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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

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

Madayag to Ateneo doubters: ‘Watch this season and see how we play’

After three-time UAAP MVP Alyssa Valdez graduated, there were doubts whether Ateneo would be as dominant as it was again. But for two straight seasons the girls in blue-and-white have continued to defy expectations and continued to waltz their way to the Final Four. First it was Jio Morado who led the tempo in Season 79 when the Lady Eagles finished with the best record in the eliminations but bowed in the finals against La Salle. Then Season 80 rolled along and it was under the leadership of Maddie Madayag and Kat Tolentino that Ateneo once more got their ticket to the big dance. Madayag said she's aware of the doubters that predicted Ateneo won't go anywhere without Mor...Keep on reading: Madayag to Ateneo doubters: ‘Watch this season and see how we play’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 5th, 2018

Filipino-Canadian forward Matthew Daves commits to Ateneo

Ateneo just deepened its prized wing rotation for the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball tournament after adding forward Matthew Daves. Daves, who is of Filipino and Canadian decent and played for Durham Crossover in the NBTC tournament, met with Ateneo team patron Manny V. Pangilinan to formalize his commitment to the defending UAAP champion. Durham head coach Mike Cruz also posted a photograph of their visit on his Facebook profile. Daves joins Thirdy Ravena, Mike Nieto, and Troy Malilin in Ateneo's wing rotation and that is only if the Blue Eagles play conventional, positional basketball. At 6-foot-5, Daves also played power forward for his school Central Tech in Toronto....Keep on reading: Filipino-Canadian forward Matthew Daves commits to Ateneo.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 30th, 2018

Jarvey Gayoso’s biggest critic? His dad Jayvee

In just his third season in the UAAP, Ateneo Football’s Jarvey Gayoso has already bagged three straight Best Striker nods, an MVP trophy, and a men’s championship. The star striker has come up big for his team on countless occasions and has emerged as the team’s go-to-guy, even more so now as the young Blue Eagles continue their quest for repeat titles. This year, Gayoso is on pace for another Best Striker nod with 13 goals in eleven matches played, and the defending champion Blue Eagles are second in the league, one point behind top-seeded University of the Philippines. With the way things are going, it may be hard to criticize Gayoso’s play… …that depends, of course, who you ask. Sunday afternoon, Ateneo avenged their first round loss to University of Santo Tomas with a 2-0 win, and Gayoso again had his hand on the win, scoring one of the goals. Watching from the stands was Jarvey’s dad Jayvee. In fact, it was Jayvee’s first time to see Jarvey and the Blue Eagles win a match in the UAAP live, and the younger Gayoso jokingly said that maybe his dad was a bringer of bad luck. “Honestly, this is his first game to watch na we won. I think he’s watched three games na one draw, tapos dalawang talo. After a while I was feeling na baka malas, alam mo naman mga Pinoy, superstitious,” Jarvey said with a laugh. “But then after today, of course, I’m blessed to have him here, he’s a busy guy, and my father drives all the way from Laguna to watch me, along with my mom and my siblings, it’s a nice experience to have him,” While most parents are their child’s biggest fan, Jayvee will be the first to tell you that he isn’t like that. Being a former athlete himself, the former Ateneo basketball star and PBA standout will always see areas of improvement, especially in his son. “I have every reason to be proud of what Jarvey does, but because of my knowledge on sports and how I’ve handled so many players before, Jarvey knows that I’m always tough, I’m here to criticize him, I’m always here to point out the wrong things he does, I always stress to him that without his teammates, his greatness is just 50 percent.” “I’m not the typical type of dad who will, you know, I’m more of the critic rather than, but at the end of the day, of course, my heart, I’m trying to do things to help him out even more, for his life.” Jayvee added. And for Jarvey, it becomes a source of motivation and a different perspective on his growth as a player. “Because my dad’s also an athlete, he’ll always see the things that I can improve on, which is good for me, because I’ll be able to understand what I can’t see and what he sees, and I’ll be able to know what I can further work on.” So far, it seems to be working. As for finally getting to see his son get a win in the UAAP, Jayvee was of course happy, but that doesn’t mean it’s a reason to stop working to get better. “I’m happy of course that they won, I’m happy he was able to score, ako kasi defensive player ako nung ako’y player, so I’m always…I fight him all the time, Jarv, help on defense! Pero nakikita ko nakakapagod din yung ginagawa niyang pagtatakbo ano, but of course I’ll never stop.” “Even if I’m content with what he does, at the end of the day, I am still gonna criticize, like I said, and tell him, may kulang pa din, Jarv. Never be satisfied. Never be satisfied.” Jayvee continued. The win over UST was of course a sweet one, especially for Gayoso, who was visibly down after their first round loss to the Growling Tigers. It was sweeter more so, having his dad around to see it happen. “Nakaka-kaba, siyempre, because your biggest critic is here, but at the same time I love it when he watches, I love doing well and and being able to know that he’s in a good mood because of the way I played, because it’s fulfilling.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 19th, 2018

Blue Eagles postpone practice to show support for Eaglets

The Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles were all ready and raring for Game 1 of the Finals. But no, they weren’t going to play. Instead, the UAAP Seniors champions were at the Filoil Flying V Centre on Friday to show support for the Blue Eaglets who were gunning for the Juniors title. As it turns out, Seniors head coach Tab Baldwin really made it a point for his boys to cheer for their Juniors team. “Instead na ginawa ng practice session today, ginawa (ni coach Tab) na team support. It’s our time to show support to our younger brothers kaya complete kami rito,” Mike Nieto shared. Indeed, except for some players who had class, the Blue Eagles were out in full force to rally behind the Blue Eaglets. “Ateneo pa rin ‘to and whether grade school, high school, or college, we support each other. It’s our turn to give back to them,” Matt Nieto said. Fortunately for Katipunan, their high school team did not let their college team down. Towering teen Kai Sotto made history with a triple-double, court general SJ Belangel was his usual steady self, and Ateneo took Game 1 in dominant fashion. And for Game 2, their kuyas are hoping they could be there once again to show support. Asked if they will be back on Tuesday, Mike Nieto answered, “Actually, ‘di pa namin alam, pero I’ll talk to coach Tab kung pwede ulit sana.” He then continued, “Swerte e, nanalo. Hopefully, makanood kami ulit ng Tuesday.” So… Ball’s in your court, coach Tab. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 23rd, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Espejo sizzles in Ateneo s escape

Three-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University overcame a seven-point deficit in the fourth set and a gritty resistance from the upset-conscious Adamson University in a 25-14, 25-27, 25-23, 28-26 escape Wednesday in the 80th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Four-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo spewed fire as he unloaded a season-high 31 points off 26 attacks, three kill blocks and a couple of aces in the Blue Eagles’ fourth straight win in five outings that pushed Ateneo up to solo second behind unbeaten Far Eastern University (4-0). The Katipunan-based squad went down 11-18 in the fourth set with the Falcons pounding on offense coupled by Ateneo’s string of miscues. But the Blue Eagles, whose last defeat against the San Marcelino-based squad was in Season 78 first round, slowly chipped away Adamson’s lead before moving at match point, 24-23, off a kill by Ron Medalla. The Falcons saved a match point in the next play but Espejo was there to give the lead back to Ateneo. Medalla committed a service error in the next play before Espejo put Ateneo again at match point on a crosscourt hit. Espejo sent his service straight to the net that saved the Falcons another match point. Gian Glorioso answered with a quick attack to push the Blue Eagles back at match point advantage before Leo Miranda hammered his spike wide to surrender the match to Ateneo. Glorioso added 14 points while Season 79 Rookie of the Year Chumason Njigha chipped in 13 markers for the Blue Eagles, who poured 61 attack points orchestrated by Ish Polvorosa's 61 excellent sets. Adamson absorbed its second straight defeat and slid to seventh spot with a 1-4 mark. Philip Yude had 13 points, Paolo Pablico had 12 while Royce Bello added 10 for the Falcons.   ---                   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 21st, 2018

Mocon, Tankoua set up Finals date between San Beda and LPU

San Beda University was without Robert Bolick for the 2018 Philippine Collegiate Champions League Semifinals. Still, they had NCAA Mythical selection Javee Mocon and Finals MVP Donald Tankoua. Mocon was brilliant all game long while Tankoua was big in the endgame as the Red Lions bested UAAP titlist Ateneo de Manila University, 57-52, on Monday at the FIloil Flying V Centre. The Mythical selection wound up with 22 points, four rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block while the Finals MVP had 17-point, 13-rebound double-double on top of the win-sealing block to help their side remain unscathed in the tournament. With their fourth win in a row, they now advance to the Finals where they face off anew with rival Lyceum of the Philippines University. The boys from Mendiola had to dig deep to make it happen as team leader Bolick was ruled out due to a knee injury he sustained last Sunday. And so, San Beda found itself chasing down a five-point deficit early in the final frame until Mocon took over with seven straight points to grant his team a 46-44 edge. The Blue Eagles didn’t quit and tied the tally at 52-all inside the last 90 seconds before Matt Nieto bobbled the ball and saw Tankoua gather it and go all the way for a fastbreak layup. After defensive stops for the two teams, Mocon was then sent to the line and made good on two free throws for a 56-52 lead. Still with 19.0 ticks to make something happen, Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin designed a beautiful play to find Thirdy Ravena with a good look underneath the basket. However, Tankoua was also there to deny the attempt and shut the door once and for all. Not long after, the NCAA champions were celebrating a victory versus the UAAP champions. They are not done yet, however, and now turn their attention to the Pirates who are nothing but determined to get back at them. For the Blue Eagles, Ravena topped the scoring column with 11 points. BOX SCORES SAN BEDA 57 – Mocon 21, Tankoua 15, Soberano 6, Cabanag 4, Carino 4, Abuda 3, Doliguez 2, Ejercito 2, Presbitero 0, Tongco 0, Noah 0, Oftana 0, Bahio 0 ATENEO 52 – Ravena 11, Verano 8, Nieto Ma 7, Maagdenberg 7, White 3, Asistio 3, Tio 3, Go 2, Mamuyac 2, Mallillin 2, Nieto Mi 2, Mendoza 2, Andrade 0 QUARTER SCORES: 12-9, 27-20, 37-37, 57-52 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 12th, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Superteams and superpowers: Basketball in 2017

The common theme in basketball as of late is rather simple: build yourself a superteam and see where it goes. 2017 saw a bunch of superteams take the court in all levels. Some panned out and some did not. Nevertheless, we live in a world of superteams. Either your favorite basketball team is one or it's not.   Warriors World For the 2016-2017 NBA Season, the 73-win Golden State Warriors, a superteam in their own right, added former Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant. Oh my goodness. The Dubs then proceeded to decimate the NBA, winning 67 games in the regular season. Golden State was even better in the playoffs, making a serious play for a postseason sweep before finishing with a 16-1 record and a second title in three seasons.   Seriously, it's a Warriors World that we live in Golden State's success has prompted other teams to try and create their own superteam. Houston snatched Chris Paul away from the Los Angeles Clippers and now the Rockets have a potent backcourt combo that also feature MVP contender James Harden. Oklahoma City completed two incredible trades that made Paul George and Carmelo Anthony members of the Thunder. Oh, OKC also has MVP winner Russell Westbrook running point. The Timberwolves also have something going on in Minnesota as Jimmy Butler joined Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins for a young and intriguing Big 3. The Eastern Conference landscape changed when Cleveland traded Kyrie Irving to Boston. The Celtics previously signed Gordon Hayward and all of a sudden, the winningest NBA franchise is in position to take over the East now and the forseeable future. Speaking of Cleveland, LeBron James is still with the Cavs and they've added Dwyane Wade of all people to join an aging but still scary superteam. The King started this whole superteam craze. Golden State just happened to perfect. We all live in a Warriors World.   Feer the Beer Over in the PBA, the Philippines' premier superteam is still pretty effective despite its stars each playing almost 40 minutes per game. A year removed from the "Beeracle Run," San Miguel made history by being only the second team to capture the Perpetual Trophy following three straight Philippine Cup titles. Then the Beermen, with the top-3 MVP candidates in June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, and Chris Ross, plus Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter, ended the franchise's 16-year championship drought in the Commissioner's Cup. With the help of import Charles Rhodes of course. San Miguel had legitimate chances to win the Grand Slam of course, but the team ultimately fell short in the Governors' Cup. However, the Beermen did add 6'8" Fil-German Christian Standhardinger to the fold. Superteam.   Return of the Kings It was the perfect set up. Meralco earned the number 1 seed and was rolling all the way to the Finals. Meanwhile, the Gink Kings had to go through yet another emotional and heated series against rival TNT in the semifinals in order to have a chance to properly defend their title. The series before that? The Gin Kings had to end San Miguel's Grand Slam dreams. In the 2017 Governors' Cup Finals, Meralco was in perfect position to take The Rematch and allow the birth of a new PBA rivalry. After seven games, none of that happened and Ginebra won back-to-back titles by virtue of their quote unquote superteam. Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Joe Devance, Justin Brownlee, LA Tenorio, Sol Mercado, and Scottie Thompson. How is that not a superteam? The Kangkong jokes sure died a slow death.   Systematic Mayhem Even in college hoops, superteams are the way to go. However, in the amatuers, you just have to recruit your way into building one. La Salle has perfected this method and the Green Archers are certainly the biggest --- and loudest and most aggressive ---- recruiters. The Taft superteam featuring Ben Mbala and co. got the Green Archers to two UAAP Finals and one championship. Only one championship because another superteam, quietly built in Katipunan with surgical, perhaps even robotic, precision, beat them this year. That's right, Big Bad Blue is once again on top of the UAAP as the Ateneo Blue Eagles scored a sensational, near-sweep of UAAP Season 80. Coach Tab Baldwin has a collection of incredible players that may not look like it on first glance but they do certainly qualify for superteam status. Dom't believe it? Maybe you will after they complete a five-peat. It could happen.   Sweep In the other collegiate league, two superteams dominated the NCAA for two separate periods in one season. First, Lyceum, the surprise superteam, made history by completing an 18-game sweep of the elimination round. However, the Pirates ran into the league's decade-old superteam in San Beda and the Red Lions ended up sweeping the Finals for yet another title. Most of the major characters from both squads will return for a new season and if a San Beda-Lyceum rematch does not happen, well, that's just disappointing isn't it?   OVERTIME 2017 also saw the rise and fall and rise of the Gilas Pilipinas program. Well sort of. The Philippines got off to a great star this year by absolutely dominating the SEABA Championships. Then, disaster struck in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup when Gilas was embarassed by an old foe in South Korea. To end the year, the Philippine national team recovered, albeit in an ugly fashion, to take an early lead in the 2019 World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Gilas is more than capable of forming a Pinoy superteam that could compete, and even beat, the best of Asia. Let's hope we get that in 2018. Finally, 2017 also saw the Civil War PBA edition. It wasn't funny and it wasn't good. Fortunately, it seems that bright and peacuful days are ahead of our beloved league. Let's hope that's the case and let's just leave the bad memories behind this year. Time to move on and forget about that stuff. There are basketball games to be played.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

Baldwin draws inspiration from Bear Bryant in team system

MANILA, Philippines – Contrary to the full-court press style of play utilized by most coaches in the UAAP,  Ateneo Blue Eagles Coach Tab Baldwin's disciplined system prevailed over the rest.  Having led the New Zealand national men's basketball team to the semi-finals of the FIBA World Cup in 2002, and ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 9th, 2017