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Now’s perfect time to regroup, says Ateneo’s Madayag

Ateneo may be Final Four-bound in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament, but Maddie Madayag feels it’s high time to regroup and make tweaks......»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarApr 16th, 2018

UAAP Volleyball: Maddie Madayag on twice-to-beat disadvantage: We ve been here

Invoking memories from Season 76, Ateneo skipper Maddie Madayag says that the team needs to revisit the effort of the first Ateneo championship team in order for them to even have a crack at second-seeded FEU in the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball semifinals Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena. Also from the first time since that season, Ateneo did not conclude the eliminations with a top-two standing, courtesy of FEU's four-set victory against NU and the dominating La Salle win Sunday afternoon. "Not naman unfamiliar [territory]. Cause ano, [the team has] been here [Season] 76 pataas. We're hoping na ganoon din yung lalaruin namin. Of course we're not going to be complacent kasi ang lakas ng FEU ngayon eh, pataas sila eh." Despite not featuring a player from that storied run to the school's first title, Madayag hopes the team could stay focused as they have an entire week to prepare for the do-or-die game. Even she could only wonder why the team could not translate the things they have done in training, and vowed to take note of coach Tai Bundit's post-game speech for them. "[Bundit] was like, remember, I told you nung after first round to change your mind kasi ganoon yung na learn namin sa NU-FEU 'di ba? So he was like, after noong FEU nakalimutan niyo uli na, parang ganoon." Even though they lost miserably against La Salle, the captain assured that spirits are high heading into the semifinals matchup, as long as the team continues to employ Bundit's 'happy, happy' and heartstrong mentality. With that said, the fourth-year middle blocker says the team has moved on and need to find the team that won five straight to start the second round. "For us, I guess kailangan naming mag regroup. And we need to... Andoon naman yung focus talaga. Parang nawawala lang sa training. So yun lang. Kailangan lang namin magbago ng mindset." She then assured that the team is still focused in bring home their third championship. "Puso? Not really the heart cause we want to win naman. But yun nga, mind-set lang talaga."   -- Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2018

Cobb, Wong to go under the microscope in Ateneo-La Salle match

All eyes will be on young setters Michelle Cobb and Deanna Wong when archrivals defending two-time champion De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University cross paths in a marquee match Saturday in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena. Filling in the shoes of veteran playmakers, both Cobb and Wong will be put on a litmus test as they try to carry their respective teams to victory at the close of the first round of elimination. Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA on SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD on SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream. Both teams sport 4-2 win-loss records in a three-way logjam with Far Eastern University at second to fourth spots. After a two straight losses to start their campaign, the Lady Eagles have fully adjusted with setter Wong, who replaced Jia Morado after she decided to forego her final playing year hours following Ateneo’s championship defeat last season, orchestrating their offense. The Lady Eagles march into battle riding the crest of their four-game winning streak including a straight-set, 25-20, 25-22, 28-26, demolition of University of the Philippines last Sunday.   Wong, who is averaging 8.27 excellent sets per frame, plays down her match up with Cobb, who is playing the role left by seasoned playmaker Kim Fajardo. “I mean I’m not really thinking into comparing myself with others naman but that’s what I’ve been hearing and Michelle Cobb is a great setter naman,” said Wong, who will have the support of Bea De Leon, Jho Maraguinot, Kat Tolentino, Jules Samonte and Maddie Madayag. “So ano lang my goal naman is for us to win the championship so parang just play our game lang, play my game and laro lang.” While Ateneo is on a winning roll, the Lady Spikers are reeling off a shocking 18-25, 25-15, 19-25, 22-25, defeat the hands of Adamson University a week ago. Sophomore Cobb, who is averaging a season-best 8.36 excellent sets per frame, was outplayed by Adamson playmaker Fenela Emnas, 29-43, in perfect sets.      DLSU head coach Ramil De Jesus hopes that Cobb has learned from their setback as she rides into a battle.     “Well itong mga klaseng big game dapat ma-experience ng setter namin so kung ma-overcome niya ‘tong ganitong pressure na nakapatong sa baikat niya good para sa kanya and good para sa team,” said De Jesus after their loss to the Lady Falcons. “So we’ll see kung anong adjustment mangyayari sa kanya, kung kaya niyang i-handle ang mga ganoong situations.” Reigning Most Valuable Player Majoy Baron, Des Cheng, Kim Kianna Dy, Tin Tiamzon and Aduke Ogunsanya will have Cobb’s back.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2018

PVL: Lady Eagles weather Lady Falcons upset scare for back-to-back wins

Ateneo-Motolite survived an upset scare from a very game Adamson-Akari, 17-25, 25-23, 25-20, 21-25, 15-12, on Sunday to score back-to-back wins in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Kat Tolentino stepped up big time in the deciding set, scoring six points in the frame to help the Lady Eagles improve to 4-1 win-loss record at second spot behind unbeaten BanKo (5-0). Tolentino scattered 28 points off 20 spikes, five kill blocks and three service aces while Jules Samonte added 11 markers off the bench for Ateneo-Motolite. Maddie Madayag and Ponggay Gaston chipped in nine points each for the Lady Eagles' second win in back-to-back weekend schedule after taking down Iriga-Navy in straight sets Saturday.   The incoming third year hitter scored five of Ateneo-Motolite's first nine points as the Lady Eagles built a 9-3 advantage. Behind Bernadette Flora and Ceasa Pinar's heroics, Adamson-Akari closed the gap, 9-8.  Ateneo-Motolite again went ahead, 13-11, before Krich Macaslang scored a hit to push the Lady Falcons within one, 13-12. Tolentino put the Lady Eagles at match point before Vanessa Gandler sealed the win with a cross court hit.    “Every game this is our problem because siguro new system, we always start slow for the past few games we really start slow and we try to fix that problem,” said Ateneo-Motolite head coach Oliver Almadro, who commended the Lady Falcons’ floor defense. “I thank the Lord that we won today, we won yesterday,” he added. “But I’m not happy with what we’ve shown today. It’s because, I guess, we’re getting used to playing pa sa back-to-back (schedule) so siguro being a student and an athlete hindi pa sanay doon sa big games na magkasunod. But we have to be used to it and this is a learning experience for us and we really just have to maximize our strength and really believing kung ano ang ginagawa namin.” The Lady Falcons, who showed superb floor defense but were plagued with terrible errors, dropped their sixth game in as many outings tied with the Lady Oragons. Adamson was in control of the second set, 10-5, but committed 11 of the frame's 13 errors the rest of the way as the Lady Falcons giave Ateneo-Motolite a chance to steal the set and tie the match.  The Lady Eagles again came back from a 14-15 deficit with a 10-4 run capped by an attack error by Flora for a 24-19 lead. Ateneo-Motolite committed a net touch in the next play before Adamson-Akari surrendered the set on another miscue by Flora.         Flora finished with 25 points on 20 kills, three kill blocks and a pair of aces while adding 24 digs and eight excellent receptions. Chiara Permentilla and Gracelchen Ave scored 15 and 12 markers, respectively, for Adamson.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 14th, 2018

FEU stuns Ateneo in UAAP thriller

MANILA, Philippines – Just days after snapping Adamson’s perfect run, Far Eastern University stunned another heavyweight. The FEU Tamaraws kept the shockers rolling, this time with a 63-60 victory over defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, October ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsOct 10th, 2018

PVL: Perlas Spikers, Lady Eagles stake unbeaten cards

BanKo and Ateneo-Motolite will part ways on Sunday in the clash of unbeaten teams in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream. The Perlas Spikers, who finished third in the Vinh Long Cup in Vietnam recently, are currently at solo top spot with 3-0 win-loss record just one win ahead of the Lady Eagles (2-0). BanKo is coming off a four-set win over listless Adamson-Akari on Saturday in its first of back-to-back weekend schedule. Head coach Dong Dela Cruz knows that it won’t be an easy task to defeat a taller and very young Lady Eagles. “Kailangan pagalawin namin sila kasi matatangkad talaga ang Ateneo,” said Dela Cruz. The mentor will bank on veterans former Ateneo star Dzi Gervacio, who scored 24 the last time out, Amanda Villanueva, Kathy Bersola and Nicole Tiamzon. Ateneo-Motolite is fresh from a morale-boosting five-set escape over PetroGazz. Head coach Oliver Almadro hopes that his wards will sustain their momentum to remain unbeaten. Kat Tolentino, who has been averaging 22 points per game, Maddie Madayag, Bea De Leon and rookie Vanessa Gandler will be on the frontline of Ateneo-Motolite’s march into battle.   ---      Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 6th, 2018

UAAP Season 81 badminton: Bulldogs near sweep and outright Finals

National University moved on the cusp of clinching an outright passage to the men's championship round as the reigning four-time champions overwhelmed University of Santo Tomas, 5-0, Thursday in the UAAP Season 81 badminton tournament. Everything went well for the mighty Bulldogs, as Ross Lee Pedrosa, Mike Minuluan and Dawn Cuyno won their respective singles matches while the pairs of reigning MVP Alvin Morada and Alem Palmares, and Minuluan and Cuyno hurdled their doubles contests. Stretching its perfect run to 40 ties and sporting a 5-0 record in the season, NU goes for the elimination round sweep against winless University of the East at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall. In other ties, University of the Philippines turned back Ateneo, 3-2, while De La Salle scored a 4-1 decision over Adamson University to complete the semifinals cast. The victory, the fourth in five ties, assured the Fighting Maroons of at least a playoff for the second twice-to-beat slot in the semifinals. The Green Shuttlers, meanwhile, improved to 3-2 alongside the Blue Eagles in third place. UP seeks to seal the No. 2 ranking in the semifinals with a win over De La Salle on Saturday.   The Falcons, who needed a win over the Green Shuttlers to stay alive, bowed out of contention, wrapping up their season with a 2-4 slate in fifth - an improvement from seventh place last year.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 4th, 2018

UAAP: Tigresses, Lady Bulldogs still spotless in beach volleyball

The University of Santo Tomas and National University stayed perfect by sweeping two matches Tuesday in women's division of the UAAP Season 81 beach volleyball tournament at Sands SM By The Bay. Reigning MVP Sisi Rondina and Babylove Barbon bested Ateneo's Ponggay Gaston and Jules Samonte, 21-9, 21-15, before returning in the afternoon session with a 21-14, 21-14 conquest of De La Salle's Tin Tiamzon and Michelle Morente to extend the defending two-time women's champions' undefeated run to three games. Rookies Klymince Orilleneda and Antonnete Landicho topped University of the Philippines' Isa Molde and Justine Dorog, of 21-19, 21-10, and University of the East's Rhea Manalo and Lyen Shan Ritual, 21-15, 21-15, for NU's third consecutive win. In the men's division, Far Eastern University became the only undefeated team, as Jude Garcia and Kevin Hadlocon repulsed UST's Krung Arbasto and Jaron Requinton, 21-19, 21-18, for a 3-0 card. Reigning titlist National University continued its rise from a shock opening day loss, with MVP Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad scoring a 21-12, 21-15 victory over Ateneo's Kurt Aguilar and Abai Llenos for a 2-1 card. The Lady Spikers raced to a 7-4 lead in the second set before the Tigresses regained control with the cat-quick pair of Rondina and Barbon making adjustments in their game to produce another straight sets conquest in front of a highly-appreciative crowd. Tiamzon and Morente, who dominated Adamson University's Hannah Nicole Infante and Gracelchen Ave, 21-10, 21-5, in the morning session, fell to 2-1. Meanwhile, the Lady Maroons and the Lady Eagles entered the win column after two straight losses. Molde and Dorog topped FEU's Ivana Agudo and Marianne Calinawan, 21-18, 21-11, while Gaston and Samonte, turned back Adamson University's Ave and Infante, 21-14, 21-14. In other men's matches, Adamson University's Pao Pablico and Jesus Valdez bested UE's Clifford Inoferio and Alven Aljas, 21-15, 22-24, 16-14, while UP's Nico Consuelo and Mac Millete outlasted De La Salle's Geraint Bacon and Paul Serrano, 23-21, 19-21, 15-12. The tournament resumes on Friday with eight men's and four women's matches beginning at 8 a.m. at the same Mall of Asia Complex sand court.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 25th, 2018

PVL Open Conference: Lady Eagles on acid test

A new-look Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles squad will get their first test before the UAAP wars when they take on seasoned club teams in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference. New head coach Oliver Almadro, who replaced resigned Tai Bundit after UAAP Season 80, will get his baptism of fire handling arguably the country’s most popular college team in the tournament slated to begin on September 22. After missing out on the UAAP Finals for the first time after six straight appearances, Almadro will begin the Lady Eagles’ rebuilding process together with holdovers from last season’s team. Graduating veteran Bea de Leon and seasoned middle blocker Maddie Madayag are back to lead Ateneo. Kim Gequillana is also back after sitting out the last UAAP season due to an ACL injury. New recruits setter Jaja Maraguinot, sister of former Ateneo open spiker Jho, and Vanessa Gandler will also be put under the microscope as they try to live up to the hype and expectations of Lady Eagles fans. Ateneo skipped the Collegiate Conference ruled by University of the Philippines.   Here is the full Ateneo lineup: Dani Ravena Deanna Wong Jules Samonte Vanessa Gandler Jaja Maraguinot Maddie Madayag Bela Peralta Ponnggay Gaston Kat Tolentino Bea De Leon Kim Gequillana.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 14th, 2018

Thais, Austria-Norway rule BVR On Tour Surigao

LIANGA, Surigao del Sur -  Thailand 2's Nasuda Janmong and Saranya Laesood, avenging their lone loss of the competition, captured the women's gold medal with a 21-13, 21-18 victory over BanKo-Perlas 1's Dzi Gervacio and Bea Tan in the Beach Volleyball Republic On Tour Gran Ola, Lianga leg Sunday here. Another international pair, Austria-Norway tandem of Marian Klaffinger and Aleksander Sorum, ruled the men's division following a 21-19, 21-14 win over Air Force's Ranran Abdilla and Jessie Lopez. First time as partners, Klaffinger and Sorum also went perfect in the two-day double gender event, as everything clicked right from the get-go. "It's our first tournament. We spontaneously played this tournament. We had fun," said Klaffinger, who played for Austria with Moritz Fabian Kindi in the FIVB Beach World Tour Manila Open last May. "They (Air Force) played well. It was a tough match but I'm happy that we won it.  We had some relatively easy matches at the beginning so that we could get together well. I'm happy that we played that good in the final," he added. Playing much better in the game that mattered most, the power-hitting pair of Janmong and Laesood made major adjustments in last Saturday's 18-21, 17-21 loss to Gervacio and Tan in pool play to become triumphant.        Janmong and Laesood bested BanKo-Perlas 2's Amanda Villanueva and Roma Doromal, 21-13, 21-18, to arrange a women's championship duel with Gervacio and Tan, who foiled an all-Thailand showdown following a come-from-behind 18-21, 21-18, 15-13 over Kijja Khantarak and Sirinuch Kawfong. Despite the tough loss, Khantarak and Sirinuch Kawfong still has something to celebrate of, as the pair claimed the bronze medal with a 21-16, 21-14 victory over Villanueva and Doromal. In the quarterfinals, Gervacio and Tan rallied from a set down to beat Ateneo's Ponggay Gaston and Jules Samonte, 19-21, 21-12, 15-3, while Villanueva and Doromal won over Lianga's Leah Mae Pontillo and Maria Adabog. Thailand 1's Khantarak and Kawfong overpowered University of the Philippines' Justine Dorog and Abi Goc, 21-12, 21-3, while their compatriots Janmong and Laesood bested National University's Klymince Orilleneda and Antonnete Landicho, 21-16, 21-14. Abdilla and Lopez prevailed over Davao 1's Calvin Sarte and Edmar Flores, 21-19, 21-19, to set up a men's Finals meeting with Klaffinger and Sorum, a 21-16, 21-13 winner over Malaysia's Raja Nazmi Hussin and Mohd Aizzat Zokri. Sarte and Flores outlasted Hussin and Zokri, 22-20, 12-21, 15-12 to clinch third place......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2018

JONES CUP: ‘Matty Ice’ says game-winner was for all of Philippines

Matt Nieto won a game not just for Ateneo de Manila University, but for all of the Philippines in the 2018 William Jones Cup. “Sobrang saya namin cause hindi lang Ateneo ang nanalo, buong Philippines ang nanalo,” he said in an online interview with media. The Blue Eagles were trailing by two with 3.1 ticks to go in their matchup against home team Chinese Taipei Blue last Saturday before head coach Tab Baldwin had the perfect play with Thirdy Ravena inbounding and finding Nieto for a good look from beyond. “Matty Ice” then rose and launched a triple and the defense was unable to do anything as the ball found the bottom of the net, winning the game for Ateneo – the first collegiate team to be wearing the flag in the tournament. And yes, he hit that shot with much of the crowd against him. “First time namin to play na buong arena, puro kalaban kaya nakaka-pressure. At the same time, nakaka-excite din kasi minsan lang mangyari ito,” he said. The noise was all around when coach Tab designed the play, when Ravena inbounded the ball, and when Nieto took the shot. After Nieto made it, however, the silence was deafening from the home crowd. In the end, modest as always, the hero for Chooks-to-Go-powered Ateneo Pilipinas deflected all credit. “I’m so happy pero I give all the credit to my coaches and teammates. Coach Tab for coming up with a brilliant play, George for the solid screen, and Thirdy for the terrific pass,” he expressed. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2018

UAAP: Ateneo s Isaac Go caps off stellar year with first honor distinction

Ateneo Blue Eagles center Isaac Go's hard work has been paying off. Not only is the 6'7" big man a UAAP champion, but he also finished his fourth year in Ateneo as an honor student of the highest distinction. The B.S. Management of Applied Chemistry major proudly bared his accomplishment via Twitter. This is a litte bit late cause it is only now that it has sunk in. After 4 years, I finally got one! Thank you lord! 🙏🏼 All the sleepless nights were worth it! pic.twitter.com/IxaWSKGeNu — Isaac Go (@IsaacGo1) May 29, 2018 His academic success lies beyond his grades, however, as he is also branching out to address real-world problems as part of his college requirements, most notable of which is the "portable toilet cleaning solution" he helped develop.  Come and support X-Stink! The portable toilet cleaner! pic.twitter.com/2yS83VJPOv — Isaac Go (@IsaacGo1) October 22, 2017 His 3.7 average is just shy of the perfect 4.0, but we can all give him props as a full-time student-athlete, who's representing the Gilas Pilipinas Cadets during the UAAP offseason when he's not doing these things for Ateneo: IT'S GO TIME. #UAAPSeason80Finals pic.twitter.com/PkRF4uGau0 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) December 3, 2017  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 29th, 2018

Alyssa Valdez invites future champions to join Milo sports camps this summer

    Alyssa Valdez's volleyball journey all started with a risk, a leap of faith. As a scrawny kid from San Juan, Batangas, Valdez was initially prohibited by her father to try out sports, as an act of protecting his only daughter. But her mother, a teacher by profession, knew the kind of life lessons Alyssa can learn through sports.  It took some convincing, but Alyssa was eventually given the green light to pursue what she loved.  Now, she's one of the most iconic and beloved volleyball players in the country as a star from Ateneo de Manila and the Creamline Cool Smashers. With the help of her relentless drive, Alyssa Valdez became a testament to sports' power to transform lives. HUMBLE BEGINNINGS When she was younger, Alyssa says she was already active in different kinds of sports. But the young Phenom was held back by her shy nature.  "Isa sa mga nadevelop ko talaga, through playing volleyball is self-confidence," she bared. "I can imagine myself when I was a kid na, wala hindi talaga ako makakausap ng tao. I'm too shy to always interact with other people. So the challenge of pursuing her love for sports awakened something in Alyssa. "There was this turning point na, wala eh, it challenges me. If I don't push myself, paano pa 'yung ibang challenges?" Valdez reflected. Taking up volleyball gave her a sense of self-confidence and self-fulfillment that stemmed from the series of small victories she had garnered throughout her early playing days. By small victories, she meant gradually getting better, and slowly learning the value of hard work. But Alyssa wasn't always the superstar she is today. In her younger years, she says wasn't even part of her team's starting six.  "Noong bata ako, hindi ko talaga natutunan lahat in just a snap. You have to work hard, you have to sacrifice a lot of things," she said. "Per sa lahat ng sinasakripisyo natin, may babalik at babalik din diyan." True enough, with her dedication to help her team, and to continuously improve her play, she eventually got her break. ROUGH START It's hard to imagine Alyssa Valdez as anything short of a phenomenal volleyball player. But like anything great, it took some time for Alyssa to become an athlete of her stature.  As a bench player, she adapted a team-first identity, accepting a role that may not always call for her presence on the court, but was still important to the team's success. Alyssa had to learn to accept the small responsibilities she was entrusted with, like setting up the nets for practice, handing out water bottles for her teammates, as well as cheering from the bench to hype up her squad. Slowly, though, Alyssa was rewarded, not just with wins, but with different life lessons as well.   A LIFETIME'S WORTH OF LESSONS  Looking back now, Alyssa fondly remembers those memories as instrumental in helping her adjust to any situation, on and off the court. She gained confidence from accomplishing all those small tasks, and began trusting herself more.  Beyond accolades and fame, what keeps Alyssa's hunger in sports is its ability to teach lifelong wisdom. As she shares, "It's not about how you perform and be at your best, but, yung after na lessons na nabibigay sakin ng sport. The little things really matter." Alyssa has been carrying all those lessons, even after her success, like the friendships she has garnered through out her career. "In my experience, dahil sa sports, nakilala ko yung mga taong mag-s-stay kahit anong mangyari," Valdez shared. "Alam mo 'yung mga moments na patalo na kayo, 'yung mga moments na hindi mo na alam 'yung gagawin mo... Pero at the end of the day, iiyak at iiyak sila, tatawa at tatawa sila kasama mo."   INSPIRING THE CHAMPIONS OF TOMORROW Now a successful athlete, Alyssa hopes to inspire a new generation of youth to take up sports. Like the kid from San Juan, Batangas, Alyssa believes every child needs to take that risk, that leap of faith, for an opportunity to realize their potential to be someone great, as part of a nation of champions. That's why the Phenom has teamed up with Milo to invite kids of all ages to try any of the 18 different sports clinics the energy drink brand will offer summer, from April 2 to June 3, to get set for a lifetime's worth of lessons and values, on and off the court. "Parehas kami na really wanna pay it forward. Through camps, a lot of camps all over the Philippines," she said. "Ako, yun lang din yung gusto ko as an athlete, gusto ko ma-share 'yung knowledge ko." With Alyssa and her wealth of experience on board, indeed, this summer sounds like the perfect time for children to pursue sports......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 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

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: We need to work on our consistency -- Madayag

Ateneo de Manila University team captain Maddie Madayag pointed out that the Lady Eagles’ lack of communication inside the court did them in Saturday in the ‘Battle of Katipunan’ against University of the Philippines in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena. Needing just a win to secure at least a playoff for a semifinals twice-to-beat advantage, the Lady Eagles’ miscues, miscommunication and lack of focus put them in a precarious position in the race for the top two seeds in the Final Four. Ateneo was hacked by the Lady Maroons’ upset ax in straight sets, 28-26, 25-23, 26-24, as the Lady Eagles absorbed its first loss in the second round after a five-game winning romp for a 9-4 win-loss slate.    “Parang it’s like the basic errors na nangyari,” said Madayag, who was held to only eight points. “Parang ‘yun nga no one was talking and then like I said before we need to work on our consistency kasi hahabol kami and then biglang may service error.” “Example, 19-all then magkakagulo kami tapos malalamangan kami ng UP,” she added. The Lady Eagles were in control early in the second and third sets but crumbled under pressure in crunch time with UP breathing life to its flickering semis hopes. Ateneo now must win against archrival two-time defending champion De La Salle University on April 15 to secure at least a playoff for a semis advantage.    “Kailangan lang talaga ng consistency and aggressiveness,” said Madayag. “We’re hoping for playoffs so we’re gonna work on it sa training and it’s a learning experience na ang dami naming errors and everything.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 7th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: FIVE FOR (FINAL FOUR) FIGHTING

A couple more games in and the elimination round will soon come to a close. Even up to this point, the women’s volleyball tournament of UAAP Season 80 continues to prove to be the most unpredictable year in recent UAAP history. While the top two seeds, the DLSU Lady Spikers and the Ateneo Lady Eagles have already secured spots in the Final Four, it’s still an on-going Battle Royale for the remaining two spots among teams gunning for a chance at either redemption or ascendancy.  With the FEU Lady Tamaraws, NU Lady Bulldogs, Adamson Lady Falcons, UP Lady Maroons, and the UST Golden Tigresses still slugging it out to prove their worth, the last few games of the eliminations couldn’t be more exciting and interesting at the same time. FEU Lady Tamaraws (7 – 4) Numerically speaking, the Lady Tamaraws have the best chances of booking the 3rd spot based on their team’s performance in the different skill departments. Despite being 7th overall in spiking, the Lady Tamaraws have shown consistency in the more crucial departments such as serve (2nd), receive (4th), and setting (3rd). At a relatively more comfortable standing of 7 – 4, FEU just needs one win to seal their Final Four spot or 2 to guarantee at least a 3rd rank finish. In their upcoming game against their 1st round tormentors, the Adamson Lady Falcons, the Lady Tamaraws’ services would definitely be challenged by the resurgent passing and commendable first point conversion of the Lady Falcons. Likewise, FEU would be expected to capitalize on the relatively less aggressive serving of Adamson to run their bread and butter combination plays. A revenge win against Adamson, avoiding an upset against a confident UE Lady Warriors squad and a repeat over skidding NU will enable the Lady Tamaraws to bag the best possible ranking at the end of eliminations. NU Lady Bulldogs (6 – 6) Despite the downward spiral that the Lady Bulldogs have found themselves in this second round, their stellar performance during the first round could still be enough of a cushion for them to keep their Final Four dreams alive. In their recent matchup with the Lady Maroons, Queen Bulldog Jaja Santiago was being maximized with her relatively more unstoppable attack from the right wing and back row. At times that the team was able to go for a high enough dig or pass, despite the location quality, a safety set to Santiago proved to be much needed relief. However, despite this dominance by Santiago, the team still sorely lacks output from the left wing as a much needed support. Had the left wing been more successful in attempt-to-point ratio, the match would have had a different tone. But moving forward, now that the team has had some positional adjustments that ensures libero Gayle Valdez’s stint is fully utilized, a few adjustments in passing formation is needed to ensure that Valdez has the best coverage. With the current struggles in their floor defense, the Lady Bulldogs will benefit more with slowing the rally down will high first balls regardless if on a perfect location just so setter Jasmine Nabor can better shoot to the wings. Adamson Lady Falcons (5 – 6) With a recent commanding win against the NU Lady Bulldogs and an almost statement win versus the Ateneo Lady Eagles, the Adamson Lady Falcons have found a much needed momentum boost amidst a slow second round start. In recent games, the Lady Falcons have seen a resurgence in their receiving prowess which has enabled them to beat powerhouses like DLSU and FEU in the first round. In their recent outings, the Lady Falcons have shown that they have superior side-out game as they have relatively higher first point conversion coming from a serve but have had some struggles in earning points off the transition. In addition, perhaps the most significant limiting factor for Adamson is their serving, which is notably the least aggressive in the league. Though successful in their first encounters against DLSU and FEU, the Lady Falcons’ upcoming rematch against these two teams would be their toughest challenge yet as they would heavily rely in their steady passing against the top two serving teams. To increase their chances of a first round repeat against these two teams, serving adjustments should also be made to ensure that they can limit the DLSU’s Majoy Baron from the middle as well as FEU setter Kyle Negrito from setting up their combination plays. UST Golden Tigresses (4 – 8) Despite a rough and disheartening initial run in this season, the UST Golden Tigresses have started to show what they are seriously capable of achieving. Albeit a too little too late with their current resurgence, a fully intact team is not to be discredited yet. Although much like the UP Lady Maroons in that their fate relies on the succeeding outcome for both NU and Adamson, UST still has a slightly better chance given that they can ensure a win against the Lady Falcons. Able to stretch out the Lady Eagles into a five-set thriller recently is much of a testament that UST is indeed final four material given a fully functioning roster. Much like how Adamson capitalized on Ateneo’s passing, UST proved to be one of the leagues better serving team, but also felt quite short when it came to transition play compared to the Lady Eagles. In line with that, the Golden Tigresses will also have to rely on their serving for their match against the Lady Spikers to ensure easier transition when the middle is eliminated from the attack. Interestingly enough, UST’s situation is mirrored by the Adamson Lady Falcons and their fate relies on each other as both teams are yet to face off against top seed DLSU and are set to face each other for their last elimination match. UP Lady Maroons (4 – 8) Despite a rough start early on in the league that casted some doubts on the inclusion of new coach Godfrey Okumu, the Lady Maroons have slowly found their groove as well as their identity. Though the hopes of a Final Four finish are not as feasible as their fate relies on the further performance of both NU and Adamson, the Lady Maroons are in a good position to prepare for the next season. With all the rotational adjustments Okumu has utilized throughout the season, the current setup is perhaps their best bet to build on. Perhaps the main challenge UP has faced the entire season is that with the short stint under a new coach, the tournament has been more of an unlearning process first before Okumu’s new system, a more scientific one as he claims, is infused. For their upcoming match against the Lady Eagles, the Lady Maroons will find much benefit in aggressive serving to take opportunity of the less threatening passing proficiency of their opponent but at the same time, the challenge is ensuring they convert every possession since the Ateneo has shown much skill in winning the point the longer the transition rally progresses. Final Four Probabilities As with the standings in UAAP History, the elusive 7th win is always the magic number to strive for to get an assurance of a Final Four spot. At this point, FEU is almost guaranteed of that spot given that they just win another game. Should NU finally get out of their slump and manage their first win in the second round, they can guarantee an extension in their stint which would be enough time to at least familiarize their new rotation. Adamson undeniably has the best chances based on numbers as they still have 3 more games but these last elimination games will be relatively challenging as they will have to perform a repeat of their first round win against the top seeded teams FEU and DLSU. Finally, both UP and UST should ensure a win for their last 2 games and hope for upsets against NU and Adamson to at least be within striking distance for the last Final Four spot.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 5th, 2018

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

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

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 5th, 2018

UE: Rod Roque – The Accidental Coach

“Nakakatawa nga eh. I’ve never played volleyball in my life! Never!” A fact University of East head coach Rod Roque admitted when he talked to sports scribes after his first stint with the Lady Warriors in just the sixth game of the squad in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament. Just two days before, Francis Vicente parted ways with UE after three and a half seasons with a futile 2-45 win-loss record. The Lady Warriors absorbed their 12th straight defeat since Season 79 a day before he resigned. Then they found Roque, the school’s representative to the UAAP Board, a perfect fit. But with a losing record and a team lacking confidence, why would UE hire an interim coach that had no volleyball background? The answer is simple. The school’s management wanted someone that they can trust, a person who has been loyal to the Recto-based university and a tactician that can hold the fort until they can find a proper replacement. Plus, it’s an added bonus that the man they chose for the interim spot made miracles in their boy’s volleyball program. Heck, the man gave UE high school more titles than the other teams’ number of boy’s crowns combined. But Roque is also quick to temper UE management’s expectations. “Siympre mahirap because people might expect a miracle. Sabi ko naman sa management when they told me, sabi ko, ‘Don’t expect a miracle because a miracle doesn’t happen overnight.”   A Twist of Fate Roque may not have the volleyball background like the other UAAP coaches but he excelled in a different kind of sport.      “High school, college, noong estudyante pa ako gymnast ako,” said Roque, a true-blooded Red Warrior with a BS Physical Education degree. He was a member of the national men’s all-around gymnastics team and even represented the country in different international tournaments. “Nakapunta kami sa Asian Youth, sa National games. Di ko lang nalaro yung SEA (Southeast Asian) Games,” he said. After finishing his Masters degree in UE in 1992, Roque grew tired of gymnastics and decided to pursue his love of teaching, working as a PE instructor in the same university. Then fate brought him into coaching high school boy’s volleyball.         “Una ko na-discover sa intramural volleyball. Kumuha kami ng player noong intrams. Nagtayo kami ng team, nananalo naman kami. So yun na yung umpisa,” he said. With the UE boy’s team success, the late athletic director Brenn Perez saw a lot of potential with the Junior Warriors and he decided to field the squad in the UAAP.   “Nakita ng director namin, si Mr. Perez na nagtsa-champion kami sa mga invitational. So nag-propose siya sa UAAP na isama na ‘yung UAAP jrs volleyball. Ayun. Since 1996 nagstart yung UAAP Jrs. volleyball sa (UE),” said Roque. But UE wasn’t as successful as it was in the other tournaments the Junior Warriors joined. De La Salle-Zobel was lording it over since the boy’s tournament started in 1995. The Junior Spikers built a dynasty from Season 57 to 62. Then Roque’s crew got its payback. UE completed a grand slam from 2001 to 2003. DLSU-Zobel snatched a crown in Season 66 but Roque was set to make history. The Junior Warriors reigned supreme for the next 11 years. Under Roque’s tutelage, UE was invincible for more than a decade, dating from 2005 to 2015 - the longest title streak of any team in any UAAP volleyball division. From 1995 to 2016 the Junior Warriors landed 22 straight Final Four appearances. Roque handled the National Capital Region’s boy’s volleyball team for 10 years, earning five Palarong Pambansa gold medals. Out of UE’s 14 titles, Roque had 10 for the Junior Warriors before taking a bigger role as UE’s athletic director after Perez passed away from a heart attack in 2009. “Nag-retire (ako as coach) kasi na-promote ako. Naging assistant director na ako. After that, two years, ginawa na akong director,” he said. “Busy na ‘yung schedule. Hindi ako makapag-ensayo.”   Back as Coach UE has been lumbering at the cellar for years both in the men’s and women’s divisions. While the Junior Warriors were copping titles, the school’s college teams were getting beaten black and blue season after season. Under Vicente’s watch, the Lady Warriors sported a 2-45 win-loss record. The Red Warriors, who named a new coach before Season 80 in national men’s volleyball team coach Sammy Acaylar, didn’t fare any better. Five games into the season, UE decided to part ways with their coaches. Acaylar resigned citing conflict of schedule a he was appointed as Perpetual Help athletic director while Vicente left because of ‘personal reasons’. But sources said that Vicente was sacked a day before Acaylar tended his resignation. While Roque struggled to turn around the campaign of the Red Warriors, his stint with the Lady Warriors was sort of ‘miraculous’. He dropped a four-setter against Far Eastern University in his debut but again became an architect of UE’s historic feat – this time in the women’s division. The Lady Warriors closed the first round with a surprise 25-22, 22-25, 14-25, 25-20, 15-13 shocker over Adamson University that ended their 12-game slide since Season 79. Just three days later, UE stunned University of Sto. Tomas, 25-23, 18-25, 28-26, 26-24, in a historic first win against the traditional powerhouse Tigresses at least since the start of the Final Four format in 1994. It marked the first time since Season 74 that the Lady Warriors won back-to-back games. It opened the eyes of volleyball fans that the Lady Warriors have talented players like Shaya Adorador, Mary Anne Mendrez and libero Kath Arado. “Na-notice kasi namin na takot silang magkamali. Takot silang magkamali kaya lalo silang nagkakamali. Pero para sa akin OK lang magkamali but make sure babawi ka,” said Roque. “Natutuwa naman ako kasi nagkakamali sila pero bumabawi.” The Lady Warriors eventually dropped their next three games after that back-to-back wins but gave Adamson, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University quite a scare before succumbing. But with the change of culture brought by Roque, teams are now wary of the Lady Warriors, which will return to action on April 8 against slumping National University. UE will wrap up its campaign against FEU and University of the Philippines – the last remaining games of Roque before he leaves his post to make way to a new head coach. “This season lang talaga ako,” said Roque. With him on board, the Lady Warriors are playing like a team looking to prove that they are better than just being a win fodder for other squads. Roque made the players respect themselves. He gave UE volleyball the respect it deserves.   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 31st, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Breaking Down the Lady Bulldogs Struggles

From a 6 - 1 start in the first round to a current 0-4 record in the second round, the National University Lady Bulldogs are in peril of falling out of the Final Four. Ending the first round on a high note, but eventually struggling in the second round is not exclusive to the Lady Bulldogs in recent UAAP Volleyball history. Downward Spiral I remember quite well our very own journey way back in Season 70 when my team, the Ateneo Blue Eagles, also had what seemed to be a budding collapse after a stellar first round. It was the maiden year of current head coach Oliver Almadro and he had the gargantuan task of bringing a perennial cellar dweller team to the Final Four.   To everybody’s surprise, we steamrolled the first round, ending it at 6-1, second only to the former powerhouse line-up of the UST Growling Tigers. Not only we were gunning for the Final Four spot at this point, but we set up hopes of actually making the podium. The second round quelled those hopes as that 7th win which could assure us a Final Four spot proved too elusive until the latter part of the round. We finished the second round of the eliminations at 2-5, which still qualified us for the semi-finals but eventually bowed out to top-seeded UST, which we could have avoided if not for the second round collapse. Though exactly not the same, our scenario is highly comparable to the NU Lady Bulldogs currently as they struggle to beat the teams they have beaten in dominant fashion during the first round. The difference lies in the fact that NU has still three more games to turn things around while we didn’t make any adjustments during our time. Muffled Bark The Lady Bulldogs were suiting up for a sweep of the first round until they were silenced by the FEU Lady Tamaraws towards the mid-season break. Not only were the Lady Tamaraws responsible for the elimination of the step-ladder possibility, but they exposed one glaring weakness in the Lady Bulldogs as well as started the team’s current downward spiral. From the aforementioned match to the recent meltdown at the hands of the UST Golden Tigresses, one trend is highly noticeable which is the correlation between NU’s passing and scoring output most especially from Queen Bulldog Jaja Santiago. Team Passing Percentage Spiking Percentage (Team) Spiking Percentage (Santiago) FEU 22.35 25.79 27.78 DLSU 17.65 28.57 33.33 ADMU 16.42 25.23 38.24 ADU 38.20 24.48 40.48 UST 34.09 30.77 47.92 Fig 1.1 – NU correlation of Passing and Spiking efficiency Based on the numbers alone, it can easily be deduced that tough serving has been the crucial factor to limit Jaja from making significant output. Being a middle, a team passing efficiency below 30-40% would prove problematic as quick attacks rely heavily on consistent reception. Against the top 3 serving teams (FEU, DLSU, ADMU), it can be deduced that Santiago (and co-middle Rissa Sato) only had less than 20% chance to wind up for a quick attack. In most cases, NU’s middles are relegated to mere decoys which rarely prove threatening to opposing blockers.   Due to low output from middle attacks, an adjustment employed is to leave Santiago attacking from zone 6 at the expense of the utilization of their libero Gayle Valdez. In some instances, Sato also doesn’t get switched out due to her reliable floor defense. Though this adjustment has contributed to Santiago providing output from the pipe attack, her position in the back proves to have more costs than benefits. Since Santiago is not switched out, their best passer (Valdez) is underutilized. In addition, instead of just focusing on the back row attack, Santiago is also burdened with passing responsibilities which significantly hamper her capability to wind up for the perfect approach. In certain instances as well, Santiago takes the second ball during transition coverage instead of just focusing on approaching for the attack. Last Minute Adjustments Going by the numbers alone, perhaps the best adjustment the Lady Bulldogs can utilize is to fully commit Santiago in the opposite position. In terms of passing and digging, this rotation would ensure that Valdez is still fully utilized as a defense specialist at the same time still enabling Santiago to contribute from the back row. In line with that, a shift into the opposite position would eliminate any passing burden for Santiago, letting her just focus on approaching for the attack. With regards to attack, a concern perhaps is if the shift to opposite would still provide the same output for Santiago. With the current disposition in the Lady Bulldogs’ floor efficiency, the shift would definitely be beneficial more than costly. First off, a middle attack relies heavily on several interlinked factors such as the pass consistency, the speed of the toss, the location of the attacker, and the height of the ball. On the other hand, attacks from the right wing, be it from the front or back row, relies less on pass consistency and attacker position. Santiago committing to the right wing would ensure that NU Setter Jasmine Nabor will always have a threatening safety net regardless of the quality of the pass. In addition, attacks from the wings would be easier for Nabor to exploit Santiago’s high attack reach as compared to quick hits. Another concern perhaps would be the trade off for blocking since Santiago would be focused on one area. Going by the numbers once more, the six leading scorers in the league (excluding Santiago) are open hitters. It would definitely prove beneficial to pit the team’s best blocker against the position with the highest scorers in the league. Though it may not guarantee kill blocks all the time, the towering presence of Santiago from the right wing would significantly alter the spiking tendencies of open hitters from other teams. In terms of a replacement blocker to fill in Santiago’s spot, NU need not be concerned with making kill blocks as well. As exemplified by Adamson’s middle Lea Ann Perez, a decent sized middle with good lateral movement can significantly contribute to the rotation through one-touch blocks that slow the ball’s momentum. High Risk High Reward Though the numbers right now logically point to the aforementioned adjustment, a practical application of such strategy is a whole different story. Perhaps the best testament of this strategy would be the masterful risk by Russian men’s volleyball coach Vladimir Alekno in none other than the Gold Medal Match of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Severely struggling in passing and defense against the Brazilian assault, the Russians’ backs were up against the wall 0 sets to 2 as they failed to utilize their strongest asset, the 7’2” giant Dimitriy Muserskiy from the middle. With Muserskiy out of the attacking equation in most cases, Brazil was able to close in on their block to the wings. With what could be considered as the riskiest yet smartest adjustment in volleyball history, Alekno fielded in Muserskiy as the opposite while putting his ace opposite Maxim Mikhaylov in the open position. Russian setter Sergey Grankin just went all out in feeding Muserskiy from the right wing with high and off the net tosses. The switch proved to be a masterstroke as the towering Muserskiy just went all out with height and strength to plow through the Brazilian net and floor defense. In addition, the adjustment did not only alter the defense dynamic of Brazil but the attack as well with Brazilian setter Bruno Rezende setting the right side more to avoid Muserskiy’s wall in the left. The last minute adjustment by the Russians caught the Brazilians off guard as they stretch out the match to a decider and eventually dealt a disheartening loss to their opponents. Going back, with Jaja Santiago inarguably comparable to Muserskiy in terms of capability to attack high from the wings, a shift into the opposite position would be a noteworthy consideration. Not only will it maximize and put more value on Santiago, such a shift can also contribute significantly in the passing woes of the Lady Bulldogs as it will ensure that their best passer will still be fielded in and utilized more. With three more upcoming matches to try out a new strategy, all might not be too late for the Lady Bulldogs to get back on the right path to the crown.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Sana we went past that down na -- Madayag on Ateneo s improvement after a bad start

Ateneo de Manila University has put its bad start in UAAP Season 80 Women’s Volleyball tournament behind. After a 0-2 start – its worst in 11 years – the Lady Eagles are now on a roll and are already knocking on the Final Four door. During the pre-season and at the start of their campaign, many thought that Ateneo would be limping in the race for a semifinals spot after the departure of prized setter Jia Morado. They proved them wrong. Ateneo’s heart strong mantra remained alive and the Katipunan-based squad is just two wins away from formally clinching a Final Four seat.     The Lady Eagles edged the upset-conscious University of the East, 25-14, 18-25, 25-13, 25-18, Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan for a 7-3 win-loss slate at solo second spot behind archrival grand slam-seeking De La Salle University (8-2).  Another victory will secure Ateneo at least a playoff for a Final Four berth. “Well, I mean it's a really great achievement na mag-eight wins kasi we were just expecting to play our best naman,” said skipper Maddie Madayag, who had 11 points off seven kills, three kill blocks and an ace. “But then our goal was to reach talaga the Final Four,” she added. But nakakataas ng confidence, and nakakasaya for the team. And 'yung improvements din.” The Lady Eagles have won three straight in the secomnd round of eliminations. Ateneo took down first round tormentors Far Eastern University and National University - both in straight sets - before flooring the Lady Warriors. “I guess for teams naman, there will always be up and downs. Sana we went past that down na,” said the team captain. Madayag also credited for their good campaign the vast improvement of setter Deanna Wong, who filled the important shoes left by Morado. Wong had 50 excellent sets against UE that helped Ateneo hammer down 54 attacks.      “She's really improving a lot. Like you can see from the first round to the second round, she's being more aggressive and more confident in her sets,” said Madayag of Wong, who had four markers.  Ateneo can secure at least a playoff for a semis spot with a win over Adamson University on Sunday before the league goes on a Holy Week break. And the former two-time champion Lady Eagles will be ready.  “Wala talagang complacency,” said Madayag. “We're not gonna be complacent with the teams, because everybody's like magka-level.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 21st, 2018