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In Focus: 8 Of Our Fave UAAP Volleybelles–Where Are They Now?

This is what life looks like for these beauties after their college heydays......»»

Category: lifestyleSource: abscbn abscbnJul 17th, 2018

DE JESUS: Genius, disciplinarian, champion coach

This story was originally published on May 7, 2017 De La Salle University head coach Ramil De Jesus came inside the press room of the Big Dome for a post-game interview wearing the same smile he had in the past nine times the Lady Spikers closed the UAAP season as champions. The only difference in those championship interviews were the players that accompanied him to answer questions from reporters. From Iris Ortega-Patrona, Desiree Hernandez, Maureen Penetrante, the legendary Manilla Santos, the Big Three of Cha Cruz, Paneng Mercado and Jacq Alarca, to Michel Gumabao and beast-mode-don’t-care Aby Marano to Ara Galang, Mika Reyes, Kim Dy and gem of a setter in Kim Fajaro – all of them stood beside a genius and architect of DLSU’s successful volleyball program. Victory after victory, De Jesus built his reputation as a one of the best women’s volleyball mentors in the country. Last Saturday, De Jesus added another feather to his cap when he steered the Taft-based squad to back-to-back titles in the 79th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the expense of archrival Ateneo de Manila. Two decades since his arrival to the school of a different shade of green after playing for Far Eastern University, delivered 10 titles and brought the Lady Spikers to the Finals 17 times.   De Jesus shared the secret of his success. “Siguro, sistema siguro then hard work. And then, well-disciplined ‘yung mga bata. Siguro, ‘yun ‘yung key,” he said. His success earned him the respect of his peers including three-time UAAP men’s volleyball champion Oliver Almadro of Ateneo, who was once one of his lieutenants, and players alike. DLSU embraced him as one of its own. “Natutuwa ako kasi kahit hindi ako alumnus doon niyakap nila ako bilang parang doon na din nag-graduate,” said De Jesus. “Hindi ko naman napapansin ang mga nanyayari sa akin sila lang ang nakakapansin, binigyan nga ako ng award. Happy, very happy (ako).” De Jesus is known to be a no nonsense coach. Strict, straightforward and a disciplinarian – traits he inherited from FEU men’s coach Kid Santos.                He doesn’t like fanfare and as much as possible keeps attention away from him. De Jesus carefully chooses his words but when he gives one, everybody listens. He means business all the time.   Brilliance of De Jesus 246-65. De Jesus knows how to win and his career win-loss record says it all. The main reason why DLSU trusted De Jesus to handle the team for that many years – a rare feat considering that a UAAP coach’s tenure is very volatile.   It was summer 20 years ago when former basketball Olympian and influential DLSU sport personality Ramoncito Campos brought in a young mentor in De Jesus to save the school’s volleyball program, which then had yet to win a title since joining the league in 1986.           He entered the UAAP volleyball scene during the time when powerhouse teams Far Eastern University and University of Sto. Tomas, then mentored by legendary coach August Sta. Maria, were the ones lording over here the competition. Of course the road to glory didn’t come easy but his first tour of duty gave DLSU a chance to feel what it was to be in the Final Four when the Lady Spikers finished fourth a year when after strings of forgettable seasons. Quenching the thirst to salvage some pride in the sport that will eventually be DLSU’s second most valued contest next to basketball, the Lady Spikers began to hunger for the crown – something the school never felt before since winning it all back in 1976 as a member of the NCAA.   De Jesus submitted his team to Spartan-like training and hammering discipline and slowly molded the Lady Spikers to a championship-caliber squad. In Season 61, DLSU challenged FEU for the crown but the Lady Tamaraws’ championship experience prevailed. The loss only fueled De Jesus’ desire to bring the Lady Spikers to the throne even more. With the core of ace hitter Ortega-Patrona, setter Valerie Bautista, Sally Macasaet, Sheryl Magallanes, Demelle Chua, Hollie Reyes and then sophomore Ivy Remulla, De Jesus steered DLSU on the right track for another shot at the crown. Midway in the season Bautista got pregnant. De Jesus, calm and composed, knew what to do. He converted open spiker Reyes into a setter and the gambit worked as DLSU once again punched a ticket to the Finals, this time against UST – a very hungry team looking to reclaim the title. A year removed from the throne, UST was ready for the kill. But the Espana-based squad went against a famished team – DLSU will not leave the sweltering University of the Philippines Human Kinetics Gym without the championship trophy. In front of a crowd - dwarf-sized compared to the multitude of fans that troop bigger venues of today – the Lady Spikers wrote history. DLSU slew a giant in a thrilling five-set game behind the stellar performance of Ortega-Patrona, who won that Season’s Most Valuable Player award – the first of many incredible volleybelles that will bag the highest individual honor under De Jesus’ tutelage.     It was an incredible feat but it won’t see a repeat in the next three years.              Grand Slam After their breakthrough title, the Lady Spikers had three straight bride’s maid finishes behind FEU. Heartbreaks brought by Ortega-Patrona’s falling out with De Jesus over a disciplinary issue in Season 63 and the unstoppable power of FEU's Monica Aleta, who won three straight MVP awards while towing the Lady Tams to a three-peat. Like a chess master, De Jesus learned from his mistakes before pulling off a feat that will cement his name as one of the greatest. With Hernandez, Penetrante and a young Santos as his main pieces, he steered the Lady Spikers to a rare three-peat. DLSU brought into heel FEU, UST and Adamson to complete a grand slam. A four-peat loomed for the celebrated Lady Spikers but fate played a cruel trick on them after UAAP suspended DLSU in Season 69 because the Green Archers' basketball squad fielded two ineligible players the previous year.       When the ban was lifted in Season 70, De Jesus and the Lady Spikers were again under the radar as title contenders together with the defending champion UST, FEU and Adamson. But team was forced to file a leave of absence from the school while the tournament was ongoing because Alarca saw action despite incomplete academic credentials to be eligible to play. All of the team’s won games where Alarca played where forfeited and the Lady Spikers ended up at seventh place. It was a painful setback but it also served as a rallying point for DLSU. With Santos playing her final year and the emergence of enigmatic but then rookie libero Mel Gohing in Season 71, the Lady Spikers denied the then graduating Rachel Anne Daquis and FEU back-to-back crowns. DLSU relinquished the throne to the Angeli Tabaquero and Aiza Maizo-led Tigresses the following year. The Lady Spikers avenged their loss the next season in a rematch with UST behind Alarca, Mercado, Cruz, Gumabao and Gohing in the start of De Jesus’ second three-peat.   DLSU-Ateneo rivalry Nobody really knows when UAAP volleyball picked up the tremendous following it has today. Maybe it needed something for people to get hooked into. A continuous rivalry, perhaps? For six straight years DLSU and Ateneo did just that. The storied rivalry between La Salle and Ateneo spilled from the basketball court to the taraflex mat of volleyball. De Jesus had in his bench the core of veterans Cruz, Gumabao and Marano back and freshmen Galang, Reyes and Demecillo when they met in the Season 74 Finals a young and promising Lady Eagles side – much like the Lady Spikers De Jesus inherited 14 seasons back. Led by Fille Cainglet, Dzi Gervacio and a fresh recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school Alyssa Valdez, Ateneo gave DLSU a tough challenge for two seasons but the Lady Spikers repelled them both times. Then came Lady Eagles Thai mentor Tai Bundit. For three years in a row, De Jesus’ system bested the rest of the field including that of then Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb. However, a coach who barely spoke English or Filipino provided him a challenge in Season 76. DLSU with an intact core led by Marano, swept its way straight to the Finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage. Ateneo crawled its way to the championship round through a series of do-or-die games. De Jesus is an old-school type of coach. His system is hinged on well-planned strategies and tactics. He was pitted against Bundit’s Thai-style of play anchored on a heartstrong mantra and a ‘happy, happy’ approach of the game. Bundit dances on the sideline, an animated fellow during the matches. De Jesus is stoic as always. When the two collided for the title for the first time, Bundit shocked De Jesus and DLSU when Ateneo beat them thrice in a four-game series that went the full distance. Bundit and the Valdez-led Lady Eagles did it again the following year, completing a season sweep at the expense of the Lady Spikers, who struggled to pose any form resistance in the Finals after Galang went down with a season-ending ACL tear in the semis. It was a devastating loss to say the least. But De Jesus, a general who fought many battles for the green and white, stuck with the weapon that brought him success – his ability to adjust. Outdueled by Bundit in their last six matches, De Jesus found a way to stop the rampaging Lady Eagles in their first meeting in Season 78. Ateneo equalized in the second round and even took the top spot after the elimination. The Lady Spikers and the Lady Eagles would eventually meet in the Finals for the fifth year in a row. De Jesus was ready for Ateneo. He knew the strengths and weaknesses of the Lady Eagles and used it to his advantage to win the series opener. The then graduating Valdez brought Ateneo back in Game 2 to tie the series, but DLSU completed its long-awaited revenge in the decider and gave Reyes, Demecillo and Galang a fitting sendoff gift.                  Road to back-to-back Losing five veterans including three of their key players heading into Season 79 gave De Jesus one of the toughest challenges he ever faced as a DLSU mentor.  Setter Kim Fajardo returned for her swan song together with fourth year playes Kim Dy, Dawn Macandili and Majoy Baron. Desiree Cheng also came back after a year of absence due to a knee injury, but De Jesus was still left to navigate with a relatively young crew.  “Sa laht nang nai-form kong team, ito yung medyo (up and down) yung performance,” he said. “Sobrang babaw ng bench, wala ka halos (mahugot) pagtingin mo, wala ka makuha.” DLSU struggled early and was on the losing end of two elims matches against Ateneo. “Ateneo nu’ng buong elimination NU lang ang halos tumalo. Sabi ko ano bang meron ang team na ito?” he said. “Pinilit lang naming habulin.” “Kasi alam ko nag-start kami medyo hilaw ang team namin. Early part ng first round natalo kami sa UP sabi ko pukpok pa tayo, habol pa,” De Jesus added. “Ang nakakatuwa sa mga bata, ang determinasyon na humabol nandoon.” When the De Jesus found himself leading the Lady Spikers to a sixth straight title series against Bundit and the Lady Eagles, he knew his squad was ready to defend their crown. And protect it they did in a series sweep capped by a dramatic five-set victory.    “Siguro buong eliminations, nire-review namin ang mga games, nakikita mo yung difference, ‘yung advantage at disadvantage ng team, so siguro doon kami nag-focus, kung saan kami medyo dehado. Concentrate kami sa training,” he said. “Ine-explain ko rin sa players kung ano yung dapat naming gawin, although mahirap. So, tanggapin na lang nila.” In a rare moment, when Ateneo’s Jho Maraguinot sent her attack long that signaled DLSU’s back-to-back championships, De Jesus let his hair down a little. He was jumping, dancing, celebrating the victory and even held his hands up, both his palms wide open as confetti dropped and the deafening roar of the crowd and banging of the drums echoed inside the arena. De Jesus won his tenth title. When the celebration subsided, De Jesus fashioned the same smile he wore in his past nine championships as he was led inside the pressroom of the Big Dome. Only this time around, Fajardo, Cheng and Dy were the ones who followed him from behind.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 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

UAAP 81: That s one knockout win for FEU, one more to go

That's one do-or-die game win for the Far Eastern University Tamaraws. One more to go. FEU made a final play for the Final Four in UAAP Season 81, dominating no. 2-seed Adamson, Saturday at the MOA Arena. The Tamaraws got the pivotal 8th win that they needed, forcing a sudden-death against La Salle for the last ticket to the playoffs. "Malaking bagay to of course," head coach Olsen Racela said. "We have one game to play to make it to the Final Four, we'll take full advantage of that," he added. FEU is yet to prepare for the Green Archers, obviously their focus lately has been Adamson. However, prep for La Salle immediately starts after this win and the Tamaraws vow to come ready Wednesday. Because this big win will be wasted if they turn out to be duds against the Green Archers. "Right now, we have an opportunity," Racela said. "Nabigyan kami ng biyaya so talagang dapat lubusin na namin," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News2 hr. 27 min. ago

UAAP: Franz Pumaren explains Manganti and Ahanmisi s absence

Without the services of Sean Manganti and Jerrick Ahanmisi, Adamson University received a 26-point beating from the Far Eastern University in their last game of eliminations, Sunday afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena. According to head coach Franz Pumaren, he decided to sit out the two players to recuperate from minor injuries incurred from the past few days. "[Jerrick] has a fever with sore throat. His resistance went down. He’s been sick since Thursday. Friday and Saturday he didn’t practice already. Si Sean naman he sprained his ankle on Friday, on Saturday he didn’t practice na he did some rehab on it," explained Pumaren. Fortunately, the ailing Falcons will have enough time to recover as they still have one more week before they face the University of the Philippines on Saturday for the semifinals. He clarified the situation to also answer the inquiries online accusing Adamson of deliberately not exerting effort in the no-bearing match. "Things like that, it happens. If they want to validate if they’re just playing sick, they can go to the hospital, they can check it. If they think that Sean Manganti is just faking his injury, they can go to Focus Athletics, that he went there to get his treatment," Pumaren said. The result of the game has no bearing on Adamson's campaign, but it has drastic effects on the remaining Final Four hopefuls De La Salle University and Far Eastern University. FEU's victory forced a playoff against DLSU for the last spot on Wednesday. Regardless, Pumaren still tipped his hat off to FEU for balling out hard on the game. "You have to give credit to FEU. They really played well. I think they shot the lights out in today’s game. They really played well. Due credit to FEU," added Pumaren. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News2 hr. 27 min. ago

In Focus: Former Ateneo Queen Eagle Shares Her UAAP Fearless Forecast

Find out which basketball teams will make it to the Final 4 according to Danica Jose!.....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 16th, 2018

Archers focus on internal issues

As La Salle plays the waiting game in the coming UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball post-season, Archers coach Louie Gonzalez said they will make use of the time to address a pressing concern within the team......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 15th, 2018
Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 31st, 2018

UAAP: Boston fan coach Tab more worried about Ateneo than Red Sox

When Ateneo de Manila University began battling National University on Saturday, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox were still in a deadlock long after the ninth inning in Game 3 of the 2018 MLB World Series. Of course, Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin was only focused on his collegiate squad even as Boston – the team he has been rooting all his life – was still playing in what proved to be the longest playoff game in MLB history. “I was preparing for this game,” he answered after being asked what he was doing right before tip-off. And just as the Blue Eagles were finishing off a 15-point rout of the Bulldogs, the Dodgers finally edged out the Red Sox on the back of a Max Muncy home run at the bottom of the 18th inning. Coach Tab did nothing but admit that checking up on the World Series was one of the first things he did as he returned to the dugout. “They lost. I saw the score,” he said. Nonetheless, the 60-year-old mentor said that he isn’t sweating the fact that his beloved Red Sox were at the wrong end of history. As he put it, “It’s a seven-game series. They’re up 2-1 now so Sox are in good shape.” And so, Coach Tab reiterated that all his focus is on Ateneo. “I’m more worried about our team. That’s what I’m here for today,” he said, always one to look for improvements even though they have just become first team into the Final Four. For tomorrow, though, when the Blue Eagles get a one-day break, it won’t be blue and white he would be cheering for. “Tomorrow, I’ll be cheering on the Sox,” he expressed. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 27th, 2018

Ateneo cuts UP down to size to cop solo first in UAAP 81

Ateneo de Manila University has yet again jumped on Katipunan rival University of the Philippines to get back on track in the 81st Season of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament.   With Matt Nieto out due to a fever, it was Jolo Mendoza’s time to shine and he was only flanked by Thirdy Ravena in yet another convincing victory for the Blue Eagles versus the Fighting Maroons, 83-66, on Sunday at the MOA Arena.  Ravena made his presence felt all over with 21 points, 11 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks as for the second time in the season, the defending champions bounced back from a loss at the expense of State U. “It’s important for us to come out strong in the second round because we’re coming off a loss,” assistant coach Sandy Arrespacochaga said.   It was Mendoza and Ravena who joined forces for all of the points in the 13-2 run that broke a tied tally of 48-all late in the third quarter and built up a 61-50 advantage in favor of Ateneo.  Both the double-digit lead and the momentum would remain with until the final buzzer.  Mendoza woud up with 10 piints in just nine minutes on the floor while fellow guard Tyler Tio also stepped up with a season-high 12 points to go along with five assists and two rebounds.  Angelo Kouame also added nine points and 16 rebounds all while helping slow down UP’s Nigerian powerhouse Bright Akhuetie.  Now at 6-2, the Blue Eagles are again alone atop the leaderboard. “This is more than the standings for us. We wanted to mainly focus on our intensity and I think we did a pretty good job on that,” coach Sandy said.  On the other hand, UP fell farther behind in the playoff race with its second straight loss and fifth overall in eight games. Akhuetie still showed the way for them with 20 points and eight rebounds while Paul Desiderio chipped in 16 markers and seven boards.  Gomez de Liano brothers Juan and Javi struggled, however, and only merged for nine points in 4-of-16 shooting while also committing seven turnovers.  BOX SCORES  ATENEO 83 – Ravena 21, Tio 12, Verano 10, Mendoza 10, Asistio 9, Kouame 9, Mamuyac 6, Belangel 4, Go 2, Navarro 0, Black 0, Wong 0  UP 66 – Akhuetie 20, Desiderio 16, Manzo 8, Gomez de Liano Ju 5, Gomez de Liano Ja 4, Dario 3, Jaboneta 2, Prado 2, Murrell 2, Vito 2, Gozum 2, Spencer 0, Lim 0  QUARTER SCORES: 18-15, 35-29, 54-48, 83-66  ---  Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 14th, 2018

UAAP: Too much papogi, not much fight for UP in loss to UST?

University of Sto. Tomas got the jump on the University of the Philippines on Wednesday and never let go. The Growling Tigers got off to a 12-2 start and only took the fight out of their opponents the rest of the way. The Maroons tried anything and everything, but just couldn’t get going. In one instance in the second quarter, in fact, assistant coach Ricky Dandan yelled at their players from the bench, seemingly trying to light a fire under them. After UST’s Ken Zamora took and then made a triple over the outstretched arms of State U’s Juan Gomez de Liano, coach Ricky was seen shouting. “Ayaw niyong dumepensa? Ayaw niyong dumepensa,” he was exclaiming. He also added, “Puro tayo papogi!” Post-game, head coach Bo Perasol could only agree with his assistant. Asked if he believes his boys, indeed, were “papogi,” he answered, “Oo. Oo. Oo. Oo.” That is exactly why he understood coach Ricky’s outburst. “Coach Ricky is in charge of our defense. Parang, he lost it na why can’t you do it if you can do it,” he shared. In the eyes of the always amiable mentor, UP is, clearly, still getting used to the fact that it is getting so much attention. As he put it, “It’s part of getting used to the adulation, na ‘Ang galing niyo.’ As a coach, kailangan mong ipaalala na ang focus mo, wala sa tao, wala sa tambol, kundi ginagawa natin.” He then continued, “I think, in the beginning, that was exactly what happened.” Indeed, in the first half alone, the Maroons gave up 53 points and allowed their opponents to shoot 52 percent from the field. Without a doubt, it was the defense that was the problem. For his part, Juan GDL did nothing but own up to his shortcomings. “I don’t know. I was just playing bad defense to be honest,” he said. He also added, “The blame is on me. I wasn’t able to lead the team much. I wasn’t being aggressive.” In that light, it is the coach’s job to keep teaching his players – and for coach Bo, that was all that coach Ricky was doing. “As young players, they just have to understand that these coaches are trying to help them. They’re just trying to tell you that you’re better than that,” he shared. He then continued, “They all know the personality of coach Ricky so that is nothing that is new to them.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 10th, 2018

UAAP: From MVP to Rookie of the Year? CJ Cansino s making a great case

Safe to say, CJ Cansino has taken the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament by storm. With per game counts of 13.4 points and 7.8 rebounds, he has got to be one of the frontrunners for Rookie of the Year. University of Sto. Tomas’ super rookie only built on those on Saturday with a big-time 17-point, 17-rebound double-double on top of four assists. In fact, he already had a double-double late in the second quarter with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Of course, Cansino is only giving his best to prove his worth. “Siyempre, pinapatunayan ko sa lahat na belong din ako rito,” he said. He then continued, “Pinaghirapan ko ‘to, I worked hard on this simula bata ako. Kaya ginagawa ko lang yung best ko and every game, naka-focus talaga ako.” While his numbers are eye-openers for just about everybody watching the UAAP Seniors, the long-limbed swingman has actually been putting up those sort of statistics ever since his days in the UAAP Juniors. In his last season there, he averaged 24.6 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. Those were more than enough to make him the runaway MVP – a runaway MVP that had an 18-point lead in terms of Statistical Points (SPs) over his closest competitor in Kai Sotto. Yes, Kai Sotto, the 7-foot-1, 16-year-old of Ateneo de Manila High School. That doesn’t mean, however, that slowly but surely, UST is becoming the Cansino’s team. Rather, according to the super rookie himself, they want nothing more than total team effort each and every game. As he put it, “Si coach [Aldin Ayo], wala siyang main man na parang, ito, CJ Cansino, ikaw lang tututukan ko. ‘Di siya ganun.” He then continued, “Lahat kami, equal opportunity. Kung sinong maglaro nang mayos this game, siya talaga maglalaro.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 6th, 2018

UAAP Season 81 beach volleyball: Tams secure a semis spot

Far Eastern University dropped a set for the first time Friday in the UAAP Season 81 men’s beach volleyball tournament. But even the gritty resistance from Adamson University couldn’t stop the Tamaraws pair of Jude Garcia and Kevin Hadlocon as they repulsed the Falcons duo of Paolo Pablico and Jesus Valdez, 21-19, 18-21, 15-6, to clinch a semifinals seat at the Sands SM by the Bay. FEU extended its winning streak to five straight to remain the only unbeaten team in the contest. After a second set meltdown the Tams regrouped in the deciding frame to move within two wins to advance outright in the Finals. “Nag-usap lang kami na mag-focus at bumalik sa dating galaw namin. Dapat 'yung composure namin nandoon pa rin na willing kami manalo,” said Garcia. “Dapat ipakita namin sa kanila na angat 'yung laro namin kesa sa kanila. “'Yung third set po, 'yun talaga ang game namin. Kaso 'yung unang dalawang set medyo nagkumpiyansa kami,” he added. FEU opened its day with a 21-13, 21-13 demolition of University of the East’s Clifford Inoferio and Alven Aljas.   The Falcons slid to 3-2 card after failing to sustain their momentum following a 21-15, 21-18, sweep of Abail Llenos and Kurt Aguilar of Ateneo de Manila University. Meanwhile, reigning champions Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad of National University improved to 4-1 slate in a twin kill over University of the Philippines’ Nico Consuelo and Mark Millete, 21-13, 21-13, and the De La Salle University pair of Geraint Bacon and Raphael Sumalinog, 21-15, 21-17. University of Sto. Tomas’ Jaron Requiton and Krung Arbasto tied NU with 4-1 card after defeating UP, 21-16, 21-7, and UE, 21-9, 21-9. Ateneo finally barge in the win column after taking down listless DLSU, 21-11, 21-19. UE dropped its third straight game for a 2-3 card, UP and Ateneo are tied at 1-4 mark while DLSU remained winless in five outings.   ---      Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 28th, 2018

Eight breakout players who wowed in PVL s Collegiate Conference

Collegiate volleyball won’t be around until the second semester but the recently-concluded Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Collegiate Conference on ABS-CBN S+A gave us a glimpse of what the girls may be raring to give us once their tournament in their respective leagues finally open. Some girls came out of nowhere to really provide the fireworks in the conference and came away with new fans and admirers thanks to their impressive play on the floor. As the PVL’s Open Conference is about to part its curtains, let’s take a look at the eight collegiate volleybelles who totally captured our hearts thanks to their display of heart and skill.   1.) Tonnie Rose Ponce, Adamson University (Tonnie Rose Ponce (libero) made a mark in the last PVL Collegiate Conference when she bagged a Mythical Six award) Adamson head coach Air Padda is proud of Ponce, her team’s libero, for being the best cheerleader of her teammates on the floor. Even with her small stature, she plays big with a fighting spirit that has endeared her to the fans. It still came as a surprise, however, to the dimunitive Ponce, to be named as one of the Mythical Six and the conference’s Best Libero. Maybe not for Padda, who has always seen the leadership potential of her squad’s cheerleader.   2.) Rosie Rosier, University of the Philippines (The sophomore Lady Fighting Maroon was instrumental in ending the school's 36 year major title drought in the PVL Collegiate Conference) Rosier was instrumental in breaking the UP Lady Fighting Maroons’ 36-year championship drought as the sophomore carried the team on her back in a thrilling five-set Game 1 match with the FEU Lady Tamaraws. She pumped in 15 points via 13 attacks to have probably one of her best birthday celebrations to date, and followed it up with a 10-point output in Game 2 to help her squad bring home the Collegiate Conference crown.   3.) Milena Alessandrini, University of Santo Tomas (Second year Golden Tigress Milena Alessandrini powered the Thomasians in the FInal FOur ddespite nursing a shoulder injury) UST’s Fil-Italian tower introduced herself to Filipino volleyball fans when she won Rookie of the Year in UAAP Season 80. While it’s not easy to be on a different land where everyone speaks a different language, Alessandrini has been quick to adapt to what the coach wants done on the floor based on her performance in PVL. Her best game happened in the Battle for Third against Adamson where she broke out with a 31-point outing, a sign of things to come for the Golden Tigresses’ campaign in the coming UAAP wars.   4.) Celine Domingo, Far Eastern University (Celine Domingo followed up her stellar UAAP season 80 campaign with a masterful PVL Collegiate Conference under Coach George Pascua) Veteran setter Kyle Negrito is FEU’s top player and Jerrili Malabanan is their main weapon, no doubt, but Domingo is poised to take over the team as she continues to make an impact in the net in the recently-concluded PVL Collegiate Conference. The conference’s First Best Middle Blocker has been one of Coach George Pascual’s reliable players that are expected to carry the scoring duties now that super senior Bernadeth Pons’ career with the school is over. Too bad she was set back by a knee injury in Game One of the Finals against UP, which also sidelined her in Game Two.   5.) Jan Daguil, College of Saint Benilde (Jan Daguil (16) was one of the surprises for CSB in the PVL Collegiate Conference) With their MVP, Jeanette Panaga, moving on from her school career, the College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers are hard-pressed to find a replacement. So far, Marites Pablo has emerged as the biggest candidate, but not too far behind is Daguil, who has come up big for them when they needed the points the most. During their battle for a Final Four spot in the recently-concluded PVL Collegiate Conference, Daguil led her team with 15 points, all on kills, to turn back the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Lady Stags.   6.) Joyce Sta. Rita, San Sebastian College-Recoletos (Joyce Sta. Rita is the only holdover remaining for the Lady Stags but she is determined to be their main pillar) Sta. Rita is the only holdover from Coach Roger Gorayeb’s compact 7-woman squad from a year ago in NCAA Season 93, where she was named Second Best Middle Blocker. That did not stop her from being an example to her new teammates as she fought in each set and match to keep the young Lady Stags competitive even if they failed to notch a single win.   7.) Satrianni Espiritu, San Beda University (Satrianni Espiritu (10) looks to be the final piece of the puzzle for the SBU Lady Red Spikers) Everyone talks about SBU stars Cesca Racraquin and the Viray twins. But another player that should be acknowledged is Espiritu, who consistently chipped in to keep the Red Lionesses in contention with her consistent showing game in and game out. If her PVL Collegiate Conference showing translates to the incoming NCAA wars, the other ladies better be shaking in their shoes as the Red Lionesses will be a mighty force to be reckoned with. 8.) Cindy Imbo, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (With Bianca Tripoli out of commission, Cindy Imbo stepped up in the last PVL Collegiate Conference) Bianca Tripoli is the main pillar of strength for the Lady Altas. It was a shame that she had to limp off the PVL Collegiate Conference due to a mild tear in her quadriceps. Carrying the load for her during her absence is Imbo, who displayed her scoring abilities while their captain was injured. In a crucial game against favorite FEU Lady Tamaraws, Imbo fired away 15 points to lead the team. While they did not win the match, it showed her capability to step up when needed. Watch for these ladies when the 2018 seasons of the NCAA and UAAP women’s volleyball tournaments begin. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more scintillating volleyball action once the PVL resumes with their Open Conference this Saturday (September 22) on S+A, S+A HD, and via livestream......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2018

PVL Finals By The Numbers: Atin ‘To

The University of the Philippines Lady Fighting Maroons made history on a rainy Wednesday evening after capturing their first major title since 1982. The Diliman-based squad survived a wild match and Finals series against a hobbled yet determined Far Eastern University squad to clinch the Premier Volleyball League season 2 Collegiate Conference championship. While the title showdown was epic in itself, the Lady Maroons’ journey to supremacy, and the numbers behind it will speak about their long, hard road to ending an extended drought. As the Diliman volleybelles celebrate their hard-earned title, let’s take a look at some interesting statistics from their championship run. 0-3 The Lady Maroons’ record against UAAP teams in the elimination round. UP was always on the brink of getting kicked off the Final Four race after failing to beat any of its fellow UAAP-based squads. All of their wins came at the expense of NCAA teams, but they were just enough to lift them to the semis, where they eventually showed what the Utak-Puso spirit is all about. 10  Number of sets played in the Finals. UP’s run to the title was nothing short of astounding. All two matches went the distance, and then some. Standing toe-to-toe against FEU, a squad that flee under the radar, all the way to the Finals of the UAAP season 80 volleyball tournament, the Lady Maroons fought tooth-and-nail to the very last point. In the series opener, UP climbed back from down two sets to steal the advantage from the George Pascua-led Lady Tamaraws. In the second game, UP came oh so close to surrendering their two-set advantage after a meltdown of epic proportions caused by FEU’s proven spirit. But the Lady Maroons somehow survived.  8-0 UP’s opening lead in the third set. FEU was in shambles after the Lady Maroons flew to a 2-0 match lead in Game 2. In the third, and what many believed was the final set, UP zoomed to a commanding 8-0 advantage, prompting fans in the arena to already start celebrating. UP fans starting to feel it 👀 #PVLonABSCBN pic.twitter.com/2k0MbNaNLk — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 12, 2018 But Coach Pascua pleaded to the Lady Tams during a timeout to continue fighting. And they did, eventually erasing UP’s lead late in the set to stay alive. Rejuvenated by that enthralling comeback in Set 3, FEU claimed the fourth frame, and then took a commanding lead in the final set to make the hopes of a rubber match for all the marbles possible. 13-7 FEU’s lead in the fifth and final set. Stunned after giving up two sets, UP was at the wrong end of a historic comeback. Now facing a six-point deficit in a deciding point in the series, UP unloaded a spirited 8-0 run to once again stun FEU, and to snap a 36-year drought for UP volleyball. 6  Combined points for Finals MVP Isa Molde and team captain Ayel Estrañero in that final 8-0 burst. 🏆 Moment for the UP Lady Fighting Maroons!!! #PVLonABSCBN pic.twitter.com/91vPP5TsCG — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 12, 2018 Once again, the Lady Maroons’ veterans came through. After willing the squad through the Final Four and the Finals, it was Molde who led the fightback with emphatic hits before Estrañero‘s steady serve clinched the championship. 19 Isa Molde’s scoring average in the Finals. MVP ✅ Finals MVP ✅@IsaMolde10, everyone 👏 #PVLonABSCBN pic.twitter.com/EZnfeo6jjD — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 12, 2018 With everything on the line, UP’s golden girl stepped it up. After earning the MVP award after norming 15.14 points in the elimination round, Molde came through in the championship series, dropping 16 and 22 points respectively to finally deliver a long-awaited volleyball title to Diliman......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 13th, 2018

Tab Baldwin: Win or be labeled losers

    MANILA, Philippines – Even if the loss to Adamson has stained Ateneo’s UAAP Season 81 record, it will always serve as a reminder for the defending champion Blue Eagles to stay grounded and focus on "who they are" each game.  “I think I asked the team, maybe once or twice after ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 12th, 2018
Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 8th, 2018

UAAP: Defending champ Ateneo doesn t care about all your expectations

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 13-1 after eliminations, 1-1 in Final Four, 2-1 in Finals, champion YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Anton Asistio, Isaac Go, Gian Mamuyac, Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto, Thirdy Ravena WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: SJ Belangel, Matthew Daves, Angelo Kouame, William Navarro, Adrian Wong (returning) GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Chibueze Ikeh, Vince Tolentino WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM ATENEO? As it should be, defending champion Ateneo de Manila University is the favorite to repeat. “We recognize the quality of the opposition. Anytime you have a successful season, you not only have to fight your own complacency, but you also have to fight the elevated determination that kind of season creates on your opponents.” – head coach Tab Baldwin While the Blue Eagles’ championship team lost big man Chibueze Ikeh and glue guy Vince Tolentino, they are installing in their places 6-foot-10 Ivorian tower Angelo Kouame, Filipino-Canadian high-flyer Matthew Daves, and former San Beda University sweet-shooter William Navarro And oh, they now also have SJ Belangel of UAAP Juniors champion Ateneo high as well as returning swingman Adrian Wong. Safe to say, the defending champions only got better – and that much was evident in their strong showing in the 2018 William Jones Cup. “We try to make sure that we see each animal distinctly. The summer leagues, each of them was different, but there’s no doubt as to what we really exist for and that’s the UAAP. All of these things are in preparation for the UAAP.” – head coach Tab Baldwin Still, Ateneo is tuning out all the noise from all over and instead, as always, have decided to focus on themselves. “Expectations are irrelevant to us. We have our own expectations and we believe in ourselves. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove, but that doesn’t mean I would accept losing.” – head coach Tab Baldwin WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM ATENEO? Thirdy Ravena has been runner-up to MVP Ben Mbala for two seasons running. Now that Mbala is in Korea, it’s not that farfetched to see Ravena finally hoisting the trophy for top individual player. Matt Nieto and Isaac Go are also still here and even better than ever – especially after gaining valuable experience as Gilas cadets. All eyes are on Kouame who wowed in the Jones Cup as well as the Filoil Preseason. He is as raw as they come right now, but likewise has the potential to be the best foreign student-athlete the school has ever had. “Angelo has very little background in basketball and there are some complexities to our system, but he’s an intelligent kid. He’s very hungry and incredibly willing to do what’s asked of him. We believe in him and his future – both short-term and long-term. I think he has a big upside.” – head coach Tab Baldwin When it all comes down to it, however, Ateneo is still Ateneo and they don’t really have players to watch – just a team to watch. That means that what we can only expect is that there will be different top scorers, different top rebounders, and different top assist-men in each and every game. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR ATENEO? Ateneo is the defending champion and the heavy favorite, but remains grounded on team play, selflessness, and brotherhood. That same balanced offense and disciplined defense is still here – and perhaps, even better than ever. “We just try to continue to grow. There’s so much to learn for these young players in the game of basketball and there’s so much development for them to achieve. We don’t get bored because tomorrow is another day to grow and improve.” – head coach Tab Baldwin And so the Blue Eagles are the team-to-beat for opponents, but also remain the team-to-love for fans. WHERE WOULD ATENEO BE AT THE END OF UAAP SEASON 81? Ateneo will be in the Finals once more – living up to its billing as favorite to repeat. A season sweep also isn’t out of the question, but even the Blue Eagles know that doing such thing is more difficult than winning the title or going back-to-back. WHEN IS ATENEO’S FIRST GAME IN UAAP SEASON 81? Ateneo’s first test in the tournament will be courtesy of another championship contender in Adamson University on September 9. Of course, It All Begins Here on S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, LIGA HD, and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 7th, 2018

PVL: Lady Tams down Tigresses, earn championship seat

Far Eastern University came back from a set down to defeat old rival University of Sto. Tomas, 19-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-17, and punch a return ticket to the Finals of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Sunday.    The Lady Tamaraws completed a 2-1 series comeback after dropping Game 1 of best-of-three semifinals showdown to set up a championship clash with University of the Philippines. Game 1 of the best-of-three Finals is on Sunday. Jerrili Malabanan led FEU, which finished runner-up in last year’s edition and in UAAP Season 80, with 13 points with 10 coming off attacks while rookie Lycha Ebon and setter Kyle Negrito had 12 markers each. Negrito tallied 22 excellent sets on top of her five attacks, four kill blocks and three aces for the Lady Tamaraws. Heather Guino-o added 11 markers. FEU started out flat before finding its rhythm to turn back the Tigresses for the second straight time in their back-to-back weekend clash. “Oo slow start sila masyado kasing nag-iingat sa first set so sabi ko ‘wag masyado mag-ingat, basta play your game, focus sa kalaban and ‘wag sa error,” said FEU coach George Pascua.   “Kaya sabi ko nga kailangan ang mga beterano ko ‘yung experience nila kailangan i-apply nila ngayong game kasi ‘yun ang pinaka importante, do-or-die game. Na achieve naman namin (ang goal namin),” he added. Eya Laure finished with 15 points while Caitlyn Viray had 11 for UST, which was haunted by 33 errors. Alina Bicar and Milena Alessandrini scored nine each for the Tigresses, who will take on Adamson University in the battle for third.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2018

PVL: Tigresses keep eyes focused on Finals seat

Already on the cusp of its breakthrough championship stint, University of Sto. Tomas is keen on sustaining its momentum and not give Far Eastern University a chance to recover. The Tigresses are now a win away from advancing to the best-of-three Finals of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference after drawing first blood, 16-25, 26-24, 25-18, 25-23, in their semis showdown against old UAAP rival Lady Tamaraws. UST can seal the series on Saturday. To keep their focus on their ultimate goal, assistant coach Yani Fernandez, who is taking over coaching duties with head mentor Kungfu Reyes joining the national women’s volleyball team’s campaign in the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games, reminded his wards that there is still much work to be done.   “We’ll take it as parang 0-0 pa rin para yung hunger at kagustuhan ng mga bata nandoon pa rin,” said Fernandez, who is looking to steer UST to its first Finals appearance in a Sports Vision organized tournament since 2012. The then Maika Ortiz, Maru Banaticla and Rhea Dimaculangan-led Tigresses fell short against Ateneo de Manila University in the championship of the defunct V-League Season 9 1st Conference. UST also repeated over FEU after the Tigresses outlasted the Lady Tams in five sets at the end of the elimination round last week in Cagayan de Oro. Fernandez is hoping to ride the crest of their mastery over FEU in their last two meetings to finish off the Lady Tams. “At least ‘yung good momentum na sinasabi ko nga sa mga bata kahit papaano nasa amin. Yun lang ang advantage, ang sinasabing good momentum. But the game itself hindi pa naman,” he said. Game 3, if necessary, is on Sunday.   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 30th, 2018

“Can Aby your boyfriend?”: How Robert Bolick won Aby Maraño’s heart

Aby Maraño is everything you want in an athlete. She’s strong, driven and passionate about her sport. So, when basketball player Robert Bolick saw her play volleyball for the first time…he saw himself. The only difference was she was a three-time champion, two-time MVP and team captain, while he was merely a rookie and a bench warmer. Robert was also three years younger than her. Aby was way out of his league, it seemed. But, this young man was no loser. He was determined to shoot his shot and find some way to win her heart. His first move was to ask for a little favor from his former teammate, LA Revilla, who was the starting point guard of the DLSU Men’s Basketball team at the time. Robert needed LA to find out whether Aby had a boyfriend. Like he usually does on the hardcourt, LA delivered an assist to Robert in form of good news - Aby was single. Now, that Robert knew that his target was open, all he had to do was take a shot. And he took it at the most unexpected of moments. They were inside the school bus on the way back to DLSU after a Green Archers game in the UAAP. Aby, who was undergoing her on-the-job training with ABS-CBN Sports, the official broadcast partner of the league, hitched a ride with the team. There was a lot of joking among his teammates, but all Robert could think of was the soothing smell of Aby’s hair as he was seated right behind her. It was at that moment when Robert decided to crack a joke of his own. “Oy, Pre! Makinig kayong lahat!” announced Robert before motioning towards Aby. “Aby ka ba? Can Aby your boyfriend?” The entire bus erupted. It was as if they were back inside the MOA Arena where fans where screaming their lungs out. Robert looked at Aby’s face and sensed a positive reaction to his sudden revelation. “Ay. Parang kinilig ah,” he thought. As soon as they got off the bus, Robert and Aby shared their first dinner. When it was time to go home, Robert reminded Aby to take care and that they should continue communicating. “Text, text na lang tayo! Text mo ako ha.” he told her. “Paano kita ite-text? Wala naman akong number mo,” she replied. Little did Aby know that Robert didn’t ask for her number directly to avoid getting “busted.” His game plan worked as they started talking and spending time with each other more often. Upon Aby’s advice, Robert even asked her coach, the multi-titled Ramil de Jesus for permission to court her. Although Robert admitted that he was intimidated at first, he knew that he had no choice but to ask for Coach Ramil’s blessing to ensure a smooth passage to Aby’s heart. “Para sa akin naman, wala namang dapat katakutan pag alam mo na gusto mo talaga. Gusto ko naman si Aby eh.” Today, August 8, 2018, Robert and Aby are celebrating their 5th year anniversary together. A lot has happened in their lives since then. Robert has transformed himself into an accomplished athlete like Aby, winning three championships (1 UAAP title with La Salle, 2 NCAA titles with San Beda), a PBA D-League championship and MVP award among many accolades. They both have also become national team athletes as Robert was included in the “23 for 23” Gilas Pilipinas roster for the 2023 FIBA World Cup while Aby was named Captain of the Philippine Women’s Volleyball Team. “Hindi niya ako minahal dahil magaling ako mag-basketball. Minahal nga niya ako na bangko pa lang ako,” said Robert as he reminisced about everything he has been through with Aby throughout the past five years. While watching their careers blossom, following their love story is equally entertaining. The two are very open with regards to how they feel about each other. Aby even proudly declared during an interview on “Down the Line” that she would agree to marry Robert is ever he proposed to her.   We throw it back to an episode of #DownTheLinePH when @MrPureBusiness and @denniselazaro asked about Robert popping the big question to Tyang Aby! pic.twitter.com/NFGitS4TKE — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) August 8, 2018 Despite Robert and Aby being just 22 and 25 years old respectively, marriage has been a topic of conversation between the couple. “Sinasabi na nga niya sa akin na gusto niya na ‘Maraño-Bolick’ pag naglalaro siya,” revealed Robert. “Sabi ko naman sa kanya, ‘Take time lang. Total, five years na tayo magkasama. Di naman natin kailangan madaliin yan. Focus ka lang muna sa kung saan ka ngayon. Eventually, pag nag propose na ako, gusto ko yung ready ka na magka-anak.’” One of Robert’s biggest dreams in life is to be able to play with his future kids as a young father, preferably in his 20s. “Dream ko talaga na while naglalaro ako, makakalaro ko yung anak ko,” said Robert. “Kung magka-lalaki man lang ako, whatever na sport ang gusto niya, makakalaro ko man lang siya. Makaka-takbo-takbo man lang ako.” “Sabi ko kay Aby, ‘Tell me pag ready ka na.’” Only God knows what the future holds for these college sweethearts. But, right now, the King Lion and Tyang Aby are living their best lives. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2018