Advertisements


For UAAP buildup; Blue Eagles get dose of European play

The Ateneo Blue Eagles step up their buildup for their UAAP title defense by flying to Greece today to get themselves exposed to Euro-style basketball and pick up valuable lessons there......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarJun 14th, 2018

Matty Ice gives Ateneo its own Atin to moment

The young Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles spread their wings in the recently concluded 2018 William Jones Cup. With a 5-3 record and a fourth-place finish, the Blue Eagles – the only collegiate team in the tournament – did nothing but prove they belonged in the regional tournament. Among many, many unforgettable moments, however, one stands out for the reigning UAAP champions. Let’s just hear Gian Mamuyac’s take on it. Asked about their most memorable moment in the Jones Cup, he answered while laughing, “Tinatanong pa ba yan? Siyempre, Matt Nieto game-winner.” Last Saturday, the kids from Katipunan were trailing by two with 3.1 ticks to go in their matchup against the home team before head coach Tab Baldwin had the perfect play with Thirdy Ravena inbounding and finding Nieto for a good look from beyond. “Matty Ice” then rose and launched a triple and the defense was unable to do anything as the ball found the bottom of the net, winning the game for Ateneo. Videos showed that Nieto was mouthing words after he hit that shot – and make no mistake about it, he wasn’t taunting Chinese Taipei. Was he saying “Atin ‘to?” “Oo, atin ‘to kasi talagang gusto naming manalo sa laro na yun. Nung tinira ko yun, tinignan ko teammates ko tapos sinabi ko ‘Atin ‘to,’” he shared. He then continued, “Parang nagpaka-Paul Desiderio ako.” Yes, the Blue Eagles’ court general took inspiration from neighboring University of the Philippines’ main man. Last season, Desiderio coined a rallying cry for the Fighting Maroons when he said “Atin ‘to! Papasok ‘to!” He said that during a timeout in the dying moments after which, he proceeded to take and make the game-winning three that downed University of Sto. Tomas. "Atin to, papasok to!" -- Paul Desiderio during the timeout. Moments later...#UAAPSeason80 pic.twitter.com/7yafSpldJM — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) Setyembre 10, 2017 Now, Nieto has given Ateneo its own “Atin ‘to!” moment – and he’s sur Gilas cadet teammate Desiderio wouldn’t mind. “Magkakampi rin naman kami e tsaka idol ko rin naman siya. Nothing wrong in doing the same,” he said. He then continued, “Para sa bayan din naman yun.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2018

Blue Eagle SJ Belangel ok after surgery on right cheek

There will be no stopping SJ Belangel from flying to the UAAP Seniors. Not even a surgery that put titanium in his face. Belangel had surgery to repair an OZM (Orbital-Zygomatic-Maxillary) fracture he sustained in the Blue Eagles’ Finals matchup against Adamson University in the 2018 Breakdown Basketball Invitationals (BBI) two weeks ago. In the third quarter of that game, Ateneo’s prized rookie, as he is wont to do, fearlessly drove into the lane to make a play for his team. Unfortunately, the right side of his face collided with the left knee of Soaring Falcons big man Papi Sarr. “Pag-drive ko po, nag-fake ako na mag-shoot tapos nag-drop pass. E si Papi Sarr tumalon tapos yung tuhod niya, sapul sa cheeks ko,” he shared. He then continued, “Kaya ayun, OZM fracture.” After that game, Belangel had to wait more than two weeks for the doctor who would perform the surgery. The Blue Eagles and their faithful need not worry anymore, though, as the surgery done last Monday was a success. Thank you all for the unending support that you all have given me.. especially for the prayers during my surgery... I cannot put into words how much thankful I am for everyone.. The operation was a success!! Thank you once again and God bless! 😊 pic.twitter.com/EW1wrTszJ9 — Sj Belangel (@sjbelangel) Hulyo 23, 2018 Meaning, the first-year floor leader will be good to go by UAAP Season 81 in September. Asked if he will be back in time to make his rookie debut in the season opener, he said, full of confidence, “Yes po. Yes po.” Also making the healing a lot easier for Belangel is the fact that Ateneo dedicated to him its strong showing in the recently concluded 2018 William Jones Cup. As Matt Nieto put it, “Alam namin na gusto niyang sumama rito kaso kinailangan siyang i-surgery. Kaya naglaro kami para sa kanya kasi part ng family si SJ.” He then continued, “Ilalaro namin para sa kanya talaga yun.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @rieogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2018

JONES CUP: Matty Ice wins it for Ateneo against Chinese Taipei

Because of a questionable call, Ateneo de Manila University found itself trailing by two to Chinese Taipei with 3.1 ticks to go in their matchup in the 2018 William Jones Cup. And so, for their final play, the Blue Eagles left no doubt as Matt Nieto coolly converted the game-winning triple that took down the host country, 77-76, on Saturday at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in Taiwan. Nieto ended with 13 points, none bigger than the triple with a defender draped all over him in the dying moments. This, coming from the other end where Thirdy Ravena appeared to have tipped the ball loose from Ying Chung-Chen, but was instead called for a foul. Chen made good on his two free throws, putting Chinese Taipei Blue up, 76-74, with 3.1 seconds remaining. Head coach Tab Baldwin had the perfect play, however, as the ball was inbounded to Ravena who then found Nieto for the big-time trey that silenced the home crowd and bolstered the young UAAP champions’ bid for a podium finish in the regional tournament. William Navarro impressed for the second straight game with 11 points and six rebounds while Angelo Kouame and Tyler Tio also chipped in eight markers each. Ravena turned in his worst scoring output in the tournament with just seven points, but made his presence felt elsewhere with five rebounds and four assists. Still, the hero is Nieto who let the Philippines stayed alive for a podium finish. Ateneo, 5-2, tries to claim its place there up against Iran B on Sunday. BOX SCORES ATENEO PILIPINAS 77 - Nieto Ma. 13, Navarro 11, Tio 8, Kouame 8, Ravena 7, Mamuyac 7, Wong 6, Verano 6,  Nieto Mi. 4, Go 4, Maagdenberg 3, Mendoza 0. CHINESE TAIPEI BLUE 76 - Liu 24, Chen Y 17, Chou Y 12, Hu 9, Chou P 6, Chen G 6, Douglas 2, Peng 0, Chang 0, Lin 0, Zhen 0. QUARTER SCORES: 18-18, 36-35, 57-56, 77-76. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2018

JONES CUP: Ateneo gets back on track at expense of Japan

Ateneo de Manila University started strong and finished even stronger to barge back onto the win column in the 2018 William Jones Cup. Thirdy Ravena had all the answers in the endgame as the young Blue Eagles lost a 14-point lead, but dug deep to hold off the Team B of the Japanese national team, 80-74, on Wednesday at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in Taiwan. The UAAP champions established a 48-34 lead in the third quarter before the Japanese came roaring back with a 29-14 rampage to grab a 63-62 edge in the final frame. In the ensuing possession, UAAP Season 80 Mythical selection Ravena took the ball right to the rim where he made good on the basket plus the bonus. That uncorked an 8-1 burst that took back the advantage in favor of Ateneo, 70-63. Japan yet again threatened at 70-72 inside the last two minutes only to see Gian Mamuyac nail a tough midrange jumper and Ravena register a resounding rejection that closed the door on them once and for all. Incoming fourth-year forward Ravena wound up with 14 points, nine rebounds, three steals, and one block. Ivorian reinforcement Angelo Kouame had his own 15-point, 14-rebound double-double on top of two blocks. Behind the end-to-end play of Ravena, the Blue Eagles swooped back on the right track, evening their standing at 2-2. The Philippine team will now turn its attention to Indonesian club team CLS Knights on Thursday. Takuma Sato paced Japan with 12 points. BOX SCORES ATENEO PILIPINAS 80 - Kouame 15, Ravena 14, Wong 11, Nieto Ma 10, Mamuyac 9, Mendoza 8, Nieto Mi 5, Verano 4, Black 2, Go 2, Maagdenberg 0, White 0. JAPAN 74 - Sato 12, Takahashi 11, Imamura 10, Hashimoto 9, Tamaki 8, Namizato 6, Hiraiwa 5, Toews 5, Schafer 5, Nakanishi 3, Sugiura 0, Inoue 0. QUARTER SCORES: 21-13, 37-31, 60-55, 80-74. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2018

Ateneo to use Jones Cup as barometer for UAAP title defense

Two months away from defending its title in UAAP Season 81, Ateneo de Manila University will be defending the pride and honor of the Philippines in the 40th William Jones Cup. The Blue Eagles will be representing the country in the regional meet commencing on July 14 – the first collegiate team to do so in the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas era. They will be leaving for Taiwan on Friday and will be playing their first game in the tournament on Sunday. For Thirdy Ravena, this is nothing but a golden opportunity for the UAAP defending champions. “Coming into the Jones Cup, ang target namin is to represent the university and the country well. To do that, we will play to the best of our abilities,” he said during the team’s send-off on Wednesday. Alongside wearing the flag, Ateneo also plans to gauge just how ready it is for its title defense up against national and club teams from other countries. “Hindi pa kami ganun kahanda, pero yung goal namin is to improve as individuals. For me, bagong challenge itong Jones Cup kasi dito namin makikita kung gaano kami ka-ready,” court general Matt Nieto said. Team manager Epok Quimpo could only agree. “Yes, we are preparing for the UAAP, but it’s also a blessing for us to represent the country. Rest assure that these guys are working hard with the goal of representing the country well,” he said. Helping out the Blue Eagles in their campaign will be chief backer Chooks-to-Go. “Represent the country well and do your best because all of us will be supporting you. Laban Pilipinas! One Big Fight,” company president Ronald Mascarinas said. The Philippines has won the Jones Cup five times. The last time the country topped the tournament was back in 2016 with the import-laden Mighty Sports-Philippines. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 11th, 2018

Ateneo tops San Beda to take Filoil Preseason crown

For the third year in a row, there has been a clean sweep of the Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament. And just like in 2017, the 2018 edition of the tournament has seen one sweeping squad get replaced by another. Claiming control from the get-go on Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, Ateneo de Manila University didn’t give any chances to now dethroned champion San Beda University for a convincing 76-62 victory. The Blue Eagles scored the first basket and seized the lead right from tip-off. “We gotta give credit to the players. We didn’t really have practices so it was all verbal,” coach Sandy Arespacochaga said post-game. Still, the Red Lions were only behind by four after the opening salvo until Ivorian reinforcement Angelo Kouame imposed his will down low and fueled Ateneo’s 26-11 rush that mounted a 45-26 lead. San Beda would not be able to threaten from that point. With that, the UAAP champions proved that they were the top team in the tournament. Kouame finished with 15 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks en route to being hailed as the Tournament MVP. “We’re very happy for him individually. We’d like to see him continue to improve,” Arespacochaga said. Fellow Mythical team member Thirdy Ravena contributed seven points, two rebounds, and two assists while Jolo Mendoza and Raffy Verano also added nine markers each. Ateneo’s sweep of the 2018 Filoil Preseason follows San Beda’s sweep of the 2017 Filoil Preseason which itself followed De La Salle University’s sweep of the 2016 Filoil Preseason. Last year, the Red Lions dethroned the Green Archers en route to a clean sweep. San Beda got a taste of its own medicine this time around, falling victim to a Blue Eagle side that did not lose in 11 games. Javee Mocon showed the way for them with a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double. Donald Tankoua also had 13 markers and five boards. Robert Bolick was scoreless in 10 minutes of play, but did not play much of the second half after suffering an apparent ankle injury in the second quarter. In the battle for third, Far Eastern University made quick work of College of St. Benilde, 78-58. No Tamaraw was in double-digits, but they counted seven players who contributed somewhere between six to nine points in the scoring column. For the Blazers, Kendrix Belgica and Robbie Nayve topped the scoring column with 12 points apiece. However, they elected not to play top guns Justin Gutang and Clement Leutcheu to rest them for the looming NCAA season. BOX SCORES FINALS ATENEO 76 – Kouame 15, Mendoza 9, Verano 9, Ravena 7, Belangel 7, Nieto Mi 6, Asistio 6, Go 6, Mamuyac 5, Navarro 3, Maagdenberg 3, Nieto Ma 0, Tio 0, Wong 0, Black 0, Andrade 0 SAN BEDA 62 – Mocon 14, Tankoua 13, Abuda 9, Canlas 7, Doliguez 6, Nelle 5, Cabanag 4, Oftana 2, Carino 2, Tongco 0, Bolick 0, Eugene 0, Cuntapay 0, Burri 0 QUARTER SCORES: 19-15, 45-26, 56-42, 76-62 BATTLE FOR THIRD FEU 78 – Tuffin 9, Nunag 9, Tolentino 8, Inigo 7, Comboy 6, Jopia 6, Ramirez 6, Orizu 5, Ebona 4, Gonzales 4, Parker 4, Escoto 4, Casino 4, Bienes 2, Stockton 0, Cani 0 CSB 58 – Belgica 12, Nayve 12, Pagulayan 11, Barnes 10, Carlos 6, Naboa 3, Young 2, Dixon 2, Velasco 0, Pasturan 0, Haruna 0 QUARTER SCORES: 13-17, 32-24, 56-40, 78-58 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2018

Bolick excited to play against UAAP champs for Filoil crown

San Beda star Robert Bolick is confident that the Red Lions will successfully defend the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup crown against reigning UAAP champion Ateneo on Saturday. Bolick said he has no doubt of his team’s capabilities and he is looking forward to facing the Blue Eagles. “They’re the champions in the UAAP, we’re… link: Bolick excited to play against UAAP champs for Filoil crown.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsJun 29th, 2018

CJ Perez -- Baby Beast, or The Blur 2.0?

With a monicker such as "Baby Beast", this versatile swingman from Lyceum of the Philippines University conjures images of a young Calvin Abueva, the triple-double machine that was the heart and soul of the daunted Baste-triumvirate several years back. Abueva was an unstoppable force on both ends of the floor, chasing after loose balls and rebounds and dominating the game despite his generously listed 6’3” frame. CJ Perez, who is just a shade under 6’3”, affects the game very similarly as Abueva on both ends of the floor, but at his age, is a more polished scorer, and plays at a more controlled pace, whether it is because of the system run by Coach Topex Robinson, or because of his experience playing internationally at a younger age. His journey to Lyceum was not without its twists and turns. After suiting up for San Sebastian for two seasons in the NCAA, Perez transferred to Ateneo where he was supposed to play for the Blue Eagles in Season 79 of the UAAP. However, academic issues forced him to rekindle his playing career back in the NCAA, where, after another year of residency, he was finally able to debut for the Pirates in Season 93 of the NCAA tourney. There he made up immensely for lost time, bagging the NCAA’s season MVP award, with averages of 19.3 points on 45 percent shooting from the field, 6.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.9 steals a contest while leading the Pirates to a stellar 18-0 sweep of the elimination round. Their 0-2 defeat in the Finals at the hands of defending champion San Beda did little to tarnish the achievements of Perez, who many now consider as the best collegiate player in the country today, and a sure top three pick in the next PBA draft. Let’s break down his attributes as a basketball player and see just how good Baby Beast (or some may even conjecture The Blur 2.0), really is. STRENGTH AND ATHLETICISM Pound for pound, CJ Perez is as good as it gets in college basketball, athletically and talent-wise. A natural scorer and slasher, he’s a tremendous leaper, and his ability to get rebounds (great positioning and leaping ability) is what allowed Lyceum to play him at the four spot in their pressing line-up. He has wiry strength and an explosive first step. This allows him to get past defenders without the need for any fancy dribbling. His solid upper body also allows him to muscle his way in traffic, create enough separation for a jumper, or more often than not, finish strong with either hand. "UMUPO SA ERE!" CJ Perez edition #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/Haf8oXmAqs — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 19, 2017   SLASHING AND SHOOTING While slashing is his primary scoring option, he’s also developed a respectable outside shot. Though he’s not a volume 3-pt shooter, he has throughout the season taken and made open threes, even of the step-back variety. And while his mechanics are not like those of a pure shooter (feet and shoulders are not perfectly square, has a habit of fading back on jumpers), his confidence and determination to make them have allowed him to shoot at a 45% clip from the field. Tough jumper for CJ Perez! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/9quJAhsazz — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) July 14, 2017 NO GO-TO MOVE? In terms of offensive moves, he has yet to show that he can regularly attack with his back to the basket, as he prefers starting from outside. We’ve not seen him regularly post up smaller defenders or use his athleticism to score on turnaround fadeaway jumpers. Another move he may have to master would be a mid-range floater, as he has not really had to play against much bigger opponents in the college ranks. This, together with a dangerous euro-step would definitely serve him well against bigger, more athletic competition. COURT VISION AND PASSING ABILITY Another positive is his willingness to make the extra pass. Because defenses are always keyed in on him, Perez has shown good court vision and an innate passing ability, many times hitting an open teammate, whether with a forward pass that leads to a fast break or an interior pass leading to an easy score under the basket. And while he is still prone to taking difficult and at times ill-advised shots because of his athleticism, his passing ability is something he can definitely capitalize on. ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT ON DEFENSE On the defensive end, CJ Perez knows how to make full use of his God-given talents. He is terrific at playing the passing lanes, in fact most of his steals are from reading the passing lanes and picking off cross court passes from their full court trap. Those are almost automatic transition baskets. His on-ball defense needs a little more improvement however, as one gets the sense that he relies more on his athleticism rather than solid defensive fundamentals, as seen when guys less athletic are still able to beat him off the dribble from time to time. Something that he’ll have to eliminate if he wants to excel in the next level. CJ Perez getting it done on both ends of the floor! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/RQVGAPnNtL — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 16, 2017 VERSATILITY In terms of intangibles, there is not much more to ask for. Perez has the motor of a Calvin Abueva, and his impact is felt on both ends of the floor. He can play all positions except center, bring the ball up like a point guard, slash like a wing, and rebound like a power forward. While his ballhandling still needs to be improved on (he’s shown to be vulnerable crossing over against smaller guards), there is little doubt that with his work ethic and attitude it’s only a matter of time before he tightens up those handles. Most importantly, he doesn’t showboat, but just goes about his business on the court -- a proven winner who still plays with a chip on his shoulder. #NCAASeason93 MVP CJ Perez's all-around brilliance was all the difference for the stunning Lyceum Pirates! pic.twitter.com/BH9uBYDwVl — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) December 19, 2017 An official from one PBA team thinks that if developed properly, CJ Perez could actually be the next Jayson Castro instead of a Calvin Abueva. That’s a scary thought; but what’s even scarier is that it’s actually not that farfetched to consider......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2018

UAAP F4 rematch between Ateneo, FEU in Filoil Preseason semis

Ateneo de Manila University was 25.3 seconds away from its very first loss in the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup – the very first loss that would boot it out of contention. Matt Nieto was having none of it, however, and made good on back-to-back short stabs that lifted the Blue Eagles over very game Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 74-72, on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Nieto only had nine points in the end, but four of those came when it mattered most. “In the end, I’m glad that we were able to get some stops and execute our plays. I’d like to thank our players for digging deep especially in the last few minutes,” coach Sandy Arrespacochaga said post-game. In a close contest that featured 10 deadlocks and eight lead changes, Bong Quinto put the Knights up by two with 25.3 ticks to go on the clock. Off a timeout, Arrespacochaga, filling in for Tab Baldwin, went to his court general. Nieto, not even 24 hours back home from a series of tuneup games in Greece, did nothing but deliver, leaving JP Calvo in the dust at the top of the key and then making good on a layup while also fishing a foul. He missed the freebie, but Angelo Kouame kept the ball alive. Ateneo then went back to Nieto and he came through once more to grant his team a 74-72 edge. Letran still had 5.4 seconds to make something happen, but Jeo Ambohot’s triple try hit back rim, finishing the job on the Blue Eagles ascent into the semifinals where they meet UAAP rival Far Eastern University. There would be no Ateneo-La Salle in the semis as the Green Archers were ousted by the Tamaraws in the earlier game. Hubert Cani caught fire in the endgame and fired half of his 22 points to shoot FEU over La Salle, 76-69. Aljun Melecio’s triple put the Taft-based team on top, 65-63, inside the last four minutes before Cani quickly countered with a corner three. From there, Cani buried four straight fadeaway midrange jumpers over the outstretched arms of different defenders to outscore all of the Green Archers. Already in front, 74-69, with 27.8 ticks to go, the Tamaraws charged ahead for good with a defensive stop and then a breakaway layup courtesy from Wendell Comboy. For head coach Olsen Racela, their advance into the semis is just another opportunity for his boys to get better. “Nagustuhan ko lang ngayon, we have one more game to prepare us for the season. Ang maganda, we get to play favored teams na magpe-prepare sa amin this season,” he said. Andrei Caracut paced La Salle with 15 points. Their 7-3 performance in the preseason is nonetheless promising despite the quarterfinals exit. For the Knights, JP Calvo topped the scoring column with 16 points. They bow out of the tournament with a 5-4 record and after a gallant stand up against the UAAP champions. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME FEU 76 — Cani 22, Orizu 10, Tolentino 10, Comboy 6, Eboña 6, Escoto 6, Tuffin 6, Iñigo 3, Stockton 3, Gonzales 2, Parker 2, Jopia 0, Nunag 0, Ramirez 0. LA SALLE 69 — Caracut 15, Baltazar 14, Melecio 14, Samuel 12, Dyke 6, Go 6, Manuel 2, Bates 0, Capacio 0, Corteza 0, Herrera 0, Lim 0, Manaytay 0. QUARTER SCORES: 15-11, 35-27, 52-46, 76-69. SECOND GAME ATENEO 74 — Ma. Nieto 9, Mi. Nieto 9, Kouame 8, Asistio 6, Ravena 6, Wong 6, Navarro 5, Tio 5, Verano 5, Belangel 4, Go 4, White 3, Maagdenberg 2, Mendoza 2, Andrade 0, Black 0, Mamuyac 0. LETRAN 72 — Calvo 16, Batiller 13, Fajarito 10, Muyang 10, Quinto 10, Celis 4, Agbong 2, Balagasay 2, Balanza 2, Yu 2, Ambohot 1, Mandreza 0, Taladua 0. QUARTER SCORES: 15-17, 30-35, 56-52, 74-72. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2018

I’ll have to reevaluate myself – De Leon on last playing year with Ateneo

Bea De Leon will use her time playing with the Foton Tornadoes in the Philippine Superliga Invitational slated to begin on June 23 to think about her future with the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles. The prized middle blocker still has one playing year left in the UAAP but de Leon is not yet ready to commit to the Lady Eagles for one last run for the blue and white. The Tornadoes made a recruiting coup by signing De Leon, who was introduced to the media Saturday in a press conference. “That’s a very hard question to finalize,” said De Leon when asked about her collegiate career plan. “As of now, I’m taking it one step at a time.” “It’s a very huge decision for me. But this is my first step after this, after playing in the Invitational we’ll see po if ready na po ba akong bumalik sa Ateneo or not,” she continued. However, a source privy with the lucrative Foton deal, said that De Leon is in for a two-year stint with the franchise bannered by the towering 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago and 6-foot-2 Dindin Santiago-Manabat. The PSL has three conferences per season composed of the import-laden Grand Prix, the Invitational and the All-Filipino.    De Leon helped the Lady Eagles claim its last of back-to-back titles in the UAAP back in 2015, finish as runner-up in Seasons 78 and 79 and a third place in Season 80 despite leading a rebuilding Ateneo squad.    The Lady Eagle, who played for the national team in the 2015 Asian U-23 and the Singapore Southeast Asian Games, said that she has to reevaluate herself to know if she still has the drive to play for Ateneo.   “A lot of people kasi will say na they’ll do anything to play one more game in the UAAP. But what it takes kasi to get there, all the sacrifices and the commitment and the hard work. I’ll have to reevaluate myself if I’m still able to give that kind of commitment to Ateneo,” she said. “Because if I’m not there for the right reasons, more or less, mas magiging pabigat pa ako,” De Leon added. “If I end there I want to be 100% and I want nothing more but to give everything that I have for my school.”       De Leon, who is yet to decide on her last playing year with Ateneo, is the latest Lady Eagles standout that signed with a PSL club after Jho Maraguinot inked a deal with Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors just a week ago.            --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2018

UP coach was key in Espejo s journey to Japan

After a dominating UAAP stint, no one would have been surprised if Marck Espejo decided to take his talents outside the Philippines. Well that time is coming as the five-time UAAP Most Valuable Player is officially moving to Japan to play for Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler. [Related: WHITE EAGLE: Marck Espejo is taking his talents to Japan] The official announcement and contract signing went down Sunday and Espejo is now a White Eagle, ready to spread his wings in the Land of the Rising Sun. No one would have been surprised if Espejo took his talents elsewhere. What's surprising though is the fact that one of the bridges that helped Espejo in his journey to Japan is actually an opposing head coach. Godfrey Okumu, the mentor of the UP Women's Volleyball Team, is actually the one that recommended Espejo to Oita Miyoshi head coach Takashi Ogawa. Okumu apparently worked with Miyoshi for three years. "He [Okumu] said there's a good player in the Philippines," coach Takashi said. At that time, Oita Miyoshi was already looking for Asian imports to beef up its squad and after scouting Espejo, everything worked out for both sides. Before UAAP Season 80, Espejo already travelled to Japan last December to do workouts. Oita Miyoshi's staff also quietyly made trips to the Philippines to see Espejo in action for the Blue Eagles. "Coach Okumu of UP used to work with them [Oita Miyoshi," said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro. "When coach Okumu came here and timing na they [Miyoshi] were looking for Asian players, coach Okumu recommended one player in the Philippines [Espejo], nandito raw yung kailangan nila," he added. According to Almadro, Espejo already got offers from Thailand last year but things didn't proceed because the star spiker already had one more season with Ateneo. It just so happened that Espejo also decided to pursue a career in Japan. "Many club teams were asking for Marck's services in Thailand. But siguro he chose Japan, mas mahirap dun pero he chose it. We let him decide," Almadro said. "Syempre para mas lalo pa daw siya ma-push," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2018

UAAP volleyball phenom Marck Espejo joins Japanese club team

    MANILA, Philippines – Marck Espejo has decided to take his talents to Japan. Espejo, a five-time UAAP Most Valuable Player, will play for  Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler after an incredible collegiate career with the Ateneo Blue Eagles. He will play with the Japanese club team starting this September until May 5, ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 27th, 2018

WHITE EAGLE: Marck Espejo is taking his talents to Japan

From Blue Eagle to White Eagle. Five-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo is taking his talents to Japan, following the official announcement and contract signing Sunday in Pasay. Espejo will play for Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler and the team will compete in the Japanese V1 League for the upcoming 2018-2019 season. The V1 League is the premier tournament in Japan. "It's once in a lifetime opportunity. I really have to work harder talaga, double ko yung effort ko kasi yung level of competition sa Japan is different dito sa Philippines," Espejo said. Espejo dominated the UAAP with Ateneo for five years, winning three straight championships. However, in his last playing year in Season 80, his Blue Eagles lost to rival NU in two games. The high-leaping Espejo will wrap up the current PVL Reinforced conference for Cignal before leaving for Japan. He will return next year in time for the new PVL season and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games which the Philippines will host. Oita Miyoshi was established in 1996. Weisse Adler means "White Eagle." The club played in the Philippines back in 2014, competing in the Asian Men's Club Championships.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: An Unpredictably Exciting Season

And it finally comes to a close. Season 80 of the UAAP volleyball, from its opening game up to the very last point of the season, will be remembered as the most unexpected and exciting year for Philippine Collegiate Volleyball. While most other competitors had a good share of ups and downs, the emerging champions NU Bulldogs and DLSU Lady Spikers proved to be just a cut above the rest in exerting volleyball dominance. Bulldogs’ Bite Tired of a three-peat runner-up finish, the National Univeristy Bulldogs finally claimed the glory by snatching the crown from perennial rivals, the Ateneo Blue Eagles. With both teams having a shared rivalry once as cellar dwellers and now as championship contenders, the rivalry between NU and Ateneo in men's volleyball has been a wonder to see evolve. For Season 80, the Bulldogs finally left a mark by serving up height, athleticism, and cohesion to dominate the men's division. In their finals match against the Blue Eagles, the Bulldogs showed exemplary net play in terms of offense led by eventual Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas. With King Blue Eagle Marco Espejo relegated to the opposite position, NU coach Dante Alinsunurin’s choice to field in Madzlan Gampong proved to be beneficial in checking Ateneo’s offensive behemoth. Though still capable of producing his usual output, Espejo was closed down on key situations, giving confidence boosters to the NU wall as well as compensating for their floor defense, which was relatively their disadvantage. Perhaps the other contributing factor in NU’s victory was how the Blue Eagles were not able to maximize on their skill advantages such as service and blocking. In both finals matches, Ateneo was not able to capitalize on the passing of NU with aggressive serving leading to clean execution of offensive plays from the latter. In instances where the Blue Eagles were making a rally and even obtaining a Game 2 set, it was highly evident that their blocking was significantly altering the hitting tendencies of NU, but Ateneo was not able to stay consistent with such tactic. Archers’ Aim Over in the ladies division, the finals match-up of the two powerhouse squads, the De La Salle Lady Spikers and the FEU Lady Tamaraws, was highly consistent with the theme of the encounters throughout the season. With the two best serving and passing teams in the league, it was expected that both teams would bring out the best in each other and that was just what both teams did in the Finals series. In both encounters during the elimination season, the Lady Tamaraws were able to challenge the passing efficiency of the Lady Spikers by giving them a taste of their own medicine which was aggressive serving. In the instances that FEU was able to subdue La Salle in their encounters, it was because of well placed heavy serves that negate the threat of middles Majoy Baron and Aduke Ogunsanya. In similar fashion, Season 80 Best Blocker Celine Domingo was also able to pose a significant defensive threat in the net due to the team’s ability to disrupt oponent attack patterns through aggresive serving. Coming into the Finals series, it can be considered that both FEU and DLSU are the most balanced teams in the league. With starters who are notable in producing points in every rotation, the biggest factor for both teams would be the ability of the middles to execute as Baron was capable of racking up the points left unchecked and Domingo was essential in running FEU’s bread and butter combination plays. As such, the main determining factor in the outcome of the finals series was who could out-serve who given both team's proficiency in both serving and passing. True enough, the Lady Spikers proved that they were the better serving team as they were able to establish a tight wall defense to check The Lady Tamaraws’ offense. Consistent with their elimination round encounters, FEU’s inability to execute the set given a substantial lead combined with La Salle’s tenacity to thrive under pressure eventually won the Lady Spikers the crown. Beyond 80 The exit of big names such as Dy, Baron, Bernadeth Pons, Dawn Macandili, Jaja Santiago, Jho Maraguinot, Jema Galanza, Mylene Paat and Shaya Adorador to name a few would spell some concern for their respective teams ,but would serve as a challenge and inspiration for newcomers to reach the achievements of their predecessors. In similar fashion, teams left with solid line-ups like UST and UP would have better chances to dominate albeit higher expectations. In line with that, familiarization with more foreign coaching ideologies from the likes of Air Padda and Gody Okumu will further elevate the level of the sport in the women's division. On the other hand, an intact champion in the NU Bulldogs as well as contender FEU Tamaraws will ensure dominance for both. As such,the exit of inarguably one of the best tandems in UAAP history, that of Ish Polvorosa and Espejo, would entail a tough challenge for Ateneo to produce new outstanding inclusions in order to maintain their place in the upper echelons of the league.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2018

Yup, Ateneo is still the Ateneo that won it all in the UAAP

Ateneo de Manila University has remained mostly intact from the time it claimed the championship in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament. And now in the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, that continuity was evident. Even Ricci Rivero had to say so. “Actually, wala namang nagbago sa kanila,” he told reporters after he and the Gilas cadets fell to the Blue Eagles on Saturday. Indeed, Thirdy Ravena was showing the way yet again with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals, but still had backup right there with him. That recipe for success the used to take down the Gilas cadets was the very same recipe for success they used to take down De La Salle University, then Rivero’s team, in last year’s UAAP Finals. Still, true to form, Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin said they can do far better. As he put it, “Actually, I’m not too impressed. We’re not trying to be anything more than a shadow of what we hope to become.” Baldwin then went on to point out that they didn’t take care of the ball all that well with 23 turnovers. “We made many mistakes, 14 turnovers in the first half, and we’re not yet ready to play as a team. We have no chemistry right now,” he shared. He then continued, “We want the skill and the physicality. I think the decision-making and cohesion will come, but it’s not there yet.” Fortunately for the Blue Eagles, they still have the rest of the Filoil Preseason to get there. “We’re only thinking about individual development right now. I think every time you get good competition, it tests what you’ve been working on,” the champion coach said. Baldwin and his boys next face NCAA champion San Beda University on Friday. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 21st, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Espejo records 55 points, Ateneo forces decider

Marck Espejo is a monster. With the three-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University’s back against the wall, Espejo rose to the occasion with a record-setting display of his offensive prowess, helping the Blue Eagles extend the Final Four series with a hard-earned 18-25, 25-13, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9, win over twice-to-beat Far Eastern University Saturday in the 80th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena.    The graduating four-time Most Valuable Player Espejo scored a jaw-dropping 55 points including 11 in the fifth set to break his previous high of 39 markers in a second round five-set loss to the Tamaraws, who swept the Katipunan-based squad in the elims.    Espejo had 47 attacks, six kill blocks and a pair of aces for Ateneo. John Rivera scored eight, Gian Glorioso got six while Chumason Njigha and Ron Medalla combined for 10 points for the Blue Eagles.  Game 2 is on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Espejo wreaked havoc in the fifth set and gave Ateneo an 8-5 lead. FEU closed the gap 8-9 before the Blue Eagles extended their advantage to 11-8 off an off the block kill by Espejo.  The Ateneo star finished off FEU with a thunderous spike to cap the Blue Eagles' closing 4-1 assault.  Espejo brought the Blue Eagles back into life in the fourth set with his powerful smashes as Ateneo overhauled an early 8-11 deficit. Ateneo went ahead 23-20 before FEU scored two straight to draw close, 23-22.  Espejo put the Blue Eagles at set point off a spike before the Tams saved a point but the Ateneo ace hammered an attack to put the match into a decider.       FEU took a 2-1 match lead after hanging tough late in the third frame. The Tams after a disappointing second set trailed early in the frame before making a run for a 20-20 deadlock. Redijohn Paler broke a 23-23 tie with a hit off a combination play before Espejo forced an extension with a kill of his own. Jude Garcia scored on an attack before Ateneo’s John Rivera sent his attack straight to the net as the Blue Eagles surrendered the third set.                        JP Bugaoan and Garcia each had 15 points while Paler had 12 markers for the Tams.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 21st, 2018

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

Ricci s sole focus now is Gilas Pilipinas

After leaving De La Salle University, high-flying Ricci Rivero is practically a free agent. He's not in a rush to find a new school though. Ricci is taking his time. For now, his sole focus is with the Philippine national team, which is one item off his bucket list. Rivero will team up with the returning Kobe Paras to lead Gilas Pilipinas' youth brigade this year, starting with the 2018 Filoil Flying V Premier Preseason Cup. "I'm so excited nga kasi I wasn't able to play last time for the U-18 team," Ricci said. "Now syempre, I left La Salle, and then I don't know yet where I'm going so I told my parents na I want to focus on Gilas first, kasi it's my dream talaga to play for the national team," he added. Gilas Pilipinas will first see action on Saturday against Thirdy Ravena and his UAAP Champion Blue Eagles. Kobe, Ricci, and Thirdy in one game shoule be must see. In fact, Rivero says all Gilas games will be must see. "I'm so excited kasi I'm gona play again with Kobe," Rivero said. "Syempre, who doesn't want Kobe back di ba? Everyone's looking forward to watching our games kasi nga Kobe is going back," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 18th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Top performers after the elims (men s)

As expected four-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo’s stellar play the whole UAAP Season 80 reflected on the statistics. The three-time champion Ateneo de Manila University hitter dominated three offensive skill categories strengthening his bid for an unprecedented fifth top individual award in the sport. Espejo’s explosiveness on offense was in full display the whole elimination round as he led the scoring department with 317 points or an average of 22.6 markers per outing. He accumulated his total points off 268 attacks, 27 kill blocks and 22 service aces. Espejo was 57 points clear of closest rival National University star Bryan Bagunas, who had 260 points (213 kills, 28 kill blocks, 19 aces). Behind Bagunas were De La Salle University teammates Arjay Onia, who posted 245 points (217 kills, 16 kill blocks, 12 aces), and Raymark Woo, who collected 216 points (179 kills, 20 kill blocks, 17 aces) followed by Adamson star Paolo Pablico’s 215 points (190 kills, 18 kill blocks, 17 aces). Espejo also led the league in attack efficiency with an impressive 50.09% success rate ahead of Far Eastern University’s JP Bugaoan (48.57%), Bagunas (45.71%), NU’s James Natividad (44.16%) and Onia (40.94%). It was Espejo again who landed on top of the ranking in service aces as he averaged 0.44 service winner per set followed by Bagunas (0.37), Woo (0.33), Wendel Miguel of University of the Philippines (0.25) and Timothy James Tajanlangit (0.24) of University of Sto. Tomas. UST’s Jayvee Sumagaysay topped the blocking department with an average of 0.78 per set ahead of Buagaoan (0.75), NU’s Kim Malabunga (0.73), Ateneo’s Gian Glorioso (0.62) and Adamson’s Royce Bello (0.60). Blue Eagles setter Ish Polvorosa led all playmakers with an average of 10.74 excellent sets per frame. Behind him were La Salle’s Wayne Marcos (8.96), Kim Dayandante of NU (8.69), Tajanlangit (8.00) and Jerahmeel Baldelovar (7.75). Lording over the digs department was Jopet Movido with an average of 4.27 digs per set. Adamson’s Rence Melgar was at second with 4.18 digs per frame followed by John Miguel Nasol of UP (3.73), Manuel Sumanguid of Ateneo (3.56) and Ricy Marcos of NU (3.24). Tamaraws libero Rikko Mamerto topped the reception efficiency with a 68.80% rate to edge Melgar (60.40%), UST’s Lester Sawal (60.21%), Espejo (59.12%) and Sumanguid (58.59%).     ---       Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

Reed s defense of Masters title starts early

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Patrick Reed won't have to wait until next April to defend his title in the Masters. Even as he slipped into a green jacket, he was perceived more as a villain than a victor. The loudest cheer from the first tee at Augusta National was for Rory McIlroy, who played with Reed in the final round. The loudest cheer on the 18th green was for Rickie Fowler, who finished ahead of Reed. The mood all afternoon screamed out, "Anyone but Patrick." Reed had the last shot, a 3-foot par putt for a one-shot victory and his first major championship. All he did was play a brand of golf that champions from any era would embrace. He seized control on Saturday with two eagles on the back nine, the second a 3-wood from just under 270 yards into the wet, heavy air that barely cleared the water in front of the 15th green. From there, he chipped in from 80 feet. And on Sunday, he heard the cheers ahead of him for Jordan Spieth and answered with a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 12 and an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 14. That's how you win majors and earn respect. The applause, however, sounded more like acceptance than celebration. Instead of looking ahead to how much more this Masters champion might achieve, the inclination was to look into the past of a flawed character in a green jacket. Reed wasn't anyone's favorite Sunday outside of his immediately family, and that includes parents with whom he has had no contact for more than five years. They live a few miles from Augusta National. That's not unusual at the Masters. Danny Willett wasn't the patron's choice in 2016 when he took advantage of Spieth's misfortunes at the 12th hole. Charles Coody played the best golf in 1971 when the Masters could have had Jack Nicklaus or 23-year-old Johnny Miller. Even without a checkered past at two colleges — Georgia and Augusta State — or Reed's brash claim after his third PGA Tour victory that he considered himself among the top five players in golf, the role of villain fit as snugly as that green jacket. There was McIlroy — honest, refreshing, talented — who already had paid his dues at Augusta National with that final-round 80 in 2011 and now lacked only this major to complete the career Grand Slam. It wasn't Reed's fault that McIlroy couldn't buy a putt. Then it was Spieth, who says and does all the right things off the course, making a Sunday charge that even Nicklaus could appreciate. He was one swing away from the lowest final round and perhaps the greatest comeback in Masters history. His tee shot was too far left and hit a tree limb. And finally it was Fowler's turn. If he isn't the best player never to have won a major, he is the most popular player without a major by a wide margin. Fowler hit all the right shots, especially on the 18th hole for a birdie that gave the gallery hope and left Reed no room for a mistake. Reed loves a moment like this. "It's just a way of God basically saying, 'Let's see if you have it,'" Reed said. He had it all, except the affection that appears to be harder to find than the wide fairways of Augusta National. Reed didn't care when someone asked Saturday night why fans don't embrace him. "Why don't you ask them?" he said. "I'm out here to do my job, and that's to play golf. I feel like if I'm doing it the right way, then that's all that really matters." Reed is part of the youth movement, primarily because of his age (27). The consummate team player can be a bit of a loner. He does his work quietly on the range, rarely without his wife along for observations. He doesn't have regular partners for practice. You won't find him on any social media channels during spring break in the Bahamas. He wears boots, not flip-flops. And yes, he has flaws. He inevitably has let people down, even if he was never a hero to legions of fans. There were plenty of American fans cheering for him at Hazeltine in 2016 when he matched McIlroy shot for shot and at one point wagged his finger at him. That finger was pressed against the lips when he had the audacity to shush a Scottish crowd during Ryder Cup debut in Gleneagles. Top 5 in the world? Maybe at annoying people. "He's a member of the Masters Club now. He'll have a green jacket forever," Spieth said. "His name is etched in history, and I'm sure he's going to carry everything that he went through today and go into Paris and try and win a Ryder Cup on European soil." They love him in red, white and blue. Perhaps one of these days, they'll come to embrace him in green......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 11th, 2018