Eagles to its third UAAP title overall and first since 2015.  Tolentino on Thursday formally announced her decision to play her fourth and last eligibility year.   Madayag is confident that powerhitting Tolentino can play her role as this coming season’s Queen Eagle.  “I think it was mostly me and Bea who were parang leading the team [before] but now it's Kat’s time,” said Madayag, who is also Tolentino’s teammate alongside De Leon in ChocoMucho. “Hindi na lang siya scoring machine, leader na rin talaga siya. Di lang sa scoring kundi sa pati sa pagbuhat sa mga bata.” She sees Tolentino as not just a leader on court but more of an inspiration for the new Lady Eagles trying to spread their wings in the UAAP including prized recruit Faith Nisperos.   “Of course, titingnang inspiration ng mga mga bata si Kat kasi siyempre sino namang hindi. Lalo na si Faith kasi nakausap namin siya before na she wants to be teammates with Kat talaga,” said Madayag. “So now that her dream came true sana naman mas maging inspiration for her to play better. Kasi we saw how she played naman in the PVL di ba? It’s gonna be an exciting season.” Although Madayag admits that Tolentino has a very quiet personality, she knows that she’ll be able to handle her added responsibility well. “Actually, tahimik talaga si Kat. I think mapapakita naman niya ang leadership niya the way she plays naman eh. I think she can handle it naman,” said Madayag. “Tahimik lang siya. Nagsasalita naman siya sa training, sa game lang mukha lang siyang di nagsasalita kasi nao-overpower namin siya ni Bea, kasi masyado kaming madaldal pero kaya n’ya ‘yun,” she added. For her part, Tolentino promises to be more mature and ready to take on the leadership role. “Maybe a more mature one not just with the technical skills but also in terms of leadership for the team,” said Tolentino of what fans can expect from her.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 28th, 2019

Tsitsipas, Thiem set up title match at ATP Finals

By Mattias Karen, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — The ATP Finals will have a first-time champion for the fourth year in a row after Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem won their semifinals on Saturday. Thiem beat defending champion Alexander Zverev after Tsitsipas ousted six-time winner Roger Federer, with both players reaching their first final at the season-ending tournament. Tsitsipas had to keep his nerve at the key moments to beat Federer 6-3, 6-4, saving 11 of 12 break points along the way. He also took advantage of an error-filled performance from Federer, who continually put his opponent under pressure only to come up short when it mattered. "I'm proud of myself, how hard I fought today, how concentrated I stayed in the breakpoints," said Tsitsipas, who reached the biggest final of his career. "Didn't crack under pressure. I was very composed and very mature in my decisions." In the evening match, Zverev doubled-faulted on set point to hand Thiem a 1-0 lead and was then broken for the second time to make it 4-2 in the second set. Thiem saved two break points in the next game, Zverev held, and Thiem served out the match, clinching the victory with a forehand winner on his first match point. Federer and Novak Djokovic combined to win the ATP Finals nine times in 10 years between 2006-15 before Andy Murray broke that streak and Gregor Dimitrov won it in 2017. Zverev was trying to repeat last year’s title win but couldn’t convert any of the four break points he forced against Thiem. As he sat down for the changeover after his double-fault to end the first set, he slammed his racket down so hard it bounced along the court and came to rest behind the baseline. Tsitsipas, who is making his first appearance at the event, saved all six break points he faced against Federer in the first set. That included two at 5-3, when he needed seven set points before finally winning a marathon game. He broke again for a 2-1 lead in the second, then saved three break points from 0-40 in the next game before Federer finally converted his fourth to level the set. But the 21-year-old Tsitsipas broke again straight away with a forehand winner and then saved two more break points from 15-40 down when serving for the match at 5-4. He didn’t give the 38-year-old Federer any more chances of a comeback, serving out the match with an ace. "No doubt I had my chances," Federer said. "I'm just frustrated I couldn't play better. And when I did and fought my way back, I threw it away again." The 17-year age gap between the two players was the largest in the history of the tournament. For Federer, it was a surprisingly erratic performance after he played near-flawless tennis to beat Djokovic in straight sets on Thursday to reach the semifinals. He finished that match with five unforced errors - including two double-faults - but had 26 in this match. Federer was especially unhappy with the service break in the first set, when he missed two fairly routine overheads to gift his opponent the early lead. "Getting broken with missing two smashes in one game, that hasn't happened in a long, long time. Or ever," Federer said. "So that was tough." Reaching the final is another milestone in a breakthrough season for Tsitsipas after he also beat Federer on the way to the Australian Open semifinals. He is now 2-2 against Federer after losing to him in the Dubai final and Basel semifinals this year. "I think I learned a lot of things from my Basel match against him," Tsitsipas said. "Once you get the patterns, once you analyze a bit the game better and know what to expect next time, you always feel and you always want to put yourself in the state of mind where you think that you can always do better." Thiem, a two-time runner-up at the French Open, beat both Federer and Djokovic in the group phase to reach the semis......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2019

NCAA 95: Amsali thrilled with chance to be champion in two leagues, two schools

San Beda High School is into the Finals of the NCAA 95 Juniors Basketball Tournament. And with two more wins, the Red Cubs will wrap up a dominant championship - their first since 2015. This, after a sorry campaign a year ago where they won the first game against twice-to-beat Mapua High School only to succumb in the second. Of course, the rise of Justine Sanchez, Yukien Andrada, and Tony Ynot have been a big boost to the turning of the tides for the red and white. Also, so has the entry of Rhayyan Amsali. Make no mistake, though, Amsali is no main man - even though his notable numbers say otherwise. "Ako po, 100 percent, naglalaro lang ako sa sistema ni Coach Manu," he said, referring to youthful mentor Manu Inigo. At the same time, though, the longtime high school standout is also ready and raring to take charge for San Beda when need be. As he put it, "Sabi rin ni coach, kahit work as a team kami, may time talagang aasahan niya akong may kailangang gawin. Dahil dun, lagi ko lang iniisip na kung ano mang kulang, yun lang ginagampanan ko." In doing his best to do it all for San Beda, the 19-year old has put up per game counts of 17.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.6 steals - more than enough to thrust him to the very front of the MVP race. Unfortunately, because he was levied a one-game suspension for an "illegal action," as per league rules, he is ineligible to win individual awards. That is no longer on the mind of Amsali, however. "Ngayon po, wala na po talaga sa akin yun. Gusto lang namin talaga is mag-champion," he said. He then continued, "Ginawa ko lang po siyang positive kasi para sa team naman lahat ng ginagawa namin." With that, the 6-foot-3 forward is certain to go all-out as he tries to get into an elite company of players to win championships in two different schools in two different leagues. Before his time with the Red Cubs, Amsali won one championship with Nazareth School of National University in the UAAP Jrs. Still, Amsai made it clear that his first and foremost hope is to bring back the title to Taytay. "Gutom na gutom kaming lahat kasi matagal nang 'di nagcha-champion yung Beda Jrs.," he said. He then continued, "Gusto naming i-prove na kayang-kaya naming magtuloy-tuloy." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 5th, 2019

UAAP 82: Coach Aldin s birthday gifts? Family time, big win vs UP

University of Sto. Tomas head coach Aldin Ayo turned 42-years-young last Tuesday. Of course, he celebrated it with his family who flew in from Sorsogon to be with him. A day later, coach Aldin was still celebrating his birthday with his family as well as his adopted family - the Growling Tigers. Ayo and the black and gold came out on top of fellow playoff hopeful the University of the Philippines on Wednesday and thus, the former completed an elimination round sweep of the latter. "I'm just happy that we got this one cause this is a very important game," he said. Along with the big win, the one-time NCAA and one-time UAAP champion coach said his family's presence made his latest birthday all the more special. "It's special because mga malalaki na yun e so alam na nila yung pakiramdam ng nananalo," he shared. He then continued, "Yung mga yun, sa Sorsogon pumapasok, but they always tell me, 'Daddy, I'm proud of you.'" Indeed, having his two children, 10-year-old Migs and 8-year-old Chelsea, here with him in the stretch run of the season is just what coach Aldin needs at this time. "Sa akin, it eases the pressure, the homesickness, basta makakalaro yung mga bata, it becomes balanced. You work hard tapos pag-uwi mo, sasalubungin ka ng mga anak mo, nagkakaroon ka ng peace of mind," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2019

PVL: Cool Smashers shoot for Final Four seat

Fancied defending champion Creamline seeks to formalize its stint in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference semifinals in Iloilo Saturday as it faces a sister team ChocoMucho at the University of San Agustin gym. Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The Cool Smashers stake their unbeaten 11-0 slate against the surging Flying Titans Though the star-studded Cool Smashers are tipped to repeat their four-set triumph over the Flying Titans last Aug. 31, the latter have shown tremendous improvement and promise after snapping a long skid with a scrambling five-set escape over Chef’s Classics then beating BaliPure, BanKo-Perlas, PacificTown Army and Motolite to bounce back into semis contention. They remain outside of the Magic Four with a 6-6 card but their recent surge has bolstered their chances to grab at least a playoff for the last semis slot with Motolite and BanKo-Perlas just ahead at joint third with 7-5 slates and PacificTown Army at fifth with a 6-5 mark. PetroGazz is a cinch to clinch the second semis seat with an 8-2 mark. But Choco Mucho’s vaunted triple town combination of Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag and Bea de Leon must come up with one solid game to neutralize Creamline's vaunted firepower anchored on Alyssa Valdez, Michele Gumabao, Jema Galanza and Risa Sato......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 4th, 2019

Lagari na lang – Eya Laure on double duty Sunday

Eya Laure braces for a long Sunday as the University of Sto. Tomas star and national women’s volleyball team member is set for double duty that will take her from a battle in San Juan to an encounter in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. “Lagari nalang din kasi siyempre, dalawa e,” said Laure, who will wear the Tigresses jersey in the morning before donning the Nationals’ tri-colors in the afternoon.   The UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year will banner the Tigresses in their bid to secure a for a Finals spot in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference in a sudden death against Ateneo de Manila University. Game 3 of the semis series is scheduled at 9:00 a.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.      Scheduled to start at 5:00 p.m. on the same day is the Nationals’ home stand against Indonesia in the second leg of the ASEAN Grand Prix in Sta. Rosa Multi-purpose Gym in Laguna. Despite the hectic and exhausting schedule which will likely include dreadful traffic congestion from San Juan to Laguna, Laure is more than willing to serve her school and the country.     “Hindi mo naman kasi pwedeng bitawan 'yung dalawa e, kumbaga si coach (Kungfu Reyes) din 'yung makakapagsabi. Ako naman, ire-ready ko lang ulit,” she said. Laure said that she just wants to take advantage of the opportunities given to her. “Sabi din naman sa akin ni Coach Kungfu yun na ang opportunity na ibinibigay sa akin wag ko sayangin. Lagi kong ipakita ang capability ko as a player kumbaga every day nagti-training tapos grabe rin ang pinagdadaanan,” said Laure. Laure will suit up for the Nationals for the second time after seeing action in the opening leg of the four-nation tournament in Thailand two weeks ago. “After nito may UAAP pa, may Foton, kumbaga sama-sama tapos may aral pa. Minsan lang din kasi dumating ito sa akin. Kapag nagkaroon ng opportunity, iga-grab ko talaga ang ibibigay ng best ko in any way na pwede akong makatulong sa national team, sa UST and sa club team ko,” she added. The Nationals will miss the services of setter Jia Morado, Alyssa Valdez, Maddie Madayag and Jovelyn on Gonzaga on Saturday because of their club duties when the Filipinas face powerhouse Thailand. With just Jasmine Nabor available as setter, Laure, who won a Best Setter award back in high school, is ready to work as backup playmaker, if necessary.    “Ako naman parang sa UST lang. Kahit anong ibigay sa aking posisyon ready ako,” she said. “Kung anong role ang ibigay sa akin go lang ng go.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2019

UAAP 82: Juan GDL more than happy to give whatever UP needs

The University of the Philippines is on its first win run in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament. With back-to-back wins, the Fighting Maroons have moved to solo second in the standings at 3-1 - just right behind undefeated defending champion Ateneo de Manila University. And State U has done this even though its homegrown star has yet to get going. Through four games, Juan Gomez de Liano is averaging 5.8 points and his shooting has not gone online. Even more, the third-year guard has just one double-digit scoring game to his name. Still, Juan GDL is nothing but satisfied - as he has given his all, just as his teammates have given their all, to make sure UP continued its contention. "I'm really happy for us because the fact is, we're winning. We've all been working hard for this," he said. While the 19-year-old's scoring is far from his norms of 16.2 a season ago, his all-around game remains, also posting per game counts of over five rebounds and over three assists thus far in the tournament. And Juan GDL will only keep giving whatever it is that the Fighting Maroons need. "Whatever coach Bo [Perasol] needs, I'll just be more than ready. It'll be a hard adjustment for me, but I'll just continue to be patient and selfless," he said. For his part, coach Bo could only sing the praises of his primary playmaker who has always been a team player. As he put it, "Yan ang sacrifice, yung ginagawa niya ngayon, yung ginagawa lang muna niya whatever is best for the team." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2019