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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

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

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: That was crazy -- Gaston on playing libero

Ponggay Gaston is always ready to heed the call to step up for Ateneo de Manila University. Yes, even if it meant wearing the libero uniform. Lady Eagles coach Tai Bundit, needing stability on their floor defense, converted the utility as defense specialist and it worked wonders for Ateneo as they snapped Far Eastern University’s four-game winning streak with a 25-19, 25-21, 25-17, victory to open the second round of the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.      “Sobrang malaking factor kasi ginawang libero si Ponggay kasi matigas 'yung arms, I guess, tsaka mas nakaka-receive siya,” said team captain Maddie Madayag. “Maganda 'yung receives today. Konti lang ang errors namin and everything.” Ponggay, who skipped the Lady Eagles four-set loss to archrival two-time defending champion De La Salle University last Saturday because of a sprained left ankle, was informed of her new role just a day before their rematch against their first round tormentor. “Yesterday lang, as in yesterday lang sinabi ni coach Tai, nag-training kami ng libero,” said Gaston, who had seven excellent reception as she shared the libero duty with Ria Lo. It was a new challenge for the bubbly Lady Eagle especially with Ateneo going up against the same team that rained 20 aces in their first meeting.  But Gaston embraced the role to help her team win their fifth win in eight games tied with their victim. “Well kasi I have a sprain, so iniisip ko na lang na 'yun na lang ang trabaho ko, mag-receive. At saka dumepensa kung kaya,” she said. “Pero 'yun na lang ang iniisip ko kasi I don't have to jump. Talagang 'yung focus ko lang is to do my job, and to make my teammates happy.” Her transition according to Gaston was not that difficult as she’s used to play different roles depending on the need of the team. She played middle when she was still playing for University of Sto. Tomas high school. In Ateneo, she played open spiker, utility and middle. “Um, yeah that was crazy. Siguro kasi when I got to Ateneo na, sobrang nagbago na ‘yung position ko. I'm just used to changing all the time in training,” she said. “Parang tanggap lang ng tanggap ng kahit anong binibigay ni Coach Tai, kasi siya naman ang may alam kung anong maganda sa team.” “So instead of complaining or iniisip ko na, ‘shucks nahihirapan ako’. Iniisip ko na lang na siguro kaya ko kaya siguro binibigay ni Coach Tai ng palit-palit ng position -- open, uti, middle,” said Gaston. “Kasi hindi naman ako first six, so my job is to help the first six, and if it means be ready for any position, pumasok ka, gawin mo 'yung trabaho mo. Yun ang iniisip ko.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 7th, 2018

UE and Ateneo clinch Finals berths in UAAP 80 tennis

Defending men's champion University of the East downed De La Salle University, 4-1, while Ateneo topped University of the Philippines, 4-1, to arrange an interesting duel for the crown Saturday in the UAAP Season 80 lawn tennis tournament at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center. The Red Warriors stretched their perfect run to six, while the Blue Eagles chalked up their fifth victory in seven ties. Reigning MVP AJ Lim, Josshua Kinaadman, Dolfo Barquin produced singles wins, while doubles specialists Rogelio Estaño and RJ Saga provided the other win for the back-to-back title-seeking Warriors. Doubles players Luke Flores and Erj Gatdula, and AJ Rivero and Julian Dayrit shone, while singles standouts Ino Canlas and Marcen Gonzales also delivered for the Eagles. While UE booked its second straight Finals appearance, Ateneo reached the title round for the first time since 2001.      The Warriors need to win their last two ties, including the March 11 championship preview with the Eagles, to claim the twice-to-beat advantage in the Finals. An Ateneo win over UE will make the championship tie a best-of-three affair.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: DLSU shoots down poor-receiving Ateneo

Two-time defending champion De La Salle University peppered archrival Ateneo de Manila University with service aces the whole match in a bounce back 25-20, 25-17, 24-26, 25-20, victory Saturday in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena. Coming off a shocking four-set loss to Adamson University a week ago, the Lady Spikers bared their teeth once again as they drew first blood in their elimination round head-to-head against the Lady Eagles. Desiree Cheng, who nailed three-straight service aces at the close of the second set, Kim Kianna Dy and Majoy Baron bannered the Taft-based squad’s fifth win in seven outings to tie Far Eastern University at second to third spots. DLSU put the Lady Eagles’ four-game winning streak to a screeching halt. Ateneo slid to 4-3 card at the close of the first round.              The Lady Spikers pulled away in the fourth after a sorry loss in the third and built a 20-14 lead. The Katipunan-based squad aswered with a 5-1 rallt capped by three straight points to breathe dowm the necks of DLSU, 21-19. Bea De Leon sent her service long in the next play followed by a Tin Tiamzon hit and a block by Kianna Kim Dy on Kat Tolentino for a 24-19 lead. Desiree Cheng gave Ateneo a free point on a service error but Season 79 Rookie of the Year Jules Samonte sent her serve short as DLSU escaped with the win.        The Lady Spikers clawed its way back from an 11-21 deficit in the third set with a scorching run. Ahead by 10 points, DLSU took advantage of Jho Maraguinot’s service error to mount a telling scoring blitz to knot the set at 21. Season 79 rookie Jules Samonte pushed Ateneo back on top but DLSU answered with three straight points to move at match point, 24-22. But the Lady Spikers committed an error before Maraguinot tied it at 24. Maddie Madayag blocked Aduke Ogunsanya on the next play before Kat Tolentino put the set away with a crosscourt hit.              (To be updated) --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2018

Cross Court: Basketball-volleyball power couples

Aside from titles won, awards garnered and lessons learned this year, a handful of Filipino athletes have found, and nurtured love between another fellow sports star. One could just imagine how two hearts meet in the harsh battlefield of sports especially coming from different fronts. Fate led some of the stars from the country’s top two sports – basketball and volleyball – to cross paths and develop a blooming romance. Here are some of the power couples coming from the said sports.   Bong and Mozzy Ravena The perfect example in this list. Bong was a successful basketball star during his UAAP days with University of the East, the PBA and MBA while Mozzy donned the University of Sto. Tomas jersey as a volleyball varsity player. The union produced three kids who followed their footsteps. Kiefer and Thirdy are making their own mark as basketball standouts while their sister Dani has a budding career as a rookie setter for Ateneo de Manila University.         Kiefer Ravena and Alyssa Valdez What is a King Phenom without a Queen Phenom? Arguably, the most popular sports couple of this generation, former Ateneo de Manila University King Eagle Kiefer Ravena and ex-Queen Eagle Alyssa Valdez are the equivalent of the country’s best teleserye loveteams.       LA Revilla and Denden Lazaro   I love you past the moon and beyond the stars, baby ❤️ Happy Valentine's Day! ❤️ . @larevilla A post shared by Dennise Lazaro (@denniselazaro) on Feb 14, 2017 at 4:05am PST Whoever said that blue and green won’t mix has been living under a rock. Say that to this sweet couple of ex-De La Salle University and current Kia guard LA Revilla and former Ateneo de Manila University and current Cocolife libero Denden Lazaro.   Philip Manalang and Cesca Racraquin   Walo ❤️ A post shared by Cesca Racraquin (@cescarac) on Aug 25, 2017 at 11:17pm PDT Red is the color of love. Well, at least for this couple Cesca Racraquin of San Beda College Lady Red Spikers and University of the East Red Warrior Philip Manalang.   Alfren Gayosa and Grethcel Soltones Home 🏡 bound with this one ❤🌹👑💏💍👣 @ladybeast05 💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/Kq0un7HjkM — Alfren Gayosa (@eeeeerjordan15) June 24, 2017 Fun, bubbly, sweet and chill. San Sebastian College cager Alfren Gayosa and former Lady Stags spiker and three-time NCAA MVP Grethcel Soltones’ relationship is simply described that way.   Myla Pablo and Patrick Aquino As the old saying goes, in love ‘age doesn’t matter.’ National University women’s basketball team coach Patrick Aquino and former Lady Bulldogs spiker Myla Pablo proved that. Some say that it is a May-December love affair but hey who are we to judge? Oh by the way, we’ll be hearing wedding bells soon.   Aby Marano and Robert Bolick The last time Aby Marano visited ABS-CBN Sports’ Down the Line, the former De La Salle University middle readily answered that if her boyfriend Robert Bolick of San Beda College asks her hand right that very moment, without second thought, she’ll say ‘yes’.   Kib Montalbo and Desiree Cheng   ❤️ A post shared by Kib Montalbo (@kibmontalbo) on Aug 20, 2017 at 6:12am PDT KibRee is definitely real. The De La Salle University Green Archers’ ‘man of steal’ has captured the heart of Lady Spiker and UAAP Season 79 Finals MVP Desiree Cheng, and they have been seen cheering and supporting each other through wins and losses.   Arvin Tolentino and Brandy Kramer   There's no place I'd rather be A post shared by Arvin Tolentino (@arvintolentino5) on Jul 5, 2017 at 3:43am PDT Three years and counting. Judging from this picture, there’s no letting go between Far Eastern University cager Arvin Tolentino and former San Beda College Lady Red Spiker Brandy Kramer, who is the younger sister of cager Doug.   Chico Manabat and Dindin Santiago - Manabat   First!🤗🤣 A post shared by Dindin Santiago Manabat (@dindinquickermanabat) on Aug 14, 2017 at 8:41am PDT Two years of marriage and an adorable daughter, National University Bullpups assistant coach Chico Manabat and Foton middle Dindin are a picture of a happy family.     Junemar Fajardo and Aeriael Patnongon Saturdate ❤️ pic.twitter.com/pniFpWnEC2 — Aerieal Patnongon (@iamaeriealituh) April 8, 2017 San Miguel Beer center Junemar Fajaro is one big, tall and tough man. Only Creamline middle Aerieal Patnongon can make this big, tall and tough man’s heart skip a beat.   Jan-Jan Jaboneta and Isa Molde Maroon pride runs deep for Isko and Iska power couple Jan-Jan Jaboneta and Isa Molde. Jaboneta, a sparkplug off the bench for the rising UP Fighting Maroons and Molde, one of the Lady Fighting Maroons' go-to scorers have hit it off, and are probably each others' biggest fans when gametime comes......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Ateneo gets early test against FEU

A rebuilding Ateneo de Manila University side gets an early acid test when the Lady Eagles battle the veteran-laden Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws Sunday in 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena. 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. The Lady Eagles’ heartstrong mantra will be put to the test in probably one of the most challenging season for the Katipunan-based squad in almost a decade. Ateneo is playing limp after losing key players following the departure of hitter Michelle Morente and Gizelle Tan, the decision of top setter Jia Morado to forego her last playing year, Jamie Lavitoria skipping the season because of academic problems and injuries sustained by Kim Gequillana and Ana Gopico during the offseason. The Lady Eagles will pin its hopes on holdovers led by skipper Maddie Madayag, Bea De Leon, Kat Tolentino and Jho Maraguinot as they lead a rebuilding team against a seasoned Lady Tamaraws side in an early rematch of last year’s Final Four. FEU lost Remy Palma after last season and will miss the supposedly last playing year of returning Rosemarie Vargas, who sustained a ruptured Achilles heel tendon. But the Lady Tams, who will be handled by a new coach in George Pascua, still have enough firepower in their bid to end an 11-year title drought. Bernadeth Pons, Jerrili Malabanan, Toni Rose Basas and middles Czarina Carandang and Jeanette Villareal are all expected to deliver for FEU.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 4th, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Six standout local volleybelles of 2017

We’ve seen them shine this year whether in the collegiate stage, in the club leagues or even in the international scene. These six Pinay volleyball players took the sport’s limelight in the year that’s about to end.     DESIREE CHENG Desiree Cheng came into De La Salle University during the time bitter rival Ateneo de Manila University got the Lady Spikers’ number. From Seasons 76 to 77, Cheng saw her team fall prey to the might of the Lady Eagles in the UAAP Finals. Then redemption came in Season 78. Unfortunately, the 5-foot-8 spiker was forced to watch from the sidelines with an ACL tear as her crew reclaimed the crown. A year after, Cheng got her biggest break. DLSU lost most of its veteran core after Season 78 and needed another scoring option. Cheng heeded the call. Though Cheng struggled at the start of the eliminations, the hitter slowly got her groove back and delivered when DLSU needed offense in their sixth straight championship showdown against Ateneo. Cheng was the X-factor for the Ramil De Jesus-mentored squad during the series. Her contributions both on offense and floor defense played a huge part in the Lady Spikers’ series sweep of the Lady Eagles for the school’s 10th title. Cheng also helped F2 Logistics claim the Cargo Movers’ breakthrough Philippine Superliga Grand Prix title and a runner-up finish in the All-Filipino Conference.   ALYSSA VALDEZ Although Alyssa Valdez failed to claim a crown in the Premier Volleyball League this year and a continued title drought since 2016, the Phenom’s magic remains. She can still fill up game venues whenever she takes the court and 2017 proved as the former Queen Eagles’ biggest year in terms of her flourishing volleyball career. Valdez brought her talents abroad, landing a stint with 3BB Nakornnont in the Thai League and in the Thai-Denmark Superleague where her team finished third in both tournaments. After her appearance in Thailand, Valdez donned the Creamline jersey and led the Rebisco franchise to a bronze medal finish both in the PVL Reinforced and Open conferences. Valdez also had another tour of duty, playing for the national team in the AVC Asian Women’s Senior Volleyball Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 24-year old hitter got another international gig when she was tapped by Attack Line to play in the Chinese-Taipei Volleyball League.          Outside volleyball, Valdez has a blooming relationship with basketball star Kiefer Ravena. If she’s not busy with her volleyball and other commitments, Valdez also drew attention as one of the newest member of the so-called PBA players’ WAGS (wives and girlfriends) cheering for Ravena and the NLEX Road Warriors.      DAWN MACANDILI She may be only 5-foot tall but Dawn Macandili stood alongside Asia’s volleyball giants this year. The De La Salle University libero was the catalyst in the Lady Spikers’ back-to-back UAAP championship run. Her pesky floor defense frustrated DLSU’s rivals while giving her teammates a good first ball to operate their lethal offense.  But her biggest showing was when she landed a spot in the national team that competed in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship and in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games. A first-timer donning the national colors, Macandili did not disappoint as she earned the respect and admiration of Japanese coaches and trainers during the Nationals’ training camp in Japan. She performed even better when the PHI hosted the AVC Asian Seniors. Ms. Everywhere gave teams like Asian powerhouse Vietnam, Kazakhstan, South Korea and Thailand a hard time with her floor defense. All her efforts caught the eyes of the AVC tournament officials and she was rewarded with the historic 2nd Best Libero award. She made the final list of in the national team that participated in the SEA Games. Back in the local scene, Macandili helped F2 Logistics to runner-up finish in the PSL All-Filipino Conference and a breakthrough crown in the Grand Prix.    JAJA SANTIAGO Tall, powerful and versatile, Jaja Santiago is a force to reckon with.  At 6-foot-5, Santiago dominated the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference as she led the National University Lady Bulldogs to a perfect championship run. She also bagged the conference’s Most Valuable Player award. Though NU failed to make it in the Final Four of UAAP for the second straight year, Santiago’s effort for the Lady Bulldogs was rewarded with a third straight Best Attacker award to go with the Best Scorer and Best Blocker recognitions. In the PSL, Santiago was a consistent scorer for the Foton Tornadoes in the All-Filipino Conference and the Grand Prix. Under the tutelage of Serbian import Moro Branislav, Santiago became an even more dangerous and versatile player. Aside from her natural position as a middle blocker, she can now wreak havoc on both wings the puts her height advantage to good use. She made it into the national team that competed in the AVC Asian Seniors and SEA Games and was the Nationals’ scoring ace. Santiago received an offer from Thai powerhouse Bangkok Glass but declined the offer to play in her last year with the Lady Bulldogs.             KIM FAJARDO Setter Kim Fajardo left winning legacy when she played her swan song for DLSU. It took her a few months to decide to play her fifth year with the Lady Spikers. Leading a young crew after the departure of the core of the Season 78 championship squad, Fajardo faced a tough challenge in the Taft-based squad’s title-retention bid. But the Batanguena proved her worth as a leader and the skipper rallied the Lady Spikers back into the Finals in a sixth straight collision against bitter rival Ateneo. Fajardo’s composure carried DLSU in a tough Game 1 match and again in the five-set title-clincher to complete the Lady Spikers’ series sweep of the Lady Eagles. She earned a spot in the national team as a starting setter. Fajardo steered F2 Logistics to its first PSL Grand Prix crown bagged the conference’s Best Setter award. She helped the Cargo Movers to a runner-up finish in the All-Filipino Conference.     JOVIELYN PRADO Silent but deadly. Jovielyn Prado may not be the typical vocal leader but her presence inside the court is enough to rally the Arellano University Lady Chiefs to meet their goals. The outside hitter proved her worth to the Lady Chiefs when she led the Legarda-based squad back on the NCAA women’s volleyball throne. A year removed from the title, Arellano U turned to Prado to provide the spark the Lady Chiefs needed to make another shot at the crown. Consistent, efficient and effective, Prado delivered for the Obet Javier-mentored squad. Arellano U advanced in the stepladder semifinals and dethroned College of St. Benilde to set up a date with thrice-to-beat, three-time Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones-led San Sebastian College. Undaunted even with a great series disadvantage, Prado played her best three games of the season to power the Lady Chiefs to an impressive sweep of the Lady Stags. Prado continued her great performance in the PVL Reinforced and Open Conference playing for the Power Smashers. She then bannered the Lady Chiefs to a bronze medal finish in the Collegiate Conference at the expense of UAAP team Adamson University.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

Superteams and superpowers: Basketball in 2017

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

Cross Court: Basketball-volleyball power couples

Aside from titles won, awards garnered and lessons learned this year, a handful of Filipino athletes have found, and nurtured love between another fellow sports star. One could just imagine how two hearts meet in the harsh battlefield of sports especially coming from different fronts. Fate led some of the stars from the country’s top two sports – basketball and volleyball – to cross paths and develop a blooming romance. Here are some of the power couples coming from the said sports.   Bong and Mozzy Ravena The perfect example in this list. Bong was a successful basketball star during his UAAP days with University of the East, the PBA and MBA while Mozzy donned the University of Sto. Tomas jersey as a volleyball varsity player. The union produced three kids who followed their footsteps. Kiefer and Thirdy are making their own mark as basketball standouts while their sister Dani has a budding career as a rookie setter for Ateneo de Manila University.         Kiefer Ravena and Alyssa Valdez What is a King Phenom without a Queen Phenom? Arguably, the most popular sports couple of this generation, former Ateneo de Manila University King Eagle Kiefer Ravena and ex-Queen Eagle Alyssa Valdez are the equivalent of the country’s best teleserye loveteams.       LA Revilla and Denden Lazaro   I love you past the moon and beyond the stars, baby ❤️ Happy Valentine's Day! ❤️ . @larevilla A post shared by Dennise Lazaro (@denniselazaro) on Feb 14, 2017 at 4:05am PST Whoever said that blue and green won’t mix has been living under a rock. Say that to this sweet couple of ex-De La Salle University and current Kia guard LA Revilla and former Ateneo de Manila University and current Cocolife libero Denden Lazaro.   Philip Manalang and Cesca Racraquin   Walo ❤️ A post shared by Cesca Racraquin (@cescarac) on Aug 25, 2017 at 11:17pm PDT Red is the color of love. Well, at least for this couple Cesca Racraquin of San Beda College Lady Red Spikers and University of the East Red Warrior Philip Manalang.   Alfren Gayosa and Grethcel Soltones Home 🏡 bound with this one ❤🌹👑💏💍👣 @ladybeast05 💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/Kq0un7HjkM — Alfren Gayosa (@eeeeerjordan15) June 24, 2017 Fun, bubbly, sweet and chill. San Sebastian College cager Alfren Gayosa and former Lady Stags spiker and three-time NCAA MVP Grethcel Soltones’ relationship is simply described that way.   Myla Pablo and Patrick Aquino As the old saying goes, in love ‘age doesn’t matter.’ National University women’s basketball team coach Patrick Aquino and former Lady Bulldogs spiker Myla Pablo proved that. Some say that it is a May-December love affair but hey who are we to judge? Oh by the way, we’ll be hearing wedding bells soon.   Aby Marano and Robert Bolick The last time Aby Marano visited ABS-CBN Sports’ Down the Line, the former De La Salle University middle readily answered that if her boyfriend Robert Bolick of San Beda College asks her hand right that very moment, without second thought, she’ll say ‘yes’.   Kib Montalbo and Desiree Cheng   ❤️ A post shared by Kib Montalbo (@kibmontalbo) on Aug 20, 2017 at 6:12am PDT Is KibRee for real? Let’s just hope that the De La Salle University Green Archers’ ‘man of steal’ will capture the heart of Lady Spiker and UAAP Season 79 Finals MVP Desiree Cheng to officially put that question to rest.   Arvin Tolentino and Brandy Kramer   There's no place I'd rather be A post shared by Arvin Tolentino (@arvintolentino5) on Jul 5, 2017 at 3:43am PDT Three years and counting. Judging from this picture, there’s no letting go between Far Eastern University cager Arvin Tolentino and former San Beda College Lady Red Spiker Brandy Kramer, who is the younger sister of cager Doug.   Chico Manabat and Dindin Santiago - Manabat   First!🤗🤣 A post shared by Dindin Santiago Manabat (@dindinquickermanabat) on Aug 14, 2017 at 8:41am PDT Two years of marriage and an adorable daughter, National University Bullpups assistant coach Chico Manabat and Foton middle Dindin are a picture of a happy family.     Junemar Fajardo and Aeriael Patnongon Saturdate ❤️ pic.twitter.com/pniFpWnEC2 — Aerieal Patnongon (@iamaeriealituh) April 8, 2017 San Miguel Beer center Junemar Fajaro is one big, tall and tough man. Only Creamline middle Aerieal Patnongon can make this big, tall and tough man’s heart skip a beat.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2017

Belangel does it all against Bullpups as Blue Eaglets remain unscathed

Ateneo de Manila High School remains the lone unbeaten team in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament. And following a 64-49 dismantling of Nazareth School of National University on Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, the Blue Eaglets now have convincing victories versus all other contenders. SJ Belangel spearheaded the Katipunan blitz to begin the game which had them racing to a 19-5 edge after the first quarter. It was also the graduating guard’s back-to-back assists to Angelo David and then to Jason Credo that capped off a 7-0 burst that built up the biggest lead of the game for Ateneo, 36-13, late in the second quarter. By halftime, the Blue Eaglets were still ahead thanks to Belangel’s 13 points, six assists, three steals, and two rebounds as well as the rim protection of Kai Sotto who had six blocks and five boards. With the 7-foot-1 Sotto patrolling the paint, Rhayyan Amsali, Terrence Fortea, and Paul Manalang could not get going and combined for 0-of-13 shooting. Still, the Bullpups didn’t quit and neared to 48-58 inside the last four minutes only to see two dishes from the Ateneo captain again lead to two baskets. That kept Belangel – who wound up with 14 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, and four steals – and company ahead for good and also kept their perfect record intact after six games. “We’re talking it one game at a time. We want to stay focused,” head coach Joe Silva said Dave Ildefonso also added a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double while Sotto chipped in 12 rebounds and eight blocks on top of six points. Without a doubt, though, it was defense that won the game for the Blue Eaglets as they stymied their opponents into missing 59 of their 78 attempts. “Again, it’s all about defense. Dun talaga kami naka-focus this year,” Silva sais. This latest win adds erstwhile undefeated NU to Ateneo’s list of fallen contenders that already included Far Eastern University-Diliman and University of Sto. Tomas. No Bullpup was in double-digits as they suffered their first setback. In the first game, UST got for itself a mighty rebound, throttling De La Salle Zobel, 83-72. CJ Cansino kept his double-double-streak in the season going with 23 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists in this one. Kobe Palencia also had 16 markers, five boards, and five dimes to help the Tiger Cubs improve to 4-2. The Junior Archers had their two-game win run get snapped as they drop to 2-4. RC Calimag showed the way for them with 14 points. Defending champion FEU-Diliman also got a bounce back win by pounding on University of the Philippines Integrated School, 90-63. L-Jay Gonzales had 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals in just 20 minutes to show the Baby Tamaraws the way to 3-3. RJ Abarrientos contributed 12 markers, nine dimes, and six boards of his own. Matt Santiago’s career-high 23 points, on the other hand, were all for naught as the Junior Maroons dropped to 1-5. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME UST 83 – Cansino 23, Palencia 16, Baquial 11, Benzonan 9, Dolendo 8, Lina 5, Anunciacion 5, Manabat 4, Dela Cruz 2, Co 0, Biag 0 DLSZ 72 – Calimag 14, Santos 13, Pascual 11, Cortez 10, Bonalos 7, Vesagas 6, Damiles 5, Terrado 3, Cosejo 3, Buncayo 0, Carlos 0, Escandor 0, Barcuma 0, Udal 0 QUARTER SCORES: 23-10, 44-23, 65-51, 83-72 SECOND GAME ATENEO 64 – Belangel 14, Ildefonso 12, Manuel 10, Credo 9, Sotto 6, Angeles 6, David 4, Diaz 2, Chiu 1, Jaymalin 0, Santos 0, Gusi 0, Lopa 0 NU 49 – Fortea 9, Oczon 8, Minerva 7, Pradella 8, Amsali 6, Javillonar 4, Gonzales 3, Malonzo 2, Felicida 2, Pangilinan 1, Manalang 0, Coyoca 0 QUARTER SCORES: 19-5, 36-17, 50-34, 64-49 THIRD GAME FEU-DILIMAN 90 – Gonzales 15, Abarrientos 12, Alforque 10, Armendez 10, Ona 10, Tolentino 7, Celso 6, Bautista 6, Sajonia 6, Boc 4, Escoto 2, Escarda 2, Torres 0, Barasi 0, Mariano 0, Libago 0 UPIS 63 – Santiago 23, Vergiere 11, Labao Ral 8, Tupaz 7, Labao Raf 5, Estrera 3, Gregorio 3, Dimaculangan 3, Villa-real 0, Condalor 0, Gomez de Liano 0 QUARTER SCORES: 22-9, 50-21, 70-37, 90-63 —- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 9th, 2017

Ateneo gets Go signal at perfect time

MANILA, Philippines — Isaac Go’s moment of redemption couldn’t have come at a better time. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 22nd, 2017