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NCAA: Coach Vergel says JRU should learn a thing or two from Mapua

Jose Rizal University was silenced as it hosted Mapua University on Thursday. Lacking fire from start to finish, the Heavy Bombers were grounded by the Cardinals, 60-72. For head coach Vergel Meneses, though, that is no longer a surprise. “Actually, ine-expect ko na yan e. We’re a new team, we’re rebuilding,” he told reporters post-game. He then continued, “Ang laging sinasabi ko lang sa kanila, mag-hustle lang kayo.” That hustle was lacking for the home team, however, as they were outrebounded, 44-54, and were unable to take advantage of their opponents’ turnovers. To atone for that, Meneses said his boys need not look far. As he put it, “Yung Mapua, hindi naman parang Lyceum o San Beda, pero they keep on working hard. Ang puhunan nila, effort lang.” Indeed, the Cardinals were quicker to the ball and were more determined in every possession. For JRU to do that, their mentor said it has to start with their team captain. And as a challenge to Jed Mendoza, Meneses said, “Siguro, baka hindi pa niya kayang i-handle yung pressure. ‘Di naman ako nagkukulang ng sabi sa kanya na hindi porke you’re the leader, you will not pass the ball.” He then continued, “I hope after this na talo namin, kailangan ma-realize niya yun.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJul 12th, 2018

NCAA: Baste fans flickering playoff hopes thanks to Bulanadi s career-high

Even after all the speed bumps it was forced to go through, San Sebastian College-Recoletos remains in the running in the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament. With a career performance, Allyn Bulanadi shot the Golden Stags to their third win in a row, this one coming at the expense of Jose Rizal University, 82-75, on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Bulanadi scored 27 points on efficient 11-of-18 shooting to show Baste the way to bettering its record to 4-9. He fired 10 of his output in the first quarter as they got off to a strong 23-9 start. They would never trail and would never be truly threatened the rest of the way. “’Di pa rin kami nawawalan ng pag-asang makapasok sa Final Four,” Bulanadi told reporters post-game, talking about his inspired play. “Kailangan naming makabawi kasi marami pang pwedeng mangyari.” The winning streak is much welcome after all San Sebastian went through in the first round where, due to a disciplinary action on RK Ilagan, it had to forfeit two of its wins. “Good thing about this is naka-move on na kami,” head coach Egay Macaraya said. That development took them out of the thick of things and down to the bottom of the standings. With this current win run, however, the Golden Stags now stand at 4-9 and are have neared to 7-4 Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 7-5 College of St. Benilde, 6-5 University of Perpetual Help, 4-7 Arellano University, and 4-8 Mapua University. On the other hand, the Heavy Bombers are now officially out of contention at 2-11. Darius Estrella topped the scoring column for them with 19 points. BOX SCORES SAN SEBASTIAN 82 – Bulanadi 27, Ilagan 16, Capobres 14, Calisaan 12, Calma 9, dela Cruz 2, Sumoda 2, Are 0, Desoyo 0, Isidro 0, Valdez 0, Villapando 0 JRU 75 – Estrella 19, Mendoza 15, Aguilar 12, Mallari 12, dela Virgen 7, David 6, dela Rosa 2, Esquerra 2, Miranda 0, Padua 0, Silvarez 0 QUARTER SCORES: 23-9; 39-34; 60-51; 82-75 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2018

Player of the Week Tankoua put San Beda on his shoulders vs Letran

In what could be his final San Beda-Letran rivalry game, Donald Tankoua made sure that he and the Red Lions would come out on top. Last Tuesday, San Beda held an imposing 22-point lead, 67-45, on archrival Letran with 6:19 left in the game. The Red Lions forgot one thing, however, and let their guards down and saw the Knights storm back with a 19-0 blast. "If we lost this game, I should probably blame myself for that because I gave everybody a chance to play and the other guys who came in just simply didn’t want to really step up," lamented head coach Boyet Fernandez. "They thought it was already a won game for us." With Robert Bolick fouling out with less than a minute left, San Beda needed someone it could lean on to stop the bleeding. It was Tankoua who heeded the call, knocking down a clutch basket that eventually gave the Red Lions a 74-68 win. Because of his herculean effort that saw him finish with 19 points and nine rebounds, the 6-foot-6 Cameroonian was hailed as the Chooks-to-Go/NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week. Though getting the victory, last season's Finals MVP hopes that this serves as a wake up call for his teammates that they could never sleep on anyone the rest of the way. "What happened happened and I think that we should realize that we really have to work hard in every game," the 23-year-old big man said. Tankoua bested Lyceum's Jaycee Marcelino, Mapua's Laurenz Victoria, and San Sebastian's Michael Calisaan for the weekly citation handed out by print and online sportswriters covering the beat......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2018

NCAA: A new tower is on the rise for Red Robins

Mapua High School lost its biggest advantage last year when both Season MVP Will Gozum and Mythical selection moved on up to the Seniors. That twin tower pairing powered the Red Robins to a runner-up finish a season ago. Now, the team is being fronted by versatile swingman Clint Escamis as well as fellow guards Dan Arches and Karl Mariano. That doesn’t mean, however, that Mapua has a donut hole in the middle. In fact, slowly but surely, the void left behind by Gozum and Bonifacio is getting filled by rookie Jonnel Policarpio. The 16-year-old forward is giving his all to make sure the Red Robins do not get outworked and outhustled inside. He turned in his best game yet on Tuesday, posting a 23-point, 16-rebound double-double in their 85-77 victory versus San Sebastian College-Recoletos. For Policarpio, it was all just part of the job. “Ginawa ko lang yung sinasabi ni coach [Randy Alcantara] – rebound, depensa. Yun ako inaasahan ni coach,” he said afterward. For Mapua, though, that is exactly what it needs to be able to match up with the frontlines of fellow contenders College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills (Inand Fornilos, Mark Sangco) and Arellano High School (Aaron Fermin, Resty Fornis). Good thing then that their 6-foot-4 talented rookie is taking inspiration from the non-stop motor that Bonifacio, his fellow Kapampangan, had. “Sabi ni coach lagi na dapat, idolo ko si Warren – masipag, rebound lang nang rebound. Wag ko raw isipin na gagawa ng points, basta rebound nang rebound,” he shared. Even better is he has a good friend, and another kababayan, whose footsteps he could follow. “Katropa ko si Serrano,” he said, referring to now De La Salle University prized ward Encho Serrano. Like Serrano, Policarpio hails from Pampanga. Like Serrano, Policarpio plays with heart and hustle each and every second he’s on the floor. Like Serrano, Policarpio needs to play bigger than his size. And like Serrano, Policarpio is relishing his golden opportunity to see action in the big leagues after years of playing in ligang labas. “Nung 13-years-old ako, nag-ligang labas na ako para makatulong sa pamilya. Ibang-iba yung laro rito,” he said. He then continued, “Masayang-masaya akong makapaglaro rito.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 7th, 2018

Morning Tip Q& A: Mohamed Bamba

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst They have come seemingly all at once -- new, freakish size in the NBA with the ability to put the ball on the floor, shoot from deep and block everything that moves. Kristaps Porzingis begat Joel Embiid, who begat this year’s group of young big men who have grown up facing the basket rather than with their backs to it. Among the most intriguing of the 2018 Draft class is Mo Bamba, the 20-year-old from Texas via Harlem, where he grew up -- fast, as city kids tend to do, learning the game on the hardtops around New York City, while his parents, natives of Ivory Coast, wondered what the increasing fuss was around their son. He, on the other hand, has tended to handle the attention with aplomb and a smile. In a group full of long, tall people, Bamba still stands out, with an insane wingspan of 7'10" that allows for court coverage the likes of which hasn’t been seen. Bamba has been in the spotlight for a while -- the Westtown (Penn.) High School team on which he played featured teammates like Cam Reddish, a blue-chip guard who’ll play for Duke next season -- and played against the likes of the No. 1 pick in 2018, Deandre Ayton. At Texas, he starred for Coach Shaka Smart, himself among the biggest names in the sport. After one season in Austin, where he shattered the school record for blocked shots in a season, Bamba declared for the Draft, assured he’d be a high Lottery pick. But Bamba has also shown a willingness to work on what he doesn’t -- or, at least, didn’t -- do that well. He went to California for weeks with noted player development coach Drew Hanlen, who deconstructed Bamba’s jumper from the ground up. Hanlen lowered Bamba’s shot pocket, adjusted his fingers on the ball and eliminated a hitch Bamba had before shooting. Bamba displayed much improved form before the Draft, but even if he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, he was going high -- and, he did, to the Orlando Magic with the sixth pick overall. Desperate to regain relevance in the East, the Magic hired Steve Clifford after he was fired by Charlotte to try and improve their awful defense. At the least, Clifford inherited ridiculous size on his roster, with Bamba joining 6'10" second-year forward Jonathan Isaac and newly re-signed 6'9" forward Aaron Gordon. Bamba must show he can be a killer on the floor like Embiid, and will work to make that happen. The only significant question about him coming into the Draft was the consistency of his motor at Texas. In Las Vegas this week for Summer League with his new team, Bamba is getting his feet wet while keeping them firmly planted to the ground. David Aldridge: I know you’ve spent a lot of time with Drew on the shot. What feels better now? Mo Bamba: Everything. The mechanics are so much cleaner now than they were in college. I think the difference between college and now is just a matter of just repetition, being able to change my jump shot dramatically because of how much I’ve gone in and worked on it. DA: So with time, you can basically improve anything? MB: Yeah, my jump shot is night and day. DA: He also told me that one thing he wanted to keep working with you on after the Draft was, you have a little jump to your left when you shoot? MB: Yeah, that’s a bad tendency that I have. That’s something Drew didn’t want to change. He changed a lot of things, and that’s one of the best things about working with Drew -- he knows boundaries, and he knows how much is too much. That’s one of the things he didn’t want to change right off the bat. But that’s something I’ve been conscious of and something I’ve been working on since he pointed it out. DA: Given where you played high school, was there more pressure on you playing for Westtown or playing for Texas? MB: I’d say there was more pressure playing -- well, actually, it was both, equal. My sophomore year at Westtown, there was a lot of pressure, because I was at a program that had never won a state championship, and had gotten to the finals three or four years in a row. At Texas, I was coming to a team that hadn’t made the NCAA Tournament the year before. So I’d say it was pretty equal. DA: I would imagine playing on a team like that in high school, with Cam and all the others, maybe prepared you not only for college, but playing in the pros. MB: Yeah, Cam can go. He’s a really good basketball player. And I know for a fact I’ll see him here next year. DA: What was Harlem like to grow up in, day by day? MB: It was, when people ask that, I pretty much tell them that you just grow up fast. You’re making decisions at a very young age that most kids don’t even come close to making. I credit a lot of my success to being from Harlem, growing up there. DA: Harlem’s changed a little the last few years. MB: Yeah, gentrification is real. It’s real. DA: What was it like seeing that demographic shift? MB: Well, I was kind of there before gentrification kind of really hit. Obviously there was a bunch of condos that went up and it was pretty cool to see. It was every time I came back home -- I’d see a new development going up. DA: Best advice your parents ever gave you? MB: I wouldn’t say it was direct advice or a quote. I’d say the best thing my parents passed on to me was to let me make my own mistakes and figure out on my age how to kind of see the world on my own. Growing up as the youngest child, one or two years after your siblings, obviously that’s great. You’re learning without truly making the mistakes on your own. But at some point in your life, you’re gonna have to learn on your own. You’re gonna have to fall to rise. DA: Conversely, then, what’s the biggest mistake you’ve made so far? MB: I’d say that the biggest mistake I’ve made so far was not committing to Texas earlier. I think waiting was awesome. I was very methodical about waiting, very strategic about what I wanted in a university. But at the same time, if I could go back, I probably would have committed my junior year, so I could hit the ground running and build the relationships, get to know people. DA: How much freedom did Shaka give you when you were there to try things on the floor that might not necessarily be good for the team, but could be good for you individually down the road? MB: Coach Smart, he’s given me so much freedom to sort of grow into who I was. That’s been a big thing in my life -- my parents and all of my coaches. Coach Smart did a great job of just letting me come to terms with myself, as a basketball player and a person. DA: I saw in one of your interviews before the Draft that you don’t think people really understand you when you say you’re a unicorn. So define that for me as you see it. MB: Well, I mean, people kind of have a concept of what it means. To me, it’s just someone who makes plays that have never been seen before -- a seven-foot big guard, those are all unicorns to me. DA: You played against Ayton and guys like Jarrett Allen (the Nets’ first-round pick in 2017) in high school, and I know how much you’ve looked at Joel Embiid on tape. Are you guys the new normal when it comes to the next generation of bigs? MB: Yeah, I think this is becoming a theme, and you’ll see it more and more with guys coming out of high school. One of the guys you’ll see coming up is James Wiseman (the 6'11" rising senior center currently playing at East High School in Memphis, and who is considered by many to be the top college prospect in the Class of 2019). He’s younger, but he does a lot of the things that I do, that Deandre does, that Jarrett does. It’s refreshing to see so many people that can do what I do. DA: If you were six-feet tall instead of seven, what would you be doing? MB: I’d have to be around the game, like a scout or a GM, something around the game. DA: How did the basketball bug bite you so hard growing up? MB: Honestly, it’s just my competitive nature. It bleeds over into other aspects of my life. But basketball is just something that I really excelled at, and whenever I hit kind of adversity, or whenever I do something that makes me vulnerable enough to get better and to ask for help, I just took this and ran with it. DA: Since you’re a kid, I have to ask you how good you are at Fortnight? MB: I play recreationally. One of my best friends is really good at it, and whenever I play him I get Ws. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 9th, 2018

JRU’s coach Vergel admits: ‘Now, we’re rebuilding’

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 11-8 overall, third-seed after eliminations, lost in stepladder playoffs to San Sebastian YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: MJ Dela Virgen, Darius Estrella, Jed Mendoza WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Ry Dela Rosa, Andrei Dulalia, Agem Miranda GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Abdul Wahab Abdul Razak, Ervin Grospe, Gio Lasquety, Abdel Poutouochi, Teytey Teodoro WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM JRU? Truth be told, nobody knows anything at all about JRU. “Now, we’re rebuilding. Parang ang naiwan sa aking players, aapat lang from past season. I’m not expecting too much kasi bago nga yung team namin.” – head coach Vergel Meneses Longtime veterans Ervin Grospe and Gio Lasquety have graduated and NCAA 94 was supposed to be the Teytey Teodoro show. Only, Teodoro departed from Shaw Boulevard due to circumstances yet to be disclosed. Now, Jed Mendoza is the only known commodity for head coach Vergel Meneses and it’s high time for him to take the next step into becoming a go-to-guy. “Ang sabi ko sa kanya, let your teammates get involved. I’m not asking you to shoot every time or score 30 points. You need your teammates para ma-open yung floor for you.” – head coach Vergel Meneses But fear not, Heavy Bombers faithful, a ray hope may very well be found in Darius Estrella, a former NCAA Juniors MVP who was having flashes of brilliance before tearing his ACL a year ago. WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM JRU? Clearly, JRU’s one and only answer to this question is Mendoza who won the Most Improved Player last year and only looks to improve even more. Much also rests on the shoulders of Estrella who has no time to waste in getting back to his old self. Coach Vergel also has promising pieces coming in in the form of former University of the East do-it-all player Agem Miranda and double-double machine Andrei Dulalia as well as ex-San Beda HS’ solid contributor Ry Dela Rosa. For the first time in years, the Heavy Bombers won’t have a foreign student-athlete so expect the locals to go all-out and all-heart. “Ang sinasabi ko sa mga players ko, just keep working hard, just keep fighting. I’m not asking you for a win, na every game, kailangan tayong manalo. Ang hinahanap ko lang sa kanila at magtatrabaho sila every game.” – head coach Vergel Meneses WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR JRU? Coach Vergel Meneses is the longest-tenured head coach in the NCAA and he has made the Final Four in all but three of his eight years on the coaching chair. “We’ll be there every game, fighting. Yun lang ang masasabi ko. Sa nakikita ko, yung puso ng mga bata compared to last time, maganda.” – head coach Vergel Meneses If, somehow, some way, he gets the Heavy Bombers to the playoffs once more, could anybody even question his coaching credentials? WHERE WOULD JRU BE AT THE END OF NCAA SEASON 94? Unfortunately, as much as everybody loves them some Vergel Meneses, he and his boys would be watching the Final Four at home or at school. As always, JRU could pull off upsets, but those would be few and far between. WHEN IS JRU’S FIRST GAME IN NCAA SEASON 94? JRU’s first game in the season is a home game in their Shaw Boulevard campus. Visiting them there on July 12 will be Mapua. As always, all of the #GalingNCAA will be on S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, LIGA HD, and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 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

Perfect Pirates, Player of the Week Perez making it look easy

As Lyceum of the Philippines University draws nearer to a historic elimination round sweep in the NCAA Season 93, CJ Perez is starting to make it look easy. Perez was once again at the forefront of the Pirates' attack as they siezed win number 16, 81-69, over Colegio de San Juan de Letran on Friday. Perez scored 10 of his 24 points in the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter to repeatedly turn back every rally from the Knights and move his crew two wins away from completing an 18-game elimination round sweep. For his exploits, he once again bagged the Chooks-to-Go NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week Award. Perez' effortless destruction of the Knights earned him the praises of head coach Topex Robinson, but for his longtime mentor it's really the attitude of his prized wingman which truly stands out. 'Conscious siya pag nagkamali siya. He knows na nagkamali siya. One thing I like about him, and I always try to brag about my coaches in Alaska, he will never blame yung kasama,' said Robinson. 'Hindi siya yung, pag hindi pinasahan magagalit. He knows that kumbaga, he knows (he needs) the support of everyone,' he added. It was the second time Perez bagged the weekly award handed out by sports scribes. He was the very first player to be feted the individual recognition this season. To do so, Perez edged out impressive performances from Mapua University's Andoy Estrella, San Beda College's Javee Mocon, Jose Rizal University's Jed Mendoza, and Arellano University's Kent Salado. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 8th, 2017

Bombers ward off Stags to close in on return to playoffs

With its new and improved backcourt showing the way, Jose Rizal University has one foot in the door for a return to the Final Four now in the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament. Jed Mendoza poured in six of his 14 points in the final frame, Teytey Teodoro again brought the big baskets, and the Heavy Bombers just had enough to stop oncoming San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 60-58, on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. With the win, Vergel Meneses’ wards are assured of at least a playoff for a Final Four berth. “Yung mga players ko, they want to prove that they belong in this league,” the head coach said after they improved to 10-6 – still solo third-place. Making it happen was Cameroonian Abdel Poutouochi who coolly converted a couple of charities to overturn a one-point deficit into a one-point advantage with 29.5 ticks to go. “Yung composure namin, nandun kanina. They got the lead then we got the basket,” Meneses said. The Golden Stags had a golden opportunity to take back the lead only to see Ryan Costelo split his defenders and shoot a runner that hit the back of the ring. Mendoza’s split from the stripe and Michael Calisaan’s botched reverse layup later and JRU sealed the deal on its third win in a row. “Tapos yung last two (possessions), we had a good stop,” the head coach said. Teodoro wound up with 11 points, including a booming triple that gave his team some separation in the last five minutes. Ervin Grospe also contributed 14 markers of his own. The Heavy Bombers need one more win to officially book a ticket into the playoffs and they try to do just that next Tuesday up against Mapua University. Without a doubt, this is already an improvement from their 9-9 finish from a season ago which had them out of the playoff picture. On the other hand, Baste needs to win out in its remaining three assignments to have a shot at the Final Four. Calisaan was the lone double-digit scorer for them in this one with 15 points to go along with 13 rebounds. BOX SCORES JRU 60 – Grospe 14, Mendoza 14, Teodoro 11, Poutouochi 10, Sawat 6, Dela Virgen 3, Abdul Razak 2, Lasquety 0, David 0 SAN SEBASTIAN 58 – Calisaan 15, Bulanadi 9, Calma 9, Ilagan 8, David 7, Navarro 3, Costelo 2, Baetiong 2, Capobres 2, Mercado 1, Gayosa 0, Are 0 QUARTER SCORES: 22-17, 33-30, 46-45, 60-58 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 6th, 2017

Player of the Week Quinto is newest Knight in shining armor

Like a Knight in shining armor, Bong Quinto came to heed the call for Colegio de San Juan de Letran, stepping up valiantly in the forefront of their crucial Final Four rally to earn the Chooks-To-Go NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of August 18 to 24. Quinto normed 21.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 30 minutes of action as Letran went 2-0 this week to improve to 7-6, tying Jose Rizal University at third place with just five games to go. With the Knights' playoff hopes on the line, the 20-year-old rose to the occasion, racking up 20 points, eight rebounds, and three assists in an all-important 84-73 win over Arellano University last Tuesday which finally ended their three-game slide and pushed them back to semifinal contention. Three days later, the former NCAA Juniors MVP then followed it up with a solid double-double of 20 points and 10 boards to go along two assists in Letran's 88-79 payback against listless Mapua University. The stretch forward Quinto eclipsed teammate Rey Nambatac, San Sebastian College-Recoletos' Renzo Navarro, San Beda College's Javee Mocon, and Lyceum of the Philippines University's CJ Perez for the weekly citation. 'Number 1 (na difference) ay 'yung leadership ng mga veterans namin - sila Rey (Nambatac), JP (Calvo) at si Bong. Good thing they stepped up and the rookies followed na lang,' coach Jeff Napa said on their resurgence. Indeed, with the bonafide Letranite Quinto leading the pack in their last two huge victories, the Knights are now on a more comfortable haven after lingering outside the Final Four just last week. Quinto and the rest of the Knights will try to shrug off the chasing Golden Stags who are just riding on their coattails at 6-6 in a gigantic battle on Tuesday. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 24th, 2017

NCAA: Why wasn t Joel Cagulangan ever in Batang Gilas?

Joel Cagulangan was ranked the top point guard in all of high school in the NBTC 24 a year ago. There, he stood alongside the likes of Kai Sotto, SJ Belangel, and Will Gozum. Unlike those three, however, Cagulangan has never worn the flag in international competition. Just why is that? The 18-year-old said he himself doesn’t know – because he has never been contacted by Batang Gilas. “Wala naman po akong narinig na ni-contact nila ako o sila coach,” he shared. He then continued, “Gusto ko po sana (mag-Batang Gilas) kaso mas gusto ko mag-focus sa NCAA.” Cagulangan has been doing just that in the ongoing Season 94, leading College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills to the top spot in the standings in its title defense. And on Friday, he turned in a 38-point masterpiece, a career-best in scoring to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists. Through it all, the graduating guard reminded everybody that he is a scary sniper as all but two of his points came from behind the arc. “Sabi kasi ng coaches na off lagi ang shooting ko so after (ng talo namin) sa Mapua (last Tuesday), shooting lang nang shooting. Buti, nagkakumpyansa ulit,” he shared. Indeed, Cagulangan took that loss, just their second of the season, to heart and did his all to make sure his team bounced back. And more than his career performance, he was happy to see total team effort. “Mas magandang feeling talaga na buong team yung nag-contribute,” he expressed. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2018

NCAA Season 94: Cardinals upset Blazers

Justin Seranno fueled Mapua’s pivotal run in the last five minutes of the game as the Cardinals scored their first back-to-back wins at the expense of College of St. Benilde, 86-83, Tuesday in the NCAA Season 94 seniors basketball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Mapua improved to a 4-8 win-loss record and handed the Blazers their second straight defeat. Laurenz Victoria finished with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists while rookie Warren Bonifacio and Serrano chipped in with 12 points each for the Cardinals, who won their second straight win since Season 92. Mapua surpassed its number of wins last season but head coach Atoy Co wants to see more from his team. “We have to work harder,” said Co. “Dati kapag papasok kami, ‘Mapua lang yan eh’. Ngayon nakapag-back-to-back win kami siyempre ibang team na nagbabakasakaling (makapasok sa Final Four) they will not take us lightly.”       Down 73-72 in the last five and a half minutes, Serrano drilled six straight points in Mapua’s huge 8-0 run to give the Cardinals a seven-point breathing room with 2:32 left. The Blazers breathed down the necks of Cardinals, 82-80, on a completed three-point play by Clement Leutcheu with 57.6 points left. Bonifacio answered with a top of the key jumper followed by a great defensive stop by Mapua to take the fight out of CSB. Justin Gutang led the Blazers with 22 points, nine assists and six assists while James Pasturan had 16. Leutcheu finished with 15 while Unique Naboa and Rob Nayve had 10 each for CSB, which slid to 7-5 card. Naboa gave the Blazers a 73-72 lead with 5:22 left after sinking three free throws. But it was CSB’s last hold of the lead......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 18th, 2018

EYES ON YOU, KID: NCAA 94 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the NCAA 94 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And with the second round already underway, we’re getting even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: CLINT ESCAMIS – Mapua High School (yellow jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 23.3 points, 46.9 percent shooting, 5.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.7 steals Clint Escamis has spent his first two seasons under the leadership of the likes of Sherwin Concepcion, Mike Enriquez, Warren Bonifacio, and Will Gozum. Now in his third and last season in Mapua, he is proving that he is no slouch as a leader himself. The league’s top scorer and second-best steal-getter has carried the Red Robins right back up there in the standings – and they are the only team to have downed all f the traditional powerhouses in College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills, Arellano High School, and San Beda High School. This version of Mapua may not be as star-studded as it was in the last four years, but they may just have the brightest star in all of the league in their 6-foot-1 swingman. INAND FORNILOS – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills (green jersey defending white jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 11.4 points, 51.8 percent shooting, 10.9 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.0 assist On a team as fully loaded as CSB-LSGH, there has to be a workhorse – and Inand Fornilos has been just that and more. Just like he did in their championship campaign last season, he has been a force to reckon with on both ends of the floor for the league-leading Junior Blazers. The rebounds and defense have always been second nature for Fornilos, but this season, he has become better on offense. In fact, he already has a couple of 20-point games to his name – not bad for an undersized big man at 6-foot-2. Without a doubt, the graduating forward is doing all he can to make his former team regret ever letting him go. JOHN AMORES – Jose Rizal High School (blue jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 20.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steal And all of that is because of John Amores, the second-best scorer in all of the league and the undisputed main man of the daring Light Bombers – the only team that will be sweeping contending Mapua in the elimination round. JRU’s rise from the bottom half of the standings to the top four is nothing short of spectacular and that improvement is best personified by Amores who went from role player a year ago to go-to-guy this season. Give the Most Improved Award to the kid already because he’s ready and raring to take much more than that. JOEL CAGULANGAN – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills (green jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 15.3 points, 7.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals For the high standards he set a year ago, this season has been a quiet one for Joel Cagulangan. With the likes of Escamis and Amores flying high and CSB-LSGH teammates Fornilos and RC Calimag grabbing more headlines than him, last year’s Finals MVP has been under the radar. Quietly, however, he is actually the Junior Blazers’ leading scorer and the NCAA’s best assistman and fourth-best steal-getter. Yes, that’s just how the 5-foot-9 do-it-all dynamo rolls, making an impact even if everybody else doesn’t feel it. Just don’t forget that he could also choose to make everybody feel his impact, okay? AARON FERMIN – Arellano High School (grey jersey, #18) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.2 points, 53.5 percent shooting, 17.6 rebounds, 1.0 block If not for Arellano’s struggles last season, Aaron Fermin would have been MVP. If not for the Braves’ struggle in the ongoing season, Fermin would have been the league’s most tantalizing talent. Standing at 6-foot-5, graced with a wide frame, having timing on lock, and blessed with a non-stop motor, the graduating big man has all the tools to be a game-changer on both ends of the floor. Indeed, he had a stretch of games of posting a 15-point, 20-rebound double-double. Now, if only he could lift Arellano to much-needed wins and back onto a playoff push. DAN ARCHES – Mapua High School (yellow jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.8 steals Mapua has long been defined by its talented big men, but now, it’s the guys at the wings who have taken center stage. Escamis has been their main man, but he also has a more than capable running mate in Dan Arches. All Escamis could do, Arches could do as well, only without the same sort of consistency. But hey, this is the first time he has been getting time with in his two years as a Red Robins so there’s nothing that all those reps couldn’t improve. And oh, he also has one thing going for him – a fine floater that he could bust out at any time that somehow, some way, has become automatic. JOSHUA DAVID – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills (green jersey, with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.9 steals Imagine the dynamic between Escamis and Arches, and then translate that onto Cagulangan and his own partner-in-crime in Joshua David. Like Cagulangan, David could stuff the stat sheet. Like Cagulangan, David could do whatever CSB-LSGH needs for a win. The only difference is that unlike Cagulangan, David already has the size at 6-feet and a big body to make the same sort of noise in the Seniors. Of course, Cagulangan’s clutch genes are also on another level, but who knows? Maybe David is just waiting on the wings to seize those moments for himself? MILO JANAO AND KEAN BACLAAN – San Sebastian College-Recoletos JANAO’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist (yellow jersey with ball in first photo) BACLAAN’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 15.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.8 steals (yellow jersey with ball in second photo) It looks like San Sebastian College-Recoletos still wouldn’t be able to get over the hump this year, but the good news is that they remain on the right track. The even better news is that Milo Janao and Kean Baclaan, the two paving the way for them, are here to stay. That backcourt, by themselves, has fueled the Staglets to four wins – and still in the thick of things. While a long-awaited, much-wanted playoff berth is a long shot this year, perhaps it wouldn’t be so when both Janao and Baclaan get a year older and a year more determined to continue doing it all to win. MAC GUADANA AND JOHN BARBA – Lyceum of the Philippines University GUADANA’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists (grey jersey with ball in first photo) BARBA’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 17.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals (grey jersey with ball in second photo) Batang Gilas member Mac Guadana has become the NCAA’s constant – a 6-foot guard who could score at will while also doing his part in rebounding and playmaking. With him showing the way, Lyceum of the Philippines University has proven to be a far from easy out for three seasons now. They are still a ways away from legitimate contention, but the Junior Pirates have reason to believe that would be sooner than later as teaming up with Guadana is John Barba, a 6-foot-2 forward who just has a knack for willing his way to good looks inside. With those two, the boys from Cavite have two of the top six scorers in all of the league. Now, they just have to find the other pieces of the puzzle for their first-ever playoff berth. ROM JUNSAY – Arellano High School (grey jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals Rom Junsay was one of the biggest keys to Mapua’s first-ever championship. That was two years ago, though, and since then, the 5-foot-6 has transferred to Arellano and is now only playing his first and last season there. Nonetheless, in just his first game in blue and grey, he wasted no time in reminding everybody about his talents, dropping a career-high 34 points. He and the Braves have trailed off from there, but just as Arellano is a sleeping giant no team wants to wake, Junsay is an active volcano just waiting for the perfect time to erupt. HONORABLE MENTIONS Jonnel Policarpio – Mapua High School RC Calimag – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2018

NCAA Season 94: Cardinals snap slump in pulsating win

Laurenz Victoria buried the game-winning turnaround jumper to help Mapua University snap a six-game losing slump at the expense of Jose Rizal University, 81-79, Thursday in the NCAA Season 94 seniors basketball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. With the game tied at 79 with 21 ticks left, Victoria took matters on his own hands as he drove hard to the right side before putting on the brakes and hitting the turnaround jumper over the outstretched hands of Jed Mendoza with 1.5 second left. The Cardinals breathed a sigh of relief after JR Aguilar’s bank shot jumper at the buzzer as the ball rimmed out. “Sabi ni coach kasi sa last play namin itira namin ng five seconds. ‘Pagkakita ko sa shot clock ng six seconds ginawa ko na kung ano ang makakaya ko. Inisip ko na last na ‘to. Segundo na lang eh nagka-cramps na rin rin ako. Swerte na-shoot,” said Victoria. Victoria finished with 17 points while Warren Bonifacio added 13 for Mapua, which improved to 3-8 win-loss record. Noah Lugo and Cedric Pelayo chipped in 10 each for the Cardinals. Mark Mallari tied the game at 79 after sinking the last two his 11 free throws made in the fourth quarter with just 21.5 seconds left in the ball game. But Victoria answered with his game-winner on the other end after Mapua’s timeout. JRU absorbed its fourth straight defeat for a 2-10 slate. Jed Mendoza had 22 points while Mallari posted 18 markers for the Heavy Bombers. Jun Silvarez posted 13 for JRU.   Box score: MU (81) - Victoria 17, Bonifacio 13, Lugo 10, Pelayo 10, Aguirre 7, Gamboa 6, Serrano 6, Buñag 4, Biteng 4, Jabel 4, Nieles 0. JRU (79) - Mendoza 22, Mallari 18, Silvarez 13, Estrella 9, Aguilar 5, Esguerra 4, Dela Virgen 3, Bordon 2, Miranda 2, Padua 1, Doromal 0, David 0. Quarterscores: 15-17, 36-42, 60-55, 81-79            --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 13th, 2018

Q& A: Hall of Fame Bob Lanier

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Bob Lanier turned 70 Monday, a big number for a big man. In fact, that number can be linked to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer in several ways. It was in 1970 that Lanier was the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, selected out of St. Bonaventure by the Detroit Pistons. And it was the 70s as the decade in which Lanier excelled, earning seven of his eight All-Star appearances while averaging 22.7 points and 11.8 rebounds for the Pistons. Dinosaurs ruled the NBA landscape back then, with Lanier achieving his success against the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Dave Cowens, Willis Reed, Nate Thurmond, Elvin Hayes, Artis Gilmore and other legendary big men. Yet it was Lanier who was the MVP of the 1974 All-Star Game, who won the one-off, 32-contestant 1-on-1 championship tournament run by ABC in 1973 as part of its national broadcast schedule and who (with Walton) got name-dropped by Abdul-Jabbar in the 1980 Hollywood comedy “Airplane!” [“I'm out there busting my buns every night!” he tells a kid as “co-pilot Roger Murdock.” “Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes!”] Lanier’s Detroit teams never got beyond the conference semifinals, though, so in 1979-80 he asked to be traded. In February 1980, the Pistons dealt him to Milwaukee for Kent Benson and a future draft pick. With the Bucks, who averaged 59 victories in Lanier’s four full seasons there, Lanier flirted with his greatest team success, yet never reached The Finals. He was 36 when bad knees and other injuries forced him to retire. Those knees still are trouble, preventing Lanier from attending this year’s Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony -- he was elected in 1992 -- and limiting his ability to travel from his home in Arizona to catch his daughter Khalia’s volleyball games at USC. But the man nicknamed “The Dobber” was as chatty and opinionated as ever in a phone conversation last week with NBA.com: NBA.com: The league still keeps you busy, doesn’t it? Bob Lanier: Well, it did. But about 15 months ago, I had knee replacement surgery on my right leg and that is not going very well. It still aches and it gets me unbalanced. That’s what I was trying to get away from. The surgeon said mine was the most difficult one he’d ever done. I was supposed to get the left one done but I couldn’t, because the right one was bothering me so much. I can’t even stand to hit a golf ball. NBA.com: You were part of the original Stay In School initiative, if I recall correctly. BL: I was involved with a little bit of everything from the time David [Stern, longtime NBA commissioner] first called me in 1988. It started off with wanting me to do something for kids who stayed in school. We did “P-R-I-D-E,” with P for positive mental attitude, R for respect, I for intelligent choice-making, D for dreaming and setting goals, and E for effort and education. It was really amazing. The first year, we were talking about giving out 25,000 Starter jackets for kids who came to the rally. Shoot, we needed double that amount, the numbers we got. Everything is kind of under the same umbrella now with NBA Cares. Kathy Behrens [president, social responsibility and player programs] has done a wonderful job of taking this to a whole ‘nother level, her and Adam [Silver, NBA commissioner]. NBA.com: Have you ever had one of those kids whose lives you touched reach out to you years later? BL: [Laughs]. You know what, I’m laughing because you don’t expect to hear from anybody. The only time that somebody really validated something we were doing was when I wrote those books. (The “Hey, Li’l D!” series of kids books, loosely based on Lanier’s childhood adventures. Co-authored with Heather Goodyear in 2003, the Scholastic Paperbacks books still are available.) I was on a plane and one of the passengers asked me to sign the book for her, for her child. I was so taken aback by that, I was shaking while I was signing the autograph. That was really good -- I thought, maybe I did something right. NBA.com: But none of the Stay In School kids? BL: Look, in our business, in community relations and social responsibility areas, you don’t really … when you’re building houses for people, the folks who work with you side by side give you a thumbs up and say thank you before it’s over. When we do the playgrounds, we use kids in the neighborhood who are going to enjoy playing in it and having dreams -- they’re thankful. But there’s so much need out here. When you’re traveling around to different cities and different countries, you see there are so many people in dire straits that the NBA can only do so much. We make a vast, vast difference, but there’s always so much more to do. NBA.com: I know you’re not in it for the thank yous. BL: No. The only thing that stands out to me is from when I was still playing in Milwaukee and I was getting gas at a station on, I think it was Center St. A guy came up to me and said, “My dad is sick. And you’re his favorite player. Could you come up to the house and say hello to him? The house is right next door.” So I went over, I went upstairs. The guy was laying there in his bed. His son said, “This is Bob,” and he was like, “I know.” And he just had a little smile, a twinkle in his eye. And he grabbed my hand and squeezed it. And we said a little prayer. About two weeks later, his dad had died. And he left a card at the Bucks office, just saying “Thank you for making one of my dad’s final days into a good day.” NBA.com: It probably wasn’t, and isn’t, uncommon for you to be spotted out in public like that. At your size (6-foot-11, 250 pounds as a player). BL: As time passes on, people know you at first because you’re a player. Then you stop playing. And 10 years after, when a player like Shaquille O’Neal comes along, they know him and figure you must be Shaq’s dad. “You’re wearing them big shoes.” I just go along with it. “Yeah, I’m Shaq’s dad!” NBA.com: That has to sting, seeing as how Shaq took your title for the NBA’s biggest sneakers. You were famous for your size-22s. BL: Yeah, he sent me a pair one time and I think they were 23s. For some reason, I recall he would wear 23s and three pairs of socks or something instead of the 22s. NBA.com: Isn’t it sobering how quickly sports fans forget even distinctive-looking players such as yourself? BL: Absolutely correct. But that’s why we in the NBA and at the players association have to do a better job of passing down the history of our game. In a way that they’ll absorb it. Not necessarily that they’ll have to read it – it could be in a video game form, because that seems to hold interest a lot. NBA.com: You have been as busy in your post-playing career for the NBA as you ever were while playing, right? BL: I’ve really been blessed. You know this story: I started serving people with my mother [Nattie Mae] at church. Getting food to people who were sick or needy, taking it to the hospital, taking it to people’s houses or feeding them right after church. My mother was a Seventh Day Adventist and she was in the church all the time. She had me and my sister and a bunch of kids, we would all be there every Saturday. You start off doing it not only because your mother tells you to, but the food was good. Then David asked me to come help with the Stay In School, which was the start of it all. If I hadn’t graduated from college, I probably would never have gotten an opportunity to do that with the NBA. Plus, the amazing number of young people I’ve met around the country, around the world, that I think I’ve touched … some lives. I can’t say I touched everybody, but some. I always had a knack of selecting -- when I’d call up kids to help me with the presentation -- a girl or a boy who needed it. It’s amazing how many times a teacher has said to me, “You picked Joe” or “You picked Dorothy, and that’s a really difficult kid. You made them feel good.” You never let a kid fail. NBA.com: You never were a shy and retiring type. What do you think of the NBA these days? BL: I’ll tell you what, I wish that I were playing now. It’s not as physical a sport. You can do stuff anywhere in the world. You can make tons of money off the court -- I can’t imagine how much I’d make with a speaker deal and those big-ass sneakers of mine. The only thing I would not like about this era is that you’ve got to be so conscious of social media. And people taking photos of you when you don’t know they’re taking them. And having those things that zoom over your home and take pictures of your house. That part I wouldn’t like at all. NBA.com: It’s hard enough to avoid the public eye at your size. By the way, are you as tall as you used to be? BL: No, no. I remember standing next to Magic [Johnson] last year at some function we had, and I was looking at him eye-to-eye. I said, “Damn, I thought I was 6-11 and you were 6-9. You look like you’re taller than me now.” NBA.com: You might have fared well today, with the range you had on your jump shot. A big man like you or Bob McAdoo would fit right in. BL: But Mac was a true forward and I was a true center. With the game the way it is now, I think guys like he or I -- Dave Cowens, too -- could shoot from outside, inside, open up the lanes, make good passes. I say that gingerly with Mac, because every time it touched his hands it was going up. He’s my boy but that’s the truth. NBA.com: Wayne Embry, the NBA lifer as a player and executive, recently said to me about the current style of play, “C’mon, the big man likes to play too.” The game has gotten so much smaller. BL: I kind of like this game a little bit. If you’re a big who has skills, it helps to stretch the floor. You can always post up, if you’ve got a big can post up. But now you’ve got these bigs who are elongated forwards. Boogie Cousins is probably our last post-up big that I’m aware of. I think I just saw him on TV somewhere making about 10 3-pointers in a row. NBA.com: Any team or individuals to whom you pay particular attention? BL: I like watching ‘Bron [LeBron James], obviously. I like this Golden State team, too, because they play so well together. I like the kid [Anthony] Davis. With Boogie, my concern is whether he’ll be healthy this season. NBA.com: What’s your take on the “super team” approach of the past few years? BL: I think both of ‘em have their sides. Back in the day, we would never do that. There wasn’t a lot of huggin’ and kissin’, all that stuff, when you were competing. You were out there to kick each other’s butt. But with AAU ball, it’s become guys playing together on these premier teams at all these tournaments around the country. So they get to know each before they ever go to college. NBA.com: Do you think today’s players appreciate the work you and other alumni did to build the league? BL: I think everything evolves. The best thing I could say as a player is, you want to leave the game in better shape than when you came into it. You want to leave a legacy, a better brand. You want players to be making more money. You want the league to be stronger. And since we’re partner in this, it’s important that those kinds of things happen. NBA.com: The 1970s seems to be pretty neglected, as far as NBA memories and highlights. At times it’s as if the league went from Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics dynasty to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird carrying the NBA into the 80s. The league had some popularity and PR issues back then, but eight different franchises won championships that decade. BL: Back in the 70s, a lot of people were feeling that the NBA was drug-infested. Too black. That’s one of the reasons the league came up with its substance abuse program, one of the first in sports to do that. The point was not to punish guys but to help guys who needed it to get clean. As that passed, then Larry and Magic came in. The media money started going up, and then Michael [Jordan] came in in ’84 and everything took off from there. So I can see how you could kind of forget about the 70s. NBA.com: And yet now folks complain that each season starts with only three or four teams seen as capable of winning the title. Why was it different then? BL: I think everybody competed a lot. And guys didn’t change teams as much, so when you were facing the Bulls or the Bucks or New York, you had all these rivalries. Lanier against Jabbar! Jabbar against Willis Reed! And then [Wilt] Chamberlain, and Artis Gilmore, and Bill Walton! You had all these great big men and the game was played from inside out. It was a rougher game, a much more physical game that we played in the 70s. You could steer people with elbows. They started cutting down on the number of fights by fining people more. Oh, it was a rough ‘n’ tumble game. NBA.com: There were, of course, fewer teams. Seventeen when you arrived, for instance. BL: There was so much talent on every team. Every night you were playing against somebody really damn good, and if you didn’t come to play, they’d whip your behind. NBA.com: You know, I’m surprised I never heard about you being the target of a bidding war with the old ABA? Did they ever come after you? BL: Got approached at the end of my junior year at St. Bonaventure. They offered me a nice contract. But I wanted to stay in school because I thought we had a real chance at winning the NCAA title. NBA.com: Gee, that almost sounds quaint by today’s get-the-money standards. BL: Yeah. Well, I trusted them as a league -- it was the New York Nets, a guy named Roy Boe -- but I knew we had a really good team. And we did. We got to the Final Four. Then I got hurt. NBA.com: You went down against Villanova, your tournament ended by a torn ligament. I’m surprised, looking back, you were considered healthy enough to get drafted No. 1 and have a pretty strong rookie season. BL: I wasn’t healthy when I got to the league. I shouldn’t have played my first year. But there was so much pressure from them to play, I would have been much better off -- and our team would have been much better served -- if I had just sat out that year and worked on my knee. NBA.com: From the Final Four to the start of the NBA season isn’t much time to rehab a knee injury. Then you played 82 games, averaging 15.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in 24.6 minutes. BL: That was stupid. My knee was so sore every single day that it was ludicrous to be doing what I was doing. I wanted to play, but I was smart and the team was smart, everybody would have benefited. NBA.com: Did you ever fully recover? I know your later years were hampered by knee pain. BL: Oh, I fully recovered. Going into my third year, I think I had my legs underneath me a lot. NBA.com: Your coach as a rookie was Butch van Breda Kolff, who had butted heads with Wilt Chamberlain in Los Angeles. Did you have any issues with him? BL: He was a pretty tough coach, but he was a good-hearted person. As a matter of fact, he had a place down on the Jersey shore where he invited me to come and run on the beach to help strengthen my leg. I went there for about 2 1/2 weeks. I liked Butch a lot. NBA.com: Your Detroit teams had you as an All-Star nearly every season and of course Hall of Fame guard Dave Bing. Did you think you’d achieve more? BL: I think ’73-74 was our best team [52-30]. We had Dave, Stu Lantz, John Mengelt, Chris Ford, Don Adams, Curtis Rowe, George Trapp. But then for some reason, they traded six guys off that team before the following year. I just didn’t feel we ever had the leadership. I think we had [seven] head coaches in my 10 years there. That was a rough time, because at the end of every year, you’d be so despondent. NBA.com: So by the time you were traded to Milwaukee, you were ready to go? BL: I wanted the trade. But until you start getting on that plane and leaving your family and start crying, you don’t realize it’s a part of your life you’re leaving. I got to Milwaukee and it was freezing outside. But the people gave me a standing ovation and really made me feel welcome. It was the start of a positive change. I just wish I had played with that kind of talent around me when I was young. The only time I thought I had it was that ’73-74 team they messed up. But if I had had Marques [Johnson] and Sidney [Moncrief] and all of them around me? Damn. NBA.com: I got my start around those Bucks teams, and feel I often have to remind people how good they were deep into the ‘80s. You just couldn’t get past the Celtics and the Sixers in the same year, in a loaded Eastern Conference. BL: They were always a man better than us. We had to play our best to beat them and they didn’t have to play their best to beat us. It haunts me to this day. NBA.com: How did you like playing for Bucks coach Don Nelson? BL: Loved him. It was just like playing for your big brother. He was a player’s coach, for sure. He’d been through it, won championships. Knew what it was like to be a role player, knew what it took to be a prime-time player. Didn’t get upset over pressure. He was just a stand-up guy. NBA.com: As we talk, I’m looking at my office wall and I have that famous All-Star poster from 1977, painted by Leroy Neiman. That game was notable, too, because it was the first one after the NBA/ABA merger. So you had Julius Erving, George Gervin, Dan Issel and those other ABA stars flooding their talent into the league. BL: You know what? I think you could put 10 players from the 70s into the league today and be as competitive as anybody. Think of the guys who could really play and were athletic. And with the rule changes, that would make us even more effective. “Ice’ [Gervin]. Julius. David Thompson, a huge athlete. I don’t know who could mess with Kareem at all. NBA.com: What about Nate Archibald? BL: You took the words right out of my mouth. Tiny! He could scoot up and down and do what he needed to do. These guys knew the game, they played the basics of it so well. NBA.com: No one disputes the advances in training, nutrition, travel and rest. But in raw ability, you think it was close to today? BL: One thing I will say about this group of young men, they seem to be more athletic than we were. They seem to be able to cover so much more ground. Whatever that new step is, the Eurostep? And another thing they do differently know is, they brush-pick. They brush and then they pop. You rarely see a guy do a solid pick and then roll with the guy on his back to cause a mismatch. Everybody’s looking to open the floor to shoot 3’s. This has become the weapon of choice now. NBA.com: No rings for that Milwaukee team from which you retired has meant, so far, no Hall of Fame for Marques Johnson or Sidney Moncrief, the two stars.   BL: That’s what rings hollow in your ears. You hear people saying, “Where’s the ring? The ring!” And we don’t have any rings. That’s what we play for. NBA.com: Didn’t stop your enshrinement though. BL: They must have been blind, crippled and crazy, huh? It’s a short crop of brotherhood that gets in there. I just wish there was more time on those weekends where we could spend time just talking with one another. You rarely see each other, and it would be nice to have a quiet room where you could just re-hash old times and plays, and maybe have your family so your grandkids could listen to Earl the Pearl tell about this or [Bill] Walton tell about that. Just rehashing stuff that brought people a lot of joy. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 11th, 2018

Letran s Balanza unites all of NCAA as Player of the Week

Jerrick Balanza did not need to be on the court to make his presence felt for Letran. In a battle of his own after getting diagnosed with a brain tumor, Balanza served as the Knights' inspiration in their 99-82 win over the Arellano Chiefs last Thursday to stay hot in NCAA Season 94.  For showing tremendous strength in his own battle and serving as an inspiration for his team, the NCAA Press Corps has decided to give the Chooks-to-Go Player of the Week award to none other than Balanza. "Si Jerrick, hindi naman nawala sa team namin yan e. He's still part of the team," said Letran head coach Jeff Napa.  "Kailangan intindihin namin ang health niya, pero yung presence niya sa dugout, sa ensayo, nandun pa rin yun," he added.  Last Friday, Balanza underwent successful operation for the removal of the tumor in his brain. The tumor is now set for biopsy to see if it's benign or malignant.  The operation lasted for four and a half hours and the lanky swingman is now recovering. It's not only Letran that Balanza united as all of the NCAA also rallied around him, receiving well wishes from rivals and fans alike.  "We wish and pray for nothing but the best for Balanza," said head coach Boyet Fernandez of archrival San Beda. "It's unfortunate and we wish for his fast recovery," he continued. For that, Letran skipper Bong Quinto extended his gratitude to all and said that it's amazing to see the league rally around his good friend. "Kailangan tayo ni Jerrick. Good thing naman na buong NCAA, kahit yung mga kalaban namin, nagkakaisa para makatulong kay Jerrick," said Quinto.  While his operation was successful, Balanza is still in need of assistance to ease off his financial obligations due to his treatment. For those who wish to donate, here are the details: Bank: BDO Branch: BDO Intramuros Account Name: Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Inc. Account Number: ‎4500003129.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 9th, 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

NCAA: Knights, Squires win the day for ailing birthday boy Balanza

As always, Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s got the back of Jerrick Balanza. “Right now, naka-admit na siya e, pero nag-request siya na i-dedicate sa kanya ‘to kasi birthday niya,” head coach Jeff Napa told reporters after the Knights dropped Arellano University for a third win in a row on Thursday. Just two days ago, Balanza was diagnosed with a tumor in the temporal lobe of his brain and will have to undergo surgery on Friday. With that, he is not out for the season. Before his operation, the fourth-year swingman celebrated his 22nd birthday. And so, those left playing for Letran gifted him with a big-time win. Even though he will no longer see action, coach Jeff said that Balanza will always be part of the team. “’Di naman mawawala si Jerrick sa team. He’s still part of the team kaya yung presence niya sa dugout sa ensayo, andun pa rin yan,” the former said. And with that, the Knights will always be behind their ailing teammate. “Kami ni coach Jeff, ‘di naman kami nagkukulang sa pag-encourage sa kanya. Sabi ko nga sa kanya, kahit anong mangyari, wag niya isipin ang team namin,” team captain Bong Quinto shared. He then continued, “Ang isipin niya, sarili niya. Kung kailangan niya kami, nandito kami para sa kanya.” Along with the all-out support from Letran, Quinto said they are nothing but thankful for all the love from the rest of the NCAA and the basketball community at large. As he put it, “Good thing naman, buong NCAA, kahit mga kalaban namin, nagkakaisa para makatulong kay Jerrick.” In the end, Balanza will be the rallying point as the Knights try to return to the Final Four for the first time since their champion season in 2015. “At least, dagdag motivation din sa amin para magtrabaho lalo,” coach Jeff remarked. It isn’t just the Knights who are being motivated by Balanza either. Earlier in the day, Letran High School dropped an upset ax on Arellano HS. With the win, the Squires fanned the flames of their playoff hopes. More importantly, however, they also dedicated their biggest win of the season to Letran-lifer Balanza. “Yung isa sa (inspiration) namin, yung nangyari kay Jerrick. Talagang pinu-push ng mga bata na lumaban para sa Letran at para kay Jerrick,” head coach Raymond Valenzona said. Balanza was a start for the Squires before moving up to Intramuros’ Seniors squad. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 6th, 2018

For fully loaded UP, it s first Final Four since 1997 or bust

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 6-8, fifth YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Paul Desiderio, Javi Gomez de Liano, Juan Gomez de Liano, Jun Manzo, Gelo Vito WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Bright Akhuetie, Will Gozum, David Murrell, Jaydee Tungcab GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Kyles Lao, Ibrahim Ouattara, Noah Webb WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM UP? This is the year fans of the University of the Philippines have been waiting for – because this is the year it’s all supposed to come together for this long-suffering team. Head coach Bo Perasol has always said that, slowly but surely, the Fighting Maroons will be in contention once more. “Nobody can assure success in terms of winning, but I know we are progressing. From where we were and where we are right now, nag-iimprove from year-to-year, month-to-month. We’re just positive na dapat lang, mas mahigit sa anim yung aming maipapanalo this coming season.” – head coach Bo Perasol And the upcoming UAAP Season 81 is the culmination of all the development, of all the recruitment, and of all the hype. “We anticipated this, we planned this. In everything we improved on, expectations are really high. (That means) that we are doing the right thing.” – head coach Bo Perasol The core of Paul Desiderio, Jun Manzo, and Gomez de LIano brothers Javi and Juan is back and better than ever – with Paul and Juan even getting valuable experience as Gilas cadets. Only now, that core has also welcomed with open arms even more talent in the form of Nigerian powerhouse Bright Akhuetie, NCAA Juniors MVP Will Gozum, former Adamson University slasher Jaydee Tungcab, and versatile Filipino-Amerian forward David Murrell. Hands down, this is the strongest lineup UP has ever had on paper – yes, even stronger than that 1986 championship led by Benjie Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc. Still, that championship team had long proven to be winners before they even got to DIliman. That is yet to be determined for this current crop of Fighting Maroons. WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM UP? Desiderio wants his legacy in UP to be that of the captain who led his team to its first Final Four since 1997 – and its first Final Four of many for the foreseeable future. After a championship in the PBA D-League, the main man is nothing but willing to do it all for more of that winning feeling now in his alma mater. For the first time since the days of Paras, the Fighting Maroons will have a dominant inside presence in Akhuetie who once powered University of Perpetual Help to the Final Four and a near-upset of dynastic San Beda University. the rest of the frontline isn’t too shabby either with Javi GDL, Jerson Prado, and Gelo Vito. The most must-watch aspect of State U’s season, however, has got to be the leap Juan GDL is supposed to make. The former Juniors MVP and reigning Rookie of the Year was always destined for superstardom – the only question is will he be getting there as a sophomore. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR UP? For years, UP has said that there is nowhere to go but up. With just 13 wins in nine seasons from 2007 to 2015, that is indeed the case. The loveable underdogs are no more though, as the Fighting Maroons have the makings of a league powerhouse for years to come. “Wala na kaming excuses. Lahat (training camp, gym, weights room, et al) yan, at par na sa malalakas na programa. Ang kulang na lang is for us to deliver.” – head coach Bo Perasol If they live up to the hype, then a 21-year wait will come to an end and a long-awaited, much-wanted Final Four berth will be theirs to celebrate. “The important (thing) is we believe we can. We believe it’s difficult, but we’re willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it.” – head coach Bo Perasol WHERE WOULD UP BE AT THE END OF UAAP SEASON 81? Ready that bonfire at the Sunken Garden, Diliman. UP’s playoff drought will end – there will be a lot of hiccups on their way there as they are still on the process of learning how to win, but they will get there. “I don’t know where we’re going, but the mere fact that people are trying to pressure us, (that means) we’re stronger now. Before, I don’t think people were expecting people to win. This time, we’re happy and we’re up for it.” – head coach Bo Perasol This team is too talented and Desiderio is too determined for them not to get there. “Hindi (na) lang enough yung fighting, we have to win. Kailangan, iniintindi namin na hindi pwedeng Fighting Maroons kami – we have to be the Winning Maroons.” – head coach Bo Perasol WHEN IS UP’S FIRST GAME IN UAAP SEASON 81? UP is out for a confidence-booster right out of the gates when it is matched up opposite new-look University of the East on September 7. 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 3rd, 2018

San Beda s 50-point man Robert Bolick is co-Player of the Week

It was a special kind of week for individual performances in the NCAA Season 94. And two players from rival schools stood at the forefront of it all. San Beda's Robert Bolick and Letran's Bong Quinto put up performances which will be remembered for a long time - the type that won't be replicated in the foreseeable future. This forced the hand of the men and women covering the oldest collegiate tournament in the country to give the Chooks-to-Go NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week award to both of them, the first time in a long while that reporters handed out the weekly individual plum to two players. Bolick came away with the best scoring performance the league has seen in 44 years as he dropped 50 on a hapless Arellano side as San Beda took a 98-79 win last Friday. The 6'1 guard out of Leyte made 18 of his 25 shots from the field and all nine of his free throws to put together the second highest scoring output in league history, next only to Lim Eng Beng's 55 back when La Salle was still in the NCAA. Here's the best from Robert Bolick's INSANE 5️⃣0️⃣ -point masterpiece vs Arellano. #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/xJPssXe5S4 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) August 24, 2018 "You can't really compare Robert to anyone ‘cause iba-iba sila ng laro but again, nag-iisa lang ang Robert Bolick," said Red Lions coach Boyet Fernandez. "August 24, I declare it as Robert Bolick day," he added. While Bolick made his mark when it comes to scoring, Quinto pretty much did everything else. The hulking forward put together two triple-doubles in a span of four days as the Knights swept their last two games of the elimination round with wins over Mapua and Emilio Aguinaldo College. The former Juniors MVP had averages of 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10.5 assists in that stretch - joining the likes of now-PBA stars Calvin Abueva and Scottie Thompson as the only players to notch back-to-back triple-doubles. "Bong Quinto is truly our leader. He is setting an example kaya nagiging maganda takbo namin," said Letran head coach Jeff Napa. "If Bong plays well, everybody plays well. Ang maganda ay in-accept na niya yung pagiging leader ng team." The pair's performances were so rare that it completeley overshadowed a string of other standout players for the week. Bolick and Quinto edged out the likes of CJ Perez of Lyceum and St. Benilde's Justing Gutang for the weekly plum......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2018

NCAA: Jed Mendoza’s cry just may be a rallying cry for JRU

The cheers rained down on Jose Rizal University as it scored its first win – on the basketball court, that is – on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Struggling for all of the first round of the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament, those cheers was all Heavy Bombers top gun Jed Mendoza wanted to hear. “Alam ni Lord, alam ng team na gustong-gusto kong manalo. Every game naman, binibigay ko lahat,” he said. Mendoza and his teammates lost all of their first seven games before a league ruling overturned one of their losses and turned their 0-7 record to 1-6 last Thursday. A day later, Mendoza and his teammates were celebrating their first win – on the basketball court, that is. That is even truer as throughout their terrible start to the season, Mendoza has been at the receiving end of heavy criticism. And so, when that final buzzer sounded, the third-year guard could only let out all those tears. “Parang nabawasan ako ng tinik sa dibdib talaga. Ngayon kasi, pag sinabi na JRU, ako nagre-represent e as captain ball and superstar,” he shared. He then continued, “Parang pag binabatikos yung team, ako kaagad e,” he shared. That was why from start to finish of their school hymn, he was crying and pointing at the JRU crowd. “Hindi na para sa akin ‘to, para kay Lord na ‘to, para sa team, para masuklian ko yung binibigay nila coach. Nahihiya na rin kasi kami sa JRU community na todo-suporta pa rin sila,” he said. While he was doing that, his father figure on the team was fighting back tears of his own. “Hindi ako naiyak sa panalo e. Dito ako naiyak,” head coach Vergel Meneses told reporters, referring to Mendoza who was sitting beside him in their first post-win interview in the season. He then continued, “Nakita kong gustong manalo talaga e. I hope yung ibang players ko, madala rin yun.” All season long, coach Vergel has been preaching patience and perseverance for his rebuilding crew. “Nakita ko pa lang sa Filoil (Preseason), prangka na ako sa kanila at sinasabi kong swerte na tayong manalo ng tatlo o apat,” he shared. That is exactly why the Philippine basketball legend, always the competitor, changed up his coaching style for this season. For example, in one instance in the endgame, Mendoza was forced into a turnover which then led to a timeout for Emilio Aguinaldo College. Instead of giving him a scolding, however, the usually fiery coach Vergel just kissed him on the head. All of this, the Heavy Bombers’ mentor understood, will just be part of their process. “We take all the criticism as a challenge. Naging constructive criticism na lang that will help us,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 17th, 2018